The Apparent Clash Between Faith and Rational Thinking

share this pageShare Page
Hatem al-Haj

Channel: Hatem al-Haj

Episode Notes

NJ Dawah 2019

Episode Transcript

© No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever. Transcripts are auto-generated and thus will be be inaccurate. We are working on a system to allow volunteers to edit transcripts in a controlled system.


00:00:00--> 00:00:01

Bismillah

00:00:06--> 00:00:11

Menaka Lazzara so the Lord audios of me I'm going to proceed.

00:00:12--> 00:00:21

So today we will talk about great reason and revelation or faith and rational thinking and the apparent clash or

00:00:23--> 00:00:30

what people believe to be an apparent clash, sometimes between faith and reason.

00:00:32--> 00:00:46

And if you did not attend the workshop, they appear in a workshop that we had earlier than I may need to repeat some of it for everybody here. Because it is important that we start by identifying

00:00:48--> 00:01:13

proper epistemology, theory of knowledge, how do we acquire knowledge? What method do we use to acquire knowledge? How do we validate that the knowledge that we acquired is actually true? How do we know that what we know is is actually true? And the scope of every method of acquisition of knowledge, because acquisition of different types of knowledge would require different methods to acquire

00:01:14--> 00:01:15

the different types of knowledge?

00:01:16--> 00:01:18

For instance,

00:01:19--> 00:01:22

does rationalist

00:01:23--> 00:01:30

sort of Inquisition help this much with physics and chemistry? Or is it empirical?

00:01:32--> 00:01:47

But rational is the Inquisition helps a lot with arithmetics and mathematical sciences. So you will have to use different methods in different disciplines and in different sciences.

00:01:48--> 00:02:18

Which method should we use to discover the unseen? Or to learn about the unseen, the vibe, the unseen? Should it be an empirical method? Does, you know? Does the empirical method help us learn about the unseen or not? Should you know, is it expected to help us in this regard? How could it help us if it is unseen, beyond our senses? But does rationalist

00:02:20--> 00:02:27

methods of investigation help us in this regard, or in this respect?

00:02:28--> 00:02:53

not really that much. It does help us to some extent. But if you know that, you know, Kant came after the long debate between the rationalist and empiricist. And came after a very long history of rational metaphysics and told them wait a second, slow down in the Critique of Pure Reason, is rational metaphysics even possible.

00:02:55--> 00:02:56

But you know,

00:02:57--> 00:03:07

that's and count, by the way, is arguably the most important philosopher in the last 200 years. But he said, Wait a second, is it even possible

00:03:09--> 00:03:43

to rationalize about something that is completely completely beyond your categories of human understanding, completely beyond your experience? So these are important questions that we need to ask ourselves before we even start to talk about a conflict. We have to figure out how we acquire this knowledge. What is what is conflicting with what here? And you know, how did we acquire the knowledge to say that this is conflicting with and to say that this is a fact?

00:03:44--> 00:03:55

Because we do need to first ascertain that what you believe to be irrational is actually, in fact rational. It's not just your own sort of

00:03:57--> 00:03:57

perception,

00:03:59--> 00:04:20

or it is not merely your your bias. So Allah subhanaw taala tells us you know that epistemology is one of six divisions. It's one of six large, major divisions of philosophy, but epistemology examines the methods of acquiring knowledge, the validity of knowledge, the scope of knowledge and so on.

00:04:22--> 00:04:27

Then Allah subhanaw taala gives us one and operand that summarizes all of this.

00:04:29--> 00:05:00

But not only code this ayah I will code the ayah before it and I are before that in both AR in Surah verse the ayah says what a lie if I was somehow RTL out of the woman, I'm gonna sell it and like I'm helpless. In Allah, Allah coalition party, allow of Raja Coleman bitonio magical maddaddam wanna say, the Dalai Lama sama Sol de la la comme tous guru. So when alive, I will send it rather than keep it light. Keep attention.

00:05:00--> 00:05:07

This what Allah if I was smarter to Allah belongs the unseen the unseen aspects the knowledge of the unseen

00:05:09--> 00:05:11

in the heavens and the earth

00:05:12--> 00:05:19

when mama Sadie like I'm Robin the commander of the hour is like a glance of an eye or even closer or even near.

