So said Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Founder of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
“The God of Islam is the same God Who is visible in the reflection of the laws of nature and is discernible in the book of nature. Islam has not presented a new God but has presented the same God Who is presented by the light of man’s heart, by the conscience of man, and by heaven and earth.” [Majmu'a Ishtiharat, Vol. II, pp. 310-311]
“As man cannot perceive with his physical eyes the Imperceptible Being Who is latent in everyone like fire and yet is hidden from everyone, nor can he find Him through the exercise of his imperfect reason, he has been subject to many errors in his understanding of Him and through his errors he renders to others that which is His due. God Almighty has mentioned an excellent illustration in the Holy Qur’an that the world is like a great hall paved smooth with slabs of glass and a current of water flows underneath them which runs very fast. A person looking at the slabs of glass wrongly imagines them to be water also and is afraid of walking upon them as he would be afraid of walking upon water, though in reality they are only glass but very clear and transparent. Thus, these great objects in heaven like the sun and the moon etc. are transparent like glass and are worshipped by mistake. Behind them, there is a Higher Power at work which is flowing swiftly like water. It is the mistake of those who worship created things that they attribute to the glass all this activity which is being manifested by the Power behind it. This is the explanation of the verse:
Solomon said, ‘It is a palace paved smooth with slabs of glass.’ (Al Surah An-Naml 27:45)
As the Being of God Almighty, despite its brightness, is hidden beyond sight, the physical universe is not adequate for its true recognition. This is the reason why those who depended upon the physical system despite their careful consideration of its perfect orderliness which comprehends hundreds of wonders within itself, and despite their pursuit of astronomy and physics and philosophy to a degree which shows that they had penetrated through heaven and earth, could not get rid of their doubts and suspicions and became involved in all types of errors and wandered far afield in their absurd fantasies. If they thought of the Being of the Creator, they proceeded only thus far that observing the great orderliness of the wise system they imagined that it should have a Creator.”
[The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, Ruhani Khaza'in, Vol. 10, pp. 363-367]
Photosynthesis: deserving of our awe or ridicule?
By Zia H Shah MD
The following verses reveal that seeing the Creator through the reflection of His creation was a way of life for the Jewish prophets. The Holy Quran says the following about the prophet Solomon:
This is a Book (the Quran) which We have revealed to thee, full of blessings, that they may reflect over its verses, and that those gifted with understanding may take heed. And We bestowed on David, Solomon who was an excellent servant. He was always turning to Us. When there were brought before him at eventide steeds of noblest breed and swift of foot, he said, ‘I love the love of horses because of the remembrance of my Lord.’ So great was his love of them that when they were hidden behind the veil, he said, ‘Bring them back to me.’ Then he began to pass his hand over their legs and their necks. (Al Surah Saad 38:30-34)
After centuries of research, technology has created solar panels. The plant kingdom has been converting solar energy into chemical energy in a much more aesthetic manner. The plants are not only solar panels but are also self generating solar panel factories and much more! They are a source of timber, fuel, food and shelter for animals and human. At the end of their useful life the plant kingdom unlike our solar panels does not pose any environmental risk. As you study the technical details and the miracle of photosynthesis in this knol, would you rather support Sir David Attenborough, Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, or Prof. Richard Dawkins. I extensively quote from these three teachers on this ubiquitous phenomenon of nature. Don’t be shy or timid to take any of these three positions, because, regardless of your pick you will be in good company, in this terrestrial life. For, Immanuel Kant wrote, “Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more intensely the mind of thought is drawn to them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.” If you would rather follow a more celebrated intellectual, “Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible concatenations,” wrote Albert Einstein, “There remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in point of fact, religious.” However, if there is a hereafter that may have different implications! The metaphysics of the Holy Quran, explaining the fundamental nature of our being, the world around and the absolute, explaining the fundamental nature of our being, the world around and the absolute, should not be imposed on human consciousness in some legalistic manner, rather should be appreciated in a poetic imagination. The Holy Quran states that everything in the earth and heaven glorifies the Creator in one form or the other: “He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise.”(Al Quran (59:25) The Quran also claimed in the 7th century when it was not known whether anything existed between the earth and the heavenly bodies: “He is the Gracious God, Who has settled Himself on the Throne. To Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth, and whatsoever is between them, and whatsoever is beneath the moist subsoil.” (Al Quran (20:6-7)
To read more click here
Dr Abdus Salam, His faith and His science
By Zakaria Virk
Dr Abdus Salam was a deeply religious man despite the fact that he was a towering scientist of the 20th century. He was a devout Muslim in his personal life. He was brought up by a profoundly religious father; hence his father’s personality was imprinted on him. His family had a rich tradition of scholarship, learning and piety. As was the custom, he learned the reading of Holy Quran from his mother. He was well versed in Arabic. His father used to recite verses and narrations in the Holy Quran to him. It was from his father he developed his love for Islam.
