Scientific Errors in the Qur'an

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Muslims believe that the Qur'an contains a message from an all-powerful, all-knowing, infallible being. If this is true then it should not contain any errors, mistakes, or information that contradicts known facts about the universe. If even one error exists in the text of Islam's holy book then the claims of divine authorship and infallibility are not true. An objective evaluation of the Qur’an shows that it contains numerous scientific and historical errors and it reflects a pre-scientific, 7th century view of the natural world.

Some will contest these numerous scientific errors in the Qur'an by appealing to metaphor, alternative meanings, or phenomenological interpretations of the text. Even if we suppose that alternative explanations were possible in every case, the wording and content of the Qur'anic verses often mimic the popular mythology and unscientific misconceptions of the time in which they were recorded. The author of the Qur’an makes no obvious statements that differentiate his understanding of the natural world from the common folklore of the people living in the 7th century. If the Qur’an was delivered by an all-powerful, all-knowing being then he would have been able to foresee how such ambiguous and misleading statements would be understood by future generations and the doubts and confusions they would cause. This alone should be reason enough to reject any claims to its divine authorship.




The Qur'an mentions a few times that the sun and the moon travel in an orbit (falak - a rounded course), but does not mention once that the Earth does too. This is consistent with an Earth-centered (geocentric) view of the cosmos that places a motionless Earth at the center of the universe and all "heavenly bodies" travel around the Earth. This was the prevailing understanding of the universe prior to the 16th century when Copernicus helped explain and popularize a sun-centered (heliocentric) view of the universe. Tellingly, the sun's orbit is almost always mentioned in the context of night and day (13:2 is the only exception) and is always mentioned with that of the moon, which does in fact orbit the Earth each month, and to a naive observer seems to traverse the sky each night when it is visible.

A token unto them is night. We strip it of the day, and lo! they are in darkness. 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.

This is in a passage about night and day. Right after describing the change from day to night, it says that the sun runs on to a resting place for it (لِمُسْتَقَرٍّ لَّهَا). A few translations use instead, "appointed term", though in nearly all of the many other verses where we find قرر in this form as a participle they translate it as a place of settlement or an abode or resting place. There are also sahih hadith (Sahih Muslim 1:297 For the Arabic of this hadith, see here) that mention the sun's daily cycle using the same Arabic word as in verse 36:38 to mean a resting place, which is underneath Allah's throne, and is where each night the sun prostrates and is asked to go and rise 'from its rising place' (مِنْ مَطْلِعِهَا). This cycle repeats, until one day Allah asks the sun to rise 'from your setting place' (مِنْ َغْرِبِكِ).

The alternative view was that it refers to the sun's final resting on the last day. There are other verses (35:13, 31:29, 39:5, 13:2) that mention the sun and moon floating/swimming (with the same verb as is translated "run" in 36:38) for a term appointed (لِأَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى which does indeed mean term appointed - the word مُسْتَقَرٍّ in 36:38 is a different word). Another version of the above mentioned hadith (e.g. Sahih Bukhari 9:93:520 - for the Arabic see here) probably supports this view, with a different ending indicating that the مُسْتَقَرٍّ (resting place) in 36:38 refers to the end of the world when the sun rises 'from its setting place' (مِنْ َغْرِبِهَا). Whichever interpretation was intended, the sun's movement is nevertheless mentioned right after describing day and night, just as the next verse mentions the different mansions appointed for the moon each night. The whole passage is about day and night and the sun and moon's movement in that context.

And He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. They float, each in an orbit.

Some try to explain away the Qur'anic description of the sun moving in an orbit as a reference to our sun orbiting the black hole at the center of the milky way galaxy every 225 million years. This is an Ad hoc hypothesis, of no relevance to human time scales, and nothing from the text implies that the sun is orbiting anything other than the Earth. If the author had knowledge of the sun orbiting a black hole then it is conspicuous that he never mentions it explicitly nor in any way differentiates the sun's orbit from that of the moon.

Hast thou not seen how Allah causeth the night to pass into the day and causeth the day to pass into the night, and hath subdued the sun and the moon (to do their work), each running unto an appointed term; and that Allah is Informed of what ye do?

Notice also that the running / floating of the sun is something that the author expects people to have seen (another problem for the galactic orbit interpretation).

By the Sun and his (glorious) splendour; By the Moon as she follows him;

The Arabic word translated "follow" is primarily defined as to follow, go or walk behind, follow in way of immitation, of action etc. and was often used for animals like camels following behind each other. Yet the Moon does not actually follow behind the sun's movement, nor does it provide its own light like the sun. The verse is suggestive of a worldview in which the moon and sun traverse the same or similar paths after one another, which is what a 7th century person might believe from observing the sky. The choice of word is not suggestive merely of appearing one after the other. One day instead of following the sun, the moon will one day by joined with it according to another verse (see the Similar Size and Distance of the Sun and Moon section below).

Abraham said, ‘Indeed Allah brings the sun from the east; now you bring it from the west.’ So the disbeliever was overwhelmed [by astonishment], and Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.

Here the Qur'an quotes a few lines from a debate between Abraham and a disbelieving King, where Abraham replies that Allah 'brings the sun' (yatee biashshamsi يَأْتِى بِٱلشَّمْسِ) from the east. The arabic verb and preposition indicates that the sun actually moves. The verb means to come, and when it has an object with the bi preposition it means to bring, as in many other instances in the Qur'an. While the story is quoting a mere human's words, the author clearly believes it to be a good response and sees no problem with it.

Setting and Rising Place of the Sun[edit]

The Qur'an assumes a flat earth which has physical places into which the sun sets and rises from. Since the earth is a rotating sphere, the sun does not set in any particular place and you can never travel to "the spot" where the sun sets nor a place where it rises; the sun appears to set or rise on the horizon no matter where you are on the planet. In these verses, the author propagates a popular legend from the 7th century of a man named Dhu'l-Qarnayn who visits the places where the sun sets and rises; here he finds the sun going down into a muddy spring and later rising on a tribe with no coverings.

Till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout. We said: O Dhu'l-Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness.
Till, when he reached the rising-place of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had appointed no shelter therefrom.

Centuries after Muhammad lived, people with better astronomical knowledge than him started to come up with creative interpretations of these verses to say that Dhu'l-Qrnayn only traveled until he reached "the west" or to a spot "at the time" when the sun set and not the "place" where the sun set. Unfortunately, these alternative interpretations are severely undermined by the context and Arabic words used in these verses, which instead point to a physical location. There is plenty of evidence showing that the early Muslims understood the verse in this straightforward way. Again, we must ask why an all-knowing being would use such misleading verses that mimic the misconceptions and legends prevalent at the time if one of these alternative explanations is correct.

Stars are Missiles Shot at Devils[edit]

The Qur'an says that stars (kawakib ٱلْكَوَاكِبِ) / lamps (masabih مَصَٰبِيحَ) adorn the heavens and guard against devils.

The author of the Qur'an does not seem to know the difference between stars (giant balls of gas thousands of times larger than the earth) and meteors which are small rocky masses of debris which brighten up after entering the earth's atmosphere. Many ancient people confused the two, as meteors look like stars that are streaking across the sky; this is why there were often called shooting stars or falling stars. In the following verse, the Qur'an claims that Allah uses stars as missiles to ward away devils. This repeats a common Arab myth at the time the Qur'an was first recited.

We have indeed decked the lower heaven with beauty (in) the stars, (For beauty) and for guard against all obstinate rebellious evil spirits, (So) they should not strain their ears in the direction of the Exalted Assembly but be cast away from every side, Repulsed, for they are under a perpetual penalty,Save him who snatcheth a fragment, Except such as snatch away something by stealth, and they are pursued by a flaming fire, of piercing brightness.

The same Arabic words are used at the start of verse 67:5 as in 37.6 (زَيَّنَّا ٱلسَّمَآءَ ٱلدُّنْيَا), except the stars are described as lamps. Clearly the lamps that 'beautify the heaven' refer to stars (and perhaps also the 5 visible planets), which are always there. Meteors are generally not much larger than grains of sand and are only visible for a second when they burn up, generating light in the Earth's atmosphere after millions of years in darkness, but the author of the Qur'an believes that meteors (the 'missiles') are a kind of star.

And verily We have beautified the world's heaven with lamps, and We have made them missiles for the devils, and for them We have prepared the doom of flame.

In Sahih Muslim we have a hadith confirming that the pursuing flames / missiles in the two verses refer to what we would call meteors which they saw shooting across the sky.

'Abdullah. Ibn 'Abbas reported: A person from the Ansar who was amongst the Companions of Allah's Messenger (pbuh reported to me: As we were sitting during the night with Allah's Messenger (pbuh), a meteor shot gave a dazzling light. Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said: What did you say in the pre-Islamic days when there was such a shot (of meteor)? They said: Allah and His Messenger know best (the actual position), but we, however, used to say that that very night a great man had been born and a great man had died, whereupon Allah's Messenger pbuh) said: (These meteors) are shot neither at the death of anyone nor on the birth of anyone. Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, issues Command when He decides to do a thing. Then (the Angels) supporting the Throne sing His glory, then sing the dwellers of heaven who are near to them until this glory of God reaches them who are in the heaven of this world. Then those who are near the supporters of the Throne ask these supporters of the Throne: What your Lord has said? And they accordingly inform them what He says. Then the dwellers of heaven seek information from them until this information reaches the heaven of the world. In this process of transmission (the jinn snatches) what he manages to overhear and he carries it to his friends. And when the Angels see the jinn they attack them with meteors. If they narrate only which they manage to snatch that is correct but they alloy it with lies and make additions to it.

Earth and Heavens Created in Six Days[edit]

The Earth first formed around 9 billion years after the Big Bang. The Qur'an, however, repeats the prevailing Middle-Eastern myth that the Earth and universe were formed in six days.

In the hundreds of other Qur'anic verses where the Arabic word 'yawm' appears, everyone understands it to mean day. Yet Islamic websites try and rescue the Qur'an by pointing to an alternative meaning of yawm, which almost always means 'day', but can sometimes mean 'time period'. Curiously, and rather conveniently, yawm is only claimed to mean time period in the verses about the creation of the world. Clearly, the predominant meaning of the word is day and when a specific number is used, in this case six, the word almost always means a literal day. Again, nothing in the context of the verses, nor the Qur'an in general, suggests awareness that the universe or Earth were formed over long time periods. The author makes precisely zero attempt to distingish his description from the prevailing Middle-Eastern creation myths in this regard.

Secondly, neither the universe nor Earth were formed in six distinct long periods of time. It would have been trivial for an all-knowing diety to have indicated the vast duration in which the universe has developed, which has taken place over the past 13.8 billion years.

We created the heavens and the earth and all between them in Six Days, nor did any sense of weariness touch Us

The Earth specifically was created in two days according to the Qur'an, and in four days (on days three and four according to the tafsirs) were created mountains and the sustenance of the Earth.

Say: Is it that ye deny Him Who created the earth in two Days? And do ye join equals with Him? He is the Lord of (all) the Worlds. He set on the (earth), mountains standing firm, high above it, and bestowed blessings on the earth, and measure therein all things to give them nourishment in due proportion, in four Days, in accordance with (the needs of) those who seek (Sustenance).

Mountains in fact continue to rise and erode to this day. Similarly, living things and their sustenance continue to evolve, yet the Qur'an says that the creation of mountains and sustenance occurred in a specific period that ended two days before the creation of the universe was completed. See the next section regarding the final two of the six days in 41:11-12 which immediately follow the verses shown above.

Earth Created before Stars[edit]

The author of the Qur'an is also unaware that the elements in the Earth's crust and core were first formed in stars by nucleosynthesis. When those stars exploded as supernovas, they expelled the elements that were used in future solar systems such as our own. Yet the Qur'an describes the Earth being formed before the stars. All rocky and gaseous planets in the universe were formed in a similar manner to the Earth and the Qur'an singling out the Earth only further highlights the author's ignorance of the history of the formation of celestial objects.

Verse 41:12 says that lamps (or more specifically, stars in the similar verse Qur'an 37:6) were placed in the lowest of the seven heavens. But before there were seven heavens, while heaven was just smoke, the Earth already existed according to verse 11, and the Earth's creation in the preceeding days is described in verses 9-10 already discussed in the previous section.

Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke, and said unto it and unto the earth: Come both of you, willingly or loth. They said: We come, obedient. Then He ordained them seven heavens in two Days and inspired in each heaven its mandate; and We decked the nether heaven with lamps, and rendered it inviolable. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Knower.

The verse below further confirms that heaven was only made into seven heavens when the Earth already existed according to the Qur'an.

He it is Who created for you all that is in the earth. Then turned He to the heaven, and fashioned it as seven heavens. And He is knower of all things.

Some websites attempt to reconcile the Qur'anic description with modern science by denying that the word 'Then' in the verses above indicate sequence, and instead claim that it means 'moreover'. They claim this despite the fact that these words (thumma in 41:11 and 2:29, and fa in 41:12 - all translated as 'Then') generally are used to indicate sequence. In other contexts thumma was sometimes used to mean 'moreover', which is generally clear from those contexts, but the passages quoted above describe a process - the creation of the heavens and Earth, and it would be ludicrous to use these words when describing such a process if they were not indicating sequence.

Earth and Heavens were Ripped Apart[edit]

Some websites claim that the following verse is compatible with the Big Bang theory. But according to this theory, the Universe was formed about 13.8 billion years ago due to a rapid expansion from singularity. The earth was formed 4.54 billion years ago from accretion of debris that surrounded the precursor of the Sun. There was no "separation" of the "joined" earth and heavens as this verse suggests. It is, in fact, a repetition of cosmic egg myths in which an egg-like structure was split into two halves, the lower half forming the earth and the upper half forming the heaven.

Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?

There is no scientific theory in which the Earth and heavens were split apart from each other. To imagine that this describes the big bang, the atomic particles that would later form the Earth would at the beginning have to be separated from those that would go on to form everything else in the universe. This bears no resemblance to scientific cosmology, wherein the material that forms the Earth passed through at least one earlier generation of star, and more recently was part of various asteroids, comets and planetesimals orbiting the sun (which could all be described as being in the 'heavens') that sometimes collided and merged with each other, sometimes split apart, and gradually coalesced under gravity to form the Earth and other planets.

Moreover, the very next verse Qur'an 21:31 speaks of mountains being placed on the Earth. Here 'the Earth' clearly means an actual world, so how do the Islamic websites expect anyone to believe that in the previous verse 'the Earth' refers merely to atomic particles at the time of the big bang that would billions of years later form the Earth?

Universe was Made from Smoke[edit]

Looking once again at the verses discussed above, neither was there any stage of formation of the Universe that involved smoke (carbon particles suspended as a result of combustion; the word translated smoke is the noun dukhan دُخَانٍ, which literally means smoke, as from a fire). Nor did the Earth and heavens each "come" as separate entites at any point of time. Earth is a part of this Universe and has developed within it.

Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke, and said unto it and unto the earth: Come both of you, willingly or loth. They said: We come, obedient. Then He ordained them seven heavens in two Days and inspired in each heaven its mandate; and We decked the nether heaven with lamps, and rendered it inviolable. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Knower.

Apologetics that try to reinterpret 'smoke' as the primordial state of the universe after the big bang should notice (aside from their poor grasp of science) that the Qur'an indicates a time when just the heaven, but not Earth is smoke.

Seven Earths[edit]

This verse claims there are seven Earths.

Allah it is who hath created seven heavens, and of the earth the like thereof. The commandment cometh down among them slowly, that ye may know that Allah is Able to do all things, and that Allah surroundeth all things in knowledge.

A Tafsir (interpretation of the Qur'an) attributed to Ibn Abbas, but by an unknown author and date, says that Allah means that all 7 Earths are flat.

Allah is He who created 7 heavens one above the other like a dome, and of the Earths, the like thereof, 7 planets but they are flat
Tafsir Ibn-Abass

A hadith reveals that these are seven Earths stacked above each other.

The Prophet said, "Whoever takes a piece of the land of others unjustly, he will sink down the seven earths on the Day of Resurrection.

The number, like seven heavens, might have come from a misunderstanding of mythology from classical antiquity in which there were seven moving planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the sun and moon). If instead we take it to mean seven actual planets the Qur'an is still wrong. According to astronomers, there are eight ordinary planets and five dwarf planets, which leaves the grand total at thirteen in our solar system. Modern astronomy also has found thousands of other planets in other solar systems and Cosmologists estimate that hundreds of billions of stars and planets exist in the universe. The author of the Qur'an singling out such a small number of celestial objects only reaffirms his ignorance of the makeup of the universe.

Seven Heavens[edit]

The universe consists of hundreds of billions of galaxies, each with hundreds of billions of stars. There is no such thing as seven layers to the universe. This myth of seven heavens was a common idea prevalent in the Middle East during the time when the Qur'an was first recited.

See ye not how Allah has created the seven heavens one above another

Some Islamic websites claim that these are seven layers of the atmosphere, despite the fact that verse 37:6 (see next section) says that stars are in the nearest heaven. There are only 5 not 7 principal layers to the Earth's atmosphere, and likewise only 5 not 7 major layers to the Earth itself.

Stars are Located in the Nearest Heaven[edit]

Stars are spread throughout the Universe and there is no such thing as the "nearest" heaven or layer. Also, this verse is in keeping with the author's claim (Quran 71:15 as described above) that the seven heavens are arranged one above the other.

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

The similar size and distance of the sun and moon[edit]

The Qur'an has statements about the end of the world that are much as one would expect if the author believed the sun and moon to be of similar size and a similar distance from Earth.

And the moon darkens And the sun and the moon are joined,

The word translated "are joined" is Arabic jumi'a, a verb which means to collect together, gather together, bring together. Given that this would actually require the moon to travel 98 million miles away from Earth and into the sun, which dwarfs it by over 600 times in diameter, it seems vastly less fitting as an apocalyptic event than if the ancient conception of the cosmos was correct.

Moon Emits Light[edit]

The moon does not emit its own light but simply reflects light coming from the Sun. The Arabic word for reflected (in`ikaas) does not appear in the two Qur'anic verses that say the Moon is a "light". It instead uses the word "noor" (nooran نُورًا) which simply means a light, and in another verse, muneer (muneeran مُّنِيرًا), which means giving light and is from the same root as noor.

He it is Who appointed the sun a splendour and the moon a light, and measured for her stages, that ye might know the number of the years, and the reckoning. Allah created not (all) that save in truth. He detaileth the revelations for people who have knowledge.
And hath made the moon a light therein, and made the sun a lamp?

Noor appears again (this time as a participle muneeran مُّنِيرًا) in a similar verse about the moon:

Blessed be He Who hath placed in the heaven mansions of the stars, and hath placed therein a great lamp and a moon giving light!"

Perhaps the best example of a verse showing the noor simply means light and not reflected light can be found in 33:45-46 in which a lamp is shining light with the exact same Arabic word as in 25:61 above (muneeran مُّنِيرًا):

O Prophet! Lo! We have sent thee as a witness and a bringer of good tidings and a warner. And as a summoner unto Allah by His permission, and as a lamp that giveth light.

In Lane's Lexicon of classical arabic, this word muneer (مُّنِيرً) is defined as 'Giving light, shining bright, bright, or shining brightly'. Noor is defined on the previous page as 'Light; whatever it may be; and the rays thereof'. In reference to Qur'an verse 10:5 (quoted above) that describe the moon with this word, he says, 'In the Kur. x. 5, the sun is termed ضياء and the moon نور and it is said that ضياء is essential, but نور is accidental [light]'. It is important to note that this notion of essential and accidental light and its application to the sun and moon originates not from the Arabs at the time of the Qur'an, but rather from the book Kitab al-Manazir, commonly known as 'Optics', published in 1572 by the great polymath and optics pioneer al-Hazen. Lane goes on to say, citing the highly regarded Taj al-Arus classical dictionary, 'it is of two kinds, the light of the present world and that of the world to come; and the former is either perceived sensibly, by the eye, and this is what diffuses itself from luminous bodies, as the sun and moon and stars, and is mentioned in the Kur. x. 5 referred to above'.

The word "Noor" is also used in this verse to show that Allah is the "light" of the universe. Clearly the author is not implying that Allah reflects light from another source but is the source of the light.

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The Parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed in Glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star: Lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! Allah doth guide whom He will to His Light: Allah doth set forth Parables for men: and Allah doth know all things.

Moon was Split in Two[edit]

The Qur'an and Hadith claim that the moon was miraculously split into two pieces and then, presumably, put back together again. There is absolutely no scientific evidence whatsoever that the moon has ever been split into two. Since the moon is visible to half the planet at any given time, we should expect to see numerous accounts from different parts of the world attesting to this event if it actually happened. The Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Persians, Chinese and Indians had avid astronomers who should have seen this event and recorded it in their histories. The absence of historical record from other civilizations, contemporary to Muhammad, is a strong indication that this event never happened.

The hour drew nigh and the moon did rend asunder.
Narrated Anas: "That the Meccan people requested Allah's Apostle to show them a miracle, and so he showed them the splitting of the moon."

Sky is a Tent/Dome[edit]

A common myth at the time of the Quran's composition was that the sky or heavens were held up with pillars. Many Bedouin people living in Arabia imagined the sky as a large tent covering, similar to the tents they used. The author repeats this myth by describing the sky as being "raised" above the earth.

Who has made the earth your couch, and the heavens your canopy
Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars that ye can see

In another verse, the author says that the sky has a covering.

And when the heaven has its covering removed,

Sky is a well guarded canopy[edit]

This seems to relate to the verses about devils chased by lamps (meteors) in the lowest heaven (see above). Somewhat ironically, the things supposedly doing the guarding (meteors) can actually pose a threat to living things on Earth.

Asteroids and meteorites have penetrated the atmosphere and hit the earth throughout the course of history. This includes the massive meteorite that hit near the Yucatán Peninsula 65 million years which killed off numerous species including most dinosaurs. There is no guardian, whatsoever, that prevents these types of events from happening.

And We have made the heavens as a canopy well guarded: yet do they turn away from the Signs which these things (point to)

Sky can Fall Down on People[edit]

The Qur'an author thought that the sky is like a ceiling that can fall on someone while the earth can swallow someone too. This is obviously impossible as the earth's atmosphere is simply made of gas.

See they not what is before them and behind them, of the sky and the earth? If We wished, We could cause the earth to swallow them up, or cause a piece of the sky to fall upon them. Verily in this is a Sign for every devotee that turns to Allah (in repentance).

Sky can be Rolled Up[edit]

This is another verse implying that the sky or heaven is something solid.

The Day when We shall roll up the heavens as a recorder rolleth up a written scroll.

The Stars Will Fall[edit]

The Qur'an says that the stars will fall (inkadarat ٱنكَدَرَتْ) along with other dramatic events surrounding the last day. The author clearly had no idea of the size and distance of the stars. The word كدر in the form used in this verse (form VII) meant to dart down as is said of a bird or hawk, or to fall and scatter.

And when the stars fall

The structure of space-time is such that nothing, not even stars, can move faster than the velocity of light. Even if stars were to somehow move close to light speed across the sky their motion would be imperceivable to the naked eye as many visible stars are hundreds of light years away. Neither would we be able to see anything that the stars are doing recently (when we see a star 100 light years away, we are seeing it as it was 100 years ago).

The Cause of Shadows Changing Length[edit]

Shadows are produced when the sun's light is blocked by an obstacle. It is the Earth's rotation that causes these shadows to change size and lengthen. However, verse 25:45 seems to say that the reason that shadows lengthen rather than being stationary is because Allah has made the sun their guide. Yet if the Earth did not rotate (so shadows were stationary) and then the Earth was made to rotate (so that they could lengthen and draw in) the sun would not need to be made to do anything different in either case. Thus the most likely explanation is that the verse represents a geocentric worldview where the sun moves across the sky, guiding the shadows.

Hast thou not turned thy vision to thy Lord?- How He doth prolong the shadow! If He willed, He could make it stationary! then do We make the sun its guide; Then We draw it in towards Ourselves,- a contraction by easy stages.

Then the next verse, 25:46, says that shadows are drawn towards Allah which has no scientific meaning.

Ignorance of the North and South Poles[edit]

In polar regions, the longevity of day and night vary during summer and winter. The day gets shorter and shorter in winter until there are days or weeks of uninterrupted night. At the poles themselves, day and night alternately last for six months and all phases of the moon occur several times between sunrise and sunset. The author of the Qur'an did not know about this and he only repeated earlier geocentric ideas. See also the Fasting and Prayer Requirements Near the Poles section below.

It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor doth the night outstrip the day. They float each in an orbit.

Furthermore, when reading this verse one should wonder in what sense day and night each have an orbit. See Geocentrism and the Quran regarding that question.



The Qur'an presupposes a creationist view of life on earth. Its understanding of the history of human life is incompatible with the overwhelming scientific evidence that humans have evolved from prior life forms, over the course of millions of years, through natural selection [1]. While some Muslims accept the theory of evolution, most reject it in favor of a creationist world view. Opinion polls show that the majority of Muslims agree Islam and evolution are not compatible.

Human Creation from Clay[edit]

The Qur’an states that man was created instantaneously from clay (salsalin صَلْصَٰلٍ) / mud (hamain حَمَإٍ). There is no indication that the author is aware of the evolution of human life over millions of years nor our common ancestry with apes and primates.

We created man from sounding clay, from mud molded into shape;

Similarly, it says that the first man was created from dust (turabin تُرَابٍ).

Lo! the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is.

First Humans: Adam and Eve[edit]

The Qur’an and Hadith contains stories concerning the 'first humans' and how all people are descended from these two earliest ancestors. It states that humans were created in a garden (paradise) and then brought to earth fully formed. This view of the origins of human life is clearly contradicted by the numerous fossils of pre-homosapien species that lived on earth for millions of years before modern humans first evolved.[2]

"He it is Who created you from a single being, and of the same (kind) did He make his mate,"
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah 's Apostle said, "Treat women nicely, for a women is created from a rib, and the most curved portion of the rib is its upper portion, so, if you should try to straighten it, it will break, but if you leave it as it is, it will remain crooked. So treat women nicely."

Some Muslim creationists will claim the view of two ancestral “parents” is consistent with recent scientific findings that show a common female and male ancestor of all modern humans. They often exploit the confusion caused by scientists referring to these genetic ancestors as Mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosomal Adam. These two individuals bear little resemblance to the Quranic account as they are simply the last common male and female ancestors of everyone alive today, not of all humans in history. The Qur'an clearly states Eve was created later than Adam, however Mitochondrial Eve lived some 50,000 to 80,000 years earlier than Y-chromosomal Adam.[3] Genetic evidence overwhelmingly indicates that humans diverged from earlier species as a population, not a single couple. [4].


The Qur'an and Hadith contain statements about bodily fluids and the stages of development of the human embryo. Many of these descriptions are vague and unscientific. Most bear a striking resemblance to similar descriptions found in the Jewish Talmud and the ideas of ancient Greeks such as Galen, including their errors.

Sperm Originates Between the Backbone and Ribs[edit]

The Qur'an states, incorrectly, that semen originates from a spot between the backbone and ribs. Today we know sperm comes from the testicles and semen from various glands behind and below the bladder, which is not between the spine and ribs.

He is created from a drop emitted- Proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs

Embryo is Initially Formed from Semen[edit]

The author of the Qur'an describes the initial formation of a human embryo out of fluid emanating from the man (and possibly also of the woman), which is stored in the womb. This reflects the contemporary, but incorrect, view that the material for the embryo is initially formed out of semen, as taught by Hippocrates, Galen, and the Jewish Talmud. In fact, semen is the vehicle for the sperm cells, one of which fuses with a woman's ovum in her fallopian tube, and the resulting cell divides and travels back into the womb for implantation.

While English translations mention a "drop of seed", or "drop of sperm", the Arabic word in question is nutfah, which literally means a small amount of liquid, a euphemism for semen.

Did We not create you from a liquid disdained? And We placed it in a firm lodging For a known extent.
Then placed him as a drop (of seed) [nutfah] in a safe lodging;
From what thing doth He create him? From a drop of seed [nutfah]. He createth him and proportioneth him
Indeed, We created man from a sperm-drop mixture [nutfatin amshajin] that We may try him; and We made him hearing and seeing.

No Mention of Female Ovum[edit]

The Qur'an's author did not mention the role of the ovum in human reproduction and appears to have no knowledge of it. This verse fails to mention the important role of the female egg, or ovum, plays in the reproduction of humankind. It implies that reproduction is caused simply by the male semen. The human ovum is very small, though visible to the human eye, and it's purpose wasn't understood in the 7th century. Again, we are left wondering why an all-knowing deity would omit such information.

He is created from a drop emitted

Humans Created from a Clot of Blood[edit]

The Qur'an and Hadith depict that humans are formed from a clot of blood. There was never a stage in embryonic development where humans are formed into a clot of blood. This description is likely influenced by an unscientific and primitive understanding of human reproduction based on observations from an early-term miscarriage and a woman's menstrual cycle. While in modern times some Muslims seek to use alternative meanings for the relevant word, the mere fact that it certainly can mean clotted blood (as also is the consensus of the classical tafsirs), in a passage about a biological process (formation of a baby), is a major weakness in what should be a perfect description.

Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood:
Narrated 'Abdullah bin Mus'ud: “Allah's Apostle, the true and truly inspired said, "(The matter of the Creation of) a human being is put together in the womb of the mother in forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar period.”

Gender of a Baby is Decided After it Becomes a Clot[edit]

The Qur'an says that an embryo is transformed from a sperm to a clot, then it is shaped, and then the male or female sex is determined. Modern genetics has shown that the sex of a human is decided at the moment of conception.[1]

Was he not a drop of fluid which gushed forth? Then he became a clot; then (Allah) shaped and fashioned And made of him a pair, the male and female.

While translators mostly use "And" in verse 39, the Arabic word is fa, as also in the previous conjunction, which indicates 'and then'. The tafsirs also take this view, and it is very much reflected in a sahih hadith found in Bukhari and Muslim:

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "At every womb Allah appoints an angel who says, 'O Lord! A drop of semen, O Lord! A clot. O Lord! A little lump of flesh." Then if Allah wishes (to complete) its creation, the angel asks, (O Lord!) Will it be a male or female, a wretched or a blessed, and how much will his provision be? And what will his age be?' So all that is written while the child is still in the mother's womb."

Bones are Formed before Flesh[edit]

The Qur'an explains that the bones of a human embryo are formed first and then covered up with flesh. Modern scientific studies and research have shown that the cartilage models and muscles start to form at the same time and in parallel. Muscles have started to form before the cartilage models start to be replaced with bone.

Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a (foetus) lump; then we made out of that lump bones then (not and) clothed the bones with flesh; then we developed out of it another creature. So blessed be Allah, the best to create!

The Qur'an again parallels the influential Greek physician Galen, who says:

And now the third period of gestation has come. After nature has made outlines of all the organs and the substance of the semen is used up, the time has come for nature to articulate the organs precisely and to bring all the parts to completion. Thus it caused flesh to grow on and around all the bones...
Galen, On semen, p.101

All Organisms are Created in Pairs[edit]

Not every creature procreates or reproduces through male and female sexual relationship. The whiptail lizard in the U.S. Southwest, Mexico, and South America, is an all-females species which reproduces by parthenogenesis. Viruses reproduce using a host's DNA and are neither female nor male. Bacteria reproduce by cell division. Fungus can reproduce either sexually or asexually. Many species of plants also reproduce either asexually or through pollination.

And of every thing We have created pairs: That ye may receive instruction.
Glory to Allah, Who created in pairs all things that the earth produces, as well as their own (human) kind and (other) things of which they have no knowledge.

Fetus is in Three Layers of darkness[edit]

The word butun (بطن) means belly/abdomen/midriff, though some translators like to use the more specific word "womb". Tafsirs interpreted the "three darknesses" as the placenta, womb (uterus) and belly. There are in fact many more layers in the human body such as the endometrium, myometrium, perimetrium, peritoneum, besides the cervix uteri, corpus uteri, abdomen (with walls), and placenta (with layers). The idea of three membranes around the fetus (chorion, allantois, and amnion) was taught by the highly influential Greek physician, Galen. Perhaps the Qur'anic author is simply repeating this idea, which applies only to the embryonic membranes.

The allantois is a sac-like structure which becomes part of the umbilical cord, hardly a 'a darkness' for the embryo. The other two membranes, the chorion and amnion, together form the amniotic sac, which is quite thin and transparent.

He created you from one soul. Then He made from it its mate, and He produced for you from the grazing livestock eight mates. He creates you in the wombs of your mothers, creation after creation, within three darknesses. That is Allah, your Lord; to Him belongs dominion. There is no deity except Him, so how are you averted?

Functions of the Heart[edit]

In several verses, the Qur'an ascribes understanding and thinking to the heart instead of the brain.

And We place upon their hearts veils lest they should understand it, and in their ears a deafness; and when thou makest mention of thy Lord alone in the Qur'an, they turn their backs in aversion.
Lo! now they fold up their breasts that they may hide (their thoughts) from Him. At the very moment when they cover themselves with their clothing, Allah knoweth that which they keep hidden and that which they proclaim. Lo! He is Aware of what is in the breasts (of men).

Source and Purity of Milk[edit]

The Qur'an states that milk is produced, in the body, somewhere between excretions and blood. The mammary glands, where milk is produced and stored, are nowhere near the intestines which is where excrement is stored. Many kinds of cattle and goat milk needs processing or pasteurization before they can safely be consumed; the milk is often infected with bacteria and other micro-organisms. A significant number of humans are lactose intolerant and unable to digest milk without experiencing abdominal bloating and cramps, flatulence, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. This makes the Qur'anic claim that milk is 'pure' and 'agreeable' to those who drink it dubious.

And verily in cattle (too) will ye find an instructive sign. From what is within their bodies between excretions and blood, We produce, for your drink, milk, pure and agreeable to those who drink it.

Geology and Meteorology[edit]

The Earth is Flat[edit]

Facing Toward Mecca[edit]

The Qur'an tells all Muslims to face in the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca when they pray. However, even if you suppose that alligning yourself with a great circle around the globe counts as facing the direction of Mecca, you are simultaneously facing opposite its direction as the circle can be traced behind you. Even worse, on the opposite side of the Earth every direction is equally facing towards and away from Mecca. Astronauts in Earth orbit or (one day) on the Moon and Mars would require even more contrived solutions. The author here presupposes a small world, local to Arabia, that is flat. Only in that world view can people everywhere face Mecca.

From whencesoever Thou startest forth, turn Thy face in the direction of the sacred Mosque; that is indeed the truth from the Lord. And Allah is not unmindful of what ye do.

Fasting and Prayer Requirements Near the Poles[edit]

The Qur'an commands Muslims to fast from eating and drinking from sunrise till sunset during Ramadan. The author of the Qur'an was apparently unfamiliar with the polar regions in which there are six months of sunlight and six months of perpetual night during Summer and Winter. Such fasting is not observable by anyone living in the polar regions, and very easy (depth of Winter) or extremely hard (height of Summer) in places within around 40 degrees latitude of the poles. Various contrived rules have been proposed by Muslim scholars for those at such latitudes to try to accommodate the inconvenient fact that we live on a round Earth.

...then complete your fast Till the night appears;...

A similar issue exists for the five daily prayers. Anyone living in the polar region would not be able to make a sunset or sunrise prayer for much of the year. Even for cities further south like Aberdeen in Scotland, the gap between the night prayer (Isha) and the dawn prayer (Fajr) is around 4 and a half hours in June, so anyone following these rules has to interupt their sleep around 3.20am, then go back to sleep before getting up for the day. Such issues would not have crossed the mind of a 7th century man in Arabia, who believed that everyone experiences sunrise and sunset when he does, and where it would be perfectly natural to arise at dawn any time of the year.

Establish regular prayers - at the sun's decline till the darkness of the night, and the morning prayer and reading: for the prayer and reading in the morning carry their testimony.

Earth is Spread Out and Flat[edit]

The author of the Qur'an mentions to his audience that the Earth is 'spread out' and layed flat. The arabic word here (sataha) was used to describe making the flat top or roof of a house or chamber and making a top surface flat. Words from the same root mean the flat top surface or roof of a house or chamber, a flat plane in geometry, a level place upon which dates can be spread, a rolling pin (which expands the dough), plane or flat.

And at the Earth, how it is spread out?

The Qur'anic commentary of al-Jalalayn agrees with this understanding of the verse saying that most scholars at his time agree that the earth is flat and not spherical.

And the earth, how it was laid out flat?, and thus infer from this the power of God, exalted be He, and His Oneness? The commencing with the [mention of] camels is because they are closer in contact with it [the earth] than any other [animal]. As for His words sutihat, 'laid out flat', this on a literal reading suggests that the earth is flat, which is the opinion of most of the scholars of the [revealed] Law, and not a sphere as astronomers (ahl al-hay'a) have it, even if this [latter] does not contradict any of the pillars of the Law.
Tafsir al-Jalalayn

The Earth is a carpet[edit]

The arabic word used here means a thing that is spread or spread out or forth, and particularly a carpet.

And Allah has made the earth for you as a carpet (spread out)

Earth is Like a Couch[edit]

The Earth is described using an arabic word that means a thing that is spread on the ground to sit or lay upon,

[He] who made for you the earth a bed [spread out] and the sky a ceiling and sent down from the sky, rain and brought forth thereby fruits as provision for you. So do not attribute to Allah equals while you know [that there is nothing similar to Him].

Ibn-Kathir in his Tafsir agrees with this interpretation that the earth is flat and comfortable like a bed.

who has made the earth as flat and comfortable as a bed and placed upon it mountains standing firm... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Part 1)

The same root word for couch in 2:22 is used as a verb in 51.48 in the sense of to spread (the first word translated spread here).

And the earth, We have spread it; how excellent (are) the Spreaders!

Earth is a Bed[edit]

The Earth is described like a bed (or carpet in Yusuf Ali's translation) in verse 20:53, and similarly Qur'an 43:10. The arabic word suggests something completely flat and spread out on the ground and not rolled up for storage.

Who hath appointed the earth as a bed and hath threaded roads for you therein and hath sent down water from the sky and thereby We have brought forth divers kinds of vegetation

Sometimes the same Arabic word is translated as expanse as in this verse. Together with the next verse, the Earth is a thing spread out and pegged down by mountains.

Have We not made the earth as a wide expanse, And the mountains as pegs?

The same root word is used as a verb at the end of 51.48

And the earth, We have spread it; how excellent (are) the Spreaders!

The Earth was stretched out[edit]

In the verse below, as also in Qur'an 13:3 and Qur'an 50:7, the Qur'an uses a word that meant to extend by drawing or pulling, stretch out, expand.

And the earth We have spread out (like a carpet); set thereon mountains firm and immovable; and produced therein all kinds of things in due balance.

Earth is a Level Plain[edit]

The Qur'an describes a time in the future when mountains will be removed. Verse 18:47 uses an arabic word that means entirely apparent to describe the Earth at this time. Verse 20:106 uses words that mean a level plain. This description assumes the Earth is already flat and level with only the mountains giving it shape. The author here appears to have no knowledge that the Earth is round and not level.

And (bethink you of) the Day when we remove the hills and ye see the earth emerging, and We gather them together so as to leave not one of them behind.
They will ask thee of the mountains (on that day). Say: My Lord will break them into scattered dust. And leave it as an empty plain, Wherein thou seest neither curve nor ruggedness.

Earth has Seven Atmospheric Layers[edit]

Some websites claim that the Qur'an describes the layers of the earth's atmosphere when it refers to the seven heavens and of the earth, the like thereof, even though another verse (36:7) says that the stars are in the lowest heaven. However, scientists have determined that there are five principal layers in the atmosphere and not seven.

Allah it is who hath created seven heavens, and of the earth the like thereof. The commandment cometh down among them slowly, that ye may know that Allah is Able to do all things, and that Allah surroundeth all things in knowledge.

Permanent Barrier between Fresh and Salt Water[edit]

When a fresh water river flows into the sea or ocean, there is a transition region in between. This transition region is called an estuary where the fresh water remains temporarily separated from the salt water. However, this separation is not absolute (thus cannot be described as a "barrier"), is not permanent, and the different salinity levels between the two bodies of water eventually homogenize. The Qur'an however erroneously says that the seperation between the two types of water is absolute and permanent.

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.

Mountains Prevent Earthquakes[edit]

Modern geology has discovered that large plates in the crust of the earth are responsible for the formation of mountains. Called Plate tectonic these massive plates meet and the pressure between them pushes up the crust forming mountains but also causing earthquakes and faults. the Qur'an propagates the idea that mountains are crucial in stabilizing the earth when, in fact, the earth would be much more stable and have less earthquakes if mountains did not exist.

And He has set up on the earth mountains standing firm, lest it should shake with you; and rivers and roads; that ye may guide yourselves

Mountains Cast into the Earth[edit]

Mountains are usually formed through the movement of lithosphere plates. They were not thrown down into the earth.

And He hath cast into the earth firm hills that it quake not with you, and streams and roads that ye may find a way

The word he has cast is alqa (lam-qaf-ya), which means to cast down and is the same word used in 12:10 when Yusuf is cast down into the well, and in 20:20 when Moses casts down his staff, which becomes a snake.

Chest Contracts with Altitude[edit]

This verse says that your chest cavity gets smaller with higher altitude when in reality the opposite is true.

Those whom Allah (in His plan) willeth to guide,- He openeth their breast to Islam; those whom He willeth to leave straying,- He maketh their breast close and constricted, as if they had to climb up to the skies: thus doth Allah (heap) the penalty on those who refuse to believe.

Earthquakes are a Punishment from God[edit]

Some of the highest death tolls from natural disasters in the last decade were in Muslim countries. In fact, natural disasters do not differentiate between Muslim or non-Muslim nations nor are they controlled by a divine being. Earth quakes are extremely common along tectonic fault lines and are not a punishment for human behavior but the byproduct of natural forces. The Qur'anic author perpetuates an unscientific understanding of his phenomena in there verses.

Do then those who devise evil (plots) feel secure that Allah will not cause the earth to swallow them up, or that the Wrath will not seize them from directions they little perceive?
But they denied him, and the dreadful earthquake took them, and morning found them prostrate in their dwelling place.

Hurricanes and Blizzards are a Punishment from God[edit]

Two of the deadliest blizzards in history happened in Muslim countries. However, the Qur'an regards those natural disasters as violent punishment from God. Weather patterns follow predictable patterns and are not controlled by a divine being.

Do ye then feel secure that He will not cause you to be swallowed up beneath the earth when ye are on land, or that He will not send against you a violent tornado (with showers of stones) so that ye shall find no one to carry out your affairs for you

Rainwater is Pure[edit]

The Qur'an says rainwater is pure, though in some industrial areas rainwater can contain significant amounts of pollution and acidity. Called acid rain this type of rain causes harmful effects on plants, aquatic animals and buildings.

And He it is Who sends the winds as good news before His mercy; and We send down pure water from the cloud,

No Evaporation in Water Cycle[edit]

Every verse about rain in the Qur'an implies that rain comes either directly from the sky or from Allah. However evaporation of water into the air is conspicuously never mentioned.

That sends down (from time to time) rain from the sky in due measure;- and We raise to life therewith a land that is dead; even so will ye be raised (from the dead)

Hail Comes from Mountains in the Sky[edit]

Hail forms in cumulonimbus clouds when updrafts raise water droplets to an altitude where they freeze. However, the Qur'an mistakenly ascribed the formation of hail to invisible mountains in the sky.

Do you not see that God moves the clouds gently, brings them together, piles them up, and then you can see the rain coming from them. He sends down hailstones from the mountains in the sky. With them He strikes or protects from them whomever He wants. The lightening can almost take away the sight.

wayunazzilu (and he sends down) mina (from) alssamai (the sky) min (from) jibalin (mountains) feeha (in it ['it' is feminine so must refer to the sky]) min (of) baradin (hail)

Tafsirs such as Jalalayn and the one attributed to Ibn Abbas say that this means mountains in the sky. Ibn Kathir notes two views, that these are mountains of hail in the sky, or that they are a metaphor for clouds. Yet we should rightly wonder whether the author of the Qur'an really meant mountains as metaphors for clouds, given that he mentions clouds explicitly earlier in the verse, and we can see that the word mountains was understood literally as evidenced in tafsirs.

Allah Uses Thunderbolts to Smite People[edit]

The Qur'anic author was superstitious about thunder and lightning and imagined that they strike those whom Allah wishes to smite.

And the thunder declares His glory with His praise, and the angels too for awe of Him; and He sends the thunderbolts and smites with them whom He pleases, yet they dispute concerning Allah, and He is mighty in prowess.

Muslim tafsirs, such as al Jalalayn and the tafsir (attributed to) Ibn Abbas, explain this verse clearly, even indicating that the author of the Qur'an believed that thunder was not an impersonal natural phenomenon, but an angel:

(The thunder hymneth His praise) by His command; it is an angel; it is also said: it is the voice of the sky (and (so do) the angels) and also the angels hymn His praise (for awe of Him) the angels have awe towards Allah. (He launcheth the thunder bolts) i.e. fire (and smiteth with them whom He will) He destroys by means of fire whoever He will, referring here to Zayd Ibn Qays whom Allah destroyed by fire, along with his friend ‘Amir Ibn al-Tufayl who was killed as a result of being stabbed in his waist (while they dispute (in doubt) concerning Allah) while they dispute with Muhammad (pbuh) concerning the Religion of Allah, (and He is mighty in wrath) His chastisement is severe


Ants Recognize Humans and Speak with Each Other[edit]

Ants typically communicate with each other using pheromone which are a chemical signal. While scientists have also discovered that ants make some noises, nothing has ever indicated that the brains of ants could produce such complex communication as is depicted in the Quranic story of Solomon and the ants. However, the Qur'an tells us that not only does an ant warn her fellow ants of the approach of a large army of humans, but it recognizes one of the humans as Solomon. Then, he also understands her speech. How an ant could even see that far or have known the identify of Solomon is never explained. This account of a talking ant is clearly a legend and not scientific.

At length, when they came to a (lowly) valley of ants, one of the ants said: "O ye ants, get into your habitations, lest Solomon and his hosts crush you (under foot) without knowing it." So he smiled, amused at her speech; and he said: "O my Lord! so order me that I may be grateful for Thy favours, which thou hast bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may work the righteousness that will please Thee: And admit me, by Thy Grace, to the ranks of Thy righteous Servants."

Horses Created as Transportation[edit]

It took thousands of years of domestication and cross-breeding before horses were domesticated approximately 4,000 years ago in East Europe and Central Asia. Prior to this, horses were wild animals though the Qur'an neglects to mention this important fact. Even today feral horses are descendants of once domesticated horses that aren't tamed or used for human transportation.

And (He has created) horses, mules, and donkeys, for you to ride and use for show; and He has created (other) things of which ye have no knowledge.

Bird Flight is a Miracle[edit]

Today, engineers and scientists are well aware of the aerodynamic properties of a bird's wing. It functions by creating a difference in the air pressure between the lower and upper part of the wing and this creates lift that pushes the bird upward. The wings of birds evolved over millions of years to acquire this feature. The author of the Qur'an, however, is unaware of these scientific details and says that 'nothing' holds up the bird except the miraculous power of Allah.

Do they not look at the birds, held poised in the midst of (the air and) the sky? Nothing holds them up but (the power of) Allah. Verily in this are signs for those who believe

Only Four / Eight Types of Cattle[edit]

While the Qur'an states that there are eight kinds of cattle for use by humans, In fact there are more than a dozen kinds of cattle. The word "cattle" in 39:6 is al-ana'ami, meaning pasturing (i.e. grazing) animals. The word azwajin ("kinds" in the translation of 39:6 below) generally means mate or member of a pair. Qur'an 6:143-144 clarifies that these refer to male and female pairs of sheep, goats, oxes and camels, so in fact the author of the Qur'an is aware only of four kinds of cattle useful for humans. This neglects other types of cattle from the regions outside of Arabia such as reindeer, which are important to people in northern latitudes.

He created you from one being, then from that (being) He made its mate; and He hath provided for you of cattle eight kinds. He created you in the wombs of your mothers, creation after creation, in a threefold gloom. Such is Allah, your Lord. His is the Sovereignty. There is no Allah save Him. How then are ye turned away
And of the cattle (He produceth) some for burdens, some for food. Eat of that which Allah hath bestowed upon you, and follow not the footsteps of the devil, for lo! he is an open foe to you. Eight pairs: Of the sheep twain, and of the goats twain. Say: Hath He forbidden the two males or the two females, or that which the wombs of the two females contain? Expound to me (the case) with knowledge, if ye are truthful. And of the camels twain and of the oxen twain. Say: Hath He forbidden the two males or the two females, or that which the wombs of the two females contain; or were ye by to witness when Allah commanded you (all) this? Then who doth greater wrong than he who deviseth a lie concerning Allah, that he may lead mankind astray without knowledge. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.

Birth Defects and Imperfections[edit]

The author of the Qur'an states that there are no flaws in anything. The author fails to mention the numerous defects and imperfections in all species.

Who hath created seven heavens in harmony. Thou (Muhammad) canst see no fault in the Beneficent One's creation; then look again: Canst thou see any flaw?

Poisonous Sea Life is Edible[edit]

A number of sea creatures are deadly and fatal to humans if consumed. This includes the puffer fish, poison dart frong, marbled cone snail, blue ringed octopus and stonefish. The Qur'an, however, makes no prohibition against eating these types of animals even though it goes into lengthy detail forbidding the consumption of pigs, which are safe for humans to eat.

Lawful to you is the pursuit of water-game and its use for food,- for the benefit of yourselves and those who travel; but forbidden is the pursuit of land-game;- as long as ye are in the sacred precincts or in pilgrim garb. And fear Allah, to Whom ye shall be gathered back.

All Animals Live in Communities[edit]

The Qur'an is emphatic that all animals live in communities. Some animals such as the jaguar or leopard are well known for being solitary creatures, rarely meeting in pairs and only to mate. They do not live in communities and routinely fight each other over territory.

There are also species even whose young are not raised as a family, which lay eggs and abandon them before hatching. Sea Turtles bury their eggs on a beach and leave them. When an egg hatches the baby turtle must dig to the surface and make a sprint to the sea or perish. Some reptiles behave similarly. An even better example is the Carolina anole, which is a lizard species. They lay just a single egg every 2 weeks, around 10 in total, each taking 5 to 7 weeks to hatch. Anole hatchlings much fend for themselves and are by nature solitary creatures from birth.

There is not an animal in the earth, nor a flying creature flying on two wings, but they are peoples like unto you. We have neglected nothing in the Book (of Our decrees). Then unto their Lord they will be gathered.


Wall of Iron between Two Mountains[edit]

The author of the Qur'an repeats the Syrian legend of Alexander the Great as a great king who helps a tribe of people build a massive wall of iron between two mountains. Even with satellites and near universal exploration of the world, no archaeologist has ever found even a trace of such a massive structure.

"Bring me blocks of iron." At length, when he had filled up the space between the two steep mountain-sides, He said, "Blow (with your bellows)" Then, when he had made it (red) as fire, he said: "Bring me, that I may pour over it, molten lead." Thus were they made powerless to scale it or to dig through it.

Christians Worship Mary as Part of the Trinity[edit]

Christians have never worshipped Mary as part of the Trinity. The author of the Qur'an seems to be mistaken in his understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity and the theology of Christians.

