Dawah (Outreach) Reflections With the Divine

Does God Exist?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/johanlb/4934265969/By Salman Khan

I recently had the opportunity to sit in on an interfaith discussion that focused on the beauty of God and His existence. It was running ordinarily. Everyone was discussing their religion’s point of view and trying to get the other to see the beauty of their own beliefs. The dialogue was rich with stories from faiths across the board. It was beautiful hearing the sheer enthusiasm revolving around the beauty of God. However, there was one individual who, unfortunately, shared in our beliefs but not in our enthusiasm.

Whenever a topic was brought up, this individual would give his point of view and explain rather apathetically how those beliefs came to be. After some time he abruptly raised the question, “Can we even prove God exists?” The lively conversation reached a sudden standstill. The entire time, this young man contributed to our conversation, but he was not only insincere, but he doubted the basic fundamental principle around which that our entire conversation revolved! SubhanAllah (Glory to God), it turns out that this young man was a recognized community leader within his congregation who secretly held atheistic views. The others on our discussion table were frozen in shock. No one could believe that this young man who was a leader within his community could have such questions or thoughts. This was an individual who studied the religious texts, taught it to others, and was an example for others to follow.

After a moment of silence, we each took it upon ourselves to prove God exists. By the end, we had mentioned everything: the Islamic proofs, Christian proofs, logical proofs, and even some scientific proofs, but to each one, this young man argued in favor of luck, evolution, and chance. It eventually hit me that there was no 1-2-3 process one could perform to prove God exists. Without a spark to light belief there could be no belief, and to each and every one of us that spark was different and unique. We kept running in circles, until finally one of the Christian sisters said, “At the end of the day, you only have two options: either choose to believe in God or don’t. Either way, you have to take a leap of faith, but which one is easier?” SubhanAllah, this powerful statement hit me so hard; It was so simple, but so true. A life without God leaves you to in a state of constant uncertainty, chaos, and anxiety, but one with God leaves you to be in a state of security, serenity, and contentment. My proof for this is the young man who was so clearly insecure and anxious about his disbelief in God. He wanted so badly to have certainty and tranquility, but because he refused to take this leap of faith, he was left unhappy and discontent.

This experience caused me continuous distress in the weeks after, because the story mentioned above is also prevalent in the Muslim community. Too many of us fall into phases of doubt, and it is most times those of us who were born and bred into Islam. Those of us who were spoon-fed Islam from an early age, but only followed it because we did what we were told. Growing up we performed the actions of our religion physically, but not spiritually. And, when we grew older, we began to question the beliefs we shared with our parents, and decided that we, when thinking for ourselves, could not really discern if God truly exists. And so, we began living a double-life; we went to the masjid  (mosque) and looked like Muslims, but when it came down to it, we didn’t truly believe. Like the young man who is afflicted with doubt, we are looking for concrete evidence of God’s existence. We don’t want to hear the religious proofs, or possible “scientific” evidences, we want to see Him, hear Him, and feel Him—not metaphorically, but literally. We hear of His bounty and grace, but we aren’t aware that we are experiencing it first-hand, and so either He doesn’t love us or He must not exist. And, because God would not be God if He didn’t love us, then He must not exist!

This reasoning and conclusion is common to many of us. And, unfortunately, no one can make us believe any differently. By taking the wisdom from our Christian sister, I leave myself, first and foremost, and you with these final statements: think for yourself and find Allah (subhanahu wa ta`ala – exalted is He) in your own way. Don’t choose a life of unhappiness, because you choose to be blind. Instead, take a leap of faith, keep your eyes open, and be patient. With an open mind and an open heart, you will surely find God and see Him all around you insha’Allah (God willing).

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  • Totally disagree with this. I don’t think this idea of “its just a leap of faith” (where also the meaning of “faith” has western connotations), has any basis in Islamic theology of the past 1400 yrs.

      • Not sure where a leap a faith is clearly mentioned here in the ayah you mentioned. Can you point it out to me?
        “And a believing man from the family of Pharaoh who concealed his faith said, “Do you kill a man [merely] because he says, ‘My Lord is Allah ‘ while he has brought you clear proofs from your Lord? And if he should be lying, then upon him is [the consequence of] his lie; but if he should be truthful, there will strike you some of what he promises you. Indeed, Allah does not guide one who is a transgressor and a liar.”

