Friday, 2 March 2012

Agnosticism & Islam

Agnosticism is about Knowledge, and knowledge is a related but separate issue from Belief, the domain of theism and atheism. A means without and gnosis means Knowledge. Hence Agnostic means without knowledge, but specifically without knowledge of metaphysical entities like God, the Angels and the Hereafter.

Islam on the other hand is a belief and a branch of theism which talks about monotheism. To be a Muslim one must:  
A). Believe & declare publicly that
1). There is no god except God (Allah) (The belief in Allah incorporates a belief in Angels, His Messengers, His revealed Books, the Day of Judgment, the hereafter and Fate).
2). Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is God's Messenger.   

B). Believe the obligation of Faraayez 

1). Praying five times a day; 2). Fasting in the month of Ramazan; 3). Paying yearly Zakat to the poor; 4). Performing Hajj if possible.

It is very evident that a direct knowledge about the presence of Allah, Angels, the Hereafter and the Day of Judgment cannot be attained by man. Up to this point an Agnostic is right in saying that he is 'without knowledge'. This is exactly the reason why Prophets and Messengers were sent for guiding mankind and people were asked to follow them. Quran makes a belief in the unknown/unseen (Imaan bil Ghaib) mandatory to get guidance from the Book. Thus in a way it supports the point that using his own intellect alone, man cannot have a knowledge about God and the Hereafter.

Thus having an opinion that 'it is impossible for man to get a direct knowledge about God and the Hereafter' would be acceptable so long one still believes in the requirements for being a Muslim.

On the contrary if one alters his belief on the basis of this obvious lack of knowledge and refuses to believe the existence of any metaphysical entities unless a direct knowledge about them is attained then he would obviously not remain a believer. 


There can be another category of Agnostics who neither refuse nor accept the metaphysical pre requisites of Islam and these people can be placed somewhere in the middle. Like it is beautifully mentioned in Qura'n while describing some indecisive people: "(They are) distracted in mind even in the midst of it,- being (sincerely) for neither one group nor for another whom Allah leaves straying,- never wilt thou find for him the way."

3 comments:

  1. The whole time I was reading this very fascinating post, I was waiting to find something like "On the contrary if one alters his belief on the basis of this obvious lack of knowledge and refuses to believe the existence of any metaphysical entities unless a direct knowledge about them is attained then he would obviously not remain a believer." And then I saw it and I went, "Okay, good" -- because one can argue that agnosticism, being, as you said, an admittance of a lack of knowledge, cannot possibly be compatible with Islam ever because it claims to lack knowledge about God when Islam insists that it has provided us with a pretty good knowledge about God, at least of God's existence and power. But the agnostic would in turn argue that "being told" something is the case is not knowledge necessarily, which begs the questions of what knowledge is, how it's attained, how it's shared.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @qrratugai: Thanks for appreciating and taking your time out to write these words on the post.

    Islam asks us to believe in God and other metaphysical entities unseen and then get guidance from Quran and the Prophetic wisdom. Its whole ideology is based on TRUST instead of TEST! While asking his own people Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) didn't ask them to test his views with logic and reason. Instead he appealed to their trust and asked them if they had trust in him and they said that they did trust him. After ensuring their trust he invited them to Islam. Similarly at the very outset Quran regards a belief in the unseen a prerequisite for getting guidance from this divine book.

    Quran does invite us to to correlate knowledge from the world around us to support our belief in the unseen and also supports attaining knowledge for the improvement of physical life.

    Conclusion: Belief and Love both are based on Trust instead of Test!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Assalam-O-Alaikum
    Allah has made it obligatory for all the Muslims to perform Hajj at-least once in their lifetime. As mentioned by Allah in the holy Quran “And pilgrimage to the House is a duty unto Allah for mankind, for him who can find a way thither” (Aal Imran 3:97).
    if you are from Muslim Community of UK and want to make your journey comfort towards MAKKAH for Umrah or Hajj then choose our
    Cheap Hajj & Umrah Packages 2017.

    ReplyDelete