Response to answering-christianity.com 
Re:
Does the Noble Quran support "The Earth moves around the Sun" theory?

By Avijit Roy

www.mukto-mona.com 

 

I mentioned about a challenge of mine (made couple of years ago) in one of my recently published article (regarding one of those so-called scientific miracles in holy Qur’an). I see this has created some turmoil over the Net recently. My challenge has a little history. Let me tell you this briefly. Over the last decade, a growing numbers of Muslims have declared the Qur'an to be a book filled with alleged scientific miracles. Many educated Bangladeshi Muslims in blithely discovered ‘Big-Bang’, ‘expansion of the universe’, ‘theory of evolution of human species’, science of ‘atoms and molecules’, ‘milky-way, ‘constellation’, ‘white dwarf’, ‘black-holes, ‘embryology’, ‘theory of relativity’, ‘theory of super string’... and what not in their holly scripture (Qur’an). Numerous web sites, books and videos have been produced that proclaim Islam to be truly a religion of divine origin having perfect compatibility with modern science. Even though Muslim world today is thousand miles behind compared to the scientific development done by Jews/Christian, they ridiculously claim through their inspiring discoveries that their holy book is indeed ‘super scientific'! But our common sense suggests that the ancient religious scriptures of all prevalent religions were composed at a time when the humanity had a very limited understanding of scientific knowledge. One cannot legitimately expect to find the complex theories of ‘Big-Bang’, Super String, Relativity of Einstein etc. in the pages of those outdated Holy Books. In reality, the contents of those primitive books reflected the sheer backwardness prevalent in the contemporary society; their thoughts, belief, hopes and despair; nothing more nothing less. Let me illustrate with an example: when the holy Qur’an was composed, the eminent scientists like Galileo, Bruno, Copernicus et.al were not even born. How could the people of that primeval period even think of an earth, revolving around our sun? 

Obviously they could never comprehend this, as they were familiar only with the sun rising in the east and then setting in the west; the rising of the moon at the onset of night. These are the phenomena they have observed since their birth. God controls these heavenly objects, they thought. That certain laws of physics govern the progress of these celestial bodies, they could never comprehend. This is what is accurately reflected in many verses of the Qur’an, Hadis, Vedas and the Bible. Consider this verse from Sura Luqman (31:29) from the holy Qur’an :

PICKTHAL: Hast thou not seen how Allah causeth the night to pass into the day and causeth the day to pass into the night, and hath subdued the sun and the moon (to do their work), each running unto an appointed term; and that Allah is Informed of what ye do?

In this verse Allah clearly says that he is the one who converts the day into night and vice versa; subjected the sun and the moon to follow a fixed orbit. We find many similar verses elsewhere in the Qur’an as well. Here are a few samples: Sura Ya-Sin (36:38), Sura Az -Zumar (39:5), Sura Al-Rad (13:2), Sura Al-Anbiya ( 21:33 ), Sura Al-Baqara (2:258), Sura Al-Kahf (18:86), Sura Ta-Ha (20:130), just to name a few. However, even a thorough, painstaking search of the entire Qur’an does not show a single verse anywhere in it that supports the scientific reality of the rotation of earth. According to Allah, the earth is motionless, completely static. Period. 

In Sura An-Naml (27:61) it is stated clearly: 

Is not He (best) Who made the earth a fixed abode, and placed rivers in the folds thereof, and placed firm hills therein, and hath set a barrier between the two seas? Is there any Allah beside Allah? Nay, but most of them know not!

In the same vein, Sura Al-Rum (30:25), Sura Fatir (35:41), Sura Luqman (31:10), Sura Al-Baqara ( 2:22 ), Sura An-Nahl ( 16:15 ) exhorts the Allah’s decree that the earth is completely immovable. 

Since the Islamic scholars are absolutely certain that the Qur’an contains all the scientific principles, with due respect, I earnestly requested them to show me a verse, just a single verse in the Qur’an that states that the earth moves round the sun; or that the 'earth rotates' at the least.  The Arabic word for earth is ‘Ard’ and the Arabic word for rotation is ‘Falak’. If someone could show me just a single verse in the Qur’an that uses the two words ‘Ard’ and ‘Falak’ side by side’, I would accept my defeat.

