By Mumin Salih
It doesn’t take long for an objective reader of the Quran to notice that the entire book is dominated by a theme of repetitions and contradictions. Ali Ibn Abu Talib, the third Caliph, once described the Quran as a multi faced حمال أوجه book because it can be interpreted in many different ways (1). Ali’s judgement is of exceptional significance because it came from a pious Muslim with undisputed fluency in Arabic. Ali is generally considered as the most ‘intellectual’ of Mohammed’s companions. Mohammed also made a similar confession, in the Quran itself, when it was pointed out to him that some of his later verses were contradicting other verses revealed in earlier years (2).
However, the Quran still describes itself as the clear book in a number of verses (3), and I must say that there are occasions when the Quran lives up to that description. Such unusual clarity in the book, where the general theme is ambiguity, exists in some of the so called ‘scientific verses’. When Mohammed expressed his scientific knowledge in the Quran, he often did using a clear and simple language that was comprehensible to all his followers. There are no records at all that the Arabs ever asked for clarification of any of the so called ‘scientific verses’ in the Quran. Equally true, there are no records at all that the Arabs ever expressed their disapproval to any of those verses. We can safely draw two conclusions from the above historical evidence:
1. The first conclusion is that the verses were clear enough that all the Arabs understood them well. There can be no excuse at all for today’s Muslim scholars to twist the language and invent more acceptable meanings.
2. The second conclusion is that the Arabs accepted the information contained in those verses as common knowledge with nothing new in them. That is why they didn’t ask questions or express their disapproval.
All the above is a clear indication that the Quran was in total agreement of the prevailing scientific knowledge in the seventh century Arabia.
The Quran’s cosmology
According to the Quran, the earth and the mountains are two separate entities, just like the earth and the skies are also two separate entities. The Quran asserts that the mountains did not originate from the earth, but were brought from ‘outside’ and then erected on the earth to fix it and stop it from swaying!
The creation and structure of the universe are repeatedly described in the Quran in simple language that is easy to understand and difficult to twist, even by the Muslim scholars who twist anything. Unlike the Greek, the seventh century Arabs were far behind in science and discoveries; their knowledge was mainly based on the myths that reached them through the hundreds of religions practiced in Arabia. The ancient mythologies of Mesopotamia, India and Persia were also echoed in Arabia. The Arabs, like many other nations at the time, believed that the world was a massive flat land that was attached to the sky until separated by a god. The Arabs believed that it was Allah, their moon god, who did the separation. The Quran confirms this myth in verse Q.21: 30 “Do not the unbeliever’s see that the skies and earth were stitched (retkan رتقا ) together, and then we separated them ….”. The wording of the verse suggests that the Quran was referring to already known information. When somebody says to a group of people “don’t you see that the doors are painted red?” we understand that the group already know the doors are painted red and that the speaker only reminded them with a fact they all agree about.
Verse Q. 21:30 is crucial in Islamic science because it is seriously believed by the so called ‘miracle scientists’ to be the basis of the ‘Islamic big bang theory’ which is not exactly the same as the real Big Bang theory. As it is clear from the verse, the Islamic theory describes an already formed earth that was attached to an already formed sky until both were separated by Allah. That belief is in sharp contrast to the real Big Bang theory, which discusses the birth of the universe before the existence of the earth or the sky. I am afraid that in verse 21:30, the Quran only repeats the same old pagan myths that were already in circulation in Arabia; separating the sky from the earth and raising it high up!
To make sure that the ‘Islamic cosmology’ never meets with the infidels’ cosmology, the Quran goes into more details and describes the sky, which is only emptiness in the real world, as a solid structure that was raised high up by the almighty Allah who keeps it in place using a system of invisible pillars. “Q.13:2 Allah is He who raised the skies without any pillars that you can see”. To make sure that everybody gets the message clearly, the Quran reminds its readers that the sky would fall down on earth if it were not to Allah’s mercy. “(Q.22:65) ..He withholds the sky from falling on the earth except by His permission for Allah is most kind…”
Those invisible pillars, described in verse 13:2, must be resting on the earth, which implies that the earth must be flat. Just in case some people did not get the point, the Quran went on describing the earth as flat using all the words in the Arabic language that can possibly mean flat, and still the Muslims don’t get it!
The author of the Quran likened the earth to a carpet (Q.71:19) that, when used in the open, requires some stones, or pegs, to secure it against the blowing desert wind. Similarly, the flat earth, which was thought to be floating on water, also required some mechanism to stabilize it. The problem of the Earth’s instability was fixed by erecting massive pegs, called mountains, which Allah dropped on its surface and erected نصبت to function as stabilizers. Therefore, the mountains were not part of the earth!
The Quran’s geology:
The Quran doesn’t agree with our the established knowledge that the mountains are integral parts of the earth that were formed as a result of tectonic forces and have no role at all on the Earth’s stability. Instead, the Quran’s declares that the mountains were extraterrestrial objects that were added to the earth, after its creation, to stop its imaginary swaying movement.
In verses 88:18-20, the Quran calls people to think of three of Allah’s major creations; the sky, the mountains and the earth. Sura88 is clear evidence that the Quran considers the three creations as separate structures. Read this: “Q.88:18-20 And at the sky, how it is raised? And at the mountains, how they are erected? And at the earth, how it is spread out?” It is disgraceful that the writer of the Quran, who obviously knew nothing about the nature of those structures, could claim to have created them. Just like a person who knows nothing about computers and still claims to have invented them!
