Sunday, November 13, 2011

Late Muslim Reinterpretations of Surah 18:86

Kim is now defending Muhammad's massive blunder by quoting Bassam Zawadi, who in turn cites several Islamic interpreters from centuries after Muhammad's time in order to show that there's no error in the Qur'an.

How late are these scholars? Ar-Razi lived more than five centuries after Muhammad. Al-Baidawi and al-Qurtubi lived more than six centuries after Muhammad. Ibn Kathir lived more than seven centuries after Muhammad. Thus, they lived in a time when Muslims actually knew something about the comparative sizes of the sun and the earth.

So here's a rough outline of Kim's argument.

(1) Muhammad delivered a revelation to his followers. The Qur'an states (quite clearly) that Dhul-Qarnain reached the place where the sun sets, and that when he got there, he found the sun setting in a murky pool. The Qur'an claims to be perfectly clear, so any reinterpretation is cut off from the start. As if this weren't enough, we have a Sahih narration in Sunan Abu Dawud, according to which Muhammad told one of his companions that the sun does indeed set in a pool of water.

(2) Several centuries go by, and Muslims conquer lands all the way to Europe. As Muslims conquer these lands, they start learning about the universe from the works of actual scientists. By the time of ar-Razi, al-Baidawi, al-Qurtubi, and Ibn Kathir, Muslims (like everyone else on the planet) are well aware of the fact that the sun is quite massive compared to the earth. Thus, Muslim scholars were forced to reinterpret the Qur'an in light of actual scientific knowledge.

(3) Since these scholars interpret the Qur'an in a manner far more consistent with a scientific understanding of the world, we will ignore what the Qur'an actually says (along with its claims of perfect clarity), and we will ignore Muhammad's silly views of where the sun sets. That is, we'll throw out both the Qur'an and the Hadith. We will instead cling to the reinterpretations of late Muslim commentators who based their understanding of the universe on actual science rather than on the Qur'an.

(4) Hence, there's no scientific error in Surah 18:86.

Make sense? I didn't think so. Here are Kim's comments:

Imam Al-Baidawi notes,

He probably reached shore of the ocean and saw it like that because there was but water at the furthest of his sight that's why He says "he found it set" and does not say "it sets". (Al-Baidawi, Anwar-ut-Tanzil wa Asrar-ut-Taw'il, Volume 3, page 394. Published by Dar-ul-Ashraf, Cairo, Egypt)

Imam Al-Qurtubi states,

Al-Qaffal said: It is not meant by reaching the rising or setting of the sun that he reached its body and touched it because it runs in the sky around the earth without touching it and it is too great to enter any spring on earth. It is so much larger than earth. But it is meant that he reached the end of populated land east and west, so he found it - according to his vision - setting in a spring of a murky water like we watch it in smooth land as if it enters inside the land. That is why He said, "he found it rising on a people for whom we had provided no covering protection against the sun." (Holy Qur'ân 18:90) and did not mean that it touches or adheres to them; but they are the first to rise on.

Al-Qutabiy said: Probably this spring is a part of the sea and the sun sets behind, with or at it, so the proposition takes the place of an adjective and Allah knows best. (Al-Qurtubi, Al-Game' le Ahkam-el-Qur'an, Volume 16, page 47. Published by Dar-ul-Hadith, Cairo, Egypt. ISBN 977-5227-44-5)

Imam Fakhr-ud-Deen Ar-Razi states,

When Zul-Qarnain reached the furthest west and no populated land was left, he found the sun as if it sets in a dark spring, but it is not in reality. The same when sea traveler sees the sun as if it sets in the sea if he cannot see the shore while in reality it sets behind the sea. (Ar-Razi, At-Tafsir-ul-Kabir, Volume 21, page 166)

Imam Ibn Kathir states,

"Until, when he reached the setting of the sun" means he followed a certain way till he reached the furthest land he could go from the west. As for reaching the setting of the sun in the sky, it is impossible. What narrators and story tellers say about that he walked for a period of time in earth while the sun was setting behind him is unreal, and most of it is from myths of People of the Book and inventions of their liars.

