Answer to Question No. 7

Nov 19, 2007 by: zen non

Question 7 - Is the Qur'an fallible? Can the contents of the Qur'an be re-interpreted in light of the 21st century? If yes how do you get around earlier rulings (by each of the schools of Islam) that the Qur'an is unchangeable in interpretation for eternity.

This another question that I do not have the credibility to answer it. But here is the answer taken from this site.

Title: What is the Purpose of Life
Chapter: Is the Quran credible? by Mostafa Malaekah -

Besides religious guidance, the Quran contains hundreds of verses that speak of the universe, its components and phenomena such as the Earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, mountains, wind, running water, plants, embryological animals, and the successive stages of development of the human being. More than 1,000 verses relating to cosmic facts or cosmic phenomena can be counted in the Quran. During the early days of the Quran, scientific knowledge of the universe was limited and it was not easy to elaborate on the verses relating to the universe or its phenomena except within the limitations of the time.

However, we now know about the laws of the universe much more than before and that is why reviewing the 1,000 or more verses relating to the cosmos, man and his surroundings can be one of the most obvious miraculous aspects of the Quran. This is because of the precedence of the Quran, which was revealed more than 14 Centuries ago, with many of the scientific facts, at a time when people had no knowledge whatsoever of such facts.

The Quran has addressed so many of these facts in a language that is more precise, accurate and concise than scientists have ever been able to do. Nothing in the Quran contradicts any established scientific facts. These cannot be all covered in a short article and hence I have chosen only five verses that can testify to the miraculous nature of the Quran from a scientific point of view:

1) The creation of the universe is explained by astrophysicists in a widely accepted phenomenon, popularly known as the “Big Bang.” It is supported by observational and experimental data gathered by astronomers and astrophysicists for decades. According to the “Big Bang,” the whole universe was initially one big mass (Primary Nebula). Then there was a “Big Bang” (Secondary Separation), which resulted in the formation of Galaxies. These then divided to form stars, planets, the sun, the moon, etc. The origin of the universe was unique and the probability of it occurring by “chance” is zero. The Quran contains the following verse, regarding the origin of the universe:

«"Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were (once) a joined entity, then We separated them and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe? "» [21:30]

The striking congruence between the Quranic verse and the “Big Bang” is inescapable! How could a book, which first appeared in the deserts of Arabia 1400 years ago, contain this profound scientific truth?

2) In 1925 an American astronomer by the name of Edwin Hubble provided observational evidence that all galaxies are receding from one another, which implies that the universe is expanding. The expansion of the universe is now an established scientific fact. This is what the Quran says regarding the formation of the universe:

«"And the heaven We constructed with strength, and indeed, We are [its] expander."» [51:47]

Stephen Hawking, in his book A Brief History of Time, says: “The discovery that the universe is expanding is one of the great intellectual revolutions of the 20th century.” The Quran mentioned the expansion of the universe before man even learnt to build a telescope!

3) Scientists say that before the galaxies in the universe were formed, celestial matter was initially in the form of gaseous matter. In short, huge gaseous matter or clouds were present before the formation of the galaxies. To describe initial celestial matter, the word “smoke” is more appropriate than gas. The following Quranic verse refers to this state of the universe by the word dukhan which means smoke:

«"Then He turned to the heaven when it was smoke... "» [41:11]

Again, this fact is a corollary to the “Big Bang” and was not known to mankind during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H). What then, could have been the source of this knowledge?

4) It was thought that the sense of feeling and pain was only dependent on the brain. Recent discoveries prove that there are pain receptors present in the skin without which a person would not be able to feel pain. When a doctor examines a patient suffering from burn injuries, he verifies the degree of burns by a pinprick. If the patient feels pain, the doctor is happy, because it indicates that the burns are superficial and the pain receptors are intact. On the other hand if the patient does not feel any pain, it indicates that it is a deep burn and the pain receptors have been destroyed. The Quran gives an indication of the existence of pain receptors in the following verse:

«"Indeed, those who disbelieve in Our verses (i.e. signs, proofs) - We will drive them into a Fire. Every time their skins are roasted through We will replace them with other skins so they may taste the punishment. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted in Might and Wise. But those who believe and do righteous deeds - We will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide forever."» [4:56-57]

Prof. Tagatat Tejasen, Chairman of the Dept. of Anatomy at Chiang Mai University in Thailand, had spent a great amount of time on research of pain receptors. Initially he could not believe that the Quran mentioned this scientific fact 1400 years ago. He later verified the translation of this particular Quranic verse. Prof. Tejasen was so impressed by the scientific accuracy of the Quranic verse, that at a medical Conference in 1985 he proclaimed in public the Shahadah (Islamic Declaration of Faith), i.e. he embraced Islam.

