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Miraculous Features Polemical Rebuttals The Qur'an

Cosmology and the Holy Qur’an: A Response to Richard Carrier

Introduction

This paper is intended to respond to atheistic criticism as proposed by Richard Carrier, in a rather large piece that is in my personal opinion and understanding, replete with errors and misunderstandings with regards to basic cosmological concepts, the Islamic viewpoint, as well as history. I also address a few polemics that were put forward by Freethought Mecca. Their article contains the particular objections that I shall address Insha’Allah, along with a spurious argument for Isaiah and then a few links to some other polemical sites; needless to say at least for now these few objections are the only ones that are relevant to this particular paper. So let us begin Insha’Allah; Richard Carrier has argued as of late that not only does the Holy Quran fail to predict anything amazing with regards to cosmology; he goes one step further and claims that the Holy Quran is in stark contradiction with modern day cosmology. So on Carrier’s view, to accept the Holy Quran as the Word of Allah Subhana Wa Ta’alaa is to fly in the face of mass amounts of evidence to the contrary.

To begin I have to say that I did not like the title of his paper “A Response to Muslim Fundamentalists”; I mean it in a sense I am a Muslim fundamentalist as I adhere strictly to the fundamentals of the Deen; however that is not what Carrier was trying to say. Carrier is seeking to undermine the Islamic viewpoint before even presenting it; fundamentalists as most perceive them at least from a popular media stand point, are those who refuse to accept any conclusions of the modern times and are those who alienate themselves from the modern world. In Carrier’s argument, anyone who does not agree that the Holy Qur’an is replete with errors is a dogmatic fundamentalist, complete with the usual bias associated with the term he gives off the impression that the Muslim viewpoint is not even serious. Hence the title of his paper has its own place of power in Carrier’s argument; however I do not think it holds weight as I will demonstrate in this paper, Insha’Allah.

Carrier first of all fails to provide a serious basis for his overall criticism; due to the fact that the site that he links us to as the “Muslim” source is in fact a site owned by a non-Muslim. To my knowledge the author of the link is a Quranite; meaning he rejects certain Holy Ayaats in the Holy Quran which endow the Prophet(P) with authority through his prophetic Sunnah.1 Imagine if my source for the atheistic argument was a mystic hippy who rejects the existence of God, yet on the same note accepts absurd beliefs that do not reflect the majority of atheists opinion on the subject. This is just one aspect that reveals Carrier’s severe ignorance to Islam and his poor research in the progress of his paper. Now I must say that I personally do not find what some call “scientific miracles” to be miracles at all; the Holy Qur’an is the Word of Allah Subhana Wa Ta’alaa, hence it is not all that miraculous that He the Exalted has outlined all aspects of the universe without error. I do feel that Muslims who are unfamiliar with Quranic Arabic and or Tafsir literature; have indeed totally misconstrued certain Holy Ayaats and thus made the Holy Quran a subject of mockery amongst the better educated, I however contend that the Holy Quran contains no errors point blank period and that the Holy Quran can be put to the empirical test and confirmed Alhamdulillah. However Carrier is not all that familiar with modern cosmology which makes his article an intellectual bore for myself; the Infidels team should have requested that Quentin Smith or Adolf Graunbaum address the claims as opposed to Carrier who has been known to be completely alien to certain cosmological realities; and is known to attack them when he himself fails to grasp such facts.2 So naturally Carrier initially avoids any serious cosmological discussion.

A Cosmological Argument? Or A Poorly-Structured History Lesson?

To begin, Carrier once again seeks to under mime the Muslim position with an opening barrage of verbal hollow tips (very hollow indeed), he starts off with “…..Things like this have proven hard to explain to fanatics who are more practiced at pious denials than in actual historical research.” The same man who attacked one of the most empirically valid realities ever to arise from the field of cosmology now accuses all Muslims and non-muslims alike who do not agree with his brief browsing of classical polemical sources on Islam, of practicing pious denials; rich indeed. However let us push pass the poor verbal barbs if for nothing else; for the sake of brevity, now the first fault that Carrier commits is he assumes that Islam arose from Judeo-Christian sources he writes “Jews and Christians were extensively Hellenized, and Islam sprung from these very same religious traditions…” First of all Islam did not “spring” from Judaism nor Christinity and the bulk of the claims put forward in order to try and demonstrate how this is even physically possible, let alone historically plausible, have been refuted in great detail.3 One of Carrier’s own sources, Richard Bell, states:

“…in spite of traditions to the effect that the picture of Jesus was found on one of the pillars of Ka’aba, there is no good evidence of any seats of Christianity in the Hijaz or in the near neighborhood of Makkah or even of Madina.”4

Carrier seems to offer a response to himself by acknowledging that the Muslims began translating Greek texts among others, within a century after the prophetic mission of Muhammad(P). Hence Carrier’s argument could be, if I am understanding him, structured as such “Muslims had access to Greco-Roman sources in abundance; after Islam’s initial spread.” Of course that argument provides no firepower in favor of his overall claims in the least bit; the Arabs according to all serious historical sources were barbaric, illiterate, idolaters who preferred tribal warfare to education, and went as far as to bury their own female infants; that is, before Islam.

The Arabs remembered their entire bloodlines off by heart so as to avoid writing them down and they were indeed wise to do so as Carrier points out elsewhere:

    “…even a single page of blank papyrus cost the equivalent of thirty dollars-ink, and the labor to hand copy every word, cost many times more. We find that books could run to the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars each. Consequently, only the rich had books, and only elite scholars had access to libraries, of which there were few.”5

No Arabs had such resources; in fact, as missionary Dr. William Campbell demonstrated the best naturalistic anti-Islamic argument for correct statements in the Holy Qur’an regarding modern embryology involves a doctor of the Prophet (P) who was taught in Persia!6 Carrier offers no evidence that displays that Arabs had any Greek texts present in Makkah, in fact he himself admits that at best Arabs may have been taught in Greek education centers even then this does not demonstrate that th Holy Quran is the product of older Greek texts; nor can Carrier sight which texts have presumably been plagiarized. In sum Carrier’s argument so far is nothing but fanciful heresy “it could have been like this..”, “maybe…”, “perhaps..”; he provides nothing solid he merely tries to ground the idea that Arabs would have been masters of Greek scientific literature and Carrier disappointingly fails miserably.

He also is under the false assumption the Holy Quran was written after the death of the Holy Prophet Muhammad alayhis salatu wasalam7. Fact is we have a copy of the Holy Quran from the time of the righteous companion Uthman (R) which was compiled from the personal copy of the wife of the Prophet (P), Hafsa (R) which was from when the Prophet (P) was alive. Furthermore, the Holy Quran’s order and sequence was Divinely Revealed to the Prophet (P) who supervised the writing of the Holy Quran; even if Carrier does not believe in the Supernatural he cannot deny the simple fact that the Prophet (P) supervised the writing as well as the sequencing of the Holy Quran during his lifetime, and if he wishes to do so; he thus shoulders the massive burden of evidence.

Carrier then imposes the fantastic premise that the Prophet (P) was well educated and literate. First of all I am not aware of a single historical source that supports his claim and he himself does not provide one; Carrier is I think, confusing Arab history with romantic Greek history. A Noble Arab of the Prophet’s (P) time meant that he would be fashioned into a good wrestler, hunter and eventually a warrior. The very year the Prophet (P) was born tribal warfare nearly destroyed the Ka’abah; furthermore the Holy Prophet (P) was an orphan who were not viewed highly in ancient Arab society. The Prophet (P) would later become a humble tradesman (hardly the high life that Carrier envisions for nobles) and in all reality almost all Arabs were illiterate and being a noble actually increased their chances of remaining illiterate as nobles were to be skilled warriors and violent protectors of their tribes honor; not to be educated young men in large houses with maidservants and massive libraries. Even classical polemicists such as J.M Rodwell and Alan Jones admit that the Prophet (P) was indeed illiterate; Carrier seems to have a habit of going against the grain without putting in the hard yards. He simply states something that is contrary to the facts and hopes we will buy it; for example the claim that Christians and Jews populated Makkah we of course know that there was no real Christian influence in Makkah and that the Jews populated al Medina. To quote Dr. Nabîh Aqel:

“The big difference between Christianity and Judaism is that Christianity unlike Judaism didn’t have any bases in Hijaz, Christianity was an external source of enlightenment echoed in Hijaz either by missionary activities from Ethiopia, Syria and Iraq or from Alheerah’s Christian centers…”8

Carrier even goes so far as to state that the Prophet’s (P) family ruled Makkah. The fact is that there were various tribes in Makkah; none of which were Sovereign rulers of the city not only are Carrier’s claims preposterous; he hiself does not argue in favor of them. Apparently we are supposed to just accept his claims in the severe absence of evidence which in accordance with the old saying “actions speak louder than words”, I think, demonstrates that Carrier has no real empirical backing behind his claims.

Carrier also assumes that Islamic sources are all but buried in legends; once again this shows just how little research was involved with his paper. The earliest Islamic sources have been dated back to the time of the Companions and show no traces of legendary interpolations and the fact of the matter is that the Holy Qur’an and the Hadith literature were both recorded to promptly to have accumulated legendary interpolations. The earliest manuscripts of the Holy Quran show that the scribes did not even space out Holy Ayaats (a true testimony to their literary mastery, the early Muslims simply memorized when a Holy Ayaah began and ended) and furthermore the early Muslims would have sooner died as opposed to sitting down in the face of scribal tampering. Even anti-Islamists agree that the Islamic sources are sound; to quote “Dr.” Ali Sina, one of today’s staunchest critics of Islam and most infamous online Islamophobe:

    “The truth about Muhammad can only be found in the early books of history written inthe first three centuries of Islam.”9

Carrier’s view of Arab history is thus idiosyncratic and bears no resemblence to reality.