"he found it set in a spring of murky water" means he saw the sun according to his vision setting in the ocean and this is the same with everyone ending to the shore seeing as if the sun sets inside it (i.e. the ocean).
(Ibn Kathir, Tafsir-ul-Qur'ân Al-'Azim, Volume 5, page 120. Published by Maktabat-ul-Iman, Mansoura, Egypt)

I believe this is adequate to refute the missionaries' imposed interpretation. And to Allah is the Judgement in all affairs.


Taking 1 hadith out of context aint gonna cut it. Neither is making youtube videos with your own interpretation.

So there you have it. Muslims from half a millennium after Muhammad reinterpret the passage because they know that, taken at face value, Surah 18:86 is obviously false. Science forced them to abandon the perfect clarity of the Qur'an. Science forced them to throw out a Sahih narration from the Hadith. Science forced them to commit innovation. Therefore, there's no error in the Qur'an.

Are you starting to understand how desperate and illogical Muslims are? Do you see how they will do absolutely anything to avoid the obvious problems in their book?

Notice how Kim throws her prophet under the bus. She writes:

Taking 1 hadith out of context aint gonna cut it. Neither is making youtube videos with your own interpretation.

Did anyone here take a hadith out of context? Let's look at the entire hadith:

Sunan Abu Dawud 3991—Abu Dharr said: I was sitting behind the Apostle of Allah who was riding a donkey while the sun was setting. He asked: Do you know where this sets? I replied: Allah and his Apostle know best. He said: It sets in a spring of warm water.

That's it. That's the entire hadith. So how did we rip the hadith out of context, Kim? I'll be generous. I'll let you invent a context, and I won't even demand evidence for it. Give me some context, any context, in which this hadith would make sense. If you can't come up with one, then you've just mocked your own prophet and thrown out a Sahih narration. If you're throwing out Sahih narrations, you don't know what the Shahada is. You don't know what the five pillars are. You don't even know how many times per day you should pray.

On a related note, we should ask ourselves what happens when we turn to a much earlier commentary. Kim has quoted Muslim scholars who come centuries after the time of Muhammad. Let's read the commentary of Muhammad's companion Ibn Abbas:

(They) the people of Mecca (will ask thee) O Muhammad (of Dhu'l-Qarnayn) about the event of Dhu'l-Qarnayn. (Say) to them, O Muhammad: (I shall recite unto you a remembrance of him) I shall recite to you an explanation of his event.

(Lo! We made him strong in the land and gave unto every thing a road) the knowledge of the roads and constellation.

(And he followed a road) he set out on a road,

(Till, when he reached the setting place of the sun) where the sun sets, (he found it setting in a muddy spring) a blackened, muddy and stinking spring; it is also said that this means: a hot spring, (and found a people thereabout) these people were disbelievers: (We said: O Dhu'l-Qarnayn!) We inspired him (Either punish) either kill them until they accept to believe that there is no deity except Allah (or show them kindness) or you pardon them and let them be.

Ever notice that, the closer we get to Muhammad, the less reinterpretation we find? Is this a coincidence? Not at all. Muhammad and his companions believed that the sun sets in a pool. Much later, Muslims realized that this is false, so they were forced to reinterpret the Qur'an's clear teachings. Now Muslims tell us that we must follow these radical reinterpretations of the text, and then they turn around and tell us that the Qur'an must be the word of God because of it's amazing scientific accuracy!

Welcome to Islam.


simple_truth said...

Good observation, David. I too, believe that it is imperative to study the earliest sources available to get a more reasonable understanding and explanation of Islamic material.

I have noticed from reading ibn Kathir's commentaries (I have an electronic unabridged version), the only way that he could create some of his explanations would be from knowledge from other sources. I see him do this regularly with aspects of Christianity. He uses facts from the Bible along with Jewish/Christian history to fill in details or to create some story that the Qu'ran doesn't explain.

Kim said...

I noticed my mistake a long while ago.

After I read that very long article on the topic did i realize that they were late.

