Wednesday, July 4, 2007


headatheist.gif (927 bytes)
Pixel.gif (807 bytes)

Normally, when I meet an atheist, the first thing I like to do is to congratulate him and say, " My special congratulations to you", because most of the people who believe in God are doing blind belief - he is a Christian, because his father is a Christian; he is a Hindu, because his father is a Hindu; the majority of the people in the world are blindly following the religion of their fathers. An atheist, on the other hand, even though he may belong to a religious family, uses his intellect to deny the existence of God; what ever concept or qualities of God he may have learnt in his religion may not seem to be logical to him.

My Muslim brothers may question me, "Zakir, why are you congratulating an atheist?" The reason that I am congratulating an atheist is because he agrees with the first part of the Shahada i.e. the Islamic Creed, ‘La ilaaha’ - meaning ‘there is no God’. So half my job is already done; now the only part left is ‘il lallah’ i.e. ‘BUT ALLAH’ which I shall do Insha Allah. With others (who are not atheists) I have to first remove from their minds the wrong concept of God they may have and then put the correct concept of one true God.


My first question to the atheist will be: "What is the definition of God?" For a person to say there is no God, he should know what is the meaning of God. If I hold a book and say that ‘this is a pen’, for the opposite person to say, ‘it is not a pen’, he should know what is the definition of a pen, even if he does not know nor is able to recognise or identify the object I am holding in my hand. For him to say this is not a pen, he should at least know what a pen means. Similarly for an atheist to say ‘there is no God’, he should at least know the concept of God. His concept of God would be derived from the surroundings in which he lives. The god that a large number of people worship has got human qualities - therefore he does not believe in such a god. Similarly a Muslim too does not and should not believe in such false gods.

If a non-Muslim believes that Islam is a merciless religion with something to do with terrorism; a religion which does not give rights to women; a religion which contradicts science; in his limited sense that non-Muslim is correct to reject such Islam. The problem is he has a wrong picture of Islam. Even I reject such a false picture of Islam, but at the same time, it becomes my duty as a Muslim to present the correct picture of Islam to that non-Muslim i.e. Islam is a merciful religion, it gives equal rights to the women, it is not incompatible with logic, reason and science; if I present the correct facts about Islam, that non-Muslim may Inshallah accept Islam.

Similarly the atheist rejects the false gods and the duty of every Muslim is to present the correct concept of God which he shall Insha Allah not refuse.

(You may refer to my article, ‘Concept of God in Islam’, for more details)


The methods of proving the existence of God with usage of the material provided in the ‘Concept of God in Islam’ to an atheist may satisfy some but not all.

Many atheists demand a scientific proof for the existence of God. I agree that today is the age of science and technology. Let us use scientific knowledge to kill two birds with one stone, i.e. to prove the existence of God and simultaneously prove that the 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 person and then a question is asked, " Who is the first person who will be able to provide details of 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 others may say ‘the manufacturer.’ What ever answer the person gives, keep it in your mind, the answer will always be either the creator, the producer, the manufacturer or some what of the same meaning, i.e. the person who has made it or created it. Don’t grapple with words, whatever answer he gives, the meaning will be 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 chose 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. 1/2. If you toss a coin the second time, the chances that you will be correct in the second toss is again 50% i.e. half. But the chances that you will be correct in both the tosses is half multiplied by half (1/2 x 1/2) which is equal to 1/4 i.e. 50% of 50% which is equal to 25%. If you toss a coin the third time, chances that you will be correct all three times is (1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2) that is 1/8 or 50% of 50% of 50% that is 12½%.

A dice has got six sides. If you throw a dice and guess any number between 1 to 6, the chances that your guess will be correct is 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 0.5 %.

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 simultaneously 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. Lets 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 is a guess, the chances that it will be correct is 1/2 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 1/2 = 1/60.

Further, the Qur’an also mentions every living thing is made of water. Every living thing can be made up of either wood, stone, copper, aluminum, steel, silver, gold, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, oil, water, cement, concrete, etc. The options are say about 10,000. The Qur’an rightly says that everything is made up of water. If it is a guess, the chances that it will be correct is 1/10,000 and the probability of all the three guesses i.e. the earth is spherical, light of moon is reflected light and everything is created from water being correct is 1/30 x 1/2 x 1/10,000 = 1/60,000 which is equal to about .0017%.

The Qur’an speaks about hundreds of things that were not known to men at the time of its revelation. Only in three options the result is .0017%. I leave it upto you, to work out the probability if all the hundreds of the unknown facts were guesses, the chances of all of them being correct guesses simultaneously and there being not a single wrong guess. It is beyond human capacity to make all correct guesses without a single mistake, which itself is sufficient to prove to a logical person that the origin of the Qur’an is Divine.


The only logical answer to the question as to who could have mentioned all these scientific facts 1400 years ago before they were discovered, is exactly the same answer initially given by the atheist or any person, to the question who will be the first person who will be able to tell the mechanism of the unknown object. It is the ‘CREATOR’, the producer, the Manufacturer of the whole universe and its contents. In the English language He is ‘God’, or more appropriate in the Arabic language, ‘ALLAH’.


Let me remind you that the 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 6,000 ayaats, i.e. ‘signs’, out of which more than a thousand speak about Science. I am not trying to prove that the Qur’an is the word of God using scientific knowledge as a yard stick because any yardstick is supposed to be more superior than what is being checked or verified. For us Muslims the Qur’an is the Furqan i.e. criteria to judge right from wrong and the ultimate yardstick 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. We do know that science many a times takes ‘U’ turns, therefore I have restricted the examples only to scientific facts which have sufficient proof and evidence and not scientific theories based on assumptions. Using the ultimate yardstick of the atheist, I am trying to prove to him that the Qur’an is the word of God and it contains the scientific knowledge which is his yardstick which was discovered recently, while the Qur’an was revealed 1400 year ago. At the end of the discussion, we both come to the same conclusion that God though superior to science, is not incompatible with it.


Francis Bacon, the famous philosopher, has rightly said that a little knowledge of science makes man an atheist, but an in-depth study of science makes him a believer in God. Scientists today are eliminating models of God, but they are not eliminating God. If you translate this into Arabic, it is La illaha illal la, There is no god, (god with a small ‘g’ that is fake god) but God (with a capital ‘G’).

Surah Fussilat:

"Soon We will show them our signs in the (farthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that thy Lord doth witness all things?"

[Al-Quran 41:53]


by Dr. Zakir Naik


Simon said...

Can I just say a few words here?

Long before the "time when Quran was revealed" philosphers and great thinkers of Greek and elsewhere already knew or had calculated that the earth was indeed round or spherical.

Do some research and you'll find out.

Further more, living things are not made of water - yes water is a constituent. In fact, we are all carbon based lifeforms. Why carbon? Because it so very abundant here on earth. Ever heard of the Carbon Cycle? It is grade 7 biology.

Dr. Naik takes us all to be ignorant fools who will blindly believe him and people like him. He wrongly first assumes that the Quran is unchallenged and absolute. If you want to prove something then first assume that it is wrong. Where the shape of earth and constituents of living things are concerned your guess, after researching just a little, is as good as mine as far Dr. Naik's arguments are concerned.

There is only one statement in this article that is right: that the Quran is a book of signs not science. Because when it comes to the latter Dr. Naik's arguments are so weak and just fail miserably. But ignorant fools will take his word and most other rhetoric at face value and nod in agreement without a shadow of doubt.

Thank you.

Shaamil said...

Some people deny truth even when it is as obvious as day light. It is Allah who gives hidhayah to people. It is indeed very saddening that Maldivians are trapped in the western propaganda against Islam. These atheists believe everything on earth was created by a single cell that was formed millions of years ago by a mysterious accidental chemical reaction. And with time the cell evolved to produce all kinds of living creatures we are witnessing today! Scientists have already refuted Darwinism, yet these atheists are saying bla bla.

Velvette Storme said...

Normally, if you preside in this country, it would be a rare occurrence to find someone with as much self-confidence as to admit to a total stranger albeit one obsessed with Islam that they are an atheist. Why? Simple tenth grade Islam has taught us all that those who do not believe in the one and only divine religion should be advised three times and upon them not relenting, they shall be beheaded.

I want to tell you, the world is not simply divided into atheists and everyone else. You cannot define the world by those two simple beliefs. We are human, we are large, and we contain multitudes. We have the capability to make up our own minds about matters as important as a divine deity and religion without sticking ourselves inside a box marked atheist or not. What about monotheists, theists, deists? Ever thought of how you’re going to convince them?

About your theory of probability, I realized after reading it that I just wasted a good five minutes of my life. You give pointless examples for eons before you get right to the point, that the Quran can’t just be a load of guesswork. Get right to the point wont you? So Quran guessed that human’s aren’t made of wood or stone or cement?? GASP! Are you seriously kidding me? How can it guess that humans aren’t made from wood? I mean, we look like we’re made of wood, you can actually knock on us right?? We’re all… brownish colored and rough and… omfg, is it really possible to touch us and watch us sweat water out and feel our skin and guess that we aren’t made of wood??? I just can’t get over the utter genius of it!

In case you didn’t realize, that’s called sarcasm. If you’re trying to awe us, at least try to give some better examples yeah? Because Quran was wrong. Humans aren’t made of Water. We’re made of carbon.

So… where does that leave you and your brilliant claims?

Anonymous said...

I find it quite amazing when some are reckless in trying to prove the quran wrong. The point abuAdbullah was trying to make was blurry because of his lack of proficiency in the English language. Unlike some who have commented. I am not here to make it clear.
How many of us belive that the first human was adam? how and why is that believed? Is judaism, christianity and islam the reason? where did all that come from? blind belief by some ignorant fools? is thats what those who have commented believe?, then i guess vast majority of people of the world are ignorant fools then,eh?

Ali Ihsan said...