Would You Like Some Cosmology With That History?

Carrier finally looks posed to offer a detailed critique of the Holy Quran’s relation to cosmology; however he predictably fails to address the Holy Quran’s outline of the universal creation. Carrier focused on the Quranite site from which he draws his conclusions on the Islamic view of cosmology, thus he writes

    “The idea that the universe began as some sort of gaseous vortex was ubiquitous throughout Persian and Greek ideology. That the Koran says the same thing is thus not at all surprising.”

The problem is that the Holy Qur’an makes no such assertion. Carrier is going pound for pound with a phantom at this point in time. Now before going any further which will just in all reality draw us further away from the topic of cosmology due to Carrier’s inability to stay on topic; I feel it is a worthwhile endeavor to outline the Holy Quran’s explanation of the universes existence.

The Holy Quran does not say that the universe came from gaseous material, Allah Subhan Wa Ta’alaa says: “He (Allah) is the Originator of the heavens and the earth…”10 The aforementioned Holy Ayaah clearly states that Allah Subhan Wa Ta’ala is the Originator of the universe, thus the universe was not in an infinite gaseous state until later intervention rather the universe has an origin; a point of creation that is coming into existence from non-existence and Allah Subhan Wa Ta’alaa is indeed the Creator. Allah Subhan Wa Ta’ala then says “Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of Creation), before We clove them asunder?”11

The important point in this Holy Ayaah is that the Arabic context refers to the universe and the earth as one. Ratq mens “mixed or blended” so ratq describes the initial first materials that formed the entire universe; including the earth and states clearly that they were mixed or blended. In the very initial stages of the universe; the heavens expanded and cooled. Particles of matter and anti-matter rose briefly for minute periods of time; however the temperature would not sustain them for long. Then the electromagnetic and weak interaction were cleaved; later the neutrinos would separate from the photons aswell. Now almost all of the anti-matter and matter was annihilated in this cleaving, except the minute amount that remained. Thus the first elements came about; and all this came to pass in around three minutes after the creation of time itself. These elements just as Allah Subhan Wa Ta’ala stated would ultimately form the contents of our universe; including the earth.12

So the Holy Ayaah stated that the universe and the earth where once one unit of creation; true to the Quranic context mixed or blended this demonsrates that the Holy Quran does not mean that the earth was as it is now; rather the Holy Qur’an I think explains that the earth had a long creation process(evolution if you will), beginning at the initial point of the Creation of the universe; second the Holy Quran acknowledges that the universe was cleft asunder; and that this cleaving of the universe would permit the existence of the initial elements that would form our universe as we see it now and more explicitly: our earth.

Thus the Freethought Mecca camp lodges a complaint; which in turn does a wonderful job of unveiling their ignorance of Arabic and placing it on display. While always pasting the Arabic text of a Holy Ayaah complete with a transliteration whenever quoting from the Holy Qur’an in their articles, fact is it is apparent that they do not speak Arabic nor encompass the complexity of the Holy Qur’an’s language within their research. If I understand the argument they presuppose that the Holy Quran was composed by an illiterate man for an ancient people thus the Qur’an seems to be outlining that the event described in Surah al-Anbiyaa: 30 must have been presumably observable by the ancients. Fact is just like oaths, this is one of the idiosyncrasies of Qur’anic Arabic. The Arabic expression that can be translated as “Do not the Unbelievers see…” is just a linguistic feature to draw the readers attention to a specific matter in order illustrate point; in this case the readers attention is directed to to the fact that Allah Subhan Wa Ta’alaa clove the heavens and the earth asunder.

Freethought Mecca then claim that due to some creation myths that have been rendered to an infinitesimal extent; in a similar fashion, the Holy Ayaah is thus nothing spectacular. The first problem is that the Holy Ayaah does not say “separated the heaven and earth”; fatq is an explicit reference to a “cleaving” or powerful striking of one unit of blended or mixed entities. So googling an erroneous translation does not help their case. Second if we overlook their initial blunder from the outset of their polemic and read the creation myths; none of the them explain that the heavens and the earth were “mixed or blended”; on the contrary they assume that either there was a solid cosmic egg, or that the the heavens and the earth where two solid objects that somehow got intertwined. All of the myths contain legendary aspects from magical wind coiling like a massive serpent; to physical beings breathing in space.

The Holy Quran contains none of the aforementioned flaws/errors rather, Allah Subhan Wa Ta’alaa explains that the heavens and the earth were once mixed or blended, we thus reach their next polemic. How can the earth exist at this point in time? As I explained before, I think that the Holy Quran does not state that the earth was as it is in the present time frame, rather it had a long creation process which began at the initial instance of the universes Creation. The Arabic context quite simply rules out the solid earth/connected to the universe hypothesis; so the Holy Quran describes I think an evolution of the earth from the very initial stages of the universes existence; that is the only way the Holy Ayaah can in my opinion be interpreted due to the context of the word employed “ratq”. In fact Abdallah Yusuf Ali; who did not have the same knowledge nor resources that I have available to me at the present time, still wrote in his commentary on the Holy Ayaah in question: The evolution of the ordered worlds as we see them is hinted at.” Anyone familiar with the present day data knows; that the initial properties in the early universe are what makes up the contents of our universe today, hence we can look at the beginning of the universe as the earliest point of the earth’s existence as it over time evolved by the Will of Allah Subhan Wa Ta’alaa; the earth itself was Created from initial cosmic gas. The same way if I show my favorite picture of my mother and I you could object and say I am no where to be seen and that she is holding a baby; the objection is mute that was me in the initial stages of my life and I grew over time by the Grace of Allah Subhan Wa Ta’alaa.

And last of all searching out similar explanations does not imply plagiarism, indeed is this not the way of the atheist? Speaking out of both sides of their mouths I mean for the existence of God its all about empirical evidence; when it comes to criticizing religion its all about feasible fanciful heresy. Take any random statement from lets say; the Hawking-Hartle paper on the wave function of the universe, ensure that the statement is in quotation marks put the statement in a google search engine and watch how many hits you get. It does not imply plagiarism nor does it under mime their conclusion; to be perfectly sure this is the last resort of the atheistic argument so when rational empirical explanations fail, cut and chopped theorizing prevails. Fact of the matter is the Holy Quran is exempt from the errors of the creation myths and worse still for the atheist; I think the Quran is correct on the matter. And my interpretation is in accordance with the context of the Holy Ayaah, to the point that he earlier comment ors who did not have the present day data formed similar conclusions.

Now; we then reach the gaseous point of the universe and the other instances of Creation Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala says: “He placed firmly embedded mountains on it, towering over it, and blessed it and measured out its nourishment in it, laid out for those who seek it, all in four days. Then He turned to heaven when it was smoke and said to it and to the earth, “Come willingly or unwillingly.” They both said, “We come willingly.”13. And then the beautifying of the stars as Allah Subhan Wa Ta’ala says: “And We adorned the lower heaven with lights, and (provided it) with guard. Such is the Decree of (Him) the Exalted in Might, Full of Knowledge.”14. So we can outline the Islamic perspective of the Creation of the universe and its contents as such:

    1. Creation of the universe from nothing. (Surah al An’aam, Holy Ayaah 101)
    2. The heavens and the earth were mixed or blended in the initial conditions of the universe. This is after the universes initial instant of creation (Surah al-Anbiyaa, Holy Ayaah 30)
    3. “Fatq” the cleaving asunder of the electromagnetic and weak interaction; which then annihilated all of the anti-matter as well as most of the matter, except a small remnant thus the first elements came about. (Ibid.)
    4. The universe remains nothing but vapor i.e gaseous elements as the earth is created. (Surah Fussilat, Holy Ayaats 9-12)
    5. Stars are beautified and the rest of the cosmos continue to change by the Will of Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala. (Surah al Imran, Holy Ayaah 109)

Nadir Ahmed drew attention to point five on radio with Carrier15. Allah Subhan Wa Ta’alaa uses the term “created’ over 200 times in the Holy Quran. However the word used in Surah Fussilat Holy Ayaah 12 is zayyanna which means to beautify or adorn; so the stars where already in existence at this point in time. The question then arises how can the universe be but smoke and still have stars? First of all allow me to clarify the smoke matter which was the subsidiary target of Carrier’s polemic that followed his erroneous interpretation of the Holy Qurans explanation on the universes Creation. Instantly he applies the strictest literalism possible hence ignoring the reality of the Arabic context; the word used here for smoke is dukhan which can mean “smoke”, “mist” or “vapor”. Smoke in classical semantics can mean flying particles as well as a mist or vapor according to the Macquarie dictionary. Mist can mean a cloud of particles resembling a fog or a cloud like entity, and vapor is just a substance in the gaseous state. All of which can describe the universes initial conditions after baryogenesis, inflation(e xponential increase in R), the fundamental particles, and the cleaving asunder of the electromagnetic and weak interaction.

He then asks why Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala did not name the components of the initial gaseous make up. This is where I must stress that the Holy Qur’an is not a science book; the Holy Qur’an is not meant for university grade cosmology on the contrary, the Holy Qur’an is for all of mankind not a select few educated individuals. Allah Subhan Wa Ta’alaa says: “And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember: but will any take heed?”16 How many people would seriously understand what the Holy Qur’an meant if it described the initial cosmic make up in the most explicit terms possible? How many would derive any benefit and or understanding from such a book? The answer is only those with university grade education; keeping in mind that the Holy Qur’an is for all of mankind that means from the average student, to the guy who begs for change at the train station. Thus those who seek fantastic scientific miracles in the Holy Qur’an are seriously misaken; the Holy Qur’an does of course describe the Creation of the universe and yes it is indeed consistent with the observational evidence (unlike any other text claiming to be from Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala) however It does not ever claim to be a science book; science is complementary to the Holy Qur’an and in encouraged therein.

