Scientific Miracles? Not quite

Many educated Muslims are struggling to waft their Quran from its Medieval fossil form to fit into the 21st century age of science and technology.

To this end, they are boldly asserting that their book foretold modern scientific findings 14 centuries ago. These portions are dubbed “scientific miracles” of the Quran. Let’s see if these claims hold up.

The following rebuttals were drawn out from dialogues I’ve had with several Muslims on this topic. When I asked them to present their strongest “proofs” for the Quran’s divine inspiration, their favourite trump cards were the “scientific miracle” passages. But as it often turns out, the cards quietly slip back into their pockets as their propaganda backfires.

(I) Quran 24:40 says “(The unbelievers’ state) is like the depth of darkness, in a vast deep ocean, overwhelmed with a great wave toppled with (another) great wave, toppled with (dark) clouds, darkness one above another; If a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it; for whom Allah gives no light, there is no light.”

It’s a miracle that the Quran described layers of darkness in the ocean 1400 years ago. This has now been recently confirmed by marine scientists stating that the ocean becomes progressively dark at very distinct layers of its depths.

Reading through the various English translations of the Quran, however, it’s clear that this passage refers to darkness covering the surface of sea, not dark layers within it.

Arberry: “Or they are as shadows upon a sea obscure covered by a billow above which is a billow above which are clouds, shadows piled one upon another…”

Palmer: “Or like darkness on a deep sea, there covers it a wave above which is wave, above which is a cloud – darknesses one above the other…”

Rodwell: “Or like the darkness on the deep sea when covered by billows, above which are clouds; darkness upon darkness…”

Sher Ali: “Or, their deeds are like thick layers of darkness spread over a vast and deep sea, on whose surface rises waves, above which are clouds…”

Pickthall: “Or as darkness on a vast, abysmal sea. There covereth him like a wave, above which is a wave, above which is a cloud. Layer upon layer of darkness…”

There are no clouds within the sea, so this verse refers to darkness above the sea. One would have to be so desperate to force oceanography into this banal allegory.

(II) Sura 21:30 saysHave they not who disbelieve seen that the heaven and earth were joined together (as one piece), then We parted them.

Here, Allah explained a mystery unknown to the greatest physicists and astronauts for centuries. It described the creation of the universe by joining together heavens and the earth and separating them. This harmonizes with Big Bang Theory of the creation of the universe which holds that about 20 million years ago, the universe began with an explosive expansion of a single condensed matter.

I appeal to all Muslims who don’t wish to be exposed to ridicule to read up about the Big Bang theory before including it in their dawah memo.

This theory stipulates that about 13.7 billion years ago, a tremendous explosion started the universe.

Prior to this, the energy that transformed the matter was contained at one infinitely small point, thus, the explosion supposedly gave rise to the particles that became matter as well as space and time. It proposes that the galaxies were not all clumped together, so the claim of heavens and earth “being separated” as the Quran says is false.

Even more than a point, the Big Bang theory excludes Creationism, so the term “Big Bang theory of creation” is ludicrous. The Big Bang is just that – a theory – not necessarily a scientific fact.

If it’s true, that means God didn’t create the earth and there were no Adam and Eve. Most believers in the Big Bang theory are atheists and agnostics. Appealing to speculative theories in place of facts is self-defeating.

(III) Sura 78:12-13 says “We have built above you seven strong (heavens) and placed therein a blazing lamp.”

It’s clear from this verse that the sun is the only light for our solar system. Astronomers have now established that the moon merely reflects the light of the sun. The Qur’an stated this fact centuries before the astronomers could establish this by their findings

These verses actually prove that the Quran is not from an all-knowing Allah.

The idea of “seven solid (heavens)” built up like some storey buildings is absurd. No astronomer will buy into such gobbledygook.

Finally, the sun is not “a blazing lamp”. It would have been scientifically accurate if the Quran said that the sun is the star at the centre of the solar system around which the earth rotates.

(IV) Sura 16:68-69 “And your Lord inspired the bee, saying: Take your habitations in hills, on trees, and in (men’s) habitations. Then eat of all fruits, and follow the way of your Lord made easy (for you); There comes forth from their bellies, a drink of varying colours wherein is healing for men; Verily, in this indeed a sign for people who think.

The Quran in this verse used the female form of the verb, thus is stating that the female bee is entrusted with the task of collecting food and making the honey. Muhammad wasn’t an expert entomologist, so he couldn’t have known this 14 centuries ago.

