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The Quran Is Not The Word Of Man

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This thread aims to answer a previous post on the 'Why Must an Uncaused Cause be a God' thread. The post in question, by Wattle, is reproduced below:

 

 

Yes, I was thinking of opening a thread myself. I decided not to because if the Koran is not miraculous (a position I would take) it therefore follows that Mohammed was either deluded, duped, deceitful or misrepresented. Arguing for that would get me banned.

 

Further, there's an insurmountable problem. Based on other discussions, the only argument which could have weight (all the "science" arguments I've seen are so vague as to be laughable, or just plain false, such as the 'mountains are pegs' nonsense) is the 'impossibly good literature' one. I don't read Arabic so I would have to rely on authorities. However no Muslim academic could possibly say that the Koran was not impossibly good literature or they would be being blasphemous; on the other hand no non-Muslim academic could say that it was without immediately converting. So there's a lack of authorities to consult.

 

I'll address the issue of the 'scientific arguments' first, though I place greater importance on the issue of the Quran's miraculous eloquence.

 

Arguments from Scientific Accordance

 

The Quran does not purport to be a book of science, but rather, a book of guidance. None the less, Allah mentions certain phenomena in the Quran which many commentators have felt represent a miraculous accordance with what we have recently learnt in science about those phenomena.

 

Like yourself, I am not an Arabic speaker and therefore rely on renditions of the meaning of the Quran. I say 'renditions of the meaning' because the Quran is such that a perfectly accurate translation is not possible. A certain word in Arabic may have various meanings depending on the context in which it is used. Notwithstanding this, it is possible for a skilled Arabic linguist to determine what particular translation of a word is most accurate in a given circumstance. So when we wish to assess the validity of any of the 'scientific accordance' arguments made by Muslims, we ought to be careful to refer to proper authorities in deciding what a given word in the Quran means.

 

But persons wishing to attack the Quran often maliciously apply inappropriate translations of words in an attempt to refute 'scientific accordance' arguments. I have seen a few blatantly anti-Islamic websites where they do just this. A person unfamiliar with Arabic could be easily misled here.

 

Given the above, I believe arguments of 'scientific accordance' deserve investigation. Notable scientists, including Bucaille, Persaud, Marshall Johnson, Goeringer, Kroner, Armstrong, Husam, Rao, and Tejasen to name but a few, have accepted that the Quran does contain verses which accord with science, in remarkable fashion. Some have gone further and said publicly that they can not see how the Quran could be the word of 14th Century man. But does this mean all scientists in the fields in question will accept the Quran? Not necessarily. A person could accept that a given verse accords with what we know in science, but may choose on other grounds to believe that the Quran might still be the concoction of man.

 

An example which is often referred to is the description of embryonic development in the Quran. The famous embryologist Keith Moore was convinced enough about the scientific validity of these verses to declare the fact publicly and to rewrite an edition of his popular textbook, 'The Developing Human' with what he called 'Islamic Additions'. This, notwithstanding the fact that he did not immediately become a Muslim. (I'm not sure whether or not he accepted Islam later.) Of particular note is the Quran's mention of an embryo's bones forming first, and being subsequently clothed with flesh. When science earlier believed that it was muscle that was formed before bones, commentators pounced on the Quran's 'inaccuracy'. But later, science found that bones actually do form before their surrounding flesh. So the Quran was vindicated on this point, but we didn't see mass conversions on the part of embryologists world wide. It is easy, if a person so desires, to put such things down to chance. Or to muse that perhaps such knowledge was not as new as originally thought. Where this seems implausible, detractors tend to resort to re-translating the offensive words. On what authority? Usually none.

 

So the dilemma for the Quran's detractors remains. How did the Quran's author come to describe these phenomena correctly. Even if we disregard the verses which prima facie seem too vague to be relied upon on for scientific accordance arguments, there are still many more which are not vague. Even one such accuracy ought to be cause for consternation for the Quran's detractors. It is not valid to arbitrarily claim, "I don't read it that way. This is being misinterpreted." Rather than embarrass themselves with this type of poor argumentation, its detractors would be better served looking to authorities who might offer some other, non-miraculous explanation. This would be more credible, if it could be done.

 

So we come now to an interesting point made by Wattle. If an authority agreed that a verse in the Quran was miraculous, they would probably already be a Muslim. This implies that Wattle considers the word of any Muslim authority on the matter as being subject to clear bias and therefore invalid. So he sets up a quandary for himself. He will only take the word of a non-Muslim authority. But since most authorities on Arabic are in fact Muslims, there is a lack of what he views as credible authorities. But this is a salient point. Why are most Arabic authorities Muslims in the first place? We need to look to the history of Islam for an answer.

 

The Miraculousness of the Quran's Eloquence

 

Even prior to his Prophethood, friend and foe alike knew Muhammad the Arabian, a.k.a Muhammad the Trustworthy (pbuh), to be an illiterate person. Renowned for his honesty in all dealings, he came to the people of Quraysh with a remarkable claim: That Allah, Creator of all the Worlds, had communicated to him via the angel Gabriel. He was able to recall the words communicated to him verbatim. These words formed what we call the Quran. But the words were not just any old words. The Quran's word order was so excellent in terms of eloquence that the people of Quraysh were dumbfounded by it.

 

Why is this so remarkable? It is because the people of the Arabian Peninsula were a people who valued eloquence above all. Their heroes were their most eloquent poets. This is evidenced by the fact that their most holy site (even in pre-Islamic times), the Kaaba, was decorated with inscriptions of the Qasidas of their seven most famous poets. Even though many Arabs could not read or write, they had a highly developed appreciation for the spoken word. It is fair to say that the Arabs were world leaders in the art of eloquence. Then came the Quran.

