August 2004 - Rajab 1425 H
Volume 17-08 No : 212
Camps \ Workshops
Men, Missions and Machines
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For Muslims, the Qur’an is the ‘Furqaan’
The Qur’an mentions in Surah Isra Chapter 17 Verse 110: Say: “Call upon Allah, or Call upon Rahman; By whatever name ye call Upon Him, (it is well): For to Him belong The Most Beautiful Names (Al Qur’an 17:110)
You can call Allah by any name but that name should be beautiful and should not conjure up a mental picture. The Qur’an gives no less than 99 different attributes to Almighty God. Some of these are Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem, Al-Hakeem; Most Gracious, Most Merciful and All Wise. Ninety nine different names / attributes and the crowning one, the hundredth one is Allah. To Allah belongs the most beautiful names – the Qur’an repeats this message in:
(i) Surah Al Aaraf Chapter 7 Verse 180 (ii) In Surah Taha Chapter 20 Verse 8 (iii) In Surah Al Hashr Chapter 59 Verse 23 and 24
The Muslims prefer calling Allah (swt) with His Name Allah, instead of the English word ‘God’. The Arabic word Allah is pure and unique, unlike the English word God which can be played around with.
If you add ‘s’ to God, it becomes ‘gods’ that is plural of God. Allah is one and singular, there is no plural of Allah. If you add ‘dess’ to God, it becomes “goddess’ that is a female God. There is nothing like male Allah or female Allah. Allah has no gender. If you add father to God, it becomes godfather’. “He is my Godfather” means that “he is my guardian”. There is nothing like ‘Allah Abba’ or ‘Allah father’ in Islam. If you add mother to God it becomes ‘godmother’, there is nothing like ‘Allah Ammi’ or ‘Allah Mother’ in Islam. If you put tin before God, it becomes tin-god i.e. a fake God, there is nothing like ‘tin Allah’ or ‘fake Allah’ in Islam. Allah is a unique word, which does not conjure up any mental picture nor can it be played around with. Hence, the Muslims prefer the name Allah when referring to the Almighty Creator. But sometimes while speaking to non-Muslims we may have to use the inappropriate word God for Allah.
These methods of proving the existence of God to an atheist may satisfy some, but not all. Many atheists demand a scientific proof for the existence of God. I do agree that today is the age of science and technology. Let us use the scientific knowledge that we have to prove the existence of God and simultaneously also prove that Qur’an is a revelation of God.
If a new object or a machine, which no one in the world has ever seen or heard of before is shown to an atheist or any other person and then asked a question, who is the first person who will be able to tell the mechanism of this unknown object? After little bit of thinking, he will reply ‘the Creator of that object’. Some may say ‘the Producer’ while other may say ‘the manufacturer’. Whatever answer the person gives, keep it in your mind, the answer will always be either ‘the Creator’, ‘the Producer’, ‘the manufacturer’ or somewhat of the same meaning i.e. the person who has made it or created it. Do not grapple with words, for whatever answer he gives the meaning will be the same; therefore accept it.
In Mathematics, there is a theory known as ‘Theory of Probability’. If you have two options, out of which one is right, and one is wrong, the chances that you will choose the right one is half i.e. one out of the two will be correct. You have 50% chances of being correct, similarly if you toss a coin the chances that your guess will be correct is 50% (1 out of 2) i.e. ½. If you toss a coin the second time, the chances that you will be correct in the second toss is again 50% i.e. ½. But the chances that you will be correct in both the tosses is half x half ( ½ x ½ ) which is equal to ¼. i.e. 50% of 50% i.e. equal to 25%. If you toss a coin the third time, chances that you will be correct all three times is ( ½ x ½ x ½ ) that is 1/8 or 50% of 50% of 50% that is 12.5%.
A dice has got six sides. If you throw a dice and guess any number between 1 and 6, the chances that your guess will be correct are 1/6. If you throw the dice the second time, the chances that your guess will be correct in both the throws is ( 1/6 x 1/6 ) which is equal to 1/36. If you throw the dice the third time, the chances that all your three guesses are correct is ( 1/6 x 1/6 x 1/6 ) is equal to 1/216 that is less than ½ a percent.
