Quran’s Geocentric Universe and Flat Earth

This is one of the biggest problems to me in the Quran.  The Quran paints a picture of the world that seems incorrect.  It describes the world in such a way that a 7th century person in Arabia would have described it.  It does not describe the world according to the way the Creator of the Universe would have known it.

Ancient Cosmology2

 

Or if we go by what makes more sense, maybe it wasn’t written by God. Maybe it was actually written by a man in the 7th century?

If you look at the verses that mention the sun’s orbit (falak, which means rounded or curved course) it is almost always in the context of night and day. It looks much more likely that the meaning is that the sun takes its path every day rather than that it is talking about its orbit around the galaxy once every 225 million years, which has no relevance to human timescales.

If you look at these verses it seems that the sun’s path can be seen by the bedouins listening to Muhammad

Do you not see that Allah causes the night to enter the day and causes the day to enter the night and has subjected the sun and the moon, each running [its course] for a specified term, and that Allah, with whatever you do, is Acquainted? (Quran 31:29)

and is a token (ayat – sign) that the listeners should be able to understand:

A token unto them is night. We strip it of the day, and lo! they are in darkness and the sun runneth on unto a resting-place for him. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Wise. And for the moon We have appointed mansions till she return like an old shrivelled palm-leaf. It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor doth the night outstrip the day. They float each in an orbit. (Quran 36:37-40)

Again it is mentioned in the context of the night day cycle.  Or look at this verse:

And the moon darkens And the sun and the moon are joined (Quran 75:8-9)

This would require the moon to fly 98 million miles into the sun, which is 600 times the diameter of the moon. It would be a very strange apocalyptic plan, but is much more plausible as something a 7th century person would imagine, as it looks to them as if the sun and moon are about the same size and distance from the earth. Related to this are verses that say:

By the sun and his brightness, And the moon when she followeth him (Quran 91:1-2)

It all fits very well with the view that a 7th century Arab would have that the sun and moon are about the same size and distance and traverse a similar path across the sky.

Here is an external links that explain these points:

This is one issue.  The Quran repeatedly refers to the sky as if its a solid structure or object.  It even talks about how Allah “holds up” the sky, the firmament , and prevents it from falling on us.

Do you not see that Allah has subjected to you whatever is on the earth and the ships which run through the sea by His command? And He restrains the sky from falling upon the earth, unless by His permission. Indeed Allah , to the people, is Kind and Merciful.
(Quran 22:65)

It is Allah who erected the heavens without pillars that you [can] see; then He established Himself above the Throne and made subject the sun and the moon, each running [its course] for a specified term. He arranges [each] matter; He details the signs that you may, of the meeting with your Lord, be certain. (Quran 13:2)

And constructed above you seven strong [heavens]
(Quran 78:12)

babylonian

This picture describes the Babylonian universe.    As you can see they also believed in multiple heavens with the water above it..

The same idea existed in the Bible too.  There is this idea of a physical firmament.

Then there is the issue of the sun going below the throne of Allah.  Prophet Muhammad seemed to have thought that the sun went somewhere when it set, and that somewhere was below the throne of Allah.  Yet in reality the sun is actually not setting, but rather the Earth is rotating in a certain way so that it seems to be setting.  Apologists of course will try to make sense of this in some way or another, but the most obvious and apparent meaning is that Prophet Muhammad misunderstood how the world worked.  In today’s age where we know that the sun sets on our part of the world, but its actually rising on another part, its hard to make sense of this explanation

And the sun runs [on course] toward its stopping point. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing.
(Quran 36:38)

This verse was explained by the Prophet:

Abu Dharr reported:
I asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) the (implication of the) words of Allah, the Exalted: The sun glides to its appointed resting place. He replied: Its appointed resting place is under the Throne.
(Muslim 1.309)

And in more detail here where the Prophet actually was with Abu Dharr when the sun set, and he explained to him where the sun goes:

It is narrated on the authority of Abu Dharr that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) one day said:

Do you know where the sun goes? They replied: Allah and His Apostle know best. He (the Holy Prophet) observed: Verily it (the sun) glides till it reaches its resting place under the Throne. Then it falls prostrate and remains there until it is asked: Rise up and go to the place whence you came, and it goes back and continues emerging out from its rising place and then glides till it reaches its place of rest under the Throne and falls prostrate and remains in that state until it is asked: Rise up and return to the place whence you came, and it returns and emerges out from it rising place and the it glides (in such a normal way) that the people do not discern anything ( unusual in it) till it reaches its resting place under the Throne. Then it would be said to it: Rise up and emerge out from the place of your setting, and it will rise from the place of its setting. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said. Do you know when it would happen? It would happen at the time when faith will not benefit one who has not previously believed or has derived no good from the faith. (Muslim 1:306)

Okay, we know that the sun does not actually set.  It does not actually go anywhere.  It’s staying in the same relative spot while the Earth spins around it.  Note: Technically all of us are hurling through space, but this point is irrelevant to our discussion here
sun moonSource: Tumblr

What if Allah didn’t want to freak out the people by describing the world in a way they didnt understand? Well he already did that when He told them that they will be raised up after death.  When the Prophet claimed he went to Jerusalem in one night.  So that obviously cant be the reason.

Maybe Allah didn’t want to correct the scientific misunderstandings of the time?

To me this is one of the biggest issues in the Quran.  I cannot see how the creator of the universe would describe the world in such an awkward and incorrect way.  He could have said it in a way that was vague enough so that it wouldn’t have upset the people of the time, yet still be true to this day.

Our observations, in this case our reading of biblical and Qur’anic statements about the natural world, look exactly as you would expect them to look if there was no new knowledge being revealed—just what was the human understanding of the day. That is, they look as if there is no God who speaks to humanity through scriptures or other revelations.  (quote from Victor Stenger, God the failed hypothesis)

We have to ask, why would God

  1. Allow information in the book that seems wrong
  2. Repeatedly describe the world in a way that is accurate to 7th century humans but inaccurate to us
  3. Allow confusion in a way that those in the future have to reinterpret the words in order to make them make sense

If the punishment is so severe, eternal damnation for eternity, why allow such doubts into His book?

More resources:

13 thoughts on “Quran’s Geocentric Universe and Flat Earth

  1. “It describes the world in such a way that a 7th century person in Arabia would have described it. It does not describe the world according to the way the Creator of the Universe would have known it.”

    Very well put Sameer!!

    This same problem exists with the Christian books also. It is a very telling detail. Isa specifically disavows germ theory and bacteria for example. The Quran says the moon split into two. Both say the earth is flat.

    These are silly things that people only still believe now because of transmission of faith from one generation to the next, inculcating children before they have developed any reasoning abilities.

  2. Your response can be summarized in two statements:
    1- Original Arabic Quran is wider than english translations.
    2- Universe is even more complex than what you think.

    1. Not just English translations. Even classical tafaseer show the same problems even with scholars of Arabic. Simply put, we continue to update the translation of the Quran when science tells us its wrong.

  3. As I tell many people who refer to science and the Quran, it was not revealed as a science book. The Quran was revealed in parts in response to a circumstance. In all my years of studying Islam, I never came across an incident where a group of scientists during the time of the Prophet (s.w.s) asked scientific questions and in response these verses were revealed. That being said, we should not expect detailed scientific theories in the Quran. If you are looking for things like that, then you will most definitely by misguided.

    Those things that are related to science that are revealed have another point to them and not to convince people of Islam through science. The Prophet (s.w.s) never did that, and Allah did not try to do that in the Quran. Keeping this in mind, you are not going to get detailed explanations for scientific phenomena, rather at most, just allusions to them. Take for example the favorite of Atheists that the Quran says that the sun and moon rotate around the earth. Where does it say that? Mention of the Sun and Moon describe each as having its own orbit. Now if I believed they both rotate around the earth, I would say both orbit around the earth, and not “each have its own orbit.” There is a difference. The sun has an orbit and the moon has an orbit. The moons orbit is around the earth. The suns own orbit is if you read up on astronomy is around the center of the galaxy. Like this, all the objections written in this post can and has been explained.

    If there were scientific discrepancies in the Quran, people would have left the religion in droves. Who wants to be held accountable for their deeds? I would love to be an atheist and live without being accountable to anything or anyone but I can’t. I believe in God, I believe that there will ultimately be justice in the world and I believe that we will all be held accountable for our actions.

