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The Quran and Modern Science

The Quran was first revealed to Muhammad in 609 CE. and revealed 14 centuries ago, contains many scientific facts and imagery that are supported by modern findings. In fact, a number of them have only been discovered recently or in the past 100 years, which is a clear proof of its divine origins.
In order to begin to understand the extraordinary content within the Quran, one must transport one’s self back hundreds of years to time (e.g., around 610-632 CE) and place where “science” barely existed. Furthermore, Prophet Muhammad’s birthplace was in one of the most backward places in the world at that time. Read below are several scientific facts mentioned in the Quran.
In the case of Physics, the Quran mentions the Big Bang theory and the expansion of the universe, among other facts. These were not scientifically proven or discovered until the previous century, nearly 1400 years after the Quran was revealed.
The Quran accurately stated this scientific fact in the following verse, “The heaven, we have built it with power. Verily, We are expanding it” (51:47)
Heaven here refers to the sky and by extension the entire universe. The word expanding is clear. God is saying that He created the heaven and sky and is expanding it, as discovered by Hubble almost 1400 years later.
Many religious people do not believe in this theory because they say it contradicts the fact that God created the universe and also science has not been able to determine where exactly the singularity came from. Islam brings these two together. Yes, God created the universe, but He did it through the Big Bang. The Quran says, “…the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water every living thing” (21:30).
Here “joined entity” refers to the singularity and the separation refers to the Big Bang. The part about every living thing being made from water is also scientifically accurate as we know today. This is a clear indication of the Big Bang, given 1400 years before modern science determined how the universe began. Again, this is proof of the Quran’s divinity as in the 7th century no one could have even guessed as to how the universe was born.
The orbit of the sun was discovered in the 17th or 18th century when scientists realized that the Milky Way was like a spinning disk. Amazingly, the Quran stated this fact 1000 years before science discovered it. God says in it, “And it is He who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon; all in an orbit are swimming” (21:33).

Read below book or download eBook by Dr. Maurice Bucaille (Edited by Dr. A. A. Bilal Philips)

 

EDITOR’S FOREWORD

This booklet by Dr. Maurice Bucaille has been in circulation for the past nineteen years and has been a very effective tool in presenting Islam to non-Muslims as well as introducing Muslims to aspects of the scientific miracle of the Qur’an. It is based on a transcription of a lecture given by Dr. Bucaille in French.

In this reprint, I decided to improve its presentation by simplifying the language and editing the text from an oral format to a pamphlet format. There were also passing references made by the author to material in his book, The Bible, the Qur’an and Science, which needed explanation. I took the liberty of including explanatory portions from his book where more detail was necessary. A few footnotes were also added for clarity and a hadeeth which the author mentioned was replaced due to its inauthenticity. There were also some corrections made to the historical material on the compilation of the Qur’an.

It is my hope that these slight improvements will make this excellent work even more effective in presenting the final revelation of God to mankind.

Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips

Director/Islamic Information Center Dubai

U.A.E.

May, 1995

 

INTRODUCTION

On the 9th of November, 1976, an unusual lecture was given at the French Academy of Medicine. Its title was “Physiological and Embryological data in the Qur’an”. I presented the study based on the existence of certain statements concerning physiology and reproduction in the Qur’an. My reason for presenting this lecture was because it is impossible to explain how a text produced in the seventh century could have contained ideas that have only been discovered in modern times.

For the first time, I spoke to members of a learned medical society on subjects whose basic concepts they all knew well, but I could, just as easily, have pointed out statements of a scientific nature contained in the Qur’an and other subjects to specialists from other disciplines. Astronomers, zoologists, geologists and specialists in the history of the earth would all have been struck, just as forcibly as medical doctors, by the presence in the Qur’an of highly accurate reflections on natural phenomena. These reflections are particularly astonishing when we consider the history of science, and can only lead us to the conclusion that they are a challenge to human explanation.

There is no human work in existence that contains statements as far beyond the level of knowledge of its time as the Qur’an. Scientific opinions comparable to those in the Qur’an are the result of modern knowledge. In the commentaries to translations of the Qur’an that have appeared in European languages, I have only been able to find scattered and vague references to them. Nor do commentators writing in Arabic provide a complete study of the aspects of the Qur’an that deal with scientific matters. This is why the idea of a comprehensive study of the problem appealed to me.

In addition to this, a comparative study of similar data contained in the Bible (Old Testament and Gospels) seemed desirable. Thus, a research project was developed from the comparison of certain passages in the Holy Scriptures of each monotheistic religion with modern scientific knowledge. The project resulted in the publication of a book entitled, The Bible, the Qur’an and Science. The first French edition appeared in May 1976. English and Arabic editions have since been published.

 

RELIGION AND SCIENCE

There is, perhaps, no better illustration of the close links between Islam and science than the Prophet Muhammad’s often-quoted statements:

“Seeking knowledge is compulsory on every Muslim.”

“wisdom is the lost property of the believer.”

“whoever follows a path seeking knowledge, Allah will make his path to paradise easy.”

These statements and many others are veritable invitations to humanity to enrich their knowledge from all sources. It comes as no surprise, therefore, to learn that in Islam religion and science have always been considered as twin sisters and that today, at a time when science has taken such great strides, they still continue to be associated. Nor is it a surprise to learn that certain scientific data are used for the better understanding of the Qur’anic text. What is more, in a century where, for many people, scientific truth has dealt a deathblow to religious belief, it is precisely the discoveries of science that, in an objective examination of the Islamic scripture, have highlighted the supernatural nature of revelation and the authenticity of the religion which it taught.

When all is said and done, scientific knowledge seems, in spite of what many people may say or think, to be highly conducive to reflection on the existence of God. Once we begin to ask ourselves, in an unbiased or unprejudiced way, about the metaphysical lessons to be derived from some of today’s knowledge, (for example our evolving knowledge of the smallest components of matter or the questions surrounding the origin of life within inanimate matter), we indeed discover many reasons for thinking about God. When we think about the remarkable organization presiding over the birth and maintenance of life, it becomes clear that the likelihood of it being the result of chance lessens quite considerably.

As our knowledge of science in the various fields expands, certain concepts must seem increasingly unacceptable. For example, the idea enthusiastically expressed by the recent French winner of the Nobel prize for medicine, that living matter was self-created from simple chemical elements due to chance circumstances. Then from this point it is claimed that living organisms evolved, leading to the remarkably complex being called man. To me, it would seem that the scientific advancements made in understandithe fantastic complexity of higher beings provides stronger arguments in favor of the opposite theory: that the existence of an extraordinarily methodical organization presiding over the remarkable arrangement of the phenomena of life necessitates the existence of a Creator.

In many parts of the Book, the Qur’an, encourages this kind of general reflection but also contains infinitely more precise data which are directly related to facts discovered by modern science. It is precisely this data which exercise a magnetic attraction for today’s scientists.

 

The Qur’an And Science

For many centuries, humankind was unable to study certain data contained in the verses of the Qur’an because they did not possess sufficient scientific means. It is only today that numerous verses of the Qur’an dealing with natural phenomena have become comprehensible. A reading of old commentaries on the Qur’an, however knowledgeable their authors may have been in their day, bears solemn witness to a total inability to grasp the depth of meaning in such verses. I could even go so far as to say that, in the 20th century, with its compartmentalization of ever-increasing knowledge, it is still not easy for the average scientist to understand everything he reads in the Qur’an on such subjects, without having recourse to specialized research. This means that to understand all such verses of the Qur’an, one is nowadays required to have an absolutely encyclopedic knowledge embracing many scientific disciplines.

I should like to stress, that I use the word science to mean knowledge which has been soundly established. It does not include the theories which, for a time, help to explain a phenomenon or a series of phenomena, only to be abandoned later on in favor of other explanations. These newer explanations have become more plausible thanks to scientific progress. I only intend to deal with comparisons between statements in the Qur’an and scientific knowledge which are not likely to be subject to further discussion. Wherever I introduce scientific facts which are not yet 100% established, I will make it quite clear.

There are also some very rare examples of statements in the Qur’an which have not, as yet, been confirmed by modern science. I shall refer to these by pointing out that all the evidence available today leads scientists to regard them as being highly probable. An example of this is the statement in the Qur’an that life has an aquatic origin ( “And I created every living thing out of water” Qur’an, 21:30 ).

These scientific considerations should not, however, make us forget that the Qur’an remains a religious book par excellence and that it cannot be expected to have a scientific purpose per se. In the Qur’an, whenever humans are invited to reflect upon the wonders of creation and the numerous natural phenomena, they can easily see that the obvious intention is to stress Divine Omnipotence. The fact that, in these reflections, we can find allusions to data connected with scientific knowledge is surely another of God’s gifts whose value must shine out in an age where scientifically based atheism seeks to gain control of society at the expense of the belief in God. But the Qur’an does not need unusual characteristics like this to make its supernatural nature felt. Scientific statements such as these are only one specific aspect of the Islamic revelation which the Bible does not share.

Throughout my research I have constantly tried to remain totally objective. I believe I have succeeded in approaching the study of the Qur’an with the same objectivity that a doctor has when opening a file on a patient. In other words, only by carefully analyzing all the symptoms can one arrive at an accurate diagnosis. I must admit that it was certainly not faith in Islam that first guided my steps, but simply a desire to search for the truth. This is how I see it today. It was mainly the facts which, by the time I had finished my study, led me to see the Qur’an as the divinely-revealed text it really is.

 

AUTHENTICITY OF QUR’AN

Before getting to the essence of the subject, there is a very important point which must be considered: the authenticity of the Qur’anic text.

It is known that the text of the Qur’an was both recited from memory, during the time it was revealed, by the Prophet and the believers who surrounded him, and written down by designated scribes among his followers. This process lasted for roughly twenty-three years during which many unofficial copies were made. An official copy was made within one year after the Prophet’s death at the instruction of Caliph Abu Bakr.

Here we must note a highly important point. The present text of the Qur’an benefited in its original preparation from the advantage of having its authenticity cross-checked by the text recited from memory as well as the unofficial written texts. The memorized text was of paramount importance at a time when not everyone could read and write, but everybody could memorize. Moreover, the need for a written record was included in the text of the Qur’an itself. The first five verses of chapter al-‘Alaq, which happen to constitute the first revelation made to the Prophet (S), express this quite clearly:

“Read: In the name of your Lord who created. Who created man from a clinging entity. Read! Your Lord is the most Noble, Who taught by the pen. Who taught man what he did not know.” Qur’an, 96:1-5

These are surely words in “praise of the pen as a means of human knowledge”, to use Professor Hamidullah’s expression.

Then came the Caliphate of ‘Uthman (which lasted from the twelfth to the twenty-fourth year following Muhammad’s death). Within the first two years of Caliph ‘Uthman’s rule, seven official copies were reproduced from the official text and distributed throughout a large area of the world which had already come under Islamic rule. All unofficial copies existing at that time were destroyed and all future copies were made from the official seven copies.

In my book, The Bible, the Qur’an and Science, I have quoted passages from the Qur’an which came from the period prior to the Hijrah (the Prophet’s emigration from Makkah to Madeenah in the year 622) and which allude to the writing of the Qur’an before the Prophet’s departure from Makkah.

There were, moreover, many witnesses to the immediate transcription of the Qur’anic revelation.

Professor Jacques Berque has told me of the great importance he attaches to it in comparison with the long gap separating the writing down of the Judeo-Christian revelation from the facts and events which it relates. Let us not forget that today we also have a number of manuscripts of the first written versions of the Qur’an which were from a time period very close to the time of revelation.

