ﷲ سبﺣﺎ نه و تعالى
Since the earliest times of human history, man had attained faith in God, worshipped Him alone in sincerity and manifested a deep relationship with Him. This took place before man reached any stage of purely philosophical reasoning or the comprehension of the methods of demonstration.
This faith was not the child of class struggle, nor was it the invention of exploiters or tyrants as a justification of their exploitation. It was not the invention of the exploited in order to justify their own suffering. This is because faith has preceded all such conflicts in human history. Faith in God was not born out of fear and the feeling of awe in the face of natural catastrophes and nature's unpredictable behavior.
For, had faith been born of fear, or had it been the result of awe, then the most religious among men throughout history would have been the ones most given to fear and dread. On the contrary, those who have carried the torch of faith across the ages have been people of great strength, of character and will. This faith, rather, expresses a fundamental inclination in man to be devoted to his Creator. It manifests a pure conscience enabling him to discern the connection between man and his Lord and between God and the universe which He created.
In the next stage, man reached metaphysical thinking and inferred from things around him in the universe general concepts such as being (wujud) and non-being (`adam), possibility (imkan) and impossibility (istihalah), unity (wahdah) and multiplicity (kathrah), compositeness (tarakkub) and simplicity (basatah), part (juz') and whole (kull), priority (taqaddum) and posteriority (ta'akhkhur) and cause ('illah) and effect (ma'lul). Man then tended to use these concepts and apply them to the construction of arguments in support of his original faith in God, praised and exalted be He, and to justify and explain it in philosophical terms.
When, however, scientific experimentation began, to appear, as a tool of. knowledge; and thinker thus realized that these general concepts in themselves were inadequate for the study of nature and the discovery of its laws and for the uncovering of the secrets of the universe, they believed sense perception and scientific observation to be the principle avenue of any pursuit of these secrets and laws.
This orientation toward sense perception in investigation generally enhanced human knowledge of the universe and broadened it to a high degree. This trend began its march by asserting that sense perception and experimentation are two of the most important tools which human reason and knowledge must employ in pursuit of the discovery of the secrets of the universe and its all-encompassing order.
Thus instead of a Greek thinker. like Aristotle, for instance, sitting in his closed room and pondering over the relationship between the motion of a body in space and the power of a body moving it, and then deciding that the motion of that body would cease with the cessation of the moving power, instead of that, Galileo began his experiments and continued his observation of moving bodies to infer a relationship of a different sort. He asserted that a body encountering an external force which moved it would not cease its motion, even when that force ceased until it encountered another force. which arrested its motion.
This empirical trend meant encouragement for investigators of nature and the laws governing its phenomena to arrive at their conclusions in two stages. The first is observation by the senses and experimentation, and the gathering of results from these. The second is a rational stage consisting of the arranging and harmonizing of these results and the interpretation of them in a general and acceptable manner.
This trend, however, as a scientific method, was not meant to take the place of reason. Nor was any scientist able to discover a secret of the universe or a law of nature simply by observation by the senses and experimentation without the aid of reason. This is because a scientist must always analyze the data gathered through observation by the senses and experimentation in order to reach conclusions through the use of his rational faculty.
We know of no great scientific investigation which has been able to dispense with the second stage in favour of: the first, or that did not go; from, the first to the second stage, as .has already been indicated. Thus the problems of the first stage would be matters of sense perception, while those of the second, conclusions based on rational proofs discerned by the mind, but not matters of direct sense perception.
Thus, for instance, with regard to the law of gravity, Newton did not feel directly the gravitational force of two bodies. Nor did he feel that this force was proportional to the inverse of the square of the distance between the centres of mass of the two bodies, and directly proportional to the product of the masses of the two bodies.1
Rather he perceived the stone as it came down towards the ground and the moon rotating around the earth and the planets around the sun. He pondered all this and endeavoured to interpret these phenomena, relying on Galileo's theory of the uniform acceleration of bodies falling or rolling down inclined planes.2
He likewise made use of Keppler's laws of planetary motion, the third of which states, “The Square of the period of rotation of a planet around the sun is proportional to the cube of its distance from it.”3In the light of all this Newton discovered the law of gravity. He supposed that, “A gravitational force of attraction between two particles is always determined by the masses and the distance between them. “4
It should have been possible. for this empirical trend as a method of investigating the order of the universe to present a new and illuminating argument in support of faith in God, exalted be He. This should have been possible, in view of the fact that this method has uncovered aspects of harmony in the universe which can be used as proofs of an intelligent and wise Creator.
Scientists, in as much as they are concerned with natural phenomena, have not interested themselves with the clarification of this problem, which has for long been considered as a metaphysical matter outside the scope of strictly scientific concern. Soon, however, new directions appeared within the discipline of philosophy, outside the scope of natural science, which endeavoured to “philosophize” this empirical, method and present it in the terminology of formal logic.
This new philosophy declared that the only means of knowledge is sense experience, and where sense perception ends human knowledge ceases. Thus whatever is inaccessible to the senses and cannot, be verified by direct experimentation, cannot be proved by any other means.
This empirical and experimental trend was used to counter the idea of faith in God, the Exalted. Since God is not a being subject to sense experience, capable of being seen and felt, there is no way of proving His existence. The method was not employed by scientists, who practised the experimental method with success, but by people with different philosophical and logical inclinations, who attempted to interpret, but misapplied, the empirical method.
They used it in accordance with their own inclinations. Gradually, these extreme approaches fell into conflict. From the philosophical point of view, for instance, they found themselves obliged to deny objective reality, that is to say, to deny the reality of the universe in which we live, as a whole and in its details. This is because, they argued, there are no means of knowledge other than the senses.
The senses introduce us to things as we perceive them, not as they are in themselves. Therefore, when we perceive something, we can assert its existence in our sense perception. As for its existence outside our consciousness, that is, its objective existence in itself, independent of and prior to our act of experiencing it, we have no proof. Thus when one sees the moon in the sky, for example, one is able only to assert his perception of the moon at that instant.
But the advocates of this new philosophy were unable to ascertain or demonstrate fully whether the moon exists in the sky in reality, or whether it had an objective existence before the viewer opened his eyes and saw it. This is like a cross-eyed person seeing things which do not exist in reality: he can assert his own perception of these things but is unable to ascertain their actual existence.
This new empirical trend in the end destroyed sense experience itself as an epistimological method, by making it the final arbiter of the limits of human knowledge. This meant that sense knowledge became a mere phenomenon of the mind, lacking objective existence independent of our consciousness and perception.
With regard to logical aspects, the logical positive school, the most recent current school in the development of empiricist philosophy, came to the conclusion that every sentence the truth or falsehood of which cannot be verified by sense experience is simply, a cluster of empty words. It is like haphazard sounds of the alphabet repeated endlessly. The sentence, on the other hand, whose truth or falsehood may be verified, must be made up of meaningful words.
If sense experience can ascertain the agreement of its purport with reality, then it must be considered a true sentence. Thus the sentence, “Rain comes down from the sky in winter” is a true sentence. The sentence, “Rain comes down from the sky in summer”, while being a meaningful sentence, is false in its purport. The sentence, “Something comes down during the `Night of Power' (Laylatu'l-qadr)'5 which can be neither seen nor felt”, has no meaning regardless of whether it is true or false. Thus any report whose truth cannot be verified by the senses is nonsense. Therefore, with reference to the above sentence, it is like saying 'daas' descends from heaven on the Night of Power ('daas' being only a nonsense syllable).
