Does the Soul Exist? The Quranic and Scientific Perspectives
25 Sep, 2008
[Author’s Note: This article has been prepared out of my sincere quest to answer the ancient question of "soul". I have utilized my many years of gathering knowledge and own observations around me in the matter of deaths and survivals. I did not use very complex scientific puzzles and used very simple theory in order to make it very plausible for the general readers. However, I have used all possible explanations to justify my claim. My intention is not to hurt anybody’s feelings about soul, nor to hurt anybody’s religious sentiment. I do admit sincerely that all humans (me included) would like to believe that each of us posses a soul which is different then the others. Scientific revolution has shaken that ancient belief. Soul theory is diminishing day by day by the advancement of biological science today. Readers please read this article with your open minds and judge yourself why I am asserting this.]
Life is a miracle to all mankind. For millions of years, mankind asked following questions: what is life? Why do we die and where shall we go after death? Ancient people could not answer these questions of mysterious life. Human being did not like to believe that there is no life after death. Hence ancient clever people invented the very simple answer. They first invented soul, the most important ingredient of every religion. And then, they invented God, angels and life after death. God created man, animals, earth, sky, stars, Sun, Moon everything one can see in this universe. About the human making—they gave the simplest solution. God made humans with wet mud/sounding clay (just like the Hindu sculptor make goddess Durga’s statute) and gave life (soul) in it by blowing his big holy mouth. This was the first and famous “grandma story” every child was infected with this virus during his/her childhood. Surprisingly, they did not tell how God made animals! That’s it! This is called religious creation theory.
Many clever people were born to become prophets and thereby exploited simple people. For some centuries—this simplistic tablet worked quite good to the gullible people. This is simply blind faith!
Readers please consider what Islam says about the soul
From our childhood, our religious teachers/seniors/Imams have taught us one thing very clear that Allah created each of us with a definite/fixed program. That is to say, Allah creates each human being with certain program, purpose, fate, and destination—which are predetermined by Him (Allah) and no power on earth and heaven except Allah can change that program, period. Hayaat (longevity), Mowutt (death), and Rizik (fate) are well fixed (in louhe Mahfuz) by Allah at the time of creation of that soul. A true believer do believe that—all the souls of human beings have been created by Allah at the same day and souls are locked up or stored in a cell (Louhe Mahfuz) in the heaven. It is by only Allah’s wish, a particular soul is sent to this mortal earth with a fixed program. In addition, every Muslims should believe that his or her entire life is overseen/control by Allah. If a Muslim does not believe this fact—then he is not a Muslim.
Now readers please judge yourself what Allah says in Qur’an
(Quran 35:11) …And no female conceives, or lays down (her load), but with His Knowledge. Nor is a man long-lived granted length of days, nor is a part cut off from his life, but is in a Decree (ordained). All this is easy to God.
Quran: (56:60)- We have decreed (ordained) your time of death fixed, and I am not incapable of doing that…
[Note: If we are to believe these two Quanic dictums, I do not see how the average longevity of humans is increasing today. I will elaborate this later in my essay.]
There are several Sahi Hadiths which clearly states following
[Sahi Muslim: Narrated by: Abdullah Bin Mashwood (sws), and Hujaifa Bin Achid (ra) from the saying of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)]: Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said-every human remains as semen inside the mother’s womb for 40 days. After 40 days semen becomes blood-clot and mother is conceived. Then immediately after mother is conceived, Allah appoints one Farestha (Angel) right near the women’s genital (Vagina) to oversee the continuous development of the whole scenario of birth. That particular Farestha records and informs every bit of development and progress of the embryo-to-baby’s birth. This robotic Angel even tells Allah the movement-paths such as embryo is moved from vagina to uterus, settled there, growing alright etc. etc. And, after 120 days, when baby is full grown, Allah orders that particular selected soul (from the louh-e-Mahfuz) to be taken their to the womb and fix the soul to the fetus only when life starts. After putting that soul this robotic Farestha (Angel) ask Allah to give His decree, as to, what would be the longevity/fate/rizik and also ask Allah’s permission to fix the destiny of the future baby whether this human being will be a Mumeen Banda or Bandi (true believer) or Nafr (Kafir) etc. etc.
The above-mentioned Hadith is a Sahi hadith, and Mumeen Mussalman believes it up to their bone. Afghan Talibans, all Mullahs/Karri/ Maoulanas truly believe this Hadith by their heart. According to this Hadith—every soul’s destiny/fate is categorically and precisely determined by Merciful Allah as per His wish. The new-born baby may be wished by Allah’s choice—a true believer (Mumeen), a thief, a serial killer, a prostitute, a thug/bandit, a cheater, black marketer, drug addicts etc. etc. are all merciful Allah’s choice.
