Atheism, Faith and The Purpose of Life
Channel: Mohammed Hijab
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I want to live in a castle.
It's good to be back here in Canada. I was just here two weeks ago, saw some familiar faces when I was coming in. And I want to jump straight into the topic at hand because it's a very important topic. And one which strikes at the heart of, I would say new orientalist discourse,
which, in the West, many people have been trying to promulgate. And it's the idea here that,
first of all, is a presupposition
that Muslims or religious people in general have faith, which is true, we do have faith. The Quran says, I live in a maneuverable vibe, the ones who believe in the unseen, so we do have faith in the unseen, for example.
But something which is not emphasized enough, in my opinion, but which is very much known in philosophical traditions, is that everyone has faith. Absolutely, everyone has faith. I mean, you just need to pick up a basic book on philosophy, like the problems of philosophy by Bertrand Russell, who was an atheist, and one of the biggest,
you know, people who criticize religious movements,
to realize this point that faith is something which can either be true or false. It doesn't mean that just because you have faith, that the idea of having faith is tantamount to, for example, having false faith, which is which is almost a narrative that we're exposed to nowadays.
Especially, as I say, with the new new orientalist liberal kind of new atheist mix that we're exposed to.
Every everyday almost the reality is everyone has faith in something, even things which are quite solid, or at least we perceive them to be quite solid.
Actually, based on axioms and theorem, like for example, mathematics. I mean, we have a lot of faith in mathematics. Now one could argue, on mathematics is something which can be demonstrated. But the reality is this is that mathematics has axioms and theorems. And that's well known. axioms, by definition, are things which cannot be proven. That's how you define an axiom, a theorem can be based on an axiom is something which is unproven. Therefore, in order for us to do mathematics, we need to have some faith in axioms or mathematical axioms. Now, that situation is amplified and exacerbated with the scientific method, you have to have faith in science, especially non observable
science, and especially what I would call historical science. Atheists make it seem as if,
for example, the theory of evolution is something which is undisputed.
And something which has to be believed in, by anyone who is intelligent. Now, I would say, Fine, you have evidences, you have DNA, you have RNA, you have fossil records.
But you also have to do some kind of inference. And that is something which requires faith, and there's no doubt about that. There is zero doubt about that. What story are you creating from the fossils that you have?
And is that story, the only story that can be created from the fossils that you have?
and this is where we need to start owning the conversation, because nowadays,
we're always put on the backfoot. You Muslims base your life on faith. And by the way, the same thing is being said about Christians. And we atheists, for example, base our life on the evidence, no, no, no, this is a caricature, broad understanding and a false understanding, a philosophically fallacious understanding of the reality of the placement of faith.
In the grand scheme of things, it's not the case that Muslims and Christians and Jews are the only ones who have faith. In fact, all of us have faith.
Now, the real question is, what do we base or do we anchor our faith on? That is the question you see. Now I'm not advocating obviously, is that we should do away with mathematics, and do away with science. We believe in mathematics, we believe in science. We believe in rationality, we believe in logic. We take those leaps of faith every day. But it doesn't stop us from realizing that there is a probabilistic reason for doing that. Most people act in a way
which shows certainty even on things which on philosophical grounds, could be criticized or scrutinized.
And the reason why is because simply that the weight of evidence when presented
can be accepted, can be accepted. So
the point is on a philosophical level, everyone has faith. This is the kind of conclusion of the first part of this talk. Everyone has some kind of faith somewhere.
Now the question is now this is the question we need to assess for ourselves
and also get the wider society to kind of assess as well is what kind of faith is acceptable faith? And what kind of faith is unacceptable faith?
Now the Quran answers our question and it does so in a beautiful way. And actually it also more than one way so I'm going to recite some verses from the Quran, translate those verses and explain what I what why these verses are relevant to this discussion.
So Allah subhanho wa Taala he says, As soon as the moment on the end of chapter 23 and verses 115 onwards, he says,
By the human eye shape on euro Jean
fmic bitumen fall upon komaba.
have lunch in in
Arambula Oh, she'll carry him. Let's take this part.
And think about it.
do we think or does human beings think or have they thought that they were created agathon
purposeless and that they will not come to us and and return to us? For Tyler LaHood medical glory beats Allah, the Melek who's the king and hot who is the truth? La Ilaha Illa who there is no god worthy of worship except for him? Rob Bulava and Kareem The one who is the Lord of the generous throne. What am I a law healer and for Allah Monaghan, Allah who will be in
welcome Ron bill field one will hum for you Oh, he mean, Allah says then, and who was it?
offering someone to correct me? I might be wrong here. The point is Allah subhanho wa Taala says,
well, Mejia Del Mar, la isla and fr a level handle ob This is very important. And this is very powerful. Because this goes to the question of proof. Okay. And by the way, this shows you that Islam Yes, it's a religion of faith, but it's also a religion of proof. Just like mathematics, in many ways,
is a field of knowledge which is concerned with truth. At the same time, you do have to have faithfulness.