I havent reached a conclusion on this yet but I will soon Inshallah!

minoria said...


For those who want to read Christian writer Joel Richardson's arguments,who thinks Islam will win and conquer the world for several years,with an ANTICHRIST-MAHDI and his FALSE PROPHET(a man claiming to be the Real JESUS,but who is not,and who even does miracles and says Islam is true)....till the real Jesus arrives,one can buy his book "The Islamic Anti-Christ" which costs $30 BUT...

You can read the same arguments here,by he himself:

jonnykzj said...

Excellent points. I'll really have to reconsider these also in my view of the Quran. ALSO I FOUND OUT that there are Christians who can BE AWESOMELY CONSISTENT EVEN REGARDING THR FREE WILL ISSUE. I was quite upset with Matt Slick's argument on this issue though he's not a Calvinist but still. BUT TAKE A LOOK AT THESE. Reading this I just feel the Holy Spirit resonating in my body like nothing else:

Nimochka said...

Why beat a dead horse, David! Whether this verse means that sun sets in a muddy spring or not is not the only issue with this Quranic story. I mean Alexander the Great a Muslim prophet????!!! Give me a break!!!!! How absurd can Muhammed get!!!!!!????

This is beyond absurd and outlandish claims! This is more in the category of childish and amateurish charlatanism! And this Muhammed is so stupid and illiterate that always when he makes up outlandish lies to impress his gullible and illiterate 7th century audience he sets up traps for himself to get caught redhanded by more knowledgable posterity who actually knows a thing or two about science and history!

EVERYBODY IN THE UNIVERSE knows who Alexander the Great was and what he did or did not do and what he believed or did not believe! It is not like Moses who lived in a period from which there are very few historical records outside of the Bible, or Jesus who was just a Jewish carpenter whose history was mostly recorded by his own followers and some secular historians here and there. I mean nobody else other than his own followers wrote his biography.

Alexander the Great was the king of a vast empire and his religion and his culture and his life are much more clearly documented than say Moses! And WE KNOW FOR A FACT that he was a pagan and knew nothing of Allah and he didn't even go West but went East! He went from Macedonia till Indus Valley! That's East! Virtually every single thing that this Sura says about Alexander the Great is objectively and historically 100% false!

When we see that Muhammed has no shame even in claiming people who lived in full light of history to be Islamic prophets then we know how flimsy and stupid his claims are also to the rest of the less historically scrutinized prophets like Moses and Jacob and John the Baptist and Jesus.

This claim alone should throw the Quran and Muhammed to the garbage at once and who ever is still persisting in their believing in either is an irrational, stubborn fanatic beyond the reach of reason! Alexander the Great of Macedonia was a pagan and NEVER EVER heard of Allah. Much less he was propagating him. All the buildings that he and his administrators/successors built were pagan temples and idol statues of greek deities many of which exist till today in Iran and other places. He too conquered and partially destroyed my country! That is the ONLY thing he has in common with Islam!

There is no shred of evidence that he ever practiced anything other than greek pagan religion. Any child knows that! Can Muslims actually say it with a straight face and in front of adult educated people that they really believe that Alexander the Great was a Muslim prophet? Boggles the mind!

Nimochka said...

@Jonnykzj I love the fact that you really are doing your due diligence before you commit to Christ, but let me share with you one experience of my own. I have already told the folks here how I came to Christ. So I won't repeat the beginning of the story, but I tell you something that I understood from my own experience.

Long, long after I officially left Islam and I was attending church to study the Bible I was not feeling ready to take that final extra step of officially becoming a Christian by getting baptized. Of course I was not calling myself Muslim anymore, but I wasn't 100% sure that I want to 100% officially be a Christian. Why? Because not all of my questions were answered. I already had read the Bible and had fallen in love with the person of Jesus Christ and His authenticity and authority and purity and had no doubt in my mind that He is not a mere prophet.

I even prayed to Him, but I didn't want to go that extra mile and get baptized before every single question was completely answered. Like yourself I also couldn't get my head around the doctrine of The Trinity and many passages of the Bible and things like that.

