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The Quran: The Test of Science and a Standing Challenge (Part II A)



By Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

August 8, 2013

In the previous article I had written about the miracle of preservation of the Quran and its literary eloquence and unparallel nature. In this article, and other articles dealing with the same theme, I intend to point out some of the scientific facts mentioned in the Quran and also about the challenge of the Quran to produce “something like it”.

In one of my previous articles regarding the miracles in the Quran, one commentator asked me to enlighten him about what the Quran has to say about Krebs cycle, Mitochondria etc. One thing I want to make it very clear in the beginning of my article that I will only be writing about those things that are: first, established facts in science and second, I will not be responsible for what I have not written. Suppose I give you a list of 10 things, so focus on those 10 things only and do not demand the 11th item.

There are many scientific facts mentioned in the Quran, which an illiterate Arab (Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)) could not have known, especially in the deserts of Arabia. The Quran contains countless number of signs which deal with science and are in perfect conformity with established modern science and which were unknown to man even a hundred years ago, and considering it was revealed fourteen hundred years ago, absolutely proves its divine origin.

“And the heaven We constructed with strength, and indeed, We are [its] expander.” (51:47)

It was Edwin Hubble who provided the observational evidence in 1925 that the universe is expanding. According to Stephen Hawking “The discovery that the universe is expanding was one of the great intellectual revolutions of the 20th century.”1

During these observations, Hubble established that the stars emit a light that turns redder according to their distance. That is because according to the known laws of physics, light heading towards a point of observation turns violet, and light moving away from that point assumes a more reddish hue. During his observations, Hubble noted a tendency towards the colour red in the light emitted by stars. This is known as the Doppler Effect 2. In short, the stars were moving further and further away, all the time.

 "And when the heaven split asunder and becomes rose-coloured like paint” (The Noble Quran, 55:37)"

This rose-like paint indicates that the “heaven” is getting farther and farther away from us as well as from each other. It also means that when a galaxy explodes, it looks strikingly similar like a rose3.

According to the advances made in the field of modern cosmology we come to know that the whole universe was nothing but a cloud of ‘smoke’, an opaque and dense and hot gaseous composition4.

“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’an 41:11)

Some critic may say that how could there be “earth”, the person fails to realise that the earth and the heavens above (the sun, the moon, the stars, planets, galaxies, asteroids, comets etc) have been formed from the same “smoke” and they were all connected entity.

Stephen Hawking says “There was no outside, there was only inside”, referring to the primary nebula5.

And the Quran also says: “Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe?” (Qur’ān 21:30)

There are two scientific facts mentioned in this one verse: first, about the big bang and second, that every living thing being made from water. In the deserts of Arabia where there is scarcity of water, the Quran says that every living thing is made up of water (unless mentioned otherwise- like Jinns from fire and angels from light). Today, science confirms that the cytoplasm which is the main component of the cell, it contains around 70 to 90% water 6.

It was widely believed in the ancient as well as in the early parts of the medieval world that the earth stood still in the centre of the universe and every other celestial body moved around it. There have been many ups and downs regarding the movements and the position of these heavenly bodies like the sun and the earth. Only recently it has been discovered that the sun is moving and is not stationary.

“And it is He who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon; all [heavenly bodies] in an [Falak] orbit are [yasbahoon] swimming.” (Qur’ān 21: 33)

This is in perfect compatibility with the established scientific fact that whether it be the sun or the moon and for that matter even the earth- they all move. The Quran says “all heavenly bodies” are “swimming”.

The other thing which is very important is that the Quran uses the term “yasbahoon” which is derived from the word “sabaha”. If we use it for a celestial body it implies that that body is not only flying through space but it is also rotating.

The Quran says “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’an 36:40]

Only recently it has been discovered about the existence of the individual orbits of the Sun and the Moon. The Quran also specifically mentions about the motion of the Earth, in spite of saying very clearly that “all heavenly bodies” are “swimming”.

“Have we not made the earth Kifaata?” {Al-Quran 77:25}

The word “Kifaata” means “when you push something to a different direction 7. It also means to “go away”. The Quran again beautifully describes the movement of the earth “Have We not made the Earth as a cradle and the mountains like pegs?” (The Quran 78: 6-7). The Quran compares the earth to a cradle because a cradle is a place of rest that is engaged in motion.

(Part II B will continue with the scientific miracles mentioned in the Quran)

P S : I had earlier planned that I would be able to talk about the miraculous preservation of the Quran, its literary genius, its scientific miracles and its standing challenge in a two-part article; but after doing a great deal of research I am now sure that I will not be able to take into account the various scientific miracles in just two articles, hence I confess that I will not be just to the Quran if I conclude this series with just two articles.

1.       Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, 1998 pg 41



4.       Weinberg, The First Three Minutes, a Modern View of the Origin of the Universe, pp. 94-105

5.       Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking- Discovery Channel


7.       Al-Arab dictionary [1], Book 1, Pages 807