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In the Name of God بسم الله
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Ishraq Abidi

Cosmological Argument [Allamah Jauhari]

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Not to offend you brother, but is this suitable for an English speaking audience? Or does it do more harm than good?

Edit:

Maybe I am being a bit harsh here, maybe there is some benefit for those who are not very critical thinkers.

When I saw the clip the sort of things that came into mind were:

What if an atheist who is well versed with the arguments sees this?

What if a young educated shi'i sees it and gets disappointed because one of the most famous speakers is putting forward such an incomplete argument. The laypersons expect the scholars and speakers to have the answers and if the layperson isn't convinced by them then what consequences will that have?

He leaves so many questions unanswered. E.g. What if that matter was uncreated, and who created God?

We really need to raise our standards because the people deserve better. Also the Urdu style shouting lectures are no good for philosophy.

Edited by Muhammed Ali

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Proof by Intuition, perhaps not to others but to yourself, which is all that matters because it's the only existence you absolutely can't deny. By intuition I don't mean something particularly mystical, just plain human experience. The fact that we know by intuition that life is good, even amidst so much percieved evil, is proof enough. If we just question the nature of our own existence, it will become manifest. Basically, we are all constantly making the choice to exist, if for the sake of argument we assume that death is the end of our existence. What would prompt us to favor life over death? What would prompt me to want to 'exist' as opposed to 'not exist'? It can't be explained through anything except intuition (i.e. we don't choose existence because of 'reason'). Every life form we observe is naturally inclined to, and fights vehmently for, its existence. However, intuitively we don't ascribe this level or mode of consciousness to anything material. There are certain things we just know don't possess this consciousness. If that's the case, then this intuitive knowledge is not material per se. For if it was, then it would be inherent in all material things, but our mind simply knows that to be untrue. So, if the knowledge is not material, then I intuitively know it to be immaterial. And if I know the knowledge to be immaterial, then the source is likewise immaterial (i.e God). Thus, it explains why every traditional culture and society assumed the existence of a supernatural, immaterial source behind existence. And although they often described the Entity(s) in a manner that seemed to contradict the immateriality of It, they identified such a Thing nonetheless. They simply failed to effectively put into words that innate belief or experience because it's impossible. Ma'rifa of God is different than knowledge of God. We know this to be true. Experiencing something is completely different than knowing of it. For example, you telling somebody what it felt like to have a cold drink of water after three days of thrist in the scorching hot desert will not effectively convey to them the feeling of that moment. The feeling that comes to their mind does not give them the actual awareness of what you experienced. The reason why most people nowadays will consider this insufficent proof is because we have created our own artifical living environments and have purposively distracted ourselves from reflecting upon the nature of our own existence. Who am I? Why am I? Where did I come from and where am I going? Basic questions we simply avoid asking ourselves.

(wasalam)

Who knows himself, knows his Lord. Wassalam.

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That makes sense. I also think that one would already need to presuppose God's existence to even think like that in the first place (which is relatively discursive to me). I mean that it requires a bit of faith (iman) to begin with. And iman is defined a knowledge God puts in the heart of whosoever He will of His servants. As the prophetic hadith tells us, iman is a knowledge in the heart, a voicing on the tongue, and an action with the limbs. The voicing on the tongue suggests that some kind of discursive element is involved after all. But the knowledge in the heart which is mentioned first is the the indispensable core of faith (from which the other two are derived or are based on). This is why I am not against discursive reasoning as such. But I am against people failing to acknowledge the primacy of the knowledge in the heart (i.e. divine knowledge).

Edited by eThErEaL

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That makes sense. I also think that one would already need to presuppose God's existence to even think like that in the first place (which is relatively discursive to me). I mean that it requires a bit of faith (iman) to begin with. And iman is defined a knowledge God puts in the heart of whosoever He will of His servants. As the prophetic hadith tells us, iman is a knowledge in the heart, a voicing on the tongue, and an action with the limbs. The voicing on the tongue suggests that some kind of discursive element is involved after all. But the knowledge in the heart which is mentioned first is the the indispensable core of faith (from which the other two are derived or are based on). This is why I am not against discursive reasoning as such. But I am against people failing to acknowledge the primacy of the knowledge in the heart (i.e. divine knowledge).

I think the voicing on the tongue refers to dhikr here, and not discoursive reasoning. But you're absolutely right, there needs to be the 'capacity' within the individual to receive divine grace in order to push him towards the search for God.

ws

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I think the voicing on the tongue refers to dhikr here, and not discoursive reasoning. But you're absolutely right, there needs to be the 'capacity' within the individual to receive divine grace in order to push him towards the search for God.

