Pragmatic Arguments for Belief in the Qur’an

30 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2011 Last revised: 23 Jun 2018

Date Written: 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.

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, Probability

Suggested Citation

Alam, Mohammad Shahid, Pragmatic Arguments for Belief in the Qur’an (July 26, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Mohammad Shahid Alam (Contact Author)

Northeastern University ( email )

220 B RP
Boston, MA 02115
United States

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