Our world is at cross-roads. It looks to be slipping fast into violence, chaos and anarchy. Hatred is spreading due to the rampant ignorance prevailing about one another. This hatred works as springboard for clash of civilizations. I know, we human beings think of supernova while we are prone to miss what is just below our noses. We set our eyes on the stars while we probably do lack the smack of the soil. In our pondering over the micro things, we just ignore the macro facts of our day to day life. I hope this study will save us from this predicament and will definitely help to promote an understanding of a set of belief based on reasoning and the best practices thereof. Apart from the media manipulation and propaganda, distortions and misappropriations, interpolations and extrapolations, commissions and omissions, we have to strive hard and make deliberate efforts for creating an atmosphere in which all people can converse cordially, discuss and debate with respect and share their beliefs and creeds one another without any fear, reservation or prejudice. Hiding, dissembling and concealing of the facts do not help promotion of social harmony or mutual respect. Mongering misconception breeds hatred which is fertile place for violence and chaos. We need to pay perseverance to alter people’s attitude towards the religion from an explosive emotional issue into a matter of serious thought based on reasoning. The absolute truth is and has to be a common goal and public asset of all and sundry. Even if we may disagree with one another, let everybody say what they believe it to be true. For the truth is the lost asset of humanity for long time. It might have become so strange to us due to its absence from our life for such a long period. While we are living in an era of science and technology, of information explosion and data processing, it is astonishing to see we are groping in the darkness as far as our understanding of truth based on reasoning is concerned. Gross blindness takes the place of scientific objectivism in this regard. People easily think that belief, whatever kind it may be, is not based on reasoning and hence is blind. They argue the wheel of reasoning gets halted at your belief. So, there does not arise any kind of rational, scriptural, logical and/or natural justification to support your belief. At the same time each set of belief and religion with all the contradictions they do have among themselves, claim to be true. When we ask for the proof and evidence to support this claim, they resort to another claim that it is belief beyond and above all kinds of reasoning. Can truth in its absolute sense be contradictory to itself? Hence, the more complex and complicating question of which of these contradicting versions of different sets of belief and religions are we supposed to believe arises.
The difference between believing according to the knowledge and believing first and knowing about it after it is clear to be distinguished. Because, knowledge after belief is always tailored to fit the belief. In such a situation, knowledge always becomes a scapegoat to be laid on the cost of belief. In this regard, we have to bear in mind that obeying a person after being convinced of his credentials as a prophet rationally, historically and scripturally is different from believing in anything without any intellectual conviction. In the former, the obedience to the prophet after intellectual conviction in his prophet-hood is part and parcel of syllogism while the latter case represents the gross blindness. Here the word “intellectual conviction” is to be noted and it is what really does matter. For me, knowledge is the pre-requisite of belief. And proof is the pre-requisite of the knowledge. For me, any “proof” doesn’t qualify as a proof if it doesn’t claim to be a proof and doesn’t stand to be challenged by anyone who denies it.
This article has been prepared in a way that depicts the empirical process of reasoning of truth that has taken place in me when I have interrogated, grilled and quizzed myself very independently freeing me from all kinds of reservations and prejudices.
There are three kinds of approaches in terms of Orthodoxy, Orthopraxy and Orthodopraxy as far as belief and the practice that emanates from the belief or otherwise are concerned. Orthodoxy is more about belief and much less about practice. It claims belief is what does matter and not the practice. It actually doesn’t care about practice at all. Orthopraxy is just opposite of the orthodoxy. It doesn’t care about belief. For orthopraxy what does matter is only practice regardless of the belief or non-belief. In my opinion, both orthodoxy and orthopraxy do not relate to the natural process. Both approaches do not have synchronization between our body and mind. The relationship between belief and practice is that of seed and fruit. Orthodoxy is a seed that does not sprout and grow to yield the fruit while orthopraxy imagines about fruits without any seed which doesn’t exist in our nature at all. So, I wanted to be an orthodopractic person with right belief firmly rooted in the depths of my heart and its branches reaching into the sky yielding shade and its sweet fruits at all times.
For this also, I wanted to know the right set of belief with a standing proof. What is it?
