Can a Muslim prove to an atheist or an infidel that God actually exists?
As far as I know most atheists will argue that since they can't hear, see or feel God then He doesn't exist.
If there was a clearcut incontrovertible proof that was acceptable to everybody (like say a mathematical proof) then this life wouldn't be a test. It wouldn't be a test of someone's submission to God, it would be a test of whether they have the brains to accept logic or not. And the whole point of this life is to test whether we are humble and accepting of God's Lordship over us, or whether we are arrogant and reject and deny Him. So my contention is that such a proof cannot exist. God says that if He had wanted, everyone would have believed. This is one such way of having everyone believe - but then what's the point?
Then the question becomes - what kind of proof does exist? And before we get into that, we have to take a step back and define the parameters of what constitutes proof. In the scientific world (and this is perfectly fine) it requires physically proving something. It requires a hypothesis and then an experiment to falsifiably prove something (vastly oversimplifying here). So the only evidence considered in scientific experiments is somewhat restricted.
The problem comes when one tries to take the scientific method and apply it to things it wasn't meant for, like philosophy or religion. In Islam we accept divine revelation as a source of proof as well because we believe in the truthfulness of the Messenger (saws) to deliver the message of God.
Even if you don't believe in divine revelation, the Qur'an itself commands humans to ponder over Creation and to reflect over it, and to let that guide them to Allah. It even provides arguments against atheists. For example, in Surat Toor and other places. There is another place where Allah offers 4 possibilities for the provenance of Creation - will update the answer if I find it.
Lastly, if you apply Bayes Rule to find the probability that everything came into being just on its own and try to find the posterior probability of every single coincidence and complexity and start multiplying them together, you have a vanishing probability of everything just happening on its own. You can make it as small as you like when you keep adding events to the chain. This is a probabilistic proof so it doesn't count as an absolute proof.
وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَنظُرُ إِلَيْكَ ۚ أَفَأَنتَ تَهْدِي الْعُمْيَ وَلَوْ كَانُوا لَا يُبْصِرُونَ
And among them are those who look at you. But can you guide the blind although they will not see? (10:43)
The best thing you can do is to convey Allah's message and stay back.
Let me answer this from the position of an atheist, and scientific rationalist that I am.
Can a Muslim prove to an atheist or an infidel that God actually exists?
No, Muslim cannot "prove" to an atheist that the God exists.
The reasons are the following:
The atheist would require the scientific proof, which does not exist
The Islam is entirely based on the personal experiences of the prophet Muhammad, which are unique thus unreproducible. Scientific proof would require the evidence to be independently tested and that means that the evidence first has to be reproduced, which is impossible.
If you are not a scientist, you probably know nothing about the scientific method required for the deed.
As far as I know most atheists will argue that since they can't hear, see or feel God then He doesn't exist.
There are many things that we cannot hear (we do not hear ultrasound, yet we use it to examine the baby in mother's womb), see (we do not see the x-rays and yet we use it to diagnose a fractured limb) or feel (we do not feel magnetism, yet we use it in MRI to diagnose a cancer or brain aneurism) and yet they exist and are the products of science, not religion.
(Please note that the atheism is not a worldview. It is a label given by religious people to the opposed group. However, most atheists are scientific rationalists, and that is in most cases our position. That means that we do not accept anything that cannot be scientifically proven.)
Of course, the rationalist knows that not everything is or can be proven, and yet we do not see any alternative because we are more interested in material facts then in our eternal soul.
If a scientist cannot explain some phenomenon he will not jump to conclusion that the phenomenon is supernatural. He will try to explain it scientifically again, and again and again until he succeeds. If the scientist fails to explain the phenomenon, it is still OK for him to say "I don't know", when he does not, in contrast with various religious authorities who usually claim to know all.
The science is a world view incompatible to religion and it is governed by diametrically different set of rules.
Note that an atheist might not even care about reading the Qur'an and exploring His miracles until he accepts the idea that there is actually a god.
It is possible that an atheist becomes a believer. Has happened numerous times before. That does not mean that someone proved to that atheist that the god exists by exposing him to Quran or the Bible.
Scientist does not just accept. For believing something to be the truth, he requires objective evidence.
As I said before, Quran, in the scientific eyes, is not considered as objective evidence in favor to God's existence, let alone the definitive proof.
