Rebuttal to Ali Sina's article "Genesis According to Muhammad"

By

Bassam Zawadi

 

 

This article is in response to Ali Sina's article "Genesis According to Muhammad" which can be accessed here. 

 

Ali Sina said:

Quran and Hadith contain references to creation of the world and the physical realities that are nothing short of scientific heresies. Despite the effort of some Muslim apologists to reinterpret them and find some esoteric meaning hidden within these absurd talks, their obvious contrast with science and logic is enough to realize that Islam was not inspired by God. The following is one of them. 

 Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 414

". He (Muhammad) said, "First of all, there was nothing but Allah, and (then He created His Throne). His throne was over the water, and He wrote everything in the Book (in the Heaven) and created the Heavens and the Earth."


Does this story make any sense? Notice that the contents of the parenthesis are from the translator. If there was 'nothing' how Allah could have put His Throne over the water? Where was Allah sitting prior to that? From the above hadith one perceives that the water was there before the creation of the heaven and the earth. There is no mention that God created water! What was holding that water? Don't you have to have a space first to put the Earth in it? And don't you need to have an Earth to contain the water? It appears as if there is an error in the order of creation.  

My Response:

I don't know what Ali Sina is talking about. The hadith in no way shows any order of creation. The hadith does not say "then" this and that happened. It keeps saying "and" this and that happened. So the hadith in no way shows any sequence in the order of creation. 

Either way, anyone is free to check out the commentary of this hadith over here. 

 

Ali Sina said:

According to Muhammad the Earth was flat and there are several verses as well as hadithes that confirm this belief.  

Q: 18: 86
Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water: Near it he found a People: We said: "O Zul-qarnain! (thou hast authority,) either to punish them, or to treat them with kindness."
89
Then followed he (another) way,
90
Until, when he came to the rising of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had provided no covering protection against the sun.

Some scholars believe that Zul-qaranain is Alexander the Great who, according to the old folks had conquered from one end of the world to the other. What is important here, is that the sun rises and sets in ALL places. One does not have to go 'another way' to the other end of the world to find it rising. This gives an idea that Muhammad, just like the people of his time believed that the Earth is flat and the sun moves in the sky rising from one place and setting in another. There is also a hadith that supports this idea.

 

My Response:

Zakir Naik said in his debate with Dr William Campbell "The Quran and Bible in the Light of Science"

The other points, Dr. William Campbell raised was regarding Surah Kahf Chapter No.18, Verse No.86, that. 'Zulqarnain sees the sun setting in murky water. in turbid water - Imagine sun setting in murky water. unscientific.' The Arabic word used here is. it is 'wajada' meaning, 'it appeared to Zulqarnain.' And Dr. William Campbell knows Arabic. So 'wajada' means - if you look up in the dictionary also, it means it appeared.' So Allah Subhanawataala is describing what appeared to Zulqarnain. If I make a statement that. 'The student in the class said, 2 plus 2 is equal to 5.' And you say. 'Oh Zakir said, 2 plus 2 is equal to 5. I did not say. I am telling.'The student in the class said, 2 plus 2 is equal to 5.' I am not wrong - The student is wrong. There are various ways to try and analyze this verse. One is this way - according to Muhammad Asad, that 'wajada' means. 'It appeared to'. 'It appeared to Zulqarnain.' Point no.2 - The Arabic word used is 'Magrib' - It can be used for time, as well as place. When we say 'sunset' - 'sunset' can be taken for time. If I say. 'The sun sets at 7 p.m.'; I am using it for time. If I say. 'The 'Sun sets in the West', it means I am taking it for place. So here if we use the word 'Magrib' for time. So Zulqarnain did not reach that place of sunset - used - as time - He reached at the time of sun set. The problem is solved. Further more, you can solve them in various ways. Even if Dr. William Campbell says. 'No No, the basic assumption is too much - It is not. 'Appeared to'. it is actually this.' Let us analyze it further. The Qur'anic verse says. the Sun set in murky water.' Now we know, when we use these words, like 'sunrise' and 'sunset' - does the sunrise? Scientifically, sun does not rise - neither does the sunset. We know scientifically, that the sun does not set at all. It is the rotation of the earth, which gives rise to sunrise and sunset. But yet you read in the everyday papers mentioning, sunrise at 6 a.m. sun sets at 7.00 p.m. Oh! The newspapers are wrong - Unscientific!' If I use the word 'Disaster', Oh! There is a disaster' - 'Disaster' means there is some calamity which has taken place. Literally, 'disaster' means 'an evil star.' So when I say. 'This disaster' every one knows what I mean is 'a calamity', not about the evil star.' Dr. William Campbell and I know, when a person who is mad, we call him a lunatic - Yes or no?  At least I do, and I believe Dr. William Campbell also will be doing        that. We call a person 'a lunatic' - He is 'mad.' What is the meaning of 'lunatic'?  It means. 'struck by the moon' - But that is how the language has evolved. Similarly sun rise, is actually, it is just a usage of words. And Allah has given the guidance for the human beings also - He uses so, that we understand. So it is just 'sunset' - Not that it is actually setting - Not that sun is actually rising. So this explanation clearly gives us a clear picture, that the Verse of the Qur'an of Surah Kahf, Chapter.18, Verse No 86, is not in contradiction with established science - That is the way how people speak. 

