What is Islam by Yusuf Estes

The word “Islam” is both a verb and a noun

Islam is a Verb (Actions) which means-

Surrender, Submission, Obedience, Sincerity, & Peace

Islam is a Noun which means

Six articles of beliefs, five pillars,  way of life- taught by all Prophets

Surrender

This is understood from a verse in the Holy Qur’an
where Allah says:
“Inda deena inda lahi Islam.” (Certainly, the only acceptable way which Allah will accept is Islam).
[Holy Quran 3:19]
This submission requires a fully conscious and willing effort to submit to the one Almighty God.

Submission

“But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (Muhammad, peace be upon him) as a judge in all disputes between them, and find no resistance against your decisions, and accept (the decisions) with full submission.” [Holy Quran 4:65]

Total submission is required after the surrender and some terms have to be set forth by Allah to be understood by the Muslim. There can be no option in the matter as Allah says in another verse,
“It is not fitting for the believing man nor for the believing woman, that whenever Allah and His Messenger have decided any matter, that they should have any other opinion.”
[Holy Quran 33:36]

Whatever Allah and His Messenger have set out as being the Way of Islam is incumbent on the believer, man or woman to follow completely. One must consciously and conscientiously give oneself to the service of Allah.

Obedience

“And obey Allah and His Messenger.”
[Holy Quran 3:132]

“O you who believe! Obey Allah and His Messenger and those of you who are in authority. If you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.” [Holy Quran 4:59]

“He who obeys the Messenger has indeed obeyed Allah, but he who turns away, then we have not sent you as a watcher over them.”
[Holy Quran 4:80]

This means to act on what Allah enjoins all of us to do (in the Qur’an) and what His beloved Prophet, Muhammad (pbuh) encouraged us to do in his Sunnah (his lifestyle and sayings personifying the Qur’an).
After surrendering your free will to Allah and then ratifying the terms and conditions of the surrender, it is obligatory for the Muslim to live up to his terms of the bargain. It is his or her responsibility to do their best to obey the orders of Allah set forth in the Holy Quran and the teachings of the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him.

Sincerity & Purity of Intention

The heart must be clean and honest. Allah is Pure and He only accepts pure.

“Verily, deeds are rewarded by intention. And everyone will have the reward for that which he has intended.”
[A saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him – Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol. 1 #

Sincere intention is the key to the success or failure of the Muslim. All that he or she does must be for the sake of Allah and not for the chance to show off or call attention to himself or herself. If there is even a speck of pride or showing off for the people instead of doing for Allah, then the whole of the matter will be rejected by Allah on the Day of Judgment. This is due to the fact that Allah wants purity of intention and purity in deed.

Peace
Between You & Allah

Peace” is mentioned 58 times in the Holy Quran and it is certainly the most sought after condition for the life of every human on earth.

“Peace” is also one of the attributes which Allah has named Himself by in the Holy Quran:
“He is Allah beside Whom there is none worthy of worship, The King, The Holy, The Peace, The Watcher, The All Mighty, The Compeller, The Supreme. Glory be to Allah! He is above all that they try to associate with Him as partners.”
[Holy Quran 59:23]

We are all striving to achieve some sort of peace and tranquility in our lives. And providing that the other four conditions have been met, then this is the inevitable result of the one who is truly seeking Allah.
So as soon as he or she has totally surrendered and submitted and obeyed Allah, in complete sincerity and as a result has achieved total and complete peace in this life and in the next.

It does not imply that they will not be tested however. And this must be quickly understood. The one whom Allah loves, He tests. The person who will be successful in this life and the Next Life will be tested as Allah has said:
“Do they think that they will be left alone on saying, ‘We believe and that they will not be tested’? For sure we will test them as we have tested those who came before them, to show (them) the truthful of the honest and the liars in their falsehood.”
[Quran 29:2-3]

Once we humble ourselves, rid ourselves of our egoism and submit totally to Allah, and to Him exclusively, in faith and in action, we will surely feel peace in our hearts. Establishing peace in our hearts will bring about peace in our external conduct as well.

________________________________________

Islam is 1) Belief and 2) Actions

Six Beliefs (Muslims must believe in the six articles of faith):

1. Allah

2. Angels

3. Books

4. Prophets

5. Judgment Day

6. Predestination

Allah – Believe God Almighty is One, Unique, Unlike His Creation, Perfect in every way; Not like or in His Creation

Angels – Made from light, follow Allah’s orders perfectly, never make mistakes and are never disobedient (devil is not a fallen angel in Islam).

Books – Torah (Old Testament), Suhoof (Scriptures of prophets), Zabur (Psalms), Enjil (Evangel or New Testament), Quran (Recitation to Muhammad)

Prophets – Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus, Muhammad, and others mentioned in Books, peace be upon them all.

Resurrection – All people, believers and disbelievers will be resurrected for Judgment Day in real flesh and blood bodies to be judged.

Divine Destiny – Allah has complete control of all that happens, both good and evil and He has full knowledge of it all.

Five actions ( a Muslim must do)

1.Shahadah

2.Salat

3.Fasting

4.Charity

5.Pilgrimmage

Declare The Belief That Allah is ONE and Muhammad, peace be upon him, is His Last Messenger

Five Daily “salat” – The special form of worship of standing, bowing, prostrating to Allah while facing Mecca.

Fast Ramadhan – Not eating or drinking during the daylight hours for the month of Ramadhan (Lunar calander).

Pay Alms Tax –
2 1/2% of Exess wealth distributed annually to the poor and needy.

Hajj – Pilgrimmage to Mecca once in the life when Allah provides a way, and it is safe to do so.


Islam is – A Complete & rotal way of life

Islam is from Allah, The Creator and Sustainer of all that exists. As such, it is for Him Alone to command and direct His creation and He Alone is responsible for what He will accept and what He will not accept. It is also for Him Alone to decree what is good and what is bad and He must be the One to show the right path in all things.

Everything in the life of the creations of Allah, especially for those who have choices to make (us), must be dictated and clarified by the One who Created everything in the fist place. We understand from this that Islam must be a complete and total way of living, explaining everything in the life from beginning to end and from birth until death.

Islam is careful to remind us that it not a religion to be paid mere lip service; rather it is an all-encompassing way of life that must be practiced continuously for it to be Islam.

There are other injunctions and commandments which concern virtually all facets of one’s personal, family and civic life. These include such matters as diet, clothing, personal hygiene, interpersonal relations, business ethics, responsibilities towards parents, spouse and children, marriage, divorce and inheritance, civil and criminal law, fighting in defense of Islam, relations with non-Muslims, and so much more.

In conclusion, we are forced to realize that ISLAM is a complete way of life for the human being. Everything is covered in Islam from birth to death to live in the complete submission to the Will of the One Who Created man in the first place.

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Inside Islam

 

 

1. Allah

Does it Mean God?

The word “Allah” is the perfect description of the “One God” of monotheism for Jews, Christians and Muslims!

Is “Allah” only for Islam and Muslims?
[No! It is for All Three Abrahamic Faiths.]

“Allah” is the same word used by Christian Arabs and Jewish Arabs in their Bible, centuries before Islam came.

On page one [1] of Genesis in the Old Testament, we find the word “Allah” seventeen [17] times.

Every hotel and motel has a Bible. Next time you see one look in the introduction, you will find samples of the different languages they have translated. For Arabic they have translated the verse in the New Testament in Arabic from the famous verse in the Gospel John 3:16 –

“For God so loved the world…”
– and the word the translators used in Arabic for “God” is the very same word used by Muslims around the planet, “Allah.”
Where Does the word “Allah” Come From?

“Allah” comes from the Arabic word “elah”a god’ or something worshiped. – (Arabic) means ‘

This word (elah) can be made plural (gods), as in “aleha” and it can be male or female just as the word in English can be “goddess.”

“Allah” comes from “elaha” but it brings more clarification and understanding.

Allah = Has no gender (not male and not female)
“He” is used only out of respect and dignity – not for gender
Allah = Always singular – Never plural
“We” is used only as the “Royal WE” just as in English for royalty
Allah = Means “The Only One to be Worshipped”

2. Qur’an

“Quran” – It comes from the Arabic root “qa-ra-‘a” and it means “recitation.”
It is best understood as “The Recitation.”

Qur’an is the last and final revelation of Allah to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

And today the Qur’an is in the same form as it came 1400 years ago. Almighty Allah says –

15:9

Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian.

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THE QUR’AN – The Word of God

IZHAR UL-HAQ – Part 4

by

Rahmatullah Kairanvi [1864]


THE QUR’AN

The Only True Container of the Word of God

“And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant [Muhammad], then produce a surah the like thereof and call upon your witnesses other than Allah , if you should be truthful.”

Al-Baqarah, Ayat 23

From First Divine Quality of the Quran To the Twelfth Divine Quality of the Quran – Predictions

Conclusion

• The Gradual Nature of the Qur’anic Revelation


Section One

The Miraculous Diction and Style of the Qur’an

There are innumerable aspects of the Qur’anic revelation that explicitly or implicitly bring out the miraculous character of the Qur’an. I will confine myself to the description of only twelve such aspects out of many.[2] I will not speak of qualities like its full consciousness of every aspect of a subject when speaking on a particular theme and the moderation and considerateness of its speech. Whether the passage concerned is one of hope or of threat, of reward or of punishment, its speech is always balanced and never over-emotive. This quality is not found in human speech as human expression is always affected by the state of mind of the speaker. When he is unhappy, he shows it in his speech, not showing concern for others who might deserve praise or kindness. Talking of one thing, he does not think and speak of its opposite. For instance when describing the creation, he does not speak of the Hereafter. When he is angry, he often shows it without measuring the amount of anger that is appropriate.[3]

First Divine Quality: The Eloquence of the Qur’an

The Holy Qur’an maintains throughout the highest possible standard of rhetoric in its speech, to the extent that it is literally impossible to find its parallel in human works. The rules of rhetoric demand that the words chosen for expression should be so exact in conveying the message that they should not express too much or too little for the occasion. The more a description embodies this quality, and the more appropriate the words are to the situation, the more eloquent it is said to be. The Holy Qur’an fulfills all the requirements of rhetoric to the highest standard. We give some examples to prove our claim.

First Argument

Human eloquence,[4] whether from Arabs or non-Arabs, usually concerns the physical phenomena that are closely associated with those people. For instance, the Arabs are considered to be great orators and eloquent in the description of camels, horses, swords and women. Poets, linguists and other writers acquire dexterity and proficiency in some particular field simply because poets and writers of all times have been writing and adding subtleties to the subject, providing food for thought for subsequent writers to open new avenues in it.

However, the Holy Qur’an does not fit this pattern, owing nothing to precedent and being replete with astonishing and unparalleled examples of eloquence that were unanimously acknowledged by all the Arabs.

Second Argument

It is our usual experience that when poets and writers of literature try to adorn their language with eloquent expressions they do not remain truthful. Any one trying to be absolutely true in conveying his message can do so only at the cost of eloquence. It is therefore said that untruth is a main element of a good poetry. The famous poets Labid ibn Rabi’ah and Hassan ibn Thabit could not maintain the high standard of their poetry after embracing Islam. Their pre-Islamic poetry is more forceful and elegant than their post-Islamic compositions. The Holy Qur’an presents miraculous examples of eloquence in spite of being absolutely true in all it says.

Third Argument

Good poetry is considered elegant and beautiful because some of its verses are of a high standard of eloquence. Each and every verse of that poetry is rarely all of the same standard. The Holy Qur’an, however, from beginning to end, is such an example of unabated beauty, elegance and eloquence that human beings of all times have been unable to produce even a small piece of equal standard. Take for example the Surah Yusuf,[5] every word of which is a perfect specimen of beauty and eloquence.

Fourth Argument

Any writer or poet, when he relates the same event more than once, does not manage in the repeated account to be as elegant and beautiful as he was the first time. The Holy Qur’an repeats versions of the same event, and of descriptions of the creation and the end of the world, and of the injunctions and the attributes of God. Each description is different in style and in size, but every one is of so high a standard that one cannot be preferred to another.

Fifth Argument

The Qur’an talks of many things like obligatory rituals, legal pro- hibitions, instigation to virtue, repudiation of worldly desires, and preparation for the Hereafter and other similar themes. The description of these things does not lend itself to elegance and beauty and any poet trying to compose poetry on practical injunctions of this kind would be hard put to produce a passage of literary merit. The Holy Qur’an deals with all these subjects with a high standard of eloquence.

Sixth Argument

The eloquence of every poet is confined to a particular subject and when the same poet speaks on other subjects his beauty of expression and his proficiency is distinctly circumscribed. Imru’l-Qais, the famous Arab poet, is known for his description of wine, women and horses. No other poet is as eloquent on this subject. Nabigha is known for his description of fear and awful events, Zuhayr for hope and so on.[6]

The Holy Qur’an, on the other hand, talks on all kinds of subjects with great force of eloquence, beauty and elegance, and is found to be miraculously eloquent in each description.

Seventh Argument

Diversion from one subject to another which in turn has many branches usually makes it impossible for an author to maintain flow and continuity with the same grandeur and majesty and his language usually loses its height of eloquence. The Holy Qur’an is full of such diversions, frequently jumping from one event to another, but miraculously it maintains the same flow and continuity with all the other subjects under discussion.

Eighth Argument

Another distinct feature of the Qur’anic diction is that it encloses a vast range of meaning in a surprisingly small number of words without losing its charm and majesty in the least. Surah Sad’s opening verses are a good example of this. The Holy Qur’an here describes a large number of subjects in very few verses, including a description of the unbelievers  of Makka, their rejection of the Holy Prophet, admonitions to them with reference to historical events of previous people, their distrust and astonishment at the revelation of the Qur’an, a description of their envious nature, threats and instigations, the teaching of patience and a description of events related to the Prophets David, Solomon, Job, Abraham and Jacob. All these diverse subjects been dealt with a force and eloquence that is unique to the Qur’an.

Ninth Argument

Majesty and sweetness, elegance and beauty are counteracting qualities that are rarely found together in a single work. These two opposite qualities are seen divinely combined together throughout the Qur’an in a way unknown to human genius. This again is a strong argument for the miraculous eloquence of the Qur’anic diction, which is absolutely absent from human writings.[7]

Tenth Argument

The language of the Qur’an contains all possible kinds of eloquence, metaphor, similes, comparisons, transitions, inversions etc., but at the same time it is free of any hint of verbiage like false exaggeration, hyperbolical statements and all other defects of falsehood and of the use of strange words etc. Human writing does not usually combine all the aspects of eloquence in one work. People have tried in vain to accommodate all these qualities. The Holy Qur’an, however, does so superlatively.

These ten arguments are enough to prove the claim that Qur’anic language and its intonation are so sublime that they cannot be measured by human genius. The more one is acquainted with the Arabic language, the more he will find the words of the Qur’an burning into his heart, and its thought breathing into his soul.[8]

The Second Divine Quality of the Qur’an

The second quality of the Qur’an that makes it a living miracle is its unique structure and internal arrangement, and, above all, the sub- limity of its thought and contents. The accumulation of all the linguistic perfections in the Holy Qur’an has been a permanent source of astonishment to the great writers, philosophers and the linguists of the world. This acknowledged supremity of the Qur’an saves it from any accusation of being no more than a collection of thoughts and ideas  borrowed from others and serves the purpose of making it so prominent and so distinct from ordinary human writings that the Qur’an by itself is enough argument to prove its divine provenance and its being a living miracle of the Holy Prophet.

The Arabs were arrogant regarding their command over the Arabic language and harboured initially great enmity against the Prophet and his teachings. The perfection of the Qur’anic eloquence did not allow them to find any imperfection in it. On the contrary, they were forced to admit  that the language of Qur’an was comparable neither with the poetry of the poets nor the oratory of the orators. They were astonished at its matchless eloquence. Sometimes they declared it to be magic and sometimes they said that it was something that had been taken from a previous people. They often tried to stop people hearing it by making a noise when the Prophet recited it. They found themselves helpless against the inexpressible attraction of the Qur’anic language.

It is unimaginable that the Arabs who were known to be the masters of the Arabic language would not have met the simple challenge of the Qur’an to produce the like of its smaIlest surah[9], rather than wage war against the Prophet of Islam and lose the best of their heroes in the fighting as well as sacrificing much of their property and possessions, if they had been able to do so. They heard this Qur’anic challenge many times through the prophet. He cried aloud in their face:

Bring then a surah like unto it, and call (to your aid) any one you can, beside God, if it be ye speak the truth. [10]

The Qur’an repeats this challenge in another surah in these words:

And if ye are in doubt, as to what we have revealed to our servant, then produce a surah, like there unto; and call your witnesses and helpers (to your aid) besides God, if you are true. But if ye cannot, and of surety ye cannot, then fear the fire, whose fuel is men and stones. [11]

Again this challenge was thrown at them with full force:

Say, if the whole of mankind and jinn were together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they would not be able to produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other.[12]

The fact that they preferred to fight wars against him and sacrifice their lives is enough to prove that they acknowledged the miraculous   eloquence of the Qur’an and it found impossible to produce any passage comparable to the Qur’an.

There is a report that Walid ibn Mughirah, the nephew of Abu Jahl, burst into tears when he heard the Qur’an recited. Abu Jahl came to him and admonished him. He replied:

I swear by God, none of you is as conversant and acquainted with poetry as I am and I declare that the words of Muhammad have nothing to do with poetry. [13]

History has recorded that once at the time of Hajj the same Walid gathered together the dignitaries of the tribe of Quraysh of Makka and suggested that they should agree on what to say to the pilgrims if they enquired about Muhammad. Some of them said, We could say that he is a soothsayer.” Walid said, By God, he is not, as is evident from his speech.” Others suggested that he should be called insane. Walid swore by God that he had no trace of insanity. They suggested that he should be called a poet. Walid again rejected the suggestion saying that they were all fully conversant with poetic speech and he would never be accepted as a poet. The Quraysh then said, We shall tell them that he is a sorcerer.Walid said that they knew that he could not be a sorcerer because his speech was far from sorcery and that the only thing that could be said about him was that the magic of his speech had separated sons from their fathers, brothers from brothers and wives from their husbands. After this meeting they posted themselves on the roads of Makka and prevented the pilgrims from listening to the Holy Prophet.

It is also reported that ’Utbah[14] came to the Holy Prophet and discussed with him the opposition of the Quraysh with regard to theHolyQur’an. The Holy Prophet recited the opening verses of Surah 41. He had recited only thirteen verses when ’Utbah, overcome, requested the Prophet not to recite any more of it and hid his face with his two hands.

Another report has said that as the Holy Prophet recited the Qur’anic verses to ’Utbah, he felt so restless that could not sit straight and leant back on his hands until the Holy Prophet recited a verse of prostration and prostrated before Allah. ’Utbah returned to his house in a state of emotional excitement, hid himself from the people until some Quraysh went to him. ’Utbah said to them, ”By God! Muhammad recited verses the like of which I never heard in my life. I was completely lost and could not answer him anything.”