Since then no scholar could show me a single verse to that effect. One author (Osama Abdallah) in his website (www.answering-christianity.com) tried to refute me through a lengthy response: 

http://www.answering-christianity.com/earth_rotation_challenge.htm   

The author recently sent his write-up in Mukto-mona ( www.mukto-mona.com ) too:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mukto-mona/message/13291

 I would like to give a response to only those portions which is relevant to my article and deserves author's merit.

[Osama Abdallah]

Even though he is not a Jew nor a Christian, he starts his article by a quote from a Bangladeshi apostate woman:....

[My Response]

I must admit that I could not fathom author's logic (if there is any) here. Why I have to be a Jew or a Christian to quote a Bangladeshi apostate woman (Taslima Nasrin, in this case)?

[OA]

The Quranic and Islamic teaching does not insist nor directly claim that the sun moves around the earth, as I will clearly prove it in this article.

[My response]

Well, there are plenty of verses in Qur’an that depict that the movement of the sun; and again there are few of verses that clearly represent that earth is fixed (unmovable). It is not hard to reach the logical conclusion if one really wishes too. Let's see how "clearly" you "prove" your baseless assumption.

[OA]

To see the accurate scientific claims in the Noble Qur’an and Islam from the "Big Bang Theory and the Cosmic Crunch", to "Iron was sent down to earth through asteroids and wasn't formed by earth materials as other metals were", to "The Universe is expanding", to "The Human formation", to "Life originated from water", etc..., please visit:....

[My response]

And this is my rebuttal:

 http://www.humanists.net/avijit/article/10_myths_about_Quran.htm

and  https://gold.mukto-mona.com/Articles/super_scientific_scriptures.htm 

[OA]

Well, without being biased nor try to answer away any error in Islam, but the Bible and the Pagan Gita, the Mohabharat and the Vedas clearly and DIRECTLY claim that the earth doesn't move and that the sun rotates around it: 

From the Bible: "He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved. (From the NIV Bible, Psalm 104:5)"

However, no where in the Noble Qur’an or any Saying (Hadith) from Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him do you see a straight forward and DIRECT claim about the sun rotating around the earth and that the earth doesn't move.

[My Response] 

Muslim apologists are fond of claiming that ONLY the Qur’an miraculously predicted the findings of modern science, and that all of its factual scientific claims are flawless whereas other scriptures are all nonsense. I reject the Qur’an like any other religious scriptures, only because it is fallible, primitive work of a bygone age, and inappropriate for our times. Please take a look on the two verses from Bible and Qur’an:

Bible-

"He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved. (From the NIV Bible, Psalm 104:5)"

And Qur’an -

Is not He (best) Who made the earth a fixed abode, and placed rivers in the folds thereof, and placed firm hills therein, and hath set a barrier between the two seas? Is there any Allah beside Allah? Nay, but most of them know not! An-Naml (27:61)

I did not find much difference between these two. Both emphasizes that the earth is fixed and motionless. To be frank a humanly-written text would be expected to reflect the state of such knowledge as it stood during its time. But while Bible focuses the "earth can never be moved" it appears to OA that the earth is indeed motionless and thus completely unscientific, but in the breath, while Qur’an says in the exactly similar way, "Who made the earth a fixed abode..", it does not appear to them as the same motionless earth. This kind of thinking of course satisfies only a Muslim apologist but no rational person will give any importance to it. 

The Qur’an is unashamedly of its time. According to Qur’an our Earth is flat and both the sun and the moon run across it. They are “lamps” hanging from the ceiling of the sky that is being supported by invisible columns. The Quranic solar system also contains invisible genies. They climb over each other’s shoulders and reach the heaven to eavesdrop the conversation of the “Exalted Assembly”. The stars are used as missiles (shooting stars) to hit them (genies). The moon is supposed to be above the stars. Then sun also must rise from muddy waters and enter in the murky waters just as Zul Qaranain witnessed (sura: 18:86, 18:90). There is also a position for the throne of Allah. But the throne is over the waters and the Sun has to prostrate in front of the throne and ask permission of Allah to rise. If you want to sell these non-sense as "scientific", I have nothing much to say.