You are right. for example the shahada, "laa ilaha illallah" is definitely what the voicing on the tongue is. This formula however cannot be reduced to the sounds one makes on the tongue. This formula is actually telling us how and what to think about. It tells us that everything positive belongs to God and not to creatures. There are no creatures that have anything positive within themselves except that what they have is found in God alone. There is no beauty but God's beauty. There is no knowledge but God's knowledge. There is no reality but God. etc..

Edited by eThErEaL

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You are right. for example the shahada, "laa ilaha illallah" is definitely what the voicing on the tongue is. This formula however cannot be reduced to the sounds one makes on the tongue. This formula is actually telling us how and what to think about. It tells us that everything positive belongs to God and not to creatures. There are no creatures that have anything positive within themselves except that what they have is found in God alone. There is no beauty but God's beauty. There is no knowledge but God's knowledge. There is no reality but God. etc..

Indeed. However keeping to the OP, we have to remember that the 'soul searching' approach is not for everyone and the cosmological argument is what appeals to the majority. Our gnostics (who in turn have taken after Imam Ali, the master of knowledge of the self), always emphasise that this approach is the more esteemed and difficult one. This does not mean one cannot reach certainty through looking at creation. However it is a 'less mature' way (hence my other post on physical age and mental age).

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Basically, nothing can prove God's existence. All attempts made to prove God's existence will only prove to be unsuccessful.

(salam)

This is a strange view and I do not agree it at face value. Perhaps you can explain what you mean? But I do think there are atleast a few successful attempts to prove God's existence via argumentation. Suffice to say that God's existence does not require explicit proof, for it is the most obvious and manifest thing, but this does not mean one cannot provide reason to prove God's existence objectively.

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This is a strange view and I do not agree it at face value. Perhaps you can explain what you mean? But I do think there are atleast a few successful attempts to prove God's existence via argumentation. Suffice to say that God's existence does not require explicit proof, for it is the most obvious and manifest thing, but this does not mean one cannot provide reason to prove God's existence objectively.

(wasalam)

If there were such a proof that could prove God's existence then the truthfulness of such a proof (specifically its premises which are indubitable and beyond any need of justification or further argumentation) would be more worthy of being qualified by the title "God" then what the proof sets out to prove. This is the only reason why I say it is impossible to prove God's existence. The only time it would work is when God's existence is somehow already presupposed.

Edited by eThErEaL

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Indeed. However keeping to the OP, we have to remember that the 'soul searching' approach is not for everyone and the cosmological argument is what appeals to the majority. Our gnostics (who in turn have taken after Imam Ali, the master of knowledge of the self), always emphasise that this approach is the more esteemed and difficult one. This does not mean one cannot reach certainty through looking at creation. However it is a 'less mature' way (hence my other post on physical age and mental age).

One can possibly use only rational arguments for acknowledging God's existence. But that is not what will save a person from Hell (it will however enable a person to enter Paradise ultimately).

But what will save a person (or the immunity) from Hell is the degree of a person's faith or iman. This is not necessarily at the level of Yaqeen, although its perfection is yaqeen (and that also, yaqeen at its highest level -- haq al yaqeen). It is these higher levels of iman (haq al yaqin) that I think are not necessarily required for the average person, but what is required (at the very least) for the average individual are the basic levels of iman.

In other words, the average person is expected to be a mumin, but not necessarily a muhsin (one who worships God as if he sees Him) or a muhaqqiq (a "real"-izer).

Wallahu Alim.

Edited by eThErEaL

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(wasalam)

If there were such a proof that could prove God's existence then the truthfulness of such a proof (specifically its premises which are indubitable and beyond any need of justification or further argumentation) would be more worthy of being qualified by the title "God" then what the proof sets out to prove.

I understand what you are saying. This similar to what the Imam says in one his supplications: "How can you be evidenced by that whose existence relies on you?" and "What is it that you lack that something else can manifest you?"

Whilst this is certainly very true and noble, I do not agree that the premises would be more qualified to be called God. It is precisely by God that these premises receive their indubitable nature and validity, not independent of God and for this very reason they are unworthy of being called God. Yes, reasoning from the effect to the cause, from the impoverished to the Ghani, from the needful to the One who is Independent is not the one way for the mystics and true urafa' of God. But as ever, people must be spoken to according to their capacity, and as such we see the Imams (as) and noble philosophers provide such reasoning which is meant to be conclusive proof of God's existence because it serves a valuable purpose to many people.

