Harun Yahya and Big Bang

TH Huxley

The Basic Claim:

Islamic apologists attempt to claim that the “Big Bang” is actually described by the Qur’an in one of many miraculous displays of scientific precocity in text. Here, in a representative example of the claim, the Turkish apologist Adnan Oktar (writing under the pseudonym Harun Yayha) tells us:

Adnan Oktar wrote:
The expansion of the universe is one of the most important pieces of evidence that the universe was created out of nothing. Although this was not discovered by science until the 20th century, Allah has informed us of this reality in the Qur’an revealed 1,400 years ago:

It is We Who have built the universe with (Our creative) power, and, verily, it is We Who are steadily expanding it. (Surat adh-Dhariyat: 47)

Another important aspect revealed in the Qur’an fourteen centuries before the modern discovery of the Big Bang and findings related to it is that when it was created, the universe occupied a very tiny volume:

Do those who are disbelievers not see that the heavens and the earth were sewn together and then We unstitched them and that We made from water every living thing? So will they not have faith? (Surat al-Anbiya': 30)

There is a very important choice of words in the original Arabic whose translation is given above. The word ratk translated as ‘sewn to’ means ‘mixed in each, blended’ in Arabic dictionaries. It is used to refer to two different substances that make up a whole. The phrase “we unstitched” is the verb fatk in Arabic and implies that something comes into being by tearing apart or destroying the structure of ratk. The sprouting of a seed from the soil is one of the actions to which this verb is applied.

Looking a Little Deeper:

The first important point to consider is the actual statements of the Qur’an, and whether they have been honestly presented. Oktar quotes the Qur’an as saying in 51:47 “It is We Who have built the universe with (Our creative) power, and, verily, it is We Who are steadily expanding it.”

Is that a fair translation of the aya in question?

Well, not according to the three most highly regarded English translations generally available. Their versions are:

In Al-Qur’an 051.047, Muhammad (or somebody) wrote:
YUSUFALI: With power and skill did We construct the Firmament: for it is We Who create the vastness of space.
PICKTHAL: We have built the heaven with might, and We it is Who make the vast extent (thereof).
SHAKIR: And the heaven, We raised it high with power, and most surely We are the makers of things ample.

Not one of them contains the idea of an ongoing expansion of the universe. In fact, none of them refers to the “universe” at all, but to the heavens or firmament, in contrast to the aya immediately following which discusses the earth:

Al-Qur’an 051.048, Muhammad (or somebody) wrote:
YUSUFALI: And We have spread out the (spacious) earth: How excellently We do spread out!
PICKTHAL: And the earth have We laid out, how gracious is the Spreader (thereof)!
SHAKIR: And the earth, We have made it a wide extent; how well have We then spread (it) out.

The dualism of the heaven and the earth is a recurring theme in the Qur’an, and to ancient Arabs they together would have been considered the entire universe. And generally, when one is referred to, the other marches right along with it in the repetitive pattern of most Arabic poetry.

The problem here is that since the identical verb forms and grammar are used, to include tense, how can Oktar claim the first aya refers to an ongoing, continuing expansion of the heavens, without also concluding that the second must also refer to an ongoing, continuing spreading of the earth?

Qur’anic cosmology is firmly geocentric, with the earth at the center of the universe surrounded by seven solid spheres (the “seven heavens”) within which orbited the stars, planets, sun and moon.

But here Oktar has deliberately and deceptively altered the meaning of 51:47 in three ways.

He has mistranslated “heaven” as “universe” in the attempt to make the Qur’an sound conceptually more sophisticated than it really is, and to provide a stronger basis for his second and more significant distortion.

He then not only translates the Arabic noun for “a vastness” into a verb meaning “expanding,” but he then adds the entirely superfluous adverb “steadily” in an attempt to insert into the Qur’an additional ideas that are not actually there. With these three translational liberties, Oktar has completely changed the meaning of this aya from a simple description of Allah’s creation of the heavens into a scientific statement of Hubble’s expanding universe that is not actually contained in the Qur’an.

Oktar’s misuse and abuse of al-Qur’an 21:30 is no more legitimate than his mutilation of 51:47 although at least his translation is more loyal to the original. In this case his primary tool for distortion comes from the decision to take this single aya completely out of context, and so disguise its actual (and obvious) meaning.

