Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth Belief in the Unseen
Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth
by Mirza Tahir Ahmad
Belief in the Unseen
… it is a guidance for the righteous,
Who believe in the unseen…1
TO BELIEVE IN THE ‘UNSEEN’ is a fundamental constituent of the Muslim faith as mentioned in the verse quoted above. But as has been well demonstrated in the previous chapter, the Quran is a book of reason and rationality which roundly condemns coercion or threat in any form to change human ideas. Thus to interpret this verse to indicate that it promotes blind faith by requiring man to believe in the ‘unseen’ would stand counter to this Quranic emphasis. Quite to the contrary, to believe in the spurious without evidence and solid justification is what the Quran attributes to the non-believers. It further condemns them for attempting to change the views of the believers by sheer brutality. What then, does the phrase ‘Belief in the Unseen’ mean? This is the important question which needs to be fully addressed.
One must make an in-depth study of this phrase as a specific term coined by the Quran. The failure to grasp its true meaning may result in serious consequences as happened in the medieval ages during the scholastic debates between different Muslim schools of thought. Some rigid and uncompromising Muslim scholars disallow the use of rationality altogether in matters of faith. They state that the revealed truth by itself is all-sufficient and as such it should be accepted without any rational investigation. Others who oppose this view quote many Quranic verses requiring everyone to abide invariably by the dictates of reason at every stage of decision making and give priority to rationality over blind faith.
But what is faith? How can one have faith without satisfying one’s sense of inquiry? Is it not a reality that the majority of common people belonging to all religions believe without actually comprehending the meaning of their belief? They just happen to believe and that is all there is to it.
This is the dilemma which necessarily requires one to address the issue of faith versus reason, and the need to determine the nature of their interrelationship becomes all the more important. As this question is sufficiently covered in the chapter entitled European Philosophy, we shall endeavour not to unnecessarily repeat what has already been covered therein. What is left therefore is to acquire a more elaborate understanding of the term ‘unseen’.
To begin with, let us point out that the lack of knowledge about things does not necessarily mean that they do not exist. They may exist, but lie hidden behind the veil of the unknown. Later, either through the course of human investigation or through the agency of Divine revelation, they emerge from the realm of the unseen to that of the seen.
The term ‘unseen’ in its wider application is employed to cover everything which is not directly visible or audible. Likewise it also covers all that is not directly accessible through other human sensory faculties. In this respect we may also define the unseen as a domain which covers all forms of existence which lie beyond the direct access of the five senses. The things which belong to this category do not remain permanently inaccessible. They are inaccessible only with reference to a given period in time.
All hidden knowledge of perceivable things, whether it pertains to the past, the present or the future, lies within the scope of this category. In other words, we are required to believe in the existence of things which are not known at a given point in time, but do exist and may become known at another point in time. This belief cannot be dubbed as blind faith. The Quran does not require the believers to have faith in anything which is not supported by irrefutable arguments. Hence the unseen covers only such things as may become accessible through the instruments of reason, rationality and deductive logic. The point to be noted here is that the unseen as defined, though not directly perceivable by the senses, is yet verifiable. The rationale of this Quranic injunction is fully supported by human experience.
OF THE MATERIAL FORMS of existence, there are many categories which defy direct examination. The knowledge of their existence and that of their physical properties can only be gained through logical deduction, or with the help of sophisticated electronic devices, which make them accessible to the senses, indirectly. What are neutrinos and anti-neutrinos? What is matter and antimatter? What are bosons and anti-bosons? The answer to these questions cannot be obtained through any direct means of examination, yet their unseen world has become a universally accepted reality. It should be remembered here that the mind is the ultimate entity of life, which receives and computes all messages transmitted to it by the senses through the computer of the human brain. Mind is not just another name for the brain. It transcends the brain and manipulates its operation.