 

The Quran was viewed as being so superior to anything that they had ever heard or read, that it could not be the word of the illiterate Muhammad (pbuh). Nor could it even be the word of a group of skilled poets. The poets themselves were dumbfounded at its elevated literary style. It was inimitable, unmatchable - and the Arabs were most qualified to make this assessment. Therefore, the overwhelming majority accepted Islam.

 

So the Quran came to a people of eloquence, with matchless eloquence. This was necessary to win the hearts of the people who would become the first Muslims. If it were inferior, Islam would not be alive today. It would have been discarded years ago. The Quran challenged all people, foremost the eloquent people of Arabia, to beat its eloquence. Eloquence was such an artform in Arabia, that it was quite possible to objectively judge the relative quality of various writings. There was definite criteria within the science of rhetoric, upon which the experts could base their assessment. But of course, all challengers failed miserably. Knowing that they could not beat the Quran, its detractors chose the more costly option of war. This too they lost. And so, the Arabs became a Muslim nation and later a world power.

 

A salient point that I should mention here is that despite the Quran's marvellousness, not every listener accepted it as being the word of Allah. There were numerous reasons for this, beyond the scope of this discussion. Suffice to say that humans do not always behave rationally. They have the ability to choose the wrong option despite it being obviously wrong. A person might steal or kill, knowing it to be wrong. A person may lie for personal gain, despite knowing the truth. Similarly, a person might see a miracle and for various reasons, call it sorcery, or whatever else. For this reason, not all the Quraysh became Muslims. But certainly the vast majority, including their most eloquent poets, did.

 

It is for the foregoing reason that there is a lack of non-Muslim authorities on the issue of the inimitable eloquence of the Quran. But if one is sceptical of the testimony of present day Muslim authorities, they need only look to the combined testimony of the very first Muslims. These first Muslims were prepared to give up centuries of belief in polytheism, to offend their forefathers and all their sensibilities and to give up the most heinous of cultural habits, on the evidence of the inimitable eloquence of the Quran.

 

Yes, as Said Nursi puts it, it takes massive human and financial resources to encourage a community to give up the simplest of bad habits. How long have governments struggled for their people to quit smoking? Yet the Quran, relying on its miraculous eloquence, caused a then savage people to give up customs as heinous as female infanticide, or as addictive as alcoholism, in a few short years.

 

For the foregoing reasons, I say that the Quran is not the word of man. Muhammad (pbuh) was not deluded and did not lie. Indeed, the Quran is the Word of Allah.

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Apologies for the delayed reply - I've had a week doing things which a Muslim or a fundamentalist Christian would claim are sinful. I'm afraid that I just cannot believe that a loving god would really decide that giving and receiving pleasure is sinful.

 

 

Your science argument comes down to "One embryologist thinks the Koran says something about embryology that was not generally known".

 

Unfortunately for you, *everything* in the Koran has to be correct or the whole divine origin things falls over. If just *one* thing is the Koran is wrong, it is not of divine origin. The "mountains are pegs" nonsense does it for me.

 

The 'impossibly good literature' argument cannot, for me, depend on events at the time the Koran was written, as the history of those times was written by people who had an extremely strong motive to make Islam look good.

Edited by wattle

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Salaams

 

Unfortunately for you, *everything* in the Koran has to be correct or the whole divine origin things falls over. If just *one* thing is the Koran is wrong, it is not of divine origin. The "mountains are pegs" nonsense does it for me.

 

"Compressional forces in continental collisions may cause the compressed region to thicken, so the upper surface is forced upward. In order to balance the weight of the earth surface, much of the compressed rock is forced downward, producing deep "mountain roots" [see the Book of "Earth", Press and Siever page.413]. Mountains therefore form downward as well as upward (see isostasy). However, in some continental collisions part of one continent may simply override part of the others, crumpling in the process."

 

(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_en.wikipedia(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/wiki/Mountain"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_en.wikipedia(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/wiki/Mountain[/url]

 

Have you read the Qur'an? What is your opinion of it?

 

Peace

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Yes, but I didn't bother to write the other half of the claim - that montains are pegs which prevent the earth's surface from moving around. In fact (many) mountains are the *result* of the earth's surface moving around, and the earth's surface continues to move around. If they are pegs they don't work very well. Also, not all mountains are formed that way.

 

edit - by the way, I'm complaining about the way some Muslims attempt to shoehorn the Koran into being scientific here, not about the Koran itself. I'm pefectly happy to see the "mountains are pegs" thing as a nice (if innacurate) metaphor, or as a reiteration of a local folk belief at the time, or whatever.

 

I have read the Koran and found it, to be honest, a bit dull (obey me me me, over and over). I've also read most of the bible and while the OT is much the same it at least has stories - and a wonderful English translation.

Edited by wattle

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If mountains were not (for whatever reason) formed when the plates moved around, what do you think would happen, wattle?

 

If all you got from the Qur'an was "obey me me me", then it seems you missed out, at least on the aesthetic level. The Qur'an is the epitome of classic Arabic literature (and eventually became the foundation for the Arabic language itself) and is filled with much more than your four word summary implies. You also seem to be implying that the English translation of the Qur'an is inferior to that of the OT. Can you expand further on this? From personal experience, when I first read the Iliad I found the translation to be atrocious.

 

What do you mean that at least the Bible has stories? You didn't come across any in the Qur'an?

