Friday, 3 September 2010
However, the Qur'an does make a clear reference to this:
Allah grasps the heavens and the earth lest they move from their places’ (Sura 35: 41)
Hence the fixing and resting of the earth is not the earth's crust or surface but the planet itself which in correlation with the heavens are being held in fixed place.
Then we might discuss whether the passage reveals fixation within a fixed orbit or the earth's attachment to the sun.
There are however, two difficulties here, the passage does not clarify this and such amounts to speculation. Furthermore, the Qur'an is clear not only from its metaphorical language but also its scientific description that the sun orbits around the earth.
This presumes that the earthly body is 'cosmological central' and fixed, much like space itself (from the Qur'anic description).
Wednesday, 1 September 2010
‘It is He Who created for you all things that are on earth; moreover His design comprehended the heavens, for He gave order and perfection to the seven firmaments; and of all things He has perfect knowledge.’
Kathir comments on this verse:
‘These Ayat indicate that Allah started creation by creating the earth, then He made heaven into seven heavens. This is how a building usually starts, with the lower floors first and then the top floors.’
Then Kathir refers to Mujahid who states:
“Allah created the earth before heaven, and when he created the earth, smoke burst out of it. This is why Allah said: Then He Istawa ila (turned towards) the heaven when it was smoke (41: 11). ‘And made the seven heavens’ means, one above the other, while the ‘seven earths’ means, one below the other” (Tafsir, Ibn Kathir, Volume 1, 2000: 179-81).
Whether this view is equated with the orbits of the celestial world is spurious; obviously, if the earth is bottom level there are no orbits except for semi orbits; and interestingly certain Qur’anic passages do relate to a sun setting in and rising from the earth.
It is plausible therefore that the author might derive information from various contradictory sources. In fact Several passages in the Qur’an imply that the sun sets on the earth; see Sura 18: 86-94; while others imply that the sun orbits along with the moon (see Sura 36: 40).
As to the position of the earth, only a minority of the Greek philosophers assumed the earth to orbit. The early Pythagoras concept envisaged a universe which moved in a circle around its centre (Plotinus Ennead II, A.H. Armstrong (trans.), London: William Heinemann Ltd & Cambridge Massachusetts:Harvard University Press, 1966: 47. See also Russell, 1991: 222; and Arthur Fairbanks, Pythagoras, 1898: 136).
Democritus believed that the earth in the start changed its place, due to its smallness; yet due to its growth, density and increased weight it became stationary (Tr. E.H. Gifford, Eusebius of Caesarea: Praeparatio Evangelica (Preparation for the Gospel), Chapter LVIII----Of the Earth’s motion, book 15: 1903: 849, http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/eusebius_pe_15_book15.htm). Aristarchus of Samos (310-230 BC) is the only philosopher known to have believed that the earth and all the planets orbited the sun (Russell, 1991: 223).
Apart from these, the majority of Greek and Roman philosophers envisaged the earth to be fixed in a central position and surrounded by the orbit of planets (Zeller, 1881: 275; reference to Anaxemenes; see also reference Thales, in Fairbanks, Thales, Aet. iii. 11; 377, 1898: 6 and Lucretius, 1957: 187: ‘We now have to consider how the earth remains fixed in the middle of the world.’).
Furthermore, most philosophers considered the starry host to emerge from the earth, whether from its exhalation, through vapour (Fairbanks, Hipp. Philos. 7; Dox. 560 and Arist. Meteor. ii. 7; 365, 1898: 18-20; reference to Anaxemander), or by ether catching earthly material (Fairbanks, Aet. Plac. ii. 13; 341, 1898: 255; reference to Anaxagoras’ theory of ether approach the earth and catching up rocks, which are turned into fiery stars).
Anaximander, described the surface of the earth as being covered by an incomprehensible fiery sphere, which suddenly separated and broke into distinct circles, from which the sun, moon and stars arose; the majority followed the same thought (For reference to Anaxemander’s concept see Fairbanks, Hipp. Phil. 6; Dox. 559, 1898: 13-14; See also Aristotle in Eduard Zeller, Outlines of the History of Greek Philosophy, 1963: 200).
Furthermore Plato’s Timaeus describes the earth as the oldest body in the universe, created alongside the universe. The earth is described as a globe and the planets perform their orbits around it; his theory describes the stars and the entire universe, matter and space to expand from an entity of which the earth was fused (see Plato’s Timaeus, Critias, Cleitophon, Menexenus, Epistles, (trans.) R.G. Bury, Loeb Classical Library, London: William Heinemann Ltd/Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harward University Press, 1966: 79-87. Lucretius, 1957: 187).
Since the Qur’an follows the observation of the unbelievers (see Sura 21: 30), we must assume that the Qur’an follows their line of reasoning; hence that the earth is central and is or either stationary or possibly bottom-level are plausibility’s.
The issue has been fiercely debated among authors of several factions. Polemical articles, usually point to a range of passages implying a fixed earth in the Qur’an:
‘…the earth stand by His command’ (Sura 30: 25)
‘Allah grasps the heavens and the earth lest they move from their places’ (Sura 35: 41)
‘…He…has made the earth as a fixed abode’ (Sura 27: 61)
‘He…set on the earth firm mountains, lest it should shake with you’ (Sura 31: 10)
‘God…made…the earth a resting place’ (Sura 2: 22; see also 16: 15)
While, only Sura 35: 41 and 27: 61 might explicitly imply a fixed earth, the reply from contemporary Muslim apologists has been interesting. Osama Abdallah in an attempt to refute the allegation, claims that ‘fixed’ rather than describing a stationary earth, implies an earth completing its job, virtually by orbiting the sun (Osama Abdallah, Does the Noble Quran support, Answering-Christianity.com):
Here however Abdallah and authoritative commentators such as Kathir do not agree; Kathir states in his interpretation of Sura 27: 61:
‘Is not He Who has made the earth as a fixed abode, meaning, stable and stationary, so that it does not move or convulse, because if it were to do so, it would not be a good place for people to live on. But by His grace and mercy, He has made it smooth and calm, and it is not shaken or moved’
(Tafsir.com Tafsir ibn Kathir, sura 27):
Monday, 23 August 2010
“(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” (Sura 21: 33).
I find it rather obvious from what this passage depicts that the day and night depends upon the orbit of the sun and moon. In other words, contrary to what Muslim apologists exclaim about the sun's galactic orbit, the passage appears rather to describe the sun and the moon in parallel orbits.
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)(Sura 36: 40).
That the Qur'an refers to parallel orbits is further clarified in this passage, which states that the sun and the moon do not catch up each other.
Think of it: what sense does this make if the Qur'an described a galatic orbit since the moon is already attached to such an orbit, and since the orbit relates not to the galaxy but the day and night? Furthermore, notice that this passage states the impossible task of the sun to catch up the moon.
Why can't the sun catch up the moon, is due to its inability to do so? No really! The passage makes it clearly that the sun is not permitted to do so. In other words, the sun has the ability to catch the moon, hence the switch from day to night, since both travel in parallel orbits; yet their abilities to catch up is simply not permitted.
I might here agree with some that the passages are metaphorical, much like Sura 91: 1-2:
By the Sun and his (glorious) splendour; By the Moon as she follows him…(Sura 91: 1-2)
I must say I have no real problem with the metaphorical language of this passage, and I am inclined to believe that this simply describes what is observable from the earth.
Yet there are two further problems here:
The first, which I will refrain from looking at at this point, is the very language utilized by the Qur'an in describing the orbits, which appear to be in a close similtude with the pre-Islamic thinkers.
The second problem derives from the interpretation of Muhammad himself:
Sahih Al-Bukbari clearly confirms some of these as scientific facts (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 421: Narrated Abu Dharr):
The Prophet asked me at sunset, "Do you know where the sun goes (at the time of sunset)?" I replied, "Allah and His Apostle know better." He said, "It goes (i.e. travels) till it prostrates Itself underneath the Throne and takes the permission to rise again, and it is permitted and then (a time will come when) it will be about to prostrate itself but its prostration will not be accepted, and it will ask permission to go on its course but it will not be permitted, but it will be ordered to return whence it has come and so it will rise in the west.
And that is the interpretation of the Statement of Allah: ‘And the sun Runs its fixed course for a term (decreed). That is The Decree of (Allah) The Exalted in Might, The All-Knowing.’" (36.38)
Saturday, 24 July 2010
Fifth Monarchy Man said...Hogan's reply:
Do Muslims generally have a problem with ideas found in the Quran existing in contemporary sources?
I ask this because as a Christian I have no problem with Jude’s use of non canonical information in his letter.
I agree with you. I am honestly not to sure about how problematic this is.
In fact in this thread, my main intent was to refute those who maintain that this idea was never known of prior to Islam which therefore renders the Qur'an as miracolous. I guess by know it should be obvious that Bucaille, Harun Yahay, Osama Abdallah have simply failed to do their homework or are willingly lying to and deceiving their readers.
Personally I have no problem with holy books utilizing its contemporary terms and language, the Bible does that. Otherwise the contemporary reader or listeners would be unable to perceive the message. That would especially go for OT or NT books which are not revelations but rather inspirations.
However, in this case of the Qur'an, in which the author is utilizing an ancient scientific idea it extends far beyond that.
