The gist of the missionary claim is as follows:
- Two days for the creation of the earth, then four days to fill the earth with mountains, blessings and nourishment for all its inhabitants, and in the end two more days to create the seven heavens and create the stars in them. This adds up to 2+4+2 = 8 days in contradiction to the 6 days mentioned in the other verses.
The problem of the missionaries with their so-called findings of “contradictions” in the Noble Qur’an is that they fail to note the methodology of how tafsir is performed. In response to this alleged “contradiction” in the aforementioned verses, we would like to cite Harun Yahya’s “How Do The Unwise Interpret The Qur’an?” for a refutation.
The Subject of Creation in Six Days
It is stated in various parts of the Qur’an that the universe was created in six days. Particular attention is often drawn to one section however, where the number of days in the separate verses mentioning the different stages of creation adds up to 8. Those who are unable to grasp the evident logic behind these verses assume them to conflict with all the other Qur’anic verses, which state the creation to have occurred in six days. These verses are as follows:
Say: ‘Do you reject Him Who created the earth in two days, and make others equal to Him? That is the Lord of all the worlds.’ 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.’ In two days He determined them as seven heavens and revealed, in every heaven, its own mandate. We adorned the lowest heaven with lamps and guarded it. That is the decree of the Almighty, the All-Knowing. (Surah Fussilat: 9-12)
If the days mentioned in the above verses are calculated, they add up to 8. Whereas it is stated in verse 3 of Surah Yunus and others that the Earth, the skies and everything in between were created in 6 days. This situation could appear incomprehensible to a superficial reader who refuses to use his mind and logic or to pay close attention. Those who approach the Qur’an to try to discover faults and contradictions frequently cite the above verse.
Yet, if a person concentrates and uses wisdom he can readily see that there is absolutely no paradox at all. If we pay attention to the periods of time stated in the verses we can reach the following calculations:
– It took four days from the time the universe was started until the sustenance had been made ready, or rather the necessary environment for living things was suitable, along with the creation of plants and animals.
– The beginning of this period, namely the shaping of the Earth along with the universe, or in short the creation of the world, took the initial two of these four days. So, these two days are not a separate time frame from those first four days. They are, to be more precise, the first two days of the four days mentioned in the next verse.
– In the 11th and 12th verses state that the sky was formed in 2 days. In conclusion, they add up to 6 days.
In short, the verses explain the separate time frames for each of the events that take place within the six days of creation.
It is imperative to clarify the point that the term “day” mentioned in these verses is not used to refer to a 24 hour-day but instead to indicate the different periods and phases.
We have used the traditional method of Qur’anic exegesis, i.e., al-Qur’an yufassiru ba’duhu ba’dan (different parts of the Qur’an explain each other). What is given in a general way in one place is discussed in detail in some other place in the Qur’an. What is dealt with briefly at one place is expanded in some other place. For more discussion on how the earlier Qur’anic commentators interpreted this issue, refer to: “Six or Eight Days of Creation” Revisited
And only God knows best!