The reference to a subject such as `daas' adds nothing to the truth value of a sentence. Hence, both sentences tell us nothing, even though the second provides a subject. From this it , Follows that the sentence,! ”God exists” like saying “Daas exists”, and the two reports are equally meaningless. This is so because the existence of God, the Exalted, cannot be known through sense perception or experimentation.
This logical approach has its own inner contradiction because its own general premise cannot itself be verified by direct sense experience. In addition, it is, in its assertion, a meaningless premise. This logic, which claims that any report which sense experience cannot verify is meaningless, makes a general claim.
Every generalization, however, ipso facto goes beyond the realm of sense experience because senses can only perceive at any given moment individual objects or parts of a whole. This approach, therefore, is not only self-contradictory, but also contradicts all scientific generalizations which we employ to explain natural phenomena in general terms. This is because generalization in any form cannot be verified by sense experience: It is rather inferred from observation of concrete and, limited phenomena of sense experience.6
Fortunately, however, science did not lend such philosophical trends; any appreciable attention in its forward march and continuous evolution: Instead, scientists always began with sense perception and experimentation in their endeavour to discover the universe, but then went beyond this narrow approach which such schools of philosophy or logic had imposed on scientific investigation. Science must in the end endeavour to rationally arrange these phenomena within the framework of general laws and then go on to discover and explain their inter-relationships.
The influence of these extremist philosophical schools has greatly diminished even over the materialistic schools of philosophy. The new materialistic philosophy, as chiefly represented by the advocates of dialectical materialism, has clearly rejected these trends. Dialectical materialism gave itself the right to go beyond the framework of sense perception and experimentation with which a scientist begins his investigation; it sought to go even beyond the second stage with which a scientist must conclude his investigation. This was necessary in order for the investigator to be able to compare the various results `of scientific theories and arrange them under a general theoretical set of rules and specify the relations between natural phenomena which these results presuppose.
Dialectical materialism, which is heir to materialistic thought down through history, has itself become an abstract philosophy from the point of view of these modern empirical extremist philosophical positions. The new materialistic philosophy has finally arrived at a view of the world within a dialectical framework.
This means that both materialistic and theistic thought have reached a consensus on the need to transcend the limits of sense experience, by which the new extremist materialistic schools advocated that science and philosophy be bound. It then becomes possible for investigation and knowledge to utilise two stages. The first consists of collecting the results of sense experience and experimentation and the second of interpreting these results theoretically and rationally.
The actual disagreement between the theistic and materialistic approaches is concerned with the way in which the conclusions reached in the second stage are to be interpreted. Materialism rejects any interpretation, which presupposes the, existence of wise creator, while this insists that the interpretation of these results can never. be ultimately convincing without the assumption of a wise Creator.
We shall now present two modes of demonstration of the existence of the wise Creator, praised and exalted be He. In each, the results of sense experience and experimentation will be presented on the one hand, and the rational influence in proof of our argument on the other. We shall call the first mode the scientific or inductive proof (ad-dalil al-istiqra'i) and the second the philosophical proof (ad-dalil al-falsafi) We must first, however, explain what we mean by scientific proof.
Scientific argument is any proof which depends on sense experience and experimentation. It follows, moreover, the method of inductive demonstration, which is based on the principle of the computation of probability (hisab al-ihtimalat). Hence, the method we shall follow, in demonstrating the existence of the Creator is scientific proof based on the method of inductive argument, which itself rests on the computation of probabilities.
(The method of the argument is not the argument itself. One may, for instance, demonstrate that the sun is bigger than the moon because scientists say so: The method employed here is the acceptance of` the statement of scientists as a proof of the truth. You may argue that someone will die soon because you saw in a dream that that person actually died. The method employed here is the use of dreams as an argument for the truth.
Likewise, you may argue that the earth is a big bipolar magnetic field, possessing two poles, one negative, the other positive. The argument in this case is based on the fact that the needle of a compass which is set in a horizontal position faces north and south. The method followed here is the use of the experiment as proof. Thus the validity of any argument is fundamentally related to the method on which it depends.)
For this reason we refer to the scientific argument for the existence of the Creator as the inductive proof. It will be our task now to clarify this method.
It has already been observed that the scientific argument for the existence of the Creator follows the method of inductive demonstration, which is based on the computation of probability. We wish, however, before presenting this argument, to explain this method and then to evaluate it in order to determine the extent to which it can be relied upon in the discovery of the truth of things.
The inductive method based on the computation of probability has an extremely complex and highly precise structure. Therefore, a complete and precise evaluation of this method can be achieved only through a detailed and thorough analysis of the logical foundations of induction (al-Usus al-mantiqiyyah lil-istiqra') as well as the theory of probability.'7
Our purpose here is, however, to avoid difficult and complicated constructions and analysis not readily accessible to the average reader. We shall therefore do two things; first, delimit the demonstrative method we shall follow and explain its steps briefly and succinctly. We shall secondly, evaluate this method and determine its validity. We shall do this not through a logical analysis of the method and the discovery of its logical and mathematical bases, but through practical applications acceptable to any rational human being.
It must be stated at this point that the method we use in demonstrating the existence of the wise Creator is the same method we confidently employ in our daily life as well as in our scientific experiments. What follows will provide sufficient evidence of the fact that the method of demonstration of the existence of a wise Creator is the same method we use to prove the truths of everyday reality as well as scientific truths. Since, therefore, we trust this method with regard to the reality of everyday life, we must trust it also with regard to the proof of the wise Creator, who is the source of all truth.
You receive a letter in the mail, and you conclude from merely reading it that it is from your brother. Similarly, when one sees that a certain physician has succeeded in curing many illnesses, one trusts this physician and considers him to be a skillful one. Likewise, if after taking penicillin ten times, one found each time that his body reacted to it in the same negative manner, one would conclude that he had an allergy to penicillin. In all these cases, the method used is the inductive method based on the computation of probability.
Similarly, with regard to natural science, when a certain scientist had observed some particular characteristics of the solar system in the course of his research, he was able to conclude that these separate bodies had all been a part of the sun from which they had later separated. When this same scientist monitored the paths of planetary movements, he was able to deduce the existence of the planet Neptune, even before he was able to observe the planet with his sense of vision.
Science, in light of special phenomena, was also able to postulate the existence of electrons before the discovery of the cloud chamber. Scientists, in all these cases, have used the inductive method of proof, based on the computation of probability: We shall employ the same method in our argument for the existence of they wise Creator.
The method of inductive argument based on the computation of probability may be summarized clearly and simply in the following five steps:
1. We encounter on the level of sense perception and experimentation numerous phenomena.
2. After observing and collecting our date, we go on to interpret them. What is required in this stage is to find a suitable hypothesis on the basis of which we can interpret and justify these phenomena. By its being suitable for the interpretation of these phenomena, we mean that if it is actually established it must be inherent in, or at least in consonance with, all these phenomena which themselves actually exist.
3. We notice that the hypothesis, if it were not suitable and actually established, would indicate that the possibility of the existence of the phenomena is very scant. In other words, to suppose the incorrectness of the hypothesis would mean `that the degree of probability of the existence of the phenomena, compared with the probability of their non-existence, or the non-existence of at least one of them, is very small, one in a hundred or one in a thousand, and so forth.