Living things are made out of water. Think about this: while we humans are searching for life on other planets the first question we ask is, Is there any water on that planet to support life? Because without water life is impossible.

And also haven't you heard that over 70% of the human body is made up of water.

In a number of places in the Quran we are informed that man is created from a drop of fluid (semen, seed)

16:4 He created man from a drop of fluid
16:4 He has created man from a semen( sperm) -drop
32:8 He made his seed from a quintessence of despised fluid

The verses which describe the origin of life as a drop of emitted fluid are therefore no more than a direct observation as to what is released during the act of sexual intercourse. We hardly need to rely upon divine inspiration to inform us of this fact. An uneducated ignorant man who never heard about Quran can tell about this ‘emitted fluid’ from male, or even a young boy can tell how and why child is created in the womb of a mother.

These were the words of God revealed to the prophet(SAW) 1400 years ago. Now do you think that a illiterate man (the prophet) came up with all these? It sure has to come from somewhere and we know that the world did not have the means to prove all these theories during that time. Now only science is beginning to prove what was revealed in the Quran.

Anonymous said...

Simon says that Greek philosophers discovered the earth was round. Ok fine, Where are the papers? on the web? in a library ? how did you get the information. Who is writing about it ? and where did he get the information? If you have ample proof I am with you. You can come up with your evidences and I will prove to you that you haven't asked so much questions about the authenticity of the the greek philosophy stuff as you are asking of quran.

nass said...


I like the first two paragraphs ;)

Anonymous said...

utter nonsense from another deranged islamazoid...

Anonymous said...

Simon ...when we talk about water thats molecular level.. since water is hydrogen and could have said that there is no water at all in living organisms

sucksex said...

wen it comes to talkin abt religion its interestin dho...hmm...i wonder y its so hard 4 sum ppl to believe all wat says in da Quran is true & right & Islam is the true religion & Allah is the one & only God!!!

Anonymous said...

The greatest question

The greatest question humanity faces is as follows: “is there a God?”

While the choice of this to be the greatest question for humanity may appear odd the
truth can be ascertained simply. We have all had come to our own personal conclusions
on the matter in some way. By definition even atheists have, otherwise they would not
have come to any conclusion. Some of us grapple with it constantly. Others will only
consider it again if close to death, serious injury, dealing with bereavement or
languishing in jail. However, no one has completely avoided the question and our
individual responses have undoubtedly and significantly shaped us. This is because all
other questions are potentially affected by the answer and a particular direction in life is
fixed once a decision is made.

On every major issue today there is dispute between the secular and the religious.
Consider how your own answer to the greatest question affects your view on topics
ranging from abortion to euthanasia to homosexuality to the death penalty to legalising
drugs and prostitution to blasphemy laws stifling free speech to public breastfeeding to
animal rights to foreign policy etc.

Other, similar questions such as “are we created?” or even “why are we here?” could
have been chosen but the point is the same. The answer to this question is critical
because one’s choice clearly manifests itself in everyday life and our answers to this one
query undoubtedly affect how we live. In any case, the fault line between the secular and
the religious has become abundantly clear and may even be widening in an increasingly
polarised world.

A fresh approach

The aim of this chapter is not to preach but to mark out how best to look at the question
of belief (or disbelief) in a Creator. Like the other chapters ahead the line of reasoning is
that difficult questions must be tackled with a fresh and sincere approach. If we remain
bitterly entrenched within our respective viewpoints we can only arrive back at an
intellectual dead-end.

Furthermore there must be agreement that one can only impartially assess other
approaches to life by first removing all previous convictions. Judging a point of view of
reality (and not the reality itself) through another point of view is unreasonable and can
only lead to a distorted outlook. Take for example the tendency for secular audiences to
examine Islam (a view) through the lens of ‘modernity’ (another view). Any look at Islam
from a secular point of view reduces it to a personal affair, an individual moral code and
a set of ethics with little to say about life’s affairs. To do so is to fail to appreciate that
Islam has its own worldview, ideology and complete way of life distinct from any other
including the Enlightenment model of the Philosophes like Voltaire and Diderot or the
Communism of Marx and Lenin.

It is only by returning to a discussion on the reality at hand that productive debate can
flourish. It could be nothing except beneficial to examine key topics free from the
influence of preconceived notions. Only then could we arrive at a view. Whilst we aim to
address contemporary issues such as politics and equality vis-à-vis Islam it should be
clear that prejudging the debate is of little help to anyone.

It is not only a view such as Islam that suffers when viewed through a secular prism. The
subject of ‘belief’ does too. When western liberals discuss ‘belief’ they betray a practised
ease in portraying it in stark contrast to reason. The secular assumption is that belief in
a Higher Being cannot be based on reason and is, to a greater or lesser degree, based
upon emotion, hence the words ‘rational belief’ appear contradictory. Of course liberals
have often had just cause to do so with many notable examples throughout history. St.
Thomas Aquinas argued belief in the Trinity must be based on faith alone and Danish
religious philosopher, Soren Aabye Kierkegaard felt it was inappropriate to base belief in
a Creator on reason, even emphasising the necessity of irrational leaps of faith.

However not all believers in a Creator do so on the basis of pure emotion. How could
they? It goes without saying that absolutely nothing can be proved, confirmed or
established through emotion. Could emotion prove what DNA is made of? Could emotion
confirm the Congo lies south of the equator? Or could emotion conceivably establish
that the political instability in the Balkans during the 1990’s was exacerbated by
American determination to reduce Russia’s influence in the region, increase Europe’s
dependency upon her and confer new legitimacy to NATO when it appeared increasingly
redundant after the Cold War? We can agree, in fact we must surely agree, that the
answer is no but that only discounts ‘belief’ based on pure emotion which was an
unfounded assumption to begin with. It certainly does not eliminate ‘belief’ itself as an
option especially if we can verify that ‘belief’ in a single Almighty Creator can be based
on reason and ration.

Ironically, secular liberals are often quite patronising to believers, even if believers
themselves, but there’s little that can be done about it if ‘belief’ is permanently tainted
with the brush of emotion, leaps of faith or even imitation. It becomes easy to dismiss the
idea of believing in a Creator. The point to note is that the vacuum left by this
manoeuvre (implying ‘belief’ is always emotional) allows secular liberals to promote their
own framework to tackle the greatest question i.e. the scientific method.

Science against certainty?

The scientific method was a result of the Enlightenment that began in Europe in the late
17th Century. It is important to note the ultimate aim of the Enlightenment was freedom,
in particular the liberation of people from the influence of religion. It was widely known
that the Church had hindered progress in all fields of life socially, economically and
scientifically via the intolerance to inquiry it had imposed upon the continent. The
intellectual elite of Europe saw this as backward superstition, obsolete tradition and
narrow-minded bigotry and hoped their own project would smash the domination of the
Church and lead to ‘modernity’. The European scientists and philosophers felt reason
was the most central human faculty so they argued to be allowed to exercise it by
questioning everything through scientific endeavour. They sought to challenge ideas
that were held in a dogmatic manner i.e. where questioning was not allowed. This led
them to clash directly with Church leaders and the political establishment who both
maintained that some things were totally certain, sacred and should not be questioned.

On the surface, the determination to question to arrive at conclusions and also to use
reason instead of emotion cannot be faulted. However the ‘modernist’ trend went further.
Anything that claimed to be certain (i.e. claimed to be Divine) had to be confronted and
opposed via reason, questioning and scientific enquiry. The commitment to use reason
in all cases was hostile to any idea on life that did not originate from the human mind.
This included religious guidance. Enlightenment philosophers refused to give anything
an amnesty from debate and called for people to be brave enough to do without ‘belief’.
Immanuel Kant eloquently summed up the Enlightenment mission as the:

“…emergence of man from his self-imposed infancy. Infancy is the inability to use
one’s reason without the guidance of another. It is self-imposed, when it depends
on a deficiency, not of reason but of the resolve and courage to use it without
external guidance. Thus the watchword of the enlightenment is Sapere aude!
Have the courage to use’s own reason!”.
(Kant, ‘Religion Within the Bounds of Reason Only’ quoted in Honderich, 1995,

Sapere aude means ‘dare to know’ but Enlightenment philosophers felt being certain
was never a possibility. They equated certainty with dogma and felt compelled to fight it.
After they won their intellectual clash in Europe they set about introducing secularism at
a state level. Secularism is not the absolute denial of religion. It is generally not that
antagonistic to religion as long as religious guidance is prevented from taking part in
decisions and denied a role in public life. When this step was taken, the secular liberal
democratic nation-state, a new model for organising society, was born.

17th Century empiricists such as Locke, as well as his 18th Century successors Berkeley
and Hume, felt knowledge was not innate but was instead based on the senses alone.
The 19th Century positivist movement of Comte developed from these ideas and felt
thought would evolve from religious thinking (the lowest, most immature level) up to the
highest ‘positive’ level (science). Once it had evolved it would be used in every issue.
Science was seen as the height of knowledge since it never left itself open to dogma.
Science challenged everything and never lapsed into certainty and absolute truths. We
also find logical positivism and analytic philosophy lead by the Vienna Circle and
Wittgenstein of the 20th Century. British philosopher and mathematician Bertrand
Russell summed up the position when he wrote:

“To teach how to live without certainty and yet without being paralysed by
hesitation is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can do for those
who study it”
(Russell. B. ‘A History of Western Philosophy’)

From this brief timeline we witness the development of an agenda deep within the
modernist project that has filtered through somewhat to today’s scientific and
philosophical establishments; there is a hatred for absolute certainty.

It is correct to dismiss unquestioning dogma since it is irrational, unstable and no
different to emotional faith. Questioning is clearly imperative if one is to answer the
greatest question satisfactorily but the secular fear of certainty does not seem
particularly rational either. Scientific thought therefore does not prize certainty but
instead asks an unending, ever-increasing set of questions.

