Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

The Universe According to the Quran

The bizarre description of the universe, as told in the Quran, may look weird to us, but it reflects the prevailing knowledge of the time in the seventh century Arabia. Mohammed’s perception of the universe is told repeatedly throughout the Quran, in a straightforward and clear manner. Early Muslim scholars had no problems on the interpretation of the relevant verses of the Quran. For centuries Muslims worldwide had accepted this explanation of an Islamic universe. Only in the last century Muslim scholars felt the urgent need to take drastic measures to protect the Quran from the critical eyes. These modern scholars base their strength in the unfamiliar and often ambiguous language of the Quran. Their strategy is to twist the language to come up with any meanings they wish. Their weakness is Mohammed himself, who made their job difficult through his ahadith, which only confirm the mythology described in the Quran.

The Islamic Big Bang

Contrary to what the Islamists want us to believe, the seventh century Arabia was not in complete isolation from the outside world. History tells us that the Arabs communicated and traded widely, and were influenced by the neighbouring cultures. The Arabs believed in the then widely accepted ancient mythologies about creation. The most common of those collective myths was that the sky and earth, each resembling a god, were joined together before their separation by gods. The Sumerians and the Egyptians, each had their own version of the story with their own gods as the players.

In the last few decades, the so-called miracle Islamic scientists started to claim that the Quran referred to the big bang theory in this verse, Let us read:

Q.21: 30 Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together, before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?

The above verse merely talks about the earth and the heavens. Therefore, this verse cannot possibly be referring to the big bang, which explains what happened before the earth and before the heavens. The verse is actually a reference to those ancient myths described above, with the Arab god Allah, rather than a foreign god, being the central hero.

The above verse in itself is a proof that Allah shares the seventh century Arabs their beliefs! In Arabic, when you say: ‘don’t you see me working?’ you do not really want to ask a question, although it is in a question format. The only answer you expect is ‘yes’ because you know with certainty that he/she can see you working. When Allah asks the unbelievers: (don’t you see that the heavens and earth… ) He actually reminds them with something they already know. This is why there is no evidence in the Islamic history, which suggests the unbelievers had rejected the verse or challenged the information.

The Structure of the Universe

The Quran views the universe as a massive room, the sky being the ceiling (Q.21:32) and the earth being the floor. All of Allah’s creations are housed between these two major components (Q.21: 16). Let us go through the universe’s major components starting from the top and proceeding downwards:

The Skies: this is the blue dome we see during the day. It is a solid structure (Q.2: 22) perfectly designed and hand built by Allah with no cracks in it (Q.50: 6). The sky stands stable above the earth, probably supported by invisible pillars (Q.13: 2). If it were not to Allah’s mercy, the sky would certainly fall down on earth killing every one of us (Q.22: 65).

During the night, the sky is decorated with the stars, which are also useful in navigation. Initially, Allah had only one sky, but after He finished the earth’s creation, including everything in it, He turned His attention to the sky and made it seven skies. He did that in two days (Q.2: 29). Out of the seven skies, only the bottom one has stars as decorations.

The Sun: It is our source of light during the day. As per the Quran, everyone can see, the sun rises from the eastern side of the earth and sets in its western side, somewhere in muddy water. The movement of the sun is not in an orbit (madar, which the Quran has never used) but in a path (falak) that starts in the east and ends in the west. The Quran asserts that the only person to discover this movement of the sun was Zulquarnain(Q.18:86). Mohammed adds to our knowledge that the sun actually prostrates to Allah during the night to get permission to rise again. In other words, the sun does not continue its path around the earth, and is never under the earth at any stages. This is because under the earth, there are many other earths, besides the sun’s main concern is to prostrate under Allah’s throne, which is of course high above the seven skies.

The Moon: If you think of the sun as the source of daylight, then the moon is the source of night-light. The Quran treats the moon as nearly equal to the sun. The Quran also claims that the moon was split in the seventh century into two halves, each half on one side of Mecca, and then they were joined together!

