The Irrationality of Rejecting Prophets

There is an old Chinese curse that allegedly says: “May you live in interesting times”. It seems that we are nowadays living in some very interesting times indeed. Many are at a loss and confusion has set as the normal state for them. Others have been self-deceived into thinking with certainty about what they have concluded to be a correct worldview. Terms are no longer defined before speaking and concepts are conflated with each other. We live in the great fallacy of equivocation.

With our scientific and technological progress, and the perpetuated mantra of how “rational” we have become, the onslaught on the belief in God and religion is unrelenting. Apparently, belief is irrational because the “evidence” is not forthcoming. Furthermore, we are told that religion is a cause of division and suffering, and therefore it must be done away with. The superficiality of such claims is puzzling and the authoritative tone in which they are asserted is quite odd. While many of those making these claims are simply parroting what they heard from some celebrity or famous figure they admire, there are some who actually want to think about this matter seriously before making such statements. This is very commendable. However, the caveat here is that thinking is an acquired skill that needs to be learned.

There are two major approaches to forming a basis of how to view the world around us: rationalism and empiricism. Being a major philosophical topic that has been and continues to be debated, the details of how each approach is constructed can be found elsewhere. What it all boils down to is that a rationalist claims that there are more than just our senses to guide our knowledge acquisition, for example reasoning capacity, while on the other hand an empiricist restricts knowledge acquisition to what can be seen, touched, heard, and measured.

Although these two approaches are treated independently in philosophy, and several philosophers were grouped under each school, a careful examination will bring out the nuanced and sometimes complex interaction between these two thought processes. While one might claim to be a rationalist or an empiricist, the reality is they would not be able to go about their day if they were exclusively either one. A constant interplay between the two modes of thought is taking place. For example, in mathematics one has to be a rationalist because the nature of the subject is such that one cannot ask for evidence they can see or measure. On the other hand, biology is an empirical endeavour where the claim needs to be supported by some form of measurable evidence. But when it comes to a subject matter like physics, there is a more prominent combination of rationality and empiricism given the fact that claims are tested with empirical experiments while the rational activity of mathematics is used to support and explain them.

If one is able to discern when each approach is justified to use, and more importantly able to avoid confusion by not conflating the two approaches, then a sound judgment about different matters of investigation and speculation can be concluded. The problem comes about when someone that relies on empirical evidence assumes that such a reliance is equated with being rational. For example, given the age we are living in, many vocal science-worshipping atheists claim to be the rational ones. When probed about why they reject God or Prophets, they cite their empirical reasons, which in reality makes them the irrational ones if one considers the matter carefully.

Imam Abu Hamid Al Ghazali, the 12-century medieval Muslim scholar, is considered one of the most influential philosophers and theologians in history. As a side note, Renee Descartes’ writings were confirmed to be direct plagiarisms of Imam Al Ghazali by analytical comparison and also evidence of Al Ghazali’s manuscripts in Descartes’ personal library. In his autobiography titled “Deliverance from Error”, Imam Al Ghazali gives a very interesting case for how irrational those who reject Prophets are actually being.

Imam Al Ghazali states that when we are born, we initially only have access to some of the senses. We have the sense of touch by which we can determine if something is hot or cold, smooth or rough, etc. We have the sense of hearing by which we can tell different sounds and tones. The sense of sight opens us up to the most extensive type of perception and through it we can tell colours and shapes. However, what we can perceive with our sense of sight is blocked to our sense of hearing. For example, the colour blue is identified via our sense of sight, but it is not something we can perceive with our ears, and can in fact be considered as nonexistent to our remaining senses.

As we get older, we graduate from being trapped in the “world” of sensoria and we begin to discern between matters. This is a stage of perception beyond sensation. Here we can begin to identify right from wrong and we start to learn simple concepts of human interaction. Later we ascend into another stage where we gain the power of intellect that allows us to perceive the necessary, the possible, the impossible, and all those things not found in the previous stages.

The ascension from each of these different stages does not mean the negation of the previous ones. While we maintain the lower stages in our capacities, we intuitively recognize that each one is removed from the other, and within each stage different aspects can be removed from one another. For example, we take for granted that we cannot identify a colour using our ears. But that does not mean the colour is not there to be perceived using our sense of sight. Moreover, if a blind man rejects the existence of colours simply because he cannot perceive them, we would consider that to be the very essence of irrationality.

