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Reply to Tareksul

This article is a more detailed response to Tareksul, since the space allowed in the
comments section is limited.

The comments below refer to this article criticising some of the many alleged Scientific
Miracles of the Koran.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/18240169/Does-the-Quran-Have-Any-Scientific-Miracles-
Part-2-of-2

Tareksul responded with the following comments, which would most likely sound quite
reasonable to many readers.

"If you go to http://www.comp.leeds.ac.uk/nora/html/27-61.html


then you will see that there are more then one translation for 27:61,since the quran is
very hard to translate due to arabic words having many meanings at the same time, you
took one translation that a human being thought was correct and ignored the other
translations and took it against Islam.While you were ignored the part that says the
scientific miracles of mountains keeping the land firm and the miracle of a barrier
between the two sees. The quran shouldnt be translated word by word for it would lose
its meaning, you should give for each ayah a description of what it means. quran is
literature it is understood differently by different people but with limits.
Note: Abode= a place where one lives
Fixed is the outcome of mistranslating the quran
the other translation say firm and some, just say earth is a resting place.

Also

http://www.islamiska.org/e/Astro.htm

http://www.quran-miracle.info/Earth-Rotates.htm

your challenge for earth and there are 100s more if you search it"

Thanks for your time

‫و السلم عليكم‬

wa as-salam a'lykum
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My reply

In the following pages, I shall attempt to show that the claims in these Islamic Websites
are incorrect and that there are no Scientific Miracles in the Koran. On the contrary, I
believe that there is evidence of Scientific Inaccuracies in the Koran, which prove that it
was a human book, and not of Divine origin.
Of coarse, the Koran is not alone in this. The Bible also contains many huge Scientific
Inaccuracies as well. Some of these are shown in other articles that I have previously
uploaded on this site.

I will respond to the points made by Tareksul in a slightly different order than he made
them as the evidence of the Earths immobility in the Koran is connected with other
alleged Scientific Miracles in the Koran.

Before replying to the claims made on the above Websites that Tareksul has referred to,
it is useful to list the examples of alleged Scientific Miracles in the Koran that they refer
to.

http://www.islamiska.org/e/Astro.htm
http://www.quran-miracle.info/Earth-Rotates.htm
http://www.comp.leeds.ac.uk/nora/html/27-61.html

The alleged Scientific Miracles referred to are:

1. The nature of the Sun vs. the nature of the moon.

2. The orbits of the Sun and the Moon, Stellar Evolution and Star death

3. Earth rotates in an orbit.

4. Mountains provide stability.

5. The reference to the Two Sea’s.

I do not believe these alleged Scientific Miracles or any other of the dozens of others
originating with Maurice Bucaille, Harun Yahya or other similar authors.

I think that they quote the Koran out of context and distort its meaning to suit
themselves. Furthermore, they often underestimate the state of Scientific knowledge
that existed among the Ancient Greeks in the time of Mohammed and centuries earlier.
My main source for the Koran is the following Websites and a hard copy of the Dawood
translation.

http://qb.gomen.org/QuranBrowser/
http://isgkc.org/translat.htm
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1. The nature of the Sun vs. the nature of the moon. (Surah 71:15-16)

According to this claim, the Koran was centuries ahead of its time in the field of
Astronomy and that the fact that this is so proves that it is of supernatural origin.

Nowadays, we know that the Sun shines by its own light, but that the Moon merely
reflects the Suns light. We are told that this is a relatively modern discovery from the
time of Copernicus in the C16th, but that the Koran alluded to this in the C7th AD 900
years ahead of Copernicus.

Surely, it is argued, Mohammed could not possibly have known about this unless God
had told him? This, it is argued proves the Divine origin of the Koran and the truth of
Islam.

Pickthall “See ye not how Allah hath created seven Heavens in harmony, & hath made
the Moon a light therein, & made the Sun a lamp?”
Yusuf Ali “See ye not how God has created the seven Heavens one above another, &
made the Moon a light in their midst, & made the Sun as a (Glorious) lamp?”
Hilali-Khan “See you not how Allah has created the seven Heavens one above another,
& has made the Moon a light therein, & made the Sun a lamp?”
Shakir “Do you not see how Allah has created the seven Heavens, one above another
& made the Moon therein a light, & made the Sun a lamp?”
Sher Ali “See you not how Allah has created seven Heavens in perfect harmony, & has
placed the Moon, therein a light, & made the Sun a lamp?”
Khalifa “Do you not realize that God created seven Universes in layers?
He designed the Moon therein to be a light, & placed the Sun to be a lamp.”