As others have stated the Quran's perspective seems to be that even the Prophet himself (let alone an ordinary Muslim) cannot guide another person independent of how much effort he puts into it and this includes providing a "proof" (verse 28:56):
إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ
It is true thou wilt not be able to guide every one whom thou lovest; but God guides those whom He will and it is He who best knows the guided ones.
Or in verses 2:6 2:7 it says:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا سَوَاءٌ عَلَيْهِمْ أَأَنذَرْتَهُمْ أَمْ لَمْ تُنذِرْهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ * خَتَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَعَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِمْ ۖ وَعَلَىٰ أَبْصَارِهِمْ غِشَاوَةٌ ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
Regarding those who disbelieved, it is the same to them whether thou warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe. * God hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes is a veil; great is the penalty they (incur).
(It is very interesting to me since this seems to be very similar to what you described in the question, i.e. "they can't hear, see or feel God" though Quran doesn't mean the usual senses by these.)
On the other hand, Quran says that there is no doubt that God exists, e.g. verse 14:10 says:
قَالَتْ رُسُلُهُمْ أَفِي اللَّهِ شَكٌّ فَاطِرِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ يَدْعُوكُمْ لِيَغْفِرَ لَكُم مِّن ذُنُوبِكُمْ وَيُؤَخِّرَكُمْ إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى قَالُوا إِنْ أَنتُمْ إِلَّا بَشَرٌ مِّثْلُنَا تُرِيدُونَ أَن تَصُدُّونَا عَمَّا كَانَ يَعْبُدُ آبَاؤُنَا فَأْتُونَا بِسُلْطَانٍ مُّبِينٍ
Their messengers said: "Is there a doubt about God, the fissioner of the skies and the earth? He invites you to forgive you from your sins and give you respite till a named term." They said: "Are ye more than humans like ourselves?! Ye wish to turn us away from [what] our fathers used to worship! Bring us a clear proof!"
(The following verses contains the reply given by the prophets to them.)
So from Quran's perspective there is no doubt about the existence of the God who has created the earth and the skies.
(Usually people don't have much problem with accepting some force that has caused the universe to exist as long as it is something abstract. I should add that the recent forms of atheism might be a little bit different from the old ones since the new atheists feel they have reasonable ways of explaining how universe become to exist without anything before it but this will go beyond what is asked in the question.)
Firstly all who reject existence of God do not know what is God. God is not a man in sky. God is not material at all. Using "he" for God does not mean he is a man. But it is only to we can communicate and talk about God. Maybe reading sermon 1 here is a good start to know what is God.
This article containing interesting debates about God with some of who reject God is also useful for atheists:
There are many different methods for finding God. Some find God by philosophy. But the better way is seeing and meeting God which in by Irfan method (here and here). This method is very hard but you can spritual things like angels and meet God. Such people have power of miracle and controlling the universe. in fact by this method a human becomes like God and dissolves in God like a drop of water fallen in ocean. They can die whenever they want and go (by their soul) and see what they want like paradise, hell, angels, future, God ,.. Then back to their body in this world. They have servants from Jinn who work for them. Jinns are not limited in time and place and can quickly go from one side of earth to other side and bring news or deliver a letter or do other works. They can go from one place to other place in one moment (by their physical body) using Tay al-Arz power granted by God. Nature is under their control. They can convert a stone to gold only by looking it.
When you meet God then you will not need proof for its existence.
Method of Irfan is very difficult and in fact few can practice it to final steps. although many claim to practices this method successfully to collect some followers like most of sufi people.
Mulla Sadra is the great scholar who combined Islamic Philosophy and Islamic Irfan to find and know and meet God. His method is known as "the four travels" which is the name of his book in this subject. Most of current twelver shia scholars use this method to meet God. also many of scholars can not understand what he says and accuse him and who teach his works to apostasy because who finds powers of Intuition in Irfan can see spiritual things like angels, other universes, can see future or other things never seen in our physical universe and so who have not seen such things think he is saying nonsense.
