Saturday, 27 September 2014

Intellect, Reason and Unity Of Being

S H Nasr
(Original source: http://www.livingislam.org/k/ird_e.html)
The tragedy of modern Western philosophy lies, from the Muslim point of view, in confusing intellect and reason. The intellect to which the Sufi doctrine appeals and through which it is understood is that instrument of knowledge which perceives directly. It is not reason which is, at best, its mental image. Intellectus is not ratio. The latter can create and understand philosophy in the usual meaning of the word; only the former can understand metaphysics in its true sense which lies at the heart of the doctrine. To comprehend the doctrine is therefore not just to try to conform ideas to a logical pattern. Nor is it to play with ideas and seek to perform any kind of mental acrobatics. It is a contemplative vision of the nature of things made possible through intellection. The doctrine or metaphysics would be the easiest thing to teach if all men could understand as easily as they can reason. But in fact it is most difficult to explain precisely because only a few are capable of intellection. That is why even within the Tarîqah [i.e. spiritual path within Islam] only a small number are capable of fully comprehending the doctrine.

Doctrine is in a sense the beginning and end of the Path. It comes at the beginning as a knowledge that is 'theoretical' and at the end as one that is realized and lived. Between the two there is a world of difference. Every doctrinal work of Sufism is like a key with which a particular door is opened and through which the traveller must pass until finally, at the end of the road, he realizes in his being the doctrine that he knew 'theoretically' at the beginning. There are those who belittle doctrine in the name of experience. But doctrine is absolutely essential especially at the beginning of the Path when man is lost in the maze of distracting thoughts, and especially in modern times when the confusion in the mental plane makes the possession of a clear vision of the nature of things indispensable. The doctrine at the beginning is like the map of a mountain to be climbed. At the end it is the intimate knowledge of the mountain gained through the actual experience of having climbed it.

Also in the same way that different descriptions can be given of a mountain depending on the angle from which it is being viewed, doctrine is often expressed in terms that may seem contradictory in certain external aspects. But the subject of all the descriptions is the mountain and the content of all the expressions of doctrine is the Truth which each formulation expresses from a certain point of view. In metaphysical doctrines there is no innate opposition, as in schools of philosophy, but complementary forms that reveal the same essence.

All doctrine, as already stated, is essentially the distinction between the Real and the apparent, the Absolute and relative, or substance and accidents. Its cardinal teaching is that only Allah is absolutely Real and consequently this world in which man lives is contingent. Between God, who transcends Being and whose first determination is Pure Being, and this world, which is farthest away from It, there are located a number of other worlds each standing hierarchically above the other in the scale of universal existence. Together they comprise the multiple states of being, which all receive their being from God, while before Him they are literally nothing. Man thus stands before this vast number of worlds above him, and beyond them before the Divine Presence Itself which, although completely transcendent with respect to all domains of the Universe, is closer to man than his jugular vein.

The central doctrine concerning the ultimate nature of reality has usually been called wahdat al-wujûd or the (transcendent) unity of Being. This cardinal doctrine, which is not pantheism, or pan-entheism nor natural mysticism as Western orientalists have called it, is the direct consequence of the Shahâdah. It asserts that there cannot be two completely independent orders of reality or being which would be sheer polytheism or shirk. Therefore, to the extent that anything has being it cannot be other than the Absolute Being. The Shahâdah in fact begins with the , or negation, in order to absolve Reality of all otherness and multiplicity. The relation between God and the order of existence is not just a logical one in which if one thing is equal to another the other is equal to the first. Through that mystery that lies in the heart of creation itself, everything is, in essence, identified with God while God infinitely transcends everything. To understand this doctrine intellectually is to possess contemplative [intuitive] intelligence; to realize it fully is to be a saint who alone sees 'God everywhere'.

(From: Ideals and Realities of Islam, S H Nasr)

If 1=0 is absurd, then is not bringing something out of nothing also absurd

By Shaykh Abu Adam
Question: If it is logically absurd to say that Allah can create a “one” out of a “zero” then so too must it be absurd to say that Allah can bring something out of nothingness. Therefore, the cosmos has always existed because it is logically absurd to say that the cosmos was created out of nothingness.” How would we respond to such an argument?
Answer: The number one is not a thing. It is an idea in the mind only, representing the count of “one.” 1=1 simply says that “one” thing equals “one” thing, so you cannot say 1=0, or that “one thing is nothing.” That does not mean, however, that “one” thing cannot become nothing. It can, because Allah can annihilate the thing that had the count of “one.” For example, “one” man = 1 man, then later he was annihilated, so it is no longer existing, and therefore has a count of 0. It is important to distinguish between “being” one and “becoming” one, or being zero and becoming zero. What is impossible is that “one” be “zero” and “one” at the same time. Mathematical expressions in the normal sense refer to “being” and not “becoming.”