Quite a few years passed by and I was not ready to jump in the pool. But what happened in the end? Well one day, suddenly I knew that I had to take that extra step. Why? Did all my questions get answered? No! But I was going threw a very rough patch in my life and I was sitting alone in my room and I started to pray and talk to God about my woes in life and tears were coming down my face and just at this moment I felt Gods presence and felt like he is like a genuine father holding my head on his chest and letting me pour all my sorrows out on Him!

And suddenly some thing clicked! I said to myself that I am a fool! I have to get baptized! Tomorrow and without delay! I want to officially belong to Jesus! Not that doctrine doesn't matter, but the most important thing is that our God is alive and near and holds us and sustains us and wants to have a relationship with us! We never know all the answers. Of course we already have many good reasons to believe in Jesus Christ. His person is so alive that jumps out at us from the pages of the Bible as if He is present and living this very moment.

The Holy Spirit doesn't leave us alone! He fills our lives at every moment and the Bible speaks to our hearts as well as minds. So isn't that sufficient reason for us to take that extra step and say: "Lord Jesus I trust you! I don't know all the answers but on your trust and authority as a living person with whom I am communing at this very moment I take this Gospel and this Old Testament since you testified to its truth and authenticity! From this moment on you are responsible for my salvation and eternal life! Do not let me go astray!"

That is what I prayed and the next day I went to church and asked to be baptized and for the first time that sunday I participated in the Lord's Supper and took the bread and wine!

Now several years after that many many many of those questions that I had are answered to my heart and minds satisfaction, but some are still unclear. Maybe the Lord will illuminate some of those questions before He take me to Himself, maybe not. But for sure He will answer them all once I see Him face to face. I have no rush. Getting those answers are not the main point to me now, but to be in a relationship with God. The Father sustains me, in Jesus is my trust, and The Holy Spirit shows me the way and works inside me and I am ever so thankful for that.

Jonny, I know you want to know everything before you commit yourself to Jesus, but trust His person whom I already can see you love and become a child of The Father and He the good father that He is will explain everything to you by The Holy Spirit along the way.

Fifth Monarchy Man said...

Hey Johnny,

I’ve been observing your spiritual journey from a distance and praise God for the work he has begun in your life.

Do you mind if offer a little advice?

Slow down and take a deep breath. You don’t need to figure this all out today.

There are great theological minds that have spent their entire lives pondering these subjects. Don‘t expect to understand it all instantaneously.

Part of the joy of the Christian life is the experience of growing in the knowledge of deep things of God. I have been a Christian for many years and like to consider myself a “thinker” yet there is still much about God that I don’t understand and I learn new stuff all the time.

I find it to be a huge blessing to think that God has it all figured out and I get to spend my whole life learning from him by the power of his Spirit.

I join Paul in praying that this privilege of ever increasing knowledge of God will be yours as well


Eph 3:14-21
(14) For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
(15) from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
(16) that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
(17) so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith--that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
(18) may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
(19) and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
(20) Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
(21) to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

End quote:

One of the big differences between Islam and Christianity is our understanding of heaven

For the Muslim heaven is all about enjoying temporal pleasures.

On the other hand Heaven for the Christian is all about having an eternity to get to know God.


And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
(Joh 17:3)

End quote:

Remember you have plenty of time.


Fifth Monarchy Man said...


I almost forgot

Two more things

1) Find yourself a good fellowship that believes in Christ and his word that are willing to come along beside you in your quest. Trust me it will make things a lot easier.

2) Be willing to submit your finite intellect to God‘s revelation. It’s possible that he will ask you to trust him even when you don’t understand how it all fits together.


David Wood said...

Kim said: "I noticed my mistake a long while ago. After I read that very long article on the topic did i realize that they were late. I havent reached a conclusion on this yet but I will soon Inshallah!"

A spark of hope! This was your best comment yet!

Deleting said...

I'm giving credit where credit is due.
Good job seeing your error Kim.

jonnykzj said...