The mind is the ultimate seat of consciousness. Deductive logic is the most amazing faculty of mind. Even when there are no facts fed to it, it may continue to operate with hypothetical data. It can also operate by ruminating over the previously stored data. All decision making is done at the level of the mind, while the brain is merely a material hardware, a storehouse of memory. Moreover, the mind has the power to contemplate upon metaphysical and conceptual issues like infinity and eternity. It endeavours to resolve the enigma of a seemingly endless chain of cause and effect. Where did a certain thing begin and what lies beyond every beginning? Was there a first cause preceding all other causes? If so, was that first cause living and conscious, or was it dead and mindless? The only rational conclusion the mind can draw is that the first cause could not be unconscious and dead.
Again the question as to whether death can create life, and unconsciousness give birth to consciousness, is a subject fit only to be explored by the mind and not by the mere brain mass itself. Thus, sometimes the mind learns to believe in the unseen entirely through hypothetical exercises, while at other times it examines and sifts material data and draws logical conclusions from them. It can visualize all forms of radiation which coexist with us, but man can learn of their presence neither through sight, hearing, taste or smell nor through the sense of touch. They can be seen and heard of course by means of radio and television, but only when they are transformed into visible and audible pulses. Even then it is only the faculty of mind which is responsible in the final analysis for decoding these electrical vibrations into sounds and pictures and lifelike phenomena. The images which the mind creates are not merely those seen by the eye on the flat surface of television. There is more to them than meets the eye. Many an unseen meaning is added to the visible scene by the mind, before it is finally developed into a meaningful concept.
But the hidden knowledge within the realm of the unseen is also accessible through revelation in addition to the instruments just discussed. Thus the faculty of mind which is the final recipient of all impressions can be fed both through the sensory organs and the phenomenon of revelation. Both can work independently or jointly, one helping the other. For instance, revelation can help provide a better understanding of things which are observed through sensory organs by illuminating the human faculties to a much higher and more refined order of perception. It helps the mind decipher the message of sensory organs with such clarity and precision as could not have been possible otherwise. The sensory organs in their turn also help the recipient of revelation to understand its message better, with the help of the data stored in its memory banks, without reference to which no meaningful perception is possible anyway. However, for man to reach beyond his physical limitations even without any direct help from revelation, is neither impossible nor rare. But the faculty of mind has its own limitations too. The domain of God’s knowledge transcends time and space but that of human knowledge cannot. Hence all such knowledge as lies beyond the reach of human faculties can only be obtained by means of Divine revelation bestowed upon whomsoever He desires. Thus the Quran states:
… He does not grant ascendancy to anyone over His domain of the unseen,
Except to him whom He selects as His messenger…2
It should be clearly understood that the second verse does not rule out the possibility of non-prophets witnessing the unseen through Divine dreams, visions or even verbal revelations. What is denied is the possibility of people, other than the messengers of God, gaining ascendancy over any area of God’s knowledge. What is asserted is the fact that the knowledge granted to the non-messengers, even through revelation, can in no way be matched in clarity, certainty and perfection with that bestowed upon the messengers of God.
Again, this exclusiveness of transcendent knowledge granted to the prophets relates largely to the field of spiritual knowledge and to the knowledge about life after death. There are many areas of mundane knowledge however, which are also covered by some Divine revelations, but this is done only incidentally to strengthen the faith of the believers in the truth of the prophets and in the existence of an All-Knowledgeable God. In all areas of secular research, man is generally left free to investigate into the realm of the unknown without being directly aided by Divine revelation. What the Quran categorically rejects is the human potential to completely encompass even a small portion of God’s knowledge without His aid and permission:
… and they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He pleases…3
THE MESSAGE is obvious that humans can have access to the realm of the unknown, but only to the extent that He allows. This also implies that the so-called secular research and exploration is not entirely secular after all. Every era, which opens up a new vista of knowledge, is in accordance with the Divine plan and design. This interpretation is further supported by the verse:
We possess inexhaustible treasures of everything, but We do not cause them to descend except in well-defined and calculated measure.4
The most wonderful message delivered by the verse just quoted is that the world of the unknown is boundless and fathomless, yet man will always be permitted access to it, but in measured portions which will be estimated by God in accordance with the requirements and dictates of the time. Thus, the Quranic terms of ‘the unknown’ and ‘the unseen’ do not in any way encourage blind faith and ignorance. On the contrary, they promote perpetual investigation by assuring man that what he knows and observes as reality is but infinitesimally small in proportion to what he knows not. Hence man’s quest for knowledge must always continue because the ocean of the secrets of nature is inexhaustible.
