Its a very well said aphorism that atheism is a disease that rich suffer from and concoctions in religions (Bid’aa) start from the poor. This Freudian intellectualization of the divine and parochial smirk has its own feeble convictions.
Its the middle-class hardworking people that has intellect and spirituality that brings them closer to the truth because both extremely rich and extremely poor have neither desire nor the capability to discern the veracity.
Muslim intellectuals have spent an enormous amount of time to expand the false arguments to their logical conclusions and eventually defeated the so-called enlightenment of western philosophy.
One of these great Kalam tradition books in recent times is Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi RA’s ‘Al Intibahat Al Mufida fi Ashtabahat al Jadeeda’, roughly translated ‘Useful Admonitions for Modern Confusions’. The book has summed up all the rules and principles of logical fallacies with unprecedented dexterity.
It is still taught in schools to cope with atheistic fallacies. It encompasses the discussion in seven main rules that every student of logic should remember while arguing with the non-believers:
- Not understanding something does not automatically make it wrong.
- If something is logically possible and tradition affirms it, believing it is mandatory. (There are two kinds of logics. 1. Tradition (Naql) 2. Common sense. (Aqal)
- The impossibility of something happening is different from there being no way of it happening. Very unlikely to happen vs impossible to happen.
- For something to exist, it is not necessary for it to be seen or felt.
- Things known from tradition does not need logical proves.
- Logic and example are different things. Plaintiff can be asked for logic not for an example.
- Contradictions between Tradition and Common Sense can occur only in four combinations: 1. Both Absolute (Qatai) 2. Absolute Traditionally but Derived (Zanni) Common Sense 3. Both Common Sense 4. Absolute Common Sense but Derived Traditionally. (Qatai injunctions are unequivocal words from Quran and Hadith and Zanni are derived through proper Ijtihad)
He then gives the examples to understand above 7 principles in real life scenarios.
- If someone has never seen an elephant denying its existence doesn’t make it so.
- If someone tells you that New York is bigger than Detroit and you haven’t been to either of them, denying its plausibility is wrong. It is very possible and if you trust the person narrating, there is absolutely no reason to deny that.
- Someone who hasn’t seen a car finds it hard to believe that a cart can be pulled without a horse. For him it’s unlikely but logically it is not impossible.
- None of us have ever seen our great great great grandfather yet we believe he existed. Similarly, no one has ever seen air yet we breathe it.
- We know from history that Napoleon existed. One can question its veracity but cannot ask for a prove.
- If someone tells you that Romans ruled Europe you cannot ask him for a precedent to believe that. It came down through historians and is very unlikely to be wrong and a similar precedent has no bearing on the argument.
- Contradiction scenario 1 is not possible because only one has to be truth to contradict each other and two truths don’t contradict each other. The second scenario calls for preference of derived over common sense. The third scenario is a bit complicated and derived argument should be given preference for its obvious meanings and common sense should not be used as a decisive argument. The only exception where common sense should be given preference is scenario 4 where it should be accepted over tradition and tradition should be analyzed for its semantic spins.
These terms can be quite complicated for beginners in logic and people who want to know more can read it here.
The book goes on, applying these logical principles to arguments of Prophethood, Heaven, and Hell, Destiny, Angels, and prayers. It is considered a gem in sciences of argument and logic. It has especially become more important in times when the clash of civilization is at its peak and communication has become very easy between people from different cultures.
Despite all these arguments, one must understand that ultimate pinnacle of belief is not needing logical arguments for belief in Allah but the love of Prophet SA should suffice as the biggest argument.
Sayedna Ali RA was once asked during his sermon while he was talking about the torment of the hell, “You are speaking about it as if you’ve seen it”. His response should be a guiding principle for all of us. He said, “Had I seen it with my own two eyes, I’d not have believed it any more than I believe the word of Muhammad Peace be Upon Him”. And this is the unshakable belief we all should pray and long for.