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I have a friend that although born in a Muslim family, will not accept Islamic resources for proof and only accepts reasoning, so how would I prove scientifically Imam Mahdi's long life to him as a Twelver Shia?

Quranic reasoning would be appreciated but not required.

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    This is a great book to read: کمال الدین و تمام النعمه I don't know if the English translation is also available. It gives evidences of the disappearance of other prophets like Edris, Saleh, Yusuf and Moses. Ofcourse difficult to convince someone who does not believe in anything. – rowman Oct 13 '12 at 22:09
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This answer is my attempt at trying to bring an end to a long series of comments, where I have pointed out issues that would prevent a non-believer from accepting the version presented.

I guess a first rhetorical question I would have might be:

what evidence/logic would it take for you to accept the legends of other cultures?

For example, the 8 immortals in Taoism. If we assume the atheist does not accept the authority of the Koran/hadiths, the scenario is quite apt.

I need to be gentle with the next line: I accept and acknowledge that this is part of the belief of many Muslims, but the objective evidence available here is ... lacking. As I understand it, the accounts / history are not even universally accepted inside Islam, so it is trying to prove to a non-Muslim something that cannot (as I understand it) be agreed satisfactorily within Islam. That raises an immediate red flag about the strength of the evidence available.

So my next rhetorical question would be:

what evidence/logic could be provided that would unify Islam's view of this?

You would, after all, have a lot more "common ground" with a Muslim who simply doesn't share this view, than you do with the atheist.

The accounts that are available are very anecdotal, and today's atheists tend (as a generalisation...) to apply a skeptical / critical-thinking approach to such discussions. When it comes to the 12th Imam, there are plenty of reasonable explanations that might be applied:

  • it didn't happen, or didn't happen quite as recorded
  • the child (who may or may not have been the descendent - that was, IIRC, disputed by the brother) simply died, with the 4 agents taking power to try to keep things running smoothly
  • or maybe for more power-hungry reasons
  • or maybe just to avoid issues with the line of 12 Imams coming to an abrupt end, it may have been... pragmatic to have such an arrangement

I realise these may seem like blasphemy/heresy - no insult is intended, but it should be obvious that to a non-believer (which was the question) these are very real possible explanations, reflecting much reality of humanity and politics.

To make the atheist accept this view, then, I would propose:

  • provide much more compelling objective evidence / reason - sorry, but religious doctrines are not usually very objective in the true meaning of the word
    • and ideally, in the process, unify Islam's view on the subject
  • or: first convert (revert) the individual to Islam: if they, by definition, accept the texts, then: they accept the texts
    • which may represent a widening of the problem to solve, if (as the question suggests), the atheist is skeptical
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    for example what is objective evidence? please note only a little of evidences are available in English. if one is a serious investigator should come to Iran to see evidences. studyinqum.com – Battle of Karbala Oct 20 '12 at 17:09
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    @Ahmadi basically, I mean verifiable evidence that has good support from independent sources. The larger the claim, more evidence is required. It doesn't matter how many times the Koran/Hadith says the same thing, since that would be like a batman comic proving the truth of batman. Claims such as Gods and vast lifespans are so contrary to what we see observationally, that frankly I doubt any amount of historic prose is up to the task: we know that vast amounts of history is ... "biased", and logic dictates that most of the conflicting and varied religious texts ever seen are simply: wrong. – Marc Gravell Oct 20 '12 at 17:29
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    @Ahmadi but honestly, I really don't want to get into another protracted set of comments. The key part here is: if Islam can't even convince all of Islam about a particular doctrinal point, then there probably isn't enough evidence to convince many people outside of Islam. – Marc Gravell Oct 20 '12 at 17:33
  • @seyyed - I have rolled back your edit; the bullets are not sentences - they are partial sentences, itemised - capitalisation is inappropriate; and re generalisation vs generalization: both are correct (preference depends on locale; I'm in the UK) – Marc Gravell Sep 16 '15 at 8:38
  • "all of Islam about a particular doctrinal point, then there probably isn't enough evidence to convince many people outside of Islam"—by that logic any discussion about Anything (God, afterlife, etc) is also to be avoided...The belief in the Mahdi is strong among Shias ie Most Shias are convinced on this doctrinal point (but through time the number will diminish just as the number of Noah's followers diminished through the centuries). Among Sunnis it's not that they don't believe the Mahdi it's they just have it differently and therefor don't believe he's alive. btw I wrote a new answer. – Honey May 23 '17 at 19:55
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The more fundamental way: Islam is like a math book, you cannot open it up in the page 345, read a theory with all details of its proof and understand it unless you have read its prerequisites in the first 344 pages of the book and even perhaps other books cited therein. There is a proof for the theorem but the reader would not be able to understand it (even may call the proof as misleading and fake!) unless he is qualified to do so. Therefore, like Noah correctly stated you may first try to show him how to crawl before to learn him how to walk and run. Yes, Imam Mahdi AS himself is fundamental to Shi'ite Islam but not more than is The holy Prophet SA and Quran. If he could accept Quran (which is the miracle of the Prophet SA and, thus, would be a firm reason for itself) then you can simply bring on the desk what Quran says about Noah --peace be upon him-- who was a prophet for 950 years (that is, even living more):

