What does it mean to exist? Philosophers, theologians and even scientists have debated this question for millennia and have come up with a variety of responses. Ultimately, all of us try to give meaning to our lives by looking to experience happiness, peace and tranquility. The only difference is in the mode in which we try to achieve this. Are we just a collection of molecules obeying our biological makeup? Does this make us any different from a shoal of fish or a herd of sheep? Are not the struggles of the politician to achieve peace in the world or the endeavours of molecular biologists to help find a cure for cancer meaningless and amount to nothing if our ends are the same? To try and address these questions, pondering on the nature of our existence may aid in finding answers.
The First Principle – Nothing cannot create something.
A nonentity which does not have an existence is unable to create something given that it itself does not exist. If we examine things that come to life on a daily basis, and ponder on all that occurs: the blowing of the winds, rainfall, the alternation of night and day; and if we examine the periodic events such as the orderly orbital travels of the planets, it is irrational to conclude that all of this is the work of nothing. The Second Principle – what has been created reveals characteristics of its maker.
Everything inherently portrays either the ability, or a characteristic, of its creator. It is impossible to find within a created object something beyond the realm of the creator or his ability to engineer, for example, if you see a wooden door that has been made to perfection you will know that its creator possessed wood, that this creator can piece together the material in an orderly manner, that he is able to make the wood smooth by sanding it, and that he has experience in the making of doors.
“‘Indeed, within the heavens and earth are signs for the believers. And in your creation and what He disperses of moving creatures are signs for people who are certain [in faith]. And [in] the alternation of night and day and [in] what God sends down from the sky of provision [i.e., rain] and gives life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and [in His] directing of the winds are signs for a people who reason. These are the verses of Allah which We recite to you in truth. Then in what statement after God and His verses will they believe?”
The All-KnowingIf analyzing the embryos of animals it is important to note that eyes have been created within the wombs where it is pitch black, although eyes cannot see without light. This indicates that the one who creates eyes in the womb knows very well that these embryos will emerge in a world where there is light; its formation in the embryonic stage has been specifically prepared to be suitable for its life. Another point to ponder is the balance between the number of males and females - you will always see the numbers equal.
“Does He who created not know, while He is the Subtle, the Acquainted?”
The ProviderIn the depths and darkness of the womb the Provider brings us our provision ripe and broken down from the umbilical cord. Once the baby is born and the cord is cut, the Provider brings about nourishment for the newborn through the breast of the child’s mother. He gives the baby the intuition to extract that nourishment by sucking, and yet it cannot see, hear or understand.Thereafter Allah provides his servants with all manner of vegetation and trees that yield fruits from water, soil and air. Allah facilitates the Sun for vegetation so that it can complete the making of its fruit and crops that are required by humans and animals.Such provision would not be available if God had not delivered fresh water, prepared fertile land for seeding, and caused the right atmospheric conditions and climate to enable the yield of vegetation. So, when food is eaten and digested, the Provider delivers its nutrients to every part of the body, whether it is the centre of the brain, the surface of one's skin, or deep within the bone marrow.Indeed the Provider has assumed the task of securing provision. He delivers the necessary nutrients for fish to the depths of the oceans; he delivers the necessary nutrients for insects to the insides of rocks; he delivers the necessary nutrients for embryos to the darkness of the wombs and He delivers the provision of baby plants to the inside of seeds. God says,“And there is no creature on earth but that upon God is its provision, and He knows its place of dwelling and place of storage. All is in a clear register.”
The GuideIf you examine your eyelashes, you will notice that you upper eye lashes reach upwards and your lower eye lashes extend downwards. If the matter was opposite it would have disturbed one's vision. Who is it that guides every eye lash of every human being or animal other than God ? Who is it who guides the teeth of the upper jaw to extend downwards and the teeth of the lower jaw to extend upwards? Who is that guides the Sun, the Moon and stars along their orbits, and the birds on their distant migratory travels?
God says, “…who created and proportioned, and who destined and [then] guided.” Qur’an 87:2-3
The ProtectorThe One who guarded you from peril and danger while you were in the womb of your mother is the same one who protects your fragile brain with the strong case of bone. He is the One who protects the eyes with the surrounding bone, nose and cheeks; who protects the heart and lungs with the ribs. He is the One who does not task you with having to inhale and exhale, for were He to do that, you would not be able to achieve anything other than inhaling and exhaling, and if you were to be overcome by sleep you would stop breathing and die.
“Indeed my Lord is, over all things, Guardian.” Qur’an 11:57
The One and Only
The whole of existence bears witness that everything is the work of the only One True God. You will see that your food requires the work of your stomach and intestines. Doctors say that the function of the intestines requires the function of blood. The role of blood is dependent on air and respiration. Wholesome air is dependent on the function of plants and the plants are dependent on the presence of the Sun. The presence of the Sun is dependent on the presence of other planets and stars around it and so on. Hence the function of one thing is dependent on another, all the way back to one supreme cause.
