Tafseer of the Qur’an through deduction of scientific miracles, palindromes & modern theories

In the name of Allaah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.

From the miracles proving the truth of Islaam is the Book of Allaah – the Noble Qur’an. It contains many signs and proofs, attesting to its truth and validity. As time passes, and science is advanced, the truth of the Qur’an is only being established further. The scientific miracles found in the Qur’an cannot be denied and many non-Muslims have accepted Islaam based on the mentioning of such proofs.

It is important to realise however, that primarily the Qur’an is not a book of science nor mathematical miracles. It is the Speech of Allaah, containing guidance to the correct creed, an encouragement to worship Allaah upon Tawheed and a reminder to the people of the reward of Islaam and the sin of disbelief.

People often go to extremes with regards to this subject matter, either by exaggerating scientific and mathematical claims from the Qur’an or in the other extreme stubbornly refusing to even accept the scientific miracles that the Qur’an contains. As ever, a Muslim maintains moderation and balance in such matters, and there is nothing wrong with accepting what can be clearly deduced from the wording of the Qur’an.

In explaining Qur’anic Aayaat through the science of Tafseer (Qur’anic Exegesis), we must return to the Aathaar (narrative passages), from the early scholars among the companions of the Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) and their students. It is upon the teacher of Tafseer to fear Allaah in this regard, only speak according to his knowledge of the explanations of the earlier scholars; to explain the meanings and wisdom that the wording of Qur’an necessitates and to not exceed the limits by exaggerating in mathematical claims or trying to deduce what cannot be deduced from its wording.

Indeed, when Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq (may Allaah be pleased with him) was asked the meaning of a particular Aayah he remarked:

Which sky will shelter me and which earth will hold me if I speak about the Qur’an without knowledge [1]

In recent times however, people have sought to explain the Qur’an in various ways, hoping to appeal to the masses such that their explanations are understood, convincing and accepted. Despite their good intentions and noble objectives, they exceed the limits of the virtuous Imaams of this Ummah. They delved into trying to prove the validity of the Qur’an through deducing scientific miracles, exaggerating palindromes [2] and applying the Qur’an to modern theories.

Using mathematical deductions from the Aayaat of the Qur’aan is close to the way of the people who deal with incantations and talismans, they use numbers, patterns and formulae claiming it to be from Islaam. One of the contemporary personalities who was misguided in this regard was an Egyptian man by the name of Rashaad Khaleefah. From an initial Soofi background, he later moved to America, exaggerated mathematical claims from the Qur’an and finally ended up claiming Prophethood for himself. [3]

The reality of this approach is that, despite being populist amongst intellectuals, it is speaking about the Qur’an using one’s personal understanding, opinion, deduction and logic instead of explaining the Qur’an based upon the narrations of the Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam), his companions and the early scholars. [4]

Another by-product of adopting this ‘academic’ approach, is that people are misdirected away from the true soul of the Qur’an, in believing and pondering over the meanings of the Qur’an as the pious Imaams understood, and instead people are cultivated upon calculating useless mathematical facts and formulae which bring no benefit in this world nor the Hereafter.

Indeed it is feared that such a person falls into the saying of Allaah (the Most High)

{…Do not follow the footsteps of Shaytaan, for he is to you an avowed enemy. He commands you what is evil and shameful, and that ye should say of Allah that of which ye have no knowledge} [02:169]

In warning from this approach and as sincere advice, I have mentioned a number of Fataawa below from reputable scholars of our time, discussing the explanation of the Qur’an through scientific modern miracles.

In concluding this advice, I remind those who are involved in Da’wah that the success of our da’wah will only be realised in conforming to the way of the Messenger of Allaah (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) and the Salaf of this Ummah. It is pertinent to mention the statement of Imaam Maalik Ibn Anas (may Allaah have mercy upon him):

“Whosoever introduces into Islaam an innovation, and holds it to be something good, has indeed alleged that Muhammad (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) has betrayed the message. Read the saying of Allaah (the Blessed, the Most High):

{This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islâm as your religion} [05:03]

So that which was not part of the Religion at that time, cannot be part of the Religion today. The last part of this Ummah cannot be rectified, except by that which rectified its first part.” [5]

#Fatwa 1: Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen

Reference: Kitaab al-‘Ilm

The Virtuous Shaykh Muhammad al-Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy upon him) was asked: Is it permitted to explain the Noble Qur’an with modern scientific theologies?

Response: Explaining the Qur’an with scientific theories has its dangers; such that if we explained the Qur’an with a particular theory, and then other theories were purported in contradiction to the previous theory, this then necessitates that the Qur’an has now become incorrect in the eyes of the enemies of Islaam.

