Presumptions about God’s wisdom in Muslim Arguments for and against evolution By Paul Williams on March 1, 2022 • ( 3 ) With Dr David Soloman Jalajel. Like this:Like Loading... Related ‹ Decolonizing Quranic Studies with Professor Joseph LumbardBlogging Theology news.. ›Categories: Blogging Theology Youtube, Islam, Science
Maturidi Creed for the Modern Age
by Shams Tameez
Is Fiṭra a Replacement for Rational Inquiry? Kalām, Logic, and the Belief in God
Throughout the entire history of Islam, neo-Salafi/pseudo-Salafi/Taymiyan opinions were never a part of Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah (people of the Sunnah and the scholarly consensus) ie., Sunni Islam. These ideas have all been refuted by the classical ulama’ of Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah.
Unfortunately, any academic attached to an institute funded by the Saudi government, which actively promotes and funds neo-Salafism/pseudo-Salafism throughout the world, will be unable to mention this.
One of the prime reasons why the classical ulama’ of Islam never attached themselves to the governments of their time.
“The worst of scholars are those who visit princes, and the best of princes are those who visit scholars. Wise is the prince who stands at the door of the poor, and wretched are the poor who stand at the door of the prince.”
A comment by Yasin ( https://www.youtube.com/user/MsYassineB/featured ) in the Youtube comments section is worth mentioning. It is quoted verbatim below :
The terminology is the tradition regarding God’s power is not to say “what God is capable of”, rather to say “what is or isn’t the object of God’s power”. This isn’t about God’s limitation, it is rather about our own understanding & belief of God. Metaphysically impossible things are no object of power, for we can not believe God is not-God.
The difference of opinion between the Maturidis & Asharis in efficient causation is actually nominal. Efficient causation can either be thought of as necessary (Daruri = deductively true), thus metaphysically impossible to violate, or as inviolable (Hatmi = inductively true), or neither, as in not necessary nor inviolable, which is the position of all Maturidis & Asharis said in different words, that there is a consistent uniformity of nature (Idtirad) & causation is inductive (Ada), i.e. effect at causes not because of them. As to Ibn Taymyah, he takes a mix position of Mutazilites & the philosophers, but the confusion of the language he uses can be brought back to the aforementioned categorization. If ‘sababya’ (causation) that Ibn Taymyah advocates necessary or inviolable then he denies miracles, which he doesn’t, then the third position is the only option.
The difference of opinion between the Maturidis & Asharis regarding wisdom is also nominal. Whether you take the position that Wisdom derives from Knowledge or Knowledge derivers from Wisdom, as al-Ghazali specifies, these become equivalent for the absolute. Particularly, Wisdom is the knowledge of best path, therefore, absolute wisdom entails knowledge of all best paths, which entails knowledge of all things, for the best of things can not be known without knowing all things, hence absolute knowledge. Similarly, absolute knowledge entails knowledge of all things, thus knowledge of all best paths, hence absolute wisdom.
As to Ibn Taymyah’s position regarding God’s existence is in Fitrah. Ibn Taymyah believes that proof of the existence of God are obsolete, for it is an innate & necessary belief in everyone that God exists, say as it is innate & necessary to know that the whole is bigger than the sum. He believes that humans are born with the innate knowledge of God that they don’t require additional proofs of his existence. The Ash’aris, however, believe that what is innate is not the knowledge of God or a necessary belief in Him, rather Fitrah is the disposition to seek Allah, a remnant of memory from Alam Dar (the world of dar) where the Ahd (covenant) was made with Allah, manifest in the necessary knowledge we are naturally born with to seek Him, particularly the following are innate necessary knowledge we possess from birth as Fitrah:
1. Awali = Primary knowledge, that is to know that a thing is itself, which is the same things as to know that a thing & its opposite do not concur (aka the law of non-contradiction), hence knowing contingent beings can not be the necessary being.
2. Badihi = Evidential knowledge, that is to infer deductive conclusion from premises. For instance, if you know what ‘size’ is & know what ‘bigger’ is, you immediately know that the whole is bigger than the part. In other words, to perceive universals from particulars, i.s to unify the many into one, that is Tawhid.
3. Fitri = Instinctive knowledge, that is to know there is a reason why things are, i.e. causality, hence to realize there is an ultimate cause, that is Allah.
4. Hissi = Sensory knowledge, that is to know what you see (or other senses) is indeed the case, hence witness the manifestation of Allah’s will & mercy, & also the messengers’ revelations & miracles.
5. Wijdani = Emotional knowledge, that is know what you feel is indeed the case, hence realize the truth of faith.
6. Tajribi = Empirical knowledge, that is to know what you experience to be indeed the case, that is to expect & assume uniformity in nature (or as you said, know the future will behave like the past, & also elsewhere will behave like here). Hence, to realize the design & wisdom of Allah.