The scientific model

If one were to ask exactly how to apply scientific thought the answer should soon be
familiar, as we were all taught the scientific model at school. Although the terminology
differs at times the stages are roughly the same across the globe. They begin with a
hypothesis followed by the design for an experiment. The next three steps of testing,
observation and ongoing recording are repeated as often as necessary. Finally a
conclusion is reached and an evaluation of the experiment conducted. The scientific
model is widely held to be capable of assessing any issue.

Three aspects of the model stand out.

The first aspect is that subjectivity cannot be completely eliminated e.g. linguists argue
that the words with which we set out a scientific project reveal inevitable preconceptions.

The second aspect is that any results are speculative. The probability of error is an
accepted constant in the scientific model so other conditions exist to minimise these
facts. They include ensuring a fair test, ensuring the sample population is representative
and also considering a control sample.

Thirdly is the requirement for identifying a variable so it can be isolated from other
variables, subjected to new conditions and observed.

From this we can see a variable must be identified, isolated, manipulated and observed
for the scientific model to apply. Let’s examine these four steps in turn:

a) If variables cannot be identified the scientist would have nothing to test.
b) Without a variable isolated from other variables there is no way of knowing what
the results of testing are a consequence of. One could be testing multiple variables. The
trials would be useless.
c) If a variable can be identified and isolated but not manipulated then no
experiment can proceed.
d) If a variable can be identified, isolated and manipulated but no observation is
possible then no conclusions can be drawn, nothing can be verified and the true
scientist would not waste the time or effort.

So only if a variable can be identified, isolated, manipulated and observed could we then
begin the remaining stages of the scientific model i.e. hypothesis, plan, test, subjugate,
observe, record, retest and conclude. If no single variable can be identified, isolated,
manipulated or observed then it is clear that the scientific model cannot apply.

This leads us to a dilemma. What if we can find instances where the scientific model
cannot apply, where no single variable can be identified, isolated, manipulated or
observed? This would conclusively disprove that the scientific model is capable of
answering every query or even that science is the most evolved form of thinking. This
would necessarily lead us to conclude that science is a branch of thinking applicable
only in certain instances leaving us to locate another form of thought.

An example would be the following: What leads people in Athens, Greece to live longer
on average than those in Mumbai, India? The query is too vague for the scientific model
to apply especially if we find that relative life expectancy differs widely based on date of
birth, household income and access to basic health care. A more defined query would
be: Exactly what leads socially excluded, female teenagers from broken homes in the
10% most deprived wards in Athens, Greece to live longer on average than those in
Mumbai, India?

Even though we have delineated the question further a number of variables still remain
such as diet, sanitation, disease, relative cost of living and road deaths. We should also
consider climate, pollution, state welfare and violent crime. Police brutality, government
corruption, unemployment, the expertise of emergency services and literacy should not
be ignored. What about the strength of civil society, religious observance, divorce rates,
prevalence of drug abuse, quality of food hygiene and level of sex education?

Would it be possible to isolate just a single variable? Would it be possible to subject
individuals to new conditions under a controlled environment to ascertain findings? For
the scientific model to apply here, only one variable should be tested at a time so it
would not be possible to provide a ‘scientific’ response. The only answer possible would
be that there are many factors, some of more weight than others but this not a very
‘scientific’ conclusion.

We could also ask, for example, how to construct experiments based on the scientific
model to address these statements:

i. Sport - Was Mike Tyson a better boxer than Muhammed Ali?
ii. Language – Which piece of literary work rates higher: Chaucer’s Wife of Bath,
Shakespeare’s Hamlet or Dickens’ Hard Times?
iii. Politics – Was Margaret Thatcher a more successful Prime Minister than Tony
iv. Life – Why do we exist?
v. History – Was Muslim Spain the most tolerant place on Earth during the 13th

To answer the final query a single variable that leads to tolerance would have to be
identified and scientifically defined. We would then need to be capable of subjecting
other societies during the period to laboratory conditions in order to isolate the variable
leading to tolerance. A criterion for evaluation, comparison and measurement would be
required and the experiment would have to conclude objectively.
The scientific model is clearly not built for all types of enquiry.

The question is never why… only how

It is also important to note that the scientific model is concerned with questions of how
things work rather than why. So science would be interested in answering how the
universe began, not why the universe began. How does a scientist begin to answer why
the universe began? The questions of how and why are completely different but
scientists unable to answer why instead often answer how and expect it to be sufficient.

Science can answer how things rust, not why and how we see the colour orange. Take
an example of grass. Why is it green not bright blue or deep red? The scientific answer
is that chlorophyll absorbs blue and red light while reflecting green. Of course this is an
answer for how but we are expected to accept it as the answer for why as well.

That is not to say the scientific model itself is fatally flawed. It is not. It just has a place
and cannot be used to answer every question. The scientific method is fantastic when
dealing with technology, which must always be challenged. Imagine no entrepreneur
ever sought to build safer motorcars since they were certain they had the safest or if
attempts to eradicate all known diseases ended in hopelessness and despair. The
scientific model provides us with the framework necessary to deal with these and other
inconclusive matters. However it has definite limitations that render it incapable of
tackling other questions and, after all, we are examining the model with a view to
answering a particular question i.e. why are we here? With this in mind there can be no
doubt that the scientific model cannot apply here in a discussion of why we exist (rather
than how we exist).

So how best to answer the greatest question?

To this point emotional faith and the scientific model have both been found wanting when
answering the greatest question. This is since emotion confirms absolutely nothing and
the scientific method does not apply to questions of why things happen, only how and
only in instances where the subject matter is tangible, variables can be isolated,
manipulated and repeated testing can take place.

If we are to accept the scientific model of the positivists was the highest, most evolved
method of thought there is the vexing question of what kind of thought process human
beings had to utilise before the Enlightenment. There was certainly no reference to the
scientific method in the Dark Ages of Europe. Were human beings primitive ‘thinkers’
before the work of Bacon, Kepler, Descartes, Fermat, Pascal and Newton in the 17th
Century? This would mean Copernicus was a primitive thinker despite formulating
heliocentric theory in 1541 CE. This would mean Avicenna (Ibn Sina) was a primitive
thinker since he died in 1037 CE despite writing Al-Qanun fi-l Tibb (the Canon). What
opinion should we have on the thought of Albategnius (Ibn Sinan al-Battani) when his
experiments in the late 9th Century led to determination of astronomical coefficients like
the precession 54.5” a year and inclination of the ecliptic 23º 35’ with stunning accuracy.
He also noticed an increase of 16º 47’ in the longitude of the sun’s apogee since the
time of Ptolemy which led to the discovery of the motion of solar episodes. The
mathematician Al-Khwarizmi lent his name to the algorithms he developed and founded
modern algebra (from his book Kitab al-Jabr wal-Muqabalah). Fibonacci translated his
work but he died in 850 CE. Let us go back even further to Euclid, Zeno, Aristotle, Plato
and Socrates all active between 400 and 300 BCE and Pythagoras even earlier. Were
they all primitive thinkers?

If not, then we are looking for an alternative way to think, one more natural, suited to the
nature of humans, one without an irrational fear of certainty, the way humans think
regardless of circumstance, time and place. We are searching for the rational method of

We can examine this method of thinking individually. If one were to ask you how you
think about things, what would your answer be?

I answer in the following manner. Look around you. The images of what you see transfer
into your head. Reach out and touch an inanimate object such as a wall, a chair, a desk,
a PC, a book. Your senses are transferring impressions into you so you can ponder over

What stages of the process of thought can we determine from this?

Sensation took place, without which one could not ponder over things. There is also a
need for reality as our senses can only be aware of things if they exist in a tangible form.
There’s definitely some transfer of the sensed reality, as the sensation must get to your
mind so you can ‘think’ about the sensed reality. Lastly there’s a judgement.

However something intrinsic is missing from the steps outlined thus far. This is so as
sensation alone is not enough to understand a reality. One could sense a new reality
forever and still move no closer to comprehension if one had no information on the issue
to explain the reality. Both sensation and some degree of information are necessary.

The following examples should illustrate this. Let us begin within an example of
language. If one were to pick up a book in classical (fusHa) Arabic and stare at the
letters, word after word, page after page without having some understanding of Arabic
(the previous information) it would not matter how much sensation took place. Reading
and understanding Arabic would be impossible if one did not have the slightest
appreciation of the Arabic language. Sensation alone is not enough.

Let us imagine one who had never left a primitive village and had absolutely no idea of
life outside of the rural sphere. What would a complete newcomer to a big city make of
simple things like double yellow lines, zebra crossings and post boxes using sensation
alone (i.e. without having any previous information on them)? Completely alone on the
street at night a set of traffic lights could be sensed but would make no sense. The
sensation of the sequence (red man, green man for pedestrians and red, amber, green,
amber, red for vehicles) would take place but what next? In order to comprehend them
the villager would be forced to look elsewhere for information either by asking others or
attempting to collect some information. Observing (sensing) the response of pedestrians
and traffic to the lights would provide the information. What happens when the lights go
red? Why do some stop and others go? What was the flashing light when a car speeds
through a red light? What was that loud, beeping sound from that angry driver?

Once the information was collected the villager could face the reality (lights go green),
sense (see the green light), transfer the sensation to the brain, link it to the information
already held (green man means walk as the vehicles are not free to go) and would lead
to judgement (the villager would cross the road).

What about a grown man who had been kept in a cave from birth, had never even seen
daylight and only been subjected to the most rudimentary ideas and information on life.
He would surely struggle in the cockpit of a Boeing 747 or operating the safety controls
of a nuclear power plant as without previous information no thought could take place.

The necessity of previous information for thought

What is missing from all the examples above is the previous information that explains the
reality. Linking this previous information to the sensation is what leads to thinking.
Sensation alone is not enough. This is also solves the problematic question of what the
mind is. The mind is the previous information. From this we can now place the five
stages of the method of thinking in correct order.