From his childhood he offered five daily prayers. In the pocket of his jacket he used to carry of a small copy of the Holy Quran. At his home in Putney, while he was engrossed in his research, he used to listen to taped recitation of Holy Quran by outstanding Qarees of the Muslim world. He performed lesser pilgrimage, Umra when he was not internationally renowned. Despite his wish to perform Hajj, he could not do so on account of his religious beliefs. The Saudi Government would not grant him a visa.
When Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims in 1974 by Government of Pakistan, he grew beard and assumed the forename Muhammad to show his pride in being a Muslim. He used to lead the Friday congregational prayer for Muslim students at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Italy.
When his father was staying with him in London, he had the opportunity to buy a house in a posh London suburb, but instead, he chose to buy a house in Putney, because it was close to FAZAL Mosque, where his father could easily go for daily prayers. On Fridays Dr. Salam used to arrive at the mosque early and would take a seat in the front row. Even during the summer, he would don a winter jacket and a hat. When the Imam was delivering sermon, he would take out a notebook and start making notes. One day Imam Rafiq asked him: Do you like my sermon so much that you take notes? Dr Salam replied, the fact of the matter is that I get flashes of scientific ideas like an electric current, so I jot them down right away. These ideas subsequently become basis for my theories. If I don’t write them instantly, chances are I will lose them. Continue reading online …
A BBC Four Documentary: Is God Dead? (Metaphysics, Religion and Science)
Metaphysics investigates principles of reality transcending those of any particular science, cosmology and ontology. It is concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the universe.
Here we present a four part BBC documentary that along with the brief commentary below should explain the relationship of religion, science and metaphysics as it has evolved in the consciousness of the USA citizens in the last two centuries. Generally the discussion by scientists is framed with the vulnerabilities of Christianity and then these weaknesses are attributed to all religions.
For the ease of discussion, we have divided the documentary in four 15 minutes parts.
The documentary starts in 1860s after the publication of Sir Charles Darwin’s book, On the Origin of Species. In a debate between an advocate of Darwin and a Christian bishop it seemed that science was the victor over the Christian religion, but often the Western scholars conveniently treat the victory of evolution over Christianity as its victory over all religions. Such assumptions distort science and religion discussions from the very beginning. Nevertheless, the work of Darwin was a turning point in the discussion of all religions and science.
The discussion then goes to the conflict between Galileo and the Catholic Church and here again the blame should go to the Catholic Church only and not all religions. What is the source of knowledge in science and religion? This is another focus of this part of the documentary. The scientific method is well publicized and is known to everyone. When it comes to religion, the source of information is revelation, direct communication from God. Here, rather than examining the best examples in revelation and trying to understand the Holy Quran and the Holy Bible the producers of the documentary decided to examine the dreams of some in recent times, who thought that they had spiritual experience and discredited the claims of such recipients. Next, the documentary begins to show the limitations of those who read the Bible literally, especially the Creationists and some 45% of USA population believes that the earth is only 6000 years old. By not genuinely giving a voice to those who believe in guided evolution and especially those who believe in the Holy Quran and are from Islamic background, the documentary at least in the first part appears to be only tilting at windmills. The subsequent parts are in some ways fairer to religion and metaphysics.
