Does god exist?
"The following discussion concentrates on one of the most asked questions in the world, no, not “Where did I leave my keys?” but – “Does God exist?” But unlike most discussions debating this topic, it is not based on opinion, views, thoughts etc. It concentrates on facts, logic and reasoning based on easily accessible information, and hopefully, I have managed to explain it in a simple manner, which was one of my original aims in producing this website.
The discussion will revolve around the religion of Islam, and its holy book – The Quran. Being a Muslim (follower of Islam), I have often been asked “what evidence do you have to suggest your religion is the correct one?” I hope to answer this in the following discussion. First of all, I would like to point out that no-one can prove or disprove that God exists, 100% beyond doubt, because this is impossible to do either way. However, one can provide an educated answer to which is the most likely answer. In my case, I have chosen to concentrate my discussion on producing a probability value that directly answers the question of whether God exists. For example, the mathematical probability of rolling a number 6 using a regular dice, is a “1 in 6” probability, because there are 6 numbers on a dice. Don’t worry if its not clear as to how I will use probability in my discussion, this example is just to show you a probability value, all will be explained shortly.
First of all, to understand the discussion, you must have some basic knowledge of Islam, which I will provide below. The religion of Islam, is based upon its holy book – The Quran, which is written in Arabic (the chosen language of revelation). In much the same way as Christianity is based upon The Bible, and Judaism is based upon The Torah (Old Testament).
Muslims (followers of Islam) believe that The Quran was revealed to a man called Muhummad about 1400 years ago, from God, through the angel Gabriel. Therefore, Muslims believe The Quran is the word of God. My discussion aims to prove that The Quran is the word of God, therefore directly prove that there must be a God. I hope that makes sense. The content of The Quran has been preserved till this day since it was revealed to the prophet Muhummad 1400 years ago. This can be checked, since there is an authenticated Quran in a museum in Istanbul Turkey & Tashkent Uzbekistan, which have been dated appropriately (although, some estimates date them back only 1200 years).
Please note, that there is only one version of The Quran that is regarded as the actual Quran, those which are in Arabic (the original language of revelation). The Quran has been translated into many languages, but these versions are only considered to be translations of The Quran, not The Quran. The discussion is split into three segments, with a conclusion at the end.
Part 1 - Science in The Quran The Quran's main purpose is to provide guidelines on how to live your life, it is not meant to serve primarily as a scientific journal, but it still does contain scientific information in parts. Some of the scientific information in The Quran is as follows, it contains many radical theories, which at the time (1400 years ago) were most likely never even thought about, but have only been discovered by modern science, some theories only very recently (i.e. in the last 100 yrs) -
The universe was created from a process resembling the "big bang theory". The universe is expanding. The formation of multiple worlds throughout the universe. The orbitary movements of planets, stars etc. The lighting mechanism of stars is alluded to as self-illumination without fire (i.e. nuclear reactions?). The methods employed by "evolution theory". The origin of all life is aquatic. The finite life of stars. The continuing expansion of the sun. Particles exist smaller than the atom. The constant movement of the Earth's crust. Less air (specifically oxygen) exists as you ascend the sky. Rain comes from clouds. The Earth's atmosphere, which protects us from harmful radiation (ie. UV rays from the sun). The area near the Dead Sea is one of, if not, the lowest spot on earth, below sea level. The formation of mountains. The constant erosion of dry land on earth. Certain stages of foetal development of humans clearly described.
There are so many other ones, I cannot possibly mention them all here. I have only mentioned the ones that in my opinion are very impressive. There are others, commenting on the brain, astronomy, light, seas & oceans, the human body, some animals, plants etc. All of the above scientific information I have provided from The Quran can be verified for yourself, by checking the references listed in my bibliography at the end of my discussion. It is also interesting to note that one eminent scientist, scholar and Nobel prize winner, Dr Maurice Bucaille, stated that in order to understand The Quran's scientific information, you must have a relatively good understanding of a modern encyclopaedia! Furthermore, a crucial point to consider is that NO scientific information in The Quran has been disproved (i.e. what it states is clearly wrong according to modern thinking).
