The Case for Allah’s Existence in the Quran and Sunnah
Appealing to the Heart, Intuition, and Experience
Natural Instinct – Fiṭrat Allāh
[Prophet], when your Lord took out the offspring from the loins of the Children of Adam and made them bear witness about themselves, He said, ‘Am I not your Lord?’ and they replied, ‘Yes, we bear witness.’ So you cannot say on the Day of Resurrection, ‘We were not aware of this.’2
So [Prophet Muhammad] as a man of pure faith, stand firm and true in your devotion to the religion. This is the natural disposition God instilled in mankind—there is no altering God’s creation—and this is the right religion, though most people do not realize it.5
If you asked them who created the heavens and earth, they are sure to say, ‘God.’ Say, ‘Praise belongs to God,’ but most of them do not understand.6
If you [Prophet Muhammad] ask them who created them they are sure to say, ‘God,’ so why are they deluded?7
Whenever they go on board a ship they call on God, and dedicate their faith to Him alone, but once He has delivered them safely back to land, see how they ascribe partners to Him!8
Say [Prophet Muhammad], ‘Who is it that saves you from the dark depths of land and sea when you humbly and secretly call to Him [and say], ‘If He rescues us from this, we should truly be thankful’? Say, ‘God rescues you from this and every distress; yet you still worship others besides him.’9
When something bad happens to people, they cry to their Lord and turn to Him for help, but no sooner does He let them taste His blessing then—lo and behold!—some of them ascribe partners to their Lord, showing no gratitude for what We have given them.10
When man suffers some affliction, he prays to his Lord and turns to Him, but once he has been granted a favor from God, he forgets the One he had been praying to and sets up rivals to God, to make others stray from His path.11
The Experience of Peace and Contentment
A light has now come to you from God, and a Scripture making things clear, with which God guides to the ways of peace those who follow what pleases Him, bringing them from darkness out into light, by His will, and guiding them to a straight path.16
Believers, be mindful of God and have faith in His Messenger: He will give you a double share of His mercy; He will provide a light to help you walk; He will forgive you— God is most forgiving, most merciful.17
Truly, it is in the remembrance of God that hearts find peace.18
To whoever, male or female, does good deeds and has faith, We shall give a good life and reward them according to the best of their actions.19
[But] you, soul at peace: return to your Lord well pleased and well pleasing; go in among My servants; and into My Garden.20
Your Lord is sure to give you so much that you will be well satisfied.21
He has succeeded who embraces Islam, whose provision is sufficient, and who is content with what Allah has given him.22
He has tasted the sweetness of faith who is content with Allah as his Lord, Islam as his religion, and Muhammad as his prophet.23
Wealth is not in having many possessions. Rather, true wealth is the richness of the soul.24
Wealth is in the heart and poverty is in the heart. Whoever is wealthy in his heart will not be harmed no matter what happens in the world. Whoever is impoverished in his heart will not be satisfied no matter how much he has in the world. Verily, he will only be harmed by the greed of his own soul.25
Whoever among you wakes up secure in his property, healthy in his body, and he has his food for the day, it is as if he were given the entire world.26
The parable of the believer is that of a crop which withstands the wind, for the believer continues to withstand the suffering of trials. The parable of the hypocrite is that of a cedar tree, for it does not budge until it is uprooted.28
Hence, when you have understood the meaning of prophecy and you have abundantly examined the Quran and traditions, you will inevitably arrive at the knowledge that [Muhammad]—peace and blessings of God be upon him—embodied the highest levels of prophecy, and that is reinforced by experiencing his teachings in regards to worship and its effects on purifying the heart… Thus, when you experience that one thousand, two thousand, and many thousands of times over, you will necessarily attain knowledge in which there is no doubt.29
An Abandoned Instinct
No one is born except upon natural instinct. Then his parents turn him into a Jew or a Christian or a Magian. As an animal produces their young with perfect limbs, do you see anything defective?31
The establishment and recognition of the Creator is a fundamental instinct in human nature, even though some people have done something to corrupt their nature such that they need an argument to achieve knowledge of God. This is the opinion of the majority of people, as well as the skilled debaters, that knowledge of God is sometimes achieved effortlessly and other times by argument, as was recognized by more than one of the theologians.32
Appealing to the Mind, Reason, and Logic
Have they not thought about their own selves? God did not create the heavens and earth and everything between them without a serious purpose and an appointed time, yet many people deny that they will meet their Lord.34
Were they created out of nothing? Were they the creators? Did they create the heavens and the earth? No! They do not have faith.35
It is said the meaning [of the verse] is: Were they created without a creator? That is impossible, as they must have a creator. If they deny the Creator, then they must have created themselves, and that proposition is even more foolish and false, for how can something without existence create anything? If they reject these two opinions [that they came to be without a creator or they created themselves], then the proof is established upon them that they were in fact created.36
Everything in the universe that has a beginning must have a cause.