Arberry “Have you not regarded how God created seven Heavens one upon another,
and set the Moon therein for a light and the Sun for a lamp?”
Palmer “Do ye not see how God has created the seven Heavens in stories, and has set
the Moon therein for a light, and set the Sun for a lamp?”
Rodwell “See ye not how God hath created the seven Heavens one over the other? And
He hath placed therein the Moon as a light, and hath placed there the Sun as a lamp.”
Sale “Do ye not see how God hath created the seven Heavens, one above another; and
hath placed the Moon therein for a light, and hath appointed the Sun for a lamp?”
Irving “Have you not (all) considered how God created seven matching Heavens? He
has set the Moon as a light among them, and set the Sun up as a lamp.”
Dawood “Can you not see how God created the seven Heavens, one above the other,
placing in them the Moon for a light & the Sun for a lamp?”

Notice how the Koran uses different words to describe the light of the Sun and Moon.
The light of the Sun is described as a lamp but that of the Moon is referred to as merely
a light. This, we are told implies that the Sun is correctly being described as a source of
light whereas the Moon is not and that its light is merely reflected sunlight.
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This sounds quite plausible until you look into it carefully. However, a little investigation
shows that this argument is nonsense for two reasons.

1. Firstly, the fact that the Moon shines by reflected light is obvious and was known
for centuries before the time of Mohammed. There is nothing miraculous about
knowing this fact, which is a matter of basic observation.

2. Secondly, the above interpretation is contrary to the Koran and Islam.

The fact that the Moon shines by reflected light requires no miraculous knowledge and it
is obvious to anyone who has observed a lunar eclipse.

During a lunar eclipse, the Earths shadow falls upon the Moon and darkens its surface.
If the Moon emitted its own light, this would not happen. The fact that this phenomenon
does occur implies that the Moon shines by reflected light. This was common knowledge
in the time of Mohammed and Aristotle had written about this 1000 years before
Mohammed. Therefore this alleged Scientific Miracle is false.

Secondly, this interpretation of words in the Koran is false. The Koran uses the word
“lamp” and “light” interchangeably.”
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Here, Mohammed is described as being like a lamp or source of light, while Allah is
merely described as a light. Thus Allah is merely a reflection of Mohammed and Islam is
a false Religion made up by Mohammed.

The only way out of this dilemma is to accept that lamp and light are used
interchangeably in the Koran.

Now for the next alleged Scientific Miracle.

2. The orbits of the Sun and the Moon (Surah 36:40)


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Above: Orbit of the Moon around


the Earth every 28 days.
Right: Orbit of the Sun around the
Galaxy every 240 million years.

According to this claim, another example of the Koran containing modern Astronomical
knowledge is Surah 36:38-40.

Today we know that the Moon orbits the spherical Earth every 28 days and that the
Solar System orbits the center of the Milky Way Galaxy every 240 million years. The
Koran is said to refer to this 1400 years ago even though this fact was not discovered
until the C20th.

Furthermore, today we know that the Sun will burn out in 5 billion years. This was also
only discovered in the C20th.
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Some Muslims will ask how a simple uneducated and illiterate man such Mohammed
could have known about this unless God had told him? Such ideas, we are told were
centuries in the future and the orbit of the Sun was not discovered until the C20th.

Surely, it is argued, we must accept that this proves that the Koran must be of Divine
origin, since no human book written in the C7th AD could possibly contain such
information.

Like many claims by Islamic Fundamentalists, this initially sounds very plausible, but
when you examine it, the claim collapses.

These claims have no truth whatsoever in them. Those who make such claims are
misrepresenting the Koran and quoting it of context both textually and historically. This is
done in order to alter the meaning of the Koran in order to hide scientific mistakes and in
order to deliberately mislead readers.

