Scientific Errors in the Quran
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A common criticism of the Quran, as with the Hadith, is that it contains numerous scientific and historical errors, with no obvious attempts to differentiate its understanding of the natural world and historical events from the common folklore and misconceptions of the people living in 7th century Arabia. Modern responses typically appeal to metaphor, alternative meanings, or phenomenological interpretations of such verses. They also argue that the wording needed to be acceptable to people of its time. Critics typically argue that an all-knowing, perfect communicator would nevertheless have been able to avoid statements in the Quran that reinforced misconceptions of the time, caused future generations to have doubts about its perfection, and on a scale that critics contend is an overwhelming weakness.
The Qur'an mentions a few times that the sun and the moon travel in an orbit (falak - a rounded course), but does not mention once that the Earth does too. This is consistent with an Earth-centered (geocentric) view of the cosmos that places a motionless Earth at the center of the universe and all "heavenly bodies" travel around the Earth. This was the prevailing understanding of the universe prior to the 16th century when Copernicus helped explain and popularize a sun-centered (heliocentric) view of the universe. Tellingly, the sun's orbit is almost always mentioned in the context of night and day (Quran 13:12 being the only exception) and is always mentioned with that of the moon (which does in fact orbit the Earth each month), and the sun's orbit likewise appears, to the unaided eye, to traverse the sky each night when it is visible.
Quran 36:37-40, occurring in a passage about night and say, right after describing the change from day to night, states that the sun runs on to a resting place for it (لِمُسْتَقَرٍّ لَّهَا). There are also sahih hadith (Sahih Muslim 1:297) that mention the sun's daily cycle using the same Arabic word to mean a resting place, which is underneath Allah's throne, and is where each night the sun prostrates and is asked to go and rise 'from its rising place' (مِنْ مَطْلِعِهَا). This cycle repeats, until one day Allah asks the sun to rise 'from your setting place' (مِنْ َغْرِبِكِ).
The alternative view among exegetes was that this refers to the sun's final resting on the last day. Other verses talk about the sun swimming for a 'term appointed' (using a different Arabic word). Another version of the above hadith probably supports this view (for details of all these things see footnotes in the main article). 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.
A modern vantage point would explain the above 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. Critics argue that this is of no relevance to human time scales, and that nothing from the text implies that the sun is orbiting anything other than the Earth. The Quran never in any way differentiates the sun's orbit from that of the moon and consistently implies that they are of a common nature.
Here the sun running / pursuing its course (يَجْرِىٓ) is something that the author expects people to have seen (thus posing another challenge for the galactic orbit interpretation).
The word translated as "follow" is primarily defined as to follow, go or walk behind, follow in way of imitation, of action etc. and was often used for animals like camels following behind each other. The Moon does not actually follow behind the sun's movement, nor does it provide its own light like the sun. The verse is most 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. Critics would expect a less suspicious choice of wording in a perfect book if it merely meant the sun and moon appear one after the other. One day instead of following the sun, the moon will by joined with it according to another verse (see the Similar Size and Distance of the Sun and Moon section below).
Here the Qur'an quotes a few lines from a debate between Abraham and a disbelieving King, where Abraham replies that Allah 'brings the sun' (yatee biashshamsi يَأْتِى بِٱلشَّمْسِ) from the east. The Arabic verb and preposition indicates that the sun actually moves. The verb means to come, and when it has an object with the bi- preposition it means to bring, as in many other instances in the Qur'an. While the story is quoting a mere human's words, the author apparently believes it to be a good response and sees no problem with it.
Setting and rising place of the sun
In these verses, the author presents a version of a popular legend from the 7th century of a man named Dhu'l-Qarnayn who visits the places where the sun sets and rises.
Centuries after Muhammad lived, people with better astronomical knowledge introduced interpretations of these verses such that Dhu'l-Qarnayn 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. However, these alternative interpretations are severely undermined by the context and Arabic words used in these verses, which instead point to physical locations where the sun did its setting and rising. A plethora of evidence shows that the early Muslims understood the verse in this straightforward way.
Earth and heavens created in six days
The Qur'an presents the prevailing Middle-Eastern myth that the Earth and heavens were formed in six days. This is in sharp contrast with the findings of modern cosmology which show the Earth to have formed some 9 billion years after the beginning of the universe.
Unlike the hundreds of other verses where the Arabic word yawm or its plural ayyam (أَيَّامٍ) is understood to mean day or days, when the Quran describes the creation of the world some modern Muslim scholars have appealed to its alternative meaning, 'time period'. The author makes no attempt to convey long time periods or to distinguish his description from the prevailing Middle-Eastern creation myths in this regard (or from his own usage of the term 'yawm' elsewhere in the text), which feature six literal days of creation (for example, the Bible in Genesis 1:5 reads, "Evening came and morning came: The first day.").
Neither the universe nor Earth were formed in six distinct long periods of time. There is likewise apparently no attempt to indicate, even poetically, the vast duration of time in which the universe has developed, (namely, 13.8 billion years).
The Earth specifically was created in two days according to the Qur'an, and in four days (on days three and four according to the tafsirs) were created mountains and the sustenance of the Earth.
Mountains nonetheless continue to rise and erode to this day. Similarly, living things and their sustenance continue to evolve, yet the Qur'an says that the creation of mountains and sustenance occurred in a specific period that ended two days before the creation of the universe was completed. See the next section regarding the final two of the six days (from Quran 41:11-12) which immediately follow the verses discussed above.