The universe began to exist.
Therefore the beginning of the existence of the universe must have been caused by something.
The only such cause must be an uncaused cause, or God.37
It was reported from Abū Ḥanīfah that some philosophers (ahl al-kalām) intended to discuss with him the establishment of the existence of one Creator. Abū Ḥanīfah said, ‘Tell me before we speak on this matter about a ship on the Tigris river moving by itself and filled with food, goods, and other materials, then it goes back by itself, then anchors itself, then unloads itself and continues to do all of this without anyone to manage it.’ They said, ‘This could never happen.’ Abū Ḥanīfah said, ‘If it is impossible for a ship, then how is it possible for the entire world in all of its vastness?’40
What do you say about a watermill revolving over a river in perfection? Its tools are perfected, its parts measured with excellence, and it is so obvious such that no observer can find fault in its parts or its form. It presides over a grand garden within which are every kind of fruit and crops, watering them as needed. Within this garden, its shrubbery is gathered and its maintenance is assured for its well-being. Its produce is excellent and guaranteed, and all of its needs are well served. Thus, nothing of it is left disordered and none of its fruit is left to rot. Then, the value of everything produced is divided according to their needs and necessities, divided by every type and distributed, and this distribution occurs in this manner at all times. Do you find this arrangement to have a creator or harvester or manager? Or, is the arraignment of that watermill and garden without an actor or maintainer or manager? What do you find that your mind tells you in that case and how could you explain it?41
Let us suppose that a book on the elements of geometry has always existed, one copy always made from another. It is obvious that although we can explain a present copy of the book from the previous book from which it was copied, this will never lead us to a complete explanation, no matter how many books back we go, since we can always wonder why there have always been such books, why these books were written, and why they were written the way they were. What is true of these books is also true of the different states of the world, for the state which follows is, in a sense, copied from the preceding state, though in accordance with certain laws of change. And so, however far back we might go into previous states, we will never find in those states a complete explanation [ratio] for why, indeed, there is any world at all, and why it is the way it is… From this it follows that even if we assume the eternity of the world, we cannot escape the ultimate and extramundane reason for things, God.44
There truly are signs in the creation of the heavens and earth, and in the alternation of the night and day, for those with understanding, who remember God standing, sitting, and lying down, who reflect on the creation of the heavens and earth: ‘Our Lord! You have not created all this without purpose—You are far above that!—so protect us from the torment of the Fire.’47
In the creation of the heavens and earth; in the alternation of night and day; in the ships that sail the seas with goods for people; in the water which God sends down from the sky to give life to the earth when it has been barren, scattering all kinds of creatures over it; in the changing of the winds and clouds that run their appointed courses between the sky and earth: there are signs in all these for those who use their minds.50
One of His signs is that He created you from dust and—lo and behold!—you became human and scattered far and wide. Another of His signs is that He created spouses from among yourselves for you to live with in tranquility: He ordained love and kindness between you. There truly are signs in this for those who reflect. Another of His signs is the creation of the heavens and earth, and the diversity of your languages and colors. There truly are signs in this for those who know. Among His signs are your sleep, by night and by day, and your seeking His bounty. There truly are signs in this for those who can hear. Among His signs, too, are that He shows you the lightning that terrifies and inspires hope; that He sends water down from the sky to restore the earth to life after death. There truly are signs in this for those who use their reason.51