The Earths: It is the flat floor of the universe. The Quran views the earth as an equal, but opposite to the sky. Again there are seven similar earths. Some Muslims claim that Allah meant the seven layers of earth, which cannot be true because the Quran says similar earths. The earth’s layers are neither seven in number nor similar in pattern. It took Allah four days (Q.41: 10) to put the right amount of goodness in the earth to make it suitable for our survival. The earth floats on water in a similar way a ship does, which used to cause a dangerous degree of instability.

Why the earth is flat?

The earth is flat because the Quran says so using all the words in the Arabic vocabulary which can possibly mean flat. Let us review the following words used by the Quran to describe the flatness of the earth’s surface:

1. Sutehat: If you want to describe something as flat in Arabic then there is no better way than using this word. Sateh means flat, sutehat means flattened out.
Q. 88:20 Nor even how the earth has been (sutehat) flattened out?

2. Bisata: also means flat. The Arabic word bisata means a flat sheet or a carpet.
Q. 71: 19 And God has laid the earth for you as a (bisata) carpet

3. Madda: means stretched out until the object becomes flat, like what happens when you take a ball of dough and stretch it until it becomes flat.

Q. 13:3 And He it is who hath (Madda) outstretched the earth, and placed on it the firm mountains

Q. 15:19 And the earth have WE (Madadnaha, from madda) spread out

Q. 50:6-7 What, have they not beheld heaven above them, how we have built it, and decked it out fair, and it has no cracks? And the earth -- We (Madadnaha) stretched it forth…

4. Firasha: means a mattress, ‘ as flat as a mattress’.
Q. 2:22 Who made the earth a (Firasha) bed for you, and the heaven a roof
Q. 51:48 And the earth we (Farashnaha, from firasha) have spread out, and how excellently do we spread it out!

5. Mahada: means a bed, which is flat. In Arabic you can describe something flat by comparing it to a bed.

Q. 20:53 .. the One who has laid out the earth as a (Mahdan) carpet for you
Q. 43:10 …has made for you the earth (Mahdan) like a carpet spread out
Q. 78:6 Have We not made the earth as a (Mihada) bed, And the mountains as pegs

6. Tahaha: means flattened.
Q. 91:5-6 By the heaven and that which built it and by the earth and that which (Tahaha) extended it!

7. Dahaha: means flat.
This word currently attracts the interest of the so-called Islamic miracle scientists. All Arabic dictionaries agreed that the word means spread out, flattened or extended. This term is frequently used to refer to the practice of the ostrich in preparing and flattening the ground to lay its eggs. The very desperate so-called miracle Islamic scientists picked this association with eggs and claimed the word could also mean an egg shaped thing! Those miracle scientists rely on the fact that most Arabs are not familiar with this old word and none of them will take the trouble to open a dictionary to find out the actual meaning. These Islamic scientists deliberately take advantage of the confusion of ordinary Arabs between the flattened bed of the bird’s nest and its contents of eggs.

Q. 79:27-30 …and the earth - after that He (Dahaha) spread it out...

After listing all the above words that mean flat, the question which jumps to the mind when debating with Muslims is: let us assume that the earth is really flat, how would the Quran describe it? Are there any other means or more words left in the Arabic vocabulary that have not been used? If Allah wanted to say the earth is a globe, He could have said so, but He didn’t because He didn’t mean it so.

There is evidence in the Quran which suggests the Quranic earth is truely flat. Here Are two verses to prove the flatness of the Quranic earth:

  • Q.2: 144. … We shall turn you to a Qiblah that shall please you, so turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid- al-Harâm . And wheresoever you people are, turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction. ….
  • Q.2:150. And from wheresoever you start forth (for prayers), turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid-al-Harâm (at Makkah), and wheresoever you are, turn your faces towards it…

In the above verses, Allah orders Muslims to face Mecca during their prayers. Let us take the example of a Muslim praying in an island on the other side of the earth. Keeping in mind the globe shaped earth, then that Muslim can face any direction and still he will be facing Mecca! This is true especially to people in distant areas, they can pray even in opposing directions and still face Mecca. I am afraid the above two verses can only be revealed by a person who does not have a clue about the shape of the earth!