According to a report, the Companion of the Prophct, Abu Dharr, said that he had not seen a poet greater than his brother Anis who had defeated twelve poets in a contest in pre-Islamic days. Once, when he returned from Makka, they asked him the opinion of the Makkans concerning the Holy Prophet. He said that they accused him of being a poet, a soothsayer, and a sorcerer. Then he said that he was fully conversant with the speech of soothsayers and sorcerers and found the words of the Prophet in no way comparable to them. He was neither a poet nor a sorcerer and soothsayer for all of them were liars whereas his words were the truth.

We find in Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim that Jabir ibn Mut’im[15] reported that he heard the Holy Prophet reciting Surah al- Tur in his prayer of Maghrib (just after sunset). When he recited this verse:

Were they created of nothing, or were they themselves the Creators? Or did they create the heavens and the earth, Nay, they have no belief. Or are the treasures of thy Lord with them, Or are they the managers (of affairs)?

Jabir said that he found his heart craving for Islam.

The Third Divine Quality of the Qur’an: the Predictions

The Holy Qur’an gives many predictions related to future events.

All the Qur’anic predictions turned out  to be absolutely true. We give  a few specific examples of such predictions.

First Prediction

The Holy Qur’an says:

Ye shall enter the Sacred Mosque (Masjid Al-Haram), if Allah wills, secure, heads shaved, hair cut short, and without fear. [16]

This passage from Sura Al-Fath (the Victory), from which this passage is quoted, was revealed before the treaty of Hudaibiyah in the sixth year of Hijrah. In it the Muslims are promised by Allah that they will soon enter the Sacred Mosque of Makka victoriously. Under the prevailing circumstances this was unimaginable. The Muslims captured Makka in the 8th year of Hijrah and entered the Sacred Mosque together with the Holy Prophet exactly as was predicted by the Qur’an, some having shaved their heads and some having cut short their hair.

Second Prediction

The Holy Qur’an says:

Allah has promised to those among you who believe, and do good deeds, that He will surely grant them in the land inheritance of power as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion which He has chosen for them. And that He will change (their state) after fear to one of security and peace. They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me. [17]

This Qur’anic verse promises that the Muslims will be made the true viceregents of God and that Allah will grant them and their faith strength and power. The state of fear in which they were would be changed to peace and security. This Qur’anic prediction foretelling Muslim domination did not take long to prove its accuracy.

Let us see how, in surprisingly a short period, this Qur’anic pre- diction and divine promise was fulfilled.

The whole of Arabian peninsula was brought under the Holy Prophet’s domination in his own life and some of the people of Hijr and some rulers of Syria agreed to pay jizyah (a minority tax) to the Holy Prophet.

In the time of the first caliph of Islam, Abu Bakr, the boundaries of Islamic domination were greatly widened. The Muslims captured some cities of Persia, and some of the cities of Syria such as Bosra and Damascus.

Then came the second Caliph, ’Umar, who changed history by his faith in the truth of Islam, defeating the world powers of that time. He conquered the whole of the ancient Persian empire and a large part of the Eastern Roman Empire.

In the time of the third Caliph, ’Uthman, the Islamic domination was further expanded. Islamic forces conquered Spain in the West, and part of China in the East. It took only 20 years for the Muslims to have complete control of all these countries which constituted the majority of the known world, thus abundantly fulfilling the Qur’anic prediction. Islam dominated over all other religions of the world and was the major world power of that time.

Third Prediction

The Holy Qur’an declares:

It is He who has sent His Messenger with guidance, and the religion of truth, to make it triumphant over all religions.[18]

We have discussed under the second prediction that Islam, the religion of truth, triumphed over the other religions of the world and the perfection of this domination of Islam over the world will be witnessed by the world in the future.[19]

Fourth Prediction

The Holy Qur’an says:

Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore fealty to you under the tree. He knew what was in their hearts. So He sent down tranquillity upon them and rewarded them with a victory (very) near. And many gains (spoils) that they would take. And mighty is Allah and Wise.

Allah has promised you rich booty which you will take.

And He has given you these beforehand, and He has restrained the hands of men from you, so that it may be a sign for the believers and that He may guide you to a straight path. And other gains which are not in your power. And Allah has encompassed: and Allah has power over all things.[20]

The victory promised in this verse is the conquest of Khaybar and the ’many gains’ promised are the spoils and booty of Khaybar and Hijr; similarly the promise of ”other gains” are the booties and spoils to be taken from the conquest of Persia and Rome. All the promises and predictions made in this verse came true exactly as they were foretold.

Fifth Prediction

The Qur’an says:

And other blessings which you desire: help from Allah, and a near victory.[21]

The promise of near victory contained in this verse is, according to some, the conquest of Makka and, according to others, the conquest of Persia and Rome. The prediction, however, is true whatever  the case since Makka, Persia and Rome were all conquered.

Sixth Prediction

The Holy Qur’an says:

When comes the help of Allah and viictory, and you see people enter Allah’s religion in multitudes.[22]

In this verse the promised victory is the victory of Makka. Correct reports place its revelation prior to the conquest of Makka. Besides ’idha’ (when) in Arabic is used for future tense and not for the past tense. Groups of people from Ta’if and Makka came in multitudes to embrace Islam as was predicted by the Holy Qur’an.

Seventh Prediction:

We find in the Holy Qur’an:

Say to those who deny faith, soon you will be vanquished.[23]

This came about exactly as warned by the Holy Qur’an. The unbelievers were all dominated.

Eighth Prediction

The Holy Qur’an says:

(Remember) When Allah promised you one of the two (enemy) parties, that it should be yours, you wished that the one unarmed should be yours, but Allah wanted to establish the truth by his word, and to cut off the roots of the unbelievers. [24]

This is a reference to the battle of Badr and the two parties referred to in this verse are the trade caravan that was returning from Syria and the other that had come from Makka, and the unarmed party was the trade caravan back from Syria. This also happened exactly as was predicted.

Ninth Prediction

The Holy Qur’an says to the Prophet:

We are enough to sustain you against those who mock. [25]

When the above verse was revealed to the Prophet, he told his Companions that Allah would protect them against the ill intentions of the idolaters of Makka who were always persecuting him and his Companions. Allah fulfilled this promise.

Tenth Prediction

The Holy Qur’an declares:

The Roman Empire has been defeated, in a land close by; but they, (even) after this defeat, will gain victory in a few years. Allah’s is the command, in the past and in the future. On that day shall the believers rejoice, with the help of Allah,.He helps whom He wills. And He is Mighty and the most merciful. (It is) the promise of Allah. Allah never departs from His promise: but most men understand not. They crave for the outer (things in the) life of this world, but of the Hereafter they are heedless. [26]

This surah was revealed in Makka when Persia defeated the Romans. The Persians were Magians by faith while the the Romans were Christians. The idolaters of Makka were pleased with this news and argued with the Muslims that they and the Christians claimed to be the People of the Book while the Magians and Makkans were without the Book. As the Christians of the Roman Empire were defeated by the Persians, the Muslims would, likewise, be defeated by the Makkans. The Holy Qur’an, itself, refuted’ their assumption in the above verse and predicted the victory of the Romans.

Abu Bakr Siddiq, the devoted friend and companion of the Holy Prophet, told the Makkan idolaters that the Romans would gain victory over the Persians in a few years. Ubayy Ibn Khalaf accused him of making a false claim. It was decided that a specific period be fixed for the confirmation of this prediction. Both of them offered ten camels to be given to the winner and a period of three years was fixed. Abu Bakr told the Holy Prophet of this and the Holy Prophet said that the prediction contained the word bid’a (a few) which signifies a period from three years to nine years, and suggested that he should increase the number of years by adding to the number of camels. Abu Bakr went to Ubayy and it was decided that a hundred camels would be given by each of them and the period of nine years was fixed.

Ubayy died when he was returning from the  battle of Uhud in 3 AH. Exactly seven years after this event the Byzantines gained a great victory over Persia, as was predicted by the Holy Qur’an. Abu Bakr, having won his wager, received hundred camels from Ubayy’s heirs. The Holy Prophet said that the camels received by him should be given away in charity.

These are just a few of many such predictions in the Holy Qur’an all of which have been fulfilled precisely as foretold

The Fourth Divine Quality of the Qur’an: Knowledge of Past Events

The fourth miraculous quality of the Qur’an lies in its description of past events. The Holy Prophet was unlettered and did not know how to read or write. He had no teachers nor did he ever keep company with scholars. On the contrary, he was brought up among illiterate idol worshippers, devoid of any knowledge of the scriptures. The Holy Prophet remained among these people throughout his life, except for two trading journeys to Syria which were too short to admit any possibility of his having acquired knowledge from anyone there.

There are many past events that the Holy Qur’an describes differently from other sources. This difference is deliberate and intentional, as can be seen in the Qur’anic reference to the crucifixion. The Holy Qur’an avoids details that were to be proved untrue in the accounts of previous books, such as the Pentateuch and the Gospels. Our claim is supported by the following Qur’anic verse:

Verily this Qur’an does explain to the Children of Israel most of the things about which they disagree.

The Fifth Divine Quality of the Qur’an

One of the miraculous qualities of the Qur’an is that it unveiled and disclosed all the ill intentions of the hypocrites of Madina. They used to conspire against Islam and the Muslims in their secret meetings. All their decisions and secret plans were made known to the Holy Prophet through divine revelation. He used to inform the Muslims of the intentions of the hypocrites. All such expositions of the Holy Prophet were found to be true.

Similarly the Holy Qur’an exposed the ill intentions of the con- temporary Jews.

The Sixth Divine Quality of the Qur’an

The Holy Qur’an contains branches of knowledge that were not in vogue in Arabia at its time of revelation and with which the Prophet himself was totally unacquainted. These include inductive and deductive logic with regard to religious doctrines, exhortation, matters relating to the Hereafter and other things. In fact there are two kinds of sciences, the religious sciences and the other sciences. The religious sciences are obviously higher in value than the other sciences. They include the knowledge of metaphysical realities like knowledge about the Creator of the universe and His attributes, knowledge of His Prophets, angels and knowledge of the Hereafter. The branch of knowledge covering all these aspects of religion is called ilmu’l- ‘aqa’id (the science of beliefs). Then comes the knowledge of the practical injunctions, that is, the law. This science is known as fiqh (jurisprudence). The science of fiqh in Islam is a great science. All the jurisprudents of Islam have derived their law from the Qur’an. Then comes the science related to the purification of the inner self which is called tasawwuf.

The Holy Qur’an gives simple and practical guidance on all the above branches of knowledge, and this is unique to the Qur’an as compared with other revelations of past peoples. This demonstrates that the Qur’an is a collection of all the sciences. In addition it is a collection of rational arguments, and refutes all heretical ideas with reason and logic.

The Holy Qur’an provides humanity with perfect guidance in the fields of morality, ethics, religion, politics, culture, and economics.

The Seventh Divine Quality of the Qur’an

The Holy Qur’an, in spite of being a copious and voluminous book, is absolutely free of any contradiction, inconsistency or incompatibility which would not possible for any human work of this size. No other book in the world can claim to be so free from all defects as the Qur’an. This distinct feature of the Qur’an is in itself an argument of its being divine. The Qur’an itself invites people towards this incomparable feature in these words:

Will they not ponder on the Qur’an? Had it been from other than God they could have surely found in it many contradictions.[27]

There is no doubt that a text like the Qur’an having all these divine features cannot but be from Allah, the All-Knowing, who has knowledge of the unknown future as well as the past and present.

The Eighth Divine Quality: the Eternality of the Qur’an

The Holy Qur’an rightly claims to be the only divine revelation that is everlasting, preserving its originality and genuineness beyond all reasonable doubts. This living miracle of the Holy Prophet is unique in that it continued beyond his death unlike the miracles of the previous Prophets that lasted only as long as they lived. The texts of other Prophets and their signs all disappeared with them and no trace of them can now be found in the world. The Holy Qur’an made a simple challenge to humanity to produce the like of it or any of its parts. Centuries have passed and it remains as incomparable today as it was on the day it was revealed and will remain so up to the Day of Judgement.

According to this Qur’anic challenge, every individual surah of the Holy Qur’an, indeed any part equal to its smallest surah, is in itself a separate miracle making the Qur’an a collection of nearly two thousand separate miracles.

The Ninth Divine Quality of the Holy Qur’an

Those who have recited the Holy Qur’an in Arabic are fully acquainted with its strange quality of involving the reciter and with the entrancing influence of its melody. The more you recite it the more you are charmed by it. This strange phenomenon is experienced by all who recite the Qur’an regularly

The Tenth Divine Quality of the Holy Qur’an

Another divine feature of the Holy Qur’an is that it combines in itself the claim and its arguments both at the same time. That is to say, its   divine eloquence provides the proof of its divinity while its meanings convey the divine message of obligations and prohibitions. This applies to all its contents. It presents arguments for what is being said at the same time as it says it.

The Eleventh Divine Quality of the Holy Qur’an

Another distinct divine feature of the Holy Qur’an is its capability of being memorised, even by those who do not know the Arabic language. The Qur’an refers to this feature in this verse:

We have made the Qur’an easy to remember. [28]

This divine feature of the Holy Qur’an is frequently demonstrated throughout the world by those young boys who have memorised the whole of it. They can recite the whole of the Qur’an by heart. Millions of such hafiz’s (preservers of the Qur’an) are always present in the world and they can recite the whole of the Qur’anic text with absolute accuracy from memory alone. They memorize not only the text but also its annotations and pronunciation exactly corresponding with the way the Prophet conveyed it.

The few people in the Christian world who memorize the Bible or even just the Gospels are seldom able to do so with such miraculous accuracy. This feature alone is so obviously an argument for the divine nature of the Qur’an that it cannot be overlooked easily.

The Twelfth Divine Quality of the Holy Qur’an

Another inherent divine feature of the Holy Qur’an is the awe and fearfulness that enters into the hearts of its listeners. It is even more strange that this sensual experience of awe is equally felt by those who do not understand its meanings. There are many examples recorded by history that people were so moved by listening to the Qur’an when they heard it for the first time that they converted to Islam simply by listening to it. [29]

It has been reported that a Christian passed by a Muslim who was reciting the Holy Qur’an. Listening to the Qur’an, the Christian was so struck and moved that he burst into tears. He was asked why he was he weeping. He said, ”I do not know, but as soon as I heard the word of God I felt greatly frightened and my heart filled with tears.”

Qadi Noorullah Shostri wrote in his commentary on the Holy Qur’an that when the great scholar Ali Al-Qaushji set out for Greece, a Jewish scholar came to him to discuss about the truth of Islam. He had a long debate with him on different aspects of Islam. He did not accept any of the arguments forwarded by Ali Al-Qaushji. This debate lasted for one month with no definite result. One morning when Ali Al-Qaushji was busy reciting the Holy Qur’an on the roof of his house, the Jew came to him. Though Ali Al-Qaushji did not have a good voice, as soon as the Jew listened to the Holy Qur’an, he felt his heart fill with fear and the Qur’anic influence found its way through to his heart. He came to Ali Al-Qaushji and asked him to convert him to Islam. Ali asked him of this sudden change. He said, “In spite of your bad voice the Qur’an captured my heart and I felt sure that it was the word of God.”

The above examples clearly show the miraculous character of the Holy Qur’an.

Conclusions

To conclude this section we must recapitulate that it is part of divine custom that the Prophets are usually given miracles in those fields that are popular among the people of that age. The superhuman demonstrations in that particular field make people believe in the truth of the Prophet and his access to divine power. Sorcery and magic were common in the time of Moses. As soon as Pharaoh’s magicians saw Moses’ staff transforming into a living serpent and devouring their illusory snakes they instantly believed in Moses as being the Prophet of God and straightaway embraced his faith.

Similarly in the time of the Prophet Jesus the science of medicine was a common practice. The people had acquired perfection in it. When the experts of medicine watched Jesus healing the lepers and reviving the dead, they instantly knew through their experience that such things were beyond the access of the science of medicine, and believed that it could be nothing but a miracle of Jesus.

The same holds true with the Holy Prophet Muhammad. He was sent to the Arabs who arrogantly claimed to be the best elocutionists of the world. They invested all their effort to achieve perfection in elocution and used to challenge others in public contests. They had great pride in their linguistic achievements. The famous seven poems [30] were hung in the House of Allah, the Ka’ba, as a constant challenge. They presented a practical challenge to the Arabs in general to produce a piece similar to them by whoever claimed eloquence. As soon as they heard the Qur’an they knew from their experience that it was far beyond the limits of humanly conceivable perfection. They instantly realized that such superhuman eloquence could not exist in a human work.

The Gradual Nature of the Qur’anic Revelation

The Holy Qur’an was not revealed all at once. It came in pieces gradually over a period of almost 23 years. There are many reasons for this gradualness.

(1) Had it been revealed all at once, it might have been difficult for the Holy Prophet to retain the voluminous text of the Qur’an as a whole, particularly given the fact that he was unlettered.

(2) Had the whole of the Qur’anic text come in written form, it might have obviated the interest and necessity of memorising it. The short passages, as they were revealed, were memorised more easily. In addition, it established a valuable tradition among the Muslims of memorising the Qur’anic text verbatim.

(3)     It would have been very difficult, if not impossible, for the Arabs to follow all the injunctions of the Qur’anic law at once. In this case, gradualness was more practical and wise and facilitated the practical realisation of these injunctions.

One of the Companions of the Holy Prophet reported that it was divine consideration for them that they were obligated by the Qur’an gradually. Otherwise it would have been difficult for them to embrace Islam. He said, “In the beginning, the Holy Prophet invited us to tawhid (pure monotheism) only. After we had accepted and imbibed its tender and sweet essence, then, very gradually and practically we were asked to follow various Qur’anic injunctions until the whole law was completed.

(4) This gradual revelation necessitated the frequent visitation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Holy Prophet which was obviously a source of great strength to him, enabling him to carry on his mission with certitude, and to bear the hardships of prophethood with fortitude.

(5) The small pieces of the Qur’anic revelation, claiming to possess miraculous eloquence, provided opponents with more time to meet the challenge to produce a text equal to the smallest surah of the Qur’an. Their complete lack of success and the inability of the Arabs to accomplish it is again an argument for the divine nature of its eloquence.

(6) The Qur’anic revelation provided guidance to the Muslims according to the changing circumstances, and responded to the objections raised by opponents. This helped increase their understanding and nourished their certitude as they came to realise the truth of the Qur’anic predictions and divinely revealed knowledge of the unknown future.

(7) Being a messenger of Allah is the highest of all honours. The Archangel Gabriel enjoyed this honour by carrying the divine word to the Holy Prophet for a great period which would not have been possible had it been revealed all-at-once.

Repetitions in the Qur’anic Text

The Qur’anic revelation contains repeated descriptions, especially concerning tawhid (the unity of God), the Resurrection and the lives of the earlier Prophets. This repetition is unique to the Qur’anic revelation. These repetitions do certainly show divine wisdom to the readers. The Arabs were generally idolaters, totally ignorant of monotheism and the Day of Judgment, etc. Similarly some of the non-Arab nations like the Indians and Chinese were also idol-worshippers. The people of the revealed religions like the Jews and the Christians had corrupted their original revelations, specially the truth with regard to the principles of faith like the unity of God, the Resurrection and the missions of the earlier Prophets. The Holy Qur’an repeatedly describes these things using a variety of styles to attract attention. The events of the earlier Prophets were described in repeated passages always using a different style, demonstrating divine eloquence in each instance. This has eliminated any possible claim that the presence of superhuman eloquence in its text was incidental. This linguistic perfection is demonstrated repeatedly in variegated styles.

