The Quran and the Hadith contain references to creation of the world and physical realities that are nothing short of scientific heresies. Despite the efforts of many Muslim apologists who have tried to reinterpret them and find in them some esoteric meaning, their contrast with science and logic belie the claim that Islam is divinely inspired. Take the following example.
“… 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…”
The claim that Allah’s throne was over waters is mentioned also in the Quran 11.007
“He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days – and His Throne was over the waters.”
Does this make sense? Notice that in the hadith the translator has made a parenthesis, within which he has written, (then He created His Throne). Obviously he too has noticed that if there was nothing, Allah’s throne could not have existed either.
What about the waters? This verse and its supporting hadith imply that waters existed before God created the world. What was holding that water? Doesn’t water need a container? Obviously an earth must exist to hold that water. And can earth exist without the space or the universe that contains it? It appears as if there is chronological error in the order of creation.
Cosmos according to the Quran and hadith
According to Muhammad the Earth is flat made in seven layers. There are several quranic verses and hadithes that confirm this.
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.
It is generally believed that Zul-qaranain is Alexander the Great who, according to the old folks had conquered the world from one end to the other. The truth is that Sun rises and sets in ALL places. One does not have to go ‘another way’ or to the other end of the world to find it rising or setting. It is obvious that Muhammad, like most of his contemporaries believed that the Earth is flat and the Sun moves in the sky rising from one place and setting in another. The following hadith supports this idea.
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.”
These are fairy tales. Sun going beneath the throne of God, prostrating and asking permission to rise the next day? These things are for children stories.
The absurdity does not end there. The Quran 78:6 says,
Have We not made the earth as a bed?
أَلَمْ نَجْعَلِ الْأَرْضَ مِهَادًا
“Bed” is the correct translation of mehad, made by Hilali Khan, Sher Ali and Sale. Palmer and Rodwell have translated it as “couch” and Arberry as “cradle.” Other translators have been vague and have translated it as “expanse.” Clearly they too have noticed that this verse is wrong. Earth does not look like a bed, unless you are a seventh century Arab with no knowledge of the world.
All these verses and hadiths 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 in the sky or “under the earth” for the Sun to stop and ask permission to rise again?
The absurdity of these tales is self-explanatory. Yet Muslims never question them. If it is in the Quran, it must be true even if it is blatantly absurd.
These tales originate from the lore of cultures before Islam. In 1952 Theodor H. Gaster compiled a book titled, The Oldest Stories in the Word. It is a collection of the traditions of the Babylonian, Hittite and Canaanite people of 3500 years ago. These stories were lost and then unearthed in the 20th century. The similarities of those old stories and those in Quran and the Bible are astounding. They prove that the Quran is not a divine book, but a collection of old tales that were part of the legends of Arabs.
In another hadith Muhammad compares the trajectory of the Sun to a bow.
Bukhari, 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).”
It is clear that Muhammad thought the sun forms and arch, like a bow from the time that it rises to the time that it sets.
This is 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 forming a bow in the sky.
There is nothing scientific in the Quran. This book was written in seventh century AD, and reflects popular cosmological beliefs characteristic of that period. Muhammad was also an unlettered man. His knowledge of the world was limited to hearsay. Even during his time there were people with better understanding of the cosmos.
Like other people of his time, he thought that the sun and moon orbit the earth
36:38-40 (Asad) And the sun: it runs in an orbit of its own that is laid down by the will of the Almighty, the All-Knowing; and [in] the moon, for which We have determined phases till it becomes like an old date-stalk, dried-up and curved: neither may the sun overtake the moon, nor can the night usurp the time of day, since all of them float through space [in accordance with Our laws.
Any school child can see that this description of the solar system is wrong. The sun and the moon don’t chase each other. What is missing here is the rotation of the earth that is actually what makes the day and night, follow each other. To Muhammad all this was a mystery, a miracle that had been ordained by Allah. He was amazed for the fact that “the sun and the moon are made punctual.” (Q. 55:5) and thought that heaven is a roof covering the earth and that “He created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon, each in an orbit floating,” (Q. 021:032-33).
These errors show that the author of the Quran was not the maker of the universe but a very ignorant man.