Thus I partially agree with Carrier’s last point in his initial opening of bullet point objections, he writes “The very passage in question is neatly quoted out of context…”; however the other four objections raised, have I think been cleared up as has the remainder of his last point. So far it is clear that Carrier is ignorant to the Arabic context of certain Holy Ayaats and has no real grasp on the Quranic account of the universes Creation.

To sum up, whether blatantly or indirectly Carrier’s entire paper is thus far based upon clear cut ignorance to the Islamic viewpoint. Of course he is not finished as of yet; Carrier wishes to desperately drive one point home, adorned with various little shots at Islam in between. He wishes to demonstrate the Holy Quran’s presumably most vivid contradiction to cosmology. But naturally the point proves to be Carrier’s most astounding blunder in the entire essay.

He starts off by trying to make it seem as though Muslims have to “reinterpret” the word “day”; once again displaying his supreme ignorance to the language of the Revelation, yaum just means “period” and not a literal 24-hour cycle as Carrier tries to ground within the reader’s mind. Thus the Holy Quran is exempt from the Biblical error; he continues on and thus makes our case for us and reveals the largest error this poor misinformed man has espoused thus far in this particular paper. He writes

    “But then we see that verse 41:11 establishes an undeniable context in which the universe exists as smoke at the same time that the earth already exists…”

Very meticulous reading indeed, Carrier. Two thumbs up, hombre. However he then states

    “since here the “gaseous state” co-exists with a fully-formed Earth. That is scientifically impossible..”

Excuse me? Come again, Mr. Carrier? Do you seriously believe your statement? For lack of better words allow me to quote Professor John F. Hawley and Katherine A. Holcomb:

“All stars are huge balls of gas, mostly hydrogen held together by gravity.”17

Keeping in mind that gravity is merely a force and is in fact the weakest of the four fundamental forces and it is carried by a purely hypothetical massless boson “the graviton”, which has not yet been detected. Now the gas that makes up a star is held together by two competing forces, keeping in mind that dukhan can be translated as vapor as discussed before; which is in turn merely a substance in a gaseous state. Stars can thus be counted in the universal stage that is described in Surah Fussilat, Holy Ayaah 12, as stars are merely gas held together by their hydrostatic equilibrium, keeping in mind that the majority of the galaxy is still filled with clouds of gas. Carrier then tries to form a polemic based upon the erroneous idea that the stas were yet to be Created; I already covered this and Nadir Ahmed made it clear on the radio that Carrier was propounding a straw-man claim.

Carrier then — much like Freethought Mecca — resorts to claims of “cultural borrowing” indeed these tactics are tautological, it is clear that the Holy Quran did not borrow from the Biblical events or else the Quran would contain the same gross errors. Carrier himself states in his paper “Greek philosophers guessed a lot of scientific details correctly–they anticipated atoms, other solar systems, evolution, the laws of thermodynamics, the rain cycle, you name it. That doesn’t make them supernaturally prescient…” I agree so when Darwin proposed the theory of evolution I suppose he was plagiarizing/borrowing from the Greeks? Carrier needs to re-asses his criticism, the ancients did indeed guess various details so if the Holy Quran mentions a correct phenomena that was perhaps encompassed in older myths; that is not grounds to accuse the Author of the Holy Qur’an of “cultural borrowing”. Carrier’s strongest point was the seven heavens argument whih I think he refutes himself, Carrier wrote “…”the seven heavens” are traditionally delineated by the seven “planets,” i.e. the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn…” And yet the Holy Quran never says a word about seven planets and clearly distinguishes the sun and the moon from the category of planets; hence Carrier’s claim is an ad hoc assertion; he needs to show how the Author of the Holy Quran plagiarized. Then he needs to explain as to why the Author decided against including the erroneous “seven planets” myth and then if Carrier cannot demonstrate any of the above he would need to prove that there are no Seven Heavens.

In the Arabic context, it seems to denote seven separate universes; if the self-reproducing chaotic inflation model is correct then this is very plausible. Inflation ensures that the universes initial conditions would be smooth, flat and homogeneous regardless of how it came about (it does not, however, solve as to why inflation took place nor why it was so well-calculated). The problem proposed early on, was the fact that from the classical proposals it didnt seem that the universes inflation field would be constant everywhere within the universe. So Andrei Linde proposed that certain portions of the universe are caused to inflate by quantum fluctuations to a high degree while others to a much lower degree. In this scenario child universes form from certain regions of the overall mother universe; and the child universes are connected to the mother universe by wormholes however the wormhole that connects them also permanently separates the children. In some of these child universes inflation may not eventake place, and of course they may be governed by a completely unknown set of physical laws.

The Holy Qur’an could be correct in Hugh Everett’s many worlds interpretation too, even if the ekpyrotic model or Smith’s black hole theory is correct! The fact remains that there could be seven separate heavens as the Holy Quran states. Thus ironically the Qur’anic claim is real science, it can be falsified or confirmed via observational evidence; considering the accuracy of the Holy Qur’an I think we have every reason to place our faith in it as opposed to atheism. As Carrier stated:

    “It is they who are being irrational and unreasonable if they deny the obvious.”

Indeed, Mr. Carrier, and you, sir have been most irrational, Good Day scholar.

And only Allah knows best!

  1. Please see The Importance of the Prophetic Sunnah in Islam is Undeniable. []
  2. Richard actually tried to deny that the Big Bang took place and dedicated a paper to demonstrating this hypothesis; he later admits that he did not accept the Big Bang because he did not understand the evidence and has since retracted the embarrassing article. Is this honestly a scholarly approach? If I don’t understand it; then it just must be wrong? []
  3. There was no Arabic version of the Bible, furthermore the Jews refused to show the Prophet (P) the Torah as they fired polemic, after polemic seeking to disprove his Prophethood. Borrowing theories and Judeo-Christian “sources” hypotheses have been answered here and here []
  4. Richard Bell, The Origin of Islam in its Christian Environment, 1925 and reprinted in 1968, The Gunning Lectures Edinburgh University, London: Frank Cass and Company Limited, p. 42 []
  5. Richard Carrier, Why I Don’t Buy The Resurrection Story, 6th Edition 2006, available online here []
  6. See the Zakir Naik vs William Campbell debate on the Quran and the Bible in Light of Modern Science. Also please see this link []
  7. http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Text/Mss/ []
  8. Dr. Nabih Aqel, Tarîkh al-Arab al-Qadim, 1983 (Third Edition), Dâr al-Fikr, Beirut, p. 305 []
  9. The synopsis of Sina’s soon-to-be-released book; “Understanding Islam and the Muslim Mind” should be a real treat. []
  10. Surah al-An’aam, verse 101. Also rendered by some translators as “He created the heavens and the earth from nothing…” []
  11. Surah al-Anbiyaa, Holy Ayaah 30 []
  12. Professor John F. Hawley and Katherine A. Holcomb, Foundations of Modern Cosmology, Oxford University Press 2006; Pages 14-15. “Cleaved” was their own wording identical to the Holy Ayaah’s expression. []
  13. Surah Fussilat Holy Ayaats 10-11 []
  14. Surah Fussilat Holy Ayaah 12 []
  15. http://www.examinethetruth.com/Richard_Carrier_challenge.htm []
  16. Surah al-Qamar, Holy Ayaah 32 []
  17. Professor John F. Hawley and Katherine A. Holcomb, Foundations of Modern Cosmology, Oxford University Press 2006; p. 126 []
Categories
Miraculous Features Polemical Rebuttals The Qur'an

Surah al-Anbiyaa:30 and the Missionary Felix Culpa

Recently the world’s most maladroit missionaries have allowed an impromptu piece to be published in response to Shabbir Ally’s views on Surah al-Anbiyaa: 30. Personally I do believe that Shabbir’s interpretation is wrong, albeit he was not the first Muslim to proffer such a cosmological hypothesis on this particular Holy Ayaah. However I feel that a two-fold response is requisite. I shall seek to demonstrate:

    (1) that Andrew Vargo’s claims on classical Big Bang cosmology are blatantly erroneous and are the result of paramount nescience, and;
    (2) I shall proffer a more appropiate interpretation on the Holy Ayaah in question.

Let us begin with my interpretation of the Holy Ayaah; Allah Subhan Wa Ta’alaa says:

“Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of Creation), before We clove them asunder?”

The important point in this Holy Ayaah is that the Arabic context refers to the universe and the earth as one; “ratq” means “mixed or blended” so ratq describes the initial first materials that formed the entire universe; including the earth, and states clearly that they were mixed or blended. In the very incipient proviso’s of the universe; the heavens aggrandized and cooled. Particles of matter and anti-matter originated for minuscular periods of time; however the temperature would not sustain them for long. The electromagnetic and weak interaction were then cleaved; now almost all of the anti-matter and matter was obliterated in this cleaving, except the minute amount that endured.

Thus the first elements came about; and all this came to pass in around three minutes after the creation of time itself. These elements just as Allah Subhan Wa Ta’alaa stated would ultimately form the physical constitution of our universe; including the earth. The Holy Quran describes I think an evolution of the earth fro the very initial stages of the universes existence; that is the only way the Holy Ayaah can in my opinion be interpreted due to the context of the word employed. In fact Abdallah Yusuf Ali; who did not have the same knowledge nor resources that I have available at the present time, still wrote in his commentary on the Holy Ayaah in question: “The evolution of the ordered worlds as we see them is hinted at.” Anyone familiar with the present-day data knows that the nascent properties in the early universe are what makes up the contents of our universe today, so we can look at the beginning of the universe as the earliest point of the earth’s existence as it over time evolved by the Will of Allah Subhan Wa Ta’alaa; the earth itself was, quite candidly created from elementary cosmic gas.

