Translated By: Professor Muhammad Hasan Askari & Karrar Husain
Compiled By: Mufti Umar Anwar Badakhshani
2) Second Principle
If a thing is rationally possible, and its existence is attested by sound report, then it is necessary to accept its existence. On the other hand, if its non-existence is attested by sound report, then it is equally necessary to accept its non-existence.
Facts are of three kinds:
- 1) Firstly, those the existence of which is shown to be necessary by reason. For example, let us take the statement ”one is the half of two”. This is a fact which must exist so necessarily that, having understood the meaning of one and two, reason must consider its opposite to be false. Such a fact is called “Necessary”.
- 2) Secondly, those, the non-existence of which is shown to be necessary by reason. For example, let us take the statement ”one is equal to two”. It is so necessary to deny this fact that reason must certainly consider it to be false. Such a fact is called “Impossible”.
- 3) Thirdly, those the existence of which is neither affirmed nor denied as of necessity by reason. In such a case, reason considers their existence and non-existence both as equally probable, and inorderto arrive at a final judgment must examine an argument based on report. For example, the statement that “the area of such a town is greater than that of the other town” is a fact in the case of which reason must either make a direct examination or accept the findings of those who have made such an examination. Until it adopts either of these two courses, reason cannot regard the statement as necessarily true or necessarily false, but must admit an equal probability of its being true of false. Such a fact is called “Possible”.
Therefore, in dealing with a fact which is “possible”, if we can find an argument based on sound report to prove that it is true, then it becomes necessary to believe that it does exist and is real.
But if the same kind of argument can be found to prove its non-existence, then it is necessary to believe that it does not exist. For example, in the instance of the comparative areas of two towns, we would, on examination, judge the statement in some cases to be true and in other cases to be false.
Similarly, it is rationally possible for the Heavens to exist as the Muslims in general believe them to do. That is to say, reason does not possess any argument either to confirm or to deny this fact, but admits both the probabilities. So, in order to decide whether such a thing docs exist or not, reason has to depend on an argument based on report. And such an argument based on sound report is provided by the Holy Qur’an and the Hadith, declaring that such a thing does exist. So, reason must, as of necessity, affirm the existence of the Heavens.
If someone were to consider the Pythagorean system to be an argument based on report, proving that the Heavens do not exist, then such an opinion would only show his ignorance or lack of understanding. For, the only valid inference that you can draw from it is that the correctness of the calculations according to that system, does not depend on the existence or the motion of the Heavens.
No, if an actual fact does not depend for its existence on another fact, its existence does not prove that the latter does not exist. For example, if an actual work does not depend on a certain government official to be performed, how can the presence of this work alone prove that the official is not present in the town? At the most, one can only say that this fact does not prove his presence either. But, one can find other arguments (based on sound report) proving that the officer was present.
SOURCE: Answer to modernism, By Maulana Asharaf Ali thanvi
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