The language used by the author is greatly simplified, the reason being that it was addressed to a lay audience.
(Translated from Urdu by Syed Amer Ahmad)
Although God cannot be perceived physically, His existence can be substantiated though powerful arguments. The sun, moon and stars operate for our sake, and rain from the sky provides us with various provisions. The uniqueness of every single particle in the heavens and the earth makes evident the existence of One God. The millions of diverse creatures on land and in the sea clearly indicate the presence of a Supreme Being. God listens to every person who calls Him in a state of helplessness, whatever religion he may follow, and He removes him from his sufferings; He thus provides indication that He does exist. He speaks to His Holy people, and through this communication explains the nature of His Being. He reveals knowledge of the unseen especially to His Prophets, and through them displays incredible feats. Despite their facing fierce opposition, God makes His prophets ultimately prevail and victorious, and God proclaims, “I am present.”
Science provides us with vast and tremendous knowledge that leads us to the conclusion that this universe, unquestionably, has One God. As Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
…Are you in doubt concerning Allah, Maker of the heavens and the earth?… (Ch.14:V.11)
According to followers of religions, the word of God is an outstanding means of acquiring knowledge. The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, states in a verse:
The gratitude due to the Glorious Lord is beyond expression,
From the words of Whom we obtain a sign of His being
Since the creation of mankind Allah has sent His prophets and blessed them by revealing His words to them. Allah revealed His words to the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) in the shape of the Holy Qur’an, which, unparalleled by any other book, is a tremendous proof in favour of God’s existence.
All Praise belongs to Allah, and peace and blessings of Allah be on the Prophet Muhammad(saw). Certainly Allah is the One worthy of praise, the Glorious.
Allah informs His prophets of the unseen, and these hidden treasures come to light at an appointed time to provide magnificent evidence of God’s existence. In 1998, the late fourth Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru), wrote the outstanding book, Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Truth. This book covers the verses of the Holy Qur’an relating to science and future prophecies and provides grand proofs of the existence of God:
‘The domain of God’s knowledge transcends time and space but that of human knowledge cannot. Hence all such knowledge as lies beyond the reach of human faculties can only be obtained by means of Divine revelation bestowed upon whomsoever He desires. Thus the Qur’an states:
…He does not grant ascendancy to anyone over His domain of the unseen, except to him whom He chooses as His messenger… (Ch.72:Vs.27-28)
It should be clearly understood that the second verse does not rule out the possibility of non-prophets witnessing the unseen through Divine dreams, visions or even verbal revelations. What is denied is the possibility of people, other than the messengers of God, gaining ascendancy over any area of God’s knowledge. What is asserted is the fact that the knowledge granted to the non-messengers, even through revelation, can in no way be matched in clarity, certainty and perfection with that bestowed upon the messengers of God. Again, this exclusiveness of transcendent knowledge granted to the prophets relates largely to the field of spiritual knowledge and to the knowledge about life after death. There are many areas of mundane knowledge, however, which are also covered by some Divine revelations, but this is done only incidentally to strengthen the faith of the believers in the truth of the prophets and in the existence of an All-Knowledgeable God.’ (Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Truth, pp275-76)
Prophecies in the Qur’an and by the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw)
A grand prophecy of the Prophet Muhammad(saw) relates to the time of the coming of the Promised Messiah(s); the fulfilment of this prophecy wonderfully attests God’s existence. The Prophet Muhammad(saw) said:
“Camels will be abandoned and they will no longer be used for rapid journeys.”
