A number of Muslim authors and apologists, such as Haruna Yahya, Osama Abdallah and the Muslim exponent Maurice Bucaille claim that the Qur’an is a miraculous prodigy in its reference to life originating from water.
In Sura 21: 30 we read:
‘...and we made every living thing of water’
Since this phrase follows the reading in which Allah separates heaven and earth and since Sura 41: 10 refers to ‘dukhan’ which can be translated ‘smoke’ or ‘vapour’ I am inclined to conclude based on the cosmogony of ancient philosophical writings that the authors of the Qur’an were referring to the matter that separated from the earth and expanded and which according to a number of pre-Islamic thinkers and writers contributed to the creation of the seven planets or earths (Sura 65: 15), which according to Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria was a Greek concept of the seven entities orbiting the earth (see Plato, Timaeus, 1966: 76-9; 84-5), in seven tracts (Sura 23: 17), which according to Clement of Alexandria were also described as seven heavens (that is the seven earth or planets orbiting in seven tracts were commonly described as seven heavens).
A number of Greek text refer to his matter that separated from the earth either as ether or as vapour. Some authors such as Lucretius even considered and included both theories.
Interestingly the Arabic ‘dukhan’ if we consider the same authors including Aristotle in his Meteorologica depicts and describes the very same substance which according to pre-Islamic scientists expanded from the earth.
This might indeed explain why water is connected so closely to Qur’anic cosmogony, since the Qur’an views the heavens and its matter (sun, moon, planets and stars) to have emerged from the earth, either as ether or vapour. In fact according to Kathir, vol.1, 2000: 180 Mujahid considered the earth to exist prior to the heavens, and the smoke bursted out of it.
This completely refutes Answering-Christianity which claims:
‘The Universe out side earth did not originate from water. It originated from Hot Smoke or Hot Gas, in which also amazingly was mentioned in the Noble Quran’
Dukhan can refer to both smoke or vapour, which fits the exact cosmogony and its related substances in the writings of pre-Islamic philosophers. This passage within its context and the understanding of the community within its time is not a reference to gas or gasseous clouds, unless of course the ancient philosophers predicted that scenario and process prior to Islam and the author of the Qur’an simply follows a lucky example of scientific guesswork .
I guess Osama Abdallah and his team need to do their homework and revise their material.
This rather than ascribing the Qur’an as a miracle exposes its human origin.
Yet another vital matter appears from Sura 21: 30, namely that from water Allah created life.
There are a number of other verses in the Qur’an that elaborate further on this passage:
"It is He Who has created man from water: then has He established relationships of lineage and marriage: for thy Lord has power (over all things). (Sura, 25:54)"
"And God has created every animal from water: of them there are some that creep on their bellies; some that walk on two legs; and some that walk on four. God creates what He wills for verily God has power over all things. (Sura, 24:45)"
I hate to be fuzzy over contradictions, but considering all the silly arguments of contradictions Muslims bring up in the Bible, these two passages certainly contradict a number of other Qur’anic passages which clearly state that Allah created man from mud or clay. It is possible that Allah created man from water and mud, yet the passages do not confirm this, hence let’s not read into the wording what is not therein.
Let me however point out here that the pre-Islamic thinkers and writers did refer to mankind as created from mud and water, hence this claim if present in the Qur’an would not present a Qur’anic miracle either.
Yet due to this Qur’anic claim Muslim apologists and authors have exclaimed that the Qur’an predicts yet another scientific discovery; Bucaille the Islamic exponent writes:
‘The phrase can equally mean that every living thing was made of water (as its essential component) or that every living thing originated in water. The two possible meanings are strictly in accordance with scientific data. Life is in fact of aquatic origin and water is the major component of all living cells. Without water, life is not possible…What has been translated her by ‘water’ is the word ma which means both water in the sky and water in the sea, plus any kind of liquid…We shall see further how this word also applied to seminal fluid.’
See also Osama Abdallah making similar statements on his website:
Notice that the Qur'an does not elaborate in details how this creation of life from water was processed; hence the possibilites and theories vary.
Yet the idea that life originated from water flourished greatly amongst the Greeks, even centuries before the rise of Islam; and true the idea is similar: life came from water, yet the theory of such process varies. According to Empedocles:
‘The aether was first separated, and secondly fire, and then earth, from which, as it was compressed tightly by the force of its rotation, water gushed forth; and from this the air arose as vapour, and the heavens arose from the aether, the sun from the fire, and bodies on the earth were compressed out of the others.’
Hence according to Empedocles the bodies of the earth were compressed from earth, water and air (Now think isn’t Empedocles pretty amazing in his prediction of modern science, even with the need of divine intervention and revelation).
Thales who earlier had proposed that water was the principle of all things and the end of all things, based his conclusion upon the observation of nature, that the seed of all animals is moist (probably a reference to semen). Secondly, he noticed how the plants were depended upon moisture and were nourished by it.
Aristotle, in his reference to Anaximander writes:
‘Wherefore they (the Syrians) reverence the fish as of the same origin and the same family as man, holding a more reasonable philosophy than that of Anaximandros; for he declares, not that fishes and men were generated at the same time, but that at first men were generated in the form of fishes, and that growing up as sharks do till they were able to help themselves, they then came forth on the dry ground.’
Plato’s Timaeus brings up an entirely different picture in which humanity is sophisticatedly composed by various elements, in which water or liquid played a significant role:
‘The souls, then, being bound within a mighty river…for while the flood which foamed in and streamed out, as it supplied the food was immense…’
Comparing the above with the claim of Bucaille, the Greeks believed that all life on earth, whether humanity, animals or plants originated or either through or in water. The types of liquid involved included sea, vapour, rain and semen. In other words, the Arabic word ‘ma’, introduced by Bucaille was already a common recognition prior to the rise of Islam.
Another Qur'anic scientific claim debunked.