MOHAMMED'S IDEA OF EARTH
Date: 15 Dec 2007
Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 414
…" He (Muhammad) said, "First of all, there was nothing but Allah, and (then He created His Throne). His throne was over the water, and He wrote everything in the Book (in the Heaven) and created the Heavens and the Earth.…"
How this story can make sense? If there was `nothing', how God could have put His Throne over the water? Which water? What was holding that water? There must have been an earth to hold it. Then how is it that he creates the Earth after sitting on the water? How is it that the Heavens and Earth are created after the waters? Don't you need to have an earth to contain the water? And don't you have to have the heavens to hold the Earth? Beyond the fact that the whole notion expressed in this Hadith is ludicrous, there is also an error in the order of creation.
Now let us step back and consider what is wrong with this picture! Isn't the Earth a planet of the solar system, which is an insignificant part of a galaxy that is one of the billions of galaxies of the Universe? Can anyone, including the "genius" Maurice Bucaille who said Quran is scientific and a miracle yet refused to become a Muslim and rather was content with the money that the Saudi King gave him, put these two pictures together and solve this puzzle?
What if we find something in Quran that corroborate the above concept? And lo and behold there are is more than one verse that does that. See the following for example:
Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water: Near it he found a People: We said: "O Zul-qarnain! (thou hast authority,) either to punish them, or to treat them with kindness."
Then followed he (another) way,
Until, when he came to the rising of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had provided no covering protection against the sun.
Obviously Sun rises and sets in ALL places, or actually no place at all. One doesn't have to go "another way" to find it rising. This gives us the clue that Muhammad really believed that the Earth is flat and the sun moves in the sky rising from one place, setting in another.
But how can we be sure this is how Muhammad thought of the shape of the Earth? The answer can be found in another Hadith.
Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 421
Narrated Abu Dhar:
The Prophet asked me at sunset, "Do you know where the sun goes (at the time of sunset)?" I replied, "Allah and His Apostle know better." He said, "It goes (i.e. travels) till it prostrates Itself underneath the Throne and takes the permission to rise again, and it is permitted and then (a time will come when) it will be about to prostrate itself but its prostration will not be accepted, and it will ask permission to go on its course but it will not be permitted, but it will be ordered to return whence it has come and so it will rise in the west. And that is the interpretation of the Statement of Allah: "And the sun Runs its fixed course For a term (decreed). that is The Decree of (Allah) The Exalted in Might, The All-Knowing." (Q. 6: 38)
Ok. Here we have a case in Hadith that is confirmed by the Quran, which is again ratified by another Hadith and once more demonstrated in the Quran. Is this Hadith against the science and commonsense? It sure is. However. it is not against the Quran. Therefore the message conveyed by the Hadith is wrong, despite the fact that it is an authenticated Hadith.
If we have any doubts about what Muhammad really thought of the shape of the Earth, we can safely put them to rest when we read the following verses.
Q. 78: 6
Have We not made the earth as a wide expanse,
And the mountains as pegs?
The "expanse" gives an idea of something flat. The Arabic word used in the Quran is Mehad, (bed). All the beds that I have seen so far were flat. None of them where spherical. Also the mountains are not pegs keeping the earth from shaking as the prophet used to think.
Don't these Hadithes, backed by these verses from the Quran, clearly describe a flat Earth, with the Sun rising from one end and setting in the muddy waters on the opposite end? Is there a Throne somewhere that the Sun goes under it to get permission? What Throne was Muhammad talking about? When and how the Sun prostrates itself? This concept sounds ridiculous to us; yet in the old ages everyone believed in a flat Earth, floating on waters surrounded by high mountains beyond which one could fall into an abyss, etc. and the whole story made perfect sense to those who heard it.
In fact this story is not an invention of Muhammad. Most of the Prophet's stories were part of the folklore that he had heard somewhere else. In a book entitled The Oldest Stories in the Word, Theodor H. Gaster has compiled the lore of the Babylonian, the Hittite and the Canaanite people of 3500 years ago. These stories were lost for centuries and recently found and unearthed in the last century. They were deciphered and printed in 1952. The similarities of those old stories and the stories in the Quran, including the above Hadith, are astonishing. It helps us understand the origin of the Quran as well as that of the Bible. Quran has no divine origin, what Muhammad told people were stories he heard from others, old stories that were part of the tradition of the people of his time.--
Haridev S V
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