This prophecy has been fulfilled so precisely that it leaves no room for any doubt. In Arabia camels were extremely important for travel. They were called the ‘ships of the desert’. But since the invention of trains, cars and airplanes, the Arabs replaced the camel with these modes of transport. The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi states:
‘Anybody who is acquainted with even a little of Arabian history will know that the camel is an ancient companion of the Arabs. In the Arabic language there are nearly one thousand names for camels. And Arabs have such an old connection with the camel that, in my view, there are around twenty thousand verses in the Arabic language that mention the camel. And Allah is well-aware that there was and is no better way of making a prophecy have a lasting affect on the Arabs, than to make a prophecy of a revolutionary change in the way camels are utilised.’ (Ruhaani Khazaain, Vol. 7, pp.196-197)
This prophecy is also mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:
And when the she-camels, ten months pregnant, are abandoned (Ch.81:V.5)
Observe how precisely this prophecy has come true. At the time of the Prophet Muhammad(saw) the fulfilment of this prophecy would have seemed entirely implausible to the Arabs. Where the Hadith (Traditions of the Prophet(saw)) state that camels will be abandoned for travel, a detailed description of a future mode of transport is also included. With the invention of the train, this prophecy has clearly been fulfilled.
The description of this new mode of travel is mentioned in the Hadith on the following lines. A characteristic of the Anti-Christ (Dajjal) is that it will ride a shining donkey with steam emitting from its head. This donkey will travel day and night. It will call people to travel on it in the morning and evening and noise from it will be heard from miles away. It will complete month-long journeys in weeks, week-long journeys in days, day-long journeys in hours and hour-long journeys in minutes. It will carry travellers in its belly. This donkey will have lamps or fire in it, and windows. Its steps will be great distances apart.
The characteristics of the Anti-Christ’s (Dajjal’s) donkey resemble those of the train. Trains run during the day and night. They start and stop, often great distances apart, that is, from station to station. Trains carry travellers in their ‘bellies’ i.e. passenger carriages. They consume fire and water in order to move forward, by steam power.
How could people fourteen hundred years ago have envisaged what a train would look like? There is no better description, however, than what has been mentioned in the aforementioned Hadith.
Thus, with the invention of the train the prophecy of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) has been fulfilled.
Whatever era the prophecy of the invention of the train and abandonment of the camel might have been, its fulfilment would have been extremely faith inspiring. However, the significance of this prophecy increases when we learn that the appointed time of its fulfilment had also been outlined, that this revolution would occur at such and such time. It is said that this would transpire at the time of the advent of the Promised Messiah(as) and would be a sign of his truthfulness. Observe, therefore, that the time when the first train was invented was the time when Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) appeared. He was born in 1835, and in 1891 under Divine revelation he claimed to be the Promised Messiah. George Stephenson invented the train in Britain, and in 1825 the first public train came into operation between Stockton and Darlington. In 1836 the train came into operation in London. In 1853 the first train in India between Mumbai and Thane came into operation, the train on this route covered a distance of 34 kilometres in approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Such rapid progress ensued after this that by 1910, 32,000 miles of railway line had been constructed in India alone.
Fourteen centuries passed after the Holy Prophet(saw), the train, however, appeared exactly in that century in which the Promised Messiah(as) was born, not one century before or one century after.
If God does not exist, then the question arises, that how could the Prophet Muhammad(saw) have known that the invention of the train and the arrival of the Promised Messiah would occur at the same time?
A unique sign of a Prophet is that Allah grants him knowledge of the unseen. The fulfilment of the aforementioned prophecy thus establishes the greatness of the Holy Prophet(saw) and the truthfulness of the Promised Messiah(as), because no one apart from Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) claimed to be the Messiah in the 19th century and used the prophecy of the invention of the train and abandonment of the camel to support their claim.
In Surah Al-Takweer of the Holy Qur’an, twelve prophecies have been mentioned with the word Idha (when). The fulfilment of all these prophecies testifies to the existence of God. One of these prophecies is:
And when people are brought together.(Ch.81:V.8)
One aspect of the fulfilment of this prophecy is that departments relating to every field of knowledge will be formed. Today, conferences are held in various countries where people from far off places gather together to debate and present opinions and views. The telephone enables us to communicate with people in distant places easily, and fax and emails enable us to send letters and document quicker than by airmail. Before the 19th century there were not even trains for mail to be delivered.
