The Expansion of the Universe

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"The Expansion of the Universe" is a document by Harun Yahya that purports to show that the Qur'an contains scientific foreknowledge when it "predicted" that the expansion of the universe following the Big Bang occurred.

The following is a side-by-side rebuttal.

Rebuttal[edit]

"The Expansion of the Universe", Harun Yahya:[1] RationalWiki:

"In the Qur'an, which was revealed fourteen centuries ago at a time when the science of astronomy was still primitive, the expansion of the universe was described in the following terms: [Verse 51:47 omitted; see here.] Yes, astronomy in the 600s sucked. However, the "revelations" of the Qur'an on this issue are vague, rely on an incorrect translation, and are probably the results of modern translation bias.


The word 'heaven,' as stated in the verse above, is used in various places in the Qur'an. It is referring to space and the wider universe. Here again, the word is used with this meaning, stating that the universe 'expands.' As shown earlier, this translation is incorrect, contradictory to other claims, and, due to its vagueness, unscientific.


The Arabic word 'moosiaaoona' in the term 'inna lamoosiaaoona,' translated into English as 'it is We Who are steadily expanding it', comes from the verb 'evsea,' meaning 'to expand.' The prefix 'la' emphasises the following name or title and adds a sense of 'to a great extent.' This expression therefore means 'We expand the sky or the universe to a great extent.' First, this relies on the translation of "heavens", which, as shown earlier, clearly does not mean "universe".
Second, "and indeed, We (are) surely (its) Expanders" is a much more accurate translation.[2]


This is the very conclusion that science has reached today. Until the dawn of the 20th century, the only view prevailing in the world of science was that 'the universe has a constant nature and it has existed since infinite time.' However, modern research, observations, and calculations carried out by means of modern technology have revealed that the universe in fact had a beginning and that it constantly "expands." Ah, science was wrong before, again. Lovely.


At the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian physicist Alexander Friedmann and the Belgian cosmologist Georges Lemaitre theoretically calculated that the universe is in constant motion and that it is expanding. The scientists and timeline are correct, even if the meaning of "constant motion" is unclear.


This notion was confirmed by the use of observational data in 1929. While observing the sky with a telescope, Edwin Hubble, the American astronomer, discovered that the stars and galaxies were constantly moving away from each other. This discovery is regarded as one of the greatest in the history of astronomy. During these observations, Hubble established that the stars emit a light that turns redder according to their distance. That is because according to the known laws of physics, light heading towards a point of observation turns violet, and light moving away from that point assumes a more reddish hue. During his observations, Hubble noted a tendency towards the colour red in the light emitted by stars. In short, the stars were moving further and further away, all the time. The stars and galaxies were not only moving away from us, but also from each other. Yes, the existence of increasingly redshifted light from increasigly distant light sources is evidence for an expanding universe.


A universe where everything constantly moves away from everything else implied a constantly expanding universe. The observations carried out in the following years verified that the universe is constantly expanding. If by "constant" Mr. Yahya means "not intermittent", then he's correct. If he means "at the same rate", then he's incorrect; the inflation of the early universe was incredibly fast, but slowed as the universe cooled, while current expansion is speeding up.


In order to gain a clearer understanding of this, let us imagine the universe to be the surface of a balloon being inflated. In the same way that the more the balloon is inflated, the further away the points on its surface move from one another, celestial bodies also move away from one another as the universe expands. Thanks, Bill Nye.


This was theoretically discovered by Albert Einstein, regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century. However, in order to avoid violating the 'static universe model' that was generally accepted at that time, Einstein laid that discovery aside. He would later describe this as the greatest blunder of his life. That evil scientific consensus, not immediately changing to the correct view.


This fact was explained in the Qur'an in a time when telescopes and similar technological advancements were not even close to being invented. This is because the Qur'an is the Word of Allah: the Creator and Ruler of the entire universe." Considering that the Qur'an only states that the world and the skies are very large, it's hard to see why a telescope would be required.


Relevant verses: Relevant commentary:


^ "We constructed the sky with our hands, and we will continue to expand it." (Qur'an 51:47, 2001[3] translation from Rashad KhalifaWikipedia's W.svg). First, this passage most clearly refers to the atmosphere, not the universe at large.

Second, this modern translation of this verse is quite different from basically all other translations.

