Chapter 2: Ways To Knowing Allah
There is a precious statement by people of knowledge. “The ways to knowing Allah are as many as the population of creations and even many, many times more.” This is so because every natural phenomenon has two faces like those of a coin: One of them talks about its existence, limits, details and position in the cosmos, while the other talks about its link with its causation, its existence through it, its origination from it.
This natural phenomenon, from the standpoint of the first face, is the subject of research in natural sciences. Each researcher takes one aspect of this face according to his specialization, taste and knowledge. One looks into dust and minerals, another looks into plants and trees, while a third looks into animal life, and so on.
From the standpoint of the other face, it is located as a path towards knowing Allah, praise to Him, and to getting to know Him from the aspect of His Signs:
Our signs lead to us,
So look after us at the signs.
The natural phenomena, the great, the magnanimous as well as the petty, have two faces. Islam has stressed getting to know them and to delve deeply into their signs and details:
“Say: ‘Behold all that is in the heavens and on earth’” (Qur’an, 10:101).
But it does not mean that one should stop at just such knowledge and regard as his (ultimate) goal. Rather, it means he must use such knowledge as a bridge to know the One Who created and initiated everything, the One Who created in them the ways and the systems.
The difference is clear between a materialist who gets to know nature and the theologian. The first looks at nature as it is, standing at it without using it as means to know the other, i.e. he (only) gets to know the principles of their existence and the causes behind their formation. Although he looks at the natural phenomena just as the materialist looks at them and tries to become acquainted with all the laws and systems that dominate them, the theologian, on the other hand, uses them as means to a higher knowledge: knowing the Doer Who made them exist, the One Who set up systems in them. It is as though the first look is cast at the appearance of an existent, whereas the second transcends it to the interior.
To put it more clearly, the materialist limits himself, in the knowledge world, to knowing a thing while remaining heedless about any other knowledge, the knowledge of the beginning of that thing by knowing its signs and indications. If we limit ourselves, in (our attempt to) knowing the phenomena, to the first knowledge, we will confine ourselves in the dungeons of the matter.
But if we look at the cosmos in a broad outlook and take with that knowledge another norm of knowledge, that is, the knowledge of the indications, we will have in the light of so doing reached a broader world filled with might, knowledge, perfection and goodness.
Thereupon, all natural phenomena, besides their goodness and magnificence, ways and systems, point towards the One Who initiated them, formed them and made them what they are. It is then that the truth will be manifested to the reader in what we said about the ways to knowing Allah counting as many as the natural phenomena, starting from the atom and ending with the constellation. Towards this end, we see the men of inspiration and advocates of Tawhid focusing on knowing Him, the most Praised One.
They focus on the call to look into the goodness and magnificence of nature, for it provides the truest testimony that it has a Creator and Initiator, and this is obvious for one who studies the Quran and contemplates on its miracles. Through referring man to nature, to the heavens and to the earth, to the beings and existents they contain, the Quran wants to guide him towards the One Who started them all. The following verse suffices to testify to this fact:
“Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, in the alternation of night and day; in the sailing of ships through the ocean for the benefit of mankind, in the rain which Allah sends down from the skies, and in the life which He gives through it to an earth that is dead, in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters throughout the earth, in the change of the winds, and in the clouds which they trail like their slaves between the heavens and the earth… (there) indeed are signs for people of wisdom” (Qur’an, 2:164).
Evidences leading to the existence of a Creator of this cosmos, the One Who poured life onto it, are numerous and diversified, and we will now be stating only some of them. In order to be familiar with the most clear of them, the closest to senses and to experience, we focus this research on the system that responds to all minds regardless of the differences in their levels of thinking.
The order proof is based on four premises:
First: There is, beyond the human intellect, a world filled with existents and surrounded by natural phenomena. What man imagines in this intellect is a reflection of the outer reality. Both, theologian and materialist endorse this premise. They reject any idea based on denying reality and resorting to idealism, that is, denying the outer facts.
Every realistic person believes that there is a moon, a sun, a sea, an ocean, etc. He believes in its existence, having a mind on which its picture is reflected, and this is the first step in the scope of knowing Allah: believing in realities. Realists, rather than idealists who follow their imagination, share it.
Thus, hurling the charge of idealism on a theologian appears to be indicative of denying realities, a fabrication, a lie, for there is none on earth that can be a theologian while, at the same time, denying the realities of things and the natural phenomena. Had there been someone who adheres to such a creed, he would have been one who deviates from the sound human nature.
What may be said about some men of knowledge indicating that the real existent is Allah, Praise to Him, and that anything else exists metaphorically, has an interesting meaning which does not harm what we have stated. It is similar to a lamp in the sunray. It is said: Light is the sun’s, and there is no other light besides it. Such is the presence of anything that can exist, and things that stand on their own, compared to the One Who creates existence, who stands all alone, all by Himself.
Second: A naturalist submits to a defined system, and that everything in the cosmos is never separated from the systems and ways that have distinguished natural sciences from each other. The more these sciences progress, the more strides man takes towards getting to know the cosmos and the laws that prevail in it.
Third: The origin of cause. It means that everything in the cosmos, the systems and the laws, is not separated from a cause that originates it, and the thing coming to be without One Who originates it, who causes it to be, is an impossibility which reason does not admit, nor is it admitted by nature, conscience and evidence. Thereupon, the entire cosmos, all systems and causes (in it), is a result of a cause that brought it to be, that made it what it is.
Fourth: Evidence of the sign is manifested in two ways:
A. The existence of an effect proves the existence of whatever/whoever affects it such as the causation indicating the cause, the sign indicating the one that makes it. A Bedouin is reported as having said, “The dung leads to the camel, the footprints lead to the path,” in addition to other statements necessitated by nature. Both, materialist and theologian agree upon this conclusion. What is really important is the second way:
B. The evidence of a sign is not confined to leading to the presence of the affecter; rather, it has another evidence as well as the first. It is the revelation of the details of the affecter, his mind, knowledge and feeling, or stripping him of all these perfections, attributes and others. Let us explain this with an example. The Canon book, which is written on medicine, just as it has the first sign, the existence of an affecter, has also the second one that is the revelation of its details. The latter include: The author is an expert on medicine and its laws; he is acquainted with the ailments and their cures; he is knowledgeable with medicinal herb, up to the end of such details.
The great epic, Shahnameh, the Persian Book of Kings, is the longest poem written by Iran’s poet, Ferdowsi. It has two indications: This epic did not come to be except in the light of a cause that brought it into being. It is also an indication that the author was a fiery poet well informed with tales and chronicles, expert in the use of the suitable meanings with epics.
Another example is whatever ruins of inherited civilizations you pass by, such as buildings of antiquity, precious books, quaint handicrafts, small and large factories, up to the end of the list of what one can see. What is important in this regard is not to be confined to the first indication but to focus on the second in a precise scientific way.
In the light of this basis, reason contemplates on the details that surround the cause, prying their status, judging clearly that the actions characterized by systems and precise calculations have to be the outcome of an affecter who is wise, one who can through his precision make his sign and action.
It also rules that the actions in which neither precision nor sound system is done result from a doer who is not rational, a doer without a sense, without a reason; such is the conclusion reached by a sound mind through its accumulated knowledge. In order to explain this status, we bring about the following examples:
First Example: Let us suppose that there is a warehouse filled with tons of building materials, including blocks, iron, cement, mortar, wood, glass, wires, pipes and other such materials needed for building. One half of the contents of this store are put under the management of an engineer or an architect in order to build a multi-level building on a flat plot of land.
After a period of time, a violent flood sweeps whatever construction materials remained in the warehouse, leaving them in the form of a hill on the ground.
The first action, the building, resulted from the will and work of a knowledgeable engineer.
As for the second, the “hill”, it took place as a natural outcome of a flood without a will or a feeling.