For rational decision making the only tools at the disposal of human intellect are its subjective and objective impressions. Hence, even if the integrity of the decision maker is beyond question, his decisions could still be wrong because of such factors as are not within his control. Misinformation, misunderstanding, deception and inadequacy of mental faculties can adversely influence the quality of his decision making. Again, as the vantage points of different observers are most often diverse, so also the nature of their observations vary. Despite these inherent flaws and possible margins of error, it cannot be denied that the human faculty of rationality has been largely responsible for guiding his steps, age after age, from eras of darkness to eras of comparative light.
Can it be proved with certainty that the Holy Quran is true in its claim that God reveals some aspects of the unseen to those whom He chooses? Can it be shown to the sceptic that the faith in the unseen is not merely an illusion or wishful thinking, but is founded on reality and can be rationally demonstrated? Answers to these questions have to be fully supported by factual and scientific evidence. This exactly is the purpose of this treatise and the reader will find ample proof of the validity of revelation as a dependable means of the transfer of knowledge in the following chapters.
In accordance with the message delivered in Surah Al-Hijr verse 22 (Chapter 15), man’s horizon is forever expanding; the unknown is forever being transferred into the known. This realization creates an unquenchable thirst for the quest of knowledge. It is a message of hope and pride, as well as a lesson in humility.
The message of humility relates to the ever-growing awareness of man of his knowledge being so small by comparison to what he does not know, as though it were a mere dot or less than that on the endlessly vast canvas of eternity. What we know today is perhaps a billion times more than what we knew a thousand years ago. What we shall know a thousand years from now, may well be a billion times greater than what we know today. Yet even that would be insignificantly small when compared to the limitless unseen treasure-house of God’s knowledge.
As the voyage of discovery accelerates its pace, the limitations of the five senses become more apparent. Vast spectra of life and sound exist beyond the reach of our normal perception. If we could improve our ability to perceive them, we would see many new colours and hear many new sounds. Again the colours and shapes of things we see are viewed very differently by some other animals. The vision of the material world, the perception of colour, smell and taste, differ so much from species to species that every reality turns into a relative reality. This does not, however, result in functional failure in the vast animal kingdom. Perceptional differences promote life and its functions at all levels, rather than impede them. The different visual perceptions of vultures, honey-bees and squids are perfectly suited to their respective requirements. Squids and insects see things in different configurations as compared to humans, because it is essential for their survival to perceive them as either much bigger or much smaller than they actually are. So the faculty of perception varies from species to species. But the human eye does not remain confined within its potentials. Aided by the most advanced electronic devices, man’s perception has advanced by astronomical proportions.
WHEN Galileo (c.1600 AD), saw the universe with his elementary telescope, he was so impressed with his discovery that he proudly announced that he had increased the horizon of human vision by a hundredfold. Little did he know that not far from his time, a day would dawn when man would perceive the universe enlarged a hundred thousand, nay a hundred million times greater and vaster than what he observed. He could compare his discoveries and inventions only in relation to the past from his vantage point. But how transitory man’s exultations over his achievements so often prove.
The tragedy of Galileo’s last days, which ended in total blindness, is a sad illustration to prove the point. In one of his letters written to a close friend he laments the fact that he, the inventor of the first telescope, who had ‘broadened the horizon of the universe’ as he thought ‘a hundredfold’, was himself reduced to the mere confines of his own body.