There are problems with these verses. One, bees have a more complex navigation, communication and social mechanisms than what was described here. They live in a wide variety of environments and are certainly not restricted to hills, trees and houses.

The Muslim who wrote this obviously has a poor information about bees at his disposal. Bees are classified into queen, drones and workers based on their responsibilities.

Two, bees don’t eat fruit; they feed on nectar and pollen from flowers. That is what they use to produce honey and this activity also results in cross pollination in flowers. If Allah authored the Quran, he should have known this, but he didn’t.

Three, how exactly do insects “follow the way of their Lord”? Are they Muslims too? The Quran seem to attribute human thinking or abilities to insects. That’s fairy tale, not science.

The “drink of various colours” from bees being alluded to are beeswax and royal jelly, and they are not for healing; they actually do cause allergic reactions in humans. Allah should have given a disclaimer.

Finally, this passage may not be much of a sign for thinking people. Apiculture or bee-keeping has been practiced in ancient Egypt and ancient Greece, so the Quran is saying nothing beyond what a 7th century desert man would have known.

(V) Sura 1:1 says “Praise be to Allah; the Lord of the worlds.”

Fourteen centuries ago, the human mind was certainly incapable of thinking about the earth, the solar system or the galaxies. Yet the very first verse of the Quran states that Allah is the Lord of the worlds. Today, mankind knows for a fact that there are other planets besides earth. Allah revealed this to Prophet Muhammad before modern discoveries.

Planets are not “worlds” and no planet is as inhabitable as earth, so they can’t be “worlds beyond the earth.”

Another absurdity in the Quran is the claim that there are seven heavens. These “heavens” couldn’t be planets, because there are 9 planets observed so far and scientists are looking at the possibility of a 10th planet which is still too dark to see now.

Maybe, Allah should have given us the number of planets instead. Methinks that would have been the real “scientific miracle.”

(VI) Sura 10:5 “He it is Who made the sun a shining brightness and the moon a light, and ordained for it mansions that you might know the computation of years and the reckoning. Allah did not create it but with truth; He makes the sign manifest for a people who know

Sura 25:61 “Blessed is He who made constellation in skies and placed therein a lamp (sun) and a moon giving light

Sura 71:15-16 Do you not see how God has created the seven heavens in stories, and has set the moon therein for a light, and set the sun for a lamp.

The Quran uses two different words for the sun (siraj or zia) and the moon (noor). It acknowledged that the sun is the source of light and the moon only reflects it.

There’s a spoof here. The Arabic word “noor” used for the moon means “direct light” and it’s scientifically wrong. The Arabic word for an object emitting light is “munir.”

The moon doesn’t have its mansions or stations. This nonsense was borrowed from Astrology which is about as scientific as placing garlic on your bed to ward off spirits.

The sun is a star and there’s no scientific evidence that the moon is in the midst of or on the same level as stars. Scientists have observed that stars are much farther away from the earth than the moon. Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the earth, is about 4.3 light years (40 trillion kilometre) away from it.

No matter how you slice the cake, the Quran is premodern.

(VII)And it is He (Allah) Who spread out the earth, and set thereon mountains standing firm, and (flowing) rivers ; and fruits of every kind he made in pairs, two and two. He draws the night as a veil over the day ; Behold ! Verily, in these things there are signs for those who consider.” (13:3) 

Who made for you earth like a carpet spread out, and has opened roads therein, and has sent down water from the sky? With it have We produced diverse pairs of plants, each separate from the other” (20:53)

Glory be to Allah, Who created in pairs all things that the earth produces ” (36:36).

Centuries before Botanists knew of plant genders, the Quran made it known. How could Muhammad have had this information if he wasn’t inspired by God?

These verses are quite revealing, though not in the way Muslims suppose.

Sura 13:3 says that Allah “spread out the earth and set thereon mountains” and that the “earth [is] like a carpet spread out” (20:53). This is teaching a flat earth.

It was the belief of Muhammad’s time that the earth was flat. This has been disproved by the Voyages of Discovery and the advent of scientific instruments.

Sura 13:3 speaks of “fruits of every kind He made in pairs.” This is wrong. Fruit do not have male and female sexes! One doesn’t even need to be a scientist to know this.

Sura 20:53 also speaks of “diverse pairs of plants” made. This is untrue; many plant species reproduce asexually.