Men of wisdom, in their different levels, nationalities and times, rule for the rationality of the one who built the building, the extent of might of innovation in building, how he placed the columns in their suitable places, covered the walls with marble, erected the doors in their special places, stretched the wires and hot and cold water pipes, connecting them with baths and sinks, in addition to whatever follows a special and precise engineering.
But when we come out to the sierra to see what the torrent had done, the ultimate view of what we will see is the absence of a system and an order. The rocks and marbles have been buried under the mud and dust, the iron bars thrown aside, the wires torn between mortar pieces, the doors hurled here and there, up to the end of manifestations of chaos and scattering. Generally, what is missing in this mess is order and calculation: There is neither engineering nor administration.
What is deducted is that the one who erected the building has reason and wisdom, whereas whatever caused the hill pile does not have them. The engineer has a will power, the flood lacks it. The first resulted from rationality and knowledge, whereas the second is the outcome of water gushing forth, moving blindly.
Second Example: Let us suppose we entered a room and found in it two persons, each is sitting before a typewriter to type a poem composed by a poet. The first person reads and writes very well. He knows the positions of letters on the machine. The other is illiterate. The best that he can do is to press buttons. They start simultaneously. What we notice is that the first is precise in what he does, typing the letters according to those in the poem without dropping a letter or a word of it.
As for the other, the illiterate one, the blind one, he hits on the machine without knowledge or guidance, being unable to distinguish one letter from another. The outcome of what he does is nothing but a waste of time and of sheets of paper, and he does not produce what we ask him.
The production of the first is the harvest of an educated writer, whereas that of the second is the harvest of an ignorant person who has neither knowledge nor experience. If thousands who have lost their eyesight and who have been deprived of knowledge and learning are given the chance to type a single correct copy of millions which we type, it will be impossible, because they lack the basis, the foundation.
We may see, in each portion of this cosmos, something similar to the page on which the poet’s poem was typed. And we may feel obligated to admit the science, the knowledge and the good style of the person who wrote it. We will emphatically conclude that he enjoys a sound eyesight and does not lack knowledge: His action is not similar to that of a boy who found himself in an empty room, so it came into his mind to sport and play on a typewriter in order to produce that page of the poem.
Having stated these examples, the difference becomes clear for us between the actions that are done through will and management and those that take place haphazardly. There is neither will nor management in the latter.
This principle, which the mind realizes (not due to experiment but in the light of thinking and rationalizing), is the spirit of the order proof which is one of the most clear proofs provided by the theologians in proving the existence of the Doer and in rejecting atheism and materialism and the most comprehensive for all classes of people. The summary of their logic in implementing this premise on the world (cosmos) is that science keeps progressing and unveiling the symbols and systems in existence in the world of the matter, of nature, and that all sciences, in their different divisions, types, branches and sub-branches, aim at one matter.
The world, in which we live, from the atom to the constellation, is a harmonious world where the most precise order and restriction prevails. So, what is the reason behind all of that? I say that it points to one of two and nothing else:
First: There is an existent that exists outside the framework of matter; One Who is knowledgeable, able, originator of perfection and goodness. He has created the matter and formed it through the most precise of orders, organizing them through precise laws and restrictions. He, due to His broad knowledge and infinite might, created the world and let the laws work their way in it, vesting on it the systems which science, since it came to be and till now, has been trying very hard to discover, remaining busy recording them. This good affecter who has knowledge and might is Allah, Praise to Him.
Second: Ancient solid and blind matter, which still exists and is not preceded by void, started the precise laws on its own, vesting on its own self the sound systems in the shade of endless emotions that took place inside it, ending across centuries and generations with this great system which has dazzled the minds and mesmerized the eyes.
If we present both these theories to the fourth premise for the order proof, which is capable of distinguishing between what is sound and what is not, there is no doubt that it will support the first and invalidate the second due to what you have come to know, that is, the details that are inherent in the existence of the cause and sign, spell out the details that prevail on the affecter and the cause.
The systems and laws reveal accounting and precision. They are conjoint with knowledge and the sense of cause. So, how can the solid and blind matter, which has no sense, be the one that created these systems and laws?
In the light of all of this, the systems and laws, very little of which has science been successful so far to discover, prove the first theory which is: embracing the cause and inclusion of the sense and the science and everything that suits them. It voids the second theory which is: a solid and blind matter vesting systems on its own self without accounting and precision by imagining that many emotions, which (supposedly) take place in the essence of the matter, ended up at this dazzling system under the label “chance” or other internal struggles articulated by Marxists.
Thereupon, every cosmic science that looks for the matter and its details, revealing its systems and laws, is like a coin with two faces. From one face, matter is known through its own details, whereas from the other face, its initiator and maker is known. The naturalist looks at one of the faces, whereas the Gnostic looks at the other.
The theologian looks at both sides, seeing the first to be the cause of the second. Thus, we conclude that natural sciences, all of them, are within the scope of providing the fourth premise for the order proof, that the perfection of sciences assists that proof with the most clear and precise of methods, and that the belief in the able Maker of the world accompanies knowledge in all ages and times.
In conclusion, we would like to focus on two points:
First: The Holy Quran is full of the words “aya” (guiding sign or miracle) and “aayaat” (pl.). For example, when it details nature’s systems and laws and presents the wonders and obscurities of the world, it follows it by saying: “In this, there is an aya for people who ponder” or “who contemplate” or “who rationalize”, up to the end of such phrases which urge contemplation, meditation, and the like.
These “signs” present the order proof in the most clear form spoken by nature, proven by these “signs”, prompting one to feel that pondering on these electro-dynamic systems and puzzling laws reveals clearly that there is One Who makes them exist, One Who is knowledgeable, able, seeing, and it is impossible for solid blind matter to do so. So that the kind reader may acquaint himself with some of these aayaat, signs or miracles, we would like to point out to some Quranic verses in the Chapter of the Bees (al-Nahl, Ch. 16 of the Holy Quran):
“With it He produces corn, olives, date-palms, grapes, and every kind of fruit for you: Truly (there) is a Sign (aya) in this [production process] for those who ponder” (16:11).
“And the things on this earth which He has multiplied in varying colors (and qualities): Truly (there) is a Sign (aya) in this for men who celebrate the praises of Allah (in gratitude)” (16:13).
“And Allah sends down rain from the skies, and with it [He] gives life to the land after its death: Truly (there) is a Sign (aya) in [doing] this for those who listen” (16:65).
“And from the fruit of the date-palm and the vine you get wholesome food and drink: Behold! There is also a Sign (aya) in this for those who are wise” (16:67).
“Then eat of all the produce (of the earth), and find the spacious paths of your Lord with skill: From within their bodies, a drink of varying colors issues in which (there) is healing for men: Truly (there) is a Sign in this for those who ponder” (16:69).
Second: The order proof depends on four premises the first three of which are agreed upon by all men of reason with the exception of misfit idealists who deny the outer realities. What is important is to focus on explaining this fourth premise with help from natural and cosmic as well as other sciences that are regarded as the essence and the foundation of that premise.
In this regard, we find glorious statements made by science experts from among the inventors and discoverers. Claude M. Josie, designer of the electronic mind, says, “Few years ago, I was asked to design an electric calculator that can resolve hypotheses and complex bi-dimensional equations. The product of my work and effort is this electronic mind.
“I spent the next years completing on this work, tolerating various troubles as I sought to make a small piece of equipment. It is difficult for me to accept this notion. This piece of equipment can be invented by its own self, without the need for a designer.”
“Our world is full of self-dependent equipment as well as others which, at the same time, hinge on still others, and each of them is regarded as much more complex than the electronic mind which I made. If this electronic mind requires a designer, what can we then say, with regard to our bodies and their biological, physical and chemical interactions? There has to be a wise designer, a Creator of this cosmos of which I am an insignificant part.”1
What is amazing about the supposition on which the materialists, one generation after another, depend is that they say that the endless inadvertent emotions accidentally ended up at this magnificent system.
