Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Qur'an and the Seven Heavens: An Introduction to an upcoming Article

This is going to be a less detailed post with less references; the purpose being to introduce a very lengthy upcoming work.

I am currently preparing a lengthy article on the seven heavens in the Qur’an and the concept of the Greeks and Talmudic Jews on the seven heavens.

Originally, if you consider the Greeks and also the elaboration of some of the early church fathers and the common concepts of their time, the seven heavens were considered as seven tracts, the the running structure of seven planets and their orbits. These seven planets consisted of the moon as the object nearest the earth, second the sun and further away the orbits of five other planets, which are today recognised as existing in our solar system.

I will post all the early quotes and reference of these when I have brought all the material together into one article.

But notice how the Qur’an is consisted with the early views; we read in Sura 71: 15:

"See ye not How Allah has created The seven heavens One above another, "And made the moon A light in their midst, and made the sun As a (Glorious) Lamp?" [Al-Qur?aan 71:15-16]

This passage does not refer to a miraculous prediction of anything, since the author of the Qur’an states that we see or observe that Allah has created seven heavens one above the other.

Hence this is not a divine miraculous prediction of modern science but an human observation; here the author of the Qur’an even reveals the ability of the early human community to engage in science and to correctly perceive and understand how nature and the universe is structured (even though in this case the scientific information which the early humans saw and which Allah confirms is wrong; but I will get back to that in another article).

Now ask yourself, how did the early human societies observe this structure of seven heavens?

The answer is: they had correctly discovered five of the solar-system planets in their orbits.

The fallacy of their theory was to view the sun and the moon as similar objects, all orbiting in parallel lines around the earth; yet this nevertheless postulated that seven interstellar objects were orbiting in seven tracts, which is consistent with the view of the Qur’anic author.

These orbits were by numerous early writers referred to as seven tracts and seven heavens (I shall give the references from the Qur’an and the pre-Islamic writers in an upcoming post).

This why the Qur’an says that the people of Muhammad’s time had even seen that Allah had created seven heavens, each above the other; these seven heavens marked the orbit of the seven planets (obviously we have yet to discover even the edge of the first heaven and the reference is to something that they could see, namely the seven planets and their orbits):

"See ye not How Allah has created The seven heavens One above another," (Sura 71: 15)

This is already presents a significant problem in terms of Qur'anic accuracy as our solar-system consists of eight planets and five dwarf planets, which already provides evidence that the Qur’an is not based upon divine knowledge but human knowledge; the knowledge that already flourished in Muhammad’s time.

Furthermore, we need to presume that since the Qur’an refers to seven planets it also follows the discoveries and ideas of its time, which viewed the sun and moon as included objects and excluded the earth. This is obvious from the Qur’an, which views the earth to have separated from the heavens and the interstellar matter and objects to derive on a later stage of the cosmological development (Sura 21: 10 and Sura 41: 9-12). In fact this is also consistent with the views flourishing in Muhammad’s time (but I shall get back to his in a future post).

That Sura 71: 15 is also elaborating on the centrality of the sun and moon as being in the midst of the seven orbits, which is also confirming that the Qur’an utilizes the science of antiquity. This was also the view of authors who predated Islam, and consists with the idea that the sun and the moon orbited closest to the earth in a orbit circle around the earth, which most ancient thinkers postulated; hence they were central and in the middle of this orbit and lighted up its entire structure.

The passage might even suggest that the sun and the moon light up all seven tracts and the other planets; this is what the ancient thinkers believed.

Except for the moon being an object attached to the earth, the early philosophers got this quite right. However, the Qur’an might also be in agreement with e.g. Plato that the sun lighted up not only the earth and planets but also the entire universe; take a look at sura 25: 61:

"Blessed is He Who made Constellations in the skies, And placed therein a Lamp And a Moon giving light."

Now, is this supposed to be modern science or prediction of modern science?

Brianman stated in a previous thread that the Qur’an ‘confirms’; that is an overstatement!

The Qur’an does certainly not confirm anything, it may certainly quote the early philosophers and their postulates, of which some ideas were fairly correct and others plainly wrong; just a pity that the Qur’an fails to differentiate between these.

The whole Qur’anic reference to seven heavens and that these were observed by the people of the time is nevertheless a fallacy far too serious to overlook and we will in future assess this matter in details.


Fernando said...

Yikes... the women in my hometown wear seven skirts on the top off each other... perhaps these surahs were predivting thate realitty... whate do you think The Osama The Great Abdallah?

Tom ta tum Tom said...