Here is the single verse as quoted by Oktar:

In his own translation of Al-Qur’an 021.030, Oktar wrote:
Do those who are disbelievers not see that the heavens and the earth were sewn together and then We unstitched them and that We made from water every living thing? So will they not have faith?

How convenient for his argument that he has not included the next two ayaat. Here are (again) the three most highly regarded translations of the three ayaat in question:

In Al-Qur’an, Muhammad (or somebody) wrote:
021.030
YUSUFALI: Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?
PICKTHAL: Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them, and we made every living thing of water? Will they not then believe?
SHAKIR: Do not those who disbelieve see that the heavens and the earth were closed up, but We have opened them; and We have made of water everything living, will they not then believe?

021.031
YUSUFALI: And We have set on the earth mountains standing firm, lest it should shake with them, and We have made therein broad highways (between mountains) for them to pass through: that they may receive Guidance.
PICKTHAL: And We have placed in the earth firm hills lest it quake with them, and We have placed therein ravines as roads that haply they may find their way.
SHAKIR: And We have made great mountains in the earth lest it might be convulsed with them, and We have made in it wide ways that they may follow a right direction.

021.032
YUSUFALI: And We have made the heavens as a canopy well guarded: yet do they turn away from the Signs which these things (point to)!
PICKTHAL: And we have made the sky a roof withheld (from them). Yet they turn away from its portents.
SHAKIR: And We have made the heaven a guarded canopy and (yet) they turn aside from its signs.

Now that we have returned the verse to its actual context, let’s take a moment to contrast Oktar’s argument with what the Qur’an is actually describing. He claims that this is a description of the scientific fact that “when it was created, the universe occupied a very tiny volume.” In fact, there is no description all in this verse that could be interpreted at referring to volume in any sense.

But more importantly, Oktar is claiming that the “unstitching” of heaven and earth described here is a reference to the “Big Bang,” or the primordial creation of the universe. If this were the case, then the “earth” mentioned here can not refer to the planet Earth, as its creation was still billions of years in the future from the event Oktar claims is being described.

In other words, Oktar is implying (and many Muslim web sites and publications claim explicitly) that “earth” here means “matter,” and not the planet Earth itself.

But the very next verse proves that this cannot be true. For in that very next verse Allah is setting on that same “earth” mountains and highways. How could this be if the “earth” in these ayaat meant anything OTHER than the planet Earth? When you further consider that the next aya after that concerns the “heaven” as a “canopy” or “roof” to that same planet earth, then the idea that this verse is a description of the “big bang” becomes completely impossible.

These verses are exactly what they appear to be; they are a description of Allah’s creation of the planet Earth and the heavens above it, NOT a description of the creation of the universe as understood by modern science.

The idea that the heavens and earth were once joined and then separated by the activity of Gods and Goddesses was actually quite common among pagans of the Middle East. Among the Egyptians for example, it was the involuntary separation of Geb (the earth god) from his wife and sister Nut (the sky goddess) that was responsible for the division of the earth from the sky. The Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh likewise describes the moment “when the heavens had been separated from the earth, when the earth had been delimited from the heavens” as a result of the separation of a sky God (An) from a earth Goddess (Ki). If you remove the pagan references, you have the same story as found in the Qur’an.

Remember that in Muhammad’s day, the heavens and the earth WERE the entire universe. All the celestial bodies that could be observed were believed to reside within the concentric spheres of the “seven heavens.” The stars were even contained in the closest sphere to Earth in ignorance of the fact that their tiny size was simply an illusion caused by their great actual distance.

This truncated understanding of the universe is responsible for the fact that there is no actual discussion of the creation of a “universe” in the Qur’an at all. The Qur’an is completely silent on the “big bang” because it clearly has no awareness whatsoever of a universe that preexisted the creation of the planet Earth, or extended outwards into infinite space. It has no understanding of galaxies, or clusters of galaxies, or quasars or pulsars… any of the OTHER things that could have easily been mentioned by an omniscient Allah, and left us no room for quibbling.

And Muslim claims of miraculous scientific information in the Qur’an are shown to be, yet again, in error.

