Quran's describes mountains as 'pegs' that have been 'cast down' into the Earth's surface in order to 'stabilize' it.
In recent times, many Islam apologists have argued that this conception is both scientifically sound and and instance of miraculous scientific foreknowledge on the part of the Quran which, they argue, could not have arrived at the conception it holds without divine insight. Individuals key to the popularization of this idea include the apologists like Zakir Naik, Professor Zaghloul Raghib El Naggar (a geologist specializing in biostratification), and the Saudi-financed surgeon Dr. Maurice Bucaille.
While critics claim that:
- It was an old concept that mountains are pegs who stabilise the earth. This concept was based upon the apparent shape of the mountain.
- The writer of Qur'an only restated this old concept in Quran, thus it could be in no way a miracle of Qur'an.
- And the writer of Qur'an made other scientific mistakes while describing the creation of mountains in Qur'an and Hadith.
Qur'anic verses for mountains being pegs and stabilising the earth
Yusuf Ali: Have We not made the earth as a wide expanse, And the mountains as pegs?
Bewley: We placed firmly embedded mountains on the Earth so it would not move under them...
The idea of Mountains being Pegs had already existed before Muhammad
Mountains appear to be pegs upon huge huge earth. Therefore, this idea of mountains being pegs even existed among the Arabs before Muhammad. For example, Ka’ab was one of the ancestor of Muhammad. This Ka’ab also declared mountains to be pegs long before Muhammad.
فأما كعب بن لؤي، فكان أعظم ولد أبيه قدرا، وأعظمهم شرفا، وكان أول من سمي يوم الجمعة بالجمعة، وكانت العرب تسميه عروبة، فجمعهم فيه، وكان يخطب عليهم، فيقول: اسمعوا، وتعلموا، وافهموا، واعلموا أن الليل ساج، والنهار ضاح، والأرض مهاد، والسماء عماد، والجبال أوتاد، والنجوم أعلام،
Ka'ab Bin Lowy was a man of great honour among his ancestors and progeny. He was the first person who gave the name of Friday to the day of Friday. Arabs used to call him 'Aroba. He gathered them and advised them to hear, learn and understand, and to know that night is deserted and silent, while day is full of sunlight, and earth is a cradle while sky is a support, and mountains are pegs, and stars are signs, ...
The writer of Qur'an only restated this old concept in Quran, thus it could be in no way a miracle of Qur'an.
Two scientific mistakes in Quran regarding the creation of mountains
Critics point out that writer of Quran made two scientific mistakes regarding the creation of mountains.
First Mistake: Allah claim that it put mountains "from above" on the earth.
وجعل فيها رواسي من فوقها
(Quran 41:10) And He placed on the earth firmly set mountains over its surface. (Sahih International)
(Quran 41:10) And He placed in it stabilisers (i.e. mountains) from above. (Mohsin Khan)
The Arabic words "من فوقها" mean "from above".
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 put upon it from above by Allah, which is a scientific mistake.
Second Mistake: Allah had already made the mountains on the day of Sunday at time of the creation of the earth and the skies
Abu Huraira reported that Allah's Messenger took hold of my hands and said:
Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, created the clay on Saturday and He created the mountains on Sunday and He created the trees on Monday and He created the things entailing labour on Tuesday and created light on Wednesday and lie caused the animals to spread on Thursday and created Adam (peace be upon him) after 'Asr on Friday;the last creation at the last hour of the hours of Friday, i. e. between afternoon and night.
Critics point out that according to the modern science, mountains are not put as anchors from above, but they are formed when two tectonic plates collide with each other (i.e. when earthquake takes place), then crust of one plate goes upwards and forms a mountain, while the crust of other plate goes downwards.
And then this process of colliding of tectonic plates (i.e. earthquakes) carries on for millions of years, and with each collision mountains keep on rising little by little.
And then comes a time when these tectonic plates are divided into smaller plates, and these mountains are destroyed and disappear gradually.
For example, there existed no Mount Everest 250 million years ago. But then two tectonic plates collided with each other, and a small Mount Everest came into being due to that. Then it kept on gaining height with each collision of the tectonic plates. Today it is the highest mountain. It will keep on gaining even more height, but then a time will come, when it will disappear completely.
Therefore, Islam is making these scientific mistakes:
- Mountains had not been created on Sunday at the time of creation of the earth and the skies.
- But earth initially consisted of gases only. It took billions of years to come into solid form.
- And even after earth came into solid state, still it took billions of years more in the formation of mountains.
- And older mountains disappear with time, and new mountains start forming.
- The writer of Quran had no idea about these real scientific facts.
Not only Hadith, but Quran itself claims that Allah had already created the mountains during the creation of the earth and skies.
(Quran 41:9-11) Say, "Do you indeed disbelieve in He who created the earth in two days ...? " And He placed on the earth firmly set mountains over its surface, and He blessed it and determined therein its [creatures'] sustenance in four days without distinction ... Then He directed Himself to the heaven (i.e. skies) while it was smoke and said to it and to the earth, "Come, willingly or by compulsion." They said, "We have come willingly." And He completed them as seven heavens within two days and inspired in each heaven its command. And We adorned the nearest heaven with lamps and as protection.
All these verses of Quran are telling 100% false things about the creation of the earth and the skies:
- Neither mountains were put on the earth at time of the creation.
- Nor the sustenance of the creatures was put on the earth after the creation of the earth, but all that was put at the time of the creation of the earth.
- Nor skies were created after the creation of the earth.
- Actually there exist no sky/heaven, but Muslims at their own distort the meaning of skies and claim it means "universe" here. While the writer of Quran didn't meant universe, but he meant a solid dome like sky/heaven in literal sense.
- And even if we take this distorted meaning of universe, still it stays as a Quranic mistake while universe had already been created 9 billion years before the creation of the world, and billions and trillions of stars have already been formed before the creation of the earth.
Other types of mountains, who have no root in the earth
First type of mountains are formed due to the collision of two tectonic plates. But there are other type of mountains too, which are formed when Lava comes out from inside the earth. When this lava cools down, it forms high and big mountains (link).
These lava mountains have absolutely no roots inside the earth, which could be considered as pegs.
- Did the writer of Quran/Muhammad tell that mountains are formed when two tectonic plates collide with each other?
- Did the writer of Quran/Muhammad tell that mountains are small at the beginning, then they keep on rising due to earthquakes?
- Did the writer of Quran/Muhammad tell that a time comes when mountains start to disappear?
- Did the writer of Quran/Muhammad told that initially there was only one Continent, and later they were divided into 7 continents due to the split and the movement of the tectonic plates?
- Did the writer of Quran/Muhammad tell that there is lava inside the earth.
- Did the writer of Quran/Muhammad tell that earthquakes come due to the collision of the tectonic plates. No, contrary to that writer of Quran/Muhammad claimed that Allah sends earthquake to punish those who disobey him.
The writer of Quran/Muhammad didn't answer any of these questions, but instead claimed one thing (i.e. mountains are pegs), which had already been believed by the people of the time of ignorance. But Muslims claim it to be undeniable miracle of Quran