There are, in the land, neighboring plots, gardens of vineyards, cornfields, palm trees in clusters or otherwise, all watered with the same water, yet We make some of them taste better than others: there truly are signs in this for people who reason.52
By His command He has made the night and day, the sun, moon, and stars all of benefit to you. There truly are signs in this for those who use their reason.53
We shall show them Our signs on the far horizons and in themselves, until it becomes clear to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that your Lord witnesses everything?54
The running rivers that travel from area to area with benefit, and what Allah has produced from the earth of various animals and plants of different tastes, scents, shapes, and colors, and the unity of the soil and water; all this demonstrates the existence of the Creator and His awesome power, His wisdom and mercy with His creation, His kindness, good treatment, and benevolence with them. There is no God besides Him. There is no Lord like Him. I depend upon Him and I turn to Him. The verses in the Quran indicating this are very plentiful.61
If there had been in the heavens or earth any gods but Him, both heavens and earth would be in ruins: God, Lord of the Throne, is far above the things they say.62
The most refined expression of the rational intelligibility of the cosmos is found in the laws of physics, the fundamental rules on which nature runs. The laws of gravitation and electromagnetism, the laws that regulate the world within the atom, the laws of motion—all are expressed as tidy mathematical relationships. But where do these laws come from? And why do they have the form that they do? . . . Over the years I have often asked my physicist colleagues why the laws of physics are what they are. The answers vary from ‘that’s not a scientific question’ to ‘nobody knows.’ The favorite reply is, ‘There is no reason they are what they are—they just are.’ The idea that the laws exist without reason is deeply anti-rational. After all, the very essence of a scientific explanation of some phenomenon is that the world is ordered logically and that there are reasons things are as they are. If one traces these reasons all the way down to the bedrock of reality—the laws of physics—only to find that reason then deserts us, it makes a mockery of science.63
- The cosmological constant.
- The strong nuclear and electromagnetic forces.
- Carbon production in stars.
- The proton-neutron mass difference.
- The weak nuclear force.
Whatever the merits or demerits of this fine tuning argument in the context of attempts to construct a natural (as opposed to a revealed) theology, it must at once be allowed that it is reasonable for those who believe—whether rightly or wrongly—that they already have good evidencing reasons for accepting the religious teachings of any one of the three great revealed theistic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—to see the fine-tuning argument as providing substantial confirmation of their own antecedent religious beliefs.67
They say, ‘There is only our life in this world: we die, we live, nothing but time destroys us.’ They have no knowledge of this: they only follow guesswork.68
God in the Unseen
Those who do not fear to meet Us say, ‘Why are the angels not sent down to us?’ or ‘Why can we not see our Lord?’ They are too proud of themselves and too insolent.71
His veil is light. If He were to remove the veil, the splendor of His countenance would consume His creation as far as can be seen.73
It is not granted to any mortal that God should speak to him except through revelation or from behind a veil, or by sending a messenger to reveal by His command what He will: He is Exalted and Wise.74
1 Barrett, Justin L. Cognitive Science, Religion, and Theology: From Human Minds to Divine Minds. (West Conshohocken, PA: Templeton Press, 2011), 11.
2 Sūrat al-‘Arāf 7:172; Abdel Haleem, M. A. The Qur’an: English translation and parallel Arabic text. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 174.
3 al-Ṭabarī. Jāmiʻ al-Bayān ‘an Ta’wīl al-Qur’ān. Bayrūt: Mu’assasat al-Risālah, 2000), 10:561, verse 7:172.