 

Also, to respond to the bit about the metaphor of "pegs" being inaccurate in regard to the mountains, the word used is "Awtad" and is also used in reference to Pharaoh:

 

Before them (were many who) rejected apostles,- the people of Noah, and 'Ad, and Pharaoh, the Lord of Al-Awtad. [38:12]

 

Al-Awtad refers to Pharaoh's ancient habit of driving stakes (or nails) into the people's hands and feet and then hanging them up from them. "Peg" isn't a bad metaphor because the mountains, like pegs, go beneath the surface. Metaphors are used to show resemblance between things that are not necessarily exact replicas of one another. Hence, even IF mountains did nothing to alleviate the problem of earthquakes, they physically resemble pegs.

 

Salam.

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Salaams,

 

Yes, but I didn't bother to write the other half of the claim - that montains are pegs which prevent the earth's surface from moving around. In fact (many) mountains are the *result* of the earth's surface moving around, and the earth's surface continues to move around. If they are pegs they don't work very well. Also, not all mountains are formed that way.

 

The Qur'an doesn't say all mountains are pegs. Also, there are no verses that say the mountains stop the earth's surface from moving around.

 

What the Qur'an says is:

 

And We have placed in the earth firm hills lest it quake with them, and We have placed therein ravines as roads that haply they may find their way.

 

Mountains are a result of plates colliding in various manners, and then coming to a halt (for the sake of appearances, because plates never really stop). Thus the mountains are formed where plates have collided and become stable. I only remember studying a couple of mountain formation types a few years back, but I remember that when one plate is pushed under the other, the roots of the resulting mountain are deep and cause enough resistance to stop the decending plate moving down any further. The roots of the mountain bring about the stability. Also, when two plates collide head-on, the resultant force is offen upwards, causing huge mountains. Again, it is the resistance and resultant formation of the mountains which cause the plates to become stable.

 

If these plates did not crush and create mountains, and simply bounced off of eachother, there would be constant earthquakes.

 

edit - by the way, I'm complaining about the way some Muslims attempt to shoehorn the Koran into being scientific here, not about the Koran itself. I'm pefectly happy to see the "mountains are pegs" thing as a nice (if innacurate) metaphor, or as a reiteration of a local folk belief at the time, or whatever.

 

I have read the Koran and found it, to be honest, a bit dull (obey me me me, over and over). I've also read most of the bible and while the OT is much the same it at least has stories - and a wonderful English translation.

 

The Qur'an is not a book of science. But it is not unscientific either. There are no errors in the Qur'an, scientific or otherwise. Did you not find stories in the Qur'an? And what did you think of it other than it being a bit dull? Any comments on the style? Any ideas how it could have been compiled over a period of 23 years and still maintain a consistent style?

 

Peace

Edited by josh0335

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Mountains are a result of plates colliding in various manners, and then coming to a halt (for the sake of appearances, because plates never really stop). Thus the mountains are formed where plates have collided and become stable. I only remember studying a couple of mountain formation types a few years back, but I remember that when one plate is pushed under the other, the roots of the resulting mountain are deep and cause enough resistance to stop the decending plate moving down any further. The roots of the mountain bring about the stability. Also, when two plates collide head-on, the resultant force is offen upwards, causing huge mountains. Again, it is the resistance and resultant formation of the mountains which cause the plates to become stable.

 

SOME mountains are formed by direct tectonic action. Others, such as volcanic mountains, are not. Some (eg the Blue Mountains outside Sydney) are just eroded plateaus.

 

"Stable: is relative. There has been constant tectonic formation of mountains but the plates have alays moved, and still are.

 

If these plates did not crush and create mountains, and simply bounced off of eachother, there would be constant earthquakes.

 

The plates DO "bounce" in geological time. And there ARE constant earthquakes.

 

Did you not find stories in the Qur'an? And what did you think of it other than it being a bit dull? Any comments on the style? Any ideas how it could have been compiled over a period of 23 years and still maintain a consistent style?

 

Shakespeare, John Updike, Agatha Christie (!) and many, many other authors maintained an identifiable style throughout their careers, often much longer than 23 years. That isn't actually an argument. As I was reading a translation of the Koran I have nothing at all to say about it's style in Arabic - I can only say that in English it was repetitive and a bit dull.

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If mountains were not (for whatever reason) formed when the plates moved around, what do you think would happen, wattle?

 

That's a nonsense question. Uprising or subsuming of the plate edges is what happens as they collide. If that did not happen (if perhaps the plate edges became gasous?) a different set of physical laws would be in play on earth.

 

Hence, even IF mountains did nothing to alleviate the problem of earthquakes, they physically resemble pegs.

 

Some mountains might, some do not.

Edited by wattle

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By the way, this is the verse (posted by a Musim in the Science section of this forum) to which I am referring:

 

"We placed firmly embedded mountains on the earth, so it would not move under them…" (The Qur'an, 21:31)

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Apologies for the delayed reply - I've had a week doing things which a Muslim or a fundamentalist Christian would claim are sinful. I'm afraid that I just cannot believe that a loving god would really decide that giving and receiving pleasure is sinful.

 

Your science argument comes down to "One embryologist thinks the Koran says something about embryology that was not generally known".

 

Unfortunately for you, *everything* in the Koran has to be correct or the whole divine origin things falls over. If just *one* thing is the Koran is wrong, it is not of divine origin. The "mountains are pegs" nonsense does it for me.

 

You have failed to demonstrate that the verses in the Quran mentioning 'mountains as pegs' are incorrect. Even if some mountains (in your view) do not bear 'peg' like characteristics, the fact remains that many others do. You are still unable to account for how the Quran's author should have known this fact.

