Why I believe in God?

36 WHY I BELIEVE IN GOD (S. M. Shahab Ahmad) The simplest answer to this question is that I believe in God because there is a God. Unfortunately, people have remained divided on’this issue for a long time. One group believes in God and the other denies His existence. An objection raised against the existence of God by the atheists is that we cannot see God as we see other objects around us. The simplest answer to this question is that our eyes see material objects and God is not a material being. Human beings have been provided with five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste; and to acquire knowledge of objects around us we have to use all the five senses. We use our eyes to perceive shapes and colours, to differentiate voices we use our ears, and to taste food we use our tongue etc. That is to say we have to use the appropriate sense organs. It is a fact that each sense organ has a limit and works within a range. The eyes cannot see microscopic objects or the whole of very large objects. Also, the eyes can see violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red colours and their mixtures, but not ultra violet and infra red rays, which are parts of the spectrum. Similarly, human ears listen to sound waves between the frequencies: 20 to 20,000 cycles per second, but not beyond or below this range. Nevertheless it is a scientific fact that sound waves less than 20 cycles per second and more than 20,000 cycles per second do exist. Can any rational man deny the existence of microscopic objects, ultra violet and infra red rays, or sound waves having frequencies less than 20 cycles per second and more than 20,000 cycles per second if he cannot see or hear them? Definitely not. In addition, we know so many things around us by inference and do not depend upon any sense organ e.g; love, anger etc. We see a mother cuddling her child, an angry person in action, but not love and anger as such. We infer about them. The Holy Quran has answered most beautifully the question: Why is God not visible to the eyes, or why cannot He be perceived by any of the sense organs? in the following verse: We are closer to him than his jugular vein (50:17) REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 3 7 Has any one seen his jugular vein? Based upon this verse of the Holy Quran, the Soofis say that God is not visible to man because He is nearer to him than the nearest object and farther from him than the farthest object. (No one can see an object too close to him or too far away from him). To find God through the crude sense organs is a vain attempt. Says the Holy Quran: Eyes cannot reach Him, but He manifests Himself before the eyes. He is the imperceptible, the All-Aware. (6:104) The Holy Quran repeatedly claims that God alone is the Creator of the universe. In answer, the atheists say that if God has created the universe, then who has created God? This objection is based upon a wrong generalization, which can be answered in the following ways-. All scientific principles and rules have a limit and cannot be applied in every situation. For example, if one pours liquids in vessels of different shapes, it takes the shape of the vessel. Therefore, it is inferred that liquids change their shape according to the shape of the containers or vessels. But this rule is not applicable to solids. A solid object retains its own shape regardless of the shape of the containers. Both liquids and solids are material objects, but there are two different sets of rules for each of them. A rule applicable to liquids is not valid in the case of solids and the vice versa-. When such is the case within the material bodies, then how can we generalize a rule based upon material facts to God, Who is not a material being? The point to be realized is that the universe has been created and what is created needs a Creator. But One Who is the Creator and Eternal does not need another Creator. Therefore the claim of the Holy Quran truly confirms: All types of perfect praise belong to Allah alone, the Creator, the Sustainer and Lord of the worlds (1:2′) Again the Holy Quran says: Say, He is Allah, the One! Allah, the Independant and Besought of all. (112:2-3) All things and beings depend upon God and He is Independent and Besought of all. All have need of Him and He has need of none. He needed the help of no being or material to create the universe. That every thing other than God is dependent is not a hollow claim. The 38 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS following examples support it. Animals, including man, need food, water, air, heat, light etc. for their survival. Plants depend upon water, air, heat, light etc. The earttus dependent upon the sun, the moon and a number of stars, which provide heat, light etc. to the earth. The sun, in order to maintain its volume, needs gases which it takes from other stars. In fact, nothing in the universe is complete in itself, not even the smallest atom. Nothing is self-subsisting; every thing depends on some other thing for its existence. God alone is such a Being Who depends on no being or