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I only read it to critique it, but the author, Richard Dawkins, has made some compelling arguments against the God hypothesis. I still have my faith but it's left me wondering so much. Is this author credible?

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Read God, Islam, and the Skeptic Mind. –  Ansari Feb 9 '13 at 20:49
Certainly not, but what you can do easily is to bring what you mentioned as "compelling arguments" here and ask the Muslims to defend their religion against such claims! I have seen a movie containing some of his ideas, they were not accurate so relax, bring the claims and believe in God. After all he is a thinker and his ideas necessarily cannot be easily criticized in a second or two! –  owari Feb 9 '13 at 21:32
Welcome to Islam.SE. I suggest that you edit your question and mention exactly what made you wonder so that others can answer you, as many (maybe most) of us haven't read the book and don't know what made you confused. Sadly if you leave the question like that it might be closed because of ambiguity. –  Tamer Shlash Feb 10 '13 at 0:28
Did you know how Muslims first went astray in belief? They started reading Greek philosophers arguments from their books to critic them and defeat them by logic. Before you read these books, just check your taqwa level. These books throw doubts in your heart. –  Abdullah Feb 10 '13 at 8:03
"Is this author credible?" is not, to my mind, a relevant question. His arguments should be addressed on their merits, independent of who made them. (Personally, I don't think The God Delusion is Dawkins' best book, and I think it overstates its case in places, but it's still pretty good.) –  TRiG Feb 10 '13 at 13:52
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2 Answers

The fact that you're posting here is very important: it means you still believe in God. Unfortunately, I think not enough effort has been made to combat atheism by modern Islamic scholars. Traditionally, the focus has been on convincing people about the merits of Islam vs polytheism or Judeo/Christianic Abrahamic beliefs.

I'm certainly not equipped to address your nagging doubts and concerns, but I will try to give you some advice that may help put your mind somewhat at rest and maybe help you find your way back to security in the knowledge of Allah SWT.

The first and foremost thing to keep in mind, and this is a solid, indisputable fact is that no one, but no one, can prove there is no God. If you get down to it, they can conjecture and hypothesize and hand-wave all they want, citing statistics and probabilities, but at the end of the day, it is not possible to disprove the existence of Allah SWT. It is a hard, scientific, mathematically-grounded fact that you cannot prove a negative. No matter what.

Whereas, at the same time, there are many claims that Islam makes in the Quran and in the ahadith of the Prophet PBUH that can be proved by modern science, for what that is worth (though one should not fall into the tempting trap of attempting to justify Islam by science - one is set in stone and can never change, whereas the other changes every day as we gain further understanding of it!).

So this brings us to the crux of the matter: your belief or disbelief in God is a matter of personal choice. And Islam does not merely suggest that you should entertain the possibility that God exists - you have to know beyond any shadow of the doubt, that He exists and that He is alone a God over the entire universe ('ilm il-yaqeen).

Like I said, I do not consider myself capable of proving to you that Allah SWT exists. In fact, if it were possible to do so, one of the core challenges of Islam would no longer exist. Once you have seen for yourself Allah and heaven and hell - it is no longer something of note that someone has taken the time of the day to glorify Allah and fears his punishment and seeks his reward in the hereafter. Sacrifice is a tenant of any religion, and the fact that you are sacrificing your time and your desires for the sake of a God that you know exists even though you actually can't know he exists (a little confusing, no?) is what makes your deeds and your hard work and your piety so dear and acceptable to Allah SWT.

One of the most powerful and moving ahadith is a Hadith Qudsi (meaning it is actually directly from God with the same authority as the Quran, except the words making up the text are from the Prophet SAW):

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), who said:

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ، عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: " إِنَّ لِلَّهِ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى مَلَائِكَةً سَيَّارَةً فُضُلًا(1)، يَتَتَبَّعُونَ مَجَالِسَ الذِّكْرِ، فَإِذَا وَجَدُوا مَجْلِسًا فِيهِ ذِكْرٌ، قَعَدُوا مَعَهُمْ، وَحَفَّ بَعْضُهُمْ بَعْضًا بِأَجْنِحَتِهِمْ، حَتَّى يَمْلَئُوا مَا بَيْنَهُمْ وَبَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ الدُّنْيَا، فَإِذَا تَفَرَّقُوا عَرَجُوا وَصَعِدُوا إِلَى السَّمَاءِ، قَالَ (2) : فَيَسْأَلُهُمْ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِهِمْ: مِنْ أَيْنَ جِئْتُمْ؟ فَيَقُولُونَ: جِئْنَا مِنْ عِنْدِ عِبَادٍ لَكَ فِي الْأَرْضِ، يُسَبِّحُونَكَ وَيُكَبِّرُونَكَ وَيُهَلِّلُونَكَ وَيَحْمَدُونَكَ وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ، قَالَ: وَمَا يَسْأَلُونِي؟ قَالُوا يَسْأَلُونَكَ جَنَّتَكَ، قَالَ: وَهَلْ رَأَوْا جَنَّتِي؟ قَالُوا: لَا أَيْ رَبِّ، قَالَ: فَكَيْفَ لَوْ رَأَوْا جَنَّتِي! قَالُوا: وَيَسْتَجِيرُونَكَ، قَالَ: وَمِمَّ يَسْتَجِيرُونَنِي؟ قَالُوا: مِنْ نَارِكَ يَا رَبِّ، قَالَ: وَهَلْ رَأَوْا نَارِي؟ قَالُوا: لَا، قَالَ: فَكَيْفَ لَوْ رَأَوْا نَارِي! قَالُوا: وَيَسْتَغْفِرُونَكَ، قَالَ (1) فَيَقُولُ: قَدْ غَفَرْتُ لَهُمْ، فَأَعْطَيْتُهُمْ مَا سَأَلُوا، وَأَجَرْتُهُمْ مِمَّا اسْتَجَارُوا، قَالَ(1) يَقُولُونَ: رَبِّ فِيهِمْ فُلَانٌ، عَبْدٌ خَطَّاءٌ إِنَّمَا مَرَّ فَجَلَسَ مَعَهُمْ، قَالَ(1): فَيَقُولُ: وَلَهُ غَفَرْتُ؛ هُمْ الْقَوْمُ، لَا يَشْقَى بِهِمْ جَلِيسُهُمْ"

"Allah (glorified and exalted be He) has supernumerary angels who rove about seeking out gatherings in which Allah's name is being invoked: they sit with them and fold their wings round each other, filling in that which is between them and between the lowest heaven.

When [the people in the gathering] depart, [the angels] ascend and rise up to heaven." He (the Prophet - peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Then Allah (mighty and sublime be He) asks them - [though] He is most knowing about them:

‘From where have you come?’

And they say: ‘We have come from some servants of Yours on Earth: they were glorifying You (Subhana llah), exalting you (Allahu akbar), witnessing that there is no god but You (La ilaha illa llah), praising You (Al-Hamdu lillah), and asking [favours] of You.’

He says: ‘And what do they ask of Me?’

They say: ‘They ask of You Your Paradise.’ He says: ‘And have they seen My Paradise?’

They say: ‘No, O Lord.’

He says: ‘And how would it be were they to have seen My Paradise!’

They say: ‘And they ask protection of You.’

He says: ‘From what do they ask protection of Me?’

They say: ‘From Your Hell-fire, O Lord.’

He says: ‘And have they seen My Hell-fire?’

They say: ‘No.’

He says: ‘And how would it be were they to have seen My Hell-fire!’

They say: ‘And they ask for Your forgiveness.’"

"Then He says: ‘I have forgiven them and I have bestowed upon them what they have asked for, and I have granted them sanctuary from that from which they asked protection.’"

"They say: ‘O Lord, among then is So-and-so, a much sinning servant, who was merely passing by and sat down with them.’"

"And He says: ‘And to him [too] I have given forgiveness: he who sits with such people shall not suffer.’"

The grace and mercy and understanding that Allah SWT reveals in this hadith is simply, purely stunning. He acknowledges the difficulty of believing in a God you have not seen and cannot prove exists. He acknowledges the magnitude of the hard work it takes to earn your way into Paradise and the sacrifice we must endure to avoid Hell.

My advice to you, just from one person to another, is to simply turn to Allah SWT and let Him guide you and increase your iman. Read some Quran, and let it wash over you. And most importantly, surround yourself with good, pious friends. No, I don't mean you have to go with them to Fajr at the mosque in the morning and Isha at night - I just mean try to choose people that love, know, and fear Allah SWT as your companions in this world. When you go out for lunch with friends, try to make it from these people. When you go to a movie with friends, make it a point for these friends to be your brothers and sisters in Islam.

The devil has many advocates, and a mind not constantly protected by the mention of Allah SWT is easy prey.

