Tag Archives: science in the Quran

Scientific Miracles in the Qur’aan?

Question:

There are many people who do da’wah by showing scientific miracles in the Qur’aan. However, I have seen that they can easily be dismissed because some words are stretched to the limits of reason to accommodate these so called miracles. Many non-Muslims say that this is a sign that Islam struggles with science and that Muslims are desperate for converts so we use deceit.

Answer:

I do agree that this is a problem that is negatively affecting the sincere work of da’wah. To begin with, there is a serious warning by the Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wa salam) about reading into the Qur’aan, the meanings or views that they want to see, and not necessarily what the text says. This is called eisegesis:

Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) warned: “He who interprets The Quran without knowledge let him prepare his place in Hell-fire.” (Tirmizhi) Another hadith qualifies the term “without knowledge”. Also narrated by Imam Tirmizhi, it states: “He who interprets The Quran with his own opinion and is correct, has indeed erred.” This hadith makes two telling points: one, that personal or self-opinionated interpretation of Quran is regarded as interpretation without knowledge.

Islam therefore prohibits such self-interpretation, and considers it a sinful action. We should therefore refer to the experts, the scholars of the interpretation of the Qur’aan, the mufassireen. There are many tafaseer (plural of tafseer/ commentary) of the Qur’aan by reliable scholars, namely Tafseer Ibn Kathir and Maar’iful Qur’aan. I am not saying that these commentaries of the Qur’aan by the scholars is perfect in their attribution of scientific miracles to some ayaat of the Qur’aan, as some scholars have interpreted according to the science of their respective times. What I am saying, is that the lay man is unfamiliar with the limits of tafseer and the science of tafseer, therefore it is safer to leave interpretation of the Qur’aan to those who know the limits.

However, we must take into consideration that the Qur’aan does contain scientific miracles. By this, I mean that it conveys accurate information about the physical world in which we exist. There is a point of great importance that must be emphasized, the language of science and the human terms applied to the physical world may not ever match the wording of the Qur’aan. Let’s take a general example:

And We made the sky a protected ceiling, but they, from its signs, are turning away. – Qur’aan 21:32.

If the creator did reveal this as a message to us about natural phenomena, then what can we expect Him to say? The terms used must convey the most general meaning as is possible so that we can identify the terms used with natural phenomena. So the Qur’aan in 21:32 says the sky is a protected ceiling. Someone might argue and say that this verse is false because there is no ceiling or roof covering the earth and the sky is not a physical tangible object. Yet, if we look at the verse more carefully, it states that the sky is some sort of a protection, like a ceiling or roof. Is there such a thing covering the world in what we consider to be the sky? Yes, the ozone layer. This layer protects us from the sun’s harmful rays and preserves life on earth. Due to our atmosphere, meteorites of certain sizes disintegrate while passing through it.

Obviously, the Qur’aan does not use the term “ozone layer”, even if it did and it mentioned those exact terms; at the time of its revelation, that term would be meaningless to those people and for all we know, humans could’ve called what we refer to the ozone layer another name, perhaps the rubber ducky layer. The wisdom of God is beautiful, we can see that He uses terms that are common and general, but with which we can identify and make sense of. To understand how difficult it is to describe something to people who are wholly unfamiliar or ignorant of it, try describing a cellphone to 1st century CE Romans. What would you say? Terms like Wi-Fi, cellular reception, Amoled screen, RAM, etc, are unknown and would be gibberish to them. If you told them you could use something smaller than the size of your palm that uses invisible waves to allow your voice and face to be heard and seen to someone from China or Russia, they would think you are crazy.

Therefore it is a baseless and silly notion that some people expect the Qur’aan to use specific terms that perhaps only English speaking 21st century people can. We must examine the full spectrum of meanings that a word can be used for, even if such a use is rare. By we, I mean the scholars capable of interpreting the Qur’aan. I do not believe, that applying the rare meaning of a word to a term in the Qur’aan is desperation or dishonesty, if the word historically has been used in such a way, to reflect a particular meaning then that is not deceit. It’s the opposite, it’s applying a meaning which was once actually used. As Muslims, we need to understand that the Qur’aan will mention facts about the natural phenomena of the physical world in which we exist. Our expectations of scientific miracles needs to be delimited (determining the limits of interpretation). While there are many other examples of scientific related information in the Qur’aan, we should not abuse such information by overstating or inflating the information it expresses to us. Take into consideration, the website of Harun Yahya that lists miracles far beyond what the Qur’aan is stating. He is misusing verses and when he does this, Muslims like you and I are labeled as uneducated about science or tampering with the meaning of the verses or as being deceitful.

In conclusion, we accept two things, (1) There are people who falsely interpret verses of the Qur’aan to reflect scientific data, (2) There is accurate information about science in the Qur’aan. There may be verses which are ambiguous in their relation to our current scientific data, but that does not mean the verse is wrong or false, it can simply reflect that either humans are understanding it wrongly, or that scientists will eventually reach the same view, of which the Qur’aan is expressing. It is our duty as Muslims to remind the brothers and sisters who interpret scientific information and attempt to relate it to verses of the Qur’aan, that they should be qualified in that field of science themselves and they must know and have the authority to interpret the Qur’aan. Not everyone has these qualifications, and it is with that said, I want to remind the Muslims doing da’wah that they need to interact with the relevant scholars before jumping to conclusions.

and Allaah knows best.

