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Objection By An Atheist Upon Islam


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Whether there is a God or not is a search personal to every individual. Nobody can know all things in Universe& how it all came to be. All religions like Islam can offer is a story. Many accept this story as fact, when it is merely blind faith. The scientific view is based on knowledge that has been acquired by research, experimentation, analysis & conclusion. It is not based in any kind of blind belief in scriptures, dogma or traditions. Herein lies the difference. When science in confronted with new evidence that contradicts the established view, scientists adjust their theories accordantly.This is the difference between religion & science. As Islam purports to be the word of God (Allah), it cannot change the story when faced with contradictory evidence. Islamist would rather try to bully the opposing viewpoints rather than debate them.



I forwarded your question to my friend sheikh Ismail lala, who is a graduate of Oxford university and still in pursuit of further knowledge. He wrote the following answer.


“I thank you for your question. The point you raise is a singularly pertinent one. However, it seems to me to be fundamentally misguided.


The reason is your premise seems to be a mutual exclusivity between science and religion. If we were to accept this, we would also have to accept that religious scholars have made no appreciable contributions to the field of science. It would then be difficult to explain the towering contributions of Islamic scholars such as Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Ibn Khaldun etc. to name but a few.


These scholars made huge strides in the fields of philosophy, theology, logic, psychology, politics, medicine, astronomy, geography, mathematics, physics, chemistry, geology, modern historiography, sociology and economics. And here I make no reference to the numerous contributions made by scholars of other religions who, if your argument is to be followed to its logical conclusion, could not have made significant scientific advances due to the overwhelming strictures of religious indoctrination.


Indeed, introduction of the aforementioned scholars to these fields under the unitary and unrelenting gaze of religion, if it was opposed to such spheres of inquiry, would itself be somewhat difficult to explain. Thus, the position that religion has an adversarial relationship with science is untenable.


We must therefore conclude that Islam not only tolerates, but encourages the study of science. Indeed, we find many verses of the Qur’an that inspire us to pursue scientific study and to utilise the faculty of reason. Allah (s.w.t.) says in the Qur’an,


أَوَلَمۡ يَتَفَكَّرُواْ فِىٓ أَنفُسِہِم‌ۗ مَّا خَلَقَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ وَمَا بَيۡنَہُمَآ إِلَّا بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَأَجَلٍ۬ مُّسَمًّ۬ى‌ۗ


Have they not pondered upon themselves? Allah created not the heavens and the earth, and that which is between them, save with truth and for a destined end (Surah al-Rum, verse 8 )


Elsewhere, it is stated,


كِتَـٰبٌ أَنزَلۡنَـٰهُ إِلَيۡكَ مُبَـٰرَكٌ۬ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوٓاْ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُوْلُواْ ٱلۡأَلۡبَـٰبِ


(This is) a Book (the Qur’ân) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may take heed (Surah al-Sad, verse 29)


Allah (s.w.t.) also remarks,


وَسَخَّرَ لَكُم مَّا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ جَمِيعً۬ا مِّنۡهُ‌ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّقَوۡمٍ۬ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ


And (He) has subjected to you all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth; it is all as a favour and kindness from Him. Verily, in it are signs for a people who think deeply (Surah al-Jathiya, verse 13)


It is also stated in the Qur’an:


قُل سيروا فِى الأَرضِ فَانظُروا كَيفَ بَدَأَ الخَلقَ ۚ ثُمَّ اللَّهُ يُنشِئُ النَّشأَةَ الءاخِرَةَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلىٰ كُلِّ شَيءٍ قَديرٌ


Say (O Muhammad): Travel in the land and see how He originated creation, then Allah bringeth forth the later growth (ie life after death). Lo! Allah is Able to do all things.


These verses clearly support the pursuance of scientific inquiry as a means of galvanising one’s faith, which serves to veritably refute your claim that Islam promulgates “blind faith”. The Qur’an engenders no such attitude. We are commanded to investigate, interrogate, and examine. The reason we are ordered to do this is scientific discovery will almost invariably buttress Islamic tenets. Indeed, there exists an intellectual symbiosis between science and religious knowledge: both through their respective channels foster doctrinal certitude.


