5. Thinking of the Qur’an in the Light of Science

Dear Abdullah,


You sent me a letter to which you attached a book into which all my letters to you could easily be accommodated. Thank you for it, and “The Bible, the Qur’an and Science” by Maurice Bucaille! It goes without saying that I can reply only now, after I have carefully studied the book.


To draw on science to discover at that time unknown knowledge within the pages of the Qur’an, is a relatively new venture that developed over the last few decades. Some Muslim scholars feel this to be convincing evidence for its divine origin. The idea is, as already stipulated, that scientific knowledge that was unknown at the time of Muhammad is contained in the Qur’an. In particular, current knowledge of embryology is said to clearly confirm what the Qur’an says about this topic. The geological formation of the universe, including the earth, is another topic. In that case, I have to admit it would be strong evidence for the inspiration of the Qur’an, but is it?


Dr. Bucaille finds in the Qur’an a description of the origin of the universe, which, according to him, at first consisted of gas that caused the ‘Big Bang’. That in turn facilitated the formation of galaxies, and solar systems, including our sun with its planets (p.139). This rests on his rather fanciful interpretation of two texts in the Qur’an, where we read:


“Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens were joined together, then We clove them asunder”. (Surah Al-Anbiyaaa,  21:30) and

“Then He turned to the sky and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth, come ye together . . .” (Surah Fussilat, 41:11).


Parallel passages of the Qur’an provides additional information:


“He (i.e. Allah) withholds the sky from falling on the earth”. (Surah Al-Hajj, 22:65).


“He (i.e. Allah) created the heavens without any pillars that ye can see; He set on the earth mountains standing firm lest it should shake with you”. (Surah Lukman.  31:10).


“Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars that ye can see”.                    (Surah Ar-Ra’d 13:2).