Chapter 6 : "Interstellar Galactic Material"
The Qur'an mentions a rather curious category of created things, namely things between the heavens and the earth.
There are many things which are "between the heavens and the earth", including clouds, birds, insects, air-borne dust. The Qur'an makes absolutely no mention of Interstellar Galactic Material!
Dr. Bucaille observes that this mention in the Qur'an "may surprise the twentieth century reader of the Qur'an" (The Bible, the Qur'an and Science, p. 144). For example, one verse says as follows: "To Him (God) belongs what is in the heavens, on earth, between them and beneath the soil" (Qur'an 20:6; other verses include 25:59, 32:4 and 50:38). What is that between the heavens and the earth? Dr. Bucaille explains as follows: "The creation outside the heavens and outside the earth is a priori difficult to imagine. To understand these verses, reference must be made to the most recent observations on the existence of cosmic extra-galactic material, and one must indeed go back to ideas established by contemporary science on the formation of the universe . . ." (p. 145).
Once again, there are many things that can be considered to be "between the heavens and the earth". Science forces us to be specific with our terminology.
Scientists tell us that a primary nebula condensed, then divided up into fragments. These fragments, these galactic masses, further split up into stars and their sub-products, the planets. Each time such a division or split occurred, there remained extra material apart from the principal elements newly formed. The scientific name for these extra materials is ‘interstellar galactic material'. Is this extra material significant? Yes. Experts in astrophysics are quite aware of such material which have "a tendency to interfere with photometric measurements" (The Bible, the Qur'an and Science, p. 149). The extra material is so rarefied that they may be referred to as dusts or smokes or gases. Yet they altogether occupy so much total space that they may correspond to "a mass possibly greater than the total mass of the galaxies" (p.149).
This is what scientists say, however, the Qur'an makes no mention of any of this! I do not understand why Shabir stops at the claim that this passage describes interstellar galactic material. Why not make the claim that the Qur'an is talking about aircraft or satellites which are between the heavens and the earth? Why not claim that the Qur'an is referring to industrial pollution? The only limit to this type of interpretation is our imaginations!
Again, we must face up to the implication of all this. How could a man living fourteen hundred years ago have known about interstellar galactic material? Was Muhammad, on whom be peace, well versed in modern astrophysics? Or is the Qur'an nothing but the Word of God? Allah, the only true God, declares in His book: "The revelation of the scripture is from Allah, the Mighty, the Wise. Surely We [Allah] have revealed the scripture unto you [Muhammad] with truth; so worship Allah, making religion pure for Him (only)" (Qur'an 39:1-2).
It has not been shown that Qur'an says anything about interstellar galactic material. I am also amazed, when I read the Qur'an, the number of times that the book stresses its veracity and denies that it is a collection of "tales of the ancients" - although it gives no defense against this claim, only a denial. The truth should stand up to critical examination and reason. I am deeply suspicious when a book (or person) is constantly stressing its (or his) veracity.
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