As I stated in my response to FTM’s objections; the same way if I show my favorite picture of my mother and I you could object and say I am nowhere to be seen and that she is holding a baby; the objection is moot for that was me in the initial stages of my life and I grew over time by the Grace of Allah Subhan Wa Ta’alaa.

Now the démodé libel launched on Shabbir’s hypothesis is surely worthy of a response; because it exposes Answering Islam‘s absolute denseness to modern cosmology. You see, to my absolute astonishment a one Andrew Vargo actually tries to challenge the Big Bang theory. Based upon the most primitive of quondam scientific resources, he in his mendacious prattle gives us an abundance of reasons for suspecting that the Answering Islam team are not dexterous enough to offer a serious challenge to the Din ul Haq. Vargo should not have ran his lips on such a enigmatic subject especially due to his severe ignorance to the topic; alas we can forgive the youngster for he probably just googled something along the lines of “how to disprove the most empirically verified model in cosmology to date”.

Anyway; he starts off by quoting Sir Fred Hoyle (who by the way, received an award for the most incorrect predictions in cosmology), Vargo then attempts to discredit the evidence for the Big Bang theory by simply rehashing criticism that was proposed aeons ago and received sufficient answers through observational averment.

Argument One: CBR, For or Against the Standard Model?

Anon from as early as 1941 cosmic background radiation (CBR) was detected although at that point in time not with intent even though such detection was desideratum. Now you see; interstellar gas clouds in perpetuum subsume atoms and molecules. The spectra of molecules are much more labyrinthine, owing to the fact that molecules as an entity can circumvolve and electrons surge and leap around, however the important point is that molecules can be identified by their spectra. It was W.S Adams who first noted the metastasis of cyanogen within a molecular cloud situated betwixt Zeta Ophiuchus and the earth. From the appurtenant data, A. Mckellar concluded that a single idiosyncratic line in the spectrum of cyanogen had no palpable explication unless of course the molecules were being agitated by photons with an estimated temperature of approximately 2.3 K.

Later on in 1965 George Field, N.J Woolf and I.S Shklovsky came to realize the paramountcy of the aforementioned observation, and in 1993 I. Hawkin, D.M Meyer and K.C Roth took spectra of cyanogen in diversified clouds from amidst the more proximate stars and the earth purposively seeking out the CBR titillation. They found a temperature of 2.729 K which was congruous with the other older measurements; however COBE i.e the Cosmic Background Explorer laid the argument to rest by duteously measuring the temperature to be 2.725 K. From the beginning of the hypothesis of an expanding universe the standard big bang model predicted this exact background radiation, which is just an exemplification of the hot dense era of our wonderful universes bodacious past. So Vargo’s first nonsensical claims on this matter have now been denuded as the ad hoc assertions that they were and always will remain, we cognize the fact that the big bang model predicted the CBR within a mathematical certainty; reality is. This because the Big Bang model presages that early on the matter density was immense as was the temperature and over time the universe expanded and cooled. To quote Professor John F. Hawley and Katherine A. Holcomb, “…it tells us immediately that the universe was once very much hotter than it is today, which by itself is convincing evidence for the hot big bang.”1

Vargo continues on apropos due to his impetuosity;

    The problem with using the CBR as proof of the “Big Bang” is that CBR is uniform throughout the Universe…

Is this guy kidding me? That is half of the argument for the Big Bang, the Robertson-Walker metric describes a homogeneous and isotropic space time. The fact that the universe is as the metric elucidates, was portended in the Big Bang model before it was confirmed. Vargo goes on to argue that the matter in the universe is not uniformed or as I understand him, evenly distributed. This is a preposterous claim; everyone knows that the universe has evenly distributed matter in large scales of super clusters. Furthermore; the matter density was also prognosticated (keeping in mind that there is non-luminous matter)and attested, additionally the necessitated proportionate value of the critical density corresponds to around 10 hydrogen atoms per cubic meter of space, thus the veritably existing matter successfully fulfill the needs of the standard Big Bang model hence the matter in our universe is precisely balanced and uniformed as predicted by the standard model.

To put it in a layman’s term for Vargo: matter is uniformly distributed throughout the universe as well as concentrated in some places to a much higher extent than our galaxy. Vargo did not offer any alternative explanation for the CBR’s existence, however since I am kind guy I will do it for him Insha’Allah. The surrogated theory is that the radiation comes from a background of gaseous and stellar exudations. But now its time for the nail in Vargo’s argumentations emblematic coffin; COBE also confirmed that the radiation had to emanate from the universe itself, due to “the fidelity of the CBR to a blackbody spectrum”. Thus, the CBR has to be the radiation remnant of the big bang; there is quite simply no other option to this fact and hence there is just no real alternative to the Big Bang.2 I could just leave it at that because the aforementioned is undisputed empirical evidence for the Big Bang model. However, because I do not want to make it easy for the missionaries to cop out of this hilarious blunder I will push onwards and address Vargo’s other two arguments against the standard model of the universe as taught in universities worldwide.

Argument Two: The Amount of Helium Within the Universe, For or Against the Standard Model?

I find it to be phenomenal how Vargo has failed to quote a book from after the year 1994; considering how daedal our wondrous field of cosmology is and how fast the consensus changes, this must be noted as one of Vargo’s major fallacies, i.e. failing to keep up with cosmological advancement. Learn from experience, my friend.

Now he relegates us to a paper written by Alan Guth, however it is clear that the paper he refers us to has absolutely nothing to do with the helium problem. The very name of the paper, “A Possible Solution to the Horizon and Flatness Problem” clearly shows that the paper was on what some call “the causality riddle”; the lack of any natural explanation for the universe’s smoothness, albeit for theists this is no problem, and the paper was also trying to tackle the geometric idiosyncrasy of the universe once again a pseudo-problem for us theists.

Now by the 1950’s the amount of helium was explained, but granted there was indeed an original gradiose exigency demanding an explanation on the vast amount of helium within the universe. Stars as everyone should know progenerate helium, however the Big Bang actualized most of the helium present in our universe today and then the rest was created by stellar paroxysm. Furthermore helium has actually gone a long way to poise the big bang model, for the aggregated quantity of helium can be used so as to confirm the amount of species of neutrinos. Theoretical data from the big bang model predicted the existence of three species of neutrinos, measurements of the amount of helium coupled with amazing amounts of deuterium as well as lithium asseverate that there are three species of neutrino’s; so we now have two empirical positive predications of the standard model.

Argument Three: The Redshift, For or Against the Standard Model?

Allah Subhana Wa Ta’alaa says: Waalssamaa banaynaha bi-aydin wa-inna lamoosioona, meaning, “And it is We Who have constructed the heaven with might, and verily, it is We Who are steadily expanding it.” (Surah Adh-Dhariyat, Holy Ayaah 47)

It is patently lucid that Vargo has not even an infinitesimal clue as to what a cosmic red shift is let alone whether or not they affirm or negate the standard Big Bang model. Observational evidence testifies to the fact that the universe is steadily expanding, so if a cosmic source is approaching an observer he/she will see a “blueshift”; that is when light waves are agglomerated and are thus tousled to more extensive frequencies. Hence if the source is moving away from the observer light waves shift to lower frequencies thus resulting in what we call a “redshift”. Edwin Hubble measured the redshift in the light from remote galaxies; his measurements proved that the universe is indeed enlarging.3 Vargo preys on an error of Edwin Hubble that has since been rectified in light of cosmological advancement.

Hubble interpreted the extragalactic red shift in terms of the Doppler shift, “however, the red shift is caused by the relativistic expansio of the universe itself, but this was not understood at the time that Hubble and Humason were compiling their data..”4 The measurement problems Vargo mentions are due to the those who did the measuring, to quote Christianity’s most prominent philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig, “…the anomalous red-shifts; these have been around for a long time, and they continue to be cleared up as better and better measurements are made of the objects that have these shifts.”

Conclusions

I genuinely hope you are reading this, Mr. Vargo, and I do not want you to be abashed by the aforementioned; cosmology is a wonderful field, alhamdulillah. However, my friend, you must put in the hard yards. I suggest you purchase upgraded text books and always make it a point to keep up with the latest cosmological data, Insha’Allah. Now bethinking on my neoteric interpretation of Surah al-Anbiyaa Holy Ayaah 30 the rest of Vargo’s criticism falls apart; except a few last dash’s of aberrant, senseless and unadulterated falsehood. First of all Vargo completely prevaricates the Islamic view of creation; allow me to outline the account real quick Insha’Allah.