[OA]

I want to comment on the translation "The earth like a carpet Spread out", which is "Al-ard MAHDA". "Al-ard" means "the earth" and "mahda" means "to straighten" or "to make straight", or "to comfort (as in mahdi, the comfortor)" or "alleviate". For instance, When workers build streets, they comfort (mahd) or alleviate the land for us to be able to drive our cars on it. Again, the Noble Verse doesn't suggest that the earth is flat. It says that Allah Almighty alleviated the land for us "to go about therein by roads".

Allah Almighty said that the earth is "egg-shaped": http://www.answering-christianity.com/earth_in_islam.htm 

The sections of this article are:

1-  Allah Almighty said that the earth is "egg-shaped". 

2-  The earth had gone through different stages and shapes since it was first 

      created. 

3-  The roundness of the earth in the Noble Qur’an. 

      - The Arabic word "dahaha". ...

 

[My response]

If we have any doubt about what Allah really thought of the shape of the Earth, we can read the following verse carefully: 

Q. 78: 6 

Have We not made the earth as a wide expanse,...
 

The “expanse” gives an idea of something flat. The Arabic word used in the Qur’an is Mehad, (bed). All the beds that I have seen so far were flat. None of them were spherical. I have never seen any spherical carpet also :-)

The author also quoted the verse 79:30 which, according to him it is stated that the Earth is egg shape. The author suggested Eggs are spherical so as earth.

But the author is completely wrong in two ways. First, our earth is not egg-shape. Our earth’s shape can be described as an oblate spheroid, more like orange – slightly flattened at the poles and slightly bulging at the equator shape. Even school going children know these facts. And secondly the term "egg-shape" is also a unique invention of Muslim apologists, I must say. The verse (79:30) actually does not deal with egg.  

The transliteration of the above verse: 

Waal-arda baAAda thalika dahaha

It means (word by word):

And the Earth after that was spread.  

Here I quote the three famous translations.  

079.030 

YUSUFALI: And the earth, moreover, hath He extended (to a wide expanse); 

PICKTHAL: And after that He spread the earth, 

SHAKIR: And the earth, He expanded it after that. 

Dahaha is not egg. Egg in Arabic is “al baiza”. That is why the above three translators did not put any egg inside.  I have confirmed it with many Arabic-speaking people. I also once e-mailed to Dr. Ali Sina, the founder of FFI. He also confirmed that the translation of the above verse by three most reliable interpreters is correct.  

[OA]

The following article clearly explains the above Noble Verses, especially Noble Verse 21:33.  It shows how early Muslim scholars all agreed that the Earth was round.  It is only the later Muslim scholars in the 1500s that deviated from this belief.

The following section was taken from http://www.thetruereligion.org/earth.htm   

[My response]

That article tried to use Ibn Taymeyya as a reliable reference who thought "Chemistry is Evil Magic". I like to leave it to the readers to judge how much reliable Taymeyya's resource is in our scientific debate. Some people indeed dig their own grave!

Anyway, let's come to the point directly. The verse 21:33 in that article does not even mention about earth, let alone about its roundness or flatness. Here is the exact translation: 

PICKTHAL: And He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. They float, each in an orbit.

The verse under discussion talks only about the movement of sun and moon. There is no mention of earth; neither directly nor indirectly. I would like to request the author to refrain himself from twisting the fact. The author (OA) has mentioned the same verse in some other places in his article to "prove" earth's rotation. I will explain the inaccuracy, falsehood and deception of the explanation more elaborately on that occasion.

[OA]

Actually what Mr. Avijit Roy doesn't see in these Noble Verses and in Geology is that it's been scientifically proven that the mountains and the hills do actually help the earth to stay balanced during it's rotation around itself. If we didn't have those mountains and hills, the earth would be in a constant shake because of the high speed in rotation. 

For more details and proofs, please visit The amazing creation of earth and mountains in the Noble Qur’an.