In spite of these overwhelming evidences, Muslims still believe that Allah says in the Quran that the earth is round. Their reason is that the word yukawer( to make a ball) exists in the Quran in the following verse:

Q.39: 5 … He ( Yukawer) makes the night to go in the day and (Yukawer) makes the day to go in the night…

How convincing! The only problem is that the above verse does not at all mention or talk about the earth!

The Mountains:

When Allah created the earth on water, He noticed it was unstable with considerable swaying movement. This was very much like a floating ship. Therefore, Allah dropped (literally dropped = Arabic for alka) numerous mountains to anchor the earth. Therefore the Mountains were not originally part of the Earth, but later additions. In other words, they are extra terrestrial objects that Allah literally dropped on earth to anchor it. The Quran never treats the mountains as integral parts of the earth structure.

The Quran refers to the mountains by using the Arabic word al jibal, which literally means mountains, but also by referring the anchorage function they do, rawasya, which literally means anchors.

Al jibal

In the following verses the Quran refers to the mountains by their name, aljibal, but do not forget to treat them as an independent identity from the earth:

Q.73:14 On the Day when the earth and the mountains will be in violent shake, and the mountains will be a heap of sand poured out and flowing down.

The above verse says that both the earth and the mountains will shake. Obviously, this means the mountains are not part of the earth! A concept that is repeated in many other verses:

Q.19: 90 whereby the heavens are almost torn, and the earth is split asunder, and the mountains fall in ruins,
Again, when the earth splits, that does not include the mountains!

In sura 88, Quran speaks about the heaven, the earth and the mountains!
Q.88:18 And at the heaven, how it is raised?
Q.88:19. And at the mountains, how they are rooted and fixed firm?
Q.88:20. And at the earth, how it is spread out?

Here is more:

13:31 And if there had been a Qur'ân with which mountains could be moved , or the earth could be cloven asunder,

Q.18: 47 The Day We shall cause the mountains to pass away, and you will see the earth as a levelled plain…


The Quran refers to the mountains as anchors (rawasya) in the following verses:
13:3,15:19,16:15, 21:31, 27:61, 31: 10, 41: 10, 50:7, 77:27.

Let us read the following four of them to comprehend an outstanding example of deception in translating the Quran:
Q.15:19. And the earth we spread out, and (Alka) placed therein firm mountains…

Q.16:15. And He has (Alka) affixed into the earth mountains standing firm, lest it should shake with you…

Q.31:10 He has created the heavens without any pillars, that you see and (Alka) has set on the earth firm mountains, lest it should shake with you

Q.50: 7 And the earth! We have spread it out, and (Alka) set thereon mountains standing firm…

In all the above verses, the Quran says that Allah has dropped the mountains on earth to do a specific job- anchoring the earth. The Quran used the Arabic word (Alka) which means to throw something from above, or to drop something. Almost all translators(Hilali/Khan, Yusuf Ali, Pickthal, Shaker, Arberry, Serwar, Khalifa, Malik, Maulana Ali, Asad and Quaribulla) shared the deliberate mistake of avoiding translating the word (Alka) which was translated correctly only by Rodwell and George Sale.

The Arabic word rawasya means anchors; I am unaware of any other meaning for the word and certainly it does not mean mountains. However, it is perfectly acceptable in Arabic to refer to something by referring to its function, like saying: ‘this is my office’ to refer to a laptop. This kind of expression is meant to put some emphasis on the function. In the case of the laptop you emphasise that your laptop to you is like your office. By using the word rawasya, the Quran emphasises the functions of the mountains as anchors. It did so nine times and still modern Muslims do not seem to get it!

All the above translators, have chosen the word mountains as a translation to the word rawaseya. Indeed the Quran did mean mountains, but the emphasis is on the mountains’ function as anchors, which are used to stabilize floating objects in the sea, which leaves little doubt that, according to the Quran, the earth is floating on water.

Mumin Salih is a Middle Eastern ex-Muslim.

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