Quranic Verses about Earth: Are They Scientifically True?

The Qur'an contains many verses about the universe, Earth, creation, and life. Many philosophers, scholars, and scientists have tried to use them to either propagate or discredit the book of Islam. The first aspect that should be noticed, is that some verses deal with Earth itself as a body; its solidity; its size, compared either with our point of view as small humans, or that others deal with Earth as only a small planet in the vastness of space. Two perspectives -- therefore, two perceptions.

Qur'anic verses are brief and seemingly simple. There's a lot more to Qur'anic verses, than that superficially meets the eye: The water circulation on Earth; salt and sweet water, hence referring to material particles giving water its taste, and minerals; the relatively unchanging solidity of Earth, wherein mountains have their role; the Earth being divided in parcels and lands, also referring to continents and tectonic plates and their movements. Reference is made to the unchanging laws of nature, that allow change within their limits, yet, also to the infinity of creation in the long run, where change, eventually, doesn't really exist.

There's also a lot we can't verify, or not yet ~ we know, Earth has a limited life, yet, don't know, what will come after that. Nor do we know, what the universe originally must have looked like, yet, apparently, the universe is infinitely present. The relevant verses, are aspects of the 'Unseen', those topics closed to human observation.

People are exhorted 'to travel the land' to see what nature on Earth in its original form looks like, but also, to see what has happened to those who lived on Earth before. Humans have a task on Earth: To be worthy vicegerents in Nature.

Qur'an has many verses about Earth and nature, each applicable on certain situations, or on specific topics. Some deal with the Earth as a celestial body; others with very specific details. Hence, the different approaches to topics as East and West and the paradoxes between verses. Translations differ slightly in verses 37:5 and 70:40, yet a clear truth appears: Easts, rising places, of planets or Sun, are never the same. They differ, depending where on Earth we stand, or depending the season. This may be interpreted as reference to Earth being spheric, and to Earth having a fixed rotation, causing its different climate zones. Yet, Earth's rotation as a planet, has a constant circle, and also an unchanging angle of its surface towards the Sun's light, deciding light's intensity and, hence, climate. Truth is also, there's really no East point anywhere on a ball, or, we should see it as infinite, when we look at the overall picture. -- Yet, at each fixed point on Earth, East and West don't change: Two Easts, and two Wests, and all the points inbetween, according the day of the year. This says something about the law of nature. It dictates orbits, days, nights, and seasons.

Many topics are only mentioned in general terminology. And, perspectives change per verse; sometimes even within a verse. Sometimes, a divine perspective is chosen; sometimes, a human perspective. A text as 'And the earth have We spread out, and have flung firm hills therein ...' (50:7) shows a divine, or longterm perspective. To humans, the emerge of hills and mountains, seems a slow geographical development. Humans are small creatures with a relatively short lifespan. Seventy years, is nothing, compared with Earth's lifespan of probably nine billion years -- or compared with eternity. Time, is a relative concept, changing according perspectives. This makes Qur'an a challenge to read. But, the texts can't be dismissed as untrue, in spite of their wording that perhaps isn't used by scientists. It's the wording of popular, everyday knowledge, such as: When water starts to bubble, it cooks -- a scientist might then mention its precise temperature. And, obviously, there's Earth the planet versus earth the matter from which living creatures are created. Living creatures contain the same elements that we find in Earth. The verses aim to invite people to gather knowledge about the topics and creatures mentioned, and through knowledge, come to worship of their Creator. This blog, is only a brief beginning of a topic that many commentators have written elaborate works about.

Some quoted verses:

'Was not Allah's earth spacious that ye could have migrated therein?' (4:97)

'And with Him are the keys of the Invisible. None but He knoweth them. And He knoweth what is in the land and the sea. Not a leaf falleth but He knoweth it, not a grain amid the darkness of the earth, naught of wet or dry but (it is noted) in a clear record. (59) He it is Who gathereth you at night and knoweth that which ye commit by day. Then He raiseth you again to life therein, that the term appointed (for you) may be accomplished. And afterward unto Him is your return. Then He will proclaim unto you what ye used to do.' (6:59,60)

