“Allah disdains not to use the similitude of things, lowest as well as highest. Those who believe know that it is truth from their Lord; but those who reject Faith say: “What means Allah by this similitude?” By it He causes many to stray, and by it many He leads into the right path; but He causes not to stray, except those who forsake (the path),-” (Qu’ran 2:26)
In part 2 of our series we will continue to investigate rather or not the Qur’an discloses information of a miraculous scientific nature.
Thus far we have found that certain passages may lend themselves to certain interpretations; however that does not mean that they inherently have those particular meanings.
Let us take a look at other passages that are often the subject of even more creative interpretations.
“And verily in cattle (too) will you find an instructive sign. From what is within their bodies between excretions and blood, We produce, for your drink, milk, pure and agreeable to those who drink it.” (Qur’an 16:66)
First this passage is simply stating that Allah (swt) has given his bounties and mercy people. Milk is indeed a refreshing treat to a people who may have a scarcity of food supplies.
However, as a statement of science it is simply not true that milk is pure and agreeable ‘to those who drink it’. There are for example people who are lactose intolerant. They cannot drink or stomach milk! So it is not ‘pure and agreeable‘ to those who drink it; rather it is a very generalized statement.
This may very well be the reason that people like Harun Yahya tinkered around with the translation a little bit so that we could get the following translation:
“There is instruction for you in cattle. From the contents of their bellies, from between the dung and blood, We give you pure milk to drink, easy for drinkers to swallow. (Qur’an, 16:66)
Do you see what was done here? If the text was making a profound scientific statement why the need to be a bit playful with the translation?
There is a huge difference between saying, “it is agreeable to those who drink it” to “its easy for drinkers to swallow” It seems to me that Harun Yahya perceived a possible flaw in the translation of the text; especially in relation to matters of scientific fact.
So basically what the translators of Harun Yahya’s site are becoming apologist for the Qur’an and science.
It as if they were trying to say:
“Well, o.k maybe milk is not agreeable for those who drink it (meaning everyone) but if we can shift the meaning we can say, “Well, See! They can still swallow it at least!”
In fact if you want to talk about the natural order of things human beings are the only animals that take milk past infancy. Sure cats and dogs will drink up milk if you offer it to them in a bowl. (I have done exactly that). However, it is something of a curiosity. There is currently much debate in various circles on rather or not human beings should indeed be drinking milk past infancy. Plus the fact that there are allot of people who cannot take milk and milk products at all.
Another Muslim saw this text as being problematic from a scientific standpoint so she thought it best to take the word ‘cattle‘ to mean camels, goats, sheep etc. To me this creative exegesis. You still would not escape from the over generalized statement of, “it is agreeable to those who drink it.”
However, if your going to live in this world in which the Qur’an advances claims about science that the Blessed ‘Prophet couldn’t possibly know‘ than perhaps resulting to such exegetical stretches help smooth such bumps in the road. Allah (swt) knows best.
Here is yet another example of a text that is abused.
“When certain concepts mentioned in the Qur’an are studied in the light of 21st century scientific discoveries we find ourselves imparted with yet more miracles of the Qur’an. One of these is the star Sirius, mentioned in Surat an-Najm 49:
… it is He Who is the Lord of Sirius. (Qur’an, 53: 49)
The fact that the Arabic word “shiaara,” the equivalent of the star Sirius, appears only in Surat an-Najm, meaning only “star,” 49 is particularly striking. Because, considering the irregularity in the movement of Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, as their starting point, scientists discovered that it was actually a double star. Sirius is actually a set of two stars, known as Sirius A and Sirius B. The larger of these is Sirius A, which is also the closer to the Earth and the brightest star that can be seen with the naked eye. Sirius B, however, cannot be seen without a telescope. The Sirius double stars orbit in ellipses about one another. The orbital period of Sirius A & B about their common centre of gravity is 49.9 years. This scientific data is today accepted with one accord by the departments of astronomy at Harvard, Ottawa and Leicester Universities.