Since I am trying to prove that The Quran is the word of God, there are only two options in this argument; one, it is the word of God and two, it is man made. Now, ask yourself, what is the probability (chances) that someone 1400 years ago, can write numerous scientific theories, which are very radical for the time, but prove to be correct over 1400 years after? Please also note that NO scientific information in The Quran has been proven to be incorrect! In order to obtain a reasonably accurate probability, it might be helpful to consider that there are roughly 6 billion people in the world today, therefore, just ask yourself, out of the 6 billion people, how many of them could accomplish the above feat?
In my personal opinion, I am quite confident no-one in the world today could accomplish this task, not even Einstein came up with so many radical theories without the slightest inaccuracy. But for this discussion, I want to use values which are conservative, so no one can argue with them. Therefore, I have gone with a “1 in 1 billion” probability (which means 6 people in the world today could accomplish this task theoretically). If you do not agree, feel free to choose your own realistic probability, and write it down on a piece of paper because it will be needed at the end of this discussion. Conclusion for Scientific Information in The Quran, probability = "1 in 1 billion" (Please note I am using one thousand million equal to one billion.)
Part 2 - Literary Quality of The Quran
It is a well known fact that The Quran (in Arabic) is a book of literary excellence. Many scholars worldwide, including non-Muslims as well, regard The Quran to be of superior quality in language, style etc. Please note, I do not mean “best seller” status, I mean it is regarded by scholars in the field of literature to be of superior quality. It’s a totally different thing. Without necessarily agreeing with all that they said, I have chosen to present some opinions about The Quran from some important non-Muslim scholars below -
"However often we turn to it [the Quran] at first disgusting us each time afresh, it soon attracts, astounds, and in the end enforces our reverence... Its style, in accordance with its contents and aim is stern, grand, terrible - ever and anon truly sublime -- Thus this book will go on exercising through all ages a most potent influence." --Goethe, quoted in T.P. Hughes' DICTIONARY OF ISLAM, p. 526.
"The Koran admittedly occupies an important position among the great religious books of the world. Though the youngest of the epoch-making works belonging to this class of literature, it yields to hardly any in the wonderful effect which it has produced on large masses of men. It has created an all but new phase of human thought and a fresh type of character. It first transformed a number of heterogeneous desert tribes of the Arabian peninsula into a nation of heroes, and then proceeded to create the vast politicoreligious organizations of the Muhammadan world which are one of the great forces with which Europe and the East have to reckon today." --G. Margoliouth, Introduction to J.M. Rodwell's, THE KORAN, New York: Everyman's Library, 1977, p. vii.
"A work, then, which calls forth so powerful and seemingly incompatible emotions even in the distant reader - distant as to time, and still more so as a mental development - a work which not only conquers the repugnance which he may begin its perusal, but changes this adverse feeling into astonishment and admiration, such a work must be a wonderful production of the human mind indeed and a problem of the highest interest to every thoughtful observer of the destinies of mankind." --Dr. Steingass, quoted in T.P. Hughes' DICTIONARY OF ISLAM, pp. 526-527.
"The above observation makes the hypothesis advanced by those who see Muhammad as the author of the Qur'an untenable. How could a man, from being illiterate, become the most important author, in terms of literary merits, in the whole of Arabic literature? How could he then pronounce truths of a scientific nature that no other human being could possibly have developed at that time, and all this without once making the slightest error in his pronouncement on the subject?" --Maurice Bucaille, THE BIBLE, THE QUR'AN AND SCIENCE, 1978, p. 125.
"Here, therefore, its merits as a literary production should perhaps not be measured by some preconceived maxims of subjective and aesthetic taste, but by the effects which it produced in Muhammad's contemporaries and fellow countrymen. If it spoke so powerfully and convincingly to the hearts of his hearers as to weld hitherto centrifugal and antagonistic elements into one compact and well-organized body, animated by ideas far beyond those which had until now ruled the Arabian mind, then its eloquence was perfect, simply because it created a civilized nation out of savage tribes, and shot a fresh woof into the old warp of history." --Dr. Steingass, quoted in T.P. Hughes' DICTIONARY OF ISLAM, p. 528.
