Is Islam a Scientifically Valid Religion?
- Grady McMurtry
- April 04, 2020
The adherents of every religion defend their beliefs by claiming that it is the one true religion. The true believer in any religion is called a fundamentalist. The Law of Contradiction tells us that no two religions may both be true at the same time. There can be only one true religion.
A good synopsis of The Law of Contradiction and its application to Christianity was written by Phillip R. Johnson, Executive Director of Grace to You, the media ministry of John MacArthur in 1995. I will quote excerpts from his article.
“The Law of Contradiction means that two antithetical propositions cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense. X cannot be non-X. A thing cannot be and not be simultaneously. And nothing that is true can be self-contradictory or inconsistent with any other truth.”
“All logic depends on this simple principle. Rational thought and meaningful discourse demand it. To deny it is to deny all truth in one fell swoop.”
“Until a little more than a hundred years ago, the Law of Contradiction was almost universally accepted by philosophers as a self-evident truth. Francis Schaeffer attributed the decline of 20th-century society to the demise of the Law of Contradiction. He suggested that when philosophy abandons this principle it sinks beneath ‘the line of despair’ and ultimately makes suicide the only viable course of action.”
“Scripture very clearly affirms the Law of Contradiction. First John 2:21, for example, is explicit: ‘I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.’ (NASB) Many other passages, such as 2 Timothy 2:13, ‘If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.’ (NASB) either assume or reiterate the Law of Contradiction.”
“But Titus 1:2 tells us that ‘… in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, …’ (NASB) Therefore even God’s Word must be in harmony with the Law of Contradiction. One clear, unresolvable contradiction would be enough to destroy the trustworthiness of the whole. That’s why the enemies of truth are so eager to try to prove that God’s Word contradicts itself.”
“Certainly we who love truth ought to jealously guard against any suggestion that God’s revelation is internally inconsistent. But more than that, we need to defend the Law of Contradiction itself, because this is a biblical principle, and it lies at the root of all truth.” [Emphasis added]
The same truth of the Law of Contradiction must be applied to the discussion of the differences in the world’s religions and the determination of which is the one and only true religion. In this article I will compare only Christianity versus Islam.
Christianity (32%) and Islam (23%) are the two largest monotheistic religions in the world. Both claim descent from Adam through Abraham and on through one of two sons, Isaac or Ishmael. There are many highly significant differences between Christianity and Islam, enough to fill many articles, much less many books.
It is my thesis that Christianity is the one true religion and that Islam is a false religion. I will not compare the many theological differences, but concentrate primarily on the historic, artistic and scientific claims of the two religions and allow the reader to determine which one stands up or falls based upon this critique.
If a religion is the one true religion then the god of that religion, the claimed creator, must be a supernatural being; one who is separate from and beyond nature. If that god is a holy god who is all powerful and all knowing, then that god would know all things absolutely and would communicate accurate and truthful facts about history, medicine, music, art and science.
The Christian Bible, although available in many translations from the original texts, is filled with accurate statements about history, medicine, music, art and science. The 14 variants (seven major texts, each with two equally accepted versions) of the Koran (also Quran or Qurʼan) are filled with inaccurate statements about history, medicine, music, art and science. These Korans kill all efforts to develop and expand knowledge in these areas.
The Creation Accounts
Any religion is founded upon its “creation” account consisting of who or what is responsible and how all things came into existence. That creation foundation determines the relationship between the god and the people that were created. The first test for the one true religion must be that its creation account is rational, reasonable, logical and based in evidence (scientifically accurate). Consider the following comparisons between the creation accounts of the Bible and the Korans and get a sense of which one fits these four standards:
Genesis 1:26–27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created them, male and female He created them.
Sura Al-Baqarah 2:22 [He] who made for you the earth a bed [spread out] and the sky a ceiling and sent down from the sky, rain and brought forth thereby fruits as provision for you. So do not attribute to Allah equals while you know [that there is nothing similar to him].
Genesis 2:2–3 And on the seventh day God finished his work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation.
Sura Qaf 50:38 And we did certainly create the heavens and earth and what is between them in six days, and there touched us no weariness.
Genesis 3:17 And to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life.”
Sura Al-Balad 90:4 We have certainly created man into hardship.
The first thing that becomes noticeable is that the Bible starts with a unified codified description of the Creation Foundation. God concentrated the most creation related chapters and verses in the beginning of the Bible, with some creation related sections elsewhere, mostly in The Book of Job.
In Islam those statements dealing with the initial creation are scattered aimlessly and rather haphazardly throughout the 114 chapters (Sura[h,t]s) of the Korans. Chapters in the Korans are arranged roughly in the order of descending size, by the decreasing number of verses (ayat, a plural word in Arabic) contained in each chapter; therefore, the arrangement of the Korans is neither in a chronological nor a thematic order. This makes the study of the Korans very difficult and problematic.
Continuing with some comparisons between the creation statements of the Bible versus those of the Korans:
Genesis 2:9, 16-17 And out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. ... And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.” (NASB)
Sura Al-Baqarah 7:19-20 and 20:120 And “O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise and eat from wherever you will but do not approach this tree [of Life], lest you be among the wrongdoers.” But Satan whispered to them to make apparent to them that which was concealed from them of their private parts. He said, “Your Lord did not forbid you this tree [of Life] except that you become angels or become of the immortal.” ... Then Satan whispered to him; he said, “O Adam, shall I direct you to the tree of eternity [Tree of Life] and possession that will not deteriorate?” (There is no mention of a Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Korans.)
