The Quran’s Rational Arguments

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

Introduction

Indeed all praise belongs to Allah. I praise Him, seek His help and turn to Him for forgiveness. I seek refuge in Him from the evils of myself and from the wickedness of my actions. Whoever Allah guides no one can misguide him and whoever Allah causes to go astray no one can guide him. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah the One without any partners, and I testify that Muhammad is His slave and messenger.

The topic which I have chosen to discuss with you concerns the rational proofs that are in the Quran. Many of you might be surprised by the title and ask, “What does he mean by the rational arguments (evidences) used by the Quran?”

Before I commence, I would like to spend a few moments discussing the blessings that Allah – The Most Perfect and The Most High – has bestowed upon humanity with the ability to reason. We all know that there are certain questions that ever human being must ask themselves sometimes in their life; for example,

‘Why am I here on this earth?’,

‘What will happen to me after my death?’,

‘Is there a purpose for our existence on this earth?’,

‘Is there something after death or with death does everything end?’,

‘What about the nature of the Creator; what is He like (for those who believe in a Creator?’.

These are all questions that human beings discuss amongst themselves sometimes in their life. Our Creator (Allah – The Most Perfect and The Most High) in the Quran has addressed these questions and has provided answers through which we may come to know of these essential truths.

Why should we be concerned with this topic? In addressing this question humanity usually chooses one of three paths:

A) The first way is that of intellectual speculation; whereby people sit, think and try by their reasoning alone to find the answers to these questions. This is known as Philosophy.

B) Others take a second path – i.e. a purely spiritual exercise. They believe that if they were to perform certain spiritual exercises their soul would will be released from the confines of their body and they will be able to understand the reality of what they are searching for. This is known as Mysticism (Sufism in Islam).

C) The Final way to answer this question is to follow the way of the Prophets and Messengers; those men whom Allah chose for humanity as guides. The Prophets tried to answer this question in three ways. We can also follow this way in our search for truth:

i. Intellectual Reasoning: investigating whether these Prophets are true or not. In the example of the Prophet Muhammad (sallahu alayhi wa sallam), he was either truthful in his claim or he was a liar. Hence, Allah – The Most Perfect and The Most High – requires mankind to use their reasoning to determine the truthfulness of these people’s claims.

ii. By believing in that which Allah tells the Prophets (i.e. the Revelation they come with). Having determined the truthfulness of the Prophet, one then accepts the message that he comes with.

iii. The final way is the use of prayer and spiritual methods in order to firmly root these beliefs in the soul. Hence, the body as well as the individual reflects the beliefs that he holds.

Allah – The Most Perfect and the Most High – describes the people of the Hellfire when they are thrown into the Fire. They will be questioned by the angels as to why they are in the Hellfire. Allah tells us that they say:

وَقَالُوا لَوْ كُنَّا نَسْمَعُ أَوْ نَعْقِلُ مَا كُنَّا فِي أَصْحَابِالسَّعِيرِ

Had we but listened or used our intelligence, we would not (now) be amongst the Companions of the Blazing Fire!” (Surah Mulk [Chapter 67] verse 10)

So when the people are condemned to the Hellfire enter it, they realize that their fault lay in not listening to the message; also they did not use their faculties of reasoning in order to decide whether the message was true or false. To understand the arguments used in the Quran is one of the ways we can save ourselves from the above punishment.

Moreover, we know that when one is aware of these proofs in the Quran, his faith increases. Faith (Iman in Arabic) is something that increases and decreases; when one does good deeds, his faith increases, and when one does evil actions, his faith lessens. Likewise, when one knows the arguments and proofs that show why his religion is true, then his faith also increases, and vice verse. We all knows that the Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

Islam began as a stranger and it will return to being a stranger…

When one is in the time of strangeness, as the renowned scholar of Islam ibn Taymiyyah [May Allah’s Mercy be upon him], said when commenting on this report from the Prophet:

“He needs to know these rational arguments used in the Quran as they were known when it was first revealed”

Therefore knowledge of these rational arguments are very important for Muslims to know in order to practice their religion especially when one is calling others to the way of Islam. One cannot simply go to a non-Muslim, and say that we believe such and such (for example, the prohibition to eat pork) simply because Allah has said so in the Quran. This is not a proof/answer, since in the first place he does not believe that the Quran is Allah’s words and then people will accept other matters related to the religion. The use of these rational arguments helps Muslims to fortify their faith and it will help in calling others to Islam (if Allah so wills).