I would now like to address the following statement, “As Islam purports to be the word of God (Allah), it cannot change the story when faced with contradictory evidence.” If I understand correctly, you mean by this that if scientific inquiry yields evidence which contradicts the Qur’an, due to the immutability of the Word of God, Islam has no answer. If this be the crux of your argument, then few Muslims would dispute it.


What is a point of much contention, however, is the nature of this “contradictory evidence”. It would aid me immeasurably if you could delineate what you mean by this by citing specific theories, scientific facts etc. so that I may allay any reservations you have regarding their congeniality with the Quranic text. It seems to me there has been a misapprehension as to what the Qur’an represents, for your statement assumes that our knowledge of the Qur’an is absolute. Only then can any theories, scientific facts, etc. be deemed to be categorically contrary to them. But this is not the case. The Qur’an itself states,


هُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنزَلَ عَلَيۡكَ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ مِنۡهُ ءَايَـٰتٌ۬ مُّحۡكَمَـٰتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَـٰبِهَـٰتٌ۬‌ۖ


He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: in it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are not of well-established meaning (Surah Al-’Imran, verse 6)


Hence, it follows that as our understanding of the Qur’an is at best embryonic, we cannot therefore deem scientific discoveries as being decisively opposed to it, though this does happen on occasion (and on these occasions there are perfectly valid counter theories to the proposed ones).



I would like to illustrate this point with one of the many examples that could be given from the Qur’an. Allah (s.w.t.) states,


وَلَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ مِن سُلَـٰلَةٍ۬ مِّن طِين ٍ۬ثُمَّ جَعَلۡنَـٰهُ نُطۡفَةً۬ فِى قَرَارٍ۬ مَّكِينٍ۬ ثُمَّ خَلَقۡنَا ٱلنُّطۡفَةَ عَلَقَةً۬ فَخَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡعَلَقَةَ مُضۡغَةً۬ فَخَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡمُضۡغَةَ عِظَـٰمً۬ا فَكَسَوۡنَا ٱلۡعِظَـٰمَ لَحۡمً۬ا


Man We did create from a quintessence (of clay). Then We placed him as (a drop of) sperm in a place of rest firmly fixed. Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a (foetus) lump; then We made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh (Surah al-Mu’minun, verses 11-14)


A person in seventh century Arabia could hardly have understood the embryological intricacies of these verses, and yet we know today through scientific research that the growth of the embryo in the womb of the mother is exactly as here described. This, I believe, is what ‘Umar (r.a.) meant when he remarked, “The best commentary of the Qur’an is the passage of time.” In his statement is an acknowledgement of the deficiency of human thought, of its continual development, and eventual concordance with the meaning of the Qur’an.


This brings me rather neatly to my final response. You mention in your question that


“The scientific view is based on knowledge that has been acquired by research, experimentation, analysis, and conclusion … Here in lies the difference. When science is confronted with new evidence that contradicts their established view scientists adjust their theories accordantly.”


Comments such as these, which exude a kind of unjustifiable complacency in what scientific research has uncovered, and the belief that all antithetical opinions are erroneous, are all too common among scientists. For did not the brightest minds in the world at one point believe the Earth was flat, or that it was the centre of the universe? If we see this not to be the case today, what is to say a more powerful telescope will not reveal a new reality tomorrow? It is what Nuh Ha Mim Keller has dubbed the, “fallacy of misplaced concrescence.” This, Mr. Keller continues, is a new religion: Scientism. He cites the following definition of Scientism,


“Scientism is science’s belief in itself: that is, the conviction that we can no longer understand science as one form of possible knowledge, but rather must identify knowledge with science” (Habermas, Knowledge and Human Interests. Tr. Jeremy J. Shapiro. Boston: Beacon Press, 1971, 4).


Shaykh Nuh, in his excellent treatise on the subject, concludes with hopes that science, “might have the epistemological modesty to ‘get back,’ from its current scientistic pretentions to its true nature, as one area of human interpretation among others.” I too, share this hope.


I have been compelled to deal with many matters here with consummate brevity owing to want of space. If you feel that I have glossed over any issues I ask your pardon. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have specific theories/discoveries etc. you would like me to address. I would once again like to thank you for posing the question.


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I (Abdul Raheem) would like to add a few points to the above answer.


