Saturday, January 9, 2010

Debunking the claim that the Quran Predicts Modern Science: The Qur’an and the World of Atoms

Does the Qur'an Predict the Sub-atomic world and particles? This is the claim of certain Islamic apologists, such as Mustafa Mlivo, Muhammad Assaid and Zakir Naik among others:

Mustafa Mlivo, Quran and Science , The Qur’an prior to Science and Civilisation; see:

And Muhammad Assadi, in his book: The Unifying Theory of Everything: Koran and Nature’s Testimony; see

And Zakir Naik; see

These among others claim that the Qur’an is miraculous in its prediction of the sub atomic world (that is sub atomic particles).

Let's assess the claim:

The particular Qur’anic (Sura 34: 3) passages reads:

‘ him who knows the unseen,—from who is not hidden the least little atom in the heavens or on earth; nor is there anything less than that, or greater, but is in the record of perspicuous

See also Sura 10: 61:

He [i.e., Allah] is aware of an atom’s weight in the heavens and on the earth and even anything smaller than that...

Firstly we need to consider that there is a debate whether the Qur’an is literally referring to atoms or insects or possibly dust.

But let us for a moment assume that the Qur’an does refer to atoms and the sub-atomic particles, are we then correct to presume that this reference is miraculous or is possible that the Qur’an only makes a lucky guess or even that sub-atomic particles were already a common idea flourishing in the time of Muhammad?

The theory of atoms was founded by Leucippus (440 BC) and Democritus (432 BC), who proposed that atoms constituted and composed everything in existence even heaven and earth. The theory perceived the atoms as physical particles, which are in constant motion; being indivisible, indestructible and infinite in number and varieties. All this is slightly correct indeed, expect of course that the number of atoms and their varieties are infinite.

Indeed the early atomists predicted a range of up-to-date details, such as Democritus’ ‘moving at random’, which according to Russel in his book: 'History of Western Philosophy' suggests denotes the kinetic theory of gasses; and furthermore the collisions of atoms which collected them and formed vortices and later material bodies (Russell, 82-84); all this was in agreement with the latter theory of Lucretius (Lucretius, The Nature of the Universe, p. 185).

Yet Democritus and many early atomists seem to have committed the fallacy of considering atoms to contain no void, which made them impenetrable and indivisible (Russell, History of Western Philosophy, p. 88). This error excluded the existing reality of e.g. the neutrons, protons and electrons, and the newly proposed theory of the quarks. That is of course unless we move Democritus’ understanding as a theory of the Quark world and what preceded it. Hence according to certain Muslim writers, e.g. Mlivo and Muhammad Assadi and Zakir Naik, this suggests that the Qur'an solely gets the information right and must therefore be of divine origin.

However, there are serious flaws within this Muslim proposition.

Its primary failure is the failure to grasp that atomic science developed through the centuries. The emphatic claim of Democritus, that atoms were the first cause-particles which could not be further divided appears to be slightly diminishing at the time of Lucretius (approximately 50 BC); Lucretius seems to refer to new ideas in his time which suggests that atoms could be divided (at least he alludes to ideas quite different from those presupposed by Democritus); Lucretius writes in 50 BC:

It is with a mass of such parts, solidly jammed together in order, that matter is filled up. Since they cannot exist by themselves, they must stick together in a mass from which they cannot by any means be prized loose. The atoms therefore are absolutely solid and unalloyed, consisting of a mass of least parts tightly packed together. They are not compounds formed by the coalescence of their parts, but bodies of absolute and everlasting solidity. To these nature allows no loss or diminution, but guards them as seeds for things. If there are no such least parts, even the smallest bodies will consist of an infinite number of parts, since they can always be halved and their halves halved again’ (Lucretius, The Nature of the Universe 45)?

What are these least parts of which the atoms consist? And how about the opposite position, but otherwise proposed impossibility, that atoms can be halved and halved again?

This idea seems to have been raised 600 years prior to Islam. And there are further indications, that even the Epicurean's postulated particles smaller than atoms. Epicurean theory theorized that our body throws off thin films, which travel to touch the soul-atoms to create sensation; if these were considered to operate between atoms, then we might assume they are smaller (Russell, History of Western Philosophy, p. 255).

If however, atoms are the principle of matter and thus life, why is it that the Qur’an, being a divine revelation does not provide further insight into the world of atoms or quantum? Why is the Qur’an making no reference to atoms in relation to compounds or the combination of atoms to form a greater mass, as was expounded upon by Lucretius more 600 years prior to Islam (Lucretius, The Nature of the Universe, p.41); Lucretius writes:

At that time the sun’s bright disc was not to be seen here, soaring loft and lavishing light, nor the stars that crowd the far-flung firmament, nor sea nor sky, nor earth, nor air nor anything in the likeness of things we know nothing but a hurricane raging in a newly congregated mass of atoms of every sort’ (Lucretius, The Nature of the Universe, 184).

This completely refutes Zakir Naik in his debate with William Campbell, in which he admitted the similarity between Qur’anic and Greek science but then claimed that Qur’anic science is more specific and even corrects Greek science.

The Qur’an does not explain that the atoms are the fundamental building blocks and existed prior to cosmological expansion and the accretion of the earth, nor does it describe their existence as prior to the galactic dimension the pre-stellar material existed.

Lucretius’ description of a primordial congregated mass of atoms in the writings of Lucretius is fairly accurate and presents an idea that is much more advanced and explicit than the Qur’anic simple reference to the world of atoms and lesser matter.

