Sunday, 26 June 2016

MYTH: Quran Describing Moonlight as Reflected

According to Zakir Naik, the Quran describes moonlight as reflected light. He claims that the Arabic word "nur" used to describe moonlight in quran means "reflected light". Here is a part of his debate with William Campbell where he makes the claim: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3P_WDTeInA

Zakir quotes the verse 25:61 of the Quran: http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=25&verse=61

Yusuf Ali: "Blessed is He Who made constellations in the skies, and placed therein a Lamp and a Moon giving light"

Pickthall: "Blessed be He Who hath placed in the heaven mansions of the stars, and hath placed therein a great lamp and a moon giving light!"

The Quran uses the word "siraj" for describing sunlight and "munir" for describing moonlight. According to Zakir, siraj means "its own light" and munir is derived from the Arabic word "nur" which means "reflected light". If that was true, then the Quran describes moonlight as reflected light.

But wait... Zakir Naik lied when he said nur/munir means reflected light. Nur actually means "light", NOT reflected light. Munir actually means luminous/shining/giving light, not reflecting light. It is easy for him to fool an audience who do not know Arabic. But we do have dictionaries available to expose the truth!

Here is the proof from six different Arabic dictionaries and the word by word grammar of the quran:

1) Munir - Adjective ( منير )
http://www.arabdict.com/en/english-arabic/منير
http://mobile-dictionary.reverso.net/arabic-english/منير
http://dictionary.sensagent.com/منير/ar-en/
http://www.wordreference.com/aren/منير
https://glosbe.com/ar/en/منير
http://en.bab.la/dictionary/arabic-english/منير

http://corpus.quran.com/wordbyword.jsp?chapter=25&verse=61#(25:61:5)

2) Nur - Noun ( نور )
http://www.arabdict.com/en/english-arabic/نور
http://mobile-dictionary.reverso.net/arabic-english/نور
http://dictionary.sensagent.com/نور/ar-en/
http://www.wordreference.com/aren/نور
https://glosbe.com/ar/en/نور
http://en.bab.la/dictionary/arabic-english/نور

http://corpus.quran.com/wordbyword.jsp?chapter=24&verse=35#(24:35:35)

As you can see, none of these six Arabic-to-English dictionaries give the meaning reflected light for munir/nur. Similar wording is used for describing the moonlight in verses 10:5 and 71:16 too.

Since Zakir Naik has a decent knowledge of Arabic, it is most likely that he was lying and was not ignorant about the meanings. By inserting false meanings for arabic words, he can only fool people who take his words for granted and not bother to check if what he is telling is right. We cannot expect many Muslims to come up with the truth when the lies told by Zakir is helping Islam grow and make the Quran look like a miracle.

However, even those Muslims who acknowledge the true meanings of the words nur and munir have a point to make: Why does the author of the Quran mention moon as simply "a light" and sun as "a lamp (light source)"? They argue that this is because the author knew that the sun is actually the source of the light of the moon. Let us look at the meaning of the word "siraj" that is used to describe sunlight: http://www.arabdict.com/en/english-arabic/سِرَاجًا

The meaning of siraj is "dazzling lamp" or "great lamp". Besides, sunlight is mentioned in the Quran as wahaaj/diya meaning blazing torch/shining glory. If you look at this, it is clear that the author of the Quran is simply describing sunlight as a "greater light" and moonlight as simply "light". This is what anyone in the seventh century knew! That sunlight is far brighter than the moonlight.

In fact, the Greeks like Aristotle knew that moonlight was reflected, about a thousand years before Muhammad was even born. It is something that was understood over time in many countries such as India by observing the phases of the moon. By the middle ages, even Arabs got to know this by the same method. From then on, efforts were always underway to reinterpret the Quran in order to make it compatible with the new discoveries.

8 comments:

  1. This is interesting and I pritned it out to reread it later. I will have a link to your blog to check in my spare time.

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  2. the idea that moon relfects sunlight was known before to greek astronomers as well as indian astronomers.
    the indian astronomer/mathematician aryabhatta describes that moon reflects sunlight as well as greek astronomer aristotle also described it.

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  3. the idea that moon relfects sunlight was known before to greek astronomers as well as indian astronomers.
    the indian astronomer/mathematician aryabhatta describes that moon reflects sunlight as well as greek astronomer aristotle also described it.

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  4. Think you need to post the video link too ... that would be better.

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  5. Don't you people understand the difference between shining and glowing. An objects shines only when light falls on it. So the word Munir = shining truly justifies that moon reflects the light.

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    Replies
    1. Yeap that was what i thinking also, when we say that water is shining it doesnt mean that water has light, some other light hits the water to make it shine

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    2. Yeap that was what i thinking also, when we say that water is shining it doesnt mean that water has light, some other light hits the water to make it shine

      Delete