Has Science Become a New Religion?

Has Science Become a New Religion?

By Truth Seeker Staff

In this amazing video by the London Dawah Movement, Brother Abdurraheem Green answers this very problematic question of, has science become a new religion? And what does this mean with respect to Islam as well as other divinely revealed religions.

Join us to see what Brother Green has to say on this…

 

 

 

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God: The Beneficent, the Merciful

God: The Beneficent, the Merciful

Allah, the Beneficent and Merciful, truly deserves our obedience. We should thank Him, not deny His favor.

Allah, the Beneficent and Merciful, truly deserves our obedience. We should thank Him, not deny His favor.

By Salman Al-Oadah

God: The Beneficent, the Merciful

Allah is referred to by His name “The Beneficent” fifty-seven times in the Qur’an.

We read, for instance:

“And your God is One God; there is no god save Him, the Beneficent, the Merciful.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 163)

“The Beneficent is established on the Throne.” (Ta-Ha 20: 5)

As for “The Merciful”, the Qur’an refers to Allah by this name 114 times. For instance:

“For Allah is to all people Most surely full of kindness, Most Merciful.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 143)

“Whoever repents after his wrongdoing and makes amends, then surely Allah will relent towards him; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Al-Ma’idah 5: 39)

The attribute of mercy – which both of these names are derived from – is one of our Lord’s greatest attributes. A believer meets a fellow believer with the greeting: “May peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah.”

We say:

“Praise be to Allah who has prescribed mercy upon Himself.”

“Praise be to Allah whose mercy takes precedence over His wrath.”

“Praise be to Allah whose mercy encompasses all things.”

Allah is described as having the attribute of “mercy” in the Qur’an over 160 times.

Examples of God’s Mercy

It is interesting to consider the ways in which Allah’s mercy appears in the chapter of the Qur’an entitled Mary, which opens with the verse:

“(This is) a recital of the mercy of your Lord to His servant Zechariah.” (Maryam 19: 2)

Here we have mention of Allah’s mercy to one of his choicest devotees, Zechariah, when he beseeched his Lord to bless him with a child in his old age. This shows us how close Allah’s mercy is to those who worship and beseech Him with sincere devotion and humility.

In the middle of the same chapter, we find an account of Abraham’s story. At one point, Abraham says to his father:

“O my father! Do not serve Satan. Surely Satan is disobedient to the Beneficent.” (Maryam 19: 44)

Abraham’s words show us the extreme ignorance that it takes to flagrantly deny Allah and disobey Him. Allah, the Beneficent and Merciful, truly deserves our obedience. We should thank Him, not deny His favor. We should cherish Him in our thoughts and never forget Him. We should respond to His goodness and His favor with our gratitude and devotion.

Abraham then says:

“O my father! I fear lest a punishment overtakes you from the Beneficent, so that you become a comrade of Satan.” (Maryam 19: 45)

Here Abraham warns against the punishment that awaits those who disobey Allah and who spurn His guidance and His way. By referring to it as being “a punishment from the Beneficent”, Abraham is emphasizing how base and offensive it is to reject Allah and faith in Him, so much so that in their rejection and unbelief they become deserving of punishment from Allah, in spite of Allah’s infinite mercy.

The chapter entitled Mary comes to its conclusion with the verse:

“Indeed, those who believe and do good deeds, the Beneficent will bestow love upon them.” (Maryam 19: 96)

This verse relates to us a meaning of great significance. Allah blesses those who believe and do good deeds with love. He loves them and they love Him. He then spreads their love throughout the Earth, so they feel love for each other. In this regard, Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, said:

“If Allah loves someone, He summons Gabriel and says: ‘I love that person.’”

Then Gabriel also loves that person and calls out to the heavens: “Indeed Allah loves this person.” Thereafter, the denizens of Heaven also love that person. Thereafter it is manifested as acceptance on the Earth.” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim)

These are some of the significant meanings that should enrich a Muslim’s faith and practice from contemplating on Allah’s mercy.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from onislam.net.

Salman Al-Oadah is a prominent Saudi scholar. He supervises the website Islam Today (www.islamtoday.com).

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Is Atheism Unnatural?

Is Atheism Unnatural?

By Hamza Tzortzis

Is Atheism Unnatural?

Why do human beings believe in God? This question has engrossed thinkers for centuries. Why are beliefs about supernatural agents and ritual practices derived from those beliefs found in all human societies, across disparate times and far-ranging cultures?

Join us to see this wonderful video…

 

 

 

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What Is Islam?

What Is Islam?

By Truth Seeker Staff

What Is Islam?

In this video, Sheikh Yusuf Estes explains the meaning of Islam as understood by so many Muslims in the world of today. He refutes all false allegations that accuse Islam of being a hostile religion and that it was spread by the edge of the sword.

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7 Reasons Islam beats Atheism!

7 Reasons Islam beats Atheism!

7 Reasons Islam beats Atheism!

By Truth Seeker Staff

In this amazing video, one knowledgeable Muslim draws a comparison by the Qur’an and a book that advocates atheism and he proves that it is the Qur’an that is perfectly capable of answering a major as well as crucial question:

What best explains REALITY?

Join us to see the answer to this question…

 

 

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Al-Wadoud: The All-Loving God

Al-Wadoud: The All-Loving God

By Dr. Muhammad Ratib An-Nabulsi

godAl-Wadoud: The All-Loving God

Allah’s divine name “Al-Wadoud” (The All-Loving), is an emphatic name derived from the Arabic word “Woudd”, which means “Houbb” (Love) as Allah says:

“And He (Allah) is the All-Forgiving, the All-Loving.” (Al-Buruj 85:14)

The Arabic word “Houbb” is, in turn, derived from “Habab Al-Asnan”, which means “whiteness, cleanliness and purity of teeth”. This means that those who love Allah, Most Gracious, are pure, chaste, sincere, and faithful. The word “Houbb” also indicates submission and obedience to the beloved. Hence, those who love Allah, Most Gracious, are dutiful and obedient to Him. They are modest, humble and submissive to the Lord, Exalted and All-High.