Atheist Attacks Hamza Tzortzis and Nabeel Alkhalidy Responds

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Sarf (Arabic morphology) is completely different from using a lexicon to get the base meaning of a tri-root Arabic word. This is where pseudo-intellectualism manifests itself among faux scholarship. Arabic is not like English, there is no equivalent to Arabic Sarf in the English language, therefore interpreting an arabic word, by relegating it to mere dictionary definition, removes the very understanding of the language itself. In other words, Br. Nabeel exposes an Atheist’s ignorance of Arabic very beautifully:

wa Allaahu ‘Alam,
and Allaah knows best.

Shooting Stars and Jinns: ِA Qur’anic Error?

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

“Verily, We have decorated the nearest sky with an adornment, the stars, And (have made them) a security against every rebellious devil. They cannot listen to the Upper Realm and are hit from every side To be driven off, and for them there is a lasting punishment; However, if one snatches a little bit, he is pursued by a bright flame.” – Qur’an : Surah As Saaffat : Ayat 6 – 10.

These ayat are often mocked by those who don’t comprehend them. There is a wealth of scientific and theological reasoning behind the context of these verses. In this regard, Mufti Ebrahim Desai [db] has released a fatwa which, in my opinion, settles the issue quite clearly with using the latest information (as of this date), to validate and verify the meaning of the ayat in both a scientific view and theological view. However before we begin, there is some history to the opposition of these verses due to popular thought:

“At this place, it should be borne in mind that early Greek scientists believed in meteors being terrestrial substance that rose up with vapours and would burn up when it reached the fire zone. But, the words of the Qur’an, as they appear here, seem to suggest that a meteor is not a terrestrial substance, rather, it is something generated only in the upper atmosphere. At this stage, earlier commentators have been saying all along that the Greek assumption about meteors – that it was some terrestrial substance – was no more than a conjecture.” – Tafsir Maar’iful Qur’an : Mufti Muhammad Shafi [db], pg 428.

What is striking is a quote from the Late Shaykh Tantawi in his Tafsir al Jawahir has said:

“Our forebears and scholars also took it with a heavy heart that the noble Qur’an would say something counter to contemporary astronomy of their time. But, the commentators of the Qur’an did not compromise their position. They did not agree to accept their thinking and surrender the position of the Qur’an. Instead of doing something like that, they bypassed their philosophical assumptions and continued to stay with the Qur’an. After the passage of sometime, it became automatically established that the early Greeks were wrong in their assumptions. Now, if we were to acknowledge that these stars hit, hurt and burn satans, what is there to stop us from believing so? Thus, here we are in our time embracing this statement of the Qur’an as true. And we are faithfully waiting for the future (when science will also confirm it).” – Al Jawahir, Page 14, Volume 8.

The Ulama have been qualified in their statements, with this fatwa from Mufti Ebrahim Desai [db], which answers the question using purely modern day science, using that of quantum physics:

wa Allaahu Alam.
[and God knows best.]

Neither Shaken nor Stirred: The Qur’aan and Science on Alcohol Consumption

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Though it is evident that wine has a few medical benefits, scientific researches have proved that the harms of wine and alcohol in general exceed by far their benefits, both on the individual and social levels, even among moderate drinkers. And surprisingly this is how Quran addresses Wine:

“They question thee about alcohol (wine) and games of chance. Say: In both is great sin, and some utility (benefits) for men; but the sin(harms) of them is greater than their usefulness.” –  Qur’aan : Surat al-Baqarah (2) : 219.

Thus alcohol in Islam is forbidden (haram).
Science confirms this Qur’aannic fact:

WEDNESDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) — While it might help your heart, drinking even moderately could shrink your brain, U.S. researchers say.

Alcohol is more harmful than heroin or crack when the overall dangers to the individual and society are considered, according to a study in the Lancet

Moderate drinking shrinks the brain: researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and other institutions found a link between low to moderate alcohol consumption and a decrease in the brain size of middle-aged adults.

‘Moderate’ drinking is harmful to younger people, says study.

Alcohol Linked to Cancer Risk in Women: Study Shows Even Low-to-Moderate Drinking Raises Risk of Cancer.
Feb. 24, 2009 — Women who drink as little as one alcoholic beverage a day — be it beer, wine, or hard liquor — have an increased cancer risk, a study shows. Based on their findings, the researchers estimated that alcohol could be to blame for 13% of these cancers in women.

The largest ever study published in 2009 reveals that as little as a glass of wine a day may be too risky for women.

Alcohol increases breast cancer risk.

Alcohol effects on Fetal Development: Fetal alcohol exposure is a leading cause of birth defects and developmental disorders. Recent estimates of the number of US children affected by fetal alcohol exposure range from 1 per 2,000 live births to 1 per 100 live births.”

Alcohol is the worst attack on society: Alcoholic drinks are much more dangerous than drugs. According to a home survey on Alcohol and Drugs from the National Plan on Drugs, alcohol is the substance that is consumed most by a population between the ages of 15 and 64, with a consumption prevalence of 78.7 per cent.

Alcohol and drug abuse also poses a public health risk. The abuse of these substances causes a variety of cancers, diseases, and other health problems. Each year, society pays $16 billion in healthcare costs due to drugs and alcohol.

This article authored by Brother Muhyiddine of Dubai.

wa Allaahu Alam.
[and God knows best.]