  • “A life without God leaves you to in a state of constant uncertainty, chaos, and anxiety, but one with God leaves you to be in a state of security, serenity, and contentment.”

    I agree with the second half of the statement, but is the first half always true? What about life-long Buddhists who live with “peace, serenity, and contentment”?

    • Buddhists believe in one big God and many Buddhists believe ins everal small gods with him…they do believe in a God.

  • When I was in high school I had no doubts about Islam. Even in college, up until my 3rd year. I joined an interfaith group and I started asking myself, Jesus (pbuh) was born without a father so why couldn’t he be the son of God. And then I started doubting and saying how do I know I’m right? Then I started asking how do I know that the prophet Mohammed was the last prophet, and for days it was killing me and they were the worst days of my life. I felt like I was going insane because I couldn’t just give up on Islam so easily. I read, then I found my answers in the Qur’an. I read that the example of Jesus is that of Adam, God said be and he was. That simple. Then I read a small book called “Muslim Christian Dialogue” and I realized more and more that Christianity was out of my mind. And I read in the Qur’an that the prophet is Khatam Elnabiyeen, the seal of the prophets. So now I could cancel anyone that came after him. And then I said how do I know it’s not made up? I found a book “Brief Illustrated Guide to Islam” and I read about all the miracles and the linguistic miracles and the simple life of the prophet Mohammed and how he he was abused, tortured, mocked, starved and he didn’t get anything out of delivering the message so I realized he didn’t make this up, why would he go through all that torture if it wasn’t true? Then I thought maybe the miracles were added later and when I thought about how the Qur’an was not changed and could not have been changed because there was no opportunity for it to be changed since so many had it memorized in its entirety before the death of the prophet, and it was recited in every prayer, and it was written down. I realized the Qur’an is the word of Allah. And I became convinced once again la illaha illa Allah, Mohamed Rasul Allah.

    • “… there was no opportunity for it to be changed since so many had it memorized in its entirety before the death of the prophet, and it was recited in every prayer…” Masha Allah. such enlightening and valid point of view.

    • Your comment is so beautiful.. especially at the end “And I became convinced once again la illaha illa Allah, Mohamed Rasul Allah.”

      I’d just like to share a miracle with you and everyone reading my comment. When I was about 9 years old, my sister(who was aged 14) and I both saw clouds clearly forming Allah’s name in Arabic. And whenever my imaan is low I just remind myself of that miracle and the other miracles in the Quran and my heart says “La illaha illa Allah Muhammad rasul Allah”..

      May Allah guide you and I and other people to the straight path.. Ameen

  • Both sides have very poor arguments on this issue. Until we have a precise, universal definition of what ‘God’ is, it’s difficult to determine what the evidence for ‘His’ existence would look like.

    If you believe…
    -God has no children, is genderless and possesses no known biological or physical traits
    -God neither has a beginning nor an end
    -God does not exist within the space-time continuum because God was the Creator of the space-time continuum.
    -God’s power and mercy are infinite

    then you believe in something that should be feared and cannot be proven by our limited mental faculty and the tools (science, philosophy) that we have, which were awarded to us by that same God.

  • Br,
    Thank you for the article. It was a good
    read and insightful. That being said, I think
    arguing two extremes like faith and atheism will
    always result in a stand-still. A more interesting
    challenge is actually posed by agnostics or deists..who
    admit the possibility or even the existence of God, but
    who deny the specific RELIGIONS. I wonder if you’ve been
    in any discussions of that sort. Frankly, atheists are
    not anywhere near as challenging as agnostics or deists.
    They bring up very difficult point regarding specifics and
    much more of a challenge to respond to them.