I looked into Jesus, Moses, Buddha and Krishna. For me all of them were great historical or pre-historical personalities who had led and guided the masses of their time. Bible speaks about the miracles that Jesus and Moses had performed. Those miracles probably were the proofs for the people who had witnessed it during the life time of Jesus and Moses. But for me, it is only history or pre-historical anecdote and at most another set of belief without any proof if I want to believe in it.
Then I moved to Mohammad. I knew he can be read in the complete light of the history and is not a mythological character. One of the most distinguished qualities that I have noted in Mohammad which is unanimously agreed by all historians, both oriental and occidental, is that he was the most honest and was called “Al-Ameen” by his contemporaries before his claiming of prophet-hood and after it. Here I wanted to ask myself a question. If his claim of prophet-hood is a lie, how he can be termed as an honest person? Shouldn’t he be termed as the most dishonest person since he had claimed the prophet-hood falsely? Here, the occidental historians and the orientalists fail to reconcile when they disagree with his claim of prophet-hood while they do agree with his honesty from the historical perspective. It is actually a paradoxical riddle and/or a conundrum for anybody who will believe the claim of Mohammad’s prophet-hood while they agree with his historically verified honesty and integrity. I wanted to keep this Effeminates Paradox in the parking lot for the time-being in order to proceed with my rational analysis of the truth.
I again asked myself, Did Mohammad claim to be the final prophet from God as it is believed by the Muslims or was the prophet-hood imposed on him by the posterity just like we do observe similar and different kind of wrong ascriptions and attributions by the posterity in the history of other great personalities?
Here I understood, Mohammad claimed to be the final prophet explicitly and unequivocally. It is there both in Quran and Traditions of Mohammad.
Again I asked myself. Did Mohammad’s claim of prophet-hood have a proof? Is the proof still standing and can the proof, if any, be challenged? Or has it become another set of belief?
Yes, here also I found him claiming to be the final prophet with the standing proof of the Quran. The Quran also claims itself to be the only evidence of Mohammad’s prophet-hood. “Now a clear proof has come unto you from your Lord” (Quran 6: 157). “O mankind! Verily there has come to you a convincing proof from your Lord, and We sent down to you a manifest light” (4:174). Moreover, the Quran claims that the evidence of its origin is in itself. (4:82). An evidence (bayyinath) that helps us to distinguish the right from the wrong, the fact from the fallacy and the truth from the false. It presents itself to be challenged by any to disprove it when it says, “And if you are in doubt concerning what We have sent down to Our slave (Mohammad). Then produce a Sura (chapter) of the like thereof and call all your supporters and helpers besides Allah, if you are truthful (Quran 2: 23, 10:38, 17:88). Now, I know and understand if Mohammad had any miracle other than the Quran to prove his prophet-hood, it wouldn’t have stood as an evidence for the posterity till the Day of Doom. “Verily We: It is We who have sent down the Quran and we will guard it from the corruption” (15:9).
Now I asked myself: Have Mohammad and Quran made any claim based on history to corroborate Mohammad’s claim of prophet-hood?
I saw in Quran and Mohammad’s tradition another claim when they said repeatedly that Mohammad’s coming was foretold by both Old and New Testaments. I wanted to verify it both scripturally and historically.
Let me quote some verses from the Glorious Quran in this regard which I hope a truth seeker cannot ignore taking into consideration of Mohammad’s claim of being the final prophet as mentioned above. “Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write (i.e. Muhammad) whom they find written with them in the Torah and the Gospel ..” (7: 157). “Those to whom We gave the Scripture (Jews and Christians) recognize him (Mohammad) as they recognize their sons (from the crowd). But verily, a party of them conceals the truth while they know it (2: 146) “And, remember when Jesus, son of Mary, said: ‘O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah unto you confirming the Torah (which came) before me and giving a glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me whose name shall be Ahmed” (61:6).
The following verses in the Old and the New Testaments are some out of many that I saw supporting and substantiating the claim. Deut: 18:15, 18:18 21:21, Isa: 42:1-13, Habakkuk: 3: 3-4, Mathew: 21:42-43, Jn: 14: 12-17, 26-28, 16:7-14 etc.
Author’s Introduction: P.P. Abdul Razak is a prolific writer besides being a professional in petrochemical industry in Kuwait. He often contributes his valuable thoughts on religion as he is moving with a mission to spread the knowledge of Islam among masses. We highly regard his contribution to IslamOnline.