Besides this, the Holy Prophet sometimes felt depressed in the face of the antagonistic activities of his opponents. A short passage of the Qur’an would then be revealed describing an event in the life of a certain Prophet relevant to the situation in which the Holy Prophet found himself. This had a highly consoling effect on him. The Holy Qur’an attests to cause and resolution separately in the following two verses:

We know that you are vexed by what they say.[31]

For the consolation of the Holy Prophet, the Holy Qur’an has:

And all that we relate to you of the accounts of the (earlier) Messengers is (meant) to put courage into your heart, and through this the truth is revealed to you, along with exhortation and admonition for the believers.[32]

The same applies to the believers who were teased and vexed by the unbelievers. The repeated consolation of newly revealed passages gave them heart to bear their sufferings.

 

1 Holy Qur’an 2:23.  

[2] In the beginning of this section we should note that the author has devoted it mostly to demonstrating the astounding and miraculous eloquence of the Qur’an, the majesty and elegance of its style, the incomparable excellence of its language. All these marvels of Qur’anic diction and style can only really be measured and appreciated by those who read it in its original language. It is difficult to translate any book written in any language. Much more so with the Qur’an whose miraculous language simply defies translation. The meaning of the words can be conveyed in part, but their charm, beauty and elegance cannot. The Holy Qur’an rightly claims to be a living miracle of the Holy Prophet. Its miraculous quality resides partly in its style which is so perfect and lofty that, “….neither men nor Jinn could produce a single chapter to compare with its briefest verse,” and partly in its contents and guidance. According to Eduard Montet, “The Coran…. its grandeur of form is so sublime that no translation into any language can allow it to be properly appreciated.” Therefore, if readers fail to appreciate what our author is demonstrating in this section, this is due to the fact that even the best translation cannot transmit the beauty of the lan- guage. I am translating it because forms an integral part of the book. (Raazi) [3] The author is referring to the unparalleled quality of the Qur’anic language which at such         occasions chooses words that are appropriate and exact for its subject and also in its implications for other occasions. (Raazi)  

[4] Rhetoric, Balaghah in Arabic, signifies use of language that is eloquent as well as appropriate for both the people and subject addressed. The use of high-flown and difficult words for the ignorant, and inelegant and simplistic expression for a learned audience is against rhetoric. [5] Surah Yusuf, the twelfth chapter of the Qur’an which describes the life of the Prophet Joseph. (Raazi)  

[6] .Similarly in English literature Wordsworth is known for the description of nature, Keats for human sentiments etc. (Raazi)

[7] . The best example of this is the Surah Takwir of the Qur’an, that is Surah 81, where all the above qualities can be seen side by side in each verse.

[8] It was this miraculous quality of the Qur’an that made many Arab idolaters embrace Islam as soon as they heard its words. [9] Qur’an 10:38.  

[10] Qur’an 10 :38  

[11] Qur’an 2: 23, 24  

[12] . Qur’an 17:88.  

[13]Al-Hakim and al-Bayhaqi from Ibn ’Abbas in Al-Khasa’is al-Kubra vol. l. page 113  

[14] ’Utbah ibn Rabi’ah was one of the chiefs of the Quraysh, and was held as great authority on Arabic literature.  

[15]. Jabir ibn Mut’im, a famous Companion of the Prophet (peace be on him). (Raazi)  

[16] Qur’an 48:28  

[17] . Qur’an 24:55.  

[ 18] Qur’an 9:32.  

[19] That is after the descent of the Prophet Jesus in the last age  

[20] Qur’an 48:18-21.  

[21] Qur’an 61:13  

[22] Qur’an 110:1-  

[23] Qur’an 3:12.  

[24] . Qur’an 8:7.  

[25]Qur’an 15:95.  

[26] Qur’an 30:1-7. It refers to the remarkable defeat of the Eastern Roman Empire under Heraclius. It was not merely an isolated defea. The Eastern Roman Empire lost most of her Asiatic territory. The defeat “in a land close by” must refer to Syria and Palestine. Jerusalem was captured shortly before this surah was revealed in 614-615 AD. [27] Qur`an 4: 82.  

[28] Qu’ran 55:22.  

[29] 1. The second caliph ’Umar came out of his home with a sword in his hand, say- ing, “I will kill Muhammad today.” On his way, being informed that his sister had accepted Islam, he became mad with anger and went to her home where a Muslim companion was reciting the Qur’an to her. ’Umar listened to it, was so moved by it that his eyes filled with tears. He went to the Prophet and accepted Islam. (Raazi) [30] . The book containing these phenomenal literary poems is entitled Al- Mu’allaqat al-Sab’ah, the Seven Hangings. Zozni said that they were hung in the Ka’ba’ as a challenge to the Arabs. They are, in fact, excellent specimens of elo- quence.  

[31]Qur’an 15:97

[32] Qur`an 11:20.
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What is religion?

According to oxford dictionary

  • the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power , especially a personal God or gods:ideas about the relationship between science and religion
  • [count noun] a particular system of faith and worship:the world’s great religions
  • [count noun] a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion:consumerism is the new religion

In Islam the Word “Deen” is used instead of “religion”which imparts a significant and logical meaning than the word “religion”

Dīn (also Deen), an Arabic term (دين) meaning “way of life” or “code of life”.

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Scientists comment on the Qur’an

Please click the link –

http://www.scienceislam.com/scientists_quran.php

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Is there a true religion by A.A. Bilal Philips

Watch video of this lecture –

Which is the True Religion of God?

Each person is born in a circumstance which is not of his own choosing. The religion of his family or the ideology of the state is thrust upon him from the very beginning of his existence in this world. By the time he reaches his teens, he is usually fully brain-washed into believing that the beliefs of his particular society are the correct beliefs that everyone should have. However, when some people mature and are exposed to other belief-systems, they begin to question the validity of their own beliefs. The seekers of truth often reach a point of confusion upon realizing that each and every religion, sect, ideology and philosophy claims to be the one and only correct way for man. Indeed they all encourage people to good. So, which one is right? They cannot all be right since each claims all others to be wrong. Then how does the seeker of truth choose the right way?

God gave us all minds and intellects to enable us to make this crucial decision. It is the most important decision in the life of a human being. Upon it depends his future. Consequently, each and every one of us must examine dispassionately the evidence presented and choose what appears to be right until further evidence arises.

Like every other religion or philosophy, Islam also claims to be the one and only true way to God. In this respect it is no different from other systems. This booklet intends to provide some evidence for the validity of that claim. However, it must always be kept in mind that one can only determine the true path by putting aside emotions and prejudices, which often blind us to reality. Then, and only then, will we be able to use our God-given intelligence and make a rational and correct decision.

There are several arguments which may be advanced to support Islam’s claim to be the true religion of God. The following are only three of the most obvious. The first argument is based on the Divine origin of the names of the religion and the comprehensiveness of its meaning. The second deals with the unique and uncomplicated teachings concerning the relationship between God, man, and creation. The third argument derives from the fact that Islam is universally attainable by all men at all times. These are the three basic components of what logic and reason dictate necessary for a religion to be considered the true religion of God. The following pages will develop these concepts in some detail.

The Religion’s Name

The first thing that one should know and clearly understand about Islam is what the word “Islam” itself means. The Arabic word “Islam” means the submission or surrender of one’s will to the only true God, known in Arabic as “Allah”. One who submits his will to God is termed in Arabic a “Muslim”. The religion of Islam is not named after a person or people, nor was it decided by a later generation of man, as in the case of Christianity which was named after Jesus Christ (p), Buddhism after Gautama Buddha, Confucianism after Confucius, Marxism after Karl Marx, Judaism after the tribe of Judah, and Hinduism after the Hindus. Islam (submission to the will of God) is the religion which was given to Adam (p), the first man and the first prophet of God, and it was the religion of all the prophets sent by Allah to mankind. Further, its name was chosen by God Himself and clearly mentioned in the final scripture which He revealed to man. In the final revelation, called the Qur’an in Arabic, Allah states the following:

“This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and I have chosen for you Islam as you religion.” (Qur’an 5:3)

“If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to God), never will it be accepted of him.” (Qur’an 3:85)

Hence, Islam does not claim to be a new religion brought by Prophet Muhammad (p) into Arabia in the seventh century, but rather to be a re-expression in its final form of the true religion of Almighty God, Allah, as it was originally revealed to Adam (p) and subsequent prophets.

At this point we might comment briefly on two other religions that claim to be the true path. Nowhere in the Bible will you find God revealing to Prophet Moses’ (p) people or their descendants that their religion is called Judaism, or to the followers of Christ (p) that their religion is called Christianity. In other words, the names “Judaism” and “Christianity” had no divine origin or approval. It was not until long after his departure that the name “Christianity” was given to Jesus’ (p) religion.

What, then, was Jesus’ (p) religion in actual fact, as distinct from its name? His religion was reflected in his teachings, which he urged his followers to accept as guiding principles in their relationship with God. In Islam, Jesus (p) is a prophet sent by Allah and his Arabic name is Eesa. Like the prophets before him, he called upon the people to surrender their will to the will of God (which is what Islam stands for). For example, in the New Testament, it is stated that Jesus (p) taught his followers to pray to God as follows:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Luke 11:2; Matt. 6:9-10)

This concept was emphasized by Jesus (p) in a number of his statements recorded in the Gospels. He taught, for example, that only those who submitted would inherit Paradise.

Jesus (p) also pointed out that he himself submitted to the will of God.

“None of those who call me ‘Lord’ will enter the kingdom of God, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21)

“I cannot do anything of myself. I judge as I hear and my judgment is honest because I am not seeking my own will but the will of Him Who sent me.” (John 5:30)

There are many reports in the Gospels which show that Jesus (p) made it clear to his followers that he was not the one true God. For example, when speaking about the final Hour, he said:

“No one knows about the Day or Hour, not even the angels in heaven, not the son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32)

Thus, Jesus (p) like the prophets before him and the one who came after him, taught the religion of Islam: submission to the will of the One true God.

God and Creation

Since the total submission of one’s will to God represents the essence of worship, the basic message of God’s divine religion, Islam, is the worship of God alone. It also requires the avoidance of worship directed to any person, place or thing other than God. Since everything other than God, the Creator of all things, is God’s creation, it may be said that Islam, in essence, calls man away from worship of creation and invites him to worship only his Creator. He is the only one deserving of man’s worship, because it is only by His will that prayers are answered.

Accordingly, if a man prays to a tree and his prayers are answered, it is not the tree that answered his prayers but God, Who allows the circumstances prayed for to take place. One might say, “That is obvious”; however, to tree-worshipers, it might not be so. Similarly, prayers to Jesus (p), Buddha, Krishna, St. Christopher, St. Jude, or even to Muhammad (p), are not answered by them, but are answered by God. Jesus (p) did not tell his followers to worship him but to worship God, as the Qur’an states:

“And behold! Allah will say: ‘O Jesus, the son of Mary! Did you say to men, worship me and my mother as gods besides Allah?’; He will say: ‘Glory to you, I could never say what I had no right (to say)'” (Qur’an 5:116)

Nor did Jesus (p) worship himself when he worshiped, but rather he worshiped God. And Jesus (p) was reported in the Gospels to have said:

“It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.'” (Luke 4:8)

The basic principle is contained in the opening chapter of the Qur’an, known as Surah al-Fatihah, verse 4:

“You alone do we worship and from you alone do we seek help.”

Elsewhere in the final book of revelation, the Qur’an, God also said:

“And your Lord says: ‘Call on Me and I will answer your (prayer).'” (Qur’an 40:60)

It is worth emphasizing that the basic message of Islam (namely, the worship of God alone) also proclaims that God and His creation are distinctly different entities. God is neither equal to His creation nor a part of it, nor is His creation equal to Him or a part of Him.

This might seem obvious, but man’s worship of creation, instead of the Creator, is to a large degree based on ignorance, or neglect, of this concept. It is the belief that the essence of God is everywhere in His creation or that His divine being is or was present in some parts of His creation, which has provided justification for the worship of God’s creation and naming it the worship of God. However, the message of Islam, as brought by the prophets of God, is to worship only God and to avoid the worship of His creation either directly or indirectly.

In the Qur’an, God clearly states:

“For We assuredly sent amongst every people a prophet, with the command: Worship Me and avoid false gods.” (Qur’an 16:36)

When idol worshipers are questioned as to why they bow down to idols created by men, the invariable reply is that they are not actually worshiping the stone image, but God Who is present within it. They claim that the stone idol is only a focal point for God’s essence and is not in itself God! One who has accepted the concept of God being present in any way within His creation will be obliged to accept this argument for idolatry. Whereas, one who understands the basic message of Islam and its implications would never agree to idolatry no matter how it is rationalized.

Those who have claimed divinity for themselves down through the ages have often based their claims on the mistaken belief that God is present in man. Taking one step further, they claim that God is more present in them than the rest of us, and that other humans should therefore submit to them and worship them as God in person or as God concentrated within their persons. Similarly, those who have asserted the godhood of others after their deaths have found fertile ground among those who accept the false belief of God’s presence in man.

It should be abundantly clear by now that one who has grasped the basic message of Islam and its implications could never agree to worship another human being under any circumstance. God’s religion, in essence, is a clear call to the worship of the Creator and the rejection of creation-worship in any form. This is the meaning of the motto of Islam:

Laa ilaaha illaa Allah”  (there is no god but Allah)

The sincere declaration of this phrase and the acceptance of prophethood automatically brings one within the fold of Islam, and sincere belief in it guarrantees one Paradise. Thus, the final Prophet of Islam (p) is reported to have said:

“Any one who says ‘There is no god but Allah’, and dies holding that (belief) will enter Paradise.”

Belief in this declaration of faith requires that one submit his/her will to God in the way taught by the prophets of God. It also requires the believer to give up the worship of false gods.

The Message of False Religions

There are so many sects, cults, religions, philosophies, and movements in the world, all which claim to be the right way or the only true path to God! How can one determine which one is correct or whether, in fact, all are correct? One method by which the answer can be found is to clear away the superficial differences in the teachings of the various claimants to the ultimate truth, and identify the central object of worship upon which they call, directly or indirectly. False religions all have in common one basic concept with regard to God: they either claim that all men are gods, or that specific men were God, or that nature is God, or that God is a figment of man’s imagination.

Thus, it may be stated that the basic message of false religion is that God may be worshiped in the form of His creation. False religions invite man to the worship of creation by calling the creation or some aspect of it God. For example, prophet Jesus (p) invited his followers to worship God, but those who claim to be Jesus’ followers today call people to worship Jesus (p), claiming that he was God.

Buddha was a reformer who introduced a number of humanistic principles in the religion of India. He did not claim to be God, nor did he suggest to his followers that he be an object of worship. Yet today most Buddhists who are to be found outside of India have taken him to be God and they prostrate themselves to idols made in their perception of his likeness.

By using the principle of identifying the object of worship, we can easily detect false religions and the contrived nature of their origin. As God said in the Qur’an:

“That which you worship besides Him are only names and you and your forefathers have invented for which Allah has sent down no authority; the command belongs only to Allah: He has command that you worship Him; that is the right religion, but most men do not understand.” (Qur’an 12:40)

It may be argued that all religions teach good things, so why should it matter which one we follow? The reply is that all false religions teach the greatest evil: the worship of creation. Creation-worship is the greatest sin that man can commit because it contradicts the very purpose of His creation. Man was created to worship God alone as Allah has explicitly stated in the Qur’an:

“I have only created jinns and men, that they may worship Me.” (Qur’an 51:56)

Consequently, the worship of creation, which is the essence of idolatry, is the only unforgivable sin. One who dies in this state of idolatry has sealed his fate in the next life. This is not an option, but a revealed fact stated by God in His final revelation to man:

“Verily Allah will not forgive the joining of partners with Him, but He may forgive (sins) less than that for whomsoever He wishes.” (Qur’an 4:48,116)

Universality of God’s Religion

Since the consequences of following a false religion are so grave, the true religion of God must have been universally understandable and universally attainable in the past and it must continue eternally to be understandable and attainable throughout the entire world. In other words, the true religion of God cannot be confined to any one people, place, or period of time. Nor is it logical that such a religion should impose conditions that have nothing to do with the relationship of man with God, such as baptism, or belief in man as a savior, or an intermediary. Within the central principle of Islam and its definition (the surrender of one’s will to God) lie the roots of Islam’s universality. Whenever man comes to the realization that God is one and distinct from His creation, and submits himself to God, he becomes a Muslim in body and spirit and is eligible for paradise.

Consequently, anyone at any time in the most remote regions of the world can become Muslim, a follower of God’s religion, Islam, be merely rejecting the worship of creation and turning to God alone. It should be noted, however, that in order to actually submit to God’s will, one must continually choose between right and wrong. Indeed, man is endowed by God with the power not only to distinguish right from wrong but also to choose between them. These God-given powers carry with them an important responsibility, namely, that man is answerable to God for the choices he makes. It follows, then, that man should try his utmost to do good and avoid evil. These concepts are expressed in the final revelation as follows:

“Verily, those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians (angel-and-star worshipers) – any of these who believe in Allah and the Last Day and work righteousness shall have their reward with their Lord. They will not be overcome by fear or grief.” (Qur’an 2:62)

If, for whatever reason, they fail to accept the final message after it has been clearly explained to them, they will be in grave danger. The last Prophet said:

“Whoever among the Christians and Jews hears of me but does not affirm his belief in what I brought and dies in that state will be among the inhabitants of Hell.” (Sahih Muslim [English Translation], Vol.1 P.91 No.284)

Recognition of God

The question which arises here is: How can all people be expected to believe in the one true God, given their varying backgrounds, societies and cultures? For people to be held responsible for worshipping the one true God, they all need to have access to knowledge of him. The final revelation teaches that all human beings have the recognition of the one true God imprinted on their souls as a part of their very nature with which they are created.

In the seventh chapter of the Qur’an (Al-A’raaf, verses 172-173),God explained that when He created Adam He caused all of Adam’s descentants to come into existence and He took a pledge from them saying:

“‘Am I not your Lord?’ To which they all replied, ‘Yes, we testify to it.'”

Allah then explained why He had all of mankind bear witness that He is their creator and the only true God worthy of worship. He said:

“That was in case you (mankind) should say on the Day of Resurrection, ‘Verily we were unaware of all this.'” (Qur’an 7:172)

That is to say, we cannot claim on that Day that we had no idea that Allah was our God and that no one told us that we were supposed to worship Allah alone. Allah went on to further explain that:

“It was also in case you should say, ‘Certainly it was our ancestors who made partners (with Allah) and we are only their descendants; will You then destroy us for what those liars did?'” (Qur’an 7:173)

Thus, every child is born with a natural belief in God and an in-born inclination to worship Him alone. This in-born belief and inclination is called in Arabic the “Fitrah”.