Greater than Mulla Sadra is Mir Damad who rare people can understand his books. When Imam Khomeini wanted to teach works of him in Hawzeh for scholars and who study in Hawzeh of Qum saw Mir Damad in dram (maybe Intuition because they usually keep their Intuition power secret and call it only dream) that said: "do not teach my works". Imam Khomeini said I think it was because no one could understand what he says and they will call him and me apostate and will lead in insulting Mir Damad. So I decided teach the "the four travels" (Asfar Arba'e) of Mulla Sadra instead.
In Islamic philosophy only logic and reasoning is used.
These translated book are useful for who is interested:
however God has promised in Quran:
وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
And those who strive for Us - We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.
This means if an atheist is a real truth seeker and do his strive for finding truth then God will show him some miracles and proofs and evidences to he be guided. But most of atheists I have talked do not have to do ENOUGH research and strive. Internet is full of anti Islam and anti shia websites full of propaganda and claims of refuting everything Islam says. But claim of refute is different of really refuting. All of such so called refute are answered by Islamic scholars but they jump to Google and search and believe the first site they find. Unfortunately websites refuting such refutes have not good SEO!
Anyway finding truth is not easy and needs real strive for it. in fact they are mostly lazy in research and prefer having an enjoyable life and when see a truth do not accept it and find a justification to avoid accepting it and continue their enjoying life.
I can break this down pretty simply:
When we refer to scientifically proven evidence, what we're actually talking about is collectively verified observation. E.g. if I make an observation about the acceleration of gravity at sea level, you can verify this observation if you have similar means.
Collectively verified knowledge is considered a superior form of knowledge because it's subjected to the objections of multiple observers.
Religions like Islam typically rely on subjective knowledge. Everything debated in this domain relies on the axiom that factual information was revealed to messenger and proofs have to contort around that assumption.
You cannot collectively verify Islam unless someone has informed the observer what to believe. In the case of the acceleration of gravity at sea level, I can ask you to find a way to measure it before I give my observation in order to increase the weight of the observation. This cannot be done for religions since as far as I know, no one has come to the same conclusions that Islam comes to without some sort of cultural programming.
Some people talk about the misapplication of the scientific method but I think this is flawed logic. Collectively verified knowledge is on a higher order than subjective knowledge because you have multiple actors involved. There is no type of knowledge that is exempt from the rigor that comes with collective verification- least of all philosophical.
I will give you a direct answer based on Atheist belief, you said:
atheists will argue that since they can't hear, see or feel God then He doesn't exist.
None of us have ever seen, nor heard, nor felt, nor smelled, nor tasted our grand, grand, grand, grand parents, yet we believe that they did exist.
Based on the "Atheist" argument, none of us should believe that our grand, grand, grand, grand parents existed since there is no evidence to prove this.
Either the Atheist logic is flawed, or we must believe based on that logic that our ancestors never existed due to lack of evidence.
This bring me to the point of hypocrisy, how can you have such a belief, yet believe that your ancestors did exist, I'm sure most, if not all Atheist believe in the existence of their ancestors.
That being said, just because the Atheist logic is flawed, we can't conclude that therefore god exists.
Science has advanced very rapidly, our understanding of the existence is increasing by the minute. So what has science concluded? Well, simply put, science has concluded that there is no such thing as random. That is a critical piece of evidence pointing to God's existence.
Made, done, happening, or chosen without method or conscious decision
Science says that the universe is predetermined, meaning that if we were to restart the universe an infinite number of times, the result will be exactly the same, that quiet clearly points to conscious decision.
Allah (swt) says in the Quran:
Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that it is [written] in a clear record.
We cannot prove to an atheists the existence of Allah. In fact we cannot prove the existence of Allah to anyone. We can at most find evidence to support our claims, but in the end it comes to "belief".
An analogy occurs in mathematics, where people ask, can we prove all the correct statements? The answer is no and it is proven by Godel's incomplete theorem. That an axiomatic system capable of arithmetic is either complete or consistent. In plain words there are always statements that are true but we cannot prove.
To believe in Allah is to take as an axiom the existence and uniqueness of Allah. It is the basis upon which we do rational reasoning, and we do not do reasoning on that, if you already chose your axiom.
But then of course different people choose different axioms. An atheist's axioms are by definition different. Therefore Quran itself is a miracle, but only if you believe so. Just like
This sentence is correct.
If you believe so, then it becomes correct. If you don't, then it becomes incorrect for you, and it is still consistent.
