BELIEF IN ALLAH’S EXISTENCE
The young human being, a mere child as he is, begins to wonder from whence and how the things he sees around him came into existence. As he grows older, he better realizes and thus marvels at what a tremendous masterpiece the earth is, whereon he lives. When he becomes a highly educated adolescent, his wonder turns into admiration as he begins to learn of the elaboration involved in the things and beings seen around us every day. What a great phenomenon it is that men can remain and live solely by the gravitational force on a spherical, –or, rather, an oblate–, planet, which internally is full of molten metal and which revolves by itself in space. And what a great power it is, by whose origination mountains, rocks, seas, innumerable kinds of living beings and plants come into being, grow, and exhibit so many different properties. Some animals walk on the earth, while others fly in the sky or live in water. The sun, which sends its light on us, produces the highest grade of heat we can think of, effects the growth of plants and makes chemical changes in some of them to bring about the existence of flour, sugar, and other substances. But we know that our globe is only a tiny speck in the universe. The solar system, which consists of planets revolving around the sun, and to which our earth belongs, is one of the countless systems within the universe. A small example will contribute a little to our understanding the energy and power in the universe. The latest great source of energy obtained by man is atomic energy released during fission or fusion types of atomic reactions. Yet a comparison will show that the energy released in great earthquakes is still greater than the energy of tens of thousands of atomic bombs, which mankind proudly assumes to be “the greatest source of energy.”
When you look at your body you probably do not notice what a stupendous factory and laboratory it is. In fact, breathing is an astounding chemical event by itself. Oxygen, inhaled from the air, is used in the burning process of the body, and exhaled out of the body as carbon dioxide. As for digestion, it functions like a factory. After the food and drink taken through the mouth are decomposed and digested in the stomach and bowels, the parts useful to the body are percolated in the small intestines and transfused into the blood, while the dregs are excreted through the bowels. This extraordinary process is done automatically with the utmost precision, resulting in the body working like a factory. The human body does not only contain apparatuses producing various kinds of substances with intricate formulas affecting various chemical reactions, doing analysis, treating illnesses, purifying, annihilating poisons, curing boils, filtering various kinds of substances, and giving energy, but it also embodies an immaculate network of electricity, leverage, an electronic computer, an alarm system, an optical set, an apparatus for receiving sounds, an apparatus for making and controlling pressure, and a system for fighting against microbes to annihilate them. And the heart is a stupendous, ever-working pump. Of old, Europeans used to say, “The human body consists of plenty of water, a little calcium, a little phosphorus, and a few inorganic and organic substances. Therefore, the human body is worth a couple of pounds.” But today the calculations done in American universities have clearly indicated that the value of various rare hormones, enzymes, and organic preparations, which the human body produces incessantly, is worth millions of dollars in the least.
As a matter of fact, an American professor said, “If we were to attempt to make an apparatus that would produce such valuable substances automatically and in precise order, all the money existing in the world would not finance its accomplishment.” There remains the fact that, alongside this material perfection, man has very great immaterial powers, such as comprehension, thinking, memorizing, remembering, reasoning, and deciding. It is impossible for men to assess the value of these powers. Moreover, man has a soul as well as a body. The body dies, but the soul does not.
A careful look at the world of animals reveals to man how amazing the Creator’s omnipotence is. Some living creatures are so small that they can be seen only under a microscope. For some others to be visible (for example to observe viruses), an electronic microscope, which magnifies a million times, is needed.
The efficiency of silk production in the greatest artificial thread factory comprised of automatic machines is far below that of a small silkworm. If a small cicada were enlarged to the size of a sound-producing machine used today, the noise it would produce would break windowpanes and destroy walls! Likewise if a firefly became as large as a street lamp, it would illuminate an entire quarter of a town to the extent that it is illuminated during the day. Is it possible not to get lost in admiration for such inconceivably perfect and excellent work? Do they not suffice to show how great and powerful the Creator is? Consequently, this universe, of which we see only a very tiny part, has a Creator with very sublime powers, Who can establish it, and Whom our minds are far too weak to grasp. This Creator must be unchanging and eternal. We, Muslims, call this Creator Allâhu ta’âlâ. The basis of Islam is to believe in Allâhu ta’âlâ and His attributes.
When we look around us conscientiously and when we read books describing the history of former times, we see that some things cease to exist while other things come into being. Our ancestors, ancient people, as well as their buildings and cities, ceased to exist. And after us, others will come into being. According to scientific knowledge, there are forces affecting these tremendous changes. Those who disbelieve Allâhu ta’âlâ say, “These are all done by Nature. Everything is created by the forces of Nature.” If we ask them, “Have the parts of an automobile been brought together by the forces of Nature? Have they been heaped together like a pile of rubbish which has been brought together by flowing water with the effects of waves striking from this direction and that? does a car move with the exertion of the forces of Nature?” Will they not smile and say, “Of course, it is impossible. The car is a work of art, which a number of people have built by working together strenuously and by using all their mental abilities to design it. The car is operated by a driver who drives it carefully, using his mind and obeying the traffic laws?” Likewise, every being in nature is also a work of art. A leaf is an astounding factory. A grain of sand or a living cell is an exhibition of fine art, which science has explored to only a small extent today. What we boast about as a scientific finding and accomplishment today is the result of an ability to see and copy a few of these fine arts in nature. Even Darwin, ( Darwin, died in 1299 (1882 A.D.) the British scientist whom Islam’s adversaries present as their leader, had to admit: “Whenever I think of the structure of the eye, I feel as if I will go mad.” Could a person who would not admit that a car is made by chance, by the forces of nature, say that nature has created this universe, which is entirely a work of art? Of course, he could not. Should he not believe that it has been made by a creator who has calculation, design, knowledge, and infinite power? Is it not ignorance and idiocy to say: “Nature has created it,” or “it has come into being by chance?”