Another prophecy of the Holy Qur’an relating to the modern day too has visibly been fulfilled. The Holy Qur’an states:
And when the heaven is laid bare, (Ch.81:V.12)
This means a time will come when the heavens will be opened, meaning that there will be huge advances in astronomy. In his commentary of the Holy Qur’an, Tafsir-i-Kabeer, Hadhrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad(ra), the second Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, writes in relation to this verse:
‘The covers of the heavens will be pulled down, meaning there will be phenomenal progress in astronomy. In our language we say ‘to skin a hair’ meaning to analyse the finest details. Thus in this era there have been far greater advances in astronomy than one could ever have imagined. The discoveries and the advancements in knowledge relating to astronomy and the universe during this day and age have been unprecedented, more than has been learnt in the last one thousand years.’
In 1609 Galileo invented the telescope and he was astounded to see the collection of stars. Four centuries later, the United Nations is celebrating the 400th anniversary of this historical event by declaring this year the ‘International Year of Astronomy’. Today, not only are huge telescopes located in various places on earth, but there are also telescopes orbiting outside the earth itself.
Two hundred years ago we did not even know the distance of one star from earth. For the first time, in 1838, we discovered the distance of one of the stars, ten light years, that is, it takes ten years for the light from the star to reach us, despite light travelling at 300,000 kilometres per second. The light from the sun, which is at a distance of 150 million kilometres from us, takes only eight minutes to reach us. Thus this star is 10,000 times farther away than the sun. The name of this star is ’61 Cygni’ and the scientist who discovered the distance is F.W. Bessel. The sun is actually a type of star, but because it is near to us it appears large and very bright. We can now measure the distance of stars situated huge distances away, and we can even measure the distance of galaxies, from which it takes billions of years for light to reach us. Therefore we are now witnessing galaxies that in fact existed billions of years ago. No longer are we astonished when we hear that a new galaxy has been discovered, from which light takes 100 million years to reach us, because we have become accustomed to hearing such discoveries, even though 100 million light years is an enormous distance. In short, the Qur’anic prophecy that ‘And when the heaven is laid bare’ has been clearly fulfilled, leaving no room for doubt.
Another prophecy made by the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) relates to the sun. The Hadith state: The Imam Mahdi will appear when a sign will emerge in the sun. The Promised Messiah(as) has mentioned this prophecy in Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Part 5, page 181. He says:
‘It was written that at that time a sign will be seen in the sun, and indeed it is visible now and can been seen using a telescope.’
Undoubtedly, the sun is the most prominent object in the sky. Since time immemorial scientists and intellectual people have studied the sun. Despite this, until the 19th century we did not know of what elements the sun comprised or what the heat from it was. In 1814 a great German scientist, Fraunhofer, split open the light from the sun and found that along with various other colours of light were black lines of light. This was groundbreaking research, and the sun’s spectrum is thus called Fraunhofer spectrum. I believe that when the Promised Messiah(as) spoke of a sign in the sun and observing it with a telescope he was referring to this very Fraunhofer spectrum that can be observed using a telescope or spectroscope. Franhofer could not understand why black lines were also present in sunlight. In 1859, another German scientist, Kirchoff, solved this mystery. The answer to this conundrum is that there is an atmosphere around the sun, the temperature of which is less than the sun itself. It absorbs certain wavelengths of light and as a result what is seen in their place is black lines.
This atmosphere of the sun was later named the Chromosphere. The layer of the sun that is visible to us is called the Photosphere. For centuries people only knew of one atmosphere of the sun, the Corona. This is white and during a total eclipse of the sun is visible next to the sun. For over 3000 thousand years we have known about the Corona. Between the sun’s Photosphere and Corona is the Chromosphere, discovered in the 19th century. In short the Fraunhofer Spectrum is an incredible and groundbreaking research that provides unprecedented understanding of the sun. Studying the spectrum of the sun enables us to ascertain the elements that form it. Interestingly, helium was not discovered on earth, but on the sun, through its spectrum. In Greek the sun is called Helios. This is how the name helium was chosen.
