In the Name of God بسم الله
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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم A friend of mine sent my third post in the proof for the existence of God series to a mutual friend who is a PhD student in physics. Let’s call him Muhammad. He made a comment in response: Muhammad: I decided to send him a full length reply because I intended on posting it here, as this objection is no doubt common amongst the scientifically minded.... Click here to continue reading.
(637) For the realization of three things I (earnestly) swear: charity causes no reduction in one’s wealth, patience against injustice causes God, the Great and Powerful, to enhance one’s dignity and begging makes God to open to the beggar the doors of poverty. And keep in mind what I tell you. There are four groups of people in the world. First, those gifted with knowledge and wealth, who fear their Lord in dispensing them, who give a hand to their kinds and who know that God has a share in their possessions. This group has the highest status. The second group is those gifted with knowledge but not wealth, who are truthful of intention in saying, `if we possessed wealth, we would practice what the wealthy do’. This group will gain the results of their own intentions and are equal in reward with the first one. The third group are those gifted with wealth but not knowledge, who make use of their wealth ignorantly, fear not their Lord in dispensing their wealth, give no hand to their kinsmen and observe no share for God in their possessions. This group has the lowest status. The fourth group is those on whom God has bestowed neither wealth nor knowledge, who keep on saying, `If we possessed wealth, we would practice much the same as the wealthy’. This group too will pick the fruits of their own intentions and are equal in vice with their leaders. (641) Forgetfulness ruins knowledge, and the knowledge transmitted to incompetent people will be ruined(too). (2) A believer does not resort to jealousy or flattery, save in seeking knowledge. (78) A hypocrite is devoid of two traits: reputation and deep knowledge of religion. (90) A little bit of action accompanied by knowledge is useful, and a lot of deeds followed by ignorance is of no use. (125) A scholar who avails himself of his own knowledge is superior to a thousand simple worshipers (of God). (126) A scholar who does not act upon his knowledge is like unto a niche providing people with light but burning itself. (128) A seeker of knowledge among the ignorant is like unto a living creature among the dead. (158) Neither is stammering a defect of tongue; stammering comes from deficient knowledge of Truth (God). (162) Acquire knowledge and through it, peace (of mind) and soberness gain, and to your teacher humble remain. (167) Advise each other in the acquisition of knowledge and do not spare your knowledge from one another, for treachery in this respect is worse than treachery to wealth. (177) All holders of knowledge hunger for new knowledge. (179) All kinds of knowledge will entail evil results in the Day of Judgment, save that which is put to practice. (205) An hour of seeking knowledge is better than praying one whole night, and a day of seeking knowledge is better than fasting three months. (218) Angels spread out their wings for the seekers of knowledge, for they are pleased with what they seek. (233) Ask God (to give you) useful knowledge, and take refuge with Him from useless knowledge. (611) Fetter knowledge through writing. (566) Everything has its own path, and the path to Paradise is (acquiring) knowledge. (347) Blessed is the one whose faults stop him attending to people's, who dispenses from his lawfully-earned wealth, who makes friend with men of deep knowledge and wisdom, and who keeps aloof from men of sins and vices. (264) Be an early bird in seeking knowledge, for early-rising brings you blessing and prosperity. …. Not quite the 'Ilm noo bus karay ho yaar, aik alf terey darkaar' type of religion', :-) Ref: Nahjul Fasaha
(bismillah) (salam) Title should read: is 'knowledge by presence' ('ilm hudhuri) enough to prove the immaterial nature of the soul? Reason I'm asking is because I know Mulla Sadra (and more recently Allamah Tabatabai and Mutahhari) have used the 'knowledge by presence' argument to prove the immaterial nature of the soul, through several premises, one of which being 'the unchanging nature of the unchanging' (lit. trans. from arabic: ghayr al mutaghayr ghayr al mutaghayr). Those of you who've studied this know what I'm talking about and I don't want to explain their argumentation around this, my question is: The human body changes itself several times over the course of a person's life (through cell self-renewal), but I have yet to read anywhere that the nervous system renews itself. IF it DOES NOT, as some materialists claim, is 'knowledge by presence' enough to prove the immaterial nature of the soul? since the fundamental basis of this, is that since the body changes over time, and the materialists claim the self IS the body, hence the self should change as well, but you know through 'knowledge by presence' that yourself 20 yrs ago, is yourself now. Therefore, since the materialists say your self is your nervous system and your self is the collection of senses that flow through this nervous system, that, presumably does NOT change, how can the argument of 'knowledge by presence' remain the main proof of the immateriality of the soul? I'm thinking out loud here and haven't fully looked into this, so bear with me. Any comments much appreciated, I'm no neuroscientist and no expert in the theory of knowledge, but this is something, I believe, that needs defenately further investigation. (salam)