1. Reality
2. Sensation of the reality
3. Transference of the sensed reality to the brain
4. Linking the sensation with the previous information, which is the mind. The linking
is the actual process of thinking leading to thought
5. Judgement upon the reality

This is the process we all use to think about things. We would not utilise emotion or the
scientific model to read a magazine, visit the WC or work out if the car was out of petrol.
We would use the five-stage process outlined above and it is necessary to use this
rational method to answer the greatest question.

The rational method is the basis of all thinking, even science. No experiment could be
constructed without previous information (e.g. how to read and write). In fact the rational
method can be found directly in many of the social sciences such as sociology and
psychology. Science is incapable of testing human behaviour, as it requires tangible
matter to experiment on. Social scientists either resort to prescribing Prozac for
depression or follow a model of observation. Psychologists and sociologists make
multiple observations of subjects over set periods without attempting to scientifically
subject them to new conditions. An example of how to do so would be to take the human
being out of the natural environment into a controlled environment (which incidentally is
not natural for humans) and attempt to isolate what makes the human behave in certain
ways. Periodic observation leading to a conclusion, without manipulation, is a part of the
rational method not the scientific. Specific elements of the social sciences are also not
scientific. Psychoanalysis (studying dreams etc.) fails as a science as its answers can
never be verified and depend upon repeated observation without manipulation i.e. it is
part of the rational method.

The rational method is clearly the natural thinking process at the base of other forms of
thought (scientific, logical, philosophical, legislative etc.). It is the only method of thought
that leads to certain knowledge, definite answers and truth. Use the five-stage rational
method to answer basic question such as if you exist (“cogito ergo sum”/“I think therefore
I am”), if you have hair, if you have ever drunk water, if you can fly etc. The answers are
certain if the sensation and linking to previous information is done correctly so now all
that is left is to utilise it to find the answer to the greatest question.

It would, of course, be inappropriate to come this far in the discourse and only apply
thought in a lazy, irresponsible and shallow manner. Rational thinking requires us to
sense precisely, ponder over the information deeply and link this to the information we
already hold in a profound and enlightened way.

When we examine everything within the range of our sensations we come to the following
two conclusions:

1. We cannot sense (see, touch, hear, smell or taste) a Creator
2. Everything we can sense is dependent on something else and has a limit of some
kind that it cannot surpass

We must be clear on the first point. We cannot sense a Creator. Some would have us
believe in aliens or in ‘mother nature’ but this cannot be accepted as we have already
denied emotion and blind imitation a role in this endeavour. Others would have us end
the discussion here since no Creator can be sensed. Such people cite the phrase
‘seeing is believing’. The predicament with this is that this implies the opposite (i.e. ‘not
seeing equals nothing to believe in’). This is blank, vacuous and weak.

Sensing a Creator is not a prerequisite to prove a Creator exists and never has been.
We see many things in our daily lives without knowing who exactly is responsible but the
result leads us to believe something definitely was responsible e.g. a sculpture requires
a sculptor etc. The material cause of the sculpture would be clay but the efficient cause
of the artwork would be the sculptor.

The proof of a Creator is in whether we can find evidence of creation.

This can only be proved or disproved by applying rational thought. So far the first
conclusion (cannot sense a Creator) is of little help. So any answer will have to come
from the second conclusion, which is the deep enlightened view on all we sense i.e.
everything is limited and dependent.

Is everything we can sense limited?

We should examine the statement and particularly what a limit means in this context.
Here’s a passable working definition:

Whatever is limited has a dependency somewhere or how. It is limited if it depends on
something else. This can be in many ways. Does it depend on a space to exist within?
Something is limited if it is contingent and requires something peripheral to it in order to
bring it into existence i.e. a cause. It cannot sustain itself forever and deteriorates
accordingly. We can find or deduce either a beginning or end point or both. The space it
occupies can be measured and its attributes quantified. It has boundaries it cannot
exceed and obstacles it cannot overcome. It is conditional; unable to prevent itself from
being affected and swayed by external factors. It can be contained and is subject to
constraints and thresholds. It is limited since its constituent parts are limited as they can
be measured. Also it can produce or reproduce but cannot create something else out of
nothing. It can be increased and/or reduced. In short it is finite since its restrictions are
inherent and unavoidable. Such a thing can be marked out as limited and dependent i.e.

So is everything we can sense limited and dependent? Let us examine a few options.
atoms require a space to exist within. Human beings are limited as we cannot fly, see into
the future or escape death. Space, and the entire universe, consists of limited things
such as atoms planets, stars and comets which themselves are measurable and we
know the sum of limited things must be limited.

To ask if cold is limited is to ask an incoherent question. Cold cannot be measured as it
is not a thing, it is the absence of a thing i.e. heat. Heat can be measured (the SI
measurement is in joules), can be increased and, like all other forms of energy, requires
a cause to initiate it. When we want to feel warmer we switch on radiators or light
campfires. Heat results from something and is therefore limited.

Light and sound are waves. Sound is a mechanical wave. A mechanical wave can be
described as a disturbance that travels through a medium, transporting energy from one
location to another location. A light wave can travel through a vacuum since it does not
require a medium. Both are characterised by definable properties. Light waves have
intensity (brightness), polarisation (angle or vector) and frequency (colour) so the colour
red is the reflection of light at a specific wavelength.

Sound waves are characterised by velocity, frequency, its wavelength and its amplitude
so the intensity of sound is measured in decibels.

Both the speed of light and sound are measurable. Furthermore light is definitely limited
otherwise it would always be daylight or to put it another way it would never be dark. By
the same token if there is ever silence then sound must also be limited.

Can we think of infinite length? Length is measurement of something and is not a thing
itself. The same can be said of numbers, which are simply a chronological form of
measurement of other things. The question should not be if numbers reach infinity but if
the items represented by numbers can reach infinity. We cannot guess out of our own
desire for it to be true (that would be irrational, emotional belief) and we have no such
previous information. Also numbers themselves cannot be without limit since every
number is finite, as is the following number. Since whenever we proceed upwards we
proceed towards another finite number we can never exceed the barrier of infinity.

Are ideas such as love limited? This can be answered by reference to the working
definition of a limit. Is the idea of love able to exist independently of anything else or is it
contingent and dependent on something else to initiate it? Ideas are inherently
conditional on a mind to think of them. Ideas have no independent existence external to
a mind so they are limited. Therefore love, like all other ideas, is limited. Of course if
someone was willing to attempt to prove that an idea, like love, had an independent
existence they are most welcome to try but both the rational and scientific methods
require a reality to examine and ideas are clearly not tangible.

We can conclude that everything we can all sense is limited to some degree. One may
wonder why this conclusion is important but it matters as it narrows down the options
available in our search for a conclusive answer to the greatest question.

Do limited things equal a Creator?

Now we accept that all things we can sense are limited and have the rational framework
of thinking in place there can now only be four possible answers to the greatest question:

1. The universe has existed for an infinite length of time so no creation ever took
place regardless of the existence of limited things (No Creator)
2. Limited things bought other limited things into existence (No Creator)
3. Limited things all depend upon each other in an unlimited cyclical chain of mutual
dependencies (No Creator)
4. Limited things were bought into existence by an unlimited cause (Creator)

We can be sure there are no other possible answers and that these four choices are all
mutually exclusive i.e. that none of these options can be true at the same time as
another. Therefore, let us examine these alternatives in turn beginning with the
possibility that the universe has existed for an infinite length of time.

The idea of infinity has always been problematic since there is a distinction between a
possible infinite and actual infinite. A figure can increase towards infinity but will never
get there (since numbers are limited). We can therefore say this process is indefinite
rather than infinite. Students of calculus will recognise this for the example of the
function f(x) = 1/x. If one increases x indefinitely, one increases it without limit, and as x
becomes very large, the function f(x) becomes very small. The graph of the function (a
hyperbola) provides a straight line that is tangential to the curve at infinity, nevertheless,
this will never be actualised; it will never be the case. A line on a graph that tends
towards infinity will edge closer to the axis (towards a possible infinite) but will never get
to the axis let alone cross it (actual infinite). Even Aristotle argued against an actual
infinite; a fact which the Arab philosopher Al-Kindi famously used against him in his

Georg Cantor, perhaps the greatest mathematician of the 19th Century, initiated the
mathematics of the infinite (along with Weierstrass and Dedekind) known as transfinite
arithmetic. Though the discipline aims to deal with the paradoxes of infinity ‘it offends
common sense at every point’ (Monk, 1997). Even if we acknowledge that real numbers
are greater than natural numbers (because natural numbers are a sub-set of the reals)
and that there is no such thing as the next point in a continuous series of points can
there really be ‘higher infinities’?

While Cantor argued for higher infinity he denied actual infinity and his work on set
theory is fundamentally problematic for supporters of actual infinity. Set theory can be
understood utilising the examples of axes. All things that can be used to attack others
can be placed in a collection or set called ‘weapons’. The set called ‘weapons’ has
subsets such as swords, guns and axes.

To a set theorist the sentence ‘all axes are weapons’ is really saying ‘the set of axes is a
subset of weapons’. In other words ‘every member of the first set (axes) is a member of
the second (weapons)’. A dilemma arises when we discover that Cantor proved that for
any set, another set with more members (the original set’s power set – consisting of all
its subsets) is constructible. If a set has n members then there will be at least 2n subsets
of it and 2n is always greater than n.

This leads us to the Cantor Paradox that states that a set of all sets cannot exist since
each attempt at a total set would immediately produce a larger one. Thus there is no
greatest set (cf. Zuckerman, 1974) and no infinity.