Just to add, it is sometimes these rational grounds which then provide a basis for iman to spring into someone's heart, so it can be an important prelude and preparation for the Divine Grace to be sent upon someone.

Edited by InfiniteAscension

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people must be spoken to according to their capacity, and as such we see the Imams (as) and noble philosophers provide such reasoning which is meant to be conclusive proof of God's existence because it serves a valuable purpose to many people.

Just to add, it is sometimes these rational grounds which then provide a basis for iman to spring into someone's heart, so it can be an important prelude and preparation for the Divine Grace to be sent upon someone.

Yes, people must be spoken to in accordance to their capacity. But their capacity to accept a certain proof or way of thinking depends on their particular level of faith which is already within them (given to them by God). When the Imams used proofs the reason why those people accepted them was because their level of iman made it possible to receive it. The proofs don't bring forth a new knowledge (nor do they induce faith), they merely make us understand (in discursive or in dialectic mode) the faith that is already within us.

Edited by eThErEaL

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Yes, people must be spoken to in accordance to their capacity. But their capacity to accept a certain proof or way of thinking depends on their particular level of faith which is already within them (given to them by God). When the Imams used proofs the reason why those people accepted them was because their level of iman made it possible to receive it. The proofs don't bring forth a new knowledge (nor do they induce faith), they merely make us understand (in discursive or in dialectic mode) the faith that is already within us.

Aha, now you are making sense to me :) Yes, they do not always bring forth a new knowledge (I certainly think they occasionally do, if only on the acquired level) but yes they often only work to reorientate one to what he essentially always knew. Or as Imam Ali (as) says when describing the role of the Prophets "To reignite what has been buried in the minds."

Edited by InfiniteAscension

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Aha, now you are making sense to me :) Yes, they do not always bring forth a new knowledge (I certainly think they occasionally do, if only on the acquired level) but yes they often only work to reorientate one to what he essentially always knew. Or as Imam Ali (as) says when describing the role of the Prophets "To reignite what has been buried in the minds."

Yes, they may bring forth a new "knowledge". (I think I was being too strict there) :) But they certainly do not induce "iman".

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But as ever, people must be spoken to according to their capacity, and as such we see the Imams (as) and noble philosophers provide such reasoning which is meant to be conclusive proof of God's existence because it serves a valuable purpose to many people.

I agree, that although intuition is our source for the awareness of God, discursive thought can still benefit us in our given contexts. Most people are oblivious of this intuitive knowledge within themselves, so other methodologies need to be invoked as stepping stones towards this realization. Also, it can help us understand the profound transcendence of God, so that we refrain from attributing false things to Him and understand our relationship with Him.

(wasalam)

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Its a norm in indopak to appreciate the speaker and shout without understanding his point

Its a norm in indopak to appreciate the speaker and shout without understanding his point

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Yes, they may bring forth a new "knowledge". (I think I was being too strict there) :) But they certainly do not induce "iman".

(salam)

I just wanted to add that this 'acquired' knowledge is one of the most important preparatory grounds for iman to be induced in to the heart. Actually, this is a noble Quranic principle, which requests everyone to bring forth their proof if they are truthful! Why is that? Because, it is usually the case, that in the face of evidence and knowledge, man will begin to believe. It does not induce iman in such a causal way that it would be known as "il-la tam-meh" in philosophy. i.e a complete cause, but it is perhaps one of the strongest and most important grounds which serves as an incomplete cause.

This also explains the Quran's vehement criticism of those who reject whilst having full certitude and knowledge of something. In 27:14 Allah [swt] says: They impugned them —though they were convinced in their hearts - وَجَحَدُوا بِهَا وَاسْتَيْقَنَتْهَا أَنْفُسُهُمْ

This is why we have also been strongly recommended to seek knowledge. The idea being that, man will usually submit to the knowledge he has been presented with and thus believe.

As for the video in the OP, it is a terrible way to present the Cosmological argument - which is a very good argument if presented correctly - and many objections could be raised against the argument as shown in the video. In fact, disproving infinite regression (for a series of causes per accidens) often bypasses the actual argument and is unnecessary. Aquinas in his version does not even think it is philosophically possible to prove/disprove whether a regress happens or not and regardless of this issue, in the HERE and NOW, an unmoved mover can proven via the cosmological argument. Similarly, Ibn Sina working on the supposition that an infinite series of contingents exist, still proves the need for a Necessary Existent.

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