SHAFAQNA -Â A well-known atheist and somewhat of a pioneer in todayâ€™s Western rising secularist movement, Richard Dawkins has become, unwittingly or not, a prominent figure of â€œwestern modern societyâ€- Â which society has come to challenge the very concept of God and argue that religious is as irrelevant as faith.
On Twitter, his attacks on religion are blistering and relentless. Sample tweet: â€œIâ€™m not â€˜intolerantâ€™ of your belief in a virgin birth. Please be tolerant of my right to tolerate your belief but call it stupid.â€
Dawkins has in many ways declared war on religions and many might argue against God Himself, as he theorizes that God does not exist. Needless to say that what Dawkins proposes has angered men and women of faith the world over – whether Muslims, Jews or Christians, as what he offers instead of God qualifies as apostasy.
Shafaqna asked Mr Dawkins to elaborate on his beliefs and his position towards Islam – the fastest growing religion in the world.
Born in the desert of Arabia some 14 centuries, Islam has risen a religious empire over the hearts of men, attracting to its banners hundreds upon hundreds of thousands â€¦ if not for its truth what then led so many to pledge their heart and soul to its laws?
Mr Dawkins of course believes that Muslims, like the people of the Book are simply misguided. In the following interview Mr Dawkins holds no punches â€¦ Shafaqna did not either since Islam, no matter what Mr Dawkins might think will forever remain the only truth Muslims will accept as true since it emanated from God, through his last prophet.
SHAFAQNA – Mr Dawkins thank you for agreeing to this interview. Let me begin by saying that we most certainly sits on opposite side of the board and we most evidently disagree strongly on everything which pertains to the religious.
Now, why have you called on Society to get rid of religion â€¦ all religions. Do you really believe that by driving God out of peopleâ€™s life, society will be better? Are you trying to deny Godâ€™s existence?
RICHARD DAWKINS – Religions have become redundant. Why do men need religions for when men have sciences to explain everything there is and everything there will be. Religions have led men to fight wars and led to barbaric abuses.
I personally believe people would me much better off without God in their lives â€¦ they can be educated into realizing the truth.
Faith is the lack of evidence, and it shouldnâ€™t be that difficult to convince people that the right reason to believe something is that there is evidence for it. People do not innately go for this view, but nevertheless it is not that difficult to teach.
SHAFAQNA – So you are saying that the Truth can only be found in Sciences as opposed to Faith?
RICHARD DAWKINS – Yes
SHAFAQNA – And why would you assume that God cannot be found in the study of Sciences? Isnâ€™t it true for example that the birth of our Universe as explained by men of sciences came to existence through the Big Bang? That from one single entity, one point of extreme density everything which constitutes the Universe came to be when before there was nothing? From the nothing came everything in one moment of creation. God spoke the Word and the world, the universe and everything within it came to be.
From where Iâ€™m standing youâ€™re denial of God sounds like a form of dangerous radicalism as you are denying people the right to aspire for salvation and spiritual guidance.
Religions have not generated wars by the way â€¦ men have done that on their own.
Another thing: what makes your Truth better than mine?
RICHARD DAWKINS – Religion is belief without evidence. Can you prove God?
SHAFAQNA – Yes actually â€¦ our Imam, thatâ€™s Imam Ali (AS) the son-in-law, cousin and appointed Leader of the Believers – Â once said to a company of Jews asking proof of God: â€œO Assembly of Jews , listen to me. Do not be concerned about asking anyone but me in this affair.
My Lord â€“ Mighty and Majestic â€“ He is the First, without beginning. He is neither intermingled with His Creation. Nor is He in a state in between that He is not a ghost or spirit that is remote. He is not remote where He does not know His Creation.He did not appear at some point where it could be said He is created. No, Majestic is He that He be described in this way when He has given all things their shape. He has always been and does not change through time. He was â€“ when there was no thing â€“ without time or place. And He is now as He ever was! He is not distracted by different affairs. How can He be described as are ghosts and how can He be truly praised by people? How can this be when He is not within things so as to be called separate? He is without likeness and how yet He is closer to you than your jugular vein! He is as far as can be from any likeness with the creation. The slightest thing from His Creation is not hidden from Him. Whether it is the slightest statement off the tongue, the hidden action or the single footstep.