00:05:21--> 00:06:01

In alaric Colosseum Korea Verily Allah escapable overall things and then this is the verse the one verse that summarizes Islamic epistemology will allow for other common bitonio Matic omelet Allah Masha Allah had brought you out of the wounds of your mother's knowing nothing, knowing nothing out of the wounds of your mother's vagina was somehow absorbed or faded Aleksander Sharon, and he provided you with hearing, eyesight, vision, and intellect, that you may show gratitude and that you may be grateful.

00:06:02--> 00:06:52

We have gone over this in detail in the, you know, European session. And probably I should not be repeating everything because otherwise, you know, but it is really important that we understand the concept, the epistemological concept, before we address that conflict between faith and reason. So what am I saying here to the rationalists, those who believe in the tabula rasa or the blank slate that you're born without any knowledge and, you know, it's just like a blank slate. And well and to the empiricists is that you don't need to dichotomize to dichotomize the matter. There is inborn the knowledge, a priori knowledge because Allah said, Well, if either intellect he gave you intellect,

00:06:52--> 00:07:44

these intellects have the potency, the power to infer to, to generalize, to abstract from particulars and so on. So it has that potency, it has inborn a priori knowledge, like, you know, the law of non contradiction and the law of excluded middle, the hole is bigger than the part the part is smaller than the whole, all of this is inborn, does not read any empirical sensors to discover it. But Allah is saying also is not saying that I've either only before this Allah said, and absorb, and I'm sorry, is in reference to your senses, your vision, to the empirical findings, Elia saying that I gave you this, you came out not knowing anything, but I gave you those three tools.

00:07:45--> 00:07:57

So that intellect, you know, rationalist, that these apps are the sensors empiricist. And before this, he said,

00:07:59--> 00:07:59

summer,

00:08:01--> 00:08:41

and usually that is that refers to reports that you receive truthful reports that you received during the time of the Prophet sallallahu Sallam the mainly dependent on verbal communication, not written communication. So semi is how you learn by, you know, by receiving different reports from people. And as we said in the first session, how do you guarantee that the reports that you're receiving are true, you guarantee this by different signs, you know, concurrence guarantees the truthfulness. So if you if like the example of China,

00:08:43--> 00:09:26

if people if we're sitting here, and different people come from different doors, and they are unrelated, it is impossible that they have colluded with each other. Some of them are trustworthy. Your mom came from this door and told you it is raining outside. A friend that doesn't know your mom at all came from that door and told you that it is raining outside. And then like a few others came and said that they don't know each other the possible to have colluded and they told you it's raining outside? Is it justifiable to believe that it is raining outside? Yes. That is how we you know as how human beings believed in the existence of China forever, they've never seen it. They

00:09:26--> 00:09:35

never tasted it. They never smelled that they never heard that. They heard reports about it, but they never heard China speaking to them,

00:09:36--> 00:09:59

and so on. And it is not inborn. It's not like built into our intellects that China exists. So that's cultures for reports. How did we receive this revelation? Now we're coming to the conflict between reason and Revelation. How did we receive the revelation, we receive the revelation particularly the carandbike concurrent transmission.

00:10:00--> 00:10:21

Massive recurrent transmission by people who could have not concluded particularly the Quran and the Sunnah at moto arterra, or the Moto ottersen. That is that is conveyed through mass recurrent mass recurrent transmission. So now, the people that like I like

00:10:23--> 00:10:46

the same example I'll use one more time the people that were there with, say Edna Musa alayhis, salaam, when he split the rate, see, if he had, if he were to tell them at that time that God tells you or a little bit after God tells you to slaughter a cow should they believe him that actually he is conveying a message from God.

00:10:47--> 00:11:31

Of course, they have seen him split the rate see before their eyes, the people also a prophet, Isa alayhis salam, you know, bring that to life. They of course, they should believe him that he will also Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu sallam, you know, giving water from his hands, to an army, to a whole army, should they believe him afterwards, after he gave them water from his hands, to the whole army should this army then believe him, of course, it believe his report from the divine. Now we have received the revelation from Allah subhanaw taala conveyed to us.

