Scientific Errors in the Qur'an
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 apologists 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 clear or unambiguous 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 to reject any claims to its divine authorship.
- 1 Astronomy
- 1.1 Geocentricism
- 1.2 Setting and Rising Place of the Sun
- 1.3 Stars are Missiles Shot at Devils
- 1.4 Moon Emits Light
- 1.5 Moon was Split in Two
- 1.6 Sun, Moon and Stars Created for Humans
- 1.7 Night is a Veil
- 1.8 Seven Planets in the Universe
- 1.9 Seven Heavens
- 1.10 Stars are Located in the Nearest Heaven
- 1.11 Earth Created in Six Days
- 1.12 Earth Created before Stars
- 1.13 The Cause of Shadows
- 1.14 Sun is a Flat Disk
- 1.15 The similar size and distance of the sun and moon
- 1.16 Sky is a Tent/Dome
- 1.17 Sky Guards the Earth
- 1.18 Sky can Fall Down on People
- 1.19 Sky can be Rolled Up
- 1.20 Ignorance of the North and South Poles
- 2 Biology
- 2.1 Evolution
- 2.2 Embryology
- 2.3 All Organisms are Created in Pairs
- 2.4 Womb has Three Layers
- 2.5 Bones are Formed before Flesh
- 2.6 Source and Purity of Milk
- 2.7 Corn has Seven Ears, Each with a Hundred Grains
- 3 Geology and Meteorology
- 3.1 The Earth is Flat
- 3.2 Earth has Seven Atmospheric Layers
- 3.3 The Earth does not Rotate
- 3.4 Permanent Barrier between Fresh and Salt Water
- 3.5 Mountains Prevent Earthquakes
- 3.6 Mountains Cast into the Earth
- 3.7 Chest Contracts with Altitude
- 3.8 Earthquakes are a Punishment from God
- 3.9 Hurricanes and Blizzards are a Punishment from God
- 3.10 Rainwater is Pure
- 3.11 No Evaporation in Water Cycle
- 3.12 Hail Comes from Mountains in the Sky
- 3.13 Thunder is an Angel
- 4 Zoology
- 4.1 Bees Eat Fruit
- 4.2 Ants Recognize Humans and Speak with Each Other
- 4.3 Horses Created as Transportation
- 4.4 Bird Flight is a Miracle
- 4.5 Classification of Creatures
- 4.6 Only Eight Types of Cattle
- 4.7 Birth Defects and Imperfections
- 4.8 Poisonous Sea Life is Edible
- 4.9 Birds Fight Elephants
- 4.10 Sinful Animals
- 5 History
- 5.1 Wall of Iron between Two Mountains
- 5.2 Christians Worship Mary as Part of the Trinity
- 5.3 Mary Confused with Miriam
- 5.4 Coat of Mail was Invented during the Reign of David
- 5.5 Noah's Ark holds Every Species
- 5.6 Pharaoh or Pharaohs
- 5.7 Jews call Ezra the Son of God
- 5.8 Supernatural Destruction of Cities
- 5.9 Humans can Sleep for Three Hundred Years
- 5.10 Humans can Live for a Thousand Years
- 5.11 Non-Existent Mosque in Jerusalem
- 6 Sociology
- 7 Myths and Legendary Tales
- 7.1 Humans Transformed into Apes
- 7.2 Golden Calf Statue Moos
- 7.3 Tribe Trapped Behind a Wall
- 7.4 Supernatural Food
- 7.5 A Stick Transforms into a Serpent
- 7.6 Solomon's Army of Genies and Birds
- 7.7 Jonah Performs Repentance inside a Fish
- 7.8 Muhammad Flies on a Winged Horse to Heaven
- 7.9 Body Parts Speak
- 7.10 The Ocean Split in Half
- 7.11 Solomon can Control the Wind
- 7.12 A Dead Man Testified against his Killer
- 7.13 Animals Speak to Humans
- 7.14 Mountains and Birds can Sing Songs
- 8 Others
- 9 References
- 10 See Also
The Qur'an mentions numerous times that the sun and the moon travel in an orbit, but does not mention once that the earth does too. This is consistent with a 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 always mentioned in the context of night and day.
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 (a few translations use instead, "appointed term", though in nearly all other verses where we find قرر as a participle they translate it as a place of settlement or an abode or resting place. There are also sahih hadith that mention the sun's daily cycle using the same Arabic word as in verse 36:38 to mean a resting place Sahih Muslim 1:297 (for the Arabic of this hadith, see here).
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 have that meaning - 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 is asked to rise from its setting place (مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا). 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.
Some apologists 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.
In the Qur'an, the moon and the sun orbit the earth together. There is no distinction made between the moon, which actually revolves around the earth, and the sun which only appears to revolve around the earth when in fact the sun's apparent movement through the sky is a product of the rotation of the earth around its axis.
The Arabic word translated "follow" is primarily defined as to follow, go or walk behind, follow in way of immitation, of action etc. and is often used for animals like camels following behind each other. This is very much compatible with and 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.
Notice also that the path of the sun is something that the author expects people to have seen (another problem for the galactic orbit interpretation).
Setting and Rising Place of the Sun
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.
Some Muslim Apologists have 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. 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
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 meteorites which are small rocky masses of debris which brighten up after entering the earth's atmosphere. Many ancient people confused the two, as meteorites 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.
Moon Emits Light
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 this Qur'anic verse that says the Moon is a "light". It instead uses the word "Noor" which is used to denote an entity that emits light.
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.
Moon was Split in Two
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.
Sun, Moon and Stars Created for Humans
The sun, moon and stars are much older than humans. But the Qur'an states their created purpose is for timekeeping and navigation.
Night is a Veil
Night is just the darkness of space as seen from the earth due its rotation.
Seven Planets in the Universe
This verse claims there are seven planets. However, 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 hundreds 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.
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 planets are flat planets.
A hadith suggests that these are seven earths stacked above each other.
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.
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
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.
Earth Created in Six Days
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.
Muslim apologists try and rescue the Qur'an by pointing to an alternative meaning of the Arabic word 'yawm' which typically means 'day' but can sometimes mean 'time period'. However 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 24-hour day. Again, nothing in the context of the verses, nor the Qur'an in general, suggests the universe or earth were formed over long time periods. Secondly, neither the universe nor earth were formed in six long periods of time. It would have been trivial for an all-knowing diety to simply state that the universe was first formed over 13.8 billion years ago. However, this information is conspicuously missing.
Earth Created before Stars
The author of the Qur'an is also unaware that the elements in the Earth's crust and core were first formed in stars. Modern science has proposed that all the elements that make up the earth (Oxygen, Nitrogen, Carbon, Iron, etc.) was originally formed by nucleosynthesis in stars and then expelled into the universe when those stars supernova. Yet the Qur'an describes the earth being formed before the stars and from "smoke" or material that pre-dates 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 authors ignorance of the history of the formation of celestial objects.
Earth and Heavens were Ripped Apart
Some apologists 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.
Universe was Made from Smoke by Contraction
Neither was there any stage of formation of the Universe that involved smoke (carbon particles suspended as a result of combustion) nor did the earth and heavens "come" together at any point of time. Earth is a part of this Universe and has developed within it.
The next verse clearly says that stars were created after the seven heavens which took two days to create, and after the earth which was created even earlier.
The Cause of Shadows
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 location. However, by calling the sun the guide of shadows, this verse claims shadows are caused due to the sun's movement. A non-living "guide" can have two meanings: a controller of movement or an indicator. Other translations of this verse do call the sun an indicator but this is also unscientific because the sun cannot indicate them.
Further, this verse suggests that shadows can be made stationary i.e. the rotation of the earth can be stopped. This is not possible. Then the next verse says that shadows are drawn towards Allah which has no scientific meaning.
Sun is a Flat Disk
This verse suggests that the Sun is flat and can be folded up. The Sun appears as a flat disc from the perspective of a person on earth, but the sun is in fact a near-perfect sphere (oblate spheroid). The verse implies the authors ignorance of this fact.
The similar size and distance of the sun and moon
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.
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.
Sky is a Tent/Dome
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.
In another verse, the author says that the sky has a covering.
Sky Guards the 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 form happening.
Sky can Fall Down on People
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.
Sky can be Rolled Up
This is another verse implying that the sky or heaven is something solid.
Ignorance of the North and South Poles
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.
Furthermore, when reading this verse one should wonder in what sense day and night each have an orbit. This does, however, seem to fit with another verse (see above Night is a Veil).