"In making the present attempt to improve on the performance of my predecessors, and to produce something which might be accepted as echoing however faintly the sublime rhetoric of the Arabic Koran, I have been at pains to study the intricate and richly varied rhythms which - apart from the message itself - constitute the Koran's undeniable claim to rank amongst the greatest literary masterpieces of mankind... This very characteristic feature - 'that inimitable symphony,' as the believing Pickthall described his Holy Book, 'the very sounds of which move men to tears and ecstasy' - has been almost totally ignored by previous translators; it is therefore not surprising that what they have wrought sounds dull and flat indeed in comparison with the splendidly decorated original." --Arthur J. Arberry, THE KORAN INTERPRETED, London: Oxford University Press, 1964,
p. x. "A totally objective examination of it [the Qur'an] in the light of modern knowledge, leads us to recognize the agreement between the two, as has been already noted on repeated occasions. It makes us deem it quite unthinkable for a man of Muhammad's time to have been the author of such statements on account of the state of knowledge in his day. Such considerations are part of what gives the Qur'anic Revelation its unique place, and forces the impartial scientist to admit his inability to provide an explanation which calls solely upon materialistic reasoning." --Maurice Bucaille, THE QUR'AN AND MODERN SCIENCE, 1981, p. 18.
“It is by far the finest work of Arabic prose in existence.” -- Alan Jones (The Oriental Institute, Oxford)
Same method as before, consider how many people could write a superior piece of literature, i.e. what is the probability of this? The probability of this is smaller in my opinion, I think about “1 in 100 million” but since I want to use conservative estimates, I will go with “1 in 10 million” (which means that 600 people in the world today could accomplish this task theoretically). Once again, if you think my value is too high, please choose your own realistic probability and write it down. Conclusion for Literature Quality of The Quran, probability = "1 in 10 million"
Part 3 - Prophecies Within The Quran
In The Quran itself, within some of its chapters, it foretells events in the future that have come true; these are more commonly known as “prophecies”. It tells the story of the Exodus from Egypt, in which Moses and the Hebrews enslaved to the Pharaoh of the time escape - “We delivered the Children of Israel across the sea. Pharaoh and his troops pursued them, aggressively and sinfully. When drowning became a reality for him, he said, “I believe there is no god except in the One whom the Children of Israel have believed; I am a submitter. Too late! For you have rebelled already, and chose to be a transgressor. Today, we will preserve your body, to set you up as a lesson for future generations. Verily, many among mankind are totally oblivious to our signs.” (The Quran, from 10:90 to 10:92)
As you can see from the above passage, The Quran prophesizes that the body of the Pharaoh will be preserved for future generations. This was proved correct when the mummy of Merneptah (the Pharaoh of the Exodus) was discovered well preserved in 1898, and it can be seen on display in the Royal Mummies Room of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Even though, this event occurred over 3000 years ago (more than 1600 years before Muhammad) according to both archaeological and Biblical data, the author of The Quran predicted that the body of the Pharaoh would be preserved as a sign for future generations, which is nowhere to be found in the Biblical version. Dr Maurice Bucaille (who was chosen to examine the mummy) covers the above prophecy in detail in his book. Please refer to the Bibliography.
Space exploration by man a definite possibility, a clear hint given in this verse:
"O you jinns and humans, if you can penetrate the regions of the heavens and the earth, go ahead and penetrate. You cannot penetrate without (Our) authority." (The Quran, 55:33)
Space exploration became fact by various manned missions into space. Thise verse could also be referring to exploration of regions on earth (deep sea, extreme cold/hot environments). The next verse reads:
"Which of your Lord's marvels can you deny?" (The Quran, 55:34)
Could the "Lord's marvel" mentioned here be the fulfillment of prophecy?
A very interesting prophecy relates to the moon landing (which occurred in 1969), is it possible The Quran predicted this? Well, judge for yourself by considering the following information – Chapter 54 of The Quran is entitled “The Moon” and starts right away by giving us news about the splitting of the moon as a sign that the end of the world is drawing close.