Sura 36:36 is totally false. The lizard Cnemidophoras reproduces asexually. All members of the Monera kingdom reproduce asexually. Higher fungi (Fungi imperfecti), as well as various plants and single-celled organisms also reproduce asexually. Why did Allah not know these facts?

You see, Muhammad was a good observer, but he wasn’t all-knowing. These blunders (ironically presented as “scientific miracles”) actually prove that the Quran is entirely man-made.

The Scientific Miracle Scam


How many times have you heard the favourite Muslim line: “There are scientific miracles in the Quran”? Let me give you a background story.

For decades, the Islamic world accepted they were far behind in the sciences unlike the West. Then came along a “hero” to the Arabs: Maurice Bucaille (1920-1998), a French physician of then king Faisal of Saudi Arabia.

He published a book in 1976, The Bible, Quran and Science. In it, he attacked the inspiration of the Bible and cited several areas where the Quran allegedly agreed with modern science – proofs that the Quran is divine.

The book paid off and Dr. Bucaille went laughing to the bank. Since then, Muslims have found a sanctuary in his theory.

I’m sure if Dr Bucaille had been an African, the Arabs wouldn’t have batted an eyelash. But once a westerner (Caucasian) writes just a sentence in favour of Islam, it must make headlines.

After Dr. Bucaille’s lofty appraisal of the Quran, he still didn’t convert to Islam. He remained a devoted Roman Catholic till death. Why? If he really believed that the Quran agrees with modern science and read in it that all infidels will roast in Hell, why didn’t he convert to Islam? You see, it was all for the oil money.

Today, “Bucailleism” – the idea that there are scientific miracles in the Quran – is a main topic of Islamic dawah books and videos. Muslim youths sing Bucaille’s arguments like a national anthem. But not all Muslims are excited with such buffs.

Respected Muslim scholars like Maulana Ashraf Ali and Nomanul Haq have opposed “bucalleism.” Pakistani Nobel Laureate Physicist, Dr Abdus Salam has countered:

“There is no such thing as Islamic science, nor Jewish science, Hindu science … nor Christian science.”

Come to think of it, if the Quran is so “scientific,” how come it doesn’t explain nuclear physics, quantum mechanics or molecular genetics?

Why did all the great scientific discoveries of antibiotics, steam turbines, aircraft, electricity or computers come from the “infidel” Westerners instead of the turbaned sheikhs?

Why is the Islamic world more eager to make bombs than vaccines? Even the term “scientific miracles” is a paradox. Sciences are not miracles and miracles are not scientific. It’s as inane as saying “elastic glass.”

In his debate with Dr.  William Campbell, Dr. Zakir Naik said:

In the olden days, it was the age of miracles, the Quran was a miracle of miracles. Then in the age of literature and poetry, it was a masterpiece. Now we are in the age of science and technology.”

This drivel reminds me of junk food – it fills you up but lacks wholesome nutrition. The Quran didn’t exist until the 7th century AD, so when was the time-frame of this “age of miracles?” Of course, Islamic miracles have long ceased, since they were either tales made up by Muhammad or his followers.

Now, if the Quran was ever a “masterpiece” of literature and poetry, I can assure you that all non-Muslims would have converted to Islam, but they haven’t. In fact, the Quran is a badly written book plagued with many factual errors. This is why bucailleism is such a risky business; it exposes the Quran to scientific scrutiny.

Dr. Naik continues:

“The Glorious Quran is not a book of science, its a book of signs. And there are more than 6,000 signs in the Quran of which more than a thousand speak about science.”

These are word games. Signs are not “sciences,” they are supernatural feats while Science can be empirically tested and repeated. More than “a thousand sciences” in the Quran? This man is a politician. He should apply for the Indian cabinet.

Let’s check out some of these Quranic “scientific miracles”:

1. The Big Bang

It is said that the Quran describes the ‘big bang’ theory in which one primary nebula separated with a big bang giving rise to galaxies.

This is often laced with Sura 21:30: “Do not the unbelievers see? That the heavens and earth were joined together and we clove them asunder.”

Muslims really need to read up about the Big Bang. This theory stipulates that about 13.7 billion years ago, a tremendous explosion started the universe.

Prior to this event, all the energy that transformed the matter was contained at one infinitely small point (not a nebula!) The explosion purportedly resulted into particles that gave rise to matter as well as space and time.

Since the galaxies were not all clumped together, the idea of heavens and earth “being separated” as the Quran says is nonsense.

