The Quran on Seas and Rivers

The Quran is considered to be a miracle in itself. It is a unparallelled masterpiece of literary achievement and contains many allusions to modern science that no man living in the desert 1500 years ago could have known. Below is one example of  this taken out of http://scienceislam.com

 

Modern Science has discovered that in the places where two different seas meet, there is a barrier between them. This barrier divides the two seas so that each sea has its own temperature, salinity, and density.

[Principles of Oceanography – Davis, pp. 92-93]

For example, Mediterranean Sea water is warm, saline and less dense, compared to Atlantic Ocean water. When Mediterranean Sea water enters the Atlantic over the Gibraltar sill, it moves several hundred kilometers into the Atlantic at a depth of about 1,000 meters with its own warm, saline and less dense characteristics.
The Mediterranean water stabilizes at this depth.

[Principles of Oceanography p. 93]

The Mediterranean Sea water as it enters the Atlantic over the Gibraltar sill with its own warm, saline and less dense characteristics, because of the barrier that distinguishes between them. Temperatures are in degrees Celsius (C).

Even in depths (indicated here by darker colors) up to 1,400 meters and at distances ranging from a minus -100 to +2,500 meters, we find that both bodies of water maintain their individual temperatures and salinity.

Although there are large waves, strong currents, and tides in these seas, they do not mix or transgress this barrier.

The Holy Quran mentioned that there is a barrier between two seas that meet and that they do not transgress. God said:

He has let free the two seas meeting to gather. There is a barrier between them. They do not transgress.

 [Noble Quran 55:19-20]

But when the Quran speaks about the divider between fresh and salt water, it mentions the existence of “a forbidding partition” with the barrier.

God said in the Quran:

He is the one who has let free the two bodies of flowing water, one sweet and palatable, and the other salty and bitter. And He has made between them a barrier and a forbidding partition.

[Noble Quran 25:53]

On may ask, why did the Quran mention the partition when speaking about the divider between fresh and salt water, but did not mention it when speaking about the divider between the two seas?

Modern science has discovered that in estuaries, where fresh (sweet) and salt water meet, the situation is somewhat different from what is found in places where two seas meet. It has been discovered that what distinguishes fresh water from salt water in estuaries is a “pycnocline zone with a marked density discontinuity separating the two layers.”

[Oceanography p. 242]

This partition (zone of separation) has a different salinity from the fresh water and from the salt water

[Oceanography p. 244 and Introductory Oceanography pp. 300-301]

This information has been discovered only recently using advanced equipment to measure temperature, salinity, density, oxygen dissolubility, etc. The human eye cannot see the difference between the two seas that meet, rather the two seas appear to us as one homogeneous sea. Likewise the human eye cannot see the division of water in estuaries into the three kinds: the fresh water, the salt water, the partition (zone of separation).

More at http://scienceislam.com

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12 comments
  1. Nimal said:

    Dude, the Quran is not a book about science. It’s religious book and that is the basis for its worth. Using science to “prove” the Quran just goes to show that religion is trying to use science as a crutch to stand on. In other words, even religion is now leaning on science to prove its validity. For example, is anything about evolution mentioned in the Quran? What about the dinosaurs?

    • Whacko said:

      Well its not a case of the Quran ‘using’ science actually. It’s a case of the Quran having knowledge that was virtually unknowable at the time it was revealed. As in it preceeds modern science in knowledge. Thus testifying to its authenticity as a book from God. As for evolution you can find more on that here. As for dinosaurs well i am not an expert on the Quran but i do know that it does in no way rule out creations other than humans.

      • Sach said:

        I find it difficult to agree that knowledge was ‘virtually unknowable’ at the time. Perhaps for a keen observer, this whole thing about two seas might have been possible to understand, and describe.

        Mind you, some of the work by Da Vinci is still believed to be quite ahead of time. That however doesn’t necessarily mean he was a God or something. Rather he was quite a genius. Similarly, maybe – just maybe – the person who wrote Quran was a keen observer and even a man of science. So I guess this fact doesn’t necessarily prove it’s a book from God.

  2. Dulan said:

    Once, a long time ago a friend of mine pointed out that the Quran preceded western science in identifying the Earth as a globe and used that as evidence for it being truly the message from a Creator of all things.