00:11:32--> 00:12:16

And a major part of the revelation, which is the Qur'an and the motto ottersen has been conveyed to us through mass recurrent transmission. So we are very confident in the transmission. And going back to the time of the Prophet sallallahu sallam, we're very confident of his prophethood. And we're very confident that this came from Allah subhanaw taala. And if we are not confident, then don't talk to me about conflict until you have figured out why you believe in the revelation in the first place. That is the first thing that you need to do. Because if you if your belief in the revelation is sort of not solid,

00:12:17--> 00:12:57

then any apparent conflict will further shaken. Because it is already shaky. And so that is not the proper way of going about this. This matter, you need to first figure out and if this, to ground yourself in your epistemology, sort of your own epistemology, you need to figure first out, why is it that you are Muslim, and you need to invest into this invest time, invest effort to figure out and to be comfortable and to be confident. Now if you have irresistible knowledge or irresistible

00:13:00--> 00:13:48

conviction, and I'm not telling you to unwind this, so that you could start from scratch, no one in his right mind would do this. No one is in right in his right mind would trade certainty for doubt. Don't unwind it if you have through spiritual labor and through a spiritual experience came to a point of deep conviction, don't undo it so that you build from scratch, that is a silly idea, you know, people who are like extremely intelligent intellectualized or put so much, you know, stuck in in intellect versus you know, the spiritual experience may say that, but I am not saying that. But I am saying that if you are not confident, if you have doubts, don't address individual sort of points

00:13:48--> 00:13:53

of conflict between faith and revelation between faith and reason.

00:13:54--> 00:14:16

Go back and figure out if this is true. And if you're being Muslim, is actually grounded in certainty. And if it is not, then seek that certainty. And there are so many ways that you through which you could seek that certainty. There is, by the way, a very good series on

00:14:17--> 00:15:00

online, say, a clean series by Sheikh Mohammed missionary on the science of prophethood, the signs of prophethood. And it is several sort of segments. But if you go through the entire series, it's very, very helpful. It's it's an excellent series. So it is important that we first figure out if we are truly Muslims, if we are comfortable that this revelation that come down to us from God conveyed through this sort of at least the certain part of it that the definitive and transmission conveyed to us through a recurrent message.

00:15:00--> 00:15:01

transmission.

00:15:03--> 00:15:09

And if we have come to this realization, and we are confident in,

00:15:11--> 00:15:28

in our Islam and we are confident in the message of Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu sallam, then let's talk about conflict, certain things could appear to you to conflict with a reason.

00:15:30--> 00:15:35

But what is reason to begin with? And what is reason to begin with?

00:15:38--> 00:15:50

Anthony flew, you know, Anthony flew, right? He's fame, he was like a very famous atheist, who then came back to Faith and wrote a book called there is a God.

00:15:52--> 00:16:04

So, you know, the title of the book is nice, he wrote, there is no God, and then he crossed No. And then he wrote a, because he lived his entire life as an atheist.

00:16:06--> 00:16:47

Why? Because at age 15, he decided that the problem of evil is sufficient to deny God, at age 15, he decided that the problem of evil was sufficient for him to deny God. And then later on in life, he figured out that he was actually that it was actually pretty foolish of him, because they are philosophically separate. You don't deny the existence of someone, because you have some sort of grievances against them, right? Like if the, these are philosophically separate issues.

00:16:48--> 00:16:52

This is about or it's an ontological question

00:16:53--> 00:17:32

that has nothing to do with the problem of evil, you should have addressed that ontological question of the existence of God in complete isolation from the problem of evil, but any At any rate, you could say, well, I don't believe so I believe that you should. But at least the same person, the same person was conflicted. The same person at 15 was conflicted with himself. When he became older and became wiser. He figured out that he was actually

00:17:33--> 00:17:40

Hayes too hasty to think that the problem of evil would preclude the existence of God.

00:17:41--> 00:17:45

Francis Bacon said, a little philosophy

00:17:46--> 00:18:30

leads man to atheism, depth in philosophy brings man about or brings men, or men's minds about to face or back to face, which is true. When people take you know, the the most dangerous phase is when you take philosophy one on one. That's when you learn, if you like terms, new terms, and, you know, you have like a young sort of professor who's like too proud and thinks that because he can speak the philosophical jargon that is above everyone else, and everybody is dumb, you know, and that they, they are a sort of philosophically unschooled intellects, and I am, you know, full of sort of

00:18:32--> 00:18:33

knowledge.