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 . 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
The Qur’an state that humans were created instantaneously from mud or clay. 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.
First Humans: Adam and Eve
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.
Some Muslim apologists 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. Genetic evidence overwhelmingly indicates that humans diverged from earlier species as a population, not a single couple. .
Humans Created in Paradise and then Brought to Earth
The author of the Qur'an explicitly states that humans were first created outside of the earth and then only later sent down to live on the planet after being expelled from paradise. We have no evidence that humans ever lived in a terrestrial or extra-terrestrial paradise. In fact, all evidence points to primitive humanoids living in caves for tens of thousands of years before settling into more permanent dwellings. 
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
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 the pelvic region, which is not between the spine and ribs.
Embryo is Formed from Male and Female Fluids
The author of the Qur'an describes the formation of a human embryo from fluids emanating from the man (and possibly also of the woman). This reflects the contemporary, but incorrect, view that the embryo is initially formed out of semen stored in the womb. 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 literally means a small amount of liquid, a euphemism for semen.
No Mention of Female Ovum
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.
Humans Created from a Clot of Blood
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.
All Organisms are Created in Pairs
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.
Womb has Three Layers
The word butun (بطن) means belly/abdomen/midriff, though some translators like to use the more specific word "womb". There are 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. It is likely that the Quranic author is simply repeating this erroneous idea.
Bones are Formed before Flesh
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 bones and muscles of a developing fetus are formed simultaneously.
Source and Purity of Milk
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.
Corn has Seven Ears, Each with a Hundred Grains
A corn plant generally has only one or two ears and an ear has up to 600 grains.
Geology and Meteorology
The Earth is Flat
Facing Toward Mecca
The Qur'an tells all Muslims to face in the direction of Mecca when they pray. However, this would only be possible on a flat Earth because it is not possible to bow down towards the direction of Mecca when you are on the opposite side of the earth. The author here presupposes a small world, local to Arabia, that is flat. Only in that world view can people everywhere face Mecca.
Earth is Spread Out and Flat
The author of the Qur'an mentions to his audience that the earth is 'spread out' and layed flat like a carpet spread on the ground.
The Qur'anic commentator al-Jalalayn in his Tasfir agrees with this understanding of the verse saying that most scholars at his time agree that the earth is flat and not spherical.
Earth is Like a Couch
The earth is described as a couch, flat and laid out for people to lay upon.
Ibn-Kathir in his Tafsir agrees with this interpretation that the earth is flat and comfortable like a bed.
Earth is Like a Carpet
The earth is described like a carpet, completely flat and spread out on the ground and not rolled up for storage.
Earth is a Wide Plain
The author of the Qur'an sees the earth as a wide plain or expanse. This is often likened to a flat bed, as some translators put it. Again, the author seems unaware of the curvature of the earth or the fact that it is a sphere.
Earth is Level
The Qur'an describes a time in the future when mountains will be removed leaving the earth smooth and level. 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 curved and not level.
Earth has Seven Atmospheric Layers
Some apologists believe the Qur'an describes the layers of the earth's atmosphere when it refers to the firmament and it's likeness on earth. However, scientists have determined that there are five principal layers in the atmosphere and not seven.
The Earth does not Rotate
The author of the Qur'an repeats a common view of the 7th century that the earth was a fixed and un-moving object with the stars, sun, and moon revolving around it. The author appears to be unaware that the earth is rotating around its axis and moving through space around the sun.
Tafsir Ibn Kathir
Permanent Barrier between Fresh and Salt Water
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.
Mountains Prevent Earthquakes
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.
Mountains Cast into the Earth
Mountains are usually formed through the movement of lithosphere plates. They were not thrown down into the earth.
Chest Contracts with Altitude
This verse says that your chest cavity gets smaller with higher altitude when in reality the opposite is true.
Earthquakes are a Punishment from God
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.
Hurricanes and Blizzards are a Punishment from God
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.
Rainwater is Pure
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.
No Evaporation in Water Cycle
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.
Hail Comes from Mountains in the Sky
Hail forms in cumulonimbus clouds when super-cooled water droplets freeze. However, the Qur'an mistakenly ascribed the formation of hail to invisible mountains in the sky.
Thunder is an Angel
The Qur'anic author was superstitious about thunder and imagined this natural phenomena as an angel.