In their fervour (or rather ignorance) to find science in the Quran, the scientific miracle fans overlook the fact that the big bang theory excludes creationism which the Quran teaches.

Big bang is a theory, not a scientific fact. If it’s true, then the story of God creating the earth or Adam and Eve is false. Only atheists believe in the big bang. Muslims can’t have it both ways.

Besides that verse used as “proof” contradicts another one which says: “Moreover he comprehended in his design the sky and it had been (as) smoke. He said to it and the earth ‘Come ye together willingly or unwillingly…” (Sura 41:11)

In Sura 21:30, Allah is separating the heavens and the earth but in Sura 41:11, he is joining them together. Two opposite versions of the same creation event! How can such a contradiction come from God?

It’s even amusing that the Quran claims heaven was a smoke.

II. Egg-Shaped Earth?

Muslims claim that the Quran foretold the shape of the earth centuries before modern science. They quote sura 79:30 “He made the earth egg-shaped.”

The trick here is, the Quranic version quoted was by Rashad Khalifa (a man denounced as a cultist by majority Muslims). All other versions read differently:

“He spread out the earth” (Pickthall)
“He extended the earth” (Ali);
“He spread the earth (Hilali-Khan)
“He spread forth the earth” (Sher Ali)
“He stretch out the earth” (Palmer)

Far from accurately telling us the shape of the earth, this verse is actually teaching a flat earth. The Arabic word translated as “spread out” is dahaha and all Arabic dictionaries define it as a flat bed prepared by an ostrich to lay its eggs on.

Sly Muslim scholars latch on to the word “egg” and insist that the word means egg-shaped. No, the earth is geoid, not “egg shaped.”

In Muhammad’s time the earth was erroneously believed to be flat and that was exactly how he described the earth in the Quran:

“And He it is who hath outstretched [Madda] the earth and place on it the firm mountain.” (13:3)

“And the earth we spread out [Madadnaha]” (15:19)

“(Yea, the same that) has made for you the earth (like a carpet) spread out [Mahdan].” (43:10)

The Arabic words Madda, Madadnaha and Mahdan all mean flat. This was why a Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz, once dogmatically declared that the earth was flat. This is a shameful error, not a scientific miracle.

III. Human Embryology

This is perhaps the most “selling point” of Bucailleism. A Muslim guy wrote to me:

“Do you know that in Quran the creation of man in the womb of the mother was perfectly described? Right from his stage as a clot of blood. How could Muhammad have known this 1400 years ago when there was not technological advancement? Except it comes from the Creator. Muhammad could not have known that because we both know he was not a reader.”

This is their typical peroration. Once you refute this line, the Quran’s author is shown to be not the Creator, but a very ignorant fellow. The Quran describes its “embryology” thus:

Sura 40:67 “He it is who created you from dust, then from a sperm drop, then from a leech like clot- ‘alaqa.’ Then brings you forth as a child that perhaps you may understand.”

Sura 23:12-14 “Verily We created man from a product of wet earth. Then We placed him as a drop in a safe lodging. Then We fashioned the drop a clot (‘alaqa, something sticky) and of the clot (‘alaqa), We fashioned a chewed lump, and of the chewed lump We fashioned bones and We clothed the bones (with) meat. Then We produced it as another creation…”

We can lay it out as: Sperm (Nufta) → Clot (Alaqa) → lump of meat (Mudgha) →Bones (Azaam) →bones clothed up with muscles.

There is nothing here that “perfectly describes” human embryology. Any Medical or Biology textbook would describe it far better than the above, yet that doesn’t make these textbooks divine.

In the same vein, even if the Quran’s embryology was “perfectly described” that still will not prove that it’s divinely inspired. Even Satan can describe such stuff easily. Moreover, there are several pitfalls in this embryology:

a) Muhammad confused the creation of man in Eden from dust with the growth of a baby in the womb. This is an error. Adam wasn’t made from a semen and semen do not come from the “dust.”

b) Nowhere does the Quran speak of the ovum which the sperm fertilizes to become a zygote as modern science proves.

No self-respecting elementary science student will make a blunder of saying semen develop into a baby without the egg. The Arabic word “nufta amshaj” means “thickened or mingled” and not “zygote” as some Muslims try to say. The Quran goofed.

c) At no point does the human embryo becomes a “clot of blood” unless there is a miscarriage, in which case the foetus is dead.