Earth created before stars
The elements in the Earth's crust and core were first formed in stars by nucleosynthesis. When those stars exploded as supernovas, they expelled the elements that were used in future solar systems such as Earth's own. Modern radiometric dating of meteorites and rocks from the Earth and Moon show that these bodies were formed at the same time as the sun and its other planets, 4.5 billion years ago. The Qur'an, on the other hand, describes the Earth as being fully formed before the stars.
Quran 41:12 states that lamps (or more specifically, stars in the similar verse Quran 37:6) were placed in the lowest of the seven heavens. But before there were seven heavens and while heaven was just smoke, the Earth already existed according to Quran 41:11, and the Earth's creation and completion in the preceding days is described in Quran 41:9-10 in addition to being already discussed in the previous section. The creation sequence is thus as follows: heaven and Earth; seven heavens; the lowest heaven adorned with stars.
Quran 2:29 further confirms that heaven was only made into seven heavens when, according to the Quran, the Earth already existed.
The word lamps (masabeeha مَصَٰبِيحَ) in Quran 41:12 and Quran 67:5 with which Allah adorns (zayyanna زَيَّنَّا) the lowest heaven would need, of course, to include any luminous bodies such as the stars. These are termed as kawakib (كَوَاكِبِ) in Quran 37:6, a word that also appears in Joseph's dream (Quran 12:4) and the destruction of the heavens (Quran 82:1-2).
Some modern Muslim scholars attempt to reconcile the Qur'anic description with modern science by arguing that the word 'Then' in the verses above indicate does not indicate sequence, but that it instead means 'moreover'. This argument collides with the fact that these words (thumma in Quran 41:11 and Quran 2:29, and fa in Quran 41:12 - all translated as 'then') are generally used to indicate sequence. In other contexts, thumma was sometimes used to mean 'moreover'. This alternative usage, however, would always be unambiguous and clear in context, unlike in the passages quoted above, which evidently describe a stepwise process - the creation of the heavens subsequent to that of the Earth.
Earth and heavens torn apart
Modern Muslim scholars generally maintain that the following verse is compatible with and even predictive of the Big Bang theory. According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe was formed 13.8 billion years ago due to a rapid expansion from singularity. The earth was then formed, 4.54 billion years ago, from accretion of debris that surrounded the precursor of the Sun. There was at no stage a "separation" of the "joined" earth and heavens. In cosmic egg myths, an egg-like structure was split into two halves, the lower half forming the earth and the upper half forming the heaven. Quran 21:30 and similar verses assume that listeners are familiar with the basic outlines of this myth which was extremely wide-spread at the time of Muhammad and his companions.
This separation can be read in the context of verses that mention something "between" the fully formed earth and the heavens (which seems to be occupied by the clouds Quran 2:164 and birds Quran 24:41).
There is no scientific theory in which the Earth and heavens were torn apart from each other. The verse states that "We clove them" (dual pronoun 'huma'), not "We clove it", thereby indicating that the Earth and heavens are distinct after the cloving. If one holds that Quran 21:30 describes the big bang, the atomic particles that would later form the Earth would at the beginning would have to be separated from those that would go on to form everything else in the universe. This, however, bears no resemblance to modern scientific cosmology, wherein the material that forms the Earth passed through at least one earlier generation of stars, and more recently was part of various asteroids, comets and planetesimals orbiting the sun (which could all be described as being in the 'heavens') that sometimes collided and merged with each other, sometimes split apart, and gradually coalesced under gravity to form the Earth and other planets.
The very next verse Quran 21:31 speaks of mountains being placed on the Earth. Here, 'the Earth' must mean an actual world, yet modern interpretations of the previous verse hold that 'the Earth' refers merely to atomic particles at the time of the big bang.
Heaven made from smoke
There is no stage in the formation of the universe that involved smoke (carbon particles suspended as a result of combustion; the word translated smoke is the noun dukhan دُخَانٍ, which means literal smoke of the sort that rises from a fire). Similarly, the Earth and heavens did not each "come" as separate entities at any point in time. Rather, the Earth is a part of this universe and has developed within it.
Some modern Muslim scholars nevertheless interpret 'smoke' as the primordial state of the universe after the big bang. It is worth noting, however, that the verse indicates a time when heaven alone, but not the Earth, was smoke. This is especially challenging when one considers that the Earth and its mountains are described as already existing in the previous two verses (Quran 41:9-10, discussed above).
Quran 65:12 plainly states that there exist seven earths.
A hadith in Bukhari reveals that these seven Earths are stacked above each other.
The number, like seven heavens, might have come from a misunderstanding or indigenous interpretation of mythology from classical antiquity in which there were seven moving planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the sun and moon). The number seven, however, does not accord with the findings of modern astronomers, which know there to be eight ordinary planets and five dwarf planets, making for a grand total of thirteen in our solar system. Modern astronomy also has found many thousands of planets in other solar systems and Cosmologists estimate that hundreds of billions of stars and planets exist in the universe at large.
The universe consists of hundreds of billions of galaxies, each with hundreds of billions of stars. The Quran states that beyond our heaven which contains the stars, there exist another six heavens. The myth of seven heavens was a common idea prevalent in the Middle East during the time when the Qur'an was first recited.
Some modern Islamic scholars have argued that these verses refer to the seven layers of the atmosphere. However, Quran 37:6 states that stars occupy the nearest heaven. Additionally, there are 5 rather than 7 principal layers to the Earth's atmosphere, and likewise only 5 rather than 7 major layers to the Earth itself.
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. For this reason critics see it as far more likely that the author had such a misconception about the sun and moon.