Lucretius continues:

‘...they (the atoms) began, in fact, to separate the heights of heaven from the earth, to single out the sea as a receptacle for water detached from the mass and to set apart the fires of pure and isolated ether. In the first place all the particles of earth, because they were heavy and intertangled, collected in the middle and took up the undermost stations. The more closely they cohered and clung together, the more they squeezed out the atoms that went to the making of sea and stars, sun and moon and the outer walls of the great world’ (Lucretius, The Nature of the Universe, 184-5)?

While Lucretius’ postulate is outdated and contains a number of flaws, it does reveal a much more advanced insight into the atomic world than the Qur'an does and some details actually predicts modern science.

If the Qur’an is a miracle due to its reference to atoms and smaller matter, then certainly a number of Greek philosophers and indeed the atheist Lucretius were divinely inspired. What is much more logical however is that the Qur’an simply describes the ideas that were flourishing within its time and era; unfortunately for the Muslim position is the fact that these pre-Islamic sources provide a much more advanced and accurate picture of the atomic world than the Qur’an.


Bryant said...


There is an interesting video posted by the Amazing Atheist on Youtube that I think we should check out. It talk about Google's censorship of Islam:

minoria said...

I just saw the video suggested by Bryant.I had already known about the situation from the video made it more dramatic.Wow,youtube has really disgraced itself due to fear of reprisals.This shows the ISLAMIZATION of the West(fear of offending Muslim due to threats).

Gem said...

Even with current number of muslims in USA has made them so scared, what happens when (I use the when not if) muslims become 50% or more of the population in USA? Would you now have to lick their buts to get their fake guarantee of safety?

If you dont want that to happen, do something now.. Remove them from USA and send them to their sharia countries they love to live in.

Sepher Shalom said...

I usually don't go anywhere near videos from the the Amazing Atheist, but that was interesting.

Want to see something even more odd......

Google suggests things in the future tense as well.

Go to Google and type in "Islam will". Give it a try.

Hogan Elijah Hagbard said...

Hi brothers and sisters and Muslim readers, I have just opened a new blog that focuses on the Qur'an and modern science:

Currently there are only two posts, but there will be many more coming.

I intend to post the same posts on also but this separate blog will stay on that particular focus. If you have any particular ideas, arguments, articles or links do let me know and contact me on my email.

God bless

I intend to post all this on a future website, but at the moment creating a website is too demanding. My website is created but there is still too much work to be done.

shafsha said...

another sad news within 2days !!!!


* 2 more churches in Malaysia firebombed in 'Allah' row updated 4 hours, 35 minutes ago
* Two more churches in Malaysia were firebombed Sunday, bringing the total to six since a court ruled that non-Muslims can use the word "Allah" as a term for God.


* 4th church firebombed in Allah dispute updated 1 day ago
* Attackers firebombed another church in Malaysia on Saturday, the latest violence amid widespread Muslim rage over the Christian use of the word Allah as a term for God.


* Malaysia: Churches firebombed amid Allah dispute updated 2 days ago
* Attackers firebombed three churches in the southeast Asian nation of Malaysia overnight, assaults that come amid widespread Muslim ire over a court ruling that allowed Christians to use the word Allah as a term for God.


* Protests over 'Allah' ruling updated 2 days ago
* Muslim activists protest court verdict ruling allowing non-Muslims to use Allah as a translation for God.

Brianman said...

lol Qur'an and Science.

Who do I go to?

Someone like Nabeel who has just completed medical school?

Someone LIKE Hogan who refers to textbooks at best?

Anyone who claims that Muhammad pbuh plagarised scientific works from the greeks etc. when they have no evidence that Muhammad pbuh received it and viewed these works. Empty arguments from empty hearts.

Or do I believe scientists on the very highest level of their specialisation who are the ones who are learned enough to even write books that some random Christian would try to refute? The scientists who have carried out independent investigations and in many cases, personal experiments? Scientists who work with many other scientists and get their work checked by other top scientists, whether they are christian or not, before they say "This from the Qur'an, is a miracle"? They even convert to Islam.

Ok, I think I know who I will follow when it comes to Qur'an and Science.

Scientific accounts before Qur'an have some falsehood's inside it, i.e Galen's work does contain falsehood. How comes the Qur'an sieves the falsehoods from the truths that modern TOP non-political scientists agree on?

Hallelujah amen for Allah's book, the Holy Qur'an.

There is nothing for me to say, no need for me to respond to this thread.

Fernando said...

Dear professor Wood, or doctor Nabeel, or atomic apologist Hogan, or amazing debator Semper...

How aboutte the possibility to gibe, to this thread, the chance to muslim #1 specialist on this subject -- Osama Abdallah -- to make his contributions... as you have seen, by the example off that muslim called "legion", no other can bee as informative to us aboutte the pseudo argumentation aboutt this subject than him...

thankes in advance for your attention and may God bless you all...

Sepher Shalom said...

Very interesting reading Hogan.

Good luck with your new blog on the issue of the Quran and modern science.

Brian said...

@Brianman Just because Nabeel is a Doctor means squat. He has a biased and a fear so he must say the quran is scientific even if its not.

frank k said...

Also visit

younes dmhab said...

the Quran is like an outline to science... so the Quran is not JUST a scientific book, it contains a lot more than that...

Paul said...

Moreover, atoms are in fact "split' into smaller atoms and subatomic particles. That is how nuclear fission works The world of subatomic particles, with things known as quarks, leptons, etc. is a huge field made up of things that are smaller than atoms (hence the name "subatomic")
Also, the ancient idea of atoms did not anticipate the interchangeability of mass and energy (E=MC^2) It also does not accommodate the particles exchanged by gravitating matter, i.e. gravitons.