Sadly we are seeing more and more people today doubting the existence of God. Either they will say outright that they do not believe in God – (Atheists), or they are not sure whether He is still around – (Agnostics). Of course this is not new, such people have been around from the beginning, questioning the Prophets and their followers, but as Ahmadi Muslims we should try to help them to find God or at least to remove their objections. It is not our duty to make them believe, it is only our duty to convey the message of God.
In this section, we will first help you to answer those who feel that science has disproved religion and then to the question of how to know and worship God? What is our purpose in life? Is there a next life? etc. Much of this has been taken from the free Online Islamic Course at http://www.free-islamic-course.org/ but since that is in Stage Three and therefore one needs to have passed through the first two stages, therefore I thought I would make it accessible for you on this website.
One of the main problems today is the weak concept of Allah. Many people question if there is a God why doesn’t He stop the suffering, wars, natural disasters etc.? Perhaps the real reason is that if you believe in God, then you should follow the commandments of God, but we are living at a time when society wants freedom, the right to do whatever they like, not to be tied down to rules and commandments; therefore the easiest way out of this is to ‘not believe in God’ and therefore you do not then have to follow His commandments.
As for who God is, we are very fortunate in the Holy Qur’an to have been given the ‘Attributes of Allah’ which explain clearly who Allah really is. Generally we believe that Allah is the power that created everything, the whole universe, mankind etc. and also the spiritual world i.e. His Angels, life after death etc. Therefore anyone who believes in a power which created everything, then we say that it is ‘Allah’. They may refer to that power by other names like ‘Father’, ‘Jehovah’ etc., but it is all the same God. If a person worships either an idol, man, sun etc. then we reject that as being a false god. If we say that there is only One God, whom we call Allah, then we can’t say that there is also a different god for the Jews, the Christians, the Hindus etc., otherwise you are talking about many gods, not One God. So it is clear that there is only One God, but He is known by many names and it is to the One God to whom we should worship and follow His commandments, which He sent through His prophets.
An atheist may question, “is really Allah the power that created everything?”. They may understand it to mean power as energy, i.e., not power generated by something else; which then creates a problem in their minds. In physics, energy is the ability of something to change something else. Hence energy by itself is not a `thing` – i.e., doesn`t exist. So how can they believe this idea that Allah was some sort of power/energy that created everything, because energy needs something to `energise`. Before creation, there was nothing; therefore there was no energy – and no Allah!
It is a question of perception. How can you understand something that you have never experienced? We only base things on what we know and understand. When we talk about a Powerful God Who has created everything, but is not created; we will no doubt be at a loss. Whatever physics you know, is based on creation. How can you understand something which has not been created? So the question because energy needs something to `energise`, is based on our understanding of energy, which is limited to what we know, which again is limited. Whereas we are talking of some sort of power/energy/whatever, which is unlimited! How can Allah exist forever? How can He exist before existence? etc. To know these sort of answers is beyond us, as we have never experienced such a thing. It is like asking “what is Heaven or Hell?” If Allah told us that it was ‘khuoofoenoanzfijwpf’ we wouldn’t have a clue what He is talking about as we only know what we have experienced, based on creation. Therefore, the only way for us to understand about the ‘unseen‘ is for Allah to give us examples of what we do know, so that we can easier understand. Hence why Allah has explained about Himself through using Attributes. It can’t give us a full picture as we would never be able to fully understand, but it can give us some idea. The same is done with heaven or hell. Of course these are spiritual states, but what is a spiritual state? Have you experienced such a state? Therefore Allah describes it to us, using things which are physical to help us understand, hence we get ‘rivers of milk, wine, honey’ etc, or ‘blazing fire, burning skin’ etc. These are all physical, therefore we know that none of that will actually be there, they just give us an idea that heaven is a wonderful place and hell is a terrible place. Now whether a person chooses to believe in Allah or not, they know that if He is true, then they will be sent to one of those two states, and therefore they should not complain about not knowing. The argument that ‘I choose not to believe in Allah, therefore I choose not to accept these states’, is irrelevant. That is a choice, but if these states are a reality then they are going, whether they choose to believe or not.
