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Qur’an: The Earth is Flat

December 30, 2013

Muslim apologists (du’aat) love to say that the Qur’an is filled with miracles and knowledge that no man could have known at the time. I was told this myself before becoming Muslim. Upon inspecting the Qur’an for myself, I found that it seemed to be saying that the earth is actually ‘flat’. Of course, then I was told that it was because I didn’t understand Arabic and that all Muslims agree that the Qur’an said that the earth is round. They do not. In fact the opposite is true.

Learning Arabic did nothing to assuage my concerns as the Arabic actually says the same thing. So then the bar was set higher: you need to be a scholar to really understand and must read their books. I did that and found that indeed many of them did believe that the earth is flat just as the Qur’an states. But first, let us look at just a few of the verses from the Qur’an:

Qur’an 15:19

والارض مددناها والقينا فيها رواسي وانبتنا فيها من كل شئ موزون
And the earth We have spread out (like a carpet); set thereon mountains firm and immovable; and produced therein all kinds of things in due balance.

Qur’an 20:53

الذي جعل لكم الارض مهدا وسلك لكم فيها سبلا وانزل من السماء ماء فاخرجنا به ازواجا من نبات شتى
He Who has, made for you the earth like a carpet spread out; has enabled you to go about therein by roads (and channels); and has sent down water from the sky.” With it have We produced diverse pairs of plants each separate from the others.

Qur’an 43:10

الذي جعل لكم الارض مهدا وجعل لكم فيها سبلا لعلكم تهتدون(Yea, the same that) has made for you the earth (like a carpet) spread out, and has made for you roads (and channels) therein, in order that ye may find guidance (on the way);

There are many others, but this should suffice since the claim is that the Qur’an has no mistakes in it and it “perfect”.

– The Qur’an claims to be “clear”. Well, when looked upon in light of the when, where and to whom it was “revealed” (7th century desert Arabs) we can begin to understand why these ridiculous claims are made.

– If the Qur’an is so “clear” then anyone should be able to pick it up and understand its plain language and understand it. Isn’t that part of the miracle??

– Tafseef Jalalyan claims that the earth is flat and the early Muslim scholar Ibn Abaas makes the same claim (amongst other ridiculous claims)

See also:

This article from Wiki Islam which has a more extensive article on this topic

See this article as well

From → The Ridiculous

7 Comments
  1. Ahmed permalink

    Hi. I’m new to this website. I’m really curious about this stuff. I have a few questions. Where are these ayats saying that the earth is flat? I mean, offcourse it’s not saying the earth is round like a sphere or even not-round. It just tells that Allah made the earth spread out like a carpet with roads and mountains for the travelling. Could you kindly elaborate.

    One other thing. The view of the world at that time in the 7th century was based on the geocentric model. However, It is a known by us that he classical texts.i.e. Greek texts reached the Arab lands in the 8th century when the Muslims reach the Bayzantine lands. Here’s the link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmission_of_the_Classics

    • Hi Ahmed and welcome.

      The main point is that many modern apologists of the Qur’an make the claim that it has always been consistent with modern science and was ahead of its time. This is just simply not the case as it makes a lot of ridiculous claims about not only the earth being flat and a geocentric universe, but a number of other issues.

      Yes, Greek writings reached the Arab lands later and were even incorporated into the developing belief systems. There was a lot of debate at the time about this amongst the Muslims scholars

  2. Ahmed permalink

    ThankYou for your reply. Sir, my question is that how do the above ayats prove Quran is not a word of God. Where does it say anything about the geocentric model? I’m trying to understand but can’t. Also ‘how’ are the ayats saying that the earth is flat.

    • Well, the burden of proof that the Qur’an is the “word of God” is upon those who make the claim. It is not upon those who do not believe to prove a negative.
      The Qur’an verses themselves state that the sun goes around the earth

      Qur’an 2:22 states: “WHO made the earth a bed (flat) for you, and the heaven a roof, and caused water to come down from the clouds and therewith brought forth fruits for your sustenance; so do not set up equals to ALLAH, while you know.

      Then there is this commentary by Ibn Kathir on the above:
      … who has made the earth AS FLAT and comfortable as a bed and placed upon it mountains standing firm… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Part 1), Surah Al-Fatihah Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 1 to 141)

      Also: Qur’an 20:53: “[since he is the One] Who has laid out the earth as a carpet for you and has traced highways on it for you, and sent down water from the sky, We have brought forth every sort of plant with it, of various types”

      Flat as carpet.

      Tafsir Jalalyan (written by the “two Jalals” who were scholars) states here that the earth was flat: http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=15&tAyahNo=19&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0

      and here: http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=88&tAyahNo=20&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0

      where the two Jalals say:

      “And the earth, how it was laid out flat?, and thus infer from this the power of God, exalted be He, and His Oneness? The commencing with the [mention of] camels is because they are closer in contact with it [the earth] than any other [animal]. As for His words sutihat, ‘laid out flat’, this on a literal reading suggests that the earth is flat, which is the opinion of most of the scholars of the [revealed] Law, and not a sphere as astronomers (ahl al-hay’a) have it, even if this [latter] does not contradict any of the pillars of the Law.

      Whatever the case at best, the Qur’an is not clear on the issue (as many Muslim scholars held this opinion) and at worst claims that the earth is FLAT (which is the literal reading of the text). Whatever the case, the claim of Islamic apologists that the Qur’an is “miraculous” on this issue is dubious.

  3. Ahmed permalink

    OK so since it does not clearly state that so lets leave this. But the Big Bang has been mentioned in the Quran. Like in 21:30. Which if you translate it from Arabic does seem like the big Bang

    • Ahmed,

      Bottom line is that it is so vague that nearly anyone can come along and make it mean just about anything – thus all of the varying interpretations (none of them “correct”)

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