[My response]

I think this “mountain story for stabilizing earth from shaking” is perhaps one of the lies of Dr. Maurice Bucaille revealed in his (in)famous book -"The Bible, the Qur'an and Science", which is comprehensively refuted by Dr. William Campbell in his "The Qur'an and the Bible in the Light of History & Science". Commenting on author's statement, "If we didn't have those mountains and hills, the earth would be in a constant shake because of the high speed in rotation.", I would quote Professor of Geology, Dr. David A. Young - "While it is true that many mountain ranges are composed of folded rocks (and the folds may be of large scale) it is not true that the folds render the crust stable. The very existence of the folds is evidence of instability in the crust." In other words, Mountains don't keep the earth from shaking. Their formation caused and still causes the surface of the earth to shake. But the ancient Arab people did not have that much knowledge to know the correct reason. 

Secondly, consider the earthquake zones of earth. Earthquakes happen 'all the time' and they are concentrated along specific zones, in which mountainous areas are also concentrated. Therefore, claims that mountains are firm and immovable, and that mountains prevent the earth from shaking are in-correct & un-scientific.

Lastly, citing the mountains as "immovable" in some Quranic verses (015.019, 027.061 etc) also deserve severe criticism. The mountains are part of a continental plate which is moving and are attached to a rotating (moving) Earth; The Earth itself is revolving about the Sun; Sun and its planets are revolving about our Milky Way galaxy; The Milky Way galaxy is again moving around the center of the Local Group of Galaxies.... etc. So mountains cannot be considered as "immoveable" as the whole universe is moving. So if I were God, I would write the verse in a following way (thanks to Farside):

015.019 And the earth We have spread out (like a carpet); set thereon mountains firm and moving through the cosmic void. 

How about that? 

[OA] 

Here the rising and the setting of the sun have nothing to do with the earth's or the sun's rotations, nor does it say that there is a hole in the earth that the sun sets in. In Noble Verses 18:86 and 90, it was talking about the morning and the evening times, and in Noble Verse 20:130, Muslims are commanded to praise and glorify Allah Almighty before dawn and after sun set. 

Even today we still use phrases like "sun rise" and "sun set", despite the fact that we know that the earth rotates around the sun.  The Noble Verses above do not make any DIRECT claim about the sun rotating around the earth, nor do they suggest that the sun rises from a hole and sets in another hole on earth.

[My response]

The Qur'an states:

Until when he reached the setting of the Sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water. Near it he found a People. We said: "O Zul-qarnain! (Thou hast authority,) either to punish them or to treat them with kindness." (Q. 18:86)

Does the above verse speak of the Sun setting or does it speak of the place where the Sun sets? If the above verse speaks about seeing the Sun setting and no more, we have to ask, "But the Sun rises every day and on every nation. Why was that day and that place singled out in the life of Zul-Qarnain to be described in the words 'Until when he reached the setting of the Sun, he found it sets in a spring of murky water. Near it he found a People."? The only sense we can make out of the Qur'anic verse is that after so many sunrises and so many sunsets Zul-Qarnain finally "reached the setting of the Sun" and he found that "it set in a spring of murky water" near which he found a People."

If all that Zul-Qarnain experienced was a daily sunrise and a daily sunset, why was he singled out by the Qur'an as the person who reached both the place of the rising and setting of the Sun? Zul-Qarnain is not the only person who saw the sun rise and set, we have all had this experience. The only sense that could be made of these verses is that Zul-Qarnain alone had this unique experience of reaching the place of the sunrise and the sunset. To read more you can visit the following link: http://debate.domini.org/newton/spring.html 

If the above verses only depict "sun rise" and "sun set" that is being used in our normal daily life, then what is so "scientific" and "miraculous" about the book? Anyone have no or minimal scientific knowledge can come up with such "miraculous" hocus-pocus.

[OA]

Allah Almighty claims in the Noble Qur’an that life originated from water.  He created every living creature from water.  So when earth was originally a body of water and then Allah Almighty created land and creatures from it which by the way it's been scientifically proven to be true , then Allah Almighty's claim about Him making the earth "firm" in Noble Verse 27:61 is true.

Please visit Life originated from water in the Noble Qur’an.