thing. In short, every thing in this world or in other worlds needs a Creator and Sustainer, and He is God. LAW OF WITNESS A great proof in support of the existence of God is the law of witness. In material dealings and judgments, we proceed on positive statements. The judge records statements from those who were witnesses to the incident, not from those who were not. An example will clarify this. Suppose a number of persons are sitting in a house and one of their friends passes by the house. Some persons sitting in the house see him and some do not. Suppose after a while the question arises: Has their friend passed by the house? The statement of those who have seen him passing will be accepted, not the statement of those who did not see him. There may have been a number of reasons for not seeing him. Similar is the case of seeing God. One group says that he has seen God, the other group says he has not. One statement is positive, the other negative. And according to the law of witness, acceptable even to the atheists, the first statement is acceptable and valid, not the. second. The atheists or those who do not believe in God cannot say that there is no God. The utmost they can say is that they have not seen God, and this is not a valid statement. Further, while recording statements by witnesses their character is given due importance. The judge wants complete satisfaction about the character of the witnesses whose statements he records. He does not record statements of persons of doubtful character. This law also goes in favour of those who say that they have seen God. If we look into the history of the Holy Prophets (peace be on them) then it is very clear that their pious characters were acceptable to those around them. For example, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) before he was called to the ministry was given the titles of trusty and truthful by his fellow citizens. REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 39 Then during his ministry and in the tooth of opposition, the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) challanges his opponents: I have indeed lived among you a whole life time before this. Will you not then understand? (10:17) Silence was the only answer of the opponents. The verse embodies an infalliable criterion to test the truth of a claimant to Prophethood. If the life of a prophet before he lays claims to Prophethood presents an extraordinarily high standard of truthfulness and integrity and between that period and his claim to Prophethood there is no interval during which it might be supposed that he has fallen from that high standard of moral excellence, then his claim to Prophethood must be accepted as that of a highly moral and truthful man. Naturally, a person confirmed in a certain course of conduct through habit or temperament takes a long time to develop in himself a major change for either good or evil. How then could the Prophet of Islam suddenly turn into an impostor when all his lifetime prior to his claim to Prophethood had been singularly upright? Another example in this connection is that of the Prophet Salih (peace be on him). Says the Holy Quran: They said, 0”Salih, thou wast among us one in whom we placed our hopes. (11:63) This verse clearly indicates the high hopes the people of Sahih expected from him. And it was possible only when they were impressed by his character. In this age, even the bitter opponents of the Promised Messiah (peace be on him) could not point out any spot in his character. Then how come that a group of pious persons can make a false statement that there is a God. On the contrary, unlike the Prophets (peace be on them), there is no record about good character and high morale of the leaders of atheism. Thus the law of witness goes in favour of the Prophets, who say that they have seen God. KNOWLEDGE AND IGNORANCE: What is said above leades to a simple rule of logic i.e; ‘If one does not know about some thing, it does not mean that the thing does not exist’. Follow this, the atheists or the non-believers cannot say that there is no God. The utmost they can say is that they do not know God. They were 40 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS unsuccessful candidates, whereas the Prophets, who saw God, were the successful ones. In every branch of learning the statement of the successful candidate is accepted, not of the unsuccessful one. An example from a very important field of science will illustrate the principle. About a century ago, the great Russian scientist Dmitri Mendeleev (1834-1907) presented the Periodic Table before the scientists. In that Table he placed a number of elements known at that time at their proper places and mentioned their properties. In addition, he placed in the Table a number of elements unknown at that time at their hypothetical places and mentioned their properties. Scientists started their research to discover those unknown elements. The majority of them failed. However, a few of them discovered those elements one by one. Do the scientists, and even the non-scientists give any importance to the