00:18:34--> 00:18:54

And then he sort of imparts much of that to you. And that's the huge difference between sitting before a chef who's humble, who is, you know, who has more acaba, who is watchful of God, who, and sitting before I say, who's arrogant, or before a chef who is pretentious.

00:18:55--> 00:19:17

It's not only the knowledge that has been imparted to you, it is also the attitude, the whole vibes, it's, it's the whole package is being imparted to you. So when you sit down, you know, on your first day of college and listen to someone teaching you about philosophy, or doesn't have to be one on one, even one or two, or one of the whatever it is.

00:19:20--> 00:19:41

That is the most volatile phase, that's the most volatile phase. But then when you acquire more depth, and you figure out you ask yourself a question, you know, the vast majority of philosophers throughout history have been faithful people. You know, if you if you if you have if you statistically,

00:19:42--> 00:19:45

you know, and philosophers, it doesn't mean that, you know,

00:19:46--> 00:20:00

of course, let me I can clamavi and FileZilla. Yeah, of course, when we spoke about divinities, they were not particularly most most guided, but at least they did recognize that there is a God you know, from

00:20:00--> 00:20:12

The time of the pre Socratic philosophers through the entire history of philosophy, the majority of philosophers did believe in God that believe in God. So

00:20:15--> 00:20:24

going back to the issue of a conflict of now, between reason and face, I want to tell you the treason. what we consider to be a reason

00:20:25--> 00:20:59

is not an undifferentiated category is not an undifferentiated category, the deliverances of reason are not all equal, are they all equal? No, because what people call reasonable this may be a priori knowledge that all people agree on. And it may be controversial, right or wrong. Once it is controversial, what would guarantee for you that what the majority of people call reasonable is actually more reasonable than the rest of the people?

00:21:00--> 00:21:02

How is it? So,

00:21:05--> 00:21:12

throughout throughout the history, they didn't have the majority people change their minds about so many things.

00:21:15--> 00:21:20

is reasonable today, the same thing like reasonable 200 years ago?

00:21:22--> 00:21:28

Absolutely not, not in anything. Do philosophers among themselves agree on anything?

00:21:30--> 00:22:24

That they don't agree on anything more than the sort of the human consensus, they only agree on whatever is even human consensus, sometimes they disagree on things the rest of humanity will accept as human consensus. Have you heard? Have you heard any regular folks talking about solipsism, denying, denying the existence of anyone other than themselves? That's, that's, that's sort of that is a philosophical school comes from the Cartesian doubt, or skepticism, not the character himself. But that is a philosophical School, where you deny the existence of everybody because everybody could be an illusion. Have you heard normal people say that everybody could be an illusion? Well,

00:22:24--> 00:22:36

the card said, I, you know, I think, therefore I exist. But so I know that I think so for the followers of the car to say, since I don't know that you exist,

00:22:38--> 00:22:38

then I can

00:22:39--> 00:23:18

basically be sure about a sense, I don't know that you think, because I don't see your mind. Right. I don't see your mind. How could they know that you think, if I don't see your mind? I know that I think because it's an internal sense that tells me that I'm thinking, but I don't know that you think, then I don't know that you exist. Have you ever seen any, like normal folks talk like this, talk this nonsense? No, that's These are phosphors salep system, solipsism is a philosophical sort of not not a major school or anything and not making you know, much progress.

00:23:20--> 00:23:32

Buy it out, but, but these were philosophers speaking this nonsense, these are considered to be the most rational people these are philosophers. So, what is reason,

00:23:33--> 00:23:40

to begin with, the reason that we consider to be what we consider to be

00:23:43--> 00:23:53

certain conclusive, definitive is the reason that humanity will agree on human concurrence

00:23:55--> 00:24:06

among the human race, the hole is bigger than the part the part is smaller than the hole. If someone denies this, you think that they they have a problem

00:24:08--> 00:24:38

the sort of the law of non contradiction, one thing cannot be moving and still at the same time, in the same respect, you know, it has to be either moving or still in in the same respect at the same time cannot be both moving and still, right. That's called the law of non contradiction. The done liar last time yanaka data. And then there is the law of excluded excluded middle, which is the Nikita less than 100 hours. For

00:24:39--> 00:24:42

this reason, the staff of reason.