34 Responses to “Harun Yahya and Big Bang”

  1. danu Says:

    in the Qur’an, the only text that has not been corrupted

    other evidence :

    THE SPEED OF ELECTROMAGNETIC WAVE
    THE HIGHEST SPEED IN THE UNIVERSE
    That is 299792.5 km/sec
    Can be determined / calculated exactly based on
    The information taken from an old document

    “He directs the affairs from the heavens to the earth: then it ascends unto Him, on a Day the measure of which is a thousand years of your reckoning” (32:5)

    it can be concluded that:
    The distance reached by The affairs in a day
    is equal to
    The distance reached by the moon in 1000 years or 12000 months
    C . t = 12000 . L
    where : C = the speed of the Affairs
    t = time in a day
    L = the route length of the moon’s trip in one month

    Based on Sidereal System, ( relative motion of the moon’s and the sun to the star in universe )
    1 day = 23 hours 56 minutes 4.0906 seconds
    = 86164.0906 seconds
    1 month = 27.321661 days

    Then consider the moon’s route during one sidereal month
    The route is not of a circle like you possibly imagine
    But in the form of a curvature with a length of L = v . T
    where:
    v = the speed of the moon
    T = moon revolution period
    = 27.321661 days

    alfa = angle formed by earth’s revolution during one sidereal month
    alfa = (27.321661 days/365.25636 days) * 360 degree = 26.92848 degree

    Relative speed to earth which can be calculated with
    the following formula:
    ve = 2 . pi . R / T

    Where R = radius of moon revolution = 384264 km
    T = the period of moon’s revolution = 655.71986 hours

    Hence ve = 2 * 3.14162 * 384264 km / 655.71986 hrs
    = 3682.07 km/hr

    Relative speed to star or universe. This is what we need
    v = Ve * Cos (alfa)

    Hence:
    C . t = 12000 . L
    C . t = 12000 . v . T
    C . t = 12000 . ( ve . Cos (alfa) ) . T

    C = 12000 . ve . Cos (alfa) . T / t
    C = 12000 * 3682.07 km/hr * 0.89157 * 655.71986 hrs / 86164.0906 sec
    C = 299792.5 km/sec

    US National Bureau of Standards
    C = 299792.4574 + 0.0011 km/sec
    The British National Physical Laboratory
    C = 299792.4590 + 0.0008 km/sec

    The conclusion
    “This calculation proved the accuracy and consistency of the constant C resulted from measurement and also shows the truth of the Holy Qur’an as revelation which is proper to be studied with a sharp analysis for the Writer is the Creator of the universe”

  2. Hamza Says:

    Now, lets get this straight!! Science is not the one that validates the Quran. A statement like “… and also shows the truth of the Holy Quran..” are not to be used against the ultimate truth – the Quran. Lets imagine that the calculations came out with a different figure… eh would we say “… this proves the falsehood…”.

    Its the Quran that confirms scientific ideas. So the conclusions should be that “…this shows that the scientific claim that light…. is right since its consistent with the Quran”

    • Mr Smith Says:

      If Holy Quran is real then why need science? Why even mention to science if Quran only source of Truth?

  3. Edip Yuksel Says:

    “The problem here is that since the identical verb forms and grammar are used, to include tense, how can Oktar claim the first aya refers to an ongoing, continuing expansion of the heavens, without also concluding that the second must also refer to an ongoing, continuing spreading of the earth?”

    First, the verses referring to Big Bang and Expansion of Universe are very clear and they are not first noticed by Adnan Oktar. In fact, long before the mahdi imposter Adnan Oktar’s followers puplished the books falsely attributed to him, I discussed these verses and their scientific implications in my once best-selling Turkish book, Kuran En Büyük Mucize, (Quran: the Greatest Miracle) in 1982.

    That is said now let me suggest a correction in your statement above. The verb used in 51.47 is MUSIUN, while the verb used in 51:48 is MAHIDUN.

    As for your other statements, unfortunately, I do not have time to evaluate.

    Peace,
    Edip Yuksel

    • JAMSHED MOIDU Says:

      • Ahmed Says:

        Wow! Its been debunked. I’m surprized that you are still cuttin’ ‘n’ pastin’ this kind o’ stuff. Stop being lazy Jamshed, and actually refute Dawkins in your own words. I don’t think you are intelligent or educated enough to do that so you cut and paste already debunked creationist distortions against Dawkins.
        Why are you so fixated on Dawkins? Why not try to refute what PZ Myers writes about evolution and your stupid cult master, Adnan Oktar? Put down those cocaine laced kebabs and stop buggering that blackmailed under aged girl, and try to refute some more biologists if you think you have such a good case against evolution, which you haven’t.
        All your attempts to refute evolution start with cut and pasting your master’s ignorance and then devolve into religious dogma. You know no science, and quickly get your arse handed to you on a plate by folks that know far more than you do, about science and Islamic scholarship.
        Jamshed you are a silly little twerp, just like Zakir Naik. By the way Jamshed, it is nice to know that Naik won’t be coming to Sheffield to spread his particular brand of bigotry.