Some of you may of read my previous thread(linked here), in which i asked whether unbelievers, even if they have lived good lives, would still be sent to hell by the God of Islam. I think in the end it kind of wound up inconclusive. Many people seemed to hold different views, as in, hell is a possibility OR hell isn't then they went on to rationalise why they believe such a thing. Just from the quranic evidence i have found i have a moderately strong reason to believe that as an "unbeliever" i will be sent to hell for an undefined period of time (somewhere between a little after 0 and eternity). Even if i was a good person, i would still be sent to hell because i am an "unbeliever". I don't really wish to discuss that topic any further here, if you really feel the need you can take it to the other thread. However, it did get me thinking, if i'm being sent to hell just because i simply don't believe, is it even possible to believe? Granted, i've thought about it before then but that thread gave me the drive to post it here. So, what i'm really asking is this - Is belief strictly voluntary? Think about it, the quran says (possibly) eternal hell is a punishment for not believing. So, why doesn't everyone just start believing? A lot of people seem to think they're sadly mistaken or they're doing it out of spite for God or something and even to myself this spite is hinted at in the Quran. However, i contend it is simply impossible to voluntarily change your belief at any instant in time. Let me offer several thoughts why. Obviously, going to heaven and not going to hell is what most people would want if God did exist. I'm sure we could all agree going to heaven is a fairly large reward, some would contend an infinite reward, the best reward one can ever receive and i probably agree. Hell conversely, is the very worst outcome you can get, to be subjected to the horrors of hell. It's the worst outcome. Even with infinite reward at stake and infinite motivation to do it, i still can't suddenly start *actually* believing in God. It’s important to note here that its *actual* belief. As true as you believe a circle has no edges or the sky is blue, you just *know* it. I'm not talking about some kind of self-deception or lying or a false display of belief, i mean *actual* belief. On a similar kind of vein of thought, think about this. I have a (very large) briefcase with 1 trillion dollars ( 12 zeros!) in it. What you actually want to do with the money doesn't matter, you could buy yourself fabulous mansions, build a bunch of mosques or churches, open your own library, donate heavily to charity, look after everyone you know, ect. This amount of money is so huge it's very hard for our minds to conceive but it is a huge, huge amount. It's bigger than the GDP of a lot of countries, Only 15 of the 192 countries counted have a GDP higher than 1 trillion dollars, thats the value of *all* the goods and services produced in the entire country in an entire year, so its an absolutely mind-blowing amount of money. I will give you this briefcase; you only have to perform one simple task. I want you to actually and truly believe there is a purple elephant in the corner of this room, right now, at this instant. Actually, truly, believe it. Let’s pretend i have super powers and i can look into your mind (this isn't as silly as it sounds, God can see inside your mind so he would also know if you had true belief, so it is highly applicable to my situation/argument/thought experiment) or some kind of magical machine that can read your mind. Even under such an enormous reward, you would find it impossible to choose to believe in the elephant. Its analogous to the situation about God, even though the reward is great and people understand this, just as people understand the possible severe punishment, they are still *incapable* of just suddenly choosing to believe. Again, another situation. Imagine i have taken you and your family hostage (don't worry, i'm too much of a peaceful person to ever do anything like this :) ) i will hurt or kill your entire family *unless* you can, at that instant or very soon, start to actually believe that a circle is square or that i am a dolphin. You just couldn't do it. Even it being the life or death situation it is, you still couldn't do it and truly believe it (let’s assume I’m using my magical machine again). Likewise, even if you wanted to, do you think tomorrow you could just suddenly will to exchange your belief for a totally polar one. For you Muslims out there, perhaps just decide to believe that Hinduism or Shinto is true or that there is no God. You cannot simply just start believing it and truly accept it, even if you wanted to. Same to the atheists out there, could you just wake up tomorrow and just decide to believe in a God? It seems impossible. Therefore, i contend it is impossible to choose your belief. What does everyone think about this? It seems like a fairly set case to me personally. (Just as an add-on to my hell thread, if it is as i have shown and it is impossible to choose your belief, which the quran suggests why would an all loving and all just God send people to hell for something they have no control over? If he indeed would send them to hell. If he doesn't that means you don't need to believe in him to get into heaven, so what is the point in believing? I actually summarised this in a nice little table on the very last page of the heaven/hell thread, i suggest you look at it. What i would like to suggest is this - Long as you didn't do anything grossly bad or evil or that your Good outweighed the bad, everyone will get into heaven. If you truly believed in what you believed and you thought about it, no punishment will be delivered. On the odd chance someone decided to go against God out of spite the reward or punishment might be different. However, it seems grossly unfair to punish people for something they have no control over. This isn't the purpose of the thread though, i mainly want to talk about belief here.)
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