Prof. Edwin G. Conklin (1863 – 1952) (American biologist and zoologist) says the following about this theory: “This supposition is not different from our saying, ‘A huge language dictionary was produced by the press following an explosion inside it’.”
The precise cosmic system makes scientists predict the movement of meteors and comets and express natural phenomena through mathematical equations.
The presence of this system in the cosmos, rather than the chaos, is clear evidence that these events take place according to certain principles and bases, and that there is a wise might that controls it. Nobody who has a share of reason can believe that this solid matter which lacks sense and feeling—and through blind chance—granted itself this system and has kept sustaining it.
There are hundreds of words about building the order proof and presenting it in a literary and scientific spirit suitable for the century, and we are satisfied with presenting this much of them.
The previous report for proving the system depended on observing each material phenomenon independently and separately from all others. The system that prevails on the cell independently from all other phenomena was the subject matter.
Similar to it are all material phenomena having magnificent systems, such as the movement of the sun and the moon and others, but this proof can be reported in another way which depends on the harmony overwhelming the world and the fantastic links among its parts. From harmony and linkage do we conclude that this connected and harmonious system is the creation of a great mind and broad knowledge. Without the existence of this mind, this amazing, connected and harmonious system could not have been possible.
Scientific researchers have revealed the strong linkage among all parts of the world and the effect of the whole over the whole; so much so that even the flutter of the tree leaves is not separate from the storming wind in the furthermost part of the earth. Even the distant stars, the distances of which are measured by light years, bear an effect over the life of plants, animals and mankind.
This strong harmony, which has made the world look like a huge factory each part of which is tied to the other, is the best evidence of the involvement of a great mind in its mutability and perfection, so much so that the whole is harmonious with the whole.
In a clearer statement, order and balance in the cosmos, which both prevail over nature, are the clearest evidence of the interference of a great mind over their coming into existence. In order to see the features of getting this idea closer to our understanding, we would like to state the following examples:
1. Each plant’s life depends on a small amount of carbon dioxide (CO2). Through plant leaves, it separates the carbon from the oxygen, then the plant keeps the carbon in order to make from it and from other materials fruits, produce and flowers, ejecting the oxygen which we inhale in the inhalation and exhalation process, an essential process for man’s life. If the animals do not carry out their task in kicking out CO2, or if the plants do not exhale oxygen, balance in nature would turn upside down and animal life, or plant life would consume all oxygen or all CO2; plants would fizzle and man would die. So, who established this relationship between plants and animals, creating this exchange system between these two different worlds? Does this not prove that there is a doer who is managing and (whose management) is effective, one who stands behind natural phenomena and sets up this balance?
2. Several years ago, a species of cactus was planted in Australia as a protective fence, but this species continued its path and covered a wide area, turning into a menace to the urban and rural residents, destroying their farms. The residents found no way to stop it from spreading, and Australia was under the risk of being invaded by an army of a silent plant that keeps advancing without a barrier! Entomologists toured planet earth till they found one insect that lives only on this cactus, feeding only on it, and it spreads quickly and has no enemy to block its path in Australia. This insect soon vanquished the cactus then retreated, keeping only a little of it for protection sufficiently to block he cactus from spreading indefinitely.2 So, how did that insect know that it had to eliminate the excess cactus and not to bother the rest in order to keep the cactus trees balanced so they may not overwhelm other things? Does this balance and order not reveal the existence of a wise managing creator?
3. In past ages, ship navigators used to fall sick of scurvy, a disease caused by malnutrition and a shortage of vitamin “C”, but a traveller discovered a simple medicine for it: lemon juice. Where did this relationship between fruits having vitamin “C” and this ailment come from? Does this not prove that the one that created the ailment also created the medicine that suits it? Had it not been for this balance, catastrophe would have prevailed, the human species would have become extinct and mankind would have been wiped off the face of earth.
4. When the early immigrants migrated to Australia and settled in it, they imported twelve pairs of rabbits, which they released there. Those rabbits had no natural enemies in Australia, so they multiplied at a stunning pace, causing serious damages to grasses and herbs, and numerous attempts failed to minimize the breeding of those rabbits till a special virus was discovered which causes a lethal disease in them. Thus, the pastures regained their greenness and the production of cattle rose as a result. Is this precisely not the programmed balance in natural phenomena that lead to no imbalance with serious harms? Is this not categorical evidence of the presence of a creator who is knowledgeable and a God who administers nature?
5. Water is the only thing the velocity of which decreases at freezing. This attribute has its significant importance for life. Because of it, ice floats over water surface when it is very cold instead of sinking to the bottom of oceans. Lakes and rivers gradually form solid blocks. Otherwise, there is no way to get them out so they may melt. The ice that floats over the surface of the sea forms an insulation layer that protects the water underneath it at an above freezing temperature. Thus, species of fish, other water animals and plants remain alive. When spring comes, ice will melt quickly and easily.
So, can all this order, precision in measures and ratios be attributed to the solid, blind and dumb matter, whereas the reality reveals management and calculation and talks about a perfect and great system. This system indicates that behind all of this is a wise creator who created this amazing balance and precise order.
Yes, indeed, both this balance and order testify to the interference of feeling, wisdom and reason in administering this world, managing it and keeping it going, matters which cannot be present by mere chance. Rather, they are available through a supreme might that has feeling and a goal and realizes the interest of the cosmos and the needs of life with full and comprehensive comprehension, so it subjects the cosmos to such restrictions and interrelations.
An in-depth look into the cosmos guides us to a special system that we call “service system”. We see special systems in the cosmos employed in serving other cosmic systems so one does not exist without the other. Therefore, we see a strong connection between the various manifestations. It is then that the following question forces itself: How did this tangible way in the cosmic world come to be?
Did it come to exist by chance, while it is less than creating systems some of which serve the others? Is it incapable of creating a thing in this precise way? If so, what about the large group?
Or is it due to the “particularity of the matter” to which some materialists may resort? It, too, is more incapable of providing an explanation. The “particularity hypothesis” aims at each cell, or each atom, has a particular effect that ends up at a special existent having order. As for great systems serving similar systems, it cannot explain the “particularity hypothesis”.
Such is the effect of the total, not that of each part of the matter. Let us bring an example. Undoubtedly the composition of woman and the systems created in her have all material causes that demonstrate it on the page of existence. She has two breasts, and the details related to her and the milk, which is formed in her breast, have material causes that end at such manifestations.
The way a baby is formed inside the womb and its birth in a way that suits the details relevant to it and to its own formation with a special mouth and special nutritional vessels that depend only on milk. All these have material causes that cannot be denied.
There is a third thing. Woman, in her material systems, serves the second phenomenon in all its systems, so much so that had there been no first, there would have been no way for the second to live and to endure. It is then that we ask about this particularity which we labeled a serving system: Is it the product of a cause? Did chance make the first a means for the second while it is incapable of creating it in this huge quantity? Had it been accurate to use it for an explanation, it would have been accurate about one or two births and not in these endless and innumerable births except with the use of astronomical figures.
Or is it from the aspect of the particularity of the matter, which is futile because the particularity hypothesis, if its accuracy is taken for granted, aims at explaining the partial system through the particularity of the matter. As for explaining the quantity in systems some of which serve the others through the particularity of the matter, it does not prove such hypothesis, nor do its advocates claim that it does. Harmony and inter-servicing cannot be the effect of a single cell or something like that.
Reason, in this situation, dictates that this system, this particularity, is the product of an innovating creator capable of coordinating these systems in a scientific presentation and a special map that renders the first phenomenon a pretext for the second. He created the first one before innovating the second within a time interval, and this is what we call objectiveness.