I shall also mention another fact of great importance. We shall examine statements in the Qur’an which today appear to merely record scientific truth, but of which men in former times were only able to grasp the apparent meaning. In some cases, these statements were totally incomprehensible. It is impossible to imagine that, if there were any alterations to the texts, these obscure passages scattered throughout the text of the Qur’an, were all able to escape human manipulation. The slightest alteration to the text would have automatically destroyed the remarkable coherence which is characteristic to them. Change in any text would have prevented us from establishing their total conformity with modern knowledge. The presence of these statements spread throughout the Qur’an looks (to the impartial observer ) like an obvious hallmark of its authenticity.

The Qur’an is a revelation made known to humans in the course of twenty-three years. It spanned two periods of almost equal length on either side of the Hijrah. In view of this, it was natural for reflections having a scientific aspect to be scattered throughout the Book. In a study, such as the one we have made, we had to regroup the verses according to subject matter, collecting them chapter by chapter.

How should they be classified? I could not find any indications in the Qur’an suggesting any particular classification, so I decided present them according to my own personal one.

It would seem to me, that the first subject to deal with is Creation. Here it is possible to compare the verses referring to this topic with the general ideas prevalent today on the formation of the Universe. Next, I divided up verses under the following general headings: Astronomy, the Earth, the Animal and Vegetable Kingdoms, Humans, and Human Reproduction in particular. Furthermore, I thought it useful to make a comparison between Qur’anic and Biblical narrations on the same topics from the point of view of modern knowledge. This has been done in the cases of Creation, the Flood and the Exodus. The reason that these topics were chosen is that knowledge acquired today can be used in the interpretation of the texts.

 

CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE

From an examination of creation as described in the Qur’an, an extremely important general concept emerges: The Qur’anic narration is quite different from the Biblical narration. This idea contradicts the parallels which are often wrongly drawn by Western authors to emphasize the resemblance between the two texts. To stress only the similarities, while silently ignoring the obvious dissimilarities, is to distort reality. There is, perhaps, a reason for this.

When talking about creation, there is a strong tendency in the West to claim that Muhammad copied the general outlines mentioned in the Qur’an from the Bible. Certainly it is possible to compare the six days of creation as described in the Bible, plus an extra day for rest on God’s Sabbath, with this verse from chapter al-A‘raaf.

“Your Lord is God who created the heavens and the earth in six days.” Qur’an, 7:54

However, it must be pointed out that modern commentators stress the interpretation of the Arabic word ayyaam, (one translation of which is ‘days’), as meaning ‘long periods’ or ‘ages’ rather than periods of twenty-four hours.

What appears to be of fundamental importance to me is that, in contrast to the narration contained in the Bible, the Qur’an does not lay down a sequence for creation of the earth and heavens. It refers both to the heavens before the earth and the earth before the heavens, when it talks of creation in general, as in this verse of chapter Taa Haa:

“(God) who created the earth and heavens above.” Qur’an, 20:4

In fact, the notion derived from the Qur’an is one of a parallelism in the celestial and terrestrial evolutions. There are also basic pieces of information concerning the existence of an initial gaseous mass ( dukhaan ) which are unique to the Qur’an. As well as descriptions of the elements which, although at first were fused together ( ratq ), they subsequently became separated (fatq). These ideas are expressed in chapters Fussilat and al-Anbiyaa:

“God then rose turning towards the heaven when it was smoke” Qur’an, 41:11

“Do the disbelievers not see that the heavens and the earth were joined together, then I split them apart?” Qur’an, 21:30

According to modern science, the separation process resulted in the formation of multiple worlds, a concept which appears dozens of times in the Qur’an. For example, look at the first chapter of the Qur’an, al-Faatihah:( “Praise be to God, the Lord of the Worlds.” Qur’an, 1:2 ). These Qur’anic references are a11 in perfect agreement with modern ideas on the existence of primary nebula (galactic dust), followed by the separation of the elements which resulted in the formation of galaxies and then stars from which the planets were born. Reference is also made in the Qur’an to an intermediary creation between the heavens and the earth, as seen in chapter al-Furqaan:

“God is the one who created the heavens, the earth and what is between them…” Qur’an, 25:59

It would seem that this intermediary creation corresponds to the modern discovery of bridges of matter which are present outside organized astronomical systems.

This brief survey of Qur’anic references to creation clearly shows us how modern scientific data and statements in the Qur’an consistently agree on a large number of points. In contrast, the successive phases of creation mentioned in the Biblical text are totally unacceptable. For example, in Genesis 1:9-19 the creation of the earth (on the 3rd day) is placed before that of the heavens (on the 4th day). It is a well known fact that our planet came from its own star, the sun. In such circumstances, how could anyone claim that Muhammad, the supposed author of the Qur’an, drew his inspiration from the Bible. Such a claim would mean that, of his own accord, he corrected the Biblical text to arrive at the correct concept concerning the formation of the Universe. Yet the correct concept was reached by scientists many centuries after his death.

 

ASTRONOMY

Whenever I describe to Westerners the details the Qur’an contains on certain points of astronomy, it is common for someone to reply that there is nothing unusual in this since the Arabs made important discoveries in the field of astronomy long before the Europeans. But, this is a mistaken idea resulting from an ignorance of history. In the first place, science developed in the Arab World at a considerable time after the Qur’anic revelation had occurred. Secondly, the scientific knowledge prevalent at the highpoint of Islamic civilization would have made it impossible for any human being to have written statements on the heavens comparable to those in the Qur’an. The material on this subject is so vast that I can only provide a brief outline of it here.

 

The Sun and Moon.

Whereas the Bible talks of the sun and the moon as two lights differing only in size, the Qur’an distinguishes between them by the use of different terms: light (noor) for the moon, and lamp (siraaj) for the sun.

“Did you see how Allah created seven heavens, one above the other, and made in them the moon a light and the sun a lamp?” Qur’an, 71: 15-16

The moon is an inert body which reflects light, whereas the sun is a celestial body in a state of permanent combustion producing both light and heat.

 

Stars and Planets

The word ‘star’ (najm) in the Qur’an ( 86:3 ) is accompanied by the adjective thaaqib which indicates that it burns and consumes itself as it pierces through the shadows of the night. It was much later discovered that stars are heavenly bodies producing their own light like the sun.

In the Qur’an, a different word, kawkab, is used to refer to the planets which are celestial bodies that reflect light and do not produce their own light like the sun.

“We have adorned the lowest heaven with ornaments, the planets.” Qur’an, 37:6

 

Orbits

Today, the laws governing the celestial systems are well known. Galaxies are balanced by the position of stars and planets in well-defined orbits, as well as the interplay of gravitational forces produced by their masses and the speed of their movements. But is this not what the Qur’an describes in terms which have only become comprehensible in modern times. In chapter al-Ambiyaa we find:

“(God is) the one who created the night, the day, the sun and the moon. Each one is traveling in an orbit with its own motion.” Qur’an,21:33

The Arabic word which expresses this movement is the verb yasbahoon which implies the idea of motion produced by a moving body, whether it is the movement of one’s legs running on the ground, or the action of swimming in water. In the case of a celestial body, one is forced to translate it, according to its original meaning, as ‘to travel with its own motion.’

In my book, The Bible, The Qur’an and Science, I have given the precise scientific data corresponding to the motion of celestial bodies. They are well known for the moon, but less widely known for the sun.

 

The Day and Night

The Qur’anic description of the sequence of day and night would, in itself, be rather commonplace were it not for the fact that it is expressed in terms that are today highly appropriate. The Qur’an uses the verb kawwara in chapter az-Zumar to describe the way the night ‘winds’ or ‘coils’ itself around the day and the day around the night.

“He coils the night upon the day and the day upon the night.” Qur’an, 39:5

The original meaning of the verb kis to coil a turban around the head. This is a totally valid comparison; yet at the time the Qur’an was revealed, the astronomical data necessary to make this comparison were unknown. It is not until man landed on the moon and observed the earth spinning on its axis, that the dark half of the globe appeared to wind itself around the light and the light half appeared to wind itself around the dark.

 

The Solar Apex

The notion of a settled place for the sun is vividly described in chapter Yaa Seen of the Qur’an:

“The sun runs its coarse to a settled place That is the decree of the Almighty, the All Knowing.” Qur’an, 36:38

“Settled place” is the translation of the word mustaqarr which indicates an exact appointed place and time. Modern astronomy confirms that the solar system is indeed moving in space at a rate of 12 miles per second towards a point situated in the constellation of Hercules ( alpha lyrae ) whose exact location has been precisely calculated. Astronomers have even give it a name, the solar apex.

 

Expansion of the Universe

Chapter ath-Thaariyaat of the Qur’an also seems to allude to one of the most imposing discoveries of modern science, the expansion of the Universe.

“I built the heaven with power and it is I, who am expanding it.” Qur’an,51:47

The expansion of the universe was first suggested by the general theory of relativity and is supported by the calculations of astrophysics. The regular movement of the galactic light towards the red section of the spectrum is explained by the distancing of one galaxy from another. Thus, the size of the universe appears to be progressively increasing.

 

Conquest of Space

Among the achievements of modern science is the “conquest” of space which has resulted in mans journey to the moon. The prediction of this event surely springs to mind when we read the chapter ar-Rahmaan in the Qur’an:

“O assembly of Jinns and men, if you can penetrate the regions of the heavens and the earth, then penetrate them! You will not penetrate them except with authority.”

Qur’an,55:33

Authority to travel in space can only come from the Creator of the laws which govern movement and space. The whole of this Qur’anic chapter invites humankind to recognize God’s beneficence.

 

GEOLOGY

Let us now return to earth to discover some of the many amazing statements contained in Qur’anic reflections about our own planet. They deal, not only with the physical phenomena observed here on earth, but also with details concerning the living organisms that inhabit it.

As in the case of everything we have discussed so far, we shall see that the Qur’an also expresses concepts in the field of geology that were way ahead of those current at the time of its revelation.

At this point, we must ask ourselves the following question: How could an uneducated man in the middle of the desert accurately tackle so many and such varied subjects at a time when mythology and superstition reigned supreme? How could he so skillfully avoid every belief that was proven to be totally inaccurate many centuries later?

 

Water Cycle

The verses dealing with the earthly systems are a case in point. I have quoted a large number of them in my book, The Bible, The Qur’an and Science, and have paid special attention to those that deal with the water cycle in nature. This is a topic which is well known today. Consequently, the verses in the Qur’an that refer to the water cycle seem to express ideas that are now totally self-evident. But if we consider the ideas prevalent at that time, they appear to be based more on myth and philosophical speculation than on observed fact, even though useful practical knowledge on soil irrigation was current at that period.

Let us examine, for example, the following verse in chapter az-Zumar:

“Have you not seen that Allah sent rain down from the sky and caused it to penetrate the ground and come forth as springs, then He caused crops of different colors to grow…” Qur’an,39:21

Such notions seem quite natural to us today, but we should not forget that, not so long ago, they were not prevalent. It was not until the sixteenth century, with Bernard Palissy, that we gained the first coherent description of the water cycle. Prior to this, people believed that the waters of the oceans, under the effect of winds, were thrust towards the interior of the continents. They then returned to the oceans via the great abyss, which, since Plato’s time was called the Tartarus .In the seventeenth century, great thinkers such as Descartes still believed in this myth. Even in the nineteenth century there were still those who believed in Aristotle’s theory that water was condensed in cool mountain caverns and formed underground lakes that fed springs. Today, we know that it is the infiltration of rain water into the ground that is responsible for this. If one compares the facts of modern hydrology with the data found in numerous verses of the Qur’an on this subject, one cannot fail to notice the remarkable degree of agreement between the two.

 

Mountains

In geology, modern science has recently discovered the phenomenon of folding which formed the mountain ranges. The earth’s crust is like a solid shell, while the deeper layers are hot and fluid, and thus inhospitable to any form of life. It has also been discovered that the stability of mountains is linked to the phenomenon of folding. The process of mountain formation by folding drove the earth’s crust down into the lower layers and provided foundations for the mountains.