If the Qur'an simply used these terms to signify cosmogony, I would have no problem with that. However, since the Qur'an refers specifically to the view of the unbelievers and connecting these terms to them, it appears that the Qur'an views cosmogony as an actual separation of the literal heaven and earth from an entity that priorly consisted of these; that is certainly a Qur'anic difficulty.
The second problem concerns those who view the passage as miracolous, since it predicts modern science. Firstly, the passage does not predict modern science, since in modern science the heaven and earth never separate, rather within modern science the earth evolves through accreation within an expanding universe. Furthermore, if the 'separation of heaven and earth' is described prior to Islam, then the idea does not promote the miracolous nature of the Qur'an.
I guess some might also suggest that since the Qur'an is a divine book existing in heaven, completely devoid of human or created interferance, why is the Qur'an then containing and depending on so many ideas that have human origin and that even wrongly postulate cosmological and earthly science. I realise that the Muslim might say that the revelation of God in e.g. Isaiah also contains terms that were perceived by its contemporaries in their scientific understanding, but then again, we do not claim that the book of Isaiah was contained in heaven but rather that the revelations to Isaiah were given to his contemporaries. Furthermore, the science of Isaiah much like elsewhere in the OT is metaphorical, there is no indication that the e.g. the heaven or the earth actually have pillars, while the separation of the heaven and earth in the Qur'an is referred to as an actual occurance.
Thursday, 22 July 2010
‘Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them, and we made every living thing of water? Will they not then believe? (Sura 21: 30)’
The joining and separation of the heavens and earth is according to a range of Muslim writers a predication of the modern the Big Bang theory; Bucaille, expounds upon this:
‘The reference to a separation process (fatq) of a primary single mass whose elements were initially fused together (ratq). It must be noted that in Arabic ‘fatq’ is the action of breaking, diffusing, separating, and that ‘ratq’ is the action of fusing or binding together elements to a make a homogenous whole.’ (1)
Yet the text itself does not follow Bucaille’s line of thought! The phrase: ‘Have not those who disbelieve known…’ implies that the Qur’an describes and refers to a concept that was already familiar in the era prior to Islam (2); hence in all correctness we may need to leave out any notion of modern scientific discoveries, and consider what ancient science and belief had already concluded.
Cosmogony in Ancient Religions:
A range of ancient religions e.g. the Hermopolitan (3) appear to describe the origin of the universe as a primordial universal egg. In the Hindu writings, the Laws of Manu, creation begins with a seed placed in water. The seed grows into a golden egg, which divides into two halves, which initially forms into heaven and earth. (4) In the Upanishads, existence suddenly begins, gradually grows into an egg and when the egg has laid still for a year, it is split open, out of which the two parts appear, which initially became the heaven and the earth. (5)
Cosmogony in Ancient Philosophy:
Yet the concept of one primary entity separating was not confined to the world of mythology only; the Greeks and the Romans speculated in the same lines but transferred the concept to the category of science. Aristotle (384-322 BC) in describing the proposition of Anaxagoras (500-428 BC), writes:
This is certainly in line with Bucaille and Haruna, who applied the terminology of mixing and fusing and then separating. (10) If the earth was not presented in the original entity, the Qur’an might have been closely in line with Anaxagoras; yet the separation of the earth does not indicate that, or else the passage would render a clear description of a mere entity exclusive of its reference to heaven and earth.
‘At that time the sun’s bright disc was not to be seen here, soaring loft and lavishing light, nor the stars that crowd the far-flung firmament, nor sea nor sky, nor earth, nor air nor anything in the likeness of things we know – nothing but a hurricane raging in a newly congregated mass of atoms of every sort.’ (19)
Lucretius further describes a state of chaos and turmoil in which the atoms collide:
It is vital to consider that Lucretius envisages this early state of the universe to be a ‘newly congregated mass of atoms of every sort’; in other words a previous cause must have brought this congregated mass into its shape and function. Yet at this point the universe is still a congregated mass which contains the entire universe, the earth, the heaven, the stars, the sun and the moon, and possibly its space.
The next stage of the universe is the combination of atoms with other atoms which causes what Lucretius calls the ‘main features of a world’ to be composed. This might explain why the Qur’an refers to the heaven and earth rather than a cosmological globe. According to Lucretius, it is from this primordial state, that the separation of heaven and the earth and the expansion of the space between them take place:
‘…they (the atoms) began, in fact, to separate the heights of heaven from the earth, to single out the sea as a receptacle for water detached from the mass and to set apart the fires of pure and isolated ether. In the first place all the particles of earth, because they were heavy and intertangled, collected in the middle and took up the undermost stations. The more closely they cohered and clung together, the more they squeezed out the atoms that went to the making of sea and stars, sun and moon and the outer walls of the great world.’ (21)
Lucretius therefore describes the separation of heaven and earth as being caused by the composition of the primordial universe; particularly by the atoms.
The similarities between these sources and the Qur’an are significant; yet the Qur’an provides little insight into to the state of this primordial entity and the cause of separation.
Bibliography and sources:
1. Bucaille, 1975: 139; see also Harun Yahya, The Scientific Miracles of the Qur’an, Al-Attique Publishers, 2000:21-2. Yahya elaborates on Bucaille’s theory by suggesting that the verb fataqa implies the destruction or tearing apart of something to create something new. See also Muhammad Assadi, The Unifying theory of everything: Koran and Nature’s Testimony (http://members.aol.com/silence004/koran.html)
2. Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged Vol. 6, Abridged by a group of Scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore, Darussalam, 2000: 440.
3. The Hermopolitan cosmogony is depicted in several versions, one being a cosmological egg which was placed on the Primeval Hill by a goose from which Re appeared; see Mircea Eliade, A History of Religious Ideas: From the Stone Age to the Eleusinian Mysteries, vol.1, St James’s Place, London: Collins, 1979:17-8)
4. G. Buhler (translation), Sacred Books of the East, XXV: 'The Laws of Manu,' 1, 5-16 (Oxford 1886), pp.2-8
5. S. Radhakrishnan (editor and translator), The Principal Upanishads: Chandogya Upanishad, III, 19, 1-2, New York: Harper & Row, 1953, PP. 151-2, 399, 447-9 (http://alexm.here.ru/mirrors/www.enteract.com/jwalz/Eliade/058.html).
See also Dr. E. Zeller, A History of Greek Philosophy: From the earliest Period to the Time of Socrates, Vol. I, London: Longmans Green and Co, 1881: 115; the Greek myth in which Chronos-Heraclis produces a giant egg which is divided, from which the heaven and earth originate.
6. Alan H. Guth & Paul J. Steinhardt, ‘The Inflationary Universe’ in (ed.) David H. Levy, The Scientific ‘American: Book of Cosmos’, London, Oxford and Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000:361-62; the theory implies that the universe in a brief period of suddenly by some ‘extraordinary’ cause expanded, while the entire universe in its pre-inflationary state had been compressed into to a tiny volume.
7. Gilgamesh, Enkidu and the netherworld: 1-26 (Version A, From Nibru, Urim and elsewhere) in Babylonia and Ancient Near Eastern Texts, by Kenneth Sublett, Piney.com, Hohenwald, Tennessee; the text describes a multiple number of heavens and excludes the usual mythology (http://www.piney.com/BabGilgEnkid.html)
8. Mircea Eliade, AHistory of Religious Ideas: From the Stone Age to the Eleusinian Mysteries, vol.1, St James’s Place, London: Collins, 1979:71-2
9. Aristotle: Physics, A New Translation by Robin Waterfield, Oxford: University Press, 1999:17
10. see Sura 21: 30; the theory of Bucailleism implies that the passage predicts fusing and separation
11. Arthur Fairbanks, ed. and trans. The First Philosophers of Greece, London: K. Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1898: 235 (Hanover Historical Text Projects) http://history.hanover.edu/project.html
12. See Aristotle, he applies the same terminology to a mysterious cloudy material, such as vapour and ether, similar to the Qur’ans reference of dukhan, which Muslim authors claim predicts primordial gasseous clouds (Aristotle, Aristotle Meteorologica, I. iii, translated by H.D.P. Lee, London: William Heinemann, Ltd & Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1962: 19-23, 31.
13. Fred Adams & Greg Laughlin, The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics of Eternity, USA, New York: The Free Press, 1999: 34-40; the entire galactic host of the Universe was originally composed and formed in clouds of hot gas.
14. This resembles the claim that the Qur’anic reference to dukhan is a prediction of the primordial gaseous clouds; the main problem however remains that the gaseous clouds did not derive from a central earth, but the other way round.
15. Zellar, 1881: 267; this was the view of Anaxagoras, but other philosophers, such as Plutarch and Hippolytus held the same view. Anaximander, however, applied this concept upon the earth and the heaven; he envisaged the sun, moon, stars and their circles to have originated from a fiery sphere that split from the earth; see Arthur Fairbanks, Plut. Strom. 2 ; Dox. 579, 1898: 14, 16
16. Arthur Fairbanks, 1898:241
17. Adams and Laughlin, 1999:35; the theory proposes matter that was pulled together into galactic structured by gravity, and then endowed with rotation.
