In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.
A Response to Atheists Who Claim that the Universe Came into Existence by Itself and Then Progressively Evolved into Its Present State
We refute the atheists with that which Allah, the Most High, has stated in the Quran:
“Were they created from nothing, or were they the creators?!” (Aṭ-Ṭoor: 35)
So, we ask them: “Did you come into existence after not existing? Or were you always existing through eternity and will exist forever?” They will undoubtedly say: “We exist after not existing.” This is just as Allah (the Most Perfect) said: “Has there not passed over man a period of time when he was not a thing even mentioned (i.e., non-existent)?” (Al-Insān: 1)
So, if they say, “We came into existence after not existing”, we ask them, “Who brought you into existence? Did your parents make you, or did you appear without a maker?” They will say, “No, our parents did not actually make us.” True, this is just as Allah has said:
أَفَرَءَيْتُم مَّا تُمْنُونَ ٥٨
ءَأَنتُمْ تَخْلُقُونَهُۥٓ أَمْ نَحْنُ ٱلْخَـٰلِقُونَ ٥٩
نَحْنُ قَدَّرْنَا بَيْنَكُمُ ٱلْمَوْتَ وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمَسْبُوقِينَ ٦٠
“Then tell Me about the semen that you emit: is it you who creates it, or am I (God) the Creator? It is I who has decreed death to you all, and I am not to be outdone.” (Al-Wāqiʿah: 58-60)
If they say, “We came into existence without a maker”, we respond, “That is impossible―neither the intellect nor rational thought can accept that statement because everything that is made must have a maker, everything created must have a creator, and everything that exists must have something that brought it into existence.” We say that the One who brings everything into existence and creates is Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, the Lord and Creator, He is the Necessary Existent that every thing relies upon for its existence.
We say the same concerning the heavens and the earth. We ask them, “Who brought the skies, the heavens and the earth into existence?” Surely, they could not have created themselves―that is not a rational or scientific assumption. Rather, it is God (Allah) who created them as He (the Mighty and Majestic) has informed us. We believe that the heavens and earth began as water that was beneath the Throne of Allah, just as He (the Most High) said: “It is He who created heavens and earth in six days, and His Throne was above the water.” (Hood: 8) So, Allah (the Mighty and Majestic) created the heavens and the earth from this water, as He said:
أَوَلَمْ يَرَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓا۟ أَنَّ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ كَانَتَا رَتْقًۭا فَفَتَقْنَـٰهُمَا ۖ وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ ٱلْمَآءِ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ حَىٍّ ۖ أَفَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ ٣٠
“Have those who disbelieve not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and then We separated them and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe?” (Al-Anbiyā’: 30)
All of the created beings from the first of them to the last of them must have a Creator that brought them into existence—and it is not possible that these created things brought themselves into existence. Furthermore, it is not possible that they came into existence by chance randomly.
It is impossible for a soul to create itself because a thing cannot create itself. Before its existence, it was absent, non-existent, and lifeless so how can something that does not exist (and is not there) create itself?! Furthermore, it is not possible for a being to come into existence by chance or coincidence out of nowhere! That is because every occurrence must have for it someone that causes its occurrence—everything that exists must have a creator that brought it into existence.
Ponder over your natural surroundings: the skies, the stars, the sun, the moon, the mountains, valleys, forests, rivers, lakes and oceans―is all of this really from nothing and from chance? The existence of the universe and the whole of creation in such an unprecedented and original manner—its harmony, arrangement, order, and coordination—the coherence between the causes and their effects and outcomes—and that which takes place between the bodies and beings within the universe all prohibits any thought (even remote) that it took place through random chance occurrences—of elements clashing against each other over millions of years! Furthermore, if that was the case, then who brought those elements into existence for them to be clashing in the first place, and who ordered them and guided them?!
And that which occurs randomly by chance is not organised, coordinated, and ordered from the outset of its coming into existence—then how can it possibly be organised and ordered in its subsequent random and unguided state of existence?!
Therefore, it is not possible that the universe created itself—that is non-sensical—and it is impossible that it came about by chance to become this mighty and ordered universe—because to believe that opposes sound intellect and requires believing in fantasies, the abandonment of reason and rationale. So, the only reasonable conclusion is that the universe has an originator, creator, and maker (moojid) and He is Allāh, the Lord of the worlds.
