1 readers online now  |  69 million page views

To Raqib "Science in the Qur'an" continued

Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict XVI and the Koran
in response to reader comment: Qur'an and Science

Submitted by Lactantius Jr (United Kingdom), Nov 10, 2006 at 10:50

To Raqib

You refer to Surah 51:47 as follows, "And it is We Who have constructed the heaven with might, and verily, it is We Who are steadily expanding it." (Surah adh-Dhariyat, 47), and the expression "steadily expanding it" does not appear in the following 10 translations into English, that I read at http://www.quranbrowser.com/ whose translation are you quoting Raqib? Hilali Khan's, "extend the vastness of space" and Khalifa's "continue to expand it" carry something of the meaning you claim, but the other 8 translators have none of this, instead saying no other than what is obvious to the naked eye from earth.

Like the majority of the world's Muslims, I am not an Arabic speaker, I am thus unable to read the Qur'an, and have to depend on the translations of the Qur'anic Arabic into English, accurately communicating its meaning, and believing that accurate translation of the meaning of one language into another is possible, I ask any readers proficient in translating Qur'anic Arabic into English, to post your translation, so we can all benefit by understanding exactly what meaning Surah 51:47 seeks to communicate.

Here are the 10 English translations available online:-

We have built the heaven with might, and We it is Who make the vast extent (thereof). (Pickthall)

With power and skill did We construct the Firmament: for it is We Who create the vastness of space (Abdullah Yusuf Ali)

With power did We construct the heaven. Verily, We are Able to extend the vastness of space thereof. (Hilali-Khan)

And the heaven, We raised it high with power, and most surely We are the makers of things ample. (Shakir)

And WE have built the heavens with Our own hands, and, verily, WE have vast powers. (Sher Ali)

We constructed the sky with our hands, and we will continue to expand it. (Khalifa)

And heaven -- We built it with might, and We extend it wide. (Arberry)

And the heaven - we have built it with might, and, verily, we do surely give it ample space! (Palmer)

And the Heaven - with our hands have we built it up, and given it its expanse; (Rodwell)

We have built the heaven with might; and we have given [it] a large extent: (Sale)

Waalssamaa banaynaha bi-aydin wa-inna lamoosiAAoona (Transliterated Arabic)

In going outside the Qur'an, to find evidence supporting your claim for Allah's authorship of it, you cite the Russian scientist Alexander Freidman, the Belgian cosmologist George, who theoretically calculated the universe is expanding, this being proved by the American astronomer, Edwin Hubble, also going outside the Qur'an, citing the calculations made by modern physicists, showing the sun is traveling at the speed of 17,280,000km/day in the direction of the star Vega in a particular orbit.

In doing this Raqib, you destroy the claim of the Qur'an "to explain all things." The Qur'an, in many places, claiming for itself complete, exhaustive knowledge.

"There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end." Surah 6:38 (Abdullah Yusuf Ali)

Say: "Shall I seek for judge other than Allah? - when He it is Who hath sent unto you the Book, explained in detail." They know full well, to whom We have given the Book, that it hath been sent down from thy Lord in truth. Never be then of those who doubt. Surah 6:114 (Abdullah Yusuf Ali)

"There is, in their stories, instruction for men endued with understanding. It is not a tale invented, but a confirmation of what went before it, - a detailed exposition of all things, and a guide and a mercy to any such as believe." Surah 12:111 (Abdullah Yusuf Ali)

"One day We shall raise from all Peoples a witness against them, from amongst themselves: and We shall bring thee as a witness against these (thy people): and We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things, a Guide, a Mercy, and Glad Tidings to Muslims." Surah 16:89 (Abdullah Yusuf Ali)

And no question do they bring to thee but We reveal to thee the truth and the best explanation (waahsana tafseeran) (thereof). Surah 25:33 Abdullah Yusuf Ali

The moment you go outside of the Qur'an to fill in the scientific details it doesn't supply Raqib, you inevitably end up destroying the assertion made by the Qur'an that it is an exhaustive record, and if we can't depend on the Qur'an "to explain all things" about astronomy, having to go to scholars and scientists to explain things to us in the light of current knowledge, where else have we to go outside the Qur'an to learn what it cannot, and doesn't tell us, about how we are to get the very best out of the rest of our lives, and of supreme importance, Who are we to look to, to give us assurance of our eternal security? Where else but to the Word of the Living God, with the Qur'an pointing to the truth of His Word by saying:-

"If only they had stood fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side. There is from among them a party on the right course: but many of them follow a course that is evil." Surah 5:66 (Abdullah Yusuf Ali)

"Say: ‘O People of the Book! ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord.' It is the revelation that cometh to thee from thy Lord, that increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. But sorrow thou not over (these) people without Faith." Surah 5:68 (Abdullah Yusuf Ali)

In quoting Surah 36:38 again Raqib, turning to that, we read of the Sun "running to a fixed resting place," which of course, with everything in the solar system moving, it doesn't do, you telling us yourself it travels "17,280,000km/day in the direction of the star Vega," contradicting your prophet Muhammad, who said that the sun rests in a muddy spring from which it returns back on its course, this claim being recorded in Sahi Bukhari, (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Number 421)

In referring to my concluding paragraph, you say you are not answering my questions Raqib, because Allah has already answered them in the Qur'an. He has done nothing of the sort Raqib, and I therefore ask you again to interact with the material in my previous postings, and again repeat the concluding questions, asking you to answer them.

If the Qur'an is indeed foretelling modern scientific fact, why then does it not bother to mention that the earth is rotating on its axis, or that it is also traveling on an orbit? Why does it give the impression that the earth is stationary, and that the sun travels to one end of space and then comes to rest in a muddy spring? Why does it give the impression that the sun and moon travel on the same course when we know that the moon is actually rotating around the earth and it is the earth that rotates around the sun? Why does it give the impression that the earth is actually flat and that the stars are to be found only in the lowest heaven as opposed to being found throughout the entire universe? Why does the Qur'an claim that meteors or stars are actually objects used to cast out immaterial spirits from the presence of angels? Perhaps you can answer all these questions Raqib, because I can't, and must conclude that the Qur'an falls short of making the kind of scientific statements you and others claim it does."

I look forward to hearing your response, and welcome entering into dialogue with you about the "many more scientific and historical facts in Holy Qur'an" you refer to.

With kind regards and best wishes

Lactantius Jr.

ps. Here is how Merriam Webster define "Orbit"

"a path described by one body in its revolution about another (as by the earth about the sun or by an electron about an atomic nucleus); also : one complete revolution of a body describing such a path" http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary

pps. Who is the "We" Allah is referring to in your rendering of Surah 51:47 ? does Arabic have a "royal we?" because as a Muslim, you believe in Tawhid don't you Raqib

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to To Raqib "Science in the Qur'an" continued by Lactantius Jr

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List
eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2020 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)