Here are the verses in question. (Surah 36:38-40)

Pickthall “And the sun runneth on unto a resting-place for him. That is the measuring of
the Mighty, the Wise. And for the moon We have appointed mansions till she return like
an old shrivelled palm-leaf. It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor doth the night
outstrip the day. They float each in an orbit.”
Yusuf Ali “And the sun runs his course for a period determined for him: that is the decree
of (Him), the Exalted in Might, the All-Knowing. And the Moon, - We have measured for
her mansions (to traverse) till she returns like the old (and withered) lower part of a date-
stalk. It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor doth the night outstrip the day. They
float each in an orbit.”
Hilali-Khan “And the sun runs on its fixed course for a term (appointed). That is the
Decree of the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing. And the moon, We have measured for it
mansions (to traverse) till it returns like the old dried curved date stalk. It is not for the
sun to overtake the moon, nor does the night outstrip the day. They all float, each in an
orbit.”
Shakir “And the sun runs on to a term appointed for it; that is the ordinance of the
Mighty, the Knowing. And (as for) the moon, We have ordained for it stages till it
becomes again as an old dry palm branch. Neither is it allowable to the sun that it
should overtake the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day; and all float on in a
sphere.”
Sher Ali “And the sun is moving on to its determined goal. That is the decree of the
Almighty, the All-Knowing God. And for the moon We have appointed stages, till it
becomes again like an old dry twig of a palm-tree. It is not for the sun to overtake the
moon, nor can the night outstrip the day. All of them float smoothly in an orbit.”
Khalifa “The sun sets into a specific location, according to the design of the Almighty,
the Omniscient. The moon we designed to appear in stages, until it becomes like an old
curved sheath. The sun is never to catch up with the moon - the night and the day never
deviate - each of them is floating in its own orbit.”
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Arberry “And the sun -- it runs to a fixed resting-place; that is the ordaining of the All-
mighty, the All-knowing. And the moon -- We have determined it by stations, till it returns
like an aged palm-bough. It behoves not the sun to overtake the moon, neither does the
night outstrip the day, each swimming in a sky.”
Palmer “And the sun runs on to a place of rest for it; that is the ordinance of the mighty,
the wise. And the moon, we have ordered for it stations, until it comes again to be like
an old dry palm branch. Neither is it proper for it to catch up the moon, nor for the night
to outstrip the day, but each one floats on in its sky.”
Rodwell “And the Sun hasteneth to her place of rest. This, the ordinance of the Mighty,
the Knowing! And as for the Moon, We have decreed stations for it, till it change like an
old and crooked palm branch To the Sun it is not given to overtake the Moon, nor doth
the night outstrip the day; but each in its own sphere doth journey on.”
Sale “To the Sun it is not given to overtake the Moon, nor doth the night outstrip the day;
but each in its own sphere doth journey on. And for the moon have we appointed
[certain] mansions, until she [change and] return [to be] like the old branch of a palm-
tree. It is not expedient that the sun should overtake the moon [in her course]; neither
doth the night outstrip the day: But each [of these luminaries] moveth in a [peculiar]
orbit.”
Irving “The sun runs along on a course of its own. Such is the designof the Powerful, the
Aware! And We have designed phases for the moon so it finally appears again like an
old palm frond. The sun dare not overtake the moon nor does night outpace the day.
Each floats along in its own orbit.”
Dawood “The Sun hastens to its resting place: Its course is laid for it by the mighty one,
the all knowing. We have ordained phases for the moon which daily wanes and in the
end appears like a bent old twig. The sun is not allowed to overtake the moon, nor does
the night outpace the day

In order to interpret these correctly, it is necessary to consider how people in the Middle
East envisaged the Universe1400 years ago in the time of Mohammed.

The Ancient Mesopotamians and other peoples of the Ancient Middle East imagined that
the Universe looked like the picture below.
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From the time of Pythagoras in the C6th BC, however, the Ancient Greeks began to
realize that the Earth was a sphere and by the time of Ptolemy in the C2nd AD, they
imagined that the Universe looked like the picture below.
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In the time of Mohammed, educated Greeks, Romans and Persians accepted Ptolemy’s
view of the Universe while the uneducated continued to believe in the ancient
Mesopotamian Flat Earth concept.