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"not enough effort has been made to combat atheism", What about the many verses that asks human to look at the world and notice the creation of Allah ? –  Suhaib Feb 12 '13 at 16:39
@Suhaib I didn't say the Quran does not combat Atheism, I said modern scholars haven't (in my humble opinion) given it enough attention. Agreed that Quran is full of verses drawing a person to embrace the presence and existence of Allah SWT. –  Mahmoud Al-Qudsi Feb 12 '13 at 20:28
Alhamdulillah, an excellent answer, Brother! May Allah increase you in Guidance! –  Najeeb Feb 13 '13 at 6:10
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I will venture to comment on your question even though I haven't read the book... yet. However, I am very keen to have it, if only to refute its specious arguments, so I hope to purchase a copy soon, insha Allah.

First, dear brother (or sister), if this can provide some comfort to you, let me assure you that this is a process that many people go through. It starts with doubts about the very existence of Allah, till He guides whom He wills. It's not that these doubts are inherent to the nature of man; quite the contrary in fact. However, these doubts often come about owing to the environment that we live in. So I would recommend that you stop blaming yourself. I pray to Allah that He guides you.

Another thing I would like to say is don't let this book bother you: it's merely the latest salvo in a continuous and ongoing war to create a Godless society. And this fight is not so much between religion and science, as it is between Islam and those who have hijacked science. I repeat for emphasis: the fight is not between Islam and science, but is rather between Islam and pure kufr which is merely using pseudo-science as one of the many weapons in its arsenal against Islam to create a Godless world. This fact cannot be over-emphasized.

While they may have managed to crush Popedom which opposed science owing to their self-conceived ideas of how physics worked or should work, in the case of Islam these "intellectuals" are coming to the realization that they are facing a very different adversary, and a very knowledgeable one at that. We have to understand that Islam is the only thing that stands as a barrier between them and their plans for total world domination. (Yes, go ahead, call me a conspiracy theorist.) Their plan seems to be to reduce Man to the level of animals and then "re-program" him based on their own perverted sense of what is right and wrong.

Please forgive me if the answer seems rather long. I have outlined some points so that the matter becomes gradually clearer to you, insha Allah. I hope it helps.

  • Understand the strategy of Shaitaan and his helpers

Shaitaan had put up a challenge to Allah that he will misguide man in every possible way and will make what is unnatural seem natural to him. Everything in the world today is being geared towards paving the way for this challenge that Shaitaan gave to Allah. Today there's misguidance everywhere; people who claim unnatural and perverted acts like homosexuality to be natural; women being urged to walk semi-nude; and so on. Know that this book is part of the same effort towards creating an atheistic and immoral society.

  • Understand human limitations

A truly wise man is he who understands his own limitations and the limitations of the human mind. To use a very simple, everyday example, if someone were to take a pocket calculator and try to multiply any two sufficiently large numbers and the calculator were to display an overflow error, a fool would assert that the result does not exist, while a wise man will say that we simply do not have the tools available to do a calculation of such a magnitude.

The same analogy can be applied to understanding Allah. We as humans simply do not have the mental tools to understand Him and His Person. Islam, does not, however, condone blind belief. The solution is to recognize Allah by reflecting on the perfection of His creation.

  • Intelligent Design

Everything in this world points to intelligent design and creationism. (Creationism means that human life did not evolve by itself but was created.) Modern fossil findings continue to debunk the myth of Darwinism. There is in fact a section of intellectuals who have openly started questioning the validity of the theory of evolution. (See http://www.amazon.com/Uncommon-Dissent-Intellectuals-Darwinism-Unconvincing/dp/1932236317) But the hijackers of science still continue to believe in it not so much for this fairy tale's validity as much because it is a Godless theory. (Notice, even they don't dare to call it anything more than a theory.)

Allah has given us many signs in the Holy Qur'an that it is He Who has created the entire universe and everything in it. There are facts like the Big Bang theory in it, it also talks of advanced embryology, and so many other scientific facts that were practically unknown until a few decades back. These are nothing but Signs for you and me to ponder upon and believe in what was revealed to Muhammed (SAWS). Allah says:

"And on the earth are signs for those who have faith with certainity." (HQ, 51:20)

The Word of God cannot and never will contradict the Work of God.

  • The shallowness of current state of Science

Science itself is based upon a set of beliefs, only that we do not use the word "belief" to describe them. These beliefs -- or more properly axioms -- are what could be called the fundamental building blocks of science and mathematics. You can assert that these assumptions are true, you can even believe that they are the truth, but for all practical purposes, these axioms are still guesswork based upon certain observed phenomena. An axiom is defined as "a premise or starting point of reasoning. As classically conceived, an axiom is a premise so evident as to be accepted as true without controversy." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axiom) Read that again, "a premise so true that it is considered as true without controversy." If that's not a statement of belief, then I wonder what is. More importantly, however, the entire creation points to a Single Creator, so why has this axiom been selectively discarded?