[My response]

Indeed Noble Qur’an has many noble inventions. Qur’an ambiguously asserts many common-sensually meaningless statements about such an elementary matter of formation of life. For examples sometimes it tells that we are created from earth (11:61), sometimes it claims from dry clay (15:26,28,33, 17:61, 32:7), sometimes "from nothing" (19:67), sometimes "NOT from nothing" (52:35), sometimes from wet earth (23:12), or from mire (38:71), sometimes from water (25:54, 21:30, 24:45), sometimes from dust (3:59, 30:20, 35:11) or even sometimes from dead (30:19, 39:6). So which one is true? Those contradictory and ambiguous statements actually do not reveal any scientific facts regarding either how we created or what exactly we are made of. Please check this link: http://www.humanists.net/avijit/article/10_myths_about_Quran.htm 

If one thinks Qur’an is unique based on foretelling life originated from water, s/he is dead wrong! Hindu Religious book Veda' (8000 B. C.) described origin of Earth and life from WATER of the SEA long before Qur’an came in picture with such assertion. The Great Greek Philosopher and Scientist THALES (640-546 B. C.) was the first Humankind who theorized that, everything in this Universe was created from WATER OF THE SEA. Problem was, Thales could not provide any scientific proof. After that, ARISTOTLE (384-322 B.C. the pupil of Plato and Tutor of Alexander the Great) concluded: "Because of the fact that, Plants & Animal body contains plenty of WATER and life needs WATER that was why THALES thought WATER WAS THE ORIGIN OF LIFE". Therefore, Mankind did not have to wait until 7th Century for Allah to say importance of WATER for life. You can check Syed Kamran Mirza's article for details:

https://gold.mukto-mona.com/Articles/skm/Religion_Science_Bucaille.htm 

[OA]

This Noble Verse doesn't make any scientific claim about the earth not moving. The word "stand" is "taqooma", which literally means "stand", "stand up", "stand to", "stand for", "continue to do something or work (as in "She is still taking care of her parents", "hiya ma tazal taqoom bi walidayha")".

[My response]

I have refuted such misinterpretation regarding "fixed" earth many times. I hate to repeat same stuff again and again. Please check:

http://humanists.net/avijit/reply_tarek.html

I am getting impatient and tired of giving line by line response of such humdrum. Better move to my challenge section:  

In Arabic "ARD" means the Earth and "FALAK" is rotation/movement. Can you show me any of the verses from the Qur'an that contains these two words one after another ?

 

[OA]

Even though the Muslims were able to conclude that the earth was round from the Noble Qur’an many centuries before Christopher Columbus, but it is arguable to say that Allah Almighty in the Noble Qur’an used the words "falak" and "ard" together in one Noble Verse. He certainly used the words "falak" and "all (celestial bodies)" in one Noble Verse, but never "earth (ard)" and "falak":

"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. (The Noble Qur’an, 21:33 )"....

[My response]

Here the author mentioned the verse from AL-ANBIYA (THE PROPHETS) 21:33 to "prove" the movement of earth. Let us have a detailed discussion on this important verse. Here is the transliteration:

Wahuwa allathee khalaqa allayla waalnnahara waalshshamsa waalqamara kullun fee falakin yasbahoona

Meaning-

021.033 

YUSUFALI: It is He Who created the Night and the Day, and the sun and the moon: all swim along, each in its rounded course. 

PICKTHAL: And He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. They float, each in an orbit. 

SHAKIR: And He it is Who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon; all (orbs) travel along swiftly in their celestial spheres.

Dear Readers, please enlighten me - where is the mention of "earth" in that verse? I didn't find any other celestial bodies except sun and moon. But like other Muslim apologists the author OA "miraculously" figured out the movement of the earth in that verse. Keeping aside our emotion and blind belief, let's judge with a free mind how much accurate the claim is. Readers might have noticed (check Arabic Transliteration again) that an a word "Kullun" is used in this verse. The meaning of the word is all, both, each or every. The word can be used as singular or plural. In the above mentioned verse "Kullun" has been used just after sun and moon. So the translation of "waalqamara kullun fee falakin yasbahoona" stands as - "all swim along, each in its rounded course". In this sentence "all" indicates only towards sun and moon, nothing else. Some Bucaille lovers are coming with an assertion that "all" indicates the "all celestial bodies" of the universe. I have no objection in accepting that all celestial bodies of the universe are moving, but does the above-mentioned verse resembles the fact? It will clarify our confusion if we discuss on a similar type of sentences as stated below:

Joe and Jim came to my house yesterday. They (all / each) are good students.

