By December 5, 2018 Read More →

Chapter Asr – Part 3

Challenge of Atheism

Chapter ‘Asr, Qur’an, 103:1 “Consider the flight of time!”

 How do we explain the existence of the universe?

  • Attributing to a Source that can give existence.

The above answer is mostly agreed upon by any unbiased human logic.  However, presently it is not a major concern for the Muslim world compared to the activities, for instance, by Christian theologists who challenge the atheistic ideas.  Muslims are usually busy competing with followers of other traditions (example: “why Islam is superior to others?”).

Atheism is prevalent under the disguise of “scientific” approach.

Why do Muslims have no such awareness of the atheistic ideologies disguised as scientific explanations?

  1. Usage of language in scientific explanation is tricky – e.g. Scientific facts are shown, whereas, a supernatural being with the ability to give existence is not physically demonstrable.
  2. Some religious traditions cannot challenge the atheistic ideas because in their tradition, the acceptance of belief in God is held as a given. Bearing that accepted understanding, the atheistic ideology (the scientific approach that a supernatural being is not physically demonstrable) is undermined wherever it is possible and hence rejected. It is rejected because religious tradition says God made it  Here, faith in God is taken for granted and the major concern is: How to define God?

Quran has a different approach:

  1. There is no such pre-acceptance of God at first.
  2. As an unbiased human being, just try to explain the existence of the universe.
  • Quran doesn’t expect its readers to have faith in God and then explain what they are experiencing here.

Quran emphasizes on the importance of evidences from the universe and then conclude that this universe needs a conscious, intelligent, powerful Source to create the universe.

  • Fundamental formula: “la ilaha illa hu” (Nothing has the quality to create within the universe but the One Who gave existence to it.)
  • Establish first “la ilaha” – that does not require an existing faith. It starts with “no creator within the universe” so how then can I explain the existence of the universe?

“Science is a self-correcting activity” is an expression used by scientists.  If there is a need for a belief in an Agent that created the universe in the beginning, this does not bother the atheist scientists so much. The scientific approach is to investigate the universe as it is now. There is not much concern on some agent that made the universe in the beginning. Even if I make a mistake in my explanations of the universe, the explanations would later be corrected in the future and explained. It is a matter of time.

  • As per science, new discovery is an update to our understanding of the universe.

Back in history, Western scholars were appreciative of the Muslim scientists who were discovering the order in the universe (i.e. how the things work?) in astronomy, medicine, music, mathematics (e.g. Function of zero).  However, everything (all scientific discoveries) is explained within the conditions of this universe without any reference to the theological aspects.  That is, explanation consists of events taking place in a sequence and discovering the order devoid of a Creator.  Attributing every action in the universe as the cause of existence of the following action.  For example, watering the plant, plant grows, this is a scientific fact and is demonstrable. Thus, water is the source of the growth activity of the plant. What? The scientific fact notices that when there is no water, the plant doesn’t grow so water makes the plant grow.  Is that so? If yes, then why should I oppose this idea?

“Water causes the plant to grow” is the scientific interpretation.  That is, what we are questioning:Is water the cause of the plant to grow?”  No.  Water is used in the process of growth of the plant by a One that arranges the order in the universe.  Water cannot free itself from being subject to the order which is already established. This order is functioning in every act of the universe.

The attempt by the Christian theology must be appreciated in trying to undermine the atheistic ideas which is invading in this day and age (mainly by attributing the Source of Existence to things and order available and already set in this universe). Current education system is based on atheistic philosophy and injected into the minds from 4-year-old to the higher education. This is the dominant education worldwide. Interestingly even religion is mostly taught in a secular way where the scriptures are studied in a secular way. One has to pay attention and see how that can be the case.