In the great shadows of the night, the shining of the moon, the brightness of the sun, nothing is hidden from Him when He is the source of light for all things. He surrounds all in His Creation, whether it is the sudden onset of night or the sudden brightness of the day without His being encompassed by the creation. He knows about every place and all of what is and will be. And also the end of all things that are to come. Time and ending is something that has been given to the creation. Limits are only attributed to created things and not Him. He did not create the things from the foundations of eternity where they always existed. Nor did He create from existing things already present. No! Rather He created what He made and established itsâ€™ creation from nothing. He gave shape and good form to everything. He is One and Unique in His Oneness.
There is nothing the creation can do that can harm Him and there is no way the creation can benefit Him. He is quick to answer the supplications of those that call upon Him. Yes, indeed the angels in the skies and earths obey Him. His knowledge of all that has died or ceased is just as full as His knowledge of all things living and what is in the highest skies. The same holds true for His knowledge in every thing and all the voices and languages do not confuse or baffle Him. He hears all the different Â voices and languages without limbs or organs. Indeed He is the Designer and the All Seeing, The Knower of all affairs, All Living, Self Sufficient. Glorified be He, He spoke to Musa directly without the need of limbs and instruments, lips or throat. Glorified and Exalted is He from having a similarity like the creations.
Whoever claims that Our God has boundaries, then He does not know the Creator that is worshipped. The same is said of the one who says that the places encompass Him. This claim means that He is mingled with and contained by the creation! No, He surrounds and encompasses every place.
The one that claims He is surrounded by His Creation when he describes the Most Merciful while He has no revelation or text to prove this, I have this question for him:
Describe for me (angel) Jibril, Mikaâ€™il, Israfil! Go ahead! I defy you to do so!
Are you then unable to describe what is a creation like you?
Are you unable to describe just a creation when you describe the Creator with form and organs, this same One who is neither overtaken by sleep nor slumber!
This is the same One who owns all that is in the skies and the earths, what is between them! He is the Lord of the Glorious Throne!â€
RICHARD DAWKINS – And you believe that your Imam was speaking the truth?
SHAFAQNA – Iâ€™ll tell you one better: Imam Ali was the Truth. While our prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the Messenger of God, Imam Ali became the recipient of Godâ€™s Truth and through him Islam was manifested.
RICHARD DAWKINS – Youâ€™re willing to believe a man who died over a thousand years ago over common sense?
SHAFAQNA – Heâ€™s not really dead though is he? This life is only temporary â€¦ death is a reality every living thing will taste. The righteous will be reborn to never die. Muslims have pledged their allegiance to the last Prophet of God and this is a bond that cannot be broken. Itâ€™s not a question of belief â€¦ we know!
And though you might not see we do. Although you might think us foolish it is you, who cannot see.
RICHARD DAWKINS – So you condone women being oppressed in Saudi Arabia? Is it a religious duty to deny women their rights and abuse them?
SHAFAQNA – The Quran enounces and guarantees womenâ€™s right. No religion nor any country in the history of humanity has secured womenâ€™s right more than Islam did 14 centuries ago. Such rights are protected and guaranteed under God.
I grant you however that men have denied women those rights â€¦ especially in Saudi Arabia.
RICHARD DAWKINS -But isnâ€™t Saudi Arabia the cradle of Islam?
SHAFAQNA – It is where the Message of Islam was sent but Saudi Arabia does not have the monopoly on Islam. Saudi Arabia has violated and desecrated many Islamic laws â€¦ Saudi Arabia is not Islam. You cannot blame the actions of one government onto a religion.
RICHARD DAWKINS – So youâ€™re not even willing to consider the possibility that God could be a creation?
SHAFAQNA – No. Iâ€™m only willing to consider the possibility you may change your mind and recognize that Godâ€™s existence is not open for debate. God is â€¦ itâ€™s very simple really.