I came across a very interesting clip that debunks an argument that Mohammad Hijab made in his ambush-debate of Apostate Prophet. A Christian Youtuber by the name of Jai tears apart the following argument that Hijab made by showing how he selectively hid part of the translation in order to make his point.
Hijab brought up 25:61 which says,
“Blessed is He who has placed in the sky great stars and placed therein a [burning] lamp and luminous moon.”
Most interpretations obviously interpret the lamp (Siraj) here to mean the Sun, because the moon is also mentioned. AP brought up the fact that the Quran speaks of shooting stars as being missiles to chase devils from stealing secrets from Allah.
“And We have certainly beautified the nearest heaven with stars and have made [from] them what is thrown at the devils and have prepared for them the punishment of the Blaze.” (67:5)
Hijab responded that this is not unscientific because it’s a matter of the unseen (ilm ul ghayb). I agree with Hijab here. This isn’t a scientific error. However, it does demonstrate something else. That the Quran is assigning supernatural reasons for the natural world. In the 2014 Cosmos documentary Series by Neil Degrasse Tyson, he talks about how many ancient cultures like the Chinese used to look at the comets mystically and assume some supernatural meaning behind them. Yet now we live in a world where we can predict the comets with pinpoint accuracy.
Muhammad in the 7th century saw an eclipse and got terrified and ordered the Muslims to pray a special prayer Salat ul-Khawf (Fear Prayer) until the eclipse was taken away. In today’s world, we know with pinpoint accuracy not just when the next eclipse is coming, but even which eclipse occurred in 634 AD in his lifetime. So the Quran here is following the same pattern of giving supernatural meanings to natural events.
So back to 25:61. Hijab tried to demonstrate that the Quran is in line with scientific understanding. The reason he did this is that he wanted to counter Apostate Prophet and show the Quran is “scientific”. That makes no sense because even if there are some verses that can be interpreted to match our modern understanding there are also many others that don’t. So using an example like this won’t work. And worse yet, it was a terrible example and I will show you why.
First of all, many other apologists including Hijab’s boss at Sapient (formerly at iERA) Hamza Tzortzis have shown repeatedly that this scientific miracle is a foolhardy approach and should not be taken. Zakir Naik and the 90s approach of scientific miracles is totally debunked now. But Hijab decided to take this approach anyway, with a slightly different spin. He used one of the variant readings of the Quran to try to show that in the alternate reading, it shows there are multiple suns. Basically, he was appealing to scientific miracles.
This is what we call having your cake and eating it too.
First issue – If there are two readings, and they contradict, they both can’t be right! If the Hafs reading says “Lamp” and the Khalaf -an-Hamza reading says “Lamps” they can’t both be right!! LAMP AND LAMPS ARE TOTALLY DIFFERENT. So pick one! They are mutually exclusive. Yet apparently all qira’at are considered equally from Allah.
Second of all – the Quran only talks about one moon. What he did was translate “Surooj” (lamps) as Suns, but did not translate Qamar to the moon. He left that part in Arabic only. It wasn’t obvious to AP in the heat of the moment that Hijab was not translating the full verse, but Jai caught this and exposed it clearly here.
So this argument completely falls apart. It’s dead in the water. Hijab should take precedent from his teacher Tzortzis and stop trying to fit the Quran to science. It’s time to admit that the Quran is a bunch of tales and metaphors and shouldn’t be taken literally. The next step is for these dawah guys to admit Adam and Eve and the rest of the stories in the Quran are myths as well. That would progress.
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