“A Leap of Faith”

The second introductory issue concerns the basis for one’s faith. In the English language, there is a common conception that “faith” implies believing in something that one cannot prove. In other words, “faith” requires what is known as a “leap of faith,” where one goes beyond what can be rationally accepted to mere blind acceptance and belief. This approach is very much contrary to the Islamic conception.

From an Islamic perspective, one’s faith must be "knowledge-based," so that both the heart and the mind find solace in it and submit to it with a firm resolution. Islam does not demand that humans believe in matters that go against their own nature and reasoning that God has given them. Instead, Allah calls upon humans to reflect—look at the creation, at their own selves and everything around them. Allah points to different aspects of the creation and describes them as signs for those people who reflect.

When humans honestly reflect upon the creation around them, very clear conclusions should result:

(1) This existence could not have come about without a wise and intelligent creator and

(2) such a wise and intelligent creator would not create this without some purpose behind it. Thus, Allah says, “Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding. Those who remember Allah standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying), ‘Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose, glory to You! (Exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners). Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire’” (3:190-191). Allah also says, “Do they not think deeply (in their own selves) about themselves? Allah has created not the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, except with truth and for an appointed term. And indeed many of mankind deny the Meeting with their Lord” (30:8). Again, Allah says, “Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?” (23:115).

The Quranic argument is that it is not logically possible to come to any other conclusion. Indeed, if a person believes in God as the Creator, by definition it is unbecoming of such a noble and great Creator to create all of this order and beauty and yet have no purpose behind that creation. A person who believes in a creator yet believes that this creator had no purpose or thought behind his creation is describing a creator that is childlike and unintelligent. It is hard to believe that a creator like that could possibly come up with a crea 101 1430 2009 tion like the one that everyone witnesses today. No, indeed, the creation points to certain attributes of the Creator and it points to there being an important and great purpose behind this entire creation. The whole nature of the existence points to the Creator being one of very special character who would not create anything of this nature simply in sport or jest. That Creator could only be Allah with His perfect and sublime attributes—that is, this creation needs Allah and it could not be just and proper except under the control of Allah, exactly as Allah is. Thus, Allah says in the Quran, “Had there been therein (in the heavens and the earth) gods besides Allah, then verily they both124 would have been ruined. Glorified be Allah, the Lord of the Throne, (High is He) above what they attribute to Him” (21:22).

A second very important conclusion that one can derive by simply pondering over this creation is that the one who created this from nothing can easily recreate it. If He has the ability to recreate things even after their demise, this also means that He has the ability to resurrect them and bring them all in front of Him. This thought, obviously, has very ominous repercussions for humans and their behavior in this world. Thus, Allah points out this fact and reminds humans of its meaning throughout the Quran.

For example, Allah says, “See they not that Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, is Able to create the like of them. And He has decreed for them an appointed term, whereof there is no doubt. But the wrong-doers refuse [the truth and accept nothing] but disbelief” (17:99). Another set of verses state, “And he [the human] puts forth for Us a parable, and forgets his own creation. He says, ‘Who will give life to these bones when they have rotted away and became dust?’ Say (to them O Muhammad), ‘He will give life to them Who created them for the first time! And He is the All-Knower of every creation! He, Who produces for you fire out of the green tree, when behold, You kindle therewith. Is not He, Who created the heavens and the earth Able to create the like of them? Yes, indeed! He is the All-Knowing Supreme Creator. Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, ‘Be!’ and it is! So Glorified is He and Exalted above all that they associate with Him, and in Whose Hands is the dominion of all things, and to Him you shall be returned” (36:78-83).

The one who negates the resurrection is expecting that Allah will treat the wrongdoers like the pious people. This is an unbecoming expectation of Allah. Allah makes it clear that such will never be the case, highlighting that such thoughts can only come from those who disbelieve in God. Allah says, “And We created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between them without purpose! That is the consideration of those who disbelieve! Then woe to those who disbelieve from the Fire! Shall We treat those who believe and do righteous good deeds, as the evildoers on earth? Or shall We treat the pious as the wicked?” (38:27-28).

Although it is beyond the scope of this work, the Islamic beliefs in the Quran and the truthfulness of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) are also based on clear and direct evidence. The belief in the Quran as being a revelation from God is not a blind belief but is directly related to the miraculous nature and extreme beauty of this book itself. Similarly, believing in the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is also supported by signs pointing to his coming in earlier revelations, the Prophet’s own noble character, the victory that God bestowed upon him, the change that was brought about in an entire generation and afterwards under his guidance and so forth.

The point is that the Islamic beliefs in God as the only creator and lord, the belief in a purpose of life, the belief in a resurrection, the belief in the Quran and the belief in the truthfulness of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) are all based on knowledge and an understanding that is consistent with one’s human nature. In fact, because they are knowledge-based, any increase in one’s knowledge related to these beliefs leads to an increase in one’s faith. Thus, knowledge and faith are never battling against each other in Islam. Again, this is because there are no mysteries or absurdities that one is demanded to believe in. Mysteries and absurdities require “leaps of faith” and they are completely absent and alien from Islamic beliefs.125

124 Meaning both the heavens and the earth.

125 It is true that there may be many things beyond the realm of human experience and direct comprehension. However, even the belief in those matters is based on the beliefs that are justifiable and understandable. For example, some people may not be able to accept the fact that some form of punishment occurs to a person while he is in the grave. He may argue that he sees dead people rotted away in the graves and there is no sign that they are suffering any punishment.