@The Purple Marquise

First i thank u for ur detailed post. But i wanna ask. Does one have to get baptized OFFICIALLY(by approval of the gov) through a pastor or can not any christian in my area just baptize me? Is the baptizing u mentioned not rather orthodox church TRADITION? I personally dont like the idea of government involvement in any religious activities be it baptism OR EVEN MARRIAGE. Sure churches shld do so in private but not linking it to the government. Wht do u say?

minoria said...


Dhul-Qarnayn(it means "Two-Horned") was UNDENIABLY ALEXANDER.

In a YAHYA SEYMOUR-DAVID WOOD(in youtube) Seymour said:"The Romance of Alexander mentions the MUSLIM invasion so it was written AFTER the KORAN".He said,as I understood him, that the writer copied or got his story from the Koran.


There are several,but there is a CHRISTIAN Romance of Alex which says:

1.Alex was a PROPHET of God,a MONOTHEIST

2.He was given 2 HORNS on his head to show he was a prophet

3.He went WEST

4.He went West and saw the SUN go down inside a pool of WATER.

5.Going West he found a people who lived where the SUN RISES

6.He bulit a WALL against the evil GOG and MAGOG tribes.

minoria said...



Since the time of Alex or at least a generation after him it was thought he had TWO HORNS.We have COINS with Alex plus 2 horns on his head that are near his time.


In SURA 18:83-98 we have the SAME STORY as in the Christian Romance of Alex with one difference.

The NAME of ALEX is not given.In EVERYTHING else the story is the same.


Scholars think the Christian book is from 629 AD.Why?

1.We have five Syriac manuscripts of the book and one can be dated to 629.

2.There is evidence of knowledge of the Khazar invasion of Armenia in A.D. 629

3.The manuscript fails to mention the Islamic conquest of Jerusalem in 636 AD by Caliph Omar.


iN 692 a Syriac Christian book called the Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius was indeed written as a response to the Muslim invasions and was falsely attributed to St Methodius(4th century)

The Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius equated the evil nations of Gog and Magog with the Muslim invaders and shaped the eschatological imagination of Christendom for centuries.

minoria said...


Seymour bases his claim that the book is POST-ISLAM on the phrase in the book that says:

"And when the Huns have gone forth, as God has commanded, the kingdoms of the Huns and the Persians and the ARABS, the twenty-four kingdoms that are written in this book, shall come from the ends of the heavens and shall fall upon one another, and the earth shall melt through the blood and dung of men."


Suppose it is true.SO what,the DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE is that PARTS of DHUL-QARNAYN story are found CENTURIES BEFORE the 6th century.


Sura 18:83-98 begins with "THEY will ASK YOU about Two-Horned"

It means te story was ALREADY KNOWN.


Read this article with a BIBLIOGRAPHY that shows parts of the story are from CENTURIES before Muhammad.

minoria said...


Ok,in that article it says:

That Emeri Van Donzel & Andrea Schmidt, Gog and Magog in Early Syriac and Islamic Sources: Sallam's Quest for Alexander’s Wall (Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 2009), p.57 say:

"The epithet(TWO-HORNED) he [Alexander the Great] is given in the Koran and in Islamic tradition is already known in the Syriac Alexander Legend which itself goes back to Jewish and probably Egyptian tradition. The name is also found in the Greek, Coptic and Ethiopic Alexander tradition"


In the KORAN two-honed built gates against evil peoples.

Gabriel S. Reynolds (ed.), The Qur’ān in Its Historical Context (New York, NY: Routledge, 2008), p.186. says:

" According to Greek and Latin traditions from the first century CE onward”, who spoke of him ALEX THE GREAT “building gates in the Caucasus to keep out invaders”.


Margaret Meserve, Empires of Islam in Renaissance Historical Thought (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008), p.252 says that

the famous first century Roman historian Pliny the Elder noted this peculiar legend, and spoke giant iron gates and a fortress in the Caucasus Mountains, “erected for the purpose of barring the passage of the innumerable tribes”.

minoria said...