Let us apply this theory of probability to the Qur’an, and assume that a person has guessed all the information that is mentioned in the Qur’an, which was unknown at that time. Let us discuss the probability of all the guesses being correct.
At the time when the Qur’an was revealed, people thought the world was flat. There are several other options for the shape of the earth. It could be triangular; it could be quadrangular, pentagonal, hexagonal, heptagonal, octagonal, spherical, etc. Let’s assume there are about 30 different options for the shape of the earth. The Qur’an rightly says it is spherical, if it was a guess the chances of the guess being correct is 1/30.
The light of the moon can be its own light or a reflected light. The Qur’an rightly says it is a reflected light. If it was a guess, the chances that it will be correct is ½ and the probability that both the guesses i.e. the earth is spherical and the light of the moon is reflected light is 1/30 x ½ = 1/60.
Further the Qur’an also mentions every living thing made up of water. The options are say about 10,000. Every living thing can be made up of either wood, stone, copper, aluminium, steel, silver, gold, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, oil, water, cement, concrete etc. The Qur’an rightly says that every living thing is made up of water. Therefore if it’s a guess, the chances that it will be correct is 1/10,000 and the probability of all the three guesses i.e. earth is spherical, light of moon is reflected, every living thing is created from water being correct is 1/30 x ½ x 1/10,000 = 1/600,000 which is equal to about .00017%.
The Qur’an speaks about hundreds of things that were not known at that time. Only in three options the result is .00017%. I leave it up to you the intellectual readers to work out the probability if all the hundreds of the unknown facts were guesses, the chances of all the guesses being correct and not a single wrong. It is beyond human capacity to have all the guesses correct without a single mistake, which in itself is sufficient to prove to a logical person that the origin of the Qur’an is divine.
Let me remind you that Qur’an is not a book of Science, ‘S.C.I.E.N.C.E.’ but a book of ‘signs’ – S.I.G.N.S. i.e. a book of ayaats. The Qur’an contains more than 6000 ayaats that is ‘signs’ out of which more than a thousand speak about science. For Muslims, the Qur’an is the ‘Furqaan’ i.e. the criteria to judge right from wrong and it is the ultimate yard stick which is more superior to scientific knowledge. But for an educated man who is an atheist, scientific knowledge is the ultimate test, which he believes in. Using the ultimate yardstick of the atheist, I try to prove to him that the Qur’an is the word of God and while it was revealed 1400 ago, it contains the scientific knowledge that was discovered recently. Therefore at the end of the discussion, we both come to the same conclusion that God, though superior to science, does not conflict with it.
The only logical answer to the question, who could have mentioned all these scientific facts 1400 years ago before they were discovered, is exactly the same answer as was initially given by the atheist or any person, to the question who is the first person who will be able to tell the mechanism of the unknown object. It is the ‘CREATOR,’ the Producer, the Manufacturer. Another name in the English Language for this Creator, Producer, Manufacturer of the whole universe and its contents, is ‘God’ or more appropriately in the Arabic Language is ‘Allah’.
Francis Bacon, the famous philosopher, has rightly said that a little knowledge of science makes you an atheist, but an in-depth study of science makes you a believer in God. Scientists today are eliminating models of God, but they are not eliminating God.
If you translate this act – of rejecting false models and wrong notions of God – into Arabic, it is ‘La ilaaha illal lah’ which means “there is no god, but God”. “There is no god (god with a small ‘g’ that is fake deities), but God (with a capital ‘G’)
Surah Fussilat chapter 41 verse 53: “Soon will we show them our signs in the (furthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is truth. Is it not enough that thy lord doth witness all things?” (41: 53)
And Our Final Call is – All praises are for the One and Only God and Creator Allah, who alone is worthy of devotion, complete submission and worship. I declare that there is no other deity or god besides Allah. I also declare that Prophet Muhammad is the Last and Final Messenger of Allah.
(This article concludes)
The author, Dr. Zakir Naik, is a well-known orator and scholar of Comparative Religion. He is the president of the Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Men, Missions and Machines