Now let us examine Surah 36:38-40 in the light of Astronomical knowledge in the C7th
AD.

Surah 36:38 – resting place of the Sun (Sunset)

This verse speaks of the Sun moving to its resting place. Some Muslims say that this
refers to the death of the Sun in 5 billion years. However when you read the verse in
context, both textually and historically, the true meaning becomes obvious.

Here the Koran is saying that the Sun moves across the Sky from East to West every 24
hours and sets. There is no mention of any Galaxy here and the context is in a verse
speaking of night and day. The Suns motion around the Galaxy has nothing to do with
day and night.

Surah 36:39 – Mansions of the Moon

The Ancient Mesopotamians and other ancient peoples who thought that the Earth was
flat explained the phases of the moon and its disappearance during daylight hours by
imagining that
there were 28 rooms, or mansions in the sky where the moon retreated to during the
daytime. Each mansion was associated with a different phase of the moon.

The Koran seems to accept the existence of these rooms or mansions just like the
Ancient Mesopotamians.
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Surah 36:40 – Orbits of the Sun and Moon

This verse speaks of the orbits of the Sun and Moon. The Ancient Mesopotamians and
Greeks also believed that the Sun and Moon have orbits. These orbits were the literal
motion of the sun and moon relative to a stationary Earth.

The verse also speaks of the possibility of the sun and moon overtaking each other if it
were not for God preventing this. This suggests Geocentric Cosmology with a static
Earth and the Sun and Moon literally moving in a similar manner. This also suggests
that the author of the Koran wrongly thought that the Sun and Moon were of similar size
and that both were a similar distance away from the Earth.
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3. Earth rotates in an orbit. (Surah 36:40/21:33 and 18:85-86)

I have already discussed Surah 36:40 in the previous section. All that was said about
Surah 36:40 also applies to Surah 21:33 which basically says the same thing. The orbits
referred to are the Moons orbit and the non-existent orbit of the Sun around the Earth or
across the sky every 24 hours. There are no references to the Earth orbiting anything.

Here I will concentrate on Surah 18:85-86 and Muslim attempts to hide its true meaning
with weak arguments about rhetorical devices and apparent motion.

Surah 18:85-86 supposedly describes the rotation of the Earth and the Sun
disappearing below the horizon due to the Earths rotation. We are told that references to
the Sun moving really refer to the Earths rotation since the Koran is supposedly using
the language of appearance.

Pickthall “And he followed a road till, when he reached the setting-place of the Sun, he
found it setting in a muddy spring.”
Yusuf Ali “One (such) way he followed, until, when he reached the setting of the Sun, he
found it set in a spring of murky water.”
Hilali-Khan “So he followed a way. until, when he reached the setting place of the Sun,
he found it setting in a spring of black muddy (or hot) water.”
Shakir “So he followed a course. until when he reached the place where the Sun set, he
found it going down into a black sea.”
Sher Ali “Then he followed a certain way. until when he reached the setting-place of the
Sun, he found it setting as if in a pool of murky water.”
Khalifa “Then, he pursued one way. When he reached the far west, he found the Sun
setting in a vast ocean.”
Arberry “Then he followed a way until, when he reached the setting of the Sun, he found
it setting in a muddy spring.”
Palmer “Then he followed a way until when he reached the setting of the Sun, he found
it setting in a black muddy spring.”
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Rodwell ”Then followed he a route, until when he reached the setting of the Sun, he
found it to set in a miry fount.”
Sale “Then he continued [his] way until he came to the place where the Sun setteth;
[and] he found it to set in a spring of black mud.”
Irving “So he followed a [certain] course until when he reached the place where the Sun
sets, he found it setting in a mucky spring.”
Dawood “He journeyed on a certain road until he reached the West and saw the Sun
setting in a pool of black mud.”

Despite claims to the contrary, the Koran is clearly describing the Sun moving and
coming down to Earth before going underwater. The Koran does not say that the Sun
disappeared below the horizon – it says that the Sun came down out of the Sky.

The idea of the Sun’s apparent motion such as in the terms sunrise and sunset are
modern concepts. They are linguistic fossils from centuries past. However in the C7th
AD when somebody mentioned the motion of the Sun, they meant it literally.