18. Lucretius, The Nature of the Universe, (translated by R.E. Latham), Penguin Books 1957, ‘The Nature of the
Universe’ was written 50 BC, slightly nearer the ear of Islam, and reveals a cosmogony that has been significantly developed since Anaxagoras and Aristotle, as ancient postulates and the atomic theory are combined. See also 184-5; while earlier cosmogonies typically described the world being created from the elements; Lucretius rejects this view and combines the atomism concept with the concept of separation.
19. Lucretius, 1957: 184; Here Lucretius alludes slightly to Anaxagoras who proposed the inauguration of a small rotating motion, while Lucretius describes an atomic mass effected by a raging hurricane; considering modern science, this ancient postulate is remarkable. Furthermore Lucretius predicts an original fused entity. Comparing the picture to modern theories the picture does not resemble cosmological singularity but apart from earths existence, rather the later proposed cloud of radiation, from which the atoms and particles suddenly exonerated. See also Heather Couper & Nigel Henbest, To the ends of the Universe, UK, London: Dorling Kindersley, 1998: 24-7). The Qur’an makes no reference to the nature of this entity, such as Lucretius; yet the principle remains the same, this entity is combined by heaven and earth.
20. Lucretius, 1957: 184; According to modern scientific postulates this closely resembles the interval period between the Big Bang and the Cosmological Inflation; Couper & Henbest, 1998; 20-3: see also Carl Sagan, Cosmos, UK, London: Book Club Associates, 1981: 218-235, despite from the fact that the earth was not present at that stage of the universe.
21. Lucretius, 1957: 184-5; this is where the Qur’an comes in having excluded all the details; hence the reference of Sura 21: 30 refers to a already detailed description of cosmogony. Here it have to be noted however, that Lucretius’ postulate is only an option among many
22. Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Abridged Volume 6, Abridged by a group of Scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore, Darussalam, 2000: 440-1
23. Mujahid commented on Allah’s statement 41: 9-12 which reveals the earth to be created and made inhabitable prior to the forming and rising of the heavens (compare to 21: 30-2). Based on Sura 41 Mujahid states that the earth was created first: ‘...and when He created the earth, smoke burst out of it.’ According to Mujahid this is why Allah turned to the heaven ‘when it was smoke’ Sura 41: 11’ Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol.1, 2000: 180
24. Most Greeks held on to the a universe consisting of the basic elements, Democritus (470-380 BC) Epicurus (341-270 BC) and later Lucretius (95-55 BC) held on to the atomic universe; they rejected the significance of the elements; yet this theory remained a minority view and almost vanished until early fourteen century, when it became superior; see Isaac Asimov, Exploring the Earth and the Cosmos, UK, Middlesex: Penguin Books Ltd: 1982: 265-8 93. See also Lucretius who stated that the elements are depended upon the atoms, and mocked those who believed the raw material to be air, water or fire (Lucretius, 1957: 47, 93)
Wednesday, 7 July 2010
While we have discussed the arrangements I began to ask him about Sura 27: 18-19, challenging Ayaz to explain the capability of an ordinary ant to perceive the person, name and position of king Solomon. This thread contains our dialogue up to this point.
I have asked Ayaz for his permission to post our dialogue here, and hopefully our dialogue can proceed on this thread and blog.
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 2010 16:37
One question, how do you explain the speaking ant in the Qur'an? How did it recognise Solomon? If an ant possess insight into human affairs does this mean that the fly on the wall votes Labour or Conservative?
I wrote two small articles about this on the http://www.answeringmuslims.com/ and my own blog on the Qur'an and science: http://debunkingquranicscience.blogspot.com/
Unfortunately, Muslims have not been to keen to respond, I fully understand that!
Keep in mind, I am not saying that God cannot make an ant talk or provide the ability to a prophet to understand the communication of an ant, yet what puzzles me here is the idea that a simply ant perceives human affairs and human politic, such as a specific royalty.
Date: Tue, 6 July, 2010 17:28
Do you belive in MIRACLES?or do ure MIRACLES have to be based on scientific proof?
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 2010 18:06
I think you misunderstand my point here! I don't see how an ant perceiving the King Solomon is based upon a miracle. If Solomon with miraculous ears indeed understood the ant, yeah that would constitute a miracle, but nothing suggests that the ant perceiving Solomon and his royalty was a miracle. Either the ant was divinely inspired (a prophet ant) or the story is a fairytale.
Date: Tue, 6 July, 2010 18:11
Do you think ants communicate with eachother as Sura Namel istigates?
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 2010 18:53
We know today that ants do communicate with smell and even with sounds. However, if you think of the Qur'anic view in which an ant talks, this was an idea that existed prior to Islam.
For example it is recorded in the writings of the third century Church Father Origen (among others), in his quotation of Celsus that ants communicated effectively and in great details by language.
Scientists realise that some ants may communicate by sound, but not a language. However, if the Qur'anic assumption is accurate it only presents data that existed prior to Islam.
However, my question related to a very different matter. I asked how an ordinary ant possessed the ability to perceive a specific human person, both his name and status? What do you have to say about that?
Date: Wed, 7 July, 2010 13:18
Hi Hogan, it seems you have mis understood the Quranic verse of Sura Namel. I will try to explain the words that the ant uttered in the Holy Quran and try connect that with the new scientific discoveries made.
At length, when they came to a (lowly) valley of ants,one of the ants said: ''O ye ants,get into your habitations,lest Solomon and his hosts break you(under foot without knowing it)''.
The ANT reported the imminent danger facing them through four succesive stages as follows :
(1) O ye ants - This is the first alarm given by the ant to draw the attention of the other ants quickly. On recieving this alarm signal the other ants stand alert to recieve the other signals that the same speaker ant will give.
(2) Get into your habitations - Here the speaker ant follows HER words up with another signal, ordering the ants to do what they ought to do.
(3)Lest Solomon and his hosts break you - In these words the speaker ant shows reasons for this danger to her fellow ants.
(4)Without knowing it - The ants, as a reaction to the previous signals, will make a certain kind of defence, the ant shows her fellow ants that they do not need to attack the source of danger, because the source of danger is not from a real enemy.
Lets see what science has just discovered.
Four stages of Danger
Origen never mentioned the FOUR STAGES, he only said ANTS COMMUNICATE. WOW what a comparrison you gave lol.
Now lets see what the BIBLE says about ANTS:
The Ants in the Bible
Ants are mentioned twice in the Bible.
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
Proverbs 30:24-25 (King James Version)
24There be four things which are little (smallest) upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:
25The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat (food) in the summer;
Ants are creatures of little strength
Ants are a people not strong
In the Bible the only characters that match the science are the wisdom of the Ants and their ability to word hard.
However, the Bible says that Ants have no commander, no overseer or ruler which is not scientifically true because the Ants have commander, overseer and ruler.
Also, the Bible says that the Ants are not strong which is not scientifically correct because the Ants can carry up to 50 times their weight.
How come that a weight lifter who is capable to carry up to 50 times his weight is considered NOT STRONG?
Wed, 7 Jul 2010 16:08
This information on ‘four stages’ I have read fully on the website of Osama Abdallah.
Before you lol at my reference to Origen make sure to read what Origen actually writes; Celsus did not state that ants just communicate, he described what you find in the Qur’an in a much deeper and wider scientific language:
'Nor does he regard the ants as devoid of reason, who professed to speak of "universal nature," and who boasted of his truthfulness in the inscription of his book. For, speaking of the ants conversing with one another, he uses the following language: "And when they meet one another they enter into conversation, for which reason they never mistake their way; consequently they possess a full endowment of reason, and some common ideas on certain general subjects, and a voice by which they express themselves regarding accidental things."337’
Celsus states here that: 1) ants are not devoid of reason; 2) that they converse with one another; 3) that ants meet together to converse which each other; 4) and because of this they never mistake their way 5) and finally that they express themselves about accidental things.
Thus is not a weak comparison it stresses the point much further than the Qur’an and it includes your so called ‘for stages’ and even more.
Hence even if the Qur’an is accurate about ant communication the Qur’an is not presenting anything miraculous of origin, since these ideas seemed to flourish prior to Islam, even among the pagan worshippers.
Let’s look at your claim that the Bible wrongly describes individual ants as physically weak. The Biblical passage you are quoting says:
24There be four things which are little (smallest) upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:
25The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat (food) in the summer;
Ants are creatures of little strength Ants are a people not strong (Proverbs 30:24-25)
I find it funny that you even misunderstand and hence misinterpret an English translation.
Firstly, the statement that ‘ants are a people not strong’ does not refer to individual ants but the ants as a community.
The Hebrew word for ‘people’ is ‘am’ which means nation or tribe. Hence because of their size compared other species, ants constitute a weak society.
This has nothing to do with their individual physical strength but the strength of the ant community as compared to stronger physical community, which also lies in the word ‘strong’ in Hebrew ‘az’ which refers much more to the strength and power of a nation than that of an individual’s physical strength.
Furthermore, the passage you quoted states that ants are exceedingly wise, that is by observation scientifically true and something that has fascinated researchers for the last 2500 years.
As to your second passage from the book of Proverbs you commit similar errors. The passage you are quoting says:
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! 7 It has no commander, no overseer or ruler (Proverb 6:6-8).