 

In relation to the embryologist Moore, he is far from alone in his view. Goeringer, Johnson, Persuad and J.L. Simpson are just a few who agree. All these men are professors of either anatomy, embrology or obstetrics. All are leaders in their fields and all are in agreement with Moore. It is futile to suggest that the verses are scientifically inaccurate. All one might attempt to do is posit that the scientific knowledge in question is not as new as imagined. Some have thrown in the suggestion that perhaps Muhammad (pbuh), or others working in concert with him, plagiarised some of the work of the ancient Greeks. But they can not say how Muhammad managed to achieve this; they merely throw it in as a red herring. They make the ridiculous suggestion that maybe Muhammad (pbuh), or his helpers, somehow uncovered and brought together all the ancient works of Aristotle and others, translated these and plagiarised the ideas for the Quran, before hiding the works again. While this frivolous claim might attempt to account for some verses, the scientific accuracy of many others is still inexplicable.

 

The 'impossibly good literature' argument cannot, for me, depend on events at the time the Koran was written, as the history of those times was written by people who had an extremely strong motive to make Islam look good.

 

This is arguable. The Quraysh had extremely strong motives to deny Islam. Their wealth, pride, family ties, polytheistic religion - Islam was a threat to all of these. Yet still they came to accept Islam. They were a people of eloquence, but were unable to match the eloquence of the Quran. They justifiably believed that the Quran could not be the word of man and therefore they became Muslims. It would have been far easier to defeat Islam by producing literature that could match it. If they were capable of this, they would have done it. Its detractors would not have chosen the more onerous option of war.

 

So your position is a dogmatic one. You see present day Muslim authorities on Arabic as being unreliable. And you see the early Muslims as also being unreliable, because you feel that they had ulterior motives for supporting the Quran. But you are unable to answer this question: Why didn't the Quran's detractors, among them men of letters and eloquence, simply produce a short work of superior quality to the Quran. Why did they choose the very onerous option of war?

 

I should add that it is not just Muslim authorities who espouse the superiority of the Quran's eloquence. “It is by far the finest work of Arabic prose in existence," said the Oxford academic Alan Jones. Another non-Muslim authority, Goethe, saw its 'style' as being, "ever and anon, truly sublime." He then adds, "Thus this book will go on exercising through all ages, a most potent influence."

 

Goethe makes an interesting point. Indeed, the influence of the Quran was, and continues to be, extremely potent. In order to match the Quran, one would need to produce a work of such lofty eloquence, that it has an effect at least as potent as the Quran's. To prove its superiority, it would need to be of such eloquence as to convince an entire nation of its miraculousness, just as the Quran did. And its superiority would need to be as enduring as the Quran's. Do you know of such a work?

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You have failed to demonstrate that the verses in the Quran mentioning 'mountains as pegs' are incorrect. Even if some mountains (in your view) do not bear 'peg' like characteristics, the fact remains that many others do. You are still unable to account for how the Quran's author should have known this fact.

 

Actually, I have. Mountains do not hold the ground in place; many mountains (eg volcanic mountains and mountains produced by erosion) do not even have the "peg-like" attributes. If the Koran had said "Lo, have I not allowed the Plates of the Earth to run together, producing beautiful mountains for your viewing pleasure", I might have been impressed.

 

They make the ridiculous suggestion that maybe Muhammad (pbuh), or his helpers, somehow uncovered and brought together all the ancient works of Aristotle and others, translated these and plagiarised the ideas for the Quran, before hiding the works again.

 

Why "ridiculous"? Mohammed went on trading trips. He was obviously familiar with the bible, he was a very clever, inquisitive man. I consider that *any* explanation, no matter how unlikely is more likely than resorting to the supernatural.

 

This is arguable. The Quraysh had extremely strong motives to deny Islam. Their wealth, pride, family ties, polytheistic religion - Islam was a threat to all of these. Yet still they came to accept Islam. They were a people of eloquence, but were unable to match the eloquence of the Quran. They justifiably believed that the Quran could not be the word of man and therefore they became Muslims. It would have been far easier to defeat Islam by producing literature that could match it. If they were capable of this, they would have done it. Its detractors would not have chosen the more onerous option of war.

 

The history you quote was written by Muslims, putting Islam in the best possible light. Understandable but not reliable.

 

So your position is a dogmatic one. You see present day Muslim authorities on Arabic as being unreliable. And you see the early Muslims as also being unreliable, because you feel that they had ulterior motives for supporting the Quran. But you are unable to answer this question: Why didn't the Quran's detractors, among them men of letters and eloquence, simply produce a short work of superior quality to the Quran. Why did they choose the very onerous option of war?

 

When did I say that the Koran was not better than any contemporary literature? No-one could out-write Shakespeare but no-one claims that a god wrote his plays.

 

I should add that it is not just Muslim authorities who espouse the superiority of the Quran's eloquence. “It is by far the finest work of Arabic prose in existence," said the Oxford academic Alan Jones. Another non-Muslim authority, Goethe, saw its 'style' as being, "ever and anon, truly sublime." He then adds, "Thus this book will go on exercising through all ages, a most potent influence."

 

*Something* has to be "the finest work of Arabic prose". And many books exerxise influence "through all ages".

 

Goethe makes an interesting point. Indeed, the influence of the Quran was, and continues to be, extremely potent. In order to match the Quran, one would need to produce a work of such lofty eloquence, that it has an effect at least as potent as the Quran's. To prove its superiority, it would need to be of such eloquence as to convince an entire nation of its miraculousness, just as the Quran did. And its superiority would need to be as enduring as the Quran's. Do you know of such a work?

 

 

No, but so what? The same could be said for the Bible or the Ramayana.

 

Actually, the Koran did not "convince an entire nation". It convinced sufficient people in one small area to give them military power, after which it was irrelevant whether or not the Koran was good lit or not - saying otherwise would get you killed.

Edited by wattle

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That's a nonsense question. Uprising or subsuming of the plate edges is what happens as they collide. If that did not happen (if perhaps the plate edges became gasous?) a different set of physical laws would be in play on earth.