Moon split in two
The Qur'an and Hadith State that the moon was miraculously split into two pieces and then, presumably, put back together again. There is, however, no scientific evidence suggesting that the moon was ever been split into two parts. Critics have pointed out that since the moon is visible to half the planet at any given time, there should exist numerous accounts from different parts of the world attesting to the event if it in fact happened. The Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Persians, Chinese and Indians had avid astronomers who, critics maintain, should have seen this event and recorded it in their histories. The complete absence of any such historical record from other civilizations contemporary to Muhammad is thus presented as a strong indication that the event described in scripture never happened.
Nature of the moon's light
Modern Muslim scholars have sometimes argued that the Qur'an predicted the realization that the moon does not emit its own light, but simply reflects light coming from the Sun. The Arabic word for reflected (in`ikaas) does not appear in the two Qur'anic verses that say the Moon is a "light". Instead, the word noor (nooran نُورًا) is used, which simply means "a light", and, in another verse, the word muneer (muneeran مُّنِيرًا) is used, which means "giving light" and is from the same root as noor. Nonetheless, the usage of these words is vague and appears to permit alternative interpretations.
Noor appears again (this time as a participle muneeran مُّنِيرًا) in a similar verse about the moon:
Quran 33:45-46 most clearly displays the meaning of noor to be "light" rather than "reflected light". A lamp is described as "shining light" with the same Arabic word used in Quran 25:61 (muneeran مُّنِيرًا):
In Lane's Lexicon of classical arabic, the word muneer (مُّنِيرً) is defined as 'Giving light, shining bright, bright, or shining brightly'. Noor is defined on the previous page as 'Light; whatever it may be; and the rays thereof'. In reference to Quran 10:5 (quoted above) which describe the moon with this word, Lane writes, 'In the Kur. x. 5, the sun is termed ضياء and the moon نور and it is said that ضياء is essential, but نور is accidental [light]'. The notion of essential and accidental light and its application to the sun and moon originates not from the Arabs at the time of the Qur'an, but rather from the book Kitab al-Manazir, commonly known as 'Optics', published in 1572 by the great polymath and optics pioneer al-Hazen. Lane goes on to say, citing the highly regarded Taj al-Arus classical dictionary, 'it [light] is of two kinds, the light of the present world and that of the world to come; and the former is either perceived sensibly, by the eye, and this is what diffuses itself from luminous bodies, as the sun and moon and stars, and is mentioned in the Kur. x. 5 referred to above'.
The word noor is also used in Quran 24:35 to show that Allah is the "light" of the universe. The author does not imply that Allah reflects light from another source, but rather that he is the ultimate source of all light.
Meteors as stars fired at devils
The Qur'an states that stars (kawakib ٱلْكَوَاكِبِ) and/or lamps (masabih مَصَٰبِيحَ) adorn the heavens and guard against devils. While stars are giant balls of gas thousands of times larger than the earth, meteors are small rocky masses or grains of debris which burn up after entering the earth's atmosphere. Many ancient people confused the two, as meteors look like stars that are streaking across the sky; this is why they were often called shooting stars or falling stars. In the following verse, the Qur'an asserts that Allah uses stars as missiles to ward away devils. This draws on an Arab myth that was common at the time the Qur'an was first recited.
The same Arabic words are used at the start of Quran 67:5 and Quran 37:6 (زَيَّنَّا ٱلسَّمَآءَ ٱلدُّنْيَا), except in Quran 67:5 it is the stars that are described as lamps rather than meteors. The lamps that 'beautify the heaven' refer to stars (and perhaps also the 5 visible planets), which are always there. Meteors are often not much larger than grains of sand and are only visible for a second when they burn up, generating light in the Earth's atmosphere.
A hadith in Sahih Muslim confirms that the 'pursuant flames / missiles' in the two verses refer to meteors which they saw shooting across the sky.
The sky as 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. In fact, Quran 2:22 juxtaposes the 'canopy' that is the sky with the 'couch' that is the earth, evoking precisely the image of an Arabian tent inhabited by floor cushions intended for seating. Quran 13:2 further emphasizes this image by pointing out that, unlike what one would expect with an Arabian tent, the canopy that is the sky needs no 'pillars' to hold it up. Quran 81:11 adds that the sky is like a covering that can be 'stripped away'.
The sky as a guarded canopy
Quran 21:32 relates to the verses about devils chased by shooting stars (meteors) that guard the lowest heaven. Quran 37:6-10, discussed above, which contains a noun meaning "guard" from the same Arabic root (hafiza) as the verb in this verse. Interestingly, modern science has revealed that the things guarding the sky / heaven can also pose a threat to living things on Earth - asteroids and meteorites have penetrated the atmosphere and hit the earth throughout the course of history. This includes the massive meteorite that hit near the Yucatán Peninsula 65 million years which killed off numerous species, including most dinosaurs. The 'guarded canopy' does not, it appears, protect one from these apocalyptic intruders.
The sky as something that falls
The Quran describes the sky/heaven as a ceiling held up by Allah that can fall or fragments of which may break off and fall upon unfortunate individuals. This is challenging in light of the modern realization that the sky as such rather than being a solid, corporeal entity is simple a conglomeration of various gasses.
Heavens to be rolled up
Stars as something that fall
The Qur'an says that the stars will fall (inkadarat ٱنكَدَرَتْ) as one of many dramatic events surrounding the last day. The word كدر in the form used in this verse (form VII) meant 'to dart down', as is said of a bird or hawk, or to fall and scatter.
