Some people reject God because they can find no evidence for Him which satisfies both their hearts and minds simultaneously. Also, here are others who accept God on the basis of emotional or irrational reasons which satisfy their hearts, but leave their minds unsure. These two groups of people have never found a satisfying answer to the question of their relationship with God. Then there are yet others who have found the correct path which God intended for us: to accept Him and His message to us using our minds first and foremost, and the heart follows easily and naturally as a consequence.
Instead of searching for the answer, there are also some people who chose to simply brush the question aside and ignore it unfortunately. This is the easy way out of what appears to be a very difficult, mysterious question which may seem to have no final solution. Most of these people are unaware of a very powerful message which completely and unequivocally establishes the correct path to God. This message squares with both the mind and the heart, and it has no equal since it comes to us straight from God Himself.
The message comes in the form of a book. In fact, God has given us several Books of guidance through the years, but each one was ultimately corrupted and changed by dishonest people. Each Book essentially contained the same fundamental message as the previous Books. Mankind was expected to guard these Books from harm, but unfortunately failed to live up to this expectation. Slowly but surely, each Book was edited and tampered with, destroying its authenticity. This is partly why God kept sending us more revelations.
However, almost 1400 years ago, God sent us another Book with the same basic message as the earlier ones, but with a small but very important difference. This time, God decreed that this Book would be the last Book sent down to us because God would protect it Himself. Regarding this Final Book, God said,
“Behold, it is We Ourselves who have bestowed from on high this reminder: and behold, it is We who shall truly guard it”. Holy Qur’an, 15:9.
Today, if we compare the 114 chapters in every copy of this Final Book with each other, we will find they match perfectly word for word – from the oldest copies made 1300-plus years ago to the ones printed just a few hours ago. No human hand has changed it.
The rational person has every right to be doubtful, of course, if he or she has never read this book. For such people, here is a small sample of what the Final Book contains. Suppose we wanted to ask God several questions about Him and about ourselves. Short of Him speaking to us directly (such a privilege has been granted to only one person out of all humanity), the Book has the best answers one can find. It is on the strength of these answers that an honest person may be struck with the conviction that the Final Book is from none other than God Almighty. Again, here is only a small part of the information one might find.
1. ON THE NATURE OF GOD
Who is God? God explains in His Final Book that it is quite simply impossible for us to completely understand Him. We cannot pinpoint a definition of the Creator,
“Glory to the Sustainer of the heavens and the earth – the Sustainer, in almightiness enthroned – from all that they may attribute to Him by way of definition”. Holy Qur’an, 43:82.
Our inability to completely understand God does not mean that He is completely remote from us. In spite of our limited understanding, we are all quite capable of turning to God, and He is not unaware of our efforts,
“…and unto thy Sustainer turn with love. Holy Qur’an, 94:8.
“Behold, for those who stand in awe of God although He is beyond the reach of their perception, there is forgiveness in store and a great reward”. Holy Qur’an, 67:12.
God has not left mankind entirely in the dark regarding His Nature. He refers to Himself by approximately 100 names in various places throughout the Final Book. Each name is a descriptive attribute of God, and they are all meant to help us understand the Creator. To gain this understanding involves simply thinking about God and reflecting on His names, and this type of awareness is a central pillar of faith (i.e. when one actively remembers God and is conscious of Him). A second benefit of these names is that some of them provide mankind with ideals to try to attain. For example, since God is the Most Forgiving, Most Patient, and Most Knowledgeable, we should each strive to be forgiving, patient, and knowledgeable (educated in our case).
Of all His attributes, God emphasizes a single one above all others in His Final Book: that HE IS ONE. God is not two, three, four, or more beings. There is only one deity, and He is God.
“Say: `He is God, Unique,
God the Eternal, the Independent.
He begets not, and neither is He begotten.
And there is nothing that could be compared to Him.'”. Holy Qur’an, 112:1-4
In other places of the Final Book, God emphasizes His Greatness and the impossibility of fully grasping Him by using the plural sense of pronouns for Himself – but He is strictly One and Unique with no other partners or deities.
After this aspect of Unity, God chose to emphasize two of His other names more often than the rest in the Final Book: “the Most Merciful, the One who acts Mercifully.” In fact, each chapter but one in the whole Book starts with, “In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the One who Acts Mercifully.” These two names cannot be emphasized enough. They are meant to stress we should not let our sins keep us from coming back to God and calling to Him at all times, in joy or sadness. The Creator is more aware of our imperfections than we are, and so when we stumble and feel bad, God is far more likely to be kind than angry.
The Last Messenger and Prophet of God (i.e. the person whom God chose to deliver the Final Book to the rest of mankind) commented on God’s mercy by informing us that,
“When God decreed the Creation He pledged Himself by writing in His book which is laid down with Him: `My mercy prevails over my wrath.'” –Hadith.
“God says: I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with Him when He makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me a hand’s span, I draw near to him an arm’s length; and if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him with speed.” –Hadith.
2. THE NATURE OF MAN
Who are we, and what makes us different from all other things? We are creations of God, along with the rest of the universe. We are human beings, all descendants of a common ancestry well known to most of us: Adam and Eve. Humanity, however, is distinct from the rest of the universe in a very fundamental way according to the Final Book,
“Verily, We did offer the trust to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains: but they refused to bear it because they were afraid of it. Yet man took it up – for verily he has always been prone to be most wicked, most foolish.” Holy Qur’an, 33:72.
Over the years, many scholars of the Book have tried to understand exactly what God meant by “the trust”. The most convincing argument (based on other parts of the Book, and on certain statements of the Last Messenger) is that it refers to our ability to make decisions both freely and intelligently. In other words, our uniqueness as human beings stems from two gifts given to us by God:
- our ability to freely choose between actions (good and evil)
- our ability to intelligently weigh and make those choices
The price of these gifts is a tremendous amount of responsibility on our part; the responsibility not to abuse our gifts by rejecting God or by hurting each other unnecessarily.The blessings of these two gifts are immeasurable, especially when God reminds us that He could have decided things otherwise by depriving us of either gift.
“Now, had it been Our will [that men should not be able to discern between right and wrong], We could surely have deprived them of their sight, so that they would stray forever from the [right] way: for how could they have had insight [into what is true]? And had it been Our will [that they should not be free to choose between right and wrong], We could surely have transformed them [rooted] in their places, so that they would not be able to move forward, and could not turn back. “Holy Qur’an, 36:66-67.
However, God did NOT will this, and as a result we are blessed with will and reason. The Final Book clearly warns against abusing these blessings, either by neglecting ourselves when we don’t think wisely, or by hurting others when we deny them the right to choose,
“Verily, the vilest of all creatures in the sight of God are those deaf, those dumb ones who do not use their reason.” Holy Qur’an, 8:22.
“There shall be no coercion in matters of faith. Distinct has now become the right way from error: hence he who rejects evil and believes in God has indeed taken hold of a support most unfailing, which shall never give way: for God is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. Holy Qur’an, 2:256.
In spite of mankind’s free will and reason, God warns us in His Book always to remember that these gifts are limited after all. The Final Word lies with Him in all matters. However, this is not to say that men’s destinies are arbitrary – not at all. We are able to make decisions that affect our lives, but at the same time, God is also making decisions about us and for us,
“And had thy Sustainer so willed, all those who live on earth would surely have attained to faith, all of them: do you then think that you could compel people to believe, notwithstanding that no human being can ever attain to faith otherwise than by God’s leave, and [that] it is He who lays the loathsome evil [of disbelief] upon those who will not use their reason.” Holy Qur’an, 10:99-100.
“…Verily, God does not change men’s condition unless they change their inner selves…” [13:11]
3. FREE WILL AND REASON APPLIED
Has God given mankind a clear path to Him? In essence, every rational reader would like to know if they can trust the authenticity of the Final Book. It is perfectly natural to feel that way; after all%�C this is the outcome of our God-given gift of reason. However, our own skeptical minds are the keys here: the Final Book, according to God, is addressed to people who think, pure and simple,
“…In this, behold, there are messages indeed for people who think. “Holy Qur’an, 39:42.
“Thus clearly do We spell out these messages unto people who use their reason.” Holy Qur’an, 30:28
No one but God can make a human being believe in the Truth of the Final Book, but that human being has to read it with an open mind, applying his or her powers of reason. The price of limited free will is that we must choose to be guided. Those people who do search for the Truth with an open mind and heart may find that the Final Book, while vast, is surprisingly clear,
“Nay, but this [divine writ] consists of messages self-evident in the breasts of those who have been given knowledge – and none could knowingly reject Our messages unless it be such as would do wrong [to themselves].” Holy Qur’an, 29:49.
“This divine writ – let there be no doubt about it – is a guidance for all the God-conscious…” Holy Qur’an, 2:2.
The guidance of the Final Book is available to anyone who goes in search of it,
“[O men!] We have now bestowed upon you from on high a divine writ containing all that you ought to bear in mind: will you not, then, use your reason”? Holy Qur’an, 21:10.
One of the most interesting aspects of the authenticity of the Final Book is the quantity of scientifically accurate statements in it – on subjects not even dreamed of 1300 years ago. A sample of these includes the following:
- a large explosion marking the start of creation (Big Bang). Holy Qur’an, 21:30
- the initial smokey (nebulous) nature of the skies. Holy Quran,41:11
- the expansion of the universe. Holy Qur’an, 51:41
- the presence of a huge amount of time before mankind appeared, Holy Qur’an, 76:1
- the existence of sun and moon orbits, Holy Qur’an, 21;33
- the finite sun and moon lifetimes. Holy Quran, 13:2
- the final destination of the sun (Solar Apex). Holy Qur’an, 36:38.
- the origin of all life based in water. Holy Qur’an, 21:30
In fact, God states that the amazing beauty and intricacy of the natural world around us, as well as our own complex biological makeup, will ultimately lead us to Him as we grow in understanding,
“In time, We shall make them fully understand Our messages [through what they perceive] in the utmost horizons [of the universe] and within themselves, so that it will become clear unto them this [revelation] is indeed the truth. Is it not enough that thy Sustainer is witness unto everything?” Holy Qur’an, 41:53..(To be continued)