وَلَقَد أَرسَلنا نوحًا إِلىٰ قَومِهِ فَلَبِثَ فيهِم أَلفَ سَنَةٍ إِلّا خَمسينَ عامًا فَأَخَذَهُمُ الطّوفانُ وَهُم ظـٰلِمونَ

And We certainly sent Noah to his people, and he remained among them a thousand years minus fifty years, and the flood seized them while they were wrongdoers. [29:14]

Actually Noah's --peace be upon him-- long life is a traditional example from Quran, but maybe a more useful but less noticed example is what Allah states about Yunus --peace be upon him-- after he was swallowed by a big fish: [37:139,140,141,142,143,144]

So also was Jonah among those sent (by Us).

When he ran away (like a slave from captivity) to the ship (fully) laden,

He (agreed to) cast lots, and he was condemned:

Then the big Fish did swallow him, and he had done acts worthy of blame.

Had it not been that he (repented and) glorified Allah,

He would certainly have remained inside the Fish till the Day of Resurrection.

And this means perhaps hundreds of thousands of years remaining alive in such a difficult situation. Also according to Ahadith there we have Khizr, peace be upon him, as one good example who will be alive until the Day of Resurrection as he has drunk from the fountain of life (عین الحیات). Also Allah Azza-va-Jalla says:

وَلَتَجِدَنَّهُم أَحرَصَ النّاسِ عَلىٰ حَيوٰةٍ وَمِنَ الَّذينَ أَشرَكوا ۚ يَوَدُّ أَحَدُهُم لَو يُعَمَّرُ أَلفَ سَنَةٍ وَما هُوَ بِمُزَحزِحِهِ مِنَ العَذابِ أَن يُعَمَّرَ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ بَصيرٌ بِما يَعمَلونَ

And you will surely find them the most greedy of people for life - [even] more than those who associate others with Allah. One of them wishes that he could be granted life a thousand years, but it would not remove him in the least from the [coming] punishment that he should be granted life. And Allah is Seeing of what they do. [2:96]

And by this verse Allah never rejects the possibility for existence of such long lives but only states even if they are granted with such long lives (so it is not impossible) they will anyway die when its time eventually comes and taste the punishment for all their wrongdoings. Also all Muslims according to Quran believe in an eternal life with the same human bodies as our present human bodies after the Resurrection.

After believing in Quran he will certainly believe in the holy prophet --peace be upon him-- the proof of whose prophecy is Quran the miracle. Then he can easily find a bunch of Ahadith which address the issue of Mahdi --peace be upon him--. If he accepted the Hadith of Pond, he will then be a Shia Muslim and then there he can find lots of authentic Ahadith from the holy prophet and his succeeders, Imams, --peace be upon them all-- among which there are witnesses about the very long life of Imam Mahdi, the 12th and last Imam in the Shi'ite school of thought.

The less fundamental but more direct way. People usually and naturally guard against anything that would appear odd with respect to their instantaneous collection of "knowledge and beliefs", so that one should first try to show them why something can be true although seems odd at the first sight, then they would put aside their guard and search to understand the truth, if he care to know the truth indeed. Also there are times that people are taught something and they have trusted their teacher (be it their parents, their close friends, their tutors in university, the distinguished scholars or scientists and etc.) and learnt what they have been taught. Then through the course of time a chain of evidences come to their mentions, no matter however they try not to change their mind they cannot withstand the train, and one day they rebel against all such beliefs that they previously had and anyone who resembles their previous teachers! These people also have produced a natural guard over their mind not to let anyone easily push an idea to their mind. However, if one study this group of people more thoroughly will find out that such persons still quite easily accept data from some new teachers that they think they can now trust in them, usually scientists and philosophers, those who have once set them free from their previous thought cages. Anyway, all of those who have a guard against listening to your new arguments will try not to undergo accepting any new difficulty (duty and etc.) to be introduced to their own life styles unless there is a strong proof for that, as Allah states in [98:1]:

بِسمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحمـٰنِ الرَّحيمِ، لَم يَكُنِ الَّذينَ كَفَروا مِن أَهلِ الكِتـٰبِ وَالمُشرِكينَ مُنفَكّينَ حَتّىٰ تَأتِيَهُمُ البَيِّنَةُ

Those who disbelieved among the People of the Scripture and the polytheists were not to be parted [from misbelief] until there came to them clear evidence

Among such people many would withstand the difficulty and adhere to the easier life style, but also many would accept you if you can bring a clear evidence to them. One example for this can be that a verse of Quran would affect their hearth so that they would become curious to know more about it, what is it, what is it talking about. One another way to make them curious about the religion, a monster (in their new perspective) that they have once escaped from it, is to ruin its obstacles, such big religious claims that they have once used as excuses to call the religion that monster, misleading, nonscientific, non-intellectual, and etc. To do so, we can try to show them that such claims are not necessarily unreasonable, this may bring them back to the debate desk, it is only then that we can go through the first more fundamental way addressed in the first part of this answer. Two reasonable person can debate based on reasons and this needs them not to be pre-guarded hardliners. TO make them put aside their guards, we can ask them first some questions, since people don't like to be answered by you (against your teachings they have a guard) but rather like to reach a conclusion on their own, this way they will feel safer. I will try to list a few questions that may help disarm your friend in such a discussion (of course it would be funny for him to be expected to directly become a believer in Imam Mahdi, based on our explanations, while he still deny Allah, so that here by no means we want to prove Imam Mahdi but only to reject their claims that it is basically impossible, at least we want them not to think of their own claims as obvious and absolute):

  1. if someone is living people barely ask him why he is alive, but rather if someone passes a way it is very common to ask what was its cause, so that a simple question would be this: "which one requires a cause, remaining alive or dying?" Of course, this is not a very detailed question, one may answer you both needs their own causes, for example aging is one common cause of death and remaining alive for a long time needs somehow to overcome this barrier, that is, remaining alive also needs a help, a cause. If you are answered by such an answer, then you should ask him what age is acceptable to him as average before death, he may answer a number between 60 to 85. Then you can ask him if he would then wonder and deny if he hear in news that a man is 120 years old? He would say No, that was average and this is a rare event acceptable in the same statistical system of data. Then you can ask him what about 150 years or 180 years or beyond, of course he cannot easily reject the possibility but would only say there are lesser possible compared to the 120 years in the former example. Then you would ask him what would be the probability of a person to live about 1000 years, he would say almost impossible, but that word "almost" in his answer would be a great gift to you! This very small (but not zero) probability is according to the system of data available to us from scientists and etc., such a small probability states a very very ... very small (the number of very's here depends on how much small that the probability is) number of people throughout the history may live over 1000 years, and religion also is not claiming that the number has been a big one, and particularly here we are talking about one of them, Imam Mahdi --peace be upon him--.

  2. The second question would be inspired from the answers you are given from the previous question, there your friend would say ok it is possible but doesn't seem to be practical in the real world, since science has never recorded any such a long life before. You can answer him the new science has not recorded them but history has recorded some, Noah --peace be upon him-- being one accepted by all the heavenly religions. If the possibility is too small no one should expect such an event to happen every two or three years or even decades or even centuries for the scientists of the new era to record them easily, you don't agree? Also one can easily ask this way: "if Imam Mahdi AS was over a thousand of year old and once you understood it will it then be the first thing that you thought about as impossible but then you have found it just true?" This question is addressing the position of the new science, there are many witnesses in history of science that something was considered as impossible but then it was experienced and proved to be very possible and even very common in nature! (Breaking the sound wall was also considered as impossible based this science!)

  3. now a deeper challenge is to discuss about the biological and psychological aging processes and senescence, and also about the scientific meaning of the Time, about the hidden dimensions of this world and things like that, some being considered as scientific issues and some only as semi-scientific issues (although it is still a place for the scientists to play in)!

