Islam and Science
One of the most widely used tools to propagate Islam among non-Muslims is the alleged harmony between its scriptures and modern science. This page contains easy-to-read summaries of articles discussing Islam in relation to science. See also the page Scientific Errors in the Quran for comprehensive summaries of the scientific and historical errors in the Qur'an.
When evaluating claims of miraculous scientific information in “revealed” scriptures such as the Qur’an, it is critical to remember the dictum, “Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof.” For certainly, miracles are not to be taken lightly. If miracles really are the results of direct intervention by God/gods, and if they truly are meant as signs to prove both his/her/their existence and power, then we should expect them to serve those purposes in a clear and unambiguous manner. If God is going through all that trouble to provide us with signs, it would defeat his purpose to make the signs difficult to recognize.
If we assume that Allah exists, it is safe to say that he is not a Las Vegas magician, and his miracles should reasonably be several cuts above the prestidigitation of Penn and Teller. An all-powerful universal God would doubtlessly be capable of providing miracles that were unchallengeable, unambiguous and dramatic. And it is fully conceivable that God would embed such clear signs of his power and omniscience within his revelation.
The claim of “scientific miracles” in the Qur’an rests upon the contention that the book contains specific and detailed scientific knowledge that can only have been revealed to Prophet Muhammad miraculously, i.e. that there was no possible non-miraculous way for such information to have been known to a 7th century Arab.
So it stands to reason that if there actually were non-miraculous ways for such information to be available, no miracle can be demonstrated. And it is important to test such claims, for we are not involved in a casual conversation about fashion or dietary preferences. We are talking about alleged proofs for the divine origin of the Qur’an.
The Four Part Test
For a “scientific statement” in the Qur’an to be considered miraculous, it must be capable of passing a four-part test that removes the possibility of a non-miraculous origin of the information:
1. It must be an unambiguous statement of scientific fact requiring no elaborate interpretation to discern its factual meaning.
This point cannot be stressed too intensely. For the scientific information in question must actually be in the Qur’an itself, and not something added later as part of a commentary. If the critical information that distinguishes a “scientific miracle” from a casual statement of obvious fact is not explicitly in the clear words and meaning of the Qur’an, we cannot trust it as even being there.
If the verse has to be “interpreted” to extract hidden meaning that is not obviously there, the claim of a miracle has been “corrupted” by the commentary, and cannot be considered valid.
2. The fact must have been previously unknown to every other non-Islamic civilization that had contact with the Arabian Peninsula.
Key to the claim of “scientific miracles” in the Qur’an is the contention that the information included was unknown until recently, or at least until many years after the death of Muhammad. So, of course, if it can be shown that the information was already available to other peoples or cultures with whom the Arabs were in contact, this claim is shown to be simply false.
It does not matter the source of that other culture’s information. It may have been a lucky guess, it may have been the result of precocious scientific achievement… in fact it may even potentially have been a miracle the other culture had experienced years before.
But if that information was available before the Qur’an was written down, there can be no credit to the claim of a “Qur’anic miracle.”
3. It must not be obvious to any casual observer.
This may sound like an obvious point, but given the nature of many of the stock “miracles” claimed by Muslim apologists, it still must be discussed explicitly. For often, what is claimed to be a miracle of the Qur’an is something of which any individual with his or her eyes open would have been aware.
If the information in question is available to anyone who simply looks at the phenomenon, requiring no sophisticated instruments, tools or interpretation, then it cannot be considered miraculous.
4. It must be true.
As with the previous point, this one sounds intuitively obvious. But it too requires explicit mention as occasionally the claims of Qur’anic “miracles” depend on misunderstandings or misstatements about reality and science. If the information in question is not actually true, then certainly it cannot be a miraculous revelation from God, as God should be expected to know what is or is not true.
Medicine, Healthcare and Biology in Islam
Medicine and Healthcare
Islamic medicine, healthcare and Biology relies on superstitions, general beliefs among the people during the prophet's time and borrowings from the practices and beliefs of other civilizations. For example; today you will find Muslims who champion the self-alleged health benefits of drinking camel urine (as instructed by Muhammad), but those who are actually willing to practice such things are far less forthcoming. The allowance and even encouragement of marriages between relatives, such as cousins, is another issue that deserves to be sent back to the 7th century. Medically, this common Muslim practice is harmful because it raises the probability for genetic disorders to occur in offspring. And the much lauded embryology found within the Qur'an is in reality plagiarized from Greek medicine. Therefore embryology, as described in the Qur'an, is neither original nor correct. These are but a few of the example which are covered in our articles.
The Medicinal Value of Camel Urine
This article is about the use of camel urine as medicine in the Hadiths and how such usage is viewed in the Muslim world. Muhammad prescribed camel urine as medicine to the followers from Uraynah. Because Muhammad is a prophet, Muslims believe he received a divine revelation from God. As a result they continue to study and prescribe camel urine as medicine despite the lack of evidence proving there is any medicinal value in camel urine and that there is some evidence that drinking urine is actually harmful.