Sahi Bukhari: 13:115: “A well-dressed soul may be naked hereafter for not praying in time…”
Sahi Muslim-20:4651: “The souls of the martyrs live in the bodies of green birds who have their nests in the chandeliers hung from the throne of Allah; they eat the fruits of paradise; they would request Allah to return their souls to their bodies so that they may be slain in the path of Allah again…”
Sahi Muslim-40:6867: “Two angels take the soul of dead person into sky to Allah; if the soul is a believer’s then it has a beautiful fragrance; if the soul is of a non-believer then it has a foul smell…”
Bottomline: As per Islamic dogmas, we can solely come to the conclusion that the soul is under the total control of Allah, and humans have no clue to play around with soul by any means! So much for Islamic insanity about soul!
Now let us examine what science can tell about soul
What did Albert Einstein, the greatest mind of all times, said about soul? Here it is:
“I have repeatedly said, the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. It was of course a lie, I never believed in personal God and I did express it very clearly. Man’s ethical behavior should be based solely on sympathy, empathy, education, and social ties. No religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in pathetic shape if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment, soul, god, and hope of afterlife”.
As of now, science could not find or identify anything inside the human body which can be named as soul. No scientists ever believed in creation theory of religionists, nor any sensible freethinking human being ever swallowed it. Then came the greatest human ever walked on the surface of this earth. His name was Charles Darwin. The greatest scientist Charles Darwin gave the most acceptable and revolutionary theory called ‘evolution theory’ and he explained the origin of life, how simple organic and inorganic materials might have formed primordial organism and how humans and other animals were evolved by millions of years of evolutionary process from the single cells. Today, 98% of world biologists and other scientists believe in evolution theory, because Darwin’s evolution theory is the most acceptable theory to explain life. Besides, entire biological phenomena are only compatible with Darwin’s evolution theory, and not compatible at all with the creation theory.
But today, I shall not explain the mystery of life by scientific theory or evolution theory only. I shall try to explain mystery of life by my own rational theory out of my own observations of life. I shall use some science, philosophy, rational logic and most of all day to day circumstantial happenings around us. I am not expecting that everybody will agree with me; but I will urge the readers who will not be agreeing with me to explain this mystery of life with adequate or better logic than mine.
Life and death
Definition of life: Life is a property of material organization. Or. Life is a result of self organization of matter (physical and chemical reaction) driven by the requirements to maximize entropy and reduce the gradient of temperature difference between Sun and earth. Molecules of matter arranged in particular manner react with each other to produce energy—which is called life. In the body the energy is produced by the material/chemical interaction of total molecular elements or system. From single cells through the process of millions of years of evolution several systems (e.g. Nervous, Circulatory, Digestive, Respiratory, Urinary, Reproductive etc.) were developed. The total output of these vital systems together is called life.
Definition of Death: The material organization looses its property due to mal-function or stoppage of one or more of the power houses (e.g. Brain, heart, lungs, liver, and kidney). But state of matter (other power houses) remains the same, though it looses the interactive organization. That is, body actually looses the total output of these vital systems.
A few practical examples/scenarios to explain death and life
Brain dead: What is brain-dead mean? A person is alive with all the organs/tissues very well living and functioning normally except the brain which is dead. Take this case of comatose patient of Florida. This beautiful young lady is the best example of brain-dead person. She is not dead but she is brain-dead, i.e., her brain the master control does not function. All her body organs are normal functioning, her eyes are moving, she can see the objects, she can consume food and digest it and her body tissues are getting nourishment from test tube feeding. She was kept alive (but brain-dead) by the help of tube feeding for more than 10 years now. She is not dead yet, and her soul (?) is still not leaving her body! If the test tube is removed—she will die within a week or 10 days. Her soul will say good bye only then! Why? Her body needs food (fuel) for survival and without food nothing (not even soul) can keep her alive even for a minute. Now if somebody needs organ transplantation, this lady’s organ is the very good source, isn’t it?
Questions: Where is her soul? Why soul can not keep her alive? Why soul can not keep her brain working and keep systems functioning? When her feeding tube is removed why her soul is not able to keep her alive? Is it possible that her soul is not leaving the body because feeding tube is still attached? Or, is the soul just waiting for some one to remove the feeding tube so that soul can say good bye to her and go to Allah only to get hell or Islamic lustrous heaven? What is the logical answer?