The word “Houbb” also means “instability”, which, in turn, means that those who love Allah are in constant instability as regards their relationship with their lord. True believers, who really love their Lord, undergo constantly changing feelings as regards their relationship with Him; while hypocrites, whose hearts are dead and, hence, emotionless, remain stable and unchangeable. Also, the word “Houbb” or “Habb” refers to a seed from which we get good fruits.

This means that those who love the Lord their love is like a seed that produces a shady tree that, in turn, yields good fruits. In fact, the word “Houbb” (love) embraces all of the foregoing meanings: purity, chastity, submission, humbleness, instability, growth and good …etc.

Love into Action

Undoubtedly, there is a delicate difference between both words. “Al-Houbb” means love as a noble feeling dwelling in the heart; while “Al-Woudd” means love substantiated by action. In other words, if you love someone, your inner feelings towards him are called “Houbb” (i.e. love that exists in your heart), but when you translate such love into action by smiling to him, for example, or doing him a favor, this is “Woudd” (i.e. love that you put into action).

If you offer him a present, it is “Woudd”. If you help him out of a problem, it is “Woudd”. If you visit him when he is ill, it is “Woudd”. If you offer him a present when he gets married, it is “Woudd”. In short, inner feelings of love are “Houbb”; while ostensible substantial acts of love are “Woudd”.

All those who have “Woudd” must necessarily have “Houbb”, but not vice versa. This means that someone might love another but does not show that in his behavior, but if someone shows love to another, this means that he loves him.

This means that the whole universe, that is, with its heavens, stars, planets, galaxies, the sun, the moon, rain, fishes, birds, animals, plants, flowers, is but a substantiation of Allah’s “Woudd” (Love) for mankind. Children, who fill the home with life and movement, are of Allah’s “Woudd”. The great many kinds of fruits are of Allah’s “Woudd”. Wives, whom Allah created especially for men’s psychological and physical comfort, are of Allah’s “Woudd”. Husbands, whom Allah created especially for women’s comfort, are out of Allah’s “Woudd”. Wool, which Allah created to protect us from cold is out of Allah’s “Woudd”. All things that Allah has subjected for mankind are out of Allah’s “Woudd”. The whole universe is subjugated for man as a kind of “Woudd” from God.

And when God loves someone He honors and mercies him/her. However, Allah’s love for true believers is confirmed in the Qur’an.

Allah’s divine love for man is manifested by His divine protection, help, victory, success, sending down mercy upon his heart, sending down peace and tranquility upon him, providing him with all the things he needs. This is Allah’s divine love for man. But man’s love for Allah is substantiated by inclination and attachment, because if Allah forsakes him, or deprives him of His divine light, he feels unbearable pain and sorrow.

Once man loves God he gets inclined to Him, seeks refuge in His divine shade, light, holy manifestations, peace and tranquility, and he feels that Allah is always protecting and helping him. But Allah’s divine love for man means protection, help, support…etc. And “Al-Woudd” is the practical substantiation of both kinds of love.

Allah Is All-Loving

1- The first point concerns Allah’s name “Al-Wadoud” (The All-Loving) is that He endears Himself to His slaves by bestowing His innumerable divine favors upon them. Therefore, logic and good reason show that the entire universe is nothing but a manifestation and substantiation of Allah’s Divine “Woudd” (i.e. Love) for mankind.

Thus Allah favors you with His never-ending favors and graces: good health, fresh water, delicious food and drink, fruits, fishes, birds…etc. When your heart and all other parts of your body work properly, this is one of Allah’s uncountable Divine Favors and Graces. Therefore, true believers should say what Allah’s Prophets taught us to say:

“Say: ‘Truly, my prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, Lord of all worlds.” (Al-An`am 6:162)

Before Allah created you and brought you into existence, you were nothing at all. But from the moment He brought you into existence, He bestowed on you a couple of Priceless Divine Favors:

“Have We not made for him (Man) a pair of eyes, a tongue and a pair of lips, and shown him the two Ways (of good and evil)?” (Al-Balad 90:2-4)

The first divine gift man that receives from his Lord upon his birth is a very complicated operation, namely the so-called “Suck reflex”, which enables him, from the moment of birth, to take his mother’s breast tightly with his small mouth and start sucking. Without such reflex, human life would be impossible! Your mother is one of Allah’s great divine signs and favors, for she is naturally pre-disposed to consecrate, and even sacrifice, all her existence for her baby. She devotes all herself, her nerves, her feelings and emotions, her powers, and her efforts, for the sake of her baby.

Air that we breathe and water that we drink are great Divine Favors. What would you say about the different kinds of fruits?! Even more, God has endowed you with an intelligent mind with which you think and take up a certain vocation or profession and do it properly.

2- When in the Qur’an Allah says: “And He (Allah) is the All-Forgiving, Al-Wadoud (the All-Loving)”, the word “Al-Wadoud” here means that Allah loves and honors His righteous slaves. It also means that His favors and blessings are but substantiations and manifestations of His Divine Love for them:

“On those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, will (Allah) Most Gracious bestow love.” (Maryam 19:96)

3- Allah is “Wadoud” (All-Loving) for His slaves in the sense that He creates love and casts it among His slaves.

Who casts love for children in the hearts of mothers? If you go to an infant-hospital, you see something really amazing: different mothers from all walks of life cry for their babies. In fact, all mothers, Muslim and non-Muslim, without any exception, cry for their babies if anything goes wrong with them. Undoubtedly Allah, most gracious, has cast such love for children in the hearts of mothers!

