Sources of knowledge

We are blessed with several sources from which we can acquire knowledge, common to all humanity:

  • Trusted testimony: revelation from our Creator, which tells us our purpose in life and provides the manual for an optimal existence. While the Quran, the original Gospel and Torah all originate from God, the Quran is the only scripture still available in its original language and text, free from any human modification.
  • Innate nature (termed fitrah is Islam), through which we know our Creator and turn to Him in times of trouble.
  • Basic Truths (Innate knowledge), which are the pre-requisites for rational thought and scientific activity: e.g. every previously non-existent effect has a cause, a part is smaller than the whole, the principle of non-contradiction (i.e. something cannot exist and not exist at the same time), etc.
  • Objective source of ethics and morality, through which we know right from wrong.
  • Observation and senses, through which we practice science and perceive God’s wonders on this Earth and in the universe.
  • Proven science.
  • Choice (free will) to decide between options.

Why not use them all to investigate the unknown? Why restrict ourselves to unproven, continuously revised hypotheses—based on limited observations—when the stakes involve the very purpose of our life and our ending?

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By expanding our knowledge base, we might discover that the repeatedly authenticated and verified evidence from the Quran is overwhelmingly stronger than the available scientific evidence. Then we can attain, God willing, a transcendent experience, where the unchanging words of our Creator —the solid foundation of the Quran— becomes the framework to judge the truth of the rapidly evolving and ever-changing science, not the other way around.

No more story-telling posturing as science, and no more subjective biases masquerading as scientific facts.

Paul Feyerabend (1924-1994) was an Austrian-born philosopher of science who worked as a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley for three decades (1958-1989). ( According to him:

“The separation of science and non-science is not only artificial but also detrimental to the advancement of knowledge. If we want to understand nature, if we want to master our physical surroundings, then we must use all ideas, all methods, and not just a small selection of them.” (

If we remove all non-science paradigms, i.e. restrict ourselves to the observed (“scientific”) parts of science; if we remove such things as the assumptions underlying the scientific method, innate human knowledge, deduction, induction, subjectivity in observation (story-telling), testimony (previous research), then we will be left with little or no science or established knowledge.

It seems the main theme of atheism is randomness and lack of purpose. How is that “scientific,” when science itself is built on causality, laws and order?  How can our existence lack an overall purpose when every part of our body and everything in the universe around us is seen to have a specifiable purpose and to operate following a regular pattern?

If anyone turns to atheism because of a few unanswered questions in religion, they will find many more fundamental questions which remain open in atheism, such as questions about life, consciousness, free choice, truth, morality, purpose, free choice, death.

Atheism criticizes all religion —failing to distinguish among its rational/ irrational forms— but offers no alternatives. It lacks explanatory power to refute religion’s existing models about this world.

It is pure reductionism (over-simplification) to consider the human being as a simple transient materialistic phenomenon: a biological robot with electro-chemical brain signals. After the age of seven practically every single material cell in your body has changed and been replaced. Your physical components have been changed, but you’re still you….so the essence of who we are is beyond the physical. We are living proof of the metaphysical.

Even after someone dies and all his physical parts decompose and dissipate, his essence remains in the minds of those who know him.

We are told, these days, to believe only in material things which we can observe. By that yardstick, how do we know the universe actually exists? Physicists say that we can observe only four percent of the universe, yet we know that a vast universe exists because of its effects. We believe in the existence of non-material things —such as energy, gravity, consciousness—because of their effects and their explanatory power to account for the phenomena around us.

Similarly, even though we cannot see God, His effects surround us, and His existence is the only logical comprehensive explanation for the existence of this fine-tuned universe and its live conscious inhabitants.

God is beyond human perception, yet He is the only rational explanation.

The Quran tells us that nobody has seen creation start:

I did not make them witness to the creation of the heavens and the earth or the creation of themselves, and I would not have taken the misguided as assistants. (Quran 18:51)

We humans should stop claiming a monopoly on the truth when it comes to the unknown.

And they have thereof no knowledge. They follow only conjecture, and indeed, conjecture is no substitute for the truth at all. (Quran 53:28)

Here you are – arguing about that of which you have [some] knowledge, but why do you argue about that of which you have no knowledge? And God knows while you know not. (Quran 3:6)

Everything happens by design. For some reason, God placed the information in this series in your path. What you do with it is your choice.

You know the saying: “You get what you expect.”

Do you not see that God has subjected to your benefit all that is in the heavens and Earth, and has lavished on you His evident and hidden favors? (Quran 31:20)

  • We can believe in an eternal universe with a temporary fleeting human appearance, or we can believe this universe is temporary, but that we will continue for eternity.
  • We can choose to believe in a multiverse with trillions of failed universes to justify the extreme fine-tuning, or we can believe in at least two other eternal universes along with this one: Paradise and Hell.
  • We can believe we are here on Earth just to eat, sleep, procreate and die; that we come from nothing and go back to nothing, or we can believe that after death a blissful eternal life awaits us, where all our dreams come true, where we will see justice served, good deeds and patience rewarded and evil punished.

In either case, we may get everything we expect and more.

We are free to believe what we wish —for God tells us there is no coercion in religion.

There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] religion. (Quran 2:256)

From a purely cost-benefit analysis, atheism presents a losing proposition.

Atheism gradually unravels the components of humanity. It removes God (the refuge, the mercy, the forgiveness), purpose (role and mission in life), guidance (the divine manual), common sense (basic truths), acceptance and contentment (trust in God’s plan), the objective source for ethics and morality, free will (responsibility for actions) and hope for justice and happiness in the afterlife.

And what does atheism offer in return?


Atheism promises us that we go back to nothing and provides no rewards or compensation for the loss of our humanity.

This quote from William B. Provine, a Charles A. Alexander Professor of Biological Sciences at Cornell University, describes the dismal state of a Godless existence:

Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically Darwinian views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either. What an unintelligible idea. (

What a bleak prospect!

Why would anyone give up a chance to attain Paradise in return for Hell on Earth?!!

But whoever turns away from My Reminder will certainly have a miserable life, then We will raise them up blind on the Day of Judgment. (Quran 20:124)

Thank you, our Lord, for the blessing of faith!

God, please do not let me

despair of Your mercy

or complain about Your providence

or doubt Your existence

or miss Your clear signs

or become weary of worshipping You

or lose heart in championing You

or question Your wisdom

or hold hope in anyone but You.

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Dr. Raida Jarrar

Dr. Raida Jarrar is a Palestinian American who holds a Doctorate of Engineering from Cleveland State University. Following a career of over twenty-five years in the fields of engineering and aviation IT, she worked as a volunteer at one of the largest Islamic centers in the Middle East, where she interacted with visitors of different religious backgrounds and diverse cultures. The series she writes for Al-Jumuah analyzes and encapsulates her discussions with the atheist visitors, presented in a question and answer format for clarity and ease of reference. The answers are sourced from research, discussions with colleagues and mentors, and personal thoughts. Dr. Jarrar also volunteers as a translator for Islamic content and hosts the Aslamt youtube channel, which is dedicated to answering common questions about faith.

1 Comment

  • Ҳусниддин Насридинов

    July 26, 2023 - 4:53 am

    Assalamu alaykum, Ustad Raida, I am Khusniddin from team Muslim mind Uzbekistan and writing to you for informing that, 1) we as a team apologists have finished the translation of the book named atheism a giant leap of faith into uzbek language. 2) we hope you permit us to publish the translation so that we togrther can deliver the message og islam to our ummah! waiting for your reply.

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