Why Should I Believe In God? – Lecture By Nouman Ali Khan [Word To Word Transcript Of Full Lecture]

nouman ali khanAsssalamulaikaum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.  I am not complaining, I am just saying that the microphone system here is very shorty so, the harder you talk the harder it becomes for me to hear myself even.  So try to, Insha Allah.

Usually I have a very good attention span that I can talk over voices given that I have a lot of children and a lot of students so I am used to that but this subject matter requires an extra deal of concentration and organization of thought so I am requesting that you, thank you so much.

Alhamdulillahirabbil ‘Alamin (Arabic dua for opening speech) I will try to keep my talk to about 25 minutes or so, so if it is getting to that time just raise your hand so that I know that I got to stop Insha Allah.

Basically I was asked to talk a little about Atheism, theism and the proof of God’s existence, why should I believe in god anyway. All of which are very legitimate questions and very deep questions. None of these questions can be addressed in a one liner. My wife has a very one liner of it. I will share it with you first. She says “God exist whether you like it or not and if you do not believe it well fine He will get you anyway” (Audience laughing)

So, that could have been my talk and I will start after my wife I will start with something that the ancient Bedouin Arab used to say, like sometimes there would be people from other civilizations like the Persians or Romans they would do trade before Islam. They would do trades sometimes or pass through Arabia and they would see these Arabs and even though they had shifted, they still believe in God, they still believe in one Supreme Being. So somebody asked the Bedouin Arab,

“How do you know that God exists?”

“How do you come to faith?”

“How did faith come to you?”

And you know these Arabs they spend most of their time in the dessert. So he says something really interesting. He pointed at his camel’s “Droppings” you know “Doody”. He pointed and he goes,

“You know because of that I know that my camel exists”.

That’s all he said. And what did he mean by that? He meant that, you know when I see that in the dessert, when you see something, it is a sign of something else. When you see like you know, a path or footprint you know somebody walked by here. When you see a fire that has been put out but there are still ashes there, you know that some people were camping and they left.  There are trace of you. He looks at all the creations as traces of God. Just like that small feces just in front of him are a trace of his camel that his camel is there. So in his mind there is no doubt. That is as straight forward as linear the thinking is. That is not even a question.

Now I want to come to actually the Quran’s reasoning.  Well this is a simple way of looking at things. But I want to see if the Quran deals with this subject. And you should know that it explicitly the Quran does not ask the question or answer the question “Does God exists”. That is not the question in the Quran. That question doesn’t exist. The Quran is Allah speaking himself. And He is in conversation with his creatures, with you and me. He is in direct conversation with us. The only question He asks is

“Do you really believe it is Me talking? Do you really believe that these words are my own?”

You are not hearing Allah’s words; you are hearing the voice of Muhammad (peace is upon him). And these words are being given to him so that’s the question the Quran asks “Is this God’s words or not?” He asked other questions related to God

“Are there other God that you should be worshipping besides Myself?”

“Do you think that you are going to worship yourselves and not Me?”

“Do you think that you are going to thank others other that Myself?”

These are the kinds of questions that the Quran asks. It never asked the question “Does God exist or not?” But then another question rises out of all questions this question is more important “How come Quran never asks that question? How come the Quran never deals with the question that God ever exist or not? Why not? Why not deal with this question head on?” This is one of the most fundamental problems of philosophy in human history across civilizations. So why not if this book is for guidance for all of humanity, why not deal with this problem head on? And we find the answer to that question in the Quran also. Why is it that that is not even a question? Why is it that that is not even a discussion as far as the Quran is concerned? And in order to understand that we have to understand something about ourselves.

First I will tell u a Hadith of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). He said

“(Arabic recitation), whoever knew himself, really knew himself or herself they truly know their master”

If u really know who you are, then you know who your master is. Now, that seems a little ambiguous at first. We have to explore that statement through the Quran so we understand what is that the Prophet (peace is upon him) is telling us. How do you get to know Allah? The clue that he gave us, you have to get to know who first? Who do you have to get to know before you get to know Allah? You have to get to know yourselves. If you truly know who you are, yourselves, then you get to know who Allah is. That is a very strange thing because all of you would probably answer

“I already know myself”

“My name is so and so, I have a weight problem, I have weak eyesight, I have this you know this err, I flocked out of these many classes, I know a lot about myself”

“What do u mean I don’t know myself?”