  4. Abu AFak Says:

    “Its the Quran that confirms scientific ideas. So the conclusions should be that “…this shows that the scientific claim that light…. is right since its consistent with the Quran”

    The Quran isn’t a scientific treatise. Only the scientific process can confirm scientific ideas. The Quran can’t do that because it was written by primitive arab tribesmen, not modern scientists. The same goes for the Bible and the Torah.
    Get over it religious freaks! Your holy books are mere mythology unable to withstand the blinding glare of scientific investigation.

  5. Shadow Jack Says:

    “This calculation proved the accuracy and consistency of the constant C resulted from measurement and also shows the truth of the Holy Qur’an as revelation which is proper to be studied with a sharp analysis for the Writer is the Creator of the universe”

    Danu you know nothing about physics. The speed of light (c) is always written lower case. Any physicist would know that.
    Go back to your holy book and wipe your backside on it. Then go out and buy a proper book on physics and read it and learn something about the real world.

  6. harun yahya Says:

    “The distance reached by the moon in 1000 years or 12000 months
    C . t = 12000 . L”
    what losers….
    in Physics, most calculations are done based on basic units of time i.e. sec min or hrs.
    any person with basic knowledge can add subtract or multiply to get any value.

    To best explain the so called miracles of Islam, it is best to read through this
    http://www.wikiislam.com/wiki/Georgics

    This explains how a simple book of virtually no merit can be converted to “book of miracle”

  7. abdul raheem Says:

    the Quran does have scientific facts in it even toiug it is not a book of science. There were conferences in Saudi Arabia on this topic, do not talk about things which you have no firm grounding. Why can’t the Qur’an possesses scince?It talks about the creation from the creator of all things. He made science and everthing else and HE revealed the Qur’an HIS speech.

  8. abdul raheem Says:

    I do not support Harun’s views nither.Assalaamu Alaikum

  9. S. Kajoshaj Says:

    [...]

    Having this in mind, we can understand why are there different translations of the words “inna la-musi’un”. The base word there is musi’ which means: expanded, rich, spacious, vast, wide. Since it is in the active form however (God is applying action on something), then the word musi’un means: to make rich, to make vast, to make wide, to expand. We can analyze this even deeper, if one might say “we are making it rich” does not mean” we are expanding it”. OK, think about it: what does making rich mean actually? If you had 10 gold coins, and I give you another 10 every day – i am making you rich – so, after one year you will end up having thousands of gold coins and a huge pile of them in your living room. Logically, the smal pile has become bigger. It expanded.
    [...]

    http://www.islamise.me/Latest/refuting-the-unrefutable.html

  10. Garry Scholey Says:

    The Quran has zero science in it. It was written by prescientific folks and, regardless of what some crazy imam paid by hardline wahabis in Saudi arabia might say, isn’t a scientifc paper. To suggest otherwise is to show ignorance of what science is.

  11. scorpionzz Says:

    this article is not good. sorry to say, but it really is.
    Those who dont understand arabic language will come up with this argument, which says that this great scholar, adnan oktar ultered the translation to make his point.
    i myself learned arabic in great extent, and when i read this verse in the Koran, totally it is parallel with the scientific discoveries which as well was explained by adnan oktar in his writing.
    i’d say you would give a look at the original aayat, the tense which refers to present and in the future, the real meaning of as samaa’ and so on. i can’t discuss here.hope you’ll try to find yourself.
    i suggest you to learn the arabic language before doing any research in anything regarding Islam. You’ll find more than what in Koran translation.

    it is because Koran is revealed in arabic and not in English or any language.if you have mastered this language,i bet you can even challenge every muslim scholar with greater impact.(only if you find they’re wrong.because i dont think so :P)

    • Ahmed Says:

      “this article is not good. sorry to say, but it really is.”

      And we’re supposed to take your word for this on zero evidence presented by you. My, how rational!