Thank you for this, Mr. Hagbard! There is at least double value in your post: 1st) you help us to see through the idiocy that says the un-holy grrrran somehow is miraculous in it's "prediction" of modern (or any era of) science and 2nd) you help us see again the feeble attempts by Is-lame to substitute that which is counterfeit for that which is real. (muzzlems try to impose upon us a counterfeit of Christ Jesus, muzzlems attempt to seduce us to accept a counterfeit of Scriptural Holiness, muzzlems seek the acceptance of pseudo-science and so on...). How typical it is that Is-lame traffics in ignorance. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Anonymous said...

This is what I find interesting

"It is Allah Who has created seven heavens, and earths as many…" S. 65:12

Narrated Muhammad bin Ibrahim bin
from Abu Salama bin 'Abdur-Rahman who had a dispute with some people on a piece of land, and so he went to 'Aisha and told her about it. She said, "O Abu Salama, avoid the land, for Allah's Apostle said, ‘Any person who takes even a span of land unjustly, his neck shall be encircled with it down seven earths.’" (Sahih Al Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54.)

Ibn Kathir

means, He created seven earths.

In the Two Sahihs, there is a Hadith that states…

In the beginning of my book, Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah, I mentioned the various narrations for this Hadith when I narrated the story of the creation of the earth. All the thanks and praise is due to Allah.

Those who explained this Hadith to mean the seven continents have brought an implausible explanation that contradicts the letter of the Qur’an and the Hadith without having proof.

Shen said...

video complete en fran├žais sur un site evangelique francais,

GreekAsianPanda said...

Excellent, Hogan! I'm looking forward to your longer upcoming article on the subject.

minoria said...

Hello Shen:

I have checked out AVRAIDIRE.EU (literally "to say truly").It's good.I like it.It has his latest video by him "The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran".

Just go to the HOMEPAGE,go to the RIGHT where you have CATEGORIES and chose ISLAM(43 articles).
I am happy to say that on the right it has links to JIHADWATCH and (surprise)ANSWERINGMUSLIMS.

The video you suggest "What the West needs to know about Islam" is good.I had already seen it,taking it from the library.(There are 2 copies and I tell you most of the time they are taken,people are WATCHING IT,the video is popular.)

Alors,Shen,merci por l'information du siteweb en francais.C'est excellent,interessant et educatif.

minoria said...

Here is a supposed contradiction in the Bible:


In all the SYNOPTICS ( Mark, Luke and Matthew ) a man called SIMON OF CYRENE carries the cross. We are even told his name. We even have archeological evidence he existed in all probability.


In JOHN 19:17 it is said Jesus carried the cross. But was he able to carry it ALL the WAY? In the non-Christian documentary SCIENCE OF THE BIBLE ( 2005 ) by NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC they decided to test if Jesus would have been able to carry the cross from Jerusalem to a certain distance outside. They:

1. Got a man around 30 who was stocky and of medium height, how Jesus would most probably have been.

2. Made a cross using the SAME WOOD as the trees around Jerusalem. The first cross was in the FORM of a SMALL T ( like this: + ). Result: it was TOO HEAVY for him to carry AT ALL.

3. Made him carry a BEAM across his shoulders, tied with ropes. Halfway through or less he could not continue, the pain was too great. And this was a man who had NOT been whipped, like Jesus. Conclusion: he would have needed the help of another man.

minoria said...


If that were not enough we have JOHN 19:17 in YOUNG'S LITERAL TRANSLATION from BIBLEGATEWAY.COM which says:

"And bearing his cross he WENT FORTH TO the place called Skull which is called in Hebrew Golgotha."


It says he WENT FORTH TO or DEPARTED TO with the cross,not that he ARRIVED AT carrying the cross,see the difference?

minoria said...


I forgot to add about if Jesus carried the cross all the way or not that he had also been WHIPPED,while the man who carried the beam in the National Geographic program had not been.


It's a supposed contradiction that always intrigued me:

We have it in MATT 27:5 and ACTS 1:18. One is a CLEAR verse and the other one less clear, we know that from the ORIGINAL GREEK. So in the clear verse in MATTHEW Judas hangs himself: " Judas threw the pieces of silver in the temple, left and went to hung himself."


Notice it does NOT say WHERE: in a house, in a field, from a tree, from the ceiling, etc. More than that he hung himself we can not say. End of information.


Checking in several sources it turns out that in the original Greek we have the words PRENES GENOMENOS. That is the phrase translated as FALLING HEADLONG. The meaning of PRENES is undeniably " headlong, head foremost, head first. "

However the word GENOMENOS does NOT mean FALLING at all. It is translated like that to hide the ambiguity. It means BECOMING or TO BECOME.

minoria said...


What we have in ACTS 1:18 is:

" With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there PRENES GENOMENOS, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. "


Notice that nowhere in the ACTS 1:18 passage do we have the verbs TO WALK or TO FALL. The way the words are put does not say that Judas was WALKING in the field and FELL head down and hit his stomach which burst open.

NEITHER does the passage say the body of Judas was hanging and when the rope was cut it fell on the ground and the feet hit the ground and the body inclined HEAD DOWN, thus making the stomach hit the ground and bursting.