Clumps of blood clot do not grow into babies. Muhammad’s wives must have experienced miscarriages so he thought that blood clots grow in the womb as the foetus. It was the thinking of his time.

Dr. Bucaille, in order to sustain his theory, resorted to word games. He claims the Arabic word “alaqa” means “something which clings” that the blood clot clings to the womb. That is nonsense.

In major English translations of the Quran the word “alaqa” is rendered as: “leech-like clot” (Ali), “clotted blood” (Sher Ali), “clots of blood” (Rodwell) or “a clot” (Hilali-Khan).

It’s even strange how Muslim leaders would allow an “infidel” Westerner to be a valid interpreter of the Quran as if there are shortages of Islamic scholars in Saudi Arabia. But you know, rules have to be set aside if a white man is going to market Islam.

d) At no point does the embryo becomes a bony skeleton waiting to be clothed with flesh.

Dr. Keith Moore, another westerner who wanted some oil money wrote to appease the Muslims in 1981 that the Quran’s embryology is accurate, yet he was careful enough not to get ousted from the Medical community by making darn remarks.

In his book, The Developing Human, he explained that the embryo’s skeletal system develops from the mesoderm. The cartilage which looks like bones is formed with muscles around it. As Calcium deposits on the cartilage, bones are formed. (Chapters 15-17) Contrary to the Quran, muscles are formed first before bones.

The Langman’s Medical Embryology states that at the 8th week of fertilization, the ribs become cartilaginous – not bony – and muscles are present.

The author of the Quran thought embryos were made like animal statues where sticks are first arranged as support and mud is used to cover them up.

e) Centuries before Muhammad was born, the Quranic ideas of embryology (babies being formed from semen and blood clots) were already known.

This very idea is found in a Hindu Text, Garbha Upinandas dating back to 1416 BC. Hippocrates (460-370), the father of Western Medicine wrote about the same idea in his works.

Greek philosopher, Aristotle (384-322 BC) described embryology based on the limited knowledge of his time.

Claudius Galenus (129-210 AD) too wrote the very same ideas.

So what’s new about what Muhammad said? If his claims were already known before his time, he didn’t need to be a prophet to know them.

IV. Oceanography

It is said that the Quran agrees with modern oceanography which states that when two types of water flow into one another, a slanting area is formed or an “unseen barrier.” This is supported by quoting Sura 25:53

“It is Allah who let free two flowing bodies of water – one sweet and palatable, the other salt and bitter. Though they meet, they do not mix. Between them is a barrier which is forbidden to be trespassed.”

There are no “invisible barriers which is forbidden to be trespassed” between two waters. No science textbook makes such a claim. Waters do not mix immediately because of differences in temperature and density, but they do eventually.

Muhammad being a superstitious man thought there was an invisible barrier between such waters. His modern followers are no different, in spite of their academic titles.

V. Mountains and the Sinking Sun

We are told that the Quran agrees with the modern theory of plate tectonics which says that mountains work as stabilizers and act as support for the earth. Sura 16:15 “And He has thrown onto the earth mountains lest it shake with you.”

This is nonsense. Mountains do not stabilise the earth. They actually result from the movements and instability of the tectonic plates. Another ridiculous verse is:

“Have We not made the earth a bed? And the mountains as pegs?” (Sura 78:7). This a cave man thinking. The earth is geoid, not flat.

Muhammad being an illiterate thought the mountains are just like the pegs the old Arabs inserted into the ground to support their tents.

As if these are not bad enough, Sura 18:86 says Dhul Qarnain travelled “until he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water.”

Muhammad thought the earth was flat and once the sun “sinks into a murky stream” sunset came about! How can such a stupid statement come from God?

When I was a boy, there was a bedtime story we used to read. It’s a story about a village of fools who saw the moon’s reflection in their stream for the first time, felt the moon must have fallen into it. So all the villagers – both young and old – came out with nets, boats, rakes, buckets and surrounded the stream to pull the moon out of it.

Today, the Quran has made a village of fools out of many Muslims. We can still pardon the ignorant 7th century Arabs who fell prey to Muhammad’s lies, but how can we pardon the educated Muslims in this 21st century who still want to be fooled?

There seems to be a beam of cloud that blocks the mind of Muslims who promote the “scientific miracle” scam. The longer it stays, the more fame and wealth their leaders get.

There are no miracles in the Quran. The only miracle is the willingness of people to be fooled.