  • The leap of faith response when asked for reasons to believe God and religion is problematic. Evidence and reasons for believe have to be used and made when talking about accepting God. if there are no good reasons then a leap of faith is not a good solution. Leaps of faith are used by everyone, christians, hindus, and others who have no real basis to ground their religion. muslims should not fall into this problem also. The atheists and agnostics side with arguments of science and rationality. we must not allow for the possibility that their ways are more rational than the people of religion and particularly islam. Does the Quran and Sunna tell us to rely on leaps of faith? The religion of Islam is for those who use their understanding. Now make the case of islam based on this requirement, that ones the understanding is used, Islam shows itself to be true not from a leap of faith but a consisted, coherent, and confirmed basis. What the evidences and reason for beliefs are, remains to be made and delivered. Scholars of religion need to deliver and stop this leap of faith response. when truth comes falsehood is shattered. That truth needs to arrive.

    hints: factual evidences (scientific facts discredits false religions not islam per se, good character (prophetic truth concerns truth about character), causal grounding of finite contingencies require necessary being; therefore recognition of the basis of God. and among other reasons that add to show good arguments for belief.

  • Jzk for this much needed article however I fear it may have caused more confusion than clarity. For Muslims being shaken by thoughts is a clear sign of faith because shaitan is trying to derail you as seen in the hadith. I recently experienced this for the first time in my life and it was scary! I didn’t doubt His existence but something else which I wont put on here in case it causes a fitna. But this “leap of faith” is a typical Christian idea the same thing that causes them to leave the faith because we need proof and faith. I feel the best evidence is the existence of the Quran and reflecting upon it and hearing it. But ultimately, Allah guides so anyone in doubt should just turn to Him and say show me the truth and it put it in my heart because La hawla wa la quwta illa billah.

  • I am afraid that authors -may Allah reward them for their efforts- got it all wrong! There are unlimited indisputable evidences that God swt exists. This is common knowledge to ANY BELIEVER. The Holy Quran revolves around this fact, and Muslim scholars agree on it. If there are any doubts about this, please refer to one of the authentic books about Islamic creed, even though I find that the Holy Quran -when correctly understood- leaves no room for any doubters. Allah knows best.

  • Salam wa 3alaikoum

    Very interesting read. This is something that I’ve struggled myself with when growing up. I can even relate to where the atheist you were speaking about is coming from. The problem here is that we need to understand and accept that different people understand different things in different ways. When someone asks “does God exist?”, we answer instinctively based on what our understanding is of the question. What we should be doing is ask the individual what they mean. We should ask them what they mean when they ask if God really “exists”.

    Because if by “exist”, they mean in the physical sense whereby God can be measured by time and space like everything else in this universe, then no, God doesn’t “exist”. But that’s not the “God” that we believe in. Much like we can’t prove that our own thoughts exist (as we can only measure physical brain activity and not measure actual thoughts themselves), it doesn’t mean that we are not thinking.

    Therefore we need to speak the language of thought that others are using. “Subhanallah” stories are amazing and inspirational for a lot of people. But for some people, they prefer their information on a different level. Whatever your belief if, the only thing that we can all agree on is that something greater than the universe, created the universe. Whatever you believe that “something” to be, is up to you. For me, that “something” is God.

  • What does it mean to believe in God? What does it mean to have faith? There are those who almost desperately want to have faith, almost desperately want to believe, but deep down, in their guts, in their heart of hearts, the belief just is not there, no matter what they do.

    They may say that they believe, they may struggle to act as if they believe, they may “try to fake it until they make it,” but in the end, no matter how much they struggle, even frantically struggle, the belief just is not there within them. It just isn’t. My observation and experience in this life is that most religious communities, Muslim or non-Muslim alike, seem somehow not to be able to comprehend that there are such individuals, individuals who want desperately to believe but cannot, no matter what they do. (What happens in practice, sometimes, is that these people are simply condemned for not having what they have not been able to achieve, no matter how hard they try.)

    Perhaps this problem is especially acute in the Muslim community (but Allah swt knows best) because there seem to be so many people who cannot fathom the tragic issue of inability to believe. Just say these words, as-shahdu and the rest. Now you are a Muslim, alhamdulillah, with no one really knowing whether real, true belief has taken root in the individual’s heart. There seem to be those who cannot comprehend the struggle which some individuals have to believe.

