Coal Miracle in the Quran

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The author of the Quran tries to make people believe in it by threatening them with "fire whose fuel is men and stones". Some Islamic apologists claim that Muhammad couldn't have known about coal (burning stone), therefore he cannot be the author of the Quran.


1400 years ago Arabs burned wood for fire however they didn't know about stones that burn.

What is Coal?
Coal is an organic sedimentary rock that forms from the accumulation and preservation of plant materials, usually in a swamp environment. Coal is a combustible rock and, along with oil and natural gas, it is one of the three most important fossil fuels. Coal has a wide range of uses; the most important use is for the generation of electricity.
Geology, Coal, 2020

"Coal is a combustible rock" however it was not known to Arabs 1400 years ago.

Saudi Arabia produces virtually no coal for its own energy use. It chooses instead to import 123.4 thousand short tons per year, with that value increasing almost every year throughout the 2010 decade. Saudi Arabia consumes only a small amount of coal for its energy use per year as of 2016 (123 thousand short tons per year), which fulfills less than 0.1% of its energy needs.
Climate Scorecard, Saudi Arabia Increases Coal Production, 2019

Combustible rock was not known in Arabia 1400 years ago, however it was portrayed in the Quran.

[Quran 2:24] But if you do not-and you will not-then beware the Fire whose fuel is people and stones, prepared for the disbelievers.

Stones that are fuel for fire, which means they are combustible stone. Today we know that coal is combustible stone.

How could an illiterate man who lived 1400 years ago have known about stones that burn?

The verse

The verse doesn't mention only stones, but also people and people are not very flammable:

But if you do not-and you will not-then beware the Fire whose fuel is people and stones, prepared for the disbelievers.

And hellfire is supernatural. So it's not a description of nature, so this has nothing to do with science. Everything is possible in supernatural world.

Muhammad didn't know?

Burning coal was already mentioned by Moses in the Bible, more than a thousand years before Islam:

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and put incense in it, along with burning coals from the altar, and hurry to the assembly to make atonement for them. Wrath has come out from the Lord; the plague has started.”

The Bible, Numbers 16:46

And Muhammad himself talked about burning coal in a hadith:

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said: "The Messenger of Allah said: 'If any one of you were to sit on a live coal until it burns his garment, that would be better for him than sitting on a grave."

See also