This lay heavy on his heart and embittered his life unbearably. This poignant expression of frustration by Galileo leads us to another aspect of the unseen. If Galileo had not been familiar with the faculty of sight prior to his blindness, it would have been impossible for him to visualize what lay beyond the earth he trod. Nor could he have ever distinguished between light and darkness. The best he could do was to have faith in what he heard of the reality of light, but that too only in an obscure indescribable way. Although, in matters of colours and light he could not have ascertained by any direct measure the truth of his faith, yet it could not have been dismissed as unreal, merely for the reason of it being hearsay. The illustration we have given above is only applicable to a specific context. We are visualizing the dilemma of a blind man surrounded by those who are gifted with the faculty of sight. He has at least something to go upon, on which to build his faith. But visualize a society of men who are all blind. Could they also have faith in the existence of light and the faculty of sight? Most certainly not. It takes a seeing man to try to help the blind to perceive the existence of things which lie beyond the reach of their senses. It is here that the supremacy of revelation over the secular quest of knowledge can be demonstrated effectively.
Man with his limited number of senses, however wise and enlightened he may be, cannot overstep the boundaries of his senses. Yet the possibility of there being more senses cannot be ruled out. It is God alone who can inform man about the realities which lie beyond his scope.
HE NATURE OF the Hereafter which the Holy Quran attempts to portray belongs to just that area of the unknowable which has been referred to. With reference to it, the Quran has coined a charming phrase expressing the hopelessness of the situation. After mentioning such subjects as are in reality incomprehensible for man, it ends with this expression of exasperation: whatever can make you (O man), understand what it really is? Following are a few more illustrations of the same:
And what should make thee know what the Day of Judgement is!
Again, what should make thee know what the Day of Judgement is!5
What is the Inevitable?
And what should make thee know what the Inevitable is?6
Him shall I cast into the Hellfire.
But what can make thee understand O man, what the Hellfire is?7
In fact the problem does not relate as much to God’s inability as it does to the limitation of human senses. Naturally anyone who is deficient in one or two of the five senses can by no means grasp the true nature of anything which pertains to the missing senses. The deaf cannot grasp the idea of sound and the blind cannot visualize what sight is. Yet others who can hear and see do make attempts to help them grope for the idea which for them is ever elusive. Likewise when the Quran speaks of the hereafter and warns man that he cannot truly understand the nature of what is being described, it is the inadequacy of man and not that of God which is being highlighted. The implication is loud and clear. There have to be some new senses added in the hereafter to the senses we possess here on earth. All our present knowledge of the hereafter, therefore, is at best a shadowy vision of some unknown realities like that of a blind man who has some concept at least of what colour and light may have been. What can really make you understand (O man) what it really is?
The broadening of our senses, whenever it will take place, will perhaps completely transform beyond recognition the perception of what we seemed to have already experienced here on earth. We think we know what love is and we think we are familiar with suffering but what love would be in the hereafter and what suffering would be, one shudders to visualize. No wonder that the Quran reminds us that despite the vivid picture of heaven it portrays, no eye has ever seen and no ear has ever heard the like of it. So also, despite clearly describing the chastisement of hell, it hastens to warn ‘but what can make thee understand O man, what the Hellfire is?’ The more one ponders over the meaning of the unseen, the more avenues of undreamt of possibilities begin to loom before one’s vision. But to grasp what lies beyond in the unexplored avenues of hidden realities, man shall always stand in need of Divine revelation. The limitation of our perception, however, is not the only hindrance which impedes our enquiry. Even within the domain of our senses what lies hidden from us is far more than what we see. Whatever the belief in the unseen is, it is certainly not a belief in nothingness. A belief in nothingness is only a rejection of the belief in the unseen.