      “Those who dont understand arabic language will come up with this argument, which says that this great scholar, adnan oktar ultered the translation to make his point.”

      Oktar is no great scholar. He does not read arabic at all. If you don’t believe me, then I challenge Oktar to a debate in arabic. Oktar has no qualifications either as a scholar in Islamic literature or evolutionary science. So stop telling us that he is a great anything, except a great big liar!

  12. scorpionzz Says:

    “And we’re supposed to take your word for this on zero evidence presented by you. My, how rational!”

    Thats what all of you were doing to him,dont you see?
    saying him a sex cullt,schizophrenic and many allegations in a hope people might stay away from him. its funny to see this pattern in every life of great scholar. The response of disbelievers~
    Unlike him, you’re writing about him without any reference. Its’ really different with adnan’s works. Every fact that he used, always come from reliable sources. Dont you see?? again~

    If you still insist on the fact that he twisted the real meaning of the Koran, im really asking you to learn arabic or at least find someone who understand this beautiful language. Then tell me whats wrong in the translation made by him.

    • Sima Redna Says:

      suckionzzzzzz wailed:

      “Thats what all of you were doing to him,dont you see?
      saying him a sex cullt,schizophrenic and many allegations in a hope people might stay away from him. its funny to see this pattern in every life of great scholar. The response of disbelievers”

      Lackey, these allegations have been proven in a court of law, and your “great scholar” has been put in prison for blackmailing women into his bed because he is so unattractive that no sane female would sully herself by touching him.
      If Adnan Oktar is a great scholar how come he failed to breeze through an interior design course? When he gets out of prison will he take up a challenge by an Islamic scholar that can read Arabic to debate in that language?
      Oktar would run away from any debate with a real Arabic speaker that called him out on the bad translation in book attributed to him.
      Lackey I doubt that you are educated enough to read the Quran in its original language, so who are you to pass judgement on anyone?

      • scorpionzz Says:

        im egyptian, you st*p*d.
        how come i do not understand my language? haa?
        waiting for replies really tiring. only after one year then i remember again to check my response. Still, you just allege everyone to fit with your ignorant argument.

        Im not really on his side, I presume he has done some grave mistakes. Not really a mistake actually as I have to ask scholars regarding this matter. but i judge him accordingly. He contributes to muslim community with great impact using his efforts and fikrah. Many scholars admit that.

        My advice, you judge accordingly. find every resource you can reach. maybe youll say different, at least no stupid allegations.

      • scorpionzz Says:

        I apologize to you Sima Redna. I was in the clutches of arrogant stupidity and the glamour of Adnan Oktar’s cult. I have looked at the evidence and can see how he and his fellow cultists explioted the ignorant and uneducated and took their money and respect.
        I also see how science has the best explanation, and evidence, for evolution and that Oktar’s cultists don’t have any evidence to back up their fairy tales.

  13. emre Says:

    What kind of a dimwit gets his religious education from a failed interior designer (Adnan Oktar)?

  14. scorpionzz Says:

    www. psychologicalwarfaremethods.com

    www. replytowikipedia.com/

    these two links are more than enough to refute groundless claims made against the honorable Adnan Oktar.
    like i said,you’re just accusing him.saying bad things with your filthy mouth.
    you think people will be deceived with your manipulation and falsehood. Unfortunately, facts are not.

    to those who think and have the guts to face the facts, they will embrace the truth.not the ones who are filled with arrogance and ignorance. facts and evidences mean nothing to them.

    I post it on august 13th 2010. how comes after one year still await moderation by admin? afraid of the truth. i dont say this is the truth. i just mean we should listen to both sides as we are endowed by twi sided ears.

    • Iddio E Scompiglio Says:

      Yes I agree. We should listen to both sides..And then listen to those of the Pastafarian faith. The Flying Spaghetti monster put ALL fossils here to test the faith of other Pastafarians. The rest of you will all go to hell, as your gods are not real.

  15. scorpionzz Says:

    I’m sorry that I said bad things about you. I’m out of Adnan Oktar’s stupid cult now and can see that it tries to justify its exploitation of ignorant women and men by pseudoscience and lies. I’m glad that Adnan Oktar is behind bars, in prison for his crimes. Long live real science! I loved reading The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard dawkins. It opened my eyes to the real evidence for evolution and destroyed the pseudoscinece of Adnan Oktar’ s ghost written foolishness.

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