Dipping Flies Into Drinks
The thesis put forward by some apologists is that it has recently been proven by modern science that flies carry not only pathogens but also the agents that limit these pathogens, thus proving the fly wing hadiths that tell us "If a fly falls into one of your containers [of food or drink], immerse it completely before removing it, for under one of its wings there is venom and under another there is its antidote." They principally identify these agents to be bacteriophages, though they also sometimes refer to fungi.
The scientific evidence does not support the veracity of the fly wing hadiths for the following reasons: (1) Contrary to their innovative interpretations of relevant hadith, bacteriophages are not limited to any specific wing of the fly. (2) Contrary to their innovative interpretations of relevant hadith, bacteriophages in the natural state and concentration are not antidotal to bacterial diseases, particularly for temperate or lysogenic phages. (3) Bacteriophages are ineffective against non-bacterial diseases carried by flies, meaning even if the wings were to provide you with an antidote to bacterial diseases, they could infect you with another non-bacterial disease (i.e. dipping a fly into your drink is not good advice). (4) Phage therapy is not a generally-accepted medical therapy at present because it is largely ineffective and requires large quantities of purified, possibly genetically-engineered, phages not present in the natural condition.
Adverse Effects of Islamic Fasting
Medical fasting is different from Islamic fasting (Sawm), and contrary to popular Muslim beliefs, Islamic fasting, unlike Medical fasting, has numerous adverse effects that have been observed using scientific studies and news sources. Intermittent and prolonged fasting is generally not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. Depriving the body of water and essential nutrients by dividing and postponing meals to irregular intervals does nothing to limit consumption. In-fact it causes a host of health, performance and mood disorders. Fasting is not normally prescribed for the well being of human beings. Instead, it is commonly understood that eating healthy, smaller-portioned meals, interspersed throughout the day is far better in maintaining a well-balanced diet and far more forgiving on a person's metabolism. Any claims that prolonged and intermittent fasting contributes to the well-being of an individual's health are misleading, based on the scientific studies that prove otherwise. If the Islamic argument in favor of fasting is that “we fast because God commanded us to do so," then it is obvious that God is not a nutritionist or a dietitian because the negatives definitely outweigh the positives. So the question to the Muslim world is: what benefit does the Muslim world get for 1 billion people staying hungry throughout the day for one full month every year? Did Allah actually want Muslims to suffer physically, economically and socially for one month every year? Also, if fasting is beneficial as Muslims claim, why do Muslims not fast the entire year instead of just one month?
Moderate Alcohol Consumption and its Health Benefits
Alcohol and other intoxicants are strictly prohibited (haram) in Islam. This aspect of Islam may seem rational, considering the abuse of alcohol can lead to social and health-related problems. However, when used in moderation, research suggests that there are numerous benefits in the consumption of alcohol, and an all-knowing deity would have been aware of this. The Jews and Christians are allowed to consume alcohol. The pagan Arabs before and shortly after their conversion to Islam also consumed alcohol. So why did Allah prohibit something that may be beneficial and which was an accepted norm among the religions before Islam? Apologists will cite Qur'an 2:219 and state "In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit." However, if this was the actual reason behind its prohibition then it only reveals Allah's flawed logic. Surely an all-knowing deity would have only prohibited its abuse and not given us an outright ban. Furthermore, if the potential health risk of alcohol was the cause of the prohibition, why not also warn against the dangers of drinking milk?
Milk is Agreeable/Good for Humans to Drink?
The Qur'an encourages people to drink milk and calls it "pure and agreeable to those who drink it." It is even being served in the Muslim Paradise. In reality, one glass of milk is potentially more harmful than a glass of alcoholic beverage. The Northern Europeans are among the rather small group of the totality of humankind to whom consumption of milk after the weaning stage is most 'agreeable' due to evolutionary changes. For much of the rest of humanity lactose-intolerance after the weaning stage is default.
So it seems that the Qur'anic statement "And verily in cattle (too) will ye find an instructive sign...We produce, for your drink, milk, pure and agreeable to those who drink it" is more appropriate to the genetic cluster of (mostly non-Muslim) Northern Europeans and their US descendants than to the other genetic clusters among humanity.
Drinking Zamzam Water and its Health Risks
Millions of Muslims visit the Zamzam well in Mecca each year while performing the Hajj or Umrah pilgrimages, in order to drink its water and, in many cases, to take home some of its water for distribution among friends and relations believing the well and the water which it pumps to be miraculous.
As with urine, milk, and alcohol, Muslims often make claims of their religious beliefs being backed by science. However, in May 2011, a BBC investigation found that genuine Zamzam water taken from the well contained arsenic levels three times the legal limit, something which could contribute to increasing people's risk of cancer. In addition to the dangerous arsenic levels, the holy water contained high levels of nitrate and potentially harmful bacteria.