Let us now compare modern ideas with one verse among many in the Qur’an that deals with this subject. It is taken from chapter an-Naba’:

“Have We not made the earth an expanse and the mountains stakes?”

Qur’an, 78:6-7

Stakes ( awtaad ), which are driven into the ground like those used to anchor a tent, are the deep foundations of geological folds.

Here, as in the case of all the other topics presented, the objective observer cannot fail to notice the absence of any contradiction to modern knowledge.

 

BIOLOGY

More than anything else, I was struck by statements in the Qur’an dealing with living things, both in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, especially with regard to reproduction. We should really devote much more time to this subject, but, due to the limited scope of this presentation, I can only give a few examples.

I must once again stress the fact that it is only in modern times that scientific progress has made the hidden meaning of some Qur’anic verses comprehensible to us. Numerous translations and commentaries on the Qur’an have been made by learned men who had no access to modern scientific knowledge. It is for this reason that scientists find some of their interpretations unacceptable.

There are also other verses whose obvious meanings are easily understood, but which conceal

scientific meanings which are startling, to say the least. This is the case of a verse in chapter al-Ambiyaa, a part of which has already been quoted:

“Do the unbelievers not realize that the heavens and the earth were joined together,

then I clove them asunder and I made every living thing out of water. Will they still not believe?” Qur’an, 21:30

This is a dramatic affirmation of the modern idea that the origin of life is aquatic.

 

Botany

Progress in botany at the time of Muhammad (S) was not advanced enough in any country for scientists to know that plants have both male and female parts. Nevertheless, we may read the following in the chapter Taa Haa:

“(God is the One who) sent down rain from the sky and with it brought forth a variety of plants in pairs.” Qur’an, 20:53

Today we know that fruit comes from plants that have sexual characteristics even when they come from unfertilized flowers, like bananas. In the chapter ar-Ra‘d we read the following:

“… and of all fruits (God) placed (on the earth) two pairs.” Qur’an, 13:3

 

Physiology

In the field of physiology, there is one verse which appears extremely significant to me. One thousand years before the discovery of the blood circulatory system, and roughly thirteen centuries before it was determined that the internal organs were nourished by the process of digestive , a verse in the Qur’an described the source of the constituents of milk, in conformity with scientific facts.

To understand this verse, it must first be known that chemical reactions occur between food and enzymes in the mouth, the stomach and the intestines releasing nutrients in molecular form which are then absorbed into the circulatory system through countless microscopic projections of the intestinal wall called villi. Blood in the circulatory system then transports the nutrients to all the organs of the body, among which are the milk-producing mammary glands.

This biological process must be basically understood, if we are to understand a verse in the Qur’an which has for many centuries given rise to commentaries that were totally incomprehensible.

Today it is not difficult to see why! This verse is taken from the chapter an-Nahl:

“Verily, in cattle there is a lesson for yon. I give you drink from their insides, coming from a conjunction between the digested contents ( of the intestines ) and the blood, milk pure and pleasant for those who drink it.” Qur’an, 16:66

The constituents of milk are secreted by the mammary glands which are nourished by the product of food digestion brought to them by the bloodstream. The initial event which sets the whole process in motion is the conjunction of the contents of the intestine and blood at the level of the intestinal wall itself.

This very precise concept is the result of the discoveries made in the chemistry and physiology of the digestive system over one thousand years after the time of Prophet Muhammad (S).

 

EMBRYOLOGY

There are a multitude of statements in the Qur’an on the subject of human reproduction which constitute a challenge to the embryologist seeking a human explanation for them. It was only after the birth of the basic sciences which contributed to our knowledge of biology and the invention of the microscope, that humans were able to understand the depth of those Qur’anic statements. It was impossible for a human being living in the early seventh century to have accurately expressed such ideas. There is nothing to indicate that people in the Middle-East and Arabia knew anything more about this subject than people living in Europe or anywhere else. Today, there are many Muslims, possessing a thorough knowledge of the Qur’an and natural sciences, who have recognized the amazing similarity between the verses of the Qur’an dealing with reproduction and modern scientific knowledge.

I shall always remember the comment of an eighteen-year-old Muslim, brought up in Saudi Arabia, commenting on a reference to human reproduction as described in the Qur’an. He pointed to the Qur’an and said, “This book provides us with all the essential information on the subject. When I was at school, my teachers used the Qur’an to explain how children were born. Your books on sex-education are a bit late on the scene!”

If I were to spend as long on all the details of reproduction contained in the Qur’an, as the subject merits, this pamphlet would become a book. The detailed linguistic and scientific explanations I have given in The Bible, The Qur’an and Science are sufficient for the person who does not speak Arabic nor know much about embryology to be able to understand the meaning of such verses in the light of modern science in more depth.

It is especially in the field of embryology that a comparison between the beliefs present at the time of the Qur’an’s revelation and modern scientific data, leaves us amazed at the degree of agreement between the Qur’an’s statements and modern scientific knowledge. Not to mention the total absence of any reference in the Qur’an to the mistaken ideas that were prevalent around the world at the time.

 

Fertilization

Let us now isolate, from all these verses, precise ideas concerning the complexity of the semen and the fact that an infinitely small quantity is required to ensure fertilization. In chapter al-Insaan the Qur’an states:

“Verily, I created humankind from a small quantity of mingled fluids.” Qur’an, 76:2

 

The Arabic word nutfah has been translated as “small quantity”. It comes from the verb meaning ‘to dribble, to trickle’ and is used to describe what remains in the bottom of a bucket which has been emptied. The verse correctly implies that fertilization is performed by only a very small volume of liquid.

On the other hand, mingled fluids ( amshaaj ) has been understood by early commentators to refer to the mixture of male and female discharges. Modern authors have corrected this view and note that the sperm is made up of various components.

When the Qur’an talks of a fertilizing fluid composed of different components, it also informs us that human progeny will be formed from something extracted from this liquid. This is the meaning of the following verse in chapter as-Sajdah:

“Then He made [ man’s ] offspring from the essence of a despised fluid.”
Qur’an, 32:8

The Arabic word translated by the term ‘essence’ is sulaalah which means ‘something extracted, the best part of a thing’. In whatever way it is translated, it refers to part of a whole. Under normal conditions, only one single cell, spermatozoon, out of over 50 million ejaculated by a man during sexual intercourse will actually penetrate the ovule.

 

Implantation

Once the egg has been fertilized in the fallopian tube, it descends to lodge itself inside the uterus. This process is called the ‘implantation of the egg’. Implantation is a result of the development of villosities, which, like roots in the soil, draw nourishment from the wall of the uterus and make the egg literally cling to the womb. The process of implantation is appropriately described in several verses by the word ‘alaq, which is also the title of the chapter in which one of the verses appears:

“God fashioned humans from a clinging entity.” Qur’an, 96:2

I do not think there is any reasonable translation of the word ‘alaq other than to use it in its original sense. It is a mistake to speak of a ‘blood clot’ here, which is the term Professor Hamidullah uses in his translation. It is a derivative meaning which is not as appropriate in this context.

 

Embryo

The evolution of the embryo inside the maternal uterus is only briefly described, but the description is accurate, because the simple words referring to it correspond exactly to fundamental stages in its growth. This is what we read in a verse from the chapter al-Mu’minoon:

“I fashioned the clinging entity into a chewed lump of flesh and I fashioned the chewed flesh into bones and I clothed the bones with intact flesh.” Qur’an, 23:14

The term ‘chewed flesh’ (mudghah) corresponds exactly to the appearance of the embryo at a certain stage in its development.

It is known that the bones develop inside this mass and that they are then covered with muscle. This is the meaning of the term ‘intact flesh’ (lahm).

The embryo passes through a stage where some parts are in proportion and others out of proportion with what is later to become the individual. This is the obvious meaning of a verse in the chapter al-Hajj, which reads as follows:

“I fashioned (humans) a clinging entity, then into a lump of flesh in proportion and out of proportion.” Qur’an, 22:5.

Next, we have a reference to the appearance of the senses and internal organs in the chapter as-Sajdah:

“… and (God) gave you ears, eyes and hearts.” Qur’an, 32:9

Nothing here contradicts today’s data and, furthermore, none of the mistaken ideas of the time have crept into the Qur’an. Throughout the Middle Ages there were a variety of beliefs about human development based on myths and speculations which continued for several centuries after the period. The most fundamental stage in the history of embryology came in 1651 with Harvey’s statement that “all life initially comes from an egg”. At that time, when science had benefited greatly from the invention of the microscope, people were still arguing about the respective roles of the egg and spermatozoon. Buffon, the great naturalist, was one of those in favor of the egg theory.Bonnet, on the other hand, supported the theory of ‘the ovaries of Eve’, which stated that Eve, the mother of the human race, was-supposed to have had inside her the seeds of all human beings packed together one inside the other.

 

BIBLE, QUR’AN AND SCIENCE

We have now come to the last subject I would like to present in this short pamphlet: it is the comparison between modern knowledge and passages in the Qur’an that are also referred to in the Bible.

 

Creation

We have already come across some of the contradictions between scripture and science regarding the creation of the universe. When dealing with that topic, I stressed the perfect agreement between modern knowledge and verses in the Qur’an, and pointed out that the Biblical narration contained statements that were scientifically unacceptable. This is hardly surprising if we are aware that the narration of the creation contained in the Bible was the work of priests living in the sixth century BC, hence the term ‘sacerdotal’ ( priestly ) narration is officially used to refer to it. The narration seems to have been conceived as the theme of a sermon designed to exhort people to observe the Sabbath. The narration was constructed with a definite end in view, and as Father de Vaux (a former head of the Biblical School of Jerusalem) has noted, this end was essentially legalist in character.

The Bible also contains a much shorter and older narration of Creation, the so-called ‘Yahvist’ version, which approaches the subject from a completely different angle. They are both taken from Genesis, the first book of the Pentateuch or Torah. Moses is supposed to have been its author, but the text we have today has undergone many changes.

The sacerdotal narration of Genesis is famous for its whimsical genealogies, that go back to Adam, and which nobody takes very seriously. Nevertheless, such Gospel authors as Matthew and Luke have reproduced them, more or less word-for-word, in their genealogies of Jesus. Matthew goes back as far as Abraham, and Luke to Adam. These writings are scientifically unacceptable, because they set a date for the age of the world and the time humans appeared on Earth, which most definitely contradicts what modern science has firmly established. The Qur’an, on the other hand, is completely free of dates of this kind.

Earlier on, we noted how perfectly the Qur’an agrees with modern ideas on the formation of the Universe. On the other hand, the Biblical narration of primordial waters is hardly, nor is the creation of light on the first day before the creation of the stars which produce this light; the existence of an evening and a morning before the creation of the earth; the creation of the earth on the third day before that of the sun on the fourth; the appearance of beasts of the earth on the sixth day after the appearance of the birds of the air on the fifth day, although the former came first. All these statements are the result of beliefs prevalent at the time this text was written and do not have any other meaning.

 

Age of the Earth

As for the Biblical genealogies which form the basis of the Jewish calendar and assert that today the world is 5738 years old, these are hardly admissible either. Our solar system may well be four and a quarter billion years old, and the appearance of human beings on earth, as we know him today, may be estimated in tens of thousands of years, if not more. It is absolutely essential, therefore, to note that the Qur’an does not contain any such indications as to the age of the world, and that these are specific to the Biblical text.

 

The Flood

There is a second highly significant subject of comparison between the Bible and the Qur’an; descriptions of the deluge. In actual fact, the Biblical narration is a fusion of two descriptions in which events are related differently. The Bible speaks of a universal flood and places it roughly 300 years before Abraham.

