Qur'anic scientific errors
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Qur'an scientific errors occur when a verse, approached from a literalist perspective, states something about reality that's fundamentally flawed. Qur'an scientific errors are external errors (errors in relating the Qur'an to the external world), rather than internal errors.
Qur'an scientific errors suggest against Qur'an scientific foreknowledge and Qur'an inerrancy.
- Qur'an 76:2:
- Yusuf Ali: "Verily We created Man from a drop of mingled sperm, in order to try him: So We gave him (the gifts), of Hearing and Sight."
- Arabic: .إِنَّا خَلَقْنَا ٱلْإِنسَٰنَ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ أَمْشَاجٍ نَّبْتَلِيهِ فَجَعَلْنَٰهُ سَمِيعًۢا بَصِيرًا
- Qur'an 86:5-8:
- Yusuf Ali: "Now let man but think from what he is created! He is created from a drop emitted - Proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs: Surely (Allah) is able to bring him back (to life)!"
- Arabic: .إِنَّهُۥ عَلَىٰ رَجْعِهِۦ لَقَادِرٌ .يَخْرُجُ مِنۢ بَيْنِ ٱلصُّلْبِ وَٱلتَّرَآئِبِ. خُلِقَ مِن مَّآءٍ دَافِقٍ. فَلْيَنظُرِ ٱلْإِنسَٰنُ مِمَّ خُلِقَ
Here, the assertion is made that semen comes from between the backbone and the ribs. This is false for obvious reasons.
- Qur'an 16:66:
- "And there is a lesson for you in cattle: We give you a drink from their bellies, from between waste and blood, pure milk, refreshing to the drinkers."
As you can read, this verse states that cows milk not only comes from a cows intestines, but also implies clearly that raw milk is pure and refreshing. Milk originating from the intestines is false for obvious reasons; this is nowhere near a cows mammary glands, and the intestines are where excrement is stored. In addition, raw milk is often infected with bacteria and other micro-organisms, and has to be processed (pasteurized) before humans can drink it, not to mention that many humans are lactose intolerant, which is a problem that is actually very common among people of Arab descent.
How little humans know
The Qur'an about the heavens:
- "And He completed them as seven heavens within two days and inspired in each heaven its command. And We adorned the nearest heaven with lamps and as protection. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing." (Qur'an 41:12).
- "[And] who created seven heavens in layers. You do not see in the creation of the Most Merciful any inconsistency. So return [your] vision [to the sky]; do you see any breaks? Then return [your] vision twice again. [Your] vision will return to you humbled while it is fatigued. And We have certainly beautified the nearest heaven with stars and have made [from] them what is thrown at the devils and have prepared for them the punishment of the Blaze. And for those who disbelieved in their Lord is the punishment of Hell, and wretched is the destination. When they are thrown into it, they hear from it a [dreadful] inhaling while it boils up. It almost bursts with rage. Every time a company is thrown into it, its keepers ask them, "Did there not come to you a warner?" They will say," Yes, a warner had come to us, but we denied and said, ' Allah has not sent down anything. You are not but in great error.' " And they will say, "If only we had been listening or reasoning, we would not be among the companions of the Blaze." And they will admit their sin, so [it is] alienation for the companions of the Blaze." (Qur'an 67:3-8).
The Qur'an further explains where the moon is:
- "Do you not consider how Allah has created seven heavens in layers. And made the moon therein a [reflected] light and made the sun a burning lamp? And Allah has caused you to grow from the earth a [progressive] growth. Then He will return you into it and extract you [another] extraction." (Qur'an 71:15-18).
The term reflected appears in brackets in modern translations, but the word used in Quranic Arabic has no implication of reflection. It simply means light and the brackets are an attempt to present a more scientifically accurate Quran. The same word is used elsewhere to describe Allah's light. However, Allah's [reflected] light doesn't sound accurate, does it?
Moon split in two
The Qur'an claims that the moon amazingly was split in two. There is absolutely no scientific evidence to suggest this ever happened, and if this had actually happened, there would have been countless accounts from other cultures recounting this event.