 

It is possible for the plates to collide and mountains not to be formed. Instead, one plate moves underneath the other and these places have a higher rate of earthquakes.

 

Secondly, the process of mountain formation itself is not merely a random reaction to the collision of plates.

 

In order to balance the weight of the earth surface, much of the compressed rock is forced downward, producing deep "mountain roots" [see the Book of "Earth", Press and Siever page.413].

 

It is a deliberate process that is meant to stablize the lithosphere and relieve tensions between plates. Otherwise, bad things happen.

 

And lastly, you're looking at this merely in the way that the Earth currently is. And what if the composition of the rocks was different? What if it was more dense? Less dense? The formation of mountains is possible as the Earth is right now, but there is no reason to assume that this would be possible otherwise. And it doesn't take gaseous edges for this to happen. Perhaps you shouldn't treat mountains as nothing more than the effect, but as the solution to something that happens beneath the surface. This goes for volcanoes as well.

 

Might I add that our knowledge of science is not complete in this day and age. In other hundred years, scientists might learn something about geology that would surprise all of us.

 

By the way, this is the verse (posted by a Musim in the Science section of this forum) to which I am referring:

 

"We placed firmly embedded mountains on the earth, so it would not move under them…" (The Qur'an, 21:31)

 

In other words, Allah created mountains so that the Earth's surface is more stable. I'm not going to make it a habit to claim that the Qur'an is up-to-date with science, but neither will I agree that it is unscientific. It all depends on how you read it.

 

Some mountains might, some do not.

 

The Qur'an never makes the claim that all mountains do X or Y.

 

The statement "And We have created some mountains to do X" is very dangerous. Because it doesn't imply that Allah created other mountains for other reasons. It sounds more like Allah created ONLY some mountains and was not responsible for the creation of others.

 

Which would produce much bigger problems in the beliefs of people than a supposed scientific miscalculation.

 

Salam.

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Salaams,

 

SOME mountains are formed by direct tectonic action. Others, such as volcanic mountains, are not. Some (eg the Blue Mountains outside Sydney) are just eroded plateaus.

 

So? Where does the Qur'an say all mountains prevent quakes?

 

"Stable: is relative. There has been constant tectonic formation of mountains but the plates have alays moved, and still are.

 

So? Where mountains have formed there is relative stablisation. If there wasn't that resistance from mountain roots, the plate pushed underneath would continue to push down into the Earth mantle at a faster rate, causing more movement and more earthquakes.

 

The plates DO "bounce" in geological time. And there ARE constant earthquakes.

 

Not where there are mountains. Come on, concentrate. Are you denying the fact that some mountain roots give a stabilising effect to one plate being pushed underneath another one? If no plates crushed and all of them bounced off of eachother then you would get more earthquakes more of the time.

 

Peace

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Actually, I have. Mountains do not hold the ground in place; many mountains (eg volcanic mountains and mountains produced by erosion) do not even have the "peg-like" attributes. If the Koran had said "Lo, have I not allowed the Plates of the Earth to run together, producing beautiful mountains for your viewing pleasure", I might have been impressed.

 

This issue has been dealt with effectively by Redeem and Josh and requires no further explanation.

 

Why "ridiculous"? Mohammed went on trading trips. He was obviously familiar with the bible, he was a very clever, inquisitive man. I consider that *any* explanation, no matter how unlikely is more likely than resorting to the supernatural.

 

And he was also unlettered and was renowned for his honesty and trustworthiness by friend and foe alike. To give weight to this allegation, you would need to show that Muhammad the Trustworthy (pbuh) was in fact a liar of the highest order. You would need to show that he was such a liar, that he pretended to be illiterate, despite being a skilled Arabic and Greek linguist. But no historian, Muslim or non-Muslim, has made such suggestions.

 

The fact that you consider "any explanation, no matter how unlikely" more plausible than a 'supernatural' one demonstrates that you have an a priori prejudice against the existence of Allah. As was shown in the threads preceeding this one, there is nothing in the universe that precludes the existence of something 'supernatural' outside of the universe. So there is no reason why you should maintain this a priori prejudice.

 

The history you quote was written by Muslims, putting Islam in the best possible light. Understandable but not reliable.

 

When did I say that the Koran was not better than any contemporary literature? No-one could out-write Shakespeare but no-one claims that a god wrote his plays.

 

*Something* has to be "the finest work of Arabic prose". And many books exerxise influence "through all ages".

 

No, but so what? The same could be said for the Bible or the Ramayana.

 

While it is true that Shakespeare is a fine literary figure, he never claimed that his work was unmatchable. He never claimed it was from God. But the Quran does just this. It claims that it is unmatchable, and that it is the Word of Allah. So the two are not comparable, and your analogy is therefore invalid.

 

While other books may also exercise influence, none have had the influence of the Quran. None have spawned a religion that will shortly have more adherents than any other religion in the world, past or present. The Bible is also an influential book, but this is no surprise as it too was a holy book. The problem with the Bible is that it has been corrupted by the hand of man and is therefore steadily losing influence. The Ramayana has a special place in the cultural identity of the Hindu Indians, but is far from having the world wide influence of the Quran.

 

Actually, the Koran did not "convince an entire nation". It convinced sufficient people in one small area to give them military power, after which it was irrelevant whether or not the Koran was good lit or not - saying otherwise would get you killed.

 

What version of history is this? No authority on early Islamic history has ever suggested that the first Muslims killed people who disputed the quality of the Quran's prose. In fact, in was not the early Muslims who challenged people to match the Quran, but the Quran itself. It asks its detractors to produce even a single sura that can match its quality. No one was able to do so (and this challenge remains open today). So why should they have killed anyone over it?