“The moon has split and the hour has drawn closer” (The Quran, 54:1)
When did the prophecy come to pass? To answer that, one must keep the prophecy in mind: “The moon has split.” This is a metaphor. Parts of the moon have left its surface. They no longer are part of the moon. So, the prophecy does not refer to the landing on the moon or to the first step made by Neil Armstrong but to the fact that Armstrong and Aldrin collected 21 kilograms of lunar rocks to bring back to earth. The prophecy was fulfilled at the very moment the astronauts left the moon in the lunar module containing 21 kilograms of rocks that had belonged to the moon. This can be confirmed by checking the definition of “split” in any dictionary, among the definitions given by Dictionary.com are – “to divide, disunite, separate” The date this prophecy came to pass was on July 21 1969. The moment the prophecy was fulfilled is confirmed by the hour of departure of the lunar module, which left the lunar surface at 17:54:1 (Universal Time) or 1:54:1 (EDT) and as you have seen above, verse [54:1] is the verse that deals with the prophecy. Still not convinced? Lets read the following verses after (54:1) –
“The moon has split and the hour has drawn closer. Then they saw a great miracle; but they turned away and said, “Old magic.” They disbelieved, followed their opinions, and adhered to their old traditions.” (The Quran, from 54:1 to 54:3)
Here, the author of The Quran specifically states – “the moon has split”, then people will see “a great miracle”, yet they still “disbelieved”. Could the “great miracle” be the fulfilment of prophecy?
A more general prophecy is given in Chapter 41 about God’s promise to show the unbelievers that The Quran is the word of God –
“We will show them our proofs in the horizons, and within themselves, until they realise that this is the truth. Is your Lord not sufficient as a witness of all things?” (The Quran, 41:53)
Today, scientific discoveries in every field are giving more and more evidence to the truth of this statement, as I have shown previously.
The author of The Quran also prophesized that The Quran itself would remain intact (unaltered) through time –
“Absolutely, we have revealed the reminder (The Quran), and, absolutely, we will preserve it.” (The Quran, 15:9)
- since its revelation more than 1400 years ago, the original Quran is still fully preserved and intact as it was when it was first revealed (as I have discussed in the Introduction).
“It is He who has sent his messenger with guidance and the religion of truth and will make it dominate over all religions, in spite of the idol worshipers.” (The Quran, 61:9)
- within decades the above promise became true. Islam prevailed. The two superpowers of the day, the Persian and the Roman empires crumbled at the hands of the Muslims. Even today, Islam is apparently the fastest growing religion in the world, including in Western countries.
“Why do they not study The Quran carefully? If it were from other than God, they would have found in it numerous contradictions.” (The Quran, 4:82)
- The Quran deals with hundreds of issues, and reiterates many stories of the past nations. Yet, no one can show any incongruity or contradictions among the more than 6000 verses of The Quran. Many have tried but all of their apparent contradictions stem from misinterpreting the original Arabic and thus producing two or more statements, which seem to conflict with each other, when in truth, this is not the case.
Some prophecies occurred during the lifetime of Muhammad, such as the following references –
“Surely, He Who ordained The Quran for thee, will bring thee home again.” (The Quran, 28:85)
- this verse was revealed when Muhammad’s situation was dire, due to the hostility from the people of Mecca (which was his home). The hostility was due to the chiefs/leaders of the time, who rejected his message and thus rejected him and his followers. It was a hopeless situation, most of his followers had already migrated to Madinah (a nearby city), now it was his turn. He migrated as a refugee and then returned several years later as a conqueror, fulfilling yet another prophecy.
“Condemned are the works of Abu Lahab, and he is condemned. His money and whatever he has accomplished will never help him. He has incurred the blazing Hell.” (The Quran, 111:1 to 111:3)
Abu Lahab was the most bitter enemy of Muhammad, and opposed the establishment of Islam to the utmost of his power. In this verse it explicitly states that Abu Lahab, would be condemned to Hell (because he would never accept Islam and thus die a disbeliever). Even after 11 years after this Quranic revelation, Abu Lahab never accepted Islam and thus died a disbeliever. In view of the fact that he was Muhammad’s bitterest enemy, logic and experience suggest that it is unwise to make such a declaration, for Abu Lahab could have very easily disproved The Quran by pretending to believe. Why did Abu Lahab waste this golden opportunity? What made Muhammad so certain that even in ten years Abu Lahab would not exploit this tempting opportunity? At any rate past experience does not include knowledge of the future.