According to what we know of Abraham, this would imply a universal cataclysm around the twenty-first or twenty-second century BC This story would be untenable, in view of presently available historical data. How can we accept the idea that, in the twenty-first or twenty-second century BC, all civilization was wiped off the face of the earth by a universal cataclysm, when we know that this period corresponds, for example, to the one preceding the Middle Kingdom in Egypt, at roughly the date of the first Intermediary period before the eleventh dynasty? It is historically unacceptable to maintain that, at this time, humanity was totally wiped out. None of the preceding statements is acceptable according to modern knowledge. From this point of view, we can measure the enormous gap separating the Bible from the Qur’an.

In contrast to the Bible, the narration contained in the Qur’an deals with a cataclysm that is limited to Noah’s people. They were punished for their sins, as were other ungodly peoples. The Qur’an does not fix the cataclysm in time. There are absolutely no historical or archaeological objections to the narration in the Qur’an.

 

The Pharaoh

A third point of comparison, which is extremely significant, is the story of Moses, and especially the Exodus from Egypt of the Hebrews. Here I can only give a highly compressed account of a study on this subject that appears in my book. I have noted the points where the Biblical and Qur’anic narrations agree and disagree, and I have found points where the two texts complement each other in a very useful way.

Among the many hypotheses, concerning the historical time-frame occupied by the Exodus in the history of the pharaohs, I have concluded that the most likely is the theory which makes Merneptah, Ramesses II’s successor, the pharaoh of the Exodus. The comparison of the data contained in the Scriptures with archeological evidence strongly supports this hypothesis. I am pleased to be able to say that the Biblical narration contributes weighty evidence leading us to situate Moses in the history of the pharaohs. Moses was probably born during the reign of Ramesses II. Biblical data. are therefore of considerable historical value in the story of Moses. A medical study of the mummy of Merneptah has yielded further useful information on the possible causes of this pharaoh’s death. The fact that we possess the mummy of this pharaoh is one of paramount importance. The Bible records that pharaoh was engulfed in the sea, but does not give any details as to what subsequently became of his corpse. The Qur’an, in chapter Yoonus, notes that the body of the pharaoh would be saved from the waters:

“Today I will save your dead body so that you may be a sign for those who come after you.” Qur’an, 10:92

A medical examination of this mummy, has, shown that the body could not have stayed in the water for long, because it does not show signs of deterioration due to prolonged submersion. Here again, the comparison between the narration in the Qur’an and the data provided by modern knowledge does not give rise to the slightest objection from a scientific point of view.

Such points of agreement are characteristic of the Qur’anic revelation. But, are we throwing the Judeo-Christian revelation into discredit and depriving it of all its intrinsic value by stressing the faults as seen from a scientific point of view? I think not because the criticism is not aimed at the text as a whole, but only at certain passages. There are parts of the Bible which have an undoubted historical value. I have shown that in my book, The Bible, The Qur’an and Science, where I discuss passages which enable us to locate Moses in time.

The main causes which brought about such differences as arise from the comparison between the Holy Scriptures and modern knowledge is known to modern scholars. The Old Testament constitutes a collection of literary works produced in the course of roughly nine centuries and which has undergone many alterations. The part played by men in the actual composition of the texts of the Bible is quite considerable.

The Qur’anic revelation, on the other hand, has a history which is radically different. As we have already seen, from the moment it was first commto humans, it was learnt by heart and written down during Muhammad’s own lifetime. It is thanks to this fact that the Qur’an does not pose any problem of authenticity.

A totally objective examination of the Qur’an, in the light of modern knowledge, leads us to recognize the agreement between the two, as has already been noted on repeated occasions throughout this presentation.

It makes us deem it quite unthinkable for a man of Muhammad’s time to have been the author of such statements, on account of the state of knowledge in his day. Such considerations are part of what gives the Qur’anic revelation its unique place among religious and non-religious texts, and forces the impartial scientist to admit his inability to provide an explanation based solely upon materialistic reasoning.

Such facts as I have had the pleasure of exposing to you here, appear to represent a genuine challenge to human explanation leaving only one alternative: the Qur’an is undoubtedly a revelation from God.

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General Frequently Asked Questions

Islam is the name of the religion that Muslims follow. People who practice Islam are called Muslims, just like those who practice Christianity are called Christians. The literal and lexical meaning of Islam means submission. Islam comes from the root Arabic letters s-l-m which are the same root letters the word peace (salam) comes from. The term Islam itself does not mean peace, but it implies that one finds peace (salam) through submission (islam). The term Arab is often used interchangeably with Muslim, but this is incorrect. Arab is a ethnicity while Islam is a religion. Not all Arabs are Muslim and most Muslims are actually not Arab. Arabs make up about 13% of the Muslim population.

Islam is named after the action of submitting to God’s commands and will and not a person. Other religions are often named after a person or people. For instance, Christianity is named after Christ, Judaism is named after the tribe of Juda, and Buddhism is named after Buddha. Islam is not name after Muhammad because Islam existed before him. The message of previous Prophets, such as Adam, Abraham, Noah, and Moses was to submit (islam) to God. Hence, the message of Islam did not start with the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. It started with Adam and continued until today. With the passing of time, God would send new Prophets and Messengers to remind mankind of His message, to worship Him alone. Muhammad peace be upon him is the last of these Prophets.

What do Muslims believe?

  • Muslims believe in God the Creator of the universe. The Arabic term for God is Allah. Sometimes Muslims prefer to use the name Allah over God because Allah linguistically does not have a gender and cannot be made plural. The English name God could become goddess or gods. The main message of the Qurʾān is that God is one. He has no partner, child, or helper.
  • Muslims believe in angels. There are many angels and that all obey God. Unlike humans, angels do not have free will and must obey all the commands of God. Different angels have different tasks. For example, the angel Gabriel was responsible of communicating the message of God to human Prophets and Messengers. The Angel Michael (Mikaaeel) was responsible for rain. Angels also help and assist believers in times of difficulty.
  • Muslims believe in all Prophets and Messengers. A Muslim is required to believe in Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Joseph, Jesus, and Muhammad peace be upon all of them. They all came with the same message, to worship one God and not associate any partners with him.
  • Muslims also believe in all previous scripture that God sent to His Prophets and Messengers. Moses was given the Torah, Abraham was given the scrolls, David was given the Psalms, and Jesus was given the Injeel. With the exception of the Qurʾān, no previous scripture is completely preserved in its original form. With time, many of these scriptures were lost or corrupted. The Qurʾān was sent as a the “final testament” and it functions as God’s final message to mankind.
  • Muslims believe in the afterlife. There will be a day of judgment where God will hold people accountable for their actions in this world. Those who did good will enter paradise and those who did evil will either be forgiven or punished in hell. Everyone will be compensated for their actions in this world.
  • Lastly, Muslims believe in God’s divine will and decree. God has knowledge of all things that will happen. He does not force humans to make decisions, we choose what we want to do. However, there are certain things that God decreed and are outside of our control. These things include the time and place we were born, where and when we will die, and anything that happens that is outside our control. Muslims submit to these things as part of God’s decree and will.

Belief in these six items is what makes one a Muslim. One might not practice Islam perfectly, they may commit sins and make mistakes, but as long as they have these beliefs they are considered to be a Muslim. Put differently, these are the most basic requirements of being a Muslim.

What makes one a Muslim is the acceptance of Islam’s core beliefs found here. This article will not focus on the main beliefs of Islam, but rather the core practices of the faith. Islam is built on five pillars. These pillars do not make up the entire religion, but they are the pillars that hold up the rest of the religion.

Testimony of faith (shahada):

The testimony of faith in Islam is the that one testifies that there is no God except Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. The testimony is what one says to become a Muslim Ash-hadu Ana Lā ilāha illā Allah wa ash-hadu Ana Muhammad Rasul Allah.

Prayer (salah):

Muslims must pray 5 times a day. This prayer is not to be confused with supplication or calling on God which can be done at anytime. These ritual prayers consist of standing, reciting some Qurʾān, bowing, prostrating, and glorifying God. The prayers are done before sunrise, in the afternoon, late afternoon, sunset, and night. There are windows of time in which these prayers are performed and they do not need to be done at an exact time. For example, the afternoon prayer might begin at 1 pm and end at 5 pm. This gives you a 4-hour window to perform the afternoon prayer. Each prayer takes about 5-10 minutes to perform and can be done anywhere such as your home, office, or a park. The prayer is meant to keep one connected to God. It gives one a break from the business of the day and reconnects them to God.

Charity (zakah):

Zakah is an obligatory charity for Muslims who are not poor. This charity must go into the hands of the poor and not given to institutions, mosques, or schools. The charity is 2.5% of one’s extra money that has been sitting for a year. For example, if one has $100 in their bank account on Jan 1, and then a year goes by and they still have $100 sitting in their bank account on Jan 1 of the next year, they are to give 2.5% of that money in charity directly to the poor and needy.

Fasting (sawm):

There is a month in the Islamic calendar called Ramadan. Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. They refrain from eating, drinking, and intercourse during the daylight. Fasting instills a sense of discipline and control over one’s desires and most basic needs. It teaches that happiness can be found outside of food, drink, and satisfying the needs of the body. Although Muslims experience fatigue, hunger, and thirst, there is a spiritual happiness that is only found when one experiences during the month of Ramadan. During the nights of Ramadan Muslims go to the mosque, break fast together, and spend much time in prayer and supplication. When the month of Ramadan is over, Muslims celebrate and have a holiday called The Feast Holiday (Eid al-Fitr).

Pilgrimage (hajj):

Once in their lifetime, any Muslim who is financially and physically able to make a journey to Mecca during the pilgrimage season must do so. During the pilgrimage, Muslims wear two pieces of white cloth. By replacing all their attire with these two pieces of cloth it brings the individual down to their basic humanity. Ultimately, we are all the same and no matter what fancy clothes or attire we decorate ourselves with, we are all the same. It is meant to allow each pilgrimage to feel a sense of equality. The white and black, the rich and the poor, the king and the servant are all the same before God. This has a tremendous impact on the lives of many . The hajj is the largest annual religious gathering in the world, every year over two million people perform the pilgrimage. The ocean of people also serves as a reminder of the day of judgment where God will resurrect and gather all mankind for accountability.

These are called the pillars of Islam because, although they are not the entire faith, they are necessary to complete it. When one performs these actions, it helps him or her refrain from other bad habits. In this regard, Islam is a complete way of life where one is always connected to God in some way shape or form.

The most fundamental teaching of Islam is to believe in the Oneness of God, in the sense of His being the only Creator, Preserver, Nourisher, etc. But this belief is not enough. Many of the idolaters knew and believed that only the Supreme God could do all this and yet they associated other gods with Him. Therefore, one must acknowledge the fact that it is God alone who deserves to be worshipped, and thus abstain from worshipping any other thing or being. Likewise, Muslims believe that God has no father or mother, no son or daughter. None is equal to Him. He is God of all humankind, not of a special tribe or race.

 

Worship of God alone and no one else

The Quran, the holy book of Islam, reminds us of the falsity of all alleged gods. To the worshippers of man-made objects, it asks: ‘How can you worship things you carve with your own hands, when it is God who has created you and all your handiwork?’ (37:95-96)

At another point, God says, “Say, ‘Why do you take protectors other than Him, who can neither benefit nor harm even themselves?’ Say, ‘Are the blind equal to those who can see? And are the depths of darkness equal to the light?’ Have the partners they assign to God created anything like His creation so that their creation is indistinguishable from His? Say,‘God is the Creator of all things: He is the One, the All Compelling.’” (13:16)

To the worshippers of heavenly bodies the Quran cites the story of Abraham: “When the night grew dark over him he saw a star and said, ‘This is my Lord,’ but when it set, he said, ‘I do not like things that set.’ And when he saw the moon rising he said, ‘This is my Lord,’ but when it too set, he said, ‘If my Lord does not guide me, I shall be one of those who go astray.’  Then he saw the sun rising and cried, ‘This is my Lord! This is greater.’ But when the sun set, he said, ‘My people, I disown all that you worship beside God. I have turned my face as a true believer towards Him who created the heavens and the earth. I am not one of the polytheists.’”  (6:76-79)

 

Importance of Faith: Belief in God Unseen

Having achieved this knowledge of the One True God, one should constantly have faith in Him, and should allow nothing to induce them to deny the truth. When true faith enters a person’s heart, it impacts the person’s outlook and behavior. Prophet Muhammad, the final messenger of Islam, said, “Faith is that which resides firmly in the heart and which is proved by deeds.”