You somehow assume that Solomon is rejecting the fact that ants have a queen or that younger ants may learn from each other, but this is not what the passage is advocating.
Firstly, the word ‘commander’, which in Hebrew is ‘Mashiach’ refers particularly to a general or a commander who guides the army in battle. While it is true that younger ants learn from the older, there is virtually no scientific evidence that ants have a military commander, or an official that literally controls their work to make sure that each and every ant actually works.
Furthermore, the word ‘overseer’ (in Hebrew Shoter) refers to a magistrate, basically an administrator. Again, as I stated: younger ants may learn from older, but there is no evidence that ants utilize ant offices, possess records of their store rooms, keep complain offices or communication offices, or anything like it. There is basically no ant administration similar to a human administration in a human work culture and environment.
Finally, the word ‘ruler’ (in Hebrew: Mashal) is not a direct reference to a king or a queen, as many Muslims assume when they read this passage. On the contrary ‘Mashal’ is simply a reference to authority. This is quite a contrast to the typical Muslim assumption, even though ants have a queen over them, the ant queen does not rule over its community like a typical human king utilizing a oppressive authority. The relationship between the queen and the ants are not the same as that of a typical human relationship to a ruling body or king.
Hence far from your claim about Biblical inaccuracy, the Bible at this point is everything but inaccurate.
Yet I would like to challenge you, once again, to educate me on the ability of the ant to perceive the person Solomon and his political status.
Ayaz wrote this reply to me on the 7th July, unfortunately, I only received part of his rebuttal, but I will post it as it comes. I have conferred with Ayaz to respond to me on the comment section of this thread; that would be the easiest.
Date: July 7, 2010:
...ok let me reply to your rebutal on (1) Origen's writings Celsus that they contain greater scientific miracle on the Ants than Quran and (2) Educating you and christians alike Sam shamoun and David Wood etc on this miracle.
...in my previous reply to you I stated Origen only STATES ANT COMMUNICATE on a basic converse level.
You then quite cleverly stated 5 points (1) Ants are not devoid by any reason(2)that they converse with one another(3) the ants meet together and coverse *points 2 and 3 are identical (4)Because of this they never mistake there way(5)they express themselves about accidental things..
All you have done is prove my point that Origen stated Ants communicate and then you build a straw man and say SEE ORIGEN NEW THIS BEFORE THE QURAN.Firstly whether Origen knew ants communciate before the revelation of the Qur
Date 10 July, 2010
Let me first say there is no point educating Sam Shamoun and David Wood on Islam, both brothers of mine, possess more knowledge about Islam than most Islamic apologists and even present Islam more accurately according to the Islamic sources.
In sharp contrast to your conclusion that I somehow have confirmed your point, notice the depth of my point. Your statement based upon Osama Abdalla's website states that the passage is a miracle because ants simply communicate and are able to perceive each other's communication, that is exactly what I already pointed out and what the text of Origen concluded. What you are doing here is attacking a strawman, claiming that you have effectively refuted the argument, while in fact you have merely attempted to present a case that is already absorbed by the source that I already utilized.
Let me clarify this.
Your argument includes for stages in an act of communication: 1) the ant is able to rise alarm, 2) which prepares the ants for further information, 3) then the ants prepare themselves for the information and 4) finally obey the information.
Unfortunately I am not very impressed by this argument at all! Furthermore, lets adduce from Origen if these four stages are not effectively absorbed by Celsus' description of ant communication.
Celsus stated that ants possess reason, this would already be sufficient evidence that Celsus believed ants possessed basic understanding. Point 2 and 3 are also vital and they are not entirely identical as you assume. Celsus points out that ants actually meet together to communicate. This suggests that ants possess the ability to communicate with each other about matters of concern. The claim that ants can meet together in a organised framework presents much more ability to reason than ants who simply pay attention to a signal, many animals and insects do that. Furthermore Celsus pointed out that ants hardly failed due to their ability to communicate (by language) and finally they adapt these stages in their communication about accidental matters. Hence Celsus describes ants as much more effective in their communication skills and stages than the Qur'an.
Saturday, 15 May 2010
The Qur'an and Sub-atomic Particles (2): The Writings of the Second Century Christian Philosopher Origen
I particularly quoted Lucretius who in his writing ‘The Nature of the Universe’ indicates that this matter was debated 600 years prior to Islam.
Lucretius maintained that the heaven and earth were separated while in a chaotic state of cloudy atomic fusion:
‘...they (the atoms) began, in fact, to separate the heights of heaven from the earth, to single out the sea as a receptacle for water detached from the mass and to set apart the fires of pure and isolated ether. In the first place all the particles of earth, because they were heavy and intertangled, collected in the middle and took up the undermost stations. The more closely they cohered and clung together, the more they squeezed out the atoms that went to the making of sea and stars, sun and moon and the outer walls of the great world’ (Lucretius, The Nature of the Universe, 184-5).
Secondly Lucretius pointed out another idea of his time, namely that the atoms themselves consisited of a mass of least parts tightly packed together:
‘It is with a mass of such parts, solidly jammed together in order, that matter is filled up. Since they cannot exist by themselves, they must stick together in a mass from which they cannot by any means be prized loose. The atoms therefore are absolutely solid and unalloyed, consisting of a mass of least parts tightly packed together. They are not compounds formed by the coalescence of their parts, but bodies of absolute and everlasting solidity. To these nature allows no loss or diminution, but guards them as seeds for things. If there are no such least parts, even the smallest bodies will consist of an infinite number of parts, since they can always be halved and their halves halved again’ (Lucretius, The Nature of the Universe 45)?
I asked in my previous article:
What are these least parts of which the atoms consist? And how about the opposite position, but otherwise proposed impossibility, that atoms can be halved and halved again?This idea seems to have been raised 600 years prior to Islam.This debunks the claim of Muslims that the postulate of particles smaller than atoms were non-existent prior to Islam.
Lucretius not only refers to particles smaller than atoms but even further that the particles exist within the atoms.
Interestingly I have recently discovered a number of other references in the writings of pre-Islamic thinkers that indicate their belief or the belief in sub-atomic matter; one such thinker is the third century Christian philosopher Origen who writes:
‘...whereas the gods of Epicurus, being composed of atoms, and, so far as their structure is concerned, capable of dissolution, endeavour to throw off the atoms which contain the elements of destruction’.
The entire context can be read here:
But let us look at what Celsus next with great ostentation announces in the following fashion: "And again," he says, "let us resume the subject from the beginning, with a larger array of proofs. And I make no new statement, but say what has been long settled. God is good, and beautiful, and blessed, and that in the best and most beautiful degree. But if he come down among men, he must undergo a change, and a change from good to evil, from virtue to vice, from happiness to misery, and from best to worst. Who, then, would make choice of such a change? It is the nature of a mortal, indeed, to undergo change and remoulding, but of an immortal to remain the same and unaltered. God, then, could not admit of such a change." Now it appears to me that the fitting answer has been returned to these objections, when I have related what is called in Scripture the "condescension" of God to human affairs; for which purpose He did not need to undergo a transformation, as Celsus thinks we assert, nor a change from good to evil, nor from virtue to vice, nor from happiness to misery, nor from best to worst. For, continuing unchangeable in His essence, He condescends to human affairs by the economy of His providence. We show, accordingly, that the holy Scriptures represent God as unchangeable, both by such words as "Thou art the same," and" I change not;" whereas the gods of Epicurus, being composed of atoms, and, so far as their structure is concerned, capable of dissolution, endeavour to throw off the atoms which contain the elements of destruction. Nay, even the god of the Stoics, as being corporeal, at one time has his whole essence composed of the guiding principle when the conflagration (of the world) takes place; and at another, when a re-arrangement of things occurs, he again becomes partly material. For even the Stoics were unable distinctly to comprehend the natural idea of God, as of a being altogether incorruptible and simple, and uncompounded and indivisible.
From there I tend to ask Muslims whether they believe Lucretius was inspired, since he proposed the same ideas and even got a number of scientific details more accurate than the Qur’an.
Funny, because over and over again Muslims will typically argue that Lucretius made some serius errors and hence he could not be divinely inspired.
Having made this statements, Muslims like 'Hello' and others think they have silenced me. However, I have made it very clear that I do not believe Lucretius to be any more inspired than the authors of the Qur’an: Lucretius made serious scientific errors and so do the authors of the Qur’an; what I find particularly interesting however, is that Lucretius makes a number of accurate scienitific propositions on which the Qur’an is silence, hence, ought Muslims not therefore to wave goodbye to their Islamic religion and become followers of Lucretius?
Hello, a desparate Muslim who continually posts on on this blog (typically attacking me personally, making incredible claims, posting a number of irrelevant and weak arguments including his attempt to spam the threads by drowning me in arguments) has attempted to debunk me and my use of Lucretius.
Funny Hello, claims to be a well read scholar, having read Ehrman and Geza Vermas (which I honestly doubt he has), he also claims that I simply utilize anti-Islamic websites, whereas the reader can check my articles and his posts and find that Hello is the only one bound by websites while I restort to deploy actual sources and investigation in my studies and rebuttal of Islam.
Here Hello attempts to prove that Lucretius failed drastically to indicate the view of sub-atomic matter and secondly, Hello attempts to prove that Lucretius failed to realise that the earth is spherical unlike so many other philosophers who preceeded him (I guess that is what Hello has in mind).
