by Dr. Zakir Naik
CONGRATULATING AN ATHEIST
Normally, when I meet an atheist, the first thing I like to do is to
congratulate him and say, " My special congratulations to you",
because most of the people who believe in God are doing blind belief
- he is a Christian, because his father is a Christian; he is a
Hindu, because his father is a Hindu; the majority of the people in
the world are blindly following the religion of their fathers. An
atheist, on the other hand, even though he may belong to a religious
family, uses his intellect to deny the existence of God; what ever
concept or qualities of God he may have learnt in his religion may
not seem to be logical to him.
My Muslim brothers
may question me, "Zakir, why are you congratulating an atheist?" The
reason that I am congratulating an atheist is because he agrees with
the first part of the Shahada i.e. the Islamic Creed, ‘La
ilaaha’ - meaning ‘there is no God’. So half my job is already
done; now the only part left is ‘il lallah’ i.e. ‘BUT ALLAH’
which I shall do Insha Allah. With others (who are not
atheists) I have to first remove from their minds the wrong concept
of God they may have and then put the correct concept of one true
LOGICAL CONCEPT OF GOD
My first question to the atheist will be: "What is the definition of
God?" For a person to say there is no God, he should know what is
the meaning of God. If I hold a book and say that ‘this is a pen’,
for the opposite person to say, ‘it is not a pen’, he should know
what is the definition of a pen, even if he does not know nor is
able to recognise or identify the object I am holding in my hand.
For him to say this is not a pen, he should at least know what a pen
means. Similarly for an atheist to say ‘there is no God’, he should
at least know the concept of God. His concept of God would be
derived from the surroundings in which he lives. The god that a
large number of people worship has got human qualities - therefore
he does not believe in such a god. Similarly a Muslim too does not
and should not believe in such false gods.
If a non-Muslim
believes that Islam is a merciless religion with something to do
with terrorism; a religion which does not give rights to women; a
religion which contradicts science; in his limited sense that
non-Muslim is correct to reject such Islam. The problem is he has a
wrong picture of Islam. Even I reject such a false picture of Islam,
but at the same time, it becomes my duty as a Muslim to present the
correct picture of Islam to that non-Muslim i.e. Islam is a merciful
religion, it gives equal rights to the women, it is not incompatible
with logic, reason and science; if I present the correct facts about
Islam, that non-Muslim may Inshallah accept Islam.
Similarly the atheist
rejects the false gods and the duty of every Muslim is to present
the correct concept of God which he shall Insha Allah not
(You may refer to my
article, ‘Concept of God in Islam’, for more details)
QUR’AN AND MODERN SCIENCE
The methods of proving the existence of God with usage of the
material provided in the ‘Concept of God in Islam’ to an atheist may
satisfy some but not all.
Many atheists demand
a scientific proof for the existence of God. I agree that today is
the age of science and technology. Let us use scientific knowledge
to kill two birds with one stone, i.e. to prove the existence of God
and simultaneously prove that the Qur’an is a revelation of God.
If a new object or a
machine, which no one in the world has ever seen or heard of before,
is shown to an atheist or any person and then a question is asked, "
Who is the first person who will be able to provide details of the
mechanism of this unknown object? After little bit of thinking, he
will reply, ‘the creator of that object.’ Some may say ‘the
producer’ while others may say ‘the manufacturer.’ What ever answer
the person gives, keep it in your mind, the answer will always be
either the creator, the producer, the manufacturer or some what of
the same meaning, i.e. the person who has made it or created it.
Don’t grapple with words, whatever answer he gives, the meaning will
be same, therefore accept it.
FACTS MENTIONED IN THE QUR’AN:
for details on this subject please refer to my book, ‘THE QUR’AN AND
MODERN SCIENCE – COMPATIBLE OR INCOMPATIBLE?
THEORY OF PROBABILITY
In mathematics there is a theory known as ‘Theory of Probability’.
If you have two options, out of which one is right, and one is
wrong, the chances that you will chose the right one is half, i.e.
one out of the two will be correct. You have 50% chances of being
correct. Similarly if you toss a coin the chances that your guess
will be correct is 50% (1 out of 2) i.e. 1/2. If you toss a coin the
second time, the chances that you will be correct in the second toss
is again 50% i.e. half. But the chances that you will be correct in
both the tosses is half multiplied by half (1/2 x 1/2) which is
equal to 1/4 i.e. 50% of 50% which is equal to 25%. If you toss a
coin the third time, chances that you will be correct all three
times is (1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2) that is 1/8 or 50% of 50% of 50% that is
A dice has got six
sides. If you throw a dice and guess any number between 1 to 6, the
chances that your guess will be correct is 1/6. If you throw the
dice the second time, the chances that your guess will be correct in
both the throws is (1/6 x 1/6) which is equal to 1/36. If you throw
the dice the third time, the chances that all your three guesses are
correct is (1/6 x 1/6 x 1/6) is equal to 1/216 that is less than 0.5
Let us apply this
theory of probability to the Qur’an, and assume that a person has
guessed all the information that is mentioned in the Qur’an which
was unknown at that time. Let us discuss the probability of all the
guesses being simultaneously correct.