A creation is not separate from a goal. Advocating it is not separate from the supervision of a creator who is innovative, knowledgeable and capable of controlling the cosmos; he is the one whom theologians adopt call “God of the world.”
In a clear statement, we see that the hand of might and innovation had, years before the birth of the baby, prepared many systems on which the baby’s existence and march in life depend. They in advance prepared what the life of the baby needs in its first years in a magnificent way, and this is the clearest evidence that the cosmos is not without an objective, a goal, and that the one that created it aimed at an objective, a (certain) goal. And it is never without the interference of a feeling. It rejects chance explaining and analyzing the cosmos.
We wonder how many prominent similarities there are, how many magnificent examples for this sort of objectiveness in the page of the cosmos about which we are yet to say a word.
Determining the order proof can be done in a fourth way, and it is not an independent proof but a difference in reporting it. The essence of the proof is the same, while the reporting methods are different. We shall call this report “proof according to the probabilities of the origin of life”.
Life on earth is the result of the combination of many conditions each of which is like a portion of the cause of the existence of the living phenomenon. The living phenomenon is impossible in the absence of any of these conditions, let alone many or all of them. Some of these conditions are connected to the cosmos, some are connected to the air and gases that surround us, and some are connected to life and the vegetation, animal life and the inanimate objects it contains. The sciences of physics have undertaken the task of explaining these conditions, so we do not have to state them here.
Rather, we would like to say that these conditions are so many, the possibility of their combination in the order and synchronization that leads to the stability of the living phenomenon by way of chance is a possibility that stands in contrast to countless other possibilities, so much so that it becomes so small, it is rendered unreliable. For example, for life to exist, there are elements and causes to the least of which we would like to refer here.
1. The earth, on which we live, is surrounded by a thick blanket of gases called the atmospheric cover the thickness of which is eight hundred kilometers, and it is like a protective umbrella which safeguards the globe from being exposed to the danger of comets. These comets split every day from planets, they scatter in the space and have been doing so for about twenty million years. Without this cover, millions of burning comets would have fallen on every spot of the earth.
2. The earth is distant from the sun by 93 million miles. Therefore, the heat that reaches it from the sun is in a measure which is suitable for life and is proportionate with its requirements. Had the distance between the sun and the earth been more than it presently is by, say, twice the distance, the amount of heat that it receives from the sun would have decreased. And had this distance been reduced to the half, the heat received by the earth would have doubled. In both cases, life becomes impossible.
3. The air we inhale is a mixture of many gases, including 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, etc. Had this amount been changed and the percentage of oxygen in the air is made 50%, all flammable materials would have turned into burnt items, and the matter would have reached the extent that if a spark hits a forest, it will burn everything in it without leaving one dry branch. Had the percentage of oxygen in the air been reduced to 10%, we would have lost most elements on which our civilization now stands.
These are examples of the numerous conditions on which the probability of life on this planet stands. They are so many, they are almost innumerable, countless. On this basis, we return to the essence of the topic and say: Life appearing on the face of this earth requires necessary elements that have to be present. If one of their endless elements is missing, life will come to an end, and it will be impossible for living beings to continue to exist.
Thereupon, the speculation that these necessary and harmonious conditions can become available through the random explosion of the blind matter is a very minute possibility that cannot be relied on. This is so because at the time of the explosion of the first matter, it could have appeared in numerous different ways without which life cannot settle except in a special way or in one status. It is then that one will wonder: How did the first matter explode without the interference of a broad sense and reason to this special form that enables life to stabilize?
Let us take from all living phenomena a small insect in the millions of different elements that it contains and which are put together in their own particular percentages. The first matter can appear in various forms that are not suitable for the life of the insect but what is suitable for it is only one of them. It is then that we raise this question: How could the first matter, by way of chance, surrender to one single form from among so many which is suitable for its life?
This proof is the one known in the mathematical sciences as the calculation of probabilities. In order to explain it, we provide this example.
Let us suppose a blind person sits before a typewriter and tries to press its buttons, a hundred in number, including capital and small letters, trying to type a poem by a well-known poet such as Labeed in which he says,
Everything other than Allah is false,
Every bliss imminently disappears.
It is possible the first press accidentally hits the first letter of this poem, the second press hits the second letter of it, the third press accidentally hits the third letter, and so on. This probability is one that faces many others that cannot be explained through read mathematical figures. If you wish to get that figure, you have to multiply the number of the letters of the typewriter by themselves according to the count of the number of letters in the poem to be typed. If the letters of the typewriter are a hundred, and the total number of letters of one verse of the poem is 38, the number of probabilities will be one in front of which are 76 zeros.
If we add to the first verse another, the probabilities of typing both verses accidentally by our blind friend will reach a number close to zero.
It is impossible for a thinker to accept this minute probability—which is suitable for achieving the end—from among all those huge probabilities and possibilities. Anyone who sees the two verses properly typed will undoubtedly conclude that the one who typed them must be a person of knowledge and wisdom, and they did not take place by a blind chance.
This is said about a poem, so, what about the cosmos and life which both result from the combination of millions of millions of conditions and elements in certain percentages and at a very high degree of craftsmanship and precision? So, can a wise person say that these living conditions came to be when the first matter exploded and took place through one of these numerous probabilities, regarding reliance on this probability, that is, reliance on the zero, as being mathematic?
In this regard, Chris Morrison says, “The size of planet earth, its distance from the sun, the temperature in the sun, its life giving rays, the thickness of the earth’s atmosphere, the quantity of water, the amount of oxygen dioxide, the size of nitrogen, life appearing and staying alive, all these matters prove that system departs from chaos (i.e., it is a system, not chaos), and testify to a design and a purpose. They also prove that, according to strict mathematical laws, all this could not have happened coincidentally at the same time on one planet once in a billion. It could have taken place thus, but certainly this did not take place.”3
Reporting this proof and mathematical way proves that the order proof agrees with all ages and suits all mentalities and levels, and reporting it is not limited to one way. Thus, the secret behind the Quran focusing on that evidence becomes clear. The following verses refer to it. The most Praised One has said,
“Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of night and day; in the sailing of ships through the ocean for the benefit of mankind; in the rain which Allah sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives with it to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters throughout the earth; in the change of the winds and clouds which they trail like slaves between the sky and the earth… (there) are indeed signs for wise people” (Qur’an, 2:164).
British philosopher David Hume4 objected to the order proof in a way the sum of which is as follows: “The basis of the order proof—as was misconceived by Hume and Western philosophers—stands on our having witnessed that all organized human-made materials are not without a skilled maker. The house is not made without a builder, the ship is not built without workers, and so the organized cosmos has to also have a maker due to its likeness to these human-made things.”
Then he criticized this conclusion by saying it is based on the similarity between the natural beings and what humans (themselves) make. But this similarity by itself is not sufficient because of the judgment of each overlapping on that of the other due to their differences. What humans make are artificial, whereas the cosmos is a natural existence. So, they are two things having no similarity between them. Therefore, how can we find out that one of them rules over the other?
It is true, we have tried what humans have made, and we have found them to be unable to come to existence without a rational person making them, creating them, and shaping them. But we did not try to do so in the cosmos. The existence of the cosmos has not recurred so man may become familiar with how it was created and came to be. Rather, he faced it for the first time. Thus, no reason can be found which points out to its Creator if we follow the same way when we look into what humans make unless this has been tried scores of times.
The process of creation and genesis is witnessed as one can see and experience when it comes to man-made things, so he may become familiar with the fact that the cosmos, in the system it contains, cannot come to exist without a knowledgeable Creator, an all-knowing Maker. This is the sum of the confusion that we have clearly explained.
The confused stated actually spells out a very naive and superficial understanding of the proof behind the systems. It expresses the West’s lack of a comprehensive philosophical school that realizes and absorbs the system’s proof in its right form. This proof is not at all connected to making a similitude, to imitating, to experimenting; rather, it is a completely rational proof. Reason determines it after a natural observation of the system, of what it is, that it is made by a rational Doer, an Omni-Potent Creator.