In the stage of intellect, we accept that some of us gain access to some realms that others may not gain access to. A doctor is someone who was granted access into the study of medicine. We determine her expertise based on her credentials and reputation. Although we may not be directly practicing medicine, our experience of its effects allowed us to rationally deduce its reality. If someone who has never experienced the effects of medicine – because they never needed to use it personally – rejects it as a real force in this world, we would assume their rejection to be ludicrous at best.

How do we generally establish someone’s credibility as an expert in any field, which most of us may not have been granted direct access to? We read their works, look at their educational background, and see how their impact has reached us. For example, someone like Albert Einstein is acknowledged to be one of the greatest theoretical physicists of all time. If we asked ourselves the question of why we recognize that as truth, given the fact that most of us do not have the slightest clue about where to start when it comes to theoretical physics, some might point to his revolutionizing the field of physics and creating new subfields of study within it, while others might point to the impact of his work on our daily lives such as its applications to nuclear energy production and GPS satellites around the earth. Anyone rejecting Einstein as a physicist because they are not able to grasp his work intellectually, meanwhile experiencing the impact of it, would be considered irrational.

What about Prophets? These are people who have been granted access to a realm that we have not been granted access to: the Hidden Realm. Before rejecting the existence of such a realm, and before rejecting their claims to be Prophets of God, we must first establish how we can examine their claim and put it to the test. Surely, a blind man will not try to examine our sight-based observation using his eyes. Two criteria must be fulfilled before someone’s claim to Prophecy can be accepted: his character and his impact upon our experience. The character part is similar to examining the credentials of doctors and scientists in that one would have to examine their states and what is known about them, in addition to what they left behind in sacred scripture and tradition. This may become a point of dispute if it is examined alone. Hence, the impact upon our experience must be assessed, which can only be accomplished by personal involvement.

If we take the example of the Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him, there are literally thousands of sayings from his tradition that would speak volumes of truth to one who applies them. Consider, for example, his saying: “Whoever reaches the point where all his cares are a single care, God Most High will save him from all cares in this life and the next”; and “Whoever aids an unjust man, God gives the latter dominion over him”; and “Whoever acts according to what he knows, God will make him heir to what he does not know”.

No intellectual discourse can substitute for the experienced reality of the impact of what these statements and the remaining few thousand have on one’s heart and life in general. In fact, intellectual and philosophical debates about the legitimacy of his status as a Prophet are merely a distraction. For one to reject Prophets simply because they cannot comprehend the existence of the realm they have been granted access to is akin to a blind man rejecting the existence of colours because they cannot see them.

It is important to note something here. Imam Al Ghazali mentions that miracles cannot be the foundational basis for one to accept the claim for one being a Prophet. Extraordinary acts can easily be explained away as the work of magicians, or more simply as the work of a scientist doing a really amazing demonstration, or even more simply as the light reflection going through a fountain giving the apparent image of a saint on the glass of a building. Multiple ways of explaining away miracles can be derived. But the experiential nature of applying the teachings of Prophets will be akin to seeing and handling. Hence, they offer a more solid foundation for accepting that someone is indeed a Prophet from God.

There is a Zen Buddhist proverb that says: “Do not mistake the finger pointing at the moon for the moon”. Those who reject the Prophets have mistaken the intention of the pointer using their finger when they said: “Look at the moon!” and thought the preposition “at” was indicating the finger. In turn, they thought they were rational to reject the claim that it is the moon. Most of them have not actually taken the time to examine the claims to Prophecy rationally and their rejections are based on a fallacious approach that is a result of a hidden ego not accepting being blocked from accessing a realm above one’s own.

Mohamed Ghilan

18 thoughts on “The Irrationality of Rejecting Prophets

  1. Masha Allah, a truly amazing article, put together in such a way, that even the most adamant atheist is going to seriously struggle , in any attempt to refute it. Jazaka Allahu Khayrun brother Mohamed.
    Will be sharing it to the usual suspects.