4. We therefore conclude that the hypothesis must be true, a fact which we infer from our sense experience of the phenomena on which it is based, as we have seen in step one.
5. The degree of verifiability by the phenomena of the hypothesis offered in the second step is directly related to the probability of the existence of these phenomena and inversely related to the probability of their non-existence. (We mean by the probability of their non-existence either their non-existence altogether or that of at least one of them.) If we assume the incorrectness of the hypothesis, even then the smaller this ration, the greater would be the degree of verifiability, so that in many ordinary cases it could attain a degree of absolute certainty. (This according to the second stage of proof by induction)” 8
There are, in reality, precise measures or regulations for evaluating degrees of probability based on the theory of probability. In ordinary everyday situations, people apply these measures unconsciously in ways that are very close to their correct application. For this reason, we shall limit ourselves to the evaluation of this natural application without entering into the logical and mathematical principles of its evaluation.9
These are, then, the steps which we usually follow in any inductive argument based on the computation of probability, whether in our every day life on the level of scientific investigation, or in proof of the existence of the wise Creator, praised and exalted be He.
We shall, as we have already promised, evaluate this method in the light of its practical application with illustrations from ordinary everyday life. We have already observed that when you receive a letter in the` mail, and upon reading it conclude that it is from your brother and not from another person who happens to like you and wishes to correspond with you, you are employing the method of inductive proof based on the computation of probabilities. The problem of the identity of the sender would be solved by using the following steps.
1. You observe many indications such as the letter bears a name which agrees completely with that of your brother. The handwriting is that of your brother and the style of writing and format are those usually employed by your brother. In addition, even the mistakes and items of information are those usually made, or supplied by your brother. All this you infer from the habits and ways of thinking of your brother. The letter would, moreover, express opinions and ask for things which you know to expect from your brother.
2. In the second step you ask, “Did my brother actually send this letter to me, it is it from another person with the same name?” Here you would find in the indications previously observed sufficient bases for a good hypothesis for interpreting and justifying these data as evidence of the fact that the letter was in reality from your brother. Conversely, if you were led to conclude that the letter was , from your brother, then all the data observed in the first step would. have to be provided.
3. In the third step you would further ask the following question: “If this letter, was not from my brother, but from another person then what is the degree of probability of all these indications and characteristics being simultaneously present for me to observe in the first step?” Such a possibility requires a large number of assumptions. This is because for us to accept all these indications and characteristics we must first assume that another person bears the same name as the brother. He must further resemble him in all the characteristics above discussed. The possibility for such a large number of coincidences to happen simultaneously is slight indeed. Moreover, as the number of the coincidences that must be assumed increases, the probability of their simultaneous occurrence is conversely diminished.
The logical principles of induction teach us the way to measure probability and explain how it diminishes. They further explain how probability decreases in proportion to the assumptions it requires. We need not enter into the details of all this because it is a complex subject too difficult for the average reader to comprehend. Fortunately, however, perceiving low probability does not depend on the :understanding of these details, as for example; the falling of a man from a high place to the ground does not depend on his understanding of the force of gravity or his, knowledge of the scientific principles of gravity. Thus the recipient of the letter requires nothing to infer that the existence of a person resembling his brother in all the coincidences and characteristics above discussed, is very improbable.
4. In the fourth step, you would reason as follows. Since the congruence of all these occurrences is very improbable, if you were to suppose that the letter was not from your brother, there would then be a far greater likelihood that the letter was from your brother because these coincidences do actually exist.
5. In the fifth step, you would connect the conclusion of the fourth step, i.e., the possibility that the letter was from your brother, with the small degree of probability of the existence of all the characteristics of the letter without it being from your brother. The connection between these two steps means that the possibility of the letter being from your brother negates the probability of its being from someone else, in inverse proportion. Thus the smaller the degree of probability; the greater would be the opposite likelihood and the more persuasive. If moreover there was no a opposing evidence, then the five steps just presented provide convincing evidence of the validity of the method on the level of everyday life.
Let us now take another example, this time from the realm of scientific knowledge, where the method may be employed to demonstrate a scientific theory. Let us consider the theory concerning the development of the planets and their separation from the sun. The nine planets were originally part of the sun from which they separated as burning pieces millions of years ago. Scientists generally agree with regard to the principle of the theory, but differ concerning the cause of the separation of these pieces from the sun. Demonstration of the principle on which they agree would follow these steps.
i. Scientists have observed a number of phenomena which they perceived by means of the senses and experimentation. These are:
a. The rotation of the earth around the sun is in harmony with the rotation of the sun around its axis each complete rotation being from west to east.
b. The rotation of the earth around its axis is concurrent with the rotation of the sun around its axis, that is, from west to east.
c. The earth rotates around the sun in an orbit parallel to the equatorial line of the sun, so that the sun would resemble a pole and the earth a point rotating around it, like a millstone.
d. The elements of which the earth is made are for the most part found in the sun as well.
e. There is a close similarity between the elements of the earth and those of the sun in their chemical composition, in both hydrogen predominates.
f. The speed of the rotation of the earth around the sun and around its own axis is in harmony with that of the rotation of the sun around its axis.
g. There is a measure of agreement between the age of the earth and the age of the sun, according to the calculations of scientists.
h. The inside of the earth is hot, which proves that the earth in its early stages was very hot.
ii. These were some of the phenomena which, scientists observed through sense experience and experimentation in the: first step. In the second, they decided that there is a hypothesis by which all these phenomena could be explained. This means that if the hypothesis were to be actually true, then it would inherently belong to these phenomena and justify them. The hypothesis holds that the earth was part of the sun from which it separated, for whatever reasons. With this assumption, we can explain the foregoing phenomena.
The first is the fact that the harmony of the rotation of the earth around the sun and that of the sun around its own axis is due to the motion of both being from west to east. The reason for this harmony becomes clear on the basis of the above hypothesis, which further holds that if part of any body in motion is separated from it while remaining drawn towards it by a thread or some other means, that separated part will always move in the same original orbit in accordance with the law of continuity.
As for the second phenomenon, which is the harmony of the rotation of the earth around its axis with the rotation of the sun around its axis this also can be sufficiently explained by the same hypothesis and according to the same law. The same holds for the third phenomenon as well. As for the fourth and fifth phenomena, which demonstrate a close similarity of composition and proportion of the' elements which make up the earth and the sun, they become self evident on the basis of the fact that the earth was part of the sun.
The elements of a part must be those of the whole. The sixth phenomenon, namely, the harmony between the speed of the earth's rotation around the sun and around its axis and that of the sun around its axis becomes clear because we know that both motions of the earth originated from the motion of the sun. This we know on the basis of our earlier hypothesis, which pre-supposes the separation of the earth from the sun. This not only explains the observed harmony, but also delineates its cause. On the basis of the same hypothesis, we can explain the similarity in age of the two bodies, which is our seventh phenomenon. Likewise, the eighth, which is the intense heat-of the earth in its early stages, can be explained on the basis of the same hypothesis.
iii. If we were to suppose that the theory of the separation of the earth: from the sun is not true, it would be highly unlikely for all these phenomena to exist together and be closely connected. In this case, they would simply be a collection of coincidences without any intelligible connection among them. Therefore, the probability of their existence, if we suppose the falsity of our theory, would be very small indeed. This is because this supposition would require a large number of hypotheses for the explanation of these phenomena.