Answers to objections from Atheists/Agnostics

By Defending-Islam.com

Objection #1: “I cannot believe that God exists until He manifests Himself plainly to us all”

We found the following hypothetical scenario presented by a self-declared agnostic, and we believe it is important to present it and address the problems inherent in such an exposition. The agnostic said[1]:

I was once asked ...
“In what way would a God need to reveal Godself to you in order for you to believe that a God exists? Secondly ... if you were God, how would you reveal yourself to the people of the world?"
To wit:
If we're at the Redskins game next Sunday, and the sky suddenly lights up around 11 o'clock ... and some fellow who looks like Chuck Heston with a face a dozen times the size of the Moon appears ... or some form of entity never before seen around these parts manifests Itself ... and each of the 90,000 fellow humans around us in the stadium perceive It as we do ... and we all perceive It as It begins communicating how It feels about us, or sharing insight on how The Whole Thing Works or some other Really Big Thing ... and then perhaps rearranges a constellation or two while we all watch agog (you know, just to show us It’s serious) ... and when we all wake up the next morning the whole thing is in all the papers and on the news and by golly there's the film and sound and everything ... and all the subsequent frenzied digging by all the world's best scientists and all the world's best investigative media reveal that no, we were not in fact all going through some mass psychosis, or suffering a drug-induced mass hallucination due to a bad strain of grain and that yes, in fact this thing really did happen ... and oh by the way, the Big Dipper now looked like a Smiley Face instead of a spoon ... then yeah.
Putting aside the many references to popular culture and mild jokes being presented above, this description is basically that of an agnostic/skeptic asking for God to manifest Himself as the Christians understand that God manifested Himself.
This is a most unfortunate scenario, since what is true (and what is the Muslims’ firm belief) is that Allah is not a body, He is not part of the creation and He does not exist within the creation, nor does He change from one state to the other; all of these are impossible to be attributed to Allah, since in that case He would be just another creature from among the creation, may Allah save us from such a belief.
However, what is jokingly described above is merely a variation of the Christians’ view of how God supposedly manifested Himself in this world. The skeptic is merely saying that he does not know for certain that God manifested Himself in the way Christians claim it occurred (since the historical claim is suspect for him), and that he would only believe if he and thousands of people with him witnessed an event similar to what Christians claim occurred when God supposedly took the form of a man. For a synopsis as to why such a view is impossible, the following objections and their responses can be read:
and
Now, once we know of the impossibility of God manifesting Himself in human form, the Muslim points out that Allah does send certain elect people to convey His Message from time to time. The Islamic religion calls such people Prophets and Messengers, and such people are given wonders which cannot be matched by their opponents – something which in Islamic terminology is called a Mu’jizah (translated as miracle but the Arabic term conveys the important meaning that those who oppose the Messenger are utterly unable to reproduce the same amazing feat which the Prophet or Messenger has been given), so that all the people who hear and see the Prophet may be rationally convinced regarding the truth of the Prophet’s claim.
 The Muslim knows and believes that Muhammad (Salla Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) was given a very long list of visible miracles just like the miracles of the past Prophets. In addition to this, he was given the glorious Qur’an, which is a truly unique miracle, since it is a recited miracle which is still accessible to us today, while all the other great feats and miracles of the past Prophets are not accessible to us anymore, and their truthfulness is totally a matter of belief rather than an experience that can be accessed by anyone in the world today.
The Muslim can discuss about the issue of Prophets and Messengers and how Allah makes His Message known to mankind through these elect persons, but all incorrect and wild ideas about how God can or should manifest Himself have to be dropped before any fruitful discussion can be had about this topic.



[1] http://omchronicles.blogspot.com/2007_02_01_archive.html

How do random things relate to the existence of God?

By Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji
An agnostic asked: Some would maintain that if the universe is mostly random, having pointless moons and planes floating about, how would this randomness fit in with the concept of God who does everything for a reason?
Answer: The problem with this whole issue is that if someone asks “why did God do that?” then he is asking a question that implies a need. For, example, if I ask you, “Why did you do that?” Then your answer will always be in terms of getting some benefit or avoiding some harm. Since the Creator does not have needs, this question is irrelevant with respect to Him. That is why the Quran teaches us not to ask this question:
لا يُسْأَلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ يُسْأَلُون
Meaning: “He is not asked about what He does to creation, but the creation is asked.” (Al-Anbiya’, 23).
Allah does, however, instruct us of our own decreed purpose:
وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنْسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ
Meaning: “Allah did not create humans or jinn except to worship Him.”
This does not mean that He gets benefit from our worship, as also instructed in the Quran:
فَإِنَّ ٱلله غَنِيٌّ عَنِ ٱلْعَٰلَمِينَ
Meaning: Verily Allah has absolutely no need for the worlds.” (Aal `Imraan, 97)
The agnostic said: If the Quantum physics shows us that things happen against our intuition, then how can any proof of God based upon our intuition be correct?
Answer: Intuition is not a source of certain knowledge according to Sunni Muslims, so we do not use such “proofs.” This is because it cannot be verified objectively. Rather, the sources of knowledge are our senses, true information, and the mind. The scriptures are the sources of religious knowledge, as they are perceived by the senses, judged as true by the mind, and understood by the mind.