Well actually there is a part of yourselves that you know. But there is another part of yourselves that you might not really know that well. This is a part of you that Allah created before you came on this earth. There is a part of you that Allah created before you came out of your mother. It was already in existence and this part of you the Quran calls it the “Rooh”. I’m not going to translate it as your spirit or your soul or anything else or your personality. I won’t give any of these modern terms well just call it what again? “Rooh” And the reason you don’t know a lot about it is because this Rooh itself most of what it is, is a mystery to us. This is something Allah Himself tells us. He says “(Quran recitation) they ask you about the Rooh” Every one of us has a Rooh inside us. And Allah says

“They ask you about the Rooh they have inside of them, tell them that this Rooh is from the special command of my master and you haven’t been given knowledge except very very little of what this Rooh actually is, what its functions is and what its manifests are”

Allah has told us a few things, and I want to bring your attention to those few things. The purpose of, me bringing attention to those things is that you and I get to know who He is. First of all, who we ourselves are and once we got to know who we are my means is that we got to know who Allah is. So the Quran’s argument begins with this, if you want to talk about the theistic argument or the argument of other belief in God. It begins from this point. Now the thing about this Rooh that we learnt in the Quran is that it was in Allah’s company. That it got to meet Allah.  It had a conversation with Allah and in this conversation it spoke and Allah spoke and both sides have been recorded in the Quran. Allah says to all the Rooh, they were a huge gathering of all the Rooh altogether. And Allah asked them a simple question. Now at this point the Rooh doesn’t have a question “Do You exist or not?” They don’t have the question for God whether He existed or not.  They don’t have that question.  It’s talking here to God. How do you talk to somebody and says “Are you really here?”  “Do you exist?” “I’m not sure whether you’re there or not” That would be insanity. That would be a kind of insanity that you’re talking with someone and you don’t believe that they’re there, right? So now it’s a conversation with Allah and Allah asked the question. Allah didn’t ask the question “Do I exist?”  He didn’t ask that question because that is irrelevant question. He said

“Am I your master or not?”

“Am I not your Master?”

“Do I not own you?”

“Are you not my property?”

He asked that question and all of the Rooh, the Rooh of the believer the Rooh of the disbeliever, the Rooh of the Christian the Rooh of the Jews or the Rooh of the Kafir, the Rooh of the Hindu, the atheists, the agnostics the pantheists. All of them together had one answer and the answer was “Of course, we bear witness, we testify” Now we didn’t just testify that He exists because that was not what He was asking for us to testify to. He asked us to testify to something else and what is that something else? What was the question? Call it out (to the audience) “Am I your master or not?” In other words, it is not just when an atheist talks about God, they talk about some entity that exists and has no relationship with you but someone who owns you, has a direct relationship with you. So you talked about a relationship. Do you and I not have a relationship? And what is that relationship is that I am your Master and you are the slave. That is the question He asked us. And we all gave that answer.

So now we know that he is Master and we are slaves. This Rooh was inside of our bodies even when we are inside the body of our mother. We were inside our mother that Islam teaches us the prophet teaches us that the angel casts a Rooh, he takes a Rooh and he delivers it inside the belly of your mother while we are still inside the fetus and he blows it into you. 120 days after your mothers’ pregnancy with you. And so now even before you were born, you believe that you are slave of Allah. Your Rooh does, your mind, your brain hasn’t developed yet. When a child is born, their vision is blurry. You know they don’t have muscular motion control, they don’t know what their eyes and hands are doing. Sometimes you have to put (not audible) on them so that they don’t claw their faces. They don’t have control of most things. This part of their intellect is developing, it develops over time eventually they will have enough control of their limbs and enough balance that they can walk, they can start making words and slowly they will start using the diaper right? They will develop and eventually the will evolve but this Rooh it is always there. And you will have to approach to a certain level before you can understand that there is this other thing inside you called the Rooh.

Let me throw this, it’s going to sound a little philosophical but let me throw this at you another way. If I ask you and I tried this experiment on school kids, I don’t know how well this goes with you guys but let’s try. If I ask you “where are you?” It seems like a silly question. I say “where are you?” You point at yourself and say “Here I Am, I am right here” and I say “No you’re pointing at your chest” I say “Where are you?” and then you say “me, right here” I’ll reply “no that’s your body, where are you?” This physical being of yours is going to get old and its going to die but ‘You’ will still live. This physical body will rot but this ‘You’ is something else. Where is that ‘You’? That is your Rooh.  That is the actual You which Allah put inside you. And that part of ‘You’ knows Allah already.