Even David Hilbert, perhaps the greatest mathematician of the 20th Century, has
similarly argued against actual infinity:

“…the infinite is nowhere to be found in reality. It neither exists in nature nor
provides a legitimate basis for rational thought. The role that remains for the
infinite to play is solely that of an idea”.
(Hilbert, 1964, p139)

However despite these concerns let us examine the claim in the best traditions of debate
and discourse. If the universe has always existed then the claim is that there has been
an unlimited, infinite length of time before now; this known as regressus ad infinitum or
infinite regression, which means continual subtraction by one. It is helpful in this instance
to think of time as a chain of events. Things happen in sequential order, one moment
after another so an infinite length of time can be equated with an endless chain of
events. The claim that the universe has always existed is a claim that the universe has
always existed up this moment. This means an eternity has passed up to this moment.
This means we are currently at the end of an endless chain of events. This is impossible.

If an endless chain of events had to occur before this point we would never exist since
an endless chain could never finish. I would not be writing these words and you would
not be reading them now. This is so because the event in the unlimited chain of events
immediately preceding our current actions (indeed our very existence) would depend
upon the one before it and the one before it but this chain would never get to this
moment as it is eternal and endless.

Since we do exist, I am writing this chapter and you are reading this chapter the
contradiction of the claim of infinite regression should now be apparent.

This can be thought of like reserving a book from the university library that is in heavy
demand (for the sake of argument let us agree this is the only copy available). If there
were four people in the queue before you for the book then you would have to wait for
the four to finish before using it for your assignment. Similarly if there were four
thousand people in the queue before you for the book then you would have to wait for
the four thousand to finish before using it. If an unlimited, infinite (i.e. endless) number of
reservations stood between you and the book you would never receive it as an endless
number sequence would never end.

The same example is often illustrated by reference to a sniper requiring an instruction
from his superior in his chain of command to open fire. Of course his superior has to wait
till his own superior directs him and so on up the chain. If the chain of command were
only ten minutes long the sniper would have to wait ten minutes for the command to fire.
If it were one hundred years long the sniper would take one hundred years for the
command to fire. If the chain were unlimited, it would be infinite, endless and the sniper
would never receive the order to fire. It is not possible for an event to exist at the end of
an endless chain of event thus we cannot exist at the end of infinity. The universe has
not always existed.

Many thinkers and philosophers from John Philoponus to Al-Ash‘ari to Al-Ghazali to Kant
proposed similar arguments. Aquinas partially assimilated the work of Averroes (Ibn
Rushd) - who believed in the eternity of the universe - to offer his own variant refutation
known as the ‘traversal of the infinite’. Unlimited time before now means an infinite series
of events has been completed. This means an endless journey across infinity has ended
(infinity has been travelled across/traversed). Traversal requires both a beginning and
end like any other journey but any start point we can think of for our journey is only a
finite amount of time ago. Thus infinity cannot have been traversed since that is the
whole point of infinity. It therefore cannot be true that the universe has always existed.

We must also be aware that saying the universe has always existed leaves one open to
contradiction. If one said it then repeated a year later this implies infinity has just
increased by a year. This contradicts the work of Ibn Hazm on the temporality of the
universe when he stated that infinity cannot increase (reductio ad absurdum, third
proof). This would mean the time elapsed from the beginning of time to the Norman
Conquest of 1066 is also the same as the time elapsed from the beginning of time to the
Fall of Saigon (Vietnam War) in 1975 and so on until today.

Others have questioned whether we could exist within an infinite chain of events, which is
tantamount to proposing there is an infinite sum of finite events. Let us suppose we are
exactly half way within the infinite chain of events. Infinity would have then been halved. If
we were to picture the same with matchsticks then we select the median matchstick (the
one exactly in the middle) of an infinite number of matchsticks. The infinite number of
matchsticks is halved. Both halves add up to infinity but are infinite themselves. In fact
any fraction of the infinite sum of matchsticks would equal infinity. This then produces
apparent contradictions that the part is equal to the whole and that there could loads of

Now let us remove three matchsticks from the infinite sum. We have established that any
fraction of the infinite sum is equal to infinity but we can be sure that three matchsticks
do not add up to infinity. Thus something cannot be infinite and finite at the same time,
because of this and many other contradictions it is absolutely clear that the sum of finite
events must be finite. We can thus conclude that we could not exist within an infinite
chain of events.

Also after removing three matchsticks would both halves still add up to infinity or have we
actually reduced the number of matchsticks? If one were to argue that removing three
matchsticks would not reduce the amount from infinity then this is tantamount to arguing
we have an infinite number of matchsticks no matter how many are removed. Now let us
propose that we remove all the matchsticks. Do we still have an infinite number or just no
matchsticks? Remember infinity cannot be reduced. We must point out here that whether
we remove three or all we are still reducing the amount of matchsticks and this
contradicts infinity since infinity cannot be reduced.

The second answer i.e. that limited things bought other limited things into existence if
true would mean there was no need for a Creator but it contradicts reality. Could a
limited thing bring itself into existence without need of something else? Could it survive
and subsist without dependency on other things? Could a limited thing have always
existed? Could a limited thing bring other things into existence from nothing?

These notions flatly contradict the previous information we possess on limited,
dependent things. The previous information we have is that limited things do not and
cannot bring themselves other things into existence and that there is always some
dependency. This is part of the definition of a limited thing.

Arguing that the original limited object could have always existed (without a cause)
means it is not limited, rather it is unlimited. This is the same as the first assertion that
there was no start point and the universe has always existed. In effect it is another claim
for an unlimited chain of events before this point and we have already refuted this.

The third answer was that all limited things depend upon each other in an unlimited
cyclical chain of mutual dependencies. The proposal is that all limited things manage
their dependencies in a flawless system whereby each limited thing supports another in
some intricate web. Therefore the claim is there is no need for a Creator, as this web
would mean no requirement for a beginning or a cause. While is suggests that all limited
things would continue to exist forever due to the support each limited thing receives from
others this clearly is not the case as things die out, fade and deteriorate constantly.
Instead it is often illustrated with other examples such as when humans are buried where
they become fertiliser for the trees and plants so they can themselves eat the plants
before being buried. The most famous example is the water cycle where for water to exist
it depends upon rain and for rain to exist it depends upon clouds and clouds depend
upon evaporation of water.

The flaw here is that nothing in the cycle can exist until something initiates the cycle. We
know A depends upon B and B depends upon A, this is a form of mutual dependence.
So for A to exist B needs to exist but B doesn’t exist until A exists, therefore nothing
would exist. This simple demonstration proves that things cannot depend upon other
things in the form of a cycle i.e. mutual dependence without something external first
initiating the cycle.

If it is agreed that these three options have been rebutted then we arrive at the fourth
and final option, which was that limited things were bought into existence by an unlimited
first cause (Creator). This cause has to be eternal, without bounds otherwise it would be
limited and dependent. The Creator is something unlimited and independent that every
other thing ultimately depends upon. For this independent force to exist then it must be
other than limited, i.e. other than quantifiable and definable. Therefore this independent
thing must be unlimited. This necessitates that this unlimited, independent force chose to
create and was not forced to create. Choice signifies will and intelligence. As a result we
come to the rational conclusion that a limitless, infinite, intelligent force created the

This is the proof that there is a Creator.

This unlimited cause (Creator) can only be one. If there are two or more then none of
these causes can be unlimited. If the causes can each be separated, isolated and
counted then they cannot be unlimited. The cause can only be unlimited if it is one,
alone without partner, all-powerful, without beginning or end.

We can conclude this section by adding that the greatest question can be answered
conclusively without resorting to emotion or by stretching the scientific model into realms
it cannot deal with. Belief does not have to be emotional. In fact if it is built on rational
thought, then is inherently built upon the greatest faculty of humanity, the mind.

Why can we not sense the Creator?

From the rational method we know we can only think about reality. Our senses can only
pick up on reality so the question is whether the Creator is a reality within the reach of
our senses? This can be understood in another way. Can a limited being ever conceive
of the unlimited?

It could not be possible to sense something unlimited. No one would rationally argue the
five senses of human beings could pick up anything beyond the universe. To perceive or
sense the Creator would to contend that the Creator is within the bounds of the known
universe. By definition whatever is unlimited cannot be contained by anything even the
universe (otherwise we would have found a limit). The unlimited has no boundaries,
constraints or restrictions.

Now we have established that we have a Creator it may feel natural that we should
pause, if even for a second, to ponder over the enormity of the conclusion.

We are created. Creation is proof of a Creator. There is a Creator.

However we cannot rest now. The question of a Creator is the greatest because it
affects the direction of our lives. So the next stage of the discussion is critical. We
cannot pretend to have any conception of what is beyond our senses. That would
contradict the rational method. We need to be informed by the unlimited Creator. It is
completely irrational to think otherwise but since we cannot sense the Creator we have
to now decide on the next step. One option is to guess blindly, using one’s own limited
mind to decide right and wrong, on why we were created, if there is a purpose, what we
should expect in terms of accountability, punishment and reward etc. This step cannot
be discouraged enough. One would not hear a knock at the door and just ‘guess’ it was
a visit from the local dentist to pull out one’s front teeth. One would not buy a can of cola
and just ‘guess’ the can was full of nerve gas. So why guess when it comes to the
answer to the greatest question? Human beings are rational, using thought to elevate
the social condition. We have already refuted emotion, blind imitation and leaps of faith
and instead emphasised using reason and ration. It is still necessary to hold to this

The only reality we have is that a Creator exists.

Anonymous said...

The discussion regarding the conclusive proof of the existence of god, even once one concludes that He undoubtedly exists is really not a religious discussion. It does not necessitate that one become a Muslim, a Christian or a follower of any faith, merely that one believes an unlimited Creator exists.

The question regarding which religion, if any, is the correct religion or the truth, is a question of whether God revealed anything to mankind or not. Did He pass to us a message by which to live and if so how do we authenticate this?

It is supposed by advocators of mainstream religions that the Creator did indeed send revelation to us over the course of history. The method of revelation was a message to one from amongst the people, a man who proved that he was a messenger of god to the populace by the performance of a miracle[s]. We know their names, Musa, Isa, Muhammad, Ibrahim and so on.