And behold! Allah will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah'?" He will say: "Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden

Further evidence that the author believed Mary was part of the Christian trinity appears in Surah Al-Ma'idah when the subject of the trinity is explicitly addressed:

They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah (himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden paradise. His abode is the Fire. For evil-doers there will be no helpers. They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the third of three; when there is no Allah save the One Allah. If they desist not from so saying a painful doom will fall on those of them who disbelieve. Will they not rather turn unto Allah and seek forgiveness of Him? For Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. The Messiah, son of Mary, was no other than a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) had passed away before him. And his mother was a saintly woman. And they both used to eat (earthly) food. See how We make the revelations clear for them, and see how they are turned away!

It is particularly noteworthy that no other entity is mentioned (i.e. the holy spirit, which is the 3rd member of the trinity in actual Christian doctrine). Verse 75 even uses the fact that the Messiah and Marium both ate food to demonstrate that they are not part of a divine trinity with Allah.

Samaritans existing in ancient Egypt[edit]

The Qu'ran claims that Moses dealt with a Samaritan during his time, however they did not exist until over half a millennium after this even supposedly occurred. The term Samari itself comes from the city of Samaria, an archaeologically confirmed city which was built by King Omri in around 870BC, nearly 700 years after Moses is supposed to have existed.

“( Allah) said; ‘We have tested thy people in thy absence: the Samiri has led them astray’.”
“( Moses) said, ‘What then is thy case, O Samiri?’”

These verses concern the story of the golden calf in the time of Moses. It seems that Muhammad may have been confused because there is another Biblical passage in Hosea 8:5-6 about a much later golden calf that the Samaritans worshipped after the time of Solomon.

Mary Confused with Miriam[edit]

Each of the following verses narrates the story of Jesus's birth. But Mary the mother of Jesus was born in the first century BCE and is not related to Moses and his family that existed 1500 years before. Miriam, not Mary, was the sister of Moses and Aaron and daughter of Amram (Imran).

At length she brought the (babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: "O Mary! truly an amazing thing hast thou brought! O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!"
And Mary, the daughter of 'Imran, who guarded her chastity; and We breathed into (her body) of Our spirit;

Hence the claim that Mary's mother is the wife of Imran is also false.

Behold! a woman of 'Imran said: "O my Lord! I do dedicate unto Thee what is in my womb for Thy special service: So accept this of me: For Thou hearest and knowest all things." When she was delivered, she said: "O my Lord! Behold! I am delivered of a female child!"- and Allah knew best what she brought forth- "And no wise is the male Like the female. I have named her Mary, and I commend her and her offspring to Thy protection from the Evil One, the Rejected."

The fact that two different people are given the exact same name despite supposedly living over 1000 years apart in communities which spoke completely different languages (ancient paleo-hebrew and then syriac-aramiac), with different alphabets, also casts serious doubt on the precise historicity of the Qu'ranic account.

Coat of Mail was Invented during the Reign of David[edit]

There is no evidence that Coats of mail existed during the time of David (10th century BCE). The earliest example of a coat of mail was Celtic.[2] Its invention is commonly credited to the Celts in the 3rd century BCE.[3]

In the Qur'an, David is taught by Allah how to make coats of iron chainmail (sabighatin سَٰبِغَٰتٍ) and people should be thankful for this knowledge which has been passed down from him.

And assuredly We gave David grace from Us, (saying): O ye hills and birds, echo his psalms of praise! And We made the iron supple unto him, Saying: Make thou long coats of mail and measure the links (thereof). And do ye right. Lo! I am Seer of what ye do.
And We made Solomon to understand (the case); and unto each of them We gave judgment and knowledge. And we subdued the hills and the birds to hymn (His) praise along with David. We were the doers (thereof). And We taught him the art of making garments (of mail) to protect you in your daring. Are ye then thankful?

Crucifixions in Ancient Egypt[edit]

There are no references from any culture anywhere in the world to crucifixion as a method of execution before 500 BCE, where they started to appear in several middle eastern cultures, and it is not clear that their crucifixions were the same as what we know (the Roman crucifixion)/they are the same type. Ancient Egypt has been extensively studied in archaeology as well. However, the Qur’an tells of crucifixions at the time of Joseph (approximately 2000 BCE) and Moses (approximately 1500 BCE).

Not only that, but crucifixions are often mentioned in a very casual way in the Qu'ran, so the practice must have been widespread enough to be understood by common people, as common people are being addressed in these suras.

O two companions of prison, as for one of you, he will give drink to his master of wine; but as for the other, he will be crucified, and the birds will eat from his head. The matter has been decreed about which you both inquire."
Said Pharaoh: "Believe ye in Him before I give you permission? Surely this is a trick which ye have planned in the city to drive out its people: but soon shall ye know (the consequences). Be sure I will cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, and I will cause you all to die on the cross."

Noah's Ark holds Every Species[edit]

The legend of Noah and the Ark states that two of each kind of animal was placed on an ark. However, there are over a hundred thousand species of animals including penguins, polar bears, koala bears, and kangaroos that live spread across the entire planet and in different climates and requiring specialized diets. There is no way such an event could have occurred.

At length, behold! there came Our command, and the fountains of the earth gushed forth! We said: "Embark therein, of each kind two, male and female, and your family - except those against whom the word has already gone forth,- and the Believers." but only a few believed with him.

Pharaoh or Pharaohs[edit]

Geographically, the Coptic land of Egypt was adjacent to Arabia. Thus, most Arabs were aware of the preservation method applied by the ancient Egyptian to their Pharaohs. There were so many Pharaohs ranging from numerous dynasties, many of them were preserved intact. But the Qur'an merely narrated one Pharaoh that was preserved.

This day shall We save thee in the body, that thou mayest be a sign to those who come after thee! but verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our Signs!"

Jews call Ezra the Son of God[edit]

Historically, Judaism has been a strict form of monotheism. But the author of the Qur'an accuses Jews of polytheism by stating that they call Uzair (Ezra) the son of God in the same way that Christians see Jesus as the son of God. The author of the Qur'an seems to be unaware of the different theological implications of these two terms between Judaism and Christianity.

The Jews call 'Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!

Nobody before John the Baptist was given the name "John"[edit]

The name "John" originates from the Hebrew name Yohanan. Several figures in the Old Testament bore this name. To quote historical examples, there was a high priest named Johanan (3rd century BC)}} and a ruler named John Hyrcanus (died 104 BC). These people existed before John the Baptist, who was a contemporary of Jesus. But the Qur'an claims that nobody before John the Baptist (Yahya in Arabic) bore his name.

(It was said unto him): O Zachariah! Lo! We bring thee tidings of a son whose name is John; we have given the same name to none before (him).

Supernatural Destruction of Cities[edit]

The Qur'an author thought that outside the vicinity of Arabia there were cities and tribes destroyed by Allah. He acquired this information through hearsay from Arabian folklore as well as other legends. Those cities and tribes probably were destroyed by natural disasters, famine, wars, migration or neglect.

Do they not travel through the earth and see what was the End of those before them? They were more numerous than these and superior in strength and in the traces (they have left) in the land: Yet all that they accomplished was of no profit to them.

Humans can Live for a Thousand Years[edit]

The oldest verified human life has been a little over 120 years. Based on fossil records and testing on human remains, anthropologists have concluded that human life spans are increasing, not decreasing. Nevertheless, the Qur'an claims that Noah lived for almost 1,000 years.

We (once) sent Noah to his people, and he tarried among them a thousand years less fifty: but the Deluge overwhelmed them while they (persisted in) sin.

Non-Existent Mosque in Jerusalem[edit]

Muslims claim that Al-Aqsa mosque is mentioned in the Qur'an as the furthest mosque, even though there was obviously no mosque in Jerusalem during Muhammad's time.

Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).


People are Protected in Mecca[edit]

The Qur'an claims Allah has made Mecca and the Ka'aba a place of safety. However, historically it has been attacked and seen battles numerous times. Juhayman al-Otaybi, Abd-Allah ibn al-Zubayr, and Abu Tahir al-Janabi killed thousands of Muslim pilgrims in Mecca. Moreover, Yazid Bin Muawiya sent an army battalion to attack Mecca and desecrated the Ka'aba. The universal safety of people in Mecca has no historical evidence supporting it.

Remember We made the House a place of assembly for men and a place of safety; and take ye the station of Abraham as a place of prayer; and We covenanted with Abraham and Isma'il, that they should sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or use it as a retreat, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer).
Allah made the Ka'ba, the Sacred House, an asylum of security for men, as also the Sacred Months, the animals for offerings, and the garlands that mark them: That ye may know that Allah hath knowledge of what is in the heavens and on earth and that Allah is well acquainted with all things.