The arguments of reason used in the Quran are not like the arguments of reason used by the philosophers. The latter people argue that their has to be a premise first and foremost. If you accept this premise, then you can go the second level of the argument, etc. The Quran does not require the person to accept an initial premise. Rather Allah uses matters which humanity as a whole agree upon. Therefore there is no need to have a premise which one has to agree to; these are matters which are self evident. They are signs from Allah showing the truth of Islam.

The Rational Proofs

Let us look at and discuss some of these rational arguments used in the Quran and determine their meanings.

Number One

We know that there are some people who do not believe in the existence of the One God (a Creator). Allah has answered these people using reason in the Quran In the 52nd chapter called Surah at-Tur, Allah says:

أَمْ خُلِقُوا مِنْ غَيْرِ شَيْءٍ أَمْ هُمُ الْخَالِقُونَ

أَمْ خَلَقُوا السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ بَل لَّا يُوقِنُونَ

Were they created by nothing, or were they themselves the creators? Or did they create the Heavens and the earth? Nay, but they have no firm belief” (verses 35-36)

This is a very strong argument used by Allah. Suppose you were to travel in the middle of a countryside and you found that the land was totally empty, nothing was there apart from the green grass, etc. and later you return to the same plot of land and find a well constructed building standing in the middle of the field; a building constructed in the best manner. It is impossible that anyone would think that this building appeared without anybody having designed and constructed it; there is no doubt that somebody constructed it in that manner. In the same way, Allah addresses mankind by posing this same question.

After all, when we come across a pin lying on the floor, our mind testifies to the fact that somebody placed it there (intentionally or unintentionally!!). Also, when we think about our physical and biological make-up, our mind rejects the false argument that the complex human body just appeared out of nothing.

Then Allah asks the question:


أَمْ هُمُ الْخَالِقُونَ

“..or were they themselves the Creator?”

In other words if they themselves are not going to acknowledge that they came out of nothing, then the other choice is that they themselves are the Creator; and this also is an impossibility.

We all know that none of us can extend their lives by one minute, not even one second. Right now if death were to come upon one of us, you can not make your life last any longer. If your heart were to stop beating you have no control over your heart to make it beat again. Hence, if you cannot extend your life how can you bring yourself out of non-existence? This is an impossibility.

If they themselves were created out of nothing, and they themselves are not the creator, then what is the answer? Somebody must have created them. There must be a creator. In order to show mankind that they are not that important a creation, but that they are a weak creation- no that great, Allah then said:


أَمْ خَلَقُوا السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ

“..or did they create the Heavens and the Earth..”

in order to indicate to them that humanity compared to the Heavens and the Earth (in its majesty, vastness and in its greatness) is nothing. Therefore human beings should not be so arrogant and think only of their greatness and importance.

These two verses are a strong argument against the one who denies the existence of God with no answer. While the English translation is deficient in truly explaining the power of this verse, the Arabic (being the word of Allah) brings a person immediately to submission. A pagan from the Quraish (the Prophet’s tribe in Makkah) said that when he heard the Prophet recite these verses when the latter was praying in Mecca, he felt that his heart was going to come out of his chest, and this was what caused him to become a Muslim.

Number Two

Likewise we find another argument regarding the existence of Allah, where Allah mentions a historical incident; The king argued with Abraham:

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِى حَآجَّ إِبْرَهِيمَ فِى رِبِّهِ أَنْ آتَـهُ اللَّهُ الْمُلْكَ إِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَهِيمُ رَبِّيَ الَّذِى يُحْىِ وَيُمِيتُ قَالَ أَنَا أُحْىِ وَأُمِيتُ قَالَ إِبْرَهِيمُ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْتِى بِالشَّمْسِ مِنَ الْمَشْرِقِ فَأْتِ بِهَا مِنَ الْمَغْرِبِ فَبُهِتَ الَّذِى كَفَرَ وَاللَّهُ لاَ يَهْدِى الْقَوْمَ الظَّـلِمِينَ

“Hast thou not turned thy vision to one who disputed with Abraham about his Lord, because Allah had granted him power?  Abraham said, “My Lord is He who gives life and death.”  He said, “I give life and death.”  Said Abraham, “But it is Allah that causes the sun to rise from the East, do thou then cause her to rise from the West.”  Thus was he confounded who (in arrogance) rejected faith.”  Nor does Allah give guidance to a people unjust.  (Surah al-Baqarah [chapter 2] verse 258)

It is reported that the king took a person who ws innocent and executed him (in order to show that he causes people to die) and then took to a guilty person, sentenced to death, and set him free (in order to prove that he gives life!!).  The unbelieving king was unable to respond when Abraham said that “Allah raises the sun from the East, s [you] cause it to rise from the West.”  This is another example of a rational argument used in the Quran to refute those people who attribute to themselves divinity.

There was an incident once in the United States, when we met a person who claimed to have divine powers.  So I asked him, “Make it rain now”;  obviously he could not.  The point is that when someone claims for oneself divinity then it is required from that person that they prove that they have divine powers.

Number Three

Another argument used by Allah in the Quran is for those who claim divinity for the Prophet Jesus.  We know that in that time of the Prophet, as there are still today, those who believe that Jesus is God or the son of God.  Allah has argued with them in the Quran to show them the errors of their belief.  In one of the verses of the Quran, Allah says:

مَّا الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ إِلاَّ رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ وَأُمُّهُ صِدِّيقَةٌ كَانَا يَأْكُلاَنِ الطَّعَامَ انْظُرْ كَيْفَ نُبَيِّنُ لَهُمُ الاٌّيَـتِ ثُمَّ انْظُرْ أَنَّى يُؤْفَكُونَ

“Christ, the son of Mary, was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him.  His mother was a woman of truth.  They had both to eat their (daily) food.  See how Allah does make His signs clear to them, yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth! (Surah Maida [chapter 5] verse 75)

The Christians agree that before the coming of Jesus the son of Mary, there were other Prophets (for example, Moses, Abraham, Noah, etc.).  After mentioning that Jesus the son of Mary was a Messenger and that his mother was a righteous woman, why did Allah mention that “They both ate food”?  There is a wisdom behind that.  In this verse, there is an argument and a refutation of divinity to Jesus son of Mary.  If Jesus the son of Mary and his mother were in need of food, it meant that their body was in need of sustenance, and their body was in need of rejuvenation.  Hence if this means that there was a deficiency in their existence, how can Jesus be the Creator of existence who is meant to be Perfect and free from such needs?  The second argument is that when one eats food, one also releases waste having ate the food;  the food is digested and that which is excess passes from the body, etc.  This is something which human beings recognizes as a deficiency and is shameful and unbecoming, hence they try to relieve themselves in private.  Are these characteristics and actions befitting to the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth?  Therefore, this is a rational argument used against the Christians.

Number Four

In another verse Allah says:

لَوْ أَرَدْنَآ أَن نَّتَّخِذَ لَهْواً لاَّتَّخَذْنَـهُ مِن لَّدُنَّآ إِن كُنَّا فَـعِلِينَ – بَلْ نَقْذِفُ بِالْحَقِّ عَلَى الْبَـطِلِ فَيَدْمَغُهُ فَإِذَا هُوَ زَاهِقٌ وَلَكُمُ الْوَيْلُ مِمَّا تَصِفُونَ 

“If it had been Our wish to take (just) a pastime, We should surely have taken it from the things nearest to Us, if we would do (such things)!  Nay, we hurl the Truth against falsehood, and it knocks out its brain, and behold, falsehood does vanish!  And woe to you for the (false) things you ascribe (to Us).  (Surah al-Anbiya (chapter 21) verses 17 & 18)

What does this verse mean?  Were Allah to have taken a son, He would not have taken a human as a son; one with all these weaknesses and frailties.  But he would be of the creation which reside in the Heavens;  i.e. the angels.  This is because the angels (for example) do not have the weaknesses and frailties that humans have.  Had Allah taken a son, then that diversion (i.e. son) would have been from that higher life form and not from the lowly human beings.  Hence, Allah then says:

بَلْ نَقْذِفُ بِالْحَقِّ عَلَى الْبَـطِلِ فَيَدْمَغُهُ فَإِذَا هُوَ زَاهِقٌ

“Nay, but We hurl the Truth against the falsehood, and it prevails over it…”.

Number Five

Likewise, Allah in the Quran, has addressed those people who take intercessors when they worship Allah.  They ask these intercessors to pray on their behalf to Allah.  We all know people (and this is even prevalent amongst Muslims) who take a righteous person, and pray to that person asking him or her to pray to Allah.  This is ascribing a partner to Him and called Shirk in Arabic.  This is a major sin which Allah does not forgive if one dies having committed it and not repenting from it.  Allah refutes this belief in the Quran in several places by saying for example:

“Say, “Call upon other (gods) whom you fancy besides Allah: they do not own or have power over even an atom in the heavens or on earth; no sort of share have they therein, nor is any of them a helper to Allah.” (Surah Saba [chapter 34] verse 22)

“None shall have the power of intercession but such a one as has received permission from (Allah) Most Gracious”  (Sura Maryam [Chapter 19] verse 87)

In these verses Allah uses four arguments against those people who practice this evil act:

The first argument is that these intermediaries do not possess anything in the Heavens and the earth; they have no sovereignty in the Heavens and the earth.  Hence, if they do not possess anything, they cannot bring any benefit to you.  A person prays to an object in the belief that that object or person will bring benefit to them or ward off evil.  Therefore, when Allah informs us that these intercessors do not possess anything in the Heavens and the earth, then to pray to them is false.  Then Allah says that they are neither a partner with Him.

Then Allah puts forward a third argument, saying that He does not need them as assistants in anything, because He is the All-Knowing, the All-Seeing, the All-Hearing, etc.

In the fourth argument, Allah states that these intermediaries cannot intercede on anyone’s behalf unless Allah gives permission.  Nobody can speak, or force Allah to do anything, or make Allah feel incumbent that He must answer his prayer or request.  We also know from other verses in the Quran and statements of the Prophet that even then Allah will say whom the one given permission may intercede for.  This argument negates the argument of those who say that one can pray to Allah via intermediaries.

Number Six

In another verse in the Quran, Allah addresses the issue of there being only one true deity.  He says:

“Say: If there had been (other) gods with Him, – as they say – behold, they would certainly have sought out a way to the Lord of the Throne” (Surah Isra [chapter 17] verse 42[)

Allah also says:

“No son did Allah beget, nor is there any god along with Him.  (If there were many gods) behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have lorded it over others!  Glory to Allah!  (He is free) from the (sort of) things they attribute to Him.” (Surah Muminun [chapter 23] verse 91)

When we look at rulers and kings on earth (for example), they vie for power.  Either each one will go off with his subjects or his countries and deal with them on his own, or if he has the ability he will try to rise up over others and enforce himself upon the other rulers, etc. Likewise, if there had been other gods with Allah the same thing would have happened; each deity would take the creation they had created and go on their own.  If they could they would rise up against one another.  However, if one looks at the creation of Allah (e.g. the Heavens and the Earth) this does not exist.  If one contemplates the creation of the Heavens and the Earth, how it functions, you do not find what you do amongst human beings (this jostling and vying for power); everything runs in order, smoothly – as if it is all under the control of one person.  This is surely a clear indication that there is One God and He alone is the One who deserves to be worshiped!

Number Seven

Another evidence which Allah uses in the Quran to refute those who pray to other than Him is where Allah says:

“O men!  Here is a parable set forth!  Listen to it.  Those on whom, besides Allah, you call, cannot create (even) a fly, if they all met together for that purpose!  And if the fly should snatch away anything from them, they would have no power to realize it from the fly.  Feeble are those who petition and those whom they petition (i.e. the one who prays and the one who is prayed to – besides Allah)!

This is a very strong verse with powerful arguments to further refute those who worship other than Allah.  If those who you pray to besides Allah cannot even create a fly and all the false gods you pray to cannot create a fly, then how can you pray to such a thing?  Even if the fly were to take something from them; these false gods, they would not be able to take it back from the fly!  In this is a clear call to pray to Allah alone and not to anything else.

Number Eight
Number Nine
Number Ten
Conclusion

Last updated 17.12.2012

still more to come, Inshallah!