00:24:43--> 00:24:46

We never tell you to defy

00:24:47--> 00:24:59

this type of buddy. He really is reason a priori knowledge, sort of inborn and the knowledge that enjoys human concurrence, no one

00:25:00--> 00:25:22

will tell you to defy in favor of the revelation, also your empirical findings, you know that that is the deliverances of your senses, no one will tell you to defy in favor of the revelation. In fact, we do agree that the conclusive

00:25:23--> 00:26:09

indicates of the revelation, and the conclusive and the conserved reason and the conclusive and deacons of the senses, because Allah gave you those senses to recognize him. Allah gave you this inborn knowledge to recognize him. So you have a divine guarantee, that the senses should not deceive you, and that your inborn the knowledge should not deceive you, and that the revelation should not deceive you, there is no way that there will be an irresolvable conflict between the revelation that conclusive parts of the revelation and when we mean the conclusive part of the revelation, because, keep in mind this, this idea of dividing knowledge into conclusive and

00:26:09--> 00:26:45

conjectural or conclusive and speculative is very important. Because when we talk about conflict between reason and Revelation, which part of Revelation and which part of reason is an important question to ask ourselves, when you talk about conflict between reason, a revelation is revelation, one undifferentiated category? No, is reason one undifferentiated category? No, then you need to ask yourself, What are you talking about which of the deliverances of reason or revelation? So we understand, for instance,

00:26:46--> 00:26:58

that when it comes to the revelation, in order for something to be conclusive copy, it has to be certain in transmission, and it has to be certain in

00:26:59--> 00:27:38

implication, you know, it should be clear like this, this sun in the middle of a summer day, implement implication, and its transmission has to be definitive, as well. So that's the part of the revelation that we call conclusive. Whatever we can, quote, we call conclusive when it comes to reason as what we did already talk about, not basically what the majority or the elites or the graduates of a particular philosophy, philosophical school tells you, this is reasonable, not reasonable, rational, not rational, it is what the human concurrence, you know, on the validity of

00:27:39--> 00:27:53

some facts or inborn knowledge. Now, if this is what we are talking about the conclusive indications of the revelation, that conclusive indications of reason,

00:27:54--> 00:27:55

we

00:27:58--> 00:28:17

claim that there should never be a conflict between them should never be a conflict between them, what appears to you to be a conflict, you know, in and certainly throughout the history, to be honest with you, scholars have asked themselves this question, whatever there is a conflict

00:28:19--> 00:29:07

or like an apparent conflict, or at least an apparent conflict between the deliverances of philosophy and the, you know, teachings of the revelation, teachings of the revelation and people came up with different theories. So, you find someone like farabi, for instance, and of neurosis, they have this belief or this sort of proposition that we have a two fold truth, that the these revelations spoke in rhetorical language, similes, parables, rhetorical language, for the understanding of the masses. And philosophy speaks in demonstrative discourse for the philosophically schooled intellect, and this is called the twofold truth. And it is actually, you

00:29:07--> 00:29:47

know, the the cornerstone of a very wisdom that lasted in Europe for several centuries, and was adopted by some philosophers in Europe and followed by Thomas Aquinas and the church and so on. But this is, this is one way of looking at it. Are they right? No, we believe that it is not right. We believe that the simple language of the revelation is miraculous because it is simple without compromising its integrity. And it is meant to be simple, simple, because we believe in egalitarian epistemology, that the foundation of foundational

00:29:49--> 00:29:53

knowledge about God, the Hereafter,

00:29:54--> 00:29:56

this life, you know,

00:29:57--> 00:30:00

the basics of morality, this foundation,

00:30:00--> 00:30:26

And knowledge should be should enjoy an equal opportunity access sort of like an equal opportunity to to all people, whether they are the elites or the masses, the lady or the scholars and so on and so forth. The foundational concepts, therefore, it is miraculous of the revelation to speak in a language that is accessible

00:30:27--> 00:30:44

and perfect at the same time, that will deliver all the meanings that need to be delivered without the jargon of philosophers, right. That is, you know, simplicity is not a defect. Simplicity is

00:30:45--> 00:30:48

a sign or a manifestation of excellence.