In 1868, study of the sun’s spectrum led to the discovery of helium, and many years later, in 1895, helium was discovered on earth. At this moment in time, in-depth and thorough research on the sun is being carried out. However, the field of solar physics started in the 19th century and the Fraunhofer Spectrum was given fundamental importance.
Truths of the Holy Qur’an Verified by Science
I would like to refer to a spectacular truth of the Holy Qur’an that is also one of the most important findings of the twentieth century.
I previously mentioned that the distance of the stars from earth was established in the 19th century. After this, rapid progress ensued, and in the 20th century we learned that the stars spread across the heavens are part of a vast system known as a galaxy. There are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy, one of which is the sun. The sun is 30,000 light years away from the centre of our galaxy. It takes 20 million years for the sun to orbit the centre of the galaxy, despite it travelling at over 200 kilometres a second. This galaxy is so large that it takes light 100,000 years to travel from one end to the other.
In 1920 the issue at hand was whether the universe consists of only one galaxy – ours – or do other galaxies exist? The renowned scientist, Edwin Hubble, resolved this problem and informed us that other galaxies also exist. Moreover, clusters of galaxies exist in the universe. In 1929 the amazing discovery was made that the cluster of galaxies are moving apart from each other, and the greater the distance a cluster of galaxies is from us, the faster its speed. This is known as Hubble’s Law.
In the modern age a discovery through research that has been made is that our universe is not stagnant, in fact it is expanding. The Holy Qur’an states:
And We have built the heaven with Our own hands, and verily We have vast powers. (Ch.51:V.48)
Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) writes:
‘It should be remembered that the concept of the continuous expansion of the universe is exclusive to the Qur’an. No other Divine scriptures even remotely hint at it. The discovery that the universe is constantly expanding is of prime significance to scientists, because it helps create a better understanding of how the universe was initially created. It clearly explains the stage by stage process of creation, in a manner which perfectly falls into step with the theory of the Big Bang.’ (Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Truth, Ch. Qur’an & Cosmology)
If, God forbid, the Qur’an had not been revealed by Allah, then how did the Prophet Muhammad(saw) know that our universe is not stagnant, but rather is expanding and spreading, something that only scientifically came to light in the 20th century with the help of telescopes, and splitting the spectrum of light and studying it in detail?
Albert Einstein is considered the greatest scientist of the 20th century. His Theory of Relativity clearly indicated that the universe is expanding; however, he initially believed the contrary to be true, and added the Cosmological Constant to his theory, stating that the universe is stagnant. When Hubble established that actually the universe was expanding, Einstein said this error was the “biggest blunder of my life”.
Observe how the Holy Qur’an contains great scientific truths that the greatest scientist of the 20th century considered an amazing discovery. Does this not establish that God does indeed exist – and that He revealed knowledge of the unseen to the Prophet Muhammad(saw) through the Holy Qur’an?
The fact that galaxies are moving away from each other means that a long time ago the galaxies were closer together. In relation to the creation of universe, the current scientific thought is that in the beginning all matter was a closed-up mass that was extremely hot and dense. Then a Big-Bang occurred and that matter exploded into different objects, and all the objects moved further and further apart from each other. Galaxies and stars were born from this. In 1965, through radio astronomy, 3 degrees k radiation was discovered, which verified the Big-Bang theory. This great research of the 20th century is also mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. The Qur’an states:
Do not the disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were a closed-up mass, then We opened them out? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe? (Ch.21:V.31)
Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru), in his Urdu translation of the Holy Qur’an, explain this verse:
‘This verse removes the cover from hidden riches in a way that people of that time could not have imagined. The universe was closed up in a ball of mass in a manner that nothing could have escaped it. Then Allah says I caused it to explode, and suddenly the entire universe exploded, and then through water every living thing was born.’
According to current scientific estimates the Big-Bang occurred approximately fourteen billion years ago. The fact that the Qur’an mentioned this fourteen hundred years ago is incredible. The Qur’an states:
Will people still not believe?
An American scientist Mr Harry L. Shipman writes in the end of his book, Black Holes, Quasars and the Universe:
‘The Big Bang Theory leaves one unanswered question. Who created the material that exploded as Big Bang? For this the astronomer has no answer. We may be able to look back to the early seconds of the evolution of the universe, but our vision stops there.’