Listen to this, he says,
Well, maiya dama la isla Hannah Horan, whoever calls with Allah, another Gods lab or Han Allahu be that he has no proof for this is very important for in Maha Sabha winder obey. So his his app or his reckoning will be with his route, in the whole life level careful on that certainly the care of your own. The disbelievers in regards to this will not be successful.
Now this is a very hard hitting and powerful air. And I want to explain why. Allah subhanho wa Taala. He says, And the key the showerhead, here are the key points underline is whoever worships besides Allah, a God where there's no proof for
the point is this is that proof is required in order for us to come to faith.
And proof is required for other people to call us to their respective faith. And that's why the Quran says what a document contains or the pin. Bring your evidence if you are truthful. Truth and evidence is at the heart of Islamic inquiry.
And that's why in the same surah Allah subhanho wa Taala he gives a logical argument for why God is one. This is very powerful. And while I've done a lot of research on this matter, this is the best argument for why God is one Allah subhanaw taala says, but
my de haut de la homeo
ganim amin Isla is in kulu Isla de Mafalda power Allah
Bom bom, bom. So handle e m lc foon
le Mila ye we're sure that if
you should recall, Allah says Allah has not taken
a son and he hasn't taken another god. Besides him as a god, why isn't leather have kulu ella and Bhima Halak, each of if that was the case, if there was more than one, ultimate creator, each of those creators would have taken that wish he created? In other words, if you have if the definition of God is that he's the ultimate creator, and there was more than one such ultimate creator, then there would be what you would call tenez. Or, or there would be a conflict in regards to the to the things that are in creation? Who owns the Dominion would be the question? And the answer would not have one clear answer. There'd be many different entities do well, in that case, there is no one
creator, there's no one ultimate creator. But the definition of God has to be that there is an ultimate creator. But you can't have two ultimate creators, because you have to ultimate creators lalla.
Bomb, then each of those ultimate creators would have taught tried to outstrip one another
for power, you can't have more than one ultimate creator. And you can't have more than one ultimate power, because by definition that would contradict the fact that you have one all powerful one all able, and one all willful creator, let me give you an example. For example,
let's use an easy example of someone driving a car, right? If you had two steering wheels, and both drivers had different wheels,
the car would not be going in one specific direction it would be it would be kind of stagnant from that perspective, the car could not drive properly. And in the same way, if there was two steers of the Dominion or organizers of the Dominion from a teleological perspective, then we would not have organization.
And that's why the France is the facilitator that the heavens and earth would have been destroyed. Therefore, we can prove we can prove not only that God exists through logical argumentation, but we can prove that he's won.
The Quran says I'm holding human why Russia in a hole holophone. Osama bin Laden was a created from nothing, or were they the creators of themselves.
Giving a logical argument you couldn't have been here and not here. At the same time.
As Hamza also says
Hamza sources, the CO viruses, it's like a mother giving birth to herself. How can a mother give birth to herself? It's like, you know, how, how can you? How can the universe create itself, that's a non option was the other option that the universe came from nothing, that's a non option, because it's illogical, not acceptable. Therefore, there must have been some creator. So we can prove God exists, we can prove that God is one.
Our faith is based on proof. And he is can't do anything. All this is can say, and this is called negative atheism. You just say, Look, I'm not satisfied with the evidences.
Why not? Well, because it requires a leap, a leap of faith, or so does mathematics. And so the science and so there's all these, all these other things, right? So why have you accepted those leaps of faith and not this one, both of them are based on some kind of deduction, right? And inference, at the end of the day, when you're operating on a daily basis, you're basing your life on inference making, it's called inference to the best explanation. So you're coming home. If I put a dog, if I put food, if you have a dog at home, and I put you know,
food in the dog bowl,
I come back, and, and the dog bowl is empty. The inference of the best explanation for me will be the dog ate the food.
Right? Not my wife ate the food, or my dad ate the food. You know, and this is a basic thing. But I could be an ultra skeptic on this point and say, hold on. Now, is it conceivable that my mom ate the food? Yes, it could be because, you know, she could or could it be that? But the thing is, we make those inferences on a daily basis. Now, those instances are not ironclad inferences. I mean, they're subject to criticism. And if we want it to be hyper skeptical about them, we could be the point is this is that number one, yes, we do have faith and we admit that we have faith and a sophisticated philosopher atheists will have to admit that he has faith as well or
Like they're all with God, by faith and other things is existence,
which you can't prove demonstratively. By the way, you can't prove your own existence. It's impossible because this first person, you can't really prove it, it's very difficult to prove. The best we've got in philosophy is I think, therefore I am, which is the Cogito, which has been actually attacked by nature, that's a different thing, by the way. But the point is, even that can be attacked, your own existence can be attacked, you have faith in your own existence, because you experience your own existence.
