Belief in God and His perfection is a life-long issue that has many interdependent components, where the method of inference and proving of such issue is based on necessary mental foundations as well as existential and social principles.
Believers begin with the premise that everything related to existence and perfection of God cannot be proven through direct sensory perception, because no one in the world has ever seen God. Rather, believers prove God’s existence relying on proper reason, righteous instinct, and truthful reports that are told by the prophets, and which provide further details about the perfection, and glory of God.
Reliance on rational evidence and truthful reports to prove the details related to the divinity is not considered outside the sources of human knowledge. Rather, they are a continuation of the correct approach to knowledge. Man cannot perceive all things that exist through direct sense-based experience alone.
Man knows that existents are of two types: tangible existents, and intangible existents. The intangible things are called: the Occult sphere, which is divided into two parts: the first: An Occult that man cannot reveal through his mental faculties as there are no paths that can lead to it. If there are no trustworthy reports of it, then it is impossible to prove. Examples of this type include: Paradise and its joys, Hell and its torment, the day of Resurrection and so on. There is no way to know about these things without the true reports from messengers.
The second is the occult sphere that man can reveal through mental faculties; as it includes all the things that are absent from direct experience, but have effects in existence. So, reason proves their existence by their effect, and may thus recognize many of their details.
This methodology for acquiring knowledge is not specific to religious issues. Rather, it is general for all types of human knowledge in their lives.
To explain the importance of mental reasoning based on senses and its necessity in building human knowledge, professor A. Mendes says: “the facts of the universe that are perceived by senses, are very few. So how can we perceive the many other facts?.. There is a way, which is deduction or reasoning, each is an intellectual path. we take this path relying on known facts, until we end with a theory that something exist though we never saw it.”
In explanation of this methodology, Al-Ghazali mentions that existents “are divided into two categories; existents which can be recognized with the five senses such as, colors, shapes, and quantities, which are realized through sight, sounds through hearing, food through tasting, roughness and smoothness, tenderness and stiffness, cold and heat through touch.
The other existents can be realized through their effects, not the five senses. An example for this type of existents is the five senses themselves; as each of these senses is a faculty in itself, which can’t necessarily be realized by any of the five senses, nor even by imagination.
Other examples include man’s faculty, knowledge, free will, fear, shyness, adoration, anger, and many other attributes that are well known to us through a kind of inference not through any of the five senses.
According to the previously mentioned facts, existents in the world are divided into three types:
- First: Things that are realized through direct senses, they are called: the sensibles.
- Second: things that cannot be realized through direct senses, but through reason, and they are called: the reasonables.
- Third: things that cannot be realized neither through direct sense, nor through reason, as there is no way to know about them except through trustworthy reports, they are called: the testimonials.
Everything related to our knowledge of the divinity falls under the second and third types. From the foregoing, we find that: belief in the existence and perfection of God is based on evidentiary rational signs, which are proven relying on certain premises established by sense or other necessities. Believers in in the divine truth start from evidentiary knowledge, not from denied knowledge. Believers do not say: We did not find evidence that contradicts the existence of God, so we believed in Him! they do not say: atheists did not prove the invalidity of what we believe in, so we stick to it! nor do they rely on naught to prove their faith. Rather, their faith is based on evidentiary and existential evidence, regardless of opposing opinions.
This confirms that the evidence for the divine truth is not purely rational. Rather it is a composite evidence from senses, and reason. It is both a reasonable and a sensory-based evidence.
In this way, it is confirmed that belief in God -Almighty- is not an emotional and psychological issue, but a rational, inferable issue, based on reason and the necessary innate principles.
So, Belief in God -Almighty- is neither based on absolute rational reasoning solely, nor is it an opposition to it. Rather both are two inseparable realities.
Proper reason leads to the belief in the divine truth, and the belief in divine truth is based on rational evidence and intertwined with it.
Translated by: Salma Ahmed Hussain
Revised by: Dr.Antar Abdellah