The Prophet Muhammad reported that Allah said, “I created my servants in the right religion, but devils made them go astray.” The Prophet also said, “Each child is born in a state of Fitrah. Then his parents make him a Jew, Christian or a Zoroastrian.” If the child were left alone, he would worship God in his own way, but all children are affected by the environment. So, just as the child submits to the physical laws which Allah has imposed on nature, in the same way his soul also submits naturally to the fact that Allah is his Lord and Creator. But, if his parents try to make him follow a different path, the child is not strong enough in the early stages of his life to resist or oppose the will of his parents. In such cases, the religion which the child follows is one of custom and upbringing, and God does not hold him to account or punish him for his religion up to a certain stage of his life.

The Signs of God

Throughout people’s lives, from childhood until the time they die, signs of the one and only true God are shown to them in all regions of the earth and in their own souls, until it becomes clear that there is only one true God (Allah). God says in the Qur’an:

“We will show them our signs in the furthest regions (of the earth) and in their souls, until it becomes clear to them that this is the truth.” (Qur’an 41:53)

The following is an example of God revealing by a sign to one man the error of his idol-worship. In the south-eastern region of the Amazon jungle in Brazil, South America, a primitive tribe erected a new hut to house their man-idol Skwatch, representing the supreme God of all creation. The following day a young man entered the hut to pay homage to the God, and while he was in prostration to what he had been taught was his Creator and Sustainer, a mangy old flea-ridden dog slunk into the hut. The young man looked up in time to see the dog lift his hind leg and pass urine on the idol. Outraged, the youth chased the dog out of the temple, but when his rage died down he realized that the idol could not be the Lord of the Universe. God must be elsewhere, he concluded. As strange as it may seem, the dog urinating on the idol was a sign from God for that young man. This sign contained the divine message that what he was worshiping was false. It liberated him from slavishly following his traditionally learned worship of a false god. As a result, this man was given a choice: either to seek the true God or to continue in the error of his ways.

Allah mentions Prophet Abraham’s quest for God as an example of how those who follow His signs will be rightly guided:

“So also did We show Abraham the power and the Laws of the heavens and the earth that he might (with understanding) have certitude.

When the night covered him over, he saw a star. He said: ‘This is my Lord.’ But when it set, he said: ‘I love not those that set.’

When he saw the moon rising in splendor, he said: ‘This is my Lord.’ But when the moon set, he said: ‘Unless my Lord guide me, I shall surely be among those who go astray.’

When he saw the rising sun in splendor, he said:

‘This is my Lord, this is the greatest (of all).’ But when the sun set, he said: ‘O my people! I am indeed free from your (guilt) of giving partners to Allah.

For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah.'” (Qur’an 6:75-79)

As was mentioned earlier, prophets have been sent to every nation and tribe to support man’s natural belief in God and man’s in-born inclination to worship Him, as well as to reinforce the divine truth in the daily signs revealed by God. Although much of these prophets’ teachings became distorted, portions revealing their God-inspired messages have remained untainted and have served to guide mankind in the choice between right and wrong. The influence of God-inspired messages down through the ages can be seen in the “Ten Commandments” of Judaisn’s Torah which were later adopted into Christianity’s teachings, as well as in the existence of laws against murder, stealing and adultery in most societies throughout the ancient and modern world.

As a result of God’s signs to mankind through the ages combined with His revelation through His prophets, all mankind has been given a chance to recognize the one and only true God.

Consequently, every soul will be held accountable for its belief in God and its acceptance of the true religion of God, namely Islam, which means total submission to the will of Allah.

Conclusion

The preceding presentation has demonstrated that the name of the religion of Islam expresses Islam’s most central principle, submission to God, and that the name “Islam” was chosen not by man, but by God, according to the holy scriptures of Islam. It has also been shown that Islam alone teaches the uniqueness of God and His attributes and enjoins the worship of God alone without intermediaries. Finally, due to the divinely instilled inclination of man to worship God and the signs revealed by God throughout the ages to each individual, Islam may be achieved by all men at all times.

In short, the significance of the name Islam (submission to God), is Islam’s fundamental acknowledgement of the uniqueness of God and Islam’s accessibility to all mankind at all times convincingly support Islam’s claim that from the beginning of time in whatever language it was expressed, Islam alone has been and will be the true religion of God.

In conclusion we ask Allah, the Exalted, to keep us on the right path to which He has guided us, and to bestow on us His blessings and mercy, for He is indeed the Most-Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, and peace and blessings be on Prophet Muhammad and all the prophets of God and their righteous followers.

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Reserch of Dr. Maurice Bucaille (French medical doctor)

THE QUR’AN
AND
MODERN SCIENCE

by

Dr. Maurice Bucaille

Edited by Dr. A. A. B. Philips

 

Table of Contents

THE QUR’AN AND MODERN SCIENCE

Table of Contents

EDITOR’S FOREWORD

INTRODUCTION

RELIGION AND SCIENCE

The Qur’an And Science

AUTHENTICITY OF QUR’AN

CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE

ASTRONOMY

The Sun and Moon.

Stars and Planets

Orbits

The Day and Night

The Solar Apex

Expansion of the Universe

Conquest of Space

GEOLOGY

Water Cycle

Mountains

BIOLOGY

Botany

Physiology

EMBRYOLOGY

Fertilization

Implantation

Embryo

BIBLE, QUR’AN AND SCIENCE

Creation

Age of the Earth

The Flood

The Pharaoh

EDITOR’S FOREWORD

This booklet by Dr. Maurice Bucaille has been in circulation for the past nineteen years and has been a very effective tool in presenting Islam to non-Muslims as well as introducing Muslims to aspects of the scientific miracle of the Qur’an. It is based on a transcription of a lecture given by Dr. Bucaille in French.

In this reprint, I decided to improve its presentation by simplifying the language and editing the text from an oral format to a pamphlet format. There were also passing references made by the author to material in his book, The Bible, the Qur’an and Science, which needed explanation. I took the liberty of including explanatory portions from his book where more detail was necessary. A few footnotes were also added for clarity and a hadeeth which the author mentioned was replaced due to its inauthenticity. There were also some corrections made to the historical material on the compilation of the Qur’an.

It is my hope that these slight improvements will make this excellent work even more effective in presenting the final revelation of God to mankind.

Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips

Director/Islamic Information Center Dubai

U.A.E.

May, 1995

 

 

INTRODUCTION

On the 9th of November, 1976, an unusual lecture was given at the French Academy of Medicine. Its title was “Physiological and Embryological data in the Qur’an”. I presented the study based on the existence of certain statements concerning physiology and reproduction in the Qur’an. My reason for presenting this lecture was because it is impossible to explain how a text produced in the seventh century could have contained ideas that have only been discovered in modern times.

For the first time, I spoke to members of a learned medical society on subjects whose basic concepts they all knew well, but I could, just as easily, have pointed out statements of a scientific nature contained in the Qur’an and other subjects to specialists from other disciplines. Astronomers, zoologists, geologists and specialists in the history of the earth would all have been struck, just as forcibly as medical doctors, by the presence in the Qur’an of highly accurate reflections on natural phenomena. These reflections are particularly astonishing when we consider the history of science, and can only lead us to the conclusion that they are a challenge to human explanation.

There is no human work in existence that contains statements as far beyond the level of knowledge of its time as the Qur’an. Scientific opinions comparable to those in the Qur’an are the result of modern knowledge. In the commentaries to translations of the Qur’an that have appeared in European languages, I have only been able to find scattered and vague references to them. Nor do commentators writing in Arabic provide a complete study of the aspects of the Qur’an that deal with scientific matters. This is why the idea of a comprehensive study of the problem appealed to me.

In addition to this, a comparative study of similar data contained in the Bible (Old Testament and Gospels) seemed desirable. Thus, a research project was developed from the comparison of certain passages in the Holy Scriptures of each monotheistic religion with modern scientific knowledge. The project resulted in the publication of a book entitled, The Bible, the Qur’an and Science. The first French edition appeared in May 1976. English and Arabic editions have since been published.

RELIGION AND SCIENCE

There is, perhaps, no better illustration of the close links between Islam and science than the Prophet Muhammad’s often-quoted statements:

“Seeking knowledge is compulsory on every Muslim.”

“wisdom is the lost property of the believer.”

“whoever follows a path seeking knowledge, Allah will make his path to paradise easy.”

These statements and many others are veritable invitations to humanity to enrich their knowledge from all sources. It comes as no surprise, therefore, to learn that in Islam religion and science have always been considered as twin sisters and that today, at a time when science has taken such great strides, they still continue to be associated. Nor is it a surprise to learn that certain scientific data are used for the better understanding of the Qur’anic text. What is more, in a century where, for many people, scientific truth has dealt a deathblow to religious belief, it is precisely the discoveries of science that, in an objective examination of the Islamic scripture, have highlighted the supernatural nature of revelation and the authenticity of the religion which it taught.

When all is said and done, scientific knowledge seems, in spite of what many people may say or think, to be highly conducive to reflection on the existence of God. Once we begin to ask ourselves, in an unbiased or unprejudiced way, about the metaphysical lessons to be derived from some of today’s knowledge, (for example our evolving knowledge of the smallest components of matter or the questions surrounding the origin of life within inanimate matter), we indeed discover many reasons for thinking about God. When we think about the remarkable organization presiding over the birth and maintenance of life, it becomes clear that the likelihood of it being the result of chance lessens quite considerably.

As our knowledge of science in the various fields expands, certain concepts must seem increasingly unacceptable. For example, the idea enthusiastically expressed by the recent French winner of the Nobel prize for medicine, that living matter was self-created from simple chemical elements due to chance circumstances. Then from this point it is claimed that living organisms evolved, leading to the remarkably complex being called man. To me, it would seem that the scientific advancements made in understandithe fantastic complexity of higher beings provides stronger arguments in favor of the opposite theory: that the existence of an extraordinarily methodical organization presiding over the remarkable arrangement of the phenomena of life necessitates the existence of a Creator.

In many parts of the Book, the Qur’an, encourages this kind of general reflection but also contains infinitely more precise data which are directly related to facts discovered by modern science. It is precisely this data which exercise a magnetic attraction for today’s scientists.

 

The Qur’an And Science

For many centuries, humankind was unable to study certain data contained in the verses of the Qur’an because they did not possess sufficient scientific means. It is only today that numerous verses of the Qur’an dealing with natural phenomena have become comprehensible. A reading of old commentaries on the Qur’an, however knowledgeable their authors may have been in their day, bears solemn witness to a total inability to grasp the depth of meaning in such verses. I could even go so far as to say that, in the 20th century, with its compartmentalization of ever-increasing knowledge, it is still not easy for the average scientist to understand everything he reads in the Qur’an on such subjects, without having recourse to specialized research. This means that to understand all such verses of the Qur’an, one is nowadays required to have an absolutely encyclopedic knowledge embracing many scientific disciplines.

I should like to stress, that I use the word science to mean knowledge which has been soundly established. It does not include the theories which, for a time, help to explain a phenomenon or a series of phenomena, only to be abandoned later on in favor of other explanations. These newer explanations have become more plausible thanks to scientific progress. I only intend to deal with comparisons between statements in the Qur’an and scientific knowledge which are not likely to be subject to further discussion. Wherever I introduce scientific facts which are not yet 100% established, I will make it quite clear.

There are also some very rare examples of statements in the Qur’an which have not, as yet, been confirmed by modern science. I shall refer to these by pointing out that all the evidence available today leads scientists to regard them as being highly probable. An example of this is the statement in the Qur’an that life has an aquatic origin ( “And I created every living thing out of water” Qur’an, 21:30 ).

These scientific considerations should not, however, make us forget that the Qur’an remains a religious book par excellence and that it cannot be expected to have a scientific purpose per se. In the Qur’an, whenever humans are invited to reflect upon the wonders of creation and the numerous natural phenomena, they can easily see that the obvious intention is to stress Divine Omnipotence. The fact that, in these reflections, we can find allusions to data connected with scientific knowledge is surely another of God’s gifts whose value must shine out in an age where scientifically based atheism seeks to gain control of society at the expense of the belief in God. But the Qur’an does not need unusual characteristics like this to make its supernatural nature felt. Scientific statements such as these are only one specific aspect of the Islamic revelation which the Bible does not share.

Throughout my research I have constantly tried to remain totally objective. I believe I have succeeded in approaching the study of the Qur’an with the same objectivity that a doctor has when opening a file on a patient. In other words, only by carefully analyzing all the symptoms can one arrive at an accurate diagnosis. I must admit that it was certainly not faith in Islam that first guided my steps, but simply a desire to search for the truth. This is how I see it today. It was mainly the facts which, by the time I had finished my study, led me to see the Qur’an as the divinely-revealed text it really is.

AUTHENTICITY OF QUR’AN

Before getting to the essence of the subject, there is a very important point which must be considered: the authenticity of the Qur’anic text.

It is known that the text of the Qur’an was both recited from memory, during the time it was revealed, by the Prophet and the believers who surrounded him, and written down by designated scribes among his followers. This process lasted for roughly twenty-three years during which many unofficial copies were made. An official copy was made within one year after the Prophet’s death at the instruction of Caliph Abu Bakr.

Here we must note a highly important point. The present text of the Qur’an benefited in its original preparation from the advantage of having its authenticity cross-checked by the text recited from memory as well as the unofficial written texts. The memorized text was of paramount importance at a time when not everyone could read and write, but everybody could memorize. Moreover, the need for a written record was included in the text of the Qur’an itself. The first five verses of chapter al-‘Alaq, which happen to constitute the first revelation made to the Prophet (S), express this quite clearly:

“Read: In the name of your Lord who created. Who created man from a clinging entity. Read! Your Lord is the most Noble, Who taught by the pen. Who taught man what he did not know.” Qur’an, 96:1-5

These are surely words in “praise of the pen as a means of human knowledge”, to use Professor Hamidullah’s expression.

Then came the Caliphate of ‘Uthman (which lasted from the twelfth to the twenty-fourth year following Muhammad’s death). Within the first two years of Caliph ‘Uthman’s rule, seven official copies were reproduced from the official text and distributed throughout a large area of the world which had already come under Islamic rule. All unofficial copies existing at that time were destroyed and all future copies were made from the official seven copies.

In my book, The Bible, the Qur’an and Science, I have quoted passages from the Qur’an which came from the period prior to the Hijrah (the Prophet’s emigration from Makkah to Madeenah in the year 622) and which allude to the writing of the Qur’an before the Prophet’s departure from Makkah.

There were, moreover, many witnesses to the immediate transcription of the Qur’anic revelation.

Professor Jacques Berque has told me of the great importance he attaches to it in comparison with the long gap separating the writing down of the Judeo-Christian revelation from the facts and events which it relates. Let us not forget that today we also have a number of manuscripts of the first written versions of the Qur’an which were from a time period very close to the time of revelation.

I shall also mention another fact of great importance. We shall examine statements in the Qur’an which today appear to merely record scientific truth, but of which men in former times were only able to grasp the apparent meaning. In some cases, these statements were totally incomprehensible. It is impossible to imagine that, if there were any alterations to the texts, these obscure passages scattered throughout the text of the Qur’an, were all able to escape human manipulation. The slightest alteration to the text would have automatically destroyed the remarkable coherence which is characteristic to them. Change in any text would have prevented us from establishing their total conformity with modern knowledge. The presence of these statements spread throughout the Qur’an looks (to the impartial observer ) like an obvious hallmark of its authenticity.

The Qur’an is a revelation made known to humans in the course of twenty-three years. It spanned two periods of almost equal length on either side of the Hijrah. In view of this, it was natural for reflections having a scientific aspect to be scattered throughout the Book. In a study, such as the one we have made, we had to regroup the verses according to subject matter, collecting them chapter by chapter.

How should they be classified? I could not find any indications in the Qur’an suggesting any particular classification, so I decided present them according to my own personal one.

It would seem to me, that the first subject to deal with is Creation. Here it is possible to compare the verses referring to this topic with the general ideas prevalent today on the formation of the Universe. Next, I divided up verses under the following general headings: Astronomy, the Earth, the Animal and Vegetable Kingdoms, Humans, and Human Reproduction in particular. Furthermore, I thought it useful to make a comparison between Qur’anic and Biblical narrations on the same topics from the point of view of modern knowledge. This has been done in the cases of Creation, the Flood and the Exodus. The reason that these topics were chosen is that knowledge acquired today can be used in the interpretation of the texts.

CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE

From an examination of creation as described in the Qur’an, an extremely important general concept emerges: The Qur’anic narration is quite different from the Biblical narration. This idea contradicts the parallels which are often wrongly drawn by Western authors to emphasize the resemblance between the two texts. To stress only the similarities, while silently ignoring the obvious dissimilarities, is to distort reality. There is, perhaps, a reason for this.

When talking about creation, there is a strong tendency in the West to claim that Muhammad copied the general outlines mentioned in the Qur’an from the Bible. Certainly it is possible to compare the six days of creation as described in the Bible, plus an extra day for rest on God’s Sabbath, with this verse from chapter al-A‘raaf.

“Your Lord is God who created the heavens and the earth in six days.” Qur’an, 7:54

However, it must be pointed out that modern commentators stress the interpretation of the Arabic word ayyaam, (one translation of which is ‘days’), as meaning ‘long periods’ or ‘ages’ rather than periods of twenty-four hours.

What appears to be of fundamental importance to me is that, in contrast to the narration contained in the Bible, the Qur’an does not lay down a sequence for creation of the earth and heavens. It refers both to the heavens before the earth and the earth before the heavens, when it talks of creation in general, as in this verse of chapter Taa Haa:

“(God) who created the earth and heavens above.” Qur’an, 20:4

In fact, the notion derived from the Qur’an is one of a parallelism in the celestial and terrestrial evolutions. There are also basic pieces of information concerning the existence of an initial gaseous mass ( dukhaan ) which are unique to the Qur’an. As well as descriptions of the elements which, although at first were fused together ( ratq ), they subsequently became separated (fatq). These ideas are expressed in chapters Fussilat and al-Anbiyaa:

“God then rose turning towards the heaven when it was smoke” Qur’an, 41:11

“Do the disbelievers not see that the heavens and the earth were joined together, then I split them apart?” Qur’an, 21:30

According to modern science, the separation process resulted in the formation of multiple worlds, a concept which appears dozens of times in the Qur’an. For example, look at the first chapter of the Qur’an, al-Faatihah:( “Praise be to God, the Lord of the Worlds.” Qur’an, 1:1 ). These Qur’anic references are a11 in perfect agreement with modern ideas on the existence of primary nebula (galactic dust), followed by the separation of the elements which resulted in the formation of galaxies and then stars from which the planets were born. Reference is also made in the Qur’an to an intermediary creation between the heavens and the earth, as seen in chapter al-Furqaan:

“God is the one who created the heavens, the earth and what is between them…” Qur’an, 25:59

It would seem that this intermediary creation corresponds to the modern discovery of bridges of matter which are present outside organized astronomical systems.

This brief survey of Qur’anic references to creation clearly shows us how modern scientific data and statements in the Qur’an consistently agree on a large number of points. In contrast, the successive phases of creation mentioned in the Biblical text are totally unacceptable. For example, in Genesis 1:9-19 the creation of the earth (on the 3rd day) is placed before that of the heavens (on the 4th day). It is a well known fact that our planet came from its own star, the sun. In such circumstances, how could anyone claim that Muhammad, the supposed author of the Qur’an, drew his inspiration from the Bible. Such a claim would mean that, of his own accord, he corrected the Biblical text to arrive at the correct concept concerning the formation of the Universe. Yet the correct concept was reached by scientists many centuries after his death.