4 Hamer, Dean H. The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired into Our Genes. (New York: Doubleday, 2004), 6.
5 Sūrat al-Rūm 30:30; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 408.
6 Sūrat Luqmān 31:25; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 414.
7 Sūrat al-Zukhruf 43:87; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 496.
8 Sūrat al-‘Ankabūt 29:65; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 404.
9 Sūrat al-An’ām 6:63-64; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 136.
10 Sūrat al-Rūm 30:33-34; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 409.
11 Sūrat al-Zumar 39:8; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 460.
12 al-Ghazzālī, ʻAbd al-Ḥalīm. al-Munqidh min al-Ḍalāl. al-Qāhirah: Dār al-Kutub al-Ḥadīthah, ), 111.
13 al-Ghazzālī, al-Munqidh min al-Ḍalāl, 182.
14 ʻIyāḍ, [al-Qāḍī] Abū al-Faḍl. al-Ilmāʻ ilā Maʻrifat Uṣūl. al-Qāhirah: Dār at-Turāt̲h, ), 217.
15 Ibn Rajab, and Muḥammad N. Ajmaī. Bayān Faḍl ʻilm al-Salaf ʻalá ʻilm al-Khalaf. (Bayrūt, Lubnān: Dār al-Bashāʼir al-Islāmīyah, 1995), 58.
16 Sūrat al-Mā’idah 5:15-16; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 111.
17 Sūrat al-Ḥadīd 57:28; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 542.
18 Sūrat al-Ra’d 13:28; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 253.
19 Sūrat al-Naḥl 16:97; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 279.
20 Sūrat al-Fajr 89:27-30; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 595.
21 Sūrat al-Ḍuḥa 93:5; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 597.
22 Muslim, Ibn H. Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim. ([Bayrūt]: Dār Iḥyā’ al-Kutub al-‘Arabīyah, ), 2:730 #1054.
23 Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 1:62 #34.
24 al-Bukhārī, Muḥammad I. Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī. (Bayrūt: Dār Ṭawq al-Najjāh, ), 8:95. #6446.
25 al-Ṭabarānī, Sulaymān ibn Aḥmad, and Ḥamdī ʻAbd al-Majīd Salafī. al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr. (al-Qāhirah: Maktabat Ibn Taymīyah, 1994), 2:154 #1643; declared authentic (ṣaḥiḥ) by Al-Albānī in Ṣaḥīh al-Jāmi’ al-Ṣaghīr wa Ziyādatihi ([Dimashq]: al-Maktab al-Islāmī, 1969), 2:1289 #7816.
26 al-Tirmidhī, Ibn ʻĪsá. Sunan al-Tirmidhī. (Bayrūt: Dār al-Ġarb al-Islāmī, 1998), 4:152 #2346; declared fair (ḥasan) by Al-Tirmidhī in his comments.
27 Ibn ‘Asākir. Tārīkh Dimashq. (Bayrūt: Dār al-Fikr, 1995), 6:303.
28 al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 7:114 #5643.
29 al-Ghazzālī, Al-Munqidh min al-Ḍalāl, 185-186.
30 Barrett, Justin L. Why Would Anyone Believe in God? (Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2004), 66.
31 al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 2:94 #1358.
32 Ibn Taymīyah, Taqī al-Dīn. Majmū’ al-Fatāwà. (al-Madīnah al-Munawwarah: Majmaʻ al-Malik Fahd li-Ṭibāʻat al-Muṣḥaf al-Sharīf, 1995), 16:328.
33 Barrett, Cognitive Science, Religion, and Theology, 49.
34 Sūrat al-Rūm 30:8; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 406
35 Sūrat al-Ṭūr 52:35-36; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 526.
36 Ibn Ḥajar. Fatḥ al-Bārī bi-Sharḥ al-Bukhārī. (Bayrūt, Lubnān: Dār al-Ma’rifah, 1959), 8:603.
37 Hacınebioğlu, İsamail L. Does God Exist? : Logical Foundations of the Cosmological Argument. (Istanbul: Insan, 2008), 188.