- "The Hour has drawn near, and the moon has split." (Qur'an 54:1)
Apologists have claimed that the linear rille system Rima Ariadaeus was made from the Moon splitting, however it is believed to be a fault (a well-developed graben) formed via techtonic activity manifesting from either large impact events or from deep-seated dike systems when the Moon was volcanically active. Brad Bailey, a NASA scientist, recommended Muslim internet users "to not believe everything you read on the internet" and that "No current scientific evidence reports that the Moon was split into two (or more) parts and then reassembled at any point in the past."
Sun and moon orbit the Earth
The Qur'an directly states that the sun and the moon are in an orbit around the earth.
- "It is He who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon; each floating in an orbit." (Qur'an 21:33)
It also implies that it does so in other verses.
- "Have you not considered him who argued with Abraham about his Lord, because God had given him sovereignty? Abraham said, “My Lord is He who gives life and causes death.” He said, “I give life and cause death.” Abraham said, “God brings the sun from the East, so bring it from the West,” so the blasphemer was confounded. God does not guide the wrongdoing people." (Qur'an 2:258)
- "By the sun and its radiance. And the moon as it follows it. (Qur'an 91:1)-2
Heaven formed from smoke and stars formed after Earth
The Qur'an claims that heaven was formed from smoke.
- "Say, “Do you reject the One who created the earth in two days? And you attribute equals to Him? That is the Lord of the Universe.” He placed stabilizers over it; and blessed it; and planned its provisions in four days, equally to the seekers. Then He turned to the sky, and it was smoke, and said to it and to the earth, “Come, willingly or unwillingly.” They said, “We come willingly.” So He completed them as seven universes in two days, and He assigned to each universe its laws. And We decorated the lower universe with lamps, and for protection. That is the design of the Almighty, the All-Knowing." (Qur'an 41:9-12).
The sky or 'heavens' were not formed from smoke. Even if a generous reading is given, interpreting 'smoke' as star dust, Earth was also made from such materials, but the verses imply that this is not the case.
Many stars formed billions of years before the Earth formed. One of the oldest known stars, HD 140283, is over twice as old as the Earth, being about 12 billion years old.
Stars protect Earth from evil spirits
The verse shown in the previous section (Qur'an 41:9-12) claims that stars were made to, among other things, protect Earth. Stars have no function that protect Earth. An interesting question might then be what exactly the stars are protecting Earth from? The answer: evil spirits.
- "We have indeed decked the lower heaven with beauty (in) the stars, (For beauty) and for guard against all obstinate rebellious evil spirits, (So) they should not strain their ears in the direction of the Exalted Assembly but be cast away from every side, Repulsed, for they are under a perpetual penalty, Except such as snatch away something by stealth, and they are pursued by a flaming fire, of piercing brightness." (Qur'an 37:6-10).
- "And verily We have beautified the world's heaven with lamps, and We have made them missiles for the devils, and for them We have prepared the doom of flame." (Qur'an 67:5).
Geology and meteorology
The Earth's not flat. The Qur'an both states and strongly implies that it is according to many arguments. However, If you read the Quran carefully, you will notice that there are also verses indicating that Earth is actually round. For example, in (Surah Az-Zumar, verse 5), God talks about how he coils the day around the night, and the night around the day, indicating that we are dealing with a sphere object. The 'spread out ' phrase mean that God has made the Earth liveable for you, a flat surface. The Quran also has mentioned how when the day of judgement, will either come day or night. This means that on one side of the Earth, it will be night and on the other will be the day.
- "And the earth have We spread out, and placed therein firm hills, and caused each seemly thing to grow therein," (Qur'an 15:19).
- "He Who has, made for you the earth like a carpet spread out; has enabled you to go about therein by roads (and channels); and has sent down water from the sky." With it have We produced diverse pairs of plants each separate from the others." (Qur'an 20:53, Yusuf Ali).
- "(Yea, the same that) has made for you the earth (like a carpet) spread out, and has made for you roads (and channels) therein, in order that ye may find guidance (on the way);" (Qur'an 43:10, Yusuf Ali).
- "And the earth — We have spread it out, and set thereon mountains standing firm, and produced therein every kind of beautiful growth (in pairs)" (Qur'an 50:7, Yusuf Ali).
- "And the earth have We laid out, how gracious is the Spreader (thereof)!" (Qur'an 51:48).