With regard to the harmony between the motion of the earth around the sun and the sun around its own axis, from west to east, we would have to assume that the earth was a body far away from the sun, created independently or part of another sun from which it separated subsequently drawing near to our sun. We would also have to suppose that this earth, travelling freely in space, upon entering its orbit around the sun entered at a point west of the sun. For this reason, it continues to rotate from west to east, that is, in the direction of the sun's own rotation around its axis. If it had instead entered at a point east of the sun, it would have moved from east to west.
As for the harmony between the rotation of the earth around its axis and the rotation of the sun around its axis from west to east, we would have to suppose that the other sun from which the earth separated was itself rotating from west to east. As for the rotation of the earth around the sun, in an orbit parallel to the equatorial line of the sun, we would likewise have to suppose that the other sun from which the earth separated was at that moment situated in the same plane as the equatorial line of our sun.
As for the similarity of the elements of the earth and the sun and their composition, we would have to suppose that the other sun from which the earth separated contained the same elements and in similar proportion. As for the speed of the rotation of the earth around the sun and around its own axis, being harmonious with the speed of the sun's rotation around its axis, we would have to suppose that the other sun from which the earth separated exploded. in a way which gave the moving earth a speed similar to that of our sun.
As for the age of the sun and the earth and the heat of the earth in the early stages of its development, we would, have to suppose that the earth separated from another sun having the, same, age as our sun and that it separated in a manner which led to its intense heat. Thus we see that the possibility of the simultaneous existence of all these phenomena, on the principle of the invalidity of the theory of the separation of the earth from our sun, requires a large number of coincidences, the probability of whose simultaneous occurrence is very small. In contrast, the separation theory alone is sufficient for explaining these phenomena and connecting them together.
iv. In the fourth step we conclude that since the coincidence of all these phenomena, which we observe in the earth, is improbable except to a very small degree, on the assumption that the earth was not separated from our sun; it must be highly probable (since all these phenomena do indeed exist) that the earth did indeed separate from our sun.
v. In the fifth and last step, we connect the possibility of the separation hypothesis, as inferred in the fourth step, with the low probability of the coincidence of the phenomena in the earth without its having been separated from the sun as we decided in the third step: The connection between these two steps would show a strong improbability for the third step and conversely a high probability for the fourth. We are able by means of this method to demonstrate the separation of the earth from the sun, by which means scientists achieve absolute conviction of this fact.
After having become acquainted with the general method of the inductive argument based on the computation of probabilities, and evaluated it through the foregoing applications, we shall now proceed to apply it to the demonstration of the existence of the wise Creator. We shall follow the same steps as before.
1. We notice a constant concord between a vast number of individual phenomena and man's needs as a living being and the continuation of life for him. We find for instance, that any change or substitution of any of these phenomena could mean the extinction of human life on this earth, or at least its paralysis. We shall now give a few examples of these phenomena.
The earth receives from the sun a quantity of heat sufficient for the development of life and the fulfillment of the needs of living beings for heat, no more and no less. It has been observed that the distance separating the earth from the sun is-in complete harmony with the-amount of heat required for the existence of life on this earth. Had this distance been double its present measure, there would have not been enough heat to support life on earth.
Conversely, if it were half its present measure, the heat would have been too intense for life to endure. We observe further that the earth's crust and the oceans together contain in their various chemical compounds a preponderant quantity of oxygen, such that it constitutes eight-tenths of all of the water in the world. In spite of this, and in spite of the great tendency of oxygen to combine with other chemical elements, still a portion of it remains free in order for it to participate in the formation of air.
This portion provides one of the most essential conditions of life because all living beings, humans as well as animals, require it for breathing. Were all the oxygen on earth to be combined with other elements, it would not have been possible for life to exist. It has been further observed that the quantity of pure oxygen available accords perfectly with man's needs in his everyday practical life.
The air contains twenty-one percent oxygen had this ratio been greater, the environment would have been constantly, threatened with outbreaks of fire. Had this ratio, on the other hand, been smaller, life would have been difficult if not impossible. Nor would fire have been available in: sufficient quantity to fulfill its proper functions.
We observe another natural phenomenon which repeats itself millions of times throughout life. It is an activity which ensures the availability of a specific quantity of oxygen all the time. When humans and animals breathe in air, they inhale oxygen which is received by the blood and distributed throughout the body. Oxygen then begins the process of combustion of the food in the body, from which carbon dioxide is produced.
Carbon dioxide then passes into the lungs and is exhaled, thus ensuring a constant flow of this gas. Carbon dioxide is in turn a necessary condition for plant life. Plants separate oxygen from it, which they breathe out into the air, purified and ready to be breathed in again. Through this exchange between animals and plants, it is possible to retain a constant quantity of oxygen and without it- this gas would have been unavailable and human life would never have been possible.
This exchange, moreover, is the result of thousands of natural phenomena which have coincided in order to produce this specific phenomena which is in perfect accord with the requirements of life. We further observe that nitrogen, because it is a heavy gas, has a tendency to descend. Thus when it combines with oxygen in the air it becomes light enough to be useful for life on earth. We observe also that the quantities of both oxygen and nitrogen which remain free in the air are in perfect proportion for the one to lighten the other. Were oxygen to increase or nitrogen to diminish, this process could not take place.
We notice that the air in the earth remains at a constant amount, not exceeding one millionth of the global mass. This quantity is just right to ensure the possibility of human life. Had it been greater or smaller, life would be difficult or even impossible. This is because its increase would have meant a greater pressure on human beings which they would not have been able to support. Like wise, any decrease in it would make it possible for meteors, which we see every day to burn all living things, and- even to penetrate the earths itself.
We further notice that the earth's crust, which absorbs carbon dioxide and oxygen, is so, structured that it cannot absorb them completely. Had it been thicker, it would have absorbed them, and plants, animals and men would have perished. Similarly, the distance of the moon from the earth is of a specific measure necessary for making human life on earth possible. Had this distance been relatively smaller, the tide caused by the moon would have been so strong as to move mountains from their places.
We observe many instincts in living beings. Even though an instinct is an abstract notion, incapable of observation by direct sense experience, the conduct which such instincts express is not abstract. It is, rather, a phenomenon perfectly capable of scientific observation. Instinctive conduct resulting from thousands of instincts with which we become acquainted in our daily life and scientific investigation, is in constant accord with the aim of promoting and protecting life. Such instinctive conduct is often on a high level of complexity and technical skill. If we were to break down this conduct into its individual components, we see that every component is perfectly suited for the promotion and protection of life.
The physiological structure of man exhibits millions of natural, physiological phenomena. Yet each phenomenon, both in its physiological role and structure, as well as in its close link with all other phenomena is always suited to the job of promoting life and protecting it.
Let us consider, for instance, the group of phenomena which work together to produce the faculty of sight and help us to sense things around us in useful ways. The lens in the eye refracts images onto the, retina which is made up of nine layers. The last layer contains millions of rods and cones all arranged in such a way as to make possible the faculty of sight.
There is one anomaly, namely, the image which is reflected onto the retina, which is reversed. This, however, is only a slight anomaly, because sight itself is not involved at this stage. Instead, the image is corrected by millions of nerves leading to the brain, where it is transmitted from the eye. Only then is the process of seeing complete, at which stage it begins to play its important role in the overall purpose of promoting life.
Even beauty, fragrance and splendour as natural phenomena are found to exist in environments suited for their role of promoting life.