Christian theology is sensitive to the atheistic ideas floating around and attempts to defeat the interpretation of science that doesn’t include God. How about collaborating with the teachings of the Quran and injecting the idea of “la ilaha illa hu”?  It may not be pleasing to their purpose, but it is worth considering in terms of explaining the reality of this world. Questioning whether the things possess the qualities to give existence to themselves or something else. For example, the relationship between water, sunlight and plant. According to the Quranic teachings, water is the place where the Creator projects all His qualities – “He has set His throne on water.” (Qur’an, 11: 7) Through water, we experience the activities of the Creator of life all around us. So, there is a relation between water and life. But the real human unbiased question is: how does one explain water and its relationship to life?

  • Can water be the source of existence of life?
  • I see life having certain qualities – can water be the source of existence of those qualities?

This way of reasoning by placing God at the stage of every act is contrary to the way we engage with creation, by seeing the evidence and then concluding is the way human mind can confirm. I cannot refer to an Absolute Being as giving existence to creation and beings.  However, I can come to a conclusion that the existence must be from a Necessarily Existent One that must not be from the nature of this universe. Also, It must be the source of existence of the universe.  For example, a laptop – pressing a key, something on the screen changes. Look, the key is pressed and screen changes. When no key is pressed, there is no change to the screen. Thus, the key makes the change, or the key is the Source of Existence of the change. Is this sensible? For a child that would be fine but for an adult? Does the key make the screen change? The key has no independent power or quality but is made and put there by the engineer of the whole system. There are lots of connections going on in the laptop all arranged and willed by the engineer. The key cannot be isolated and be the source of change of the screen. The key is made out of plastic, has no will, no power, no knowledge, no intelligence – how can we say it is the source of existence of the change on the screen. Or is it employed and placed there by an intelligent engineer?

The example of the laptop is a human made example, the engineer follows and applies the existing order that is in the universe. We can apply this reasoning when it comes to the universe. That is, human beings cannot bring the order into existence. The order in the universe must function according to the will of the One that establishes the order. This One who establishes the order must not be subject to the order. That is my logical conclusion.

Imagine a set of dots as a series of events in the universe. With a pre-existing faith, each of those dots will be “done by God”. God is so busy in working on each and every dot. However, the reality of this world is not a series of continuous dots (as it may appear at first thought), what we experience is a constant continuum with no break.  If I refer to something as dot within the continuum (think of it as a straight line with connected dots), then each dot is relative to me i.e. significant to my personal experiences here.  Human beings cannot measure or get the time between two events. The distance between zero and one is infinite. We experience the world and there is no break in the existence of things.

For example, the DNA structure has billions of combinations – some functioning and some not so. Certain scientists reason that there are some combinations which are not being used now. It is hard to admit that they couldn’t find what those combinations are used for. Based on the history of science and that of religion, history of monotheistic religion says that the universe must have a Creator basing their arguments on revelation which refers to the witnessing of the act of creation.  The message in religion is consistent and is not self-correcting.  For science, they have to say self-correcting because as we progress in time, further discoveries in the process of the created events are made, and they correct the previous ones. Whereas, the message of religion demands human mind to examine the existence of the universe and asks it to observe the need to explain the existence of each and every event for an Absolute Source of Existence. This conclusion of religion can never be challenged. That is why religion is not self-correcting.

The DNA structure of a mouse and humans are almost similar with a slight difference in one percent. So, science sees that as they are very similar and thus must be coming from the same ancestors having a cause and effect connection which might have taken place during the millions or even billions of years. They explain the slight difference by using a language such as adaptation by the cell structure – basically attributing to the cell some knowledge, power, intelligence and that need to adapt itself to the “fitting” position. The Source of Existence of a thing or action is never questioned. Some Christian theologians and some Muslim scientists do the same by not questioning the source of existence and miss on the concept of every event being created by God.

