Print PDF

Summary of 10.14 "The Quran and Modern Sciences II - Comparisons with The Bible"

We continued by referring to the comparative study made by Dr. Bucaille  of the various statements in both the Bible and Quran pertaining to modern science or aspects that were discovered in science.  The last program dealt with the story of the flood and Prophet Noah.  The Bible referred to it as a universal flood that destroyed all life on earth except those who were on the arch with Prophet Noah.  In the Quran however we are told that only the people of Noah were destroyed.  Conclusions from available information shows that it was only the people of Noah that were destroyed because there were other civilizations that existed without being interrupted at the time the flood when the flood was believed to have taken place.  In addition we examined we began to examine other aspects in the Quran where references are made to scientific discoveries that much later than the revelation of the Quran.  We started by looking at the earth and how it fits into the universe.  We said that the earth was a drop in a big ocean if we compare it with the universe.  The light of the farthest star that we are aware of reaches the earth in billions of light years.  When we talk about the speed of light it is 186,000 miles per second which means we could go to the moon in less than 1 and 1/3 of a second.  It was indicated by scientists that the universe started as a gaseous mass and then it split successively which forms the galaxy, stars and planets which rotate around the stars.  We indicated that there were two interesting passages in the Quran.  One in Surah 41 in which the heavens are referred to as smoke.  In Surah (21:30) it says that the heavens and earth were joined together and then God split them.  This is an interesting expression given the fact that the Quran was revealed 1400 years ago.


10.15   The Quran and Modern Sciences III - Water Cycle

Host:  When the split took place were the stars and planets the only products?

Jamal Badawi:

What we are told by scientists is that process of separation or splitting of the original mass left certain remains.  The scientific name they give to these are interstellar galactic material.  Some astrophysics refer to them as dusts or smokes and they say that some of these take the form of bright medullae which reflect the light they receive from the starts but there are other dark medullae which are less dense and were known before because they interfered with the photometric measurements of astronomy.  It is interesting to note that several passages in the Quran speak about Allah creating the heavens and earth and all things in-between them.  This could be a possible reference to the existence of this relatively recently discovered material.  The references are not found in one verse but in at least twenty passages.  Some examples can be found in (15:85), (19:20) and (15:59).


Host:  Is there any scientific evidence as to how long the process of creation took?

Jamal Badawi:

The exact period is only known by Allah the creator and nobody can say for sure.  It is a matter of reasonable estimates made by scientists based on their studies and analysis but one can not say for sure to the day, hour, year or hundreds of years.  When we talk about the age of the universe I think the term billions of years would be a rather safe expression to use.  To say that the age of the sun is about 4.5 billion years and they estimate that it still has another 5.5 billion years to go.  This is rather dazzling because if one makes a mistake by 100 million or so one is still within the permissible range of error.  In any case while it is impossible to say what the exact dates are, there may be other stars that are older than the sun.  But it is definitely a long period of time.


Host:  How do you reconcile the contradiction that seems to exist in both the Bible and the Quran where it says that it only took 6 days for creation.

Jamal Badawi:

First of all what is a day and what is the length of a day?  First of all in the book of Genesis it appears that the definition of a day is clearly a 24 hour day or the regular cycle of day and night that we are used to.  For example in Genesis 2:2 it says that God created the heavens and earth in 6 days and then He rested on the 7th.  From there came the whole notion of the sabbath.  And as the week has seven days it appears from Genesis that God created the heavens and earth in 6 days and 24 hours each day.  As we indicated in a previous program sometimes what may appear on the surface to be similar between the Bible and the Quran when studied further interesting information is discovered.  It is true that many translators of the Quran translate youm as it appears in the Quran into day and the plural ayam into days.  It is also true that there are passages in the Quran that say that Allah created the heavens and earth in six ayam which they translate as days.  The word youm in Arabic could literally mean day but it could equally mean a very long period of time.  The evidence for this is found in the Quran.  For example in (32:5) and (22:44) it says that one day for God is worth a thousand of ours.  In other words a day in the sight of Allah is equivalent to so many years.  There is an interesting passage in the Quran in (70:4) “The angels and the spirit ascend unto him in a Day the measure whereof is (as) fifty thousand years.”  So if we take the terminology as used in the Quran then the word youm does not necessarily mean a day but rather a long time and 50,000 years is given as an example of the terminology that we use is not necessarily what the Quran refers to when it talks about these cosmic phenomena.


Host:  Can we explore the sequence of creation of the various elements in the Quran?  Is there a specific sequence?

Jamal Badawi:

There are certain passages in the Quran that indicate that the heavens was created in two youms (but with the meaning of stage or age) which is found in Surah 41:9-12.  How can we possibly understand the Quranic expression of these two periods?  According to Dr. Bucaille  he makes a suggestion that sounds reasonable even though other suggestions may emerge as people develop more understanding of both the Quran and of science.  It says that this could possibly refer to stage one which is the process of condensation of this primary gaseous mass which is the primary nebula.  The second stage is the stage of separation which separated them into segments of galaxies, stars and planets. “Say: Is it that ye deny Him Who created the earth in two Days? And do ye join equals with Him? He is the Lord of (all) the Worlds.  He set on the (earth), mountains standing firm, high above it, and bestowed blessings on the earth, and measure therein all things to give them nourishment in due proportion, in four Days, in accordance with (the needs of) those who seek (Sustenance).  Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: "Come ye together, willingly or unwillingly." They said: "We do come (together), in willing obedience.”  So on one hand it says it was created in two days and then in the following passage it says in four periods.  We can not take these as an accumulative of 2 days then came 4 stages.  It is obvious that they are overlapping.  Maybe the initial formation of the earth took two days and then additional provisions of the earth took an additional two days which came out to a total of four days.