To review the first fourth of the documentary, please click here
Creationism was banned from science curriculum in USA and rightly so, as the thought that there ought to be a Creator of our universe belongs to religion and philosophy or metaphysics and not science. Science is a study of what we can observe and we cannot observe the Transcendent God in our daily physical observations. Despite the USA laws, half of the USA population uninhibited by these boundaries between religion and science, believes that God created the universe, the documentary further adds they believe as is said in the Bible. Here in lies one of the short sightedness of the producers of the documentary that they do not have a universal perspective and fail to acknowledge the Holy Quran or any other world scriptures.
The Creationism of the past evolved in the 1990s to a new movement called Intelligent Design (ID). The documentary then goes onto discredit one of the claims of ID, wherein ID is proposing a God of the gaps, meaning trying to find God in the gaps of information in science. ID was taken to courts in Dover PA in 2004 by parents of high school students. After a detailed hearing, the Federal judge banned the teaching of ID in science classes and called ID a religious view and given the separation of Church and State in the USA, ID had no place in the public schools. The decision was a wise one and genuinely put ID into the category of religion and metaphysics where it belongs. However, the ID people are continuously trying to sell it as science.
The documentary then turns to the phenomena of nature and implies as if a Transcendent God was ruled out by Enlightenment of Europe and that there was no room left for God to influence our universe and to reward or punish the humans. The producers of the documentary conveniently forget that quantum theory provides for a Transcendent God to be able to grant the prayers or punish the wicked if He so chooses, by employing the very laws of nature that He authored and the documentary seems to acknowledge at least the last part of it in passing.
The documentary next moves onto describe the so called miracles of healing in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in France.
To review the second quarter of the documentary, please click here
When is a cure a miracle? This question introduces a guaranteed conflict between Christianity and science. The standard understanding of Christianity is that miracle breaks the law of nature. The Islamic concept as understood by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is that miracles are within the realm of laws of nature, even if we do not understand, at a given time. It is in the improbability of the situation to achieve a certain end that underscores the awe and mystery of miracle and not its basic conflict with the laws of nature. For example, some suitable laws and timing delivered the Israelites at the time of exodus and drowned Pharaoh’s army and people did not know about those laws 3 millennia ago and may only imperfectly understand them even today.
When we examine the records of the sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, sixty four cures have been declared as miracle by the Lourdes Medical Bureau over the decades. The original apparitions at Lourdes took place between 11 February and 16 July 1858. After this time, reports of apparently miraculous cures began to accumulate, prompting calls for the Roman Catholic Church to recognize these events as miracles. The earliest investigations of these cases were carried out by an Episcopal Commission of Inquiry led by Canon Germain Baradère and reporting directly to Mgr Laurence, bishop of Tarbes. The commission’s earliest work was conducted without medical consultation, with only clerical opinion being sought as to the nature of the cures.
In 1859, Professor Henri Vergez from the Faculty of Medicine at Montpellier was appointed medical consultant to the Episcopal Commission of Inquiry. Vergez’s views were often at odds with those of his clerical colleagues. Vergez decided that only eight of the early cases were genuinely inexplicable.
In 1883 a body called the Bureau des Constatations Médicales was established by doctors affiliated with the sanctuary. This was the forerunner of the current Medical Bureau. Its first titular head was the nobleman Baron Dunot de Saint-Maclou, and the Bureau was housed at the residence of the Garaison Fathers in Lourdes. Following the establishment of the Bureau des Constatations Médicales, the number of recognized cures dropped dramatically, from 143 in 1883 to only 83 in 1884.
In 1905, Pope Pius X decreed that claims of miraculous cures at Lourdes should ‘submit to a proper process,’ in other words, to be rigorously investigated. At his instigation, the current Lourdes Medical Bureau was formed and has investigated these cases with the tools of medical science. In our opinion, some of these cases may have been fraud and others genuine and reflecting the power of suggestion and heartfelt prayers.
