Bismillah Rahman Raheem
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Question (dated): 2003 - I have a friend that doesn't even believe in a god, and I said whatever I could, but her side of the argument was, that if everything came from something, and their was a creator of everything, then where did god come from. and I don't know what to say, I'm kinda stuck.
Bismillah Rahman Raheem
Thank you for writing and for your question. First let us begin with Basics Of Islam [Click.]
Here are some important points to keep in mind and these should be used when you are answering questions about Islam:
First - Tell them that we are pleased they are asking about Islam. Say, "Thanks for asking me about my religion."
Second, tell them two important things about our religion:
1. As Muslims we cannot lie about anything, especially about our religion.
2. We have original recorded sources of our religion:
A) The Quran [click]
B) Teachings of Muhammad [click]
This is a unique part of Islam, not available in any other ancient religions.
Now explain to them, sometimes "questions" contain misinformation. We must qualify what it is that someone is saying against what they are implying. We will need to straighten out the questions before giving answers.
And finally, ask them, "If during the answer, you hear yourself saying, "I didn't know that" or "This is good," then are you ready to worship your God and your Lord without and partners?
Tell them, "This what Islam is really all about. The most important subject is the worship of Almighty God, without any partners or associates or "gods" besides Almighty God."
Now we are ready to begin to give the answers.
Answer: 2003 - Sept 15 14:40 EST -
The question that atheists usually ask regarding our belief in God, vary to some degree, but they are quite predictable over all. Let us consider a few:
1. "If God created everything - then who created God?" (may Allah forgive me)
(Remember to use the formula above - i.e.; "Thank you for asking me about my religion..." etc.)
According to the Quran, Allah tells us that He is the only creator and sustainer of all that exists and that nothing and no one exists alongside Him, nor does He have any partners. He tells us that He is not created, nor is He like His creation in anyway. He calls Himself by a number of names and three of them are:
A) The First - (Al-Awal)
B) The Last - (Al Akhir)
C) The Eternal, who is sought after by His creation, while He has no need from them at all. (As-Samad)
He always has existed and He never was created, as He is not like His creation, nor similar to it, in any way.
2. "How can you believe in God, when you can't see, hear, touch, smell, taste or even imagine what He is?"
We know from the teachings of Muhammad, peace be upon him, that no one has ever actually seen God - at least not in this lifetime. Nor are we able to use our senses to make some kind of contact with Him. However, we are encouraged in Islam to use our senses and our common sense to recognize that all of this universe could not possibly come into existence on its own. Something had to design it all and then put it into motion. That is beyond our ability to do, yet it is something that we can understand.
We don't have to see an artist to recognize a painting, correct? So, if we see paintings without seeing artists painting them, in the same way, we can believe that Allah created everything without having to see Him (or touch, or hear, etc.).
3. "Can God do anything? - Can He make a rock so big that nothing can move it? - If He did make a rock so big that nothing could move it, would that mean that He couldn't move it too? Or would it be impossible for Him to make something so big that He couldn't move it?"
Allah tells us that "Allah is capable of doing anything that He Wills to do." He can make a rock (or anything for that matter) that is so large or heavy that nothing in the entire universe can move it. As regards Allah "moving" it, He is not in the universe and He does not resemble His creation. Whenever He wants anything done, He merely says "Qun! Faya Qun!" (Be! And so it will be!)
4. "Where is God?"
Some other religions teach that "God is everywhere." This is actually called "pantheism" and it is the opposite of our believe system in Islam. Allah tells us clearly that there is nothing, anywhere in the universe that resembles Him, nor is He ever in His creation. He tells us in the Quran that He created the universe in six "yawm" (periods of time) and then He "astawah 'ala al Arsh" (rose up, above His Throne). He is there (above His Throne) and will remain there until the End Times.
5. "Why did God create everything?"
6. "Is God pure, good, loving and fair? - If so, then where does evil, hatred and injustice come from?"
Allah says in His Quran that He did not create all of this for any foolish purpose. He tells us that He created us for the purpose of worshiping Him, Alone and without any partners.
Allah tells us that He is Pure, Loving, and absolutely Just in every respect. He says that He is the Best of Judges. He also tells us that the life that we are in is a test. He has created all the things that exist and He has created all that happens as well. There is nothing in this existence except what He has created. He also says in the Quran that He created evil (although He is not evil). He is using this as one of the many tests for us.
7. "Does God really have power of things? - If so, then why does He let people become sick, oppressed and die?"