The structure of space-time is such that nothing, not even stars, can move faster than the velocity of light. That is, if the stars were to move close to light speed across the sky their motion would nonetheless be imperceptible to the naked eye as many visible stars are hundreds of light years away (the nearest star is more than four light years away). Indeed, many stars still visible in the sky ceased to exist centuries ago and it is only their light which is just now reaching the Earth.
The cause of shadows changing length
Shadows are produced when the sun's light is obstructed. The Earth's rotation causes these shadows to change size and lengthen. Quran 25:45-46 states that the reason shadows fluctuate in size rather than being stationary is because Allah has made the sun their guide. This appears to confirm the geocentric outlook widely evidenced elsewhere in the Qur'an, for it is only on a geocentric view that the 'movement of the sun' can be said to 'guide' the fluctuation of shadows.
Interestingly, Quran 25:46 follows up by stating that Allah 'draws the shadows towards himself'. The exact meaning of this verse is unclear, but if it regards the retraction of an object's shadow 'back onto itself' - that is, to a state where there is no shadow or the shadow is at its shortest - then perhaps it can be interpreted to describe the gradual 'pointing of the shadow towards heaven' or 'upwards towards Allah'. Even this reading is difficult to justify, however, and the verse is perhaps best regarded as having lost intelligibility beyond the vague spiritual sense in which it may be read.
Disregard of 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. These circumstances render many of the most important Islamic rituals impracticable and suggest that the author(s) of the Qur'an and hadith, in so far as they aspired to produce a religion of global practicability, were not aware of the extreme distortions to the calendar that take place near the poles (Quran 9:36, for instance, states that "The number of months in the sight of Allah is twelve (in a year)- so ordained by Him the day He created the heavens and the earth" - as much is, however, not the case near the Earth's poles and is also otherwise unclear insofar as the lunar cycles did not exist at the beginning of the universe).
When reading this verse one may also wonder in what sense day and night each have an orbit (See Geocentrism and the Quran).
See also the Fasting and Prayer Requirements Near the Poles section below.
The Qur'an takes what is perhaps best described as the creationist view of the origins and history of life on earth. This diverges sharply from the overwhelming scientific evidence that humans have evolved from prior life forms, over the course of millions of years and through natural selection. Consequently, while some Muslim scholars reinterpret the Quran in order that they may 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.
Humans created from clay
The Qur’an states that man was created instantaneously from clay (salsalin صَلْصَٰلٍ) / mud (hamain حَمَإٍ). There is no indication that the author is aware of the evolution of human life over millions of years or our common ancestry with apes and primates.
The Quran also states, in a similar vein, that the first man was created from dust (turabin تُرَابٍ).
Adam and Eve
The Qur’an contains stories concerning the 'first humans' which detail, among other matters, how all people are descended from Adam and Eve (called Hawa in Arabic), the two earliest ancestors. These humans were created in a garden (the word for paradise in Arabic is jannah, which literally means 'garden') and then brought to Earth fully formed (Sahih Hadiths say Adam was 60 cubits - or 90 feet - tall). This view of the origins of human life is directly challenged by overwhelming DNA evidence and the numerous fossils of pre-Homo sapiens species that lived on earth for millions of years prior to the evolution modern humans.
Another verse describes the literal descent of humanity from one man with reference to the sexual means by which it was achieved (i.e. 'his seed') after Allah had created him out of clay.
The word translated “seed” in the Pickthall translation is nasl نسل, which means progeny (i.e. descendants).
Some modern Muslim scholars argue that the notion of two ancestral “parents” is consistent with recent scientific findings that show a common female and male ancestor of all modern humans. This results, however, from a confusion with the nicknames (Mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosomal Adam) by which scientists have referred to human's earliest genetic ancestors. These two individuals, however, are distinct from the Quranic characters as they are simply the last common male and female ancestors of everyone alive today and not of all humans in history. More importantnly, whereas the Qur'an describes Eve as Adam's wife (who, notably, was created after him), Mitochondrial Eve lived some 50,000 to 80,000 years earlier than Y-chromosomal Adam. Genetic evidence also overwhelmingly indicates that humans diverged from earlier species as a population rather than as a single couple.
The Qur'an contain descriptions regarding bodily fluids and the stages of development of the human embryo. Many of these descriptions are extremely vague and most bear a telling resemblance to similar descriptions found in the Jewish Talmud as well as the ideas of ancient Greeks, such as Galen. These descriptions do not accord with the findings of modern science and are generally considered unremarkable in the seventh-century Arabian context wherein the Quran was first recited.
Sperm originating between the backbone and ribs
The Qur'an states, that semen originates from somewhere between the backbone and ribs. While this aligns with the views of the physicians of antiquity, modern science has shown that sperm comes from the testicles and semen from various glands behind and below the bladder, which is not between the backbone and ribs.
Embryo forming from semen
The Qur'an describes the initial formation of a human embryo out of fluid emanating from the man (and possibly also of the woman), which is then placed in the womb. This reflects the widespread contemporary view that semen is the material from which the embryo is initially formed, as taught by Hippocrates, Galen, and the Jewish Talmud. By contrast, modern science has shown that semen is the vehicle for the sperm cells, one of which fuses with a woman's ovum in her fallopian tube, and that the resulting cell divides (rather than the seminal medium) and travels back into the womb for implantation.
While many English translations mention a "drop of seed", or "drop of sperm", the Arabic word used in the Quran is nutfah, which literally means a small amount of liquid and was a euphemism for semen.
Disregard of female ovum
The Quran's, in all its discussion of human reproduction, does not mention the role of the ovum, implying instead that reproduction is caused simply by storage of the male semen in the female womb. Although visible to the human eye, the female ovum is very small and it's purpose wasn't understood in the 7th century - this appears to explain its omission in the Quran.