Therefore, Allah “Al-Wadoud” (the All-Loving), creates love and casts it among His slaves: fathers, mothers, husbands, mothers, siblings, and friends. They all enjoy love among them. To the same effect, Allah, Most Gracious, says:

“And among His Signs is that He has created for you wives from among yourselves that you may find repose in them; and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed Signs for a people who reflect.” (Ar-Rum 30:21)

Who creates such affection and mercy? It is Allah, Most Gracious!

4- Allah is All-Loving in the sense that He seeks love of His slaves, just as they seek His divine love. And He casts love into their heart for one another and for Him. In this sense, this name has three meanings: love from the Lord for His slaves, love from slaves to their Lord, and love among slaves for one another. That is why Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, says “The zenith of wisdom, after belief in Allah, is to seek people’s love.”

Therefore, the wisest, cleverest and best thing a believer can do, after having believed in Allah, is to seek people’s love and friendship, in order to help them know the truth. To this, Allah says:

“And by a Mercy from Allah you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from around you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allah’s) Forgiveness for them, and consult them in the affairs. Then, when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah. Certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).” (Aal `Imran 3:159)

Here emerges a difference between “Al-Woudd” (Practical love) and “Ar-Rahmah” (mercy) as the latest is offered to a weak, helpless, miserable, ill, suffering person who is inferior to you, and, hence deserves your mercy; while “Al-Woudd” (love) is offered to others not because they are inferior to you or are in need of your help.

In other words, “Al-Woudd” is offered without request or imploration, but “Ar-Rahmah” is offered upon request, imploration or inferiority. When God created us, He was “Wadoud”, i.e. loving. We were nothing, but He created us, honored us, and bestowed His Innumerable divine favors and graces upon us: “O man! What has made you careless about your Lord, the Generous, Who created you and made you in due measures? In whatever shape He desires He constructs you.

“Be cursed (the disbelieving) man! How ungrateful he is! From what thing did He (Allah) create him? From a semen He created him and then set him in due proportion. Then He made the Path easy for him. Then He caused him to die and caused him to be put in a grave. Then, when He wills, He will resurrect him. Nay! But he (man) has not done what He (Allah) commanded him.” (`Abasa 80:17-23)

———–

This article is a summarized version of the article (Al-Wadoud) by the author, published at his web site www.nabulsi.com.

Dr. Muhammad Ratib An-Nabulsi is a Muslim Syrian preacher and writer. He has written a number of Islamic books, most remarkable of which are: “Encyclopedia of the Beautiful Names of Allah”, “Encyclopedia of Scientific Miracles of the Holy Qur’an and Prophetic Sunnah” , “Outlooks on Islam” and “Contemplations on Islam”. He delivers a number of lessons, orations, symposiums and chat programs broadcasted on the Syrian, Arab, and Islamic radios and Televisions.

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Existence of God: Between Faith & Atheism

Existence of God: Between Faith & Atheism

By Truth Seeker Staff

We should bear in mind that abundant as the proofs may be, they are only of avail to those who honestly and sincerely search for the truth.

We should bear in mind that abundant as the proofs may be, they are only of avail to those who honestly and sincerely search for the truth.

Existence of God: Between Faith & Atheism

Mankind, in general, has maintained a belief in the existence of the Creator of the universe since time immemorial.

The duty of the prophets of Allah was not so much to inform their people of Allah’s existence as to warn them against associating others with Him, and to teach them how to serve Him:

“Their messengers said, ‘Is there any doubt concerning Allah, the originator of the Heavens and the Earth?’” (Ibrahim 14:10)

The early Muslim scholars did not even have to address the issue of the Existence of God, for it was a blatantly obvious fact, which nobody questioned. It was only around the fourth century after the Prophet’s migration to Madinah, when people’s doctrine started being infiltrated with atheism and permeated by unbelief that the scholars had to address the issue.

The existence of Allah is established by various categories of proofs, which may be conveniently classified under four categories.

Scriptural

The major religions of the world have scriptures, which teach the existence of the Creator. In particular, the Qur’an, the only revealed book which has remained totally intact and preserved, establishes the existence of Allah by compelling rational arguments, while at the same time serving as an enduring miracle testifying to His reality. It decisively establishes His uniqueness and non-resemblance to creation, and emphasizes that worship is only for Him.

“Fitrah”

As already mentioned, the human being has an inherent and inborn recognition of his Creator. This is a consequence of a pledge which Allah took from the soul of every one of us before we came into this world:

“And [remember], when your Lord took from the children of Adam, their children behind them, and made them testify over their own selves, [saying to them], ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said, ‘Yea.’” (Al-A`raf 7:172)

Every human being is born with this natural disposition, which is called in Arabic “Fitrah“. Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, has reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

“Every child is born upon Fitrah, then it is his parents who make him Jewish, or Christian, or Magian (Zoroastrian), just as an animal delivers a perfect baby animal; do you find it mutilated?” (Al-Bukhari)

But, this “Fitrah” sometimes becomes latent, especially when the human being is in a corrupt and spiritually degenerate environment, which is devoid of reminder and exhortation towards the Lord. The “Fitrah” surfaces, however, in times of calamity and distress. How many avowed atheists find themselves raising their hands to the skies in supplication when in affliction? And how do the staunch unbelievers cry out for deliverance when they are faced with death?