7. Hadsi = Intuitive knowledge, that is to have an extraordinary level of understanding of things virtually impossible to grasp.
(Imam Ghazali adds an 8th, which is Tawaturi, but it has been proven by later theologians that this is not the case).
What is the position of Ibn Taymyah on this? Ibn Taymyah denies some of these (such as the Primary & Evidential knowledge) but affirms that divine knowledge, that is to know Allah exists is a necessary knowledge. He bases his beliefs on the fact that all people of the book & of other traditions believe in God. In truth, this isn’t the case at all, otherwise we will never have atheists. Ibn Taymyah came in at a time where virtually all God-denying groups were extinct, including some of the philosophers & Zanadiqa. This, of course, after the Ash’ari school came on top after centuries of polemics. If Ibn Taymyah lived in our time, he wouldn’t”t have adopted this idea at all.
As to al-Ghazali’s quote in his book Ihya “laysa fil imkan abdau mimma kan” (“there is no possible world better than the actual world”). This can not mean that al-Ghazali is saying that Allah must do what is best, for he vehemently argues against his notion in all his books, including Ihya itself. As Razi & Zabidi explain, the meaning actually relates to the fact that Allah being All Wise dictates that this actual world, or any world actualized by Allah, must be the best possible world.
As to randomness in Quantum Theory. I’m myself a specialist in Physics (masters in Fundamental Physics). It must be made clear that the randomness is mathematical, as in a probabilistic distribution of effects in a given area of spacetime, this distribution itself deterministic. It is not a metaphysical or epistemic randomness. This is just how the world seems to behave in very high energy levels.
As to Evolution. Unlike Christian who have a lot of things to deal with, the only single contention Muslims face with Evolution is Adam & Eve. Beyond this single point, the Evolutionary narrative is no more a theological discussion. To that effect, the two major position in the Islamic tradition to consider:
1. The Sunni tradition, Ash’aris (& Maturidis) believe Allah effectively causes into existence all events, that is the essences (quantas of matter) & their accidents (attributes of these quantas, such as movement, time & place…), in such a way that a consistent uniformity appears to us, where there is no necessary relations between these events. Adam & Eve, thus, appearing out of nowhere while Evolution applies to everything else does not bother Ash’aris in the slightest.
2. The Mutazilite (Shia today) & Falasifa tradition, who believe either causation is necessary or inviolable, also have no problem with the concept of evolution. In fact, they founded it. It is the Mutazilites who established the theory of Evolution, later adopted by Europeans, including Darwin. People like Jahiz, Nasr Deen Tusi, Ibn Maskawayh, Ikhwan Safa….& others Mutazilites, centuries before Darwin, already explained processes such as natural selection, survival of the fittest, camouflage, prey vs predator dynamic, adaptation to environment, & some among them even evolution of beings to higher & higher life forms, particularly, from minerals, to plants, to sea plants, to jellyfish, to vertebrates, to mammals, to monkeys & finally to humans.
As to the Evolutionary Theory today. This isn’t a theological discussion at all, although it is made to be by its proponent, to support Atheism away from Faith. That is to allow atheists to feel comfortable having a material non-divine explanation of the world & life. Whether the Evolutionary Theory is an accurate explanation of Life or not, that rests on its merit as a scientific theory, which it has none. A good scientific theory is one that is plausible, simple, verifiable, predictive, & most importantly accurate. Evolutionary Theory is none of this:
1. Plausible? – It hinges on astronomical levels of chance, too immense to even calculate.
2. Simple? – It’s a bunch of anecdotes & stories with zero foundation in mathematics.
3. Verifiable? – Absolutely not, by design. You need millions of years to verify this nonsense.
4. Predictive? – It predicts exactly zero things.
5. Accurate? – It has no measurable results or margin of error to even be qualified for accuracy.
Q: Is it true that the theory of evolution has more scientific evidence to support it than the Big Bang Theory?
First of all, the myth of Evolution has zero actual evidence to support it. Evolutionary Theory is Literature, not Science. Second of all, any theory in Physics is better supported than any theory in Biology, for the simple fact that the former is mathematically ascertained while the latter is statistically ascertained at best, let alone the “theory” of Evolution. Third of all, regardless of whether Muslims believe the Big Bang Theory or Evolution or otherwise, it does not add to their validity, but it does prove a point. The Evolutionary narrative has been forcefully & systematically taught across the board in the entire world for decades, & has yet to gain any substaintial support outside Europe (& Japan & co.). In the US, only 20% believe the myth of Evolution is the true sole explanation of Life. The situation is even worse for the Evolutionary narrative in the Muslim world. We don’t see this with any other theory in Physics or Chemistry or even Biology for that matter. Why is that? It’s simply because the narrative of the Evolutionary mythology is not that compelling. It’s hodgepodge of anecdotes & tricks, & a whole lotta lying.