Notice that Hello fails to realise that there is no point to prove Lucretius wrong anyway, nobody believes that Lucretius was free from errors or operated under divine inspiration.
Furthermore, notice that Hello does not even investigate Lucretius’ writings he simply plagiarizes a critical introduction of a modern scholar to Lucretius. Even worse the, the passage on the atoms leads no where, and the second passage is simply wrong.
Could The works of Lucretius be divine revelation? Lets take a look.
Taken from Mathematical and Scientific and "Miscalculations" in
De Rerum Natura, Book I
II. MATHEMATICAL ERROR REGARDING INFINITIES
In 599–634 Lucretius sets forth arguments to prove that there are "least parts" of atoms. If there is no pre-set limit to the successive dividing in half of matter, each atom could be said to consist of an infinite number of parts. According to Lucretius the universe itself contains an infinite number of parts. In his mind the idea of infinite divisibility of an atom led to the paradox of making each atom equal to the whole universe, since both De Rerum Natura 2 equal infinity. Lucretius is so moved by the force of this paradox that in emotional tones
he says: "But since true reasoning cries out and denies that the mind can believe it, you must admit to defeat and now accept that there are things which no longer consist endowed with any parts and are the smallest nature" (623–626).
Mr or mrs ‘Hello’, why is Lucretius even in a dialogue about matter that is smaller than atoms and which even exists within atoms? If the Qur’an even refers to atoms and it truly means that there are smaller particles, this is exactly what we find in Lucretius. Furthermore, Lucretius is even more accurate to claim that this matter could exist within the atoms. Furthermore, Lucretius’ claim that the sub-atomic matter must be infinite does not support your case at all, this appears to be his argument against those who believe in smaller particles. In other words the belief in sub-atomic particles existed already in 50 BC and Lucretius at least makes us a favour to mention it, and Lucretius’ referrence to the infinity of matter was simply Lucretius’ argument and not necessarily the view of those who held to the view.
I am completely at odd with what your quotation has proven that supports Islam, the only conclusion is: that the belief in particles smaller than atoms was not absent from the pre-Islamic community.
Hello also posted this:
Historians of Mathematics note that although Aristotle (c. 384–322 B.C.E.) had difficulty with certain aspects of infinity, it is clear that he at least understood the concept of infinitesimals as used by mathematicians of his day, as seen in expressions such as: "for that which is continuous is divisible without limit" (lit. "unto what is boundless," Physics, 185b); "from the divisibility among magnitudes (which the mathematicians treat as without limit)" (Physics, 203b, see also 206b for a further statement followed by a mathematical illustration).
Archimedes (c. 287–212 B.C.E.) says that it was Emulous (c. 408–355 B.C.E.) who
actually used the concept of infinitesimals in the so-called "method of exhaustion" in mathematical proofs to derive the relationship between pyramids and prisms, and between cones and cylinders (in each case the former contains one-third the volume of the latter), and also that circles are to one another as the squares of the diameters. (The Thirteen Books of Euclid's Elements, transl. by Sir Thomas L. Heath, Vol. III, Cambridge, 1926, see "Historical Note" beginning Book XII, pg. 365). These principles are given mathematical treatment in Euclid's Elements (c. 300 B.C.E.; circles in xii, 2; pyramids in xii, 7; cones in xii, 10).
Lucretius' problem was of a conceptual nature. Mathematicians did not argue the
feasibility of actual, physical infinite division of objects (which, of course, would take an infinite amount of time to accomplish). What Lucretius found unbelievable was a very useful mathematical concept that had long been in use to solve practical problems in determining surface areas and volumes of solids.
So you are saying (I guess) based upon a secondary piece of information that Lucretius did not believe in a spherical earth?
Well that is plainly false:
Firstly, it is impossible to deny from the writings of Lucretius whether he did not view the earth to be central; he actually wrote:
‘We now have to consider how the earth remains fixed in the middle of the world.’ (Lucretius, 1957: 187)
Furthermore, concerning the issue of the earth being spherical or not, Lucretius does describe the earth drawing itself by its own energy below and above the globe of the earth (Lucretius, 1957: 191)
Hence I can point out a number of short falls with Hello’s approach:
1) He totally misunderstands my use of Lucretius
2) He uses secondary sources rather than primary sources (that is: he fails to study Lucretius’ writings and satisfies himself and thinks he satisfies me by quoting a modern opinion of Lucretius); Hello leaves me very unimpressed
3) Hello fails to see that even his secondary sources do not back up his attempt to refute me and that they are plainly wrong and misinterpret the primary sources.
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
Here is the passage:
When they approached the valley of the ants, one ant said, "O you ants, go into your homes, lest you get crushed by Solomon and his soldiers, without perceiving." He smiled and laughed at her statement... (Sura 27: 18-19).
However, in the comment section of ‘www.answeringmuslim.com’ Ilena and Odo pointed out a related matter that proves to be even more devastating for the often presumed integrity of the Qur’an, namely that the particular ant in Sura 27: 18 knows and perceives king Solomon and possesses knowledge about human affairs:
Now, how in the whole wide world does an ant living in a valley among its own ant community possess knowledge about Solomon and the ability to even recognise the person of Solomon arriving with his army?
This falls short of logic!
Are Osama Abdallah and Harun Yahya gona attempt to convince us that this ant possible was an ant prophet to whom God revealed human affairs? Or do Muslim apologists now claim that the typical city fly on the house wall votes Obama or concerns itself about the Iraq war or the health system?
Watch it, seems like the we have a large crowd of insect witnesses of all sort operating around us that gladly occupy themselves to observe the details and incidents in our daily life (they know of politic, social systems, armies, names of individuals), or what? Yeah, exactly!
Yet this is the very view proposed in the Qur’an.
Probably the particular ant in the Ant Valley had obtained information about Solomon from another ant, who so happened to have a cousin in the city of Jerusalem. Or perhaps the ants in Israel operated under a sophisticated ant network having their own spies located in the king’s palace?
Despite the silliness of such a theory it turns drastically more problematic when we consider the enmity between ant communities. This might suggest that King Solomon himself had personally befriended this particular ant or its community, yet there is no suggestion of this in the text.
I would like Harun Yahay, Osama Abdallah and others to explain either this insect network of information or to provide the evidence that King Solomon personally by relationship was recognised by this ant community.
Both views are absurd and neither of these explains however how the ant community possessed the ability to perceive Solomon and his army.
Furthermore, Solomon in this noisy military parade was somehow able to perceive this sentence concerning his own recognition by the mouth of an ant whose sounds can only be perceived by modern advanced tools.
Are one billion Muslims really failing to see the fairytale nature and origin of this story?
Conclusion: well the Qur’an is a fairytale or at least contains fairytale presented as narrative!
Monday, 10 May 2010
This is the passage:
When they approached the valley of the ants, one ant said, "O you ants, go into your homes, lest you get crushed by Solomon and his soldiers, without perceiving." He smiled and laughed at her statement, and said, "My Lord, direct me to be appreciative of the blessings You have bestowed upon me and my parents, and to do the righteous works that please You. Admit me by Your mercy into the company of Your righteous servants" (Sura 27: 18-19).
Muslim exponents presuppose two miraculous predictions here:
1. The ant can communicate by talking
2. The ant is a female
Both claims are drastically portrayed in this youtube video in a response to the ‘answering-islam’ website:
Lets assess these claims:
Does the Qur’an predict the female nature of worker ants?
That the Qur’an addresses the ant as feminine is accurate, it is also accurate that the worker ants are females. However, contrary to what Muslims believe this idiom is not suggesting that the Qur’an describes a female creature. In a number of languages not only human female and males are referred to by their gender as male or female but entire species and objects are referred to as either male, female or neuter gender. In the Arabic language the ‘ant’ (naml) is simply generic female, it does not indicate natural gender or a biological female or male at least not in its singular and this particular ant is referred to as singular.
For further study read:
This completely debunks and refutes the popular claim that the Qur’an predicts the discovery that worker ants are female.
Does the talking ant predict modern scientific discoveries?
Similar exaggeration is utilized to introduce divine miraculous revelation through the prediction of a talking ant. Solomon supposedly heard an ant warning the ant community to escape into their dwellings do evade Solomon’s proceeding army.
To prove their case Muslims have recently turned to a very recent discovery which involved microphones to detect the communication between ants. The discovery revealed that some ants indeed communicate with sounds.
A Muslim youtube which appears to represent Osama Abdallah’s website ‘answering-Christianity’ praises this discovery:
This particular and very recent discovery which Muslim exponents quote is found here:
Unfortunately for the Muslim the claims are typically exaggerated and the discovery does not effectively render that much support to the Muslim use of the passage.
In the article we read:
‘Professor Thomas said it remained unclear how much the ants relied on sound for language but he suspected that further analysis would reveal a wider vocabulary than had been seen yet. “The most important discovery is that within the ant colony different sounds can provoke different reactions,” he said. “I would be very surprised if we didn't get different types of sound. “It's within the power of the ant to play different tunes by changing the rhythm with which they
Hence, far from what the Qur’an supposes, ants do not talk, they make sounds by rubbing body parts together. The sound might according to professor Thomas ‘provoke different reactions’.