At the time when the
Qur’an was revealed, people thought the world was flat, there are
several other options for the shape of the earth. It could be
triangular, it could be quadrangular, pentagonal, hexagonal,
heptagonal, octagonal, spherical, etc. Lets assume there are about
30 different options for the shape of the earth. The Qur’an rightly
says it is spherical, if it was a guess the chances of the guess
being correct is 1/30.
The light of the moon
can be its own light or a reflected light. The Qur’an rightly says
it is a reflected light. If it is a guess, the chances that it will
be correct is 1/2 and the probability that both the guesses i.e the
earth is spherical and the light of the moon is reflected light is
1/30 x 1/2 = 1/60.
Further, the Qur’an
also mentions every living thing is made of water. Every living
thing can be made up of either wood, stone, copper, aluminum, steel,
silver, gold, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, oil, water, cement,
concrete, etc. The options are say about 10,000. The Qur’an rightly
says that everything is made up of water. If it is a guess, the
chances that it will be correct is 1/10,000 and the probability of
all the three guesses i.e. the earth is spherical, light of moon is
reflected light and everything is created from water being correct
is 1/30 x 1/2 x 1/10,000 = 1/60,000 which is equal to about .0017%.
The Qur’an speaks
about hundreds of things that were not known to men at the time of
its revelation. Only in three options the result is .0017%. I leave
it upto you, to work out the probability if all the hundreds of the
unknown facts were guesses, the chances of all of them being correct
guesses simultaneously and there being not a single wrong guess. It
is beyond human capacity to make all correct guesses without a
single mistake, which itself is sufficient to prove to a logical
person that the origin of the Qur’an is Divine.
CREATOR IS THE AUTHOR OF THE QUR’AN
The only logical answer to the question as to who could have
mentioned all these scientific facts 1400 years ago before they were
discovered, is exactly the same answer initially given by the
atheist or any person, to the question who will be the first person
who will be able to tell the mechanism of the unknown object. It is
the ‘CREATOR’, the producer, the Manufacturer of the whole universe
and its contents. In the English language He is ‘God’, or more
appropriate in the Arabic language, ‘ALLAH’.
QUR’AN IS A BOOK OF SIGNS AND NOT SCIENCE
Let me remind you that the Qur’an is not a book of Science,
‘S-C-I-E-N-C-E’ but a book of Signs ‘S-I-G-N-S’ i.e. a book of
ayaats. The Qur’an contains more than 6,000 ayaats, i.e.
‘signs’, out of which more than a thousand speak about Science. I am
not trying to prove that the Qur’an is the word of God using
scientific knowledge as a yard stick because any yardstick is
supposed to be more superior than what is being checked or verified.
For us Muslims the Qur’an is the Furqan i.e. criteria to
judge right from wrong and the ultimate yardstick which is more
superior to scientific knowledge.
But for an educated
man who is an atheist, scientific knowledge is the ultimate test
which he believes in. We do know that science many a times takes ‘U’
turns, therefore I have restricted the examples only to scientific
facts which have sufficient proof and evidence and not scientific
theories based on assumptions. Using the ultimate yardstick of the
atheist, I am trying to prove to him that the Qur’an is the word of
God and it contains the scientific knowledge which is his yardstick
which was discovered recently, while the Qur’an was revealed 1400
year ago. At the end of the discussion, we both come to the same
conclusion that God though superior to science, is not incompatible
SCIENCE IS ELIMINATING MODELS OF GOD BUT NOT GOD
Francis Bacon, the famous philosopher, has rightly said that a
little knowledge of science makes man an atheist, but an in-depth
study of science makes him a believer in God. Scientists today are
eliminating models of God, but they are not eliminating God. If you
translate this into Arabic, it is La illaha illal la, There
is no god, (god with a small ‘g’ that is fake god) but God (with a
"Soon We will show
them our signs in the (farthest) regions (of the earth), and in
their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the
Truth. Is it not enough that thy Lord doth witness all things?"