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Qur'an and Modern Science

The Qur'an, the holy book in Islam, is not a book of science; yet, it talks about so many different areas of material things in a very scientific way that leaves an everlasting miracle and a permanent challenge to the thinking humans. Such references are hard to include in such a short article; however, a good sample of them are included in this article. The translation from Arabic to English makes those verses loose some of their strength when some words have to be translated to the closest words.

The human embryology subject is one of the most amazing parts in the Qur'an. A verse in Surah Al-Zumar says: "The Almighty makes you in the wombs of your mothers in stages, one after another, within three veils of darkness." This matches with what Dr. Keith Moore from Canada says that a 20 week fetus in the uterus is surrounded by three veils of darkness: the abdominal wall, the uterine wall and the aminochorionic membrane.

Another verse in Surah Al-Muminoun says: "The Almighty made you from a drop of sperm into a leech-like structure which changed into a chewed-like substance that then took the shape of a bone and was clothed with flesh." Dr. Keith Moore says that a 24 day human embryo looks exactly like a leech or a bloodsucker. At 28 days, several parts of bead-like somites start to appear on the embryo to make it look like the chewed substance.

A saying of the Prophet also states this: "Not from all the fluid is the offspring created" while a verse in Surah Al-Insan says: "Verily, We created the human being from mixture of germinal drop." Another verse in Surah Al-Muminoun shows that the bone material is formed before the flesh: "Then We clothed the bones with flesh." Many more verses provide detailed description of the development of the embryo that needs advanced knowledge of the human embryology to appreciate.

The expansion of a universe, a recent discovery of modern science that was first suggested by the general theory of relativity and is backed up by physics in the examination of the galactic spectrum; the regular movement towards the red section of their spectrum may be explained by the distancing of our galaxy from another. Thus the size of the universe is constantly increasing. This verse in another Surah says: "The Heaven, We have built it with power. Verily, We are expanding it."

Concerning the moon, the sun, and the night, the Holy Qur'an says in Surah Al-Anbiyaa: "(The Almighty is) The One who created the night, the day, the sun, the moon. Each one is traveling in an orbit with its own motion." Another verse in Surah Yaseen says: "The sun must not catch up the moon, nor does the night outstrip the day. Each one is traveling in an orbit with its own motion."

The Qur'an also tells the difference between the sun and the moon. The sun is called "Sirjan Wahaja" which means a "blazing lamp", while the moon is called "Noor" and "Muneer" which means "light" and "gives light."

The difference between the star and the planets is also mentioned in the Holy Qur'an in so many places.

The Holy Qur'an gives information in so many places about many points that have to do with the creation of the universe like the existence of six periods for the creation in general, the interlocking of the stages in the creation of the heavens and the earth, the creation of the universe out of an initially unique mass forming a block that subsequently split up, the plurality of the heavens and of the earth, and the existence of an intermediary creation between the heavens and the earth.

An example for the above is this verse in Surah Al-Anbiyaa: "Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together, then we clove them asunder." This separation process resulted in the formation of the multiple worlds mentioned in so many places in the Qur'an.

There are so many verses that talk about the seas and the water cycle.

An amazing one in Surah Al-Furqan says: "(Almighty) is The One who has let free the two seas, one is agreeable and sweet, and the other salty and bitter. He placed a barrier between them, a partition that is forbidden to pass."

Another one in Surah Al-Rahman says: "He has loosed the two seas. They meet together. Between them there is a barrier which they do not transgress. Out of them come pearls and corals." Another one mentions the under-surface waves in the high seas. It is good to mention here that Mohammad (pbuh), who lived in the desert 1400 years ago, never rode the sea, which makes it hard to believe that this book was written by a human and must be a Revelation from The Almighty.

The electricity in the atmosphere and the consequence of this, i.e. lighting and hail, are referred to in many verses. This one in Surah Al-Noor says: "Have you not seen that Almighty makes the clouds move gently, then joins them together, then makes them a heap. And then you see raindrops issuing from within it. He sends down from the sky mountains of hail. He strikes therewith whom He wills and He turns it away from whom He wills. The flashing of its lightning almost snatches away the sights." It is good to mention that recent scientists say that hail falls from clouds that have the shape of mountains.

Concerning the animal milk, the Holy Qur'an describes how and where the milk is formed inside the animal. This verse from Surah Al-Nahl says: "Verily, there is food for thought in your cattle. From what is in their bellies, among their excrement and blood. We make you drink pure milk, easy for drinkers to imbibe."

Many other areas are mentioned in the Holy Qur'an and are open for interested scientists in those areas to do research on them. There is no need for the scientist to be a Muslim to benefit from these hints in the Qur'an. One verse in Surah Fussilat says: "We will show them Our signs in the horizons and inside themselves until it is shown for them that it is the truth."

When doing that, however, one should keep in mind that this book came to us 1400 years ago in the desert. Muslims and non-Muslim claim that Mohammed (pbuh) who was illiterate, wrote it. Mohammed (pbuh) had no telescopes or microscopes to do that kind of research nor did he ride the seas to check the barrier between the salty and sweet waters.

Whosoever does any scientific research on verses from the Holy Qur'an that relate to his research can decide for himself which side to support.


The Islamic Bulletin
P.O. Box 410186, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186

February 1991
Shahban 1411
The Virtues of Qur'an
Qur'an and Science
Sincerity (Ikhlas)
Stories of the Sahabah
Women in Islam
The Kid's Corner
The Prophet Adam
Teachings of the Prophet
Why I Embraced Islam
Islamic Dietary Laws