Quran Predicted Black Holes And Pulsars
This article analyzes the apologetic claim that the Qur'an predicted black holes and pulsars.
We will show the absurdity of the black hole claim, while showing the pulsar claim to be conjectural and devoid of factual basis. In doing so, we will also show Harun Yahya’s self-contradiction as he used the same Qur'anic verse to ‘prove’ both the black hole and the pulsar. Now, even to the uninitiated, it would seem impossible for something to be both a black hole and a pulsar. However, Islamic apologists do not appear to be inhibited by such constraints of logic.
And I swear by the stars' positions-and that is a mighty oath if you only knew. (Qur'an, 56:75-76)
This verse doesn’t say anything about a collapsed star. Only the position of the stars. It is the conjecture of the apologist that the verse refers to collapsed stars. In fact, some translations allude to shooting or falling stars, i.e. meteors.
Pickthal: Nay, I swear by the places of the stars -
Shakir: But nay! I swear by the falling of stars;
Khalifa: I swear by the positions of the stars.
Sher Ali: Nay, I cite as proof the shooting of the stars -"Progressive Muslims": I swear by the positions of the stars.
Therefore, the apologist hasn't proven his case.
When the stars are extinguished, (Qur'an, 77:8)
This surah does not speak about black holes at all, but about the Day of Decision (aka Day of Judgment). Therefore, it cannot possibly refer to black holes which were formed and continue to be formed long before this specific day.
2. By the raging hurricanes,
3. Which scatter clouds to their destined places,
4. Then separate them one from another,
5. Then I swear by the angels who bring down the revelation,
6. To clear or to warn.
7. Most surely what you are threatened with must come to pass.
8. So when the stars are made to lose their light,
9. And when the heaven is rent asunder,
10. And when the mountains are carried away as dust,
11. And when the apostles are gathered at their appointed time.
12. To what day is the doom fixed?13. To the day of decision.
[I swear] by Heaven and the Tariq! And what will convey to you what the Tariq is? The Star Piercing [the darkness]! (Qur'an, 86:1-3)
The verse actually refers to Tariq, a specific star. Some say it is the morning star (Pickthal and Sher Ali). Firstly, a star that pierces the darkness (or has piercing brightness) cannot be a black hole.
Secondly, if the reference by Pickthal and Sher Ali is correct, the Tariq or morning star is Venus, a planet and not a star. 
Even some Muslims believe that the Tariq could be Saturn or the Pleiades.
Some narrations denote that the 'star' is 'Saturn' which is one of the planets of the solar system and is very bright.This very idea is also understood from a narration of Imam Sadiq (p.b.u.h.) when he was asked by an astronomer regarding what Allah meant by /thaqib/ in that verse and he answered: "It is 'Saturn' which appears in the seventh sky. But its light passes the skies and reaches the first sty. That is why Allah has called it 'the star of piercing brightness '."
An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Quran, Translated by Mr. Saiyed Abbas Sadr - 'ameli
Therefore, it would appear Harun Yahya's claim, that the Qur'an speaks about black holes, cannot be supported by either the reading of the entire surah, or by the scientific facts about black holes.
In fact, Harun Yahya contradicts himself because he used the same Qur'anic verse to 'prove' Tariq is a pulsar, as opposed to a black hole. Truly the miracles of the Qur'an know no bounds.
Pulsars are the remains of extinguished stars which emit very powerful, pulse-like radio waves and which revolve very rapidly around their own axes. It has been calculated that there are more than 500 pulsars in the Milky Way, of which our Earth is a part.
The word "Tariq," name of the Sura 86, comes from the root "tarq," whose basic meaning is that of striking hard enough to produce a sound, or hitting. Bearing in mind the word's possible meaning as "beating," "striking hard," our attention may be being drawn in this sura to an important scientific fact. Before analysing this information, let us look at the other words employed in the verse to describe these stars. The term "alttariqi" in the above verse means a star that pierces the night, that pierces the darkness, born at night, piercing and moving on, beating, striking, or sharp star. Furthermore, the term "waal" draws attention to the things being sworn on-the heaven and the Tariq.
Through research carried out by Jocelyn Bell Burnell, at Cambridge University in 1967, a regular radio signal was identified. Until that time, however, it was not known that that there was a heavenly body that could be the source of regular pulse or beating rather like that of the heart. In 1967, however, astronomers stated that, as matter grows denser in the core as it revolves around its own axis, the star's magnetic field also grows stronger, and thus gives rise to a magnetic field at its poles 1 trillion times stronger than that of Earth. They realised that a body revolving so fast and with such a powerful magnetic field emits rays consisting of very powerful radio waves in a conic form at every revolution. Shortly afterwards, it was also realised that the source of these signals is the rapid revolution of neutron stars. These newly discovered neutron stars are known as "pulsars." These stars, which turn into pulsars through supernova explosions, are of the greatest mass, and are the brightest and fastest moving bodies in the universe. Some pulsars revolve 600 times a second.50
The word "pulsar" comes from the verb to pulse. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the word means to pulsate, to beat. Encarta Dictionary defines it as to beat rhythmically, to move or throb with a strong regular rhythm. Again, according to the Encarta Dictionary, the word "pulsate," which comes from the same root, means to expand and contract with a strong regular beat.
