Bismillah, praise belongs to Allah.
[What we will prove]
Islam can be condensed in its simplest form to two statements: 1) that there is one God, and 2) that Muhammad (SAW) was a prophet sent by that one God. These are essentially the statements of the testimony of faith which is what people say if they want to enter Islam: “I testify that there is no god except Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
These two statements are sufficient to prove all other beliefs of Islam, including the rest of the six pillars of Islam like the angels and the Day of Judgement. That is because if the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was the prophet of God and has informed us of these facts, they must be true. So, as long as we prove he was the prophet of God, all the information he gave us is also proven true.
Some people said it is enough to prove the second statement because the existence of God is implied by the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) being a true prophet. However, the best method is to prove both statements, like it is in the shahadah.
[How this will be proven]
The existence of one God will be proven based on two sources of knowledge: logic (rational arguments) and observation.
The truth of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) will be proven based on multiple sources including logic, observation, and testimony.
Logic refers to rational arguments, not to understanding the reason for things. We do not mean “I don’t understand why he did something, so it’s illogical.” We mean rational arguments about the possibility or impossibility of propositions, like in math.
Some atheists or agnostics who are materialists and naturalists claim only science or observation is a valid source of knowledge. So, they say, until we can observe God or scientifically prove His existence, it is wrong to believe in him.
This claim collapses if you look closely at what science actually is. Science is not just direct observation. In fact, it is based on a lot of other sources of knowledge including logic and testimony.
Most theories and discoveries are based on logical extrapolations from observation.
For example, the make-up of the earth’s core is not directly observed but extrapolated from other observations.
Even the existence of atoms, electrons, and protons is not proven by direct observation. We cannot directly “see” them since they are too small to reflect photons like normal objects reflect them. However, their existence is proven through indirect means.
In addition to that, unless a person relies on the testimony of the lab technicians, the scientists, the publishers, and many others, science is not possible. If one did not consider testimony a source of knowledge, he would only believe in what he sees directly himself.
So, science relies on the assumption that testimony and logic are valid sources of knowledge.
Thus, those who claim that nothing is proven except through science and try to discredit logic and testimony as valid sources of knowledge do not even understand what science is.
We prove that the Prophet (SAW) was a truly a prophet of God based on his character and his miracles.
Miracles are events, occurrences, statements, or actions that are not normally possible in the natural world. When such a miracle occurs for a man who claims to be a prophet of God, that proves his claim true since it shows God’s support for him.
The main miracles used to prove the Prophet (SAW)’s veracity are the Quran, his prophecies, his physical miracles, and his humanely impossible knowledge.
Prophecies are a proof of prophethood when a man consistently predicts things about the future that are difficult to predict. It is miraculous when he does it not just once, which can be a coincidence, but does it multiple times without ever getting it wrong.
Prophecies are such an evidence that every generation can see some prophecy come true within living memory.
An example of a prophecy that came true within the Prophet (SAW)’s lifetime is God saying in the Quran ⟪The Byzantines have been defeated In the nearest land. But they, after their defeat, will overcome. Within three to nine years. To Allah belongs the command before and after. And that day the believers will rejoice.⟫ (30:2-4)
This prophecy was made at a time when the Byzantine Empire was close to complete collapse, and the Sassanian Persian Empire had captured Syria and Egypt from the Byzantines.
No false prophet would ever look at this situation and decide it was a good idea to predict the Byzantines winning and link the entire veracity of his religion on a geopolitical event entirely out of his hands which seemed unlikely at the time.
But, this is what the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) did, not just predicting their victory but making this prophecy part of the central religious text, the Quran.
Then, within the allotted time, the prophecy came true and the Byzantines defeated the Persians in battle, regaining control of Syria and Egypt. No one claim this prophecy was written after the fact since the Quran as a text traces back to the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) or right after his death based on both manuscript and oral evidence.
This prophecy alone is an extremely strong proof of his prophethood, and many people accepted Islam when it came true. A short video explaining more historical details can be found here.
An example of a prophecy that came true after his death is one the Prophet (SAW) said while sitting in a leather tent: “Count six signs before the Day of Judgement: my death (occurred in 632 AD), the conquest of Jerusalem (occurred in 637 AD), a plague that afflicts you like a plague that kills sheep (occurred in 638 AD), then an increase in wealth to the point people would be unsatisfied even if they were given one hundred dinars (referring to the prosperity that occurred in the caliphate of Uthman during 644-656 AD), then a civil war that no Arab house will escape (occurred during 656-661 AD then again during 680–692 AD), then a truce between you and Banu al-Asfar who will betray you and attack you with an army of eighty flags with twelve thousand [soldiers] under every flag.” (Sahih Bukhari)
Imagine the audacity of predicting the conquest of Jerusalem while you are living only in a leather tent! This cannot be from anyone other than a prophet of God.
Except the last part of the prophecy which is yet to happen and will occur in the future, the Prophet (SAW) predicted every major event after him beat by beat.