    1. Creation of the universe from nothing. (Surah al Anaam, Holy Ayaah 101)
    2. The heavens and the earth were mixed or blended in the inceptive conditions of the universe. This is after the universe’s initial instant of creation (Surah al-Anbiyaa, Holy Ayaah 30)
    3. “Fatq” the cleaving asunder of the electromagnetic and weak interaction; which then annihilated all of the anti-matter as well as most of the matter, except a small remnant thus the first elements came about. (Ibid.)
    4. The universe remains nothing but vapor i.e gaseous elements as the earth is created. (Surah Fussilat, Holy Ayaats 9-12)
    5. Stars are beautified and the rest of the cosmos continue to change by the Will of Allah Subhana Wa Ta’alaa. (Surah al Imran, Holy Ayaah 109)

And yes stars can exist in the gaseous stage; the Arabic word used for smoke in the Holy Ayaah is “dukhan” which can mean “smoke”, “mist” or “vapor”. Smoke in classical semantics can mean flying particles as well as a mist or vapor according to the Macquarie dictionary. Mist can mean a cloud of particles resembling a fog or a cloud like entity, and vapor is just a substance in the gaseous state. All of which can describe the universes initial conditions after baryogenesis, inflation (exponential increase in R), the fundamental particles, and the cleaving asunder of the electromagnetic and weak interaction. “All stars are huge balls of gas, mostly hydrogen held together by gravity.”5

Keeping in mind that gravity is merely a dynamism and is in fact the weakest of the four fundamental forces and it is carried by a purely hypothetical massless boson “the graviton, which has not yet been detected. Now the gas that makes up a star is held together by two competing forces, keeping in mind that dukhan can be translated as vapor as discussed before; which is in turn merely a substance in a gaseous state. Stars can thus be counted in the universal stage that is described in Surah Fussilat Holy Ayaah 12 as stars are merely gas held together by their hydrostatic equilibrium.(Keeping in mind that the majority of the Galaxy is still filled with clouds of gas). Hence all of Vargo’s objections with regards to the order of Creation are silenced.

So we now confront the plagiarism hypothesis, Carrier and Giron proposed similar if not identical arguments indeed the tautology is rather frustrating. Anyway Vargo writes:

    The Hindu Rig Veda says that the universe was created when the golden “cosmic egg” was split.

The point is that in the creation myths, none of the them explain that the heavens and the earth were “mixed or blended”; on the contrary they assume that either there was a solid cosmic egg (as Vargo points out) or that the the heavens and the earth where two solid objects that somehow got intertwined.

All of the myths contain necromantic aspects from thaumaturgic wind coiling like a massive serpent; to physical beings breathing in space. The Holy Qur’an contains none of the aforementioned flaws/errors rather, Allah Subhan Wa Ta’alaa explains that the heavens and the earth were once mixed or blended; and then split asunder.

Vargo needs to point out where the presupposed plagiarism is within the Holy Qur’an and why it does not include the erroneous aspects of the older creation myths. Via Vargo’s flawed logic, when Darwin proposed the theory of evolution since the Greeks believed in an agnate theory of human origins, he must have merely been plagiarizing from the Greeks who also predicted that man evolved from a common source. Needless to say, Vargo’s assertion is ab absurdo. The ancients did indeed guess various details with regards to nature that have been substantiated, so if the Holy Qur’an mentions a correct phenomena that was perhaps encompassed in older cultures; that is not grounds to claim that the Holy Qur’an is the accruement of “cultural borrowing”.

All in all, Vargo has made a bold claim yet provided nothing pertinent to the furtherance of his theory; alas, we see that Answering Islam has no respect for scholarship nor the Truth.

And only God knows best.

  1. Professor John F. Hawley and Katherine A. Holcomb, Foundations of Modern Cosmology, Oxford University Press 2006; p. 412 []
  2. For a brief discussion on quantum alternatives and a critique of the SEC model please see my paper The Ultimate Questions []
  3. Edwin Hubble, “A Relation between distance and radial velocity among extra-galactic nebulae” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 15 (1929): pp. 168-73 []
  4. Professor John F. Hawley and Katherine A. Holcomb, Foundations of Modern Cosmology, Oxford University Press 2006, p. 290 []
  5. Ibid., p. 126 []
Categories
Miraculous Features The Qur'an

Religious Scripture and Science, Conflict or Conciliation? A Muslim Perspective

Transcript of speech at Interfaith Dialogue 4, organised by MMU Melaka

PART 1

Bismillahir Rohmanir Rohim. In the name of Almighty God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Alhamdulillahi Robbil ?Alamin. All praise is due to Him alone, The Lord, Cherisher and Sustainer of the Universe.

The Chairperson, Distinguished Guests, Learned Speakers, Brothers and Sisters, I welcome you with the universal greeting of Islam; Assalamu?alaikum Warohmatullahi Wabarokatuh; May Peace, Blessing and Mercy of Almighty God be with you.

First of all I will like to thank the organisors for this invitation. I also will like to congratulate MMU Malacca for organizing the 4th Interfaith Forum?Syabas!

The subject for this evening is “Religious Scriptures and Science, Conflict or Conciliation?” This subject is basically divided into two parts. Firstly we have to compare our Holy Scriptures against Modern Science. Next we need to analyze whether they are compatible or incompatible.

This topic is timely and relevant. Today many people are of the opinion that science and religion cannot get along. They believe one would only progress if they were to follow science and would stay backwards if they were to follow religion. Is this true? The famous physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Albert Einstein once said; “Science without Religion is misguided and Religion without Science is blind”.

The Holy Scripture in Islam is the Qur’an. We Muslims believe that the Qur?an is of completely divine origin, being the verbatim words of God sent as guidance for all humankind. The Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the last and final revelation of God sent through the last and final prophet of God, Muhammad pbuh 1400 years ago.

The Qur’an is not the book of ?science? but it is the book of ?signs?. The Qur?an contains more than 6000 signs or ayats of which no less than 1000 of it touches on scientific facts.

We all know that science sometime takes a u-turn. Therefore I would only be speaking on established scientific facts and not on theories or hypothesis as they are not based on proofs but assumptions.

Let us analyze how the universe was created. We all know about the ?Big Bang?, where the universe was once joined together as one big primary nebula. Then there was a big bang or explosion which resulted the formation of galaxies. These then divided to form the stars, planets, moons, satellites and the earth we live in. Scientist estimates that there are about 250 billion galaxies in the universe and each galaxy contains 300 billion stars!

The Qur’an speaks about the ?Big Bang? in 21:30 ?Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and earth was once joined together (as one unit of creation) before We clove them asunder?.
In 1929, Edwin Hubble with the aid of a giant telescope discovered that the galaxies were moving further and further from the earth. Later some other scientists discovered that the galaxies were also moving further from one another. This proved that the universe is not stable but it is steadily expanding. Stephen Hawkins in his book “A Brief History of Time” mentioned:

“The discovery that the universe was expanding was one of the greatest intellectual revolutions of the 20th century”.

1400 years ago, before man even learnt how to build a telescope, the Qur?an mentions in 51:47 ?For it is We who created the universe, which is steadily expanding?. If the universe is expanding with time then it means if we go back in time, the universe would be shrinking to a point of zero matter. Thus the universe must have been created from nothing; no matter, no time and no space! This also proofs that the universe didn?t exist by itself but was created by a Creator God. The Qur?an also mentions this fact in 6:101 ?Allah is the originator of heavens and earth?. Science does not reject the existence of God the Creator of the universe but it rejects the models of gods (demigods). Translated in Arabic, it will read “La ilaha Ilallah” which means “There is no god but Allah!”

For a long time European philosophers and scientist believed in the Geocentric concept, i.e.: the earth is in the centre of the universe and every thing in the universe including our sun moved around it. In 1512, Nicholas Copernicus put forward his Heliocentric Theory of Planetary Movement, i.e.; the sun is motionless in the centre of our solar system and the planets moved around it.

Today we know as a fact that the sun is not motionless but it also moves in its orbit around the centre of our Milky Way galaxy at the speed of 150 miles per second (720 000 Km per hour). It takes about 200 million years for the sun to complete one orbit. The Qur?an mentions in 36:40 ?It is not permitted for the sun to catch up with moon, nor can the night outstrip the day, each (just) swims along in its own orbit (according to law)?.

It was only a few decades ago that we discovered the sun too rotates around its axes which takes about 25 days to complete one rotation. Even this fact is also mentioned in the Qur’an in 21:33 “It is He who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon, all swims along its rounded course”. The Arabic word used for ?swim? is ?yasbahun? which is derived from the word sabaha which means “motion from a moving body”.

Previously mankind thought the earth was flat. They were afraid to sail too far lest they will reach the edge and fall. The first person to sail around the world was Sir Francis Drake in 1597. Only then people knew that the world was spherical.

1400 years ago, when the whole world thought that the earth was flat, the Qur?an gave the spherical description of the earth in several verses. In 31:29 ?Allah merges night into day and He merges day into night?. Merging means that the night slowly and gradually changes into day and vice versa. This is only possible if the earth was spherical because if the earth was flat, there will be a sudden change from night to day.

Furthermore in 39:5 “He makes the night overlap the day and the day overlap the night”. The Arabic word used here is “kawara” meaning to overlap or to coil, i.e. to coil a turban indicating the earth is spherical.

The exact shape of earth is mentioned in 79:30 “and He had made the earth egg-shaped”. The Arabic word used here is dahaha which comes from the root word duhiya meaning ostrich egg. The earth is not perfectly spherical like a ball but it is little flat on the poles and slightly bulging in the centre. It is geospherical just like the shape of an ostrich egg.

Geologists tell us today that the radius of the earth is 3750 miles and the outer solid crust is very thin, ranging between 1 to 30 miles. The deeper layers are hot and fluid. The earth is just like an egg which has a thin layer of solid shell on outside and inside is fluid. The earth spins around it axes at a speed of more than 1000 miles/hour. Imagine if we spin the egg at the speed of only 100 miles/hour, what will happen? The egg could not survive the pressure and it will explode. The earth too could not have survived if not for the fact that the mountains have been stabilizing the earth as well as acting as pegs which holds the earth crust together.

The Qur?an mentions about the mountains giving stability to earth in 21:31 ?and We have set on the earth mountains standing firm, lest it should shake with them?. The Qur?an also mentions about the function of mountains as pegs in 78:6-7 ?have We not made the earth as a wide expanse, and the mountains as pegs??