That being said, of course, Muslims believe that Allah alone decides the truth and it is (at least its complete version is) above human understanding.
Therefore we are the people who accept these axioms, and they are the people who reject these axioms. We cannot prove to them, but merely show evidence to them of what we believe, just like they cannot prove us but show evidence to us of what they believe.
And Allah knows the best and may him guide those who go astray like how he guided me.
There are some good elements in the other answers, but I think one point is still missing regarding an eventual logical proof (such as in mathematics, not an experimental proof such as the ones in physics).
Even if such a proof existed, it would prove the existence of an abstract entity having only the properties demonstrated by the proof (omniscience, omnipotence, perfection, conscience, ...). It would not prove that such a god would have meddled in middle eastern politics a few centuries ago, would care about our sex life (or would care about us at all), would prepare a judgement for us, ... All of this would also have to be proven. You would not end up with the muslim god, but with some abstract concept of god. Sidenote: with an experimental proof, you would end up with an experimental concept of god, not with the muslim god.
Basically, it would confort the deist view that some being did create (or become) the universe, but not much else is to be said about this being.
A very good attempt to prove the existence of such a god can be found in Part 1 of Spinoza's Ethics.
His proof is wrong. At some point he says it is absurd that an infinity is larger than another infinity, which is wrong. Infinities of strictly different sizes exist, as shown by Georg Cantor's diagonal argument (which is valid here since Spinoza uses the concept of parts). Spinoza would not have had any way to know that with 17th century mathematics. I did not take the time to spot every mistake he did, this one just caught my eye. If you want to correct his proof, or work with different axioms, I would be interrested in that.
I had answered this question previously, but after passages of a few years and having studied Quran and (Shitte) Hadeeth more thoroughly, and having discussions with different people including a number of scholars, now I have a new answer for the question, an answer that will probably seem odd at the first look, but I can now claim for it to be the only way to undoubtly prove the truthfulness of Islam and all its underlying beliefs, including the existence of God and all His reputations. However, be warned: it is not an approved answer in the eyes of many scholars of even Shitte, which has been used as the very basement for developing this answer.
Before to start, first I should explain some concepts, then the answer will then easily follow with one exception that will need further explanation. So please be patient. It is all a matter of epistemology.
Q. When does someone say "I have understood something and I am now convinced"?
A. When he doesn't see any confliction between that thing and those he had already gathered in his memory, and there seems nothing odd according to what he expect of the reality. Therefore, being persuaded and satisfied with an answer doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the truthfullness, as it has two wings, (1) previous knowledge that are assumed to be correct and reliable, and (2) the present expectation about reality again based on the previous knowledge which is assumed to be correct and reliable. It is a common experience that being convinced and satisfied and being wrong at the same time is quite possible.
Q. Can anyone prove the truthfulness of something and claim it is anyway the truth based on his arguments?
A. Absolutely not. Something Ontic cannot be proved epistemically. Any argument, even if is merely intellectual, as long as the argument is to deal with problems of the real world, apparently outside our minds, suffer from the presumptions and mental modelings. So, eventhough logic is arguably assumed to be perfectly reliable, when it is to be applied in practice, it will become prone to give results which are deviated from the reality, so the rigidity of logic is almost never "fully preserved". Therefore, the logical and philosophical arguments are good for persuading people, but can equally be used to prove anything to anyone. Them being succesfull or not depends on the convincing ability of the people using them.
Q. So, no philosophical argument can go any further than persuading its listeners, right?
A. Certainly. The lower that the knowledge of the listeners is, the more simpler arguments can lead to persuasion, whereas, the higher that their knowledge is, more explanation would be required. If the arguments were enlightening in the sense that are commonly claimed, those with higher level of knowledge should have been satisfied more easily, not more difficultly. Thus, if someone is satisified with an argument, it is very probable that his own limited knowedge was the reason for him to be convinced, not necessarily the argument being so firm irrespective of his own level of knowledge. Maybe if he had more knowedge, he could easily criticize the argument in return and refuse to be persuaded by the argument in the form provided. Now its a new situatioin. When encountered by arguments, one shoud also ask for reliability of the state of being persuaded, as becoming convinced alone is not sufficient. He should assure that if he is now convinced, there will never come a day that the argument is proved wrong. In other words, we need a firm and rigorous persuasion, not a mere mental persuasion. But no argument can guarantee its satisfying role, even if the philosophers prove that argument will be never subjected to any criticism unless the criticism will find a valid answer soon after its statement, yet the proof developed is an argument by itself and need to be guarateed by itsel. This will build a never-ending chain of reasonings that makes, in practice, the arguments never going farther that being convincing. There will be no reliable guarantee for them that the argument will be never rejected in the future.