  • It’s strange to me to say that a “leap of faith” is a Christian or western notion. Perhaps the problem is with the word “leap”? Regardless, the Quran again and again states that the rewards are to those who believe and do good deeds, and punishment is to those who reject faith. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “No man is a true believer unless he wants for his brother that which he wants for himself.”

    • Agreed Reed (unintentional, but has a nice ring to it). Of the best ways to get to know God and have more certainty is through doing good deeds and having a serene conscious. The Prophet (sal) said he was sent to perfect character. Then our hearts open up more and we can truly know Him. Walahu A3lam

  • Please read the full article here


    One way of being convinced of Divine existence is to read the book of Allah. Approach the noble Quran with a desire to know the truth and to be guided by it. Seek refuge with Allah Almighty from devilish impulses and start reading the Quran; and your doubts will be cleared.

    While reading the Quran, imagine that Allah is talking to you personally. Feel His presence with you. Get closer to Allah by performing extra Prayers, giving out to the poor and the needy, and doing a lot of supplication to Him.

    Look at yourself and see how miraculously you are created. Look around you and see how things are beautifully arranged. All this leads to one conclusion: that there is one Creator who manages all affairs on the heaven and the earth at one time.

    May Allah the All-Merciful guide us and help us all along the Straight Path.

  • Does this world have a Creator?

    If a Creator does not exist, how did this universe come into existence?

    On the other hand, if God exists, why did He create us?

    What is the real purpose of Life?

    And in this case, who created the Creator?

    These are some of the questions asked by those who are seeking the Truth about the reality of our existence here on planet earth.

    Are we here only for 80 or 90 years, then that’s it?

    Or is there more than that after life ends?

    Intelligent minds for many centuries have been searching for answers to these and other related questions, and in Islam we claim to have the right answers.

    In order to make it easy for truth-seekers to reason through these issues, this folder has been compiled to present the answers from a Muslim point of view. It also offers case studies of former atheists who have found the light of faith after finding the right answers.

    To read the answers from a trustworthy source please follow the link


  • “The leap of faith response when asked for reasons to believe God and religion is problematic. Evidence and reasons for believe have to be used and made when talking about accepting God. if there are no good reasons then a leap of faith is not a good solution.”

    There seems to be some misunderstanding of what “leap of faith” means. No one has faith in what is believed to be impossible. Is there any sane person who believes that they can fly by flapping their arms? Faith is based on evidence that in some way is not 100% certain. If it were 100% certain, then it would be called knowledge instead of faith (or belief). This doesn’t mean that the evidence and reasons are not good, simply that they are not 100% certain.

    The fact that the evidence is not 100% certain is one reason (not the only one) why people don’t change from one religion to another. (It’s also the reason why some believers doubt or begin to doubt.) They discount the evidence for the other religions (which they can do because it’s not 100% certain) and accept the evidence for their religion (the evidence they’re accustomed to). Even so, the evidence is not 100% certain, and so faith is required to “leap” past the evidence to the conclusion desired, in this case, belief in the existence of God.

    That believers can doubt is obvious and is not something new. It’s recorded in the Bible (Mark 9:23-24) that a father brought his son to Jesus to be healed.

    “Jesus said to him, “If you can believe,[a] all things are possible to him who believes.”

    24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!””

    Whether or not we accept this story as accurate, it shows that 2000 years ago, that some believed with doubt. It’s the person who is fully submitted to Allah (swt) who doesn’t doubt, but there are few who are fully submitted.

  • I believe that God exist.
    I just dont understand why Allah wanted to know which one among us the better one. Please refer to the verse that talk about this in the Quran. Sorry, I could not remember the exact the exact verse number..

  • The point of this article was to make it clear that doubt is not something we as a community should be afraid of. If someone doubts we should not treat them as if they are sinners. Doubt should be used to strength faith, not fight it.

    If someone among us doubts, which is the case among many of our youth and converts, we should not force anything on them. We can explain to them the proofs, whether it be advising them to read the Qur’an like Abdo mentioned or showing them the beauty of Islam. However, if this is not sufficient for them, then what do we do?