1, You say that religion is based on stories. This maybe the case with some religions where gods are said to be fighting with one another. However, monotheist religions are based on evidence. Islam is at the forefront of them. Islam is the most open religion of them all. Islam invites people to explore, research, study facts and to hold debates. This is the reason Islam has been the choice of great thinkers. If one studies the golden age of Muslim scientists, he will conclude that many of the modern researches were conducted by Muslims.


2, To say that religions are made up stories would be to say that those who follow religion are stupid people with little or no understanding. And if that was the case, no scientist would have ever followed a religion. Whereas we see that all the great scientists of the past have been religious.


Sir Issac Newton was a devout chiristian, Albert einstien was a Jew, and what about Muslim scientists and philosophers? They are countless. To name a few; Ibn Sina, Al Farabi, Al Biruni, ibn An Nafis, Abussalt Al Andalusi, Ibn Rushd Al Hafidh who was renowned for his fiqh, medicine and philosophy. Fakhruddin Ar Raazi, and Imam Ghazali.


Of the recent era, 1, Eliyas James Corey- Noble prize winner 1990 USA,

2,Ahmed Zawail- Nobel prize winner 1999, USA and Egyptian citizen,

3, Brian Medawar- Nobel prize winner 1960- British citizen,

4, Ferid murad-winner 1998 USA citizen

5, Abdussalam- winner 1979 Pakistan citizen,

For more details see; The Glorious Quran and modern science by Professor Md. Anisur Rahman p.151

What have the atheists contributed to the humanity? Nothing.

How many Athiests achieved the noble peace prize? None at all. in fact atheism has done nothing but create anarchy among the society by giving green light to all vices. Some have even declared rape as a legitimate way of reproduction, see p.106 of the above mentioned book.


Therefore, to assume that only atheists have some degree of understanding and the rest of the world are idiots is in itself idiocy.


3, There is a huge difference between fact and theory. Theory is a concept which is based on educated guesses, where people get two or more premises and then come up with a conclusion or derivation. A theory is only correct if the presumptions are correct, however, we know that presumptions are often subject to doubts.

People’s presumptions change depending on their age, intelligence, previous knowledge and experience. For example a child thinks that mummy pointed towards a four legged animal and said “cat” next time it sees a dog and thinks it’s a cat. Likewise, evolutionists are basing their theory, not on facts but rather on information and research which are incomplete, inconclusive and always changing. Their method of research and function of conclusion are far from being scientific. Then when they are proven to be wrong scientifically, they attempt to give false logical explanations.


Evolution is a theory, Hence, it is open to scrutiny and is not to be accepted until proven. It is not yet proven and never will be till the day of qiyamah. To put it in the words of Revrand Williams ” We do not ban research, but we will not allow the wild vagaries of imagination to pass as truth”


4, if scientific research of the big bang is correct, then why did it only happen once? There are millions of atoms in the universe at this present time. Why is it not repeating itself? Let’s say the big bang did take place, then is it not possible that God was behind it?


In fact a verse in the holy qur’an indicates towards this. Allah says “Have those who disbelieve not seen that the heavens and the earth were joined then we parted them, and from water we created every living thing, Will they not then beIieve? (Suratul Ambiyaa 21:30) Professor Anisur Rahman is of the view that this verse is pointing towards the big bang.


5. What is philosophy? It is a way of thinking. When philosophers think about creation they start off with the big bang and evolution at the back of their minds. So everything that follows is based on that.


Religious people have God in their hearts and so they think of the universe as a creation which was brought into existence by the Supreme Creator. Both try to prove their point.


One prominent professor says that both groups study the universe, the scientists as well as the religious. However, their intentions are different. A parable can be made with a group entering a beautiful palace. Some are looking around to see if there is anything useful for them, any ideas they can take and copy in their own places or maybe any mistakes which they can point out. The others look around in wonder and are amazed by the way it’s been constructed. They admire the architect and praise the engineers and builders.


Similarly, the philosophers study the universe for their own agenda. However, the religious study and marvel at the wisdom of the creator. That is why when a scientist is a believer, his belief is much stronger than a layman.


6, I think science keeps changing because it is still immature, maybe one day when it will mature, it will merge with Islam.


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