Health Effects of Islamic Dress
The majority of female Muslims worldwide, following the Islamic requirement of observing Hijab, wear some form of Islamic dress. This ranges anywhere from wearing a simple head covering, to the burqa (a form of "full hijab"), which covers almost all exposed skin.
There is concern among the medical community about some of the health effects of the extreme styles of Islamic dress, with the main issues arising from Vitamin D deficiency due to lack skin exposed to UV light. It has been established by credible scientific evidence that almost all women who observe the full hijab are chronically deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a vital nutrient and deficiency of this kind can lead to osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children. There is also a strong association between deficiency in Vitamin D and an increased risk of developing several deadly cancers, including breast cancer.
For Islam as a religion, the implications are troublesome. Islam is considered by its adherents to be the perfect way of life for mankind. If Islam was mandated by Allah, and if he wanted women to observe hijab, then logically he would not have created humans with the need to get Vitamin D from exposing their skin to the sun.
Embryology in Islamic Scripture
“Islamic embryology” is derived from both the Qur’an and the hadith, and is quite consistent across all the contributing sources. The core of the story can be found in the Qur’an, 22:5. There are a handful of additional ayaat that deal with this subject, and none of them disagree with the basic scenario. There is also more to learn from the hadith, particularly that of Bukhari and Muslim. Again, the accounts are quite consistent, and the additional information they provide is important.
The details of embryology as reflected in the Qur’an and the hadith can be summarized as follows; the embryo spends 40 days as a drop of sperm or seed, the embryo then spends another 40 days as a “clot” or a “leech-like clot” of blood, the embryo then spends another 40 days as a “lump of flesh” during which the gender of the child is assigned by an angel at Allah’s direction.
These then are the details that must be correlated with actual embryonic development to evaluate the accuracy or inaccuracy of the Islamic account. The question is actually a simple one: Does this account describe the first 120 days of embryonic development or doesn’t it?
Reproduction in the Qur'an and Hadith
The hadith contain many statements about fluids from both the man and woman that were believed to form the human embryo. The Qur’an too says that the embryo is formed from emitted fluid, and in one verse perhaps indicates a mingling of male and female fluids. In this article we shall present new research to trace the origins of each of these ideas at least as far back as the Jewish Talmud and the ancient Greek physicians. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the influence of ideas from other cultures on the Qur’an and hadith regarding reproduction. It will go without saying that these ideas are inaccurate compared with current scientific knowledge of reproduction and embryology.
Cousin Marriage in Islam
Cousin marriage is explicitly allowed in Islam as seen in verse 4:23 of the Qur'an. Muhammad himself married cousins, as he did with Zaynab bint Jahsh, who was not only the daughter of his father's sister, but was also divorced from a marriage with Muhammad's adopted son, Zayd ibn Haritha. Muhammad also allowed the marriage of his daughter, Fatimah, to his cousin, Ali ibn Abi Talib, who would later go on to become the fourth Rightly-guided Caliph of Islam. The second Caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattab, also married his cousin, Atikah bint Zayd ibn Amr ibn Nufayl.
From a biological point of view it becomes clear that first cousin marriage is not recommended because close relatives have a higher than normal consanguinity which means an increased chance of sharing genes for recessive traits. With this high amount of shared DNA, you have a higher risk of birth defects in a baby. The British geneticist, Professor Steve Jones, giving The John Maddox Lecture at the 2011 Hay Festival had stated in relation to Muslim inbreeding, "It is common in the Islamic world to marry your brother’s daughter, which is actually [genetically] closer than marrying your cousin." A rough estimate shows that close to half of all Muslims in the world are inbred.
The Universe According to Islam
Adam, Eve, and the Six Days of Creation
This page simply quotes authoritative Islamic sources, i.e. the Qur'an, hadith, and scholars, to provide you with an accurate picture of what Islam teaches of the creation of the universe and its human inhabitants. The basic creation narrative is consistent throughout.
It began six thousand years before the advent of Islam. The first thing to be created was the planet Earth, which took two days to complete, from Sunday to Monday. Then it took another two days to create the mountains, trees, and everything else. The final two days, Thursday and Friday, were spent creating the "heavens", the sun, moon, other planets, and a sixty cubits (approximately ninety feet) tall Adam.
Hawwa' (Eve) was created from Adam's left rib, whilst he was asleep in the Garden. She is blamed by Adam for persuading him to eat from the forbidden tree. As a result, they are both cast out from the garden in Paradise and sent down to the planet Earth, where their decedents continue to decrease in size.
As punishment for her transgression in particular, Allah makes Eve menstruate, suffer pregnancy and become stupid. Therefore, according to Islamic beliefs, today all women menstruate (are deficient in religion) and are created stupid (deficient in intelligence).
A Qur’anic Understanding of the Universe
This article is designed to uncover and explain the cosmology presented in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. More specifically, it will explore the Qur'an's understanding of the nature and structure of the physical universe.
