Science and the Seven Earths

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Limb view of the Earth's atmosphere. Colors roughly denote the layers of the atmosphere.

This article analyzes several different apologetic arguments claiming the Qur'an correctly asserts that there are "seven heavens" and "seven earths".

Apologetic Claims[edit]

"Allah is He Who Created seven firmaments and of the earth a similar number. Through the midst of them (all) descends His command: that ye may know that Allah has power over all things, and that Allah comprehends all things In (His) Knowledge. (The Noble Quran, 65:12)"

According to Noble Verse 65:12 above, Allah Almighty created 7 Heavens for form the universe. The new scientific discovery had revealed to us that the earth that we currently live on today is also formed from seven layers. The very bottom layer contains most of the uranium and potonium ("sic") and all the materials that we need to create nuclear weapons and energy. Noble Verse 65:12 above does indeed say that the earth was created with seven layers.
. . .
The Seven "Heavens" refers to the layers of our atmosphere.

1. troposphere
2. stratosphere
3. ozone layer
4. mesosphere
5. thermosphere
6. ionosphere
7. exosphere

The Seven "Earths" refer to the layers that literally make up the Earth

1. crust
2. lithosphere
3. upper mantle
4. astenoshpere ("sic")
5. lower mantle
6. outer core
7. inner core

OR they could refer to the "7 Continents" (in the context that "al-ard" means ground)

1. North America
2. South America
3. Australia
4. Asia
5. Africa
6. Antarctica
7. Europe

Analysis[edit]

Seven Layers of Earth's Atmosphere[edit]

Before beginning, notice that verse 37:6 says that the stars are in the lowest heaven, and thus the seven heavens cannot mean the Earth's atmosphere.

Surely We have adorned the nearest heaven with an adornment, the stars


Nevertheless, let's look again at the apologetic claim:

The Seven "Heavens" refers to the layers of our atmosphere.

1. troposphere
2. stratosphere
3. ozone layer
4. mesosphere
5. thermosphere
6. ionosphere
7. exosphere

There is only one atmosphere, but you can classify this one atmosphere by different criteria. If you partition it by temperature, you get 5 layers. By aerodynamical state 4 layers, by radiophysical state 3 layers and by chemical processes 2 layers. There is no classification into 7 layers.

To reach the needed "seven layers" different criteria are being mixed to reach the desired number 7. For example, Earth's atmosphere is commonly divided into five main layers based on temperature. From highest to lowest, these layers are:

  1. Exosphere
  2. Thermosphere
  3. Mesosphere
  4. Stratosphere
  5. Troposphere

Within the five principal layers which are largely determined by temperature, several secondary layers may be distinguished by other properties:

  1. Ozone layer
  2. Ionosphere
  3. Homosphere and heterosphere
  4. Planetary boundary layer[1]

Apologists include all five principle layers in their count, then arbitrarily add the ozone layer (which is contained within the stratosphere) and the ionosphere (which forms the inner edge of the magnetosphere) to reach the desired number 7.

If two of the secondary layers are included in the total count, there is no logically viable reason to exclude the planetary boundary layer (the part of the troposphere that is closest to Earth's surface) or the homosphere and heterosphere (which are contained within all five principle layers).

Seven Layers of the Earth[edit]

The Seven "Earths" refer to the layers that literally make up the Earth

1. crust
2. lithosphere
3. upper mantle
4. astenoshpere ("sic")
5. lower mantle
6. outer core
7. inner core

Note the same dishonest approach taken to assign seven layers of the atmosphere - i.e. the double counting of layers.

The general scientific view is that the earth is composed of four or five major layers depending on whether one splits the mantle or not.[2][3][4]

The five layers are as follows:

  1. crust
  2. upper mantle
  3. lower mantle
  4. outer core
  5. inner core


Lithosphere.gif


There are two ways to classify the composition of the geosphere - chemically, into crust, mantle, and core, or functionally, in the case of the outer layers (crust and mantle) into lithosphere and asthenosphere.[5][6]


Geosphere.gif


From the evidence above, one can see the apologetic deceit because they double-count the lithosphere/asthenosphere while they also count the crust and upper mantle. Note that this is dishonest because these are alternative classifications. One cannot honestly count all lithosphere, asthenosphere, crust, and upper mantle together as one would be recounting the same rocks.

Recently new scientific hypotheses proposed by J. Marvin Herndon and Prof Xiaodong Song suggest the inner core may be further subdivided into four layers; the inner core, the innermost core, a sub-shell of fission material and decay products, and a subcore of uranium and plutonium forming the georeactor.[7] If this new theory is accepted the number of layers of the earth rises from five to eight.

Seven Continents of the Earth[edit]

The same apologists try to hedge their bets by claiming it is either seven layers or seven continents.

OR they could refer to the "7 Continents" (in the context that "al-ard" means ground)
1. North America
2. South America
3. Australia
4. Asia
5. Africa
6. Antarctica
7. Europe

The former explanation (seven layers) would seem more accurate as all translations refer to "earth" and not ground. Nevertheless, although the number of continents is traditionally considered seven, some geographers and scientists think there are only six as Europe and Asia are technically a single land mass (i.e. Eurasia) and on the same tectonic plate.[8] Therefore, the traditional number of seven continents is more a cultural bias than an actual geographical/geological fact.