The words of those who say that all these countless beings created by Allâhu ta’âlâ with such explicit order and harmony exist by chance are ignorant and contrary to positive science. For example: Let us put ten pebbles numbered from one to ten in a bag. Let us then take them out of the bag one by one with our hand, trying to take them out successively, that is, number one first, number two second, and finally number ten last. If any pebble taken out does not follow this numerical order, all the pebbles taken out so far will be put back into the bag, and we shall have to try again beginning with number one first. The probability of taking out ten pebbles successively in numerical order is one in ten billion. Therefore, since the probability of drawing ten pebbles in numerical order is extremely low, it is surely impossible that innumerable kinds of orders in the universe came into existence only by chance.
If a person who does not know how to type presses on the keys of a typwriter, let’s say, five times at random, to what extent would it be possible for the resulting five-letter word to express some meaning in English or any other language? If he wanted to type a sentence by pressing on the keys heedlessly, could he type a meaningful sentence? Now, if a page or a book were to be formed by pressing on the keys casually, could a person be called intelligent if he expected the book or the page to have a certain topic by chance?
Things cease to exist all the time, while other things come into being out of them. However, according to the latest knowledge in chemistry, one hundred and five elements never cease to exist; changes only take place in their electronic structures. Radioactive events have also shown that elements, and even their atoms, cease to exist, and that matter, turns into energy. In fact, the German physicist Einstein calculated the mathematical formula for this conversion.
The fact that things and substances have been changing and issuing from one another continuously does not mean that existence, itself, comes from past eternity. In other words, one cannot say, “So it has been, and so it will be.” These changes do have a beginning. To say that the changes have a beginning means that the substances coming into being have a beginning, which in turn means that all of them have been created from nothing while nothing existed. If the substances were not first created out of nothing and if their issuing from one another went far back into eternity, this universe would necessarily be nonexistent now. The existence of the universe in the eternal past would require the preexistence of other beings to bring it about, and those beings, in turn, would require others to pre-exist so that they could come into being. The existence of the latter is dependent upon the existence of the former. If the former does not exist, the latter will not exist, either. Eternity in the past means without a beginning.
To say that something existed in the eternal past means to say that the first being, that is, the beginning did not exist. If the first being did not exist the latter beings could not exist, and consequently nothing could exist. In other words, there could not be a series of beings requiring the pre-existence of others for their own existence. Therefore, all of them would necessarily be nonexistent.
Hence, it has been understood that the present existence of the universe indicates that it has not existed since past eternity, and that there existed a first being, which had been created out of nothing. In other words, we have to accept the fact that beings have been created out of nothing and that today’s beings are the result of a succession of beings coming from those first beings. Those denying Allâhu ta’âlâ and asserting that everything came into being by itself through nature, say, “It is written in all religious books that the earth was created in six days. But recent research, particularly the intricate calculations done with radioisotopes, has shown that the earth came into being billions of years ago.” These words make no sense at all since the earth’s coming into being billions of years ago does not bear any implications concerning how long it took for creation. What could the six days written in holy books have to do with today’s twenty-four-hour day? The twenty-four-hour day is a unit used by men. We do not know how long the day mentioned in the holy books is. It may be that each of those six days was a geological period that lasted many centuries according to the units we use today. The holy meaning of the fifth verse of Sûrat as-Sajda in the Qur’ân al-kerîm is: “… To Him, on a day, the space whereof will be a thousand years of your reckoning.” (32-5) And in the Bible “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Pet: 3-8)
We cannot know when Âdam (’alaihi ’s-salâm), the first human being and Prophet, was created. We cannot claim that man has been on the earth since the very day of its creation. What we know is that man came into being with Allâhu ta’âlâ’s command and creation. It is impossible to take it for granted that the Neanderthal man, which is presumed to be the first man according to Darwin’s theory of “evolution,” has gradually developed into today’s man. In fact, it is illogical to profess, as some people do, that man was originally quadruped and managed to stand up only after several centuries. It is impossible for such a primitive being to have reached its present state of perfection.
Therefore, we have to admit that those quadruped species were not human beings, and that they must have been some other kinds of creatures, which became extinct together with many other ancient creatures. All religious books state that the first man was “homosapiens,” that is, a being that could walk on two feet and could think. And indeed, as we have stated above, even Darwin has not been able to prove that a quadruped being with no distinction from an animal could have evolved into today’s man.
All the revealed religious books mention Hadrat Âdam (’alaihi ’s-salâm) as the first man. He is said to have “ploughed with an ox, sown seeds, built his house, and received ten pages of wahiy (revelation).” It must be believed that he, the first man, who was capable of taming cattle, building a house for himself instead of living in a cave, and was able to receive wahiy, came to earth after having completed his development, and that he therefore had no relationship with quadruped creatures living in caves.
A Muslim first admits with all his heart that Allâhu ta’âlâ exists, that He is sublime, that He is one, that He was not born and does not give birth, and that He is eternal and unchanging. This belief is the first principle of Islam.