    1. Indeed, it was never meant to be a science book, but its troubling how many apparent flaws it has, and how a normal person living today could have written it much better in language that would have been more accurate.

      Its not true that people would leave the religion in droves, people are not motivated by such things. Watch this video to understand how the brainwashing starts at a very young age: http://abdullahsameer.com/blog/grooming-minds-video/ and it becomes very hard to overcome this mental conditioning.

  4. It makes a lot of sense to me.imagine a person who is very highly educated talks to someone who has never set a foot outside of his district.some who has little understanding of the world around him.the educated person will try his best to explain to the uneducated person in the simplest way in which he would grasp the idea of what he is trying to say.the arabs were a desert people. most stayed in the desert before islam and had a simple understanding of the world.to convey a message to them it had to be done in the simplest way. So i see no flaw in this. But in my opinion its being taken out of context.

    With regard to the throne of allah.this is also very simple for me to understand.the simplest way to explain it is, if you see creation as a upside down pyramid, with the tip pointing at the ground.our universe is the part of that tip.as you move up in heavens they are larger and above the seven heavens is the the throne of allah which is larger then all the heavens and all of creation is below that magnificent throne.so yes our sun does rise and set under the throne of allah.whats so hard to understand.

    I really dont see any contradiction personally.but i think it depends which view point a person looks at things.athiest folk and many others people dont like to look at things with a open heart.athiest will always ask questions and use sarcasm as a way to make believing in one god silly.without knowledge or understanding this can start to put doubts in a persons mind about believing in one god.

    I been through these experiences when athiests used to ask questions which i could not answer.i started getting doubts.but i started learning more deeply about islam even scientifically.

    Then i came across a few hadiths.one stated that near the end of time muslims will leave islam in droves as they to islam in droves.the second stated that those who disblieve will not rest until they make you dislieve.another stated that near the end of times people will praise the lier and look down upon the honest.there were quite a few more.humanity which is not even a spec in our solar system forget the galaxy or universe, thinks that it is wise and knowledgeable yet humanity does not even understand its own planet fully.

    Whether you believe or not it between you and allah.on the day of judgement all accounts will be settled.but just remember this advice from me.please do not be under the illusion that you have turned your back on the almighty.its the other way around.there must be something wrong within your own heart that allah has turned his back on you.i mean no offence by that but rather stating a fact.

  5. well these videos seem quit justified as they have been able to convince you and to some extent and me as well. I don’t know much about the facts and blind follower , i still feel it hard to leave Islam just for few scientific argument. Quran has so many topic like the growth of the child in womb which are proved by the scientific knowledge how do you justify that i man in 7th century know all that ?

    and i have very basic question for you , Why you have concluded that you leave Islam you still say that you are still finding about GOD. Do you think you have found enough evidences that compel you to leave a religion that you have been practicing for long. Why don’t rather say that as per my knowledge so far i have found the Quranic verses contradict to scientific knowledge but i am still reading more to know more.

    1. Ali, you mention other topics in Quran such as growth of child in the womb, embryology; how could a man in 7th Century know about this, you say. Well if you had researched this subject you will know that the ancient Greeks already drew up this concept a long time before the Prophets existence. The Quran describes embryology in similar terms as the Greeks did and make the same errors in some of the descriptions. Most of the Quran miracles were plagiarised from other sources pre-Prophet/Islam. Religious people don’t want to look and research the truth they just follow blindly no questions asked.

  6. well quran describe 6 days or u can call it ayam which can mean 6 period or 24 hours now Abdullah samer would say see quran is wrong! it is obviously perception from people at the time, it seems quran just plagiarized some from genesis it is flawed it is from 7 center

    not only did quran said 6 days but even the age of earth is described as 2 days another error in Abdullah samer is mind!!(shit people are deluded)

    Universe is ofcourse 13,8 billion years!! scientifical error in quran it cant come from divine !!(reaction from Abdullah samer)

    lets go back to mathmatic

    13,8/6 equal 2,3 billion years (nothing interesting)

    since God says in quran earth is created of 2 days.

    2 x 2,3 billion years equal 4,6 billion years

    BAAM the age of earth is described in the quran!!

    well people like Abdullah would never see such miracles because he don’t give it a chance!!!

    check mahmatical miracles in quran if you doubt

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