By Mohammed Hijab
Evidence 5 – The Quranic Cosmology
When compared to other Abrahamic religions, it is clear that the Quran is the only book that allows for a round Earth and expanding universe cosmology in its literal interpretation. The closest thing the Bible comes in reference to the roundness of the Earth is a reference to the ‘circle of the Earth’
(Isaiah 40:22; Psalms 75:3). It is clear, though, that this is referring to a flat Earth that may be supported by pillars. On this point, prominent Christian scholar John Walton concedes ‘one of the most common examples given by those who suggest there is a latent scientific consideration is that [Isaiah] 40.22 posits a spherical earth. This cannot be sustained because its terminology indicates a disk, not a sphere’ (Walton, 2009:174). Jewish commentators in the Midrashim seemed to only have one interpretation of the shape of the Earth and the universe, describing them as two metal plates:
The thickness of the firmament equals that of the earth: Compare, ‘it is he that sitteth above the (hug) circle of the earth’ (Isa 40.22) with ‘and he walketh in the circuit of the heaven (Job 22.14): the use of ‘hug’ in both verses teaches us they are alike. R. Aha said in R. Hanina’s name: [it is but as] thick as metal plate. R. Joshua and R. Nehemia said it is about two fingers in thickness. (Freedman & Simon, 1977:30)
Through direct interpretation, Quranic cosmology allows for a model of a round Earth and expanding universe. Literalist pre-modern scholars, such as Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Ibn Hazm, interpreted the Quran as suggesting that the Earth is round based on Quran 39:5 – see Kitāb Al-Faṣl fī Al-Milal wa Al-Ahwā’ wa Al-Niḥal (2/78).
Commenting on the narrative where Jesus is taken to a high mountain and tempted by the Devil, Origen states: “How could it possibly have happened literally either that the Devil should have led Jesus up to unto a high mountain or that his fleshy eyes he should have shown all the kingdoms…” (Origen, 2017:385).
This level of allegorisation led Origen to deny some aspects of the crucifixion by saying: “The events recorded to have happened to Jesus do not possess the full view of the truth in the mere letter and history; for each recorded event is shown to be also a symbol of something else by those who read the Scripture more intelligently” (CC 2.69/SC 132, 446. 3-7) (Martens, 2012:64). Thus, Christians may decide to allegorise verses that fit a Mesopotamian cosmological world view, but this will have to contend with all of the historical verses being eligible for metaphorisation – including those relating to the crucifixion. Conversely, a Young Earth creationist Christian may decide to uphold the belief that the Earth exists in a 6,000-year-old universe (see The Chronology of the Old Testament by Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones). This Christian may reject all historical, astronomical, and geological evidence to the contrary, insisting on an eternal punishment of hellfire for those who reject the historical event of the crucifixion of Jesus. Thus, the Biblical cosmology is self-contradictory and the Quranic cosmology is consistent with both itself and a cosmology of a round Earth and expanding universe.
Freedman, H. & Simon, M. (1977) Midrash Rabbah. London, Soncino Press.
Martens, P. W. (2013) ‘Origen Against History? Reconsidering the Critique of Allegory’. Modern
Theology. 28 (4), 635-656.
Origen (2017) On First Principles. Translated by John Behr. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Evidence 6 – Biology, Embryology, and the Multi-dimensional Approach
The Quran and authentic Hadith detail how a human develops in the womb of a mother. The terms used include nuṭfah amshāj (Quran 76:2), which means ‘a mixture of male and female emissions’, to indicate that both man and woman genetically contribute to the fertilisation process. The word ‘alaqah (clot), which literally means to cling on to something, is also used to describe the foetus. The Quran goes on to describe the muḍgha (chewed flesh) as a stage of development, and further stages that correspond to muscle and bone growth (Quran 23:14). Microscopic investigation of the early embryo reveals somites. In addition, the Prophet Muhammad states that the born child is ‘not from the entire fluid’ (Sahih Muslim), which indicates that not all of the mixed fluid is required for fertilisation. The Quran also mentions that all living things have been created from water (Quran 21:33). It is relatively easy to correlate these Quranic stages with scientific findings in the 20th and 21st century. This indicates that, unlike the Biblical discourse, the Quranic discourse is not confined to a seventh century Arabian setting, but is also applicable to us in our age.
It should be noted that some have taken this approach too far and have effectively superimposed scientific meaning into Quranic interpretation. This is problematic, as science is not meant to produce eternal truths. Theories and ‘facts’ of science are sometimes revised.