All it says is, to paraphrase it accurately, that " the stomach of Judas burst open when it ( Judas, or his body ) BECAME HEAD FOREMOST. "

What does that mean exactly? It what way did the head becoming foremost CAUSE the stomach to BURST open? We do not know. The way the Greek text stands is TOO FUZZY.

minoria said...



Skeptics say a corpse would fall FEET FOREMOST or FIRST. That is true, I agree. But when a corpse hits the ground it does not stand on its feet, it:

1. Falls BACK FOREMOST, falling on its back.
2. Falls SIDEWAYS, falling on its side.
3. Falls HEAD FOREMOST, head pointing down, on its stomach.


It is RARE for a person to fall and just burst his stomach like that. Not that it is impossible, but rare. However accepting the hanging of Judas then since it was the PASSOVER FESTIVAL HOLIDAY of SEVERAL days, no Jew would have touched a dead body to become ritually impure.

The taking down of Judas' body would have taken several days. In the meantime it would have got SWOLLEN. When the hung body would have been taken down by cutting the rope, it is natural for the SWOLLEN STOMACH to BURST OPEN when the feet hit the ground and the body tipped HEAD FOREMOST, making the stomach hit the ground, not the BACK.

minoria said...



Some have said here is a scribal error and that the original words were PRESTHES GENOMENOS, not PRENES ENOMENOS, meaning " SWOLLEN BECOMING " ( " to become swollen ", not " to become head first " ). One who held this idea was HYAM MACCOBY ( 1924-2004 ), a British NT scholar who is famous for his view that PAUL was NOT JEWISH, but a GENTILE. A view that has been rejected by all NT scholars.

In his book JUDAS ISCARIOT AND THE MYTH OF JEWISH EVIL ( 1991 ) he says the orignal wording was PRESTHES GENOMENOS. Now to be superskeptical one can say it is only speculation, but in the website tektonics, assuming the information is accurate, it is stated that in SYRIAC ( the Aramaic of Syria ), ARMENIAN and GEORGIAN manuscripts the passage is translated as AND BECOMING SWOLLEN.

That is important, really, because the translator may well have had Greek copies with the words PRESTHES GENOMENOS.


Again, one is not obliged to accept that explanation so leaving it as PRENES GENOMENOS the impartial skeptic would agree that:

1. The passage as it stands in Greek is very ambiguous.
2. It is RARE for a person walking in a field to fall and BURST his stomach, a fractured or broken leg is more likely. Unless he fell from a CLIFF, but no cliff is mentioned in ACTS 1.
3. So at best either explanation of what BECOMING HEADLONG exactly means in relation to the bursting of the stomach is a candidate. But to say the passage 100% says Judas was walking, fell and burst his stomach is inaccurate.

minoria said...

Hello David and Nabeel:

I received an email a few days ago which I read just today.To my surprise it was by the creator of the Evangelical Christian website in French called AVRAIDIRE.EU

I had written a comment on his website about 1 1/2 months ago and had highly recommended your website.Maybe as a result he added a link in his blog to answeringmuslims.Or maybe it was there before.He asked if I could add a link in answeringmuslims to his blog AVRAIDIRE.EU

Perhaps he thought it was my blog.But I have read him and highly recommend it.I found out his website only because of a comment by a French reader of jihadwatch.There are very few French who are Christian really.
In my reply to him a few minutes ago I said I would ask you if you could please place AVRAIDIRE.EU in the RECOMMENDED SITES section(which has jihadwatch/Jesus or Mohammed/answeringislam.)


In my reply I also highly recommended ANSWERINGISLAM and FAITHFREEDOM and that if he would consider adding links to them in his website.I spoke of SAM SHAMOUN and JOCHAN KATZ.


They are known to US,but one must NEVER ASSUME.It's possible French people who can read English have NEVER heard of those 2 websites.And it's possible HE has never heard of them till just now.So again,visit AVRAIDIRE.EU,you'll see it's wholesome and even has subtitled videos of ROBERT SPENCER(he has added a link to jihadwatch for French-speakers who know English)and that it would be a great addition to the RECOMMENDED SITES of answeringmuslims.

One of the words in his email address is very similar to SHEN,who added a remark in French yesterday and recommended the SAME website.I am sure it's the same person,so if you think it's necessary you can ask SHEN if his website is and get to know him better and later add him to the recommended sites.Tahnk you in advance.

characterbuilder said...


minoria said...


Some time ago I had spoken about a son of one of the Hamas leaders who converted to Christianity.I have seen a bit more on the case:it is the son of one of the FOUNDERS of HAMAS.In youtube there is a 6 PART STORY on him,write:"Son of Hamas leader converts to Christianity".He spent time in prison at 18 for anti-Israel activity and now Al-Qaida has condemned him to death,quoting Mohammed's:"Whoever changes his religion,kill him."