Explaining the “Mustahil” or “Rationally Impossible"

(Edited by Defending-Islam.com Staff)
Question: I am a novice in regards to hard `aqida and `ilm al-kalam. Could you explain to me the issue of Imkan al-Kidhb in a very simple manner (and could you also tell me what Muhal, mumkin, jayiz-`aqli , jayiz-dhati, and Mustahil means)?
Answer: You should learn the following from my commentary on what Al Sanusi said (Arabic followed by translation bolded in brackets):
اعلم أن الحكم العقلي ينحصر في ثلاثة أقسام الوجوب والاستحالة والجواز
{Know that the judgments of the intellect are limited to 3 categories:
1)    what absolutely must be,
2)    what absolutely cannot be, and
3)    what may be.}
That is, if we propose something to exist in itself, or in relation to something else, then our minds will judge that this existence is absolutely necessary, absolutely impossible, or possible. For example, if someone said, “`Umar exists,” a listener would immediately consider this proposition as possible, without knowing more about this `Umar.
The judgment of the mind may be immediately obvious, or it may require some thinking. Note that these categories refer to purely intellectual judgments, regardless of any physical evidences or other information. These intellectual judgments are not the only sources of certitude of knowledge. There are two other ways.
First, we may gain certainty of knowledge through sound sensory organs by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or touching. For example, we become certain of our own existence and that of our families through our senses.
Second, we may gain certitude about a fact by hearing about something from other people in a way that precludes the possibility of a mistake. For example, we are certain about the historical occurrence of World War II and the existence of Hitler, because we have received consistent information from masses of people about these facts. The way we received this information eliminates the  possibility that they could all be mistaken, or have conspired to lie.
In short, the causes of knowledge for creations are three: sound senses, true information and the mind. What Al Sanusi is concerned with here, however, are the pure judgments of the mind, regardless of sensory input or information from others. This is because the pure judgments of the mind are essential to proving the Islamic creed regarding Allah to be correct. After all, Allah is not something one captures with one’s senses, as He is not something physical.
فالواجب ما لا يتصور في العقل عدمه
1)    {What absolutely must be is what the mind absolutely does not accept the non-existence of.} That is, to propose its non-existence would be irrational. It is thus labeled as necessarily existing, required to exist, impossible not to exist, or the like. In Arabic the expression for this is wajib.
That which must be does not need anything for its existence. This is because if it did, then it would depend on that other thing to exist. Thereby its existence would be a possibility, not a must. Allah’s existence, and His attributes, absolutely must be.
There is another type of must be, which is not absolute, but dependent on the existence of something else that is not a must. For example, when a body exists, we know it must be in a location. The body itself, however, is only possible in existence to begin with.
والمستحيل ما لا يتصور في العقل وجوده

2)    {What absolutely cannot be is what the mind does not accept the potential existence of under any circumstance.} That is, the proposition of its possible existence is absolutely irrational and logically incongruent. The impossible is expressed as “necessarily non-existing,” or “required not to exist,” “rationally impossible” or “impossible to exist.” In Arabic the expression for impossibleis muhaal or mustahil.
This does not meant that it is impossible to propose the idea of its existence. This is because the proposal only requires putting words together to form a descriptive sentence, such as: “the spherical ball is perfectly cubical.” It is just that when one analyzes the meaning behind the words, one ends up with an absurdity. For example, the expression: “The round circle is a perfect square” is a grammatically sound sentence. It does not, however, have a sound meaning. Its proposition is impossible, because it expresses a contradiction of terms.
Note that what absolutely cannot be does not refer to what is merely practically or normally impossible, such as rivers flowing up a mountain, replacing the Atlantic Ocean with orange juice, walking to the moon, or awaking the dead.
والجائز ما يصح في العقل وجوده وعدمه
3)    {What may be is that which the mind alone can accept the existence or non-existence of.} All created things fall into this category. Note that we are only speaking of the mind’s judgment, without reference to any other information or evidence. In Arabic the expression for this is jaa’iz (`aqliyy or dhaati).
 
The Arabic expression Imkan al-Kidhb means “possibility of lying”. Some ignorant non-Muslims (that claim to be Muslims) say that it is possible that Aļļaah could lie, i.e. that it belongs in category 3 above. To lie is to say something that is not true. This is a flaw, and it is impossible that Aļļaah should have flaws. This is the simple answer.
Question: Also, one of my non-Muslim friends asked me this question: Is it possible for Allah (Subhan wa Ta`ala) to create a stone so large that he (Subhan wa Ta`ala) can not lift it? Could you answer that rationally and Islamically (according to the books of `aqeeda) ?