Humans created from a clot of blood
The Qur'an describes humans as being formed from a clot of blood after an initial semen stage. By contrast, modern science has revealed that there is no stage in embryonic development where the relevant material is a clot of blood. The Quranic description is likely influenced by a simplistic attempt at explaining human reproduction based on unaided-eye observations of an early-term miscarriage and a woman's menstrual cycle. While in modern times some Muslims scholars have advanced alternative meanings for the relevant word, the historical certainty that the word referred to clotted blood (also the unanimous reading in the classical tafsirs) is renders the modern reinterpretations extremely challenging.
Gender decided at clot stage
The Qur'an states that an embryo is transformed from semen into a clot, shaped (presumably into a human mold), and then determined into either the male or female sex. Modern genetics, on the other hand, has shown that the sex of a human is decided at the moment of conception.
While translators mostly use "And" in verse 39, the Arabic particle is fa, as also in the previous conjunction, which indicates sequence (i.e. 'and then'). Classical tafsirs share this reading, and the same reading is reflected in a sahih hadith found in both Bukhari and Muslim:
Bones formed before flesh
The Qur'an states that the bones of a human embryo are formed first and then covered up with flesh. By contrast, modern science has shown that the cartilage 'models' and muscles start to form at the same time and in parallel. Muscles which started to form before the cartilage models thereafter start to be replaced by bone.
The Qur'an again parallels the influential Greek physician Galen, who says:
All organisms created in pairs
The Quran states that all beings are created in pairs. However, modern science has revealed that not every creature procreates or reproduces through a male and female sexual relationship. The whiptail lizard in the U.S. Southwest, Mexico, and South America, for instance, is an all-females species which reproduces by parthenogenesis. Viruses (if considered a life form) 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. Hermaphrodites of all species also do not appear to fit in to this dichotomy.
Fetus in three layers of darkness
The word butun (بطن) means belly/abdomen/midriff, though some translators have opted to use the more specific (and evocative) word "womb". Classical tafsirs interpreted the "three darknesses" as the placenta, womb (uterus), and belly. Modern science has revealed there to be many more such 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). There is also the allantois, which is a sac-like structure which becomes part of the umbilical cord and is not in any real sense 'a darkness' viz-a-viz the embryo. The other two membranes, the chorion and amnion, together form the amniotic sac, which is quite thin and transparent. The idea of three membranes around the fetus (chorion, allantois, and amnion) was taught by the highly influential Greek physician, Galen, and the description found in the Quran in all likelihood draws on Galen's widespread influence in the late antique world.
Functions of the heart
The Quran describes the heart as a locus of contemplation, thought, and even decision outside of the brain.
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, however, not located 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. These realities appear to challenge the Qur'anic notion that milk is 'pure' and 'agreeable'.
Geology and meteorology
Facing toward Mecca
The Qur'an instructs Muslims to face the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca when they pray. A number of problems have been suggested with this instruction in consideration of the roundness of the Earth: one facing Mecca also necessarily has their back turned to it (a display of disrespect which is roundly prohibited in Islam), one directly opposite Mecca on the globe may pray in any direction (thus leading North American Muslims, who live near this antipode of Mecca, to opt for the rhumb-line technique lest they all pray in different directions), and, finally, Astronauts in Earth's orbit or on the Moon and Mars would are essentially unable to follow these instructions (suggesting that the author of the Qur'an did not have such future realities in mind).
Fasting and prayer requirements near the Poles
The Qur'an instructs Muslims to fast by abstaining from food and drink from sunrise till sunset during Ramadan. In the polar regions there are six months of sunlight and six months of perpetual night during Summer and Winter. Such fasting is not practicable for anyone living in the polar regions, and very easy (depth of Winter) or extremely hard (height of Summer) in places within around 40 degrees latitude of the poles. Various rules have been contrived by Muslim scholars for those at such latitudes to try to accommodate the (here inconvenient) fact that we live on a round Earth.
A similar issue emerges for the five daily prayers. Persons living in the polar region would not be able to make a sunset or sunrise prayer for much of the year. Even in less extreme contextxs, for cities further south like Aberdeen in Scotland, the gap between the night prayer (Isha) and the dawn prayer (Fajr) is still around 4 and a half hours in June, so a person praying five times a day is required to interrupt their sleep around 3.20am, then go back to sleep before getting up for the day. These challenges would likely not have been on the mind of the author of the Quran during the 7th century in Arabia.
Earth as spread out and flat
The author of the Qur'an mentions that the Earth is 'spread out' and laid flat. The Arabic word here (sataha) was used to describe making the flat top or roof of a house or chamber and making a top surface flat. Words from the same root mean the flat top surface or roof of a house or chamber, a flat plane in geometry, a level place upon which dates can be spread, a rolling pin (which expands the dough), plane or flat.
The Qur'anic commentary of al-Jalalayn agrees with this understanding of the verse saying that legal scholars at his time agree that the earth is flat and not spherical.
Earth as like carpet
The Arabic word (bisaatan) used here means a thing that is spread or spread out or forth, and particularly a carpet.
Earth as like a couch
The Earth is described using an Arabic word (firashan) that means a thing that is spread on the ground to sit or lay upon.
Earth as like a bed
The Earth is described as a 'bed' (or 'carpet' in the Yusuf Ali translation) in verse Quran 20:53, and similarly Quran 43:10. The Arabic word (mahdan) suggests something completely flat and spread out on the ground (and not, for instance, 'rolled up' for storage).
