The Timeless Book

Just think about the level of knowledge about the natural world 1,400 years ago, when the Qur’an was first revealed. No one would expect a book from over 1,400 years ago to be free of scientific error. Moreover, books from the ancient past tend to be filled with myths and legends: mankind lacked the technology we have today and so came to many incorrect conclusions about how the natural world works. Legends and myths were invented because they lacked a means of scientifically explaining the world around them. Of course, some thinkers and philosophers at that time still managed to make some amazing discoveries, such as accurately estimating the circumference of the earth, but for everything they got right, they also got a lot wrong.

Yet when one reads the Qur’an, you find a distinct characteristic: the descriptions of the natural world in the Qur’an seem remarkably timeless. The Qur’an addresses various levels of intellect, at various times, and has a whole host of meanings for a particular word that it uses to describe the natural world. These words can relate to the past and present understanding of the physical world, and they can relate to non-scientific meanings too; they can be spiritual and moral insights. Let us take a look at some examples:

Expansion of Universe

“And the heaven We constructed with strength, and indeed, We are [its] expander.” [51:47] The Qur’an explains that God created the universe with a power or strength and that He is the one who expands it. From a classical 7th century perspective, this verse meant that God made the universe vast and provided us with sustenance and provisions. This would have been easily appreciated and understood by 7th century listeners. However, what is remarkable is that the Arabic word used for expansion, “lamusi’una”, also means that God is actually continuously expanding the universe, or that He expanded it. This is surprisingly in line with modern discoveries that the universe is expanding. (More Info)

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