God said,“God has not taken any son, nor has there ever been with Him any deity. [If there had been], then each deity would have taken what it created, and some of them would have sought to overcome others. Exalted is Allah above what they describe [concerning Him].” Qur’an 23:91
If there were other gods besides Allah, there would be a contest between them to command creation which would result in chaos among the heavens and earth. God says,“Had there been within the heavens and earth gods besides Allah they both would have been ruined. So exalted is Allah, Lord of the Throne, above what they describe.” Qur’an 21:22
The Third Principle -
One who lacks a thing cannot provide that thing, thus knowledge does not come from one who is ignorant because one who lacks a thing cannot present it.
Those who believe that nature created them contradict the intellect and reject the truth because the universe bears witness that its Creator is all-wise, all-knowing, all-acquainted, all-guiding, all-providing, all-protecting, all-merciful and the one and only.Who is the one who is characterized with attributes?We may thus conclude that if we reflect upon the universe and the creatures around us we find that everything testifies that a Creator made all of these. Just at the universe bears witness to all these indications, the Muslim bears witness along with creation and repeats this declaration with knowledge and certainty, and so proclaims, “I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped but God. The belief in ProphetsGod has sent His messengers to guide people to him, inviting them to worship Allah alone and to disbelieve in any other deities that people worship.
God says,“And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community) a Messenger (proclaiming):"Worship God(Alone), and avoid all false deities.”“And We did not send any Messenger before you but We inspired him (saying): There is no God but God.” Qur’an 43:45
All the messengers are humans and do not have the qualities of God, this fact is stressed in the Qur’an where God says,
“The Messiah, son of Mary, was nothing but a messenger; (other) messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of truth. They both used to eat food! Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded.” Qur’an 5:75
Why did God send messengers?God sent the messengers to establish and maintain the truth and to warn people against sectarianism in religions.
God says,“He (God) has ordained for you the same religion (submission to Him, or “al-Islâm”) which He ordained for Noah, and that which We have inspired in you (Muhammad), and that which We ordained for Abraham, Moses and Jesus saying you should establish religion, and make no sects out of it.” Qur’an 26:13
He sent Prophets to give the believers glad-tidings of everlasting contentment and pleasure in paradise, all as a reward for their obedience to God. They were also sent to warn the disbelievers of the consequence of their disbelief, to show them that their disbelief will not be excused, and that they (the messengers) will set a plea against them on the Day of Judgment.
God says, “Messengers as bearers of good news as well as of warning in order that mankind should have no plea against Allâh after the Messengers. And God is Ever All ¬Powerful, All¬ Wise.” Qur’an 4:165
God has sent them to be the perfect example of higher morals, and to show the people the correct way to worship, which should guide them to the straight way of God. He sent them to save the believers from differing about the prescribed fundamentals that guide their lives to the way of truth.
God says,“And We have not sent down the Book (the Qur'an) to you, except that you may explain clearly to them those things in which they differ, and as a guidance and mercy for people who believe.”The noble Qur’an 816:
Messengers are also sent to show people the good deeds that purify human souls and to instill goodness and righteousness in their hearts. How do we know that they are true prophets? Each Prophet has produced miracles that his nation was witness to, indeed, the Prophet Muhammad, the last of all prophets, was given a universal message whereas all the other prophets before him were bestowed messages in the form of scripture that were confined to their nations and era. Unlike the other Holy Scriptures, the Qur’an, God’s last word and testament to humanity has never been changed; the Qur’an presents accurate scientific verses which are supported by modern science although it was revealed 1400 years ago. A key example would be that of embryology - long before the microscopic telescope was invented, the Qur’an refers to the different stages of embryonic development.
says, “And certainly We created man of an extract of clay, Then We made him a small seed in a firm resting-place, Then We made the seed a clot, then We made the clot a lump of flesh, then We made (in) the lump of flesh bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, then We caused it to grow into another creation, so praised be Allah, the best of the creators. Then after that you will most surely die.” Qur’an 23:12-15
The Qur’an also gives a brief and wonderful account of the different stages of the universe’s creation, something scientists call the big-bang.
God says,“Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and Earth were joined entity, and we separated them and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe?” Qur’an 21:30
The presence of accurate scientific statements in the holy Qur’an is conclusive evidence that this book is of a divine nature sent by God who is fully aware of the secrets of creation, especially in light of the fact that the Prophet Muhammad was an illiterate man who lived in the mountainous desert, as well as there being no such scientific discussions at the time.
Dr. Alfred Kroner from the Johannes Gutenberg University said, “Thinking about where Muhammad came from, it is almost impossible that he could have known about things like the common origin of the universe, because scientists have only found that out within the last few years, and with very complicated and advanced technological methods.”