Allah mentioned this intellectual proof and indisputable evidence in His Book where He (the Most Perfect, the Most High) said:
أَمْ خُلِقُوا مِنْ غَيْرِ شَىْءٍ أَمْ هُمُ ٱلْخَـٰلِقُونَ ٣٥
“Were they created by nothing? Or were they themselves the creators?” (At-Tūr 52:35) Meaning they did not come into being without a creator, nor did they create themselves—so from this, it is proven that they have a creator, and He is Allah (the Mighty and Majestic). The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) recited the words of Allah:
أَمْ خُلِقُوا مِنْ غَيْرِ شَىْءٍ أَمْ هُمُ ٱلْخَـٰلِقُونَ ٣٥
أَمْ خَلَقُوا ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ ۚ بَل لَّا يُوقِنُونَ ٣٦
أَمْ عِندَهُمْ خَزَآئِنُ رَبِّكَ أَمْ هُمُ ٱلْمُصَيْطِرُونَ ٣٧
“Were they created by nothing? Or were they themselves the creators? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, but they are sure of nothing! Or are with them the treasures of your Lord? Or are they tyrants with the authority to do as they like?” (At-Tūr 52:35-37) Jubayr ibn Muṭʿim, who was a pagan, heard these verses being recited and said: “My heart nearly flew out of my chest—and that was the first time that Faith (Imān) settled in my heart.” (Reported by al-Bukhārī).
Let us bring an example to further clarify this point: If a person were to come and talk to you about a lofty palace surrounded by gardens with rivers flowing between them—and it was was furnished with thrones and couches, beautified with various kinds of furnishing, drapes and ornaments. So, then this person informs you: “This splendid palace, its manicured gardens, its thrones and furnishings came into existence by themselves.” Or he informs you: “It came about randomly, by chance without a maker, falling into place with this ordered perfection.” You would immediately reject it and disbelieve his statement—you would consider his speech to be nonsense and insane.
So, after this, is it allowed for anyone to claim (by way of reason or rationale) that this vast universe with its earth, sky, planets, sun and stars and their states of perfect orbit and motion in an amazingly organised system of order all came about randomly, by chance or accident without an all-knowing, all-powerful, mighty creator and maker?! That is why Allah says to those who propound these false notions: “Nay, but they are sure of nothing!” (At-Tūr 52:36) As for the believers, they are sure and certain, just as Allah has said:
ذَٰلِكَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ ٢
ٱلَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱلْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَـٰهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ ٣
وَٱلَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ وَبِٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ ٤
“This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for the pious, those conscious of Allāh. Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them. Those who believe in what has been revealed to you, O Muḥammad, and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith].” (al-Baqarah 2:2-4)
Let’s use another visual scenario. Imagine 26 six-sided alphabet blocks. Each side is blank except one―which has a letter of the alphabet on it. Each of the 26 blocks has a different letter of the alphabet, A, B, C, D, E, etc. Remember, each block has only one letter on it, and only on one of its six sides. Now, let us put these 26 blocks into a cloth bag and shake it. Next, climb onto a chair, turn the bag upside down and empty it, allowing the blocks to fall onto the floor. Question: What are the chances of all the blocks lining up by themselves in a perfectly straight line, with all the letters coming face-up in alphabetical order? Remember, you only have one chance, because there is no remaking this ‘perfect line-up’ just as the universe had no second chance, it could not go back and ‘have another go’ because ‘things went wrong’ the first time! Even if, for the sake of argument, a person was given many chances to repeat the experiment over and over again, every intelligent and rational person would say, “These blocks are never going to line up, and face upwards in alphabetical order, ever.” And imagine if you only had one chance to make it work! Nevertheless, atheists expect us to believe that the complex building blocks of this universe that [apparently] have no maker and no creator, appeared by themselves. Furthermore, these elements somehow miraculously heated and cooled, compressed and expanded, and clashed against one another randomly, without an ounce of guidance from any maker and controller, resulting in this harmonious, ordered, synchronised and coordinated world [and whatever is within it of amazing land formations, creatures and plants] along with its orbiting moon and sun―and all this fell into place by itself without a Maker?!