Thus flowers which are usually pollinated by insects are especially attractive, possessing bright, beautiful colours and enticing fragrances in order to attract the insect and therefore facilitate the process of pollination. Flowers, which are pollinated by air, on the other hand, do not possess these characteristics. The phenomenon of sexual pairs or mates in its general similarity between the physical structure of male and female in man, animals and plants, and in sexual interaction for the perpetuity of life, is yet another manifestation of the harmony of nature with the function of promoting life.
“If you were to reckon up the dimensions of God's favour, you would not be able to compute them; surely God is ever forgiving, ever merciful“ (Qur'an, 16:18)
2. We find that, in millions of cases, the continuous harmony between natural phenomena and the process of insuring and promoting life may be explained by a single hypothesis which postulates a wise Creator of this universe who willed to provide this earth with the elements of life and Himself direct their functions. This hypothesis presupposes all these instances of harmony.
3. In the third step, we pose the following question: If the hypothesis of a wise creator were not actually demonstrable, what would the possibility of the existence of all these congruences between natural phenomena and the process of life preservation be without there being an intended purpose for this order?
It is clear that the probability of this alternative must presuppose a vast number of coincidences. If, as we saw in a previous example, the possibility is very remote that the letter you received was not from your brother but from another person resembling him in all respects (since the possibility of resemblance of one thousand characteristics is very small), how great do you think is the probability that this earth on which we live was the creation of non-teleological matter, one which resembles the wise Creator in millions of attributes?
4. In the fourth step we conclude that the hypothesis presented in: the second step which postulates a Wise creator, is valid.
5. In the fifth step, we connect this prevailing possibility with the small probability which we postulated in the hypothesis of the third step. Since probability decreases as the number of coincidences in the contrary increases, it is natural for the degree of this probability to become so small that it cannot in any way compare with the high probability of the third step in the demonstration of any scientific law.
This is because the number of coincidences which must be postulated in the third step is greater than that of the possibilities of the opposite case. Hence, every probability of this kind must in the end disappear.10 Thus we reach the incontrovertible conclusion: that there is a wise creator of this universe as the innumerable signs (ayat) of His power and wisdom in the universe testify.
“We shall show them our signs in the furthest regions and in, themselves so that it may become manifest to them that it is the truth. Is it not sufficient that your Lord is witness over all things?“ (Qur'an, 41:53)
“Surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth; and the alternation of night and day; and the ship which sails over the sea, laden with goods useful to humankind; and the water which God has sent from heaven to revive with it the earth after its death, and dispersed in it every kind of beast; and the change of the winds; and the clouds, made to serve between heaven and earth, are signs for people who understand“ (Qur'an, 2:164)
“Turn your gaze again (to heaven) do you perceive any flaw? Then turn your gaze twice again; your sight shall return to you dull and discomforted.“ (Qur'an, 67:3 -4)
Before embarking on, the discussion of a philosophical argument for the existence of the Creator, praised and exalted be He, we must say a word about the philosophical argument and its parts and the difference between it and the scientific argument. Argument itself may be considered under three categories: the mathematical, the scientific and the philosophical.
The mathematical argument is employed in the area of mathematical sciences and formal logic (al-mantiq as-suri ash-shakli). This argument rests on one fundamental principle, the principle of non-contradiction, which asserts that A is A and will always remain A. Any argument based exclusively on this principle and its consequences, we call the mathematical argument. Its validity is admitted by everyone.
The scientific argument is usually employed in the domain of the natural sciences. It rests on data capable of proof either, through sense experience or scientific induction, in addition to mathematical proof.
The philosophical argument, depends for its establishment on objective reality in the external world, on intellectual knowledge which needs no empirical verification or sense experience. 'It presupposes, however, mathematical proof. This does not necessarily mean that the philosophical argument does not actually rely on information obtained through sense perception or the inductive method. It rather means that it does not regard these as sufficient evidence, and therefore relies on the intellectual information within the context of the demonstrative method applied to prove a case which had been established.
The philosophical argument, therefore, differs from the scientific argument in the way in which it deals with intellectual information which remains outside the scope of the mathematical argument. On the basis of our discussion so far of the notion of the philosophical argument, we must face the following question: Is it possible to rely simply on intellectual information or ideas which the mind intuits without recourse to sense perception, experimentation or scientific induction?
The answer to this question must be in the affirmative. These are the data of our understanding, the validity of which is accepted by all such as the principle of non-contradiction, on which are based all pure mathematical sciences. Its is a principle whose validity we establish on the basis of intellectual reasoning, and not on the basis of supporting evidence and experiments within the scope of the inductive method.
The proof of this is that the degree of our trust in this principle is not affected by the number of experiments and verifications which do not agree with it. Let us take a concrete example: two plus two equals four. Our belief in the validity of this simple mathematical equation is too firm to need further verification. We would not even be ready to listen to any argument in proof of the opposite fact. nor would we believe anyone telling us two plus two in one unique case equals five or three. This means that our belief in this truth has no connection with sense perception or experimentation, for in that case it would be affected by them positively and negatively.
If we actually admit the truth of this principle, in spite of its independence from sense perception and experimentation, it is natural for us to admit that it is sometimes possible for, us to trust the validity of our intellectual perceptions on which depends the philosophical argument. In other words, the rejection of the philosophical argument simply because it is based on intellectual perceptions which do not rest on empirical or inductive knowledge, must also mean the rejection of the mathematical because it rests on the principle of non-contradiction, in which our belief depends neither on experimentation nor induction.”11
This argument depends on the following three principles. The first is the axiom which asserts that every effect has a cause from which it derives its existence. This is a truth which man perceives intuitively and which scientific induction confirms. The second is the principle which asserts that whatever differing degrees of possibility, fullness and perfection exist, it is impossible for the less possible, less complete or less perfect to be the cause of that which is higher than itself.
Temperature, knowledge and light are of varying degrees of intensity and perfection. It is impossible for a higher degree of temperature to emanate from one lower than itself. It is likewise impossible for a person to obtain a good knowledge of the English language from one who himself has little or no knowledge of it. Nor is it possible for a feeble source of light to be the cause of a source greater than itself.
This is because every higher degree constitutes a qualitative and quantitative increase over the one below it. This quantitative increase cannot be bestowed by one not in possession of it. When you wish to finance a project from your own capital, you cannot put into this project an amount greater than that you already have.
The third principle is the assertion that matter, in its continuous evolution, assumes various levels of change and intensity. Thus even a small particle which has no life and is not a vital component, constitutes an aspect of being of matter. Protoplasm, which is the essential component of life in plants and animals, constitutes a higher form of existence, of matter. The amoeba, which is a microscopic unicellular animal, constitutes a still higher step in the evolution of matter. Man, as a living, feeling and thinking being must be considered to be the highest form of being in his universe.
These different forms of being raise the following question: Is the difference among them simply a quantitative one in the number of particles and elements and the mechanical relation among these, or is it a qualitative and quantitative difference, expressing a variety of degrees of being and stages of evolution and perfection? In other words, is the difference between man and the dust of which he was made simply one of number, or is it a difference between two levels of being and two stages of evolution and perfection, just like the difference between a feeble and a brilliant source of light?