Seven Earths[edit]

There are some who claim that Allah created seven earths.[9] This is in fact the correct understanding of verse 65:12 supported by various hadiths and tafsir commentaries. However, we only know of one, our own. To get around this problem, apologists such as Maurice Bucaille claim scientists have just not discovered the other six yet.[10]

To further complicate matters for apologists, Islamic sources state the seven earths being referred to in verse 65:12 are flat islands, one under the other. For example:

Narrated AbuHurayrah: While Allah's Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions were sitting clouds came over them and Allah's Prophet (peace be upon him) asked, "Do you know what these are?" On their replying that Allah and His Messenger knew best, he said, "These are the clouds (anan), these are the water-carriers of the Earth, which Allah drives to people who do not thank Him or call upon him." He then asked, "Do you know what is above you?" On their replying that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) knew best, he said, "It is the firmament, a ceiling which is guarded and waves which are kept back." He then asked, "Do you know what is between you and it?" On their replying that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) knew best, he said, "Between you and it are five hundred years." He then asked, "Do you knew what is above that?" On their replying that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) best he said, "Two heavens with a distance of five hundred years between them." He went on speaking like that till he counted seven heavens, the distance between each pair being like between Heaven and Earth. He then asked, "Do you know what is above that?" On their replying that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) knew best, he said, "Above that is the Throne, and the distance between it and the (seventh) heaven is the same as that between each pair of heavens." He then asked, "Do you know what is below you?" On their replying that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) knew best, he said, "It is the earth." He then asked, "Do you know what is under that?" On their replying that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) knew best, he said, "Under it there is another Earth with a journey of five hundred years between them," and so on till he had counted seven earths with a journey of five hundred years between each pair. He then said, "By Him in Whose hand Muhammad's soul is, if you were to drop a rope to the lowest earth it would not pass out of Allah's knowledge." He then recited, "He is the First and the Last, the Outward and the Inward, and He is omniscient." (Tirmidhi commented that Allah's Messenger's recitation of the verse indicates that it would go down within Allah's knowledge, power and authority, for Allah's knowledge, power and authority are everywhere, while He is on the Throne, as He described Himself in His Book.)
According to Muhammad b. Sahl b. 'Askar-Isma'il b. 'Abd al-Karim-Wahb, mentioning some of his majesty (as being described as follows): The heavens and the earth and the oceans are in the haykal, and the haykal is in the Footstool. God's feet are upon the Footstool. He carries the Footstool. It became like a sandal on His feet. When Wahb was asked: What is the haykal? He replied: Something on the heavens' extremities that surrounds the earth and the oceans like ropes that are used to fasten a tent. And when Wahb was asked how earths are (constituted), he replied: They are seven earths that are flat and islands. Between each two earths, there is an ocean. All that is surrounded by the (surrounding) ocean, and the haykal is behind the ocean.

Seven Universes[edit]

Another common apologetic claim is that these seven heavens are actually seven universes which we are yet to discover, and that we know only our one universe so far.

The following verse contradicts such a claim since it says rain was made to fall from heaven. Certainly, rain does not come from outer space. The word used for heaven here is sama, the same as that for the seven heavens.

So We opened the gates of heaven, with water pouring forth.

Conclusion[edit]

The scientific evidence does not support any of the claims concerning the Qur'anic verse 65:12 and its scientific accuracy.

Earth's atmosphere is divided into five main layers based on temperature. Within these five principal layers, several secondary layers may be distinguished by other properties. There is no classification into 7 layers.

Verse 37:6 further disproves the claim because it says the stars are in the lowest heaven.

Modern geology states that there are only four or five layers of the Earth, or up to eight if the new hypotheses of the subcore georeactor are accepted. Without the double-counting of layers, There is no classification into 7 layers.

The number of continents is traditionally considered seven, but there are only six as Europe and Asia are technically a single land mass (i.e. Eurasia) and on the same tectonic plate. Therefore, the traditional number of seven continents is more a cultural bias than an actual geographical/geological fact.

Furthermore, if one delves a little deeper into the Islamic sources, it is discovered that the seven earths being referred to in verse 65:12 are in fact flat islands, one under the other.

This page is featured in the core article, Islam and Science which serves as a starting point for anyone wishing to learn more about this topic Core part.png

See Also[edit]

  • Harun Yahya - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Harun Yahya
  • Cosmology - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Cosmology

External Links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. "Atmosphere of Earth", Wikipedia, accessed January 2, 2014 (archived), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Earth. 
  2. Lisa Gardiner - Structure of the Interior of Earth - Windows to the Universe, January 18, 2010
  3. Eugene C. Robertson - The Interior of the Earth - U.S. Geological Survey, May 21, 2007
  4. Maggi Glasscoe - Structure of the Earth - Southern California Integrated GPS Network (SCIGN), August 14, 1998
  5. Dr. Michael Pidwirny - Fundamentals of Physical Geography/ Structure of the Earth - 2nd Edition, 2006
  6. The history of life on Earth - Palaeos
  7. D. F. Hollenbach, and J. M. Herndon - Deep-Earth reactor: Nuclear fission, helium, and the geomagnetic field - PNAS 2001 vol. 98 no. 20 pp 11085-11090
  8. Matt Rosenberg - Continents - About.com
  9. Layers of the Earth - Justread.20m.com
  10. Dr. Maurice Bucaille - The Bible, The Qur'an and Science/ Confrontation with the data in the Qur'an concerning the creation