So from that perspective, anything can be doubted. Well, not everything should be. And this is the key principle. The key principle is that anything can be doubted, but that not everything should be doubted. And if you employ the hyper skeptical approach to all of these other things that you do in life, which I can definitely from a philosophical perspective, cast aspersions on,
then in that case, there's not much to be said, about religion that's different from those things that you do on a daily basis.
Because when you say is Islam or Christianity, whatever, maybe you Christianity has been disproven by that verse, by the way, because we said Christianity, but trinitarianism
is problematic, because they do actually postulate that you have three all powers, which is impossible and one at the same time. But having said that, if you
say, and this is the discourse, we're hearing, you require a leap of faith in order to be a believer.
And therefore, it's not as it's not as appropriate. It's not as
it's not as scientific or whatever, maybe it's not as rational for for me to be a religious person as it is for example, to be a secularist or an atheist
Right. So if that is if that is what is being said.
Then in that case, one is being disingenuous with themselves.
Okay, good. So since I shouldn't say Good one. But you know, the point is that so now, now, we talked about, number one, the problems with talking about faith and doubt, as if it's an exclusive enterprise of religion. Then we talked about how actually faith and faith, uncertainty or faith and proof are not
are not dualisms or dichotomies. In other words, they're not two separate things which cannot be reconciled. They can be contra distinct, they don't have to necessarily be contradictory. They're not contradictions in terms. Now, the third thing is the all important questions, which relate to existence. And I'm going to finish with this because I know the time is running short. And this is very important. Now the all important questions which relate to existence? Now, the question is, is there a purpose of life? And this is the one of the most powerful questions that you can ask, is the most, I believe, is the most powerful question that you can ask, actually, I'm going to be doing a
talk on this question and the purpose of life, some of them give too much away. But the point is this. The point is, when we asked this fundamental, ultimate question, we're not asking, have you got a purpose of life? These are two different questions. If you say, Have you got a purpose of life that appeals to subjective purpose, which means it can be subject to individualization personalization. So in other words, me either my purpose and you, you have your purpose. That's why if you go to the streets of Toronto, which I have done Now, many times, I've actually asked people what the purpose of life is, you're likely to find that you have a varied response. So for example,
someone will say to you, the purpose of life for me is to be to be in love, and to give love or something, or to make money or to be happy or to spread happiness or to spread peace wherever it may be.
And these are referred to as positive or think, at least purposes of life, but you can envisage negative ones as well. You can think of someone saying or negative ones
being a serial killer being a pedophile or that is now under the overarching
point of subjective purpose. Everyone has an individualized or personalized purpose of life. The question is not Have you got a purpose of life? Therefore, the question is, is there a purpose of life? Is there one fixed purpose?
Is there one fixed purpose or not? Now an atheist can't actually answer that question meaningfully at all for example, because an atheist has no fixed purpose that they can substantiate through any mechanism? We as Muslims have a fixed purpose and the Quran is very powerful in this regard. Allah subhanaw taala For example, He says in the Quran, so to me, he says,
but I will learn English on you know, Jean, I asked
my tutor I guess who the a rock as
some again Allah
Allah offers so Virgil I mean who's with Janie
la says Allah gave me all the
last panel dialysis does the human being think that he has been left aimless. Because think about this, Allah is very, very, very convincing, and is the most convincing if you just think about the Ayat of Allah subhanho wa Taala. And especially in reference to Huck and Barton are like the Quranic arguments, I can tell you this from experience and reading tons of books from the Hellenistic period up until the Enlightenment period, there is no argument that can be found relating to God's existence and the purpose of life, which can supersede the chronic argument while lying, just look at it with a critical eye or with an open mind you'll find that it's very powerful. Allah says, Yes,
I will insert a Utah console that does the human being think that he can be left aimless lm yaku notify me many young man was he not a sperm drop emitted. So McKenna Allah, Allah office hour, then he became a clause. And then he created from that I in the human being, and the proportion that now he Allah is making reference to the TEALS. Meaning to that which Allah did through nature for the use of, let's say, for instance, humankind, the idea that there was some kind of guided process, through nature.