    And, it is this situation that this article is trying to address. In this case, where an individual is not satisfied regarding the Islamic, scientific, or whatever else proofs we show them, we have to be extremely careful. Just because they do not see things our way, does not mean they are sinners or incorrect. Rather we as a community need to support that person and let them know that they should keep an open mind and an open heart and that in time they will find God in their own way. Instead of shutting them out or turning their doubt into disbelief, we need to give them the ability and the space to work out and push through their doubt, so that they can come out on the other side stronger than before. Doubt if treated properly can be used to strengthen faith tremendously, but when we treat it incorrectly we can lose faith forever. And Allah knows best.

  • The proof of the Existence of GOD..is Prophet Muhammed,upon Him peace and blessings. Without the beloved of Allah being sent to the world…you and I would not have known about the Creator.Thus the Beloved of Allah is your proof.

    • Salaam alaikum. Please be aware that there are those who are not already Muslims who do not consider your assertion to be any kind of proof at all. Those who wish to convince non-Muslims of the truth of Islam must be more than merely glib. For example, I have an entire book which I downloaded from the internet, and which could be available to anyone, which takes such a negative, hostile view of Prophet Muhammad that I will not describe it here. The point is that Islamic apologetics must be thorough and not glib. Just making shallow statements will not convince many people. And Allah (swt) knows best.

    • Each religion can say the same thing about its own prophet, so it’s a strange thing to say that someone cannot know about the Creator (swt) without knowing about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

  • It *is* a leap of faith, at the end of the day. You can’t run experiments to prove there is a God, He is above the universe in which experiments reside. None of the proofs we hold, require a zero faith element. Otherwise, no one would disbelieve in them. Indeed Allah Himself says so – a believer will recognise a miracle and have her faith deepened thereby. A disbeliever will see the same miracle and always, always find ways to doubt it, even if the Book dropped from the sky. No amount of miracles will satisfy a heart that disbelieves. They will only find their ultimate proof, like many peoples before them have, when it is too late, when the promise of God comes true. Before this day, it is about belief, or not. Until that day, there will always, always be a smidgen of uncertainty. It cannot be any other way.

    For someone with fundamental doubts, whose thoughts have reached the limit of evidence and proofs, and is facing that stark choice of, ‘so is that enough evidence now for you’? and his heart is on the balance, taking that leap is really hard. You cannot know for sure all the things your mind tells you makes sense, until you ‘jump off’, and find that indeed God is there to keep you aloft. But *you* have to decide to ask Allah and jump, and I hope this young man will. When he does, he will be an amazing teacher for having gone through that moment in stark detail, vs those who have not.

  • As Salamu Alaikum, everyone:

    The Quran is very clear that a bit of a ‘leap of faith’ is required: among the very first verses of the Quran, in Sura Baqara, states that the Quran is ‘a Guidance for those with Taqwa, those who believe in the unseen…’

    Thus a requirement to be Muslim and to be guided by the Quran is to have faith that there exists more than what can been seen – which in a broader sense means what can be discerned with all our senses and with all our experiments.

    This doesn’t mean that we are left with nothing: study of the sciences, mathematics, of the Quran itself, a fair study of the life of the Prophet (s), of history, anthropology, philosophy and many other fields ALL strongly point to the existence of the divine.

    In fact, one of the major arguments for the existence of God is that not one field, but so many, point to the existence of the Divine.

    Some many not be convinced by science, but perhaps by the eloquence of the Quran. Others perhaps will be more convinced by philosophical rational arguments. Others perhaps will be inclined after reading about the Prophet (s). And so on.

    But, as Kirana says, if someone stubbornly refuses to believe, then, there is always a bit of wiggle room that they can hold onto.

    As she says, ‘it cannot be any other way.’ Our life on earth is a test: one of the biggest components of the test is to actually take the leap of faith.

    Belief is a gift from God (perhaps its a gift for those brave enough to take the leap!). Its the best gift He has given us. Its a gift we should be extremely thankful for.

    (I remind myself first here before everyone else :D!)