This is the typical Satanic question, where a kaafir asks “Can Allah <insert impossible proposition>?” The answer to this particular question is that Allah is not a body, so the idea of lifting in the sense that Christians would think of it does not befit Allah, because He is not a body, unlike what those idiots think. The question then is non-sensical, because Allah does not need a body to move something from a low place to a higher place. If the Christian means by lifting simply having something moved from one place to another, then the answer is that the inability to move something is a weakness, and since what is weak cannot be god, the question he asked is actually “Is it possible for Allah, who is not Aļļaah, to create a stone so large that he can not lift it?” This is because whatever is weak is not god, and whatever is not god is not Allah, so it is a meaningless question.

Does God Exist?

(Original Source: http://www.fethullahgulen.org/questions-and-answers-1/173-god/1114-does-god-exist.html)

The existence of God is too evident to need any arguments. Some saintly scholars have stated that God Himself is more manifest than any other being, but those who lack insight cannot see Him. Others have said that He is concealed from direct perception because of His Self-manifestation's intensity.
However, the great influence of positivism and materialim on science humanity makes it necessary to discuss such arguments. This way of thinking reduces existence to what can be directly perceived and thereby blinds itself to the invisible dimensions of existence, which are far more vast than the visible. Since we must strive to remove the veil drawn by materialism and positivism, we will review briefly some of the traditional demonstrations for God's necessary existence.
Before doing so, it is worth reflecting upon the historical fact that, since the very beginning of human life, the overwhelming majority of humanity has believed in God's existence. This alone is enough to establish God's existence. Unbelievers cannot claim intellectual superiority over believers, for the latter contain many innovative scientists, scholars, researchers and, most importantly, saints and Prophets (the experts in this field). Also, people usually confuse the non-acceptance of something's existence with the acceptance of its non-existence. While the former is only a negation or a rejection, the latter is a judgment needing proof. No one has ever proven, and cannot prove, God's non-existence. In contrast, countless arguments prove His existence.
This point may be clarified through the following analogy: Imagine a large palace with 1,000 entrances, 999 of which are open and one of which appears to be closed. How can you claim that the palace cannot be entered? This is what unbelievers do by confining their (and others') attention only to the door which appears to be closed. The doors to God's existence are open to everybody, provided that they sincerely intend to enter through them.
Some of those doors—the demonstrations for God's existence—are as follows:
• Creation is contingent. In other words, it is equally possible for something to exist or not to exist. Also, it is possible for something to come into existence at any time, place, and form, and with any character. No thing or person has any role in determining how, when, or where it comes into existence, or what character and features it will have. Some power has to choose. This power must be infinite, and have absolute will and all-comprehensive knowledge. Necessarily, this power is God.
• Things are finite. Everything is changeable. Given this, everything is contained by time and space and therefore must have a beginning and an end. That which has a beginning needs a beginningless one to bring it into existence. As an unending regress through the originator of each originator is unacceptable, reason demands the existence of one who is infinitely self-existent and self-subsistent, who does not change. This one is God.
• Life. Life is a riddle but transparent. It is a riddle that scientists cannot explain with material causes, and transparent because it shows or reflects a creative power. Through both of these characteristics, life declares: "God created me."
• Orderliness in creation. Everything in the universe, and the universe as a whole, displays a magnificent harmony and order. This is seen in every item and in their harmonious interrelationships. This is true to such an extent that one part's existence necessitates the whole's existence, just as the whole's existence requires all its parts' existence. A single deformed cell may lead to the whole body's death. Similarly a single pomegranate requires for its existence the collaborative and cooperative existence of air, water, soil, and the sun, as well as their well-balanced mutual cooperation. Such harmony and cooperativeness point to a creator of order, one who knows everything in all its relations and characteristics, one who can put everything in order. The creator of that order is God.
• Artistry in creation. All creation exhibits an overwhelming artistry of dazzling worth. Yet it is created, as we see it, easily and quickly. Furthermore, creation is divided into countless families, genera, species, and even smaller groups, each of which has so many members. Despite this variety and abundance, we see only orderliness, art, and ease. This shows the existence of one with an absolute power and knowledge: God.
• Finality in creation. Nothing in the universe is pointless. As ecology shows in particular, everything in creation, no matter how apparently insignificant, has a significant role in existence and serves a certain purpose. The chain of creation up to humanity, the last link in creation, is evidently directed toward a final purpose. Since this requires a wise one who pursues certain purposes in creation, and since only humanity has the consciousness to pursue those purposes, the wisdom and purposiveness in creation necessarily point to God.
• Mercy and providence. All living and non-living beings are in continuous need of many things, even a small portion of which they cannot supply by themselves. For example, the universe's operation and maintenance demand the existence of such universal laws as growth, reproduction, gravitation, and repulsion. However, these "natural" laws have no external, visible, or material existence; their existence is completely nominal. How can something that exists only nominally, which has no knowledge and consciousness, be responsible for a miraculous creation requiring absolute knowledge and wisdom? How can it have the power of choice and preference? So, one who has all these attributes has established these natural laws and uses them to veil His operations for a certain purpose.