The problem lies in how the Catholic Church, in their zeal to support the dogma and history of the Church, wants to define miracles as violation of the laws of nature. They create an unnecessary conflict with science and the Muslims should not be bracketed with them on this issue. The Promised Messiah, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, has written in his book the Blessings of Prayers, “If God has created the universe, then one can be certain that in keeping with His infinite entity, He would have left innumerable ways to influence the universe; so that His divinity is not suspended in any way, at any time!” This concept clearly sets the Muslim understanding apart from the Christian confusion about miracles.
As far as the Lourdes Medical Bureau is concerned only if no conventional treatment is being administered in a given case that a miracle is claimed; as if a miracle is violation of the general laws of nature and this introduces a fallacious concept of the supernatural in human affairs contrary to the Quranic belief. The Transcendent God of the Holy Quran has an attribute Al-Baatin the Hidden, He operates in a subtle manner, through the laws of nature and quantum physics at the very basic level of the universe could be one such possible explanation.
The issues pertaining to the sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes and medical science have been examined in one of the articles available on Alislam.
To read this article click here
The documentary then chooses to trivialize the spiritual and mystical experiences and revelations of the great sages and prophets by doing PET scan on some Catholic nuns and Buddhist monks as they meditate or pray. The question of authenticity of revelation as a possible source of knowledge cannot be answered by the PET scanners but by looking at genuine and preserved revelation, like the Holy Quran. If it does not contain knowledge and information that is beyond the reach of the human intelligence then the presentation of the documentary to demystify revelation is true otherwise simply false and childish.
The documentary then takes a better turn and proposes that there is another way of thinking about the role of God, He does not act on the small individual scale, He is not tinkering with the mechanical details of each animal and to quote from the transcript of the documentary, “He did not create every species on this planet individually, may be instead He is a grand inventor, a God of the big picture, who drew the blue prints of the creation, maybe He is behind the laws of the universe, the author of the whole of nature. This was the God, Darwin wrote of in, On the Origin of Species, a Creator laying down the laws, and even today some scientists look at the world and see it as God’s work. So, is it here that there is room for God? Not in the gaps in science but in the very laws of nature themselves!”
To review the third quarter of the documentary, please click here
The documentary calls the laws of nature by the religious terminology of laws of creation. It proceeds from Newtonian laws to the Einstein’s equation of E= mc2, which was simple, elegant and profound. Both Einstein and Newton saw a divine beauty in the clarity and order of these mathematical laws. Understanding the workings of the universe, they believed was like looking in the mind of God. The complexity that has gone into the creation of our universe, as understood now, has been multiplied several folds since the time of Einstein. The new physics talks of uncertainty and of the basic particles of matter being mass and wave at the same time! The universe is so strange that even the cosmologists barely understand it; they have very little conception of dark matter and dark energy, which may only be code words for our ignorance.
Some think that cosmology is straying in the realm of God. The fact that our universe exists is extremely improbable. Right from the beginning for conscious beings like ourselves to develop, the conditions had to be just right. These improbabilities extend over all the known constants in physics and a lot has been written about it and has been covered in our Alislam-eGazette. Any little change in several of these constants will take away the biophyllic nature of our universe.
Metaphysics investigates principles of reality transcending those of any particular science, cosmology and ontology. It is concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the universe. The last part of the documentary provides fairly accurate metaphysics. Not only the life on our planet is balanced on knife’s edge but so is the entire universe. The presence of carbon, which supports life in our universe, is the result of hugely improbable processes. Many see in the sheer improbabilities involved in our existence as evidence for a Higher Being. Having yielded all this ground, the documentary takes 180 degrees turn to accommodate atheistic perspective and discusses the recent book of Stephen Hawking and the multiverse theory that we have refuted in an article about Hawking in this very volume of Alislam-eGazette. The documentary concludes by saying that on the issue of multiverse, science and religions are not so different after all, in other words they meet in the domain of metaphysics! We should not look for God in the gaps of our scientific understanding but in the sheer improbabilities involved in our existence. This kind of metaphysics gives purpose and meaning to our life, which lies beyond the domain of science.
