How Can We Follow A Religion When So Much Is Unexplainable?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question

Since so much is unexplainable, how are we expected to follow a religion when everything could have just happened by chance?

How can something exist forever and how do we know that there cannot be an infinite regress of dependent things meaning no first cause?

Answer

I pray you are well.

Certainty is Possible and Attainable

There is enough evidence available for anyone to arrive at the conclusion that Islam and its teachings are true. This is very clear when one studies Islamic Theology (‘Aqida) in a structured way. This is not a difficult task given the tools of deduction we have been given.

Allah has blessed us with intellects to arrive at understandings and conclusions. He then sent us guidance in the form of revelation to steer our intellects to arrive at the certainty of His existence and the truth of all that He has told us.

Many people in human history have concluded basic truths of reality without revelation. These include the following: God exists, He is unaffected by Time, He is dissimilar to His creation, He needs nothing, He is one, and has knowledge, a will, power, and life. These conclusions are what we can discern from the world around us, and are fleshed out in ‘Aqida. [Sawi, Sharh Jawharat al-Tawhid]

The Role of Revelation

Revelation either builds on this for people or teaches them these realities – if they do not know them – and enhances their understanding of reality and the will of this supreme Creator. This is done through the use of sound, logical arguments, and miracles.

Miracles are a means of us being shown something so far beyond our capabilities that it is impossible to conclude anything other than Allah is affirming the words of a Messenger. There are many types of miracles, such as turning a staff into a living serpent or describing the human embryo’s development in the womb at a time and place where no one could know it.

Once someone sees such a matter, mere rational possibilities dwindle to nothing, because the possibility of God’s existence becomes fact. A detailed explanation of everything isn’t needed, because it is superseded by something stronger. [Sanusi, Umm al-Barahin]

Infinite Regress

Some ask the question “If God created everything, then who created God?“ The answer then leads to the question then being directed to the answer again. The tactic is to try and say that each creator could have been made by someone else, and then repeat the point endlessly in the hope of trying to claim there isn’t an ultimate cause of everything.

Due to the nature of this trick question, it can be repeated infinitely. It is, however, a trick question. There cannot be an infinite regression of creators. Everything ends with one being who made everything. That is Allah.

To claim infinite regress is true is exactly the same as saying someone has managed to count to infinity – which is ridiculous. If there was an infinite number of creators, each being made by someone before him, then, due to the nature of infinity, the last one who made us would never have existed, as he would be the last in an infinite line. This is absurd and impossible.

Things Existing Forever

This is simple. Things exist forever for one of two reasons: being unaffected by time, or, being kept in existence by a creator who is unaffected by time. Simple. Allah made us and we experience time. He also created time, and He is unaffected by it. If He can make stars last for billions of years, He can make His beloved servants last forever in Paradise.

So, in conclusion, the questions of the origin of reality can be answered in a way that leaves us certain. This is what we base religion on. The nature of reality and how it works is the domain of human research and study and is not directly linked to the truth of religion.

So, as the Quran puts it, “Know [that the supreme reality is] ‘there is no god but Allah.’” [Quran, 48:19]

May Allah grant us absolute, clear certainty.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.