38 al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 6:140 #4854.
39 Ibn Kathīr, Ismāʻīl ibn ʻUmar. Tafsīr al-Qurān al-‘Aẓīm. (Bayrūt: Dār al-Kutub al-ʻIlmīyah, 1998), 7:406, verse 52:35.
40 Ibn Abī al-‘Izz, and Aḥmad al-Ṭaḥāwī. Sharḥ al-‘Aqīdah al-Ṭaḥāwīyah. (Bayrūt: Muʼassasat al-Risālah, 1997), 1:36.
41 Ibn al-Qayyim. Miftāḥ Dār al-Sa’ādah wa Manshūr Wilāyat al-‘Ilm wa al-Idārah. (Bayrūt, Lubnān : Dār al-Kutub al-ʻIlmīyah, 2002), 1:214.
42 “Newton’s Laws of Motion.” National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Accessed 23 December 2016. www.grc.nasa.gov/www/k-12/airplane/newton.html.
43 “Big Bang Cosmology.” National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Accessed 23 December 2016. map.gsfc.nasa.gov/universe/bb_theory.html.
44 Leibniz, Gottfried W, Roger Ariew, and Daniel Garber. Philosophical Essays. (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1989), 149-150.
45 Overman, Dean L. A Case for the Existence of God. (Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009), 40.
46 Hanby, Michael. No God, No Science?: Theology, Cosmology, Biology. (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), 212.
47 Sūrat ‘Āli ‘Imrān 3:190-191; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 76.
48 Sacks, Jonathan. The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning. (New York: Schocken Books, 2011), 1.
49 Ibn Abī Shaybah. Al-Muṣannaf. (Riyādh: Maktabat al-Rushd Nāshirūn, 2006), 5:266 #25942.
50 Sūrat al-Baqarah 2:164; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 26.
51 Sūrat al-Rūm 30:20-24; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 407.
52 Sūrat al-R’ad 13:4; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 250.
53 Sūrat al-Naḥl 16:12; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 269.
54 Sūrat Fuṣṣilat 41:53; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 483.
55 Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmū’ al-Fatāwà, 1:48.
56 Ibn Kathīr. Tafsīr al-Qurān al-‘Aẓīm, 106.
57 Ibid., 106-107.
58 Ibid., 107.
59 Ibid., 106.
60 Ibid., 107.
61 Ibid., 1:107.
62 Sūrat al-Anbiyā’ 21:22; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 324.
63 Overman, A case for the existence of God, 42.
64 Murray, Michael J (ed.). Reason for the Hope Within. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: W.B. Eerdmans, 1999), 49.
65 Manson, Neil A. God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science. (London: Routledge, 2003), 179-190.
66 Wood, W J. God. (Durham: Acumen, 2011), 29.
67 Flew, Antony. God & Philosophy. (New York: Prometheus Books, 2005), 11.
68 Sūrat al-Jāthiyah 45:24; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 502.
69 al-Ṭabarī, Jāmiʻ al-Bayān, 22:80.
70 Bingham, John. “Richard Dawkins: I can’t be sure God does not exist.” The Telegraph. Accessed 23 December 2016. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9102740/Richard-Dawkins-I-cant-be-sure-God-does-not-exist.html.
71 Sūrat al-Furqān 25:21; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 363.
72 Sūrat al-Anām 6:91; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 140.
73 Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 1:161 #179.
74 Sūrat al-Shūrā 42:51; Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, 489.
75 Youssef Chouhoud, “Modern Pathways to Doubt in Islam.” Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research. Accessed 23 December 2016. www.yaqeeninstitute.org/publications/modern-pathways-to-doubt-in-islam/