 

Recommended Readings

http://www.bismikaallahuma.org/archives/2005/quranic-commentary-on-sura-al-kahf-1886/

http://www.geocities.com/noorullahwebsite/zul-qarnain.html

http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?cid=1123996016622&pagename=IslamOnline-English-AAbout_Islam/AskAboutIslamE/AskAboutIslamE

 

Ali Sina said:

Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 421
Narrated Abu Dhar:
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."

 Q. 6: 38 
See how this Hadith is confirmed in the Quran? So there is no doubt about it. It is sahih. But does it make sense?

 

My Response:

Taken from http://www.islamtoday.net/english/show_detail_section.cfm?q_id=811&main_cat_id=31... 

 

Question: I was reading Sahîh Muslim and saw a hadîth which confused me a lot. Modern science has proven that Earth is orbiting the Sun. However, there is a hadîth that says the Sun goes around the Earth and when it reaches a specific place under the Earth, it prostrates to Allah and then Allah permits it to go to the same way, but when the Day of Judgment comes, Allah will command it to go in the direction where it came from. Isn't this in conflict with modern science?

Answered by the Scientific Research Committee - IslamToday.net

We must look carefully at the texts in question to determine exactly what those texts are saying, and equally importantly, what they are not saying.

This hadîth is found in Sahîh al-Bukhârî (3199, 7424). Its text, as related by Abû Dharr al-Ghifârî, is as follows:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to me: "O Abû Dharr! Do you know where the Sun goes when it sets?"

I said: "Allah and His Messenger know best."

He said: "It goes until it prostrates beneath the Throne. Then it seeks permission and permission is granted to it. Soon it will prostrate and it will not be accepted from it, and seek permission and will not be granted permission. It will be said to it: ?Go back where you came from.' Then it will rise from its setting place. This is Allah's statement: ?And the Sun runs on to its place of settlement. That is the determination of the Mighty the Knowing. [Sûrah YâSîn: 38]'."
It is also found in Sahîh Muslim (159,205). Its text, as related by Abû Dharr al-Ghifârî, is as follows:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said one day: "Do you know where the Sun goes when it sets?"

They said: "Allah and His Messenger know best."

He said: "It goes until it arrives at its place of settlement beneath the Throne. Then it falls down in prostration and remains like that until it is said to it: ?Arise! Go back from whence you came.' Then it goes back and rises from its place of rising. Then it goes until it arrives at its place of settlement beneath the Throne. Then it falls down in prostration and remains like that until it is said to it: ?Arise! Go back from whence you came.' Then it goes back and rises from its place of rising. Then it goes without people finding anything wrong with it until it arrives at that place of settlement it has beneath the throne. Then it will be told: ?Arise! Enter upon the morning rising from your setting place'."

Then Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "Do you know when that will be? It will be when ?its faith will not avail a soul which had not believed before or earned some good from its faith. [Sûrah al-An`âm: 157]'."
The hadîth is also found in Sahîh al-Bukhârî in a highly abridged form (4803, 7433). Its text reads:
I asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about Allah's statement: "And the Sun runs on to its place of settlement... [Sûrah YâSîn: 38]".