So this is what we need to understand, if there is a Creator, then why has He created us? The only way to understand is for Allah to inform us. We can guess, but that is pointless. Allah has chosen the medium of Prophets to convey this news to us as to how we can attain the states of heaven or hell. Whether people choose to accept those prophets is up to them, as Allah has given everyone free will to make a choice, but then we now have something which is physical and therefore we can analyse. We believe that all prophets are truthful and never committed any sin. There all loved Allah. If that is the case, then the evidence shows that why would they lie about something which they love so much, when they don’t lie about anything else? Especially when they are not interested in worldly gains and suffer by preaching and practising such a message. We can investigate that message and the prophets lives and see evidence of God and His help. That helps us make a choice. Finally we can strive to develop a relationship with Allah and experience Him first hand, to then reassure there is a God. If a person chooses not to strive to see if there really is a God or not, then he should not criticise others who have found God. That is their choice – to remain in darkness.
Now the question about suffering; Before criticising God, they need to understand His point of view. If He really has created this Universe and wants man to develop himself to become a high spiritual being, then Allah understands that their life is just the beginning of a long journey. It plays a part, but really only a small part. For instance, we have already lived one life, we were nine months in the womb of our mother. We went from an insignificant thing to a being which is about to start a new life. Throughout those nine months we were totally dependent upon our mother for food etc. Now after nine months we become an independent being, who will no doubt still rely on our mother, but can also survive through other means. What do we remember about that whole nine months? Nothing, yet there was still a purpose. To become an independent being you needed that nine months, therefore it is all about the start. You may have been born handicapped or healthy, black, white, rich, poor etc. It is a start for the new life. We feel that this life is very important, but what is ninety years compared to forever? Again it is really about the start of the next life, whether you are in the state of heaven or hell. All the rest is just a distraction, and yet so many people lay great importance to it. When you die, what do you take to the next life? Only your relationship with Allah, whether good or bad.
Allah knows this, therefore why should He interfere so much in this life? He has given you a ‘way’ to achieve your purpose in life, but it is up to you to choose to take it or not. He has also set in motion different laws i.e. law of nature, cause and effect etc. the consequence of these laws is suffering. But it is not the suffering, but how you respond to it which is important. If you blame Allah, ‘why did I lose this person, this car etc.‘ then you move further away from Allah, but if you remain steadfast and put your trust in Allah, then you move closer to Allah. Therefore suffering is a ‘way’, if Allah removes that ‘way’, then how will you progress? It is a fact that through war we make great steps in progression, whether good or bad. At the end of the day, one law of Allah is that everything He has created will die. Man has been given a choice how to die, how to live, hope to cope, we should be thankful to Allah for giving us this choice. If He removes suffering then He will remove choice, which would you prefer? Do you want a life where you do not make choices, instead you live in some sort of protective bubble having no existence except life?
Furthermore there is proof all around us to show a Creator. Everything is perfect, not flawed, but not only that, everything needs something else to survive! Without air, water, food etc. we could not survive. If we lived on the moon without these things, we could not exist. It shows that not only is it a perfect creation, but everything needs something else to survive, which shows there has to be a Creator. It could not have been an accident. Therefore without a Creator there would be no creation! Through worshipping God it not only helps you to have a purpose in life and a means to attain inner peace, but if everyone followed His commandment ‘Love thy neighbour’, there would be peace in the world. Sadly it is due to people not following God that the world is in constant turmoil and distress.
Science revolves around facts, therefore another question posed is ‘how can I believe in something which I can’t see’? Throughout life we get to hear about things which we have not actually seen, (although these days with the aids of cameras, we are able to see much more). Are they saying, that if we have not actually seen and experienced something, then we should reject it as false? Which means they would not accept anyone’s word? If a mother told her child not to touch the flame of a fire, the child would ignore such advice and have to experience it to find out if she was speaking the truth? Has anyone been to Mars? How do you know it exists if you have not physically been on the planet? This is not how we do things, we have to put our trust in others. If I said the Sahara Desert is a place full of sand, what are you going to think? Oh it is just like the beach then? That maybe your experience of sand, a lot of sand. And therefore you imagine that if the Sahara is a place full of sand, then you picture that which you have experienced. Of course the Sahara is nothing like a beach, but that is the steps that we take. When we don’t know about a thing, we get a description, its attributes, and then we try to imagine what it could be. No doubt, we will be far from the mark, but trying to imagine something helps it to become more real for us. This is what Allah has done. He has made it very clear to us, that we cannot see Allah with our physical eyes. An example of this is from the Holy Bible, with an incident with Moses, may peace be with him, when he and the Jews wanted to see God, but couldn’t, therefore God gave a display of His power and the top of the mountain exploded, at which point the Jews said they did not want to see God.