Sometimes the same Arabic word is translated as expanse, as in Quran 78:6-7. Together with the next verse, the Earth is here a thing spread out and pegged down by mountains.
The same root word is used as a participle at the end of Quran 51:48.
Earth stretched out
Earth as a level plain
The Qur'an describes a time in the future when mountains will be removed. Quran 18:47 uses an Arabic word (baarizatan) that means "entirely apparent" to describe the Earth at this time. Quran 20:106 uses words (qa'an and safsafan) that mean a level plain. This description implies the Earth is flat and level and that it is the mountains which give it shape.
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, is not permanent, and the different salinity levels between the two bodies of water eventually homogenize. The Qur'an, by contrast, suggests that the separation between the two types of water is absolute, permanent, and maintained by some sort of divine barrier placed between them.
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 while also causing earthquakes and faults in the Earth's surface. The mountains found on Earth's surface today are thus largely the result of destabilizing (earth-quake inducing) tectonic activity. The Qur'an, by contrast, holds that mountains rather play a crucial role in stabilizing the Earth.
Mountains cast upon Earth
Mountains are usually formed through the movement and collision of lithospheric (tectonic) plates. The Quran, by contrast, states that the mountains on Earth's surface were cast down upon it by God. The imagery is clearly when one considers the other verses in the Qur'an which describe the Mountains as 'pegs' which stabilize the Earth (which is itself compared to a carpet and bed roll).
The word 'he has cast' is alqa (lam-qaf-ya), which in this form means to throw or cast down and is the same word used in Quran 12:10 when the prophet Yusuf is cast down into the well, and in Quran 20:20 when Moses casts down his staff, which becomes a snake.
Chests contract with altitude
Quran 6:125 states that a person's chest cavity gets smaller at higher altitude. Modern science, by contrast, has revealed that the opposite is the case.
Earthquakes as a punishment
The Quran describes Earthquakes, blizzards, hurricanes, and other destructive natural activity as being a sort of punishment for the people they inflict. Research, however, has not found any correlation between civilizations' irreligiosity and their susceptibility to these or other type of natural disaster.
Disregard of evaporation in water cycle
Some modern Muslim scholars argue that the water cycle is described in the Qur'an. Every verse about rain in the Qur'an implies that rain comes either directly from the sky or from Allah. The crucial step of evaporation of water into the air is never mentioned. That Quran describes a linear process orchestrated by Allah rather than a cyclical process (as with the water cycle) renders these modern reinterpretations challenging.
Mountains of hail in the sky
Hail forms in cumulonimbus clouds when updrafts raise water droplets to an altitude where they freeze. The Qur'an, by contrast, describes mountain-like masses of hail in the sky / heaven.
Hast thou not seen how Allah wafteth the clouds, then gathereth them, then maketh them layers, and thou seest the rain come forth from between them; He sendeth down from the heaven mountains wherein is hail, and smiteth therewith whom He will, and averteth it from whom He will. The flashing of His lightning all but snatcheth away the sight.
Transliteration: wayunazzilu (and he sends down) mina (from) alssamai (the sky) min (from) jibalin (mountains) feeha (in it ['it' is feminine here so must refer to the sky]) min (of) baradin (hail)
Tafsirs such as al-Jalalayn and the one attributed to Ibn Abbas say that this means mountains in the sky. Ibn Kathir notes two views, that these are literally mountains of hail in the sky, or that they are a metaphor for clouds. Clouds could poetically be described as mountains in the sky, but the verse says "mountains of hail in the sky", which critics would say strongly suggests large masses of ice (in the clouds or otherwise), and it was sometimes understood in this literal way as evidenced in tafsirs.
Allah smites with thunderbolts
The Quran describes thunder and lightning in a manner typical of ancient mythology. Allah, in a manner evocative of the legends most famously regarding Zeus, smites persons he wishes to punish with thunderbolts. A hadith, graded hasan (good) by Dar-us-Salam, further states that Muhammad believed the sound of thunder was an angel striking the clouds, which the angel drives along with a piece of fire (evoking the image of a whip of fire).
Ants converse and recognize humans
Ants primarily communicate with each other using pheromones (chemical signals). While scientists have discovered that ants make some noises, nothing has ever indicated that the brains of ants could produce anything approximating complex speech. By contrast, the Qur'an recounts the story of an ant ant warn her fellow ants of the approach of Solomon's large army of humans. Solomon is able to understand her speech and proceeds, presumably, to leave the ants be.
Four types of cattle
The Qur'an states that Allah has provided four kinds of cattle (eight including male and female) for use by humans and for eating. We know today, however, that there exist far more than four species 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. Quran 6:143-144 clarifies that this refers to male and female pairs of sheep, goats, oxes and camels, so in fact the author of the Qur'an is aware only of four kinds of cattle useful for humans (horses, mules and donkeys are considered distinct from cattle in Quran 16:5-8). This neglects other types of cattle from the regions outside of Arabia such as reindeer, which are important to people in northern latitudes.
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 not yet suitably bred for this purpose. Even today feral horses are descendants of once domesticated horses that aren't tamed or used for human transportation.
All animals live in communities
The Qur'an is emphatic that all animals live in communities. Some animals such as the jaguar or leopard are well known for being solitary creatures, rarely meeting in pairs and only to mate. They do not live in communities and routinely fight each other over territory.
There are also species even whose young are not raised as a family, which lay eggs and abandon them before hatching. Sea Turtles bury their eggs on a beach and leave them. When an egg hatches the baby turtle must dig to the surface and make a sprint to the sea or perish. Some reptiles behave similarly. An even better example is the Carolina anole, which is a lizard species. They lay just a single egg every 2 weeks, around 10 in total, each taking 5 to 7 weeks to hatch. Anole hatchlings must fend for themselves and are by nature solitary creatures from birth.