Plants require air, water, heat, and light. But they can obtain none of these on their own. Our needs are infinite. Fortunately, all of our essential needs, from the very beginning of our earthly existence to our death, are met by someone beyond our own capacity and intervention. We enter this world and find everything prepared to meet our all sense, intellectual, and spiritual needs. This clearly shows that one who is infinitely merciful and knowledgeable provides for all created beings in the most extraordinary way, and causes all things to collaborate to that end.
• Mutual helping. As mentioned above, everything in the universe helps everything else. This mutual helping is so comprehensive that, for example, just as almost all things (including air, water, fire, soil, the sun and sky) help us in the most extraordinarily prearranged manner, so do bodily cells, members, and systems cooperate to keep us alive. Soil, air, water, heat, and bacteria cooperate to keep plants alive. This cooperation and mutual helping, observed among unconscious beings but requiring knowledge and deliberate purpose, show the existence of one who arranges them in that miraculous way.
• Cleanliness. Until we began over-polluting our air, water, and land, the natural world was cleansed and purified continually. Even now, it preserves its original purity in many regions where the ways of modern civilization have not yet taken hold. Have you ever wondered why nature is so clean, why forests are so clean although many animals die there every day? Have you ever considered that if all flies born in a single summer were to survive, our planet would be covered with layers of fly bodies? Have you ever noticed that nothing is wasted in nature? Every death is the beginning of a new birth. For example, a dead body decomposes and is integrated into the ground. Elements die and are revived in plants; plants die in animal and human stomachs and are promoted to the higher rank of life.
This cycle of death and revival is one reason for the universe's continual cleanliness and purity. As well as bacteria and insects, winds and rain, black holes, and oxygen all serve to sustain the universe's purity. This purity points to one who is all-holy, whose attributes include cleanliness and purity.
• Countenances. Countless human beings have lived since Adam's creation. Despite their common origin—a sperm and ovum, which are formed from the same sort of foods consumed by one's parents—and although they are composed of the same structures, elements, organisms, every person has a unique countenance. This shows one with an absolutely free choice and all-encompassing knowledge, and He is God.
• Divine teaching and directing. To direct our lives and learn what is good or bad for us takes at least 15 years. However, many animals acquire this knowledge soon after their birth. A duckling can swim as soon as it hatches. Ants start to dig nests in the ground when they leave their cocoons. Bees and spiders quickly learn how to make their honeycombs and webs, respectively, that are such marvels that we cannot produce them. Who teaches young eels born in the Atlantic Ocean to find their way to their ancestral home in the Pacific Ocean? The birds' migration is still a mystery. How can you explain such astounding facts other than by attributing them to the teaching or directing of one who knows everything and has arranged the universe and its inhabitants in such a way that they can direct their lives?
• The spirit and the conscience. Despite enormous scientific advances, we cannot explain life. Life is the gift of the Ever-Living One, Who "breathes" a spirit into each embryo. Our ignorance of the spirit's nature and its relation with the body does not negate its existance. The spirit is sent to the world to be perfected and acquire a state appropriate for the other life. Our conscience is the center of our inclinations toward right and wrong. Everybody feels this conscience on some occasions. So, the spirit and conscience are strong arguments for the existence of One God.
• Our innate dispositions and history. We are innately disposed to good and beauty, and adverse to evil and ugliness. We also are inclined to virtues and moral values. Unless corrupted by external factors and conditions, we seek the good and moral values, which are universal. The values we seek naturally are the same virtues and morality promulgated by all Divine inspired religions. As history witnesses, humanity has never lived without a religion. Just as no system has superseded religion in human life, the Prophets and religious people always have been most influential people and left indelible marks on human history. This is another irrefutable proof for the existence of the One God.
• Human intuition. We feel many intuitions and emotions, which are a sort of message from immaterial realms. Among them, the intuition of eternity arouses in us a desire for eternity, which we seek to fulfill in many ways. However, it can be realized only through belief in and worship of the Eternal One Who inspired this intuition and desire in us. True human happiness lies in satisfying this desire for eternity.
• Consensus. If a few people who never tell the truth come and tell us at various times the same thing, we may believe them in the absence of any alternative. But when thousands of Prophets who never lied, and countless saints and believers who adopted truthfulness as a most essential pillar of belief, all agree that God exists, how can we reject their testimony for that of a few liars?
• The Qur'an and other Scriptures. Proofs for the Qur'an's Divine origin are also proofs for God's existence. The Qur'an teaches with great emphasis and force, as does the Bible in its uncorrupted parts, the existence of One God.
• The Prophets. Thousands of Prophets came and guided humanity to truth. All of them were justly renowned for their truthfulness and other praiseworthy virtues. All gave priority to preaching the existence and Oneness of God.