To review the last quarter of the documentary, please click here
What’s New at
New Friday Sermon Page Launched: FridaySermon.org Updated regularly with Audio, Video, Translations, and Summaries
Urdu Audio Lessons to learn translation of the Holy Quran by Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya Pakistan
Holy Quran with Persian translation and Persian (Farsi) Home Page with Jama’at books launched
Sermons on Waqf-e-Nau (pdf) English translation of Five Friday Sermons delivered by Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad Khalifatul-Masih IV(rh)
Islam, Universal Human Rights, and Cairo Declaration Where is the moderate Islam to be found? – Rafi Ahmad
A study of Jesus in India Slides based on the book
MTA Program: Fiqahi Masail (Urdu) Questions of each program listed at Al Islam Media Library
Persecution News and Updates
Is God the Father the Creator, the Trinity as a whole or are there three Creators?
By Zia H Shah MD
Bait and switch is commonly employed consciously or unconsciously by the Christian apologists to defend all their dogma, they present the proofs and need of One God and then sell to the naive three persons in one being of Trinity, without offering any proof for the Triune God.
Christianity cannot make up its mind. One moment Jesus is subordinate to God; in the next Christian story he is co-equal to God (trinity), and finally he is God and then God incarnate. .
If Jesus is co-equal to God, how come he did not create anything and God the Father had to do all the creative work, according to most verses of the Old and the New Testament? However, if we look at all the verses in the New Testament on this issue a confusing picture emerges.
Unlike the contradictory account of Christianity and the Bible, the Holy Quran presents a clear understanding of One God who is the Creator of everything around us:
“He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise.” (Al Surah Al-Hashr 59:25)
He (Allah) has created the heavens without any pillars that you can see, and He has placed in the earth firm mountains that it may not quake with you, and He has scattered therein all kinds of creatures; and We have sent down water from the clouds, and caused to grow therein every noble species. This is the creation of Allah. Now show me what others besides Him have created. Nay, but the wrongdoers are in manifest error. (Al Surah Luqman 31:11-12)
According to Trinitarian Christianity, Jesus is co-equal, co-existent and co-eternal with God the Father; this is what the Holy Quran has refuted in the verses quoted above. The challenge and logic is simple and very lucid, if Jesus is co-equal to God, show us what did he create?
To read more: click here
Stephen Hawking has a change of heart: God did not create Universe?By Zia H Shah MD
The title of his recent book that he has co-authored with Leonard Mlodinow is ‘The Grand Design.’ The title itself is a Freudian slip revealing the underlying conflict of Hawking’s premise. He cannot even express his proposition, even briefly so, without borrowing a phrase that argues the exact opposite and suggests a Designer, a Creator, a First cause, Alpha and Omega!
The authors do not offer us any new evidence to prove their premise. The book is only a nice packaging for common public of commonly known scientific information. Nowhere in the book have the authors told us what could science have discovered that would have proved a Transcendent God, in other words their conclusion is in fact, only their starting premise.
The main thesis of the book seems to be a reliance on the multiverse theory and M theory to come to the rescue of the sinking ship of atheism. These are invoked in one form or the other in concluding paragraphs of almost every chapter after the fifth one. The multiverse theory however belongs to science fiction rather than science and this point is particularly enlarged upon in a section of the knol titled, ‘All about Multiverse.’
Hawking teaches us in the final paragraphs of the fifth chapter that the M theory allows for ten raised to the power 500 different universes, each with its own laws. Now any universe outside our own by its very definition cannot be observed, so multiverse theory lies outside the realm of science, but paraphrasing Hawking’s number of possible universes, there may be ten raised to the power 500 variables that make our universe biophyllic. What the atheists may consider fortunate coincidences or serendipitous happenings for those who are not obsessed with atheistic paradigm; these are so many reasons to be thankful to our Creator.