Naturally if any man claimed to be a messenger the people would not believe him simply on his word. Most people would harbour a healthy amount of scepticism to the claim. If however the same man performed a miracle the same people would then believe him. By miracle what is meant is the clear and obvious breaking of the natural laws of the universe, such that an unheard of and totally unnatural occurrence is observed.

One good definition of miracle: "An event that appears so inexplicable by the laws of nature, that it is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God."

So if the man for example split the red sea in the name of God or split the moon into two parts his claims to prophet-hood would be verified in the eyes of those who witnessed the miracle, or later verified its occurrence by some other means.

The breaking of natural law may only occur via the permission of the one who defined them and brought them into existence; the Creator of the universe [see discussion re: conclusive proof of the existence of God]. As all of mankind, like everything else in the universe is bound by these laws, the proclaimed messenger who performs a miracle has proven he is indeed a messenger. For only God may alter or suspend the natural laws. Thus the messenger has done so by His permission alone as there is no other way and so authenticated his claims. No ordinary man has the ability to do this.

It would not be correct to say that illusionists and the like appear to break the natural law. Their illusions cannot withstand scrutiny, rather they are revealed to merely be deception. The miracles of the past were so apparent as to withstand any scrutiny. The two examples mentioned already demonstrate this; the splitting of the red sea and the splitting of the moon. In the times of these two miracles, attributed to Musa and Muhammad respectively, there were no cameras, special effects or television.

Any sincere and intelligent man who witnessed Isa give life to the dead and heal with just a touch, or saw Ibrahim emerge from the raging fire unharmed would believe they were indeed, as they claimed to be, messengers of God. There is no other explanation for a miracle, an event which defies the laws of nature, the only possibility is that it occurs by the permission of the Creator. As there is no other possibility this reason must be true, it must be the cause for the effect witnessed. A problem arises because these miracles are lost in time. Millennia later how are human beings in the 21 st century to believe such events did occur?

Miracles have been reported to us in textual accounts such as those found in the new testament and the old testament. The problem with books like the Torah and the Inj'eel [bible] is that they have undoubtedly been subject to alteration over the course of history. There exist very different versions of the same books. This is proof that they have been altered by human beings from their original versions. So the report of Isa walking upon water in the Inj'eel is not something we can believe in as it may be fabricated. It becomes a matter of faith not belief. If the books mentioned were indeed the very revelation sent to Musa or Isa then we would find:

1) Every version would be identical. Any alteration over time would manifest as different forms of the book.

2) There would be some way to authenticate that the book actually is the original. Otherwise how can anyone know the book they hold is really the revelation of a messenger?

It is worth mentioning that all Muslims believe in the revealed books as part of their Aqueedah [belief] as well as the Qur'an. These books are the Torah , Inj'eel and the Psalms of Dawud. Muslims believe that these books were revealed by God but their integrity has been compromised over time as mentioned. The reason they have definite belief in their revelation is because the Qur'an details this and there exists a unique method to verifying the authenticity of the Qur'an which is only applicable to it

This is the same reason Muslims believe in some of the miracles of the previous prophets. They may be lost in time but those miracles that are mentioned in the Qur'an can be believed in as long as one is aware as to how the Qu'ran is the word of God and how its authenticity can be verified.

Muhammad was the final messenger of God and the foremost miracle he brought is the Qur'an itself. The consequences of this are important.

1) As a miracle is a breaking of natural law, they are by definition inimitable by man. This means someone may not alter the Qur'an or insert in additional sections as its style is inimitable and the human made elements would immediately become apparent to someone with mastery of Arabic language.

2) If the Qur'an itself is miraculous in nature then it means the Muslims of today are in possession of a timeless miracle; a miracle that can validate the correctness of Islam at any time, not only around the time of revelation.

However the teachings of Islam can only be believed in today if the miraculous nature of the Qur'an can be understood by any individual of this current age. If its miraculous nature can be understood intellectually then there is no need for the people of the 21 st century to have 'faith' in corrupted books or to simply follow the religion of their forefathers. Human beings of this age have often rejected religion because of there lack of evidence and definite proof. Preaching to faith or following tradition is not required in such times. What is required is that mankind understands the proof behind the Creators final revelation and its timeless aspect.

It can only make sense that if Islam was indeed the last religion revealed from God that in His wisdom, its proof would be such that any person could understand its proof from the time of revelation to Muhammad until the last day. Otherwise God would have indeed have left men to faith and their own devices as some believe. This is not the reality as will be seen.

The Nature of the Miracle

How exactly can a book be miraculous?

The Qur'an is miraculous because the eloquence of its language is so amazing, so sublime as to peak in every characteristic of Arabic as to be unmatchable. To the Arabs who heard it, it was undoubtedly not from a human being. Indeed the language is such that it cannot be imitated at all by man, even a small part. This is one of the attributes of a miracle, inimitability, no-one else can repeat the miracle, or even conceive of attempting it as it is beyond the realms of natural law. The splitting of the red sea is an example of this. No-one else can repeat this phenomenon. The revelation of the Qur'an is equally miraculous and inimitable, but requires a little more depth of thought to appreciate.

It is worth noting that the miracles brought by the previous prophets and messengers came as challenges to the people of the time. At the time of Ibrahim there existed many fire worshippers. Yet when he was plunged into the inferno their fire did not burn him. Clearly his God had mastery over the very attributes of the thing they worshipped. At the time of Musa they ruler in the land was the tyrant Fir'awn . In his entourage were a group of illusionists who often performed their tricks in his court. By the will of God Musa's staff transformed into a snake, which consumed their own staffs. The illusionists who were masters of deception new full well that this was no mere trick and understood it must be from God. Similarly in the time of Isa skill in healing and medicine was respected greatly, and Isa was able to cure the diseased with a touch and restore life with a touch where once there had been death.

The Arabs at the time of the Qur'an's revelation were enamoured of poetry. They praised one another, admonished and even debated in poetry. Their poets were esteemed members of Makkan society. In Ukaz there took place an annual market where poets would compete in eloquence, the champion's poetry would be hung from the door of the Ka'bah itself.

When Muhammad brought the Qur'an, it was obvious to these people who were masters of Arabic that it was a supernatural phenomenon. For these people whose mastery of Arabic was it its peak could not match its eloquence, its sublime beauty.

Allah himself challenged the Arabs to match His book.

"Or they say 'he [Muhammad] forged it', Say: 'Bring ten chapters like it and call [to your help] whomever you can other than Allah if you speak the truth" [TMQ Hud: 13]

And then:

"If you are in doubt of what we have revealed to our messenger, then produce one chapter like it. Call upon all your helpers, besides Allah, if you are truthful" [TMQ Al-baqarah: 23]

Here it can be seen that God himself is challenging the doubters [and all the help they can muster] to produce ten similar chapters to the Qur'an. In the latter challenge the challenge is lessened to only one single like chapter.

Chapter has been translated from the Arabic sura [pl. suwar ]. The smallest sura or chapter is sura kauthar which is only three lines long, thus the final challenge made was to produce only three lines that matched the Qur'an. In effect Allah told the Arabs this book is from Him. He laid down the simplest of tasks that they could never achieve. It was a poignant exclamation to the authenticity of the Qur'an.

History attests that the Arabs were not able to meet the challenge. This inimitable quality is known as i'jaz ul-quran , the miraculous nature of the Qur'an.

The Qur'an clearly is an Arabic discourse. If the Arabs could meet the challenge then the Qur'an would have simply been from Muhammad or one of the Arabs. As not one of them could then it could not have been from any one of them. It could not have been from any non-Arabs either being an Arabic book, so it must be from God himself. We will examine this in detail in the next section.

History also attests that the Arabs were awed by what they heard.

One of the finest of the Arab poems was written by an esteemed poet called Labid ibn Rabiah. His poem when recited at Ukaz called all the people present to prostrate themselves before him in admiration. When the same Labid heard the Qur'an recited he immediately embraced Islam and gave up poetry altogether. When he was once asked to recite some poetry the former master replied: "What! After the Qur'an?"

It is worth noting that it cannot be argued that eloquence of language is a subjective phenomenon, and thus judging whether the Qur'anic challenge has been met is a subjective matter. This is because there are rules pertaining to grammar and expression in Arabic and indeed any other language, and it is these rules the Qur'an alone transcends. Examination any given work and its level of excellence with regards to such rules is an objective matter for one with sufficient mastery of the language.

Eloquence, beauty, rhetoric, structure, rhythm, rhyme, grammar, clarity, depth. These are some of the attributes sought for in Arabic poetry, prose and rhymed prose. These were the then three existent styles of artistic expression in Arabic. Also amongst the attributes superlatives are sought in are the number of words used to convey [less is superior] and their depth, coherence, consistency, symmetry and force.

It was impossible for the poets to write verses in Arabic that peaked in each and every considered category all at once. Inevitably quality in on or a few attributes would be at the expense of quality in some of the others. This is a normal rule of any language. The Qur'an when it arrived produced a fourth category of its own. In each and every sura the very highest level of every attribute was achieved all at once. The Qur'an was renowned for its ability to covey an extraordinary depth of meaning in just a few words. All while maintaining excellence in all characteristics of the language. It was in a league of its own, a league no man could produce even one small piece of in the same style.

As a further example in Arabic there are sixteen forms of poetry, sixteen al-Bihar , literally "seas" so-called because of the way the poem moves, according to a rhythm.

In Arabic poetry each one is more suited to one or a few of the above mentioned characteristics at the expense of the others. The Qur'an achieved an unparalleled excellence throughout in all considerations. Thus it transcended any of the Bihar , any prose or rhymed prose.

This is why the Arabs were shaken by what they heard, and many converted upon hearing the spoken words. For them it was akin to seeing the moon split into two.