    Thus, if we believe in the existence of God due to scientific proofs, lets thank God for this. If we are convinced of His existence due to reading His magnificent Book, or after learning about the life of His noble Messenger, lets be doubly thankful.

    We should never be arrogant and think that we arrived at belief all by ourselves, due to our intelligence, piety, etc, and that anyone else struggling with belief isn’t as smart as we are, or as learned, or as pious, or whatever. For Allah may enter belief into their hearts at anytime and make them better believers than us!

    May Allah strengthen all of us in our faith and make us better believers.

    • “As she says, ‘it cannot be any other way.’ Our life on earth is a test: one of the biggest components of the test is to actually take the leap of faith.”

      Salaam. Many Christians take almost the exact same position with regards to becoming Christian. Just make the leap of faith. But faith in what? What kind of faith? Many of them well tell Muslims that the reason the Muslims are still following the incorrect (as they see it) beliefs of Islam is because the Muslims have not made the correct leap of faith and become Christians. So who is right? How does one decide which leap of faith to make? It seems to me that we have to have some kind of judgment before we make a leap of faith. Otherwise we are shooting at bats in a dark cave.

      • As Salamu Alaikum, Paul,

        I agree with you that certain judgements may need to be made before one leaps into faith, and ultimately into Islam.

        There maybe multiple steps in the journey. One possible way is as follows (I know that many people have different paths to God, and Islam).

        The first step is belief that there is a God. This does not entail that one embrace any particular religion, or any religion at all: many people believe in a ‘higher power’, transcendence, and so on. I believe this is the step that the actual article by Br. Salman was focusing on.

        Here, people many review the evidence of science, philosophy, history, anthropology, etc, and conclude, according to their best reasoned judgment, that there is indeed a God.

        The next step though is to take the leap of faith – not just concluding there is a God, but actually believing in Him, and trying to ascertain what, if anything, God’s existence means. So God exists – so what? What is He like? What, if anything, does He want from me?

        It is this next phase, that may lead some to discover and choose a particular religion (or perhaps remain without organized religion).

        At this phase also, judgement plays a role: people review the evidence based reading Holy texts (Quran versus Bible versus others), the lives of key figures of religion (a fair reading is key here), views on God’s nature, justice, afterlife, character of followers, etc. Based on their review of the evidence, they may conclude that Islam (or another religion) is the correct religion.

        But once this judgement is made, again, one has to take a leap of faith into one’s chosen religion. As a Muslim, does all my worship really matter? (Praying five times a day, fasting in Ramadan, etc). I have plenty of evidence that it does, (feeling of calmness, purification, improvement in character – I hope!) but ultimately no rock solid proof. Proof will have to wait until judgement day.

        One can argue that someone can take the exact same approach and arrive at any religion, right?

        For me, though, I have investigated other religions seriously, (and I hope with an open mind) and, have decided that Islam is the only true religion.

        My basic reasoning is simple: Islam at its core is the simplest religion there is (at least that I have run across): there is One God, period. And only One. He created everything and nothing created (including any human) has any share in His divinity.

        This basic rationale has been supplemented by what I have gathered through my study of the Quran, and personal experiences I have had with worship.

        Anyway, Insha Allah that helped a little! If I said anything wrong in either of these two posts, I ask Allah’s forgiveness.

        Again, may Allah strengthen all of us in our faith and make us better Muslims!

  • This is a timely and much needed discussion. We all pray for the certainty that brings serenity and peace in our hearts; that allows us to internalize Allah is al-Khaliq, al-Bar’i, al-Musawwir: The Creator, the Designer, The Fashioner of this world. Yet, we still ponder and that also is part of faith. Jazak Allah khairan to all of you for daring to address issue. Look forward to hearing more.

  • It does not matter that this God exists. I have direct contact with him. God can not ask, just answer, so the connection is not fully functional. I’m not schizophrenic, and not suffering from any such disease, mental, which would affect my consciousness. God usually does not like to reveal himself, but now allowed to grant exemptions

  • You should have asked him, can you prove that their is no God… he wont be able to give an valid answer.

    • That’s a silly question. You could also ask someone, Can you prove that there is no intelligent life in another galaxy?

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