One of the striking results of faith is the feeling of gratitude towards God, which could be said to be the essence of worship.

Believers love, and are grateful to, God for the bounties He bestowed upon them. They are aware of the fact that their good deeds can never be equivalent to Divine favors, and therefore they are always anxious to please God. They remembers God often. The Quran promotes this feeling of gratitude by repeating the attributes of God very frequently.

“He is God: there is no god other than Him. It is He who knows what is hidden as well as what is in the open, He is the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy. He is God: there is no god other than Him, the Controller, the Holy One, Source of Peace, Granter of Security, Guardian over all, the Almighty, the Compeller, the Truly Great; God is far above anything they consider to be His partner. He is God: the Creator, the Originator, the Shaper. The best names belong to Him. Everything in the heavens and earth glorifies Him: He is the Almighty, the Wise.” (59:22-24)

On their own, human beings cannot be fully guided, understand God, the hereafter, or the purpose of life. Accordingly, God communicated to mankind by selecting prophets who would deliver his message to the rest of humanity. To convey the purpose of existence to humans, God sent clear and practical instructions through prophets. Muslims believe that a prophet was selected for every nation at some point in its history. These prophets Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, peace be upon them all. Muslims believe there were about 124,000 prophets in all, of whom only 25 are mentioned by name in the Quran, the holy book of Islam.

Each Prophet Conveyed the Same Message

The religion that God established for all mankind is Islam, which means to submit or surrender. Islam is not limited to the revelation that was sent to the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, but was also the message of previous prophets. Therefore, the Qurʾān teaches that previous religions, such as Christianity and Judaism, in their authentic and original forms were based on the Oneness of God.

Each prophet conveyed the consistent divine message of worshiping one God and living a morally upright life. However, the message of these prophets was lost, abandoned, or changed over time, and only parts of the original message remained intact. God sent Muhammad, peace be upon him, as the final prophet to all of humanity in the 7th century C.E. to restore the divine message of all prophets. Muhammad did not bring a new message, but conveyed the same message as previous prophets. In the chapter of the Qurʾān titled “The Prophets” (Al-Anbiyā’) it states: We did not send any messenger before you except that We revealed to him that, “There is no deity except Me, so worship Me.” (Qurʾān 21:25). In this same chapter, we also find God describing all prophets as belonging to the same religion Indeed this, your religion, is one religion, and I am your Lord, so worship Me (Qurʾān 21:92).

Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and all other prophets are considered to be one family. The Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said: “I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, the son of Mary both in this world and the hereafter. The prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one.” (Bukhari) This spiritual connection of brotherhood between prophets is due to the fact that all prophets delivered the same message, but at different times to different people. Muslim scholars have stated that the above quoted tradition, prophets are described as having different mothers because their laws and practices were different. However, they are paternal brothers because their creed was the same. In other words, prophets may have had different laws concerning prayer, marriage, charity, and purification, but their beliefs concerning God, the hereafter, scripture, and morals were the same.

Islam, Judaism and Christianity share the core concept that God sent prophets to guide their fellow people. However, Islam also differs from these two faiths on important aspects related to prophethood. For instance, Islam teaches that all prophets of God were of high moral character and did not succumb to the sins their people committed. For example, the Qurʾān exonerates Aaron even though the Old Testament depicts him as someone who worshipped the golden calf. Additionally, Islam strongly rejects deification of prophets, so Jesus is revered as a prophet of God, but not God or the son of God. At the same time, Islam recognizes that prophets were capable of human errors of judgment, but these unintended mistakes did not diminish their superior integrity.

Muslims honor all prophets

Muslims are obligated to believe in and honor all the prophets, and to testify that prophethood has been completed with the coming of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

“Say, ‘We believe in God and in what was sent down to us and what was sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and what was given to Moses, Jesus, and all the prophets by their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we devote ourselves to Him.’” (Quran, 2:136)

In common folklore, angels are thought of as good forces of nature, hologram images, or illusions. Western iconography sometimes depicts angels as fat cherubic babies or handsome young men or women with a halo surrounding their head.

In Islam, they are real created beings who will eventually suffer death, but are generally hidden from our senses. They are not divine or semi-divine, and they are not God’s associates running different districts of the universe. Also, they are not objects to be worshipped or prayed to, as they do not deliver our prayers to God. They all submit to God and carry out His commands.

In the Islamic worldview, there are no fallen angels: they are not divided into ‘good’ and ‘evil’ angels. Human beings do not become angels after death. Satan is not a fallen angel, but is one of the jinn, a creation of God parallel to human beings and angels.

Angels were created from light

Angels were created from light before human beings were created, and thus their graphic or symbolic representation in Islamic art is rare. Nevertheless, they are generally beautiful beings with wings as described in Muslim scripture. Angels form different cosmic hierarchies and orders in the sense that they are of different size, status, and merit.

The greatest of them is Gabriel. Muhammad (pbuh) actually saw him in his original form. Also, the attendants of God’s Throne are among the greatest angels. They love the believers and beseech God to forgive them their sins. They carry the Throne of God, about whom the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:

“I have been given permission to speak about one of the angels of God who carry the Throne. The distance between his ear-lobes and his shoulders is equivalent to a seven-hundred-year journey.”

Angels do not eat or drink. The angels do not get bored or tired of worshipping God:

“They celebrate His praises night and day, nor do they ever slacken.” (Quran 21:20)

The Number of Angels

How many angels there are? Only God knows. The Much-Frequented House is a sacred heavenly sanctuary above the Kaaba, the black cube in the city of Mecca. Every day seventy thousand angels visit it and leave, never returning to it again, followed by another group.

The Names of Angels

Muslims believe in specific angels mentioned in the Islamic sources like Jibreel (Gabriel), Mika’eel (Michael), Israfeel, Malik – the guard over Hell, and others. Of these, Gabriel and Michael are also mentioned in the Bible.

Angelic Abilities

The angels possess great powers given to them by God. They can take on different forms. The Muslim scripture describes how at the moment of Jesus’ conception, God sent Gabriel to Mary in the form of a man:

“…Then We sent to her Our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects.” (Quran 19:17)

Angels also visited Abraham in human form. Similarly, angels came to Lot to deliver him from danger in the form of handsome, young men. Gabriel used to visit Prophet Muhammad in different forms. Sometimes, he would appear in the form of one of his handsome disciples, and sometimes in the form of a desert Bedouin. Angels have the ability to take human forms in some circumstances involving common people.

Gabriel is God’s heavenly messenger to mankind. He would convey the revelation from God to His human messengers. God says:

“Say: whoever is an enemy to Gabriel – for he brings down the (revelation) to your heart by God’s will…” (Quran 2:97)

Tasks of the Angels

Some angels are put in charge of executing God’s law in the physical world. Michael is responsible for rain, directing it wherever God wishes. He has helpers who assist him by the command of his Lord; they direct the winds and clouds, as God wills. Another is responsible for blowing the Horn, which will be blown by Israafeel at the onset of the Day of Judgment. Others are responsible for taking souls out of the bodies at the time of death: the Angel of Death and his assistants. God says:

“Say: the Angel of Death, put in charge of you, will (duly) take your souls, then shall you be brought back to your Lord.” (Quran 32:11)

Then there are guardian angels responsible for protecting the believer throughout his life, at home or traveling, asleep or awake. Others are responsible for recording the deeds of man, good and bad. These are known as the “honorable scribes.” Two angels, Munkar and Nakeer, are responsible for testing people in the grave. Among them are keepers of Paradise and the nineteen ‘guards’ of Hell whose leader is named ‘Malik.’ There are also angels responsible for breathing the soul into the fetus and writing down its provisions, life-span, actions, and whether it will be wretched or happy. Some angels are roamers, traveling around the world in search of gatherings where God is remembered. There are also angels constituting God’s heavenly army, standing in rows, they never get tired or sit down, and others who bow or prostrate, and never raise their heads, always worshipping God.

In summary, the position in Islam is that angels are a grandiose creation of God, varying in numbers, roles, and abilities. God is in no need of these creatures, but having knowledge and belief in them adds to the awe that one feels towards God, in that He is able to create as He wishes, for indeed the magnificence of His creation is a proof to believers of the magnificence of the Creator.

In Islam, an individuals life after death or their Hereafter, is very closely shaped by their present life. Life after death begins with the resurrection of man, after which there will come a moment when every human will be shaken as they are confronted with their intentions and deeds, good and bad, and even by their failure to do good in this life. On the Day of Judgment the entire record of people from the age of puberty will be presented before God. God will weigh everyones good and bad deeds according to His Mercy and His Justice, forgiving many sins and multiplying many good deeds. One who excels in goodness will be rewarded generously, whereas one whose evils and wrongs overweigh his good deeds will be punished. Those who emerge successful in this judgment will go to paradise and the doors of eternal bliss will be opened to them. Those who are condemned and deserve punishment will be sent to Hell – the abode of fire and torture.

Those who disbelieve say: The Hour will never come unto us. Say: Nay, by my Lord, it is coming unto you surely. (He is) the knower of the unseen. Not an atoms weight, or less than that or greater, escapes Him in the heavens or in the earth, but it is in a clear Record.That He may reward those who believe and do good works.For them are pardon and a rich provision. But those who strive against our revelations, challenging (Us), theirs will be a painful doom of wrath.[Al-Quran: 34: 3-5]

 

The Need to Believe In Life After Death

Belief in life after death has always been part of the teachings of the Prophets and is an essential condition of being a Muslim.Whenever we are asked to do something, it is our very nature to think about its benefits and its costs.We regard a useless action as unnecessary and are not prepared to waste our time doing it. Similarly, we are not very eager to avoid a thing that is harmless. The deeper our conviction about the usefulness of something, the firmer our response to it will be. The more doubtful we are about its usefulness, the more wavering and shaky would be our attitude.After all, why does a child put his hand in fire? Because he is not sure that fire burns. Why does he evade studying? Because he does not fully grasp the importance and benefits of education.

 

This Belief Divides People Into Three Categories

First, there are those who do not believe in the Hereafter and regard life on this earth as the only life and nothing destroys them except time. Naturally, they judge something to be good if it produces desirable results and evil if it brings about undesirable results.

Second, there are those who do not deny the Hereafter, but they depend on the intercession or atonement of someone to absolve them of their sins. Among them are some who regard themselves as Gods chosen people, who will receive only nominal punishment, however grave their sins may be. This deprives them of the moral advantage, which they could have derived from their belief in the Hereafter. As a result their behavior becomes very much like that of those who deny the Hereafter.

Third, are those who believe in the Hereafter and do not delude themselves that they have any special relationship with God or that anyone can intercede on their behalf. They hold themselves accountable for their actions and their belief in the Hereafter becomes a great moral force. As a result they find a permanent guard, stationed within them, which cautions and admonishes them whenever they deviate from the right path. There may be no court to summon them, no policemen to apprehend them and no public opinion to pressure them. Instead the guard within them is ever alert and ready to remind them when they transgress.The consciousness of this inner presence makes them fear doing anything that is prohibited. Should they succumb to temptation and violate the law of God, they are ever ready to offer sincere regrets and to enter a firm contract with God not to repeat the same mistake in the future.