ASTRONOMY

Whenever I describe to Westerners the details the Qur’an contains on certain points of astronomy, it is common for someone to reply that there is nothing unusual in this since the Arabs made important discoveries in the field of astronomy long before the Europeans. But, this is a mistaken idea resulting from an ignorance of history. In the first place, science developed in the Arab World at a considerable time after the Qur’anic revelation had occurred. Secondly, the scientific knowledge prevalent at the highpoint of Islamic civilization would have made it impossible for any human being to have written statements on the heavens comparable to those in the Qur’an. The material on this subject is so vast that I can only provide a brief outline of it here.

 

The Sun and Moon.

Whereas the Bible talks of the sun and the moon as two lights differing only in size, the Qur’an distinguishes between them by the use of different terms: light (noor) for the moon, and lamp (siraaj) for the sun.

“Did you see how Allah created seven heavens, one above the other, and made in them the moon a light and the sun a lamp?” Qur’an, 78:12-13

The moon is an inert body which reflects light, whereas the sun is a celestial body in a state of permanent combustion producing both light and heat.

Stars and Planets

The word ‘star’ (najm) in the Qur’an ( 86:3 ) is accompanied by the adjective thaaqib which indicates that it burns and consumes itself as it pierces through the shadows of the night. It was much later discovered that stars are heavenly bodies producing their own light like the sun.

In the Qur’an, a different word, kawkab, is used to refer to the planets which are celestial bodies that reflect light and do not produce their own light like the sun.

“We have adorned the lowest heaven with ornaments, the planets.” Qur’an, 37:6

Orbits

Today, the laws governing the celestial systems are well known. Galaxies are balanced by the position of stars and planets in well-defined orbits, as well as the interplay of gravitational forces produced by their masses and the speed of their movements. But is this not what the Qur’an describes in terms which have only become comprehensible in modern times. In chapter al-Ambiyaa we find:

“(God is) the one who created the night, the day, the sun and the moon. Each one is traveling in an orbit with its own motion.” Qur’an,21:33

The Arabic word which expresses this movement is the verb yasbahoon which implies the idea of motion produced by a moving body, whether it is the movement of one’s legs running on the ground, or the action of swimming in water. In the case of a celestial body, one is forced to translate it, according to its original meaning, as ‘to travel with its own motion.’

In my book, The Bible, The Qur’an and Science, I have given the precise scientific data corresponding to the motion of celestial bodies. They are well known for the moon, but less widely known for the sun.

The Day and Night

The Qur’anic description of the sequence of day and night would, in itself, be rather commonplace were it not for the fact that it is expressed in terms that are today highly appropriate. The Qur’an uses the verb kawwara in chapter az-Zumar to describe the way the night ‘winds’ or ‘coils’ itself around the day and the day around the night.

“He coils the night upon the day and the day upon the night.” Qur’an, 39:5

The original meaning of the verb kis to coil a turban around the head. This is a totally valid comparison; yet at the time the Qur’an was revealed, the astronomical data necessary to make this comparison were unknown. It is not until man landed on the moon and observed the earth spinning on its axis, that the dark half of the globe appeared to wind itself around the light and the light half appeared to wind itself around the dark.

The Solar Apex

The notion of a settled place for the sun is vividly described in chapter Yaa Seen of the Qur’an:

“The sun runs its coarse to a settled place That is the decree of the Almighty, the All Knowing.” Qur’an, 36:38

“Settled place” is the translation of the word mustaqarr which indicates an exact appointed place and time. Modern astronomy confirms that the solar system is indeed moving in space at a rate of 12 miles per second towards a point situated in the constellation of Hercules ( alpha lyrae ) whose exact location has been precisely calculated. Astronomers have even give it a name, the solar apex.

 

Expansion of the Universe

Chapter ath-Thaariyaat of the Qur’an also seems to allude to one of the most imposing discoveries of modern science, the expansion of the Universe.

“I built the heaven with power and it is I, who am expanding it.” Qur’an,51:47

The expansion of the universe was first suggested by the general theory of relativity and is supported by the calculations of astrophysics. The regular movement of the galactic light towards the red section of the spectrum is explained by the distancing of one galaxy from another. Thus, the size of the universe appears to be progressively increasing.

Conquest of Space

Among the achievements of modern science is the “conquest” of space which has resulted in mans journey to the moon. The prediction of this event surely springs to mind when we read the chapter ar-Rahmaan in the Qur’an:

“O assembly of Jinns and men, if you can penetrate the regions of the heavens and the earth, then penetrate them! You will not penetrate them except with authority.”

Qur’an,55:33

Authority to travel in space can only come from the Creator of the laws which govern movement and space. The whole of this Qur’anic chapter invites humankind to recognize God’s beneficence.

GEOLOGY

Let us now return to earth to discover some of the many amazing statements contained in Qur’anic reflections about our own planet. They deal, not only with the physical phenomena observed here on earth, but also with details concerning the living organisms that inhabit it.

As in the case of everything we have discussed so far, we shall see that the Qur’an also expresses concepts in the field of geology that were way ahead of those current at the time of its revelation.

At this point, we must ask ourselves the following question: How could an uneducated man in the middle of the desert accurately tackle so many and such varied subjects at a time when mythology and superstition reigned supreme? How could he so skillfully avoid every belief that was proven to be totally inaccurate many centuries later?

Water Cycle

The verses dealing with the earthly systems are a case in point. I have quoted a large number of them in my book, The Bible, The Qur’an and Science, and have paid special attention to those that deal with the water cycle in nature. This is a topic which is well known today. Consequently, the verses in the Qur’an that refer to the water cycle seem to express ideas that are now totally self-evident. But if we consider the ideas prevalent at that time, they appear to be based more on myth and philosophical speculation than on observed fact, even though useful practical knowledge on soil irrigation was current at that period.

Let us examine, for example, the following verse in chapter az-Zumar:

“Have you not seen that Allah sent rain down from the sky and caused it to penetrate the ground and come forth as springs, then He caused crops of different colors to grow…” Qur’an,39:21

Such notions seem quite natural to us today, but we should not forget that, not so long ago, they were not prevalent. It was not until the sixteenth century, with Bernard Palissy, that we gained the first coherent description of the water cycle. Prior to this, people believed that the waters of the oceans, under the effect of winds, were thrust towards the interior of the continents. They then returned to the oceans via the great abyss, which, since Plato’s time was called the Tartarus .In the seventeenth century, great thinkers such as Descartes still believed in this myth. Even in the nineteenth century there were still those who believed in Aristotle’s theory that water was condensed in cool mountain caverns and formed underground lakes that fed springs. Today, we know that it is the infiltration of rain water into the ground that is responsible for this. If one compares the facts of modern hydrology with the data found in numerous verses of the Qur’an on this subject, one cannot fail to notice the remarkable degree of agreement between the two.

 

Mountains

In geology, modern science has recently discovered the phenomenon of folding which formed the mountain ranges. The earth’s crust is like a solid shell, while the deeper layers are hot and fluid, and thus inhospitable to any form of life. It has also been discovered that the stability of mountains is linked to the phenomenon of folding. The process of mountain formation by folding drove the earth’s crust down into the lower layers and provided foundations for the mountains.

Let us now compare modern ideas with one verse among many in the Qur’an that deals with this subject. It is taken from chapter an-Naba’:

“Have We not made the earth an expanse and the mountains stakes?”

Qur’an, 78:6-7

Stakes ( awtaad ), which are driven into the ground like those used to anchor a tent, are the deep foundations of geological folds.

Here, as in the case of all the other topics presented, the objective observer cannot fail to notice the absence of any contradiction to modern knowledge.

 

BIOLOGY

More than anything else, I was struck by statements in the Qur’an dealing with living things, both in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, especially with regard to reproduction. We should really devote much more time to this subject, but, due to the limited scope of this presentation, I can only give a few examples.

I must once again stress the fact that it is only in modern times that scientific progress has made the hidden meaning of some Qur’anic verses comprehensible to us. Numerous translations and commentaries on the Qur’an have been made by learned men who had no access to modern scientific knowledge. It is for this reason that scientists find some of their interpretations

unacceptable.

There are also other verses whose obvious meanings are easily understood, but which conceal

scientific meanings which are startling, to say the least. This is the case of a verse in chapter al-Ambiyaa, a part of which has already been quoted:

“Do the unbelievers not realize that the heavens and the earth were joined together,

then I clove them asunder and I made every living thing out of water. Will they still not believe?” Qur’an, 21:30

This is a dramatic affirmation of the modern idea that the origin of life is aquatic.

Botany

Progress in botany at the time of Muhammad (S) was not advanced enough in any country for scientists to know that plants have both male and female parts. Nevertheless, we may read the following in the chapter Taa Haa:

“(God is the One who) sent down rain from the sky and with it brought forth a variety of plants in pairs.” Qur’an, 20:53

Today we know that fruit comes from plants that have sexual characteristics even when they come from unfertilized flowers, like bananas. In the chapter ar-Ra‘d we read the following:

“… and of all fruits (God) placed (on the earth) two pairs.” Qur’an, 13:3

Physiology

In the field of physiology, there is one verse which appears extremely significant to me. One thousand years before the discovery of the blood circulatory system, and roughly thirteen centuries before it was determined that the internal organs were nourished by the process of digestive , a verse in the Qur’an described the source of the constituents of milk, in conformity with scientific facts.

To understand this verse, it must first be known that chemical reactions occur between food and enzymes in the mouth, the stomach and the intestines releasing nutrients in molecular form which are then absorbed into the circulatory system through countless microscopic projections of the intestinal wall called villi. Blood in the circulatory system then transports the nutrients to all the organs of the body, among which are the milk-producing mammary glands.

This biological process must be basically understood, if we are to understand a verse in the Qur’an which has for many centuries given rise to commentaries that were totally incomprehensible.

Today it is not difficult to see why! This verse is taken from the chapter an-Nahl:

“Verily, in cattle there is a lesson for yon. I give you drink from their insides, coming from a conjunction between the digested contents ( of the intestines ) and the blood, milk pure and pleasant for those who drink it.” Qur’an, 16:66

The constituents of milk are secreted by the mammary glands which are nourished by the product of food digestion brought to them by the bloodstream. The initial event which sets the whole process in motion is the conjunction of the contents of the intestine and blood at the level of the intestinal wall itself.

This very precise concept is the result of the discoveries made in the chemistry and physiology of the digestive system over one thousand years after the time of Prophet Muhammad (S).

 

EMBRYOLOGY

There are a multitude of statements in the Qur’an on the subject of human reproduction which constitute a challenge to the embryologist seeking a human explanation for them. It was only after the birth of the basic sciences which contributed to our knowledge of biology and the invention of the microscope, that humans were able to understand the depth of those Qur’anic statements. It was impossible for a human being living in the early seventh century to have accurately expressed such ideas. There is nothing to indicate that people in the Middle-East and Arabia knew anything more about this subject than people living in Europe or anywhere else. Today, there are many Muslims, possessing a thorough knowledge of the Qur’an and natural sciences, who have recognized the amazing similarity between the verses of the Qur’an dealing with reproduction and modern scientific knowledge.

I shall always remember the comment of an eighteen-year-old Muslim, brought up in Saudi Arabia, commenting on a reference to human reproduction as described in the Qur’an. He pointed to the Qur’an and said, “This book provides us with all the essential information on the subject. When I was at school, my teachers used the Qur’an to explain how children were born. Your books on sex-education are a bit late on the scene!”

If I were to spend as long on all the details of reproduction contained in the Qur’an, as the subject merits, this pamphlet would become a book. The detailed linguistic and scientific explanations I have given in The Bible, The Qur’an and Science are sufficient for the person who does not speak Arabic nor know much about embryology to be able to understand the meaning of such verses in the light of modern science in more depth.

It is especially in the field of embryology that a comparison between the beliefs present at the time of the Qur’an’s revelation and modern scientific data, leaves us amazed at the degree of agreement between the Qur’an’s statements and modern scientific knowledge. Not to mention the total absence of any reference in the Qur’an to the mistaken ideas that were prevalent around the world at the time.

 

Fertilization

Let us now isolate, from all these verses, precise ideas concerning the complexity of the semen and the fact that an infinitely small quantity is required to ensure fertilization. In chapter al-Insaan the Qur’an states:

“Verily, I created humankind from a small quantity of mingled fluids.” Qur’an, 76:2

The Arabic word nutfah has been translated as “small quantity”. It comes from the verb meaning ‘to dribble, to trickle’ and is used to describe what remains in the bottom of a bucket which has been emptied. The verse correctly implies that fertilization is performed by only a very small volume of liquid.

On the other hand, mingled fluids ( amshaaj ) has been understood by early commentators to refer to the mixture of male and female discharges. Modern authors have corrected this view and note that the sperm is made up of various components.

When the Qur’an talks of a fertilizing fluid composed of different components, it also informs us that human progeny will be formed from something extracted from this liquid. This is the meaning of the following verse in chapter as-Sajdah:

“Then He made [ man’s ] offspring from the essence of a despised fluid.”
Qur’an, 32:8

The Arabic word translated by the term ‘essence’ is sulaalah which means ‘something extracted, the best part of a thing’. In whatever way it is translated, it refers to part of a whole. Under normal conditions, only one single cell, spermatozoon, out of over 50 million ejaculated by a man during sexual intercourse will actually penetrate the ovule.

 

Implantation

Once the egg has been fertilized in the fallopian tube, it descends to lodge itself inside the uterus. This process is called the ‘implantation of the egg’. Implantation is a result of the development of villosities, which, like roots in the soil, draw nourishment from the wall of the uterus and make the egg literally cling to the womb. The process of implantation is appropriately described in several verses by the word ‘alaq, which is also the title of the chapter in which one of the verses appears:

“God fashioned humans from a clinging entity.” Qur’an, 96:2

I do not think there is any reasonable translation of the word ‘alaq other than to use it in its original sense. It is a mistake to speak of a ‘blood clot’ here, which is the term Professor Hamidullah uses in his translation. It is a derivative meaning which is not as appropriate in this context.

 

Embryo

The evolution of the embryo inside the maternal uterus is only briefly described, but the description is accurate, because the simple words referring to it correspond exactly to fundamental stages in its growth. This is what we read in a verse from the chapter al-Mu’minoon:

“I fashioned the clinging entity into a chewed lump of flesh and I fashioned the chewed flesh into bones and I clothed the bones with intact flesh.” Qur’an, 23:14

The term ‘chewed flesh’ (mudghah) corresponds exactly to the appearance of the embryo at a certain stage in its development.

It is known that the bones develop inside this mass and that they are then covered with muscle. This is the meaning of the term ‘intact flesh’ (lahm).

The embryo passes through a stage where some parts are in proportion and others out of proportion with what is later to become the individual. This is the obvious meaning of a verse in the chapter al-Hajj, which reads as follows:

“I fashioned (humans) a clinging entity, then into a lump of flesh in proportion and out of proportion.” Qur’an, 22:5.

Next, we have a reference to the appearance of the senses and internal organs in the chapter as-Sajdah:

“… and (God) gave you ears, eyes and hearts.” Qur’an, 32:9

Nothing here contradicts today’s data and, furthermore, none of the mistaken ideas of the time have crept into the Qur’an. Throughout the Middle Ages there were a variety of beliefs about human development based on myths and speculations which continued for several centuries after the period. The most fundamental stage in the history of embryology came in 1651 with Harvey’s statement that “all life initially comes from an egg”. At that time, when science had benefited greatly from the invention of the microscope, people were still arguing about the respective roles of the egg and spermatozoon. Buffon, the great naturalist, was one of those in favor of the egg theory.Bonnet, on the other hand, supported the theory of ‘the ovaries of Eve’, which stated that Eve, the mother of the human race, was-supposed to have had inside her the seeds of all human beings packed together one inside the other.

BIBLE, QUR’AN AND SCIENCE

We have now come to the last subject I would like to present in this short pamphlet: it is the

comparison between modern knowledge and passages in the Qur’an that are also referred to in the Bible.

Creation

We have already come across some of the contradictions between scripture and science regarding the creation of the universe. When dealing with that topic, I stressed the perfect agreement between modern knowledge and verses in the Qur’an, and pointed out that the Biblical narration contained statements that were scientifically unacceptable. This is hardly surprising if we are aware that the narration of the creation contained in the Bible was the work of priests living in the sixth century BC, hence the term ‘sacerdotal’ ( priestly ) narration is officially used to refer to it. The narration seems to have been conceived as the theme of a sermon designed to exhort people to observe the Sabbath. The narration was constructed with a definite end in view, and as Father de Vaux (a former head of the Biblical School of Jerusalem) has noted, this end was essentially legalist in character.

The Bible also contains a much shorter and older narration of Creation, the so-called ‘Yahvist’ version, which approaches the subject from a completely different angle. They are both taken from Genesis, the first book of the Pentateuch or Torah. Moses is supposed to have been its author, but the text we have today has undergone many changes.

The sacerdotal narration of Genesis is famous for its whimsical genealogies, that go back to Adam, and which nobody takes very seriously. Nevertheless, such Gospel authors as Matthew and Luke have reproduced them, more or less word-for-word, in their genealogies of Jesus. Matthew goes back as far as Abraham, and Luke to Adam. These writings are scientifically unacceptable, because they set a date for the age of the world and the time humans appeared on Earth, which most definitely contradicts what modern science has firmly established. The Qur’an, on the other hand, is completely free of dates of this kind.

Earlier on, we noted how perfectly the Qur’an agrees with modern ideas on the formation of the Universe. On the other hand, the Biblical narration of primordial waters is hardly, nor is the creation of light on the first day before the creation of the stars which produce this light; the existence of an evening and a morning before the creation of the earth; the creation of the earth on the third day before that of the sun on the fourth; the appearance of beasts of the earth on the sixth day after the appearance of the birds of the air on the fifth day, although the former came first. All these statements are the result of beliefs prevalent at the time this text was written and do not have any other meaning.

Age of the Earth

As for the Biblical genealogies which form the basis of the Jewish calendar and assert that today the world is 5738 years old, these are hardly admissible either. Our solar system may well be four and a quarter billion years old, and the appearance of human beings on earth, as we know him today, may be estimated in tens of thousands of years, if not more. It is absolutely essential, therefore, to note that the Qur’an does not contain any such indications as to the age of the world, and that these are specific to the Biblical text.

 

The Flood

There is a second highly significant subject of comparison between the Bible and the Qur’an; descriptions of the deluge. In actual fact, the Biblical narration is a fusion of two descriptions in which events are related differently. The Bible speaks of a universal flood and places it roughly 300 years before Abraham.

According to what we know of Abraham, this would imply a universal cataclysm around the twenty-first or twenty-second century BC This story would be untenable, in view of presently available historical data. How can we accept the idea that, in the twenty-first or twenty-second century BC, all civilization was wiped off the face of the earth by a universal cataclysm, when we know that this period corresponds, for example, to the one preceding the Middle Kingdom in Egypt, at roughly the date of the first Intermediary period before the eleventh dynasty? It is historically unacceptable to maintain that, at this time, humanity was totally wiped out. None of the preceding statements is acceptable according to modern knowledge. From this point of view, we can measure the enormous gap separating the Bible from the Qur’an.