The journey of the believers is enlightened with the wisdom of this verse which leads them on to an endless voyage of discovery. For them there is no void, no emptiness, but just curtains waiting to be lifted from the limitless treasure-houses of knowledge.
However much pride we may take in the small knowledge we possess, by comparison it is as insignificant as a molehill by the side of a vast lofty mountain range. But the mountain ranges we know here on earth are not endless and infinite. The mountain ranges of knowledge that we are talking about extend into the limitless expanse of eternity with no beginning and no end.
There is no element of discouragement for the explorers in this declaration. It implies that whatever knowledge man gains, seemingly through his personal effort alone, is in reality made possible because of Divine will and blessing. Independent of the will and pleasure of God, human enquiry and labour could bear no fruit. The human quest for knowledge is only rewarded in appropriate measure at appropriate times in accordance with the Divine plan of creation. Although the achievement of knowledge by man in the area of secular research is not directly through the instrument of Divine revelation, it nonetheless carries the mark of His approval and design. The faculties of the five senses bestowed upon him and the opportunity granted to him to employ them to his best advantage are but by the grace of God to enable him to acquire knowledge.
IT IS THE ALL-POWERFUL CREATOR who has pressed into man’s service all the known or latent properties of the Universe. It is God again Who foresaw all the possible requirements man could ever need during all the ages of his spiritual, material, scientific, economic and cultural advancement:
And He has pressed into your service whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth, all of it entirely. In that there are Signs surely for a people who reflect.8
A more wonderful gesture of encouragement for limitless exploration could not be conceived. It is underwritten that everything that man would discover would be of service to him. But that is not all. The following verse speaks not only of the visible heavens and earth but also of that something which fills the space between the two—the heavens and the earth—to be of benefit to man. The Quran made this amazing disclosure as early as fourteen hundred years ago. The message is clear that the apparent void in the interstellar space is in reality filled with some form of existence of which man has no knowledge:
We have created the heavens and the earth, and whatever lies between the two, according to the requirements of truth and wisdom…9
What is it that exists between the two and how can that be pressed into the service of man, are questions as yet unanswered. The Quran is speaking of such vastness as lies beyond the grasp of human imagination. Perhaps it is the dark matter which is being referred to, or something of which we have no knowledge so far. This spectacular disclosure by the Quran implies, that one day man will be able to share and utilize some of the secrets to which this verse refers.
The circumference of the earth is merely twenty-five thousand miles, but the vastness of which the Holy Quran is speaking stretches some eighteen or twenty billion light years across from end to end and continues to expand further at an amazing speed. This means that if a space traveller begins his journey today from one edge of the universe to the other at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), he could possibly reach the other edge after travelling for eighteen to twenty billion years, provided that the universe were stationary—which it is not. Now one may try to grasp the meaning of the Holy Quran, when it declares that in all the vastness of space there is not a single bubble of emptiness, not an inch, not a millimetre, not a nanometre or the tiniest of tiny dots.
The verse under review has also another important significance worthy of note. Even without the employment of natural means of enquiry, God the All-Knowing can reveal some of His secrets to whomsoever He pleases. Hence any mention in the Divine scripture of the mysteries of nature, before they are discovered by scientific exploration, presents a powerful evidence in favour of the existence of an All-Knowing Supreme Creator of the Universe. It is He alone, Who possesses the full knowledge of the realms of the seen and the unseen ().
The knowledge gained through revelation is quite a different story from that of the knowledge gained through secular scientific investigation. The Divine scriptures are not textbooks of science, hence any reference therein to scientific subjects could not be merely incidental. The main purpose is to establish the unity of source; to prove that the material world and the spiritual world are both the work of the same Creator. Remember that the Foundersa of Islam, the recipient of the Holy Quran, was an unlettered person, born in an unlettered society. His birth and upbringing took place in a land flanked on its eastern and western frontiers by two great civilizations of that time, the Roman and Persian empires.