The Qur?an says in 21:30 {We made from water every living thing{. Today with the help of advanced science equipments we come to know that cytoplasm, the basic substance in cell is made of 80% water. Research also has shown that most organisms contain 50% – 90% water. Every living thing needs water for its existence. Who could have known this fact 1400 years ago and that too in the desert of Arabia?

A group of Arab students collected all the verses in the Qur?an related to embryology, translated them into English and presented to Prof. (Dr) Keith Moore, who was the Professor of embryology and the Chairman of the Department of Anatomy in University of Toronto, Canada. Presently he is one of the highest authorities in the field of embryology. After carefully examining those verses, he said most of the verses from the Qur?an on embryology were in perfect conformity with modern discoveries in the field of embryology.

However there were few verses which he could not comment as science has not reach to that level. One such verse was from 96:1-2 “Proclaim! In the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, who created man out of alaq“. The Arabic word alaq means clot of congealed blood or something that clings or leech like substance. Prof Keith Moore at that time didn?t know whether the embryo at initial stage looks like a leech. He took a diagram of leech and studied the embryo under a very powerful microscope. He was astonished at the striking resemblance between the two.

In 1981 during the 7th Medical Conference in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Dr Moore said: “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”.

The embryonic stages is accurately mentioned in the Qur’an in 23:14 “Then We made the sperm into alaqah (a clot of congealed blood), then We made into mudghah (foetus lump), this mudghah is transformed into izam (bones) and cloth it with lahm (flesh)”.

In this verse Allah states that the sperm is made into alaqah (clot of congealed blood or something that clings or leech like substance). It is scientifically accepted that the embryo in initial stage looks like a leech, also looks like a clot of congealed blood and it also clings to the wall of uterus. Then it is made into mudghah (foetus lump) and transformed into izam (bones) and clothed with lahm (flesh or muscles). These stages are in perfect agreement with modern scientific discoveries!

We can go on and on but time does not permit me to do so. If you have any questions, do let me know and I will do my level best to answer them.

PART 2

The Qur’an says in 4:82 “Do they not consider the Qur’an (with care)? Had it been from other than God, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy.” For a scripture to claim that it is from a divine source there could not have been even a single discrepancy or contradiction in it. There are more than 1000 verses in the Qur’an that touches on science. About 80% of them have been proven to be correct and are in perfect agreement with modern science. The balance 20% cannot be proven to be correct or incorrect because modern science has not reached the level of the Qur’an!

There is not even a single verse of the Qur’an that goes against established scientific facts. On the contrary the Qur’an which was revealed 1400 years ago contains profound scientific facts that were yet to be discovered by humankind centuries later.

Any person who claims that he / she is logical, rational, scientific and honest will have no other choice but to admit that the Qur?an is the word of Almighty God! If the Qur’an is not the word of God, then you tell me who else could have written it 1400 years ago.

Some allege that the Qur?an must have been written by Prophet Muhammad with the help of other people. To disprove this allegation it is enough to say that it was impossible for any single human being at that time to have their own knowledge on all the scientific facts mentioned above.

Others may allege that the Qur’an have been copied from earlier scriptures. The point to note here is that there is not a single scripture of the past that mentions these scientific facts with such accuracy. On the contrary you will find many errors and contradictions in them.

There have also been claims that the Qur’an was written by Satan. Then why the Qur’an says in 4:119 “Whoever, forsaking God, takes Satan for a friend, has of a surety suffered a loss that is manifest”. In 24:21 “follow not Satan’s footsteps, if any will follow the footsteps of Satan, he will (but) command what is shameful and wrong”. If Satan was the author of Qur’an, why would the Satan condemn itself?

Tonight when you go home, you owe yourself at least to ponder on this truth. The Qur?an says in 2:256 “truth stands out clear from falsehood” and in 17:81 “truth has arrived and falsehood perished; for falsehood is (by its nature) bound to perish”.

Thank you.

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Religious Scripture and Science, Conflict or Conciliation? A Muslim Perspective," in Bismika Allahuma, February 22, 2006, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/quran/religious-scripture-and-science-conflict-or-conciliation-a-muslim-perspective/
Categories
Miraculous Features The Qur'an

Response To Claims Made Against The Eloquence of the Qur’an

Introduction

This article was written to examine the language of the Qur’an and the circumstances surrounding it, in reference to its supernatural eloquence. We will also at the same time scrutinize a posting by a Christian apologist, Pete Nash — or otherwise known as Kip Rider, which attacks the eloquence claim of the Qur’an and see whether it stands up to the examination.

The Miraculous Eloquence of The Qur’an

Mr. Pete Nash alias Kip Rider expounds his claims as follows:

    Unlike the Bible, which is full of miracles that many different witnesses saw over a period of thousands of years, the Qur’an is not such a book. Muhammad claimed that the Qur’an itself, was a miracle. Most Muslims believe that it was the only miracle that Muhammad offered as proof of his claims to be a prophet. There are several reasons given by Muslims as to why they consider the Qur’an to be a miracle. One of the main reasons is the Qur’an’s “unique literary style”. We are told that the Qur’an has an eloquence about it that no other book even approaches. It’s beauty is unsurpassed say the Muslim apologists. It is that aspect of the Quran that I want to briefly address. Is it the work of art that the Muslims claim? Is it linguistically superior to all other books? Also, is eloquence a valid test to prove the divine inspiration of a book?

He then tries to answer his last question by saying:

    If the Qur’an is eloquent (and I’m not saying that it is), it would only prove that Muhammad was a gifted person. It would not prove that the Qur’an originated from God. If eloquence were a valid test for divine inspiration, then one could make the case that Mozart’s symphonies were divinely inspired. Or how about Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey”. Or Shakespeare’s works, such as “Romeo and Juliet”. No one would claim that these works, as eloquent as they are, were divinely inspired. The people that wrote them were just very talented. So, eloquence is a poor indicator of divine inspiration.

We would not address the claims of “one thousand and one” miracles of the Bible, since this is not the issue of this article and irrelevant, and therefore we will go straight to the gist of the matter, i.e. the supernatural eloquence of the Qur’an. To argue that eloquence is not the proof of divine inspiration, i.e. that is, there are other works of so-called “equal” eloquence such as Homer and Shakesphere, reflects a deep ignorance of the Arabic and the subject matter by the writer. We should keep in mind that during pre-Islamic Arabia, the Arabs were well-known for their supremacy in language. So proud and haughty were the Arabs of their language that they refer to other races as عُجْم (ajam), or dumb. As Philip K. Hitti observes:

No people in the world, perhaps, manifest such enthusiastic admiration for literary expression and are so moved by the word, spoken or written, as the Arabs. Hardly any language seems capable of exercising over the minds of its users such irresistible influence as Arabic.1

Huston Smith comments, in reference to the above observation made by Philip K. Hitti, that:

It is not difficult to surmise why this is so. Nomads are prohibited by their transient way of life from developing visual art. Their architecture is restricted to flapping tents, their crafts to the few pots and fabrics they can carry with them. With life one long process of packing and unpacking, one is not likely to accumulate a museum. Blocked on the visual side by the need to keep gear light, the nomad’s art took a verbal turn. “Wisdom,” says a famous adage, “has alightened on three things: the brain of the Franks, the hands of the Chinese, and the tongue of the Arabs.”2

When the Qur’an was first recited, the Quraysh immediately recognized it to be of great speech and eloquence, but were trying to make excuses to hide the fact. Ibn Ishaq recounts the incident of their consultation with al-Walid b. al-Mughira in his book Sirat Rasul Allah as follows:

A number of the Quraysh came to al-Walid b. al-Mughira, who was a man of some standing and he addressed them in these words: ‘The time of the fair has come round again and representatives of the Arabs will come to you and they will have heard about this fellow of yours, so agre upon one opinion without dispute so that none will give the lie to the other’. They replied, ‘You give us your opinion about him.’ He said, ‘No, you speak and I will listen.’ They said, ‘He is a kahin.’ He said, ‘By God, he is not that, for he has not the unintelligent murmuring and rhymed speech of the kahin.’ ‘Then he is possessed,’ they said. ‘No, he is not that,’ he said, ‘we have seen possessed ones and here is no choking, spasmodic movements and whispering.’ ‘Then he is a poet,’ they said. ‘No, he is not a poet, for we know poetry in all its forms and metres.’ ‘Then he is a sorcerer.’ ‘No, we have seen sorcerors and their sorcery, and here is no spitting and no knots.’3

So what is the miracle of the Qur’an, exactly? As recognised by the Arabs quoted above, Abdur Raheem Green mentions that:

    These are the sixteen al-Bihar (literally “The Seas”, so called because of the way the poem moves, according to its rhythmic patterns): at-Tawil, al-Bassit, al-Wafir, al-Kamil, ar-Rajs, al-Khafaf, al-Hazaj, al-Muttakarib, al-Munsarih, al-Muktatab, al-Muktadarak, al-Madad, al-Mujtath, al-Ramel, al-Khabab and as-Saria’. So the challenge is to produce in Arabic, three lines, that do not fall into one of these sixteen Bihar, that is not rhyming prose, nor like the speech of soothsayers, and not normal speech, that it should contain at least a comprehensible meaning and rhetoric, i.e. not gobbledygook.