This book ends by leaving the problem of creation to the philosopher and the theologian.
The Promised Messiah(as) in his remarkable book, The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, has discussed this question and addresses it as follows:
‘The second proof of the existence of God that the Holy Quran has set forth is that God is the ultimate cause of all causes, as it is said: Thy Lord is the final cause of all causes (Ch.53:V.43). If we observe carefully we find that the entire universe is bound together in a system of cause and effect. This system is at the root of all knowledge. No part of creation is outside this system. Some things are the roots of others and some are branches. A cause may be primary or may be the effect of another cause, and that in its turn may be the effect of still another cause, and so on. Now, it is not possible that in this finite world this pattern of cause and effect should have no limit and should be infinite. We are compelled to acknowledge that it must terminate with some ultimate cause. The ultimate cause is God. This verse: Thy Lord is the final cause of all causes sets forth this argument very concisely and affirms that the system of cause and effect terminates in God (Ch.53:V.43).’
The Qur’an presents the following evidence to prove God’s existence: that everything eventually perishes. Surah Al-Rahman of the Holy Qur’an states:
All that is on it (earth) will pass away. And there will remain only the Person of thy Lord, Master of Glory and Honour(Ch.55:Vs.27-28)
Surah Al-Ra‘d states:
…He pressed the sun and moon into service, each pursues its course until an appointed term… (Ch.13:V.3)
The universe and everything within will exist only until an appointed time. The entire universe is not eternal – modern science has also verified this truth of the Holy Qur’an. We have witnessed from the beginning of time that humans are born, they grow, become old, and then die. Animals and plants also perish, as will the earth and the heavenly bodies. This is what modern science has discovered. The age of the earth can be estimated by examining rocks and the current estimate of the age of the earth is 4.5 billion years, and the age of the sun is estimated as 5 billion years. It is estimated that the hydrogen, and helium produced from nuclear reactions on the sun, will finish in approximately 5 billion years. The size of the sun will then greatly increase, as far as the planet Mercury. The water on earth will boil or evaporate because of extreme heat, and life on earth will cease to exist. The sun will enter another phase where it will shrink until it reaches the size of a planet and light from the sun will significantly diminish. This type of star is called a White Dwarf and this will be the last phase of the sun.
The sun appears yellow, but stars appear in various colours and ages. In short, the numerous stars currently in existence have a limited lifespan remaining. The Qur’an states:
… each pursues its course until an appointed term..(Ch.13:V.3)
Modern science has verified this fact.
Modern research has found that protons also have a limited lifespan that they cannot surpass, whereas previously scientists thought that protons had an infinite lifespan. A well-known law of physics is that Entropy is always increasing; disorder in the universe keeps increasing, meaning that matter in the universe loses the minutest amount of energy that sometimes cannot be retained in any state or form. Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad(ru) states in his book: Wastefulness and eternity cannot coexist. It is impossible that something that is continually wasted can be maintained. Everything that wastes must come to an end.
Thus just as the beginning of time points towards the presence of the Creator, so the end of time also verifies the existence of God. I will finish on a faith-inspiring excerpt of the Promised Messiah(as). He states in The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam:
‘He has set forth another proof of His existence in the words: All that is on the earth will perish and only the countenance of thy Lord, Master of Glory and Honour, will survive (Ch.55:Vs.27-28). If we assume that the earth might be reduced into particles and the heavenly bodies might be broken down and everything might be overtaken by a blast that would wipe out every sign of these bodies, yet reason acknowledges and right conscience deems it necessary that after all this destruction there should survive One, Who is not subject to destruction, and can undergo no change and Who should continue in His pristine state. That One is God, Who has created everything mortal and is Himself immune from mortality.’
May Allah enable everyone to acknowledge His existence. Amen.
SubhanAllah, an excellent article.
May Allah Guide the other Muslims to be among His dear loved ones. Ameen