Please understand, I am not against science... the only point I am trying to make is that as we keep delving deeper into something, at some point we do cross the line from pure reasoning and logic into the domain of pure feeling and belief. At some point man has to believe in some assumptions, even if it be science. Of course, as Muslims we know that the only definite knowledge that we can claim to have with any amount of certainity is Divine Revelation... all else, including science, is pure guesswork and only reflects the current state of human knowledge, which is far from perfect.

Consequently I would ask you not to get intimidated by these "scientists," since they too at some point have to stop reasoning and start believing. Of course, what a person believes in to the point of denying all else becomes his religion. If I have to believe in something, I would rather believe in Allah and His Truthful Messenger (SAWS) rather than these self-serving "intellectuals" who in any case either have an agenda to back or an axe to grind.

(Also see http://www.amazon.com/Shattering-Myths-Darwinism-Richard-Milton/dp/0892818840)

  • The Proof of Revelation

When Prophet Mohammed (SAWS) came down after long periods of solitude and started reciting the best of Words, everybody was left speechless because none could match the oratory of those words, and none could claim that those Words were taught to him by them.

To put things within perspective, the Arabs were a proud race who took pride in their language and the most admired person was he who had mastered the art of words. In fact they were known to describe non-Arabs as dumb and mute. (That's the literal meaning of the word "ajami," used to refer to non-Arabs.) None among them including the bitterest enemy of Muhammed (SAWS), however, could point out any flaw in the Words being recited by him. In fact, the Qur'an laid down a challenge to mankind to create just one verse similar to it in eloquence. Till date, the best of Arabic-speaking foes of Islam have not been able to meet it.

That should be an indicator to you that faith is felt in the heart, because Man is a spiritual being and not an animal with mere physical needs. That's what the test of faith is all about.

  • Understand that pseudo-science itself has become a religion

Pseudo-science which is composed of a hotchpotch of fairy tales like Darwinism has now become a cult with a religious fervor that has fanatical followers not unlike the crusaders of a millennium back. It has all the makings of a cult wherein:

  1. The will of the leadership is absolute.
  2. If anyone dares to doubt this nonsensical theory, he runs the risk of being instantly excommunicated.
  3. The theory of evolution is the word of, well, the elders, so it cannot be questioned.

(See http://www.amazon.com/Defeating-Darwinism-Opening-Phillip-Johnson/dp/0830813608)

  • Ponder over the fate of those who reject faith and call others to misguidance

Allah says:

"Those who disbelieve will be addressed (while they are entering the Fire): 'Allah's aversion was greater towards you (in the worldly life when you used to reject faith) than your aversion towards one another (now in the Fire, as enemies to each other), when you were called to Faith but you would refuse." (HQ, 40:10)

When the Fire of Hell is seen by the disbelievers and the mockers of Allah's Religion and His Messenger (SAWS), coupled with the fact that that will be their eternal destination with no respite of death, their hatred towards each other and indeed for their own selves will know no bounds. Let them deny Allah, the Truth will become apparent soon, insha Allah!

  • How to increase Faith in Allah

Islam is a unique system in that it shows a way for man to tap Divine Power for his benefit. Islam can be thought of as a set of protocols through which Divine help may be sought. Allah has defined a very straightforward method for increasing faith, and that is by practising the Commandments laid down by Him. Like Allah says:

"The bedouins say 'We believe.' Say: 'You believe not but you only say We surrendered (in Islam), for Faith has not yet entered your hearts. But if you obey Allah and His Messenger (SAWS), He will not decrease anything in reward for your deeds. Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (HQ, 49:14)

This implies that to have belief in Allah, a Muslim must first obey the Commandments and start practising his religion by praying five times a day, fasting during Ramadhan, giving Zakah, performing Hajj, and so forth. Over a period of time, Allah will guide him and put faith into his heart. This, I believe, is the sole way to increase eimaan in Allah.

May Allah guide us all towards His Deen!

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Awesome answer. Very well presented! –  Mahmoud Al-Qudsi Feb 13 '13 at 6:50
I don't see how this answers the question. A couple of points of critique: the total world domination is a total sourceless and meaningless part, should have left it out. The Darwinism debunked by fossils is bullocks, and everything points to ID is a hollow statement. Also, -1 for not actually answering the question . –  ZafarS Feb 16 '13 at 19:16
-1 for calling arguments "specious" even though you admit you haven't yet read them. –  TRiG Feb 17 '13 at 20:15
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