    It’s pretty much the same as the “unknowable” argument you make for the seas. However, it should be noted that a greek called Eratosthenes (250BC) is credited with having using the reflection of the sun in a well in different places as the basis for calculating that the earth is in fact a globe. This is because the wells in Syene (in what is now Aswan, Egypt) would reflect the sun perfectly at midday, whereas in Alexandria, there would be shadow. Since the sun is supposed to be in the same position no matter where we are on earth, basic geometry led him to understand that the surface of the earth was round.

    I read that off the Science of Discworld, which provides a different angle to things, especially science.

    Of course, such ideas would run counter to what the priesthood of the time would have preached. Apollo as a flaming ball of fire might have upset quite a few priests 🙂

    Taking this into account, I’m not surprised that Qur’an – which originated from a part of the world that yielded so many great thinkers and their discoveries – should mention the same things that Western scientists put together in later times.

    Don’t forget that in ancient times, India, China, South America, the Middle East and their neighbouring countries were very scientifically advanced for their time. They spawned mighty civilisations, which nevertheless crumbled after becoming stagnant. Just because that knowledge is not widely known, should not mean that we ignore the possibility of recent scientific discoveries being actually re-discoveries of what our ancestors knew so long ago.

    Knowing something is one thing. But credit goes to those who wrote it and made it popular…

  3. Let us put the Qur’an in its right perspective. The Qur’an is not a book of science, history or stories, though it has some scientific and historical benchmarks and parables. Neither is it a religious scripture. It is a book of guidance that God the supreme creator of the Universe revealed through Prophet Muhammed similar to those before him like Jesus, Moses, David & Abraham etc.

    As one of the attributes of God, Muslims believe that God is time, he has neither a beginning nor an end; he is omniscient and knows the pre and post condition of anything.

    On the contrary man being the best of his creations and Adam being the first of such creation was educated by God himself about the way to conduct his earthly living. Mankind being offspring’s of Adam was sent with prophets of God from time to time as a process of renewing guidance and knowledge to the ever maturing man on the trajectory of development of sciences. Through time in this process the knowledge started dichotomizing to one based on divine guidance and the other based on heresy.

    The intellect of man has its limitations; one can be intellectually sound in one direction of knowledge and at the same time totally foolish and ignorant in another branch of knowledge. Therefore this limitation imposes upon man the need for structured training and knowledge to produce a balanced human being.

    The advent of Islam in the 6th Century was facing the most advanced civilizations of the time, the Roman, Persian and the Byzantine. They had in their possession the knowledge of the past millennia handed down from the Greek, Sumerians & Egyptians. At that time the Arabs who were the recipients of the Qur’an were the most illiterate and unlettered.

    Within 25 years from the initial days of the revelation of the Quran they were to face the armies of Romans, Persians, Jews and pagans and therefore they did not have time or opportunities to learn from the sources of their enemies who were the civilizations of the day. But history testifies that within 50 years of the advent of Islam the Arabs got the mastery of science and technology. It is surprising as to how they acquired this if we are to consider that the Romans, Persians & Byzantines had the keys to knowledge.

    It should be understood that, though the Quran is not a book of science it has established the fundamental knowledge in respect to the pursuit of knowledge. So the Arabs, the new converts to Islam started learning from a clean page and later thereupon they started evaluating the other sciences by the criterion set by the Qur’anic principles. The Qur’an is also known as Furqan, meaning Criterion.

    As Islam spread around the Muslims started centres of learning, the remarkable of which are the courts of Calipha Haroun Ar Rasheed and Calipha Ma’mun. Here they employed people of all specialization and all faith from around the world and translated the works of the Greeks, the Roman and the others and evaluated and verified authenticity of the earlier writings and from this mythology and hearsay part of science were disproved and updated and authorised versions were produced. This is at a time when the western world was undergoing dark ages in their history.
    Going back to what Whacko has said:
    “ It’s a case of the Quran having knowledge that was virtually unknowable at the time it was revealed “

    I would like to rephrase his statement as follows: For a book to display the knowledge about the intricacies of creation in advance of time and long before the modern knowledge of empirical science in biology, botany, geology, space etc is a clear indication of its divine origin as Muhammed historically was illiterate.

    For the Muslims this fact is not astounding as they believe that if God almighty can create universe from nothing, Adam without a father and a mother, Jesus without a father, planets floating in space without any support and in the same wavelength he can send revelations unravelling the mysteries of the creations much in advance of time as proof of the authenticity of the revelation he has send.