Our generation also gets to see the vindication of a prophecy in front of our eyes. An example of a prophecy coming true right know is the Prophet (SAW) saying, “[One of the signs of the Day of Judgement is] that you will find barefooted, destitute shepherds competing with one another in the construction of tall buildings.” (Sahih Muslim)
Today, you see the tallest building in Dubai and Saudi Arabia trying to compete against them to build something taller. These were people who barely had money to live in tents even a few generations ago until oil was discovered on their lands and they became wealthy enough to compete in skyscrapers. Who could predict such a turn of events except God and His prophets?
In addition to these true prophecies, there is no prophecy from the sayings of the Prophet (SAW) that has ever come to be false. They have either been fulfilled or yet to be fulfilled.
More discussion on prophecies can be found in the book Forbidden Prophecies by Abu Zakariyya.
The Quran is a miracle in many different ways.
The first miracle is the challenge of the Quran. The Quran says, on its third page, ⟪And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant [Muhammad], then produce a surah the like thereof and call upon your witnesses other than Allah, if you should be truthful. But if you do not – and you will never be able to – then fear the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers.⟫ (2:23-24)
The Arabs of the time were immersed in poetry. It was the highest form of their culture and their main pastime. When the Prophet (SAW) brought them this Quran which convinced people of its divine origin simply by them hearing it, they accused the Prophet (SAW) of writing poetry and casting magic, even though the Prophet was never known to write poetry before or have learned magic.
So, God challenged them to make something like the Quran if it is just manmade. Just like the Quran convinced people to join Islam, they could have made something that would convince people of their own religion. They had poets, and they had people they claimed to be magicians. But, they could not do it.
Instead of fulfilling this simple challenge, they fought battles against the Muslims. Who would risk their lives for a cause they could fulfill only by writing some poetry?
Their failure to fulfill this challenge despite being the people best suited to fulfill it is the strongest proof that the Quran does not come from anyone except God.
Even their accusations against the Quran that it was magic indicate their concession that the Quran must have come from the supernatural. They could not explain it as purely coming from the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
Another miracle of the Quran is its narration of prophetic stories in great detail even though the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was never known to have studied the previous scriptures before.
The Quran’s author is so familiar with the stories of the previous scriptures that, in addition to narrating them in great detail, the author corrects aspects of the stories intentionally.
An example is in the story of Moses in Exodus: ⟪Then the LORD said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was leprous, like snow.⟫ (Exodus 4:6)
God corrects this story in the Quran: ⟪And draw in your hand to your side; it will come out white without disease – another sign,⟫ (Quran 20:22)
The author of the Quran knows not only the story of Moses (AS) but the text of the Torah closely enough to correct its claim about the hand being ⟪leprous⟫ to being ⟪without disease⟫. This was impossible for the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), being an unlettered man who was never known by his people to study these things in detail.
There are many more miraculous aspects of the Quran including its literary and linguistic style, historical information, and more. A book on the linguistic miracles is The Miraculous Language of the Qur’an by Bassam Saeh. A book on the onomastic and historical miracles is The Onomastic Miracle of the Quran. Other books to read include The Eternal Challenge by Abu Zakariya.
There are many other proofs of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW)’s prophethood including the physical miracles he performed which were reported by too many people to have been fabricated and impossible knowledge he demonstrated in many instances.
A good book that details many of these proofs of his prophethood is The Final Prophet: Proofs for the Prophethood of Muhammad (SAW) by Mohammad Elshinawy.
Another source is the Proofs of Prophethood series by Farid Responds.
Even one of these proofs would be extremely strong reason to believe in the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), but all of these combined compel any rational and sincere person who researches this evidence to believe in him.
God is proven based on rational arguments combined with observation and intuition.
There is a famous story about an old woman who meets a philosopher scholar and asked him, “What do you do?”
He responded, “I have written nineteen proofs of the existence of God.”
She responds, “So you had nineteen doubts??”
The lesson in this story is that the existence of God is intuitive to humanity. One only needs proof when that intuition is corrupted. On every step of a rational argument, some people’s intuition would take over and say, “That complete makes sense. God exists.” Some just see that they were born and conclude God exists without needing any of the steps in between. But, people with insincerity who only wish to doubt can prolong even a fully explained proof as much as they want.
So, a rational proof is useful, but you should not forget that it is like a crutch for people whose intuition is not working.
[Types of Arguments]
There are many types of arguments for the existence of God. Some arguments use causation, some arguments use the design of the universe, some arguments use contingency, some arguments use morality, some arguments use consciousness, and more.
For the design argument, Allah says ⟪Indeed, in the alternation of the night and the day and [in] what Allah has created in the heavens and the earth are signs for a people who fear Allah⟫ (10:6)
For the causation argument, Allah says ⟪Or were they created by nothing, or were they the creators [of themselves]? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Rather, they are not certain.⟫ (52:35-36)
Different arguments are effective for different people, and some people do not even need any argument. I will mention one version of the causation argument in this article.
[Argument from Causation]
In this argument, we will prove that an eternal first cause exists, then that the first cause has will, power, and knowledge, then that the first cause is one without partners.
[The Existence of God]
The first steps are:
- You were born i.e. began to exist.