  2. The existence of prophet Mohammed is unquestionable. But you still haven’t provided any rationality as to why we should think he’s from the hidden realm. The blind man analogy and the rationality behind it (i.e. using the correct branch of reason) is not sufficient. Also, just because Mohammed had a large influence doesn’t mean everything said about him is true. Denying his existance might be silly, but denying certain claims made by him or in reference of him is not.

    • You missed the point Waleed. I didn’t say that it’s irrational to reject the Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him’s existence. I also didn’t say that he came from the Hidden Realm. Moreover, I didn’t say that his having a large influence on the world is proof of the truth of his claim. As you said, his existence is unquestionable. It’s his claim to be a Prophet from God and the Message he preached that are being contested irrationally. The analogy is quite sufficient to show that it’s irrational to reject him simply because one cannot comprehend what he said from purely a direct experiential point. To explain what I mean by giving the same analogy I mentioned already in a different way, the gas station attendant who barely finished high school would be considered irrational if he said that Einstein was a lier and what he said is a bunch of empty claims and was in fact mentally insane, all because this attendant can’t grasp what photons are. Similarly, to simply sit around and reject the Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him’s claims solely because your personal experience does not include receiving revelation is akin to a blind man sitting around rejecting the existence of colours because his experience does not include perception of colours. The only difference between a blind man rejecting colours and a so-called skeptic rejecting Prophecy is that the blind man cannot experience the effects of colours even if he wanted to. The so-called skeptic can experience the effects of Prophecy even if he doesn’t receive direct revelation. The teachings and tradition of the Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him are things whose impact must be experienced directly first hand. Given the irrational nature of rejecting Prophecy, the last refuge of those rejecting it is an appeal to skepticism and to claim insufficiency of the argument. If anything, the atheists rejection of the call to applying and experiencing the teachings first hand before issuing their irrational judgement only confirms the thesis Jean Paul Sarte put forth at the end of his life when he converted from militant atheism to Judaism, in which he said: “I reflected deeply upon the reasons for why I’ve been an atheist all my life and found them to be childish!” My point is that those rejecting Revelation should stop claiming to be rational and stop cloaking their rejections with empty skepticism. People need to reflect more before making their minds up about deep existential questions.

      • Salam, what Waleed was saying actually gives some insight into the way you write. You describe the fallacy of rejecting a hidden realm with the reasoning that we can not see it, but though you may not have intended to provide an alternative explanation in the first place, it still begs the question “well, what is a rational way of proving someone’s prophethood?” You do an excellent job of challenging the methods many atheists use to try to “debunk” religion, God, prophets, etc. But I don’t feel that you close the circle by providing a good explanation that can be considered acceptable by the standards you outline.

        It is akin to your article about Muslims’ love for their prophet. The article feels to be spawned from the observation of events where Muslims go crazy burning things because of deep reverence of their prophet. A reader might be wondering about the backstory, but instead of addressing the initial concern (is violence justified when the prophet is defamed), you explained how Muslims could love the prophet so much, perhaps implying to ignorant readers that it’s perfectly acceptable. I know that perhaps this analogy is only tangentially related, but I think it explains what I mean about you addressing certain points without quenching the underlying curiosity.

      • Salam Aimann,

        I’m not sure how it begs the question of what is a rational way of proving someone’s prophethood. There was a significant portion of what I wrote in both the comment and the reply to Waleed that dealt with that. But first, I’d need you to define what you mean by “rationally prove”. Do you mean it in the sense that if one wants to prove Einstein’s genius, they have to go and study theoretical physics at the PhD level, publish a number of articles, be accepted by the scientific community to be a genius as well, then tackle Einstein’s theories first hand before finally coming out and saying: Yes everybody, Einstein was a genius?! This methodology is irrational because it means no one should trust anyone making any claims unless they can directly prove these claims first-hand, which leads to an infinite regress through an impossible criterion, which implies that everyone must master absolutely everything in order to scrutinize it all before accepting any claim by anyone. Variations in intellectual capacities of people are proof of the absurdity of such a criterion.

        The criterion I’ve given through my citation of Imam Al Ghazali is the one at play in the world when it comes to people making naturalistic claims. The difference is that it’s been extended justly to people making supernatural claims of Prophecy. The irrational position taken by the so-called skeptic and self-described rationalist is that while they accept the claim of mastery by people in different fields without themselves putting that mastery to the test because they can’t comprehend it, they reject the claim of Prophecy because they can’t comprehend it. It’s an inconsistent position to hold.

        Regarding the article I wrote about Muslim’s love for their prophet, from the title of it one should understand that it’s not about whether violence is justified when the Prophet is defamed. These are two different subjects and require two different articles. I can combine them together as separate chapters within one book though 🙂 The summary of the chapter to the violence question is: Not whatsoever! For it will be dishonouring the teachings of the Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him.

        I realize that not every point is addressed in my writings. To do so would result in some very long articles, which would not be read by many. I hope you can take into account the format and forum I’m writing in. I take what I think are the most important and relevant points and bring them up. Further elaborations and details can be addressed if I end up taking my subjects further into full books, which might happen in the future inshallah.

      • I don’t mean “begs the question” so literally, but rather what I mean to say is that there is a yearning to know the alternative arguments for the possible existence of prophets. I understand that there is just so much one can branch off into with these topics, so I suppose I can’t be too greedy in wanting a comprehensive novel to accompany each of your points 😛

        And in regards to when i said “rationally prove”, I don’t mean prove in the empirical sense, because that’s not even the proper approach. I meant “rationally argue” 😀

        Thanks again for a thought-provoking article.

      • I should probably clarify my comment, it was a bit too brief and excusably led to confusion. My first sentence on the unquestionable existence of Prophet Mohammed was intended to assure you that I am not as cynical as to refute his existence. And as you have correctly pointed out, I mistakingly claimed that a Prophet is “from” the Hidden Realm rather then someone who as access to it. But this is besides the point. My concern is with how you support your main thesis. You start off by comparing rationalists and empiricists and how distinct and intertwined these philosophical approaches can be. Then you mention the problems of relying on empirical evidence when rejecting God and Prophets (this in itself is debatable). Then through describing Al-Ghazali’s epistemology you try and show support for pure intellectual rational thought when addressing the idea of prophethood. But you finish your essay very abruptly, offering no rational evidence for prophethood. The two criteria you lay out are experiential, and experiential evidence is not rational evidence, it’s empirical. Your experiences make you appreciate his influence on your life, but not your friendly neighbourhood buddhist. Just because Prophet Mohammed has thousands of great quotes attributed to him and just because he has had a large influence on Muslims and non-Muslims over the course of 1400 years, does not mean he has access to a hidden realm. Pythagoras had an enormous influence, was extremely wise, and a self professed prophet with access to the Orphic gods. Does that mean we accept him as a prophet? Of course not. But your criteria does not differentiate between Pythagoras and Mohammad. Only empirical evidence does.

      • May be we should differentiate between Prophets and Messengers because I think my undisciplined free-exchange between the terms has led to confusion and consequently to a fallacious comparison on your part between Pythagoras and the Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him. According to the Islamic Tradition a Prophet is simply one who has received access to the Hidden Realm through Revelation. A Messenger on the other hand is one who in addition to receiving Revelation is commanded to deliver a Message to people that has more than calling them to worship their Lord. A Messenger comes with rules and guidelines in addition to the call to worship. Therefore, when I mention the sayings of the Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him, I’m not simply mentioning some nice quotes that show how wise he was. It’s a recipe for life that includes the basic commands and prohibitions in addition to changing one’s worldview. Once again I must reiterate, this is not an appeal to popularity. I’m not telling you that because of his influence on everyone else he must be a Prophet. I’m telling you that you as an individual must not only assess his sayings academically while having your cup of coffee (or tea), but you must also take it and actually do it. Indeed, the experience is empirical. The explanation of the experience is the rational part.

        It seems that for those who reject this, philosophical inquiry and back and forth “rational” argumentation is nothing but a veil for not wanting to have the proof against themselves established once and for all through a personal surrender of their triune god of whims, caprices and desires, and an actual practice of what was delivered to them by Prophets. Philosophy is known to not be the methodology for arriving at the ultimate Truth simply because for every answer to a single question others can come and raise 10 other questions to the answer ad infinitum. Generally, no one makes a name for themselves as a great philosopher unless they come and punch holes in their predecessor’s work to come up with something new. Meanwhile, the readers of philosophy will eventually pick whatever argument that suits their ego and veil it with “rationality”.

        By the way, there is a strong argument within the Islamic Tradition that Buddha was actually a Prophet of God. So my neighbourhood Buddhist is in fact upon some form of Truth from the perspective Islam, albeit not the whole Truth.

  3. These type of scientists are simply confused. They should simply think of an atom, and there is their answer. An atom could simply not be seen without enhancing your eyesight using tools. Is it then so “irrational” to believe that there are many other things that cannot be understood unless we decided to enhance our intelligence, or should I say consciousness, using tools? And could a worshiping be such a tool? Or meditation? or Following the sunnah?

  4. “But the experiential nature of applying the teachings of Prophets will be akin to seeing and handling.”

    The keyword that stuck out to me was experiential. If the true measurement or evaluation of a phenomenon (in this case religious truth) is the experience as opposed to the empirical, we would have to recognize the validity of experience in our quest to understand what the finger is pointing to.

    My guess is this is a major hurdle for many people, the willingness to accept something that involves emotion and which can often only be described as “something you know once you experience it”. You have to accept the method of communication/measurement as valid before you can determine the validity of what is being communicated/measured

  5. Atheism – a non-prophet organization…

    “A belief which leaves no place for doubt is not a belief; it is a superstition.”
    – José Bergamín

    “The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.”
    – Jiddu Krishnamurti

    Your deep insight shines through as usual. Thank you for the time you have taken to apply your one-pointedness to this subject.

    As you point out in the first paragraph of your essay:
    “Terms are no longer defined before speaking and concepts are conflated with each other. We
    live in the great fallacy of equivocation.”

    I agree. Critical thinking needs to be learned and our education system fails here.

    May the teachers of the future spend more time on how to think than on what to think.

  6. Assalamu Alakum Mohamed,

    I really enjoyed this piece, but I can’t help but notice the potential ways your argument could be used to “prove” notions and ideas that Muslims would reject wholeheartedly. For example, as Muslims we believe that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the last Prophet and seal of all Prophets. But according to your argument, we could “prove” the establishment of the Prophethood of Mírzá Ḥusayn-`Alí Núrí, the founder of the Bahá’í cult as you established above. We simply must asses “his character and his impact upon our experience.” His character according to the people that followed his faith was pleasant and dignified. His credentials include thousands of manifestos, “tablets”, and books. His work’s are revered by his followers and held sacred. As for empirical proof of his works and character upon his followers, we can also use your principal “personal involvement”. Many of his believers seem to have benefited tremendously from his works and presence.

    As for my question to you, here it is…

    In order for us to accept your argument which states that Prophets must be Prophets based upon our ability to prove the nobleness of their character and the impact their message had on the people, we must find its consistency in the rational/empirical world AND the theological world. Otherwise there remains an inconsistency. Whats the point of trying to prove Prophethood using the empirical and rational approach, if that proof can be used as evidence against the same theological figures/elements trying to prove the existence of their belief system?

    I hope my question is clear….

    Your brother
    Omar

    (Disclaimer: inathu’billah, of course as a Muslim I reject this cults belief system and its founders claims.)

    • Wa’alykoum As’salam Wa Rahmatulluah Omar,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article and have actually thought about it critically.

      First, I’d like to clarify that the argument I’ve presented is not mine. I got it from Imam Abu Hamid Al Ghazali may Allah have mercy on him, who presented the progression of knowledge through its different levels.

      Now, with regards to how it could be used to prove other prophets, one must first assess whether they accept the prophethood of Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him or not. If his role as a Messenger is in fact accepted, it automatically means that one must accept all his assertions and negations that dealt with the past, present and future. A fundamental belief for us Muslims is what he peace be upon him said about himself; that he was the final prophet AND messenger. This means that anyone that comes after him, be it Mirza Husayn or John Smith (for the Mormons), or anyone else that claimed to be a prophet or messenger must be a lier. If we accept anyone after Muhammed peace be upon him to be a prophet or messenger from God, then we’re also disbelieving in one of his claims, which in turn brings into question all his other claims, and thus negates his role as someone sent by God to mankind.

      Someone might come to us now and claim prophecy, but all one needs to do is put their whole program to the test, including their statements, commandments, prohibitions, assertions, etc. All we need is one contradiction within what they present to us based on their teachings, and not necessarily based on anything empirical outside of it. That was the challenge presented by the Quran, which no one has been able to face up to for over 1430 years now. However, when it comes to every other religion, after only quick examination especially with the ones that came after Islam, they’ve all been shown to have been produced through human efforts rather than Divine Revelation. Furthermore, as time passes and we gain more knowledge about ourselves and about the world, Islam only gains more credibility when it’s people of knowledge (rather than frauds with degrees) who examine it. This only solidifies what the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him claimed about himself.

      I think we’re both saying the same thing, it’s just that you wanted to qualify the theological part while I don’t think it’s a necessity to do so.

      Hopefully this made sense. I’m replying on the fly here.

      Was’salam
      Mohamed

      • You have not convinced me, in this most recent installment I felt I was reading a MSA pamphlet. And it is Joseph Smith not John Smith,so using your own standard, and I quote, “All we need is one contradiction within what they present to us” like your mix up here getting some recent and relevant facts straight can seriously undermined your arguments.

        And If I am required to put into practice every would-be-prophet’s teachings in order to know the veracity of their claim experientially, then I will need many life times. You did say, “all one needs to do is put their whole program to the test, including their statements, commandments, prohibitions, assertions, etc”. And how would I go about putting it to the test, are you implying the ‘tahaddi’ of the Quran, the ‘Challenge’? Or are you implying putting hadith to the test be reading them, applying them, outside the commentary of followers or later generations, because what I want to put to the test is the direct teaching of the would-be-prophet not the generations of scholarship built up around it with all its complexities, commentaries, etc , for if that is what you would have me do, then I would have to assume that just as Ghazalli is a faithful advocate of true-Muhammadan prophetic teaching then the Eastern or Latin based churches are also faithful advocates of Jesus, which I will assume you do not take for granted. So if I implement the sacraments and Vatican based teachings and find positive, life fulfilling, meaningful guidance then that would be my proof the validity of Catholicism. And as for a post-Muhammadan would-be-prophet, and his/her having to accept Muhammad, and all he taught, claimed, then is it not possible that a post-Muhammadan would-be-prophet could have abrogated Muhammadan teachings, just as Muslims understand the Muhammad abrogated previous ‘shari” rulings and practices of pre-Muhammad prophets? Fundamentals remain, for example, God’s oneness, judgment and affirmation of the Muhammad prophetic office [these being Ghazali’s own three principle ‘usul’ of faith’ everything else being furu’ as per his Faysal Tafriqa] but details can shift: Muslims do not marry siblings, but the sons and daughters of Adam apparently did.
        Anyway these are some thoughts, take them or leave them.

      • As’salamu Alykoum Sidi Naeem,

        I pray that all is well with you. I’m definitely missing your company since last year in Turkey. Many students were hoping to see you this year at Rihla 🙂

        I’m just going to take your comment and take some of what stood out to me and reply directly to them if you don’t mind:

        I felt I was reading a MSA pamphlet.

        This is an abusive analogy that I’m not sure what it’s based on. If everything you came across from MSA’s was terrible, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everything that comes from MSA’s is terrible. Furthermore, it sounds like you’re shooting the whole article down by making it analogous to what you’ve seen from MSA’s, which is committing the genetic fallacy. Moreover, you’re appealing to everyone else’s emotion who shares your opinion about what comes out of MSA’s. All in all, and I really mean no disrespect to you here, this statement has no academic weight at all.

        And it is Joseph Smith not John Smith,so using your own standard, and I quote, “All we need is one contradiction within what they present to us” like your mix up here getting some recent and relevant facts straight can seriously undermined your arguments.

        I apologize for the mistake. But I never claimed to be a perfect prophet, so if anything my typing mishap was indicative of my fallible humanity

        And If I am required to put into practice every would-be-prophet’s teachings in order to know the veracity of their claim experientially, then I will need many life times.

        It’s impossible to literally put into physical practice absolutely everything that was brought by a would-be-prophet’s teachings. That assumes that every decision we make is based on previous empirical experience, and that is just not true. We constantly “try” things rationally and accept/reject them according to their merit. The problem is when people haven’t been trained on how to think properly, in which case they fall into mistakes.