Emeri Van Donzel & Andrea Schmidt, Gog and Magog in Early Syriac and Islamic Sources, pp.10-11 say:

"the link between the apocalyptic peoples of Gog and Magog on the one hand, and Alexander and the wall he is said to have built on the other, apparently took origin in Jewish Hellenistic circles in Alexandria at the beginning of the Christian era.

It is Flavius Josephus (d. around 100) who witnesses at first to the trend.....It is in his Jewish War, that Josephus links the biblical Gog and Magog with the popular Hellenistic Alexander-tradition. He says that Alexander closed a mountain pass by erecting iron gates south of the Caspian Sea…"

minoria said...


Finally a Christian in 629 or 630 wrote the CHRISTIAN Romance of Alex where he added stories HE WAS HEARING about Alex as 2-horned,Gog and Magog, and a wall built by Alex.

Plus that Alex had been a prophet of God,sun goes into water,etc.


The Koran says "They will ask YOU about Dhul-Qarnayn" meaning stories were in the air so EVEN IF the Christian writer COPIED the parts of 2-horned going WEST and the SUN into WATER plus the people living where the SUN RISES,plus 2-horned as a PROPHET FROM the KORAN the stories of:

1.Gog and Magog and the wall built against them

2.And that they were done by a 2-horned

PRECEDE the KORAN,and THERE the 2-horned is ALEXANDER.So at least 1) and 2) and also the idea that it was ALEX were in the air ORALLY in Muhammad's time,an are CENTURIES before Muhammad,and were COPIED by him into the Koran.


The REASON is it was ALREADY KNOWN,it is like saying MESSIAH,EVERYBODY knows it means JESUS.

donna60 said...


Look up Baptism in either Strong"s online concordance or biblegateway. Baptism is always performed by a member of the Lord's church, and not a government official.

donna60 said...

I am so proud of your young, sweet heart. I wish you had been my daughter.

curly said...

David Wood,
Well said... I enjoy to read this post. I think it is shame to Tasfir who were force to reinterpret the verse.

curly said...

@The Purple Marquise,
Hey sister, "Alexander the Great a Muslim prophet" oh really... Do it say in Holy Quran?? If yes, I m curious where the sura is? I wanna see it. I can't believe about Prophet Mohammad

Hey, you told to Jonnykzi is beautiful ! Jesus is so amazing...

Dk said...

David are you sure that is her best comment yet?

She said "Inshallah" at the end. "Allah willing" she will find the SOLUTION to this mess. In her mind there "HAS" to be an answer as Islam is ALREADY true".

That is the greatness of appealing to magic.

People don't get it. By ALREADY ADMITTING this "Cannot be a mistake there are NO serious mistakes in the Qur'an", she has already removed any chance of OBJECTIVE evaluation. She is by default rendered incapable of thinking objectively until she retracts this thought.

You cannot come to the text having ALREADY decided a solution must exist.

Why would you do this? Do you do this with Greco/Roman Mythology, Egyptian Mythology, Assyrian Mythology? NO. It's completely out of the question. A professional cannot approach issues like this like a 5 year old Kim.

Here is a better question. Why try to reconcile mythology with contemporary science AT ALL?

Do you do this with greco/roman mythology, why do it for arab mythology but not greco/roman mythology? Surely that absurd condition doesn't exist in history or religious studies.

jonnykzj said...


"Look up Baptism in either Strong"s online concordance or biblegateway. Baptism is always performed by a member of the Lord's church, and not a government official."

JK- Is there also a Bible verse which supports or indicates that Baptism should be done for every Christian AND IF SO DO WE find the same definition of baptism in the Bible too?
Also does one have to sign any contract after getting baptised at the church?

hugh watt said...


Before you consider baptism you need to know what baptism is about.

Some think that it's the actual baptism that makes you a Christian. Not so! Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ is what makes you a Christian, baptism just testifies to the world that you're swapping sides and have surrendered to the Living One through His Redeemer.

People in other faiths get baptized. It doesn't make them Christian.

You need to find out who Jesus Christ really is. Without this revelation you miss the main point.

hugh watt said...