A person who is focused on successes or failures in this world alone will be concerned with the benefits and harms that come to him in this life only. He may be reluctant to do good deeds that have no worldly benefit. Similarly, he may not be prepared to stop doing awrong act that will not harm him in this world.

On the other hand, a person who believes in life after death would look upon all worldly gains and losses as temporary and would not put at stake eternal bliss for a transitory gain. Belief in the next world instills in one the desire to do well and avoid the wrong, however costly it may be in terms of worldly sacrifices.

What! Do those who seek after evil ways think that We shall hold them equal with those who believe and do righteous deeds, – that equal with their life and their death? Ill is the judgment that they make. God created the heavens and the earth for just ends, and in order that each soul may find the recompense of what it has earned, and none of them be wronged.[Al-Quran 45:21]

There is a big difference in the way of life of the two types of people. For one, the idea of a good act may be limited to its value in this temporary life: for example gains in money, property, public recognition or similar things which give one position, power, reputation or worldly happiness.

Such things become the objectives of life and they may not deter one from pursuing cruel and unjust means in their achievement. In contrast, for a believer, all that pleases God is good and all that invokes His displeasure and wrath is evil. A good act for a believer will remain good even if it brings no personal benefit in this world.

A believer will be confident that God will reward him in the eternal life and that would be the real success. Similarly, they would not fall a prey to evil deeds merely for some worldly gain, for they would know that even if they escape punishment in this short worldly life, they would still have to answer to God.

True justice becomes apparent by believing in Life after Death.

God created people and made them responsible for their actions. In this world, we notice that the virtuous often live in a wretched state while the wicked often seem to have the good things in life.

Innocent people often suffer at the hands of exploiters and criminals, who seem to gain rather than suffer by their crimes in this world. If there were no future life in which the virtuous are rewarded and the vicious are punished, there would be no justice. There would be no point in creating people with a conscience and in sending Prophets to remind them of their responsibility.

We shall set up scales of justice for the day of Judgment, so that not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least. And if there be (no more than) the weight of a mustard seed,We will bring it (to account): And enough are We to take account.[Al-Quran: 21:47]

God is the Most Just; He will establish justice among all His creatures and no one can escape from God. Islam, therefore, places great emphasis on having absolute assurance of the Hereafter.This assurance should be similar to the certainty we have in death (which can overcome us at any time). Therefore, striving to earn the pleasure of God becomes the objective of life.

February 1, 2003 – Shortly before the scheduled end of its 28th mission, space shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas and Louisiana as it reentered Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven crew members.  It was indeed an unexpected, abrupt and horrible end of a momentous journey.

Can anyone believe that NASA, by any stretch of imagination, expected this catastrophic end to Columbia?  And, were they so careless as to neglect preparing themselves to the minutest details to avoid such disasters? Your answer to both these questions would most probably be ‘No.’ Then, why did it happen?

Of course, it was the choice of those seven crew members to travel in the space shuttle, but they didn’t opt for that tragic end.  And, herein lies the difference between the Islamic concept of destiny and the free will we human beings possess – we’re free to choose our actions but God has ultimate control over the outcome of those actions.  According to teachings of Islam, God (Allah in Arabic) has given humans free will to make choices in their lives but only God has foreknowledge of our destiny, and He has total control over it. (Read more: Concept of God in Islam)

 

Predestination: An Islamic Perspective

To understand the Islamic perspective on destiny and free will, we first need to know a few basic facts which form the foundation of faith for Muslims:

1-      God is the Only Sustainer of the whole universe and He is the Most Merciful. The Quran begins with, “Praise belongs to God, Lord of the Worlds, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy…” (1:1-2)

2-      God has created humans in the finest state. God mentions in the Quran: “We have certainly created man in the best of stature.” (95:4)

3-      The primary objective of human life is to worship God. “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Quran, 51:56). It must be noted that the Islamic concept of worship encompasses all human endeavors that are pursued for just ends, and in accordance with God’s commandments.

4-      Our life is a test and we’ll be judged for our actions in the hereafter.  God says in the Quran, “Blessed be He in Whose hands is Dominion; and He over all things hath Power; He Who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving.” (67:1-2).

5-      He’s All Wise, and He tests us according to our strength.  The Quran cites: “God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear: each gains whatever good it has done, and suffers its bad.” (2:286)

6-      God is Omniscient and Omnipresent – i.e., he is fully aware of His creation and is always present.  He is also All Powerful, so whatever He decrees takes place, and whatever He does not will does not happen. God – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great. (2:255)

In other words, humans are God’s best creation who have a special purpose in life, i.e., to worship Him. Islam teaches that in order for us to freely perform in the test of life, He has given us free will to lead our lives as we wish, but the outcome of each of our actions is governed by the will of God. If God does not will for something to take place, it will not happen no matter how hard we try. And if He wills for something to occur, it will transpire no matter what we do to stop it.

One may say then, “What’s the use of striving in this life if we will get what is already decreed by God?”  This seems logical, but it is, of course, a misconception. In fact, Islam places great emphasis on making efforts towards a desired end. In the Quran, God says, “And that there is not for man except that [good] for which he strives And that his effort is going to be seen – Then he will be recompensed for it with the fullest recompense And that to your Lord is the finality”(53:39-42).

Again, making an effort is part of the power we have in the form of free will – if we waste it away with a complacent attitude, then we’re being ungrateful for the blessing we have. We must do everything within our power to optimize our lives – at the same time, we must recognize that God’s power and domain are far greater. He is not thinking only about us, but for the entire humanity, the whole world, nay, the universe itself! He is the One who, through destiny, balances the lives of humans, animals, plants, while at the same time harmonizing planets and other celestial bodies.

Many people protest that if God controls everything, why does He allow massacres of innocent people, torture, disease and the worst forms of evil to exist? Indeed, Islam does not ascribe evil to God. God allows tragedy and misery to take place in this world for reasons which often escape humans; it could be a test for those people, a form of purification, or warning for the rest of us to rehabilitate our lives. The Ultimate Truth is known only to God and our conviction is that God is Just and Good, even in those matters where we do not understand His Will. The Quran gives us a glimpse of this in the interaction between Moses and a learned man in Chapter 18, verses 60 through 82. (See it here.)

In addition, God has ordained accountability for humans on the Day of Judgment, when He will reward us for obeying Him and acting righteously in this world or punish us for transgressing His limits and living a whimsical existence. This further proves the importance of free will in our lives. God will judge us according to the choices we make in this life, not based on the destiny He has decreed for us. The Quran confirms this as: “Whoever does righteousness – it is for his [own] soul; and whoever does evil [does so] against it. And your Lord is not ever unjust to [His] servants.” (41:46).  

 

The Impact of Belief in Divine Destiny

Truly, when we accept the Divine Destiny we lead a more satisfying and productive life.  When we don’t get what we wish or strive for, our belief in divine destiny prevents us from becoming despondent or frustrated.  We accept the tragedy as a test from God and submit to His will with patience and dignity.

And if our plans work successfully or something good happens to us, belief in divine destiny will prevent us from becoming too boastful or arrogant.  Many successful people feel that their wealth and status are because they are smarter, wiser, stronger, or just more deserving of success than others.  But the truth is, they may have made certain choices, it is God who made those choices work out well for them.

God says in the Quran, “No misfortune can happen, either in the earth or in yourselves, that was not set down in writing before We brought it into being––that is easy for God–– so you need not grieve for what you miss or gloat over what you gain. God does not love the conceited, the boastful” (57:22-24). This mindset helps us live a fulfilling and happy life.  We become more thankful and learn to give empowering meanings to our experiences, whether good or bad.

The belief in divine destiny is also a great source of courage.  When we know that no calamity or harm can touch us without the will of God and the time of our death is prefixed, we lead a righteous and valiant life.  Quran mentions:

“Say, ‘Only what God has decreed will happen to us. He is our Master: let the believers put their trust in God.’” (9:51)

“Wherever you may be, death will overtake you, even if you should be within towers of lofty construction…” (4:78)

In conclusion, Destiny is one of the articles of faith in Islam. It teaches Muslims to make the most out of their resources and leave the results to God.

Quran – an intricate and beautiful book that is a light, a warning, a promise for Muslims. It was divinely revealed over fourteen hundred years ago. Ever since, the Quran remains a Muslim’s solace, hope, and guide.

Quran, the holy book of Islam

The Quran, the holy book of Islam, was given to Muhammad, the final prophet of Islam. The Quran contains many references to other books that God sent to prophets at different times in history – namely, the Book of Abraham, the Torah (Taurat) to Moses, the Psalms (Zabur) to David and the Gospel (Injeel) to Jesus. Believing in all four books is an essential part of the Islamic creed.

Each book was revealed by God to these messengers who then passed His words onto their people. While the Book of Abraham has been entirely lost, the Psalms, the Torah, and the Gospel, according to Islam, are no longer in their original state. They have been added to, cannot be traced directly to their prophets, or were simply altered. Only the Quran has been preserved in its original state, exactly as it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad.

 

Quran affirms the messages that preceded it

The Quran affirms the core message present in the former books. It verifies that each contained divine guidance and elaborates upon their beliefs. At the same time, it points out the modifications and reinforces the correct message. Hence, the Quran, the final revelation for all of humankind until Judgment Day, was sent to confirm, explain, and to an extent, correct the books that already existed.

“We sent Jesus, son of Mary, in their footsteps, to confirm the Torah that had been sent before him: We gave him the Gospel with guidance, light, and confirmation of the Torah already revealed– a guide and lesson for those who take heed of God. … We sent to you [Muhammad] the Scripture with the truth, confirming the Scriptures that came before it, and with final authority over them.” (Quran, 5:46, 48)

Despite their differences, the central beliefs in all four books are the same. Each text preaches that there is one God. They share the concept that God sends prophets to teach the common people how to live their lives according to God’s instructions. The four books also say that we will all be held accountable on the Day of Judgment, and that, eventually, everyone will end up in either hell or paradise.

Each holy book is greatly significant to its people, and every Muslim must believe in them. After all, they were sent down by the One God, with one purpose: to guide people to His worship which enables them to lead righteous lives. And, although all four books are, by now, very different, they are still bound, as one, by the same message: that God is eternally, infinitely one.

Introduction

The Quran is the last revealed Word of God. It is a record of the exact words revealed by God to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through the Angel Gabriel. It was then dictated to his Companions who memorized it, and it was written down by scribes. The Quran is in every detail the unique and miraculous text which was revealed to Muhammad fourteen centuries ago. Not one word of its 114 chapters has been changed over the centuries.The Quran deals with all subjects which concern us as human beings: wisdom, doctrine, worship, and law, but its basic theme is the relationship between God and His creatures.

There are also many verses in the Quran concerned with natural phenomena that are astounding. It is impossible to explain their presence in humans terms, given the state of knowledge at the time the Quran was revealed.

In the West, such statements had never before formed the subject of a scientific communication until recent times. On 9th November 1976, an unusual lecture was given at the French Academy of Medicine. Its title was ‘Physiological and Embryological data in the Quran’ and was delivered by the famous French physician Dr. Maurice Bucaille. His reason for doing this was that “our knowledge of these disciplines is such, that it is impossible to explain how a text produced at the time of the Quran could have contained ideas that have only been discovered in modern times.The citations included in this pamphlet appeared in the Quran during the 7th century C.E. [Read more: The Quran and Modern Science by Dr. Maurice Bucaille]

The Prophet Muhammad was himself illiterate and was living among illiterate people. The Arabs at that time worshipped idols and believed in horoscope and magic and were superstitious. The Arabs very actively opposed the teachings advanced by the Prophet through his revelations.This short article is for you to read and to consider. Because the subject matter is so vast, we have space to mention only a few brief facts from the Amazing Qur’an.