    • About the aging processes and senescence: Isn't it possible for the rules governing the aging processes and their mechanisms to be discovered scientifically? Don't you think one day science may be able to discover them and accordingly prevent them through some medications? One may even try to find a gene which controls senescence and alters it to obtain a state of eternality! Now let me say this has some witnesses in Islam, a specific fountain is reported to exist drinking whose water can modify the human body's fine substructures such that the body will become diseases-proof and senescence-proof, say somewhat eternal. (Like about Khidr --peace be upon him--, also "Saad" (ص) in [38:1] is stated in Hadith to be the name of such a fountain under the right pillar of the Throne.) Or in a Hadith [you can find it in the book "Elal-ul-Sharayi'" written by Shiekh Saduq] it is stated that once Jesus --peace be upon him-- advised a man's wife not to eat to the extent that her stomach is full and this will slow her face skin's aging process, the couples were going to divorce due to this problem. That is, eating is one important key to the aging process, according to the religious scripts, then we have the issue of heavenly provisions, examples for it in Quran is: I. for the Virgin Mary "... Every time Zechariah entered upon her in the prayer chamber, he found with her provision. He said, O Mary, from where is this [coming] to you? She said: It is from Allah. Indeed, Allah provides for whom He wills without account." [3:37]; II. for the disciples of Jesus "Said Jesus, the son of Mary, O Allah, our Lord, send down to us a table [spread with food] from the heaven to be for us a festival for the first of us and the last of us and a sign from You. And provide for us, and You are the best of providers." [5:114] ; and III. For the Israelite "and We shaded you with clouds and sent down to you manna and quails, [saying], Eat from the good things with which We have provided you. And they wronged Us not - but they were [only] wronging themselves." [2:57] (also cited in [7:160] and [20:80]). And there are witnesses that Imam Mahdi --peace be upon him-- is frequently fed with such heavenly provisions, so that maybe someone would claim that such a diet is the cause for his extraordinary long life. Some also may claim that he, with whom is the knowledge heritage of the holy prophet, knows how to prevent the aging processes and this is more acceptable to a Shia Muslim to be more precise. Of course none of these claims have scientific proofs today, but at the same time none can be regarded as impossible, thus, are worth mentioning for someone who cares to know the truth, since none of the possible answers should be removed from the desk.

    • About the conception of the Time: do you know what exactly the definition of time is? Do you know any scientist who can claim to know what is the Time intrinsically? How is the perception of time and its passage, is it logical or it depends on the person who is to realize and measure an event and on the conditions for that measuring? That the relativity theory claims (every rigorous proof based on a claim is still nothing more than the claim it grew upon) a relation between speed, mass and time does show that the modern science is trying to understand the Time but yet has nothing to say about the Time based on a firm ground! There are many debates to define an arrow of time, many debates to understand the reversible and irreversible phenomena, to understand if time is really another dimension of our universe, and many other unanswered questions. Islam has also an idea about time, I don't claim to have fully understood this idea, but it seems that one can intentionally change his perception of the Time. The Relativity Theory may be able to explain this using one of the following ways: FIRST, the more faster to travel the slower passage of time would be sensed and measured (the ascension of the holy prophet to the seven skies, in his material body, is known to have happened during only a few seconds, travelling the whole universe in the time it takes a bowl to drop, during this travel the prophet was seeing what he was seeing through his hearth: The heart did not lie [about] what it saw. [53:11]); SECOND, according to the general relativity theory great masses (or equivalently energies) can shape the space-time manifold, causing a curvature in the spcaetime that in Shia school of thought's language is called folding up of the earth or the skies [at least for the case of Tay al-Arz and Tay as-Samaa'], then moving in the background uncurved space would be like moving a longer path in the wrinkled space, and if it is true also about time (and not only space) this can scientifically explain changing of the perception of time and aging without even requiring a motion at the speeds comparable to the speed of time. This latter explanation is more acceptable to Shia Muslims. You may ask about how to prepare this much mass or energy, that would be the science that our present knowledge has nothing to say about but of course no one can claim it to be impossible, or logically wrong. There is a Hadith that states Imam Mahdi --peace be upon him-- would live no longer than Abraham --peace be upon him--, that is, about 180 years, but his time is different than ours, the Muslims. A witness for this time being different for different consciousnesses is this verse in Quran: "And they urge you to hasten the punishment. But Allah will never fail in His promise. And indeed, a day with your Lord is like a thousand years of those which you count." [22:47].

