By a member of the MuslimAnswers.net Team
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم
Some people may ask whether it is really necessary for us Muslims, in our discussions with non-Muslims or when generally explaining the truth of Islam, to first tackle the issue of the Existence of Allah before moving on to discuss the miracles of Islam, particularly with regards to the miraculous nature of the Qur’an. They ask that if a person is convinced that the Qur’an is a wondrous thing, should we really break our sweat arguing over a matter as complex as Allah’s Existence?
I will give an answer based on my knowledge and Insha Allah it can be expanded upon as needed: The rigorousness we need to apply in this matter depends on the person we are speaking to, but even then, in every case of speaking with a non-Muslim, it is absolutely necessary for the non-Muslim to fully understand that only the Islamic concept of Allah is permissible, and that all other cosmological constructs are invalid. But yes, of course, it is possible that – for example – a Christian hears the Qur’an in Arabic or even reads a translation of the Qur’an, and then decides to convert to Islam, and also accepts the Islamic concept of Allah, without ever having gone through, among other things, a formal Islamic refutation of “Trinity” or the “Divine Sonship” theories.
But there is the issue of presenting Islam to those who are atheists, or just simply confused about the Existence of Allah. In such cases, it is absolutely necessary to first discuss the absolute necessity of Allah’s Existence and all the additional details that His Existence entails.
This is because if this step is skipped or treated in a sloppy manner, then any and every wondrous or miraculous evidence that is presented will be met with the single explanation that it is a coincidental accumulation of material causes coming together to bring about something that we perceive to be wondrous.
The reason why such an explanation would be given every time is simple: The atheist has absolutely eliminated the possibility for God to exist, so anything one may see in the world or the Universe is, according to him, necessarily due to material causes, no matter how amazing it may be. Thus, even if a thousand dead people were to come back to life in front of his eyes, he can absolutely not accept any reason other than the conglomeration of material causes, due to his initial assumption. This is why the assumption has to be attacked first and foremost and shown to be false before anything else can be discussed. There are really no shortcuts to this, although if the atheist is sincerely moved by the Qur’an or by any other aspect of Islam, then we may discuss the matter as it presents itself with that person. But even then, if the atheist is moved into thinking that “there might be a God after all”, this is a mere possibility in his mind, and we must be ready to herd it, either through rational or spiritual means, to a certainty about the Existence of Allah.
And with regards to those who are initially “merely in doubt” about the Existence of God, again, a preliminary discussion on the Absolute fact of Allah’s Existence is also needed, since they cannot be in any doubt about the Being who brings about miracles and wondrous things. That is, we cannot begin a discussion about the Qur’an’s miraculousness if the other side says: “Well, maybe these wondrous matters are necessarily self-caused, or caused by delimited existents, but God would be out of the equation in here.” This ‘maybe’ defeats the very framework under which the main discussion concerning miracles is to take place.
No, first there should be an acceptance of Allah’s Existence as per the Islamic understanding, and only then can there be a progress to the discussion about miracles, and the specific miracles of Islam.
Coming back to the “believers in God” category, we see that as a rule they do believe in wondrous occurrence and in miracles that come from God. So the abstract concept is present in some capacity, but the problematic thing is that the definition of a miracle and of Prophethood is not properly set for such groups. On the one hand, this allows for doubts about the existence of God to be placed in their minds by hardcore agnostics and atheists, and on the other hand, they may be unwilling to engage at the level of the Muslim with regards to the terms ‘miracle’ and ‘Prophet’ and whatever these terms entail.
As mentioned before, for this group we also have to discuss with them concerning the concept of Allah in Islam, since all the non-Muslim religions have at one stage or the other fallen into very wrong ideas concerning the Divine Being. But in addition to this, we also need to formally define miracles and differentiate them from general wondrous events, define Prophethood, their infallibility in conveying the message and their superiority over the general term “men of God”, and very critically, we have to connect the term miracle with that of Prophethood, since the two are very much interconnected. We understand that there may be many obstacles along the way in such types of discussions (for example, some may hold that is impossible for Prophets to be sent by God, or they may hold that Prophets are fallible in both character and their conveying of the message, etc.), but this is an initial broad roadmap that should be taken in this case.
Even with these difficulties, generally discussing the miraculous nature of the Qur’an (along with other miracles which appeared at the hands of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ) is easier to accomplish with this group of “believers in God”, since they understand that God has brought forth amazing things into the world from time to time in order to guide humanity to the right path, and that the only discussion is concerning the specific nature and/or identity of these wondrous and amazing things (i.e. which one is counted as a general wondrous thing at the hands of a “man of God”, which one is a miracle of a Prophet, which one is a supernatural thing given to a liar or deceiver, and so forth). But at least one wall has been broken, in that not every amazing thing will be automatically said to come forth from merely material cause, and this is an important preliminary objection to eliminate.
So this is the summary of the answer for all the three groups above. There definitely will be more to say about this subject, but this is an introduction from which we can move forward. We hope that it is beneficial for the readers, and we conclude by supplicating for Allah’s guidance for all those who truly seek it.