Allah has told us that He is All-Powerful. We know about the power of splitting an atom and the damage that it can cause. We know about the power that caused the ‘Big Bang’, the effect of which is still happening to this day, but Allah is far more powerful than any of that. We imagine His power, but cannot really grasp it. We know that Allah is everywhere, but we don’t know what is in someone’s heart or mind. Therefore our knowledge is limited. To imagine that Allah is everywhere is hard to grasp as we have no examples of such a phenomenon. Allah has informed us of over 100 attributes to describe Him, and yet how can we really imagine such a Being? Just because we can’t fully understand who He is, does not mean that because of our limitations, we should reject Him. In such a case, we would reject the Sahara as we can’t really imagine what a desert can really be like without seeing and experiencing it. With the aid of TV we can imagine much more, but it is still relying on someone else bringing us those pictures. There are still people who reject the landing on the moon etc. But to go through life only accepting what we have ourselves experienced and not accepting anything else, is a sad way to live.
The main way of knowing about whether God exists is through personal experience. We can give a thousand proofs to show God exists, but still doubt will remain. When a person has experience God themselves, that removes all doubt.
The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 2, verse 187 relates:-
“And when My servant ask thee about Me, say, ‘I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me, that they may follow the right way’ “.
This is a very clear verse which shows that Allah is a Living God who will answer our prayers as He knows that this is the best way for people to believe in Him and therefore follow His guidance and find the right way.
The best example of this revelation is in fact the Holy Qur’an, which is the Word of God. It contains such wonderful things which are still unknown to man. Anyone who really wants to find Allah should read the Holy Qur’an. Everyone of us has a relationship with Allah, I describe it using the example of a ‘mother and her baby’, there is a link between the two which you cannot see, but take the baby away from the mother and neither will find peace. It is the same with you and Allah, there is a link between your soul and Allah and whilst you are separated from Allah you will never find true inner peace. Allah is continuously guiding you, you may call it your conscience, as some will argue, ‘they know what is right and wrong‘. But the sad fact is that we also carry a lot of baggage around which sometimes blinds us. As the Holy Prophet said ‘If anything pricks your conscience, then leave it’, it is a warning from Allah. If we look deep within ourselves, then we know what is right, but sometimes the baggage gets in the way and causes us to dismiss what is right and instead we do what we think is right for us.
Another way for Allah to communicate with us is through dreams. Everyone has dreams. Some no doubt are nonsense dreams, running through previous events, fantasies etc. But sometimes Allah guides us through dreams. Whether we choose to listen or understand is up to us. But it is a way of communication. Then we get visions from Allah, depending on your relationship with Allah, these are like waking dreams. And then we get Allah speaking to us directly or through His Angels etc. Alhamdulillah in our community there are many examples of these, some you may have experienced yourself or some people who you know or trust is telling the truth. That helps strengthen our faith and if someone really wants to know if God exists, then this is the path they should tread. Allah has made this physical world for us to find Him using physical things, like people, books, creation etc.
Therefore to sum up, there are three main points to a ‘belief in a Living God':-
- a) That He is the Creator. Proof of His creation is everywhere, but not just evidence of His wonderful Creation, but also that fact that every living thing, needs something else for its survival i.e. air, water etc. which just happens to also be available. If it was all an accident, that is a huge amount of accidents.
- b) Not only has He Created everything, but He is also sustaining it, so that we still have air, food water etc. to this day.
- c) Through revelation you can personally experience Allah, He talks to us today as He has always done before. This is the real proof for a Living God, one which, if one makes the effort to find God, then He will have a ‘living’ relationship with you, which then strengthens your belief.
As Allah is the Creator, then He knows His creation best. The Work of God must go hand in hand with the Word of God. We will now show through His Word – the Holy Qur’an, proof that this wonderful book cannot be the work of man. The knowledge it contains can only be from the Creator.