An infant too will understand that here the word They/all/each is pointing towards Joe and Jim only. But if one interpreter comes with an interpretation saying that the sentence is actually indicating Joe, Jim, John, Jack, Lisa, Ram, Rahim all - I wonder whether it will be an honest interpretation. This hypocrisy they understand quite easily for Joe and Jim, but in case of Qur’an they all are suffused with great mystic wonders and astonish. To avoid such misinterpretation, some translator used "both" to indicate sun and moon in their translation. For example, our Bengali Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi translated the verse as "Both (sun and moon) float, each in its rounded course”. Pickthal also translated as -"They float, each in an orbit" It is quite clear that "They" indicates sun and moon, nothing else. It is to be noted that the word "kullun" has been used not only in Sura Al-Anbiya, but also in Ya-Sin , Sura Az -Zumar, Sura Al-RadSura Fatir and  Sura Luqman. For each and every case, it has been used after Sun and moon, nowhere after the earth. For example, let's dig out now how "wakullun fee falakin yasbahoona" has been used in Ya-Sin:

La alshshamsu yanbaghee laha an tudrika alqamara wala allaylu sabiqu alnnahari wakullun fee falakin yasbahoon

meaning -

036.040 

YUSUFALI: 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). 

PICKTHAL: It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor doth the night outstrip the day. They float each in an orbit. 

SHAKIR: Neither is it allowable to the sun that it should overtake the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day; and all float on in a sphere.

Here we again see that the word kullun (each/ they/all) has been used only after Sun and Moon and Day and Night. Day and night are not celestial bodies, so there is no question of rotation for these two. It is not very hard to comprehend that "sun cannot overtake the moon, nor does the night outstrip the day" are very old-fashioned way of seeing our nature by ancient Arabs; they couldn't even relate diurnal motion of earth with the apparent westward motion of the sky over the course of a day or night even in their wildest dreams.

[OA]

And Allah Almighty made the Noble Quran be for every time and every place, that no matter how much we advance, we will always find the Noble Quran steps ahead of us.   Allah Almighty didn't give the knowledge to Prophet Muhammad to explain every scientific thing in the Noble Quran, because they were impossible to be comprehended by people at that time.  Take the following examples: The Miracle of the number 19 in the Noble Quran, Life originated from water in the Noble Quran, The Earth is round according to Islam, The amazing creation of earth and iron in the Noble Quran, The amazing creation of earth and mountains in the Noble Quran, What does the sun orbit?....

[My Response]

The way the author tried to “find” science in his holy scripture is not only funny, but also distasteful and notorious. I could have refuted each and every so-called “scientific miracles” that the author mentioned in his article, but it would only lengthen my essay. The basic point is, if one likes to see science in anything they can see it anywhere; Qunatum mechanics in Rabindranath Tagore’s “Shonar Tori”, theory Relativity in Buddhist Monk Nagarjun's writing, Embryology in Shakespeare’s Hamlet or Time Dilation in Vagbat Gita. Aparthib has already mentioned this  clever and  dexterous act played by apologists in some of his articles in Mukto-mona. Some “X”  may have said "All is relative" 10 or 20 years before Einstein's theory of relativity;  By this stretch of imagination that ‘X’ can legitimately claim that he already knew about relativity and claim originality. Any vague phrase, pun, quote etc by humans, scriptures etc can be customized and made to fit any scientific principle which also have been phrased in a very general way for popular consumption hiding the underlying precise sense of these principles. Its an insult to science and the scientists whose painstaking research has helped unravel the complex workings of the laws of nature and reality. Adopting the author’s same logic if someone comes with a claim- “Shakespeare Predicted the Big Bang and Dark matter!!!”  with his famous quote –“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” (Hamlet Act I, scene v), what will be his answer?

https://gold.mukto-mona.com/Articles/yaha/shakespeare_dark_matter.htm

Best Regards,

Avijit

10/25/2003

Acknowledgement: FFI and Mukto-mona members

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