The Creation of the Universe

“Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together, then We clove them asunder? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?”(21:30) This verse is specifically addressed to non-believers, and touches upon the creation of the universe and the origins of all life. The Quran mentions the existence of a gaseous mass (41:11) which is unique and whose elements, although at first fused together  subsequently became separated (fatq). The separation process resulted in the formation of multiple worlds, a notion which crops up dozens of times in the Quran (1:1): “Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds.” [1,2]

 

The Origins of Life

“And We made from water every living thing.Will they not then believe?” (21:30)

The building blocks of all living things are called cells. They are the basic units of life.

Protoplasm (cytoplasm nucleus) is the substance of all living things. Cytoplasm is a jelly-like material consisting of water and dissolved substances. The constitution of protoplasm is about 80-85% water. Without water life is not possible. [2]

None of the myths on the origins of life that abounded at the time of the Quran are present in the text. Furthermore, the fact that all life originated from water would not have been a very easy thing to convince people of 1400 years ago, especially in the desert!

 

The Expansion of the Universe

The expansion of the universe is the most imposing discovery of modern science. Today it is a firmly established concept and the only debate centres around the way this is taking place.

“The heaven, We have built it with power. Verily, We are expanding it.” (51:47)‘We are expanding it’ is the translation of the plural present particle musi’una of the verb ausa’a meaning “to make wider, more spacious, to extend, to expand.” Some translators were unable to grasp the meaning and provided mistaken translations. Others sense the meaning, but were afraid to commit themselves eg. Hamidullah talks of the widening of the heavens and space, but he includes a question mark. Zidan & Zidan, and The Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs refer to the expansion of the universe in totally unambiguous terms. [1,2]

 

The Mountains

Mountains have always been looked upon as conspicuous landforms, characterized by lofty protrusions above their surroundings, high peaks and steep sides. However, the Quran accurately describes mountains as stabilizers for the Earth that hold its outer surface firmly, lest it should shake with us, and as pickets (or pegs) which hold that surface downwardly as a means of fixation.”Have we not made the earth an expanse, and the mountains stakes (awtad)?” (78:6-7) and “And God cast into the ground mountains standing so that it does not shake with you.” (31:10). [1,3]

 

The Developing Human Embryo

Statements referring to human reproduction and development are scattered throughout the Quran. It is only recently that the scientific meaning of some of these verses has been fully appreciated. The Quran determines that human development passes through stages (39:6). The realization that the human embryo develops in stages was not discussed and illustrated until the 15th century.

The staging of human embryos was not described until the 20th century. Streeter (1941) developed the first system of staging which has now been replaced by a more accurate system proposed by O’Rahilly (1972). However, the Quran was the first source to mention this (23:12-16).

The Quran and Hadith also state that both parents share in the origins of the offspring: “O mankind! We created you from male and female.” (49:13) and “We created mankind from a mixed drop (nutfah-amshaj).” (76:2) The mixed drop refers to the mixture and convergence of a small quantity of sperms with the ovum (and its associated follicular fluid) to form the zygote. It has the form of a drop and consists of a mixture of male and female secretions.”Then we made the drop into a leech-like structure (‘alaqah).” (23:14) ‘alaqah in Arabic means (i) to cling and stick to a thing; (ii) a leech or bloodsucker; (iii) a suspended thing; and (iv) a blood clot.

Amazingly, each of the meanings for ‘alaqah can be applied to human prenatal development.For example, taking ‘alaqah to mean a leech we find that the embryo is surrounded by amniotic fluid just as a leech is surrounded by water. The human embryo clings to the mothers womb, in the same way that a leech clings to the skin. A leech is a pear shaped organism and thrives on bloodsucking. The diagram above clearly indicates that the shape of the embryo does in fact resemble a leech! At this stage the cardiovascular system has started appearing and the embryo is now dependant on the maternal blood for its nutrition like a leech! As there were no microscopes or lenses available in the 7th century, people could not have known that the embryo has this leech-like appearance.”Then out of that leech-like structure We made a chewed lump (mudghah).” This statement is from Surah 23:14. The Arabic word mudghah means “chewed substance or chewed lump.” Towards the end of the 4th week, the human embryo looks somewhat like a chewed lump of flesh. The chewed appearance results from the somites which resemble teeth marks. The somites represent the beginnings of the vertebrae (backbone). (For a detailed discussion concerning the Quran and modern embryology see 1,2,4,5,6).

 

Lost Civilizations

In the 89th chapter of the Quran, the city of “Iram” is mentioned: “Have you not seen how your Lord dealt with Aad, of the city of Iram, with lofty pillars the like of which was never created in any land?” Iram has been unknown to history, so much so that it apparently became an embarrassment to some Muslim commentators of the Holy Quran. In 1975, in North-Western Syria the ancient city of Ebla was excavated. Ebla is over 4500 years old. In the ruins of the Palace Library they found the largest collection of cuneiform clay tablets ever discovered – around 15,000. Written in the oldest Semitic language yet identified, the tablets reveal that Ebla rivalled Egypt and Mesopotamia as a major power of the ancient world. They found in there a record of all the cities that Ebla used to do business with including one IRAM! [7,8,9]

 

What happened to the body of Pharaoh of the Exodus?

The Biblical version of Pharaoh’s story states that he was drowned in the pursuit of Prophet Moses (Exodus 14:28-29). Unknown to the world till only of late, the Holy Quran made a definite prediction about the preservation of the body of that same Pharaoh of Moses’ time 10:90-92: “This day We shall save you in your body so that you may be a sign for those that come after you”. The body was discovered in the tomb of Amenhotep II in 1898. [2,12]

 

The resting place of Noah’s Ark

The Bible states that “And the Ark rested… upon the mountains of Ararat.” Genesis 8:4. According to the Holy Quran (11:44): “The Ark came to rest upon Al-Judi.” According to recent evidence from an archaeological find in Eastern Turkey, experts believe they may have discovered the remains of an ancient vessel whose dimensions mirror those of Noah’s Ark as told in the Bible. However, the discovery was made on Al-Judi! [10,11]

 

The Holy Quran:- God’s final Guidance to Mankind

“How could a man, from being illiterate, become the most important author in terms of literary merits in the whole of Arabic literature? How could he the pronounce facts of a scientific nature that no other human being could have possibly known at that time, and all this, without once making the slightest error in his pronouncement on the subject?” (Dr. Maurice Bucaille).

You owe it to yourself to find out the TRUTH about : ISLAM, the Holy Quran and the Life and teachings of God’s final Messenger, Muhammad.

 

The message of ISLAM is simple:

There is nothing worthy of worship except GOD alone, and Muhammad is his messenger and servant. There are today, over one-thousand million followers of ISLAM. Find out the truth!

Muslims acknowledge the TORAH, OLD TESTAMENT and NEW TESTAMENT, but believe these Texts have become corrupted over time. God promised in the Quran to protect and preserve the Quran.

Absolutely, we have revealed the reminder, and, absolutely, we will preserve it.[Quran 15:9]

This is an honorable Quran. In a protected book. None can grasp it except the sincere. A revelation from the Lord of the universe.[Quran 56:77-80]

Indeed, it is a glorious Quran. In a preserved master tablet.[Quran 85:21-22]

The Quran literally meaning "the recitation" is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be a revelation from God. The Quran is divided into chapters, which are then divided into verses. Muslims believe the Quran was verbally revealed by God to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel (Jibril), gradually over a period of approximately 23 years, beginning on 22 December 609 CE when Muhammad was 40, and concluding in 632, the year of his death.

CONGRATULATING AN ATHEIST

Normally, when I meet an atheist, the first thing I like to do is to congratulate him and say, "My special congratulations to you", because most of the people who believe in God are doing blind belief - he is a Christian, because his father is a Christian; he is a Hindu, because his father is a Hindu; the majority of the people in the world are blindly following the religion of their fathers. An atheist, on the other hand, even though he may belong to a religious family, uses his intellect to deny the existence of God; what ever concept or qualities of God he may have learnt in his religion may not seem to be logical to him.

My Muslim brothers may question me, "Zakir, why are you congratulating an atheist?" The reason that I am congratulating an atheist is because he agrees with the first part of the Shahada i.e. the Islamic Creed, 'La ilaaha' - meaning 'there is no God'. So half my job is already done; now the only part left is 'il lallah' i.e. 'BUT ALLAH' which I shall do Insha Allah. With others (who are not atheists) I have to first remove from their minds the wrong concept of God they may have and then put the correct concept of one true God.


LOGICAL CONCEPT OF GOD

My first question to the atheist will be: "What is the definition of God?" For a person to say there is no God, he should know what is the meaning of God. If I hold a book and say that 'this is a pen', for the opposite person to say, 'it is not a pen', he should know what is the definition of a pen, even if he does not know nor is able to recognise or identify the object I am holding in my hand. For him to say this is not a pen, he should at least know what a pen means. Similarly for an atheist to say 'there is no God', he should at least know the concept of God. His concept of God would be derived from the surroundings in which he lives. The god that a large number of people worship has got human qualities - therefore he does not believe in such a god. Similarly a Muslim too does not and should not believe in such false gods. If a non-Muslim believes that Islam is a merciless religion with something to do with terrorism; a religion which does not give rights to women; a religion which contradicts science; in his limited sense that non-Muslim is correct to reject such Islam. The problem is he has a wrong picture of Islam. Even I reject such a false picture of Islam, but at the same time, it becomes my duty as a Muslim to present the correct picture of Islam to that non-Muslim i.e. Islam is a merciful religion, it gives equal rights to the women, it is not incompatible with logic, reason and science; if I present the correct facts about Islam, that non-Muslim may Inshallah accept Islam. Similarly the atheist rejects the false gods and the duty of every Muslim is to present the correct concept of God which he shall Insha Allah not refuse. (You may refer to my article, 'Concept of God in Islam', for more details)


QUR'AN AND MODERN SCIENCE

The methods of proving the existence of God with usage of the material provided in the 'Concept of God in Islam' to an atheist may satisfy some but not all. Many atheists demand a scientific proof for the existence of God. I agree that today is the age of science and technology. Let us use scientific knowledge to kill two birds with one stone, i.e. to prove the existence of God and simultaneously prove that the Qur'an is a revelation of God. If a new object or a machine, which no one in the world has ever seen or heard of before, is shown to an atheist or any person and then a question is asked, " Who is the first person who will be able to provide details of the mechanism of this unknown object? After little bit of thinking, he will reply, 'the creator of that object.' Some may say 'the producer' while others may say 'the manufacturer.' What ever answer the person gives, keep it in your mind, the answer will always be either the creator, the producer, the manufacturer or some what of the same meaning, i.e. the person who has made it or created it. Don't grapple with words, whatever answer he gives, the meaning will be same, therefore accept it. SCIENTIFIC FACTS MENTIONED IN THE QUR'AN: for details on this subject please refer to my book, 'THE QUR'AN AND MODERN SCIENCE - COMPATIBLE OR INCOMPATIBLE?