- "And Allah has made the earth for you as a carpet (spread out)," (Qur'an 71:19, Yusuf Ali).
- "Have We not made the earth an expanse, And the high hills bulwarks?" (Qur'an 78:7).
- "And after that He spread the earth, And produced therefrom the water thereof and the pasture thereof, And He made fast the hills, A provision for you and for your cattle," (Qur'an 79:30-33).
- "And the earth, how it is spread?" (Qur'an 88:20).
- "And the earth and Him Who spread it, And a soul and Him Who perfected it And inspired it (with conscience of) what is wrong for it and (what is) right for it," (Qur'an 91:6-8).
Sun sets in a muddy spring
The Qur'an states that Alexander the Great traveled to where the sun sets and to where the sun rises. This is impossible on a spherical earth, since there is no specific place where the sun goes "down". Furthermore, the Qur'an states that the sun literally goes into muddy water when it "sets".
- "Till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout. We said: O Dhu'l-Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness. .... Till, when he reached the rising-place of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had appointed no shelter therefrom." (Qur'an 18:86-90).
Facing the Ka'aba during prayer
“”"We have seen the turning of thy face to heaven (for guidance, O Muhammad). And now verily We shall make thee turn (in prayer) toward a qiblah which is dear to thee. So turn thy face toward the Inviolable Place of Worship, and ye (O Muslims), wheresoever ye may be, turn your faces (when ye pray) toward it. Lo! Those who have received the Scripture know that (this revelation) is the Truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do."
According to the Qur'an, Muslims must pray while facing the Ka'aba. If we interpret "facing the Ka'aba" either as "pointing your front side in the direction of the shortest path to the Ka'aba" or as "pointing your front side in such a way that you would walk directly towards Mecca", then praying while "facing" the Ka'aba is difficult on a spherical earth and much easier on a flat earth. Three examples make this clear:
- First, (top) for any place out of direct sight of the Ka'aba, any prayer that isn't facing into ground will face towards space rather than the Ka'aba.
- Second, (bottom-left) assuming that prayer does follow the curvature of the Earth, even when you "face" the Ka'aba you are blasphemously praying with your face and backside simultaneously aimed at the Ka'aba.
- Third, (bottom-right) assuming that prayer does follow the curvature of the Earth, there is one point exactly opposite the Ka'aba -- a point near the island of Tematangi -- where any direction is "facing" Mecca; consequently, there is no one "correct" direction. Or perhaps all directions are the "correct" one.
However, Muslims have pointed out that this interpretation -- that Muslims must pray in a direct line to the Ka'aba -- is a bit of a stretch. If you're asked to face a particular direction on earth, it's commonly understood (then, as now) as the shortest distance via travel on the Earth's surface. Moreover, there's nothing in the Qur'an that implies that "facing" means a direct line through the Earth, or anything similarly far-fetched.
It's also worth noting that the Qur'an was composed in the 7th century CE, some 1,000 years after the shape of the Earth was scientifically proven by Aristotle in 350 BCE, when it became widely accepted by the ancient natural philosophers, and hundreds of years after it became common knowledge even among scientifically illiterate folks. The Arabian civilization was also in contact with several scientifically sophisticated (for the time) cultures, so it's highly unlikely that its scribes wouldn't be aware of the spherical shape of the Earth. Nevertheless, there are also implied indications that the common folk believed the earth to be flat, with hell underneath, comparable to Ancient Egypt belief of the underworld: The heat of the sun is often referred to as "fire of simoom", that is also the fires of hell. Hadiths admonish Muslims from praying during the rise of the sun, since then the gates of hell are open. It seems that it is believed the sun goes under the earth, charging with the fires of "hell", opens the gates to ascend to the sky, and radiat the heat of hell upon the poor people on earth (This is probably further related to the belief that the shayatin (devils) have great strength during the mid of the day then sunshine is most hot).
The sky is solid
Numerous Qur'an verses state or imply that the sky is solid:
- "Then He ordained them seven heavens in two Days and inspired in each heaven its mandate; and We decked the nether heaven with lamps, and rendered it inviolable. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Knower," (Qur'an 41:12). This verse implies that the "nether heaven" is impenetrable.