Verse 19:90 claims that even the skies, the earth and the mountains are full of rage because some people claim that Allah had a son. The Quran describes the ‘feelings’ of those three structures and doesn’t miss the opportunity to confirm its ignorance about the nature of those creations: “At it the skies are about to crack, the earth about to split, and the mountains about to fall and crumble”
More evidence that the mountains are different from the earth comes in verse Q.13:31 “If there were a Qur’an with which mountains were moved, or the earth cut into pieces…” and in verse Q.18:47: “And the day when we shall cause the mountains to pass away, and you see the earth prominent….”.
Verses 56:4-5 and verse 73:14 describe what will happen to the Earth and the mountains on the Last Day; the earth will be shaken while the mountains will crumble. The different treatment received by each creation is an indication that both were different entities in the mind whoever wrote the Quran:
Q.56:4. “.. the earth shall be shaken. 56:5 and the mountains shall be crumbled”
Q. 73: 14. “One day the earth and the mountains will shake, and the mountains will be as a heap of flowing sand”
It is impossible to justify the blunders in the above verses and remain in the area of sanity, but the Muslim scholars would come up with something and claim that the verses contain no errors, but miracles! They would use the same tactics of twisting the language and claiming that Allah didn’t mean what he said.
Well, it seems that Allah did mean what he said because verse Q.15: 19 tells us how the mountains came to the flat earth: Q.15:19 “And the earth we have spread out; and thrown thereon mountains…” therefore, the mountains were dropped on the earth after its creation. Verse 16: 15 goes even further and explains that Allah decided to add the mountains to the earth to stop it from shaking: “And He has thrown down mountains on the earth, lest it should shake with you…”
In case somebody did not hear well, the Quran repeats the same information with the same consistency in verses 31:10 and 50:7
31:10. “He created the skies without any pillars that you can see; He thrown down on the Earth Mountains, lest it should shake with you…”
50:7. “And the earth- We have spread it out, and thrown down thereon mountains…”
In verses 70: 8-9, the Quran speaks about the mountains in a similar way it speaks about the sky. These two verses describe what will happen to both structures on that same day, which is the Last Day. However, that scientific consistency we praised in the beginning of the article seems to have broken, but we cannot expect the Quran to avoid contradictions every time. The sky, according to verse 70:8, will become like molten brass, but the mountains, which were supposed to crumble in verse 56:5, now will become like cotton wool!
70: 9. “And the mountains will be like wool”
77: 8. “Then when the stars become dim”
It is an extraordinary irony that the Muslims read the Quran but do not notice any of the above colossal errors. They read appalling blunders like the sky is a solid structure, or roof (Q. 21:32) that has the potential to fall down on the earth without noticing anything wrong there. The Muslims’ brains have been numbed and became insensitive to all those errors; the only word that matters to them is the word ‘awtad’ (pegs), which the Quran once used to refer to the mountains (Q.78:7). When some Muslims happened to learn that some the mountains have deep roots underground they quickly remembered the word ‘awtad’ because the pegs are also partly underground. Thousands of articles and books were published about this ‘scientific miracle’ of the Quran. Radio and television programmes and scientific conferences were organised to celebrate the discovery. All this without any Muslim scholar ever noticing that the Quran also referred to the Pharaohs’ pyramids as ‘awtad’, not once but twice (Q.38:12, Q.89:10).
In the past, the Muslim scholars had no problems in the interpretation of the above verses or any other verses in the Quran. They only had to provide a simple and straight forward explanation of the language without any external pressures. It was only in the last century when they realised that the Quran, which they long claimed to be the perfect book, was actually at odds with proven scientific knowledge. To pre-empt any criticism to the Quran, the Muslim scholars adopted their strategy of ‘attack is the best defence’. By focusing on the ‘miracles’ of the word ‘awtad’, the Muslim scholars succeeded in diverting the attention of the Muslims’ minds and raised the standing of the Quran; rather than talking about Quranic errors, the Muslim scholars now talk about scientific miracles!
During my preparation of this article, I looked at the available English translations of the above verses and noticed the deliberate deception. I wasn’t surprised; this observation has become a regular pattern whenever I look at the English translations of the Quran. In the example of the above verses, the Muslim scholars deceived the readers when they avoided the proper translation of the Arabic word ‘alka’ ألقى , meaning threw or dropped (the mountains), which they translated as placed or erected (the mountains) to conceal the obvious error.
As an example of extreme deception, one of the verses (73: 14) quoted above reads like this: One day the earth and the mountains will shake, and the mountains will be as a heap of sand”, but some Muslim scholars translated it like this: “The day is coming when the masses and the wealthy tyrants will shake and the leaders will be as a heap of sand” (5)!
Is there any point in debating Muslims when they are so determined to lie?
1. A famous statement by Caliph Ali حمال أوجه ألقرآن “The Quran is a multi faced book” which means it lends itself to multiple interpretations.
3. 12:1 “these are the Verses of the Clear Book…”, 26: 2 “these are the Verses of the Clear Book…”, 28:2 “these are the Verses of the Clear Book…”
4. Q.71:19 And God has laid the earth for you as a carpet (bisata).
5. Translation by ‘OXP’ seen on islamawakened.com