Once again, consider how many people could predict future events, some of which are quite remarkable, without producing an error? In my opinion, even if you disregard every prophecy and consider the Pharaoh prophecy alone, the probability of predicting this event (taking into account the time span involved) would be low. Overall, taking into account all of the above prophecies, the probability of someone achieving the above feat (using a safe estimate) would be about “1 in 1 million” (which means that 6000 people in the world today could accomplish this task theoretically). Once again, if you think my value is too high, please choose your own realistic probability and write it down.
Conclusion for Prophecies Within The Quran, probability = “1 in 1 million”
Probability Values for Each Section
Part 1 – Science in The Quran = “1 in 1 billion”
Part 2 – Literary Quality of The Quran = “1 in 10 million”
Part 3 – Prophecies Within The Quran = “1 in 1 million”
In order to produce a single probability value which represents the probability (chances) of one person being able to accomplish all three of the above aspects of the discussion, you simply multiply them. If you're not familiar with this concept, it is simply an established mathematical rule that has been applied. I will try to explain it using a simpler analogy, shown below
– Lets say “1 in 2” people of the general population are male, and “1 in 4” males are brown eyed. Now, in order to find the probability of finding a male with brown eyes within the general population, all you do, is multiply both probabilities as follows: 1/2 * 1/4 = 1/8 (which equates to a “1 in 8” chance of finding a brown eyed male in the general population).
Mathematicians prefer to state the probability value as a decimal, in this case that would be “0.125” (1/8). It is also well established that probability values closer to the value of one are more likely to occur than those furthest from one. If a value of one is obtained, this means that it is a certainty, if a value of zero is obtained this means it is impossible.
Using the above method, the values obtained in my discussion were calculated in order to produce a single probability value.
Firstly, using words: (one/one billion)*(one/ten million)*(one/one million) = one/ten thousand billion billion
Secondly, using numbers:
(1/1 000 000 000)*(1/10 000 000)*(1/1 000 000) = 1/10 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 = 0.0000000000000000000001 (in decimal form)
This equates to a “1 in ten thousand billion billion” chance of this event occurring.
The probability is LOWER than rolling the same number on a dice 28 times in a row. If you think that is not too difficult, try rolling the same number ONLY 7 times in a row, if you succeed, I will be impressed. Theoretically, if you were to roll a dice every 2 seconds, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the time it would take to achieve the same number 28 times in a row, would roughly be 400 thousand years. The probability value obtained is LOWER than the chances of winning the UK national lottery 3 times in a row with only buying one ticket per lottery draw. A carefully estimated example* If the entire surface of earth was covered 10cm deep in sand, with ONLY one sand grain marked (with the colour blue for example), a blindfolded person wondering freely all over the earth able to choose any grain they wished would just happen to choose the marked grain with their first choice. *assumes 1000 grains of sand in 1cm³ (i.e. using 1mm sized grains)
If you believe that this is possible, then you could just as easily believe that The Quran is man made. However, if you believe that this occurrence would be very rare (because the odds are far too low) then, you should also consider that The Quran may in fact be the word of God. My discussion has came to a simple conclusion – believe what you will, but if you believe that The Quran is not the word of God, then you believe the above probability came true, according to my discussion.
‘The Meaning of The Glorious Quran’ by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall
‘The Koran’ by J.M Rodwell
‘Quran’s Translation’ by Dr Rashad Khalifa
‘The Bible The Quran and Modern Science’ by Dr Maurice Bucaille
‘What is the Origin of Man?’ by Dr Maurice Bucaille
‘Dialogue with an Atheist’ by Dr Mostafa Mahmoud
‘What the Bible says about Muhammad’ by Ahmed Deedat
‘The Choice: Islam and Christianity’ (Volume One) by Ahmed Deedat "