“[Allah] it is who causes you to travel over land and sea; until, when you are in the ships, and they sail with [their passengers] with a fair breeze, and they are glad therein, a tempestuous wind reaches them, waves are coming at them from everywhere, and they think that they are overwhelmed therein; [then] they call to Allah, making their faith pure for Him [alone], ‘If You save us from this, we will surely be among the thankful!’” (Yunus 10:22)

Yet, this sincerity is often short-lived:

“Then, when He saves them, behold, they rebel upon the earth wrongfully.” (Yunus 10:23)

Mankind is all too apt, during the course of his daily life of comfort and enjoyment, to forget his Lord:

“And when some trauma touches man, he calls to his Lord, turning repentant to Him. Then, when He grants him a favor from Himself, he forgets that for which he called to Him before, and sets up partners to Allah.” (Az-Zumar 39:8)

It is to awaken and alert this “Fitrah” that God, in His mercy and wisdom, sent messengers to remind people of their true religion, and to direct them towards fulfilling their commission of serving their Lord. Allah has ordered His prophet to proclaim:

“Say: O mankind! If you are in [any] doubt regarding my religion, then [know that] I do not worship those whom you worship besides Allah, but I worship Allah Who will take your souls (at death): I am commanded to be (in the ranks) of the Believers.” (Yunus 10:104)

The specific mention of death here drives home the stark reality, which even the pagans must concede to when faced with the glaring, intuitive evidence, that Allah alone causes death. The rational individual, then, should prepare for this inevitability by responding to his Lord.

Islam is merely a hearkening by man to his nature, an acceptance of that which is naturally good and intuitively right:

“So, set your face toward the religion in uprightness. That is the “Fitrah” of Allah, upon which He has created mankind. Let there be no changing of Allah’s creation.” (Ar-Rum 30:30)

There are others who stubbornly resist this truth and reject God’s message when it is presented before them, although they are well aware of its veracity. This was the attitude of Pharaoh and his supporters, and its consequences are severe, in this world and the Hereafter:

“They rejected [Our signs], although their own souls were convinced of their truth, out of iniquity and arrogance. See, then, what was the sequel for those who cause corruption!” (An-Naml 27:14)

Yet, even hardened deniers who stand in the way of truth and resist it may grab hold of it at the last moment, before it is too late, for on account of the surfacing of the “Fitrah“, a disbeliever who is faced with death on the battlefield may suddenly embrace Islam. The Muslim who fights in Jihad will similarly be exposed to death frequently, thus enhancing and sharpening his awareness of Allah.

Rational

Health and Islamic PhilosophyIt is intuitively obvious, and confirmed by science, that the universe had a beginning. Every action requires a doer, and thus the existence of creation necessarily indicates the existence of the Creator. Allah appeals to the human mind and rationality:

“Were they created from nothing, or are they [themselves] the creators?” (At-Tur 52:35)

Quite obviously, we have been created, and brought into existence after being non-existent, and it is also plain that we do not create ourselves.

A few years ago, the sands in the “Rub’ al-Khali” desert (the Empty Quarter), of the Arabian Peninsula, were blown away by a windstorm to reveal the ruins of a city that had been covered by the sands. Scientists began to examine the contents of the city to try to determine the period in which it had been built. Nobody among the archaeologists or others even suggested that this city could have appeared as a result of the natural actions of the wind, rain, heat and cold, and not by the actions of man. If anyone had suggested such a thing, people would have regarded him as crazy and would have taken pity on him. So how about if someone had said that this city was formed by the air from nothing in the far distant past, then it settled on the earth?

Having recognized the necessity of the existence of a Creator, one then realizes that there can only be one Creator:

“If there were in [the heavens and the earth] gods other than Allah, [the heavens and earth] would surely have been disordered.” (Al-Anbiya 21:22)

“Allah has not taken a son, nor is there any god with Him, for in that case, each god would assuredly have championed that which he created, and some of them would surely have overcome others. Glorified be Allah above that which they allege!” (Al-Mu’minun 23:91)

Further, this one and only Creator cannot possibly resemble creation:

“Is, then, He Who creates, like he who does not create? Do you not reflect?” (An-Nahl 16:17)

Perceptual

We witness and experience the answering of prayers, and this in itself indicates the existence of Allah:

“When you sought help of your Lord, and He answered you.” (Al-Anfal 8:9)

Al-Bukhari and Muslim, may Allah have mercy upon them, have both narrated the Prophet’s saying in which a Bedouin asked the Prophet, peace be upon him, to pray for rain, since crops were perishing and people were starving. The prophet prayed to Allah for rain, and almost immediately clouds began to gather and it began raining heavily. Also in this category of evidence are the miracles which people witness at the hands of the prophets, including the splitting of the moon by Muhammad, peace be upon him, and the enduring miracle of the Qur’an.

Finally, we should bear in mind that abundant as the proofs may be, they are only of avail to those who honestly and sincerely search for the truth. As for those obdurate ones who simply refuse to believe, they will not cease their idle disputation:

“And they say: ‘Our hearts are in a covering from that to which you call us, and in our ears is a deafness, and between us and you is a veil, so act, we [also] are acting.” (Fussilat 41:5)

“Those against whom the decree of your Lord has been verified, will not believe, although every sign should come to them, until they see the painful punishment.” (Yunus 10:96-97)

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Courtesy Islamweb.net web site – http://www.islamweb.net with slight editorial modifications.

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Book review: “Why Science Does Not Disprove God”

Book review: “Why Science Does Not Disprove God”

By Alan Lightman

Aczel discusses the mysteries of “emergent” phenomena — when a complex system exhibits a qualitative behavior that cannot be explained in terms of the workings of its individual parts.

Aczel discusses the mysteries of “emergent” phenomena — when a complex system exhibits a qualitative behavior that cannot be explained in terms of the workings of its individual parts.

“Why Science Does Not Disprove God”

In “Einstein, God, and the Big Bang,” a colorful chapter of his new book, Amir D. Aczel maintains that Albert Einstein truly believed in God. He points out that Einstein attended synagogue during his year in Prague (1913).

He repeats several famous Einstein utterances mentioning the Deity: “Subtle is the Lord, but malicious he is not” and “I want to know God’s thoughts — the rest are details.” And he quotes from a letter the great physicist wrote to a little girl in January 1936:

“Everyone who is seriously interested in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man.”

Aczel goes on to express strong displeasure with such people as physicist Lawrence Krauss and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins (who, in his bestseller “The God Delusion,” says that Einstein “didn’t really mean it”) when they cast Einstein as an atheist in support of their diatribes against religious belief.