 

Furthermore, never in the history of Islamic conquests have Muslims forced people to accept their religion. When the early Muslims, together with the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) entered Mecca from Medina, they did so bloodlessly. Those in Mecca who subsequently accepted Islam did so without compulsion. Non-Muslim historians agree that Muslims have never forced persons to convert, or to accept the validity of the Quran. The challenge has always remained open for persons to match the Quran. Had the Quran's earliest detractors been able to do so, they would have retained power by discrediting Muhammad (pbuh) and the Quran. They could not do so, because the Quran is Allah's word (Kalam).

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This issue has been dealt with effectively by Redeem and Josh and requires no further explanation.

 

See my replies to them.

 

And he was also unlettered and was renowned for his honesty and trustworthiness by friend and foe alike. To give weight to this allegation, you would need to show that Muhammad the Trustworthy (pbuh) was in fact a liar of the highest order. You would need to show that he was such a liar, that he pretended to be illiterate, despite being a skilled Arabic and Greek linguist. But no historian, Muslim or non-Muslim, has made such suggestions.

 

"Unlettered" is irrelevant in a mainly oral culture. It does not, as it does in our literate culture, imply learning difficulties or unsophistication. And yet again, the history of Mohammed was written by people with an extremely strong motive to present Islam in the best possible light.

 

The fact that you consider "any explanation, no matter how unlikely" more plausible than a 'supernatural' one demonstrates that you have an a priori prejudice against the existence of Allah. As was shown in the threads preceeding this one, there is nothing in the universe that precludes the existence of something 'supernatural' outside of the universe. So there is no reason why you should maintain this a priori prejudice.

 

Except that there is no evidence whatsoever that anything supernatural happens in the universe.

 

While it is true that Shakespeare is a fine literary figure, he never claimed that his work was unmatchable. He never claimed it was from God. But the Quran does just this. It claims that it is unmatchable, and that it is the Word of Allah. So the two are not comparable, and your analogy is therefore invalid.

 

Clutching at straws, there. Are you seriously arguing that if the best writer of a period claims that his/her works were dictated by a god, they must therefore be believed?

 

While other books may also exercise influence, none have had the influence of the Quran. None have spawned a religion that will shortly have more adherents than any other religion in the world, past or present. The Bible is also an influential book, but this is no surprise as it too was a holy book. The problem with the Bible is that it has been corrupted by the hand of man and is therefore steadily losing influence. The Ramayana has a special place in the cultural identity of the Hindu Indians, but is far from having the world wide influence of the Quran.

 

You are invoking a democratic model of deciding which religion is correct? At one time the pantheism of hunter-gatherer societies must have complised 100% of religion in the world - does that mean it was correct?

 

The challenge has always remained open for persons to match the Quran. Had the Quran's earliest detractors been able to do so, they would have retained power by discrediting Muhammad (pbuh) and the Quran. They could not do so, because the Quran is Allah's word (Kalam).

 

No, you have reached a false conclusion. A vastly more likely explanation is that they could not do so because they were not as good at literature as Mohammed was. And they had no incentive whatsoever to try to be. It was entirely possible for (say) Victorian Britons to claim that Victoria was not a great ruler, but history records none that I know of. Power breeds syncophancy.

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"We set mountains upon the earth lest it should move away with them, and hewed out highways in the rock so that they should be rightly guided" Koran 21:31, Dawood translation, Penguin 2000.

 

Which has it exactly the wrong way around. *Because* the world "runs away", mountains are formed. Mountains are a *result* of the plates moving, not a *preventer* of plates moving.

 

Presumably an all-powerful god could have set up a planet which did not have earthquakes, rather than this running repair of plonking down a few mountains, which doesn't even solve the problem.

 

Also, the tense of this verse suggests that the mountains were created once and that mountain creation has ceased. That is not the case. Mountains have risen and retreated many times and continue to do so.

 

I have no idea what these "highways in the rock" are suppposed to be, but I suggest that it's a garbled reference to the African rift valley, of which the Hejaz and Red Sea are parts. Just how this is supposed to guide mountains I have no idea.

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See my replies to them.

 

I have seen your replies and they are quite feeble. As Josh has shown you quite clearly, mountains do have peg like characteristics. This is established in science and denying it is futile. For your argument to succeed, you would need to demonstrate that no mountains have any peg like characteristics at all. You have not done this.

 

"Unlettered" is irrelevant in a mainly oral culture. It does not, as it does in our literate culture, imply learning difficulties or unsophistication. And yet again, the history of Mohammed was written by people with an extremely strong motive to present Islam in the best possible light.

 

Many non-Muslim historians (such as K. Armstrong) have written about early Muslim history. Their version of early Muslim history does not differ from the Muslim version. Your proposals are not supported by any reliable version of history.

 

'Unlettered' refers to an inability to read. What evidence is there that Muhammad (pbuh) could read and write in Arabic, let alone in Greek? There is none. Refer to non-Muslim historians if you like. If you wish to pursue this line of argumentation, I invite you to provide some evidence of it. Let's see if you can demonstrate that Muhammad the Trustworthy (pbuh) was actually a liar of the highest order. Which reliable historian proffers such a view?

 

Except that there is no evidence whatsoever that anything supernatural happens in the universe.

 

Except for the Quran of course, which is of such elevated eloquence that it is beyond human ability to match.

 

Clutching at straws, there. Are you seriously arguing that if the best writer of a period claims that his/her works were dictated by a god, they must therefore be believed?

 

This is not a clutching at straws, as I am not arguing that Muhammad was the best writer of his time. You have proposed this, not me. I am arguing that he did not write it and that no person wrote it.