THEORY OF PROBABILITY

In mathematics there is a theory known as 'Theory of Probability'. If you have two options, out of which one is right, and one is wrong, the chances that you will chose the right one is half, i.e. one out of the two will be correct. You have 50% chances of being correct. Similarly if you toss a coin the chances that your guess will be correct is 50% (1 out of 2) i.e. 1/2. If you toss a coin the second time, the chances that you will be correct in the second toss is again 50% i.e. half. But the chances that you will be correct in both the tosses is half multiplied by half (1/2 x 1/2) which is equal to 1/4 i.e. 50% of 50% which is equal to 25%. If you toss a coin the third time, chances that you will be correct all three times is (1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2) that is 1/8 or 50% of 50% of 50% that is 12 x 1/2%. A dice has got six sides. If you throw a dice and guess any number between 1 to 6, the chances that your guess will be correct is 1/6. If you throw the dice the second time, the chances that your guess will be correct in both the throws is (1/6 x 1/6) which is equal to 1/36. If you throw the dice the third time, the chances that all your three guesses are correct is (1/6 x 1/6 x 1/6) is equal to 1/216 that is less than 0.5 %. Let us apply this theory of probability to the Qur'an, and assume that a person has guessed all the information that is mentioned in the Qur'an which was unknown at that time. Let us discuss the probability of all the guesses being simultaneously correct. At the time when the Qur'an was revealed, people thought the world was flat, there are several other options for the shape of the earth. It could be triangular, it could be quadrangular, pentagonal, hexagonal, heptagonal, octagonal, spherical, etc. Lets assume there are about 30 different options for the shape of the earth. The Qur'an rightly says it is spherical, if it was a guess the chances of the guess being correct is 1/30. The light of the moon can be its own light or a reflected light. The Qur'an rightly says it is a reflected light. If it is a guess, the chances that it will be correct is 1/2 and the probability that both the guesses i.e the earth is spherical and the light of the moon is reflected light is 1/30 x 1/2 = 1/60. Further, the Qur'an also mentions every living thing is made of water. Every living thing can be made up of either wood, stone, copper, aluminum, steel, silver, gold, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, oil, water, cement, concrete, etc. The options are say about 10,000. The Qur'an rightly says that everything is made up of water. If it is a guess, the chances that it will be correct is 1/10,000 and the probability of all the three guesses i.e. the earth is spherical, light of moon is reflected light and everything is created from water being correct is 1/30 x 1/2 x 1/10,000 = 1/60,000 which is equal to about .0017%.


The Qur'an speaks about hundreds of things that were not known to men at the time of its revelation. Only in three options the result is .0017%. I leave it upto you, to work out the probability if all the hundreds of the unknown facts were guesses, the chances of all of them being correct guesses simultaneously and there being not a single wrong guess. It is beyond human capacity to make all correct guesses without a single mistake, which itself is sufficient to prove to a logical person that the origin of the Qur'an is Divine.


CREATOR IS THE AUTHOR OF THE QUR'AN

The only logical answer to the question as to who could have mentioned all these scientific facts 1400 years ago before they were discovered, is exactly the same answer initially given by the atheist or any person, to the question who will be the first person who will be able to tell the mechanism of the unknown object. It is the 'CREATOR', the producer, the Manufacturer of the whole universe and its contents. In the English language He is 'God', or more appropriate in the Arabic language, 'ALLAH'.


QUR'AN IS A BOOK OF SIGNS AND NOT SCIENCE

Let me remind you that the Qur'an is not a book of Science, 'S-C-I-E-N-C-E'but a book of Signs 'S-I-G-N-S' i.e. a book of ayaats. The Qur'an contains more than 6,000 ayaats, i.e. 'signs', out of which more than a thousand speak about Science. I am not trying to prove that the Qur'an is the word of God using scientific knowledge as a yard stick because any yardstick is supposed to be more superior than what is being checked or verified. For us Muslims the Qur'an is the Furqan i.e. criteria to judge right from wrong and the ultimate yardstick which is more superior to scientific knowledge.

But for an educated man who is an atheist, scientific knowledge is the ultimate test which he believes in. We do know that science many a times takes 'U' turns, therefore I have restricted the examples only to scientific facts which have sufficient proof and evidence and not scientific theories based on assumptions. Using the ultimate yardstick of the atheist, I am trying to prove to him that the Qur'an is the word of God and it contains the scientific knowledge which is his yardstick which was discovered recently, while the Qur'an was revealed 1400 year ago. At the end of the discussion, we both come to the same conclusion that God though superior to science, is not incompatible with it.


SCIENCE IS ELIMINATING MODELS OF GOD BUT NOT GOD

Francis Bacon, the famous philosopher, has rightly said that a little knowledge of science makes man an atheist, but an in-depth study of science makes him a believer in God. Scientists today are eliminating models of God, but they are not eliminating God. If you translate this into Arabic, it is La illaha illal la, There is no god, (god with a small 'g' that is fake god) but God (with a capital 'G').


Surah Fussilat:

"Soon We will show them our signs in the (farthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that thy Lord doth witness all things?"


[Al-Quran 41:53]


What is the Purpose of Life?

Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? One of the first questions that comes to mind when considering our purpose of life is, "where did we come from?" Are we here based on random natural coincidences or is there a higher intelligent being, a creator? Acknowledging the existence of a creator is the first step in understanding our true purpose in life. There are many logical and rational reasons for believing in a creator. Three reasons are briefly mentioned below.

1. Beginning of the Universe

The first evidence that points to the existence of God relates to understanding the origin of the universe.

Imagine walking in a desert and finding a watch. We know a watch consists of glass, plastic and metal. Glass comes from sand, plastic from oil, and metal extracted from the ground - all these components are found in the desert. Would you believe that the watch formed itself? That the Sun shone, the wind blew, lightning struck, the oil bubbled to the surface and mixed with the sand and metal, and over millions of years the watch came together by random or natural coincidences?

Some may ask, "Who created God"? God, the Creator, is different to His creation. God is eternal, has always existed and has no beginning; therefore the question of who created God is irrational.

Human experience and simple logic tells us that something that has a beginning does not simply come from nothing, nor can something create itself. Therefore, the most rational explanation is that a higher "being" created the universe. This "being" must be powerful and intelligent as it brought the whole universe into existence and created the ‘laws of science' which govern it. We can also reason that this "being" is timeless and spaceless, because time, space and matter began at the creation of the universe. All of these attributes make up the basic concept of God, the creator of the universe. This is in perfect agreement with modern science which concludes that the universe is finite and has a beginning

2. Perfection of the Universe

The second evidence that points to the existence of an intelligent creator is the order and perfect balance of our complex universe.

Many features in the universe clearly indicate it to be specially designed to support life, such as the earth's distance from the sun, the thickness of the earth's crust, the speed at which the earth revolves, the percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere, and even the earth's tilt. If these measurements were slightly different to what they currently are, life could not exist.

In the same way that a watch has an intelligent maker to keep accurate time, so too must the earth have an intelligent maker to keep accurate time around the sun. Could this occur by itself?

When we see the order, precise laws and systems within ourselves and throughout the universe, is it not rational they have an organiser? This ‘organiser' is best explained by the existence of God - the one who brought about this order.

3. Revelation from God

  • The third evidence that points to the existence of God is the actual revelation that God has sent to humankind as a sign of His existence. There are clear signs that the book of Islam, the Quran, is the word of God. Below is a brief summary of reasons that support this claim. The Quran:
  • Is over 1400 years old and contains many scientific facts that were unknown to people of that time and which have only been discovered recently by science. Examples include: water being the origin of all living things (Quran 21:30); the expanding universe (Quran 51:47); and the individual orbits of the sun and moon (Quran 21:33).
  • Contains many historical facts that were unknown to the people of that time as well as numerous predictions which have proven to be correct.
  • Is free from any errors or contradictions despite gradual revelation over 23 years and covering a wide variety of topics.
  • Has been preserved, word-for-word, since its revelation in its original Arabic language, unlike other scriptures which no longer exist in their original form.
  • Has a simple, pure and universal message which appeals to Man's intellect and inherent beliefs about Almighty God.
  • Has a deep and moving effect on people.
  • Was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who was known to be illiterate, yet contains a unique style of language that is universally known as the pinnacle of Arabic eloquence and linguistic beauty.
  • The most rational explanation for the many unique and miraculous aspects of the Quran is that it is from God.

God Sends Guidance

Upon acknowledging that we have been created by the All-Wise Creator, we would expect to be informed of our purpose. How can we know what God expects from us? Do we live in trial and error, or make our own purpose? Do we "go with the flow" by following others? No. God sent Prophets and revelation to inform us of our purpose.

God sent thousands of Prophets, at least one to every nation, with the same message: to worship God alone and to follow His guidance. They included Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them all).

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the last in the chain of Prophets, was the perfect example of an honest, just, compassionate and brave human being. He was sent with the final revelation from God, the Quran, to demonstrate how its teachings should be applied.

The Quran is a book of guidance and explains many concepts such as the purpose of our existence; who God is; the actions liked and disliked by God; the stories of the Prophets and their lessons; accounts of Heaven, Hell, and the Day of Judgement. It aims to clarify misunderstandings about the nature of God, such as clarifying the nature and role of Jesus compared to the nature of God.

Jesus, like all the other Prophets, performed miracles and called to the worship of The One true God (Quran 19:36).

The Nature of Jesus

When trying to understand the concept of God in Islam, it is important to discuss the status of Jesus, given the widespread confusion and claims about his nature.

Some Christians claim that "Jesus is God" or part of a trinity - that is, he is the incarnation of God on earth and that God took on a human form. However, according to the Bible, Jesus was born, ate, slept, prayed and had limited knowledge – all attributes not befitting God. God has attributes of perfection whereas Man is the opposite. So how can anything be two complete opposites both at the same time? This is not rational.

However, some may ask, "If God can do anything, why can't he become a man?" By definition, God does not do ungodly acts, so if God became man and took on human attributes, he would, necessarily, no longer be God.

Furthermore, the Bible contains many verses in which Jesus speaks and behaves as if God is a separate being to himself. For example, Jesus "fell on his face and prayed" [Matthew 26:39]. If Jesus was God, then would a God fall on his face and pray? And, who would he be praying to?

Some Christians claim that "Jesus is the Son of God." We should ask ourselves, what does this actually mean? Surely God is far removed from having a physical and literal son. Rather, we find that the term "Son of God" is symbolically used in the earliest biblical languages for a "righteous person". It is used throughout the Old Testament for many righteous people such as David, Solomon and Israel - not exclusively for Jesus, "...Israel is my firstborn son," (Exodus 4:22) is one such example. "It is not befitting for Allah to take a son; He is perfect and flawless!"Quran 19:35The Islamic belief about Jesus explains who the real Jesus was, whilst maintaining the pure belief about God and His complete Greatness, Uniqueness and Perfection. Jesus was as an honourable Prophet sent by God to call to the worship of God alone.

So... why am I here?

Everyone would acknowledge that our body parts, such as our eyes, ears, brains and hearts, have a purpose. Wouldn't it then make sense that the individual, as a whole, also has a purpose?

God, the All Wise, did not create us to simply wander aimlessly or to only fulfil our basic instincts and desires. Rather, we have a higher purpose - to acknowledge and worship God alone, so that we live upon the guidance of our Creator. This guidance enables us to live a successful and blessed life in all aspects. This includes personal acts of virtue like prayer, as well as beneficial acts to society, like being good to one's neighbours, supporting one's family, honesty, and caring for animals.

God forbids us from worshiping anything else (e.g. statues, the sun, moon, saints, priests or even Prophets). He does not need any partners or intermediaries. Everyone can always worship God directly.

God describes this life as a test, and people are tested in different ways. We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how we react. Patience during adversities, and gratitude for blessings, are a means of getting closer to God and attaining eternal Paradise. We are also warned of a terrible punishment in Hell if we choose to disbelieve and ignore His commands.

So... what do I do now?

The test of one's faith is in using one's intellect to contemplate and recognise God's signs and live according to His guidance. This is done by submitting to God's commands, which in Arabic means to become a "Muslim".

God, the One and only Creator - 'Allah' in Arabic - has made Islam accessible to everyone, regardless of their history, background or present situation. Therefore, anyone can become a Muslim by simply believing in, and uttering the following testimony of faith:

"I testify that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger."

Isn't it time for you to fulfil your purpose of life, submit to the truth and acknowledge your Creator?