This information is reported as follows in various sources:
Sirius, the brightest star, is actually a twin star … Its orbit lasts 49.9 years. (Exposes Astronomiques, La troisième loi de KEPLER, http://www.astrosurf.com/eratosthene/HTML/exposetheoastro.htm)
As is known, the stars Sirius-A and Sirius-B orbit each other in a double bow every 49.9 years. (http://www.dharma.com.tr/dkm/article.php?sid=87)
The point requiring attention here is the double, bow-shaped orbit of the two stars around one another.
However, this scientific fact, the accuracy of which was only realized in the late 20thcentury, was miraculously indicated in the Qur’an 1,400 years ago. When verses 49 and 9 of Surat an-Najm are read together, this miracle becomes apparent:
… it is He Who is the Lord of Sirius, (Qur’an, 53: 49)
He was two bow-lengths away or even closer. (Qur’an, 53:9)
The description in Surat an-Najm 9 may also describe how these two stars approach one another in their orbits. (Allah knows best.) This scientific fact, that nobody could have known at the time of the revelation of the Qur’an, once again proves that the Qur’an is the Word of Almighty Allah.”
Yes indeed Mr. Harun Yahya …. Allah indeed knows best!
This kind of manipulation may be off putting to many sincere Non-Muslims who are looking at these issues and weighing them carefully.
Many non Muslims may feel that if this is what we have to resort to in order to impress upon them the ‘superiority‘ of Islam they may not want anything to do with our faith tradition at all.
The fact that Harun Yahya would ignore the context of the following verse was very discomforting for me:
“And was at a distance of two bow lengths or nearer.” (Qur’an 53:9)
The text of the verses before and after verse 9 is completely ignored.
“The description in Surat an-Najm 9 may also describe how these two stars approach one another in their orbits. (Allah knows best.)”
Hmmm… I wonder what it ‘originally described‘ in addition to Harun Yahya’s very creative interpretation?
In fact we could charge that instead of introducing scientific miracles embedded in the Qur’an 1400 years ago, people like our brother Harun Yahya only introduce blatant scientific errors in the Qur’an!
In fact in the article he himself admits…
“The fact that the Arabic word “shiaara,” the equivalent of the star Sirius, appears only in Surat an-Najm, meaning only “star,”
Shiaara-means only star! Where did they even get Sirius from? For that matter Sirius A or Sirius B?
Yet another text that is abused…
“Lawful to you is the pursuit of water-game and its use for food,- for the benefit of yourselves and those who travel; but forbidden is the pursuit of land-game;- as long as you are in the sacred precincts or in pilgrim garb. And fear Allah, to Whom you shall be gathered back.: (Qur’an 5:96)
“It is He Who has made the sea subject, that you may eat thereof flesh that is fresh and tender, and that you may extract there from ornaments to wear; and you see the ships therein that plough the waves, that you may seek (thus) of the bounty of Allah and that you may be grateful. (Qur’an 16:14)
Let me address the second text (16:14) first Allah-willing.
“the sea subject, that you may eat thereof flesh that is fresh and tender,” Allah (swt) did not say that everything in the ocean was lawful and permissible to eat. Allah (swt) simply said the sea was made subject to man. You can eat the flesh that is fresh and tender. Allah (swt) didn’t say what kind or in what quantity. Allah (swt) left that to the discretion of human beings themselves.
Now let us deal with the second text. It is directly related to the pilgrimage to Mecca itself!
“Lawful to you is the pursuit of water-game and its use for food,- for the benefit of yourselves and those who travel”
This again has to be understood in the context of what the people of that time and place were accustomed to eating.
This again is not a blanket statement saying everything in the ocean is lawful and permissible for human beings to eat.
However, if brother Harun Yahya wants to graft science onto every text of the Qur’an it could do more harm than good.
See for yourself the following translation:
Notice how Harun Yahya translates the text in (5:96)
“Anything you catch in the sea is lawful for you, and all food from it, for your enjoyment and that of travelers… (Qur’an, 5:96)”
Here is just a small list of things from the ocean that we should not be eating (blanket statement)
Trust me when I tell you that if you dare dine on the blue dragon mollusk you are dead dead dead…
More to come in this series Allah-willing.