    For those who are interested can read:

    The Qur’an Bible & Science by Prof. Maurice Buccaile

    Age of Civilizations
    Age of Faith both by Will Durant
    A Scientist’s Interpretation of References to Embryology in the Qur’an
    Keith L. Moore, Ph.D., F.I.A.C.
    Watch Islam: The Empire of Faith http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-csj4dntAgE

  4. Sach said:

    The Outsider, very insightful and informative comment. Thanks dude (if you’re a dude)…

  5. Yeah I’m not sold that God exists purely on the basis that the Qur’an has certain information it it. The people at the time could very well have known that… and put it down in the Qur’an if that be the case.

    I’ve heard this kind of thing before like how there’s information about black holes in the Qur’an… it’s possible.

    The Outsider nailed it really…

  6. Aufidius said:

    My good friend the outsider has holistically addressed certain issues, so I don’t need to really dwell on that, but as an extension of that and as attempted response to what foxhound has said – allow me to say the following.

    Abu Lahab was one of the staunchest critics and antagonists of Islam. He made things so difficult for Muslims (torture/killing etc) when Islam was still at its infancy that God revealed the following verses.

    The power of Abu Lahab will perish, and he will perish. His wealth and gains will not exempt him. He will be plunged in flaming Fire.( Quran Chapter111 verses 1-3).

    At this moment that god revealed these verses; Abu Lahab was alive and was one of the most powerful men of Arabia. People went upto him and asked him to become a muslim and thereby falsify the quranic verses. If he had become a Muslim at that point, the whole Quran will have been a farce and non-factual in content! But he never became a Muslim. These verses are in the Quran. Only god who knows all things and he knows Abu Lahab will never become a muslim, its because of this knowledge that those verses were revealed.

    Again, If Abu Lahab had become a Muslim when those verses were revealed and thereby saved himself from hell (according to the verse) , the whole Quran will be a joke!

    For a deeper insight into Islams contribution to modern Art, Science, Law and Literature the Documentary – An Islamic History of Europe, done by the BBC is a must watch! Link below.

  7. peripateticwayfarer said:

    Well done Whacko, an interesting post indeed with very insightful comments by Outsider and the rest. I would like to reiterate the fact that Islam was never a book of science nor will it be that! Rather it is a book of SIGNS for the knowledgeable to explore.

    “Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed SIGNS for men of understanding”. (Quran 3:190)

    Throughout course of time the natural cycles of night, day, Earth’s rotation etc have been functioning with no difference in principle. The only difference from era to era would be in the way by which scientists and scholars of that time put forward reasons to a certain phenomenon or a naturally reoccurring event. Needless to be said such explanations bear the risk of being falsified by modern findings. The converse of this argument would be that the scientific theories discarded by modern science may at some point be reintroduced into the teachings of science.

    It is no secret that scientific findings have evolved with time and changing trends in acceptance. However, not a single law of an established science could be found to be in contradiction with the Quran and its teachings. Facts similar to which whacko has mentioned here bear testimony to this fact.

    I have no intention of convincing the world the authenticity of the Quran. Rather, I would like to bring some food for thought to you guys which in my opinion are evidence enough to make the Quran earn its place as an Unparalleled Universal Book of Signs.

    Quran speaks about the “atom” long before Lavoisier or John Dalton started study on the matter.

    “Surely! Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom…….” (Quran 4:40)

    The intricate communication systems of the ant and the bee, the shape of the human embryo, the aorta and many of the other biological wonders of the human and animal kingdom was spoken about in the Quran.
    History bears testimony to the fact that no book of science was introduced for use by the masses, rather it circulated among the intellectuals of a certain discipline. If the Quran had mortal influence in its teachings it surely would tone down the language to accommodate the “dummies” we find in any society. Nay it never did happen, the pristine language of the Quran bore new meaning to the Arab pundits of 500’s (C.E.) who could not rival it’s grammar and verbatim with their poetry.

    The issue of Quran being a divine scripture has been addressed in my (2 part) post at http://peripateticwayfarer.wordpress.com/2009/08/29/al-quran-the-controversial-guide-to-humankind/

    And this video link on youtube in my opinion may inspire people who are in doubt whether the above is fact or fiction to eat their words.

  8. Investigate Your Way to Freedom said:
  9. Ghurabaa said:

    The Answer, to the deniers of Allaah and to those who disbelieve that the Qur’aan is the speech of Allaah, is in the Qur’aan itself!

    Where Allaah Says;

    “Or do they say: He (Muhammad) has invented it (the Qur’aan)?

    Nay, but they believe not!

    Let them then produce a speech the like thereof (the Qur’aan),

    if they are truthful.

    (Surah 52 Verse 33-34)

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