Science, Logic, Atheism & Belief in the Unseen

by – ML Sa’ad DB

Two issues need to be understood independently: one being the system of the tangible and that which can be observed and the other is the system of the unseen.

Unfortunately the Muslim Ummah generally has sought to learn about the former and not the latter (Imaan bil Ghayb), and, in addition, the Ummah has considered the tangible system to be Allah’s power. The reality is that in the tangible systems of this world, there is no power. What we’re seeing is as an introduction to the unseen power so that we bring conviction in that which is unseen.

For example, we purchase a product. On many occasions, we’ll identify the product with its country of origin. However when it comes to the system of the universe, we don’t identify with or recognise Allah. The only way to reach Him is to oppose the created in favour of the creator.

Ibrahim (AS) rejected all the apparent shapes and forms in order to introduce people to Allah and to set them on the right path.

Today Muslims too have concluded that Allah created the system of the universe and having studied science, they then think: “He created the system and now through various interlinked processes, the system runs of its own accord.” Maulana Ilyas (RA) said this line of thinking is that of atheism.

Therefore the first thing to LEARN is Imaan bil Ghayb. Learning means to speak of the unseen more than we speak of the the tangible such that that the conviction in the latter is subjugated. Unfortunately the sole or overwhelming majority of our talks pertain to the shapes, forms, experiences and tangible systems of the universe.

Whatever we see and testify to is the opposite of Imaan. This was the difference between Sahabah, Munafiqeen & Kuffar. Sahabah believed in the unseen unconditionally, Munafiqeen doubted & Kuffar rejected.

Whatever Nabi ﷺ brought from the unseen, Kuffar would ask for proof: “Show us & we’ll believe.” By contrast Sahabah’s stance was: “The Nabi said it, so we believe it.”

Hence Allah did with Nabis those things that defied logic and science in order to determine who brought conviction and who rejected. Me’raj (ascension) was a test in this respect. Nabi ﷺ brought the news that in one part of the night he travelled from Baitullah to Baitul Maqdis, which in those times was a month’s journey and, thereafter, he made the unquantifiable journey in terms of distance to the heavens.

On his return Nabi ﷺ first informed Abu Jahl of his journey and then Abu Bakr (RA). It wasn’t the case that: “I shall only inform those that are convinced.”

When Abu Bakr (RA) was informed by the Kuffar of what had been told to Abu Jahl by Nabi ﷺ, Abu Bakr (RA) immediately testified that if Nabi ﷺ had said he had made such a logic-defying journey in one night, then he was telling the truth. By contrast the Kuffar asked various questions to prove such a journey had been made. Nabi ﷺ in response provided detailed proofs of what he saw on the journey from Baituallah to Baitul Maqdis. For example, he gave details of a convoy of the Kuffar’s camels used for business, i.e. how many there were and what goods were loaded on them.

The reason for mentioning this incident is because today hearts/minds are so affected by the tangible systems of the universe that any promise of Deen that is contrary to our scientific understanding of the universe, Muslims reject until there is tangible proof.

Muslims generally have no conviction that if the order of Allah is fulfilled then needs can be met without the means.

Nabi ﷺ spoke of a tree in Jahannam. These narrations are to test our Imaan. The Kuffar (applying their puny logic) said: “Either you reject Jahannam or the tree. How is it possible for a tree to grow/survive in such a harsh fire?”

Today most Muslims, like the Kuffar also try to understand the unseen and Allah’s promises through the lens of logic, analogy and science. If the news brought by a Nabi was to accord with people’s logic, then there would be nothing astounding to bring faith on such news.

The promises of Allah to Nabi ﷺ would be made when the apparent conditions were adverse. In Khandaq there was cold, fear, hunger and the Muslim numbered but a few. In these circumstances Nabi ﷺ was told to inform Sahabah that they would defeat the kingdom of Kaisar & Kisra.

By contrast Muslims today look at their technology, provisions and the leaders and they say: “The conditions are such that Muslims can’t do anything.” This is because we think the system of this world is determined by the rulers. This is a misunderstanding and illogical deduction by Muslims. The system of this world is run by Allah and is dependent on our actions. Our actions determine the rulers foisted upon us.

In one narration it’s mentioned if Da’wah is left, the most despicable rulers will be foisted upon you.