Monday, 17 October 2016

Sun Stopping its Movement During Night

Here is one of the clearest scientific errors in the Quran - The Quran states that sun stops its motion during the night time. This is stated in verse 36:38. Let us see verses 36:37 - 36:39 (Translated by Pickthall)

036.037 A token unto them is night. We strip it of the day, and lo! they are in darkness.
036.038 And the sun runneth on unto a resting-place for him. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Wise.
036.039 And for the moon We have appointed mansions (or phases) till she return like an old shrivelled palm-leaf.

The sequence is very clear and simple.

1) Day changes to night. (36:37)
2) Sun runs to its resting place. (36:38)
3) Moon appears in the night sky. (36:39)

Arabic transliteration:

36:38 - wa al-shamsu tajree li-mustaqarrin lahaa dhaalika taqdeeru al-'azeezi al-'aleemi

"li-mustaqarrin" means "to a resting place". Here is the meaning of "mustaqarr" as given in the famous Lane's Lexicon, the most reputed Classical Arabic-English dictionary available:

The Lane's Lexicon makes it clear that "mustaqarr" when it comes to talking about a physical object like the sun, refers to a place of rest along its path of movement.

Many Quran translators such as Yusuf Ali have hidden this error by watering down the translation of "li-mustaqarrin" as "for a term appointed" or "for a period determined". Although Lane's Lexicon briefly touches the words "to a term appointed", it makes it clear that the usage implies a point where the sun stops its movement. 

The word "mustaqarr" is mentioned in several places in the Quran, with the meaning "resting place", "dwelling place" or "settlement". Examine the verses 2:36, 6:98, 11:6, 25:24, 25:66 and 75:12 and you will see that mustaqarr is used with the above meaning, and not "term appointed". There is only one place in the Quran, ie, verse 6:67, where mustaqarr is used not as a fixed place. And that is because this verse refers to the mustaqarr of an event, not of a physical object. To conclude, the word mustaqarr in Quranic usage always refers to a place of settlement when it is related to a physical object (like the sun).

If the author meant to say "for a term appointed", or "for a period determined", he could have simply used the proper Arabic for that - "li-ajalin musamman". Throughout the Quran, the same words "ajalin musamman" have been used to refer to "term appointed", as demonstrated in verses 13:2, 14:10, 16:61, 22:5, 22:33 and 46:3.

Another apologetic argument is that the Quran is talking about the end of the life of sun in 36:38. That argument does not really stand when the Quran is clearly talking about a resting/settling place for the sun. To interpret this as the end of sun's life is actually twisting what is stated in the verse. It is also odd to think that the author of the Quran would be placing a verse about the end-times exactly in between two verses that describe what appears to be the daily observable phenomena in the sky.

To examine this matter further, let us refer Sahih Muslim, one of the most trusted hadith-collections ever.

Sahih Muslim 1:297
It is narrated on the authority of Abu Dharr that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) one day said:
Do you know where the sun goes? They replied: Allah and His Apostle know best. He (the Holy Prophet) observed: Verily it (the sun) glides till it reaches its resting place under the Throne. Then it falls prostrate and remains there until it is asked: Rise up and go to the place whence you came, and it goes back and continues emerging out from its rising place and then glides till it reaches its place of rest under the Throne and falls prostrate and remains in that state until it is asked: Rise up and return to the place whence you came, and it returns and emerges out from it rising place and the it glides (in such a normal way) that the people do not discern anything (unusual in it) till it reaches its resting place under the Throne. Then it would be said to it: Rise up and emerge out from the place of your setting, and it will rise from the place of its setting. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said. Do you know when it would happen? It would happen at the time when faith will not benefit one who has not previously believed or has derived no good from the faith.

Notice Muhammad asking his followers "Do you know where the sun goes?" (Arabic: "atadroona ayna tadhhabu hadhihi al-shamsu?"). The question is about the daily routine of the sun. They reply that Muhammad and Allah knows best. To this, Muhammad informs them without any doubt that sun keeps moving till it reaches its resting place and stays there for a period of time before rising from the east. Reading Muhammad's response in original arabic shows that there is no ambiguity in what he said:

إِنَّ هَذِهِ تَجْرِي حَتَّى تَنْتَهِيَ إِلَى مُسْتَقَرِّهَا تَحْتَ الْعَرْشِ فَتَخِرُّ سَاجِدَةً وَلاَ تَزَالُ كَذَلِكَ حَتَّى يُقَالَ لَهَا ارْتَفِعِي ارْجِعِي مِنْ حَيْثُ جِئْتِ فَتَرْجِعُ فَتُصْبِحُ طَالِعَةً مِنْ مَطْلِعِهَا

"Inna hadhihi tajree hattaa tantahiya ilaa mustaqarrihaa tahta al-'arshi, fa-takhirru saajidatan wa-laa tazaalu ka-dhalika hattaa yuqaala lahaa - irtafi'ee irji'ee min haythu ji'ti fa-tarji'u fa-tusbihu taali'atan min matli'ihaa.."

Translation: "Indeed this glides until it reaches its resting-place under the throne and falls prostrate and does not cease its state (of prostration) until it is said to it - 'get up and return from wherever you came' - and it returns and rises from its rising-place..."

He even affirms that this is daily regular phenomena by explicitly mentioning that this happens repeatedly. Please note that only the last part (which says that one day, the sun will rise from the west) is about judgement day. The first part describes the regular daily phenomena. This explanation by Muhammad is also recorded in Sahih al Bukhari:
Conclusion: The Quran has a clear scientific error in stating that sun stops moving after setting. The authentic hadiths confirm this with even more clarity. This sort of thinking is quite normal for a seventh century Arab who simply had no idea what the sun does after it sets.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Earth Created Before the Stars

The Quran clearly states that the Earth was created before the Stars - A grave scientific error. This is clear from the Verses 41:9 - 41:12. Here I will quote two different translations of the Quran to show it - Translations of Pickthall and Yusuf Ali. Pickthall makes it absolutely certain, so let us give the Quran a chance and go straight to Yusuf Ali's translation.

41:9. 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.
41:10. 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).
41:11. 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."
41:12. So He completed them as seven firmaments in two Days, and He assigned to each heaven its duty and command. And We adorned the lower heaven with lights, and (provided it) with guard. Such is the Decree of (Him) the Exalted in Might, Full of Knowledge.

The start of verse 41:12 uses the Arabic word "fa" which indicates a sequence of events between 41:11 and 41:12. See the word by word grammar of the Quran:

Yusuf Ali translates "fa" as "so" and Pickthall translates it as "then". In either case, the events in 41:11 occurred before the events in 41:12. Notice that at the end of verse 41:11, the earth was surely existant, no doubt. And when does the Quran claim that stars were created? In 41:12, that is after the creation of the Earth! Yusuf Ali describes stars as "lights" and Pickthall describes it as "lamps". Either way, the verse is talking about stars (whether it includes sun or not). There are no other "lights" or "lamps" (notice the plural) that fit the context.

Things are even clearer when we go to Pickthall's translation:

041.009 Say (O Muhammad, unto the idolaters): Disbelieve ye verily in Him Who created the earth in two Days, and ascribe ye unto Him rivals ? He (and none else) is the Lord of the Worlds.
041.010 He placed therein firm hills rising above it, and blessed it and measured therein its sustenance in four Days, alike for (all) who ask;
041.011 Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke, and said unto it and unto the earth: Come both of you, willingly or loth. They said: We come, obedient.
041.012 Then He ordained them seven heavens in two Days and inspired in each heaven its mandate; and We decked the nether heaven with lamps, and rendered it inviolable. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Knower.

The best argument someone can put up against this is that the verse 41:12 does not explicitly say that stars were "created". Rather it says that the "nearest heaven" was "beautified" or "adorned" with stars. But think about this: If the author of the Quran knew that stars were already shining there long before the earth was created, then why would he say that god beautified the nearest heaven with stars after the earth was created? If the stars were already there, this beautification was already there. It makes no sense to say this beautification was made after the creation of earth.

Modern science has made considerable progress in the study of the formation of planets through astronomical observations. Planets in general form as a result of the coming together and solidification of matter thrown outwards from their parent stars. This explains why they orbit stars. Thus, there is simply no way that earth was created before stars. Studies estimate the age of the earth as approximately one-third the age of universe from the time of the big bang. Stars were there long before the formation of the earth.

To conclude, this is a grave scientific error in the Quran that simply cannot be reconciled with scientific observations.