Oppression is something that Allah forbids for Himself to do to anyone and He hates it when anyone oppresses someone else. He does have absolute power over everything. He allows sickness, disease, death and even oppression so that we can all be tested in what we do.
8. "Can you prove there is a God?"
Can you prove that you exist? Yes, of course you can. You merely use your senses to determine that you can see, hear, feel, smell, taste and you have emotions as well. All of this is a part of your existence. But this is not how we perceive God in Islam. We can look to the things that He has created and the way that He cares for things and sustains us, to know that there is no doubt of His existence.
Think about this the next time that you are looking up at the moon or the stars on a clear night; could you drop a drinking glass on the sidewalk and expect that it would hit the ground and on impact it would not shatter, but it would divide up into little small drinking glasses, with iced tea in them? Of course not.
And then consider if a tornado came through a junkyard and tore through the old cars; would it leave behind a nice new Mercedes with the engine running and no parts left around? Naturally not.
Can a fast food restaurant operate itself without any people there? That's crazy for anyone to even think about.
After considering all of the above, how could we look to the universe above us through a telescope or observe the molecules in a microscope and then think that all of this came about as a result of a "big bang" or some "accident?"
(see also "Quran" below)
9. "Does God know everything that is going to happen? - Does He have absolute control on the outcome of everything? - If so, how is that fair for us? Where is our free will then?"
Allah Knows everything that will happen. The first thing that He created was the "pen" and He ordered the pen to write. The pen wrote until it had written everything that would happen. And then Allah began to create the universe. All of this was already known to Him before He created it. He does have absolute and total control at all times. There is nothing that happens except that He is in control of if.
There is a mistake in the question: "Free Will." Allah alone, has Free Will, He Wills whatever He likes and it will always happen as He wills. We have something called, "Free choice." The difference is that what Allah "Wills" always happens and what we choose may or may not happen. We are not being judged on the outcome of things, we are being judged on our choices. This means that at the core of everything will always be our intentions. Whatever we intended, is what we will have the reward for. Each person will be judged according to what Allah gave them to work with, how they used it and what they intended to do with it.
As regards the actual "Judgment Day" - Allah tells us that everything we are doing is being recorded and not a single tiny thing escapes from this record. Even an atom's weight of good will be seen on the Day of Judgment and even a single atom's weight of evil will be seen too.
The one who will bring the evidences against us will be ourselves. Our ears, tongue, eyes and all of our bodies will begin to testify against us in front of Allah on the Day of Judgment. None will be oppressed on that Day, none will be falsely accused.
He could have put everyone in their respective places from the very beginning, but the people would complain as to why they were thrown in Hell without being given a chance. This life is exactly that; a chance to prove to ourselves who we really are and what we would really do if we indeed had a free choice.
Allah Knows everything that will happen, but we don't. That is why the test is fair.
10. "If there is only one God, then why are there so many religions?
Allah does not force anyone to submit to Him. He has layed out a clear path and then made it known to them the two ways (Heaven or Hell). The person is always free to make his or her own choice. There is not complusion in the way of "Islam." Whoever choses to worship Allah without partners and is devoted to Him and is obeying His commands as much as possible, has grasped the firm handhold that will never break. Whoever denies God and choses some other way to worship or not to believe at all, for them there is an eternal punishment that is most horrible (Hell).
All religions originated with Allah and then people began to add or take away from the teachings so as to take control over each other. Man made religions are an abomination before the Lord and will never be accepted. He will only accept true submission, obedience and in purity and peace to His commandments.
11. "How do you know that the Quran is really from God?"
Muslims have something that offers the most clear proof of all, The Holy Quran. There is no other book like it anywhere on earth. It is absolutely perfect in the Arabic language. It has no mistakes in grammar, meanings or context. The scientific evidences are well known around the entire world, even amongst non-Muslim scholars. Predictions in the Quran have come true; and its teachings are clearly for all people, all places and all times. No one has been able to produce a book like it, nor ten chapters like it, nor even one chapter like it. It was memorized by thousands of people during the lifetime of Muhammad, peace be upon him, and then this memorization was passed down from teacher to student for generation after generation, from mouth to ear and from one nation to another. Today every single Muslim has memorized some part of the Quran in the original Arabic language that it was revealed in over 1,400 years ago, even though most of them are not Arabs. There are over nine million (9,000,000) Muslims living on the earth today who have totally memorized the entire Quran, word for word, and can recite the entire Quran, in Arabic just as Muhammad, peace be upon him, did 14 centuries ago.
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