Sonic Weapons in the Quran

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According to the Quran, a tribe named Thamud was destroyed by "a cry" as a punishment from god. Some Islamic apologists are trying to make a connection between this story and modern sonic weapons.

The "miracle"

1400 years ago nobody believed that sound can injure or kill anyone. But today we know this is false.

Sonic and ultrasonic weapons (USW) are weapons of various types that use sound to injure, incapacitate, or kill an opponent. Some sonic weapons are currently in limited use or in research and development by military and police forces. Some of these weapons have been described as sonic bullets, sonic grenades, sonic mines, or sonic cannons. Some make a focused beam of sound or ultrasound; some make an area field of sound.
Wikipedia, Sonic Weapon, 2019

Sound waves can injure, incapacitate or even kill. This was known recently, however this was portrayed in the Quran 1400 years before it was discovered. In the story of Thamud the people were killed by a sound wave.

[Quran 11:67] And the shout struck those who transgressed, and they became motionless bodies in their homes.

"Saiha صَّيْحَةُ " means shout or scream. Here the people were hit by a sound wave. The angles, who execute God's orders, shouted at Thamud, killing them by a sound wave.

How could an illiterate man who lived 1400 years ago have known that extreme sound can kill?

The verse

The verse doesn't mention "sound wave", it says "shout":

And the shout (صيحة) struck those who transgressed, and they became motionless bodies in their homes.

Quran 11:67, translated by [1]
  • Science did not prove that killing can be done by shouting
  • The verse doesn't indicate that the author of the Quran knew about sound waves. People 1400 years ago knew about shouting, but didn't knew about sound waves. The Quran mentions shouting, but is silent about sound waves.
  • The verse talks about supernatural punishment from god, therefore the verse doesn't indicate that it is possible within the laws of nature to kill by sound
  • The verse talks about what (supposedly) happened in history. The verse doesn't predict that people will discover sonic weapons in the future.

Also apologists like to translate the word أخذ (akhadha) as "struck", because it better supports their interpretation "the people were hit by a sound wave", but أخذ actually means "took" or "seized":

Muhsin Khan: And As-Saihah (torment - awful cry, etc.) overtook (أخذ) the wrong-doers, so they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes,

Pickthall: And the (awful) Cry overtook those who did wrong, so that morning found them prostrate in their dwellings,

Sahih International: And the shriek seized those who had wronged, and they became within their homes [corpses] fallen prone

Yusuf Ali: The (mighty) Blast overtook the wrong-doers, and they lay prostrate in their homes before the morning,-

Destruction of Thamud

The verse 11:67 is not the only one that talks about the destruction of the tribe Thamud, there is also this verse:

And as for Thamud, We guided them, but they preferred blindness over guidance, so the thunderbolt (صاعقة) of humiliating punishment seized them for what they used to earn.

This indicates that "the shout" is the sound of the thunderbolt. Science didn't prove that a sound of a thunderbolt can kill.

The Bible

Similar content was mentioned more than a thousand years before the Quran in the Bible:

I killed you with the words of my mouth— then my judgments go forth like the sun.

The Bible, Hosea 6:5

We could say that the mouth is a sonic weapon and the words are so loud that it kills. So Quran wasn't the first who came with this "miracle".

See also