One translation attempts to interpret umamun (community / nation) to mean genus (group of species, plural: genera). Even supposing this to be the correct interpretation, it would represent the pre-scientific understanding in which every creature can be neatly categorised, ignorant of the on-going process in which sub-groups of many species are diverging and gradually evolving into new species.
Bird flight as 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, says that 'nothing' holds up the bird except the miraculous power of Allah.
Massive wall of iron
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.
Mary as part of the Trinity
Christians have never worshipped Mary as part of the Trinity. The author of the Qur'an seems to be mistaken in his understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity and the theology of Christians.
Further evidence that the author believed Mary was part of the Christian trinity appears in Surah Al-Ma'idah when the subject of the trinity is explicitly addressed:
It is particularly noteworthy that no other entity is mentioned (i.e. the holy spirit, which is the 3rd member of the trinity in actual Christian doctrine). Verse 75 even uses the statement that the Messiah and Marium both ate food to demonstrate that they are normal humans and not a part of a divine trinity with Allah.
Mary as 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 whose story is set 1500 years earlier. Miriam, not Mary, was the sister of Moses and Aaron and daughter of Amram (Imran).
"Daughter of 'Imran" is not a mere figure of speech about her ancestry - Mary's mother is described as the wife of 'Imran, and two verses earlier it is conspicuous that "the Family of 'Imran" is mentioned after other famous prophets:
Ezra as the son of God in Jewish doctrine
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.
David invented coats of mail
There is no evidence that coats of chainmail (as distinct from scale armour) existed during the time of David (10th century BCE). The earliest example of a coat of mail was Celtic and its invention is commonly credited to the Celts in the 3rd century BCE.. Mail has also been found in a 5th century BCE Scythian grave, and there is a cumbersome Etruscan pattern mail artifact from the 4th century BCE. Such artifacts would have been easily preserved and found by archeologists if they had existed much earlier. Some older translations of the Bible mention Goliath and David wearing a "coat of mail" in 1 Samuel 17:5 and 17:38 respectively. This is a well known mistranslation for a word meaning armour in general.
In the Qur'an, David is taught by Allah how to make coats of iron chainmail (sabighatin سَٰبِغَٰتٍ) and to measure the chainmail links (as-sardi ٱلسَّرْدِ) thereof. It says people should be thankful for this knowledge which has been passed down from him.
Crucifixions in ancient Egypt
There are no references from any culture anywhere in the world to crucifixion as a method of execution before 500 BCE, where they started to appear in several middle eastern cultures. However, the Qur'an tells of crucifixions at the time of Joseph (approximately 2000 BCE) and Moses (approximately 1500 BCE).
Ancient Egypt has been extensively studied in archaeology. While there is hieroglyphic evidence of people impaled through upright stakes in ancient Egypt, this is a distinct execution method from the crucifixion on palm trees in the Qur'anic story. Palm trees are far too thick to be used as upright stakes for impaling a person from above, so no-one would choose palm trees for such a purpose. Rather, the Egyptians would have to impale the victim to the side of the palm tree trunk in the Qur'an's anachronistic tale.
Samaritans in ancient Egypt
The Qu'ran claims that Moses dealt with a Samaritan during his time, however they did not exist until over half a millennium after this even supposedly occurred. The term Samari itself comes from the city of Samaria, an archaeologically confirmed city which was built by King Omri in around 870BC, nearly 700 years after Moses is supposed to have existed.
These verses concern the story of the golden calf in the time of Moses. It seems that Muhammad may have been confused because there is another Biblical passage in Hosea 8:5-6 about a much later golden calf that the Samaritans worshipped after the time of Solomon.
The singular Pharaoh
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. They were preserved intact using methods such as salt to dry the body (hence salt in the body of Ramesses II is not evidence that he drowned in the sea). There were many Pharaohs ranging from numerous dynasties who were preserved in this way, but the Qur'an merely narrated one un-named Pharaoh who would be preserved as a sign.
Critics argue that the Qur'an contains an un-historical, world-wide flood story as found in the Bible and ancient near-Eastern mythology. A modern perspective typically claims instead that the textual evidence supports nothing more than a regional flood in the Qur'anic story of Noah. Critics raise various problems and questions in this claim:
If the flood was not world-wide, why Noah was instructed to spend time building a boat at all when he could have just taken his family out of the flood region with sufficient warning? Animals in the region could have done likewise by the same kind of miracle needed to bring them all to an ark.
Why would Noah have to put every kind of animal on the ark to save them when there would have been more members of most species elsewhere in the world, unaffected by the regional flood?
A mountain, or simply fleeing the region would be enough to save someone from a regional flood, but this verse says nothing can save them.
"The Earth" here could also be translated "the land", but why would Noah only care about a single region of disbelievers?
The story of Noah was a famous myth of a world-wide flood. Critics see a major weakness that the Qur'an makes no attempt to distinguish itself from the same world-wide flood myth that its listeners were familiar with.
Noah's ark holding 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.
John the Baptist's original name
The name "John" originates from the Hebrew name Yohanan. Several figures in the Old Testament bore this name. To quote historical examples, there was a high priest named Johanan (3rd century BC) and a ruler named John Hyrcanus (died 104 BC). These people existed before John the Baptist, who was a contemporary of Jesus. But the Qur'an claims that nobody before John the Baptist (Yahya in Arabic) bore his name.