However Thomas also concedes that it still remains unclear to what extent ants rely ‘on sound for language’ and that the variety in sounds is still a matter undiscovered.
Hence contrary to what the Qur’an states an ant cannot by talking vocabulary warn a community of ants about an imminent disaster.
But there is more, lets for a moment presume that the Qur’an actually provides insight into a natural fact that virtually remained unknown until recent times; are when then correct to deem the Qur’an as miraculous in its statement?
A pre-Islamic scientific description of much greater details than the Qur’an describes this same ability to ants and appears much closer in word and details to the modern discoveries of Professor Thomas and others.
The text is found in the writings of the Christian philosopher Origen in his polemics and apologetical response to the pagan Celsus in his 'Against Celsus', chapter 84, written in the third century and therefore predates Islam with 350 years; it reads:
And since he asserts that, "when ants die, the survivors set apart a special place (for their interment), and that their ancestral sepulchres such a place is," we have to answer, that the greater the laudations which he heaps upon irrational animals, so much the more does he magnify (although against his will) the work of that reason which arranged all things in order, and points out the skill which exists among men, and which is capable of adorning by its reason even the gifts which are bestowed by nature on the irrational creation. But why do I say "irrational," since Celsus is of opinion that these animals, which, agreeably to the common ideas of all men, are termed irrational, are not really so? Nor does he regard the ants as devoid of reason, who professed to speak of "universal nature," and who boasted of his truthfulness in the inscription of his book. For, speaking of the ants conversing with one another, he uses the following language: "And when they meet one another they enter into conversation, for which reason they never mistake their way; consequently they possess a full endowment of reason, and some common ideas on certain general subjects, and a voice by which they express themselves regarding accidental things."337 Now conversation between one man and another is carried on by means of a voice, which gives expression to the meaning intended, and which also gives utterances concerning what are called "accidental things; "but to say that this was the case with ants would be a most ridiculous assertion.
Notice that Origen in his writings against Celsus 350 years prior to Islam describes a view of his time that ants talk and converse with each other:
For, speaking of the ants conversing with one another, he uses the following language: "And when they meet one another they enter into conversation, for which reason they never mistake their way; consequently they possess a full endowment of reason, and some common ideas on certain general subjects, and a voice by which they express themselves regarding accidental things." Ants were in fact considered unique in the writings of antiquity; in this same passage Origin described them as highly intelligent, possessing gardens, etc. Plato, Aristotle, Pliny and others referred to the ant as a political animal and Aelian the Greek-Roman philosopher ‘noted that ant colonies and ant highways were very much like the famous buildings and roads of Greece and Crete’
While most of these noted that ants communicated by other means rather than sounds, the source of Origen nevertheless reveals that speaking ants was a theory that existed 400 years prior to Muhammad and indeed the effective observation of ants within that era might certainly have led to such a conclusion by a number the thinkers of antiquity.
Yet I am not proposing that Muhammad or another Qur’anic author borrowed straight from Origen or even from an oral tradition deriving from such a source or even that the Qur’anic author had access to Origen’s writings. The Qur’anic description appears much more fairytale-like than then description of Origen and apart from Origen there were indeed tales existing prior to Islam of talking ants.
Hence I am inclined to believe that the author of the Qur’an did not depend upon a Greek Philosophical source.
Here ancient tales fit Islam a much as philosophy, Islam is a religion in which trees bow before prophets and where the dinner on your table has the capability to speak to you and stones possess the ability to steel you possessions. Solomon in Jewish fairytales possessed the ability to communicate with animals, to understand them and even to mobilise them in his battles against human enemies, hence the reason for this story. It reveals nothing of scientific significance but merely the belief that Solomon had extraordinary abilities. Desperate Muslim apologists read far too much into this fairytale.
Osama Abdallah, Haran Yahya and others nevertheless propose that the passage is miraculous in its incredible prediction of modern science; just take Osama Abdallah for example:
Again, the Holy Quran and Islam are filled with scientific statements and notions. These are statements of Allah Almighty describing how He created things on earth and in the Universe. What's most amazing is that all of these scientific statements and notions had been proven to be in perfect agreement with science and our modern-day scientific discoveries. Allah Almighty made the Noble Quran be Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) Everlasting Divine Miracle and proof for Prophethood. The Holy Book certainly stood the test of time 1,500 years ago with Its Claims, Prophecies and Miraculous language eloquence, and it does again and again in our day today with Its overwhelming agreement with science and discoveries that were not known to man 1,500 years ago.
We have already refuted Osama Abdallah here with the writings of Origen. The idea that ants could communicate by sound and speech existed already 400 years prior to Islam.
If Abdallah is correct then Origen’s source was indeed inspired by God some 400 years prior to Islam:
For, speaking of the ants conversing with one another, he uses the following language: "And when they meet one another they enter into conversation, for which reason they never mistake their way; consequently they possess a full endowment of reason, and some common ideas on certain general subjects, and a voice by which they express themselves regarding accidental things.
I am sure that Osama Abdallah will not ascribe such divine honour to the pagan Celsus whom Origen quotes in his writings, as to the Qur’an, despite the fact that Origen provided more insight and details than the Qur’an?
Furthermore, Osama Abdallah also needs to consider the divine inspiration upon pre-Islamic Roman writers and their tales, such as Aesop who wrote the fable ‘The ant and the Grasshopper’:
The Fable reads:
‘The ants were spending a fine winter's day drying grain collected in the summertime. A Grasshopper, perishing with famine, passed by and earnestly begged for a little food. The Ants inquired of him, "Why did you not treasure up food during the summer?' He replied, "I had not leisure enough. I passed the days in singing." They then said in derision: "If you were foolish enough to sing all the summer, you must dance supperless to bed in the winter."’
It is obvious that the Qur’anic description is much more of the same nature as the tale of Aesop rather than that of Origen, yet neither Muslims nor scientists would recognise the tale of Aesop to provide us with anything of scientific nature. Here Muslims might argue that ants deploy the ability to communicate to each other and not to grasshoppers, however Aesop does describe the ants as communicating by language or sounds.
Note here, I am not saying that the author of the Qur’an plagiarized Aesop’s tale, I am pointing out that such tales were common in Muhammad’s time.
So, Harun Yahya and Osama Abdallah, do you guys 1) recognise the source of Origen and Aesop as divinely inspired? 2) Do you still claim that the ability of ants to speak in detailed language (if that should be proven right in future) is a scientific fact unheard of until the rise of Islam?
The above sources do not agree with you and I suggest that since your claims have been debunked and refuted that you remove these particular deceptive articles about the ant from your websites and ones again apologize to the readers you have mislead.
Saturday, 3 April 2010
The passage reads:
'And after that He spread the earth (Wal'arda ba'da dhalika da-ha-ha)'
Another translation reads:
'And the earth moreover hath he expanded'
The interpretation of Osama Abdallah and others is found here:
The idea is as some scientists postulate that the globe itself expanded to almost the double of its size which caused the separation of the present continents.
Notice that the article of Answering-Christianity and its 'egg-shape claim' is of the speculative type and involves incredible conjecture and has been effectively debunked by the Answering-Islam team:
My focus here is mainly on the claim of Osama’s page that the Qur’an is miracolous in its claim that the earth has expanded.
Firstly, however, the claim that the reference is to the actual expansion of the earth is not entirely verified, in fact early respectable Islamic commentaries, such as Tafsir al-jalalayn would not agree with the proposition of Osama’s website. This is what we read in the Tafsir al-Jalalayn:
‘...and after that He spread out the earth: He made it flat, for it had been created before the heaven, but without having been spread out;’
Hence according to Jalalayn the passage describes the spreading of the earth, a description also found in the Bible and which Muslims are quick to describe as the earth’s flatness; hence in all fairness Muslim apologists by attacking the Bible have concluded that the Qur’an itself describes the earth to be flat. But lets leave this matter for now.
Our brother Sam Shamoun and written an excellent detailed article on the matter of Sura 79: 30 and its description:
But lets assume for a moment that Osama’s website is correct in its interpretation, would this provide evidence that the Qur’an is miracolous?
The idea that the earth expanded was well known long before the arise of Islam. Eusebius of Caesarea recorded some centuries prior to Islam that Democritus the Greek philosopher proposed the idea that the earth changed its place in the stellar system due to its growth, density and increase of weight (Tr. E.H. Gifford, Eusebius of Caesarea: Praeparatio Evangelica (Preparation for the Gospel), Chapter LVIII----Of the Earth’s motion, book 15: 1903: 849).
Saturday, 27 March 2010
Unfortunately Hello resorts to insults of Christians and calls my articles poor and unscholarly, he also satisfies himself to heap up claim upon claim while he continually depends upon Islamic websites.
He even has the courage to contradict himself to suggest that I do not dare to respond back and if I do I will simply cite websites. As the reader will see, I dare to respond and my response is not depended upon websites.
Furthermore, Hello encourages me to utilize secular sources in my study of the Bible, which to his information, I have already done for years, however Hello laughs and despises the secular sources I have utilized upon the study of the Qur'an---yeah what type of a twisted mindset are we dealing with here.
