Friday, 4 October 2013

Why Does God Hide His Own Existence?

Why does God hide? Why, do you think, God would hide God's own existence? Why not flat out say "I'm here" by shaping the clouds to saying that? Is it to strengthen our faith and spirit? Is it because we cannot bare look at God? What is your opinion about this?
Waleed Ahmed Najmeddine

Salam dear sister,
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
By the wording of your question, it appears that you actually do believe in God, or at least that there should be an Almighty, All-Knowing being, who should make Himself known and leave no doubt in the minds of believers of His existence.
If there is an Almighty, All-Knowing God, He would be Merciful, Generous, Forgiving, etc., embodying all of the positive character traits that we can imagine.
There is one huge problem that exists, however, in the very minds we possess, that it tries to set limits on a limitless being. God does exist, and He is not hiding. We must, however, try our best to “tune into His frequency” so that we can receive the signals that He is sending to us, and make sense of His message.
Because we are human, we must acknowledge that none of us is perfect, all-knowing, almighty, etc. If one of us was to make such a claim, the rest of us would surely reject him or her, and mock them. At the very least we would avoid this person, fearing that they might lead us astray or bring us under their control for their own benefit.
Because none of us is perfect, our limited minds lack the ability to comprehend what is limitless. If we reject the existence of an Almighty, All-Knowing being, spiritual being, we must accept that the universe around us is, for all intents and purposes, limitless.
The greatest, most knowledgeable scientists would say that the universe is almost impossible to fully comprehend, yet it exists. No one doubts the existence of the universe, or their own existence in it, even though they do not fully comprehend the extent of it, what is in it, or where it came from. There are only theories based on hard evidence.
The universe does not speak in our language, but it teaches us in its own way whatever we are able to comprehend from it, and we continue to learn more and more about it as time goes by. As a matter of fact, we do not even fully understand our own bodies and the infinite number of functions it performs every day of our lives. Yet we believe that those functions keep us alive somehow, and are proof of our own existence.
The point I am trying to make is quite simple: Just because we do not understand something, does not mean it does not exist. How can we expect to comprehend something that is not physical, using the purely physical senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch? Our sight cannot accommodate the entirety of the universe, nor can we hear, smell or touch everything in it. Our emotions are real. We know because we experience them. We cannot see, smell, or touch our emotions, but we accept them as real nonetheless.
Having the capacity for reason and deduction, it should be easy to come to the conclusion, if we are indeed fair-minded, that not only does God exist, but that He performs miracles in front of our very eyes on a continuous basis. I will give a few simple examples in the hopes of proving that God exists. This would seem to be a huge claim, but in reality it is not. One example is from the great scholar of Islam, Muhammad al-Ghazali, may God have mercy on him, who said:
"Suppose we were to ask a man who relies solely on his own experience and understanding, “Can there exist in this world a thing the size of a grain, which, if put in a town, would devour that town in its entirety, and would devour itself, so that nothing would be left of the town and its contents, nor would this thing itself be left? He would surely answer, “Such a thing is absurd and belongs to the realm of fairy tales!” Yet this is the case with fire, which anyone who had never seen fire would deny if he heard about it. Most denials of the wonder of the afterlife belong to this category."
If our bodies required conscious thought for it to complete all of the functions it performs, we would be so preoccupied with the thoughts required to keep our heart, kidney, muscles, blood, vision, walking, talking… that we would have no time to do anything else, no ability to reflect on our own existence, experience love, hate, pleasure, etc.
However, our bodies run on auto-pilot for the majority of our lives. We do not think about the physics required in standing up, balancing our weight, moving our feet, planting them properly and propelling ourselves forward in all of the minutest detail required for us to walk with such grace and accuracy. We just walk, and give it no thought.
This simple action that we all take for granted (unless suddenly robbed of the ability to do so) is truly a miraculous feat. It would not be possible unless our brains took care of it automatically. We walk, talk, breath, eat, sleep, and do many more incredibly complex tasks every day without consciously thinking about them, yet we attribute this ability to ourselves, our own ingenuity, or to chance. God has given us these abilities through little or no effort of our own.
There are an almost unlimited number of plants and animals that humans consume on a daily basis that, by chance some would say, provide us with the exact nutrients and energy we need to function daily. Unlike other animals, we are unable to survive without food and water for more than a few days.
These plants and animals not only provide us with nutrients for growth and energy to work and enjoy life, but they just happen to be tasty as well as healthy. What possible purpose does the flesh of a fruit serve (apple, orange, grape, banana, etc.) if the seeds at the centre are what enable the tree to reproduce? Other trees and plants only bear seeds with no fruit and are just as successful in reproducing.
The fruit benefits other plants and animals, and human beings, not the fruit-bearing tree itself. God has created these plants and animals for our benefit, and to maintain a delicate balance in the natural world. This infinitely complex and delicate balance was not established by “mother nature” or by chance as some scientists claim.
God’s existence is known by the signs He has created and continues to show us every single day, but we choose not to see them, or to attach the significance to them that they deserve.
The Quran is full of better examples than those I have provided here that hopefully you will find meaningful, or at the very least provide you with an opportunity to reflect upon the realities of the universe around us.
I encourage you to read the Quran with an open mind, sincerely seeking the truth of this life and your place in it.
I hope this has been useful to you. Please keep in touch.
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