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent [snake, viper] was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” (NASB)
There is no reference to a serpent, snake or viper in any Koran except for a reference to the transformation of the rod of Moses.
Genesis 3:23-24 ... therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction, to guard the way to the tree of life. (NASB)
Sura 2:26 and 7:24 Al-Baqarah But Satan caused them to slip out of it and removed them from that [condition] in which they had been. And We said, “Go down, [all of you], as enemies to one another, and you will have upon the earth a place of settlement and provision for a time.” ... [ Allah ] said, “Descend, being to one another enemies. And for you on the earth is a place of settlement and enjoyment for a time.”
Genesis 2:17, 3:19; Romans 5:12,17 and 1 Cor. 15:21-22, 26 Speak of death as an “enemy” that entered the universe only as a consequence, a result, of human sin.
In the Korans “death” is not an “enemy;” it is simply an integral part of the initial creation and is not dependent upon human actions.
Genesis 3:17; Romans 8:20-22; and, Rev. 22:3 These verses deal with the ground being “cursed,” the entire creation “groaning,” and all things being in a state of “bondage to decay” because of the original sin of human beings.
In the Korans bad things that happen are not the result of human sin, but are, again, an integral part of the initial creation and independent of human actions.
Genesis 5:3-32, Luke 3:36-38 and other verses allow us to date The Flood of Noah at about 2,350 BC. Genesis 6:14-16 gives the dimensions of the Ark of Noah. Genesis 7:12, 24; 8:4, 14 give us the duration of the rain and The Flood. Genesis 7:1, 7 and 1 Peter 3:20 tells us that there were only eight survivors of The Flood. Genesis 9:3 grants humans the right to eat meat after The Flood. Genesis 9:11-17 speaks of the sign of the [rain]bow and God’s promise to never again flood the earth in judgment.
In the Korans there are no clear statements about genealogies; no dimensions of the Ark of Noah; no duration for the rain nor The Flood; no numbering of the survivors; and, no mention of a [rain]bow nor God’s promise to the creation.
In addition, the Korans claim that one of Noah’s sons drowned during The Flood; and, suggests/claims that Noah’s wife may not have survived The Flood.
Sura Hūd 11:42-43 And it sailed with them through waves like mountains, and Noah called to his son who was apart [from them], “O my son, come aboard with us and be not with the disbelievers.”
Sura At-Taĥrīm 66:10 Allah presents an example of those who disbelieved: the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. They were under two of Our righteous servants but betrayed them, so those prophets did not avail them from Allah at all, and it was said, “Enter the Fire with those who enter.”
Genesis 11:1-9; 10:5, 20, 31 describes that there was only one language until the Tower of Babel experience, and that God gave 70 languages to divide the people.
Sura Ar-Rūm 30:22 And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge.
In the Korans, there is no mention of the Tower of Babel; and, all languages existed from the beginning.
Development of the Modern Scientific Method
Having looked at various contradictions between Christianity and Islam concerning their accounts of creation, it is appropriate to determine how did the Modern Scientific Method (MSM) come into existence? Is it based in the beliefs of Christianity or of Islam?
Monotheistic Islam is based first and foremost upon the teachings of a Judeo-Christian root. Islam was started about 500 years after the completion of the Books of the Bible’s New Testament; and, about 300 years after the Canon of the New Testament determined the Books that are contained in the New Testament.
All three religions reject idolatry, astrology and various superstitions. All three brought a codified law and order scheme to the areas in which they were practiced. All three would have been and are, to some degree or another, superior to any polytheistic/pantheistic approach to the development of technological innovation and economic commerce.
There are, however, many “PC Myths” circulating around that falsely claim various scientific developments and discoveries were first Islamic in origin. You will hear that algebra; the use of the number zero; the invention of the astrolabe for navigation; and, new agricultural techniques were discovered first under Islam.
It is not my intention to belittle the efforts of any individual person within the Islamic community and their contribution to society in general, but it is totally inaccurate to claim that the MSM arose within the Islamic religion. This fact has been thoroughly documented by various scholars. Many of the advancements claimed to be Islamic in origin only occurred when Islam dominated other cultures such as the lands of Byzantine Christianity, Persia and India.
For example, in his book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), on pages 93 and 95, Robert Spencer wrote:
“Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi (780–850) was a pioneering mathematician whose treatise on algebra, once translated from Arabic, introduced generations of Europeans to the joys of that branch of mathematics. But in fact, the principles upon which al-Khwarizmi worked were discovered centuries before he was born - including the zero, which is often attributed to Muslims. Even what we know of today as ‘Arabic numerals’ did not originate in Arabia, but in pre-Islamic India; and, they are not used in the Arabic language today. Nonetheless, there is no denying that al-Khwarizmi was influential. The word algebra itself comes from the first word of the title of his treatise Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah; and the word algorithm is derived from his name. Al-Khwarizmi’s work opened up new avenues of mathematical and scientific exploration in Europe, so why didn’t it do the same in the Islamic world? The results are palpable: Europeans ultimately used algebra, in conjunction with other discoveries, to make significant technological advances; Muslims did not. Why?”
“There is a prevailing assumption that the Qur’an is the perfect book, and no other book is needed. With the Qur’an the perfect book and Islamic society the perfect civilization, too many Muslims didn’t think they needed knowledge that came from any other source - certainly not from infidels.”
