There are thousand and one proofs of God though for a sage a single flower is enough to prove God as Schuon has noted. The Quran says that no doubt can be possibly entertained regarding God. The Bible tells us only the fool has said in his heart that there is no God. Now if this is the case how come many great modern scientists and thinkers are said to be atheists? Either they are not atheists or they are not fools. To see how, I think that right understanding of the definitions is enough explain things. Let us understand meaning of beauty and such statements as “God is Beautiful” or God is Beauty or Beauty is God.
Plato says that God catches most people through the net of beauty. We need no sermons to tell us to love beauty. We are irresistibly drawn to it. One of the names of God is the Irresistible. So who is attracting us really? Keats or Rusul Mir or Akhtar Shirani can be read as invitation to God-the Irresistible in beautiful forms. The universal liking and adoration for women’s face – this mode of worship has no disbelievers, there is no kafir of their beauty and thus God the Beautiful – is best understood if we read with Plato or Ibn Arabi the meaning of divine name Jameel. I start by reference to the beautiful book God’s Art by Greg Smith in which he meditates on our aesthetic notions to state the case for a royal road to God is freely available to anyone who cares to see. I quote from the jacket of the book:
“In the entire universe, there seems to be one constant that most everyone shares: the notion of beauty. This fact is not scientific, it is not logical, and the value of this knowledge is hard to assess. But the certainty is absolute as every one of us looks into a meadow of weaving flowers, gazes at the surf and the sea, or looks deep into the night sky at the stars and beyond… Why is not the universe grey instead of such a rich incredible range of colours? Why is there so much variety in all things from flowers to sun flakes to galaxies? Why are we blessed with an appreciation for all this wonder if it does not contribute to our survival?”
This beauty that saves, that dissolves all scepticism and claims of indifference and absurdity, is everywhere for the seeing eye, even in the terrible aspects of phenomena. As Smith notes: “Clouds, storms, the brazen sun, all of these are part of a holy canvas – always. Their meaning is taken by every soul who witnesses them, and asks not what or how, but is deeply satisfied with the knowledge of why.”
Let us read Schuon, arguably the greatest of modern metaphysicians and Sufi, on the question who says in To Have a Centre, arguably the best book against so-called atheism:
In fact, when God is removed from the universe, it becomes a desert of rocks or ice; it is deprived of life and warmth, and every man who still has a sense of the integrally real refuses to admit that this should be reality; for if reality were made of rocks, there would be no place in it for flowers or any beauty or sweetness whatsoever.
There is a controversy on relation between ishq-i- haqiqi and ishqi majazi. The Prophet’s (SAW) saying that women and perfume (besides prayer) have been made dear to him provides the clue. The great appeal of Romantic poets for all and sundry implies some universal or eternal or sacred element in it that we need to better appreciate. Reading Plato or his modern advocates like Coomaraswamy and Schuon helps to dissolve the controversy. To quote Schuon:
"A love of beauty does not signify attachment to appearances, but an understanding of appearances with reference to their essence and consequently a communication with their quality of truth and love. Fully to understand beauty, and it is to this that beauty invites us, is to pass beyond the appearance and to follow the internal vibration back to its roots; majaz and real."
The following Schuon passages constitute a definitive statement regarding what we may call aesthetic proof of God.
The perception of beauty, which is a rigorous adequation and not subjective illusion, implies essentially a satisfaction of the intelligence on the one hand, and on the other a feeling at once of security, infinity and love. Of security: because beauty is unitive and excludes, with a kind of musical evidence, the fissures of doubt and anxiety; of infinity: because beauty, through its very musicality, melts hardenings and limitations and thus frees the soul of its narrownesses; of love: because beauty calls forth love, that is to say it invites to union and thus to unitive extinction.
Let me ask: Is not a modern atheistic scientist or thinker like Hawking moved by beauty? This movement of soul, this wonder, this joy, this serenity, this is the mode of worship of God’s name-the Beautiful? So who is an atheist? Isn’t beauty “the splendour of the True” as Plato said? Can anyone deny the beauty of mathematics or logic at intellectual plane? Can anyone imagine any argument against inward beauty – the beauty of soul – we call goodness or virtue? To be man is to love beauty, perfection, harmony, elegance. And that is, in its deeper sense, to worship God. To rightly see things is to see God. To be truly attentive to things or events is to contemplate God. Praising beauty is what is the deepest meaning of durood or prayer on prophet. If this is so, who can dare to deny the Messenger who unveiled beauty?