 

The Quran's unmatchable eloquence is a most powerful evidence that it is the word of Allah. And the Quran in turn is a convincing proof of the Prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh). The Quran is not merely the best writing of its time or kind. Its eloquence is beyond human ability. If you disagree, then find someone who can match it.

 

The challenge for persons (past, present or future) to match the Quran, is to be found in the Quran itself: "And if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed from time to time to Our servant, then produce a Sura like thereunto; and call your witnesses or helpers (if there are any) besides Allah, if your (doubts) are true." (Quran, 2:23). A bold challenge indeed.

 

Why would someone make such a bold claim at the risk being proven wrong? Only if they knew they could never be proven wrong. Only Allah could make such a claim. And indeed, He has yet to be proven wrong.

 

 

You are invoking a democratic model of deciding which religion is correct? At one time the pantheism of hunter-gatherer societies must have complised 100% of religion in the world - does that mean it was correct?

 

I'm doing nothing of the sort. Where do you get this from? You say that other books, such as the Ramayana, have also had 'influence'. I am pointing out to you that no book has anything even resembling the influence of the Quran.

 

No, you have reached a false conclusion. A vastly more likely explanation is that they could not do so because they were not as good at literature as Mohammed was. And they had no incentive whatsoever to try to be. It was entirely possible for (say) Victorian Britons to claim that Victoria was not a great ruler, but history records none that I know of. Power breeds syncophancy.

 

This is nonsense. The Arabs had every reason to attempt to match the Quran. Foremost their power, but also their religion, wealth and pride were all at stake. In fact, there was an attempt to match it. Musaylimah ibn Habib, a powerful member of the Banu Hanifa tribe, claimed prophethood and offered up a 'verse' in support of his claim. Obviously, his attempt failed miserably.

 

If you have any real evidence that Muhammad (pbuh) had any literary skills whatsoever, I again invite you to produce it.

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I have seen your replies and they are quite feeble. As Josh has shown you quite clearly, mountains do have peg like characteristics. This is established in science and denying it is futile. For your argument to succeed, you would need to demonstrate that no mountains have any peg like characteristics at all. You have not done this.

 

*Some* mountains are vaguelly like pegs in that they have a below ground part and an above ground part. However, just being vaguelly like a peg is not what the Koran claims. It claims that mountains prevent tectonic plates moving. They don't. These mountains are *caused* by the movement of tectonic plates.

 

I've done some very cursory looking-into this, and it seems that the idea that mountains are pegs is pretty common in various cultures. I suggest that Mohammed mentioned this not because he was teaching his audience something new, but because he was using something theyalready believed to bolster his claims.

 

Many non-Muslim historians (such as K. Armstrong) have written about early Muslim history. Their version of early Muslim history does not differ from the Muslim version. Your proposals are not supported by any reliable version of history.

 

Any idea as to his sources? hat non-islamic sources are there for (say) the first 30 years of Islam?

 

'Unlettered' refers to an inability to read. What evidence is there that Muhammad (pbuh) could read and write in Arabic, let alone in Greek? There is none. Refer to non-Muslim historians if you like. If you wish to pursue this line of argumentation, I invite you to provide some evidence of it. Let's see if you can demonstrate that Muhammad the Trustworthy (pbuh) was actually a liar of the highest order. Which reliable historian proffers such a view?

 

Where did I say he could read? I said that being illiterate in a mainly oral culture is not a sign of ignorance or stupidity as it is in our culture. How is information transmitted in an oral culture? Orally.

 

Another intersting fact - there are only 5 known inscriptions in Arabic which pre-date the Koran. Whereas there are thousands in the various other languages which were used in the area. I don't know, but I surmize that Arabic was a very local language which, with the Koran and the rise of Islam, became dominant. If it was so local and so little written it is not surprising that the first great work in it should create an immense sensation. Compare with Beowulf, Chaucer and Joyce for landmark works in the various stages of the development of English.

 

 

Except for the Quran of course, which is of such elevated eloquence that it is beyond human ability to match.

 

As I explained in my first post, it is not going to be possible to prove this. No Muslim can say otherwise and still be a Muslim; no non-Muslim can agree and not become a Muslim.

 

 

The Quran's unmatchable eloquence is a most powerful evidence that it is the word of Allah. And the Quran in turn is a convincing proof of the Prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh). The Quran is not merely the best writing of its time or kind. Its eloquence is beyond human ability. If you disagree, then find someone who can match it.

 

I can easily think of a dozen writers who can better the English translations I've read. Unfortunately I cannot read Arabic so I can offer no opinion on its qualities in the original.

 

I'm doing nothing of the sort. Where do you get this from? You say that other books, such as the Ramayana, have also had 'influence'. I am pointing out to you that no book has anything even resembling the influence of the Quran.

 

The Bible, I suspect, has had more influence and for rather longer (especially if you count the Jewish OT). However Mein Kampf and Das Kapital also had a lot of influence in the 20th century - the amount of influence is not an indication of truth.

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"We set mountains upon the earth lest it should move away with them, and hewed out highways in the rock so that they should be rightly guided" Koran 21:31, Dawood translation, Penguin 2000.