Q. Do these answers imply the philosophical arguments are useless and a kind of mental game?
A. No, not really. If physics and biology are not useless, philosophy can also have its own applications. The answers provided above only reject the claims that phiolosophers can prove something ontic through philosophical arguments. Like-wise, no one can talk about the reality based on physical arguments, unless it will be only a conjecture. Beside the role phiolophy has to support science, it has an import role in convincing religious people against apparent conflicts that are misleading. This is the (only) way a phiosopher or a Kalami can help Muslims by answering back the criticisms against the Islamic beliefs. But the truthfulness of Islam is not provable by Philosophy. Who knows a prophet who have been preaching through philosophy? The arguments in Quran and Hadeeth work differently, they are either used in response to those who have already used arguments against the religion of God, or they form a first step of a long journey within themselves toward exploration of the truth.
Conclusion 1. If you want to prove the truthfulness of Islam and its related beliefs, don't use philosophical arguments. If anyone enters Islam for being convinced by your arguments supporting the Existance of Allah and truthfulness of Islam, it is very probable that he will quit Islam by listenning to the arguments of the non-believers. It is to some extent stated by Imam Sadiq, peace by upon him.
... and now the main answer:
فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا ۚ فِطْرَتَ اللَّـهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا ۚ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّـهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ - الرّوم، ۳۰
So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the fitrah of Allah upon which He has created [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah. That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know. [Ar-Rum, 30]
The whole thing is around one word: Fitrah (الفطرة). This word is understood so wrongly and scattered accordingly. According to Shia Ahadeeth explaining the above verse of Quran and further explaining Fitrah, no creature could ever know its creator if Allah Himself had not introduced Himself to His creatures. In another narration it has been stated that it is not the job that people's intellectual power can handle to know Allah, so it is not the people's job to know Him, but it is unto Himself to introduce Himself to people. Fitrah is not something like soul, it is a knowledge given to us before we are born here in this world, called Ad-Dunya.
وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِن بَنِي آدَمَ مِن ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ ۖ قَالُوا بَلَىٰ ۛ شَهِدْنَا ۛ أَن تَقُولُوا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّا كُنَّا عَنْ هَـٰذَا غَافِلِينَ - الأعراف، ۱۷۲
And [mention] when your Lord took from the children of Adam - from their loins - their descendants and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them], "Am I not your Lord?" They said, "Yes, we have testified." [This] - lest you should say on the day of Resurrection, "Indeed, we were of this unaware."
Even if someone is born deep in the jungles of Amazon, never heard about Islam or any other divine religion, yet he knows Allah, although he have forgotten the knowledge, but according to Shitte Ahadeeth, no one will be that doesn't remember Allah as His Lord some times in his life.
Conclusion. Allah is not provable, but is to be remembered, like He Himself said:
وَإِذَا غَشِيَهُم مَّوْجٌ كَالظُّلَلِ دَعَوُا اللَّـهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ فَلَمَّا نَجَّاهُمْ إِلَى الْبَرِّ فَمِنْهُم مُّقْتَصِدٌ ۚ وَمَا يَجْحَدُ بِآيَاتِنَا إِلَّا كُلُّ خَتَّارٍ كَفُورٍ
And when waves come over them like canopies, they supplicate Allah, sincere to Him in religion. But when He delivers them to the land, there are [some] of them who are moderate [in faith]. And none rejects Our signs except everyone treacherous and ungrateful.
However, there are also criticisms against this statement, the most important of which is, perhaps, the question that how can we trust a knowedge that we don't remember how has it been gained? And that the main benefit of Philosophical arguments is that we can watch out for the validity of the way that leads to a result. The answer to this criticism is not difficult, it only needs a discussion on the priority of knowledge or the way to reach to a knowledge, which one owes credit to the other and which one has the main authenticity. My answer is knowledge, but if someone chooses the "reasonings", then for any reason to be valid we need a reason, there will be no other way that the thread ends at a valid final knowledge. Maybe it will need some more explanation, but the answer anyway seems understandable now.
No human being on the earth ever lived without encountering the following questions at least once in his/ her life time:
Why do we exist? Why does the universe exist? Is there any value or purpose for our existence? None of us had planned to born in this world; so, why are we here on the earth now? What is our purpose and mission here on the earth? Why do we have difficulties, tragedies, pain and sorrow here? Why do we have thoughts? Why do we have a sense of existence, sense of purpose, intelligence, memory, ability for imagination and capacity for rational thinking? Why does evil and injustice to innocents exist here? Why do people have opportunity to hate, cheat and kill each other here? Why there is war and violence? Why there are nuclear bombs? Why innocent poor people struggle for even food for a single time in a day while rich waste it throughout the day?
Are these all the products of blind laws of physics? Did these all come into existence accidentally by blind natural processes of evolution? Are the poor and weak the victims of these blind physical laws of the universe? Did their sufferings come into existence by blind laws of nature?
For convenience, I would like to reduce all these questions to a simple one: i.e., the problem of existence.
Logically, there can be two-solutions for the problem of existence or the reasons behind why do we and the universe exist.
Solution 1: Everything i.e., Sun, earth, plants, animals, sense organs, intelligence, memory, imagination, human beings, war, violence, pain, sorrow, sufferings, nuclear bombs, smart phones, driverless cars, supersonic aircrafts, super computers, etc. came into existence accidentally by natural processes and by blind laws of physics without any kind of involvement of an intelligent designer or Creator.
Solution 2: A Being who is eternal, independent of space and time, perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness created it from nothing for a purpose in which the purpose can be comprehended by the infinite wisdom of the Creator alone where the creations can’t grasp the reasons why they are created because of their finite intelligence and knowledge.
The claim of atheists (i.e., solution 1) that everything i.e., Sun, earth, plants, animals, sense organs, intelligence, memory, imagination, human beings, war, violence, pain, sorrow, sufferings, nuclear bombs, smart phones, driverless cars, supersonic aircrafts, super computers, etc. came into existence accidentally by natural processes without any purpose or intelligent effort of a Creator and by blind laws of physics is baseless and totally illogical and a rational, unbiased, open-minded inquirer of truth can’t accept this claim as real and rational.
According to atheists , the idea of a Being who is eternal, independent of space and time, perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness is illogical and the idea of a universe or multiverse which is eternal makes sense! ( They propagate their illogical and irrational claims at the expense of science that everything came into existence without a purpose accidentally by blind laws of physics without intelligent effort of a Creator which mainly happened because of the misconception that the existence of God is a superstition and hence anything regarding the existence of God is incompatible with science and reason, which is not true.)
In both the cases, either universe or Creator is eternal. So, what is rational in inquiring who created the Creator while universe can be eternal? It does not make sense because Creator is eternal and perfection of the Creator in power, wisdom, goodness is a fact that is confirmed from credible source (The Holy Qur’an) and also it does not make any sense to doubt any source that is credible.(It is explained in the latter session of this article why the Holy Qur’an is the credible source to know about attributes of the Creator)
Atheists are not willing to accept the rational and logical proofs for the existence of a Creator, only because their perception of reality is narrowed and blinded by scientism; i.e., an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences, and the humanities).
There are plenty of evidences for the existence of a Creator. A very few of them are listed below:
Evidence from the existence of self-awareness.
Evidence from the existence of the capacity for rational thinking.
Evidence from the existence of sense of purposeful existence of complex living beings and fine-tuned universe.
Evidence from the existence of sense of a definite purpose, intelligence, beauty and complexity which can be experienced anywhere in the universe.
Evidence from the existence of pain and suffering.
Evidence from the existence of thousands of men at different time periods in history who were martyred or tortured for preaching the existence of the Creator. They were either tortured to death or offered worldly pleasures such as power, wealth, beautiful women, wines, honors, fame etc. by their enemies, or both, to stop preaching about the Creator. But, still they sacrificed their precious life and remained steadfast for preaching the existence of the Creator in spite of all these sufferings or temptations. For example, Prophet Muhammad, Jesus Christ, Moses etc.