'He it is Who hath placed you as viceroys of the earth and hath exalted some of you in rank above others, that He may try you by (the test of) that which He hath given you. Lo! Thy Lord is swift in prosecution, and Lo! He verily is Forgiving, Merciful.' (6:165)

'And in the Earth are neighbouring tracts, vineyards and ploughed lands, and date-palms, like and unlike, which are watered with one water. And we have made some of them to excel others in fruit. Lo! herein verily are portents for people who have sense. And if thou wonderest, then wondrous is their saying: When we are dust, are we then forsooth (to be raised) in a new creation?' (13:4)

'On the day when the earth will be changed to other than the earth, and the heavens (also will be changed) and they will come forth unto Allah, the One, the Almighty, ...' (14:48)

'And the cattle hath He created, whence ye have warm clothing and uses, and whereof ye eat; (5) And wherein is beauty for you, when ye bring them home, and when ye take them out to pasture. (6) And they bear your loads for you unto a land ye could not reach save with great trouble to yourselves. Lo! your Lord is Full of Pity, Merciful. (7) And horses and mules and asses (hath He created) that ye may ride them, and for ornament. And He createth that which ye know not.' (16:5-8)

'And He hath cast into the earth firm hills that it quake not with you, and streams and roads that ye may find a way. (15) And landmarks (too), and by the star they find a way.' (16:15)

'Who hath appointed the earth as a bed and hath threaded roads for you therein and hath sent down water from the sky and thereby We have brought forth divers kinds of vegetation, (53) (Saying): Eat ye and feed your cattle. Lo! herein verily are portents for men of thought. (54) Thereof We created you, and thereunto We return you, and thence We bring you forth a second time.' (20:53-55)

'Is not He (best) Who made the earth a fixed abode, and placed rivers in the folds thereof, and placed firm hills therein, and hath set a barrier between the two seas? Is there any God beside Allah? Nay, but most of them know not! (61) Is not He (best) Who answereth the wronged one when he crieth unto Him and removeth the evil, and hath made you viceroys of the earth? Is there any God beside Allah? Little do they reflect!' (27:60-62)

'Say (O Muhammad): Travel in the land and see how He originated creation, then Allah bringeth forth the later growth. Lo! Allah is Able to do all things.' (29:20)

'So set thy purpose (O Muhammad) for religion as a man by nature upright - the nature (framed) of Allah, in which He hath created man. There is no altering (the laws of) Allah's creation. That is the right religion, but most men know not -' (30:30)

'Corruption doth appear on land and sea because of (the evil) which men's hands have done, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return. (41) Say (O Muhammad, to the disbelievers): Travel in the land, and see the nature of the consequence for those who were before you! Most of them were idolaters.' (30:41,42)

'Lord of the heavens and of the earth and all that is between them, and Lord of the sun's risings.' (37:5) (Or: 'The Lord of the heavens and the earth, and whatever is between them both and the Lord of the Easts.')

'And the earth have We spread out, and have flung firm hills therein, and have caused of every lovely kind to grow thereon, (7) A vision and a reminder for every penitent slave. (8) And We send down from the sky blessed water whereby We give growth unto gardens and the grain of crops, (9) And lofty date-palms with ranged clusters, (10) Provision (made) for men; and therewith We quicken a dead land. Even so will be the resurrection of the dead.' (50:7-11)

'Lord of the two Easts, and Lord of the two Wests!' (55:17)

'O company of jinn and men, if ye have power to penetrate (all) regions of the heavens and the earth, then penetrate (them)! Ye will never penetrate them save with (Our) sanction. (33) Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?' (55:33,34)

'Thou (Muhammad) canst see no fault in the Beneficent One's creation; then look again: Canst thou see any rifts?' (67:3)

'But nay! I swear by the Lord of the rising-places and the setting-places of the planets' or 'Yet no, I swear by The Lord of the Easts and the Wests' (70:40)

'Let man consider his food: (24) How We pour water in showers (25) Then split the earth in clefts (26) And cause the grain to grow therein (27) And grapes and green fodder (28) And olive-trees and palm-trees (29) And garden-closes of thick foliage (30) And fruits and grasses: (31) Provision for you and your cattle.' (80:25-32)


Quran Explorer, http://www.quranexplorer.com/quran/ 
AboutIslam.net, http://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/plural-easts-wests-quran/