Dawkins; Krauss, with his bestseller “A Universe From Nothing”; and Sam Harris, with his bestseller “The End of Faith,” are prominent New Atheists, who use modern science to argue that God is not only unnecessary but unlikely to exist at all, even behind the curtains. There’s a certain religious fervor in all these books. Atheists, unite.

Aczel, trained as a mathematician, currently a research fellow in the history of science at Boston University and the author of “Fermat’s Last Theorem,” takes aim at the New Atheists in his intelligent and stimulating book “Why Science Does Not Disprove God.” He attempts to show that the New Atheists’ analyses fall far short of disproving the existence of God. In fact, he accuses these folks of staining the scientific enterprise by bending it to their dark mission.

(“The purpose of this book is to defend the integrity of science,” he writes in his introduction.) Yet Aczel has a sly mission of his own. Invoking various physical phenomena that do not (yet) have convincing scientific explanations, he sets out not only to debunk the arguments of the New Atheists but also to gently suggest that the findings of science actually point to the existence of God.

In stockpiling his arguments, Aczel quotes from his interviews with dozens of leading scientists and theologians, and interprets statements in a range of popular writings. The resulting book is part science (interesting but superficial summaries of cosmology, quantum mechanics, evolutionary biology, chaos theory), part history of religion, part philosophy, part spirituality, and a modicum of backbiting and invective. The latter applies to the writings of the New Atheists as well.

Let’s start with the origin of the universe. There is plenty of good scientific evidence that our universe began about 14 billion years ago, in a Big Bang of enormously high density and temperature, long before planets, stars and even atoms existed. But what came before? Krauss in his book discusses the current thinking of physicists that our entire universe could have emerged from a jitter in the amorphous haze of the subatomic world called the quantum foam, in which energy and matter can materialize out of nothing.

(On the level of single subatomic particles, physicists have verified in the lab that such creation from “nothing” can occur.) Krauss’s punch line is that we do not need God to create the universe. The quantum foam can do it quite nicely all on its own. Aczel asks the obvious question: But where did the quantum foam come from? Where did the quantum laws come from? Hasn’t Krauss simply passed the buck? Legitimate questions. But ones we will probably never be able to answer.

In his foray into biology, Aczel says the theory of evolution is flawed. In particular, he points out that it does not explain altruistic behavior with no apparent survival benefit to the genes of the do-gooder. He cites a recent example of a Mount Everest climbing expedition in which an Israeli climber was well on his way to the top when he discovered a fallen Turkish climber who had lost his face mask and oxygen supply. At the cost of his own fingers and toes to frostbite, and sacrificing the glory of reaching the summit, the Israeli stopped and saved the life of the Turkish fellow. Why did he do it? “Human decency and goodness,” Aczel writes, with the implication that such qualities come from religion and spirituality. (In another chapter, he explains how a code of morality developed in early religions.)

Aczel discusses the mysteries of “emergent” phenomena — when a complex system exhibits a qualitative behavior that cannot be explained in terms of the workings of its individual parts: for example, the emergence of self-replicating life from inanimate molecules or the emergence of consciousness from a collection of connected neurons. He writes, “The inexplicability of such emergent phenomena is the reason why we cannot disprove the idea of some creative power behind everything.”

I disagree. It is not the inability of science to explain some physical phenomenon that shows we cannot disprove the existence of a creative power (i.e., God). Science is a work in progress, and phenomena that science cannot explain now may be explained 100 years from now. Before the 18th century, people had no explanation for lightning. The reason that science cannot disprove the existence of God, in my opinion, is that God, as understood by all human religions, exists outside time and space. God is not part of our physical universe (although God may choose to enter the physical universe at times). God is not subject to experimental tests. Either you believe or you don’t believe.

Thus, no matter what scientific evidence is amassed to explain the architecture of atoms, or the ways that neurons exchange chemical and electrical signals to create the sensations in our minds, or the manner in which the universe may have been born out of the quantum foam, science cannot disprove the existence of God — any more than a fish can disprove the existence of trees. Likewise, no matter what gaps exist in current scientific knowledge, no matter what baffling good deeds people do, no matter what divine and spiritual feelings people have, theology cannot prove the existence of God. The most persuasive evidence of God, according to the great philosopher and psychologist William James in his landmark book “The Varieties of Religious Experience” (1902), is not physical or objective or provable. It is the highly personal transcendent experience.

There is one scientific conundrum that practically screams out the limitations of both science and religion. And that is the “fine tuning” problem. For the past 50 years or so, physicists have become more and more aware that various fundamental parameters of our universe appear to be fine-tuned to allow the emergence of life — not only life as we know it but life of any kind. For example, if the nuclear force were slightly stronger than it is, then all of the hydrogen atoms in the infant universe would have fused with other hydrogen atoms to make helium, and there would be no hydrogen left. No hydrogen means no water. On the other hand, if the nuclear force were substantially weaker than it is, then the complex atoms needed for biology could not hold together.

In another, even more striking example, if the cosmic “dark energy” discovered 15 years ago were a little denser than it actually is, our universe would have expanded so rapidly that matter could never have pulled itself together to form stars. And if the dark energy were a little smaller, the universe would have collapsed long before stars had time to form. Atoms are made in stars. Without stars there would be no atoms and no life.

So, the question is: Why? Why do these parameters lie in the narrow range that allows life? There are three possibilities: First, there might be some as-yet-unknown physics that requires these parameters to be what they are. But this explanation is highly questionable — why should the laws of physics care about the emergence of life? Second possibility: God created the universe, God wanted life (for whatever reasons), so God designed the universe so that it would allow life. Third possibility, and the one favored by many physicists today: Our universe is one of zillions of different universes with a huge range of parameters, including many different values for the strength of the nuclear force and the density of dark energy.