The desert of Arabia lay trapped in the middle as a wasteland of darkness and ignorance. Would it not be extraordinary for a person born there in AD 600, to so vividly talk of the vastness of the universe and the secrets it contains, secrets which are only now beginning to emerge like the twinkling of dimly lit stars seen through the hazy light of dusk. It is incredible for such a person to speak of things unknown to the greatest scholars of his time anywhere in the world, and yet be proved right under the scrutiny of the scientific examination of the twentieth century. How right he must have been when he declared that whatever knowledge he transmitted to the world was not of his own making, but came from a Supreme, All-Knowing Eternal source of Absolute Wisdom!
Impressed by the same, Dr. Maurice Bucaille, a reputable French author, expresses his wonder at some length in his book, The Bible, The Qur’an And Science.10 He gathered material from the Bible and the Quran and subjected both to an impartial scrutiny by comparing them with universally accepted contemporary scientific knowledge. To discover the Quran to be right every time is the last thing he expected his enquiry to reveal. The full report of his investigation was published in the first French edition in 1976. Nothing that the Quran had observed was found to be at variance with the scientific knowledge of the twentieth century.
Here it would be appropriate to also mention the name of a renowned Canadian Professor of anatomy, Keith L. Moore, Chairman of the Department of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, who has critically examined the question of the Holy Quran and embryology.11,12 In addition to the Quran, he also quotes some relevant traditions of the Holy Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Encouraged by his research he testifies to the truth of Quranic revelation with amazing boldness and clarity.
How far we can trust the conclusions drawn from such comparisons between scriptural observations and known scientific facts, is the question which must be addressed here. Time continues to refine the conceptual faculties of man, forever widening the horizon of his awareness. Hence man’s understanding of things is subject to constant change. How then can one rely on the verdict of any given scientific era and accept it as final? Take for instance the case of the natural laws which are unanimously accepted as universal and unchanging. Yet it cannot be said that they were understood alike by the philosophers and scientists of all ages. In view of this, will not the scientific testimony of the contemporary age in favour of Quranic revelation lose some of its dependability? Can one rely with absolute certainty on the finality of this verdict? Will it not be justified to suggest that the universally accepted concepts of today may be put to question by the advanced intellectual enlightenment of tomorrow?
To raise such questions is justified indeed but only partially so. All the concepts of the past have not necessarily changed in subsequent ages. There are countless cases of human understanding of things which, after undergoing some change for a period of time, became stabilized ultimately. There is many a law of nature which having been once accepted as universal truth, always remained so without further debate. There may occur some minor adjustments but in general their understanding remains unaltered. No intricate philosophical or scientific discussion is required any more to prove their validity. At the elementary level of water, fire, air and earth, their properties are better understood with the passage of time of course, but no change has ever occurred in the understanding of their fundamental nature. Fire still burns as it always did, water still extinguishes as it has done in the past. They have become fundamental truths belonging to all times, hence no one in his senses can ever predict that water will one day begin to burn and will feed the flames of fire. Yet in the domain of Divine prophecies some predictions are made which are no less startling by virtue of their being so different from the well-established human knowledge. For instance, in the past ages it would take only a prophet to make a prediction so bizarre as to prophesy that a day would dawn when water would also be observed to burn in addition to its extinguishing properties. That would be some prophecy indeed! If later on the existence and the properties of sodium are discovered to exactly correspond to the prophecy, no one has a right to dismiss such a prophecy as a soothsayer’s vain babble. Once discovered, however, this unusual behaviour of sodium will be counted among the unchangeable universal laws. No one can suspect that a day may dawn when water would cease to ignite sodium. Yet if man looks around with awareness he will be amazed to find how much of his knowledge has already come to stay as unchangeable realities.