There is therefore no need for the Quran to perfectly correlate with 21st century scientific discourse, since the discourse is subject to change.
Masad Al-Tayar – Ijaaz al Quran, Ila Ayn?
Hind Shanaby – Al-Tafsir al Ilmi fey Al Quran
Evidence 7 – Structure of the Quran
Despite the fact that the Quran was revealed over 23 years in a piecemeal form, it has an incredible sense of being knitted together. The chapters of the Quran were not revealed in one go. Verses were revealed as a response to questions asked, for instance, ‘They ask you about the soul’ (Quran 17:85), and then a brief answer is given instantaneously. In other words, the Quranic surah (chapter) is connected from beginning to end, and the ending of one surah is connected to the beginning of the next surah. This lexical coat-tailing is an incredible feature of the Quranic style and is lexically provable through word construction.
One example of this is the second chapter of the Quran, which ends with a supplication. The third chapter of the Quran also starts and ends with a supplication.
Another brief example that has been quoted in the literature (see Farrin 2014:8) is that the same words referring to the attributes of God that can be found in the beginning of the Quran are also referenced in the end. In the first chapter, these words are God (Ilāh), Lord (Rabb), and King (Malik). In the final chapter, they are Rabb (Lord), Malik (King), and Ilāh (God). In addition to this, the first verse is connected to the last verse of the Quran, in particular, ‘lord of the worlds’ (1:1) and ‘from jinn and
mankind’ (114:6). In order for someone to have constructed these continuities themselves, they would have to have knowledge of the future, since Chapters 1 and 114 have completely different circumstances of revelation and were revealed with a wide time gap between each other.
In addition to conveying meaning, the Quran keeps a very meticulous rhythmic balance. Commenting on Chapter 104, Neal Robinson states:
‘The two sub-sections, v. 1-4 and v. 1-9 , are rhythmically balanced: the first has 46 syllables and the second 45, which increases to 46 in continued recitation of the Quran…’ (Robinson, 2003:146)
Going into more detail would de-scope the purpose of this short pamphlet, but if you are interested in this, you may read the following resources:
Structure and Qur’anic Interpretation, Raymond Farrin
A Qur’anic Apocalypse, Michel Cuypurs
How to Read the Qur’an, Carl Ernst
Discovering the Qur’an, Neal Robinson
The Qur’an: An Eternal Challenge, Mohammad Abdullah Draz
Coherence in the Qur’an, Mustansir Mir Tadabbur-e-Quran, Amin Islahi
Divine Speech, Nouman Ali Khan
Asrār Tartīb Al-Qur’ān – Al-Suyuti
Naẓm Al-Durrar – Al-Biqa’i
Evidence 8 – Numerical Precision
The Quran was revealed circumstantially, which means that the Prophet Muhammad could not predict what people were going to ask him. Nevertheless, the Quran has incredible precision when it comes to numerical mention of certain words. For example, when responding to the Christians (who made the case for the divinity of Jesus Christ based on his being conceived with no biological father), the Quran says: ‘Surely the similitude of Jesus is that of Adam. He (God) created him from dust and said: Be! And he was” (Quran 3:59). What is astonishing is that, to emphasise this point, both the names Adam and Jesus are mentioned exactly 25 times in the Quran. Up until this verse, both are also mentioned exactly the same number of times (seven times each). This is but one of many examples of Quranic precision that one could not contrive into the Quran.
It is important to note that while some people have made long lists of supposed mentions of selected words in the Quran, most of these lists do not have a consistent standard.
Evidence 9 – Historical Accuracy
Many of the stories of the Quran have similar figures and narratives to those of the Old Testament.
When one compares the stories, however, one finds that the Quran often mentions things that are not mentioned in the Old Testament or even historically corrective of the Old Testament. The following are three examples (of many that can be given) to demonstrate this point.
Example 1 – Deities Worshipped at the Time of Moses
The Quran states, ‘The chiefs of Pharaoh’s people protested, “Are you going to leave Moses and his people to free to spread corruption in the land and abandon you and your Gods?” He responded, “We will kill their sons and keep their women. We will completely dominate them”’ (Quran 7:127).
This is in addition to the fact that Pharaoh is depicted in the Quran as claiming divinity for himself (see Quran 79:24). It is well known now that ancient Egyptians would worship Gods like Horus, Isis, and Set, and that pharaohs would also claim divinity. It is not surprising considering all of this that the central message of Moses to the Egyptians in the Quran is to worship one God alone, and in the Old Testament it is to ‘let his people go’. It is important to note that the Prophet Muhammad could not have direct access to the hieroglyphics as they were only unlocked by the Rosetta Stone in 1799.