 

Which has it exactly the wrong way around. *Because* the world "runs away", mountains are formed. Mountains are a *result* of the plates moving, not a *preventer* of plates moving

 

wattle you are looking at this all wrong, you are trying to disprove the Quran without giving it a fair share at studying it. I will tell you that the Quran will always be locked to this type of thinking that you are presenting. When the Quran speaks of mountains you automatically start saying oh look at this scientific fact ha ha the Quran is wrong, No wattle when the Quran speaks of mountains it is speaking of them as representing something metaphorically. Namely governments! Mountains represents governments your understanding of Scripture is not understanding it in its full context. When Allah says that He set mountains upon the earth lest it should move away with them all one has to do is study world governments and see how their reign was on earth,

And the other phrase "hewed out high ways in the rock so that they should be rightly guided “

 

this is speaking about correct paths that governments should take in order to be guided correctly. Example of this is when Muhammad came to the mountain of mecca the government of mecca he was giving them or rather presenting them with something that will guide them correctly and get rid of their nasty tyranny hold on those beneath them. You ever heard the Phrase “if Mohammad wont come to the mountain then we shall bring the mountain to Mohammadâ€

If you cant understand this then its really no point in discussing the Quran with you because thousands of renown scholars have seen the wisdom in the Quran and what the Quran is speaking to and about and im not talking about Muslim scholars im talking about non Muslim scholars have seen this.

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I'm not denying that there might be wisdom in the Koran. I'm questioning the source of this wisdom.

 

I like your metaphorical interpretation of the verse.

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I like your metaphorical interpretation of the verse.

I think that's always been an element of religious hermenutics. It's pretty easily accounted for in religious contexts as the development of human understanding of God and his creation.

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Although in this case the book containing the metaphor is supposed to be, in itself, a proof of the existence of a god.

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Josh's response to my statement "There ARE constant earthquakes":

 

Not where there are mountains.

 

 

I missed this gem from Josh. In fact, earthquakes are most common near plate boundaries, which is where mountains often are. The only earthquake I have ever experienced was in the Hindu Kush, not far from some of the tallest mountains in the world. By the Koran's reasoning, this ought to be one of the most earthquake-free areas on earth. It isn't.

Edited by wattle

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Salaams,

 

"We set mountains upon the earth lest it should move away with them, and hewed out highways in the rock so that they should be rightly guided" Koran 21:31, Dawood translation, Penguin 2000.

 

Which has it exactly the wrong way around. *Because* the world "runs away", mountains are formed. Mountains are a *result* of the plates moving, not a *preventer* of plates moving.

 

It is both a result of plates moving and a preventer of further movement. The mountain roots create enough resistance to slow down or stop a plate pushed underneath from going in any further.

 

Also, the tense of this verse suggests that the mountains were created once and that mountain creation has ceased. That is not the case. Mountains have risen and retreated many times and continue to do so.

 

You don't have experience is Qur'anic prose and your interpretation is incorrect.

 

*Some* mountains are vaguelly like pegs in that they have a below ground part and an above ground part. However, just being vaguelly like a peg is not what the Koran claims. It claims that mountains prevent tectonic plates moving. They don't. These mountains are *caused* by the movement of tectonic plates.

 

They do give stabilisation to certain types of plate movements. Therefore the Qur'an is correct with current geology.

 

I missed this gem from Josh. In fact, earthquakes are most common near plate boundaries, which is where mountains often are. The only earthquake I have ever experienced was in the Hindu Kush, not far from some of the tallest mountains in the world. By the Koran's reasoning, this ought to be one of the most earthquake-free areas on earth. It isn't.

 

Of course earthquakes are most common near plate boundaries, that's where most mountains are too. The Qur'an does not claim that mountains prevent all earthquakes. What did you mean by constant earthquakes? When you were in the Hindu Kush did that earthquake eventually stop after a few minutes? Or is it still happening (constant)? If it was constant, it would be shaking right now, as would all other plate boundaries in the world. No, they reach a level of stability so they do not constantly create quakes.

 

Peace

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I'm not denying that there might be wisdom in the Koran. I'm questioning the source of this wisdom.

 

I like your metaphorical interpretation of the verse.

 

ok cool now for the source of this wisdom, just question where does wisdom originate from? Where does knowledge start from?? Everything that we know we know it from someone else but where does knowledge originate from? We gain knowledge by studying the earth,however it is the earth that is full of the material that has the knowledge in it to be pulled out. Without the earth there is no us and no knowledge,likewise the universe. However once in a while someone comes along with NEW knowledge thats sounds like updated perfected old knowledge. But this New knowledge is helping mankind to grow in their knowledge in ever facet of life were as the old knowledge kept them stale and stagnit.

 

Now here comes Mohammed a man that was known through out Mecca to be honest, he even had a nickname Al Amin"the truthful one" and he was known for never even studying scripture or world governments, yet he comes with a book tearing down tyrants and establishing a true governmental republic that is fair and puts God first. If it is known that nobody gave Mohammed this book but people see him having deep abnormal sleeps then waking up and reciting and recording down what he claims is visions from God Almighty and these recordings are actually helping to establish a system that breaks tyranny and helps to better mankind and pushes mankind in the direction of achieving great knowledge by studying the earth further.

 

And now you question the source of this wisdom, well look at what the source said he said that the Quran is not from him that it is from God( another source). Now wattle to question that source to question the source of Mohammeds wisdom you should then you should study the Quran. You said you like my metaphorical interpretation well im telling you that the Quran speaks differently than how your looking at it right now. Give a fair study and you will not only see wisdom but you would then come into contact with the source that Mohammed came into contact with. And your understanding of the Quranic verses would be far different than how your understanding them now

 

 

I think that's always been an element of religious hermenutics. It's pretty easily accounted for in religious contexts as the development of human understanding of God and his creation.

 

 

Excatly and this is what the Quran is for not only the development of human understanding of God and His creation but the devopment of the human soul for the betterment of mankind as well as studying the earth and universe. This includes all sciences as well but once we stepout of the context of scripture then we run into silly arguments that get nowhere.

 

Although in this case the book containing the metaphor is supposed to be, in itself, a proof of the existence of a god.

 

Study the source and then make a fair comment

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