Supernatural destruction of cities
The author of the Qur'an thought that outside the vicinity of Arabia there were cities and tribes destroyed by Allah for rejecting his messengers and Islam. In each specific example in the Qur'an (A'ad, Thamud, Midian, the people of Lot, Pharoah's army), the destruction of the disbelievers is sudden and total. Thanks to today's scientific progress, historical cities and tribes are known to have been destroyed by natural disasters, famine, wars, migration, or neglect, often taking years or decades to unfold. But the Qur'an merely repeats a common myth of the ancient Near East whereby these incidents are treated as swift and sudden punishments by God for people's sins.
The suddenness of Allah's punishment is stressed many times in Surah al-A'raf:
In the Qur'an, the people of Thamud were killed instantly by an earthquake Quran 7:78 or thunderous blast Quran 11:67, Quran 41:13-17, Quran 51:44, Quran 69:5. The people of A'ad were killed by a fierce wind for 7 days Quran 41:13-16,Quran 46:24-35,Quran 51:41, Quran 69:6-7. The people of Midian (Midyan) were killed overnight by an earthquake Quran 7:91, Quran 29:36. The towns of Lot were destroyed by a storm of stones from the sky Quran 54:32, Quran 29:34. The actual locations of these towns or tribes are currently unknown, and Midian was a wide geographical area, so claims about their sudden demise may always be unfalsifiable. Many other polytheist towns throughout the world certainly did not experience any sudden destruction.
Humans lived for hundreds of 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.
Ancient 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.
The Qu'ran states that the first humans "Adam and Eve" spoke to each other in some kind of language in many suras, and also that God told them the names of everything. Thanks to the modern field of linguistics and the history of language we know that the type of sentences constructed in the Qu'ran would simply not have been able to be spoken by humans until over 100,000 years since the first humans evolved. The language of the first humans would be incomprehensible to us and they would not be able to express the kinds of sentences that Adam and Eve do in the Qu'ran.
Allah taught Adam the names of all things. Does he know how long it takes to speak these names? Some 1.9 million species of plants and animals have been identified and named, out of some 8.7 million that may actually exist. Millions more have become extinct. Let us not even talk about the names of non-living objects, galaxies, the countless stars and planets of the universe.
Protection of 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.
Mandatory learning of 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. Moreover, even native speakers of modern Arabic in its various dialects need additional study to be able to understand well the Qur'anic Arabic from which the modern language developed. Even then, both Muslim and non-Muslim scholars acknowledge that the meaning of certain words, and historical allusions in the Qur'an have become lost or have always been uncertain (as indeed anyone familiar with the discussions of competing interpretations in the tafsirs will be aware).
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. Critics wonder 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.
Myths and legends
While miracles by definition are supposed to defy the laws of nature and scientific explanation, it is interesting to observe some of the strange and absurd myths and legends in the Qur'an.
Humans turned 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.
A statue of a calf was cast out of ornaments but it could moo.
Hordes trapped by iron wall
The story of Dhul-Qarnayn says that two tribes are trapped behind a massive wall of Iron. According to the Qur'an, these two beast tribes were trapped by Dhul-Qarnayn behind this metal wall and will only be let free on the day of Judgement. Obviously, no such wall has ever been found nor are there tribes 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.
Stick turned serpent
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.
Living inside a big fish
A human could not live inside a fish and pray.
Flying to heaven upon a winged horse
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.
Speaking body parts
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.
Sea split in half
Moses and the Israelites crossed a sea that was split into two halves.
Manipulating the wind
King Solomon had the authority to manipulate the wind at his command and could fly anywhere he wanted.
Testimony of a dead man
Allah told some people to hit a murder victim with a piece of cow to temporarily resurrect him.
Mountains and birds sing psalms
Nonmathematical 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. 
According to a particularly imaginative miracle claim made by some Islamic websites, the Qur'an identifies which part of the brain is used for telling lies. Brain wave technology has shown that electrical activity happens in the entire brain when a person is being deceitful.
- Lane's Lexicon يَجْرِىٓ
- Lane's Lexicon تَلَىٰ
- Lane's Lexicon يَأْتِى
- Lane's Lexicon دُخَانٍ
- Lane's Lexicon مُّنِيرً
- Lane's Lexicon نُورًا
- Lane's Lexicon حفظ
- Lane's Lexicon ٱنكَدَرَتْ
- Lane's Lexicon نسل
- Harrison's principles of internal medicine. (17th ed. ed.). New York [etc.]: McGraw-Hill Medical. pp. 2339–2346. ISBN 978-0-07-147693-5, 2008.
- Lane's Lexicon ف
- Lane's Lexicon بطن
- Lane's Lexicon سُطِحَ
- Lane's Lexicon بِسَاطًا
- Lane's Lexicon فِرَٰشًا
- Lane's Lexicon مَهْدًا
- Lane's Lexicon مدد
- Lane's Lexicon بَارِزَةً
- Lane's Lexicon قَاعًا, Lane's Lexicon صَفْصَفًا
- Lane's Lexicon أَلْقَىٰ
- Tafsir al-Jalalayn 24:43
- Tafsir Ibn Kathir 24:43
- Lane's Lexicon أَنْعَٰمِ
- Lane's Lexicon أَزْوَٰجٍ
- Richard A. Gabriel, The ancient world, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007 P.79
- Robinson, H. R., Oriental Armour, New York:Dover Publications, 1995, pp.10-12
- Mora, C. (August 23, 2011). "How Many Species Are There on Earth and in the Ocean?". PLoS Biology 9: e1001127. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001127. PMID 21886479. PMC:3160336.