To no surprise, the Qur'an's understanding of the universe matches that of the mythical cosmos believed by 7th century Arabians rather than an accurate description of the real universe.
In the Qur'an, the entire universe is very small and contains simply the earth and its surrounding heavens. There are no galaxies, other solar systems, or such a thing as “outer space.” The earth is the top-most of seven, flat discs, surrounded by the seven solid concentric domes of the heavens.
The celestial objects that do exist (sun, moon, stars and planets) are quite small, very close, and they follow semi-circular paths within the innermost of the seven heavenly domes. When they are not in the sky above the earth, they are resting somewhere underneath it, except while petitioning Allah’s permission to return the following day (or night).
Paradise exists between the seven heavens, and hell exists between the seven earths. All of this is submerged in a cosmic sea, above which is the throne of Allah.
The Flat Earth
As recently as 1993 the supreme religious authority of Saudi Arabia Sheik Abdul-Aziz Ibn Baaz declared "The earth is flat. Whoever claims it is round is an atheist deserving of punishment." and in a televised debate aired on Iraqi Al-Fayhaa TV (October 31, 2007), Muslim Researcher on Astronomy Fadhel Al-Sa'd also declared that the Earth is flat as evidenced by Qur'anic verses and that the sun is much smaller than the Earth and revolves around it. As devout Muslims, they have good reason to conclude the Earth is flat; the Qur'anic verses 15:19, 20:53, 43:10, 50:7, 51:48, 71:19, 78:6, 79:30, 88:20 and 91:6 all clearly state this. While many have attempted to explain away this oddity, they prey on their listeners ignorance of the Arabic language. As such, their apologetic claims have been easily refuted by native Arabic speakers. There is no escaping the fact that, according to the Qur'an, the earth is flat.
The Motionless Center - Planet Earth
This article examines the evidence for Qur'anic geocentric cosmology. Some may confuse geocentricism with the idea that the Earth is flat. This is not the case. These are two different ideas. Geocentrism simply is the notion that the earth is the (immovable) center of our universe, thus all celestial bodies mover around it. According to the Qur'an, the Sun (and the moon and the five known planets) follow a curved (rounded) course (a Falak). This falak starts in the east (where the sun goes up), goes high above the earth and ends after sunset with the Sun resting at night at a hidden place. All this took place around an earth that was spread out and had a firmament built on invisible pillars above it. This was a common belief at the time. Sahih (authentic) hadiths affirm this geocentric cosmology (so Muhammad or at least the people around him agree with it), and great ancient, and even modern-day, Muslim astronomists agree that the Qur'an is geocentric. In ancient times, many people - but certainly not all - did not know any better than what they seemed to observe everyday: the sun appeared to be going around the earth through our skies. We cannot blame a 7th century Bedouin for not knowing this, but should not the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient creator of the universe know better?
Sun Sets in a Muddy Spring
The precise meaning of the opening phrases in verses 86 and 90 in the 18th chapter of the Qur’an, Surah al-Kahf, or “The Cave”, is a matter of considerable controversy. These verses occur within an account concerning a powerful figure called Dhu’l Qarnayn, “the two-horned one”, who Allah guides on a series of three fantastic journeys in Qur’an 18:83-101. They are controversial due to Muslim sensitivity to claims that they have Allah saying that the sun sets and rises in physical locations on or at the edges of Earth.
Our analysis shows that the various interpretations that have been proposed for verses 18:86 and 18:90 in the Qur’an to reconcile them with scientific facts do not stand up to detailed scrutiny. The evidence overwhelmingly supports the clear and obvious interpretation that this is intended to be understood as a historical account in which Dhu’l Qarnayn traveled until he reached the place where the sun sets and actually found that it went down into a muddy spring near to where a people were, and that he then traveled until he reached the place where the sun rises and actually found that it rose up above a people who lived close to the place where the sun rises.
Ramadan and the North and South Poles
This article consists of a set of questions and answers exploring Ramadan's relation to the North and South Poles. According to Islamic rules, the length of a fast is governed by the rising and the setting of the sun. This can cause a huge problem for those who live close to these poles. The closer we get to the poles, the longer our days or nights become. They can eventually extend for up to several months each, making the fourth Pillar of Islam impossible to practice without starving yourself to death. Obviously Muhammad was unaware of the poles.
Islamic Writing and the Universe
Islamic scriptures and scholars have much to say in regards to the cosmology of the universe.
Islamic Science and the Golden Age
The Miracle of Islamic Science
This is a refutation of Dr K. Ajram's “Setting the Record Straight: The Miracle of Islamic Science.” The purpose of this analysis is to put the achievements of Golden Age Muslim scientists in the proper perspective; neither denigrating their achievements nor inflating them.
All scientific and technological progress is accomplished in progression; Muslim achievements are but links in the chain. Few of the great Muslim scientific achievements stood alone, but were derived by Muslim scientists standing on the shoulders of those who came before them.