In contrast to the Bible, the narration contained in the Qur’an deals with a cataclysm that is limited to Noah’s people. They were punished for their sins, as were other ungodly peoples. The Qur’an does not fix the cataclysm in time. There are absolutely no historical or archaeological objections to the narration in the Qur’an.

 

The Pharaoh

A third point of comparison, which is extremely significant, is the story of Moses, and especially the Exodus from Egypt of the Hebrews. Here I can only give a highly compressed account of a study on this subject that appears in my book. I have noted the points where the Biblical and Qur’anic narrations agree and disagree, and I have found points where the two texts complement each other in a very useful way.

Among the many hypotheses, concerning the historical time-frame occupied by the Exodus in the history of the pharaohs, I have concluded that the most likely is the theory which makes Merneptah, Ramesses II’s successor, the pharaoh of the Exodus. The comparison of the data contained in the Scriptures with archeological evidence strongly supports this hypothesis. I am pleased to be able to say that the Biblical narration contributes weighty evidence leading us to situate Moses in the history of the pharaohs. Moses was probably born during the reign of Ramesses II. Biblical data. are therefore of considerable historical value in the story of Moses. A medical study of the mummy of Merneptah has yielded further useful information on the possible causes of this pharaoh’s death. The fact that we possess the mummy of this pharaoh is one of paramount importance. The Bible records that pharaoh was engulfed in the sea, but does not give any details as to what subsequently became of his corpse. The Qur’an, in chapter Yoonus, notes that the body of the pharaoh would be saved from the waters:

“Today I will save your dead body so that you may be a sign for those who come after you.” Qur’an, 10:92

A medical examination of this mummy, has, shown that the body could not have stayed in the water for long, because it does not show signs of deterioration due to prolonged submersion. Here again, the comparison between the narration in the Qur’an and the data provided by modern knowledge does not give rise to the slightest objection from a scientific point of view.

Such points of agreement are characteristic of the Qur’anic revelation. But, are we throwing the Judeo-Christian revelation into discredit and depriving it of all its intrinsic value by stressing the faults as seen from a scientific point of view? I think not because the criticism is not aimed at the text as a whole, but only at certain passages. There are parts of the Bible which have an undoubted historical value. I have shown that in my book, The Bible, The Qur’an and Science, where I discuss passages which enable us to locate Moses in time.

The main causes which brought about such differences as arise from the comparison between the Holy Scriptures and modern knowledge is known to modern scholars. The Old Testament constitutes a collection of literary works produced in the course of roughly nine centuries and which has undergone many alterations. The part played by men in the actual composition of the texts of the Bible is quite considerable.

The Qur’anic revelation, on the other hand, has a history which is radically different. As we have already seen, from the moment it was first commto humans, it was learnt by heart and written down during Muhammad’s own lifetime. It is thanks to this fact that the Qur’an does not pose any problem of authenticity.

A totally objective examination of the Qur’an, in the light of modern knowledge, leads us to recognize the agreement between the two, as has already been noted on repeated occasions throughout this presentation.

It makes us deem it quite unthinkable for a man of Muhammad’s time to have been the author of such statements, on account of the state of knowledge in his day. Such considerations are part of what gives the Qur’anic revelation its unique place among religious and non-religious texts, and forces the impartial scientist to admit his inability to provide an explanation based solely upon materialistic reasoning.

Such facts as I have had the pleasure of exposing to you here, appear to represent a genuine challenge to human explanation leaving only one alternative: the Qur’an is undoubtedly a revelation from God.

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The Qur’an and Modern Science

The Qur’an and Modern Science
Compatible or Incompatible?

Dr. Zakir Naik
Islamic Research Foundation

CONTENTS

  • Introduction
  • The Challenge of the Qur’aan
  • Astronomy
  • Physics
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Oceanology
  • Biology
  • Botany
  • Zoology
  • Medicine
  • Physiology
  • Embryology
  • General Science
  • Conclusion

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Mercifu

INTRODUCTION

Ever since the dawn of human life on this planet, Man has always sought to understand Nature, his own place in the scheme of Creation and the purpose of Life itself. In this quest for Truth, spanning many centuries and diverse civilizations, organized religion has shaped human life and determined to a large extent, the course of history. While some religions have been based on books, claimed by their adherents to be divinely inspired, others have relied solely on human experience.

Al-Qur’aan, the main source of the Islamic faith, is a book believed by Muslims, to be of completely Divine origin. Muslims also believe that it contains guidance for all mankind. Since the message of the Qur’aan is believed to be for all times, it should be relevant to every age. Does the Qur’aan pass this test? In this booklet, I intend to give an objective analysis of the Muslim belief regarding the Divine origin of the Qur’aan, in the light of established scientific discoveries.

There was a time, in the history of world civilization, when ‘miracles’, or what was perceived to be a miracle, took precedence over human reason and logic. But how do we define the term ‘miracle’? A miracle is anything that takes place out of the normal course of life and for which humankind has no explanation. However, we must be careful before we accept something as a miracle. An article in ‘The Times of India’ Mumbai, in 1993 reported that ‘a saint’ by the name ‘Baba Pilot’ claimed to have stayed continuously submerged under water in a tank for three consecutive days and nights. However, when reporters wanted to examine the base of the tank of water where he claimed to have performed this ‘miraculous’ feat, he refused to let them do so. He argued by asking as to how one could examine the womb of a mother that gives birth to a child. The ‘Baba’ was hiding something. It was a gimmick simply to gain publicity. Surely, no modern man with even the slightest inkling towards rational thinking would accept such a ‘miracle’. If such false miracles are the tests of divinity, then we would have to accept Mr. P. C. Sorcar, the world famous magician known for his ingenious magical tricks and illusions, as the best God-man.

A book, claiming Divine origin, is in effect, claiming to be a miracle. Such a claim should be easily verifiable in any age, according to the standards of that age. Muslims believe, that the Qur’aan is the last and final revelation of God, the miracle of miracles revealed as a mercy to mankind. Let us therefore investigate the veracity of this belief.

I would like to thank Brother Musaddique Thange for his editorial assistance. May Allah (swt) reward him for his efforts, Aameen

THE CHALLENGE OF THE QUR’AAN

Literature and poetry have been instruments of human expression and creativity, in all cultures. The world also witnessed an age when literature and poetry occupied pride of position, similar to that now enjoyed by science and technology.

Muslims as well as non-Muslims agree that Al-Qur’aan is Arabic literature par excellence – that it is the best Arabic literature on the face of the earth. The Qur’aan, challenges mankind in the following verses:

“And if ye are in doubt As to what We have revealed From time to time to Our Servant, then produce a Soorah Like thereunto; And call your witnesses or helpers (If there are any) besides Allah, If your (doubts) are true. But if ye cannot –And of a surety you cannot. Then fear the Fire Whose fuel is Men and Stones – Which is prepared for those Who reject Faith.” [Al-Qur’aan 2:23-24] [Al-Qur’an 2:23-24 indicates Soorah or Chapter No. 2 and Ayaat or Verses 23 and 24]

The same notation is followed throughout the book. References and translation of the Qur’aan are from the translation of the Qur’aan by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, new revised edition, 1989, published by Amana Corporation, Maryland, USA.

The challenge of the Qur’aan, is to produce a single Soorah (chapter) like the Soorahs it contains. The same challenge is repeated in the Qur’aan several times. The challenge to produce a Soorah, which, in beauty, eloquence, depth and meaning is at least somewhat similar to a Qur’aanic Soorah remains unmet to this day. A modern rational man, however, would never accept a religious scripture, which says, in the best possible poetic language, that the world is flat. This is because we live in an age, where human reason, logic and science are given primacy. Not many would accept the Qur’aan’s extraordinarily beautiful language, as proof of its Divine origin. Any scripture claiming to be a divine revelation must also be acceptable on the strength of its own reason and logic.

According to the famous physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Albert Einstein, “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.” Let us therefore study the Qur’aan, and analyze whether The Qur’aan and Modern Science are compatible or incompatible?

The Qur’aan is not a book of science but a book of ‘signs’, i.e. ayats. There are more than six thousand ‘signs’ in the Qur’aan of which more than a thousand deal with science. We all know that many a times Science takes a ‘U-turn’. In this book I have considered only established scientific facts and not mere hypotheses and theories that are based on assumptions and are not backed by proof.

I. ASTRONOMY

CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE: ‘THE BIG BANG’

The creation of the universe is explained by astrophysicists in a widely accepted phenomenon, popularly known as the ‘Big Bang’. It is supported by observational and experimental data gathered by astronomers and astrophysicists for decades. According to the ‘Big Bang’, the whole universe was initially one big mass (Primary Nebula). Then there was a ‘Big Bang’ (Secondary Separation) which resulted in the formation of Galaxies. These then divided to form stars, planets, the sun, the moon, etc. The origin of the universe was unique and the probability of it occurring by ‘chance’ is zero. The Qur’aan contains the following verse, regarding the origin of the universe: “Do not the Unbelievers see That the heavens and the earth Were joined together (as one Unit of Creation), before We clove them asunder?” [Al-Qur’aan 21:30]

The striking congruence between the Qur’aanic verse and the ‘Big Bang’ is inescapable! How could a book, which first appeared in the deserts of Arabia 1400 years ago, contain this profound scientific truth?

THERE WAS AN INITIAL GASEOUS MASS BEFORE THE CREATION OF GALAXIES

Scientists say that before the galaxies in the universe were formed, celestial matter was initially in the form of gaseous matter. In short, huge gaseous matter or clouds were present before the formation of the galaxies. To describe initial celestial matter, the word ‘smoke’ is more appropriate than gas. The following Qur’aanic verse refers to this state of the universe by the word dhukhan which means smoke.

“Moreover, He Comprehended In His design the sky, And it had been (as) smoke: He said to it And to the earth: ‘Come ye together, Willingly or unwillingly.’ They said: ‘We do come (Together), in willing obedience.’” [Al-Qur’aan 41:11]

Again, this fact is a corollary to the ‘Big Bang’ and was not known to the Arabs during the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). What then, could have been the source of this knowledge?

THE SPHERICAL SHAPE OF THE EARTH

In early times, people believed that the earth is flat. For centuries, men were afraid to venture out too far, lest they should fall off the edge. Sir Francis Drake was the first person who proved that the earth is spherical when he sailed around it in 1597. Consider the following Qur’aanic verse regarding the alternation of day and night: “Seest thou not that Allah merges Night into Day And He merges Day into Night?” [Al-Qur’aan 31:29]

Merging here means that the night slowly and gradually changes to day and vice versa. This phenomenon can only take place if the earth is spherical. If the earth was flat, there would have been a sudden change from night to day and from day to night.

The following verse also alludes to the spherical shape of the earth: “He created the heavens And the earth In true (proportions): He makes the Night Overlap the Day, and the Day Overlap the Night.” [Al-Qur’aan 39:5]

The Arabic word used here is Kawwara meaning ‘to overlap’ or ‘to coil’– the way a turban is wound around the head. The overlapping or coiling of the day and night can only take place if the earth is spherical.

The earth is not exactly round like a ball, but geo-spherical i.e. it is flattened at the poles. The following verse contains a description of the earth’s shape:

“And the earth, moreover, Hath He made egg shaped.” [Al-Qur’aan 79:30] [The Arabic word dahaha has been translated by A. Yusuf Ali as “vast expanse”, which also is correct. The word dahaha also means an ostrich-egg.]

The Arabic word for egg here is dahaha, which means an ostrich-egg. The shape of an ostrich-egg resembles the geo-spherical shape of the earth. Thus the Qur’aan correctly describes the shape of the earth, though the prevalent notion when the Qur’aan was revealed was that the earth is flat.

THE LIGHT OF THE MOON IS REFLECTED LIGHT

It was believed by earlier civilizations that the moon emanates its own light. Science now tells us that the light of the moon is reflected light. However this fact was mentioned in the Qur’aan 1,400 years ago in the following verse:

“Blessed is He Who made Constellations in the skies, And placed therein a Lamp And a Moon giving light.” [Al-Qur’aan 25:61]

The Arabic word for the sun in the Qur’aan, is shams. It is referred to as siraaj, which means a ‘torch’ or as wahhaaj which means ‘a blazing lamp’ or as diya which means ‘shining glory’. All three descriptions are appropriate to the sun, since it generates intense heat and light by its internal combustion. The Arabic word for the moon is qamar and it is described in the Qur’aan as muneer, which is a body that gives nur i.e. light. Again, the Qur’aanic description matches perfectly with the true nature of the moon, which does not give off light itself and is an inert body that reflects the light of the sun. Not once in the Qur’aan, is the moon mentioned as siraaj, wahhaaj or diya or the sun as nur or muneer. This implies that the Qur’aan recognizes the difference between the nature of sunlight and moonlight.

Consider the following verses related to the nature of light from the sun and the moon: “It is He who made the sun To be a shining glory And the moon to be a light (Of beauty).” [Al-Qur’aan 10:5]

“See ye not How Allah has created The seven heavens One above another, “And made the moon A light in their midst, and made the sun As a (Glorious) Lamp?” [Al-Qur’aan 71:15-16]

THE SUN ROTATES

For a long time European philosophers and scientists believed that the earth stood still in the center of the universe and every other body including the sun moved around it. In the West, this geocentric concept of the universe was prevalent right from the time of Ptolemy in the second century B.C. In 1512, Nicholas Copernicus put forward his Heliocentric Theory of Planetary Motion, which asserted that the sun is motionless at the centre of the solar system with the planets revolving around it.

In 1609, the German scientist Yohannus Keppler published the ‘Astronomia Nova’. In this he concluded that not only do the planets move in elliptical orbits around the sun, they also rotate upon their axes at irregular speeds. With this knowledge it became possible for European scientists to explain correctly many of the mechanisms of the solar system including the sequence of night and day.

After these discoveries, it was thought that the Sun was stationary and did not rotate about its axis like the Earth. I remember having studied this fallacy from Geography books during my school days. Consider the following Qur’aanic verse: “It is He Who created The Night and the Day, And the sun and the moon: All (the celestial bodies) Swim along, each in its Rounded course.” [Al-Qur’aan 21:33]

The Arabic word used in the above verse is yasbahûn . The word yasbahûn is derived from the word sabaha. It carries with it the idea of motion that comes from any moving body. If you use the word for a man on the ground, it would not mean that he is rolling but would mean he is walking or running. If you use the word for a man in water it would not mean that he is floating but would mean that he is swimming.

Similarly, if you use the word yasbah for a celestial body such as the sun it would not mean that it is only flying through space but would mean that it is also rotating as it goes through space. Most of the school textbooks have incorporated the fact that the sun rotates about its axis. The rotation of the sun about its own axis can be proved with the help of an equipment that projects the image of the sun on the table top so that one can examine the image of the sun without being blinded. It is noticed that the sun has spots which complete a circular motion once every 25 days i.e. the sun takes approximately 25 days to rotate around its axis.

In fact, the sun travels through space at roughly 150 miles per second, and takes about 200 million years to complete one revolution around the center of our Milky Way Galaxy.

“It is not permitted To the Sun to catch up The Moon, nor can The Night outstrip the Day: Each (just) swims along In (its own) orbit (According to Law).” [Al-Qur’aan 36:40]

This verse mentions an essential fact discovered by modern astronomy, i.e. the existence of the individual orbits of the Sun and the Moon, and their journey through space with their own motion. The ‘fixed place’ towards, which the sun travels, carrying with it the solar system, has been located exactly by modern astronomy. It has been given a name, the Solar Apex. The solar system is indeed moving in space towards a point situated in the constellation of Hercules (alpha Layer) whose exact location is firmly established.

The moon rotates around its axis in the same duration that it takes to revolve around the earth. It takes approximately 29½ days to complete one rotation. One cannot help but be amazed at the scientific accuracy of the Qur’aanic verses. Should we not ponder over the question: “What was the source of knowledge contained in the Qur’aan?”

THE SUN WILL EXTINGUISH AFTER A CERTAIN PERIOD

The light of the sun is due to a chemical process on its surface that has been taking place continuously for the past five billion years. It will come to an end at some point of time in the future when the sun will be totally extinguished leading to extinction of all life on earth. Regarding the impermanence of the sun’s existence the Qur’aan says: “And the Sun Runs its course For a period determined For it; that is The decree of (Him) The exalted in Might, The All-Knowing.” [Al-Qur’aan 36:38] [A similar message is conveyed in the Qur’an in 13:2, 35:13, 39:5 and 39:21]

The Arabic word used here is mustaqarr, which means a place or time that is determined. Thus the Qur’aan says that the sun runs towards a determined place, and will do so only up to a pre-determined period of time – meaning that it will end or extinguish.

THE PRESENCE OF INTERSTELLAR MATTER

Space outside organized astronomical systems was earlier assumed to be a vacuum . Astrophysicists later discovered the presence of bridges of matter in this interstellar space. These bridges of matter are called plasma, and consist of completely ionized gas containing equal number of free electrons and positive ions. Plasma is sometimes called the fourth state of matter (besides the three known states viz. solid, liquid and gas). The Qur’aan mentions the presence of this interstellar material in the following verse: “He Who created the heavens And the earth and all That is between.” [Al-Qur’aan 25:59]

It would be ridiculous, for anybody to even suggest that the presence of interstellar galactic material was known 1400 years ago.

THE EXPANDING UNIVERSE

In 1925, an American astronomer by the name of Edwin Hubble, provided observational evidence that all galaxies are receding from one another, which implies that the universe is expanding. The expansion of the universe is now an established scientific fact. This is what Al-Qur’aan says regarding the nature of the universe: “With the power and skill Did We construct The Firmament: For it is We Who create The vastness of Space.” [Al-Qur’aan 51:47]

The Arabic word mûsi‘ûn is correctly translated as ‘expanding it’, and it refers to the creation of the expanding vastness of the universe. Stephen Hawking, in his book, ‘A Brief History of Time’, says, “The discovery that the universe is expanding was one of the great intellectual revolutions of the 20th century.”

The Qur’aan mentioned the expansion of the universe, before man even learnt to build a telescope! Some may say that the presence of astronomical facts in the Qur’aan is not surprising since the Arabs were advanced in the field of astronomy. They are correct in acknowledging the advancement of the Arabs in the field of astronomy. However they fail to realize that the Qur’aan was revealed centuries before the Arabs excelled in astronomy. Moreover many of the scientific facts mentioned above regarding astronomy, such as the origin of the universe with a Big Bang, were not known to the Arabs even at the peak of their scientific advancement. The scientific facts mentioned in the Qur’aan are therefore not due to the Arabs’ advancement in astronomy. Indeed, the reverse is true. The Arabs advanced in astronomy, because astronomy occupies a place in the Qur’aan.

II. PHYSICS

THE EXISTENCE OF SUBATOMIC PARTICLES

In ancient times a well-known theory by the name of ‘Theory of Atomism’ was widely accepted. This theory was originally proposed by the Greeks, in particular by a man called Democritus, who lived about 23 centuries ago. Democritus and the people that came after him, assumed that the smallest unit of matter was the atom. The Arabs used to believe the same. The Arabic word dharrah most commonly meant an atom. In recent times modern science has discovered that it is possible to split even an atom. That the atom can be split further is a development of the 20th century. Fourteen centuries ago this concept would have appeared unusual even to an Arab. For him the dharrah was the limit beyond which one could not go. The following Qur’aanic verse however, refuses to acknowledge this limit: “The Unbelievers say, ‘Never to us will come The Hour’: say, ‘Nay! But most surely, By my Lord, it will come Upon you – by Him Who knows the unseen – From Whom is not hidden The least little atom In the Heavens or on earth: Nor is there anything less Than that, or greater, but Is in the Record Perspicuous.’” [Al-Qur’aan 34:3] [A similar message is conveyed in the Qur’an in 10:61]

This verse refers to the Omniscience of God, His knowledge of all things, hidden or apparent. It then goes further and says that God is aware of everything, including what is smaller or bigger than the atom. Thus the verse clearly shows that it is possible for something smaller than the atom to exist, a fact discovered only recently by modern science.

III. GEOGRAPHY

THE WATER CYCLE

In 1580, Bernard Palissy was the first man to describe the present day concept of ‘water cycle’. He described how water evaporates from the oceans and cools to form clouds. The clouds move inland where they rise, condense and fall as rain. This water gathers as lakes and streams and flows back to the ocean in a continuous cycle. In the 7th century B.C., Thales of Miletus believed that surface spray of the oceans was picked up by the wind and carried inland to fall as rain. In earlier times people did not know the source of underground water. They thought the water of the oceans, under the effect of winds, was thrust towards the interior of the continents. They also believed that the water returned by a secret passage, or the Great Abyss. This passage is connected to the oceans and has been called the ‘Tartarus’, since Plato’s time. Even Descartes, a great thinker of the eighteenth century, subscribed to this view. Till the nineteenth century, Aristotle’s theory was prevalent. According to this theory, water was condensed in cool mountain caverns and formed underground lakes that fed springs. Today, we know that the rainwater that seeps into the cracks of the ground is responsible for this.

The water cycle is described by the Qur’aan in the following verses: “Seest thou not that Allah Sends down rain from The sky, and leads it Through springs in the earth? Then He causes to grow, Therewith, produce of various Colours.” [Al-Qur’aan 39:21]

“He sends down rain From the sky And with it gives life to The earth after it is dead: Verily in that are Signs For those who are wise.” [Al-Qur’aan 30:24]

“And We send down water From the sky according to (Due) measure, and We cause it To soak in the soil; And We certainly are able To drain it off (with ease).” [Al-Qur’aan 23:18]

No other text dating back 1400 years ago gives such an accurate description of the water cycle.

WINDS IMPREGNATE THE CLOUDS

“And We send the fecundating winds, Then cause the rain to descend From the sky, therewith providing You with water (in abundance).” [Al-Qur’aan 15:22]

The Arabic word used here is lawâqih, which is the plural of laqih from laqaha, which means to impregnate or fecundate. In this context, impregnate means that the wind pushes the clouds together increasing the condensation that causes lightning and thus rain. A similar description is found in the Qur’aan: “It is Allah Who sends The Winds, and they raise The Clouds: then does He Spread them in the sky As He wills, and break them Into fragments, until thou seest Raindrops issue from the midst Thereof: then when He has Made them reach such Of His servants as He wills, Behold, they do rejoice!” [Al-Qur’aan 30:48]

The Qur’aanic descriptions are absolutely accurate and agree perfectly with modern data on hydrology. The water cycle is described in several verses of the Glorious Qur’aan, including 3:9, 7:57, 13:17, 25:48- 49, 36:34, 50:9-11, 56:68-70, 67:30 and 86:11.

IV. GEOLOGY

MOUNTAINS ARE LIKE PEGS (STAKES)

In Geology, the phenomenon of ‘folding’ is a recently discovered fact. Folding is responsible for the formation of mountain ranges. The earth’s crust, on which we live, is like a solid shell, while the deeper layers are hot and fluid, and thus inhospitable to any form of life. It is also known that the stability of the mountains is linked to the phenomenon of folding, for it was the folds that were to provide foundations for the reliefs that constitute the mountains. Geologists tell us that the radius of the Earth is about 3,750 miles and the crust on which we live is very thin, ranging between 1 to 30 miles. Since the crust is thin, it has a high possibility of shaking. Mountains act like stakes or tent pegs that hold the earth’s crust and give it stability. The Qur’aan contains exactly such a description in the following verse: “Have We not made The earth as a wide Expanse, And the mountains as pegs?” [Al-Qur’aan 78:6-7]

The word awtad means stakes or pegs (like those used to anchor a tent); they are the deep foundations of geological folds. A book named ‘Earth’ is considered as a basic reference textbook on geology in many universities around the world. One of the authors of this book is Frank Press, who was the President of the Academy of Sciences in the USA for 12 years and was the Science Advisor to former US President Jimmy Carter. In this book he illustrates the mountain in a wedge-shape and the mountain itself as a small part of the whole, whose root is deeply entrenched in the ground. [Earth, Press and Siever, p. 435. Also see Earth Science, Tarbuck and Lutgens, p. 157] According to Dr. Press, the mountains play an important role in stabilizing the crust of the earth.

The Qur’aan clearly mentions the function of the mountains in preventing the earth from shaking: “And We have set on the earth Mountains standing firm, Lest it should shake with them.” [Al-Qur’aan 21:31]

The Qur’aanic descriptions are in perfect agreement with modern geological data.

MOUNTAINS FIRMLY FIXED

The surface of the earth is broken into many rigid plates that are about 100 km in thickness. These plates float on a partially molten region called aesthenosphere. Mountain formations occur at the boundary of the plates. The earth’s crust is 5 km thick below oceans, about 35 km thick below flat continental surfaces and almost 80 km thick below great mountain ranges. These are the strong foundations on which mountains stand. The Qur’aan also speaks about the strong mountain foundations in the following verse: “And the mountains Hath He firmly fixed.” [Al-Qur’aan 79:32] [A similar message is contained in the Qur’an in 88:19, 31:10 and 16:15]

V. OCEANOLOGY

BARRIER BETWEEN SWEET AND SALT WATERS

Consider the following Qur’aanic verses: “He has let free the two bodies Of flowing water, Meeting together: Between them is a Barrier Which they do not transgress.” [Al-Qur’aan 55:19-20]

In the Arabic text the word barzakh means a barrier or a partition. This barrier is not a physical partition. The Arabic word maraja literally means ‘they both meet and mix with each other’. Early commentators of the Qur’aan were unable to explain the two opposite meanings for the two bodies of water, i.e. they meet and mix, and at the same time, there is a barrier between them. Modern Science has discovered that in the places where two different seas meet, there is a barrier between them. This barrier divides the two seas so that each sea has its own temperature, salinity and density. [Principles of Oceanography, Davis, pp. 92-93] Oceanologists are now in a better position to explain this verse. There is a slanted unseen water barrier between the two seas through which water from one sea passes to the other.

But when the water from one sea enters the other sea, it loses its distinctive characteristic and becomes homogenized with the other water. In a way this barrier serves as a transitional homogenizing area for the two waters. This scientific phenomenon mentioned in the Qur’aan was also confirmed by Dr. William Hay who is a well-known marine scientist and Professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado, U.S.A. The Qur’aan mentions this phenomenon also in the following verse: “And made a separating bar between the two bodies Of flowing water?” [Al-Qur’aan 27:61]

This phenomenon occurs in several places, including the divider between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean at Gibralter. But when the Qur’aan speaks about the divider between fresh and salt water, it mentions the existence of “a forbidding partition” with the barrier. “It is He Who has Let free the two bodies Of flowing water: One palatable and sweet, And the other salty and bitter; Yet has He Made a barrier between them, And a partition that is forbidden To be passed.” [Al-Qur’aan 25:53]

Modern science has discovered that in estuaries, where fresh (sweet) and salt-water meet, the situation is somewhat different from that found in places where two seas meet. It has been discovered that what distinguishes fresh water from salt water in estuaries is a “pycnocline zone with a marked density discontinuity separating the two layers.” [Oceanography, Gross, p. 242. Also see Introductory Oceanography, Thurman, pp. 300-301.] This partition (zone of separation) has salinity different from both the fresh water and the salt water. [Oceanography, Gross, p. 244 and Introductory Oceanography, Thurman, pp. 300-301.]

This phenomenon occurs in several places, including Egypt, where the river Nile flows into the Mediterranean Sea.

DARKNESS IN THE DEPTHS OF THE OCEAN

Prof. Durga Rao is an expert in the field of Marine Geology and was a professor at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He was asked to comment on the following verse: “Or (the Unbelievers’ state) Is like the depths of darkness In a vast deep ocean, Overwhelmed with billow Topped by billow, Topped by (dark) clouds: Depths of darkness, one Above another: if a man Stretches out his hand, He can hardly see it! For any to whom Allah Giveth not light, there is no light!” [Al-Qur’aan 24:40]

Prof. Rao said that scientists have only now been able to confirm, with the help of modern equipment that there is darkness in the depths of the ocean. Humans are unable to dive unaided underwater for more than 20 to 30 meters, and cannot survive in the deep oceanic regions at a depth of more than 200 meters. This verse does not refer to all seas because not every sea can be described as having accumulated darkness layered one over another. It refers especially to a deep sea or deep ocean, as the Qur’aan says, “darkness in a vast deep ocean”. This layered darkness in a deep ocean is the result of two causes:

1. A light ray is composed of seven colours. These seven colours are Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red (VIBGYOR). The light ray undergoes refraction when it hits water. The upper 10 to 15 metres of water absorb the red colour. Therefore if a diver is 25 metres under water and gets wounded, he would not be able to see the red colour of his blood, because the red colour does not reach this depth. Similarly orange rays are absorbed at 30 to 50 metres, yellow at 50 to 100 metres, green at 100 to 200 metres, and finally, blue beyond 200 metres and violet and indigo above 200 metres. Due to successive disappearance of colour, one layer after another, the ocean progressively becomes darker, i.e. darkness takes place in layers of light. Below a depth of 1000 meters there is complete darkness. [Oceans, Elder and Pernetta, p. 27]

2. The sun’s rays are absorbed by clouds, which in turn scatter light rays thus causing a layer of darkness under the clouds. This is the first layer of darkness. When light rays reach the surface of the ocean they are reflected by the wave surface giving it a shiny appearance. Therefore it is the waves which reflect light and cause darkness. The unreflected light penetrates into the depths of the ocean. Therefore the ocean has two parts. The surface characterized by light and warmth and the depth characterized by darkness. The surface is further separated from the deep part of the ocean by waves. The internal waves cover the deep waters of seas and oceans because the deep waters have a higher density than the waters above them. The darkness begins below the internal waves. Even the fish in the depths of the ocean cannot see; their only source of light is from their own bodies.

The Qur’aan rightly mentions: “Darkness in a vast deep ocean overwhelmed with waves topped by waves”.

In other words, above these waves there are more types of waves, i.e. those found on the surface of the ocean. The Qur’aanic verse continues, “topped by (dark) clouds; depths of darkness, one above another.”

These clouds as explained are barriers one over the other that further cause darkness by absorption of colours at different levels.

Prof. Durga Rao concluded by saying, “1400 years ago a normal human being could not explain this phenomenon in so much detail. Thus the information must have come from a supernatural source”.

VI. BIOLOGY

EVERY LIVING THING IS MADE OF WATER

Consider the following Qur’aanic verse: “Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one Unit of Creation), before We clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?” [Al-Qur’aan 21:30]

Only after advances have been made in science, do we now know that cytoplasm, the basic substance of the cell is made up of 80% water. Modern research has also revealed that most organisms consist of 50% to 90% water and that every living entity requires water for its existence. Was it possible 14 centuries ago for any human-being to guess that every living being was made of water? Moreover would such a guess be conceivable by a human being in the deserts of Arabia where there has always been scarcity of water? The following verse refers to the creation of animals from water: “And Allah has created Every animal from water.” [Al-Qur’aan 24:45]

The following verse refers to the creation of human beings from water: “It is He Who has Created man from water: Then has He established Relationships of lineage And marriage: for thy Lord Has power (over all things).” [Al-Qur’aan 25:54]

VII. BOTANY

PLANTS CREATED IN PAIRS, MALE AND FEMALE

Previously humans did not know that plants too have male and female gender distinctions. Botany states that every plant has a male and female gender. Even the plants that are unisexual have distinct elements of both male and female. “‘And has sent Down water from the sky.’ With it have We produced Diverse pairs of plants Each separate from the others.” [Al-Qur’aan 20:53]

FRUITS CREATED IN PAIRS, MALE AND FEMALE

“And fruit Of every kind He made In pairs, two and two.” [Al-Qur’aan 13:3]

Fruit is the end product of reproduction of the superior plants. The stage preceding fruit is the flower, which has male and female organs (stamens and ovules). Once pollen has been carried to the flower, they bear fruit, which in turn matures and frees its seed. All fruits therefore imply the existence of male and female organs; a fact that is mentioned in the Qur’aan.

In certain species, fruit can come from non-fertilized flowers (parthenocarpic fruit) e.g. bananas, certain types of pineapple, fig, orange, vine, etc. They also have definite sexual characteristics.

EVERYTHING MADE IN PAIRS

“And of everything We have created pairs.” [Al-Qur’aan 51:49]

This refers to things other than humans, animals, plants and fruits. It may also be referring to a phenomenon like electricity in which the atoms consist of negatively – and positively – charged electrons and protons.

“Glory to Allah, Who created In pairs all things that The earth produces, as well as Their own (human) kind And (other) things of which They have no knowledge.” [Al-Qur’aan 36:36]

The Qur’aan here says that everything is created in pairs, including things that the humans do not know at present and may discover later.

VIII. ZOOLOGY

ANIMALS AND BIRDS LIVE IN COMMUNITIES

“There is not an animal (That lives) on the earth, Nor a being that flies On its wings, but (forms Part of) communities like you.” [Al-Qur’aan 6:38]

Research has shown that animals and birds live in communities, i.e. they organize, and live and work together.

THE FLIGHT OF BIRDS

Regarding the flight of birds the Qur’aan says: “Do they not look at The birds, held poised In the midst of (the air And) the sky? Nothing Holds them up but (the power Of) Allah. Verily in this Are Signs for those who believe.” [Al-Qur’aan 16:79]

A similar message is repeated in the Qur’aan in the verse: “Do they not observe The birds above them, Spreading their wings And folding them in? None can uphold them Except (Allah) Most Gracious: Truly it is He That watches over all things.” [Al-Qur’aan 67:19]

The Arabic word amsaka literally means, ‘to put one’s hand on, seize, hold, hold someone back,’ which expresses the idea that Allah holds the bird up in His power. These verses stress the extremely close dependence of the birds’ behaviour on Divine order. Modern scientific data has shown the degree of perfection attained by certain species of birds with regard to the programming of their movements. It is only the existence of a migratory programme in the genetic code of the birds that can explain the long and complicated journey that very young birds, without any prior experience and without any guide, are able to accomplish. They are also able to return to the departure point on a definite date.

Prof. Hamburger in his book ‘Power and Fragility’ gives the example of ‘mutton-bird’ that lives in the Pacific with its journey of over 15,000 miles in the shape of figure ‘8’. It makes this journey over a period of 6 months and comes back to its departure point wit  a maximum delay of one week. The highly complicated instructions for such a journey have to be contained in the birds’ nervous cells. They are definitely programmed. Should we not reflect on the identity of this ‘Programmer’?

THE BEE

“And thy Lord taught the Bee To build its cells in hills, On trees, and in (men’s) habitations; Then to eat of all The produce (of the earth), And find with skill the spacious Paths of its Lord.” [Al-Qur’aan 16:68-69]

Von-Frisch received the Nobel Prize in 1973 for his research on the behaviour and communication of the bees. The bee, after discovering any new garden or flower, goes back and tells its fellow bees the exact direction and map to get there, which is known as ‘bee dance’. The meanings of this insect’s movements that are intended to transmit information between worker bees have been discovered scientifically using photography and other methods. The Qur’aan mentions in the above verse how the bee finds with skill the spacious paths of its Lord.

The worker bee or the soldier bee is a female bee. In Soorah Al-Nahl chapter no. 16, verses 68 and 69 the gender used for the bee is the female gender (fa’slukî and kulî), indicating that the bee that leaves its home for gathering food is a female bee. In other words the soldier or worker bee is a female bee. In fact, in Shakespeare’s play, “Henry the Fourth”, some of the characters speak about bees and mention that the bees are soldiers and that they have a king. That is what people thought in Shakespearean times. They thought that the worker bees are male bees and they go home and are answerable to a king bee. This, however, is not true. The worker bees are females and they do not report to a king bee but to a queen bee. But it took modern investigations in the last 300 years to discover this.

SPIDER’S WEB / HOME IS FRAGILE

The Qur’aan mentions in Soorah Al-‘Ankabût, “The parable of those who Take protectors other than Allah Is that of the Spider, Who builds (to itself) A house; but truly The flimsiest of houses Is the Spider’s house – If they but knew.” [Al-Qur’aan 29:41]

Besides giving the physical description of the spider’s web as being very flimsy, delicate and weak, the Qur’aan also stresses on the flimsiness of the relationship in the spider’s house, where the female spider many a times kills its mate, the male spider.

LIFESTYLE AND COMMUNICATION OF ANTS

Consider the following Qur’aanic verse: “And before Solomon were marshaled His hosts – of Jinns and men And birds, and they were all Kept in order and ranks. “At length, when they came To a (lowly) valley of ants, One of the ants said: ‘O ye ants, get into Your habitations, lest Solomon And his hosts crush you (Under foot) without knowing it.’” [Al-Qur’aan 27:17-18]

In the past, some people would have probably mocked at the Qur’aan, taking it to be a fairy tale book in which ants talk to each other and communicate sophisticated messages. In recent times, research has shown us several facts about the lifestyle of ants, which were not known earlier to humankind. Research has shown that the animals or insects whose lifestyle is closest in resemblance to the lifestyle of human beings are the ants. This can be seen from the following findings regarding ants:

(a) The ants bury their dead in a manner similar to the humans.

(b) They have a sophisticated system of division of labour, whereby they have managers, supervisors, foremen, workers, etc.

(c) Once in a while they meet among themselves to have a ‘chat’.

(d) They have an advanced method of communication among themselves.

(e) They hold regular markets wherein they exchange goods.

(f) They store grains for long periods in winter and if the grain begins to bud, they cut the roots, as if they understand that if they leave it to grow, it will rot. If the grains stored by them get wet due to rains, they take these grains out into the sunlight to dry, and once these are dry, they take them back inside as though they know that humidity will cause development of root systems and thereafter rotting of the grain.

IX. MEDICINE

HONEY HAS HEALING PROPERTIES

The bee assimilates juices of various kinds of flowers and fruit and forms within its body the honey, which it stores in its cells of wax. Only a couple of centuries ago man came to know that honey comes from the belly of the bee. This fact was mentioned in the Qur’aan 1,400 years ago in the following verse: “There issues From within their bodies A drink of varying colours, Wherein is healing for men.” [Al-Qur’aan 16:69]

We are now aware that honey has a healing property and also a mild antiseptic property. The Russians used honey to cover their wounds in World War II. The wound would retain moisture and would leave very little scar tissue. Due to the density of honey, no fungus or bacteria would grow in the wound. A person suffering from an allergy of a particular plant may be given honey from that plant so that the person develops resistance to that allergy. Honey is rich in fructose and vitamin K. Thus the knowledge contained in the Qur’aan regarding honey, its origin and properties, was far ahead of the time it was revealed.