7. Finally, but not least, the evidence from the existence of the Holy Qur’an. The Holy Qur’an is the ultimate proof for the existence of the Creator, i.e., the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness.
The Holy Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad by the Creator as the final message of divine guidance to the entire mankind through the angel called Gabriel in the duration of 23 years, part by part, in different contexts. He memorized and delivered this original verses of the Holy Qur’an revealed to him time to time, to his companions orally and they memorized it and later preserved it as Scripture for the future generations of the mankind. The Holy Qur’an is divinely protected by the Creator by the Will of the Creator, from making any modifications or changes to the original verses of the Holy Qur’an by any human being, even the Prophet Muhammad, as it is the final revelation and the final message of divine guidance from the Creator to the entire mankind.
Prophet Muhammad was illiterate and was an orphan. He lived in Mecca of Arabia peacefully as an ordinary man in his entire youth till 40 years old, honored and loved by all Arabian tribes of Mecca as honest and trustworthy (His nickname was Al-Ameen which means trustworthy) before his prophethood by the Creator, and once he informed his prophethood to powerful and mighty Arabian tribes of Mecca, suddenly they started perceiving him as their enemy and identified Prophet Muhammad as a threat to their authority, power, leadership and even their existence.
Being unable to stop people from listening to the Holy Qur’an because of the inimitable literary merit of the Holy Qur’an and without realizing the mission and the divine origin of the Holy Qur’an, the powerful and mighty Arabian tribes united against Prophet Muhammad and offered power, wealth, most beautiful women in Arabia of his choice, fame and other worldly pleasures to persuade him to stop preaching the message of Islam. After realizing that these temptations had zero impact on Prophet Muhammad, they tried to torture him by all means and Prophet Muhammad even survived a well-planned assassination plot sponsored by the Arabian tribes of Mecca by the Will of the Creator and finally migrated from his motherland as per the order of the Creator, with great sorrow and pain. There were several assassination attempts by enemies throughout Prophet Muhammad’s life since his prophethood , but the Prophet survived them all only because of the Divine protection from the Creator, nothing else.
Therefore, if the illiterate Prophet Muhammad had attempted to fabricate Qur’an either by himself or stealing it from Bible or Torah it could be easily caught and mercilessly destroyed and defeated at once by his educated, literate enemies, i.e., the powerful and mighty Arabian tribes (who were united against their common enemy, the Prophet Muhammad), Christians and Jews of his time . There were educated, literate people in Arabia who could produce a better work than Qur’an because Prophet Muhammad was an illiterate whereas his enemies were united, wealthy, powerful and enjoyed support of several men who all were educated, literate and were able to do all humanly possible solutions to destroy Prophet Muhammad forever. But no one in Arabia was able to produce a work similar to Qur’an or better than Qur’an.
The eternal challenge raised in the Holy Qur’an by the God to the mankind, to produce a chapter like the Qur’an, remains unchallenged even after 1400 years, even in this 21st century:
“Or do they say: “He (Prophet Muhammad) has forged it (this Quran)?” Nay! they do not believe. Then let them bring an announcement like it if they are truthful.” [ Translations of the Qur’an, Surah 52: AT-TUR (THE MOUNT,Verses 052.033, 052.034) http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje/religious-texts/quran/verses/052-qmt.php ]
“And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant (Prophet Muhammad), then produce a chapter like it and call on your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful.” [ Translations of the Qur’an, Surah 2: AL-BAQARA (THE COW, Verse 002.023) http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje/religious-texts/quran/verses/002-qmt.php ]
“Say: “If the whole of mankind and Jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support.”” [ Translations of the Qur’an, Surah 17: AL-ISRA (ISRA’, THE NIGHT JOURNEY, CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, Verse 017.088 ) http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje/religious-texts/quran/verses/017-qmt.php ]
NOTE: There are still some more verses of challenge in the Holy Qur’an which are not mentioned here for convenience. Quoting all will make this article too broad.
Also, how rational and logical it is to assume that a man who was an illiterate, honored, loved and nicknamed as Al-Ameen (trustworthy) because of his honesty by all Arabian tribes, who had never told a lie or cheated anyone for financial, material, or personal gains in his entire youth until 40 years old, before his prophethood at the age of 40, suddenly lied and made false claims about the existence of God and fabricated the Holy Qur’an , even surviving well-planned assassination plots and continuous tortures against him?