He also cooperates with the US government.It seems he is sincere,not a MUSLIM DOUBLE-AGENT,like the Muslim doctor who killed 6 Americans in Afghanistan.


An interview in ARABIC but with English sub-titles called "Son of Hamas leader:Hamas atrocities led me to convert".

CHECK IT ALL OUT,I was FLABBERGASTED.If,as it seems,he is not doing takiya,it's something that I never thought would happen.I believe in miracles,but not in the impossible.

Jeff said...

I am a Christian and enjoy this website very much.

It seems though that in some sense we Christians too must find some basis for several heavens, since St. Paul appears to witness to the same or a similar concept:

"2I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago--whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows--such a man was caught up to the third heaven."

2 Corinthians 12: 2.

minoria said...

There is a Shabir Ally debate on youtube called "Was Jesus a Muslim?"There he repeats what he says all the time:"There is a Christological development from Mark to Matthew and Luke to John."

What he means is that in MARK Jesus is not God(intentionally not acknowledging that "Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath" and "Son of Man forgives sins",for example,and that that shows Jesus as God in MARK.)

His arguments on that point are utterly unconvincing.The TEXT itself proves him wrong.Hmmm,and he still says it.And he's the best Muslim apologist and has to resort to that.It's that that tells me Muslim apologetics can not be defended intellectually.It's sad.Many times I have been wrong but when shown it I have admitted it.

minoria said...

Concerning the THIRD HEAVEN of 2 COR 12:2,from what I know it means this:

FIRST HEAVEN:atmosphere,sky we see in the day.

SECOND HEAVEN:outer space and stars,the rest of the universe.

THIRD HEAVEN:a place outside the physical universe where God and the angels live.


I was reconsidering EHTESHAM's argument that 60 historians of Antiquity don't mention Jesus or his crucifixion.Jesus was a minor figure and it's amazing he is mentioned by non-Christian writers.But what about...


The story is that 1000 Jews resisted the Roman soldiers after 70 AD and commited suicide instead of surrendering.The ONLY writer to mention it is JOSEPHUS(it's not mentioned by any other writer,NOT even by the TALMUD).


TACITUS was the greatest Roman historian.He describes the Jewish revolt of 67-70 AD but NOWHERE mentions the MASSADA incident.SUETONIUS wrote the LIVES OF THE CEASERS where he mentions the Ceasers who lived during that time period(67-72 AD ) yet NOWHERE mentions Massada.


Well,if such a big undertaking consisting of thousands of Roman soldiers in a major revolt was intentionally ignored by Roman historians(even by Jewish writers in the Talmud)then why should we be expecting them to mention many details about Jesus?


We have the ARCHEOLOGICAL evidence of a Roman military expedition like the ruins of Massada and the great artificial ramp built by them to storm the fortress.
So the lesson is that major events can happen and be mention by 1 or 2 and yet IGNORED by OTHER WRITERS,even though they were major events.

Sabi Dure said...

There are 2 types of skies which referred to Quran as 7 skies ... the atmosphere layers and the universe skies.

>> Verse which refers to atmosphere as sky:

"By Heaven with its cyclical systems." (86:11)"Returning" function of the sky (condensed water-rains, reflects radiation and UV ray, reflects radio waves broadcast etc)

Seven skies one above another. Cool concept which is introduced by Quran. One must remember here that there is no ancient arabic word for 'atmosphere', so Quran only refers it as 'skies'. There are 7 layers in the atmosphere:

1. Troposphere2. Stratosphere3. Mesosphere4. Thermosphere5. Exosphere6. Ionosphere7. Magnetosphere

>> Verse which refers to the sky as sky:

"By the sky full of paths and orbits." (Quran 51:7)The entire universe is full of paths and orbits.

And about the other 'skies' which the lowest sky is adorned with stars ... it is the sky which hold this universe. And it has 7 layers too but modern science couldn't figure that out yet so I guess we just have faith that there are 7 layers of skies.

Sabi Dure said...

The author of this post is so stupid he is wasting time trying to prove something he does not believe in as wrong.. even though he hasnt had enough knowledge on this subject matter,its not his fault though... that he cannot understand what Quranic teachings are about...
You confused the Skies the word SKIES and HEAVENs as planets =/ lmao!
In arabic theres no word for ATMOSPHERE and so the SKIES refers to atmosphere.
God bless you and give you more knowledge, Amen!

SK said...

Mr. fernado....i am very late to reply....
can u tell me plz to what religion do u belong?
u related ds concept to ur girl friends shirt colors...if she wears a single color shirt.will it change the no of skies....????????????????
before uttering words plx think and speak with strong points.this shows u being superficial having beleive in nothing than colors...ok