In order to explain what we have stated, the system’s proof is not based on the similarity between what humans make and what naturally exists as Hume has objected, so a judgment can be made about both types and one is described as artificial while another is natural, and the judgment about the first cannot be applied to the other.
Nor can it be made by comparison which determines an experiment, so it may be said that we tried it in man-made things but did not try it in the cosmos due to its taking place has not recurred, and we did not see its coming into existence several times. The judgment, therefore, passed about the first cannot be withdrawn and applied to the other.
Instead, it is based on a rational observation of the systems, harmony and order among the particles of existence. Something is judged as is without the interference of an experiment or a comparison, that is, the One Who created the system definitely exists, having a mind and a feeling, and here is the explanation.
The order proof is comprised of two precepts: One is related to the senses, whereas the other is related to reason. The role of the senses is restricted to prove a subject, that is, the existence of a system in the cosmos and the rules prevailing over it. As for the role of reason, it is rendered to this order; in its pre-determined method and quantity cannot be the product of chance or of any factor that lacks feeling.
As regarding the minor one, it does not need an explanation. All natural sciences guarantee to explain the magnificent systems prevailing over the world from atoms to constellations. What is important is to explain the major one, that is, that reason dictates that it (cosmos) is the product of a great reason so it would take place without seeking help in judging it from similarity or experience; rather, it is purely independent of all of that. Let us say the following:
Reason dictates that there should be a logical connection between the system and the interference of the sense because this system, in reality, has nothing but three matters.
1. Inter-connections among various different parts with regard to how much and how
2. Arranging them and organizing them in a way where cooperation and interaction among them is possible
3. Objectivity towards a goal sought and anticipated from this organizing apparatus
System in this sense exists in all parts of the cosmos, from the atom to the constellation. If reason looks into all aspects of the cosmos, starting from the atom and passing by man, animals and plants and ending with the stars, planets and constellations, one will see in them parts that are different in, first, how much and how and, second, in the way they are particularly organized and coordinated.
He will see, third, how this anticipated goal is achieved. He will immediately rule that this cannot happen except by a rational doer, a Creator with a goal and feeling Who creates the various parts in their particular quantity and methodology, arranging and organizing them so they can interact with each other and cooperate to achieve the goal anticipated behind their existence.
This judgment, which is issued by reason, is not based on anything other than looking at the system and its stubborn nature in order to verify whether a rational managing doer is involved, and it is not based on similarity or experiment as Hume and his likes have imagined.
When reason observes the order through the eye, ear, brain, heart or cell, that is to say, the existence of parts that differ in their quantity and are first of all, arranged, and, secondly, are symmetrical, so they can interact with each other and, thirdly, so they may achieve the goal behind them. All this prompts reason to judge that they are the doing of a knowledgeable creator due to their need for the interference of feeling, reason, objectivity and purpose.
Thus, it becomes clear that the organizing apparatus, the interference of reason and feeling, is a logical connection. You may say that the essence of the system, in its three pillars: interrelationship, symmetry and objectivity, call out in the tongue of their creation saying: “This order is the creation of a broad reason and a great feeling.”
Reason sees the assembly of millions of conditions required for the stability of life on earth, so much so that if some of them are missing, life will lose its balance. It sees the assembly of thousands of parts and elements that are necessary for seeing, all being present to the eye, so much so that if a single part of them is missing, or if it lags behind its set place, the seeing process will lose its balance, and it will be impossible to see.
When these things happen, reason will judge that there is a tremendous reason that has set such a system and created this symmetry, harmony, order and coordination. It will also judge that there is feeling that has interfered in all of this. It will deny it took place by chance and coincident.
This is so because if their assembling can thus be through chance, it can likewise be through countless and innumerable other ways that are not suitable for it, and the possibility of the stability of this picture from among such a huge number of pictures becomes extremely weak. It will almost be a mathematical zero in being so minute, something that even an ordinary person, let alone a judgmental rational person, would reject.
Yes, this mathematical calculation is applied by the rational person. He witnesses the cosmic system which prompts him to rule that there is a rational cause that chose this picture from among numerous ones deliberately and willfully, combining those required conditions in this method which is suitable for life.5
Thus, the order proof remains strong, firm and safe against any criticism, and it is not connected to making any similitude or experiment as Hume had surmised. Rather, it is the judgment of only reason that is arrived at by observing the essence of the order without comparing it with something. Hence, what naturally exists and what is man-made will both become equal.
If reason refuses to submit that a watch came to exist without a maker, or that the car was found without a cause, it is for the sake of observing the same phenomenon (the watch and the car) where it is seen as having come to exist after it used to be non-existent, so it immediately rules that it has someone who causes it to come to exist. This judgment is only for the sake of a logical connection between a thing after its non-existence and the obligation of an active doer of it. If you may, you can say that it is for the sake of the law of cause and causation which reason recognizes in all fields.
Also, reason’s judgment is in the position that the organized existent is the creation of a great mind. This stems from the logical connection between the system and the interference of the feeling, or the impossibility of the system surfacing by chance, due to the mathematical calculation above, not because reason drew an example or made an experiment, so it reached this conclusion.
To sum up, the nature of order and its essence in the things which we see calls upon us in the tongue of its formation that it came up due to a doer who feels, a maker who is rational. This is what causes reason to surrender to the existence of such a maker who stands behind the cosmic order without looking at anything else.6
Explaining it depends on clarifying matters.
First Matter: Dividing what is reasonable into: what is mandatory, what is probable, and what is impossible.
Anything is regarded by the intellect as reasonable if we attribute to it existence and verification. So, it may or may not be thus characterized due to its own attributes.
Second Matter: Something that cannot exist due to the combination of both antitheses.
The first may or may not require its attributes to be required by its own essence. The first exists as a must due to its own essence.
The second can possibly exist due to its own essence, I mean the ratio in it of each of existence and void is equal.
In other words, if we imagine something, it may be in an external form which reason accepts or does not:
First: It is impossible (to do so) on its own, such as combining or removing both antitheses, the combination of the antitheses and the existence of the matter without a cause.
Second: It may either require its existence from its own essence and the need for it to exist in the outside; such is necessity for its own sake. Or its ratio is equal to existence and void, so neither transgresses. For this, it may exist or it may not, which is something possible due to its own nature such as humankind and others.
This division revolved between what is positive and what is negative, and there is no winner here, nor can it be imagined to be reasonable to suggest that there is something that does not fit in any of these three divisions.
Regarding what exists due to its own essence, since the requirement for its existence lies in its own essence, its existence is not dependent on the existence of a cause that necessitates its existence because it does not need such a cause. Also, regarding what does not have to exist, it essentially requires the absence for the need for its existence. Therefore, its non-existence does not need a cause.
For this reason, it is said that what has to exist actually exists in it, while what does not have to exist requires the absence of the need for it to exist, both are independent of cause. This is so because the need for a cause is want and dependence. But what must be is so because of its own essence. What does not have to exist needs no reason for it to exist. What is as such, it does not have to be characterized by a cause: The first has existence for its own self, whereas the second is characterized by void due to its own essence.
As regarding what may exist, its similitude to existence and void is like the center of the circle compared to its circumference. Neither of them is preferred over the other. Each, in its own attribute, needs a cause that takes it out of the status of equality, dragging it either to the side of existence or to that of void.
Yes, the cause of existence must be something that has already existed in the outside (world). As for the cause of void, it suffices in it the absence of cause. For example, dismissing ignorance from an illiterate person and substituting knowledge in its place depends on existing principles. As for his maintaining illiteracy or lack of knowledge, it is sufficient these principles are not there.