As for the Muslims, they say that the error is in this person who imagines the Qur’an to be explained with such a theory, however the enemies of Islaam await any misfortune.

For this reason, I severely warn from impulsive explanation of the Qur’an with such scientific theories; rather we should leave such matters to established reality. If such theories are proven, then there is no need to say that the Qur’an established such theories. The Qur’an was revealed for worship, manners and contemplating

Allah (the Exalted and Majestic) said,

{[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded} [38:29]

The Qur’an [was not revealed for] such matters that are known through scientific experimentation or due people come to know of them through [technological] studies. Also, there is a great danger in applying the Qur’an upon [such theories]. As an example, the saying of Allaah (the Most High),

{O company of jinn and mankind, if you are able to pass beyond the regions of the heavens and the earth, then pass. You will not pass except by authority [from Allah]} [55:33]

When the space journey to the moon occurred, some people began to explain this Aayah and apply it to this event. They said: ‘the meaning of “authority” is knowledge; the people [who reached the moon] exited the regions of the earth, due to their knowledge, and thus they defied gravity.’

This is an error, it is not permitted to explain the Qur’an like this. If you explain the Qur’an with a particular meaning, this necessitates you bearing witness that Allaah intended this meaning. This is a serious proclamation that you will be questioned about.

Whoever contemplates the Aayah, will find that this explanation is falsehood. This is because the Aayah came in the context of the state of the people and the final conclusion of their affairs. Read Soorah ar-Rahmaan, you will find that this Aayah [that has been mentioned above] come after the saying of Allaah (the Most High)

{Everyone upon the earth will perish, And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor. So which of the favors of your Lord would you deny?} [55:26]

So we ask, did those people exit the realms of this world? The answer is no; and then Allaah said:

{if you are able to pass beyond the regions of the heavens and the earth}

Secondly, these people [who the Aayah is applied to because they reached the moon], was a flame of fire and smoke sent upon them? [6]

The answer is no; therefore it is not correct for the Aayah to be explained in the manner that those people explained it.

We also say: the people [who traveled in space] and reached what they reached [i.e. the moon] this is due their knowledge experimental sciences that they understood due to their experimenting. However, to change [the meaning] of the Qur’an in order to submit the Qur’an to prove such meanings is incorrect and not permitted.

#Fatwa 2: Shaykh AbdulAzeez Ibn Baz & al-Lajnah ad-Daaimah

Reference: Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daaima Vol 4 Page 145

Question: What is the ruling of the Sharee’ah regarding the Explanations [of the Qur’an] which are called: Scientific Miracles [in the Qur’an]?

What is the ruling on explaining the Qur’an with proven scientific explanations? There is a lot of controversy regarding it recently.

Response: If [such explanations] are like the types of explanations that have been given to the saying of Allaah (the Most High):

{Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe?} [21:30]

[This Ayah is explained to mean] that ‘the earth was joined to the Sun and it was a part of the Sun, and then due to the severity of the rotation of the sun, the earth split from it, the earth’s crust then cooled however its core remained hot; after this planets developed that circulate around the earth…’

If the explanations to the Aayaat are like this, then they should not be relied upon and neither are they to be depended upon.

Similarly, explanations [of the Qur’an] in which their authors deduced that His saying (the Most High),

{You see the mountains, thinking them rigid, while they will pass as the passing of clouds} [27:88]

 [They say, this Aayah] proves the rotation of the earth

Such explanations misconstrue the intended meanings of the Aayaat and instead the Qur’an is lowered to what they call scientific theories – they are only mere theories/thoughts or figments of imagination and fantasies.

Similar to this is all the other explanations [of the Qur’an] that rely on new thoughts/theories that have no basis in the Book, Sunnah nor in the statements of the pious generations of this Ummah. Rather it is speaking regarding Allaah without knowledge.

True Guidance is from Allaah, may peace and blessings of Allaah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions.

#Fatwa 3: Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan

Reference: Majallah ad-Da’wah no. 1447  [21/01/1415h]

(After summarising the statement of Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah regarding Tafseer, he said)

This is the end of the summary of the statement of the Shaykh [Ibn Taymiyyah] in refutation of a person who explains the Qur’an with that which is not found in the Qur’an and Sunnah, and that this is a false explanation…

This can be applied to many of the ignorant authors today who explain the Qur’an according to their own understanding and opinions, or they explain the Qur’an according to modern theories from medical advancements, astronomy or advancements of space research. They call this ‘Scientific Miracle of the Noble Qur’an.’

In this lies the increased danger of lying upon Allaah. Despite many of the authors doing this with a good intention and trying to prove the status of the Qur’an, however this is an action which is not permitted.

The Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) said,

 Whoever speaks regarding the Qur’an according to his opinion and according to what he does not know, then let him reserve his seat in the Fire [7]

So the Qur’an is not explained except by the Qur’an, Sunnah or a statement of a companion – as is known by the prudent scholars. 

Allaah is the One who truly guides; He is the Guide to the correct path; may peace and blessings of Allaah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions.’

#Fatwa 4: Shaykh Sa’ad al-Husayn

Reference: al-I’jaaz al-‘Ilmee lil Qur’aan

“Perhaps the first person who fell into this doubt of using scientific miracles in the Qur’an is: al-Ghazzaali [died: 505h], in [his book]: Ihyaa [Uloom ad-Deen]. He claimed that the Qur’an contains seventy seven thousand facts, in conformity to the number of words [in the Qur’an] multiplied by four.  He also claimed that each word has an apparent meaning and a hidden meaning, a definition and an extension.

In his book,  Jawaahir al-Qur’an, he specified the fifth chapter in explaining that the Qur’an contains every type of science and secular knowledge. Just as he Ghazaali opened the avenue of confusing between Tasawwuf and Islaam, he similarly confused between al-Fijr (logical thinking) and Fiqh in the texts of revelation.

After him, ar-Raazi [died: 606h] came and compounded the problem; and then the issue became even more exacerbated with the coming of Ibn Abi al-Fadhl al-Mursi [died: 655h]. He deduced engineering from the saying of Allaah (the Most High),

{Proceed to a shadow [of smoke] having three columns} [77:30]

He also deduced algebra and matching numbers to letters from the first letters of the beginning of the chapters (ie the Soorah of the Qur’an).

#Fatwa 5: Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen

Reference: Majmoo’ al-Fataawa Vol 26 Page 28

“In reality we do not deny the scientific miracles [of the Qur’an], we do not deny that in the Qur’an there are matters that have now been clearly proven and explained in the later times. However, some people exaggerate with regards to scientific miracles, to the extent we have seen from them that they have made the Qur’an into a book of mathematics, and this is incorrect.

We say: It is not correct to exaggerate in affirming scientific miracles, because this may be based on theories, and theories differ. If we use the Qur’an to prove a particular theory, and then it is clarified later that the theory was incorrect, this means that the proof of the Qur’an was also an error. So this issue is very dangerous.

For this reason, the Book and Sunnah attached importance to what benefits the people from worship, transactions and interactions, and the core matters as well as finer details were explained – even the manners of eating, sitting, entering etc.. however the universal sciences were not mentioned in detail.

For this reason, I fear that the people will preoccupy themselves with [deducing] scientific miracles [from the Qur’an] and leave off what is more important. The important thing is actualising and establishing Worship, because the Qur’an was revealed with this. Allaah (the Most High) said,

{I did not create Jinn and Mankind, except to Worship me [alone]} [51:56]

 

Footnotes

[1] This statement was mentioned by al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr in Fat.h al-Baaree; he mentioned it from the narration of Ibraheem an-Nakha’ee

[2] A palindrome is a word, phrase, number or other sequence of symbols or elements, whose meaning may be interpreted the same way in either forward or reverse direction. Famous examples include “Amore, Roma”, “A man, a plan, a canal: Panama” and “No ‘x’ in ‘Nixon'”

[3] This was mentioned by Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan in an answer regarding this matter. Refer to: Sharh Rasaail al-Imaam Muhammad Ibn AbdilWahhaab, p159 and p244. For more information regarding Rashaad Khaleefah, refer to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashad_Khalifa

[4] Example of such exaggerated explanations can be seen here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uf_l1uhYNXA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqksuXlJqbU

[5] Imaam Maalik Ibn Anas [died: 179h]; narrated by al-Qaadhee ‘Iyaadh in ash-Shifaa’ [02/676]

[6] This question is due to the following Aayah of the Qur’an,

{There will be sent upon you a flame of fire and smoke, and you will not defend yourselves} [55:35]

[7] Narrated by Ibn Abbaas & Ibn Jubayr; Collected by An-Nasaaee, at-Tirmidhee & Ahmad