This analysis also highlights the biggest flaw of the Islamic Golden Age. There were few ‘follow-up’ breakthroughs on the backs of the works of the great Muslim scientists. In effect, the Ummah allowed or encouraged these works to wither on the vine or die stillborn, even before the rise of mysticism at the expense of rational thinking, an event often attributed to al-Ghazzali around the turn of the 12th century.
Muslims 'Saved' the Work of Greek Philosophers from Destruction
The “Arab transmission of the classics” is a common and persistent myth that Arabic commentators such as Avicenna and Averroes 'saved' the work of Aristotle and other Greek philosophers from destruction. According to the myth, these works would otherwise have perished in the long European dark age between fifth and the tenth centuries. Thus the versions of Aristotle used in the West were translations from the Arabic, which came from the South West of Europe in the reconquest of Spain from the Muslims during the twelve and thirteenth centuries.
This is incorrect. It was actually the Byzantines in the East who saved the ancient learning of the Greeks in the original language, and the first Latin texts to be used were translation from the Greek, in the 12th century, rather than, in most cases, the Arabic, which were only used in default of these.
It is nevertheless true, and no myth, that the work of the Arabic commentators, particularly Averroes, had a profound influence on the scholastic philosophers of the Latin West in the thirteenth century. Aristotle's Greek is terse and very difficult to understand. The work of the Arabic commentators helped in explaining and clarifying Aristotle's dense and apparently obscure thought. Thus Western intellectual tradition owes a great debt to the Arabic scholars in terms of understanding Aristotle's thought. In terms of the texts, however, these would have survived had the Arabic commentators never existed.
Islamic Inventions that Changed the World
These past few years have seen many inventions claimed and attributed to Islamic inventors, which in fact either existed in pre-Islamic eras, were invented by other cultures, or both. However, this detail has not apologists from perpetuating these false claims. Such claims have even been propagated through a nationwide tour which opened with an exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester and the University of Manchester, England.
To celebrate this series of events, an article titled “How Islamic inventors changed the world” was written by Paul Vallely and published in The Independent. This inaccurate piece of writing has received much praise and is still being widely circulated on Islamic websites, forums and blogs. This article lists and examines all twenty of these “Islamic inventions that changed the world”, and in doing so, it reveals their actual inventors and the true role of Islam/Muslims, if any, behind the inventions.
In short, we find that Paul Vallely's article is fundamentally misleading. It omits, distorts, and makes blunders concerning the most basic of historical facts to give the reader a false impression. It leaves you wondering what could have possibly motivated him into writing such a deceptive piece of journalism?
Islamic Science in Wikipedia Articles
At Wikipedia, Islam-related articles are often compromised by pro-Islamic editors. An example of this is a 2010 incident where an editor with over 67,000 edits was caught intentionally inserting false information into articles.
Jagged 85 is the main contributor to the many inaccurate Islam/Science/Golden Age articles which are still being copied and pasted all over the internet by Muslims, and more than 20% of Wikipedia's "Timeline of historic inventions" was provided by him.
With contributions to over 8,100 separate articles, it is unlikely that all of Jagged 85's edits will ever be fixed. And even if they were, these Wikipedia articles have already been reproduced all over the net by other sites which use Wikipedia as a source.
Genuine Islamic Inventions, Innovations, Records and Firsts
Many articles (for example, "How Islamic Inventors Changed The World" and "Setting the Record Straight: The Miracle of Islamic Science") have made provably false claims, attributing various inventions, innovations and discoveries made by others to Islam and its followers. This article lists only genuine Islamic/Muslim inventions, innovations, records and firsts. Examples include:
- The yellow badge that was to be eventually used by the Nazis against the Jews, was invented by a Muslim caliph in Baghdad in the 9th century as a variant of the zunnār belt. This then spread to the western world in medieval times.
- According to Dr. K. Ajram, the author of "Miracle of Islamic Science", Muslim scholars invented racial-typing centuries before the German Johann Friedrich Blumenbach "divided mankind into white, yellow, brown, black and red peoples".
- The world's first PC virus, Brain.a, was created in September, 1986, by two brothers from Lahore, Pakistan, Amjad Farooq Alvi and Basit Farooq Alvi. They included their names, phone number and address in the code.
Science in the Qur'an
Scientific Errors in the Qur'an and Hadith
This page lists various types of scientific errors found in the Qur'an. The subjects of these errors include; Evolution, Astronomy, Biology, Geology, Zoology and many others which are often confirmed by the hadith.
Non-Muslim Scientists finding Science in the Qur'an
Bucailleism is the belief that "the Qur'an prophesied the Big Bang theory, space travel and other contemporary scientific breakthroughs," and that "there are more than 1200 verses (Ayat) which can be interpreted in the light of modern science." It has been called "a fast-growing branch of Islamic fundamentalism."