Take a case of motor car: What is the car all about and how it runs 100/200 miles speed? A car is pretty much like a human/animal. It has a body and it has a belly where all those vital organ-systems (various parts) reside. It runs because it’s every systems work with a proper synchronization producing total energy, or total output. It gets fuel from outside and burn them into energy by which it moves and run. It can stop by either shortage of (a) fuel, or (b) due to mal-function of one system. Without fuel—car is dead even though it has all the organs intact and normal. Just like a human body, no food, no life. And no life and no so called soul.
Or, there is tank full of fuel, yet the car is not running (dead), because one of its organ systems does not function. Say, car alternator (master control) is not working and all other organs are totally normal and functioning. Will that car run? Certainly not! This is just like that comatose lady of Florida (brain the human alternator which carries energy everywhere in the body is not functioning). Now, if you want to use those normal parts of that car to another car (transplantation) those organs/parts will function normally in the second car, just like that comatose lady’s organs. Or, if you replace the bad alternator with a new one—the same car will run again 100/200 mile speed. Isn’t it true? Same is the case with that Florida comatose lady. If you could change her non-functioning brain with a new one—she will live again (her soul will stop departing her) as perfectly normal human being, no doubt about it. WHO KNOWS, SOME DAY SCIENTISTS MAY BE ABLE TO GIVE A NEW BRAIN (alternator) TO A COMATOSE PATIENT!
Brain dead woman in California
In 1993 a California woman declared brain dead, was found to be in her fifth month of pregnancy. She was maintained on life support systems for three months until the baby could be delivered by caesarian section. The baby did very well and the mother was disconnected from life support and died at the end of the delivery. (From Clark: "Sex and the Origin of Death", p-114).
Who (God or the doctors) controlled the life of this brain-dead woman in California? What would happen to that baby if the doctor did not connect the mother with life support? If there was no life support available today—how would that baby born alive? Why the soul could not keep that mother alive after doctor has disconnected her from the life support?
If it is true that God is Merciful, Omnipotent and Omniscient, why would God send souls to the following wasted human babies?
a) Conjoin babies
b) Still-born baby
c) Baby with no legs or hands
d) Baby with multiple legs and hands
e) Baby looks like a monster
f) Baby that will survive only a few hours.
g) Baby that is going to be a seriously mentally retarded.
Sudden Heart failure (temporary cardiac arrest) patient: Many (temporary) heart-failure patients are cured by Simple cardiac resuscitation techniques, or by heart stimulant drugs, or by electric shock therapy. In these types of fit patient heart-beat stops temporarily. Patients do not have any pulse because heart stops and that patient is same as a dead patient, no difference. Only difference is, before the death of total cell masses in the vital organ systems—doctors can revive this dead patient back to life by using modern techniques I described above. But if delayed and proper treatment was not given—total cell mass of most vital organs will happened and patient is dead, hence the patient can not be revived by any available means.
Just 50 years back, there was no such technique to revive this patient and millions of souls probably told the body good bye very readily and routinely. Today by timely applying these new scientific treatments doctors are able to save over 60% percent of heart-failure patients.
Or, did you not hear snake-bite patient came to life after several days; or, dead man came to alive inside the grave after some days? Readers (from Bangladesh) must have heard the folklore story of ‘Lakindhar and Behoola’ where Lakindhar was bitten by poisonous snake and his body was floated in the river placing over a raft! According to folklore story—Lakindhar came to life after several days. It could be unbelievable but this type of recovery does happen even today!
How about the famous novel (“Kadombini”) written by Indian Nobel Laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore. Did not Kadombini come to life (after intense rain-storm) over her Hindu grave ready to be burning to ashes? Writer’s last sentence was like this: “Kadombini Moria proman karilo, shea more nai”—(meaning Kadombibni proved by her death that she actually did not die!).
Questions: Why soul stop-short of leaving the body, or can not leave the body voluntarily because of timely and adequate cardiac resuscitation? Was it possible that soul was out of the body of the “Kadombini” for a few hours or moments and intense rain waters prevented the soul from leaving her body? Is it possible that clever doctor’s techniques forbade the exit of soul from the body of a sudden cardiac arrest patient, so the soul is bound or be compelled to re-enter the body—only to stay with that body for another 20 years? Snake-bitten patient can be revived after several days of total fit almost dead with no pulse. Why soul can not exit the body in this case? Is it the soul comes back again (unwillingly) after successful treatment (by resuscitation or electric shock therapy etc.)? Or, resuscitation actually causes electric spark which help heart-muscle to start beating again? Which one is true and logical?
