Hajar Mulder's views on Islam, religion, the news, politics.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Knowledge is Part of Faith
With the topic of knowledge versus faith, we reach the point where the minds separate. Is there a place for knowledge in the faith and what kind of knowledge should this be?
The Scripture is an important tool for man to get to know Allah swt, and serve Him the right way. We should know, however, that Qur’an holds verses of ambiguous meaning and incomprehensible texts, like the loose letters at the beginning of several chapters. People will never find out their true meaning, but who believes, can accept, that we fail to observe everything existing and, therefore, will not invent unauthorized or unverified statements. This is the essence of any faith. Faith and belief have scientific aspects, knowledge is part of faith, however, that doesn’t make faith science and vice versa. A good scientist, too, acknowledges, that he or she doesn’t know everything and that man doesn’t know everything. Knowledge of the final Hour, afterlife, future and death is out of man’s reach.
Knowledge has two sides. On the one hand, there is knowledge that everyone possesses, and that is easily reproduced, because it answers to certain legalities and has been falsified by others. Knowledge on nature and its systems is an example. On the other hand, there is knowledge restricted to only you. Or to the prophets only, because some of them had a direct line of information exchange with Allah swt, and they had to pass it on to a bigger audience. This remains as it is. This last kind of knowledge that deals with the relation between the believer and his or her God. Knowledge is part of faith, but much knowledge is personal and unprovable. The believer obtains this kind of knowledge through intuition--which has to do with both book obtained-wisdom and with natural ability--, life experience, and intellect. Can we form ourselves a databank with the things we know and experience we gathered and can we then make a link with belief in a higher power? Is there something like a personal connection with your creator in order to get to know Him. There must be, and therefor Qur’an points us several times at the importance of and obligation to gain knowledge. Not only study of scriptures, logic and empirical research on everything around us, but also travel are important tools. To meet cultural heritage, both in written form and visits to historical buildings and archeological findings, are important for a believer. Travel as part of faith is a somewhat neglected aspect of Islam, with some obstacles, but later more on that. However, in the end not everyone is granted such knowledge, because not everybody believes in a god. Study and observation may lead to a metaphysical belief in a creator. For now, I confine myself to the second aspect of belief: The more or less intuitive knowledge that is part of belief. What says Qur’an of such knowledge?
ALM (Alif Lam Mim). This is the Book in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what we have provided for them and who believe in the Revelation sent to thee and sent before thy time and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter. They are on (true guidance) from their Lord and it is these who will prosper. Qur'an :2:1-5
ALM. Allah! There is no god but He the Living, the Self-Subsisting, the Supporter of all. It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step) in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it and He sent down the Torah (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus). Before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the Criterion (Qur’an). Then those who reject faith in the Signs of Allah will suffer the severest chastisement and Allah is Exalted in Might, Lord of Retribution. Qur'an:3:1-4
He is it Who has sent down to thee the Book: in it are verses basic or fundamental clear: they are the foundation of the Book: others are not entirely clear. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is not entirely clear, seeking discord, and searching for its interpretation, but no one knows its true meanings except Allah and those firmly grounded in knowledge say: ‘We believe in it, the whole of it is from your Lord’ and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding. Qur'an:3:7,8
There have been examples that have passed away before you: travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who rejected Truth. Qur'an:3:137
The day that certain of the Signs of the Lord do come, no good will it do to a soul to believe then, if it believed not before nor earned righteousness through its Faith. Say: Wait ye, we too are waiting’. Qur'an:6:158
They ask thee about the Hour when will be its appointed time? Say: ‘The knowledge thereof is with my Lord. None but He can reveal as to when it will occur. Heavy were its burden through the heavens and the earth. Only, all of a sudden will it come to you’. The ask thee as if thou wert eager in search thereof. Say: ‘The knowledge thereof is with Allah, but most men know not’. Qur'an:7:187
And (He has created) horses, mules and donkeys, for you to ride and as an adornment; and He has created things of which you have no knowledge. Allah alone can show the right path but there are ways that turn aside; if Allah had willed, He could have guided all of you. Qur'an:16:8,9
O mankind! If ye have a doubt about the Resurrection, that We created you out of dust, then out of sperm, then out of a leech-like clot, then out of a morsel of flesh, partly formed and partly unformed, in order that We may manifest (Our Power) to you. And We cause whom We will to rest in the wombs for an appointed term, then do We bring you out as babes, then (foster you) that ye may reach your age of full strength; and some of you are called to die and some are sent back to the feeblest old age so that they know nothing after having known and thou seest the earth barren and lifeless, but when We pour down rain on it, it is stirred, it swells and it puts forth every kind of beautiful growth. This is so, because Allah is the Reality: it is He Who gives life to the dead, and it is He Who has Power over all things. And verily the Hour will come: there can be no doubt about it, or about that Allah will raise up all who are in the graves. Yet there is among men such a one as disputes about Allah, without knowledge, without guidance, and without a Book of Enlightenment, (disdainfully) bending his side, in order to lead astray from the Path of Allah: for him there is disgrace in this life and on the Day of Judgement We shall make him taste the chastisement of burning. (It is said) ‘This is because of the deeds which thy hands sent forth, for verily Allah is not unjust to His servants’. Qur'an:22:5-10
Do they not travel through the earth and see what was the end of those before them? They were superior to them in strength: they tilled the soil and populated it in greater numbers than these have done: there came to them their messengers with clear (Signs): it was not Allah who wronged them, but they wronged their own souls. In the long run evil will be the end of those who do evil; for that they rejected the Signs of Allah and held them up to ridicule. It is Allah Who begins the creation, then repeats it, then shall ye be brought back to Him. Qur'an:30:9-11
Among His Signs is this, that He created you from dust and then behold, ye are men scattered and among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect. And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the variations in your languages and your colours: verily in that are Signs for those who know. And among His Signs is the sleep that ye take by night and by day, and the quest that ye (make) out of His Bounty: verily in that are Signs for those who hearken. And among His Signs He shows you the lightning, by way both of fear and of hope and He sends down rain from the sky and with it gives life to the earth after it is dead: verily in that are Signs for those who are wise. Qur'an:30:20-24
Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah. It is He Who sends down rain and He Who knows what is in the wombs. Nor does any one know what it is that he will earn on the morrow. Qur'an:31:34
The revelation of this Book is from Allah, the Exalted in Power, full of Wisdom. Verily it is He Who has revealed the Book to thee in Truth: so serve Allah, offering Him sincere devotion. Is it not Allah that sincere devotion is due? But those who take for protectors others than Allah (say): ‘We only serve them in order that they may bring us nearer to Allah’. Truly Allah will judge between them in that wherein they differ. Qur'an:39:1-3
Say: ‘Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know?’ It is those who are endued with understanding that receive admonition. Qur'an:39:9
It is Allah that takes the souls at death and those that die not during their sleep: those on whom He has passed the decree of death, He keeps back but the rest He sends (back) for a time appointed. Verily in this are Signs for those who reflect. Qur'an:39:42
O mankind! We created you from a single (pair, cell) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the Sight of Allah is the most Righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted. Qur'an:49:13