In addition, if no one in Arabia was able to produce a work similar to the Holy Qur’an or better than the Holy Qur’an, why didn’t the Prophet Muhammad take credit for the authorship of the Holy Qur’an and wasted the golden opportunity to become great like William Shakespeare or someone else?
Moreover, if Prophet Muhammad had fabricated the Holy Qur’an, how can be there a criticism of Prophet Muhammad in the Holy Qur’an? See the following verses of the Holy Qur’an in this regard:
“He (Prophet Muhammad) frowned and turned (his) back. Because there came to him (Prophet Muhammad) the blind man. And what would make you (Prophet Muhammad) know that he (the blind man) would purify himself, or become reminded so that the reminder should profit him (the blind man)?” [ Translations of the Qur’an, Surah 80: ABASA (HE FROWNED, Verses from 080.001 to 080.004) http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje/religious-texts/quran/verses/080-qmt.php ]
“O Prophet! Why do you forbid (yourself) that which Allah has made lawful for you? You seek to please your wives? and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” [ Translations of the Qur’an, Surah 66: AT-TAHRIM (BANNING, PROHIBITION, Verse 066.001) http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje/religious-texts/quran/verses/066-qmt.php ]
This criticism of Prophet Muhammad by the God in the Holy Qur’an remains unaltered from 1400 years ago and it will remain unaltered until the Day of Judgment as the Holy Qur’an is divinely protected by the God and any human being even Prophet Muhammad couldn’t alter it.
This reveals the fact neither Prophet Muhammad fabricated the Holy Qur’an nor Prophet Muhammad had any influence on the original verses of the Holy Qur’an which revealed to him by the Creator.
2. What is the logical and rational plausibility of our assumption that physical objects which are made up of atoms (it is self-evident that atoms don’t have any self-awareness!) , for example, a stone ( or any inorganic material) of certain mass (Kg), when subjected to evolutionary forces of magnitude of certain Newtons (N) for trillion, trillion, trillions of years or even infinite time , the stone will become ‘self-aware’ in such a way that now the stone is able to ‘think’, ‘aware’, and ‘reason’ about even ‘its’ own existence and ‘its’ surroundings, able to grasp the laws of physics, mathematics, able to involve in logical reasoning, able to draw logical conclusions, able to feel sense of purpose, able to feel sense of existence, able to feel pain and sorrow etc.?
Atheism is irrational.
One can compare the atheist to a man who is born blind and refuses to acknowledge the existence of light because he cannot perceive light. This blind man's very existence depends on light, yet his inability to perceive it allows him to deny what is so obvious to the sighted. No amount of rational argument, evidence, facts and proof will convince him because he has limited himself to trusting in his faulty perception.
To expand on this example, the human being is incapable of perceiving reality in its entirety. For instance, we must rely on the opinions of theoreticians to understand what our limited perceptions cannot perceive as atoms, neutrons, protons, and the mysterious properties of matter and energy which quantum physics explores.
The opinions of these theoreticians are often accepted without question, because their theories seem to explain the nature of the universe that we can perceive. So, science divides the universe into the 'seen' (perceptible) and the 'unseen' (imperceptible) in order to account for existence and substance.
Islam has stated the case for the imperceptible universe long before Western theoreticians offered their ideas on the subject. Islam explains that both the perceptible and the imperceptible universe were created in one act.
Q 21:30: "Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them, and we made every living thing of water? Will they not then believe?" From Surah ArRahman,
we know that the heavens are divided into one perceived universe and 6 imperceptible universes or heavens. In other words the perceptible and the imperceptible are different states of the same substance/essence; the imperceptible being progressively more refined as it moves away from the perceptible. Isn't that what quantum physics is now discovering?
In Islam, the ultimate imperception is the uncaused cause or Allah who is totally removed from the creation because He caused creation and, therefore, is not part of it. Allah is the ultimate reality, the ultimate refinement and the ultimate truth. Quran has promoted the information regarding the perceptible and the imperceptible states of existence for 1400 years. If we live long enough and are really patient, maybe the world of science will conclude what Muslims have known for a millennium and a half.