Godspeed

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    the question relates to a discussion with someone who does not (yet?) believe the koran; talking about controlling time via thought, and travelling the universe in the time it takes a bowl to drop are clearly not supportable in terms of anything in physics, and is likely to have the opposite effect to that intended. – Marc Gravell Oct 18 '12 at 9:50
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    @MarcGravell, I don't understand why you say they "are clearly not supportable in terms of anything in physics"? According to the relativity theory the faster that you travel you would measure time slower. Sometimes based on this notion one claims that if you travel at the speed of light the time would freeze for you. Some agree with this and some reject it as a misunderstanding. But anyway, I was only to say the concept of time is not really understood that someone can easily mock such Ahadith. Also look here. – owari Oct 18 '12 at 10:23
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    @owari I didn't mock anything; however, there are very real conflicts here, most notably with the speed of light. Saying that "if you travel at the speed of light the time would freeze for you" is an over-simplification of the effects of travelling at such speed. Perhaps a more interesting effect would be: being unable to see anything. – Marc Gravell Oct 18 '12 at 10:56
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    This has also witnesses in Islam, a water from a specific spring that can modify the human body's fine substructures such that it will become diseases-proof and senescence-proof, say somewhat eternal. Like about Khidr --peace be upon him-- who drank from a specific spring in the fourth Earth and became eternal, also "Sasd" (ص) in [38:1] is stated in Hadith to be the name of such a spring under the right pillar of the Throne. None are scientifically impossible. – owari Oct 19 '12 at 19:22
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    @MarcGravell, once again I should state that I am not going to justify such long lives, I am stating that there EXISTS a probability that it is not impossible, that's all, I tried my best to say it is not even very strange to accept such ideas, they can be regarded as one among many strange ideas in science. Also I cannot admit that my answer is not honest enough, at least I tried to be honest, maybe we can chat about it, you count the logical errors in my answer and I try to answer them again logically. Also I don't claim it to be a miracle as well. – owari Oct 22 '12 at 11:32
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One may accept history about him. His birth date is recorded in history but until now no death date is recorded for him.

Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Mahdī (Arabic:محمد بن الحسن المهدي) (born c. July 29, 869 (15 Sha‘bān 255 AH), in Occultation since 941)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_al-Mahdi

Thousands of Shia Muslims have met him before and after his occultation. The historical texts about him are mostly found in Shia records. And today there are people meeting him and many miraculous cures have happened by him. If one know Persian language and investigate records of thousands of people who met him only by a historical view (not religious) most probably he will accept he has been alive during his long life. Also the way of meeting him is open for anyone seriously want to meet him.

Can an atheist prove long life is impossible? If no so it is not logical to reject it.

Naturally and scientifically and logically human can have longer life. So there is no reason to reject it. So it is possible. Scientists assume it is possible even up to 1000 years (for example Francis Bacon English philosopher and scientist). And some like Professor Smith at Columbia University said "same as breaking the sound barrier the limit of life length of human will be broken one day"

There are scientists working on finding methods to extend life. If scientists were sure it is impossible so such branches of science did not exist. Rejecting something without any proof is in fact ignorance. Fixed life length of human is only a myth.

A rational man when does not have proven to reject or accept something selects neutral position not to reject. No scientifically credible exceptions does not mean being impossible. When something is possible a rational man does not reject it. An atheist who cannot prove impossibility of long life should first ask proof for existence of God. It is step by step to reach life of Mahdi a.s. it is like one who do not know basics of biology ask a scientist to prove Evolution. A rational atheist should disprove long life or first talk about God. This is ethics of talking a Muslim.

It is a big mistake to say I do not believe something until science prove it. Science is developing and maybe long life become possible by science 500 years later when who currently reject it is dead.

Long life is amazing. OK so what? Many things were amazing 100 years ago which are not amazing today. Imagining flying of human or going to moon was amazing for human one day. But not today.

Scientists Oeppen and Vaupel observe that experts who assert that "life expectancy is approaching a ceiling ... have repeatedly been proven wrong." It is thought that life expectancy for women has increased more dramatically owing to the considerable advances in medicine related to childbirth.[24]

Mice have been genetically engineered to live twice as long as ordinary mice. Drugs such as deprenyl are a part of the prescribing pharmacopia of veterinarians specifically to increase mammal lifespan. A large plurality of research chemicals have been described at the scientific literature that increase the lifespan of a number of species.