Example 2 – The Heaven and the Earth Weeping
Primary source material from the Pyramid Texts indicates that a common motif in Ancient Egypt was the personification of the heavens and the Earth. In particular, when pharaohs died, the heavens and the Earth would be depicted as weeping for them, as indicated in the following ‘utterance’:
‘The sky weeps for thee; the earth trembles for thee’ (Utterance 553:221)
This motif, although not in the Old Testament and other Jewish sources, can be found in the Quran.
The Quran states: ‘Neither the heaven nor the Earth wept over them, nor was their fate delayed’
Example 3 – Joseph of the Quran and Bible
The Quran has an entire chapter dedicated to the Prophet Joseph. The Bible mentions his story in Genesis. Biblical scholars and historians place Joseph’s entrance into Egypt in the period of the Middle Kingdom.
Other documents attest to the invasions of the Hyksos, a Semitic people who usurped political control of Egypt during a period from 1700 to 1550 B.C. It is possible that the Hyksos were more favourable to people like Joseph and his family, and it is also possible that the reference to a pharaoh “who did not know Joseph” (Exod. 1:8) recalls a period when the Hyksos leadership in Egypt was rejected in favour of a new dynasty of native Egyptian kings (Coats, 1992:980).
Interestingly, this was a time when the word ‘pharaoh’ was not used to refer to the rulers of Egypt.
Thus, historians criticise the Biblical use of the word ‘pharaoh’ and see it as evidence of human interpolation, as can be seen in the excerpt below.
The use of the title pharaoh in Genesis may be anachronistic in that Moses, in covering the events of the patriarchs in relation to Egypt, used the commonly accepted term “pharaoh” even though the title was not in use at the time of the patriarchs (cf. Gen 12:15-20)(Beitzel, 1988:1668-9)
Fascinatingly, the Quran precisely mentions the ruler of Egypt in Joseph’s time as ‘King’ (Malik in Arabic) throughout the chapter.
The historical vulnerability of the Bible is outlined by 20th century Christian scholar Karl Barth: Not for all ages and countries, but certainly for our own, it is part of the stumbling block that like all ancient literature the Old and New Testaments know nothing of the distinction of fact
and value which is so important to us, between history on the one hand, and saga and legend on the other.’ (Barth, 2004a:509)
Barth, K. (2004a) Church Dogmatics The Doctrine of the Word of God, Volume 1, Part 2: The Revelation of God; Holy Scripture: The Proclamation of the Church. London, Bloomsbury Publishing.
Coats, G.W. (1992) Joseph. In: Freedman, D. N., Herion, G. A. (eds.) Anchor Bible Dictionary. New York, Doubleday, p. 980.
Elwell, W. A., Beitzel, B. J., Buckwalter, H. D., Craigie, P. C., Douglas, J. D., Guelich, R., & Hearn, W. R. (1988). Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 2). Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, pp. 1668-1669.
Barāhīn Al-Nubuwwah – Dr. Sami Amiri
Min Al-Shakk ilā Al-Yaqīn – Dr. Fadil al-Samarra’i
Evidence 10 – Biblical Prophecy of Muhammad
Despite being somewhat corrupted, the Bible remains an interesting historical document with possible remnants of the word of God. The Bible says:
Let the desert and its towns praise God;
let the people of Kedar praise him!
Let those who live in the city of Sela shout for joy from the tops of the mountains! (Isaiah 42:11)
According to Genesis 25:13, the Kedar are the Arabs. Sela is a name of a mountain range in Medina, the city of the Prophet Muhammad. This could not have been about Jesus, since Jesus was sent neither to the Arabian Peninsula nor to the Arab people. Reading the whole chapter in context would indicate that this man was ‘a light to the Gentiles’ who went to war and triumphed over his enemies, and subsequently spread justice all over the world.
Adnan Rashid & Samuel Green – ‘Is Muhammad Foretold in the Bible’
Evidence 11 – The Physical Miracles of the Prophet Muhammad
Many Christians see the Resurrection as the primary evidence for the ‘truth’ of Christianity. That is to say that unlike people of other faiths, Christians premise their belief on a historical event. To put this in perspective, if you are a historical sceptic in relation to the Resurrection, many Christians will consider you as worthy of eternal damnation in the hellfire.