He said: "Its place of settlement is beneath the throne."
Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalânî, in Fath al-Bârî, his commentary on Sahîh al-Bukhârî, writes:
This was how Wakî` related it from al-A`mash in an abbreviated form. It is a narration by meaning. In the previous narration of the hadîth, the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked Abû Dharr: "Do you know where the Sun goes when it sets?" [Fath al-Bârî (8/688)]


The first point that we need to consider is that nowhere in any of these texts is it mentioned that the Sun is revolving around the Earth. The word used for the Sun's motion in all of these texts is the verb "tajrî" meaning "to go, flow, proceed". This verb is not qualified by any other words indicating a spherical motion of any kind or any specific type of motion relative to the Earth.

The second point that we must consider is that nowhere does the hadîth discuss the mechanics of the Sun's motion or the mechanics of how that motion will change when the Sun rises from the West.

Thirdly, the place of settlement mentioned in the hadîth is beneath the throne and not under the Earth.

What we know scientifically about the Sun is that it is indeed in motion. It is traveling around the center of the galaxy at roughly 220 km/s in an orbit that takes about 230 million years to complete.

It may be interesting to take note of the fact that the Qur'ân mentions an orbital motion for the Sun. Allah says: "It is not for the Sun to overtake the Moon, nor does the night outstrip the day. They float each in an orbit." [Sûrah YâSîn: 40] However, the verse says nothing about the nature or placement of the Sun's orbit. It states only that the Sun has one.

As for the Sun's relationship to the Throne, which is what the hadîth is discussing, this is something that we cannot speculate about. The Throne is part of the Unseen and we know nothing about it except what Allah and His Messenger tell us about it. It follows that the Sun's behavior in relationship to the throne, both spatially and temporally, is also a matter of the Unseen. We must believe whatever Allah and His Messenger inform us about it and not speculate any further on the subject.

We can, therefore, safely conclude that these texts are not proof that the Sun orbits the Earth.

 

Ali Sina said:

Do you get the picture? Now compliment the whole thing with these verses.
Q. 78: 6

Have We not made the earth as a wide expanse,
7
And the mountains as pegs?


The word "expanse" gives an idea of something flat. The Arabic word used in Quran is "mehad", (bed). Beds are flat.  

My Response:

This issue has already been discussed in detail over here:

- Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's Article "The Qur'an and The Shape of The Earth"

 

Ali Sina said:

I don't want to dwell on the obvious. Dose the whole story make sense? Doesn't this Hadith and the one above it, backed by these verses from Quran, clearly describe a flat Earth, where the sun rises from one side of it and sets in the murky waters on the opposite side? Is there a Throne somewhere that the sun goes under it and gets permission? What Throne is he talking about? Is it the same Throne of God that is placed over the waters? When and how the sun prostrates itself? The Earth is spherical; can anybody look out and see any Throne anywhere? Has anybody noticed where in the sky the sun stops to ask permission? The absurdity of these tales is self-explanatory yet a Muslim would not pause for a moment to question their validity. If it is in the Quran, it must be true even if it is blatantly absurd.

For the origin of these stories one has to look into the tales of the people before Islam. In 1952 Theodor H. Gaster compiled a book called The Oldest Stories in the Word. It is a collection of the lore of the Babylonian, Hittite and Canaanite people of 3500 years ago; stories that were lost and then unearthed in the 20th century. One is astounded to find the similarities of those old stories and the stories in Quran and the Bible including the above Hadith, which proves that Quran is not a divine book but a collection of the, old tales that was part of the folklore of the people to whom Muhammad was talking. 

In another Hadith Muhammad compares the rise and the set of the sun to a bow. This is of course how the movement of the sun appears from the Earth. To the primitive people it appeared that the sun rises from the East and sets in the West making a bow in the sky. Therefore the comparison.  

 

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 51:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "A place in Paradise as small as a bow is better than all that on which the sun rises and sets (i.e. all the world)." He also said, "A single endeavor in Allah's Cause in the afternoon or in the forenoon is better than all that on which the sun rises and sets."

 

My Response:

I do not know how on earth Ali Sina misunderstood this hadith. The Prophet is in no way on earth comparing the sun to a bow. Read the hadith very carefully.

The Prophet is saying that a place in Paradise, even if it is as small as a bow is better than all that which the sun rises and sets. That means the whole world. So basically, a small part of Paradise is better than all the materialistic pleasures of this world. How on earth Ali Sina misinterpreted that hadith, I do not know.

 

 

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