5) The source of iron (Fe); we read in the Quran:

«"Indeed, We have sent down iron in which there is great (military) might and benefits for the people."» [57:25]

It has recently been proven that all iron, not only in our planet but also in the entire solar system, was obtained from outer space. This is because the temperature of the sun cannot generate iron. The sun has a surface temperature of 6000 degrees Celsius and a central temperature of about 20 million degrees Celsius. There exist much hotter stars, which are known as novae, or super novae where temperatures can reach 100s of billions of degrees Celsius and it is in these stars that iron is formed. When the percentage of iron reaches a certain proportion of the mass of the star it explodes and these exploded-particles travel in space until they are captured by the gravitational fields of other heavenly bodies. This is how our solar system all obtained its iron and it is an established fact today that all the iron in our solar system was not generated or created within the system but has come to it from outer space.

One wonders why the Quran comments on matters like these, things that were not known to anyone at the time of revelation or even for centuries afterwards, unless Allah knows in His eternal knowledge that the time will come when man will then immediately realize that the Quran is the word of Allah and that Muhammad is His last messenger. Allah says in the Quran:

«"We shall show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth."» [41:53]

Prof. Tejasen accepted Islam on the strength of just one scientific “sign” mentioned in the Quran. Some people may require ten signs while some may require hundred signs to be convinced about the Divine origin of the Quran. Some would be unwilling to accept the Truth even after being shown a thousand signs. The Quran condemns such a closed mentality:

«"Deaf, dumb and blind- so they will not return [to the right path]."» [2:18].

«"The example of those who disbelieve is like that of the one who shouts at what hears nothing but calls and cries [i.e. cattle or sheep] - deaf, dumb and blind, so they do not understand."» [2:171].

«"Then do they not reflect upon the Quran, or are there locks upon [their] hearts?"» [47:24]

What is the Purpose of Life?

So what does the Creator, Allah, tell us about our purpose in life? Allah states in the Quran that He created man to be His Khalefah, His trustee on earth (Quran 2:30). Mankind’s basic trust, our responsibility, is to believe in and worship Allah:
«"And I did not create the Jinn and mankind except to worship Me…"» [51:56-58]

Very simple! The purpose for man’s creation is to worship the Creator. The essence of Allah’s message through all of the prophets also was:

«“O mankind, worship Allah, you have no deity other than Him."» [7:59].
Allah further states that He made this life in order to test man so that every person may be recompensed after death for what he has earned:

«“[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed - and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving."» [67:2]

But in order to worship Him, we have to know Him well otherwise we may form a distorted concept of Him and then go astray. In the Quran Allah tells mankind what He is and what He is not. For example, in response to a question about Allah that was posed to the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H), Allah instructs Muhammad (P.B.U.H) to give the following reply:

«“Say : He is Allah [Who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, nor is there to Him any equivalent."» [112]

It is clear from this that Muhammad (P.B.U.H) is not the author of the Quran otherwise he would not have shown that someone is dictating to him what to say.

Also, Allah has to tell us how He wants to be worshipped, which He does in the Quran. He also tells us in the Quran that all Prophets came with the same identical message to their people - that is to believe in Allah and to worship Him. He also tells us in the Quran that all the people of other religions have deviated from the original teachings of their prophets. This is due to two reasons.

The first is that earlier scriptures were not preserved simply because of the absence or scarcity of writing paper and so the teachings were transmitted orally and with time became distorted.

The second reason is because the clergy of various religions introduced doctrines that were never there (e.g., the Christian trinity creed was introduced only after the council of Nicea in 325 AD and the Council of Constantinople in 386 AD). Because of the changes that crept into earlier religions, Allah tells us that He sent the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) as the last and final prophet and guidance to mankind with a scripture that He promised would be preserved forever. Allah provides a test to prove that the Quran is from Him. Allah says:

«“Then do they not reflect upon the Quran? (i.e. its meanings and its objective) If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction "» [4:82]

The Quran is available for scrutiny and investigation by any person to try to find even one error or contradiction in it. In fact this test must be applied to any other scripture that claims it is the word of God.

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