The team at Islamic Awareness brilliantly explains the Arabic language and the Arab speech, as follows:

To begin with, the Arabic language and Arab speech are divided into two branches. One of them is rhymed poetry. It is a speech with metre and rhyme, which means every line of it ends upon a definite letter, which is called the ‘rhyme’. This rhymed poetry is again divided into metres or what is called as al-Bihar, literally meaning ‘The Seas’. This is so called because of the way the poetry moves according to the rhythmic patterns. There are sixteen al-Bihar viz; at-Tawil, al-Bassit, al-Wafir, al-Kamil, ar-Rajs, al-Khafaf, al-Hazaj, al-Muttakarib, al-Munsarih, al-Muktatab, al-Muktadarak, al-Madad, al-Mujtath, al-Ramel, al-Khabab and as-Saria’. Each one rhymes differently. For metres of Arabic poetry please see please see Lyall’s book Translations Of Ancient Arabian Poetry, Chiefly Pre-Islamic. He discusses al-Kamil, al-Wafir, al-Hajaz, at-Tawil, al-Bassit, al-Khafaf and al-Madad briefly. The other branch of Arabic speech is prose, that is non-metrical speech. The prose may be a rhymed prose. Rhymed prose consists of cola ending on the same rhyme throughout, or of sentences rhymed in pairs. This is called “rhymed prose” or saj. Prose may also be straight prose (mursal). In straight prose, the speech goes on and is not divided in cola, but is continued straight through without any divisions, either of rhyme or of anything else. Prose is employed in sermons and prayers and in speeches intended to encourage or frighten the masses. One of the most famous speeches involving saj is that of Hajjaj bin Yusuf in his first deputation in Iraq in post-Islamic and Quss bin Sa’idah in pre-Islamic times.

Indeed, it is clear that:

The Qur’an is not verse, but it is rhythmic. The rhythm of some verses resemble the regularity of saj, and both are rhymed, while some verses have a similarity to Rajaz in its vigour and rapidity. But it was recognized by Quraysh critics to belong to neither one nor the other category.4

The Orientalists’ View Of The Qur’an: What Do They Really Say?

Next, we read that the poster has claimed that:

    Is the Qur’an even an eloquent book to begin with? Not everyone thinks so. In fact, most people of the Western world agree with Carlyle who said this of the Qur’an: “It is as toilsome reading as I ever undertook, a wearisome, confused jumble, crude, incondite. Nothing but a sense of duty could carry any European through the Koran.” I am in complete agreement with Carlyle in this regard. It is only with extreme effort that I can work my way through the Qur’an. It is a poorly written, confused, and completely boring book.

We would argue that the above quote as cited from Carlyle is not only deceptive, but taken out of its original context. Carlyle indeed said the above, but it was not meant to be a criticism on the literary style of the Arabic Qur’an. On the contrary, Carlyle was stating his opinion about the English translation of the Qur’anic text, specifically by George Sale. We reproduce the whole context of the quote cited by the poster, which is as follows:

We also can read the Koran; our Translation of it, by Sale, is known to be a very fair one. I must say, it is as toilsome reading as I ever undertook. A wearisome confused jumble, crude, incondite; endless iterations, long-windedness, entanglement; most crude, incondite;–insupportable stupidity, in short! Nothing but a sense of duty could carry any European through the Koran. We read in it, as we might in the State-Paper Office, unreadable masses of lumber, that perhaps we may get some glimpses of a remarkable man. It is true we have it under disadvantages: the Arabs see more method in it than we. Mahomet’s followers found the Koran lying all in fractions, as it had been written down at first promulgation; much of it, they say, on shoulder-blades of mutton, flung pell-mell into a chest: and they published it, without any discoverable order as to time or otherwise;–merely trying, as would seem, and this not very strictly, to put the longest chapters first. The real beginning of it, in that way, lies almost at the end: for the earliest portions were the shortest. Read in its historical sequence it perhaps would not be so bad. Much of it, too, they say, is rhythmic; a kind of wild chanting song, in the original. This may be a great point; much perhaps has been lost in the Translation here. Yet with every allowance, one feels it difficult to see how any mortal ever could consider this Koran as a Book written in Heaven, too good for the Earth; as a well-written book, or indeed as a book at all; and not a bewildered rhapsody; written, so far as writing goes, as badly as almost any book ever was! So much for national discrepancies, and the standard of taste.

Yet I should say, it was not unintelligible how the Arabs might so love it. When once you get this confused coil of a Koran fairly off your hands, and have it behind you at a distance, the essential type of it begins to disclose itself; and in this there is a merit quite other than the literary one. If a book come from the heart, it will contrive to reach other hearts; all art and author-craft are of small amount to that. One would say the primary character of the Koran is this of its genuineness, of its being a bona-fide book. Prideaux, I know, and others have represented it as a mere bundle of juggleries; chapter after chapter got up to excuse and varnish the author’s successive sins, forward his ambitions and quackeries: but really it is time to dismiss all that. I do not assert Mahomet’s continual sincerity: who is continually sincere? But I confess I can make nothing of the critic, in these times, who would accuse him of deceit pretense; of conscious deceit generally, or perhaps at all;–still more, of living in a mere element of conscious deceit, and writing this Koran as a forger and juggler would have done! Every candid eye, I think, will read the Koran far otherwise than so. It is the confused ferment of a great rude human soul; rude, untutored, that cannot even read; but fervent, earnest, struggling vehemently to utter itself in words. With a kind of breathless intensity he strives to utter himself; the thoughts crowd on him pell-mell: for very multitude of things to say, he can get nothing said. The meaning that is in him shapes itself into no form of composition, is stated in no sequence, method, or coherence;–they are not shaped at all, these thoughts of his; flung out unshaped, as they struggle and tumble there, in their chaotic inarticulate state. We said “stupid:” yet natural stupidity is by no means the character of Mahomet’s Book; it is natural uncultivation rather. The man has not studied speaking; in the haste and pressure of continual fighting, has not time to mature himself into fit speech. The panting breathless haste and vehemence of a man struggling in the thick of battle for life and salvation; this is the mood he is in! A headlong haste; for very magnitude of meaning, he cannot get himself articulated into words. The successive utterances of a soul in that mood, colored by the various vicissitudes of three-and-twenty years; now well uttered, now worse: this is the Koran.5

Carlyle admitted that his observations were limited by the English translation, and is not and indictment of the Arabic Qur’an. Since no Muslim would claim that the translations of the Qur’an is the Qur’an itself and certainly has no bearing on the literary eloquence of the text, we accuse the poster of deliberately misquoting Carlyle’s statement and, by taking it out of its original context, tries to apply it to the Arabic instead.

In truth, Carlyle did have an admiration of the Qur’an, despite his complaining about the “confusion” of its translation.

E. H. Palmer, as early as 1880, recognized the unique style of the Qur’an. He writes in the Introduction to his translation of the Qur’an, that:

…the best of Arab writers has never succeeded in producing anything equal in merit to the Qur’an itself is not surprising. In the first place, they have agreed before-hand that it is unapproachable, and they have adopted its style as the perfect standard; any deviation from it therefore must of necessity be a defect. Again, with them this style is not spontaneous as with Muhammad and his contemporaries, but is as artificial as though Englishmen should still continue to follow Chaucer as their model, in spite of the changes which their language has undergone. With the Prophet, the style was natural, and the words were those in every-day ordinary life, while with the later Arabic authors the style is imitative and the ancient words are introduced as a literary embellishment. The natural consequence is that their attempts look laboured and unreal by the side of his impromptu and forcible eloquence.6

The famous Arabist from University of Oxford, H.A.R. Gibb was open upon about the style of the Qur’an. In his words:

…the Meccans still demanded of him a miracle, and with remarkable boldness and self confidence Mohammad appealed as a supreme confirmation of his mission to the Koran itself. Like all Arabs they were the connoisseurs of language and rhetoric. Well, then if the Koran were his own composition other men could rival it. Let them produce ten verses like it. If they could not (and it is obvious that they could not), then let them accept the Koran as an outstanding evident miracle.7

And in some other place, talking about the Prophet(P) and the Qur’an, he states that:

Though, to be sure, the question of the literary merit is one not to be judged on a priori grounds but in relation to the genius of Arabic language; and no man in fifteen hundred years has ever played on that deep-toned instrument with such power, such boldness, and such range of emotional effect as Mohammad did.8

As a literary monument the Koran thus stands by itself, a production unique to the Arabic literature, having neither forerunners nor successors in its own idiom. Muslims of all ages are united in proclaiming the inimitability not only of its contents but also of its style….. and in forcing the High Arabic idiom into the expression of new ranges of thought the Koran develops a bold and strikingly effective rhetorical prose in which all the resources of syntactical modulation are exploited with great freedom and originality.9

On the influence of the Qur’an on Arabic literature, Gibb says that:

The influence of the Koran on the development of Arabic Literature has been incalculable, and exerted in many directions. Its ideas, its language, its rhymes pervade all subsequent literary works in greater or lesser measure. Its specific linguistic features were not emulated, either in the chancery prose of the next century or in the later prose writings, but it was at least partly due to the flexibility imparted by the Koran to the High Arabic idiom that the former could be so rapidly developed and adjusted to the new needs of the imperial government and an expanding society.10

As the Qur’an itself says:

“And if ye are in doubt as to what We have revealed from time to time to Our servant, then produce a Sura 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 ye cannot- then fear the Fire whose fuel is men and stones,- which is prepared for those who reject Faith.”11

The above quotes cited easily speak for themselves. Thus, within the Arabic literature — either poetry or prose — there is nothing comparable to the Qur’an. Muslims throughout the centuries are unanimous upon its eloquence and inimitability.

“Subjective Judgement” And The Bible

Our poster also claims that:

    To use common American language, it is just a very “bad read”. If Muslim apologists want to prove the divine inspiration of the Qur’an, they would be wise to stay away from the “eloquence” test. The Qur’an fails that test miserably. Now, some may argue that the eloquence of the Qur’an is purely a subjective judgement. That’s a valid point.