الفتوى الأولى: الشيخ ابن عثيمين

المرجع: كتاب العلم للعلامة ابن عثيمين رحمه الله

السؤال: هل يجوز تفسير القرآن الكريم بالنظريات العلمية الحديثة؟

الجواب: تفسير القرآن بالنظريات العلمية له خطورته، وذلك إننا إذا فسرنا القرآن بتلك النظريات ثم جاءت نظريات أخرى بخلافها فمقتضى ذلك أن القرآن صار غير صحيح في نظر أعداء الإسلام؛ أما في نظر المسلمين فإنهم يقولون إن الخطأ من تصور هذا الذي فسر القرآن بذلك، لكن أعداء الإسلام يتربصون به الدوائر، ولهذا أنا أحذر غاية التحذير من التسرع في تفسير القرآن بهذه الأمور العلمية ولندع هذا الأمر للواقع، إذا ثبت في الواقع فلا حاجة إلى أن نقول القرآن قد أثبته، فالقرآن نزل للعبادة والأخلاق، والتدبر،

يقول الله ـ عز وجل

{كِتَابٌ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ} [صّ:29]

وليس لمثل هذه الأمور التي تدرك بالتجارب ويدركها الناس بعلومهم، ثم إنه قد يكون خطراً عظيماً قادحاً في تنزل القرآن عليها، أضرب لهذا مثلاً قوله تعالى:

{يَا مَعْشَرَ الْجِنِّ وَالْأِنْسِ إِنِ اسْتَطَعْتُمْ أَنْ تَنْفُذُوا مِنْ أَقْطَارِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ فَانْفُذُوا لا تَنْفُذُونَ إِلَّا بِسُلْطَانٍ} [الرحمن:33]

لما حصل صعود الناس إلى القمر ذهب بعض الناس ليفسر هذه الآية ونزلها على ما حدث وقال: إن المراد بالسلطان العلم، وأنهم بعلمهم نفذوا من أقطار الأرض وتعدوا الجاذبية وهذا خطأ ولا يجوز أن يفسر القرآن به وذلك لأنك إذا فسرت القرآن بمعنى فمقتضى ذلك أنك شهدت بأن الله أراده وهذه شهادة عظيمة ستسأل عنها.

ومن تدبر الآية وجد أن هذا التفسير باطل لأن الآية سيقت في بيان أحوال الناس وما يؤول إليه أمرهم، اقرأ سورة الرحمن تجد أن هذه الآية ذُكرت بعد قوله تعالى:

{كُلُّ مَنْ عَلَيْهَا فَان وَيَبْقَى وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ ذُو الْجَلالِ والإكرام فَبِأَيِّ آلاءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ} [الرحمن الايات 26 – 28]

فلنسأل هل هؤلاء القوم نفذوا من أقطار السموات؟ الجواب: لا، والله يقول:

{إن استطعتم أن تنفذوا من أقطار السموات والأرض}

ثانياً: هل أرسل عليهم شواظ من نار ونحاس؟

والجواب: لا. إذن فالآية لا يصح أن تفسر بما فسر به هؤلاء، ونقول: إن وصول هؤلاء إلى ما وصولوا إليه هو من العلوم التجريبية التي أدركوها بتجاربهم، أما أن نُحرِّف القرآن لنخضعه للدلالة على هذا فهذا ليس بصحيح ولا يجوز

#الفتوى الثانية: اللجنة الدائمة

المرجع: فتاوى اللجنة الدائمة 4\145

السؤال: ماحكم الشرع في التفاسير التي تسمى بالتفاسير العلمية؟ وما مدى مشروعية ربط آيات القرآن ببعض الأمور العلمية التجريبية فقد كثر الجدل حول هذه المسائل ؟

الجواب: إذا كانت من جنس التفاسير التي تفسر قوله تعالى:

{أو لم يرى الذين كفروا أن السماوات والأرض كانتا رتقاً ففتقناهما وجعلنا من الماء كل شيء حي}

بأن الأرض كانت متصلة بالشمس وجزءً منها ومن شدة دوران الشمس انفصلت عنها الأرض ثم برد سطحها وبقي جوفها حاراً وصارت من الكواكب التي تدور حول الشمس – إذا كانت التفاسير من هذا النوع فلا ينبغي التعويل ولا الاعتماد عليها .

وكذلك التفاسير التي يستدل مؤلفوها بقوله تعالى

{وترى الجبال تحسبها جامدة وهي تمر مر السحاب}

على دوران الأرض وذلك أن هذه التفاسير تحرف الكلم عن مواضعه وتخضع القران الكريم لما يسمونه نظريات علمية وإنما هي ظنيات أو وهميات وخيالات. وهكذا جميع التفاسير التي تعتمد على آراء جديدة ليس لها أصل في الكتاب والسنة ولا في كلام سلف الأمة لما فيها من القول على الله بلا علم

وبالله التوفيق وصلى الله على نبينا محمد واله وصحبه وسلم .

اللجنة الدائمة للبحوث العلمية والإفتاء .