(Hello has also challenged me to respond to a number of questions related to Bible integrity. I will respond to those elsewhere, I guess on the Apologetics blog, since this blog primarily focuses on the science in the Qur'an)
I would not say that Hello has written anything of significance, or at least anything that challenges the accuracy of my articles, hence my replies hardly require very detailed information.
Ok lets begin
Ok, can you name the Greek philosopher Muhammad(saw) interacted with? Can you produce a chapter like the Quran?
I never stated that a Greek Philosopher guided Muhammad in Qur’anic material, I quoted Bukhari one of your earliest and most reliable sources, in which a Christian who converted to Islam and helped Muhammad write the Qur’an later turned back to Christianity and stated that he and Muhammad fabricated the Qur’an together.
“Greek philosophers guessed a lot of scientific details correctly–they anticipated atoms, other solar systems, evolution, the laws of thermodynamics, the rain cycle, you name it. That doesn’t make them supernaturally prescient…” I agree so when Darwin proposed the theory of evolution I suppose he was plagiarizing/borrowing from the Greeks? You need to re-asses your criticism"
You are absolutely right, they are not supernaturally revealed, and that is the main point of this blog that scientific discovery or guessing does not necessarily conclude divine influence. Furthermore, no, Darwin did not plagiarize the Greek philosphers, however the evolution theory was widely spread and considered in great details prior to Darwin and the era of Darwin and back to the fourteenth century included the Enlightenment Period and the Renaissance period, which were the revival of Greek thinking versus the Latin; many of the flourishing thoughts in Darwin’s days originated within this re-awakening of Greek philosophy.
Again produce a chapter like the Quran.
Sorry man, I do not read or write Arabic, exactly what logic are you following? Here we are arguing science and all you can ask me is to write a passage in Arabic language?
"Greek scientific ideas would also have been passed on to Muhammad by the Jewish community; in fact some of the scientific ideas of the Qur’an, both terminology and chronology, resemble the writings of the Talmud significantly/"
Babylonian Talmud & The Qur'an
There are only two places in Talmud where the story of Abraham and idols is mentioned:
1. When the wicked Nimrod cast our father Abraham into the fiery furnace, Gabriel said to the Holy One, blessed be He: "Sovereign of the Universe! Let me go down, cool it, and the deliver that righteous man from the fiery furnace.'" [Pesachim 118a]
2. Let Nimrod come and testify that Abraham did not (consent to) worship idols; [Avaodah Zarah 3a]
This is all that one reads in the Babylonian Talmud. The only similarity that one can see is that Abraham was saved from the fire, but there is no mention of the events leading unto the climax of the fire.
What is interesting is that there is no agreement between these "strikingly similar" sources concerning whether Abraham fled or was he put in to the fire.
Both Catena Severi and Jacob of Edessa's writings say that Terah and his family fled from Ur of Chaldees.
On the other hand, the Babylonian Talmud and Jerome's writings say that Abraham was put into the fire but was saved. Furthermore, what was it that Abraham refuse to worship? Was it the fire according to Jerome's version or was it the idols as mentioned in Catena Severi, the writings of Jacob of Edessa's and the Babylonian Talmud etc.?
In dept refutation to this absurd claim can be found here:
I do not want to move from the actual scientific purpose of this blog, there are a number of scientific statements found in the Qur’an that closely resemble the Talmud. For example, the seven heavens and the seven earths. The Qur’an refers to seven heavens and an equal number of earths (65: 12); this number follows in line with the Talmud; (see Aboth D ’Rabbi Nathan, chapter XXXVII, A, Cohen (ed.) The minor Tractates of the Talmud, Massektoth Ketannot, vol.2, London: The Soncino Press, 165, 185.)
Also consider the statement that everything in the universe is created in pairs and exists in pairs:
One the verse ‘Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God, the Lord is one,’ the comment is made: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel, ‘My children, everything that I created in the Universe is in pairs—e.g. heaven and earth, the sun and moon, Adam and Eve, this world and the World to Come; but I am one and alone in the Universe (Deut. R. II. 31)’ Dr. A. Cohen, Everyman’s Talmud, London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd: 1949: 4
Since Muhammad was surrounded by Jews and some of his followers were Jews, and so much of the Qur’an is Jewish it is not surprising that the authors of the Qur’an simply borrowed their ideas from the Jews...
"The Bukhari indeed refers to a Christian convert to Islam, who helped narrating Muhammad revelations. Initially he left Islam and informed about his contribution to fabricate the Qur’an with Muhammad; Bukhari informs us that Allah caused him to die.["
Lets take a look at the hadith:
There was a Christian who embraced Islam and read Surat-al-Baqara and Al-Imran, and he used to write (the revelations) for the Prophet. Later on he returned to Christianity again and he used to say: "Muhammad knows nothing but what I have written for him." Then Allah caused him to die, and the people buried him, but in the morning they saw that the earth had thrown his body out. They said, "This is the act of Muhammad and his companions. They dug the grave of our companion and took his body out of it because he had run away from them." They again dug the grave deeply for him, but in the morning they again saw that the earth had thrown his body out. They said, "This is an act of Muhammad and his companions. They dug the grave of our companion and threw his body outside it, for he had run away from them." They dug the grave for him as deep as they could, but in the morning they again saw that the earth had thrown his body out. So they believed that what had befallen him was not done by human beings and had to leave him thrown (on the ground).
First of all He does not help Narrating, That is just an absurd claim. Second of all you refute yourself saying that he helped Muhammad saw to compose the Quran because the hadith translates he only wrote the revelations. Also the Quran was orally transmitted and Muhammad(saw) obviously memorized the Surat-al-Baqara and Al-Imran. Third he tries to take the credit when he returns to the christians and spreads his lies. Then he suffers a terrible faith. And if Muhammad(saw) fabricated the quran then i challenge you to produce a chapter like it.
Again, all Hello can do is to challenge me to write something in Arabic.
I don’t see how you have debunked my argument! Firstly, how do you know he did not help narrating and fabricating? Why is that an absurd claim? Do you think you have refuted this argument simply by calling it absurd, is that your argument?
Bukhari clarifies three things: this fellow was 1) closely associated with Muhammad; 2) wrote down the Qur’an; 3) claimed to have given the information to Muhammad.
So who am I to believe, the faction that fabricated such a bulk of material or a Christian who after adhering so closely to Muhammad actually waived Islam goodbye? In fact the Islamic source fails to clarify the accuracy of his claim, hence I am left with you, and you know nothing.
Furthermore, how do you know he only wrote revelations down, does the passage indicate that? No! This is what the passage says:
‘There was a Christian who embraced Islam and read Surat-al-Baqara and Al-Imran, and he used to write (the revelations) for the Prophet.’
He read the information and the wrote the information!
I don’t see how your claim that the Qur’an was only oral refutes this argument. The very fact that he read the Suras and as he maintains: ‘Muhammad knows nothing but what I have written for him’ suggests that he and Muhammad together worded the material and that this Christian taught Muhammad the material, whether written or oral.
Also you claim that he simply took credit for the Qur’an---how do you know that? Why did he leave the prophet in the first place?
Also is it possible that he died due to assasination?
Even classical polemicists such as J.M Rodwell and Alan Jones admit that the Prophet (P) was indeed illiterate.
I don’t get the point of your argument here. Firstly there are Muslims out there who do not believe that Muhammad was illiterate. But even if he was, it would hardly make him disfunctional anyway, many cultures applied memorization as a main method of preserving and passing on information. Particularly in educated circles memorization had been valued higher than literacy. Christians themselves practiced memorization so did the Jews. If you intend to claim that Muhammad was not able to deal with information due to his possible illiteracy, then you are approaching the matter with the highest ignorance.
These sects were connected to Christian factions to which science was greatly valued; who possessed schools which emphasised and propagated the Christian faith, including philosophy and science. Their contribution to translating literature e.g. into Syrian language and their knowledge was not only confined to monasteries but were transmitted to the communities."
Many scientific mistakes in the Bible are not copied over, such as World's creation, Noah Ark, World is Flat etc. If he copied over, how does he know which one is wrong and not to copy?
Again I have no clue what you are on about! What do you mean by scientific mistakes in the Bible are not copied over? Exactly how does this claim fit into the context of our topic? And are you assuming that the Biblical creation account is wrong, are you saying that the earth and its heaven was not created in six days? Does not the Qur’an say the very same thing? Oh no it contradicts itself by 6 or 8 days. Are you referring to the light in verse 3? Exactly what is so mistaken about the passage? And what is the problem with the Ark of Noah? Do you doubt that God can send a global flood? And where does the Bible say that the earth is flat? If you are referring to the earth being spread out, then the same description is found in the Qur’an.
Muhammad recites the Qur'an for 22 years.
Whenever new verses are revealed, he immediately memorizes them and instructs the companions either to memorize or write down. Since he recites it, there is no 'editorial process', which means whatever being said cannot be taken back. Imagine the level of consistency that he has to maintain.
With over 600+ pages of verses over such long period, any mistake will be pointed out immediately by non-believers who are always denying him.
You are absolutely out of touch with your own religion and your own sources:
Narrated 'Abdullah: ... (Muhammad said) I am a human being like you and liable to forget like you. So if I forget remind me ... (Bukhari: volume 1, book 8, number 394, Khan)
Muhammad forgot and depended upon his followers to teach him, this actually happens several times in the Hadiths.
