The importance given to belief through evidence by the Quran

Degrees of Belief

The importance given to the demand of evidence by the Quran

What is the fiqh decree about knowing the evidences? 

What is imitative belief?

What is investigative belief?

Does belief increase and decrease?

Belief is the key to Paradise

An important illness of our age is indifference to the truths of belief and turning faces away from the evidences that prove the truths of belief. Unfortunately, this illness affects not only heedless people but also Muslims who work seriously in order to proceed in the spiritual realm and to improve themselves. Some Muslims even go too far and regard looking for evidence in issues related to belief as unnecessary and say, “We have no doubt; therefore, we do not need any evidence.” That is, according to them, to deal with evidences that prove the truths of belief is an indication of spiritual illnesses related to the heart and something unnecessary for those who have no doubt. This view originates from lack of Islamic knowledge and from ignorance. This statement can be uttered only by those who do not know the importance Islam gives to evidence and are unaware of the real nature of belief.

Our aim to prepare this work is to express the importance Islam gives to evidence, to explain the parts of belief, to show the differences between imitative belief and investigative belief and to encourage Muslims to learn the evidences of the truths of belief by doing so. We will go over the issue in items.

The importance given to the demand of evidence by the Quran

In this part, we will deal with theimportance given to the demand of evidence by the Quran and the badness of turning faces away from evidences. In fact, a separate book can be written about the issue. For, the Quran mentions the proof of the truths of belief throughout. A person who reads only the translation of the Quran will approve it. For, the Quran uses the universe as evidence for the truths of belief. It mentions the sun, stars, clouds, rain, winds and many other things. Then, it opens windows to the truths of belief from them. It proves the existence of Allah, the occurrence of the hereafter that the Quran is the true word of Allah and the other truths of belief through the things it mentions. Therefore, to say I do not need any evidence means to accuse these verses of meaninglessness. On the contrary, we need a lot of evidence since Allah Almighty mentions evidences of the truths of belief in His book throughout. It is based on a need.  

Let us go over some verses criticizing turning faces away from evidences and indicating that evidences increase belief. 

Verse 1: “And how many Signs in the heavens and the earth do they pass by? Yet they turn (their faces) away from them.”(Yusuf: 105)

What is meant by signs in the verse above is the evidences related to the existence, oneness, names and attributes of Allah. For, everything, from flowers to trees, from ants to stars, is an evidence for the existence of Allah and they witness His oneness. In the verses above those who turn faces away from them are condemned. Are those who say they do not need any evidence not included in this condemnation? That is, though the grass a person steps on declares the existence of Allah Almighty through fifty-five languages, are those who overlook this declaration and attribute this overlooking to the strength of their belief not included in this condemnation? In the verse above, Allah clearly wants us to read the evidences on the earth and in the sky and condemns those who turn their faces away from them. Then, what a Muslim needs to do first is to learn to read those evidences, to give up turning away from them and thus to avoid being condemned.  

Verse 2: “And on their eyes is a veil.” (al-Baqara 7)

Imam Maturidi explains the phrase "veil on their eyes" mentioned in the verse as follows: This veil is not a real veil. Such a person is regarded to have a veil on his eyes since he does not see the evidences and do not use them as a means of finding Allah.

This veil means not to be able to read the evidences that prove the truths of belief, primarily, the existence and oneness of Allah. A person who says, "I do not need any evidence; I have no doubt; therefore, I do not need any evidence" and turns his face away from reading the evidences in things and does not open windows from a flower, butterfly, bird or anything leading to the existence of Allah and the other truths of belief is included among those who are described by the verse “and on their eyes is a veil.” May Allah protect us from being included among them! Then, what a Muslim needs to do first is to remove and tear that veil on his eye. It can take place only through demanding those evidences.   

Verse 3: “Behold! Abraham said: "My Lord! Show me how Thou givest life to the dead. He said: "Dost thou not then believe?" He said: "Yea! But to satisfy my own understanding."’ (al-Baqara 260)

A great prophet like Hz. Ibrahim (pbuh) asks an evidence from Allah Almighty regarding resurrection in order to satisfy his heart; how can we abandon demanding evidence and say, “We have no doubt; therefore, we do not need any evidence”? Is our belief stronger than that of Hz. Ibrahim? Why do we regard dealing with evidences unnecessary while he needs evidence?

There are two alternatives: Our belief is stronger than that of Hz. Ibrahim; he needs evidence but we do not need any evidence. Or, we have become putty in the hand of the soul by being unaware of the real nature of belief; the soul plays with us as it wishes. You can choose the correct alternative.

Verse 4: In verse259 of the chapter of al-Baqara, a story of the Prophet Uzayr (Ezra) is narrated. The summary of the story is as follows: Uzayr arrived at a ruined town and said, “Oh! How shall Allah bring it (ever) to life, after (this) its death?” Allah killed him to show him an evidence, left him like that for a hundred years and revived him. During these one hundred years, his food and drink did not go off but the bones of his donkey decayed. The one hundred years that passed seemed like a day to Uzayr. However, when he saw the decayed bones of his donkey, he understood that he slept for one hundred years. Allah revived his donkey before his eyes as an answer to his question, “How shall Allah bring it (ever) to life, after (this) its death?” The bones came together with the permission of Allah, were covered with flesh and the donkey was revived. Uzayr who had said, “How shall Allah bring it (ever) to life, after (this) its death?” one hundred years ago said the following when he saw the donkey being revived before his eyes: “I know that Allah hath power over all things.”

You can find out about the details of the story in the interpretation of the verse mentioned above. What we want to talk about here is as follows: Uzayr uttered two different sentences. The first one was when he entered the town: “Oh! How shall Allah bring it (ever) to life, after (this) its death?” The second one was when he saw that his donkey was revived: “I know that Allah hath power over all things.” These two different statements prove the value of the evidence and that belief increases with evidence.

For, “Hearing is not like seeing.” That is, seeing has a power that hearing does not have. Similarly, a belief without evidence does not have the power that a belief strengthened by evidences has.  

As we have mentioned above, it is possible to write a separate book about the importance given to evidence by the Quran and the condemnation of turning faces away from evidences. We regard the four evidences above sufficient and refer the details of the issue to the meaning of the Quran.

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