Ever since man put this question to himself, he has believed, through his a priori intuition (fitrah), that these forms constitute levels of being and different stages of perfection attained by life, wherein the human form is the highest manifestation of being in matter. This high level moreover is not in itself the limit of evolution. Rather, as life attains new and higher forms, it manifests higher levels of being. Hence the life of a living, feeling and thinking being constitutes a higher and fuller degree of being than the life of plants and so on.
Materialistic philosophy, however, for over a century, has rejected this idea and adopted instead a mechanical view of the universe. According to this view, the outside world is made up of small molecules moved by a simple homogeneous electro-magnetic forces attracting and repelling them within the framework of general laws. That is to say, the function of this force is limited to influencing the interrelated motion of these molecules from one locus to another. Through this motion of attraction and repulsion, these molecules unite and separate to produce different material forms.
On this basis, mechanical materialism limited evolution to the motion of material particles from one locus to another in space. It explained the variety of material forms by the motion of coalescence, separation and distribution of material particles without any novelty occurring in this process. Matter, according to this view neither grows nor attains a higher level of being through its evolution; it only coalesces and scatters in various ways like a piece of dough which, you may -manipulate into various states, although remaining a piece of dough in. your hand without any essential change.
This hypothesis was inspired by the science of mechanics, which was the first branch of science to be allowed to develop freely its methods of investigation. The discovery by this science of the laws of mechanical motion and the explanations it offered of familiar motions of ordinary bodies, encouraged the development of this hypothesis, which took into account the motion of stars in space.
The constant growth of knowledge and the introduction of scientific methods of investigation into many fields of study, demonstrated the invalidity of this hypothesis and its inability to explain all motions in space mechanically. It also demonstrated its inadequacy in subsuming all material forms under the mechanical motion of bodies and particles.
Science thus confirmed what man had perceived in his pure intuitive state (fitrah), namely that the diversity of material forms is not simply the result of the motion of material bodies from one place to another. Rather, it is the result of a variety of quantitative and qualitative evolutionary processes. It has also been proven through scientific experiments that no numerical structure of molecules would constitute life, feeling and thought.
This leads us to suppositions which are completely different from those advanced by mechanical materialism, because we discern in life, feeling and thought an actual process of growth of matter and a characteristic evolution in the degrees of its existence. This is true regardless of whether the content of this characteristic evolution is itself material or nonmaterial.
To recapitulate, these are the three problems with which we have been concerned:
1. Every effect has a cause.
2. The lower cannot be the cause of something higher than itself, with regard to degrees of being.
3. The diversity of degrees of being in this universe and the variety in its form are qualitative.
In light of these three issues, we can clearly discern an actual development in quantitatively evolved forms, which: means the manifestation of the fullness of being in matter and. a quantitative. increase in it.
We should therefore ask; “Where did this increase come from, and how did this new multiplicity appear, since every effect must have a cause?” There are two answers to this question. The first is that it originated in matter itself. Matter which has no life, feeling or thought created through its process of evolution life, feeling and thought. This is to say a lower form of matter was itself the cause of a higher form without itself possessing the properties of being enabling it to perform such a function.
This answer, however, contradicts our second principle, which asserts that a lower form cannot be the cause of another greater than it and richer in being. Thus, the idea that dead matter, devoid of the pulsation of life can grant itself or another matter life, feeling and thought, is like the idea of someone who has no knowledge of the English language, nonetheless attempting to teach it to others; or that of a dim light emanating a light greater than it in brilliance, such as the light of the sun; or that of a poor man with no capital, attempting to finance big projects.
The second answer to this, question is that this additional property which matter manifests through its evolution, must have originated from a source which is in full possession of it. This source is God; the Lord of the worlds, praised and exalted be He. The growth of matter, therefore is no more than the creative process of growth and development which God manifests in His wisdom, ordinance and lordship over all things
We have created man from a piece of clay. Then We made him into a sperm in a secure receptacle. Then We made the sperm a blood clot; thereafter, We made the blood-clot into a lump of flesh; then We made the piece of flesh into bones; then We clothed the bones with , flesh; thereafter We brought him into being as another creature; blessed therefore is God, the best of creators. (Qura'n; 23:12-14)
This is the only answer that, would harmonize with the three principles presented above. It alone can offer a reasonable explanation of the process of growth and completeness of the forms of being on the stage of this vast universe. To this argument, the noble Qur'an points in a large number of its verses, with which it addresses the uncorrupted, original intuition (fitrah) of man and his untainted reason.
“Have you then considered the sperm that you sow? Do you create it or are rather We the Creator?“ (Qur'an, 56:58-59)
“Have you then considered that which you sow? Do you sow it or are rather We the Sower?“ (Qur'an, 56:63-64)
“Have you then considered the fire which you kindle? Did 'you create its tree or are rather We the Creator?“ (Qur'an, 56:71-72)
“Among His signs is that He created you from dust, then behold, you are humans, scattering yourselves about.“ (Qur'an, 30:20)
We shall now indicate the attitude of materialism toward this argument. Materialism, as a mechanical philosophy, is not obliged to consider this argument. This is because, as we have already observed, it explains life, feeling and thought as forms of the coalescence and separation of particles and molecules. This operation results in no novelty as such, except that of the motion of. particles in accordance with a mechanical law.
Neo-materialism, however because it admits the principle of quantitative and qualitative evolution of matter through these forms, encounters some difficulty from this argument. It has chosen a method for the explanation of this qualitative evolution which can harmonize with the second problem already discussed and its own desire to regard matter as itself sufficient for the explanation of its own evolutionary stages.
This method holds matter to be the source of fulfillment, and to thus provided the necessary properties for the process of its own qualitative evolution. This it does, not in the same way in which a poor man would attempt to finance large projects, but because all the forms and properties of this evolution are latent in matter from the very' beginning. Thus the chicken is present in the egg, gas in water and so forth.
The question of how matter could at one and the same time be egg and chicken, or water and gas, dialectical materialism answered by asserting that although this is a contradiction, contradiction is the general law of nature. Everything innately contains its opposite with which it is in continuous struggle. Through this struggle of two opposites, a third inner contradiction arises and grows until it becomes the synthesis of the two opposites. Thus, it causes change in matter,12 such as an egg exploding suddenly and a chicken bursting out from it. Through this process, matter achieves its perfection continuously, in that the resulting synthesis constitutes the future, or next step forward.
In light of all this, we notice the following. What neo-materialism means precisely by its assertion that a thing contains its opposite must be one of the following:
1. It may mean that the egg and the chicken are two opposites or antagonistic forms, and that the egg makes the chicken and bestows on it the qualities of life, that is to say, a dead thing can give birth to a living being and make life. This is Exactly like a poor man attempting to finance large projects; it contradicts the a priori principle just discussed.
2. Does neo-materialism mean, on the other land, that the egg does not make the chicken, but rather brings it forth, since it was already latent in the egg? Thus an egg while being an egg, was at the same time a chicken, just like a picture which looks different from different. angles. It is obvious that if the egg is at one and the same time a chicken, there is no process of development or fulfillment in the egg becoming a chicken. This is because whatever comes into being through this process, was already in existence. It is like a man taking out of his pocket money which, while in his hand, was in his pocket.
For any process of growth to take place, that is, for anything new to actually occur through the process of an egg becoming a chicken, we are obliged to suppose that the egg was not previously a chicken but a chicken in the making, or something capable of becoming a chicken. In this way an egg becomes different from a stone, which can never become a chicken, as an egg can within specific conditions and circumstances. The mere potentiality of a thing does not necessarily mean its actualization. Hence, if an egg is actualized into a chicken, the mere possibility of this is not enough to explain the actual event.
