Jalsa Salana Speech - Farhan Iqbal, Missionary, Ottawa
Atheism on Trial: Exposing the Inconsistencies and Follies of Arguments Against God
دہریت کے خلاف عقلی دلائل
Assalaamu 'Alaikum wa Rahmatullah!
الَّذِیۡ خَلَقَ سَبۡعَ سَمٰوٰتٍ طِبَاقًا ؕ مَا تَرٰی فِیۡ خَلۡقِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ مِنۡ تَفٰوُتٍ ؕ فَارۡجِعِ الۡبَصَرَ ۙ ہَلۡ تَرٰی مِنۡ فُطُوۡرٍ ﴿۴﴾
ثُمَّ ارۡجِعِ الۡبَصَرَ کَرَّتَیۡنِ یَنۡقَلِبۡ اِلَیۡکَ الۡبَصَرُ خَاسِئًا وَّہُوَ حَسِیۡرٌ ﴿۵﴾
Let us imagine this stage today as a symbolic courtroom where we engage an atheist with a series of questions.
Atheism is on trial today, and I proudly stand as a defender of the countless wonders and blessings that faith in Allah Almighty offers.
Intelligent Design Argument
The atheist tells us that our world came to be without a Creator. That there was no Intelligent Being behind the birth of the universe. That our world is a result of mere chance. That the world is the work of a blind watchmaker.
Now, we ask our hypothetical atheist friend a series of questions:
- Could this stage on which I am standing have built itself?
- Could this mic into which I’m speaking come to be on its own?
- Could the complex system of wires and computers and large speakers that we are using in this hall today come to be as a result of natural selection?
- Could it have set itself up without the help of any experts or intelligent volunteers of the audio video department of Jalsa Salana?
- Could the hall in which we are sitting constructed itself through the arrangement of all the bricks and concrete perfectly placed in the right place?
Obviously, our atheist friend will tell us that all this complicated design and orderly construction could not have happened by itself. It requires intelligent, conscious experts!
So, we ask our atheist friend: Why is there a different standard for the birth of the universe, and intelligent life on earth?
Is it not the case that life is far more complex as compared to this mic, this stage and this building in which we are sitting?
Allah says in the Holy Quran:
He is the One Who has created seven heavens in harmony. No incongruity can you see in the creation of the Gracious God. Then look again: Do you see any flaw?
ثُمَّ ارۡجِعِ الۡبَصَرَ کَرَّتَیۡنِ
Aye, look again, and yet again, your sight will only return to you confused and fatigued. [67:4-5]
Our universe is a complex, perfectly ordered system that could not have come to be without an intelligent Creator.
So, we ask our atheist friend again, as Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rh) poses this question to an atheist, in his book, Revelation Rationality Knowledge and Truth:
Would you call your own mind a disorganized mass of grey cells?
Did the human mind, the human eye, or any other organ in the human body create itself out of mere chance?
The only frail answer our atheist friend can provide us is that life is not complex.
But let us think about that for a moment. Can we call life not complex, but this mic in front of me more complex?
Can we call life not complex, but this stage… this building more complex?
Can we call life not complex, but all the computers, gadgets, devices we use in the world today more complex?
Suppose we were to discover a Boeing 747 jet plane buried deep underground that was put there millions of years ago. Will our atheist friend now suggest to us that this plane built itself there bit by bit?
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rh) writes that:
“If any part of this machine was discovered from the archives of nature, to have been buried there for half a billion years, would [the atheist] then believe that time could have shaped it?”
He writes that: “[An atheist] may extend the time to any impossible number but he cannot himself believe that even the wheel of a Boeing 747 could have been created bit by bit.”
Our atheist friend may deny as much as he wishes!
He may wish to run away from reality!
He may wish to look away!
But truth is truth!
The best explanation for the existence of the universe is not mere chance or only natural selection. It is a Conscious, Intelligent Being!
Testimony of the Prophets Argument
And this Conscious, Intelligent Being is not a silent Being. He reveals Himself to us through His Prophets. Allah says in the Holy Quran:
وَاِنۡ مِّنۡ اُمَّۃٍاِلَّاخَلَافِیۡھَانَذِیۡرٌ
“There is no people to whom a Warner has not been sent” (35:25).
There have been thousands of Prophets who have come in every part of the world!
And so, we ask our atheist friend: Can we honestly deny the testimony provided to us from all these prophets?
Can we, in our right mind, suggest that every single of these immaculate individuals one day suddenly decided to speak falsehood? And continued speaking this falsehood for the rest of their lives?
Can we, in our senses, bring ourselves to claim the absurdity that the most honest, truthful individuals that human civilization has ever produced simply switched to dishonesty the moment they mentioned God?
Attributes of Allah argument
What is more is that these Prophets were not just saying that God exists. They were demonstrating the existence of God through the manifestation of God’s attributes in their lives.
Allow me to present a few examples for our atheist friend.
One of the attributes of God is that He is Aalimul Ghaib [the Knower of the Unseen]. And we see the manifestation of this attribute of God Almighty in the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa), for instance.
When the Holy Prophet (sa) was migrating from Makkah to Madina, Suraqa bin Malik was trying to capture him but he was unsuccessful after repeated attempts. When he finally gave up and asked for reconciliation…
At that point, the Holy Prophet (sa) received a revelation, and he said:
“Suraqa, how will you feel with the gold bangles of the Chosroes on your wrists?”
Here, we ask our atheist friend to consider this grand prophecy! Here was a fugitive who barely escaped with his life, making an incredible, multifaceted prophecy for a person who was his enemy just moments earlier!
According to this prophecy:
- Suraqa would live a long life;
- he would see the rise of Islam in his life;
- he would live to the day when Islam would be so powerful that the Muslims would have their own empire;
- the Muslims would have large armies capable of standing up to the superpower of their time;
- this superpower would get into a war with the Muslims;
- this superpower would be defeated so badly that it would lose its capital and its king.
All this was coming from a man who had a handful of persecuted followers and was still on the lookout for a place where he could peacefully live along with his followers.
Yet, incredibly enough, 17 years later, this prophecy was fulfilled, and the Muslims conquered the Kingdom of Chosroes.
Now, we ask our atheist friend: Is this simply a coincidence? Is this just a chance occurrence?
If his answer is “yes,” then he must know that this is not a one-off example. There are hundreds, in fact, thousands of such incidents that we know from the lives of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) and the Promised Messiah (as).
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) did not inherit a Kingdom. He was not a prince of a large empire. He lived in the wasteland of Arabia.
We ask our atheist friend: Is it possible for a person living in the desert to achieve what the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) achieved?
The Promised Messiah (as) writes:
It was the supplications during dark nights of one who had lost himself in God which caused a revolution in the world, and showed such wonders as could never have been expected from that Unlettered and Helpless one [the Holy Prophet (sa)].
We ask our atheist friend: Do you know the kinds of transformations the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) brought about?
Can you dare to suggest that these transformations are a simply a result of cunning and strategy?
How can you say that these transformations were not the result of the prayers of the Holy Prophet (sa)? The prayers that were answered by a God who is As-Samee and Al-Mujeeb (the One Who listens and accepts prayers)!
Can a man really do what the Prophet Muhammad (sa) did? Can a man really predict the kinds of things the Prophet Muhammad (sa) predicted?
Can a man really declare:
کَتَبَ اللّہُ لَاَغۡلِبَنَّ اَنَا وَرُسُلِیْ
That it is decreed by Allah that He and His Messengers shall prevail [58:22]
Is it possible for a charlatan to say that he will prevail? That he will always prevail over his enemies? Who can say such things?
Is it possible for an ordinary man who is surrounded by enemies hiding inside a cave, where he can see their feet and hear them talking outside the cave, say to his companion
لَاتَحۡزَنۡ اِنَّاللّہَ مَعَنَا
‘Grieve not, for Allah is with us.’ [9:40]
What kind of a person can show such resilience? Such patience? Such conviction that no one will be able to harm him!
Can an ordinary person claim:
وَاللّہُ یَعۡصِمُکَ مِنَ النَّاسِ
That Allah will protect him from the harms of the people [5:68].
And this was not just a claim. Once, two people delegated by the Governor of Yemen came to arrest the Holy Prophet (sa). They said: We have come to arrest you, on the orders of Khosroe Pervaiz (the Emperor of Persia at the time) and if you don’t come with us, he will destroy the whole country.
The Holy Prophet (sa) told them to wait that night, and the next day, he said:
Tell your master (the Governor of Yemen) that my Lord, the God of power, has killed his master (the Chosroes) last night.
We ask the atheist: How can a person of reasonable intelligence keep on denying such glaring proofs of the manifestation of God’s attributes in the lives of the Prophets?
So confident was the Promised Messiah (as) in the support he was being provided by God that he gave a challenge to the world. He said that a set of patients suffering from a serious disease can be selected and divided into two groups.
One set of patients can be treated and cared for by the doctors. He said: Give them to the doctors.
And he said he would take the other half and pray for them. Then, we can test which set of patients made the better recovery!
Is this the work of a charlatan? (Nau'zubillah) Is this the work of someone who is fooling us? (Nau’zubillah)
Is it possible for a person without any conviction in a Living God to make such grandiose claims?
We ask the atheist!
The Promised Messiah (as) writes:
میں حلفاً کہہ سکتا ہوں کہ دس ہزار سے زیادہ میری دعائیں قبول ہوئی ہیں۔
(روحانی خزائن ۔ جلد 18۔ صفحہ 697)
I can swear on oath that God has accepted my prayers on more than 10,000 occasions.
Who can claim such things?
Once the son of the Promised Messiah’s (as), Mubarak Ahmad, became so seriously ill at the age of about two that his condition appeared hopeless.
While the Promised Messiah (as) was still praying, someone called out, ‘The boy has died!’, which implied that he should stop praying as prayer was of no use anymore.
But the Promised Messiah (as) did not stop praying.
When he placed his hand on his son’s body while still in the state of focus towards God Almighty, suddenly he felt that he took a breath and he had not yet moved his hand away when he felt definite signs of life in him and after minutes he regained consciousness and sat up.
[Haqiqatul Wahi, p. 108]
Is it possible for a boy to simply get up without the aid of any medicine?
How is this possible? We ask the atheist.
How is it possible for such so-called “chance occurrences”… such co-incidences to keep on taking place over and over and over again!
As Ahmadi Muslims, there are countless examples of the way God functions in our lives. We are blessed with the institution of Khilafat which is another means through which God manifests His powers.
Each one of us who has tried to maintain a close relationship with the Khalifatul Masih can attest to this. Once, a new Ahmadi from Algiers asked Huzoor Anwar for prayers for her mother who was suffering from cancer. Huzoor said:
اللہ تعالیٰ صحت دے گا اور فضل کرے گا
Allah will grant her recovery, and bless her. Some time later, when she went in for her checkups, her doctors declared her to be completely free from all disease and said that her health is so good, it is even better than the time before cancer.
We ask our atheist friend: Is it possible for a human being to have his prayers accepted in this way?
The Promised Messiah (as) writes:
اگر مردے زندہ ہوسکتے ہیں تودعاؤں سے۔ اور اگر اسیر رہائی پاسکتے ہیں تو دعاؤں سے۔
( روحانی خزائن۔ جلد 20۔ صفحہ 234)
If the dead can be brought back to life it is only through prayer; if captives can win freedom it is only through prayer. (Lecture Sialkot, p. 48)
(ملفوظات۔ جلد 3۔ پرانا ایڈیشن۔ صفحہ 201)
The truth of the matter is our God is recognized only through prayer.
The Atheist’s Prayer
Today, I have had the honour to make a case against atheism. I have shown that the assertion that the world was born out of nothing without the agency of an Intelligent Creator is a ridiculous notion.
The universe was in fact created by God Almighty.
We know that God exists because he has sent 1000s of prophets in whose lives many attributes of God were manifested.
The kinds of prophecies prophets made in their lives. The kinds of protections afforded to them are not the work of ordinary human beings.
The same God who manifested himself in the lives of the Prophets, in the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa), and in the life of the Promised Messiah (as), that same God continues to manifest Himself in our lives today.
That same God answers our prayers, and an atheist can also investigate the existence of God through prayer. He can pray to God to find belief. Hazrat Musleh Mau’ud (ra) offers these words for such a prayer:
O God, if indeed You exist and if You are possessed of infinite power as the believers say, then have mercy on me and guide me to Yourself, and fill my heart with faith and belief so that I may not be left deprived. [Ten Proofs for the Existence of God, p. 44]
Hazrat Musleh Mau’ud (ra) writes:
If someone adopts this course with a pure heart for at least 40 days, then no matter which religion or country they belong to, the Lord of all the worlds will certainly guide them, and they will quickly see God manifest His existence in a manner that will cleanse the filth of doubt and suspicion from their heart.
So, we invite our atheist friends, and anyone inclined to atheism, that they should try this method of prayer for 40 days and ask God to grant them the blessing of faith or strengthen their faith.
As Hazrat Musleh Mau'ud (ra) states:
غیر ممکن کو یہ ممکن میں بدل دیتی ہے اے میرے فلسفیو ! ذورِ دعا دیکھو تو
It makes it possible to achieve the impossible. O my philosophers! Try the power of prayer!
Purpose of Prophets
With this, I rest my case!
And I end my speech today with two quotations of the Promised Messiah (as). He writes:
میں اس لئے بھیجا گیا ہوں کہ تا ایمانوں کو قوی کروں اور خدا تعالیٰ کا وجود لوگوں پر ثابت کر کے دکھلاؤں کیونکہ ہر ایک قوم کی ایمانی حالتیں نہایت کمزور ہو گئی ہیں اور عالمِ آخرت صرف ایک افسانہ سمجھا جاتا ہے۔
(روحانی خزائن۔ جلد ۱۳۔ صفحہ 291-292)
I have been sent to strengthen the faith and to prove the existence of God Almighty to the people, for their faith has become weak, and they take life after death no more seriously than a fable.
[Essence of Islam, vol. 4, p. 110]
He also writes:
میرے آنے کی غرض بھی وہی مشترک غرض ہے۔ جو سب نبیوں کی تھی یعنی میں بتانا چاہتا ہوں کہ خدا کیا ہے؟ بلکہ دکھانا چاہتا ہوں ۔
(ملفوظات۔ پرانا ایڈیشن۔ جلد ۳۔ صفحہ 11)
The same purpose which is common to all Prophets (as) is also the purpose of my coming, namely, that I wish not only to tell the world what God is, but I actually want them to see Him. [Essence of Islam, vol. 4, p. 108]
May Allah enable all of us to experience God in our lives. Ameen.