Some universes have stars and planets, some do not. Some harbor life, some do not. In this scenario, our universe is simply an accident. If our particular universe did not have the right parameters to allow the emergence of life, we wouldn’t be here to talk about it. In a similar way, Earth happens to be at the right distance from the sun to have liquid water, a nice oxygen atmosphere and so on. We can ask why our planet has all these lovely properties, amenable to life. And the explanation is that there is nothing special or designed about Earth. Other planets exist. But if we lived on Mercury, where the temperature is 800 degrees, or on Neptune, where it is 328 degrees below zero, we could not exist. Unfortunately, it is almost certain that we cannot prove the existence of these other universes. We must accept their existence as a matter of faith.

And here we come to the fascinating irony of the fine-tuning problem. Both the theological explanation and the scientific explanation require faith. To be sure, there are huge differences between science and religion. Religion knows about the transcendent experience. Science knows about the structure of DNA and the orbits of planets. Religion gathers its knowledge largely by personal testament. Science gathers its knowledge by repeated experiments and mathematical calculations, and has been enormously successful in explaining much of the physical universe. But, in the manner I have described, faith enters into both enterprises.

Several years ago, I thought that the writings and arguments of such people as Dawkins and Aczel, attempting to disprove or prove the existence of God, were a terrible waste of calories. I have changed my mind. I now believe that the discussions of science and religion, even the attempts of one side to disprove the other, are part of the continuing and restorative conversation of humanity with itself. In the end, all of our art, our science and our theological beliefs are an attempt to make sense of this fabulous and fleeting existence we find ourselves in.

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Alan Lightman is a physicist, novelist and professor of the practice of the humanities at MIT. His latest book is “The Accidental Universe.”

 

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Wondering About the Details of Creation

Wondering About the Details of Creation

By Shahul Hameed

Nothing can happen out of the sphere of God's control. Therefore, a country can attain development only by following what we may consider "the naturally necessary course" leading to that development, which is in reality, determined by God.

Nothing can happen out of the sphere of God’s control. Therefore, a country can attain development only by following what we may consider “the naturally necessary course” leading to that development, which is in reality, determined by God.

Wondering About the Details of Creation

Islam teaches that God is the Almighty Creator, the Sovereign Ruler, and the unquestioned Owner of everything in the universe. And it is out of His will that He chooses to create things or beings; and only He knows the why of His creation.

Indeed, we have no way of knowing God’s will, except for what He Himself has allowed us to know through His revelations, and through His prophets. To acknowledge this fact is the first step towards the conscious and willful worship of God.

The worship of God is to accept Him as our Creator, Sustainer, and Sovereign Law-Giver, and to submit to Him all our activities in all walks of life. God has commanded the believers in the Qur’an, which Muslims believe is the word of God, to declare:

“Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds.” (Al-An`am 6:162)

The foregoing sums up the conscious and deliberate act of submission to God, which only intelligent and free beings can undertake. But there is another sense in which the word, “Islam” is used in the Qur’an: willing or unwilling act of submission to God’s laws, as every living or non-living thing or being obeys God’s laws, usually called the laws of nature.

This sort of willing or unwilling submission is, also, Islam or in another sense, the worship of God. The Qur’an states what means:

“Do they seek for other than the religion of Allah while all creatures in the heavens and on earth have, willing or unwilling, bowed to His will (accepted Islam), and to Him shall they all be brought back.” (Al-An`am 6:83)

From this point of view, all beings do necessarily worship God. Making use of our analytical skill and power of reasoning, we can, to some extent, get an idea of God’s creative power, as well as figure out the rationale behind His choices in the light of His revelation.

By this means we may get some knowledge about the reason for the creation of things or beings in the universe too — such as the microbes or a single grain of sand in the desert, or a drop of water in the sea.

In the Qur’an, God Almighty states that everything on earth has been created for the benefit of mankind:

“He it is Who created for you all that is in the earth.” (Al-Baqarah 2:29)

This verse implies that the best of God’s creation is humankind, for whom all other beings were created. Thus all creatures — whether they are as tiny as microbes or as mighty as whales — were created for mankind.

In the divine scheme of creation, all things — whether big or small — have their place. Nothing happens without the knowledge of Allah the Almighty; and nothing happens without a good reason; and all things and beings are interconnected in mysterious ways.

That all things and beings are interconnected has been recently established by the new science of ecology. Today we know that the life of the plants and animals on earth is closely linked to the life of man. Rachel Carson (1907-1964), an environmentalist who embraced nature in all its manifestations, has shown through her researches that the survival of mankind depends on the balance of nature. She wrote:

For each of us, as for the robin in Michigan, or the salmon in the Miramichi, this is a problem of ecology, of interrelationships, of interdependence. We poison the caddis flies in the stream and the salmon runs dwindle and die…

We spray our elms and following springs are silent of robin song, not because we sprayed the robins directly but because the poison travelled, step by step, through the now familiar elmleaf–earthworm-robin cycle. These are matters of record, observable, part of the visible world around us. They reflect the web of life-or death-that scientists know as ecology. (189)

According to Carson, life on earth is possible only through an interaction between living things and their environment. Carson’s war on the irresponsible use of chemical pesticides was inspired by her insight that all species, including humans, are interconnected with one another, and killing one species may endanger others.

The foregoing means that even a single grain of sand in the desert, or a drop of water in the sea, has a role to play in the scheme of the Almighty. And Allah does not need to expend a lot of time and energy to create a microbe or a dinosaur either. When He intends to create something, He commands: “Be”, and it simply is. This means that when God’s command comes, things in nature start working as God wills, until the command is fulfilled.

Moreover, it is well stated in Islam that God is the One:

“Who creates [everything], and thereupon forms it in accordance with what it is meant to be and who determines the nature [of all that exists], and thereupon guides it [towards its fulfillment].” (Al-A`la 87:2-3)

This means that the nature, origin, growth, decay, and end of a thing or being is determined by God. It is God who decrees its “destiny”, as it were. Nothing can happen out of the sphere of God’s control. Therefore, a country can attain development only by following what we may consider “the naturally necessary course” leading to that development, which is in reality, determined by God.

The Qur’an does not say that the material or physical development of a country is determined by the religion of its citizens. But the Qur’an does say that the final destination of a person or a people is determined by religion. And the Qur’an also teaches that righteousness and prayer certainly lead to good results here and now, as well as in the hereafter.

It is true that the extension of the average life span of men and women depends on the general advance in the field of medicine and hygiene; and it is equally true that the extension of the average life span of men and women happens within the will and plan of God the Almighty.

There is no contradiction here, because it is God’s will that the average life span of men and women should increase; as it is God’s will again that this should be the result of the general improvement of the health conditions. In other words, both the extension of the life span of people and the general improvement in the health conditions happen as God wills. This means that “being religious and praying more,” also, serves.

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This article is based on a Q & A on Onislam.net’s Ask About Islam service. It was taken and editorially modified to suit our design and purpose on this website.

Professor Shahul Hameed is a consultant to the Reading Islam Website. He also held the position of the President of the Kerala Islamic Mission, Calicut, India. He is the author of three books on Islam published in the Malayalam language. His books are on comparative religion, the status of women, and science and human values.

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Al-Hakeem: Wisdom of the All-Wise

Al-Hakeem: Wisdom of the All-Wise

By Muhammad Ratib An-Nabulsi

Al-Hakeem: Wisdom of the All-Wise

“And whosoever is granted wisdom is indeed granted abundant good.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 269)

For that the word “hakeem” means “someone who does his work most accurately and perfectly, because he knows how to calculate, measure and design perfectly well.”

For that the word “hakeem” means “someone who does his work most accurately and perfectly, because he knows how to calculate, measure and design perfectly well.”

All of Allah’s attributes can be summed up in three main notions, namely that He exists, that He is one: in His own self, attributes and acts, and that He is perfect, which is the nearest in meaning to God’s name Hakeem (The All-Wise).

However, the name “Al-Hakeem” is one of some of Allah’s divine Names that are nearer than others to human beings; and the nearest of all of His names to human beings are “the Lord”. To this, the Lord, Allah, All-Mighty, says:

“So wait patiently for your Lord’s Decision, for verily you are under Our Eyes; and glorify the Praises of your Lord when you get up from sleep.” (At-Tur 52:48)

This shows clearly that decision of all issues and matters belongs only to Allah, the Lord, who knows everything, who is most gracious, and who is all-wise.

How God is Al-Hakeem?

1- The Arabic word “hakeem” means “someone who is well experienced and whose work is perfect, i.e. faultless”. For example, if a carpenter fails to cut a piece of wood accurately, his work is not satisfactory enough. In this case, we could say: “If his calculations were accurate, his work would be perfect and faultless.” And the more accurate calculations are, the better and more faultless work is.

Expensive machines are usually perfect and faultless, while bad cheap ones are full of faults and defects. In fact, accuracy and faultlessness are essential elements in good machines. This is what makes them more valuable and more expensive.

For that the word “hakeem” means “someone who does his work most accurately and perfectly, because he knows how to calculate, measure and design perfectly well.” And God is Hakeem (All Wise) that He creates all things in perfect faultless measurements.

Consider your human body: The blood that runs through your veins and arteries contains a very accurate amount of salt, 0.78%. If this very accurate amount of salt decreased, blood corpuscles would shrink and cause immediate death. If it increased, the corpuscles would burst and also cause immediate death. Who has made the ratio of salt in the human blood fixed?

It is Allah, most bounteous, who makes the kidneys maintain such fixed ratio of salt in the blood! Also, there are 2.5 billion types of tissues in the world. This means that only one human being in the whole world has a type of tissue similar to yours.

“He (Allah) has created everything and has measured it exactly according to its due measurements.” (Al-Furqan 25: 2)

Thus, “Al-Hakeem” is He Who perfects all the things that He creates:

“It is He (Allah) Who has created seven heavens, one above another; you can see no fault in the creation of the Most Gracious. Then, look again: can you see any rifts?” (Al-Mulk 67:3)

Consider creation of an ant, a fly, an elephant, a galaxy, an atom, or any other creature! They are all perfect, and they bespeak the creator’s absolute divine wisdom:

“It is He (Allah) Who made everything that He has created perfect, and began the creation of man from clay.” (As-Sajdah 32: 7; Al-Infitar 82:5-8; At-Tin 95:4)

2- “Al-Hikmah” (Wisdom) is to possess the best knowledge; and Allah’s divine knowledge is infinite, while man’s human knowledge is limited. To this effect, Allah, the All-Wise, says:

“And over all those endowed with knowledge is the All-Knowing.” (Yusuf 12:76)

3- “Al-Hakeem” (All Wise) is attributed to the omniscient, Allah, whose divine knowledge is infinite, all-embracing and free from all kinds of ignorance, imperfection or defect. No human being can ever claim to have acquired all knowledge or experience, not even doctors, engineers or scientists. They often make mistakes. But Allah, alone, is the one who is the omniscient. That is why Imam Al-Ghazali says:

“No one knows Allah except Allah (Himself).”

4- “Al-Hakeem” (The All Wise) is He Who is far above doing things that should not be done. Put it differently, He does the proper thing in the proper way in the proper place and the proper time. For human beings, a wise person is someone who does the proper thing in the proper way in the proper place and the proper time. Such is a “Hakeem” (a wise person).

5- God is Hakeem (All-Wise) that all things in the world happen only by His divine will and if He wills that something should happen, it happens. Allah’s divine will is associated with His absolute divine wisdom that whatever He wills will inevitably come to pass and that His divine wisdom is associated with absolute good.