Test tube baby: Even 30 years back people did not even dream to get a baby made inside a test tube. Now it is almost a daily business and as easy as planting seeds to get a big tree to grow. Today world have more than 50,000 normal test tube babies and their numbers are increasing everyday. In the process of test tube baby, scientists deliberately manipulate the union of egg and sperm inside the test tube to form the Zygote the starting stage of a future baby which is then placed inside the mother’s womb. Now, this is purely a human manipulation and Allah has nothing to do with it. In future, scientists will be able produce baby right inside the larger test tube by creating the same atmosphere of mother’s womb. Who gives soul in this particular baby? Why Allah should send a soul for the sake of that scientist who has performed an anti-God act?
Cloning baby: Scientists are equipped with enough knowledge and skills to make a human in the lab by the cloning technique. We know the miraculous story of “Dolly” the sheep made by cloning. Who sent soul to that cloning sheep? When kaffir scientists will soon start making human baby by cloning, who will send soul for those un-licensed human baby? Is Allah the servant of scientists? Why Allah has to send a soul to any cloning baby? And without soul sent by Allah how in the world any scientists can create a living baby (without a soul)? So where is the soul?
Does the soul Multiply?
Scientists will be able to create thousands of cloned baby from the same donor, i.e., from the same single person. That is, the babies will have the same identical gene of the donor character. Now how come soul is multiplying? Does the God allow soul to multiply?
Today Kaffir scientists are able to produce SPERM cells and Egg cells right from the stem cells. Now scientists hope that they will be able to make human baby right in the laboratory, that is, they don’t need any male or female to reproduce baby. Kafir Scientists also hope that soon they can make human baby from nothing more than two laboratory-grown stem cells. Prudent questions are who is going to supply soul for those unruly kaffir scientists? Is the merciful Allah going to approve soul (from His Louhe-Mehfuz) for these kaffir scientists?
Bastard child: All most all religions in general and Islam in particular says that, Allah or God sends soul on earth to born as baby into some lady’s womb. That soul is picked (selected) by Allah himself and sends to this mortal earth with some fixed purpose and destiny. Believers do believe that without the wish of Allah no soul can come to this mortal earth. Allah hates most the bastard child, no doubt about it. Question is who sends the soul of bastard child? Why Allah should send a soul to that bastard child that he hates most?
Organ transplantation: Just 40 some years back transplantation of human organ was unthinkable. I still remember when in 1968 (?) world’s first heart transplantation was performed by a Kaffir doctor of South Africa (Christian Bernard) all the Christian mullahs including Pope were making hue and cry (Muslim mullah did not even have any clue about this) against it and all religionist were in great panic about this anti-God activity of that kaffir doctor. Today, organ transplantation in humans is almost like changing a part of a motor engine. Hundreds of thousands of terminal patients are getting various organ transplantations and getting their life longer and longer day by day. Just 30 years back and for thousands of years previously—humans used to die due to heart ailments without any known treatment. Even by-pass surgeries of coronary arteries are keeping hundreds of thousands of humans alive today. It is plain and simple—had there been no heart transplantation or heart by-pass surgery—all these humans (who are alive today and walking on the surface of earth) would have been long dead and perished. Nobody can deny that!
Questions: Is it possible that souls are taking extra vacation period in the earth from Allah, because Kaffir (enemy of Allah) scientists invented heart transplantation technique and by pass surgery technique? Why those souls are not saying good bye to those heart transplantation patients, who otherwise (if there was no method existed for transplantation) would die for sure? For million of years soul from heart patients never stopped saying good bye to those unfortunate heart patients. Why souls are so weak today and can not leave the human body so easily? Does any erudite Mullah have any answer for this?
Human average longevity has increased tremendously world-wide. Nobody can deny that today! Surprisingly, this average longevity increase is directly proportional to the economic and social status of the particular country or nation. Plain and simple—richer country getting highest average longevity, on the other hand, the poorer country getting lowest average longevity. Richer country like America, Japan, Sweden etc. have the average longevity around 80 years and increasing. On the contrary, poorer nations like Bangladesh, Nepal, Ethiopia, Somalia etc. have an average longevity around 42 years. Just 1000 years back—human average longevity was only 30 years. Most souls used to say good bye from this mortal earth very quickly due to uncontrollable diseases, epidemics, wars, famines and natural calamities.
Questions: Why was it like that? Do we have any good reason to believe that—1000 years back, Allah used to send people with shorter life span? Why human soul used to depart human body so readily and so quickly? Is the Merciful Allah doing partiality by sending people with longer life in the rich country like America, Japan or Sweden (infidel lands) and sending people with shorter life in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Somalia, or in Nepal?
