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Qur'anic scientific foreknowledge

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Qur'an scientists, hard at work.
Qur'an scientists, hard at work.
A contemporary person who knows some science can make passages of the Quran superficially resemble scientific insights by manipulating verses that have nothing to do with science and trying to pigeonhole them into something resembling contemporary knowledge.
—Russell Glasser[1]

Qur'an scientific foreknowledge (also known as Qur'an scientific miracles) is the idea that the Qur'an, through Allah's revelations to the prophet Muhammad, accurately predicts scientific knowledge that could not have been known at the time of its writing, or about 609 to 640 CE.

With the rise of Islamic creationism, increasing numbers of Muslims are supporting the Qur'an as literally trueWikipedia This makes about as much sense as Biblical literalism (read: next to none).

General problems[edit]

A few generic faults plague effectively all "foreknowledge" in sacred texts:

  • Scientific and historical knowledge necessarily must detail every process as accurately and precisely as possible. It is not scientific merely to make vague assertions, such as, "our bodies are made of the same stuff as the earth is," or "rain falls and waters our crops", because these claims are very ambiguous.
  • Very few religious texts actually aim to provide detailed knowledge about the world (in the way that science and historical analysis do). The vast majority of statements from the Qur'an, and most other religious texts, are religious messages to followers, moral rules, or statements aimed at converting heathens.
  • Even if some of the claims of "foreknowledge" were true, there are a vastly greater number of statements in the Qur'an with no basis whatsoever in fact. Even if every one of the claims presented here were correct (which they manifestly are not), they would still be vastly outnumbered by the absurdities.
  • It's also interesting that discoveries are very rarely "predicted" by the Qur'an until after the discovery has already been made. One would imagine that a book so full of foreknowledge would be used to predict future discoveries, while it appears that the Qur'an can only "predict" current knowledge.

Criteria for scientific foreknowledge[edit]

For a statement to be Qur'anic foreknowledge, it must fit all of the five following criteria:

  1. It must be accurate. A statement cannot be Qur'anic foreknowledge if it is not accurate, because knowledge (and thus foreknowledge) excludes inaccurate statements. TLDR: It's true.
  2. It must be in the Qur'an. A statement cannot be Qur'anic foreknowledge if it is not in the Qur'an, because Qur'anic by definition foreknowledge can only come from the Qur'an itself, rather than modern reinterpretations of the text. TLDR: It's in plain words in the Qur'an.
  3. It must be precise and unambiguous. A statement cannot be Qur'anic foreknowledge if meaningless philosophical musings or multiple possible ideas could fulfill the foreknowledge, because ambiguity prevents one from knowing whether the foreknowledge was intentional rather than accidental. TLDR: Vague "predictions" don't count.
  4. It must be improbable. A statement cannot be Qur'anic foreknowledge if it reasonably could be the result of a pure guess, because foreknowledge requires a person to actually know something true, while a correct guess doesn't mean that the guesser knows anything. This also excludes contemporary beliefs that happened to be true, but were believed to be true without solid evidence. TLDR: Lucky guesses don't count.
  5. It must have been unknown. A statement cannot be Qur'anic foreknowledge if it reasonably could be the result of an educated guess based off contemporary knowledge, because foreknowledge requires a person to know a statement when it would have been impossible, outside of supernatural power, for that person to know it. TLDR: Ideas of the time don't count.


According to apologists, the Qur'an predicts:


If the Quran contains scientific foreknowledge, why did Muslims wait until science discovered those things to claim that the Quran contains them?
—Yahoo Answers questioner[2]
One also hears arguments like the Quoran [sic] must be true because X was stated in Quoran [sic] and later it was shown by modern science that X is true. I would like to point out that many science fiction writers wrote about travel to the Moon and travel under the sea before technology made such feats possible. If we apply similar standards of logic then we must also conclude that these science fiction writers were inspired by an omnipotent divinity.
—Nalinaksha Bhattacharyya[3]
Bucaille bends the meaning of the Arabic words to suit his own ideas.
—Michael Negus[4]
These are revelations of the Scripture that maketh plain.
Qur'an 26:2 on the clarity of the Qur'an.[note 1]
He it is Who hath revealed unto thee (Muhammad) the Scripture wherein are clear revelations - they are the substance of the Book - and others (which are) allegorical.
Qur'an 3:7 on the (semi-)allegorical nature of the Qur'an.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. See also 2:2, 27:1, 44:58, 54:17, 54:22, 54:32, and 54:40.