Named after the French surgeon Maurice Bucaille, its proponents believe that "one of the main convincing evidences" that lead many to convert to Islam "is the large number of scientific facts in the Quran."
The doctrine is "widely taught" in Islamic secondary schools, promoted on at least one popular weekly television program in the Arab world and is advanced by "a well-funded campaign" led by the Commission on Scientific Signs in the Quran and Sunnah, based in Saudi Arabia and founded by Sheikh Abdul Majeed Zindani, a leading militant Islamist and "Specially Designated Global Terrorist".
Resulting from the above mentioned Commission, a popular tool of da'wah is to show videos from conferences in the 1980s of various scientists apparently vouching for the scientific accuracy of the Qur'an. See these recent interviews with some of those scientists, in which they explain that they were tricked, misquoted, and misrepresented by Sheikh Abdul Majeed Zindani, who organised the conferences.
Scientific Miracles in the Georgics
This article argues that the Georgica, written by Virgil in Golden Latin in the year 28 BC, contains many scientific miracles (i.e. scientific foreknowledge). Furthermore, Virgil was an ancient Roman poet and the ancient Romans were polytheists, thus the Roman pantheon of deities must exist. Of course this article is written as part satire. It parodies the logic of Muslim apologists, and demonstrates very effectively how easy it is to reinterpret any ancient poetry, such as the Qur'an, and reveal so-called scientific miracles.
Qur'an and the Big Bang
Islamic apologists attempt to claim that the “Big Bang” is actually described by the Qur’an in one of many miraculous displays of scientific precocity in text. However on closer examination, Muslim claims of miraculous scientific information in the Qur’an are shown to be, yet again, in error. In reality, the Qur’an is completely silent on the “big bang” because it clearly has no awareness whatsoever of a universe that pre-existed the creation of the planet Earth, or extended outwards into infinite space. It has no understanding of galaxies, or clusters of galaxies, or quasars or pulsars or any of the other things that could have easily been mentioned by an omniscient Allah, and left us no room for quibbling.
Qur'an and a Universe from Smoke
Prominent apologists such as Harun Yahya and I. A. Ibrahim have claimed that the Qur'an contains an accurate account of the formation of stars and early phases of the Universe.
The entire argument rests on the Qur'anic description of the "heavens" as "smoke"; a claim which in-turn rests on a false equivalence made between smoke and the makeup of the early universe. It also presupposes that the Qur'anic author must describe something as complex as the earliest phase of the universe using only a single word. A presupposition that makes little sense and is far from convincing when you consider how such information could have validated the authenticity of the Qur'anic message.
The attempt to show that the Qur'an correctly describes the formation of stars (by quoting a portion of Qur'an 41:11) and then the earth (by quoting Qur'an 21:30) is shown to be disingenuous. When the whole of verse 41:11 and its surrounding verses are read in context, it provides a clear chronological account of the earth being formed first and then the hills and sustenance are created upon it. Only after the earth has been created does Allah create the stars. The entire account in the Qur'an is not an accurate reflection of the formation of the Universe.
Qur'an Predicted Black Holes And Pulsars
This article analyzes two separate claims made by Harun Yahya concerning black holes and pulsars.
The analysis shows the claim that the Qur'an predicted the modern understanding of Black Holes is not backed by the scientific evidence, and the claim that the Qur'an predicted the modern understanding of pulsars is conjectural and not supported by the scientific evidence.
It has also shown Harun Yahya’s self-contradiction as he used the same Qur'anic verse to ‘prove’ both the black hole and the pulsar. Since a black hole cannot possibly also be a pulsar, it appears that Harun Yahya has refuted himself.
Speed of Light in the Qur'an
In an article published in Islami City, Dr. Mansour Hassab-Elnaby claims verse 32:5 reveals that light in one day travels a distance equal to 12,000 lunar orbits, and upon calculating that distance we find the exact speed of light.
Verse 32:5 has nothing to do with the speed of light. There is no mention of the moon, light or even distance in this verse. If these methods were to be applied to other texts, such as Shakespeare's writings or Virgil's Georgics, they too can be "proven" divine.
No matter how Dr. Hassab-Elnaby's calculations are viewed, they are mathematically incorrect. Even the notion of measuring the speed of light with the orbit of the Moon or the length of the day is a fallacy.
Dr. Hassab-Elnaby also makes many deliberate errors to doctor a scientific miracle, and in his enthusiasm to ascribe miracles to the Qur'an, he discards the concept of Allah's omnipresence. The creator of the Universe, according to him, depends on the speed of light to manage his affairs.
Finally, assuming there really is a miracle in this plagiarized allegory, should not the credit go to the Bible from which it originates?
Seven Heavens and Seven Earths
This article analyzes several different apologetic arguments claiming the Qur'an correctly asserts that there are "seven heavens" and "seven earths". In doing so, it finds the scientific evidence does not support any of the claims concerning the Qur'anic verse 65:12 and its scientific accuracy.
