Maulana Wahiduddin Khan (1925-2021) was an Indian Islamic scholar born in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh. He was best known for his commentary on the Quran in the light of science. He was a peace activist and author of several books. It is my pleasure to write a review of his book, ‘IN SEARCH OF GOD’, published by Goodword Books. The book contains six chapters which are diverse in their contents but connected with the main theme. The book answers the questions which a person has regarding the existence of Almighty God. The way the Maulana has answered the doubts with a logical, scientific and Quranic perspective depicts his strength of spirituality and belief.
Firstly, the Maulana talks about the existence of man. Man is not what he physically appears to be, but consists of what he calls I, and this I is not observable. The Maulana explores this theme throughout the book. He says about man that if he is accepting his existence, then logically he is compelled to say, “I exist, therefore, God exists.”
The Maulana now proceeds to the question, DOES GOD EXIST? He describes the belief that people generally have in proving or disproving anything, but this is not the scientific position, he says; we can’t prove or disprove anything but can only arrive at a point of probability rather than of certainty. According to anthropology, which is the study of man, the concept of god is ingrained in human nature. Belief in god runs in our blood and every man and woman is a born believer. And everyone in their life goes through such circumstances where they feel helplessness, and then they feel that there is a supreme being present. The Maulana highlights that increase in knowledge has only increased our ignorance. He says human knowledge had two different phases: the pre-Einstein period and the post-Einstein period. In the pre-Einstein period human knowledge was mainly about the macro or material world, which was observable and measurable and had the logical aspect that real existence should be observable. It created a theory called logical positivism. But later on, the whole situation changed from the study of macro world to the study of unseen waves and particles. This phase helped man be more certain about the existence of God.
The Maulana talks about the Big Bang theory, which he says also supports the existence of god. He says that the creation of universe by an explosion should have been destructive but instead it created the universe where every small tiny particle reached its accurate position, so it helps us understand that there is someone who has supreme authority of designing the world in such a beautiful way and he is none other than God. This miraculous phenomenon is enough to make us believe that the Big Bang explosion was certainly pre-planned under the supervision of a super planner.
The Maulana talks about various characteristics of the universe in which we reside. The harmony in the universe between innumerable stars and planets, in the grains of sand on the coast of seas, all the bodies continuously in motion with rapid speed but no collision between them, these and various other phenomena serve as examples of such harmony. The Maulana speaks about the right proportion of things in the universe. He says that a tree is the best that a tree can be, and so is man, the best possible model of man which is final; no one has ever created a better, modified man. But when we look at man-made things, they always go through modification and have flaws, which shows that the one who created us and the universe is a perfectionist and needs no modification. The distance from sun to earth is such that if the sun moves closer just a few miles, the whole earth will burn and will be destroyed, and if it moves slightly farther, then everything will freeze and will again be destroyed. So this shows there is someone who is a master designer, and that is none except Allah.
Julian Huxley, the well-known British writer, was an atheist and his view was that man doesn’t need god but he alone is sufficient in this world. But his ideas were countered by American scientist Cressy Morrison. Even in present era many people are of the same view as Huxley but when they come under such circumstances in their life when they feel helpless, they start believing that there is someone superior who can help them. A man experiences these things in different ways in his life with the passage of time. All men and women have the feeling that they suffer from limitations. These limitations make them feel helpless. Everyone experience such moments either in loss, accident, death, or old age. The Maulana says that all these helpless moments repeatedly remind us of the fact that we are in need of a superior power. So, these feelings provide us psychological proof of the existence of God. The Maulana says that spirituality awakens the mind. Spirituality is a great strength and the best method for character building, he says.
The Maulana in the last two chapters addresses those people who at some point come to believe in the existence of God. He says that when we accept the reality of existence of God, we have to live a life which is wholly oriented towards God. As the earth revolves around the sun, a man’s life should revolve around the divine book of almighty Allah. Man has been created as the most superior creature and his main responsibility is to adopt the way which has been mentioned in the holy scripture of Allah. Our worldly affairs should revolve around Allah so that we can prosper in our life. The God-oriented life begins when we start remembering God; it is then we begin to feel his presence, and whatever we do and wherever we are remind us of the presence of God. Just as rain replenishes crops, so does man grow in the remembrance of God. The Maulana says that God is the spiritual focus of man. One whose heart is attached to God undergoes spiritual experiences at every moment. We should have the fear of hereafter as we have to stand in front of Almighty Allah who knows each and every deed we did, so this sense of fear and love of Allah will make a man a true believer in God. When there will always be the threat of being punished by Allah, our deeds will be on the right path in which Allah and his Prophet have guided us.
This book really clears the doubts which a person might face during his life in the modern world. The Quran is the ultimate divine book which shows the righteous path to lead our lives. We should be more focused on Quran and Sunnah and should not get stuck at any point on ideological clashes. This book is really a masterpiece by the author. May almighty Allah reward his soul and may He show us all the righteous path. Aameen.
The writer hails from Achan Pulwama and is studying for a Bachelor’s Honours degree in Political Science at Aligarh Muslim University