Allah, the Most High, asks the people to think properly, using sound reason and their God-given intellect―and if they are sincere, and call upon Him (the Most High) to guide them, they will surely be guided to the realisation and worship of the One true God, and He is Allah the Mighty, the Wise and Majestic. Allah revealed in His Book:
- Qur’ān, Al-Baqarah: 164
إِنَّ فِى خَلْقِ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ وَٱخْتِلَـٰفِ ٱلَّيْلِ وَٱلنَّهَارِ وَٱلْفُلْكِ ٱلَّتِى تَجْرِى فِى ٱلْبَحْرِ بِمَا يَنفَعُ ٱلنَّاسَ وَمَآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مِن مَّآءٍۢ فَأَحْيَا بِهِ ٱلْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا وَبَثَّ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ دَآبَّةٍۢ وَتَصْرِيفِ ٱلرِّيَـٰحِ وَٱلسَّحَابِ ٱلْمُسَخَّرِ بَيْنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ لَـَٔايَـٰتٍۢ لِّقَوْمٍۢ يَعْقِلُونَ ١٦٤
“Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of the night and the day, and the [great] ships which sail through the sea with that which benefits people, and what Allāh has sent down from the heavens of rain, giving life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and dispersing therein every [kind of] moving creature, and [His] directing of the winds and the clouds controlled between the heaven and earth are signs for a people who use reason.”
- Qur’ān, Al-Mā’idah: 58
وَإِذَا نَادَيْتُمْ إِلَى ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ ٱتَّخَذُوهَا هُزُوًا وَلَعِبًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَّا يَعْقِلُونَ ٥٨
“And when you call to prayer, they take it in ridicule and amusement. That is because they are a people who do not use reason.”
- Qur’ān, Ar-Raʿad: 4
وَفِى ٱلْأَرْضِ قِطَعٌ مُّتَجَـٰوِرَٰتٌ وَجَنَّـٰتٌ مِّنْ أَعْنَـٰبٍۢ وَزَرْعٌ وَنَخِيلٌ صِنْوَانٌ وَغَيْرُ صِنْوَانٍۢ يُسْقَىٰ بِمَآءٍۢ وَٰحِدٍۢ وَنُفَضِّلُ بَعْضَهَا عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍۢ فِى ٱلْأُكُلِ ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٰلِكَ لَـَٔايَـٰتٍۢ لِّقَوْمٍۢ يَعْقِلُونَ ٤
“And within the land are neighboring plots and gardens of grapevines and crops and palm trees, [growing] several from a root or otherwise, watered with one water; but We make some of them exceed others in [quality of] fruit. Indeed in that are signs for a people who reason.”
- Qur’ān, An-Nahl: 12
وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ ٱلَّيْلَ وَٱلنَّهَارَ وَٱلشَّمْسَ وَٱلْقَمَرَ ۖ وَٱلنُّجُومُ مُسَخَّرَٰتٌۢ بِأَمْرِهِۦٓ ۗ إِنَّ فِى ذَٰلِكَ لَـَٔايَـٰتٍۢ لِّقَوْمٍۢ يَعْقِلُونَ ١٢
“And He has subjected for you the night and day and the sun and moon, and the stars are all subject to His command. Indeed in that are signs for a people who reason.”
So this is our answer to those atheists and deniers of God―those who are in denial of the existence of the Maker, Creator and God (Allah) who is deserving of devotion, gratitude and worship. In reality, these deniers are displaying arrogance, ingratitude and haughtiness while they know the truth deep down! Therefore, the statement of Allah concerning Pharaoh and his people applies to them: “And they rejected the clear signs and verses, while their inner-selves were convinced thereof, out of injustice and haughtiness.” (An-Naml: 14)
In finishing, we say: All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and may Allah extoll the mention of His Messenger Muhammad in the highest company of angels, may the peace and blessings of our Lord be upon him, his family, his Companions and all who truly follow him until the Day of Resurrection.
Sharh Usool al-Imān, of Ibn ʿUthaimeen.
Noor ʿalad-Darb (4/8) of Ibn ʿUthaimeen.