The “valid point” can easily be disproved by asking the question: if the language of the Qur’an was purely a subjective point, why were the pagan Arabs willing to accuse the Prophet(P) of being possessed, or making magic or of being a soothsayer, instead? Anyone who reads the arguments of the pagan Arabs against the Prophet(P) could easily see that they had to resort to ad hominem, argument against the man. They were clearly unable to explain the language of the Qur’an according to the rhymed speeches they were familiar with. And these were the same people who labelled other non-Arabs as “ajam”, as had been stated earlier. The argument for the miracle of the eloquence of the Qur’an is certainly not “subjective”, and neither do the pagan Arabs think so. Had it been an “utterly subjective criterion” as insinuated, they would have used the charge against the Qur’an already, and that would have been the end of the matter.

Now we move on to the next topic: what about the Bible? How is its language compared to the Qur’an? Comparing the stylistic perfection of the Qur’an versus stylistic imperfection of the Bible, von Grunebaum states that

In contrast to the stylistic perfection of the Kur’an with the stylistic imperfections of the older Scriptures the Muslim theologian found himself unknowingly and on purely postulative grounds in agreement with long line of Christian thinkers whose outlook on the Biblical text is best summed up in Nietzsche’s brash dictum that the Holy Ghost wrote bad Greek.12

Futher, he elaborates the position of Western theologians on the canonization process and composition of the Bible, as follows:

The knowledge of the Western theologian that the Biblical books were redacted by different writers and that they were, in many cases, accessible to him only in (inspired) translation facilitated admission of formal imperfections in Scripture and there with lessened the compulsive insistence on its stylistic authority. Christian teaching, leaving the inspired writer, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, free in matters of style, has provided no motivation to seek an exact correlation between the revealed text on the one hand and grammar and rhetoric on the other. It thereby relieved the theologian and the critic from searching for a harmony between two stylistic worlds, which at best would yield an ahistoric concept of literary perfection and at worst would prevent anything resembling textual and substantive criticism of Revelation…. In Christianity, besides, the apology for the “low” style of the Bible is merely a part of educational problem – what to do with secular erudition within Christianity; whereas in Islam, the central position of the Kur’an, as the focal point and justification of grammatical and literary studies, was theoretically at least, never contested within the believing community.13

That pretty much sums up the Bible, its stylistic perfection (or the lack of it!) and the position of Western theologians.

Conclusions

It is clear that far from being an “utterly subjective criterion”, the language of the Qur’an surpasses any known Arabic poetry in regards to its eloquence. And this is even testified to by the Orientalists cited above. If anyone were to argue against the evidence by simply making excuses or dismissing it as a “subjective” criterion, it will be obvious that the accuser, in the light of the evidences presented above, would only reflect their “opinion” of not only deep ignorance regarding the subject matter, but also prejudice. As the poster who made the allegations aptly says:

    My opinion of the Qur’an, is after all, only my opinion.

which, we may add, does not count for much. And that sums up the matter quite well!

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Response To Claims Made Against The Eloquence of the Qur’an," in Bismika Allahuma, October 14, 2005, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/quran/response-claims-eloquence-quran/
  1. Philip K. Hitti, History of the Arabs, 10th edition (Macmillan Press, 1970), p. 90. Partially cited by Huston Smith, The Religions Of Man (Harper & Row, 1958), p. 204 []
  2. Huston Smith, ibid., p. 204 []
  3. A. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, 1978, Oxford University Press, p. 121 []
  4. A F L Beeston, T M Johnstone, R B Serjeant and G R Smith (Editors), Arabic Literature To The End Of The Ummayad Period, (Cambridge University Press: 1983) pp. 34. []
  5. Thomas Carlyle, Heroes and Hero Worship, Project Gutenberg‘s E-Text []
  6. E. H. Palmer (Tr.), The Qur’an, 1900, Part I, Oxford at Clarendon Press, pp. lv. []
  7. H. A. R. Gibb, Islam: A Historical Survey, 1980, Oxford University Press, pp. 28. []
  8. ibid., pp. 25..
    []
  9. H A R Gibb, Arabic Literature: An Introduction, 1963, Oxford at Clarendon Press, pp. 36.
    []
  10. ibid., pp. 37 []
  11. Qur’an, 2:23-24 []
  12. B Lewis, V L Menage, Ch. Pellat & J Schacht (Editors), Encyclopedia Of Islam (New Edition), 1971, Volume III, E J Brill (Leiden) & Luzac & Co. (London), pp. 1020 (Under I’djaz) []
  13. ibid. []
Categories
Miraculous Features Polemical Rebuttals The Qur'an

Have They No Understanding Of Arabic Grammar?

Based on an Arabic post referred to from here.

Bismillah…

The Christian missionaries have often raised the issue of alleged grammatical errors in the Qur’an. Such allegations are perfectly suitable for the Christians due to their incoherent misguidance and lack of sound beliefs; because their faith is founded in opposition to logical reasoning and common sense, it is certainly not strange at all to hear such allegations from them. What saddens us is that some Muslims attempted to answer these claims by trying to look into Arabic grammar concerning aspects or rules which justify an accusative word that the Christian “thinks” is a better nominative, or a plural word the Christian “believes” is a better singular!

All this is nonsense, for we are sure that the Christian missionaries has no idea about the grammar structure or even the Arabic language, but they win the argument because they drive the Muslim to defend the Qur’an, instead of using it as a fatal weapon against false religions and beliefs. Instead of this passive strategy, the Muslim should expose the fact that Christian polemicists have no understanding of the issue they raise, and that their embarrassing allegations against the Qur’an prove their deep ignorance. The Muslim should prove this to shut their mouths instead of turning to textbooks of grammar and Arabic language.

How is that so?

The Holy Qur’an tells us:

“Ye People of the Book why dispute ye about Ibrahim, when the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed till after him? Have you no understanding?”1

Ibn Kathir says in his tafsir:

Ibn ‘Abbas -radiya Allah ‘anhu- said: Christians of Najran and Jewish rabbis gathered at Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and disputed; the Jews said: Ibrahim was none but a Jew! Christians said: Ibrahim was none but a Christian! Then Allah has revealed: { Ye People of the Book why dispute ye about Ibrahim } meaning how come you — Jews — claim he was a Jew while his time was before revelation of the Torah to Moses, and how come you — Christians — claim he was a Christian while Christianity developed much time after him? That’s why Allah said: { Have you no understanding? }

Please put into consideration the ending of the holy verse with the words: { have you no understanding? } for the Jews and Christians by their claims on Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) have made an embarrassing historical error which even a child can notice; that it is a very apparent historical fallacy as finding a Pepsi bottle in the palace of the Pharaoh! These are people with no understanding, is it logical to attribute someone with a religion that would appear centuries later?

However, it seems that Christian idiocy is periodic for it appears again with their alleged grammatical errors of the Qur’an.

Ye People of the Book why dispute ye about the Qur’an, when the laws of grammar were not put till after It? have you no understanding?

They certainly have no inkling about the development of a language, whether it is Arabic or otherwise; grammar was not the machine that produced the Arabic language, rather it is simply a logical explanation to ways of Arabic speech. Due to their inherent stupidity, the Christians do not recognize the correct historicity of its chronological order: Arabs speak the language first, then explanatory rules are formulated later (after the advent of Islam). Consequently, grammar should agree with Arabic speech, not vice versa. However, those who have no understanding believe that grammar came first to existence, then Arabs spoke according to it. Remember the verse: { have you no understanding? }

If you ask any of them about the origin of rules formulated by Arab grammarians during era of documentation, they will answer that they originated from Arabic speech. So, is it sane to derive a certain rule from some speech and then criticize the same speech by this rule? This would be plain insanity, remember these words again: { have you no understanding? }

The language of the Holy Qur’an represents the purest Arabic speech for it was uttered by an Arab in a pure Arabic society and challenged by the most eloquent Arabs who mentioned none of its alleged errors. It is well known that the Arabs during lifetime of the Prophet (P) reached the summit of eloquence and artistry of speech; and it is known as well that those Arabs were the most aggressive and motivated opponents to the message of Islam.

So here, they had two important criteria: (a) they were capable of refuting the language of the Qur’an and exposing its errors, and (b) were much motivated to do so. In other words, they combined the ability and the motive to discover any linguistic errors in the Qur’an. However, they did not which means that there were no errors to discover or to expose.

On the other hand, the Prophet (P) kept challenging them with the Qur’an time after time again, abusing their gods and beliefs, attacking their polytheistic traditions, conquering their lands and killing their fathers, brothers and sons in battlefields, and they were able to combat all this by pointing one linguistic error such as “plural instead of singular” or “accusative instead of nominative”, but they did not!

Do you know why?

Because they were eloquent Arabs living in pure Arabic society, they knew that polemical arguments like these would bring them nothing but mockery.

So, what about the list of these alleged errors?

We answer with the fact that Arabs altogether had accepted the Holy Qur’an as most eloquent speech that no human being can match or even object to. Then we ask the Christian polemicists: Are you more knowledgeable about Arabic language and its usage than the ancient Arabs of the Prophet’s lifetime?

of course, not!

Those Arabs knew their language by nature, so they conceived it all. This is in contrast to the modern-day Arabs — let alone non-Arabs — who acquire it by studying and learning. In spite of this, they fail to conceive the entire Arabic language, especially rules and uses which eventually died in time and is no longer used in everyday speech or writing.

So when Arab Christians start to compare the grammar of the Holy Qur’an with the high-school curricular of Arabic grammar, they surely fall into serious fallacies; one of them being their ignorance of the normal historical sequence in the development of any language. Remember: { have you no understanding? }

The second fallacy is their miserable selection of some rules of Arabic grammar, considering them as absolute and rejecting the fact that the Arabic language is very vast and that it involves so many rules that are not included in the high school curriculum of Arabic grammar.

They indeed have no understanding!

  1. Surah Al-‘Imran: 65 []