If the various forms which matter takes were to be the result of its internal opposites, then the variety of forms must be explained by the variety of these inner opposites or contradictions. The egg, for example, has its own contradictions, which are different from those of water. For this reason, its contradictions result in the chicken while those of water result in gas.
This proposition becomes obvious when we consider the primary stages in the process of differentiation among material forms at the level of particles, which constitute the basic units of the material universe, such as protons, electrons, neutrons, anti-protons, anti-electrons (positrons) and photons.
Did every particle take a special form on the basis of its inner contradictions so that a proton was concealed in its own material particle and subsequently came forth as a result of motion and struggle as in the case of the egg and the chicken? If we suppose this then how can we account for the variety of forms which these particles have taken, since this presupposes, according to the logic of inner contradiction, that these particles must themselves be different and valid in their inner contradictions. That is to say, they must be different with regard to their inner characteristics.
We know that modern science tends to the view of the essential unity, of matter, and that the inner content of matter is one. Moreover, the different forms which matter assumes are not substitutes for a single and constant content. Otherwise, it would have been possible for a proton to become a neutron and vice versa; that is, it would have been possible for the molecule to change its form as well as the atom and particle, in spite of the unity and constancy of the content. This would mean that the content is one, although forms vary. If so, how can we suppose that all these different forms result from inner contradictions.
The example of the egg and chicken is itself useful in explaining this position. In order for forms to assume their characteristic variety in different eggs through their inner contradictions, it is necessary that eggs be different in their inner structure. The egg of a hen and that of another bird produce two different birds. If, on the other hand, the two eggs were those of a hen, then we could not suppose that their inner contradiction would produce two different forms.
Thus we see that the explanation of material forms offered by neo-materialism, on the basis of inner contradiction on the one hand, and the trend of modern science with its insistence on the unity of matter on the other, have developed along two completely divergent lines.
The third alternative is the view that holds that the egg consists of two independent opposites, each possessing its special mode of existence; the one being the portion of the egg concerned with fertilization, the other the rest of the egg's content. These two opposites engage in a continuous struggle until the fertilized portion prevails and the egg becomes a chicken. This kind of struggle is familiar in the life of human beings and has been for long recognized both in their daily lives and their intellectual life.
Why, it must be objected, must we consider the interaction between the fertilized portion and the rest of the egg the struggle of opposites? Why should we consider the interaction between the dust particles, its soil and the air, or the interaction between the embryo in the mother's womb and the nutritive materials it obtains from the mother's body a struggle between opposites? This in fact is no more, than a designation; no better than saying that, one form is intergrated into or unified with another form.
Even, if we grant that this interaction must be called, a struggle the problem remains unsolved as long as we admit that this interaction leads to a new third form which is a numerical addition to the two opposites. The question remains, where did this additional form come from? Did it come from the two struggling opposites, even though they both lacked it? It must be remembered that a thing cannot give something else which it does not possess, as we have argued in the second of our three principles just presented.
We are not aware of any instance in nature wherein the struggle between two opposites is the real cause of growth. How could a being participate in the growth of its own opposite through a struggle against it when struggle means a degree of resistance and rejection. Resistance, as we know, diminishes the energy of growth in the thing resisted instead of helping it to achieve it.
We know that a swimmer, when he encounters high waves, finds his movements hampered to a high degree rather than enhanced. If, therefore, the struggle between opposites however considered, were to be the cause of the growth and evolution of the egg into a chicken where is the growth caused by struggle of opposites of water into gas and its return into water?
Nature reveals that when opposites coincide or unite, the result is not growth, but the destruction of both opposites. Thus the positive proton, which constitutes the cornerstone of the atom, and which carries a charge of positive energy, has as its counterpart a negative proton. Similarly, the negative electron which moves in the orbit of an atom has its opposite counterpart. When these two opposites meet, a process of atomic destruction takes place which causes the virtual disappearance of matter, as the resulting energy is released and scattered in space.
We conclude from all this that the motion of matter without provision from and direction by an external source could not cause real growth or evolution to a higher and more specialized stage. It is therefore necessary in order for matter to grow and rise into higher planes of existence, such as life, feeling and thought, that there be a Lord who Himself enjoys these characteristics and is able to bestow them on matter. The role of matter in this process of growth is no more than that of suitability, readiness and potentiality. It is like the role of a good child who is ready to receive the knowledge imparted to him by his educator; blessed is God, Lord of the worlds.
When we believe in God, praised and exalted be He, as the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, directing its course in accordance with His wisdom and providence, it becomes imperative for us to know His attributes through His creation and the perfection of His work. We should, furthermore, evaluate His characteristics in light of the splendorous manifestations which His works display.
This we do in exactly the same way as we evaluate an engineer on the basis of the mastery of his product or an author on the basis of the depth of his knowledge and learning which his works contain, or the personality of an educator on the basis of the qualities and virtues which he imparts to those under his care. In this way we shall be able to enjoy a brief glance of the attributes of knowledge, wisdom, life, power, sight and hearing with which the exalted Creator is characterized.
For the mastery and precision manifested in the order of the universe reveal His omniscience and wisdom. The great energies it manifests reveal His sovereignity and omnipotence. The variety of life and the degrees of intellectual discernment and sense perception reveal the life and consciousness which the Creator enjoys. The unity of purpose and architectural mastery with which this universe was executed, as well as the close connections among its many aspects, reveal the oneness of the Creator and the unity of power from which this vast universe emanated.
We all believe, through our native intuition and a priori reason, in general values that must govern our conduct. These are values which assert that justice is truth and goodness and wrongdoing is falsehood and evil. We also believe that whosoever deals justly with others is worthy of respect and praise and whosoever commits wrongdoing and treachery deserves the opposite.
These values, from the point of view of native intuition (fitrah) and the science of induction (istiqra') are fundamental in directing human conduct aright, provided that there are 'no' obstacles such as ignorance or the quest for material personal gain. This is because every human being, if faced with the choice between truth or falsehood in his inter-course with others, or between trustworthiness and treachery in his dealings, would choose truth over falsehood and trustworthiness over treachery, provided that there is no personal reason or special interest that may cause him to deviate from these values.
This means that whosoever has no personal interest in committing falsehood or treachery, would deal truthfully and with trustworthiness and justice in his daily conduct. This principle applies exactly to the wise Creator, praised and exalted be He, for He encompasses all these values which we discern with our native reason because He granted us this rational faculty. Because of His absolute power and sovereignty over this universe, He has no need for any bargaining or recourse to clever manoeuvres. Thus we believe that God is just and would not wrong anyone.
The values in which we believe enjoin justice, straightforwardness, trustworthiness, truthfulness, fidelity and other such qualities, and condemn their opposites. They do not just enjoin good qualities and condemn bad ones; they also call for the appropriate reward or punishment for each.
The untainted native intellect perceives that wrongdoers and traitors deserve blame and just and trustworthy people, who are ready to sacrifice everything in the way of justice and truth deserve praise. Everyone of us finds in his own conscience (wijdan) the tendency, based on these values, to blame the deviant wrongdoer and to land the just and straightforward person. The only obstacle in the way of this attitude is a person's inability to take a suitable stance or his own personal prejudice.