X. PHYSIOLOGY

BLOOD CIRCULATION AND THE PRODUCTION OF MILK

The Qur’aan was revealed 600 years before the Muslim scientist Ibn Nafees described the circulation of the blood and 1,000 years before William Harwey brought this understanding to the Western world. Roughly thirteen centuries before it was known what happens in the intestines to ensure that organs are nourished by the process of digestive absorption, a verse in the Qur’aan described the source of the constituents of milk, in conformity with these notions.

To understand the Qur’aanic verse concerning the above concepts, it is important to know that chemical reactions occur in the intestines and that, from there, substances extracted from food pass into the blood stream via a complex system; sometimes by way of the liver, depending on their chemical nature. The blood transports them to all the organs of the body, among which are the milk-producing mammary glands.

In simple terms, certain substances from the contents of the intestines enter into the vessels of the intestinal wall itself, and these substances are transported by the blood stream to the various organs.

This concept must be fully appreciated if we wish to understand the following verse in the Qur’aan: “And verily in cattle there is A lesson for you. We give you to drink Of what is inside their bodies, Coming from a conjunction Between the contents of the Intestine and the blood, A milk pure and pleasant for Those who drink it.” [Al-Qur’aan 16:66] [Translation of this Qur’anic verse is from the book “The Bible, the Qur’an and Science” by Dr. Maurice Bucaille]

“And in cattle (too) ye Have an instructive example: From within their bodies We produce (milk) for you To drink; there are, in them, (Besides), numerous (other) Benefits for you; And of their (meat) ye eat.” [Al-Qur’aan 23:21]

The Qur’aanic description of the production of milk in cattle is strikingly similar to what modern physiology has discovered.

XI. EMBRYOLOGY

MAN IS CREATED FROM ALAQ
A LEECH-LIKE SUBSTANCE

A few years ago a group of Arabs collected all information concerning embryology from the Qur’aan, and followed the instruction of the Qur’aan: “If ye realise this not, ask Of those who possess the Message.” [Al-Qur’aan 16:43 & 21:7]

All the information from the Qur’aan so gathered, was translated into English and presented to Prof. (Dr.) Keith Moore, who was the Professor of Embryology and Chairman of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Toronto, in Canada. At present he is one of the highest authorities in the field of Embryology. He was asked to give his opinion regarding the information present in the Qur’aan concerning the field of embryology. After carefully examining the translation of the Qur’aanic verses presented to him, Dr. Moore said that most of the information concerning embryology mentioned in the Qur’aan is in perfect conformity with modern discoveries in the field of embryology and does not conflict with them in any way. He added that there were however a few verses, on whose scientific accuracy he could not comment. He could not say whether the statements were true or false, since he himself was not aware of the information contained therein.

There was also no mention of this information in modern writings and studies on embryology. One such verse is: “Proclaim! (or Read!) In the name Of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created – Created man, out of A (mere) clot Of congealed blood.” [Al-Qur’aan 96:1-2]

The word alaq besides meaning a congealed clot of blood also means something that clings, a leech-like substance. Dr. Keith Moore had no knowledge whether an embryo in the initial stages appears like a leech. To check this out he studied the initial stage of the embryo under a very powerful microscope in his laboratory and compared what he observed with a diagram of a leech and he was astonished at the striking resemblance between the two!

In the same manner, he acquired more information on embryology that was hitherto not known to him, from the Qur’aan. Dr. Keith Moore answered about eighty questions dealing with embryological data mentioned in the Qur’aan and Hadith. Noting that the information contained in the Qur’aan and Hadith was in full agreement with the latest discoveries in the field of embryology, Prof. Moore said, “If I was asked these questions thirty years ago, I would not have been able to answer half of them for lack of scientific information”

Dr. Keith Moore had earlier authored the book, ‘The Developing Human’. After acquiring new knowledge from the Qur’aan, he wrote, in 1982, the 3rd edition of the same book, ‘The Developing Human’. The book was the recipient of an award for the best medical book written by a single author. This book has been translated into several major languages of the world and is used as a textbook of embryology in the first year of medical studies.

In 1981, during the Seventh Medical Conference in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Dr. Moore said, “It has been a great pleasure for me to help clarify statements in the Qur’aan about human development. It is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad from God or Allah, because almost all of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later. This proves to me that Muhammad must have been a messenger of God or Allah.” [The reference for this statement is the video tape titled ‘This is the Truth’. For a copy of this video tape contact the Islamic Research Foundation]

]Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson, Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, U.S.A., proclaims: “…these Hadiths, sayings of Muhammad peace be upon him could not have been obtained on the basis of the scientific knowledge that was available at the time of the writer (7 th century). It follows that not only is there no conflict between genetics and religion (Islam) but in fact religion (Islam) may guide science by adding revelation to some of the traditional scientific approaches… there exist statements in the Qur’aan shown centuries later to be valid which support knowledge in the Qur’aan having been derived from God.”

MAN CREATED FROM A DROP EMITTED FROM BETWEEN THE BACK BONE AND THE RIBS

“Now let man but think From what he is created! He is created from A drop emitted – Proceeding from between The back bone and the ribs.” [Al-Qur’aan 86:5-7]

In embryonic stages, the reproductive organs of the male and female, i.e. the testicles and the ovaries, begin their development near the kidney between the spinal column and the eleventh and twelfth ribs. Later they descend; the female gonads (ovaries) stop in the pelvis while the male gonads (testicles) continue their descent before birth to reach the scrotum through the inguinal canal. Even in the adult after the descent of the reproductive organ, these organs receive their nerve supply and blood supply from the Abdominal Aorta, which is in the area between the backbone (spinal column) and the ribs. Even the lymphatic drainage and the venous return goes to the same area.

HUMAN BEINGS CREATED FROM NUTFAH
(Minute Quantity of Liquid)

The Glorious Qur’aan mentions no less than eleven times that the human being is created from nutfah, which means a minute quantity of liquid or a trickle of liquid which remains after emptying a cup. This is mentioned in several verses of the Qur’aan including 22:5 and 23:13. [The same is also mentioned in the Qur’an in 16:4, 18:37, 35:11, 36:77, 40:67, 53:46, 75:37, 76:2 and 80:19]

Science has confirmed in recent times that only one out of an average of three million sperms is required for fertilising the ovum. This means that only a 1/three millionth part or 0.00003% of the quantity of sperms that are emitted is required for fertilisation.

HUMAN BEINGS CREATED FROM SULALAH
(Quintessence of liquid)

“And made his progeny From a quintessence Of the nature of A fluid despised.” [Al-Qur’aan 32:8]

The Arabic word sulâlah means quintessence or the best part of a whole. We have come to know now that only one single spermatozoon that penetrates the ovum is required for fertilization, out of the several millions produced by man. That one spermatozoon out of several millions, is referred to in the Qur’aan as sulâlah. Sulâlah also means gentle extraction from a fluid. The fluid refers to both male and female germinal fluids containing gametes. Both ovum and sperm are gently extracted from their environments in the process of fertilization.

MAN CREATED FROM NUTFATUN AMSHAAJ
(Mingled liquids)

Consider the following Qur’aanic verse: “Verily We created Man from a drop Of mingled sperm.” [Al-Qur’aan 76:2]

The Arabic word nutfatin amshaajin means mingled liquids. According to some commentators of the Qur’aan, mingled liquids refers to the male or female agents or liquids. After mixture of male and female gamete, the zygote still remains nutfah. Mingled liquids can also refer to spermatic fluid that is formed of various secretions that come from various glands. Therefore nutfatin amsaj, i.e. a minute quantity of mingled fluids refers to the male and female gametes (germinal fluids or cells) and part of the surrounding fluids.

SEX DETERMINATION

The sex of a fetus is determined by the nature of the sperm and not the ovum. The sex of the child, whether female or male, depends on whether the 23rd pair of chromosomes is XX or XY respectively. Primarily sex determination occurs at fertilization and depends upon the type of sex chromosome in the sperm that fertilizes an ovum. If it is an ‘X’ bearing sperm that fertilizes the ovum, the fetus is a female and if it is a ‘Y’ bearing sperm then the fetus is a male. “That He did create In pairs – male and female, From a seed when lodged (In its place).” [Al-Qur’aan 53:45-46]

The Arabic word nutfah means a minute quantity of liquid and tumnâ means ejaculated or planted. Therefore nutfah specifically refers to sperm because it is ejaculated. The Qur’aan says: “Was he not a drop of sperm emitted (In lowly form)? “Then did he become A clinging clot; Then did (Allah) make And fashion (him) In due proportion. “And of him He made Two sexes, male And female.” [Al-Qur’aan 75:37-39]

Here again it is mentioned that a small quantity (drop) of sperm (indicated by the word nutfatan min maniyyin) which comes from the man is responsible for the sex of the fetus.

Mothers-in-law in the Indian subcontinent, by and large prefer having male grandchildren and often blame their daughters-in-law if the child is not of the desired sex. If only they knew that the determining factor is the nature of the male sperm and not the female ovum! If they were to blame anybody, they should blame their sons and not their daughters-in-law since both the Qur’aan and Science hold that it is the male fluid that is responsible for the sex of the child!

FOETUS PROTECTED BY THREE VEILS OF DARKNESS

“He makes you, In the wombs of your mothers, In stages, one after another, In three veils of darkness.” [Al-Qur’aan 39:6]

According to Prof. Keith Moore these three veils of darkness in the Qur’aan refer to:

(i) anterior abdominal wall of the mother

(ii) the uterine wall

(iii) the amnio-chorionic membrane.

EMBRYONIC STAGES

“Man We did create From a quintessence (of clay); Then We placed him As (a drop of) sperm In a place of rest, firmly fixed; Then We made the sperm Into a clot of congealed blood; Then of that clot We made A (foetus) lump; then We Made out of that lump Bones and clothed the bones With flesh; then We developed Out of it another creature. So blessed be Allah, The Best to create!” [Al-Qur’aan 23:12-14]

In this verse Allah states that man is created from a small quantity of liquid which is placed in a place of rest, firmly fixed (well established or lodged) for which the Arabic word qarârin makîn is used.

The uterus is well protected from the posterior by the spinal column supported firmly by the back muscles. The embryo is further protected by the amniotic sac containing the amniotic fluid. Thus the foetus has a well protected dwelling place. This small quantity of fluid is made into alaqah, meaning something which clings. It also means a leech-like substance. Both descriptions are scientifically acceptable as in the very early stages the foetus clings to the wall and also appears to resemble the leech in shape. It also behaves like a leech (blood sucker) and acquires its blood supply from the mother through the placenta. The third meaning of the word alaqah is a blood clot. During this alaqah stage, which spans the third and fourth week of pregnancy, the blood clots within closed vessels. Hence the embryo acquires the appearance of a blood clot in addition to acquiring the appearance of a leech. In 1677, Hamm and Leeuwenhoek were the first scientists to observe human sperm cells (spermatozoa) using a microscope. They thought that a sperm cell contained a miniature human being which grew in the uterus to form a newborn. This was known as the perforation theory. When scientists discovered that the ovum was bigger than the sperm, it was thought by De Graf and others that the foetus existed in a miniature form in the ovum. Later, in the 18th century Maupertuis propagated the theory of biparental inheritance. The alaqah is transformed into mudghah which means ‘something that is chewed (having teeth marks)’ and also something that is tacky and small which can be put in the mouth like gum. Both these explanations are scientifically correct. Prof. Keith Moore took a piece of plaster seal and made it into the size and shape of the early stage of foetus and chewed it between the teeth to make it into a ‘Mudgha’. He compared this with the photographs of the early stage of foetus. The teeth marks resembled the ‘somites’ which is the early formation of the spinal column.

This mudghah is transformed into bones (izâm). The bones are clothed with intact flesh or muscles (lahm). Then Allah makes it into another creature.

Prof. Marshall Johnson is one of the leading scientists in US, and is the head of the Department of Anatomy and Director of the Daniel Institute at the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia in US. He was asked to comment on the verses of the Qur’aan dealing with embryology. He said that the verses of the Qur’aan describing the embryological stages cannot be a coincidence. He said it was probable that Muhammad (pbuh) had a powerful microscope. On being reminded that the Qur’aan was revealed 1400 years ago, and microscopes were invented centuries after the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Prof. Johnson laughed and admitted that the first microscope invented could not magnify more than 10 times and could not show a clear picture. Later he said: “I see nothing here in conflict with the concept that Divine intervention was involved when Muhammad (pbuh) recited the Qur’aan.”

According to Dr. Keith Moore, the modern classification of embryonic development stages which is adopted throughout the world, is not easily comprehensible, since it identifies stages on a numerical basis i.e. stage I, stage II, etc. The divisions revealed in the Qur’aan are based on distinct and easily identifiable forms or shapes, which the embryo passes through. These are based on different phases of prenatal development and provide elegant scientific descriptions that are comprehensible and practical.

Similar embryological stages of human development have been described in the following verses: “Was he not a drop Of sperm emitted (In lowly form)? Then did he become a clinging clot; Then did (Allah) make and fashion (him) In due proportion. And of him He made Two sexes, male and female.” [Al-Qur’aan 75:37-39]

“Him Who created thee, fashioned thee in due proportion, And gave thee a just bias; In whatever Form He wills, Does He put thee together.” [Al-Qur’aan 82:7-8]

EMBRYO PARTLY FORMED AND PARTLY UNFORMED

At the mugdhah stage, if an incision is made in the embryo and the internal organ is dissected, it will be seen that most of them are formed while the others are not yet completely formed. According to Prof. Johnson, if we describe the embryo as a complete creation, then we are only describing that part which is already created. If we describe it as an incomplete creation, then we are only describing that part which is not yet created. So, is it a complete creation or an incomplete creation? There is no better description of this stage of embryogenesis than the Qur’aanic description, “partly formed and partly unformed”, as in the following verse: “We created you Out of dust, then out of Sperm, then out of a leech-like Clot, then out of a morsel Of flesh, partly formed And partly unformed.” [Al-Qur’aan 22:5]

Scientifically we know that at this early stage of development there are some cells which are differentiated and there are some cells that are undifferentiated – some organs are formed and yet others unformed.

SENSE OF HEARING AND SIGHT

The first sense to develop in a developing human embryo is hearing. The foetus can hear sounds after the 24th week. Subsequently, the sense of sight is developed and by the 28th week, the retina becomes sensitive to light. Consider the following Qur’aanic verses related to the development of the senses in the embryo: “And He gave You (the faculties of) hearing and sight and feeling (And understanding).” [Al-Qur’aan 32:9]

“Verily We created Man from a drop Of mingled sperm, In order to try him: So We gave him (the gifts), Of Hearing and Sight.” [Al-Qur’aan 76:2]

“It is He Who has created For you (the faculties of) Hearing, sight, feeling And understanding: little thanks It is ye give!” [Al-Qur’aan 23:78]

In all these verses the sense of hearing is mentioned before that of sight. Thus the Qur’aanic description matches with the discoveries in modern embryology.

XII. GENERAL SCIENCE

FINGERPRINTS

“Does man think that We Cannot assemble his bones? Nay, We are able to put Together in perfect order The very tips of his fingers.” [Al-Qur’aan 75:3-4]

Unbelievers argue regarding resurrection taking place after bones of dead people have disintegrated in the earth and how each individual would be identified on the Day of Judgement. Almighty Allah answers that He can not only assemble our bones but can also reconstruct perfectly our very fingertips.

Why does the Qur’aan, while speaking about determination of the identity of the individual, speak specifically about fingertips? In 1880, fingerprinting became the scientific method of identification, after research done by Sir Francis Golt. No two persons in the world can ever have exactly the same fingerprint pattern. That is the reason why police forces worldwide use fingerprints to identify the criminal. 1400 years ago, who could have known the uniqueness of each human’s fingerprint? Surely it could have been none other than the Creator Himself!

PAIN RECEPTORS PRESENT IN THE SKIN

It was thought that the sense of feeling and pain was only dependent on the brain. Recent discoveries prove that there are pain receptors present in the skin without which a person would not be able to feel pain. When a doctor examines a patient suffering from burn injuries, he verifies the degree of burns by a pinprick. If the patient feels pain, the doctor is happy, because it indicates that the burns are superficial and the pain receptors are intact. On the other hand if the patient does not feel any pain, it indicates that it is a deep burn and the pain receptors have been destroyed. The Qur’aan gives an indication of the existence of pain receptors in the following verse: “Those who reject Our signs, We shall soon Cast into the Fire; As often as their skins Are roasted through, We shall change them For fresh skins, That they may taste The Penalty: for Allah Is Exalted in Power, Wise.” [Al-Qur’aan 4:56]

Prof. Tagatat Tejasen, Chairman of the Department of Anatomy at Chiang Mai University in Thailand, has spent a great amount of time on research of pain receptors. Initially he could not believe that the Qur’aan mentioned this scientific fact 1,400 years ago. He later verified the translation of this particular Qur’aanic verse. Prof. Tejasen was so impressed by the scientific accuracy of the Qur’aanic verse, that at the 8th Saudi Medical Conference held in Riyadh on the Scientific Signs of Qur’aan and Sunnah he proclaimed in public: “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad (pbuh) is His Messenger.”

CONCLUSION

To attribute the presence of scientific facts in the Qur’aan to coincidence would be against common sense and a true scientific approach. The Qur’aan invites all humans to reflect on the Creation of this universe in the verse: “Behold! In the creation Of the heavens and the earth, And the alternation Of Night and Day – There are indeed Signs For men of understanding.” [Al-Qur’aan 3:190]

The scientific evidences of the Qur’aan clearly prove its Divine Origin. No human could have produced a book, fourteen hundred years ago, that would contain profound scientific facts, to be discovered by humankind centuries later. The Qur’aan, however, is not a book of Science but a book of ‘Signs’. These signs invite Man to realize the purpose of his existence on earth, and to live in harmony with Nature. The Qur’aan is truly a message from Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. It contains the same message of the Oneness of God, that was preached by all prophets, right from Adam, Moses, Jesus to Muhammad (peace be upon them).

Several detailed tomes have been written on the subject of Qur’aan and modern science and further research in this field is on. Inshallah, this research will help mankind to come closer to the Word of the Almighty. This booklet contains only a few of the scientific facts present in the Qur’aan. I cannot claim to have done full justice to the subject. Prof. Tejasen accepted Islam on the strength of just one scientific ‘sign’ mentioned in the Qu’ran. Some people may require ten signs while some may require hundred signs to be convinced about the Divine Origin of the Qur’aan. Some would be unwilling to accept the Truth even after being shown a thousand signs. The Qur’aan condemns such a closed mentality in the verse: “Deaf, dumb and blind, They will not return (To the path).” [Al-Qur’aan 2:18]

The Qur’aan contains a complete code of life for the individual and society. Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah), the Qur’aanic way of life is far superior to the ‘isms’ that modern man has invented out of sheer ignorance. Who can give better guidance than the Creator Himself?

I pray that this humble effort is accepted by Allah, to whom I pray for mercy and guidance (Aameen).

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