More on the nature of the Miracle

The Qur'an literary qualities are at a level beyond man's ability to replicate it. To break this down further we can characterize Qur'an's style [ usloob ] into three qualities:

a) Force [Quwwah ]

b) Beauty [Jamaal ]

c) Clarity [wudooh ]

The language has a force which has an impact on the one who listens to its verses. It brings tears of ecstasy, fear and hope to the heart which contemplates its meanings. With regards to the force the following narration by Ibn Hisham epitomizes this point. He narrated that Jubayr b. Mut'im b. iddi came to the Messenger of Allah [saw] regarding Mu'anna [an ally of the polytheists] in order to ransom him. When he came into the room the Prophet [saw] was reciting Sura at-Tur to him and when he [saw] came to the section:

"Verily, the Torment of your Lord will surely come to pass" [TMQ at-Tur: 7]

"There is none that can avert it;" [TMQ at-Tur: 8]

The polytheist began to shake and then embraced Islam and explained his sudden behaviour by saying: 'I feared that the torment [ 'azaab ] would come upon me'.

The Quranic style exhibits a certain beauty in terms of the fittingness [ mulaa'amah ] of the words, as if the words were created for that sentence in which it was used. So for example for where the meaning is delicate the delicate expressions are used as in the following ayah:

" Verily, for the Muttaqeen [God fearing], there will be a success [Paradise]; Gardens and grape yards. And maidens of equal age. And a full cup [of wine]" [TMQ An-Naba: 31-34].

The expression hadaaiqah a'naaba 'gardens and grape yards' and ka'san dihaaqa [a full cup of wine'] are all expressions which give a soft and inviting meaning.

But where the meaning is forceful the Qur'an expresses in this way:

"Truly, Hell is a place of ambush, a dwelling place for the Tagheen [Those who transgress the limits set by Allah (swt)]. They will abide therein for ages, nothing cool shall they taste therein, nor any drink. Except boiling water, and dirty wound discharges. An exact recompense [according to their evil crimes]." [TMQ An-Naba: 21-26]

So it describes Hell as mirsaada [i.e. a place of ambush] and the only drink available is hameeman ghassaaqa [boiling water and dirty wound discharges].

The Quranic style is also clear and the vivid figurative imagery that it paints is easy

to grasp. Look at the following ayah:

"When they are cast therein, they will hear the [terrible] drawing in of its breath as it blazes forth."

"It almost bursts up with fury. Every time a group is cast therein, its keeper will ask: 'Did no warner come to you?'"

Here Jahannam [hell] is depicted like an angry human being, every time its sees the disbelievers thrown in it rages with anger.

The literary miracle of the Qur'an is that it combines all of these qualities of force, beauty and clarity throughout its verses. This is something which has not been achieved by any human endeavour simply because the Qur'an is the not result of any human endeavour; rather it is ' Kalaam Allah ' the Speech of Allah revealed to Mankind from the Seven Heavens.

How do we appreciate the Miracle?

There are 25 letters in the Arabic language. There are only a very limited number of ways to arrange them so they make sense according to the grammatical rules and the finite number of words that exist. There exist far less ways to arrange them to produce fine prose or poetry.

It stands to reason that anyone can with mastery of a language and a blueprint to imitate could easily do so. This is because he possesses all the tools he needs, knowledge of the words and the grammatical rules, and he has the style he must produce.. As an example if one were given a Medical text book and a medical dictionary for the scientific terms and asked to write several paragraphs in the same style, it would take a group of educated people half an hour or so to produce a few paragraph of similar sounding text. A group of consultant physicians could doubtless produce an identical style in a matter of minutes.

In his first challenge Allah [swt] invites the Arabs to a fair contest.

"Say: "If the whole of mankind and Jinn were to gather together to produce the like of this Qu'ran they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support" [TMQ Al-israa': 88]

The challenge is to produce the like of the Qur'an. The second challenge confers to the Arabs a clear advantage.

"Or they say 'he [Muhammad] forged it', Say: 'Bring ten chapters like it and call [to your help] whomever you can other than Allah if you speak the truth" [TMQ Hud: 13]

Now only ten suwar must be produced. The final challenge is so easy that it should if it could really be matched have taken the Arab poets of the time a very short amount of time to meet.

"If you are in doubt of what we have revealed to our messenger, then produce one chapter like it. Call upon all your helpers, besides Allah, if you are truthful" [TMQ Al-baqarah: 23]

There 114 suwar in the Qur'an, the longest of which is 286 ayat [phrase or sentence] long, the shortest is 3 ayat long [or 4 if one includes bimillahir rahmanir rahim ; In the name of Allah the most beneficent, the most merciful] which begins all suwar save one. That is only three sentences.

Given the Arabic language, given the blueprint of the entire Qur'an itself, it should definitely be possible to imitate the style for only three lines. But the challenge to this day remains unmet. How can this be? If a man had produced the Qur'an then another man would have been able to copy the process and achieve the same result. It should be noted that the process only need be replicated for 3 lines! The fact that this cannot be done defies all the known laws of language, and yet it is the case.

This is analogous to giving a team of expert Ferrari engineers the blueprint to a Ferrari, all of the building materials and tools and yet they are unable to assemble it. Pharmaceutical companies may spend years and invest millions of pounds in producing a new drug, but they immediately patent the drug to prevent other companies from producing the same thing. This is because the drug can be examined in a laboratory, its composition analysed, the process replicated. The same rules apply to language, any style can be examined, its rules understood, the style replicated. But with the Qur'an this has never been done. The inimitability is testament to its miraculous nature.

So where did the Qur'an come from? Let us examine the possibilities. They are:

1) From Muhammad

2) From the Arabs

3) From the non-Arabs

4) From the Creator

It would be false to claim that it was from the best of the Arab poets who produced it or one possessed of genius. If it were one such then it would still be possible to imitate his work even if he produced it first. This is according to the normal rules of language. Thus Shakespeare is considered by many the finest writer of English language, yet it is definitely possible to imitate him. There is still debate over certain parts of Henry VIII ['All is true'] as to who authored them. The same is true of book 10 of Homers 'Illiad'. In fact neither claims to be beyond human capacity or inimitable but this demonstrates that both can be imitated and equalled, if not bettered. Yet this is not possible with the Qur'an. So it cannot be from the Arabs themselves or they would have been able to replicate it. Instead they could not, and it brought a new style of Arabic language, the Qur'an in addition to the poetry, prose and rhymed prose of the Arabs. It remained however a unique style they could not repeat.

The same argument applies to the Qur'an being from Muhammad. He himself was an Arab and illiterate amongst them. Also it cannot have come from a non Arab being itself an Arabic discourse.

The only other possibility is that it came from the Creator. This is the final possibility and consequently must be true. It also is the only explanation for the Qur'an's inimitability, for as previously discussed any miracle can occur only by the Creators will.

It is also worth noting also that the Qur'an maintains its flawless brilliance throughout. Had it been produced by men, then there would have been fluctuations in its excellence. People may have been expected to improve their style over time, to eventually peak. People may be expected to not maintain the same incredible standard for every line of every page. But the inimitable perfection of the Qur'an encompasses any three lines that may be put under scrutiny.

Taken from the book " Ash-shakhsia al-Islaamiya: Vol I"

"Thus their style fluctuates in strength and weakness, apart from the occurrence of some frivolous thoughts and trite expressions in their texts. On the other hand, we find that style of the Quran from the day of the revelation of the first Ayah , "Read! In the name of your Lord and Cherisher, Who created," [TMQ Al-'alaq: 1] until the day of the revelation of the last Ayah, "O you who believe! Fear Allah [swt], and give up what remains of your demand for usury [riba], if you are indeed believers" [TMQ Al-baqarah: 278] was uniformly at its peak with respect to articulacy and rhetoric and the sublimity of the thoughts therein and the vigour of its expressions. You will never find one trite expression or one frivolous thought in it, but it is one homogeneous piece, to the smallest detail, its entirety is, in respect of style, just like one single sentence. This is proof that it is not the speech of human beings, whose speech is susceptible to divergence in expressions and meanings; but it is indeed the speech of the Lord of the Worlds."

In conclusion:

1) As the Qur'an could not have been from the Arabs, Muhammad, a non-Arab or any man we are left with the conclusion that is revealed from the only other possible source; from the Creator

2) The inimitability of the Qur'an, the fact that the impossibility of such a simple challenge not being met is an actual reality is testament to its miraculous nature. A miracle is: "An event that appears so inexplicable by the laws of nature, that it is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God", such an inimitable occurrence can only occur via the permission of the one who sets the natural laws and then breaks them Himself, thus the Creator is the only one who could have revealed the Qur'an.

How does one appreciate the Miracle without mastery of classical Arabic?

As Islam came for all of mankind, not only the Arabs, there must be a way for non Arabs to understand the Qur'an's timeless miracle. Indeed most Arabs these days do not know the fusha [classical] Arabic of the Qur'an. How then do the people of the 21 st century appreciate Islam and understand its truth without first mastering fusha Arabic?

An expert in classical Arabic may well be able to simply hear the Qur'an and appreciate the miracle as the following example demonstrates:

One of the most famous conversions was that of Umar ibn al-Khattab the second of the righteously guided Khulafah and one of the best of the Muslims. Prior to his conversion he was a staunch opponent of the Prophet, devoted to paganism and a drunkard who buried his children alive. On top of this he was a mighty warrior. Ibn Ishaq reports in his Sira that Umar was on his way to assassinate Muhammad one day when he came upon his sister who had embraced Islam secretly, listening to some new verses of the Qur'an being recited. He stormed into the house shouting "What is this nonsense?" and knocked his sister to the ground. He softened slightly when he noticed her bleeding, feeling ashamed of himself somewhat, picked up the manuscript and began to read. Umar was and an acknowledged authority of Arabic poetry and used to be consulted regarding the precise significance of language. But Umar had never encountered the like of the Qur'an and he exclaimed "How fine and noble is this speech!" converting there and then to Islam for which he famously became as mighty a champion for as he ever had been against prior to converting.

However if someone who does not know Arabic listens to the Qur'an being recited, as melodious as it may sound, he would not be able to ascertain its divine nature. It would be akin to the splitting of the red sea before a blind girl. She does not possess the tools to sense the miracle before her.

However what can be understood is that in the 1400 years since Islam was revealed, no scholar of classical Arabic be they Muslim, Christian or of any other belief has upheld any meeting of the Qur'an's challenge. Their consent over this is unanimous. Testimonials to its miraculous origin and inimitability can be found by the dozens.

Further to this attempts to imitate the Qur'an have been met with the scholar's derision.

Some claim that the Qur'an was matched by 'Abdullah Ibn al-Muqaffa', Abu 'Ala al-Ma'arri and others. But the point we need to remember is that the Qur'an did not challenge that someone should make a claim but that he should 'bring something like it'. Where are the writings of such people which equal the oratory of the Qur'an? In fact it has not been even established conclusively that such people even claimed to have matched the Qur'an.

One of the earliest claimants to rivalling the Qur'an was the amusing concoction of Musaylimah al-Kazzab. Regarding his poetry the great scholar of I'jaz al-Qur'an Imaam al-Baqilanni wrote: 'The pieces reported to have been composed by Musaylimah are so ridiculously poor in style that nobody could seriously compare them with the Qur'an.' Take a look at the following rendition by Musaylimah and you will see what he means:

"The elephant. What is the elephant? And who shall tell you what is the elephant? He has a ropy tail and a long trunk. this is a [mere] trifle of our Lord's creations" !

As regards Ibn Muqaffa' no texts exist which claim to challenge the Qur'an so the discussion is rather academic. On the contrary it is said that Ibn al-Muqaffa' himself gave up after attempting to replicate the Qur'an when he came to the verses 42-46 of Surah Hud.

As for Abu 'Ala al-Ma'arri only some parts survive from his Kitab al-Fusul wal Ghayaat. But these parts are no more than rhymed prose and cannot be described a unique genre of writing which is what it would have to be to challenge the Qur'an. In fact some scholars such as Fakhr ad-Deen ar-Raazi denied that al-Ma'arri ever meant to challenge the Qur'an. Nonetheless ar-Raazi mentions a dozen reasons why the language of the Qur'an is superior to that of al-Ma'arri's text.

In recent times we have seen the cheap attempts of Christian missionaries who claim they have something better than the Qur'an. What they have is translations of the Bible or stories adapted from the Bible. One quick look at their texts indicates the feeble nature of their attempts; they are written mimicking the style of the Qur'an but always falling short. The Qur'an said bring something like it, not plagiarise its style in a substandard manner. So it's no wonder no-one studies their works as a piece of literature let alone something which is distinguished for its literary qualities.

The people who spoke the best Arabic, were its recognised masters and loved it most were the ones closest to the time when Qur'an was being revealed. They themselves were unable to replicate the Qur'an. Thus, al-Jaahiz [b. 160 AH] who was a master of Arabic language in his time said: 'The Prophet came with this Book [Qur'an] which we read and obliged us to adhere to it. He challenged the masters of rhetoric; orators and poets with its word order and composition in many places and great gatherings but no one came or took up the challenge. No one was able to bring a part or the like and no one claimed he could do that'. If this was the case with the Arabs of the pure tongue in the time of the Prophet and after him, then what about the people today who make cheap claims but cannot read classical poetry without constantly referring to dictionaries and commentaries?

It is a physical impossibility for all the scholars of classical Arabic separated by time [over 1400 years] and space [whichever country they may abide in] to have collaborated to fool the entire world into believing the Qur'an is inimitable. Those who are Christians, Jewish or atheist would have no reason to do this anyway. As we know they have not colluded to tell the world that the Qur'anic challenge has gone unmet by the fact there are too many scholars of Arabic who are unknown to each other, in too many different places at any given point in history the only conclusion that can be drawn is that they are telling the truth.

Having understood this anyone, Arab or otherwise can now begin to examine the points expounded in the previous section 'Appreciating the Miracle' which explains why this inimitability can only mean the Qur'an is revealed by the Creator. If all the people of Musa told the blind girl of the example the red sea had been split into two, provided the numbers were large enough and the people unknown to each other to such an extent that collaboration were an impossibility, she herself could only conclude a miracle had indeed been performed, though she had not directly sensed it .

In this regard the sincere, thinking man is in a better position to understand the divine origin of the Qur'an than those people of Quraysh, Christian and Jewish Arabic scholars who knew it could not be imitated but would not embrace Islam for other reasons, such as fear of change, or out of pride. Some may have not made the required intellectual linkages developed in the previous section explaining why the Qur'an can only be from the creator.

The continuous transmission of the Qur'an

Barring one or two slightly different manuscripts [which differ only in very minor issues like the angle some tashkil are scribed] the Qur'an the world over is exactly the same book This can be tested easily for there are thousands of huffaz [individuals who have committed the Qur'an to memory, literally 'guardians'] who have memorised the Qur'an the world over. They recite the Qur'an every day in salat [prayer]. During the month of Ramadhan the entire Qur'an is recited aloud in salat in every masjid around the world. Were anyone to recite it differently it would immediately be recognised. Any Muslim is familiar with this for we have all witnessed the correcting of the Imam should he falter or make an error in prayer.

Consider what this means. It means that over the last 1400 years as Muslims have moved to live all over the globe, there has been no alteration at all to any of the manuscripts of the Qur'an. If there had been then there would definitely be variants of the Qur'an. The Qur'an held by a man in London would be different than one held by a woman in Vienna. As the Qur'an is the same the world over this has not occurred.

One can imagine this as a spider's web. Each strand represents the spread of Muslims around the world and over time. If there were changes to the Qur'an at any point the manuscripts at the end of the web would be different at different points. As they are not it means that we hold the same Qur'an as the version at the centre of our imaginary web.

The centre of the web represents the period where Uthman the third Khalifah of Islam gathered together all variant manuscripts and produced one standard manuscript based on the version that Abu Bakr had used. The sahabi [companions of the prophet] reached a consensus regarding the correct nature of this version as the Prophet had himself made the majority of them memorise the Qur'an before his death. This version was distributed to the other Muslims of the state. As currently we all have the same version of the Qur'an it must be the very same copy of Abu Bakr's that Uthman standardised for everyone as previously explained.

It cannot be argued the Qur'an may have been tampered with at this point, and that we possess other than that which Allah revealed. If anything had been added into the Qur'an or altered by men, then these verses would have lost their inimitable quality, their miraculous nature. As the entire Qur'an to this day still possesses these attributes, what was compiled by Uthman and the companions was definitely all revelation from the Creator.

Indeed once it is established that it is without a doubt the word of Allah, now we can examine its words in peace and tranquillity. Allah [swt] himself has told us that He will protect the book:

"Verily We: It is We Who have sent down the Qur'an and surely, We will guard it" [TMQ al-Hijr: 9]

This is very different from the Christian argument that one should have faith in the Bible. When asked why I should have such faith one missionary replied by opening the bible and pointing out a verse that commanded you must have faith in the Bible! This is known as a circular argument; believe in the book because the book says so, and is intellectually bankrupt. Such an argument cannot amount to a definite belief for any case.

Rather with the Qur'an the Muslim must first understand its challenges, its inimitable nature, and the fact that this demonstrates it is a miracle and finally then that a miracle must come from God. After proving the divine revelation of the Qur'an from without, we can now happily take anything inside knowing that it is from the creator. More than this we are obliged to.

And they will say: 'Had we but listened or used our intelligence, we would not have been among the dwellers of the Fire!'" [TMQ al-Mulk: 10]

The Final Conclusion

The sincere and deep man who scrutinises the miracle of the Qur'an will easily arrive at the realisation that mankind is in possession of a perfectly preserved codex of revelation from his Creator. This book, the Qur'an is the only such book in the world today. It explains clearly how all of mankind must live their lives and organise their societies. It teaches him right from wrong and gives us knowledge of life after death and creation that we would otherwise never know. It directs us in each and every one of our personal matters, our family issues, from how we pray and clean ourselves to the relationships between nations and how a state governs itself.

Can there be a more important conclusion, a more important proof that any man will ever ponder?

A beautiful summary

Imam at-Tabari wrote in his tafseer

"There can be no doubt that the highest and most resplendent degree of eloquence is that which expresses itself with the greatest clarity, making the intention of the speaker evident and facilitating the hearer's understanding. But when it rises beyond this level of eloquence, and transcends what man is capable of, so that none of the servants of God is able to match it, it becomes proof and a sign for the Messengers of the One, the All-powerful. It is then the counterpart of raising the dead and curing of lepers and the blind, themselves proofs and signs for the Messengers."

Continuing he says:

". . . it is obvious that there is no discourse more eloquent, no wisdom more profound, no speech more sublime, no form of expression more noble, than this clear discourse and speech with which a single man challenged people at a time when they were acknowledged masters of the art of oratory and rhetoric, poetry and prose, rhymed prose and soothsaying. He reduced their fancy to folly and demonstrated the inadequacy of their logic. He dissociated himself from their religion and summoned all of them to follow him, accept his mission, testify to its truth, and affirm that he was the Messenger sent to them by their Lord. He let them know that the demonstration of the truth of what he said, the proof of the genuineness of his prophet-hood, was the bayan [the clear speech], the hikma [the evidential wisdom], the furqan [the criterion between right & wrong], which he conveyed to them in a language like their language, in a speech whose meanings conformed to the meanings of their speech. Then he told them that they were incapable of bringing anything comparable to even a part of what he brought, and that they lacked the power to do this. They all confessed their inability, voluntarily acknowledging the truth of what he had brought, and bore witness to their own insufficiency . . ."