- "Who hath created seven heavens in harmony. Thou (Muhammad) canst see no fault in the Beneficent One's creation; then look again: Canst thou see any rifts ?" (Qur'an 67:3). This verse implies that there are no holes or cracks in the heavens; it's impossible for space to have holes or cracks (in the classical sense), unless space is solid, like a dome over the Earth.
- "And We have built above you seven strong (heavens), And have made (therein) a shining lamp (sun)," (Qur'an 78:12-13). This verse states that the heavens are strong; it is difficult for "nothing" to be strong. Perhaps, instead, the Qur'an heavens are actually physical objects.
- "See they not what is before them and behind them, of the sky and the earth? If We wished, We could cause the earth to swallow them up, or cause a piece of the sky to fall upon them. Verily in this is a Sign for every devotee that turns to Allah (in repentance)." (Qur'an 34:6-12). It is impossible for a piece of he sky to fall and hit someone unless the sky is solid.
This is despite claims that the Qur'an predicts space travel.
Fasting and prayer near the Poles
The Qur'an instructs Muslims to completely fast from sunrise until sunset, every day during the month of Ramadan. In addition, in Islam you are required to pray five times a day at specific times: sunrise, noon, afternoon, sunset, and night. However, in regions close to the poles, the sun can remain in the sky for months at a time during the summer, and the night can last for months on end during the winter. This could easily render fasting extremely easy if Ramadan occurs in winter, or extremely hard to impossible if Ramadan occurs during the summer. This also renders the daily prayers extremely difficult for those living in the polar regions.
While rules have been established by scholars to accommodate Muslims who live in polar regions, these issues were not taken into account in the Qur'an.
Horses, donkeys, and mules created for transportation
The Qur'an claims that horses, donkeys, and mules were created specifically for transportation. However, the earliest evidence for the domestication of horses dates back to around 3500 BCE by early groups such as the Botai, who most likely hunted them for meat and continued to use them for meat and milk, and the earliest evidence for the usage of horses as a method of transportation dates back to around 2000 BCE from possible chariot burials. Also, there are two subspecies of horses that were not domesticated (Equus ferus ferus and Equus ferus przewalskii). In addition, there are several subspecies of donkey that are not domesticated, and mules are a human created hybrid of horses and donkeys.
- "And the horses, and the mules, and the donkeys—for you to ride, and for luxury. And He creates what you do not know." (Qur'an 16:8)
Animals live in groups
The Qur'an claims that all animals live in groups. Octopuses for example don't.
"And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except [that they are] communities like you. We have not neglected in the Register a thing. Then unto their Lord they will be gathered." (Qur'an 6:38)
Everything created in pairs
The Qur'an states in Qur'an 51:49 that everything was created in pairs, meaning male and female. However, some organisms have only one sex and do not need a partner to reproduce, such as whiptail lizards. Furthermore, some organisms have more than 2 sexes, such as the split gill mushroom, which has exactly 23,328. Not to mention intersex organisms.  
Ants can speak human languages
Qur'an 27:18 states that ants are capable of speaking human languages. Ants may communicate by vibrating their abdomens, but they certainly can not speak or comprehend any human languages.
- Biblical scientific errors
- RationalWiki:Annotated Qur'an
- Qur'an scientific foreknowledge
- Qur'an contradictions
- List of actions prohibited by the Qur'an
- "Scientific Errors in the Qur'an" on WikiIslam
- "Erroneous Science and Contradictions in the Quran" by Syed Mirza
- "Predicting Modern Science: Epicurus vs. Mohammed" by Richard Carrier
- "Flat Earth and the Qur'an", WikiIslam
- Apparently there's some debate over which is the "correct" view.
- Ancient DNA Study Pokes Holes in Horse Domestication Theory, National Geographic, May 9, 2018
- See the Wikipedia article on Domestication of the horse.
- David Pratt, "Sex and Sexuality (part 1)", Exploring Theosophy, April 2002
- Kothe, Erika (1999). "Mating types and pheromone recognition in the homobasidiomycete Schizophyllum commune". Fungal Genetics and Biology 27 (2–3): 146–152. doi:10.1006/fgbi.1999.1129. PMID 10441440.