researches of the scientists who could not find the unknown elements? Definitely not. Recognition is given to the researches of the successful candidates only. Similar is the case of the Holy Prophets (peace be on them) and the atheists. The Prophets were successful candidates. Therefore, their finding that there is a God is acceptable. Whereas the atheists were non-successful. Therefore their statement is not acceptable. As a matter of fact, the development of human knowledge depends upon the transfer of learning. One scholar discovers a fact. Others base their research upon it and proceed further. Had it not been so, human knowledge could never develop. It is a weakness of the. animals that they do not benefit by transfer of knowledge. But human beings do which is their strength. Then why not accept the statement, based upon success, that there is a God. DOMINANCE OF THE BELIEVERS OVER THE NON-BELIEVERS The Holy Quran says: Every people has had its guide. (13:8) There is no people to whom a Warner has not been sent. (35:25) We did raise among every people a Messenger. (16:37) Allah has decreed: Most surely, it is I Who will prevail, I and My Messengers. (58:22) What fact do these verses point to? They point to ‘the fact that although there have been believers and non-believers the former’have always REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 41 .outnumbered the latter. It is admitted even by the atheists. E Spenser, who in a way is supposed to be the founder of atheism, admits that a belief very popular among the masses cannot be false. This is also a fact,that many atheists at the time of-their’ death turn doubtful about their faith. But this is not true with the believers. PERFECT ORDER IN THE UNIVERSE I will not repeat that the universe needs a Creator, but the perfection in the universe is pointed to. Says’ the Holy Quran: Blessed is He in Whose hand is’ the kingdom and He has the power to do all that He wills, Who has created death and life that He might try you which of you is best in conduct. He is the Mighty, the Most Forgiving, Who has created the seven heavens in order, Thou canst not discover a flaw in the creation of the Gracious One. Then look again: Seest thou any disparity? Look again, and yet again, thy sight will return to thee frustrated and fatigued. (67:25) No one has been able to point out any disparity in God’s creation. On the other hand, scientists have admitted the testimony of the Holy Quran. To quote Flint: Wonderful indeed is God’s creation. The solar system of which our earth is but a small member is vast, varied and orderly and yet this system is but one of hundreds of millions of systems, some of which are incalculably larger than it, yet the countless millions of suns and stars are so arranged and distributed in relation to one another as to produce everywhere harmony and beauty. The order that covers and pervades the universe is obvious to the ordinary naked eye, and is spread far beyond the range of disciplined vision, assisted by all the instruments and appliances which science and art have been able to invent. That is to say the high order of the universe points to a. Supreme Designer. MORAL PROOF Moral qualities of man point to God. Man by nature is good and is inclined towards it. He repents if he deviates from this natural path. The Holy Quran points to this fact in the following verses: Nay, I swear by the self-accusing soul that the Day of Judgement is a certainty (75:3) That is to say, I call to witness the self that reproves itself for every vice 42 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS and intemperance. Again: And by the soul and its perfection. And He revealed to it the ways of •evil and the ways of righteousness. (91:8-9) A.G.Bilmore, a Christian philosopher, has taken the good nature of man as a proof of the existence of God. He says that we are attracted towards beauty and good things, but we do not know who has implanted this desire in our hearts. Therefore, it has to be admitted that some other being has implanted such desires. Before I conclude my lecture, I would like to answer the question: Why some people could find God and others could not? The answer is that those who could find God adopted the right means, and others did not. This in itself is a lengthy topic, therefore, I will give the simplest answer. Any person who sincerely tries to find God should call Him, to be manifested, and He will. The Prophets and other pious persons (May Allah be pleased with them) did it, whereas the other group did not. As a matter of fact, God for His discovery does not depend upon human efforts. He reveals Himself to His servants. The Holy Quran says: Eyes cannot reach Him, but He manifests Himself before the eyes. He is the imperceptible, the All-Aware. (6:104) All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. HOLY PROPHET ON MODESTY Modesty is part and parcel of faith. Meekness and modesty are two branches of Iman (faith); and vain talking and embellishing are two branches of hypocrisy. True modesty is the source of all virtues. Modesty and chastity are parts of the Faith.