Requirement to Learn in Arabic[edit]

There are over 5,000 languages and dialects in the world, with less than 4% of the world's population being native Arabic speakers. However, it is incumbent upon Muslims to pray in Arabic, recite the Qur'an in Arabic, and understand commentaries and the traditions of Muhammad in Arabic. We are left wondering why an all-knowing being would not provide a more efficient way to send his message to all people on earth and why he does not account for the immense diversity of languages.

We have made it a Qur'an in Arabic, that ye may be able to understand (and learn wisdom).

Non-Muslims are Deaf, Dumb, and Blind[edit]

The Qur'an calls non-believers "deaf dumb and blind". However all the technology, medicine, and scientific advancements in the Muslim world are almost exclusively purchased from the non-Muslim countries. Computers, television, space travel, helicopters, media players, nuclear bombs, cameras, satellites, birth control pills, vaccinations, telephones, radios, light bulbs, microchips, games consoles, refrigerators, microwaves, plastic, aluminium, x-rays, antibiotics, heart-transplants, the internet etc., were all invented by non-Muslims.

Deaf, dumb, and blind, they will not return (to the path)

Myths and Legendary Tales[edit]

While miracles by definition are supposed to defy the laws of nature and scientific explanation, it is interesting to observe some of the strange and absurd myths and legends in the Qur'an.

Humans Transformed into Apes[edit]

The Qur'an records a miraculous event where Sabbath breakers are transformed into apes. This account seems to be a mere legend and has no basis in scientific fact.

And well ye knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath: We said to them: "Be ye apes, despised and rejected."

Golden Calf Statue Moos[edit]

A statue of a calf was cast out of ornaments but it could moo.

So he brought forth for them a calf, a (mere) body, which had a mooing sound, so they said: This is your god and the god of Musa, but he forgot.

Tribe Trapped Behind a Wall[edit]

The story of Dhul-Qarnayn says that a tribe is trapped behind a massive wall of Iron. According to the Qur'an, these two beast tribes concealed themselves behind this metal wall and will only be let free on the day of Judgement. Obviously, no such wall has ever been found nor is there a tribe somewhere on earth trapped behind it.

Until the Gog and Magog (people) are let through (their barrier), and they swiftly swarm from every hill.

Supernatural Food[edit]

The Qur'an states Mary received food sent down from heaven. There have never been any scientifically verified accounts of fully cooked food falling from the sky.

Jesus, son of Mary, said: O Allah, Lord of us! Send down for us a table spread with food from heaven, that it may be a feast for us, for the first of us and for the last of us, and a sign from Thee. Give us sustenance, for Thou art the Best of Sustainers.

A Stick Transforms into a Serpent[edit]

Then (Moses) threw his rod, and behold! it was a serpent, plain (for all to see)!

Solomon's Army of Genies and Birds[edit]

Throughout history, kings and emperors had commanded huge and small amount of armies. None was ever recorded to possess armies that entirely consists of birds and genies. This story in the Qur'an draws on Jewish folklore.

And Solomon was David's heir. He said: "O ye people! We have been taught the speech of birds, and on us has been bestowed (a little) of all things: this is indeed Grace manifest (from Allah.)And before Solomon were marshalled his hosts― of Jinns and men and birds, and they were all kept in order and ranks.

He spoke with a Hoopoe bird and wanted to punish it for a small error.

And he took a muster of the Birds; and he said: "Why is it I see not the Hoopoe? Or is he among the absentees? I will certainly punish him with a severe Penalty, or execute him, unless he bring me a clear reason (for absence).

The Hoopoe bird was in fact busy eavesdropping on a beautiful female ruler, Queen Sheba.

I found (there) a woman ruling over them and provided with every requisite; and she has a magnificent throne.

Jonah Performs Repentance inside a Fish[edit]

A human could not live inside a fish and pray.

Then the big Fish did swallow him, and he had done acts worthy of blame. Had it not been that he (repented and) glorified Allah,He would certainly have remained inside the Fish till the Day of Resurrection.But We cast him forth, on the naked shore in a state of sickness

Muhammad Flies on a Winged Horse to Heaven[edit]

It took one week to travel from Mecca to the Farthest Mosque by camel. But the Qur'an reveals that a magical winged horse, called the Buraq, traveled a similar distance in a matter of minutes. No such creature has ever been shown to be real and it seems to only exist in legend and mythology.

Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).

Body Parts Speak[edit]

The limbs and organs of a human are controlled by the brain that conveys electrical signal through the nervous system. But the Qur'an believes that the limbs can talk and testify against the person, even though they would have no voice, memory or mind of their own.

On the Day when their tongues, their hands, and their feet will bear witness against them as to their actions.

The Ocean Split in Half[edit]

Moses and the Israelites crossed an ocean that was split into two halves.

And remember We divided the sea for you and saved you and drowned Pharaoh's people within your very sight.

Solomon can Control the Wind[edit]

King Solomon had the authority to manipulate the wind at his command and could fly anywhere he wanted.

Then We subjected the wind to his power, to flow gently to his order, Whithersoever he willed
A flying carpet made from wood, on top of which he could carry everything in his kingdom including chairs, to wherever Solomon wants to go, whilst flocks of birds would fly over to give shade

A Dead Man Testified against his Killer[edit]

Allah told some people to hit a murder victim with a piece of cow to temporarily resurrect him.

And We said: Smite him with some of it. Thus Allah bringeth the dead to life and showeth you His portents so that ye may understand.

Mountains and Birds can Sing Songs[edit]

And assuredly We gave David grace from Us, (saying): O ye hills and birds, echo his psalms of praise! And We made the iron supple unto him



And He taught Adam the names - all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, "Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful."

The Qu'ran states that the first humans "Adam and Eve" spoke to each other in some kind of language in many suras, and also that God told them the names of everything. Thanks to the modern field of linguistics and the history of language we know that the type of sentences constructed in the Qu'ran would simply not have been able to be spoken by humans until over 100,000 years since the first humans evolved. The language of the first humans would be incomprehensible to us and they would not be able to express the kinds of sentences that Adam and Eve do in the Qu'ran.

Mathematical Error in Hereditary Laws[edit]

4.11: Allah (thus) directs you as regards your Children's (Inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females: if only daughters, two or more, their share is two-thirds of the inheritance; if only one, her share is a half. For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the deceased left children; if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased Left brothers (or sisters) the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases ('s) after the payment of legacies and debts. Ye know not whether your parents or your children are nearest to you in benefit. These are settled portions ordained by Allah; and Allah is All-knowing, Al-wise.

4.12: In what your wives leave, your share is a half, if they leave no child; but if they leave a child, ye get a fourth; after payment of legacies and debts. In what ye leave, their share is a fourth, if ye leave no child; but if ye leave a child, they get an eighth; after payment of legacies and debts. If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question, has left neither ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the two gets a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third; after payment of legacies and debts; so that no loss is caused (to any one). Thus is it ordained by Allah; and Allah is All-knowing, Most Forbearing.
  • Wife: 1/8 = 3/24,
  • Daughters: 2/3 = 16/24,
  • Father: 1/6 = 4/24,
  • Mother: 1/6 = 4/24,
  • Total = 27/24=1.125

The total does not equal to 1. This error can never be reconciled in any way. [5]

People use the Forehead to Lie[edit]

According to a particularly imaginative miracle claim made by some Islamic websites, the Qur'an identifies which part of the brain is used for telling lies. Brain wave technology has shown that electrical activity happens in the entire brain when a person is being deceitful.

Let him beware! If he desist not, We will drag him by the forelock. A lying, sinful forelock.

Sailing of Ships is a Miracle[edit]

Ships float due to buoyancy and they can be driven by various sources of power.

Seest thou not that the ships sail through the ocean by the Grace of Allah?- that He may show you of His signs? Verily in this are signs for all who constantly persevere and give thanks.
And among His Signs are the ships, smooth-running through the ocean, (tall) as mountains.
If it be His Will He can still the Wind: then would they become motionless on the back of the (ocean). Verily in this are Signs for everyone who patiently perseveres and is grateful.
Or He can cause them to perish because of the (evil) which (the men) have earned; but much doth He forgive.
Your Lord is He That maketh the Ship go smoothly for you through the sea, in order that ye may seek of his Bounty. For he is unto you most Merciful.


  1. Harrison's principles of internal medicine. (17th ed. ed.). New York [etc.]: McGraw-Hill Medical. pp. 2339–2346. ISBN 978-0-07-147693-5, 2008. 
  2. Rusu, M., "Das Keltische Fürstengrab von Ciumeşti in Rumänien", Germania 50, 1969, pp. 267–269
  3. The ancient world, Richard A. Gabriel, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007 P.79

See Also[edit]