Is God an Intellectual Reality?

by Dr. Khalid Zaheer

 

We certainly do not perceive God, but we do observe this world. History has recorded the story of the fashion in which we have beheld it for the last five thousand years. We have observed it from widely different angles. The Bedouin of deserts, and the unsophisticated tillers of soil had their share of intimate observation of this world. So have the modern scientists and astronomers like Swedenborg, Herschel, Hubble, and Einstein done from their very special positions. We saw this world even wen our imagination suggested that a slightly taller structure would literally shake hands with the sky; we are still watching it now when we know that some of its stars are so distantly placed from us that their light takes billions of years to reach us.

There was a time when we fancied our sun to be no more than a big ball which, if it were to somehow cool down and descend to us, could be conveniently employed for our benefits. Our modern enlightenment has enabled us to know this its distance from Pluto, a planet, for example, is four billion and six hundred million miles.  Furthermore, we know that this system is only a small part of a large galaxy which has billions of suns, and that this galaxy is just one of the millions of spiral nebulae.

This, then, is what we know as yet, we do not know what more is in store, still eluding us for want of ever further scientific probing. Throughout this long period of stay in this world we have always heard the silent verdict of our intuition that all this arrangement despite its vast expanse and grandeur, is a creation, Our intellect unequivocally endorses this verdict. Efforts to form a contrary opinion not withstanding, human intellect have always ended up with the same conclusion. The findings of the latest research are, likewise, no different. Man is, consequently, forced to confirm that this world is undoubtedly a creation, no more and no less than that.

We conclude from the above that if this world is a creation it should definitely have a Creator. A common rebuttal of this argument, based on the question of identification of a Creator of this deduced Creator, is clearly illogical, for we do not argue that everything should necessarily have a Creator. On the contrary, we assert that every creation should indispensibly have a Creator, and because we accept this world to be a creation, it must logically have a Creator. Everyone should, therefore, submit willingly to this verdict of our intellect.

We readily yield to this verdict which is unanimously endorsed by our intuition as well as by our intellect. Our entire existence, in fact, is a clear testimony to it. Nothing within or external to us can challenge this contention. We, therefore, believe that the existence of God is an unquestionable reality which no reasonable person can afford to deny.

Reality does not appear through our observations and experiences only. We also, at times, infer from evidences of objects and events to arrive at conclusions. Information gathered through both channels deserve equal right on the word. A modern physical scientist has rightly remarked that reality is always reality whether discovered directly or through reasoning. The major part of man's best scholarly achievement is based on this process. He unhesitatingly affirms those facts which he has discovered through logical reasoning just as he affirms those which he has observed directly.

As the Holy Qur'an invites man to believe in the facts which belong to the second category, the unseen facts, it was but logical that it should have adopted the process of intellectual reasoning to convince its readers. It first draws the attention of man to the reality which exists in this intuition. It informs him that the Powerful and Wise Being who unquestionably exists beyond the domain of his senses was never unknown to his intuition. Call Him Allah or Rehman (the Beneficient)' all good names are His. The Qur'an then draws the attention of man's intellect to the visible aspects of this world. It presents for his consideration the various expressions of nature, both within himself and external to him in the surroundings, which lie within his observable reach, It says:

Your God is one God; there is no God save Him, the Beneficient, the Merciful. Lo! in the creation of the heavens and the earth; and the difference of night and day, and the ships which run upon the sea with that which is of use to man, and the water which Allah sends down from the sky, thereby reviving the earth after its death, and dispersing all kinds of beasts therein, and in the ordinance of the winds, and the clouds obedient between heaven and earth are signs for people who ponder. (2:164-165)

It then implores the intellect to accept the consequential outcome towards which these expressions inevitably lead, for it is only befitting for it to submit to truth.

It is the same process which modern science has adopted to prove many of its claims. The Holy Qur'an employed it in a period when the startling achievements of our times were unknown. Modern science was, no doubt, fortunate in discovering the process which is the only way of appreciating unseen realities. It is, however, unfortunate in ignoring the reality which emerges most prominently after adopting this process: the existence of God. We do not know how long it will take to overcome this contradictory attitude.

 


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