And I've been thinking about these verses for a very long time, a lot equates the guided process, that he facilitates through nature, with the purpose of human life. So in other words, the cosmos has been guided through precision through proportionality, that Allah subhanaw taala precisely chose,
if you like, the frequency of the universe, how everything should be operating. And in a nutshell, without going too much details on fine tuning or whatever, Allah basically organized, he organized the universe. And he organized it in such a way as now, we can say these are the laws of, for instance, physics. And just in the same way as that we have laws of nature, though, we can call the laws of physics if you want as well, which are a series of patterns that we observe the cosmological environment in that same way that everything is submitting to the laws.
The purpose of human life does not differ from that perspective, from that Quranic perspective, from the purpose of every other thing in creation.
It doesn't differ. So in other words, what is the purpose of life for human beings is the same purpose of life for everything other than human, everything in the universe.
Everything is submissive to the will,
or everything is submissive to the laws.
And so that's why Allah subhanaw taala says,
we'll always have to work
faster that is to allow to Imam V in Bella Jain.
Allah says, if the heavens and the earth had been following their desires to help the whole heavens and earth would have been destroyed, that we sent them with the truth.
But that's basically him.
End of the day, it was the McGregor. Yeah. Give us up. Come on with our father Johnson. Why is it?
de creme orizon. Well as a busy Creme de creme on your own. Now, last one. Thank you so much for that. Yes.
I challenge the sheer he came three minutes. The point is this is that Allah subhanho wa Taala.
Yes, he's saying that if
this is very powerful, had the universe and its organization been subject to a chaotic order, like the desires of men, then there would be no organization of the universe in the same way. Now the universe has to follow a certain order. But now the human being has to follow the same, that same order as well. The only difference between human beings and jinn on the one hand and the rest of creation is that we're given a choice. But the same thing applies what's the purpose of life, the purpose of life
For us, and Jen has the same purpose of life. As for everything else around us, the stars, the Milky Way's the universe and so on and so forth, which is submissive submissiveness to the law. And in this case, the law of Allah, the law of Allah, the lawmaker, the lawmaker. So from this perspective, our purpose is not inconsistent or incongruent with the rest of the creation around us. Our purpose can be,
in fact, actually, the question on purpose can be inferred as a question, which is like this, we can ask, is our purpose any more or any less different from the purpose of everything around us? By the way, the atheist? Actually, quite frankly, interestingly, right, the atheist materialist, and the Muslim has the same exact answer to the same question, if you think it from that perspective, because atheists, materialists will say, we are carbon, everything around us as carbon were made from atoms, everything around us is atoms, and therefore, we're not any different from everything around us. Right? And so anything that happens to me is a rearrangement of atoms. That's neurons,
we're saying, Yes, we are the same as everything around us. And so much as we also agree that we are the same in everything around us, but in so much, as well, as we're both subject to the same rules and regulations. Well, we can decide to subject ourselves to those rules or regulations or not to, that's the main point of demarcation between us and the hub, or the inanimate hug. The Quran says that Allah has caused human beings has caused everything around us to be submissive, willingly,
willingly or unwillingly. But as for the human being has been given a choice. So from every point
of time to hate, from a logical and rational perspective, we can actually prove, demonstrate that this makes sense, from every perspective, it makes sense that God exists, because we couldn't come from nothing, and the universe. And we as individuals couldn't create ourselves. It makes sense God is one because there can't be more than one or powerful one, all, ultimate creator. Otherwise, there'd be conflict between such ultimate creators, as such conflict would indicate weakness in at least one of them.
Which means both of them are not the ultimate creators, or at least one of them isn't. And if one of them isn't, than the other one is, and therefore there's only one. So one, gods. The third thing is, what is the purpose of life, and you have two options. There is a purpose and objective, fixed anchored purpose, there isn't a purpose.
And we're saying there is a purpose, and it does not differ from the purpose of everything else around us, considering the fact that there's a law maker, there's a lawmaker, and there's a law, and the point of human existence is to follow the law. and by extension, we submit ourselves to those those laws and to the lawmaker. And therefore, the purpose of life is to submit our will to God. However, during that,
there was someone to say, Well, I have doubts in X, Y, and Zed. But when you get those foundations solidified in your mind,
then really everything else can be quite easy, because the truth is, if the if the roots are strong, usually the tree can be quite healthy, right? You can't build castles on thin air. And so the first thing that if you if you find, to answer the question, that you're having doubts in the religion of Islam, instead of trying to deal with individual things, which are sometimes important, we have to go to the core to the fundamentals to the foundations, and we will find that everything is answerable. Not only that, but everything is logical, and more so than everything else that has been presented of options from atheists, policies, pansies and every list. And that's why we say Islam is
not only faith, but a certain faith, and there's no contradiction between the two is not only faith, but proved faith, and there's no contradiction between the two.
And with that, desikan lo, hi Ron was Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah