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God is beyond the Physical World and beyond Measurement: The Case for Allah’s Existence in the Quran and Sunnah – Concluding Part

By Justin Parrott

February 21, 2019

In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

Highlighting the signs of God’s work in nature is the primary and most powerful rational method...

Along these lines, the great Imāms were often asked why they believed in the Creator in the first place, and they would respond by calling attention to the signs of God.

Imām Mālik (d. 795) was asked by Caliph Hārūn Rashīd about the existence of the Creator, and Mālik told him to seek evidence in the different languages, different voices, and different melodies of creatures. [56]

Imām Al-Shāfi’ī (d. 820) was asked about the existence of the Creator and he replied, “The leaves of a berry bush all have one taste. Worms eat it and produce silk. Bees eat it and produce honey. Goats, camels, and cows eat it and deliver offspring. Deer eat it and produce musk. Yet, all of these come from one thing.”[57] The simple miracle of the leaves of a bush, and every other miracle it produces, indicates that it was designed for this very purpose.

Imām Aḥmad (d. 855) was asked about the existence of the Creator and he replied, “Consider a smooth, impenetrable fortress without any doors or exits. The outside is like white silver and the inside is like pure gold. It is built in this way and, behold! Its walls crack and out come an animal hearing and seeing with a beautiful shape and a pleasant voice.”[58] Aḥmad was referring to the natural wonder of a baby chick emerging from her mother’s egg.

The powerful evidence contained in God’s signs requires no specialized philosophical training or knowledge to understand them and believe in them. As we have said, it is natural and intuitive to recognize them. In a well-known story, a Bedouin – a member of the nomad tribes who were usually illiterate – was once asked about the existence of the Creator and he replied, “Glory be to Allah! The camel’s droppings testify to the existence of the camel, and the footprints testify to existence of the walker. A sky that holds the stars, a land that has fairways, and a sea that has waves? Does not all of this testify to the existence of the Kind, the Knowing?”[59]

The powerful evidence contained in God’s signs requires no specialized philosophical training...

The simplicity of the teleological argument was even put into pithy poetic verse by Ibn Mu’taz (d. 908):

Strange How The God Is Disobeyed,

Nd Strange The Dispute Of The Disputer (JāḤid),

N Everything There Is A Sign,

O Show That He Is One (WāḤid).[60]

After mentioning all of these anecdotes in his exegesis, Ibn Kathīr (d. 1373) further comments:

The running rivers that travel from area to area with benefit, and what Allah has produced from the earth of various animals and plants of different tastes, scents, shapes, and colours, and the unity of the soil and water; all this demonstrates the existence of the Creator and His awesome power, His wisdom and mercy with His creation, His kindness, good treatment, and benevolence with them. There is no God besides Him. There is no Lord like Him. I depend upon Him and I turn to Him. The verses in the Quran indicating this are very plentiful. [61]

At this point, someone might accept the idea that the universe was indeed designed, but why should it be only one Creator? Why not many different gods? The answer to this question lies in the fact that the natural laws of the universe are deliberate, consistent, and united in their purpose.

Allah said:

If there had been in the heavens or earth any gods but Him, both heavens and earth would be in ruins: God, Lord of the Throne, is far above the things they say.[62]

All of the forces in the universe work together towards a common end: the creation of the world and the sustaining of life. We can infer that there is a single intelligent force behind all of it. There is nothing to suggest that one god created gravity, another created electromagnetism, and other gods govern every other natural force, all for a common unified purpose. We would expect the existence of many creators to result in arbitrary, or perhaps competing, natural phenomena. That explanation may have seemed plausible to ancient societies for which nature appeared to have no discernible order.

Scientific Validation

As science has advanced considerably, we now take for granted our recognition of the consistency and universality of natural laws. In fact, science could not advance at all without assuming uniform patterns within the fabric of the universe. The law of gravity applies in the same manner to any object with mass, regardless of its location on earth or in deep space. Ironically, modern science implicitly depends upon a monotheistic premise.

Physicists like Paul Davies note that the natural laws of the universe require a plausible explanation. It is simply irrational – and unscientific – to assume the laws of the universe appeared as they are for no reason:

The most refined expression of the rational intelligibility of the cosmos is found in the laws of physics, the fundamental rules on which nature runs. The laws of gravitation and electromagnetism, the laws that regulate the world within the atom, the laws of motion— all are expressed as tidy mathematical relationships. But where do these laws come from? And why do they have the form that they do? . . . Over the years I have often asked my physicist colleagues why the laws of physics are what they are. The answers vary from ‘that’s not a scientific question’ to ‘nobody knows.’ The favorite reply is, ‘There is no reason they are what they are— they just are.’ The idea that the laws exist reasonlessly is deeply anti-rational. After all, the very essence of a scientific explanation of some phenomenon is that the world is ordered logically and that there are reasons things are as they are. If one traces these reasons all the way down to the bedrock of reality— the laws of physics— only to find that reason then deserts us, it makes a mockery of science.[63]

Tracing the series of explanations for why things are as they are leads to the reasonable conclusion that the universe is designed for life. Scientists have referred to this as the finely-tuned universe or the anthropic principle, that the laws of nature are configured in such astonishingly precise measurements in order for the universe to exist and for life to thrive. According to physicist and philosopher Robin Collins, “If the initial explosion of the big bang had differed in strength as little as one part in 10⁶⁰, the universe would have either quickly collapsed back on itself, or expanded too rapidly for stars to form. In either case, life would be impossible.” The chance of this happening is like firing a bullet at a one-inch target twenty billion light-years away and hitting the mark.[64]

Collins elaborates on this thinking by examining six compelling cases of fine-tuning built into the fabric of the universe:

The cosmological constant.

The strong nuclear and electromagnetic forces.

Carbon production in stars.

The proton-neutron mass difference.

The weak nuclear force.

Gravity. [65]

Each of these forces and phenomena are balanced in a way that produces the wondrous universe in which we live. It is hardly rational or logical to assume – without hard evidence – that all of these natural laws, with every miracle that they produce, appeared without cause or purpose.

In the scientific community, the idea of a finely-tuned universe has its critics and sceptics. Even so, the abundant evidence in nature and the plausible, rational argument for theism it produces cannot honestly be denied. Antony Flew was a long-time atheist philosopher who wrote against theism for over fifty years, but upon examining the emerging evidence of fine-tuning he later came to conclude that some intelligence beyond humanity must account for the origins of life and the complexity of the universe.[66] Theism, he writes, cannot be dismissed as wishful thinking or superstition:

Whatever the merits or demerits of this fine tuning argument in the context of attempts to construct a natural (as opposed to a revealed) theology, it must at once be allowed that it is reasonable for those who believe – whether rightly or wrongly – that they already have good evidencing reasons for accepting the religious teachings of any one of the three great revealed theistic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – to see the fine-tuning argument as providing substantial confirmation of their own antecedent religious beliefs.[67]

Perhaps the real superstition, then, is the ungrounded dogma that the universe is a purposeless accident.

Allah said:

They say, ‘There is only our life in this world: we die, we live, nothing but time destroys us.’ They have no knowledge of this: they only follow guesswork. [68]

Al-Ṭabarī comments on this verse, saying, “[The verse] means they do not have knowledge with certainty, as they only assume so without a message coming to them from Allah, nor any demonstrable proof with them to verify it.”[69]

In other words, the anti-theists themselves have a worldview without a strong foundation in evidence and logic. Much of their momentum as a movement involves misrepresenting theistic positions (a “straw-man” fallacy), or redirecting attention towards the irrational and hypocritical behaviour of some self-identified believers (a “red-herring” fallacy). In reality, it is impossible to conclusively determine or prove that God does not exist. Even Richard Dawkins, one of the most strident atheists and harshest critics of religion, admitted that he could not be sure that God – and by extension the Hereafter – does not exist. [70]

Yet the denial of theism – or at least the existence of a higher power and purpose – has always been, and will continue to be, entertained only by a minority of humanity overall, as belief in God is hardwired into our human nature and can never be erased entirely. Even if religious faith recedes for a time, it can and will always be revived again.

Even if religious faith recedes for a time, it can and will always be revived again.

God in the Unseen

Lastly, a common objection to the belief in God is that God cannot be directly seen or perceived. Why should we believe in what we cannot see? The answer is that God, as the Almighty Supreme Being, unique and otherworldly, exists beyond the cosmic veil in the Unseen (al-Ghaib). Although we cannot see God directly, we can reasonably infer His existence by the signs of His design in the world.

If the cosmic veil had been lifted, the awesomeness that is God Almighty would eradicate us.

The proposition that God cannot be seen, and therefore should not be believed in, is nothing new or original put forth by the “death of God” philosophers. It was said in the time of Prophet Muhammad as well.

Allah said:

Those who do not fear to meet Us say, ‘Why are the angels not sent down to us?’ or ‘Why can we not see our Lord?’ They are too proud of themselves and too insolent. [71]

The argument of the Meccan idolaters was not proposed as an honest question, but rather as an excuse not to practice faith. No one can logically claim that the inability to see something confirms its non-existence. There are many things in the world we cannot see, but in which we believe, because we deduce their existence from their signs or effects. We cannot see the wind, but we see it blowing the grass and trees. We cannot see radio waves, but we can see the results of their transmission.

By definition, science cannot “prove” or “disprove” the existence of God in a direct and conventional way, such as in a laboratory. Science only deals with the physical, tangible world of things that can be measured. God is beyond the physical world and beyond measurement. Those who pointed their telescopes to the heavens and disbelieved in the divine when they saw no bearded man sitting upon a cloud “have no grasp of God’s true measure.”[72]

Consider for a moment the world of microbes that live in a petri dish being studied by scientists. The organisms are so small that the scientists must use powerful instruments to observe them. Is it possible for the organisms to perceive that the scientists are there? Is it possible for the organisms to measure the scientists in any meaningful way? The sheer difference in scale precludes the ability of microbes to fully comprehend a reality that is beyond their reach.

Our relation to God is similar to those organisms observed by the scientists, except that our finite existence is even feebler as compared to the infiniteness of the Supreme Being. We can become aware of God through His signs, but we can never comprehend the full measure of God. The reality of God is too vast to be seen directly or measured with instruments. If the cosmic veil had been lifted, the awesomeness that is God Almighty would eradicate us.

The Prophet said:

His veil is light. If He were to remove the veil, the splendour of His countenance would consume His creation as far as can be seen. [73]

Hence, God does not speak directly to human beings, but rather through revelations delivered to Prophets.

Allah said:

It is not granted to any mortal that God should speak to him except through revelation or from behind a veil, or by sending a messenger to reveal by His command what He will: He is exalted and wise.[74]

The words revealed to the Prophets – whether it was Abraham, Moses, Jesus, or Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them all – have moved the world and continue to shape history, to provide comfort and guidance to millions of people all over the world. The guiding hand of the Almighty, though operating from the Unseen, is there for all to see.


The case for God’s existence in the Quran and Sunnah is straightforward, easy to comprehend, and supported by logic and sound reasoning. Conviction in faith is attained when the basic faculties of the heart and mind combine in reflection upon the facts of existence and the message of the Prophets. It does not require any special training or philosophy to arrive at the truth of theism; the evidence and arguments are accessible to all people regardless of their level of education. Such is a manifestation of the wisdom and mercy of the Creator, who created the world so that He would be known, as a stepping-stone towards the greater life to come in the Hereafter. The spiritual path does require, however, a sustained and patient effort to seek out the truth, to answer the most important existential questions, and to remove specious doubts.

The case for God’s existence in the Quran and Sunnah is straightforward, easy to comprehend,

Yet the case will not be accepted by everyone. They will either reject the logic or posit their own explanations of the universe that do not include God. And there are even more obstacles that turn people away from faith, and from Islam specifically: the hypocrisy of some believers, trauma endured at their hands, or any number of other doubts.[75] Knowledge of the divine is a light that God places in the hearts of people, first and foremost, and no amount of argumentation can insert His light into the hearts of those who, for whatever reason, cannot see it. Our role as believers is to be the best examples of our faith that we can possibly be, to make the case for Islam with grace, compassion, and beautiful preaching, to offer good will to all and to pray for the guidance of those who need it.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.


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[1] Barrett, Justin L., Why Would Anyone Believe in God?, p. 11.

[2] Surat al-‘Arāf 7:172; Abdel Haleem p. 174.

[3] al-Ṭabarī. Jāmiʻ al-Bayān, v.10 p. 561, verse 7:172.

[4] Hamer, The God Gene, p.6.

[5] Surat al-Rūm 30:30; Abdel Haleem 30:30.

[6] Surat Luqmān 31:25; Abdel Haleem p. 414.

[7] Surat al-Zukhruf 41:87; Abdel Haleem p. 496.

[8] Surat al-‘Ankabūt 29:65; Abdel Haleem p. 404.

[9] Surat al-An’ām 6:63-64; Abdel Haleem p. 136.

[10] Surat al-Rūm 30:33-34; Abdel Haleem p. 409.

[11] Surat al-Zumar 39:8; Abdel Haleem p. 460.

[12] al-Ghazzālī, Al-Munqidh min al-Ḍalāl, p. 111.

[13] al-Ghazzālī, Al-Munqidh min al-Ḍalāl, p. 182.

[14] ʻIyāḍ, [al-Qāḍī], Al-Ilmāʻ ilā Maʻrifat Uṣūl, p. 217.

[15] Ibn Rajab, Bayān Faḍl ʻilm al-Salaf, p. 58.

[16] Surat al-Mā’idah 5:15-16; Abdel Haleem p. 111.

[17] Surat al-Ḥadīd 57:28; Abdel Haleem p. 542.

[18] Surat al-Ra’d 13:28; Abdel Haleem p. 253.

[19] Surat al-Naḥl 16:97; Abdel Haleem p. 279.

[20] Surat al-Fajr 89:27-30; Abdel Haleem p. 595.

[21] Surat al-Ḍuḥa 93:5; Abdel Haleem p. 597.

[22] Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, v.2 p. 730 #1054.

[23] Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, v.1 p. 62 #34.

[24] al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, v.8 p. 95. #6446.

[25] al-Ṭabarānī, al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr, v.2 p. 154. #1643; declared authentic (ṣaḥiḥ) by Al-Albānī in Ṣaḥīh al-Jāmi’ v.2 p. 1289 #7816.

[26] al-Tirmidhī, Sunan al-Tirmidhī, v.4 p. 152 #2346; declared fair (ḥasan) by Al-Tirmidhī in his comments.

[27] Ibn ‘Asākir, Tārīkh Dimashq, v.6 p. 303.

[28] al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, v.7 p. 114 #5643.

[29] al-Ghazzālī, Al-Munqidh min al-Ḍalāl, p. 185-186.

[30] Barrett, Justin L., Why Would Anyone Believe in God?, p. 66.

[31] al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, v.2 p. 94 #1358.

[32] Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmū’ al-Fatāwà, v.16 p. 328.

[33] Barrett, Justin L. Cognitive Science, Religion, and Theology, p. 49.

[34] Surat al-Rūm 30:8; Abdel Haleem p. 406.

[35] Surat al-Ṭūr 52:35-36; Abdel Haleem p. 526.

[36] Ibn Ḥajar, Fatḥ al-Bārī, v.8 p. 603.

[37] Hacınebioğlu, Does God Exist?, p. 188.

[38] al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, v.6 p. 140 #4854.

[39] Ibn Kathīr. Tafsīr al-Qurān al-‘Aẓīm, v.7 p. 406.

[40] Ibn Abī al-‘Izz, Sharḥ al-‘Aqīdah al-Ṭaḥāwīyah, v.1 p. 36.

[41] Ibn al-Qayyim. Miftāḥ Dār al-Sa’ādah, v.1 p. 214.

[42] NASA, Newton’s Laws of Motion.

[43] NASA, Big Bang Cosmology.

[44] G.W. Leibniz, Philosophical Essays, pp .149-150.

[45] Overman, A case for the existence of God, p. 40.

[46] Michael Hanby, No God, No Science?, p. 212.

[47] Surat ‘Āli ‘Imrān 3:190-19; Abdel Haleem p. 76.

[48] Jonathan Sacks, The Great Partnership, p. 1.

[49] Ibn Abī Shaybah, Al-Muṣannaf, v.5 p. 266. #25942.

[50] Surat al-Baqarah 2:164; Abdel Haleem p. 26.

[51] Surat al-Rūm 30:20-24; Abdel Haleem p. 407.

[52] Surat al-R’ad 13:4; Abdel Haleem p. 250.

[53] Surat al-Naḥl 16:12; Abdel Haleem p. 269.

[54] Surat Fuṣṣilat 41:53; Abdel Haleem p. 483.

[55] Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmū’ al-Fatāwà, v.1 p. 48.

[56] Ibn Kathīr. Tafsīr al-Qurān al-‘Aẓīm, v.1 p. 106.

[57] Ibn Kathīr. Tafsīr al-Qurān al-‘Aẓīm, v.1 pp. 106-107.

[58] Ibn Kathīr. Tafsīr al-Qurān al-‘Aẓīm, v.1 p. 107.

[59] Ibn Kathīr. Tafsīr al-Qurān al-‘Aẓīm, v.1 p. 106.

[60] Ibn Kathīr. Tafsīr al-Qurān al-‘Aẓīm, v.1 p. 107.

[61] Ibn Kathīr. Tafsīr al-Qurān al-‘Aẓīm, v.1 p. 107.

[62] Surat al-Anbiyā’ 21:22; Abdel Haleem p. 324.

[63] Overman, A case for the existence of God, p. 42.

[64] Murray, Reason for the Hope Within, p. 49.

[65] Manson, Neil A. God and Design, p. 179-190.

[66] Wood. God, p. 29.

[67] Flew, God & Philosophy, p. 11.

[68] Surat al-Jāthiyah 45:24, Abdel Haleem p. 502.

[69] al-Ṭabarī. Jāmiʻ al-Bayān, v.22 p. 80.

[70] John Bingham, “Richard Dawkins: I can’t be sure God does not exist.”

[71] Surat al-Furqān 25:21; Abdel Haleem p. 363.

[72] Surat al-Anām 6:91; Abdel Haleem p. 140.

[73] Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, v.1 p. 161 #179.

[74] Surat al-Shūrā 42:51; Abdel Haleem p. 489.

[75] Youssef Chouhoud, “Modern Pathways to Doubt in Islam.”


(Reprinted from Yaqeen Institute)

Part One of the Article:

God Is Beyond the Physical World And Beyond Measurement: The Case For Allah’s Existence In The Quran And Sunnah - Part 1



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