Earth's atmosphere is divided into five main layers based on temperature. Within these five principal layers, several secondary layers may be distinguished by other properties. There is no classification into 7 layers.
Modern geology states that there are only four or five layers of the Earth, or up to eight if the new hypotheses of the subcore georeactor are accepted. Without the double-counting of layers, There is no classification into 7 layers.
The number of continents is traditionally considered seven, but there are only six as Europe and Asia are technically a single land mass (i.e. Eurasia) and on the same tectonic plate. Therefore, the traditional number of seven continents is more a cultural bias than an actual geographical/geological fact.
Furthermore, if one delves a little deeper into the Islamic sources, it is discovered that the seven earths being referred to in verse 65:12 are in fact flat islands, one under the other.
Qur'an and the Descent of Iron
This article analyzes the ‘iron sent down from heaven miracle’. A chief proponent of this claim is Harun Yahya.
There is nothing miraculous about surah 57:26 describing iron being ‘sent down’ by a deity. The ancient Egyptians already derived that concept three thousand years before Islam. They called iron “ba-en-pet” or ‘metal from heaven’. This concept was also shared by the ancient Mesopotamians.
The term ‘anzala’ used to describe iron being ‘sent down’ is also used to describe cattle, garments, food, and the people of the book being ‘sent down’ by some deity. There is nothing to suggest that these too were not created in supernovae and sent down to earth. It is intellectually dishonest to assign a literal interpretation when referring to iron but figurative interpretations when referring to everything else without the evidence to distinguish when to use the literal as opposed to the figurative interpretation.
There is nothing miraculous about the surah reference and the atomic number of iron. This is mere coincidence as other metals are also mentioned in the Qur'an and their atomic numbers bear no relation to their surah references. To selectively assign miracles based on coincidence (since godly design is unproven) is a logical fallacy.
Thus there is nothing miraculous about surah 57:26 and the ‘descent’ of iron. The claims apologists make in this regard have either been known many centuries before Islam or are scientifically inaccurate.
Qur'an Describes Altitude Sickness
This article analyzes the apologetic claim that the Qur'an's description of altitude sickness is somehow miraculous, scientifically accurate, or prophetic.
If the verse is taken figuratively, then it is not miraculous, since it is describing a phenomenon that would have been well-known to the wandering Arab nomads long before the revelation of the Qur'an.
If the verse is taken literally, then it is scientifically inaccurate. There is no “tightening” of the chest. The constrictive sensation experienced at high altitudes is simply a result of having less air to breathe into your lungs, in addition to the gas already there actually expanding.
In fact, when modern scientific knowledge is taken into consideration, problems with a literal interpretation are two-fold since it has been postulated that human adaption has lead to people born and raised in high altitudes to have enlarged chests which "could allow for increased lung volumes and thereby increase oxygen uptake."
The Qur'an and Mountains
Many articles have been written in response to the claim that the Qur'an is validated by the geological science concerning mountains. This article adds to these by addressing several newer points that have been adopted to justify the original claim or to evade contrary scientific evidence.
The claim that mountains are pegs is untrue as not all mountains have "peg-like" roots. And even the ones that can be claimed to have these peg-like roots, resemble pegs only with a lot of imagination. The claim that mountains stabilize the crust or the earth is (at best) unproven. There is no scientific evidence for this assertion, therefore the Qur'an cannot be validated by scientific evidence that does not exist.
The mere fact of isostacy is not proof that mountains stabilize the crust or the earth. The mere fact that collision-type mountains are formed at the edges of tectonic plates is not proof that mountains stabilize the plates. The mere fact that mountains have deep roots is not proof that mountains stabilize anything.
Lastly, is the Qur'an really the first scripture to make the assertion that mountains stabilize the earth? Some Christians do not think so, and the Bible predates the Qur'an by at least 400 years.
Qur'an Predicted Land Decreasing
Dr. Al Zeiny, PhD, claims a so-called ‘proof’ of Qur'anic Science by positing the proposition that the Qur'an correctly predicted the geological fact that land is decreasing due to the movements of tectonic plates. He cites verses 13:41 and 21:44 as evidence.
The geological facts do not support Dr. Zeiny's case that land is decreasing as the Qur'an supposedly suggests. In fact, they prove that the geological information contained in the Qur'an is in error.
Land has not been decreasing at all over the past billion years. At present 29.1% of the total earth’s surface area is land. However, by the end of the Permian Period 200 million years ago, the supercontinent Pangaea covered only about a quarter of the earth’s surface.
Creation of Humans from Clay
This article analyzes Harun Yahya's claim that the Qur'an displays scientific foreknowledge by correctly asserting the creation of human beings from clay.
The Qur'an's assertion that humans are created from clay is not a scientific miracle because it is apparent that folkloric tales about the creation of humans from clay/earth/mud is very common throughout the world, and many of these tales pre-date the existence of Islam.