00:30:50--> 00:30:50

But then,

00:30:52--> 00:30:54

you know, some of the scholars like in the

00:30:56--> 00:31:05

what, what is this saying to me, like, I have eight minutes, what is it saying? I'm over by eight minutes, or I have eight minutes? Hmm, I have nine minutes left. Okay.

00:31:12--> 00:31:14

Okay, so and

00:31:15--> 00:32:01

so you have something called the tunnel Collie. You know, this discussion has been an ongoing discussion. And the beauty of this religion is that we don't have a pope. So we don't have someone to say, this is what you guys all have to believe. Isn't this beautiful? It is beautiful. Because if we believe in the finality of the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu sallam, then we should not have a pope. Right. That multilateral discourse between the scholars throughout you know the history of Islam and the different disciplines is what defined mainstream. The mainstream was defined by a multilateral discourse between the scholars throughout them

00:32:02--> 00:32:09

in various disciplines and in various fields. So if you know I've narosa said this Razi

00:32:10--> 00:32:13

Rahim, Allah tala. In assassin studies,

00:32:15--> 00:32:46

he came up with something that he called the universal law and canonically or the universal law, he said, A Friesan and the revelation or the apparent implications, the apparent implications of Revelation, conflict, then we either accepted them both, which would be impossible, or rejected them both, which would be senseless or accept, give precedence to reason over revelation

00:32:48--> 00:33:44

or give precedence to Revelation over reason. So we will have to give precedence to one over the other. He said, If we give precedence, to read to read the revelation over reason, then we are undercutting undermining the revelation itself. Because the revelation is grounded in reason. We came to know that this revelation is true, because it was grounded in reason. You know, because because our intellect, we have examined this revelation, and our intellects have guided us to believing in the veracity and the truthfulness of the message and the messenger. Therefore, if we now accept, if we now give precedence to Revelation over reason, then we are undermining both reason

00:33:44--> 00:33:47

and the revelation that was grounded in reason.

00:33:49--> 00:34:13

That sounds very plausible. But, but that is also problematic, now came in at any time era law and wrote a 10 volume book called The dark era that ocular nakhla refutation of conflict between reason and revelation 10 volume book, basically, to address and canonically to address the universal law. And he's,

00:34:14--> 00:34:42

you know, much of what I already told you that reason is not one undifferentiated category. Revelation is not one undifferentiated category, when they can, when they appear to conflict that is, first to verify what is conclusive. If we have a conclusive indiquant of reason, and a speculative end, they can have the revelation give priority to the conclusive indicative reason,

00:34:44--> 00:34:59

over the speculative proof of the revelation if we have a conclusive proof of the revelation and a speculative and keep in mind, he also makes it very hard for you to have a conclusive proof of reason.

00:35:00--> 00:35:24

Because we see that much of what we believe is reason or the certain deliverances of reason are speculative, not certain, they are certain when they enjoy human concurrence. Okay. He said, if there is a, if you have a conclusive proof in from the revelation and a speculative one from reason, give

00:35:26--> 00:36:22

precedence to the conclusive proof of the revelation. So, the binary here is not reason and Revelation, the binary here is what conclusive versus speculative, wherever the conclusive indications are, give precedence to what is conclusive over what is conjectural or over what is speculative. That makes sense. He even went as far as saying that when there is speculative versus speculative, speculative versus speculative, look for what is probative, what is stronger, and give, you know, precedence to what is stronger. But he said that the challenge here The challenge here is to come up with one one thing, where there is an error results of irresolvable conflict between the

00:36:22--> 00:36:51

conclusive indicates of the revelation and the conclusive indicates of reason. This is my challenge to you come up with one and let me answer it in the last three minutes that I have come up with a conflict that is irresolvable between the certain deliverances of reason and the certain implications of the text of Revelation.

00:36:52--> 00:37:09

And since I did not receive that challenge, I will actually say that there is no conflict between the certain deliverances of reason and the certain implications of the text of Revelation.

00:37:10--> 00:37:12

If you if you think of one

00:37:13--> 00:37:23

we will have a q&a session tomorrow and after tomorrow, and let's talk about it inshallah put up all the other stuff by the alchemist, Shiva Laila headlands virgata

00:37:24--> 00:37:26

Bismillah