        And how would I go about putting it to the test, are you implying the ‘tahaddi’ of the Quran, the ‘Challenge’? Or are you implying putting hadith to the test be reading them, applying them, outside the commentary of followers or later generations, because what I want to put to the test is the direct teaching of the would-be-prophet not the generations of scholarship built up around it with all its complexities, commentaries, etc , for if that is what you would have me do, then I would have to assume that just as Ghazalli is a faithful advocate of true-Muhammadan prophetic teaching then the Eastern or Latin based churches are also faithful advocates of Jesus, which I will assume you do not take for granted

        There are a couple of things here. For one, putting Islam to the test is not necessarily just about the teachings of “how to live and view the world”. I know people who took up Buddhism and are completely satisfied with what it has done for a positive influence on their lives. Putting Islam to the test is a multi-faceted approach. Aside from the Prophet teachings, there are direct statements from the Prophet peace be upon him and in the Quran that cannot be accounted for using naturalism as the basis. There are the prophesies of the Prophet peace be upon him that will cause one to come to a pause in reflection. Note that if one took each facet that’s being tested individually, they’ll find some aspect being fulfilled by others who claimed to be prophets. What you will not find is an individual with the characteristics and qualities of the Prophet peace be upon him who also came with a religion that literally addresses all facets of humanity from sociology to politics to economy etc., while at the same time fulfilling the religious and spiritual needs of its followers. I don’t make this due to my emotional attachment to the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. This is simply an empirically verifiable fact.

        With regards to how to directly apply the Prophetic teachings, one cannot do away with the countless scholars and commentaries. These are the means by which one can properly understand how to apply the teachings directly and to even understand the teachings themselves, and this is not simply an Arabic language issue.

        So if I implement the sacraments and Vatican based teachings and find positive, life fulfilling, meaningful guidance then that would be my proof the validity of Catholicism.

        This would fulfil one aspect/need of human existence. Islam as a religion fulfils matters that have not been addressed in any other religion, and if one wants to really put these religions to the test, they must go after these matters and see what each religion says about them. Quickest example that comes to mind is the financial/economical system that to my knowledge no other religion has come with.

        And as for a post-Muhammadan would-be-prophet, and his/her having to accept Muhammad, and all he taught, claimed, then is it not possible that a post-Muhammadan would-be-prophet could have abrogated Muhammadan teachings, just as Muslims understand the Muhammad abrogated previous ‘shari” rulings and practices of pre-Muhammad prophets? Fundamentals remain, for example, God’s oneness, judgment and affirmation of the Muhammad prophetic office [these being Ghazali’s own three principle ‘usul’ of faith’ everything else being furu’ as per his Faysal Tafriqa] but details can shift: Muslims do not marry siblings, but the sons and daughters of Adam apparently did.

        If we accept another prophet after the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, this implies that we rejected a fundamental belief in accepting Muhammad peace be upon him, which is what he said about himself: the final messenger and seal of all the prophets. This is a fundamental in Islamic faith. The question then becomes: why did this issue about his being the seal of the Prophets become questionable and rejected? Every single individual that claimed to be a prophet after the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him came with teachings that could and were easily exposed for their falsehood to those who investigated the matter.

        Anyway, I realize as I write these short articles that there is much more that I should address. Even in my replies to comments I find myself considering multiple “refutations”. But to keep things from going out of hand in length, I keep it short. At the end of the day belief is really something that Allah grants and there is no system of logic that is foolproof to convince those who are not going to be convinced. There is also the problem of discussing things from two different platforms. As a believer I’m relying on the ethical platform; that which affirms the existence of the metaphysical and believes in God as the Absolute Truth that all absolute knowledge about anything will come from. The disbelievers on the other hand are relying on the speculative platform, which means we can go around in circles forever as we find holes in our arguments. My goal with these articles is simply to negate the claim that belief is irrational and atheism is rational. Once the truth that atheism is irrational is made clear, we can go into how do we know which prophet is truthful and which religion is the ultimate one.

        Please forgive me if I said anything unbecoming Sidi.

        That and Allah knows best and we nothing but conjecture and we are by no means sure

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