Can the existence of God be proved rationally? [Sunnipath Answers]

13Feb07

Sunnipath Answers:
Can the existence of God be proved rationally?
Answered By Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Is the existence of Allah and His attributes rationally provable with the mind without doubt – since iman is based on taklif.
Or is Allah’s existence just a guess that we take hoping it is true with a certainty (the Christian concept of “leap of faith.”)

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon His Messenger Muhammad, his folk, companions, and followers

قَالَتْ رُسُلُهُمْ أَفِي اللّهِ شَكٌّ فَاطِرِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ يَدْعُوكُمْ لِيَغْفِرَ لَكُم مِّن ذُنُوبِكُمْ وَيُؤَخِّرَكُمْ إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُّسَـمًّى

[إبراهيم : 10]

“Their messengers said: Can there be doubt concerning Allah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth ?

He calls you that He may forgive you your sins and reprieve you unto an appointed term.”

[Qur’an, 14.10]

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Reason does have ‘sufficient proofs’ for the existence of God insofar as they are sound and rigorous, and free of fallacy. They may convince some people, particularly when presented well and with strength of conviction.

However, they are not ‘self-evident’ but based on premises. The problem why they some–including notable scholars well versed in philosophy and modern thought–consider them “insufficient” is that each premise could be questioned, and proof be sought for it. Sound reasoning –like those of our theologians (Allah have mercy on them)–can ‘prove’ each of these premises. Then the skeptic could question the bases of the new ‘proof’, and the discussion would go on until the strength of argument of the theologian (or the skeptic) prevail.

The Qur’an has numerous examples of rational arguments. However, as scholars note, it also shows that the way to deal with skeptics is to ‘go beyond’ the rational to appeal to the entirety of human experience–the mind, the heart, the soul, the emotions, and lived experience (personal and social).

The Qur’an engages the human, as if Allah is asking the reader–as he was asked before material creation–”Am I not your Lord?” The sincere seeker whom Allah wishes to guide finds no choice but to say, “Indeed!”

One problem, then, of purely rational proofs is that they aren’t themselves ‘sufficiently convincing,’ as the human isn’t just a rational being–and the skeptical mind is given, as the Qur’an tells us, to endless argumentation.

At the level of belief, proofs appealing to the heart and soul are often more convincing; and the proof the soul finds within it through spiritual turning is the most convincing–as Imam Ghazali concluded. Allah Most High points to this in the Qur’an, “And in yourselves–do you not reflect?”
The key to the Qur’an is the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), and the key to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) are his inheritors in each generation–those who live and exemplify his example and guidance.

This is why those who are guided to Islam tend to be guided by interaction with Muslims; and the Muslims who have the greatest impact are those most spiritually realized—because, as the Qur’an tells us, “their signs are on their faces.”

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

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