Since we believe that God, the Exalted, is just and impartial in His dealings and is capable of assigning the appropriate reward or punishment, there can be no obstacle in the way of his executing those values which demand just reward or punishment for good or bad conduct. We should naturally conclude, therefore, that God would reward the righteous for his righteousness and uphold the right of the wronged against his wrongdoer.
We notice, however, that rewards and punishments are not exacted by God in this life, although he is capable of so doing. This demonstrates, if we take into account our previous arguments, that there will come a day of judgement on which the righteous person whose good deeds and sacrifice in the way of noble ideals which went unnoticed in this life, and the wrongdoer who lived on the destruction and blood of innocent people and had escaped punishment in this life, will both reap their just reward and punishment. This is the day of resurrection, which will embody all these absolute values by which human conduct will be judged; without it they would remain meaningless.
- 1. On Newton's law of gravitation, see Classical Mechanics, H. Goldstein ( Redding, Mass.: Edison Wesley), fifth printing, 1957, p.65. (Translator's footnote)
- 2. Galileo's law of uniform accelerated motion is also Newton's second law of motion. See ibid., p. l . (Translator's footnote)
- 3. On Keppler's laws of planetary motion, see ibid., p.80. ( Translator's footnote)
- 4. ibid., p.65. (Translator's footnote)
- 5. No one exactly knows when this night occurs, but tradition. has it that it comes during the month of Ramadan, perhaps the twenty-seventh. On the essential significance of Laylatul - qadr, see Qur'an, chapter 97. ( Translator's footnote)
- 6. For greater detail, see our book al-Usus al-mantaqiyyah li'l-Istiqra', p.489.
- 7. This we have done in our book, al-Usus al-mantiqiyyah lil-Istiqra'. See especially the second part, pp. 131-410.
- 8. ibid., pp.355-410.
- 9. For greater detail, see ibid., p.146-247.
- 10. There are two further problems which must be over-come. First, it may be observed that any probable substitution for the wise Creator, in accordance with the method of inductive argument, requites that every phenomenon be fully adjusted to the process of life preservation and be the creation of a blind necessity in matter. It further requires that matter, in spite of inner contradictions and Its effects in itself, be the cause of whatever phenomena take place in it.
The purpose of the inductive method is to establish a preference for the hypothesis of a wise creator over any substitute theory. This is because that hypothesis requires only one a priori supposition, namely, a wise being. Any substitute theory, on the other hand, pre-supposes practical necessities in matter equal to the number of the phenomena under investigation. The probability of such a substitute would be the probability of a large number of events and coincidences; it would therefore increasingly diminish until it completely disappears.
This would be the case only if the hypothesis of a wise creator is not presupposed in explaining a large number of occurrences and coincidences. This appears to be the case because a wise creator, who would be an explanation for all the phenomena in the universe, must himself possess aspects of knowledge and power equal to their number. Hence, the number which this hypothesis must pre-suppose should equal the number of blind necessities which any substitute theory must presuppose. The question, then, must be asked: Which of the two hypothesis should be preferred?
In answer, it must be said that a preference arises from the fact that these blind necessities are completely unrelated, in that the presupposition of any one of them in no way determines the possibility of the existence or non-existence of any other one. This means in the language of the computation of probabilities that each occurrence must be independent from any other one, or at least the degree of probability of each must be independent from that of any other one.
In contrast, the knowledge and potencies which are required by the hypothesis of a wise creator behind the phenomena under investigation, are not independent because what is required in the way of knowledge and power as cause of some of the phenomena, must also be required for all. Thus the presupposition of any number of aspects of knowledge or power is not in-different to the presupposition of any other number.
Rather, the one is inherently required by the other. This further means, in the language of the computation of probabilities, that the possibility of the entire cluster of aspects of knowledge and power is conditioned by the fact that the possibility of some as inferred from the possibility of others is so high that it often reaches the level of absolute certainty.
If we wish to evaluate the aggregate of knowledge and power (which we must presuppose the wise Creator to possess) and compare it with its counterpart of blind necessities, as to their degree of probability, we must follow the method of the multiplication of the degrees of probability which is based on the principle of computation of probabilities. The value assigned to each member of this, aggregate must equal the of every other member, and so on.
This computation, as we know, leads to the decrease of probability and as the computation factors diminish in number, the degree of improbability diminishes in like proportion. The multiplication principle, whether it be conditioned or independent, can demonstrate mathematically that in conditional probabilities we should multiply the degree of one with that of another; though we must presuppose the existence of the first member, which is often certain or very close to certainty.
Thus the multiplication could not lead to absolute invalidation or to a very small degree of probability. This is in contrast to independent probabilities, each member of which would be neutral with regard to any other. In the first instance the computation would lead to great contradictions in value. From this would also result the necessity of a detailed application of one method in favour of the other, in order to explain the conditional principle of multiplication as well as the independent principle. (For further clarification of the principle of independent and conditional probability, see al Usus al mantiqiyyah li'l istiqra, pp. 153-154.)
The other problem is that arising from assigning a value to the prior probability (Ihtimal qabli) of the case which has been demonstrated inductively. In order for this to be clarified, a comparison must be made between the inductive proof of the Creator, and its application in our previous example demonstrating that the letter you had received in the mail was actually from your brother.
This example implies that the speed with which a person arrives at the belief that the letter he received was actually sent by his brother (even before opening the letter and reading it) is directly influenced by the probability of the case. This we call `the prior probability of the case.' If, before opening the letter, he supposes fifty per cent probability that his brother would send a letter to him, then he would quickly arrive at the belief that the letter was actually from his brother, in accordance with the five steps of the inductive argument already discussed.
If, on the other hand, the possibility of receiving a letter from his brother is negligible, because there is a high degree of probability that his brother was dead, he would not so quickly conclude that the letter was from his brother, unless he receives further evidence.
What, then is the way to demonstrate the existence of the Creator on the analogy of the principle of prior probability of the case? In reality, the case of the existence of the wise Creator, praised be He, does not fall under the law of probability. It is rather, an a prior truth whose 'certainty man's native intuition (fitrah) and conscience or pure sentiment (wijdan) assert. If, however, we suppose that it is a case of probability and wish to demonstrate' it by the inductive method, then we would determine the value of its prior probability in the following manner.
We begin by considering every phenomenon under investigation independently. Two possibilities would then present themselves: One is that of a wise creator, the other of a bend necessity in matter. Since we are faced with two possibilities without any prior justification for preferring either one over the other, we should divide the numerical ratio of certainty equally between them, so that each would be assigned fifty per cent.
Since, however, the probabilities in favour of a wise creator are interconnected and conditioned, in contrast with those of blind necessity, which are independent and unconnected, the multiplication results constantly in a decrease of the probability in the hypothesis of blind necessity and a constant in-crease of the probability of the hypothesis of a wise creator.
I have observed, however, after long study, that the reason why the inductive scientific argument does not meet with much approval in European thought and is rejected by thinkers like Bertrand Russel is the inability of those thinkers to overcome the two problems which we have here indicated and solved. (For an in depth discussion of the application of the inductive argument for the existence of a creator and the way in which it is possible to overcome these two problems, see al-Usus, pp. 441-451.)
- 11. For a detailed discussion of this point and the methods of pure logic and positive logic as these relate to it, see al-Usus . . . pp.480-500.
- 12. This is the dialectical process of thesis, antithesis and synthesis on which Marxist materialism is based. (Translator's footnote)