Deviant Contention: There is a flaw in the proof you presented for the existence of Allah

by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji
as salam `alaykum
A few days ago, a person posted an objection under the “The Foundations of Religion” article. Hereunder is the response to it. I took the liberty of changing the wording of the question a little bit so that the question becomes clear.
wa `alaykum salam
Ibn Mazhar
The author said: Basically this says that, if an eternal amount of time has been concluded then eternity has come to an end, which, I think, is wrong.
Here’s why:
Visualize the eternity (infinite spectrum of time) as the infinite real number line. Now suppose we are at number 8, which represents some point in time, say the present. There is an infinite amount of time, or numbers in this case, prior to the number 8 (namely from minus infinity to 8). Does it mean that the number line has come to a stop? No. There still is an infinite amount of time or numbers in this case, in front of 8 (namely 8 to positive infinity).
Answer: Here is the first problem:
The author said: “Visualize the eternity as the infinite real number line.”
Your proposal falls apart already here. Infinity cannot be visualized, because visualizing it would take an infinite amount of time. Truly visualizing it would never be achieved, which is exactly the point we have made. You cannot reach true infinity. It is because infinity cannot be reached that we say that the real countable events that took place before we existed today must be a limited number.
For example, imagine yourself riding on this line, starting at 8 and going backwards to the beginning of that line and back. You cannot ever finish this ride even backwards if it was infinite.
The author said: “Now suppose we are at number 8.”
Here there are at least two problems: you are assuming you have reached a number after an infinite number of events. This cannot be because they could never have finished. You cannot finish an infinite amount of events before reaching a particular event, be it 8 or any other number. That is why the real events that took place before our existence must be limited.
Another problem with the idea is that the number line in mathematics cannot represent time. It was not designed for that. The number line simply means that any time a mathematician mentions a larger or smaller number than another number; another mathematician can mention a larger or smaller number than those. This is as long as there is life left in them, for even this counting activity ends with the end of the mathematicians counting. The number line does not represent time; it does not prove anything in itself.
Here is another substantial problem with your proposition:
The author said: “There is an infinite amount of time prior to the number 8 (namely from minus infinity to 8).”
Remember that we are talking about real countable events. Real events cannot be counted as minus, because a negative number cannot represent something existing, i.e. you cannot say that a “minus event” happened. In a subtle way you have shown our point, because on the number line countable events start at “1″, and cannot be negative. In other words, when you choose the number “8″, then you are saying that only “8″ events have taken place before we are here today. “8″ events cannot be infinite, because “8″ is not equal to infinity. What you are saying is that “8″ real events are equal to an infinite number of real events, which is clearly false.
Then the author proposed that after reaching “8″ events: “Does it mean number line has come to a stop? No. There still is an infinite amount of time or numbers in this case, in front of 8 (namely 8 to positive infinity).”
When we say that there were a limited number of events, namely “8,” in this case, that have taken place, then we can accept that it can continue after that and never end as long as the Creator has willed it. We cannot accept, however, and no rational being can, that “8″ past events are equal to infinite past events!
The author said: “If there were a mathematically rigorous proof for the existence of God, none would be happier than me. But this particular proof is not one of them.”
My response is that then you should use your mental facilities to defend the proof, not attack it with imaginary evidences. The proof is rock solid and has withstood the test of time.

Deviant attempts to use theories of physics against the proofs of the belief of Islam