The Prophet Muhammad, like Jesus, is also narrated to have done many miraculous things in his lifetime. Despite this, Islam doesn’t have an unreasonable standard of proving itself using these miracles. That is because it is clear that those who saw the event will have an advantage in being able to assess the evidence than those who came after them. That is why the Quran is the main miracle of Islam, and some of the features we have covered in this pamphlet are the inimitable features that we all have at our disposal to assess or attempt to replicate. Many miracles of the Prophet will be known to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike, including the Isra’, the splitting of the moon, and other such things. I will provide three examples from the Hadith of the physical miracles of the Prophet Muhammad
1- I saw the trace of a wound in Salama’s leg. I said to him, “O Abu Muslim! What is this wound?” He said, “This was inflicted on me on the day of Khaibar and the people said, ‘Salama has been wounded.’ Then I went to the Prophet and he puffed his saliva in [the wound] thrice, and since then I have not had any pain in it till this hour.” (Sunnah.com, Kitāb Al-Maghāzī)
2- Suraqah bin Malik attempted to kill the Prophet Muhammad as he was emigrating to Medina, at which point his horse sank into the sand. Suraqah identified this as a miracle, converted to Islam, and the Prophet Muhammad predicted that he would wear the bracelets of the Persian Kisrah. This materialised in the Caliphate of Umar. (Sahih Bukhari)
3- Jabir bin `Abdullah said, “The people became very thirsty on the day of [the treaty of] AlHudaibiya. A small pot containing some water was in front of the Prophet, and when he had finished the ablution, the people rushed towards him. He asked, ‘What is wrong with you?’
They replied, ‘We have no water either for performing ablution or for drinking except what is present in front of you.’ So he placed his hand in that pot and the water started flowing among his fingers like springs. We all drank and performed ablution (from it).” I asked Jabir, “How many were you?” He replied, “Even if we had been one hundred thousand, it would have been sufficient for us, but we were fifteen hundred.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book of Virtues and Merits of the Prophet)
Barāhīn Al-Nubuwwah – Dr. Sami Amiri
Min Al-Shakk ilā Al-Yaqīn – Dr. Fadil al-Samarra’i
Dalā’il Al-Nubuwwah – Al-Isfahani
Evidence 12 – The Prophet Muhammad’s Life and Character
Broadly speaking, the prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad is divided into two periods: the Mekkan and Medinan period. Before the Prophet announced his prophethood, he was known to his people as al-Sadiq al-Ameen (the truthful and trustworthy one). When he was approached by the Angel Gabriel and was given the initial revelation, he immediately withdrew to his wife Khadijah, who comforted him by mentioning that God wouldn’t punish him because of his charitable and generous nature. Many events in the Prophet’s life are an evidence for his truthfulness, of which I will mention three:
1. Declaring that he was a prophet lowered the Prophet Muhammad’s quality of life considerably. Despite this, the Prophet Muhammad would not compromise on his fundamental message (Armstrong, 2007:44). The Mekkan period was characterised by economic boycott, physical torture, and abuse of both the Prophet and his companions.
2. Upon migrating to Medina, the Prophet Muhammad’s message of uncompromising monotheism led him into war many times, putting his own life in danger. Despite this, the Quran guarantees the physical protection of the Prophet until the message is complete: ‘O Messenger! Convey everything revealed to you from your Lord. If you do not, then you have not delivered His message. Allah will certainly protect you from the people. Indeed, Allah does not guide the people who disbelieve’ (Quran 5:67).
3. The Prophet Muhammad had the most influence from all perspectives: military, political, economic, geo-political, sociological, and religious.
Armstong, K. (2007). Muhammad a Prophet for Our Time. Harper Perennial. London
Al-Mubarakpuri, S.H. (2011). The Sealed Nectar. Darrusalam. London
Upon review of the evidence, we can see that Islam fulfils both the necessary and sufficient conditions required for belief. On the basis of probability, it is highly unlikely that all of the evidence mentioned above could happen by coincidence or chance. Having said this, what I have outlined above have intended as taster evidences, I have given resources for more evidences. Above all, the monotheistic conception of Islam is the most logically and theologically consistent.
A Word on Islamic Teachings
Islam teaches that we should submit to God through good deeds such as the five daily prayers, fasting the month of Ramadan, being good to our parents, and giving charity. Islam also teaches jihād, a physical or metaphorical struggle against forces of evil like the Devil. The Quran does not say that we should force others to convert to the religion of Islam (see Quran 2:256). Instead, it gives humans the choice to make the right decision. If someone rejects Islam and does not care about the ultimate purpose of life, they will go to hell forever. If someone accepts Islam, they will be in heaven forever.
Allah is the Most Just and does not punish anyone unnecessarily.