Muslim sources, which explain this verse clearly, indicate that the author of the Qur'an believed that thunder was not an impersonal natural phenomenon, but an angel:
Bees Eat Fruit
Bees feed on nectar and pollen. However, the Qur'an relates that bees consume fruit.
Ants Recognize Humans and Speak with Each Other
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.
Horses Created as Transportation
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.
Bird Flight is a Miracle
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.
Classification of Creatures
The Qur'an observes that creatures of the desert move using their bellies (snake) or two legs (human) or four legs (cows, goats, etc.). However, the author fails to include insects such as millipedes that have a thousand legs.
Only Eight Types of Cattle
While the Qur'an states that there are eight kinds of cattle, 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. This neglects other types of cattle from the regions outside of Arabia such as reindeer, which are important to people in northern latitudes.
Birth Defects and Imperfections
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.
Poisonous Sea Life is Edible
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.
Birds Fight Elephants
Birds and elephants don't fight each other. In fact, African elephants and birds have a symbiotic relationship where the birds eat bugs and lice off of elephants . The Qur'an here depicts a fanciful story of birds being directed to attack elephants and their riders during a battle.
According to the Qur'an, all animals will be judged for their sins. This despite the fact that animals are not as self-aware as humans and operate almost exclusively on instinct.
Wall of Iron between Two Mountains
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
Christians have never worshiped 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 throughout history.
Mary Confused with Miriam
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).
Hence the claim that Mary's mother is the wife of Imran is also false.
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
Noah's Ark holds Every Species
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.
Pharaoh or Pharaohs
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.
Jews call Ezra the Son of God
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.
Supernatural Destruction of Cities
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.
Humans can Sleep for Three Hundred Years
The oldest verified human life has been a little over 120 years. Humans cannot live without food and water for more than a few days. However, the Qur'an incorporated a myth from the 5th century legends of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus who sleep in a cave for over 300 years and then miraculously awaken in perfect health. There is no historical evidence that this ever happened or could even been scientifically possible.
Humans can Live for a Thousand Years
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.
Non-Existent Mosque in Jerusalem
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.
Fasting and Prayer Requirements at the Poles
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 winter and summer. The Qur'an claims that Muslims should fast from sunrise till sunset, however this is arguably not observable by anyone living in the polar regions.
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 all year round. 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.
People are Protected in Mecca
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.
All Animals Live in Communities
Some animals such as the jaguar, leopard, and panda 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.
Requirement to Learn in Arabic
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.
Non-Muslims are Deaf, Dumb, and Blind
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.
Myths and Legendary Tales
Humans Transformed into Apes
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.
Golden Calf Statue Moos
A statue of a calf was cast out of ornaments but it could moo.
Tribe Trapped Behind a Wall
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.
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.
A Stick Transforms into a Serpent
Solomon's Army of Genies and Birds
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.
He spoke with a Hoopoe bird and wanted to punish it for a small error.
The Hoopoe bird was in fact busy eavesdropping on a beautiful female ruler, Queen Sheba.
Jonah Performs Repentance inside a Fish
A human could not live inside a fish and pray.
Muhammad Flies on a Winged Horse to Heaven
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.
Body Parts Speak
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.
The Ocean Split in Half
Moses and the Israelites crossed an ocean that was split into two halves.
Solomon can Control the Wind
King Solomon had the authority to manipulate the wind at his command and could fly anywhere he wanted.
A Dead Man Testified against his Killer
Scientifically, a man who has died for a few days can never be resurrected.
Animals Speak to Humans
The Qur'an states that a beast will come and tell humans the truth.
Mountains and Birds can Sing Songs
The Qu'ran states that the first humans "Adam and Eve" spoke to each other in some kind of advanced 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
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. 
People use the Forehead to Lie
Brain wave technology has shown that electrical activity happens in the entire brain when a person is being deceitful.
Sailing of Ships is a Miracle
Ships float due to buoyancy and they can be driven by various sources of power.
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.
Space Flight is Impossible
The first space ships and travel beyond the atmosphere of earth occurred over 60 years ago. With current technology, humankind has already explored the end of the solar system. The Qur'an however, implies that going beyond the earth is forbidden.
- Rusu, M., "Das Keltische Fürstengrab von Ciumeşti in Rumänien", Germania 50, 1969, pp. 267–269
- The ancient world, Richard A. Gabriel, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007 P.79