Deviant says: The problem with the Kalam argument [the argument of the scholars of the Islamic belief] in describing how “beings” are created is that under the laws of thermodynamics, matter cannot be created or destroyed, it merely changes form.
Abu Adam: Where does kalam describe, according to you, how beings are created? How does the changing of form affect the kalam argument?
The claim that matter cannot be destroyed is merely a theory, it is not an absolute truth. It is a hypothesis no one has been able to show false in an experiment, that is all. What is factual about all this, is only this: no one has been able to show matter being destroyed in an experiment (as far as I know.) So what? How exactly does this affect the kalam argument?
Deviant says: Thus the first premise that is used in Kalam, that beings have a beginning and an end is misleading.
Abu Adam: This is not the first premise, there are proofs for why it must have a beginning mentioned in kalam. As for having an ending, this cannot be known by reason alone, and one does not need to prove it to show that the world is created. You seem to think that these ideas are newly claimed by physicists, when in fact they are thousands of years old, and are indeed dealt with in the books of kalam.
Deviant says: This is all observed empirically in nature. That’s why its a law of thermodynamics and not a theory of thermodynamics.
Abu Adam: Now you are resorting to lie, as expected. The so called law of thermodynamics remains a theory in that it remains falsifiable, and it remains labeled a law only because no one has shown it false in an experiment. This does not mean it is true. You are mixing what is actually observed with the interpretation of what is observed. Moreover, I can’t think of any reason why the so called laws of thermodynamics run contrary to kalam. They are merely attempted descriptions of what is normally true. It belongs to the “possible” category of things in kalam terminology. Aļļaah can create matter that cannot be destroyed in the world of physical cause (i.e. through a physical means,) as well as matter that can be destroyed (by physical means.) If it is really true that matter cannot be destroyed in the causal habits of this universe, i.e. by physical means, not that it would be indestructible in absolute terms, then this simply means that Aļļaah created it to be so. This idea, that matter changes form, and does not vanish, does not deal a blow to kalam, so we are still at loss for what you are getting at.
Deviant says: First, the parts of the universe aren’t necessarily “created” since matter/energy merely shift forms. Secondly, theoretical physics throws the entire conception of this principle out of the window because parts of a whole may be radically different from the whole.
Abu Adam: The first point is the thousands of years old argument of the Aristotelean philosophers. The books of kalam deal with this. Claiming that it is not created, i.e. not emergent, leads to logical contradictions mentioned in kalaam books. As-Sanuusiyy mentions one of these in his ˆAqiidah Aş-Şugħraa, but there are many proofs. The fact that one cannot have infinite movements/changes in the past is enough to prove this, as shown in The Foundations of the Religion.
As for the second point, the scholars of kalam admit that the parts are different from the whole. Az-Zarkashiyy (745-794 AH/ 1344-1392 AD) for one states plainly that trying to understand indivisible matter based on what we see in this world is a mistake, which I think is more than reasonable. Everything we see around us are divisible things with bulk that have different attributes, so how can we draw an analogy between these things and what is not divisible? Kalam science is not affected by this, as it is not a new idea.
Deviant says: Subatomic particles defy causal relationships and very large bodies which supersede the speed of light reverse causality. This isn’t “theory” but observations made by scientists.
Abu Adam: It is not that simple. What exactly was observed that “defy causal relationships,” and “reverse causality,” as you are claiming? What you are speaking of is the scientist’s interpretation of what he saw, not what he actually saw - if you are telling the truth about this scientist.
I do not know of any physicist that denies cause, least of all Einstein. Causality itself is not even something observable. What is observable is physical entities, large or small, and how they behave. To claim something is really a cause of their behavior is metaphysical, because causality itself cannot be seen. I mean cause in the sense of the power to actually affect events. That is, we say fire causes burning, but does this mean that it causes it in actual reality, or is fire intrinsically, and in actual reality, powerless? Of course, the belief of Muslims is that fire has no intrinsic power to burn; the fire and its burning are two different creations that Aļļaah has created, and none of them necessarily follows the other in the minds eye, only according to what is normally true. That is, Aļļaah normally creates burnt paper when it has come in contact with fire.
To claim that causal relationships are defied is highly problematic from a philosophical standpoint, because when you deny that an event has a cause, then you are questioning cause in general. Cause-effect is a first principle from which knowledge springs. Without it there is no basis to claim knowledge of the outside world. Why? Because your knowledge of the world, is not what you sense itself, but rather, the interpretation of your mind of the signals of the senses. This bridge from the physical world to the metaphysical world of the mind, and the acceptance of it as true, is based on the acceptance of cause-effect, the cause effect between your senses and your perception. In short, to question cause-effect is to question reality, and to question reality is to question your observation. So no, I do not accept the idea that this has been observed. You have either not understood, or the scientist is full of it.
Moreover, no one has observed particles beyond the speed of light. You are now turning to lies to support your attack on Islam and its scholars, as expected.
Deviant says: Moreover, the nature of entropy posits that at one point the universe was pure light….
Abu Adam: Who was there to observe this pure light? How can you claim that this is known with any level of certainty? It is no more than a guess. It is a “the chair is black, thus all chairs are black” type of argument. It is a claim about history, it cannot be proven by experiments to have actually happened.
Deviant says: If the parts of the universe were the same as the elementary subatomic particles, then the universe should imitate that, but it doesn’t.
Abu Adam: The decoherence phenomenon and environmental effects prevent that. That is, the small particles are isolated from the environment, but big particles are not. For this reason we cannot see the characteristics of quantum in them. The difference between large and small particles is not to the extent that there is no relation between them. Certainly not in a way that contradicts the principles of ĥuduutħ (emergence, having a beginning, such as any change in form of physical things) and imkaan (possibility in the minds eye), which are the basic elements of kalam arguments.
