Scientific Miracles in the Quran Debunked

Many Muslims claim that God revealed  scientific facts in the Quran long  before modern science discovered them. Here are the main ones.

Number one. The Quran describes the  fertilization process and embryonic  growth before it was known about. This is  false. The writings of Aristotle,  Hippocrates, Galen and others describe  these things long before the Quran and  the Quran is simply drawing on knowledge  that was prevalent at the time. In fact, it  appears to repeat not only the  accuracies of Greek ideas but their  inaccuracies also. The Quran says “We created man from a drop of  mingled fluid…” (Surah 76:2) This sounds very much like  the germinal fluid that Hippocrates  spoke of when writing about male and  female reproductive fluids. The Quran  also says “(Man) is  created from a drop emitted, proceeding  from between the backbone and the ribs.” (Surah 86:6-7) This description reflects the view of  Hippocrates, common in the 5th century,  that semen comes from all the fluid of  the body and passes through the kidneys  on the way to the penis. We now know that  it comes from the testicles. It is also  worth noting that the Quran always  mentions the semen but nowhere does it  mention the female egg or the actual  process of fertilization, which one would  expect to be in any basic description, if  it was known about by the author. The  Quran also says “Then we made the sperm into a  clot of congealed blood, then of that  clot we made a lump, then we made out of  that lump bones and clothed the bones  with flesh…” (Surah 23:14). This account follows the four  stages described by Galen, writing around  500 years before Muhammad, and includes  his belief that bones were formed before  the flesh. (Not true, bones and flesh come from one tissue at the same time.)

Number 2. The Quran describes  iron as being sent down from the heavens  before it was known that meteors  containing iron fell to the earth from  outer space. “And we sent down iron in which  there lies great force and which has  many uses for mankind” (Surah 57:25). This claim is false. It was common  knowledge that meteors containing iron  fell to earth from space. The ancient  Egyptian word for “iron” was “metal of  heaven” and the Babylonians had a similar  word. In fact cultures as far flung as  Tibet and the Aborigines of Australia  were all aware that meteors fell to  earth containing iron. Actually, all  elements on earth came from outer space. By singling out iron, the Quran only  appears to reveal its ignorance of this  fact.

Number three. The Quran describes  the moon’s light as reflected light  long before it was known. “And he made the moon as a light (Arabic “noor”) in  their midst and made the sun as a lamp.” (Surah 71:16) “And he placed therein a lamp  and a moon giving light.” (Surah 25:61). The claim is  that the words “noor” and “muneer” in these two verses mean “reflected light”. This is quite simply  wrong. “noor” means light and is used many  times to refer to God himself and so  obviously cannot mean reflected light. “muneeraa” means “to shed light”. For  example, Surah 33:46 says “a lamp spreading light (Arabic “muneeraa”)” and makes  this very clear when it says about the sun spreading light. But even if we were to accept the  meaning they give, it was already known  that the moon’s light was reflected  light. 1000 years before Muhammad,  Aristotle described a lunar eclipse that  makes this very clear.

Number four. The  Quran mentions that salt water and fresh  water don’t mix before this was known. “It is he  who has let free the two bodies of  flowing water – one palatable and sweet,  and the other salt and bitter – yet he has  made a barrier between them, a partition  that it is forbidden to pass.” (Surah 25:53) There are other meanings that could be  applied to this. If we  accept the meaning given, it was already  known about anyway. 1000 years before  Muhammad, Aristotle wrote “The drinkable,  sweet water, then, is light, and is all of  it drawn up. The salt water is heavy and  remains behind.” (Aristotle, Meteorology, Book 2, Chapter 2)

Number five. The Quran  reveals the Big Bang before it was known  about. “Do not the unbelievers  see that the heavens and the earth were  one piece before we clove them asunder,  and we made every living thing of water? Will they then not believe?” (Surah 21:30). If this is  supposed to be a description of the Big  Bang, then it is a terrible one. The Big  Bang is not about a lump blowing up. Matter did not exist to be “cloven  asunder” and there was certainly no  splitting of Earth from heaven. The earth  formed nine billion years after the Big  Bang in some tiny outpost of a vast  universe. One can hardly think of a more  inaccurate description of the Big Bang  than this verse. It does however follow  very precisely creation mythologies that  were believed in at the time of Muhammad. According to the Sumerians, “the heavens  had been separated from the earth” (Gilgamesh, Enkidu and the nether world) and  the idea that the heavens and the earth  were one single block that was broken  into two was common in ancient Egypt. (The separation of Geb, the earth god, from Nut, the sky goddess.)

Number six. The Quran reveals that  everything comes from water before this  was known. This uses the verse that I  have just quoted and once again it is  false. It was already known about.  Aristotle records that “Thales believed that it (the nature of  things) is water” and Anaximander stated  that “life came from the sea”.

Number seven. The Quran revealed the planets move in  orbits before this was known. “It is he who created the night and day, and the sun and the moon all swim  along, each in its rounded course.” (Surah 21:33). This  verse clearly reflects the view current  in Muhammad’s day that the sun, moon and  planets all move around the earth. There  is absolutely nothing in this verse that  suggests anything else.

Number eight. The  Quran reveals an expanding universe  before this was known. “We have built the heaven with  might, and we it is who make the vast  extent thereof.” (Surah 51:47). Firstly, this verse is not  talking about the universe; it is talking  about the sky. Secondly, it makes no  sense to suggest it means God is  expanding the universe after the verse  has just said God has built (past tense) the sky and since the universe was already  expanding nine billion years before the  sky was formed.

Number nine. The Quran  reveals the gaseous state of the  universe pre-big bang before this was  known. “Then he turned to the  heaven when it was smoke.” (Surah 41:11). Firstly, gas and  smoke are not the same thing. Gas is a  state of matter, smoke is a collection of  solids, liquids and gases that are  emitted when a material combusts. Secondly, if one looks at the verses  before and after this verse, one can see  very clearly that it cannot have  anything to do with the gaseous state of  the universe. It says God created the  earth, then he created the hills on the  earth, and then it says he turned to the  heavens when they were smoke.

Number 10. The Quran mentioned the seven layers of  the atmosphere before this was known. “It  is he who created everything on earth  for you and then he directed his  attention to the heaven and arranged it  into seven heavens. He has knowledge of  all things.” (Surah 2:29) First of all, modern science  usually specifies five layers, not  seven. 

But more importantly, the Quran is  clearly not talking about the atmosphere  but about the heavens where the moon, sun,  planets and stars are because it also  says “We have adorned the lower heaven  with the beauty of the stars.” (Surah 37:6) and also “he  made the moon a light in in their  midst and made the sun as a lamp.” (Surah 71:15-16). One  hardly needs to point out that the stars, sun and moon are nowhere near the  Earth’s atmosphere. The Quran is clearly  talking about the pre-Copernican view of  the universe that regarded the earth as  its center with the seven heavens  containing the sun, moon, planets and  stars around it.

These are some of the  main claims of scientific miracles in  the Quran but there are others. In fact, Muslims are discovering new ones all the  time. It’s not hard to do. Just open the  Quran, pick a word or sentence and see if  you can apply it to something in modern  science. Don’t worry if it’s already been  discovered or if the words don’t fit. We  don’t have to let minor details such as  facts and truth get in our way.