The other main emphasis of the book is that if there is natural and orderly explanation of everything then it rules out the possibility of God, the Creator, as if God could resort to only supernatural, miraculous or chaotic means and He did not have the wisdom to create Natural Laws and use them for His creative work. A fairly detailed discussion on this issue can be found in one of my other knols titled, ‘the Indispensible God Hypothesis.’
In medical science in almost every study with any statistics there is something called p value! The long and short of which is that anything that has only 5% likelihood of happening by chance is not attributed to chance but to the treatment under study. In contrast to this the likelihood of blind chance in cosmology can build to one in a billion or one in a trillion or beyond and those who have preconceived commitment to atheism keep on weaving fairy tales despite the odds.
To read more: click here
A Website Featured: Islam, Quran and Science:
This website is about the following:
- Scientific and technological achievements of the Muslim scientists during the golden era of the Muslim empire, i.e. 600AD – 1600AD, which is otherwise known as the ‘Dark Ages’ in the West.
- Current day Muslim scientists and societies and their contribution to the modern science.
- Quran, which is the word of the Almighty God, exploring it to find out what secrets of the universe it has revealed to us.
To read more: click here
The Privileged Planet: a Documentary
Any humble theist should find that the articles and the two documentaries included in this column, together, present a balanced picture of the debate between the evolution and Intelligent Design camps.
This documentary, by the Discovery Institute, should be watched in light of the following quote of the Promised Messiah, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad:
“These days, concept of God and genuine understanding of monotheism are under fire. The Christians have written a lot about God, but, whatever genuine account they have given is about the true and the living God of Islam and not about a dead, crucified and a humble god. I can declare it with fullest confidence that whoever, will attempt to write about the attributes of God, his or her hand will be forced to come to the God of Islam. This is because each and every particle of our universe gives testimony of this God and the imprint of the God of Islam is also in every human heart and conscience. So, whenever humans endeavor to find God, they are lead to the concepts of Islam.” (Malfoozat volume I/V page 52.)
While watching the documentary, the following verses of Sura Hadid should also be kept in mind as well that highlight that Allah being the Hidden works through natural and not supernatural mechanisms as sometimes the Christian apologists propose:
“Whatever is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Allah; and He is the Mighty, the Wise. His is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; He gives life and He causes death; and He has power over all things. He is the First and the Last, and the Manifest and the Hidden, and He knows all things full well. He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six periods, then He settled Himself on the Throne. He knows what enters the earth and what comes out of it, and what comes down from heaven and what goes up into it. And He is with you wheresoever you may be. And Allah sees all that you do.” (Al Surah Al-Hadid 57:2-5)
To watch the documentary click here
To visit the website click here
Intelligent Design on Trial: a Documentary
Any humble theist should find that the articles and the two documentaries included in this column, together, present a balanced picture of the debate between the evolution and Intelligent Design camps. Humility in this study will be in keeping with Sir Charles Darwin’s advice:
“Let no man out of weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well-studied in the book of God’s word, or in the book of God’s works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavor an endless progress or proficiency in both.”
In this two-hour special, NOVA captures the turmoil that tore apart the community of Dover, Pennsylvania in one of the latest battles over teaching evolution in public schools. Featuring trial reenactments based on court transcripts and interviews with key participants, including expert scientists and Dover parents, teachers, and town officials, “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial” follows the celebrated federal case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District. This program was coproduced with Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Productions, Inc.
In 2004, the Dover school board ordered science teachers to read a statement to high school biology students suggesting that there is an alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution called intelligent design–the idea that life is too complex to have evolved naturally and therefore must have been designed by an intelligent agent. The teachers refused to comply. Later, parents opposed to intelligent design filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the school board of violating the constitutional separation of church and state.
“There was a blow-up like you couldn’t believe,” Bill Buckingham, head of the school board’s curriculum committee, tells NOVA. Buckingham helped formulate the intelligent-design policy when he noticed that the biology textbook chosen by teachers for classroom use was, in his words, “laced with Darwinism.”
To read more click here
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