In the humans—both male and female do get natural sex changes. It is happening all over the world. Many mothers become male and many brothers become female and their names also do get changes.
Questions: How a soul can change it’s sex? Is it possible that Allah erroneously sent a wrong-sexed soul to a baby? How Allah can do such horrendous mistake?
Had there been soul (exist) inside the every humans sent by Allah and totally controlled by Allah, there could be: (a) no organ transplantation, (b) no test tube baby, (c) no heart surgery, (d) no revival of heart patient by cardiac resuscitation, (e) no longevity changes, (f) no bastard child, (g) no cloning baby, (h) no sex changes, (i) no sperm cells making from the stem cell and bla bla bla…..Simply because Allah (SBT) would NOT let humans (kaffirs) to exploit and play with Allah’s mystery of creation. This would be an utter insult to the Allah’s divine authority! He would simply put an iron-ban on the supply of souls coming down from the Allah’s Louhe-Mehfuz the store house of souls.
All the above things and more and more scientific miracles will keep on happening—because THERE IS NO SUCH THING CALLED SOUL AND PERHAPS, ALLAH HAS NO CONTROL ON HUMANS, PERIOD.
Readers I am humbly requesting you to think about all the logical scenarios that I have described above. Which kind of argument do you accept? Is it the so called soul of grandma story keeping life alive? Or, is it the total out put energy of the vital systems keeps a body alive? Which is more logical and acceptable to you?
Could brain acts as the soul?
Surprisingly, all theologians think that animal and plants do not have any soul! Only humans have soul. Islamic dictum even claimed that plants and vines have no life. But today’s knowledge clearly established the fact that plants and animals do have life and feelings just like humans. In fact, humans also an animal only that—humans are higher form of animal. Just as plants and animals do not need souls to be alive, humans perhaps also do not need soul to be alive. Humans and animals are just biological machines that is all there is to it. Thinking, awareness, after-death experience, remembrances, personality etc are all human brain functions and nothing more.
One problem which needs to be mentioned in this essay which the Islamic dictum is dealing witnessing scenarios of body parts of Muslims during the Day of Judgment. In the judgment day—body parts will witness to Allah (SBT) against the Muslim soul. Now, suppose a Muslim got his heart (from a Munafekh), two hands (from a serial killer), and stomach (from a wine and pork eating Christian) transplanted. After the death of this Muslim—all his transplanted organs will ruin his piety of his entire life! He will definitely go to hell! What can be done to it?
Scientists (kaffirs) are predicting that human will live 1-2 hundred years by the end of this 21st century, in the following centuries on words—human longevity will increase to 5-6 hundreds years or more. There will be human organ stores (just like Motor parts store) existing in various big cities from where diseased humans can purchase needed organs (body parts) and prolong their life span. Don’t you believe me? Fifty years back did anybody believe that humans will change their (discard the diseased vital organ and replace it with normal) diseased heart, liver, stomach, intestine, kidneys etc? How about those Muslim mullahs, did they ever imagine this?
If science was around for as long as the religions are around, human lives would have enjoyed much more pleasures and happiness in this earth today. Unfortunately, religions are always pulling the legs of science backward to the darkness again. Discovery of DNA and Genes have revolutionized our life. Many more biomedical miracles bound to occur in the future, which will be very hard even to imagine by humans today. Most importantly, all these incoming bio-medical miracles will happen as per the principles of Darwin’s evolution theory, and definitely not by the principles of Allah’s creation theory. Hope nobody can dispute that!
Honorable readers you are my judge! I have tried to tell all truth and nothing but the truth. I am very sorry if my essay has caused pains to anybody’s sentiment, because my essay has categorically proved that there is no such thing called soul. I myself also would like to believe that there is a soul inside everybody! Believe me I would be the happiest human being in that case. Unfortunately, scientific advancement has prevented that chance of believing in soul theory. All the miracles of modern biological science do not allow me to prove otherwise! Thanks for reading my essay.
Sahih Hadiths (Bukhar and Muslims).
American Media News on: various hospital patients with life-support.
"Sex and the Origin of Death", Clark, p-114)
Common sense and logical thinking.
Syed Kamran Mirza is the author of Roots of Terrorism in Islam. He has also contributed in Beyond Jihad — Critical Voices from Inside Islam and Leaving Islam — Apostates Speaks Out. He can be contacted at Skmirza.firstname.lastname@example.org