The MSM is described as following these general principles: Formulation of a question; Hypothesis; Prediction; Testing; Analysis; Experiment; Replication; External Review; and, Data Recording and Sharing.
The MSM originated in the Judeo-Christian Bible
4,000 years ago the first mention of the MSM is contained in the Book of Job. The teaching starts with Job 1:6 and continues through Job 2:10. While the MSM is described accurately in Job, there are other Bible verses that refer to it. For example:
Ecclesiastes 7:25 “I directed my mind to know, to investigate, and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness.” (NASB)
Proverbs 25:2 “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” (NASB)
While Greek philosophers gave lip service to the ideas of inductive reasoning, it was the Christian Church which fostered and brought the MSM to fruition. It was upon the Creation Mandate of Genesis 1:26 and 28 that the Christian natural philosophers connected the rational mind with the empirical, inductive method of acquiring knowledge. It was Bishop Robert Grosseteste (ca. 1168-1253), first chancellor of Oxford University, who first proposed the MSM. His student, Roger Bacon (1214-1294) further expanded the concept and argued that “all things must be verified by experience.” Both men were devout Christians and believed in biblical inerrancy.
William of Occam (or Ockham, 1285-1347), a Franciscan friar and known for “Occam’s Razor,” believed that knowledge needed to be derived empirically. Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) stressed observation, recording of data and the systematic collecting of information.
Following Francis Bacon there has been a long line of Biblical Scientific Creationists. As the Roman proverb says: “To list some is to exclude all others.” A partial list would include Galileo Galilei, Johann Kepler, Blaise Pascal, Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton, Carolus Linneaus, William Herschel, Samuel F. B. Morse, Michael Faraday, Louis Pasteur, Gregor Mendel, Rudolph Virchow, Joseph Lister, John Ambrose Fleming and George Washington Carver.
What was the Islamic contribution to “science” and the MSM? It is first found in the translation of earlier Greek texts into Arabic made after conquering other cultures: Jundishapur, Persia, 638 would become a center of Greek to Arabic translation; Haroun al-Rashid, caliph of Baghdad, 786, “scoured the known world for Greek and Syriac texts to translate into Arabic”; and, in the 9th century, Umayyads and Abbasids translated Greek texts on medicine and astronomy.
This was not “new” knowledge, but merely copies of previously acquired Western knowledge.
Most, but not all, of the men who translated the earlier Greek texts into Arabic were not Islamic believers. Many were Nestorian Christians who simply worked for Muslims. The same thing happened in Spain, Sicily and Malta under the Moors, it was the Catholic Christians and Jews who did most of the work. Further to the point, some of these translations from Greek into Arabic occurred prior to Muhammad starting Islam. Probus, a Christian priest and medical doctor in Antioch, translated Aristotle into Arabic in the early fifth century.
The Muslims acquired their initial knowledge of mathematics from Greek translations. They were the ones to accept the Hindu numerals (now called Arabic numerals) and they did become proficient in using them. They did not originate them, and they did not improve on them.
However, as Galileo wrote in The Assayer (1623):
“Philosophy is written in this grand book - I mean the Universe - which stands continually open to our gaze, but it cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language and interpret the characters in which it is written. It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it.” [Emphasis added]
Mathematics is not a science; it is the language of science.
Islam based its working knowledge of astronomy on the works of Ptolemy (ca. A.D. 100-170). Muslims so revered Ptolemy that his works were called Almagest (superior to all books). So, while they made considerable use of the information, they did not improve on it.
While individual Muslims, such as Ibn Sina [Avicenna] (early 11th century), did write works on medicine, anatomy and physiology they did not add to nor advance medical knowledge. When men such as these did rise up and attempt to provoke others to seek more knowledge they were brought under great persecution. In 1150, the Caliph of Baghdad burned the works of Ibn Sina and other natural philosophers of the Islamic world.
To make matters still worse, many of the Greek-Arabic translations were quite inaccurate. How could these help to improve and add to science, the “Body of Knowledge”?
Bernard Lewis, wrote in his book, The Muslim Discovery of Europe (1982), p. 229, about the Ottoman Muslims:
“The basic ideas forming, testing, and, if necessary, abandoning hypotheses remained alien to a society in which knowledge was conceived as a corpus of eternal verities which could be acquired, accumulated, transmitted, interpreted, and applied but not modified or transformed.” [Emphasis added]
In the Muslim worldview, these so-called “verities” are found in the Korans, which they say cannot be “modified or transformed” by any scientific findings whatsoever.
Thus the “Golden Age” of Islam (900-1100) produced nothing truly novel, no great innovations, only effective use of scientific knowledge acquired from the blood and sweat of other cultures.
When reading about scientific endeavors in the Islamic world, one reads about what is labeled as “Islamic science.” However, there is no such thing as “Islamic science.” The words “science,” “technology” or “chemistry” are neutral words. We must never allow them to be usurped as specific to a particular religion. To use a term like “Islamic science” shows a bias on the part of the user. In the same way, there is no such thing as “Islamic physics” or “Islamic medicine.” For a person to use such terms would be to foster a double standard.
To be fair, there were some Muslim contributions to natural philosophy. These contributions were in the areas of astronomy, physics, mathematics, optics, physiology and medicine; however, all these efforts were accomplished prior to the 13th century. These natural philosophers included Avicenna (980 - 1037), Averroes (1126 - 1198), Jabir Ibn Hayyan (ca. 760 - ca. 815), Al-Kindi (813 - 880) and Al-Razi [also Rhazes] (ca. 865 - 925).
Jabir is referred to as “the father of Arabic alchemy.” But, alchemy is a totally discredited field in which there is an attempt to convert or transmutate base metals into precious metals. A few chemical terms were invented by him such as: alkali, antimony, realgar, tutania and ammonia. However, he made no true advancement to modern chemistry.
Al-Razi was the Persian chief physician in Baghdad around 900. While he is sometimes likened to Hippocrates, the medical historian Max Meyerhof wrote in his book “Science and Medicine” (1931) that: “Rhazes, the Persian, was a talented clinical observer, but not a Harvey.”
To his credit, Avicenna rejected the pursuit of alchemy. He authored various works including his “Canon of Medicine.” His Canon, however, was really just a rework of the writings of the Greek physician Galen. Therefore, it contained many errors. As Muslims are strictly prohibited from dissecting either human bodies or animals, it was impossible for Avicenna to correct anything that Galen had written. Later, Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519) and Paracelsus (1493 – 1541) would reject Avicenna’s writings.
al-Ghazali (1058 - 1111) is considered by many Muslims as the most influential philosopher since Muhammad. He also oversaw the decline of Islam’s Golden Age. He considered Avicenna as heretical. Averroes was banished as unorthodox in 1195. Jabir was exiled in the 9th century as unorthodox.
Clearly the persecution of these thinkers proves that Islam is not a home for true science nor true scientific discovery.
The Islamic world lags behind the West in the areas of science and always will. In his 1996 article, “Why Does the Muslim World Lag in Science?”, Aaron Segal wrote: “the Muslim world produces a disproportionately small amount of scientific output, and much of it relatively low in quality.”
Islam contains 20 % of the world’s population, but it generates only 5 % of the world’s scientific output. The Muslim countries of Sudan and Iran, have little interest in science and in Libya, Syria and Afghanistan science is being crippled by Muslim clerics.
This lag of effort in the various fields of science within the Muslim world is nothing new and certainly not surprising. In 1931, historian George Sarton wrote his monumental volumes on the history of science entitled Introduction to the History of Science. He wrote that Muslims, for the most part, were not interested in matters concerning the order of nature. They were primarily interested in the religious implications of the world in which they lived. For this reason the Muslim world has a primarily anti-scientific attitude.
This started in the 11th century with al-Ghazali. He argued that scientific pursuits led to unbelief and therefore science in general was not an activity that devout Muslims should pursue.
David C. Lindberg, historian of science, wrote in The Beginnings of Western Science, 1992, p.173:
“[T]he foreign sciences never ceased to be viewed by the great majority of Muslims as useless, alien, and perhaps dangerous ... [these] sciences were never deeply integrated into Islamic culture, but survived on the margins.”
Bernard Lewis made a similar statement in his book, Islam and the West, 1993 p. 183:
“The Renaissance, the Reformation, even the Scientific Revolution, and the Enlightenment, passed unnoticed in the Muslim World.”
These observations are only two of many that help to explain why the Islamic countries continue to lag in scientific and medical research and discovery.
While there were a few natural philosophers in the Islamic world who made limited advances, Islamic scholars never achieved the level of intellectual stature as that of the ancient Greeks. Indeed, it was the Greeks from whom they acquired most of their knowledge of medicine and the natural world, and it was from India that they acquired their mathematics. There was little additional knowledge gained after the Golden Age which only lasted from the ninth to the 11th century.
It was Christianity that provided the atmosphere necessary to provide the presuppositions, the motivations, and the men and women who would launch the modern scientific movement.
Again, as Lindberg noted in regard to the study of nature, “The church was one of the major patrons - perhaps the [sic] major patron - of scientific learning.”
No Muslim discovered any scientific Law. It was the Christian West that produced Kepler (three laws of astronomy), Newton (Law of Gravity and three Laws of Motion), Pascal (Law of Liquid Pressure), Ohm (law in electricity), Boyle (gas law), Kelvin (absolute zero scale), Faraday (law in electromagnetic induction), Dalton (atomic weights), Lavoisier (The Father of Chemistry) and Mendel (Laws of Genetics). No Muslim ever discovered bacteria, the use of chloroform in surgery, inoculation against diseases, the use of antiseptics to preserve life, nor encouraged the dissecting of human cadavers to promote the medical arts.
In his book Why I Am Not A Muslim (1995), former Muslim Ibn Warraq wrote that “There is a persistent myth that Islam encouraged science.” He also noted that orthodox Muslims have “always been suspicious of ‘knowledge for its own sake,’ and unfettered intellectual inquiry is deemed dangerous to the faith.”
The non-Christian philosopher of science Alfred North Whitehead said that “faith in the possibility of science, generated antecedently to the development of modern scientific theory, is an unconscious derivative from medieval [Christian] theology.” Rodney Stark observed that Whitehead “had grasped that Christian theology was essential for the rise of science in the West, just as surely as non-Christian theologies had stifled the scientific quest everywhere else.” Lynn White, historian of medieval science, stated that “the [medieval] monk was an intellectual ancestor of the scientist.” German physicist Ernst Mach, although a positivist, observed: “Every unbiased mind must admit that the age in which the chief development of the science of mathematics took place was an age of predominantly [Christian] theological cast.”
It is the Judeo-Christian worldview that has always insisted that there is only one God, and that He is a rational being. Without these two presuppositions there would not be, nor could there be, a Modern Scientific Method.
As Andrew Lamb wrote in his article, Christianity, Islam and science: Was modern science birthed by Islam? (2008): “... science as we know it only became established once, in Christian Europe in the Middle Ages. This was not the result of some sort of racial or ethnic superiority, but because it required people holding explicitly biblical assumptions and a society practicing Christian ethics. Many historians, both secular and Christian, have pointed out the crucial role the creationist worldview played.”
Dr. James Hannam, in his book God’s Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science, noted: “Christian theology turned out to be uniquely suited to encouraging the study of the natural world because it was believed to be God’s creation.”
Again, starting with the Dominion Mandate of Genesis 1:26 and 28, to Solomon’s statement in Ecclesiastes 7:25, to the admonishment in Proverbs 25:2; it has been God’s desire that human beings should learn as much about the natural realm as possible. Such studies benefit all of mankind. The establishment of the MSM was directly due to the European Bible-believing Christians of the Middle Ages who put this idea into practice. It was Christian theology that was essential for the rise of the MSM. It was Bible-believing Christians who stipulated that since God was an orderly God, the laws, processes and evidence He gave us must also be orderly and understandable.
In Islamic theology, this is not the case. The Korans describe Allah as absolutely powerful and bound by nothing, not even his own dictates. Therefore, in Islam to suggest that there could be “Laws of Nature” is equal to a denial of Allah’s sovereignty and his power; therefore, such a suggestion is absolute blasphemy. Since absolute laws cannot exist in Islamic theology, this creates a lack of assurance in a predictable dependable god. This in turn leads to what Sir Winston Churchill described as the “fearful fatalistic apathy,” of the Islamic worldview.
The Acceptance of Islam Kills Music, Art & Science
Some people promote the idea that there is great Islamic literature. If so, where is it? The best known writers attributed to the Islamic world either were not Islamic believers, or they were considered heretics.
Perhaps the best known Islamic poet is Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273) author of The Thousand and One Nights. He was a Sufi, a mystical universalist branch of Sunni Islam, which predates the founding of Islam. He could hardly be considered mainstream.
Next, we might consider Kahlil Gibran (1883 – 1931), author of The Prophet. He was born in Lebanon during the Ottoman Empire to a Maronite Catholic family. He was influenced by the Islamic religion, however, he finally became an advocate of the Bahá’í Faith.
Or, what of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (1048–1131)? Omar Khayyám was a Persian polymath - philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and poet. Although revered for his work in mathematics and astronomy, his poetic output was relatively small and would have been little known if it had not been for a translation by Edward FitzGerald (1809–1883). Many critics, and even FitzGerald, agree that the translation was loosely done and more often the work of Fitzgerald than Khayyám. Khayyám was theologically a Sufi (mystic).
When was the last time you heard of any great Islamic novels, short stories or any other form of literature?
When was the last time that you heard a great musical composition that was Islamic in origin? Are there any Islamic Bachs, Beethovens, Mozarts, Handels, Debussys or Chopins?
When was the last time you heard of any great Islamic painting, ballet, opera or sculpture? Are there any Islamic Mona Lisas, Pietàs or Sistine Chapels?
The reason that there is not is simple. Islamic law outlaws any musical or artistic expression that includes the human form. In Islam music has no place in their religious experience. Muhammad forbade the use of musical instruments! Several ahadiths quote Muhammad concerning this point.
“Allah Mighty and Majestic sent me as a guidance and mercy to believers and commanded me to do away with musical instruments, flutes, strings, crucifixes, and the affair of the pre-Islamic period of ignorance. On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress. Song makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water does herbage.” [Emphasis added]
“This Community will experience the swallowing up of some people by the earth, metamorphosis of some into animals, and being rained upon with stones.” Someone asked, “When will this be, O Messenger of Allah?” and he said, “When songstresses and musical instruments appear and wine is held to be lawful.”
“There will be peoples of my Community who will hold fornication, silk, wine, and musical instruments to be lawful ...”
Shari’a Law states:
“All of this is explicit and compelling textual evidence that musical instruments of all types are unlawful (Kaff al-ra’a’ ‘an muharramat al-lahw wa al-sama’ (y49), 2.269-70).
r40.2 (Nawawi:) It is unlawful to use musical instruments - such as those which drinkers are known for, like the mandolin, lute, cymbals, and flute - or to listen to them. It is permissible to play the tambourine at weddings, circumcisions, and other times, even if it has bells on its sides. Beating the kuba, a long drum with a narrow middle, is unlawful (Mughni al-muhtaj ila ma’rifa ma’ani alfaz al-Minhaj (y73), 4.429-30).
SINGING UNACCOMPANIED BY MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
r40.3 (Ibn Hajar Haytami:) As for listening to singing that is not accompanied by instruments, one should know that singing or listening to singing is offensive except under the circumstances to be mentioned in what follows. Some scholars hold that singing is sunna [usual practice according to Muhammad] at weddings and the like, and of our Imams, Ghazali and ‘Izz ibn ‘Abd al-Salam say that it is sunna if it moves one to a noble state of mind that makes one remember the hereafter. It is clear from this that all poetry which encourages good deeds, wisdom, noble qualities, abstinence from this-worldly things, or similar pious traits such as urging one to obey Allah, follow the sunna, or shun disobedience, is sunna to write, sing, or listen to, as more than one of our Imams have stated is obvious, since using a means to do good is itself doing good (Kaff al-ra’a’ ‘an muharramat al-lahw wa al-sama’ (y49), 2.273).
r40.4 (Nawawi: (n: with commentary by Muhammad Shirbini Khatib)) It is not prohibited to dance which is not unlawful because it is only motions made while standing or bowing. ... neither is it offensive, but rather is permissible, ... unless it is languid, like the movements of the effeminate (Mughni al-muhtaj ila ma’rifa ma’am alfaz al-Minhaj (y73), 4.430).
Do not think that Shari’a Law is some ancient law that has been modified, comprised, liberalized, altered from the original or ignored like many out of date colonial laws are today. No, Shari’a Law is strictly followed as it was written and has been practiced for fourteen centuries.
Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini spoke vehemently about the evils of music - all music. He is quoted in a book by Amir Taheri, The Spirit of Allah: Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution, (Adler & Adler 1986), p259.:
“Music, corrupts the minds of our youth. There is no difference between music and opium. Both create lethargy in different ways. If you want your country to be independent, then ban music. Music is treason to our nation and to our youth.”
Islam’s prohibition of art that depicts the human form is even more absolute. Muhammad said: “Angels (of Mercy) do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or a picture of a living creature (a human being or an animal).” Bukhari, vol. 4, book 59, no.3225.
[It is not a good idea to be a dog in an Islamic country, either! I wonder if PETA knows about this?]
While their buildings are covered with graceful Arabic writings, recorded in mosaics or enamels, the architecture does not have its roots in any Islamic culture. The architecture and design of mosques was borrowed from Christian Byzantine churches. The Dome of the Rock [The Mosque of Omar or Qubbat As-Sakhrah] in Jerusalem was built by Byzantine craftsmen, not Muslim workers, and the design was an enlargement of the dome built for the nearby Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The Judeo-Christian ethic is based upon the presupposition that God is good and that His goodness is consistent. This consistent God is perfect, rational, orderly and created all things, which operate primarily through divinely predetermined natural laws. Saint Thomas Aquinas offered this statement in support of this concept:
“Again, since the principles of certain sciences - of logic, geometry, and arithmetic, for instance - are derived exclusively from the formal principles of things, upon which their essence depends, it follows that God cannot make the contraries of those principles; He cannot make the genus not to be predictable of the species, nor lines drawn from a circle’s center to its circumference not to be equal, nor the three angles of a rectilinear triangle not to be equal to two right angles.”
Aquinas, T. Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 2, Section 25. trans. Edward Buckner
There are some things that the character of the Christian God prevents Him from doing. For example, the Christian God cannot lie; He cannot be tempted by evil; and, He cannot tempt anyone else. [Titus 1:2 and James 1:13]
By comparison, Islam, via the teachings of Muhammad, denies that there are natural laws because this would limit Allah and deny his freedom to do anything. In Islam, Allah is unlimited, absolutely free to do anything that he wishes. If there were rational laws in nature, it would bind his absolute sovereignty and that would be blasphemous. Therefore, there are no divinely given, reliable predictable, natural laws according to Islamic teachings. Thus, an acceptance of Allah and Islamic teaching kills science.
SCIENTIFIC ERRORS IN THE KORANS
It may be truthfully said that the various Korans contain many, many differences with the biblical text concerning the creation of the earth and universe; and, many, many scientific and medical errors - far too many to record completely in this article. We must, however, point out some as an example of the whole list.
Say, “Do you indeed disbelieve in He who created the earth in two days and attribute to Him equals? That is the Lord of the worlds. And He placed on the earth firmly set mountains over its surface, and He blessed it and determined therein its [creatures’] sustenance in four days without distinction - for [the information] of those who ask. Then He directed Himself to the heaven while it was smoke and said to it and to the earth, “Come [into being], willingly or by compulsion.” They said, “We have come willingly.” And He completed them as seven heavens within two days and inspired in each heaven its command. And We adorned the nearest heaven with lamps and as protection. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing.”
The differences with the biblical text are obvious. The Christian God created the earth in one day; He created the geological features in the first three days; He created the biological creatures in the second three days; He spoke the creation into existence, He did not make smoke and He did not personify the smoke and earth. The creation was subject to God and could not “come willingly” or “by compulsion.” In the Christian worldview nature does not have a will of its own. The Bible clearly describes three Heavens, not seven. He took six literal 24 hours days to create all things. He did not take two days to make seven heavens. He created all the stars in the universe on the fourth day, not lamps.
“Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe?”
No Christian creationist, nor any evolutionist, would agree with the idea that the earth and universe were joined together at any time. While living creatures contain water, and water is required for life, it is an inaccurate statement to say that living creatures were “made from water.” To say such a thing is equal to believing in alchemy.
Surah 36:38 and 40
“And the sun runs [on course] toward its stopping point. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing.” “It is not allowable for the sun to reach the moon, nor does the night overtake the day, but each, in an orbit, is swimming.”
“Indeed, Allah holds the heavens and the earth, lest they cease. And if they should cease, no one could hold them [in place] after Him. Indeed, He is Forbearing and Forgiving.”
The various Korans seem to support a belief in Geocentrism, that all objects orbit a fixed earth. This view of the solar system was disproven by Copernicus in 1543.
Surah 18:86 and 90
“Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it [as if] setting in a spring of dark mud, and he found near it a people. Allah said, ‘O Dhul-Qarnayn, either you punish [them] or else adopt among them [a way of] goodness.’”
“Until, when he came to the rising of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had not made against it any shield.”
No rational person would agree that the sun sets in a spring of dark mud. Many modern scholars consider the figure mentioned as “Dhul-Qarnayn” to be none other than Alexander the Great; although some say that it is Cyrus the Great or the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius. Clearly, these are utterly false statements about the sun’s activity.
Surah 71:15-16 and Surah 37:6
“Do you not consider how Allah has created seven heavens in layers and made the moon therein a [reflected] light and made the sun a burning lamp?”
“Indeed, We have adorned the nearest heaven with an adornment of stars ...”
Surah 71:16 and Surah 24:35
“And made the moon therein a [an emitting] light and made the sun a burning lamp?”
“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is knowing of all things.”
Surah 54:1 and Sahih Bukhari Vol. 4, Book 56, Number 831
“The Hour has come near, and the moon has split [in two].”
“Narrated Anas: That the Meccan people requested Allah’s Apostle to show them a miracle, and so he showed them the splitting of the moon.”
Surah 65:12 and Tafsir Ibn-Abass (paternal cousin of the prophet Muhammad)
“It is Allah who has created seven heavens and of the earth, the like of them. [His] command descends among them so you may know that Allah is over all things competent and that Allah has encompassed all things in knowledge.”
“Allah is He who created 7 heavens one above the other like a dome, and of the Earths, the like thereof, 7 planets but they are flat ...” [Emphasis added]
“Then, do they not look at what is before them and what is behind them of the heaven and earth? If We should will, We could cause the earth to swallow them or [could] let fall upon them fragments from the sky. Indeed in that is a sign for every servant turning back [to Allah ].”
While the Bible does teach that there are three heavens, the Korans teach that there are seven heavens. These seven heavens are supposedly stacked one on top of the other. The Korans state that the stars are the closet heavenly objects to the earth and that they reside between the earth and the moon. This is clearly a preposterous statement.
The sun is called a “lamp/torch.” In Islam this is not a metaphorical statement but is supposed to be a factual statement - a real lamp/burning torch.
The moon has certainly never split into two pieces, but Muhammad is supposed to have seen it and to have shown it to others. This is clearly fictional.
The Korans teach that there are seven planets. While in modern times there is an argument over whether or not there are eight or nine planets, no one thinks that there are seven. The Creator would not lose count of the number of planets that He created.
The Korans state that the planets, whether seven, eight or nine are “flat”! Man has known that the earth was round “from the beginning.” The Bible records this seven times (6 in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament), and the Greeks proved it mathematically 2,300 years ago. [See my article: The Myth of the Flat Earth Concept on the CWM web site]
The above statements from the Korans describing the “heavens”, “stars”, “planets” and “earth” are utterly unscientific statements. The Korans are full of wrong information about astronomical objects!
After all, why did Allah supposedly create the stars?
Surah 37:6 and 7
“Indeed, We have adorned the nearest heaven with an adornment of stars and as protection against every rebellious devil ...”
“And We have certainly beautified the nearest heaven with stars and have made [from] them what is thrown at the devils and have prepared for them the punishment of the Blaze.”
According to the Qurans, Allah claims to have made the stars in order to be rockets or missiles which will be thrown at devils.
The Qurans are no less wrong about the formation of the geological features and geography of the earth; the structure of the sun; or, the structure of the atmosphere. For example:
“And He has cast into the earth firmly set mountains, lest it shift with you, and [made] rivers and roads, that you may be guided, ...”
“And We placed within the earth firmly set mountains, lest it should shift with them, and We made therein [mountain] passes [as] roads that they might be guided.”
“And He placed on the earth firmly set mountains over its surface, and He blessed it and determined therein its [creatures’] sustenance in four days without distinction - for [the information] of those who ask.”
The Arabic verb used in these Surahs means to “drop down” as one would drop an anchor. Clearly this is not the action by which mountains have been formed.
Mountains have been formed in the past in various ways: created as a part of the land surface which rose up out of the water on Day Three (See Genesis 1:9); formed by the folding of wet sedimentary layers after The Flood of Noah (See: Psalm 104:5-9); and, through volcanic action. In all cases, mountains rose up from the surface of the earth, they were not separate lumps that fell down onto the surface.
In the accompanying section of the Hadith Volume 5, Book 58, Number 227, it is written:
“Narrated Abbas bin Malik: ...So when I went (over the seventh heaven), there I saw Abraham. Gabriel said (to me), ‘This is your father; pay your greetings to him.’ So I greeted him and he returned the greetings to me and said, ‘You are welcomed, O pious son and pious Prophet.’ Then I was made to ascend to Sidrat-ul-Muntaha (i.e. the Lote Tree of the utmost boundary) Behold! Its fruits were like the jars of Hajr (i.e. a place near Medina) and its leaves were as big as the ears of elephants. Gabriel said, ‘This is the Lote Tree of the utmost boundary). Behold! There ran four rivers, two were hidden and two were visible, I asked, ‘What are these two kinds of rivers, O Gabriel?’ He replied,’ As for the hidden rivers, they are two rivers in Paradise and the visible rivers are the Nile and the Euphrates.’...”
So, according to Islamic teaching, the Rivers Nile and Euphrates start to flow from Heaven (the Islamic Paradise), not from the surface of the earth.
Apparently Allah knows nothing about the North and South Poles of the earth.
“It is not allowable for the sun to reach the moon, nor does the night overtake the day, but each, in an orbit, is swimming.”
In Polar Regions, the length of the day and night vary rapidly during the year, and at times and places night and day may last for weeks each year. Of course, day and night are not in orbits, they are the fixed boundary point called the “terminator” around the earth, and neither of them swim!
The Qurans are also wrong about the physical shape of our sun.
“When the sun is wrapped up [in darkness].”
The clear implication of this verb is that the sun is flat (like the earth) and that it can be rolled up like a rug.
According to the Qurans, the sky is a literal hard/firm sheet-like or tent-like object which may be rolled up as a scroll. To go further, pieces of this hard sky may be torn lose and thrown down by Allah as a punishment to those who do not repent and turn to him for protection.
“The Day when We will fold the heaven like the folding of a [written] sheet for the records. As We began the first creation, We will repeat it. [That is] a promise binding upon Us. Indeed, We will do it.”
“Then, do they not look at what is before them and what is behind them of the heaven and earth? If We should will, We could cause the earth to swallow them or [could] let fall upon them fragments from the sky. Indeed in that is a sign for every servant turning back [repenting and turning back to Allah ].”
“[He] who made for you the earth a bed [spread out] and the sky a ceiling and sent down from the sky, ...”
“It is Allah who erected the heavens without pillars that you [can] see; then He established Himself above the Throne and made subject the sun and the moon, each running [its course] for a specified term.”
Along with the many scientific errors in cosmology and cosmogony, there are many biological errors in the Korans.
“And indeed We created man (Adam) out of an extract of clay (literal water and earth). Thereafter We made him (the offspring of Adam) as a Nutfah (mixed drops of the male and female sexual discharge) (and lodged it) in a safe lodging (womb of the woman). Then We made the Nutfah into a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood), then We made the clot into a little lump of flesh, then We made out of that little lump of flesh bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, and then We brought it forth as another creation. So blessed be Allah, the Best of creators.”
“Was he not a Nutfah (mixed male and female discharge of semen) poured forth? Then he became an ‘Alaqa (a clot); then (Allah) shaped and fashioned (him) in due proportion. And made him in two sexes, male and female.”
“He was created from a fluid, ejected, emerging from between the backbone and the ribs.”
“Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists), has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood).”
The biological errors could not be more clear. The Korans repeat the erroneous Greek concepts of Aristotle and Galen, that the baby is formed from the male semen and the blood discharged from a women. The semen certainly does not form between the backbone and the ribs.
There is no blood in the cell at the time of conception, it is formed later. From conception to birth, the baby’s body follows one seamless continuous growth pattern. The Korans teach that there are four distinct stages in the growth pattern, a reversion to the pattern described by the Greek physician Galen.
In a developing baby, the mesoderm gives rise to the bone and muscle at the same time. They are not separate events as the Korans describe. In addition, the bones continue to develop long after birth, while the muscles have finished forming earlier.
“And of everything We have created pairs, that you may remember (the Grace of Allah).”
This is an incorrect statement. The vast majority of living organisms are single-celled creatures that reproduce by division and do not have two sexes.
“Until, when they came upon the valley of the ants, an ant said, ‘O ants, enter your dwellings that you not be crushed by Solomon and his soldiers while they perceive not.’ So [Solomon] smiled, amused at her speech, and said, ‘My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to do righteousness of which You approve. And admit me by Your mercy into [the ranks of] Your righteous servants.’”
Ants do communicate, but they do not speak with voices, nor can they reason.
Finally, there are other scientific errors in the Korans.
“And it is He Who has let free the two seas (kinds of water - fresh and salt), one palatable and sweet, and the other salt and bitter, and He has set a barrier and a complete partition between them.”
No, there is no absolute barrier between bodies of fresh and salt water. When fresh water rivers enter seas and oceans there is a mixing of salinity and the creation of brackish waters. Many creatures live in two or all three conditions - shrimp and salmon for example.
“And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except [that they are] communities like you. We have not neglected in the Register a thing. Then unto their Lord they will be gathered.”
Actually, many animals do not live in communities, but meet only to mate and then go their separate ways - like bears, jaguars, pandas. The Korans teach that animals are sinful, but will, like people, be resurrected. Ecclesiastes 3:19 and 12:7 preclude this. Animals are temporal beings while humans are eternal beings.
“[Remember] when He overwhelmed you with drowsiness [giving] security from Him and sent down upon you from the sky, rain by which to purify you and remove from you the evil [suggestions] of Satan and to make steadfast your hearts and plant firmly thereby your feet.”
Rain may have many benefits, but it does not cleanse us from the evil thoughts of Satan.
“And indeed you knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath. We said to them: ‘Be you monkeys, despised and rejected.’”
Apparently, in the reverse of what evolutionists believe, Allah can miraculously turn people who transgress into apes!
Islam is a totally false religion. I am not Islamophobic. I can say this because Islam is a religion founded upon false scientific statements. No religion is viable unless the god of that religion reveals accurate truthful statements about his creation.
Only the Judeo-Christian Bible contains inerrant statements about science, and therefore, the God revealed in the Bible is the One true God.