In the Quranic teaching, we are expected to look at the universe, see if there is any cause for a thing to come into existence. Quran claims that one cannot find such a Cause within the universe. Denying divinity within the universe is an option chosen by some which basically infers that there is no source of existence in the universe in operation right now.  How can you say that there is no source of existence in the universe but the things exist in ever changing position?  For example, in a phone app, updates are released. Can I claim that those updates are evolving or adapting by themselves? Similarity in things, it does not mean that one thing caused the other one. In our example, the update cannot be caused by the original app. This points to the necessity of an engineer. Human made examples follow the order that exists in the universe. What about the engineer of the universe? Is there any act in the universe that is independent of an agent? Is there any act that is not subject to the order?

Once the human mind concludes that a thing is made, automatically the human knows that the thing must have a maker.  Example: “the body cures itself?” Not by itself – body is designed and given existence in such a way that it has to follow the order. Every particle obeys the order – No particle can have an independent existence.

A statement by the prophet: “the mountain loves us”.  In other words, everything is acting as a representation of a Conscious Being.

Going back to time – continuation of actions – acts that bring things into existence within an order continuously. Today’s universe is brought into existence within an order. Yesterday’s universe is brought into existence with a slight difference than today’s universe. It doesn’t mean that today’s universe was caused by the existence of yesterday’s universe. I am not the same today. Yesterday’s body cannot give existence to my body today because it cannot be the Source of Existence. Although I am similar to yesterday, the body is subject to the order and cannot be the responsible agent for the next state of existence. (we should bear in mind that “time” is a human construction; it does not bind the Source of Existence which creates the space and, as we see it, time.)

The acts in the universe is continuous, not infinitesimal stages or dots – there is no empty space, gap or break in the acts.  “Kun Fayakun” (Be and it is) (Qur’an’s description of the act of creation, Qur’an, 36: 82; 16: 40; 2: 117; 40: 68; 6: 73; 19: 35)

Every single dot that I can imagine is not fixed. Universe does not only consist of particles, but also the qualities, actions of particles. For example, two particles attract each other (magnetism). Besides the two particles, the attraction is also created and is usually missed from the eyes of the atheist scientists. Every particle act – not by itself but by the will of the One who establishes the universe. For example, we eat an apple and the apple in the body becomes particles. How? There is no divine being within the universe, but the universe is coming into existence by an unimaginable divine power, will, and qualities, i.e. “La ilaha illa hu” (There is no agent within the universe which provides existence, therefore, there must be an Agent to give existence to the universe. This agent must not be of the nature of the universe which needs to be given existence.)

We should not understand “Kun” from God’s perspective but from our perspective. This is a fundamental principle of interacting with the scripture. For example, a guy walks in and claims that I am the architect of this building. I cannot confirm his/her claim just by seeing him/her. I will look at the building and determine that this building must have an architect. That is for sure for any human mind. In the language of the Quran the architect translates to “Hu” (It, He). We should understand the “Kun” (Be) as only the “Irada” (will) of the Creator of the universe. This is not like an individual command to one thing to be willed and then another thing to be willed but a universal will.  That is why the universe cannot be understood as a collection of dots but in a linear constant, i.e. continuum. In Quranic Arabic “Qayyuum” – Self Subsisting, Self-Existing. If this being is Self-Subsistent, He is not dependent thus His action should not be dependent. This means that the act in the universe with no gap means that the source must be an Absolute Source – Absolute has no divisions.


  • infinite + anything results in infinite
  • infinite – anything results in infinite

Relating this to how we understand time – as we experience this continuum, there is no division of time – of past or future but a continuous act is going on. The “time” as we use in our day to day conversation and organization in reality does not exist as such, that is our human construction. For our convenience, we divide time into hours, minutes, seconds, month, year. All this convenient division falls into a continuous act when we consider the Source of Existence as being an Absolute One.

“Lam yalid wa lam yulad” (doesn’t inherit Its qualities from anything neither does it give It’s qualities to anything.) (Qur’an, 112: 3) By looking at the universe, I can come to the conclusion that the universe must have an Absolute Creator. I must then be loyal to my conclusion. I am dependent on the Will of the Creator. My body, its cells all act according to the Will of my Creator. I have to act accordingly knowing that I belong to an Absolute Being.











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