Following that discovery, it was realised that the phenomenon described in the Qur'an as "tariq," beating, bore a great similarity to the neutron stars known as pulsars.
Neutron stars form as the nuclei of super giant stars collapse. The highly compressed and dense matter, in the form of a rapidly revolving sphere, entraps and squeezes most of the star's weight and magnetic field. The powerful magnetic field created by these rapidly revolving neutron stars has been shown to cause the emission of powerful radio waves observable on Earth.
In the third verse of Surat at-Tariq the term "alnnajmu alththaqibu," meaning piercing, piercing and moving on, or opening holes, indicates that Tariq is a bright star that pierces a hole in the darkness and moves on. The concept of the term "adraka" in the expression "And what will convey to you what the Tariq is?" refers to comprehension. Pulsars, formed through the compression of stars several times the size of the Sun, are among those celestial bodies that are hard to comprehend. The question in the verse emphasizes how hard it is to comprehend this beating star. (Allah knows best.)As discussed, the stars described as Tariq in the Qur'an bear a close similarity to the pulsars described in the 20th century, and may reveal to us another scientific miracle of the Qur'an.
Here are some of Harun Yahya's errors:
1. Pulsars are hard to comprehend.
Not really. Their structure is as well understood as many other celestial bodies.
2. Pulsars are the brightest bodies in the universe.
Not really. Pulsars are weak optical emitters. Only a few pulsars can be seen with an optical telescope, and only one pulsar is bright enough to be seen reasonably well. In fact, it was not until 1967 that pulsars were discovered on radio emissions, not optically.
Are pulsars the strongest radio emitters? Not really. The infrared star NML Cygni sat 1612 megahertz is the strongest radio emission line yet detected. Other strong radio emitters include radio galaxies such as Cygnus-A, quasars and gas clouds.
3. Pulsars are the fastest moving bodies in the universe.
Not proven. There appears some confusion between neutron stars and pulsars. Whilst it is true that all pulsars are neutron stars, not all neutron stars are pulsars. The fastest moving stars are neutron stars, such as RX J185635-3754, Barnard’s star or SGR1900+14. 
4. The term "alttariqi" means a star that pierces the night, that pierces the darkness, born at night, piercing and moving on, beating, striking, or sharp star.
The apologist gave the definition of the root “tarq” as beat or strike hard. Nowhere is there the implication of ‘moving on’. So, we’re left with only a star that pierces. But does this mean that the Tariq is a pulsar? This tafsir defines tariq as way, not a pulsar.
An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Quran, Translated by Mr. Saiyed Abbas Sadr - 'ameli
Here is another definition giving the meaning, ‘night visitor’ from the root of ‘knock’ing of the door.
. . .
An oath by the sky and by the visitor by night. ‘Nightcomer’ is given for al-tariq, from taraqa, meaning to knock, on account of how at night visitors would knock on the door, whereas during the day it was the habit to leave doors open, and the visitor would simply call out and seek permission to enter. Here what is meant is the star that appears at night, as the following ayat make clear.
Muhammad Asad reads Taraqa to mean beat something or knock at something.
Does beat, strike, knock, pound, pierce mean pulse? It seems a stretch of the imagination to suggest that. Hence we contend that the definition of Tariq of beat, pierce, strike, knock, and pound does not suggest the pulsing characteristics of a pulsar.
In terms of piercing the darkness, it would appear pulsars are neither the brightest, nor the strongest radio emitters in the Universe.
Regardless, it would appear that at Tariq refers to a singular star, not a collective of pulsars. If it is a single pulsar, which one is it? Sadly, the Qur'an doesn’t say, leaving the logical conclusion, due to its singular noun, that it refers to something the 7th Century Arabs knew about.
The claim that the Qur'an predicted the modern understanding of Black Holes is not backed by the scientific evidence.
The claim that the Qur'an predicted the modern understanding of pulsars is conjectural and not supported by the scientific evidence.
It can also be seen that a black hole cannot possibly also be a pulsar. Thus it appears that Harun Yahya has refuted himself.
- A Qur’anic Understanding of the Universe
- Harun Yahya - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Harun Yahya
- Frequently Asked Questions/ What is the "Morning Star"? - Virtual Science Center
- A Surprise From the Pulsar in the Crab Nebula - European Southern Observatory, November 20, 1995
- Brightest object in universe discovered by UW astronomer - University of Washington, June 10, 1998
- Dr. Christian Kaiser - Quasars - School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Southampton, October 4, 2004
- Cyrus Farivar - Faraway Neutron Star May Be Fastest Moving Object Ever Discovered - The Daily Californian, January 30, 2002
- Hubble Sees Bare Neutron Star Streaking Across Space - HubbleSite, November 9, 2000