Now, what did we say is the relationship between us and the master? Master and what? Master and slaves. And in that relationship whose got the authority? The master does. Now, I think many of you have employers, you have bosses, many of you have teachers that have authority over you. You parents have authority over you in some respect. But none of them are masters. But if we talk about the a Parent having a control over A child or employer over an employee or a teacher over a student, you can’t compare that control with a control of a master over a slave. A master has absolute control over the slaves. The master can say anything he wants and the slave has to do it. Like a boss can’t tell you anything he want, he can’t. You know, he can’t. And if your job ends at 5 o’clock and it ends, your boss can’t tell you that you have to stay until midnight. You’ll say “No I don’t, I am from the union. Talk to the local chapter.” You don’t have to listen to them after a certain point. But a master when do have to listen to them? all the time. Now, When we understand that we have a master from the very beginning and we’ve been disobeying that master since the very beginning.  He has absolute authority over us and we spent the bulk of our lives disregarding his authority, disregarding completely his authority. And at the end of all that disregard, He said

“Listen, all you need to do is be grateful to me, and ask me to forgive you for all this  disregard. I’ll let it all go”

The Quran begins, Fatihah begins with what phrase after Bismillahirrahmanirrahim? What does it begin with? “Alhamdulillah” Now you tell me, when we think of Alhamdulillah we think of the things that Allah has given us, right? Allah has given us many things and we thank Him for it.  But from the point of view of our Rooh, the first and foremost things were thanking Allah for is that Allah is our master which  He tells us in Fatihah, “Alhamdulillah hi rabb”. Rabb, master. He is our master we are his slave, we’ve been disobeying him.  But he didn’t annihilate us. A farmer owns a cow and he milks the cow and it stops milking and he says “this cow is not good for me. I’m going to slaughter and get rid of him”. You do worse with your phone, when it stops working. You do worse things to your laptop out of anger. When it crashes it gives you the BSOD right? So, when you have things that you own, don’t do what you want them to do. You have your way with them. But Allah has not done His way with you. He lets you eat, he let you sleep, he gives you more, and he keeps letting you go. And for that reason we say “Alhamdulillah”. And so Allah asks a question

“You are going to thank someone else?”

“After everything I’ve given you?”

“And I keep giving you and you going to thank someone else?”

Should it even be a question whether I exist or not. That’s not even a question in the Quran. Do you understand why? Because that part of us exists in ourselves. Now the philosophical argument comes from the atheists or the agnostics, the argument that comes

“Well how do you prove that the soul exists? We tried to do radioactive scanners on the              sci-fi channel when a person is about to die to see if there would be any seismic activity”.

Have u seen that sci-fi channels? They tried to see if the soul is leaving the body. The thing was like (sound effect), the ghost is leaving or it’s back again or whatever right? That is just the microwave on but that is the soul to them. So you know they are trying to find some empirical proof of the existence of God. Also, the most common form of atheism, though it has kinds of different forms. The most common form that you probably come across or you heard about from your friends and peers, is the atheism that basically says modern science has reached a point of maturity in knowledge and we have explored the universe far and wide, there is no God, it’s all science. It’s all scientifically provable, plausible. You don’t need God to show the existence of the universe. We can all go through laws and principle of science. There is only one fundamental problem with that argument. Science does not explain ‘why’. It only explains ‘what’. It doesn’t explain ‘why’, it only explains ‘what’. It’s the study if what happens when I let this bottle go. It’s a study of ‘what’ happens. It’s a study of phenomena that already exists. It’s the study of the seen world. So it’s the study of the droppings, it’s the study of the remains on the campfire. And it cannot go and it cannot find the camp that already left.

This creation of Allah, it is the seen world. You can study but if you lost your sense of gratitude that was inside you “Alhamdulillah” where the Quran began. If you’ve lost that inside you, you can study science until your death and you will not find God. Interestingly enough, people who keep their Rooh alive, people who keep their decency alive even though among non-Muslims, you might be surprised to find this out and I’m hoping to convince the friend of mine who is in North Carolina, Sulaiman sheikh, to come over here.

This is the last thing that I will share with you. He’s got a couple of Master’s degree, one in the philosophy of science; he did a thesis on Newton from duke (university). And the question was whether he believes in God or not, whether he believes in Tawhid or not. Do you know that Newton, the father of modern physics right, he wrote a paper about the existence of God. And he wrote paper against the Trinity. He wrote a paper of why it doesn’t make any sense for a God to have a son. He wrote a paper like literally, it’s like he wrote a Tafseer on Surah Al-Ikhlas. That’s what it feels like when you’re reading. And these are like the pioneers of modern science, and they is not like one or two but there are multiples of them that actually saw science as means of confirming God’s existence not denying Him.  And these are the pioneers of modern science from the western world and I’m not talking about Muslim scientists. But somehow there is this delusion, there is this gap being made as though when you’re studying more science you’re supposed to believe in science instead of believing in God. It’s like its one or the other.

The Quran’s argument is the exact opposite that Abdul Rahman (previous speaker) was making reference to. The Quran challenges us to study science. It wants us to study science because the more we study science, the more we appreciate creation. And the more you appreciate creations, if there is any good left inside you, you will be grateful. To whom you will be grateful to? Not the creation but its Creator. You know, the physician will be much more grateful because he sees the heart beating in the surgery and he has seen this design. This incredible machine, he has seen how that worked. Up close and personal. He said “mine is still beating inside mine, Alhamdulillah” He has seen those things, he has seen up close and personal.

I know that I’m way beyond my time but I will make one quick reference before close my talk. A lot of young people are here, so I’ll make reference to the show. Probably some of you may have seen it. I have seen one or two episodes of the show because I’m curious somebody told me about it. The TV show “House”. You can raise your hands, it’s okay I will accept your istisghfar; I’ll make dua for you. (Joke) Basically the idea of the show is that we have this super intelligent physician to whom crazy cases come and nobody can figure out what is wrong with the patient and he is this supper crazy genius doctor who solved this case by the end of the episode. That is usually how these episodes were right? But at the same time this genius doctor happens to be what? If anybody knows about the show. As far as his believes are concerned what is he happened to be? He happens to be an atheist.  So the idea is, he is so intelligent and if believing in God was an intelligent idea, the first kind of person who would have believed is the person like him.

Though this is not a philosophy class but I want you to walk away with 2 terms, deductive reasoning and abductive reasoning. You know when a patient comes to him; he throws a bunch of diseases on the board. “This could be wrong, this could be wrong” And he just keep making guesses at this point. And as soon as he throws all the possibility on the board, he gives each one of them a shot as though it’s the truth. He gives it a try. And then the patient gets worse and he goes “Okay, clearly it’s not the first one, we got to move to the second one” Then they try the second one, thats not working, they cross it out and they move to the third one. Have you seen this process?

They look at a possibility, they test that possibility, they experience that possibility and at the end when it doesn’t work they move on. But they try it first. He never does that with believing in God. That works for him when he is dealing with patients. He doesn’t use that process when it comes to faith. He doesn’t say “okay, let me throw out the possibility that there is a God, that there is a revelation. Let me exhaust my research into this revelation, into this God. So let’s see if I can actually clearly come towards proof that he doesn’t exist. And by the way, another interesting about his philosophy is that he will not move on to another disease until he is absolutely clear that that’s not the problem. Nobody believes that is the disease, he is the only one with blind faith that “I know that this is the disease that he’s got” He has blind faith in the disease that he can’t prove. He has got a gut feeling. His Rooh is telling him that that is the disease. But he doesn’t do that, so that is abductive reasoning.

You know when you explore a possibility you give it a chance and you really exhaust your energy into exploring it. That’s abductive reasoning. But when he says, “No, logically speaking how can there be a God? If God existed, that would have happened” And you would remain in the world of ‘if and then’. You will remain in the world of hypothesis and you’ve never physically experience anything or try anything. That is deductive reasoning. The Quran is entirely abductive reasoning. Our experience in the world, how it leads to success.  We don’t speak the hypothesis alone.

Anybody that wants to be successful, uses abductive reasoning. They follow something, they try they fail they try something else. They keep moving. This is the journey of Ibrahim (as) that he was trying to teach his followers. The sun, it doesn’t work out. The moon no, not that it keeps changing faces. You know what, it is a journey that was taking place. The bottom line, the reason I was mentioning all these things to you while I have a lot of other things to talk about when it comes to this discussion, “Do not think just because people such as the atheists or the agnostics or whatever are presenting to you certain philosophical argument that you don’t have the counter argument” (oooh that’s it, they have got this mystery solved) And these billions upon billions of people that have believed in Allah  and have naturally believed in Allah, societies all over the world, all over the world Mushriks, Muslims, doesn’t matter. Some concepts of God have always been there and atheism is not the beginning, it’s not the beginning state of society. Some people pulled out of theism into atheism and usually it’s because of some personal reasons. But Insha’Allah hopefully we will come up in the QA session. I will spend more time on this discussion Insha’Allah right here hopefully in another occasion we will continue each of these things and go to more detail. Barakallahu fi Walakum, Wasalamualaikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatuh.

Source: http://thedailyreminders.com

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