Some argue that molecular nanotechnology will greatly extend human life spans. If the rate of increase of life span can be raised with these technologies to a level of twelve months increase per year, this is defined as effective biological immortality and is the goal of radical life extension. (from Longevity)

A wise atheist should can either prove impossibility of long life or have nutral position (not reject and not accept) about long life of Imam Mahdi a.s. but for a Muslim is different. a Muslim firstly accept existence of God by logical poofs and reasoning like Kalam cosmological argument (any critique is not true really. many critiques are false in fact like Straw man. the critique on this argument says by quantum mechanics a particle can be made from nothing and this disproves this argument. but this argument never has such promise. this argument says nothing cannot become thing without any reason but agrees nothing can become thing) or other proves or personally see a miracle or meets Imam Mahdi a.s. himself directly and ensures. In next steps ensures God has sent Prophet Muhammad SAWW as messenger and then ensures prophet was infallible and current Quran is really and exactly said by prophet. And then based on authentic hadith and also historical birth date of Imam Mahdi a.s. ensures life length of Imam Mahdi a.s.

Reference and further study:

http://makarem.ir/websites/farsi/compilation/book.php?bcc=10410&itg=7&bi=137&s=ct

Some translated Islamic books about Imam Mahdi a.s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longevity

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_extension

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senescence

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    "scientists assume it is possible even up to 1000 years" - citation needed. What scientists? What peer-reviewed publications? Or do you mean "speculate" rather than "assume" ? The neutral position of "not to reject" also includes "not to accept". It is the reservation of judgement. Moving to the existence of God is side-stepping; indeed, if that were accepted, then by the definition of omnipotence, it would be possible. However, the existence of God is also not demonstrated in irrefutable scientific terms (given the non-Muslim target from the question). – Marc Gravell Oct 18 '12 at 11:50
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    "It is a big mistake to say I do not believe something until science prove it" - no, that is the crux of the scientific method. It would indeed be a mistake to say "I firmly believe the equally-unproven exact opposite until proven otherwise", but that is different to not believing something. The neutral position is not "believe everything until it is disproven". BTW, if you mean SENS / Aubrey de Grey, then that is like saying YEC theories are representative of modern geology and paleontology - it is fringe science, deeply contested – Marc Gravell Oct 18 '12 at 11:54
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    @MarcGravell "that is the crux of the scientific method" yes but I mean a human deciding about his own life. not a scientist in lab. "The neutral position is not "believe everything until it is disproven"". agree. it is not also "disbelieve everything until it is proven". not rejecting what is not proved or disproved is a great advancement for an atheists. usually claims of atheists and their practice are different. who does not reject starts research to ensure. but who reject stop research and think death is end with no proof for it. science is deity of atheists. – Battle of Karbala Oct 18 '12 at 12:26
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    (re edit) do you mean Francis Bacon, 1561–1626? I'm really not sure he's a leading expert on modern biology. "Smith" is a very common name; I can't find the quote you give, so I cannot comment. (re comment) Even without formally rejecting or accepting something, one can still be skeptical of it. I'm deeply skeptical of "fairies", but I lack the mechanisms or inclination to formally disprove them. "science is deity of atheists" is just a silly thing to say, but unrelated to the topic too. – Marc Gravell Oct 18 '12 at 12:33
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    @MarcGravell because everything Imam Mahdi a.s. can be proved by hadith. without hadith it is very difficult to prove. how one can accept hadith without accepting prophet and Islam and God? I think by historical investigation one can accept his birth date and records of who met him before his Occultation (he was living in people near 75 years before Occultation ) and thousands of people of met him after Occultation and currently meet him. one also can meet him. "no recorded death" anyway this is a historical fact. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_al-Mahdi – Battle of Karbala Oct 20 '12 at 12:24
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How to prove all miracles?

An atheist does not believe in miracles unless they can themselves verify them. The best miracle you can show an atheist is the Quran which they can verify themselves.

Firstly, you should prove that the Quran is a miracle. This can be done by proving the scientific signs of the Quran. Once they believe the Quran to be a miracle of Allah they would automatically believe Allah can do anything. They will believe Allah has the power to do anything which would include giving long lives.


About Imam Mahdi (ra)

Unfortunately the Quran does not mention Imam Mahdi (ra) or his long life. But this does not mean Allah cannot give people long lives.

Allah may have given Imam Mahdi (ra) a long life or not.

