It is not Possible to Prove a Purely Reported Fact by a Rational Argument, By Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi

Translated By: Professor Muhammad Hasan Askari & Karrar Husain
Compiled By: Mufti Umar Anwar Badakhshani

Answer to Modernism

Fifth Principle

(5) It is not possible to prove a purely reported fact by a purely rational argument. So it is not also permissible to demand such an argument.


Under Principle No. 4, we have shown that among the different kinds of facts there is one, the existence of which is made known to us only by the report of a truthful reporter. The term “pure report” refers to such facts. It is evident enough that one cannot argue about such facts on the basis of a purely rational argument, as is possible in the case of the third kind of facts (discussed under Principle No. 4).

For example, someon tells us that Alexander and Darius were two kings who went into battle against each other. Now, If another person were to demand a rational argument in order to establish this fact, even the greatest philosopher would not be able to present any other argument except this– the existence of two such kings and a war between them is not impossible, but possible enough, and trustworthy historians have reported that this possibility did actually come into existence, and since it is rationally necessary to affirm a fact as real when we learn from a truthful reporter that what was possible did really come into existence (as we have shown under Principle No. 3), we must necessarily accept the report about the two kings as an actual fact.

It is obligatory to believe in the Hereafter, and resurrection of the dead

Similar is the case of the coming of the Day of Judgment, the resurrection of the dead, and the beginning of a new life. All these facts are pure reports, and even their characteristics in detail are vouched by pure report. So, if a man affirms these facts, no one can justifiably demand a purely rational argument from him. It would be quite sufficient for him to say in order to silence all objections— there is no argument to prove that these facts are rationally impossible, even though one may not understand them; but as these two things are not identical (as explained under Principle No. 1). These facts are rationally possible, and moreover, as a reporter whose truthfulness is well established on just grounds, has reported to us that this possibility shall actually come into existence, therefore we must, according to Principle No. 2, necessarily affirm the existence and actuality of these facts. This reply, then, would be quite sufficient on the part of the man who affirms them. If he proceeds to provide a purely rational argument as well in support of his affirmation, his only intention would be to do away with the dubiety arising from improbability, and to remove the perplexity of his listeners. But the man who is arguing for this case would not owe this further explanation to his listeners— it would be an act of generosity on his part, and a mere concession, if he provides it.

SOURCE: Answer to modernism, By Maulana Asharaf Ali Thanvi

Answer to Modernism: To read the Sixth Principle Click on the link below:


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