Role means something that brings about something else while, at the same time, the latter causes the first to exist. This is false because the fact that since the first thing causes the second to exist, it means it has precedence over it, whereas the second lags behind it. The requirement of the second thing being a cause for the first to exist means it has precedence over it. And the result will be: A thing being in one status and related to one other thing, whether it advances ahead of it or not, lags behind it or not, this is a combination of two antitheses: Its being nil, like their rising in status over one another, is a necessity taken for granted. The result: The role and its requirement are impossible.
In order to explain it, let us provide you with an example. If two friends agree to sign a document, and if each of them preconditions, in order to sign it, that the other should first sign it, the result will be each signature depends on the other. In that case, such a document will never be signed till Judgment Day due to the impossibility we have mentioned.
Another example: If two men want to cooperate to carry some luggage, but each of them preconditions for carrying it that the other should do so first, this luggage will stay where it is indefinitely!
As regarding sequence, it is the combination of a series of causes and probable causations organized in an endless way. All will be characterized by possibility based on A depending on B and B depending on C and so on. Causes and causations are organized in this sequence without having a point at which they end.
Briefly, the truth about sequences does not get out of the limits of the order in which causes and causations are organized. They end on one side, I mean their final point, and they are endless on the other, I mean their beginning. Based on this, the last portion is characterized by causation only, contrarily to all other parts. Each of them, since its cause depends on what is above it, becomes a cause for what is below it. Causation is a common description among all. It prevails over the chain, over all its parts, unlike the causation, for it does not apply to the last portion. This is the reality of the sequence; as regarding its falsehood, let us state the following.
The cause, as it is, just as it is a general description for all parts of the chain, it also is a description of the same chain, the same series. Also, since each series is subject to its cause, their total, which we describe as a series of accumulated causes, is likewise subject to the causation. It is then that this question forces itself: If the huge chain is rendered to its cause, what is the cause that took it out of the concealment of void and into the world of existence, out of the dark into the world of light? The need of the cause for causation is taken for granted.
The law of causation is one of the fixed laws that nobody denies except a stupid person or one who likes to argue about what is taken for granted. This is on the one hand. On the other hand, the chain did not stop and will never stop at a limit so the beginning of the chain would be described as a cause without causation. Rather, it continues, extending without stopping at a particular point.
Based on both of these matters, the chain is characterized by the attribute of causation without being characterized by the attribute of only the cause. It is then that this question comes back: What is the cause that brings about this caused chain, the one that takes it out of the concealment of void and into the scope of existence?
You can follow this logic in each of the rings of the series just as it is applied to the series itself. You can say: Since each part of the chain has a cause, is characterized by the attribute of causation, this question will then force itself: What is the cause that took each of these huge particles, which are described as having a causation, out of the scope of void and into the world of existence?
If the causation is the sign of want and of need for a cause, what is this cause that removed the dust of want from the face of these rings and outfitted them with the garb of existence and realization, making them rich with distinction?
The causation of the particles that are not separated from the chain’s causation is the sign of being linked to the cause, the sign of being identified by something else. So, what is this cause to which parts stick, and what is this other thing to which the chain sticks?
If you ask each chain about its own status, it would answer you with the language of its composition that its existence is needed; it is linked in all its affairs to the cause that brought it into being. If such is the case with each of these chains, it is the same with regard to the entire chain. It is then that we deduct this result: Each of the series’ parts has a reason, a cause, behind it, which is comprised of a series of causes.
The causation is not separated from the cause, and what is presupposed is that there is nothing that can be a cause while not being a reason for that cause. Otherwise, the chain would be broken, and it would stop at a particular point standing by itself. I mean there is nothing that is a cause without having a reason behind it’s being as such: causation.
If you say that each cause in the series stands on the causation that precedes it, and it is connected to it, the first portion of the end of the chain was brought into being through the second, and the second was brought through the third, and so on, up to whatever Allah decrees of endless portions and infinite chains. This amount of connection suffices to remove want and need.
If you say the above, I would say that everything has a cause, even if it relies on a causation that precedes it and on which its existence relies. Yet since the causes in all stages are characterized by the attribute of causation, they are on their own, lacking. Such a thing has no causation independently. And it does not remove the dust of want from its face through originality, for these causes in all chains have no role innately, have no role to play in bringing themselves into being independently.
Rather, the role of these causes is intermediary, taking from the preceding cause and paying to the causation. Thus, each series can be imagined as the cause of what follows it. It then has nothing on its own but it has the end of the cause that precedes it. Similar to it is the case of the other causes without any exception.
Such a thing does not render the chain or its parts to its being innately rich. Rather, they stay as we have described: innately in need for and related to others. So, there has to be a cause behind this series that removes its want and acts as a support for it.
In other words, each of these series (with the exception of the last one) carries two attributes: the attribute of cause; it is due to this attribute that what precedes it exists; and the attribute of causation: It is due to this attribute that it announces that it did not have what it has and it did not pay what it paid to its causation except through the cause it had gained from its precedent.
This matter is current and dominant in every series and every particle that falls in the sphere of sense or intellect. Therefore, the same series, in all its parts, carries the attribute of want and need as well as relevance and linkage to others. Such a chain cannot exist by itself except due to an existent that carries one attribute: causation, and nothing else, one stripped of the attribute of being caused. It is then that the chain ends, coming out of infinity into finitude.
If you want to seek help in explaining rational facts with tangible examples, here are two examples for you.
First: Each of these caused things, to which we refer through reason even if we cannot refer to them through the senses, are not infinite, due to their innate want to the zero point. The combination of these caused things is akin to combining zeroes. It is known that the zero, when added to another zero, remains a zero no matter how many zeros you add to it, producing no integer. For this reason, intellect judges that there has to be an integer so these zeros can be deciphered. Without it, the huge sum of these zeroes has no role at all in calculation; a zero is a zero no matter how many zeros you add to it.
Second: Conditional matters, if infinite and independent of an absolute case, do not come out to the world of existence. For example, if Zaid stands up only if Amr does so, and if the latter standing is dependent on Bakr, and so on, till the end, there will be no standing by any of them at all. The same condition applies to one signing a sheet of paper but preconditioning the second person to do so, whereas the second preconditions the third person to sign it, and so on, the sheet will never be signed at all. Rather, it is signed when someone stands up and goes to the sheet to sign it without preconditioning his action at all.
These sequential conditions, since the presence of any of them is preconditioned on the existence of a cause that precedes it, become infinitely sequentially conditioned issues. They do not come out to the world of existence unless they reach an absolute case, that is, an existent that becomes a pure cause, one whose existence is not dependent on any other cause. It is then that what we supposed to be sequential will terminate its sequence, and what we supposed to be infinite becomes finite.
Now we have reached this result: The supposition of infinite causes and causations is impossible because it requires a cause without causation. What is accurate is the opposite, i.e. the chain comes to an end, for there is no intermediary between what is positive and what is negative.7
Up to here, we have completed the Precepts that play a role in explaining the possibility evidence. Here is for you the same evidence:
Undoubtedly, the page of existence is full of possible existents through the evidence that they become existent then they disappear, becoming non-existent. They are created, and then they are extinct. They suffer alteration and change, up to the conditions that are the evidences of probability and the signs of dependence.
These possible existents, which are located in the sphere of the senses, are either with or without a cause. Regarding the second probability, the cause may either be possible or necessary. The probable cause may come to be either through its causations (the possible existents) or through another cause.
Based on the first probability, that is, their being existent without causation, the law of cause and causation has to be repealed. Anything that can exist has to have an effect (that brings it into existence). For example, if we state that the cause is innate, in addition to a factor that voids its role.
Based on the second probability, that is, their coming into being (takes place) through a possible cause, and the possible cause brings about the existents, this renders the role to be impossible.
Based on the third probability, that is, they come to exist through another cause, and this latter comes to exist through another cause, and so on, this requires a sequence the error of which we have already disproved.