Even the Qur’an confirms that Muhammad forgot the Qur’an, yet the author of the Qur’an blamed this upon Allah himself:
By degrees shall we teach thee (Muhammad) to declare (the message), so thou shalt not forget, except as God wills ... (Sura 87:6-7, Yusuf Ali).
What is worse is, even the followers those assist and teach Muhammad began
forgetting the Qur’an:
Narrated Abdullah: The Prophet said, "Why does anyone of the people say, 'I have forgotten such-and-such Verses (of the Qur'an)?' He, in fact, is caused (by Allah) to forget." (Bukhari: volume 6, book 61, number 559, Khan)
Sahih Muslim confirms that Muhammad’s followers lost large portions of the Qur’an by failing to preserve it by memory:
It is recorded that 300 Qur’anic reciters forgot an entire chapter of the Qur’an, a chapter still missing (Muslim: book 5, number 2286)
It is reported from Ismail ibn Ibrahim from Ayyub from Naafi from Ibn Umar who said: "Let none of you say 'I have acquired the whole of the Qur'an'. How does he know what all of it is when much of the Qur'an has disappeared? Rather let him say 'I have acquired what has survived.'" (as-Suyuti, Al-Itqan fii Ulum al-Qur'an, p.524).
The problem is, Gabrial sought to help Muhammad to remember the Qur’an while Allah made him forget it:
Fatima said: "The Prophet (saw) told me secretly, 'Gabriel used to recite the Qur'an to me and I to him once a year, but this year he recited the whole Qur'an with me twice. I don't think but that my death is approaching.'" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, p.485) (if Gabriel can’t help you remember who can).
In any case Gabrial failed to help Muhammad and Muhammad sought help from his own
Narrated 'Abdullah: ... (Muhammad said) I am a human being like you and liable to forget like you. So if I forget remind me ... (Bukhari: volume 1, book 8, number 394, Khan)
This only shows how fragile the early Islamic transmission was and that Muhammad and his followers totally failed to preserve it.
The situation was so bad that after the death of Muhammad the Muslims were left in utter chaos:
Narrated Zaid bin Thabit: Abu Bakr as-Siddiq sent for me when the people of Yamama had been killed. Then Abu Bakr said (to me): "You are a wise young man and we do not have any suspicion about you, and you used to write the Divine Inspiration for Allah's Apostle (saw). So you should search for (the fragmentary scripts of) the Qur'an and collect it (in one book)". By Allah! If they had ordered me to shift one of the mountains, it would not have been heavier for me than this ordering me to collect the Qur'an. Then I said to Abu Bakr, "How will you do something which Allah's Apostle (saw) did not do?" Abu Bakr replied "By Allah, it is a good project". (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, p.477).
How could it be so difficult to collect the Qur’an if Muhammad and his followers had preserved it so effectively?
He didn't get any help.
Since he is the first Muslim, then nobody was there to help him. No-one was around him for the whole 22 years to assist him. Qur'an is in perfect Arabic language, so whoever taught him must be of Arabic mother-tongue with excellent knowledge in everything. So no proof of him getting outside help.
Hold it for a while, you are bring up such a loat of rubbish, desparate claims and speculation. Let assess your claims: you state that Muhammad had no one to assist him, we just looked at a passage in the Hadiths which stated that a Christian who had converted to Islam assisted him. Other Hadith passages actually reveal how Muhammad learned the Qur’an from others:
I said,"O Allah's Apostle, I wish we took the station of Abraham as our praying place (for some of our prayers). So came the Divine Inspiration: And take you (people) the station of Abraham as a place of prayer (for some of your prayers e.g. two Rakat of Tawaf of Ka'ba)". (Qur'an 2:125) Volume 6, Book 60, Number 117:
Seems as if Allah learned the Qur’an from human or that the Qur’an in heaven was influenced by human intelligence.
When the Verse:-- "Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home)" (4.95) was revealed, Allah Apostle called for Zaid who wrote it. In the meantime Ibn Um Maktum came and complained of his blindness, so Allah revealed: "Except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame..." etc.) (4.95)
Seems that Allah forgot someone, or what?
Furthermore, Hello claims that the Qur’an is perfect Arabic. But the Qur’an is not perfect Arabic, it contains a number of foreign words. May I suggest that you study Arthur Jeffrey:
Jeffrey is a secular scholar and you keep urging me to study secular scholars, now be consistent, rather than attacking Jeffrey apply your own criteria upon Biblic critic upon yourself.
And also you assume that every Arab was ignorant and stupid, which is far from reality, in fact Waraqa, the cousin of Khahidja, Muhammad’s first wife was an Arab, lived in Meccah and was highly intelligent and obviously spent much time with Muhammad. Bukhari even records that Muhammad contemplated suicide when Waraqa died and that the revelation stopped:
...But after a few days Waraqa died and the Divine Inspiration was also paused for a while and the Prophet became so sad as we have heard that he intended several times to throw himself from the tops of high mountains and every time he went up the top of a mountain in order to throw himself down, Gabriel would appear before him and say, "O Muhammad! You are indeed Allah's Apostle in truth" whereupon his heart would become quiet and he would calm down and would return home. And whenever the period of the coming of the inspiration used to become long, he would do as before, but when he used to reach the top of a mountain…. [Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 87, Number 111]
Notice here that the suicide attempts are related to the inspiration, could you please elaborate on this?
In fact the majority of Southern Arabs were educated, or at least grew up in an advanced society and many of these settled in the North prior to Muhammad’s era. It would only take on Arabic speaking intellectual to debunk your ignorant claim, and there were many such individuals. Also you seem to assume that Jews having settled in Arabia must have been entirely ignorant about Arabic, tell me then how did the converted Jew Abdullah Salim communicate with Muhammad and the other Arabic Muslims?
No, he didn't copy from Bible nor Torah.
Bible in arabic is non-existent at that time. In fact, he cannot read, no library, Internet or Y!A. In fact the content of Qur'an is obvious opposite with Bible, such as Jesus as God.
There where many Jews in Arabia, there where Christians in Arabia, there were even Christian Arabs. Waraqa even translated Gospel material into Arabic. No need of libraries or the internet. I know that the content of the Qur’an is different, but the Qur’an claims that the Injeel in Muhammad’s time (which we read today) was intact. Now that really debunks the credibility of the Qur’an.
I'm actually surprised you would even use Arthur Jeffery as your reference.
Arthur Jeffery suggest that a range of religious vocabulary in the Qur’an, such as Qur’an, Isa and Injil derives from the Syrian Christian faction. If this is true it reveals strong, intellectual interaction and borrowing, which Jeffery seems to suggest.
Here is an article exposing Jeffery & Missionaries. You'd have to be desperate to use him as a reference.
See my response above. You would be surprised that I have mainly used secular scholarship in my study of the Bible, do you Muslims dare to do the same with the Qur’an? Does not seem so!
When it comes to the Bible you Muslims urge us Christians to use atheist opinions and material but when it comes to the Qur’an we need to laugh at and despise such sources.
What a pick and choose mentality.
You should do more research.
This story originated from the book of Al-Tabari. Here is what Al-Tabari said about his own book and writings:
"Let him who examines this book of mine know that I have relied, as regards everything I mention therein which I stipulate to be described by me, solely upon what has been transmitted to me by way of reports which I cite therein and traditions which I ascribe to their narrators, to the exclusion of what may be apprehended by rational argument or deduced by the human mind, except in very few cases. This is because knowledge of the reports of men of the past and of contemporaneous views of men of the present do not reach the one who has not witnessed them nor lived in their times except through the accounts of reporters and the transmission of transmitters, to the exclusion of rational deduction and mental inference. Hence, if I mention in this book a report about some men of the past, which the reader of listener finds objectionable or worthy of censure because he can see no aspect of truth nor any factual substance therein, let him know that this is not to be attributed to us but to those who transmitted it to us and we have merely passed this on as it has been passed on to us."
Funny you Muslims include Al-Tabari whenever you need him, also when you defend the Qur’an, but when Al-Tabari damages the credibility of the Qur’an we have to remember that not everything Tabari records is trustworthy? I wonder how much of the Islamic tradition is trustworthy? There appears to have been a high proliferation of written corruption within the Muslim community!
Also you will happily quote all the junk you can get hold on to attack the Bible, even modern atheist theories which equally question the Qur’an, but when we quote a early authoritative and respected source within Islamic scholarship we need to cherry pick through his material and reject what may damage the reliability of the Qur’an in favour of what may support it---yeah I really call that scholarship.
A poor attempt to convince a reader that the Quran borrowed from other cultures. Quran is error free.
Firstly you did not refute anything?
Secondly you reacted desperately to my article, insulted me and heaped up lots of claims.
I referred to secular source which according to you are essential and always correct, right? Or are we now to be cautious about secular sources since the credibility of the Qur’an is at stage?
I also referred to Islamic sources, the Qur’an, the Hadiths and the early Islamic commentators.
In fact this was everything but a poor attempt and I have effectively provided evidence that the authors of the Qur’an did fabricate and plagiarize and that the Qur’an is everything but error free.
Contrary to you I have utilized proper sources not websites, all you have given me so far are references from Islamic websites.