عضو عضو نائب رئيس اللجنة رئيس اللجنة

عبد الله بن قعود عبد الله بن غديان عبد الرزاق عفيفي عبد العزيز بن عبد الله بن باز

#الفتوى الثالثة: الشيخ صالح بن فوزان الفوزان

المرجع: حكم تفسير القران… بنظريات علمية حديثة [تحت هذا العنوان كتب فضيلته بمجلة الدعوة:  العدد 1447 الخميس 21 محرم 1415هـ الموافق 30 يونيو 1994] صـ 23]

وبعد أن لخّص كلاما لشيخ الإسلام ابن تيميه في التفسير:

انتهى ملخص كلام الشيخ في الرد على من فسّر آية في القرآن بتفسير لم يرد في الكتاب والسنة، وأنه تفسيرٌ باطلٌ…

وهذا ينطبق اليوم على كثيرٍ من جهّال الكتبة الذين يفسرون القران حسب أفهامهم وآرائهم .. أو يفسرون القرآن بنظريات حديثة من نظريات الطب أو علم الفلك أو نظريات روّاد الفضاء ويسمّون ذلك: بالإعجاز العلميّ للقرآن الكريم

وفي هذا من الخطورة والكذب على الله الشيء الكثير؛ وإن كان بعض أصحابه فعلوه عن حسن نيّة وإظهاراً لمكانة القرآن ..إلاّ أنّ هذا عملٌ لا يجوز .. قال صلى الله عليه وسلّم :

((من قال في القرآن برأيه وبما لا يعلم فليتبوأ مقعده من النار))

والقرآن لا يُفسّر إلاّ بالقرآن أو بالسنة أو بقول الصّحابيّ كما هو معلوم عند العلماء المحققين

والله الموفق والهادي إلى سواء السبيل وصلّى الله وسلّم على نبينا محمدٍ وآله و صحبه

#الفتوى الرابعة: الشيخ سعد الحصين

 المرجع: الإعــجاز العلمي للقــرآن

ولعل أول من وقع في شبهة الاعجاز العلمي في القرآن هو : الغزالي (ت 505 هـ ) في ( احيائه ) اذ إدعى أن اللقرآن يحوي سبعة وسبعين ألف علم ، بعدد كلماته مضاعفة أربع مرات بإدعائه أن لكل كلمة ظاهرا وباطنا وحدا ومطلعا ، وفي كتابه ( جواهر القرآن ) يخصص الفصل الخامس لبيان اشتمال القرآن على جميع العلوم أوالفنون الدنيوية .

وكما فتح الغزالي الباب للخلط بين التصوف والإسلام ؛ فتحه للخلط بين الفكر والفقه في نصوص الوحي ، فجاء من بعده الرازي (ت606) فزاد الطين بلة ثم استفحل الامر فجاء ابن ابي الفضل المرسي (655) فاستخرج الهندسة من قوله تعالى (انطلقوا الى ظل ذي ثلاث شعب ) والجبر والمقابلة من الحروف في اوائل السور مثلا .

#الفتوى الخامسة: الشيخ ابن عثيمين 

 المرجع: مجموع فتاوى ورسائل ابن عثيمين (26/28)

الإعجاز العلمي في الحقيقة لا ننكره ، لا ننكر أن في القرآن أشياء ظهر بيانها في الأزمنة المتأخرة ، لكن غالى بعض الناس في الإعجاز العلمي ، حتى رأينا من جعل القرآن كأنه كتاب رياضة ، وهذا خطأ .

نقول : إن المغالاة في إثبات الإعجاز العلمي لا تنبغي ؛ لأن هذه قد تكون مبنية على نظريات ، والنظريات تختلف ، فإذا جعلنا القرآن دالاًّ على هذه النظرية ثم تبين بعد أن هذه النظرية خطأ ، معنى ذلك أن دلالة القرآن صارت خاطئة ، وهذه مسألة خطيرة جدًّا .

ولهذا اعتني في الكتاب والسنة ببيان ما ينفع الناس من العبادات والمعاملات ، وبين دقيقها وجليلها حتى آداب الأكل والجلوس والدخول وغيرها ، لكن علم الكون لم يأتِ على سبيل التفصيل .

ولذلك فأنا أخشى من انهماك الناس في الإعجاز العلمي وأن يشتغلوا به عما هو أهم ، إن الشيء الأهم هو تحقيق العبادة ؛ لأن القرآن نزل بهذا ، قال الله تعالى :

{وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنْسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ}

He is a graduate of the Islaamic University of Madeenah, having graduated from the Institute of Arabic Language, and later the Faculty of Sharee'ah in 2010. He currently resides in Nelson, Lancashire.

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