Based on the fourth probability, that is, the cause is a must; it is this that proves what needs to be proven.
It now becomes clear that the cosmic system cannot be explained except by saying that possible existents are rendered to a cause that by itself necessitates them. This picture is found to be accurate by reason that finds it to be free of confusion. As for the other pictures, they all require what is impossible, and what requires impossibility is itself impossible.
So, to say that they come to be (existent) without a cause, or that their cause is their own selves, is rejected by the causation law that is recognized by everyone. Also, to say that some of them come to be (existent) because of others, and these others come to be (existent) when the first are, this requires a role. To say that anything possible comes to be through a second thing, and the second comes to be through a third, and so on, this requires a sequence.
What remains is only to say that probabilities end at what is innately a must, what stands on its own, what brings about existence to others.
The Holy Quran has presented its sciences and bases supported by clear evidences, not contending with mere a claim without a proof. It is similar to a teacher who presents his lessons to his students through evidence and proof. Using these verses as evidence is not similar to a faqih using them to back his views about branches of the creed.
A faqih has proven that revelation is by itself evidence, so he undertook to classify the branches and to back them with evidences from revelation, even using them as evidences in this situation where we now are, as is the case with using other evidences inherited from wise men and theologians. The Almighty has referred in the following verses to the probability of deriving evidences.
Since the probability reality lacks existence for itself and does not by itself prove anything in particular, the Almighty has pointed out saying,
“O mankind! It is you who need Allah: But Allah is the One Who is free of want, worthy of all praise” (Qur’an, 35:15).
It is similar to this verse:
“… It is He Who gives wealth and satisfaction” (Qur’an, 53:48)
“… Allah is free of want, and it is you who are needy” (Qur’an, 47:38).
Since what is probable, including human existence, cannot materialize except through a cause, and since its cause is not inherent, the most Praised One has pointed out saying,
“Were they created of nothing, or were they themselves the creators?!” (Qur’an, 52:35).
Since a creature cannot be the creator of another creature by originality and independence, without a must help from a Creator who creates, the most Glorified One has pointed out to this fact saying,
“Or did they create the heavens and the earth?! Nay! They have no firm belief” (Qur’an, 52:36).
So, these and similar verses rely on rational norms of knowledge through obvious evidences, without leaving them with no evidence.”8
Question: The argument that (living) beings are rendered to an eternal Creator who is existent by Himself are neither created nor brought into existence by any other requires specifying the rational principle, for sound reason judges that a thing does not come to exist without a causation. What should be the case, from the theologians’ viewpoint, is that something takes place without a cause, so the rational principle needs to be revoked.
First: This question is common to both theologian and materialist. They both admit the existence of an Eternal not brought forth by a cause. The theologian sees this Existent to be above the world of the matter, of what can be, and that everything probable ends with Him. The materialist sees this Existent to be the first matter that changes and transforms into pictures and conditions. He regards it as eternal, having come to be without a cause. Each of them should answer this question, not just the theologian.9
Second: The rational principle is interested in created existents and in the material phenomena in them. Since these are preceded by void, they are not separated from a causality that takes them out of the obscurity of void and into the world of existence. Had it not been for that causality, nothing that exists can come to be.
What is necessitated, in as far as the theologians propose, is a timeless Existent not preceded by void. Anything like this has no need for causality. Making and bringing into being are not attached to Him. They are characteristics of things preceded by void and cannot apply to things that are never preceded by void, things that are in existence since time immemorial.
The inquirer does not analyze the subject of the principle, claiming that the need for the causality is one of the characteristics of a being through what brought it into existence, although it is one of the attributes of an existent that can be preceded by void. What necessitates is outside the subject of the principle, a departure from it, an act of specifying, not identifying, and the difference between the two is obvious.
Third: To say that created things end at a must existent being, which by itself is actualized, requires the rational proof which rules in all fields; so, its judgment cannot be accepted in one field rather than in another.
Reason, which admits the law of causality and causation, rules that existents must end at a must present being. Philosophers expressed this principle by saying: “Anything which coincidentally comes into being has to come to an end by itself.” They also sought help to explain it from many examples such as: Everything is lit by light, and light itself provides light, the sweetness of sweet foods comes from sugar, and sugar by itself is sweet, up to the end of such common examples.
You have been introduced to precepts of proofs of evidences of what can be, and the conclusion derived from it is based on both cycle and sequence being nil. Had it not been for taking both these matters for granted, analogy would have been futile and evidence unproductive. What we focus on here is that anything which leads us to prove the Maker cannot be productive except if it is proven prior to it that cycle and sequence are nil. Had it not been for surrendering to this, the proofs would have been incomplete, useless.
For example, the order evidence, which is the most clear and general of all evidences, cannot be productive and pointing to the world having a must Creator. The series of the cosmos end at Him except if it is proven before that that cycle and sequence are not possible. This is so because this marvelous system is a cosmic sign created by knowledge coming from someone whose knowledge is broad, whose ability is superior, and whose attributes can neither be described nor identified by man.
As regarding this knowledge being a must and ability being ancient, this is not proven by evidence: It is impossible for the Creator of this system to be another being, so it must either fall into a cycle or into a sequence. Proving that the system of the cosmos and the series of causes and causalities stop at a certain point is mandatory; it is not a probability, rich not poor, standing by itself not through others.
This requires surrendering to the void of cycle and sequence, as is obvious. It is as if one argues through the order evidence or all other evidences accepting their being taken for granted when he uses them in his argument.
Scientific principles have proven the continuous depletion of energies existing in the cosmos, their going in the direction of a degree at which the torch of life is out and because of which its activities terminate.10 This depletion and termination of energies proves that existence and the creation of matter do not happen on their own. Otherwise, had this existence come to exist on its own, it would have been necessary that it will not depart from it perpetually, eternally.
Their depletion and disappearance is the best evidence that existence is a casual thing for the matter, not coming out of its own essence. This requires its existence to have a beginning. If a beginning is not required, this description would be innate, as is the case with every innate thing. Yet if something innately has to have a beginning, it likewise has to have an end. Science has already proven that it does have an end.
In other words, the existence of a matter which is transformed into energy is not something innate; otherwise, it would have by necessity remained inseparable from it, and that a matter does not end at extinction and void, having neither life nor activity. The truth is that natural sciences have admitted that the might of the matter will come to an end. It will lose its strength and energy, die and become cold. The difference when it comes to an end provides evidence that the matter’s existence is not innate. Since it is not innate, it must have a beginning, and this is what we mean when we say that matter is created (and does not create).
So far, we have explained the three proofs, and there are other proofs which remain and which scholars have discussed in books of logic. We would like to point out to their types.
1. The motion proof, which was invented by wise Aristotle and completed by the brilliant theological philosopher, “Sadr al-Mutaalliyeen” (the one who is in the front row of Gnostics, a reference to Mulla Sadra al-Shirazi), is one of the best proofs
2. The proof of men of the truth which is mentioned by the supreme mentor in his Isharat11
3. The proof of “al-assad al-akhsar” (put forth by a Sufi philosopher)
4. Sequence proof12
There remain some very interesting matters to which attention must be attracted:
First: A cause used by the theologian, and another cause used by the materialist.
Each of the theologian and materialist uses the word “cause”, and each means by it something differently from that of the other.
The cause, as regarded by the theologian, is an overflow of existence over things, the one that takes them out of void, making them existents after they used to be non-existent. Thus, the effect, in its matter, form and all affairs, will be vested on it. The cause is the one that gives the matter its existence, form and everything related to it, and it is the one that ultimately takes it out of the darkness of void and into the horizon of actuality.
In order to explain this, let us use examples from images and the human self. The self, nafs, creates images in the mind, forming them in it. Yes, the nafs seeks help in creating some images from external tangible models, but it may sometimes create in the mind images that have no similitude in the outside world, such as collective concepts like humanity, probability, etc.