The same is true of human sensory perceptions. Their scope may widen but their recognition of the sweet, the bitter, the savoury, the unsavoury, heat and cold, noise and silence, comfort and discomfort, pain and pleasure and a myriad of other similar sensory stimulators will not undergo any change. Stability of concepts such as these can be classified as the primary stage of certainty. A comparatively higher stage of certainty belongs to the area of scientific enquiry. There too, we can find examples of complete agreement among scientists on many a concept which has come to stay and as such is accepted as universal. For instance, about the chemical composition of water there are no two opinions. One cannot suggest that with the passage of time its formula will change and a new formula may be discovered to replace it, such as H3O5 instead of H2O.
Evidently there are limitations to the possibilities of change in the human understanding of things. The main body of scientific knowledge, once established and stabilized, remains essentially the same except for some fine modifications in the fringe area. How atoms are bonded to atoms and molecules to molecules, which bonds are weak and which are stronger, and how to utilize this knowledge to synthesize new chemicals, are matters which are well-understood. The continuous flow of new information does not alter their established patterns of behaviour. The knowledge of man in this area of research grows without challenging the universally accepted fundamentals. It becomes evident from this that the truth of any scriptural observation can indeed be verified to a large measure of certainty when compared with such secular knowledge as has stood the test of time, age after age.
Again, there are things which become certainties, not because they have been tested over a long period of time, but because their truth is universally demonstrable. All new ideas and discoveries pertaining to natural laws and behaviour of matter fall into this category when proved through experimentation in different laboratories of the world. It is to such established truths that we refer when we testify the truths of spiritual claims by applying them to the touchstone of scientific discoveries.
Subject to this explanation, Quranic revelations have always been proved right; and once proved right they have never been proved wrong. This role of the Quranic revelation, with regard to the transfer of knowledge from the realm of the unseen to the seen, is remarkable and will be further elaborated under various categories in the following chapters.
FOR THE PRESENT, we return to the general discussion concerning the phenomenon of the broadening of human knowledge, and the stages through which a new idea passes before reaching the stage of absolute truth. When a new idea emerges from the realm of the unseen, it is always put to the test of rational scrutiny or experimental trial whenever possible. Having survived this scrutiny, age after age, it can be categorized as absolute truth.
This is a universal phenomenon which continues to work uninterrupted in every area of human experience. We are not talking here of theses and antitheses, the two philosophical terms employed by Kant to such great ideas as are of global importance; we are talking of an ongoing, all-comprehensive phenomenon which relates to human experiences, impressions and perceptions of everyday life. It is a comprehensive continuous process like evolution. Layer upon layer of such well testified, established facts continue to raise the level of dependable human knowledge and widen the human grasp of surrounding realities. It is this all-pervasive phenomenon which continues to convert doubts into plausibilities, plausibilities into probabilities, and probabilities into certainties and established facts. If the truth of Divine revelation is objectively testified by such reliable human knowledge, there is no justification for subjecting it to further doubt.
The unseen belongs to all ages—the past, the present and the future alike. The Quran does not keep itself confined to any one of these in disclosing its secrets. It covers all ages with equal clarity, as though no dividing line separates the past from the present and the present from the future. Events as ancient as the birth of the universe are resurrected before human vision, as though they were contemporary events. And things as distant as the sinking of the universe into yet another black hole, are described as though they were taking place while the Quran was revealed.
With the same exactitude and precision, the secrets of the creation of life and its ultimate destiny are revealed. The Quran recounts the history of man and records the stage by stage journey of human progress and achievements from the beginning to the end. It does so with such perfect clarity and dexterity, as though the pen that wrote the Quran was held in the hand of the Beholder who wrote what He saw etched across the vast canvas of eternity. This is what the import of our book is all about.
But before we proceed further to demonstrate how Quranic truth is testified by the post-Quranic era of scientific, social and political advancement of man, we should like to draw the attention of the reader to the important fact that the validity of Divine revelation does not essentially depend on subjective secular evidence alone. Among all the Divinely revealed facts there is a category which stands out above all others styled as Al-Bayyinah. To this we shall turn our attention in the following chapter.