  1. "With power did We construct the heaven. Verily, We are Able to extend the vastness of space thereof," (Qur'an 51:47, recent Saudi-Arabia-sponsored Qur'an[4] translation from Muhammad Muhsin KhanWikipedia's W.svg).
  2. "And heaven -- We built it with might, and We extend it wide," (Qur'an 51:47, 1955[5] translation from Arthur John ArberryWikipedia's W.svg).
  3. "And WE have built the heavens with Our own hands, and, verily, WE have vast powers," (Qur'an 51:47, 1936[6] translation from Maulvi Sher AliWikipedia's W.svg).
  4. "With power and skill did We construct the Firmament: for it is We Who create the vastness of space," (Qur'an 51:47, 1934[7] translation from Abdullah Yusuf AliWikipedia's W.svg).
  5. "We have built the heaven with might, and We it is Who make the vast extent (thereof)," (Qur'an 51:47, 1930[8] translation from Marmaduke PickthallWikipedia's W.svg).
  6. "And the heaven, We raised it high with power, and most surely We are the makers of things ample," (Qur'an 51:47, 1917[9] translation from Muhammad AliWikipedia's W.svg).
  7. "And the heaven - we have build it with might, and, verily, we do surely give it ample space!" (Qur'an 51:47, 1861[10] translation from John Medows RodwellWikipedia's W.svg).
  8. "We have built the heaven with might; and we have given it a large extent:" (Qur'an 51:47, 1734[11] translation from George SaleWikipedia's W.svg).

It's hard to claim that this is an authoritative translation, when only one translation, by a man most Muslims see as heretical[12][13] and who removes Qur'anic verses at will to fit his mystical numerology,[14][15] changes the past-tense and positive "we made it big" into the present-tense and comparative "we make it bigger".

Third, to put this verse in context, the next verse states "And We have spread out the earth, how Excellent Spreader (thereof) are We!" (Qur'an 51:48). If Yahya's interpretation of 51:47 is correct, then the Qur'an also supports the "Expanding Earth" theory.


Summary[edit]

Summary of claim: The Qur'an accurately states that the universe expanded after the Big Bang and is expanding, which would have been unknowable to contemporary science.
Does this statement meet all criteria necessary for Qur'anic scientific foreknowledge?

  1. Is it correct? Yes. The universe expanded after the Big Bang and is expanding.
  2. Is it in the Qur'an? No. Only through mistranslation of "made" and misinterpretation of "heavens" does this appear.
  3. Is it unambiguous? No. The Qur'an merely states, not describes.
  4. Was it outside of contemporary knowledge? Yes. Knowledge about the formation of the early and contemporary universes was sparse at the time of Muhammad.
  5. Was it outside of contemporary technology? Yes. Sophisticated measurements are required to determine that the early universe expanded and that the universe is expanding.

Thus, this statement is not an example of Qur'anic scientific foreknowledge.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Yahya, Harun. "THE EXPANSION OF THE UNIVERSE." MiraclesOfTheQur'an.com. n.d. Web. 14 July 2014.
  2. See, for example:
    1. Dukes, Kais. "Verse (51:46) - Word by Word". The Quranic Arabic Corpus. n.d. Web. 01 October 2014.
    2. "Google Translate". Translate. n.d. Web. 01 October 2014.
    3. "Arabic-English translation for 'بنيناها'." bab.la. n.d. Web. 02 October 2014.
  3. Khalifa, Rashad. "Quran: The Final Testament, Authorized English Version". Amazon.com. n.d. Web. 02 October 2014.
  4. See the Wikipedia article on Noble Quran (Hilali-Khan).
  5. See the Wikipedia article on The Koran Interpreted.
  6. See the Wikipedia article on The Holy Quran - Arabic Text and English translation.
  7. See the Wikipedia article on The Holy Qur'an: Text, Translation and Commentary.
  8. See the Wikipedia article on The Meaning of the Glorious Koran.
  9. Aziz, Dr. Zahid. "Shakir's Qur'an translation - blatant plagiarism of the first edition of Muhammad Ali's translation." n.d. Web. 09 July 2014.
  10. See the Wikipedia article on John Medows Rodwell#Works.
  11. See the Wikipedia article on George Sale#Translator.
  12. See the Wikipedia article on United Submitters International.
  13. Robert. "Arizona: Muslim convicted of murdering imam for Islamic heresy". American Infidels. 22 December 2010. Web. 01 October 2014.
  14. Abdulllah, Osama. "Refutation off Rashad Khalifa's 19 theory nonsense". Answering Christianity. n.d. Web. 02 October 2014.
  15. "CLAIM THAT 9:128-129 WERE 'FRAUDULENTLY ADDED' TO THE QURAN". Answering Christianity. n.d. Web. 02 October 2014.