Questioning God – A Forbidden Act

I have came across people from various religions that say “You have to believe…” whenever the question about God arises. So I always wondered, either these people do not know God, or indeed it is a tool to fool. And this happens across the theistic universe, questioning God and His attributes seems to be forbidden.

Surely a Being claimed to be so magnificent must have given answers to the questions that arise. Questions that ask about the attributes of the God, what He can and He cannot do. How many God or gods do we have? Does He control everything? Did He create the Good? What about evil, where did that come from? Did God create evil too?

Some religions have the belief in afterlife, where people will be gathered in a place after the end of the known universe. After everybody, young and old, rich and poor, black and white are dead all will be brought to life to be judged by the Almighty God. So how does He recreate everyone after death? And where is this place of gathering?

Let’s start with the basic, is it justifiable to believe in something and then presume it to be true? Or is it better to know the truth in something and then believe? How could someone believe in something and then assume it to be true. That is like eating wood and telling yourself that you are eating marshmallows.

You might be able to convince yourself with such an act but inside, you know you are fooling yourself. And to others that are watching the impression is even worse. So how does one decide what is true? Is the state of being convinced a state of believing in the truth? Or is the state of truth is different? Can truth be empirically tested, justified and proven to be indeed true?

Do we question God in His ability to create the world? And if there is an explanation how do we assess if it is true? The major concern we have today is with the answer. Can the answer given satisfy the questioner, or can the questioner ask an answerable question?

Eventually one has to ask if God can be questioned and if God can answer the question? Did anyone question God in the first place? If there was, then who was the first to question God? And what did God tell them, or rather what did God show them?

And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: “Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth.” They said: “Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, – while we glorify You with praises and thanks (Exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners) and sanctify You.” He (God) said: “I know that which you do not know.”

And He taught Adam all the names (of everything) , then He showed them to the angels and said, “Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful.”

They said, “Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise.”

Quran 2:30-32

So God actually gave an answer by showing His wisdom to the angels. Did God tell them “Just believe whatever I tell you as that is my will”? No God showed the angels His wisdom. Likewise when the Prophet was asked matters related to God he always answered one example is:

I asked the Prophet (ﷺ) “Which deed is the dearest to God?” He replied, “To offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times.” I asked, “What is the next (in goodness)?” He replied, “To be good and dutiful to your parents” I again asked, “What is the next (in goodness)?” He replied, ‘To participate in Jihad (struggle) in God’s cause.” `Abdullah added, “I asked only that much and if I had asked more, the Prophet (ﷺ) would have told me more.”

In-book reference : Book 9, Hadith 6
USC-MSA web (English) reference : Vol. 1, Book 10, Hadith 505
(deprecated numbering scheme)

Never did the Prophet scold a person for asking a question pertaining to God, he answered them as long as they asked.  If someone says “do not ask that question, you have to believe to understand”, then it simply means that person has no knowledge of the answer. One person’s view does not imply that there is no answer. God says in the Quran:

And they do not come to you with an argument except that We bring you the truth and the best explanation.

Quran 25:33

God has provided an answer for each and every question that humans could derive from their imagination. It is up to the person who is asked to look for the knowledge and provide answers and not give excuses or be angry at the questioner.