Scientific foreknowledge in the Qur'an

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Skeptics Annotated Quran.jpg
For more information, see the Skeptic's Annotated Quran article:

Scientific foreknowledge in the Qur'an is a defence of the origins of the Qur'an often cited by Muslims as an example of scientific foreknowledge in sacred texts. Many Muslims believe the only way this information could have bee obtained was Allah. There are many claims that are made, such that the Qur'an predicted the Big Bang and the speed of light.


Origins of the universe and the Big Bang

Orbits of the planets

"God hints at such orbit in the Quran: 'GOD is the ONE who created the night, the day, the sun, and the moon. Each one is travelling in an orbit with its own motion' (21:33). Here an essential scientific fact is clearly stated, namely, the existence of the earth's, sun'so and moon's orbits; besides, a reference is made to the travelling of these celestial bodies in space with their own motion! A new concept had therefore been established in the Quran, hundreds of years before it was discovered by modern science." —Islami City Science Article

  • The verse says the Sun and Moon have orbits but says nothing of the Earth having one. This is consistent with geocentrism. This verse did not introduce a new cosmological idea.

Speed of light

Chapter 32 verse 5 of the Qur'an reads: "GOD rules the cosmic affair from the heavens to the earth. Then this affair travels, to Him(i.e.,through the whole universe) in one day, where the measure is one thousand years of your reckoning." Using some mathematics, some Muslims conclude that this verse predicts the speed of light and thus the Qur'an is true and inspired by Allah (such as Dr. Mansour Hassab-Elnaby in his article "A New Astronomical Quranic Method for The Determination Of The Greatest Speed C"). However, there are many problems with this argument.

  • The verse is not unique to the Qur'an. One can find the same idea in Psalms 90:4.
  • The mathematics use modern measurements rather than the slightly different measurements contemporary to the Qur'an. That is an unstated assumption in the mathematics that the author would be using modern, more-accurate, data rather than the data available to him. One could say that's begging the question.
  • Some of the mathematics are invalid because an improvising, ad hoc, number was inserted so the calculation gave the desired result.
  • Even if the Qur'an predicted the speed of light accurately, the conclusion "Allah inspired the verse" is a non sequitur because Satan, aliens, Atlanteans, and so on could've inspired it.


Scientific inaccuracies and absurdities in the Qur'an


Bukhari:V4B54N421 "I walked hand in hand with the Prophet when the sun was about to set. We did not stop looking at it. The Prophet asked, 'Do you know where the sun goes at sunset?' I replied, 'Allah and His Apostle know better.' He said, 'It travels until it falls down and prostrates Itself underneath the Throne. The angels who are in charge of the sun prostrate themselves, also. The sun asks permission to rise again. It is permitted. Then it will prostrate itself again but this prostration will not be accepted. The sun then says, "My Lord, where do You command me to rise, from where I set or from where I rose?" Allah will order the sun to return whence it has come and so the sun will rise in the west. And that is the interpretation of the statement of Allah in the Qur'an.'" [YâSîn: 38] says ‘And the Sun runs on to its place of settlement...""

The Qur'an states:

"Until when he reached the setting of the Sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water. Near it he found a People. We said: "O Zul-qarnain! (Thou hast authority,) either to punish them or to treat them with kindness.""

Surah 18:86 Bible-icon.png

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