It is also scientifically inaccurate because the Islamic faith claims that human beings were created from clay, contrary to the scientific hypothesis that clay merely 'match-makes' RNA and membrane vesicles - and therefore does not form a building block.
Qur'an and Semen Production
This article analyzes the various attempts to show that the Qur'an correctly describes semen production from between the “sulb” and the “tara’ib” in verse 86:7.
There are several distinct classes of explanations, and none of them are supported by modern scientific knowledge and are frequently conflicting. For example, Ibn Kathir refers to tara’ib as a female organ, while other tafsirs claim it belongs to the man. Another conflict is the definition of sulb to mean either the backbone or the ‘hardening’ of the loins.
A point often missed, though alluded to by Dr. Campbell, is the phrase “min bain” which literally means “from between”. If this interpretation is accepted, which seems to be the case from a reading of the commonly accepted translations, then one must also note that semen emanates from the penis, and not from between the penis and the vagina. To be strictly correct, semen emanates from the penis into the vagina. This point seems to rule out tara’ib as being anything to do with the female sexual partner.
Qur'an Describes Gender Determination By Sperm
Various individuals have claimed the Qur'an is the only ancient book that states gender is determined by the sperm. In this, they may point out the ignorance of the Greeks who thought gender was determined by the relative strengths of sperm from the male and female parents as Hippocrates imagined.
This article does not seek to prove that the ancient Egyptians shared some aspects of the scientific understanding of gender determination and reproduction. It merely aims to show that the Qur'an was not the first religious text to suggest that gender is determined by the semen of the male parent.
In viewing the evidence, it is apparent that some of the ancient Egyptians believed that gender is created by the sperm from the male parent, and reproduction is via male and female union. This belief predated the Qur'an by about 2,900 years as evidenced by the pyramid text of Pharaoh Pepi I, 2332-2283 BC.
Qur'an and Embryology
There are propagations of Qur'anic Embryology by such luminaries as Dr. Keith Moore (alongside his co-author Abdul Majeed al-Zindani) and Dr. Maurice Bucaille. These works are copied by Dr. Al Zeiny, Dr. Zakir Naik, Dr. Ibrahim Syed, Dr. Sharif Kaf Al-Ghazal, Harun Yahya and others.
There are already many responses available. So here we will attempt to add to this debate, concentrating solely on the Qur'anic verses, because inclusion of the hadiths would clearly show up the unscientific nature of Qur'anic embryology. Dr. Omar Abdul Rehman’s article on the subject will be used as the basis for our analysis as it is clearly the most detailed.
Qur'anic Claim of Everything Created in Pairs
This article analyzes the claim that humans did not know anything about the "creation in pairs" at the time of the descent of the Qur'an. The case against the Qur'an is very simple. All one has to do is to show that not all creatures are created in pairs.
Based on the existence of the schizophyllum commune, and asexual, hermaphroditic and parthenogenetic organisms, the Qur'anic verses about Allah creating all creatures in pairs (male and female) are shown to be in error.
The ancient Chinese Yin-Yang duality principle proves that the spurious claim of ‘creation in pairs’ to mean matter-antimatter complements to be unremarkable. Besides, some Hindus make similar claims about the Rig-Veda as the Muslims make about the Qur'an and scriptural allusions to matter and antimatter.
Qur'an and the Lying Prefrontal Cerebrum
Several apologists promulgate Professor Keith L. Moore's Qur'anic science of the lying sinful prefrontal area of the cerebrum (here referred to as the prefrontal cerebrum). There are many web sites that are copy-pasting this proposition, and a search of the internet reveals that all the claims come from the same source, i.e. Keith Moore.
However, Modern medical research utilizing fMRI conduct brain scans has revealed that the prefrontal cerebrum is not responsible for lying. Other brain regions are responsible, particularly the anterior cingulate gyrus which lies in the medial part of the brain in the frontal-parietal area and not in the prefrontal cerebrum.
Thus, the scientific evidence does not support the claim that the Qur'an correctly asserts that the prefrontal region is responsible for lying as it is not the region responsible for the decision-making process of lying.
Meeting of Fresh and Salt Water in the Qur'an
Apologists believe that Surah 25:53 of the Qur’an is scientifically accurate concerning its description of the meeting of fresh and salt water. They conclude that since this process was unknown to humankind during the time of Prophet Muhammad, this verse (and the Qur’an as a whole) is revealed by Allah.
This article will prove that the verse in question is scientifically wrong, and show you how apologists make false statements and distort information in order to support their case. It will also demonstrate how a layman could make a better guess than the author of the Qur'an.
- I. A. Ibrahim - A hub page that leads to other articles related to I. A. Ibrahim
- Zakir Naik - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Zakir Naik
- Harun Yahya - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Harun Yahya
- Islamization of Knowledge
- Muslim Statistics (Science)
- Scientific Errors in the Quran
Other Core Articles
Core articles contain an overview of other articles related to a specific issue, and serve as a starting point for anyone wishing to learn about Islam: