About Rain in the Quran

The article, "About Rain in the Quran", attempts to convince us that the Qur'an contains statements of scientific fact concerning clouds and rain. The author reaches his conclusions by simply searching for Suras which mention rain then attempts to attach scientific meaning to these passages through a great deal of extrapolation.

The article cites three Quranic passages which, the author [Harun Yahya] believes, is proof that the Quran contains statements of scientific facts which were unknown 14 centuries ago. The first passage provides us with an excellent example of how several fairly elaborate concepts can be extrapolated, from a single term, by pouring a variety of meanings and interpretations into the term, without regard for the author's original intent. In other words, the term means whatever we wish. However, the main purpose of science is to explain and predict natural phenomena. Mr. Yahya is not using the methodology of science - he simply throws out a number of textbook explanations whose definitions he then attempts to force into a single phrase in order to prove his claims.

The second passage is an example of how some Muslim apologists attempt to attach elaborate scientific theories to statements which are no more than observations which any reasonably intelligent human could have easily made 14 centuries ago.

The interpretation of the third passage is simply incorrect, contradicting the author's initial premise.

The article begins:

Rain, which carries great importance for all living things including human beings, is mentioned in various verses of the Qur'an where substantial information is given about the formation of rain, its proportion and effects. The fact that it was not possible for any of this information to have been discovered at the time of the revelation of the Qur'an shows us that the Qur'an is the word of Allah.

Rain is important for all societies on this planet. Water is especially valuable in the arid regions of the world, such as Arabia, therefore, it is not surprising that the Qur'an, which was written in Arabia, places so much emphasis on water - even to the point of mentioning the abundant presence of water in paradise.

I. The Proportion of Rain

In the eleventh verse of Surat az-Zukhruf, rain is defined as water sent down in due measure. The verse is as follows:

"And He who sends down (from time to time) water from the sky in due measure, and We raise to life therewith a land that is dead. Even so will you be raised (from the dead) (Surat az -Zukhruf, 11)

This "measure" mentioned in the verse has to do with a couple of characteristics of rain.

Now the elusive search for the "meaning" of "measure" begins.

Measure 1 : The Water Cycle

First of all, the amount of rain that falls on the earth is always the same. It is estimated that in one second, 16 million tones of water evaporates from the earth. This number is equal to the amount of water that drops on the earth in one second. This means that water continuously circulates in a balanced cycle according to a "measure".

No, the amount of precipitation varies, and has varied, throughout history. As the earth becomes warmer, precipitation increases globally, as does evapo-transpiration.

In respect to the water cycle, if the Qur'an were scientifically accurate, it would say:

"And He who sends down water from the sky in due measure, is equal to evapo-transpiration minus the precipitation that is stored as frozen on the ground"

Clearly, the Qur'an does not say this and this meaning does not fit the idea which this passage is attempting to convey.

Measure 2 : The Speed of a Raindrop

Another measure related with rain is about its falling speed. The minimum altitude of rain clouds is 1200 meters. When dropped from this height, an object having the same weight and size as a rain drop, would continuously accelerate and fall on the ground with a speed of 558 km/h........

Once again, Mr. Yahya is trying to impose his ideas on the text of the Qur'an. This passage is not talking about the speed on a raindrop, or the damage that it would cause if at fell at a faster speed!

Measure 3 (In case you are not convince by 1 or 2) : A Super-cooled Liquid at 400C ?!!

This is not all about the "measures" of rain. For instance, in the atmospheric layers where it starts to rain, the temperature may fall so low as 400 C degrees. Despite this, rain drops never turn into ice particles*. (This would certainly mean a fatal threat for the living things on the earth). The reason is that the water in the atmosphere is pure water. As known, pure water hardly freezes even in very low temperatures.

Yet again, the author attempts to impose his meaning on the text! How can we derive the idea of a super-cooled liquid from this passage? In other words, is the Qur'an telling us:

"And He who sends down water from the sky as a super-cooled liquid [due measure],"?

Also, if rain were 400 C, it would not be a super-cooled liquid, it would be super-heated steam!

II The Formation of Rain

How rain forms remained a great mystery for people for a long time. Only after air radars were discovered, could it have been possible to learn by which stages rain formed. The formation of rain takes place in three stages: First, the "raw material" of rain rises up in the air. Later, clouds are formed and lastly, rain drops appear. These stages are clearly defined in the Qur'an in which precise information was given about the formation of rain centuries in advance;

"It is Allah Who sends the Winds, and they raise the Clouds: then does He spread them in the sky as He wills, and break them into fragments, until you see rain-drops issue from the midst thereof: then when He has made them reach such of his servants as He wills behold, they do rejoice!"

Mr. Yahya continues by cutting and pasting textbook explanations of how rain clouds form, however, the Qur'an says nothing of the sort. The passage presented to us is nothing more than a human observation. The Arabs were, and are, an intelligent people who were aware of the environment around them. I am certain that the scarcity of precipitation in Arabia probably led the Arabs to regard precipitation as a very significant event, worthy of notice and description.

III Pure water from the sky?

" We send down pure water from the sky. That with it We may give life to a dead land, and slake the thirst of things We have created,- cattle and men in great numbers. Surat al-Furqan, 48- 49)

Salts that fall with rain are small examples of some fertilizers (calcium, magnesium, potassium etc.) used for increasing fertility. The heavy metals found in these types of aerosols, on the other hand, are other elements that increase fertility in the development and production of plants. Forests also develop and are fed with the help of these sea-originated aerosols. In this way, 150 million tons of fertilizer falls on the total surface of lands every year. If there was not a natural fertilization like this, there would be very little vegetation on the earth, and the ecological balance would be damaged. What is more interesting is that this truth, which could only be discovered by modern science, was informed by Allah in the Qur'an centuries ago.

The problem with this explanation is that it contradicts what the Qur'an tells us. According to this passage, God is sending pure water, yet the author claims that this water contains impurities, including heavy metals! The author is correct that rain water does indeed contain impurities, therefore, we can conclude that the Qur'an makes a scientific error when it claims that rain water is "pure".

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