No leaf of a tree could ever fall down except by Allah’s absolute divine will and wisdom. Too many seemingly evil things turn out good in the end; and in Allah’s kingdom, there is no injustice, in the real sense of the word. Even unjust tyrannical rulers or leaders are, as it is said, Allah’s sword in the earth; He retaliates by them and then He retaliates from them.

6- Allah is infinitely pre-existent; and He is one and only. No existence is like His infinite divine existence. He is absolute and perfect, and hence, He is all wise. Thus, if you ask, “Where is Allah?” your question means that He does not exist. Nay! Allah is pre-existent. To this, He says:

“Think not that Allah is unaware of that which the wrong-doers do. Nay! He only gives them respite up to a Day when the eyes will stare in horror.” (Ibrahim 14:42)

7- Moreover, there is no other dominator of the whole universe except Allah. This is Islamic monotheism: in the whole existence, there is only one hand that controls everything, namely the Hand of Allah, the irresistible, the omnipotent, the all-wise, the all-powerful, who is Free to honor or dishonor, give or withhold, provide or deprive, exalt or disparage.

“And Allah is Ever All Mighty, All Wise.” (Al-Fat-h 48: 19; An-Nisa’ 4: 130; Yusuf 12: 6)

Al-Hakeem (The All-Wise) in the Qur’an:

The word “Hakeem” (The All Wise) is mentioned thirty-three times in the Qur’an with different denotations. Some of them are:

“And if all the he sea (were ink wherewith to write), with seven seas behind it to add to its (supply), yet Allah’s Words would not be exhausted. Verily, Allah All Mighty, All Wise.” (Luqman 31: 27; 11: 1; 24: 10; 41: 42; 60: 10)

1- Allah’s book the Qur’an is described as being “Hakeem” (i.e. a Book full of wisdom”. To this effect, Allah, the All Wise, says:

“Alif Lam Ra’: Such are the Verses of the Book, “Al-Hakeem” (i.e. full of wisdom)” (Yunus 10: 1; 36: 1; 2:129)

2-   Scholars of Qur’anic interpretation hold that whenever the word “Hikmah” (i.e. wisdom) comes together with the Qur’an, it means prophetic Sunnah and tradition, because the Prophet’s Hadith and Tradition are the best interpreters of the Holy Qur’an:

“Verily, Allah conferred a great Favor upon believers when He sent to them a Messenger from among themselves, reciting unto them His Verses (the Qur’an), purifying them, and instructing them (in) the Book (the Qur’an) and wisdom (Prophetic Sunnah), while before that they had been in manifest error.” (Aal `Imran 3: 164)

3-   Also, “Al-Hikmah” (wisdom) should be used in the call for Allah and His religion. To this effect Allah says:

“Invite to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching and argue with them in a way that is better. Verily, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are rightly guided.” (An-Nahl 16:125)

4- “Al-Hikmah” (wisdom) can also be granted to people. If Allah gave you the best woman in the world, but did not give you wisdom, you would make the worst woman of her. If He gave you enormous wealth, but did not give you wisdom, you would soon waste it and make of it a source of sorrow and regret for you on the Day of Judgment. If He gave you good health, but did not give you wisdom, you would use your health in trivialities and foolish things. And if He gave you good children, but did not give you wisdom, your own children would be the cause of your entering hell-fire.

In other words, if you lack wisdom, everything leads you to endless sorrows and losses on the day of resurrection. That is why Allah says:

“(He (Allah) grants wisdom to whomsoever He pleases; and he who is granted wisdom is indeed granted abundant good. But none remember except those possessed of understanding)” (Al-Baqarah 2: 269)

Man’s Share of Al-Hikmah (Wisdom)

Allah’s Divine Name “Al-Hakeem” (the All-Wise) is nearest to human beings. Sometimes, man sees or meets things that he does not like, i.e. unpleasant things, as Allah sometimes afflicts man with things that seem to be unpleasant to him, i.e. things that he does not like. However, it is most unwise and ignorant of man to get angry or discontented with his Lord; it is wise for man, under all circumstances, to be contented with his Lord, and with His foreordainment and divine decree.

This Divine Name “Al-Hakeem” (The All Wise) is one of Allah’s Names that can be adopted by human beings, according to the saying that goes, “Adopt Allah’s Names and Attributes”. In other words, a true believer should be wise. And, as a true believer, he should derive his wisdom from his knowledge of Allah. Let’s have the following example: If you have a very complicated and sophisticated machine, and you have the operation instructions, it is wise to follow such instructions because they come from the manufacturer. This is very clear and easy. If you read and understand Allah’s book the Qur’an, prophetic Sunnah and tradition, and if you commit yourself to Allah and His messenger’s commands, then, you are a wise person.

Hence, you are wise when you follow the commands of God, All Wise, and His messenger, peace be upon him. And the more believing a person is, the wiser he/she is. Moreover, Allah’s messenger, Muhammad, peace be upon him, was the wisest of all mankind because he was the nearest and most devoted to Allah, the fountain of all wisdom.

Indeed, the more devoted and committed we are, the wiser and more rightly guided.

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This article is a summarized version of the article (Al-Hakeem) by the author, published at his web site www.nabulsi.com.

Muhammad Ratib An-Nabulsi is an Islamic scholar; he was born in 1938 of a religious and well educated, family. His father was one of the religious scholars of Damascus city.

He was appointed orator in the mosque of his grandfather, Sheikh Abdulghani An-Nabulsi, and a religion lecturer in the mosques of Damascus.

He has written a number of Islamic books, most remarkable of which are: “Encyclopedia of the Beautiful Names of Allah”, “Encyclopedia of Scientific Miracles of the Holy Qur’an and Prophetic Sunna”, “Outlooks on Islam”, “Contemplations on Islam”. He also wrote articles for some Syrian, Arab, Islamic, and Western magazines and newspapers.

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