Pragmatic Arguments in the Qur’an for Belief
M. Shahid Alam
July 26, 2011
Unlike other scriptures, the Qur’an engages man as he is, that is, man as a composite of opposing tendencies. It guides the believer as much as it strives to save the disbelieving skeptic. In speaking to the skeptic, the Qur’an uses all the resources of rhetoric that have a chance of softening his disbelief and bringing him back to his spiritual home. This essay examines two sets of pragmatic arguments in the Qur’an for belief, both based on a system of divine accountability: in one the accounting occurs in afterlife, in the other it occurs in this life. In presenting the first argument, the Qur’an anticipates Pascal’s wager. This argument is later taken up by ‘Ali, Islam’s fourth orthodox caliph, and Al-Ghazzali. Further, it is shown that religions generally, and Islam in particular, contain the premises for enunciating Pascal’s wager.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 29
Keywords: Quran,Koran, Islam, Pascal's Wager, God, William James, Pragmatic Arguments, Prudence, Maududi, Proof, Existence, Ali, Ghazzali, Ghazali, Reason, Rhetoric, Belief, Skepticism, Skeptic, Pagan, Paganism, Afterlife, Hell, Heaven, Judaism, Christianity, Accounting, Accountability, Probabilityworking papers series
Date posted: July 27, 2011 ; Last revised: December 3, 2012
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