The long life of Imam Mahdi (ra) or any prophet or Khidr is not relevant to how we practice Islam. There are millions of secrets in this universe and "having knowledge" of all these secrets is not necessary to be a Muslim.

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    The "science signs" thing is, if I am blunt, a lot less convincing / impressive than Islam (in general) seems to think it is. It does not, to the critical-thinker, demonstrate "miracle". All I mean here is that the "first" you cite could be very tricky. – Marc Gravell Oct 17 '12 at 13:51
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  1. This answer (who author its a Biotechnology expert) is compiled from multiple researches. It says that it is likely that in the next century we could increase our life expectancy to more than a hundred.

    we are already adding two months to life expectancy every year (or 5 hours per day) and this has been consistent for the last 30 years or so

    I recommend you see all other answers of that page.

  2. Many parts of Islam (and the belief of Mahdi) fall under the category of believing in the unseen. Atheists don't believe that so the discussions ends right there. Pointing out to objective evidence is like speaking to a horse about his wings...he's like " dude I don't have wings!" (atheists are like we don't believe in the unseen)." Really that's the major reason which is somewhat mentioned in Islam101's answer.

  3. As mentioned on the question the book of کمال الدین و تمام النعمه Vol.1, Vol. 2 is a PHENOMENAL book which has gathered evidence from other prophets longevity or qiybat. The book is trying to convey:

    Even though it's unlikely yet it has happened before so don't worry it can/will happen with the Mahdi

    Divine books are also considered historical books. In that sense they are no different from other historical books. Stories of prophets longevity exist in most divine books

  4. Living doesn't require a reason, death does. There isn't yet any reason for him to die. Some trees live for 1000 year and some don't. Some humans have lived for 1000 year, it's documented in history (perhaps not a book a, yet we're forgetful beings. There is evidence of the death of many many prophets or people of their time. There is no evidence of the death of the Mahdi (except for the fake Mahdis). The only problem is that it hasn't been happening recently...
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    minor points: a) it is wrong to say that "atheists are like we don't believe in the unseen" - the only thing you can say as a whole about atheists is the lack of a belief in any god; I will acknowledge that many atheists look to objective evidence, though; b) "Some humans have lived for 1000 year, it's documented in history" - not by any reasonable definition of "documented" and "history", it isn't - there is nothing to distinguish that vs legend. c) lack of evidence of X (death of the Mahdi) is not evidence of lack of X - that's a logical fallacy (if it were, atheism would be proven). – Marc Gravell May 24 '17 at 8:09
  • @MarcGravell The adage "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" isn't quite right; absence of evidence for X is evidence for absence of X if X would produce evidence if it existed. Simple example: we know that a global flood within the time where cultured humans existed would have left a lot of very distinctive evidence, which doesn't exist, so that's evidence that a global flood did not happen in that time span. We can formalize that with conditional probabilities, but that's not that suitable on islam.se. – G. Bach May 24 '17 at 8:43
  • @Honey "Pointing out to objective evidence is like speaking to a horse about his wings" If the horse actually had wings, you could easily point to them. "And divine books can also be considered as historical book. In that sense they are no different from other historical books" They are very different, they are unreliable sources by non-contemporaries containing numerous claims that are false according to the information we actually have. "Living doesn't require a reason, death does." As far as we can tell, all humans die of old age before they reach 200, and that's being very generous. – G. Bach May 24 '17 at 9:07
  • @MarcGravell a)confused. you mean some atheists believe in the unseen? b) if you don't see bible, torah, quran as books that also convey history...then well I see no point ever talking about them...I'm not saying whatever they say is true...but to simply come and say what's mentioned in these historical books can be categorized as legend is debasing everything...how would you then explain moses and nil, Jesus and reseructing the dead? If you say those are legends as well then I'd let's just agree to disagree and enjoy the rest of the day c) True. it's not evidence that was my weakest reason :) – Honey May 24 '17 at 11:30
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    @Honey yes, there are atheists that believe in ghosts, leylines, homepathy, alien abductions, and all manner of silliness; the only defining thing in atheism is the lack of belief in any god; b) that depends how you're talking about them - what audience, what context, what purpose; there's no point using them to "proove" something that doesn't take the axiom that those books are reliable sources - that would be begging the question. Hence why they're not useful when talking to someone not of that particular faith, or (more broadly) when talking outside the pretexts of that faith's basis. – Marc Gravell May 24 '17 at 13:57

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