Although some Medieval Muslims such as Ibn Shater speculated that the Earth orbits
the sun, such ideas were not based on the Koran. The idea that the Earth is a planet
orbiting the Sun is an Ancient Greek idea first proposed by Aristarchus of Samos 2300
years ago.
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4. Mountains provide stability

According to this claim, the Koran correctly referred to the role of mountains in keeping
the Earth stable an steady.

This is simply not true. Mountains are not stabilizers. In fact, they are associated with
instability.
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Mountain formation and Earthquakes are closely linked and mountainous areas are not
especially Geologically table.

When the Koran speaks of mountains as stabilizers, it is describing them as being like
paperweights that hold a flat stationary Earth in position like anchors on a ship.

Now for the next alleged Scientific Miracle in the Koran.


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5. The Two Sea’s

Some Muslims often refer to the references in the Koran to the two Sea’s and a barrier
between them as another example of a Scientific Miracle in the Koran.

They argue that Mohammed could not possibly have known about the invisible “barrier”
in the straights of Gibraltar caused by differences in salinity and temperature between
Mediterranean and Atlantic water unless God had told him. Thus we are told, this proves
the Divine origin of the Koran.

There are many problems with this interpretation, including the fact that it contradicts the
Koran. The Koran says that one of the two seas is saltwater and the other is freshwater.
Both the Atlantic and Mediterranean are saltwater.

Surah 25:53 The Two Sea’s

Pickthall “And He it is Who hath given independence to the two seas (though they
meet); one palatable, sweet, and the other saltish, bitter; and hath set a bar and a
forbidding ban between them.”
Yusuf Ali “It is He Who has let free the two bodies of flowing water: One palatable and
sweet, and the other salt and bitter; yet has He made a barrier between them, a partition
that is forbidden to be passed.”
Hilali-Khan “And it is He Who has let free the two seas (kinds of water), one palatable
and sweet, and the other salt and bitter, and He has set a barrier and a complete
partition between them.”
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Shakir “And He it is Who has made two seas to flow freely, the one sweet that subdues
thirst by its sweetness, and the other salt that burns by its saltiness; and between the
two He has made a barrier and inviolable obstruction.”

Sher Ali “And He it is Who has caused the two seas to flow, this palatable and sweet,
and that salt and bitter; and between them He has placed a barrier and an
insurmountable partition.”
Khalifa “He is the One who merges the two seas; one is fresh and palatable, while the
other is salty and undrinkable. And He separated them with a formidable, inviolable
barrier (evaporation).”
Arberry “And it is He who let forth the two seas, this one Sweet, grateful to taste, and
this salt, bitter to the tongue, and He set between them a barrier, and a ban forbidden.
Palmer “He it is who has let loose the two seas, this one sweet and fresh, that one bitter
and pungent, and has made between them a rigorous prohibition.
Rodwell “And He it is who hath let loose the two seas, the one sweet, fresh; and the
other salt, bitter; and hath put an interspace between them, and a barrier that cannot be
passed.”
Sale “It is he who hath let loose the two seas; this fresh [and] sweet, and that salt [and]
bitter: And hath placed between them a bar, and a bound which cannot be passed.”
Irving “He is the One Who has cut off both seas, this one being sweet, fresh, while the
other is salty, briny. He has placed an isthmus in between them plus a barrier to block
them off.”
Dawood “It was he who sent the two seas rolling, the one sweet, the other salt and
bitter, and set a rampart between them, an insurmountable barrier.”

The two Sea’s have nothing to do with the Mediterranean or Atlantic. They refer to the
Kingdom of Bahrain.
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The two Sea’s most likely refer to the mixing of underground freshwater with the
saltwater of the Persian Gulf. Local Arabs have known of this phenomenon for
thousands of years before Mohammed and knowledge of its existence is not at all
miraculous.
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Conclusion

My conclusion regarding these alleged Scientific Miracles in the Koran is that they are all
false. I do not accept that the Koran contains any Scientific Miracles. On the contrary, I
believe that it is a human book written by a group of Arabs 1400 years ago.

The pictures below show what the author of the Koran thinks that the Universe looks
like.

How can a book, which assumes a Universe looking like this be from God?

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