Therefore, the cause to which the theologian refers is as such. Ultimately, the Creator created the matter, vesting on it its forms, surrounding it with a network of magnificent order which was not there before at all.
As regarding the cause in as far as the materialist is concerned, it creates movement and interactions in the matter. An example is: the carpenter who gathers logs from here and there and attaches some to others in a special way in order to form a chair. Another example is the builder who gathers bricks, mud, etc., from here and there and arranges them in a special engineering way so they may become a wall and a building. Or it may be like the fire that causes water to boil, turning it into steam.
Perhaps the materialist may expand in the use of the word “cause”, so he applies it to the same matter that is transformed into another matter, such as timber transforming into ashes, fuel into energy, electricity into light, sound, heat, etc.
Thus, it has been made clear that there is a huge difference between both terms. How would you compare the use of “cause” by the theologian about the One Who vested on existence its matter and shape and the term “cause” used by the materialist who describes what brings about motion in the matter, or in the matter being able to change into something else?
What has prompted the materialist to interpret the cause in this sense is his belief that it is ancient, and that the energies in it are ancient, that it is independent of the One that brought it into being. This contrasts the (belief of the) theologian who believes that matter is preceded by void. It has a cause and causality that brings it out of void into existence.
It is to these two terms that the wise theologian, [Grand Ayatollah Abd al-Ala (servant of the Most High)] Sabzawari [1910 – 1993] pointed out when he composed this poetry:
The One that grants existence is the Doer in the divine’s belief,
But the sophist describes the One that grants natural movement.
Yes, the divine (theologian) may use the term “cause” to describe one that creates and grants motion even if he does not create the matter itself and its form. He, therefore, says, “The carpenter is the cause behind the chair, the fire is the cause of burning, etc., expanding the use of the term.
It is in reference to what we have stated that the most Praised One says,
“… Then do you see? The (human seed [sperm]) that you eject [ejaculate]: Is it you who create it, or are We the Creator? We have decreed death to be your common lot, and We are not to be frustrated by changing your forms and creating you (again) in (forms) that you do not know. And you certainly already know the first form of creation: Why, then, do you not celebrate His praise? Do you see the seed that you sow in the ground? Is it you who cause it to grow, or are We the cause? If it were Our will, We would crush it to dry powder and you would be left in wonderment (saying,) ‘We are indeed left with debts (for nothing): Truly we are shut out (of the fruits of our labor).’ Do you see the water that you drink? Do you bring it down (as rain) from the clouds, or do We? If it were Our will, We would make it salt (and unpalatable): Then why do you not offer thanks? Do you see the fire that you kindle? Do you who grow the tree that feeds the fire, or do We?” (Qur’an, 56:58-72).
There is no doubt that man has a role to play in the forming of man, plants and vegetation, and Allah, praise to Him, too, has a role. But man’s role does not exceed his being effective through his movement. He throws the sperm into the womb, and he sows the seeds in the ground, he plants the trees and waters them. So, how can you compare him with the One Who vested existence on man, vegetation, trees, etc., in their matter and form?
Second: Our Holy Book contains texts about how our world, skies, earth and in-between them, came to be, and the verses in this regard are numerous. Here are some of them:
“The primal origin of the heavens and the earth is due to Him: How can He have a son when He has no consort? He created all things…” (Qur’an, 6:101);
“Allah is He Who created seven firmaments and of the earth a similar number” (Qur’an, 65:12);
“And Allah has created every animal…” (Qur’an, 24:45)
“Has there been a period of time when man was nothing (not even) mentioned?” (Qur’an, 76:1).
Similar verses are many more.
The Imam and Commander of the Faithful Ali ibn Abu Talib, peace with him, has said in one of his sermons, “Praise is due to Allah Who leads (knowledge) to His existence through (knowing) His creation, through His recent creations to His eternity.”13
He, peace with him, has also said, “Praise belongs to Allah, the One, the Only One, the self-Subsisting, the Unique who did not come to be out of a thing, nor has He created what now is out of what used to be.”14
He, peace with him, has also said, “He did not create things of eternal origins, nor out of precedents before them that were perpetual; rather, He created what He has created, perfecting His creation, forming what He has formed, making these forms very good.”15
He, peace with him, has also said, “Stillness and motion do not apply to Him; how can what He creates be applied to Him?! How can what He originates and creates return to affect Him?! How can what He affects affect Him?!”16
Imam al-Hassan, peace with him, has said, “He created creation, so He is the Magnificent Originator; He innovated what he started, invented what he began.”17
Till now, the research has covered the proofs of the existence of the Maker, providing glittering evidences. Now is time to look into His Names, Attributes, Actions, through His own favors, the Almighty that He is.
- 1. Science calls for Faith, p. 159.
- 2. Science invites belief, p. 159.
- 3. Chris Morrison, Science calls for faith.
- 4. Hume was born in Scotland in 1711 and died in 1776. He was regarded as one of the greatest skeptics. He recorded this skepticism in his book titled Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, a book written in the form of a dialogue between two hypothetical persons one of whom represents a skeptic in the order proof named Philo, and the other represents one who defends it, and he is named Cleanthes.
- 5. Refer to the fourth report for the order proof. In it, we pointed out in detail to what we state here.
- 6. The questions directed to the order proof are not restricted to what we have stated, though it is the strongest among them. The mentor (may his shade last) collected all the queries submitted about this proof which are more than seven in number and answered them in a book titled Allah: Creator of the Cosmos. One who wishes to expand may refer to pp. 220 to 279 of it.
- 7. The fallacy of sequence is one of the important issues in divine philosophy, and it was submitted by philosophers in their works, proving the falsehood through proofs more than ten in number. But most of them are not convincing because they reached the falsehood conclusion by relying on mathematical proofs which do not apply except to finite matters. The evidence we stated is a purely philosophical one derived from the principles of the sublime wisdom which were founded by Sadr ad-Din al-Shirazi. Their bases were set up by his school students the most prominent of whom in recent century is our late master, allama Tabatabai.
- 8. These verses contain clear proof that logical thinking from what is inspired by the Holy Quran attracts humanity to Him. Had philosophy meant sound thinking and proving provided by the claimant, its door would have been opened by the Holy Quran.
- 9. What is amazing is that British philosopher Bertrand Russell claimed that his main interest was in theology and his method required the existence of a thing without a cause, and by now you have come to know the opposite.
- 10. Science has clearly proven that there is a continuous transfer of heat from hot bodies to cold ones and that the opposite cannot take place through an innate power, so heat may revert from cold bodies to hot ones. This means that the cosmos is going in the direction of a degree at which all bodies equalize and the source of energy depletes. At that time, there will be no chemical or natural process, nor will there be a trace of life itself in this universe. Since life still continues, and since chemical and natural processes are going along their paths, we can conclude that this cosmos cannot be perpetual; otherwise, its energies would have been used up a long time ago and every activity in existence would have stopped. Thus, sciences inadvertently reached the conclusion that this universe has a beginning. Briefly put, the laws of thermal dynamics indicate that the components of this universe are gradually losing their heat and are imminently going to the day when all bodies become under a very low temperature that is the absolute zero. It is then that energy will be no more, and life will be impossible.
- 11. Al-Ishaaraat, Vol. 3, p. 18.
- 12. Refer to Tajreed al-Itiqad, p. 67; Al-Asfaar, Vol. 6, pp. 36-37 and Vol. 2, pp. 165-66. One who wishes to become familiar with these proofs has to review the references that we have stated.
- 13. Nahjul-Balagha, sermon 152.
- 14. Al-Saduq, Al-Tawhid, p. 41.
- 15. Nahjul-Balagha, sermon 163.
- 16. Ibid., sermon 186.
- 17. Al-Saduq, Al-Tawhid, p. 46, hadith 5.