Home Insights and Teachings Is belief entirely founded on the unseen?

Is belief entirely founded on the unseen?

By His Eminence, the late Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)

Translated by: Manal Samhat

When religion lays so much emphasis on belief in the unseen, does that mean that it is only based on this belief and that there is nothing other than [believing in] the unseen when it comes to the core of faith and to explaining the social and cosmic phenomena and events, as some feel like saying, thinking and explaining? Thus, they would subject all or most of the natural phenomena to metaphysical interpretations that no human mind can perceive, which made the human mind, at certain phases, look into the causes and explanations of the natural phenomena, such as health and illness, and defeat and victory, and into the causes of the economic and political problems outside the practical reality of things, settling for referring all that to metaphysical factors or to Allah, without exploring the natural laws Allah has set in the universe to form the bases of its system (the cosmic system) and the system of life in accordance with the natural principle of cause and effect.

Indeed, some naïve believers did fall prey to this misunderstanding, and they rejected many results reached by science just because they clashed with the metaphysical mentality that is not familiar with such results. Some of them even went to the extreme extent of accusing whoever believes in the presence of natural laws that govern the natural and cosmic phenomena of unbelief, for they believe that there is a difference between belief and unbelief and that believing in the metaphysical causes of things signifies belief; whereas, believing in the realistic or concrete causes of things signifies unbelief.

In this atmosphere, and for long times, the idea of focusing preaching on the metaphysical aspects in all the fields of life prevailed, without elucidating the natural laws Allah has set in this universe, which led to linking all the natural phenomena directly to Allah. Perhaps, this was one of the reasons that prevented the Muslims in the past ages from understanding the universe through understanding the laws that govern it. It might have also participated in forming the metaphysical personality that enjoys a metaphysical mind and emotions and that digs into the past and the present in search of the unseen, and anticipates the future with metaphysical expectations, which allows the soothsayers and foretellers to manipulate people’s feelings and emotions by predicting their future and the like. We have even noted that many politicians and others who are interested in knowing their future in politics and love head to the elderly or astrologers who claim to know the unseen to get their future events “foretold”. 

We do not believe that the unseen covers such a vast area of people’s public and private lives. Rather, we believe in the unseen that links us to Allah in a limited scope. That is why we notice that Islam fiercely rejects foretelling and astrology to keep such a metaphysical mentality away from the realistic aspect of the thought and life and to keep belief in the unseen in the realm of faith, living inside the soul and enabling the human being not to be overwhelmed by the blind materialism that does not open up to the wide horizons of living with Allah and ensuring that he will not be imprisoned by the constraints of the narrow hope which his personal circumstances limit him to.           

We might daringly believe in the unseen in many cases we cannot understand, or maybe we rebel - in our awareness - against some natural laws that might have a metaphysical aspect, for we believe that not all what happens in life has materialistic interpretations. Some unexplainable things might happen in the life of every one of us with regard to sustenance, health and the like, so some patients might be healed after imploring Allah for a prophet’s or guardian’s intercession, or reciting a supplication or performing an act of worship amidst a certain psychological state that might not conform to the practical psychological explanation.

We do not deny that there exists a spiritual aspect that guards and interferes, in a way or another, in his life. Yet, the main principle in life, from an Islamic perspective, is that all life’s secrets and aspects, be they political, social or economic, are subjected to the natural laws Allah has set in this universe, which is manifested in the Quran in several Ayahs, where He mentions His course in this universe, for He says: “Such has been the course of Allah with respect to those who have gone before,” (33:38), and: “For you shall not find any alteration in the course of Allah; and you shall not find any change in the course of Allah.” (35:43).

Therefore, our belief in the unseen should not stand in the way of understanding the causes and secrets of every cosmic or life phenomenon. Actually, apparently the Holy Quran calls on us, in all the Ayahs of contemplation and observation, to look into the universe and history to learn about their causes and secrets and consequently learn the magnificence of Allah, the Most Exalted. We come to the conclusion that the Islamic thought embodies all the sciences of life and man that try to find out the scientific laws that govern the universe, behavior and thinking process within a poised integrated entity and that the same thought addresses the reality to explain it in a way that conforms to the big role Allah has charged man with in life.

Source: [(Interpretations) inspired from the Quran]