It is just like saying that I drove from New York to Chicago in 2 days then I completed the trip to Denver in four days.  This doesn’t mean that it took me 4 days to drive from Chicago to New York but that the additional driving time from Chicago to Denver completes the driving trip or brings it up two a total of four days.  The expression in the Quran when deals with the Heavens doesn’t seem to conclusively indicate a specific sequence or order.  A term used in the passage in the Quran is thuma stawa ill al sama’a and thuma can be translated as then which could mean that certain things in heaven were created after the initial formation of the earth.  But the word thuma can also mean furthermore which could mean that there was an interlocking of the heavens of earth and not necessarily that one followed the other.  There is a good discussion of this point in Dr. Bucaille ’s book The Bible, Quran and Science especially in chapter 3.  There are some who wonder whether the mention of the Quran of the earth being created in four periods and whether that could be a hint for what geologists think are the four periods in the evolution of the earth.


Host:  Is there any mention in the Quran about an equilibrium?

Jamal Badawi:

The Quran repeatedly emphases that nothing in this universe exists in a haphazard way or by chance or evolved without a specific plan behind it.  In the Quran it says Allah created everything in this universe in due and proper measure and everything is created in due proportion.  This is found in (25:2) and (54:49).  There are additional passages in the Quran that use the term calculation.  For example in (55:5) it says “The sun and the moon follow courses (exactly) computed.”  The word husban which is used in this verse means calculation which is a very early indication about the delicate balance, distance, access and all orbits that scientists have discovered way after the revelation of the Quran.  Indeed when the question comes about the divine order of the universe there is not only one passage but several.  In (23:86), (45:13) and (16:12) which all refer to the basic notion of this balance and how everything follows certain laws.  Bucaille  says that the remoteness of celestial masses at a great distance and in proportion to their mass constitutes the foundation of their equilibrium.  In other words if they were closer than they are now a collision of these bodies would have been inevitable.


Host:  How would you respond to the fact that the universe is getting bigger?

Jamal Badawi:

First of all, the theory is reasonably well established and there are lots of justifications for this theory.  What scientists say is that the universe will become bigger and bigger the farther away the galaxies move away from earth.  In fact as far as the Quran is concerned we find a passage which was rather puzzling to many commentators of the Quran in the past.  The text in (51:47) says “The heaven, We have built it with power. Verily. We are expanding it.”  It was difficult for commentators to understand because they could not conceive of the universe expanding.  Some of them interpreted it in an allegorical sense and said that it could mean that He provides lots of provision or blessing.  If the verse were speaking about the earth and said that we created the earth and we are expanding it, it could have meant that God was generous in giving vegetation or provisions.  The interesting thing about this verse is that it says wa al sama’a which is the heavens being expanded.  The obvious meaning seems to be the one that makes sense as far as our understanding of modern scientific information.


Host:  I would like for you to explain why there are 7 heavens and what they are?

Jamal Badawi:

There are many passages in the Quran which refer to the heaven and earth in the singular.  This could simply identify that there are heavens and there is an earth.  On the other hand we find that there are many citations in the Quran that use the term heavens in the plural.  There are also some verses that mention “seven” heavens as are found in (65:12), (25:29), (32:4) and many others.  The number seven in Arabic and possibly some other traditions does not necessarily always mean a particular number.  Many times it has been used to refer to “many” and is not exactly the number seven.  It is a term that is used quite frequently to mean many.  One can not say that it could not possibly mean the number seven because we don’t know much about the universe and it is quite possible that the first one of all of these seven could be our solar system, or it could be the Milky Way.  It is quite possible that as we discover more about the universe that a combination of galaxies might be number one and only Allah knows where the rest of the heavens are.  In other words the meaning could go both ways, which is the miraculous aspect of the Quran.  For all times to come, for all levels of people and understanding without at any moment them saying that the expressions in the Quran are erroneous from a scientific standpoint.  If at one point people understood it as an exact number it is fine and if people understood it as a word that implied many there is no problem in terms of the compatibility of science with the revelation.


Host:  Is there any reference to the fact that all the elements in the universe are in constant motion?

Jamal Badawi:

There are several references in the Quran to this particular phenomena.  In one verse it says “And He hath made subject to you the sun and the moon, both diligently pursuing their courses.”  In other words they are not stationary as there is constant motion.  In addition to this there are passages in the Quran which are more explicit about the motion of the heavenly bodies.  For example in (21:33) it says “It is He Who created the Night and the Day, and the sun and the moon: all (the celestial bodies) swim along, each in its rounded course.”  An equally interesting citation is found in (36:40) “It is not permitted to the Sun to catch up the Moon, nor can the Night outstrip the Day: Each (just) swims along in (its own) orbit (according to Law).”  And we are talking here about a revelation that goes back 1400 years.  We know the state of knowledge in which the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) lived and many of this information has only been known to scientists in the last couple hundred years or so.  Had it been true that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) borrowed from any other book, scripture or other source of information how could he have arrived at this kind of information unless it was truly divine revelation?

| + - | RTL - LTR
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.