Deviant says: According to a theory of special relativity, causal relationships break down if something goes greater than the speed of light, thus one would perceive an effect before its cause.
Abu Adam: So your mother might be your daughter? What are you trying to say?
Einstein does not say that causal relationships are reversed. Einstein was a zealous defender of physical cause. What he said was that from the reference point of something traveling at less than the speed of light, the result of a cause might appear before the cause itself. No one has proven, however, that a particle, large or small, can travel faster than the speed of light. At the end of the day, what you are claiming is that the kalam argument has been contradicted by a theoretical possibility based on assuming the occurrence of a speed that has not been proven by physicists to exist. But even if this theory was true, how does this contradict kalam?
Deviant says: Modern physics has shown us that at the subatomic particle level, certain entities actually lack spatio-temporal characteristics, and in spite of this, matter and energy still exist. If the parts of matter and energy, subatomic particles, lack the attributes of spatio-temporality, then this shows that the parts of an entity can actually be different than the whole. This second point rebuts the notion that merely because the parts of the universe are created that the universe as a whole is created since modern physics has shown that the parts of the universe lack spatio-temporality.
Abu Adam: No it does not. The proofs of kalam are not based on the parts being like the whole, they are based on ĥuduutħ (emergence) and imkaan (possibility in the mind’s eye) in either what exists in itself (matter/attributed) or what exist in something else (form/attribute).
No one denies that subatomic particles differ from normal bodies. All parties know that the rules of big bodies do not necessarily apply to very small particles. The opposite, however, is not true. For example, relativity applies to both fast and slow particles, as well as big bodies, as it is the most general theory. It is the generalization of the Newtonian theory. We cannot say that it applies only to small particles. Newtonian mechanics, however, can only give correct answers for large and slow bodies. As for the fast ones, physics uses relativity because Newtonian mechanics don’t hold. This is the difference. They are not in different worlds, but models for describing, or predicting, how particles behave at different levels of size, speed, etc.
When particles become very small, physics is forced to use relativity models/theories, and when they get even smaller, then physics is forced to use QM. This does not mean that there is no relation between small particles at QM level and those at relativity level and again at “normal” level.
As for QM, it explains a lot of the strange things observed in small particles. What necessarily follows from this theory has to do with measurement of speed, position, velocity, etc. Physicists do not say that a thing is in several places at the same time, except perhaps those that are prone to silly interpretations of some observations, like the double-split experiment. A number of them do say that if we want to know the place of an electron, then we come with an instrument to see, or by our eyes. Before we look, the system was undisturbed, they say it was not in a place. When you looked or measured, then you disturbed the system, thus you obliged the electron to go into an arbitrary position. This is philosophy, not science. It is the ancient, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Einstein, for one, fiercely refused this idea. He said, “Measurement will not give you an arbitrary position every time.”
Deviant says: subatomic particles can do things that normal matter cannot do, like exist in multiple places at the same time due to the Heisenburg principle of uncertainty, and may not even exist in time.… Moreover…. photons, which are massless particles and can technically be in multiple places at one time.
Abu Adam: No one has observed a photon, or anything else, being in multiple places at the same time. It is an idea of a scientist in an attempt to interpret, and it is a silly one, or a badly phrased one.
Deviant says: Thus, both of the basic premises of the kalam cosmological argument are rendered obsolete by modern physics.
We would still like to know how. Present the argument and show how physics has proven the argument I presented in “The Foundations of the religion,” wrong according to you. Show how what was actually observed contradicts the argument. We are not interested in theories.
As a final comment, a theory is just that: a theory. It is a scientist’s attempt to interpret some observation that he made. Take a look at this for example: http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0609163
As Muslims we must not accept everything a person says just because he is good at math or is wearing a white jacket. Let us also not forget that the word of a kaafir is not a proof of anything. We cannot even accept as true what they claim to have observed in the laboratory. Why? Because we have only a kafir’s word for it. It is kħabar waaĥid, a singular narration, and from a kaafir, so it is like writing on water; it is only possibly true in itself. Not only that, but when it is also self-contradictory in nature, such as some of the supposed interpretations of experiments in physics, then we would not accept it from a muslim, let alone a kaafir. If you remember this, brothers and sisters, you can save yourself a lot of satanic whispers.
The habit of physicists in this age is to throw ideas/ theories and then stay with them until an experiment shows otherwise. They do not always use logic before they speak. They consider everything as possible - it is the heritage of christian sophistry. They do not care about something called impossible in the minds eye, such as the idea of standing and not standing at the same time. This type of idea-throwing as theories happens a lot. An example of discarded theories is the idea of “ether,” which was the hypothetical substance through which electromagnetic waves travel. Newtonian mechanics and relativity theory are others (though they work fine for certain things.) There is therefore no reason to take theoretical physics into the logical debate of kalam. Some of these ideas are no more than silly, and not absolute truth. Even Hawkins states plainly in his book “A brief History of Time”:
“Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis; you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation which disagrees with the predictions of the theory (P. 10)”.
The physicists of today are philosophers of yesterday, empowered by the technological success of physics. They use this power to fool people into accepting even their ideas that are metaphysical - atheism, agnosticism, sophistry - hiding behind the achievement of physics, sometimes disguising them as physical theories. They do this just as the philosophers of yesterday did the same in light of their skills in mathematics, until the kalam scholars drove them into the corner. Today this is not happening, because the muslims are weak, and highly qualified kalam scholars, capable of critical thinking, are extremely few.