Is It Obligatory to Believe in the Kalam Cosmological Argument?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question

There are some theistic believing Physicists who have spoken up on certain articulations of the Kalam Cosmological argument, which I understand to be mostly taken from Imam Ghazali. It just makes me uncomfortable and would be comforted if I knew that ULTIMATELY only Allah knows what exactly did happen and that argumentation cannot prove God.

Thank you for all you do!

Answer

I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah. May Allah bless you for your concern.

The priority is to learn one’s faith, and its explanation soundly. Knowing the rational proofs in detail, with their nuances, isn’t personally obligatory. Rather, it is a communal obligation (fard kifaya). [Bajuri, Tuhfat al-Murid ‘ala Jawharat al-Tawhid; Sajiqlizada, Nashr al-Tawali‘; Ibn ‘Arafa, al-Mukhtasar al-Kalami]

The nuances of various Kalam arguments–and there are many rational pathways to affirm the existence, entity, and attributes of God discussed in our scholarly tradition, classical and in contemporary scholarship.

Even what is presented as “the” Kalam Cosmological Argument is only one of many such rational proofs–and its variants and nuances, and also its contemporary applications–are discussed and argued by Muslim theologians, classical and contemporary.

SeekersGuidance offers a number of courses, both in English and Arabic on this:
Why Allah? Belief in God in an Age of Doubt
An Intermediate Look at Tahawi’s Creed: Faith and Belief for Muslim Youth
Haddad’s Book of Assistance Explained: A Strong Foundation for Faith & Belief
Beliefs: Ghazali’s Qawa’id al-Aqa’id – Understanding Beliefs, Proofs, and the Spiritual Cultivation of Faith
Beliefs: Bajuri’s Commentary on the Sanusiyya Explained – Deeper Understanding of the Proofs and Key Issues of Theology
Beliefs: Bajuri’s Hashiya al-Sanusiyya Explained

Arabic:
العقيدة: شرح الخريدة البهية – مبادئ علم التوحيد
العقيدة: شرح أم البراهين للسنوسي – مدخل إلى العقيدة الإسلامية
مدخل إلى العقيدة: شرح كتاب العقيدة الكبرى للسنوسي

Also benefit from this link:
Kalam and Islam by Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller

Accepting any one argument isn’t itself a direct religious duty. The direct religious duty is to believe in Allah and the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), and to affirm what is decisively established and necessarily known to be of the religion.

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.