- Everything that begins to exist must have a cause.
- Hence, you had a cause.
The second premise is justified by the following:
- Something that began to exist was either caused by something else, caused by itself, or came from nothing.
- Being caused by itself is paradoxical and contradictory.
- Coming from nothing is definitionally absurd. Nothing is nothing, it cannot lead to the existence of something.
- Hence, the thing that began to exist must have been caused by something else.
The converse of the aforementioned second premise is that:
- If something does not begin to exist i.e. always existed, it does not need a cause.
That is because:
- We needed a cause for things that began to exist because of the change between its non-existence then existence.
- If something always existed and never began to exist, there is no change in reality.
- Hence, we do not need an explanation or cause for that thing that always existed.
After establishing that you, having being born, have a cause (which is a trivial conclusion), we have to ask about your causes (i.e. your parents): Did they begin to exist or were they eternal?
Everyone will agree they were not eternal. So, the same logic is applied to them:
- Your cause began to exist.
- Everything that begins to exist must have a cause.
- Hence, it had a cause.
This can again be applied to the cause(s) of your cause(s). Then, again. Then, again.
This creates a chain of causes. This chain either goes on forever or ends at a certain point.
The chain going on forever is called the infinite regress, and it is impossible. That is because every effect depends on the cause before it which in turn depends on the cause before it. But, depending on an infinite series of items can never be fulfilled.
Imagine a sniper waiting to take a shot. He asks his superior for permission. Before giving permission, his superior asks his superior. Then, his superior asks his superior. This goes on infinitely. Will the sniper ever take the shot? No.
In the same way, you would not exist if there was an infinite series of causes that you depended on to exist before you.
Also imagine a line of dominos that stretches into the horizon. You see the dominos in front of you start falling. By the fact that the dominos in front of you fell, you can know for sure the number of dominos before the dominos you saw was finite. If the number was infinite, they would never reach the dominos you can see.
Those are some examples to illustrate the impossibility of the infinite regress, but its impossibility is also completely intuitive. Special proofs and examples exist but are unneeded.
The only other possibility is that the chain of causes ends somewhere. If the chain ends—and it must as an infinite chain is impossible—the end must be something that always existed and never began to exist That because, if it began to exist, it would have a cause, but we just concluded it is the first in the chain of causes.
Thus, we have proven that we were caused ultimately by an eternal cause. We can call this eternal cause God.
[God Has Will, Power, and Knowledge]
The first objection atheists give at this point is: Why can’t the eternal cause simply be an inanimate object like a multiverse or something like that?
The eternal cause must have a will, a will being the ability to do acts of one’s own volition. This is because:
- Entities that lack will (or inanimate objects) only act if they are caused by other things to act. E.g. A pen cannot move by itself.
- The first cause acted (caused its effect) without another cause to push it. We know there was nothing else to push it because it was the first cause.
- Hence, the first cause cannot lack will.
At this point, some atheists object by giving examples of things happening by themselves, like volcanos or quantum field fluctuations. The problem with these examples is that they confuse unpredictability by humans with actual spontaneous action.
The causes that lead to volcanos within the earth are so complex that it is often effectively impossible for humans to predict them. They seem almost spontaneous as a result. However, there are definitely causes that led to them, like complex movements within the crust and mantle of the earth.
Quantum field fluctuations are likewise complex and difficult to predict, but that does not mean they are truly spontaneous. There are complex patterns and causes, like the waves of the sea which seem unpredictable only because of how complex they are.
Some people then ask, “Even if we concede an inanimate cause cannot cause spontaneously, why can’t it be a single cause that is causing eternally (not spontaneously)?”
That is impossible because of the variety of things that exist:
- An inanimate cause cannot change what it causes. E.g. A fire by itself can only burn, it cannot cool things.
- Different things are being caused in the universe, like night and day, electrons and protons, and land and sea.
- The universe also went through different stages and time periods where different things existed.
- The Big Bang is also not constantly happening all the time repeatedly where it happened for our universe.
- Hence, the first cause had a will that can choose to do different things at different times at different places.
Thus, we have proven God must have a will.
God must also possess power and knowledge for the obvious fact that He created the universe with His power and knowledge.
[God Has No Partners]
Allah says ⟪Had there been within the heavens and earth gods besides Allah, they both would have been ruined. So exalted is Allah, Lord of the Throne, above what they describe.⟫ (21:22)
Any rational observer of the universe can see it runs according to one law in a specified pattern without inconsistency. The obvious conclusion is that there is one entity in charge.
In addition to this, we received clear revelation from the creator informing us there is no one except Him. He says ⟪Allah witnesses that there is no deity except Him, and [so do] the angels and those of knowledge – [that He is] maintaining [creation] in justice. There is no deity except Him, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.⟫ (3:18)
There are also other rational proofs for the oneness of God.
In this article, I have mentioned a short explanation of the proofs for why we believe in the two foundational beliefs of Islam, belief in one God and belief in the Messenger of God (SAW). May God allow me and you to be fully sincere in looking for the truth and guide us to the correct way.