This post is in category QURAN EARTH SCIENCES
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The Quran does not give much detail about what was created on each of the 6 days of creation.The hadiths of al-Tabari explain that trees were created on Day 4, Animals on Day 5, but light from the sun, moon and stars was not created until Day 6. There are many interpretations of how long these days were. Some say a thousand years. Others say billions of years.
The biggest conflict with science is that trees were created long before there was light. Another problem is that al-Tabari explains that the trees were created before the animals, but scientists say that there were huge ferns, but no trees at the time of the dinosaurs.
Quran verse 21:16 and other verses say that Allah created the heavens and the Earth and everything between them.
Although some have claimed this is a revelation about interstellar matter, more likely this verse refers to angels.
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DAYS OF CREATION
Consecutive Quran verses describe what was created by Allah on the 6 Days of creation, but are a bit vague about when one day ends and the next day begins.
The hadiths of al-Tabari give a clearer explanation of the details:
Allah created the Earth on Sunday and Monday, the mountains (and maybe trees) on Tuesday, trees and water on Wednesday, and heaven on Thursday. On Friday Allah created the stars, the sun, the moon, and the angels. In the last hour of Friday, Allah created the first man. [“The History of al-Tabari”, Franz Rosenthal, volume 1, pp. 187-193]
Trees were created on Day 4, Animals on Day 5, but light from the sun, moon and stars was not created until Day 6.
A footnote to verse 22:47 “a day to Allah is a thousand years to man” mentions the interpretation that each of the 6 days of creation is a thousand years as man counts years, which would make the Earth 6000 years old at the time of Adam [approximately the same age Young Earth Creationist Christians have computed as the number of years since Adam (not before Adam), by using Old Testament data about the age at which men became fathers].
One Muslim website makes the unscientific claim that time has slowed down because of the expansion of the universe, so Day 1 was 8 billion years but Day 6 was only 250 million years long.
If you interpret days of creation as days that are millions or billions of years long, then you have a problem of how trees survived about a billion years without sunlight.
The Study Quran solves this problem in its footnote for verses 79:28-30, claiming that the word spread is similar to a word meaning morning light, falsely misinterpreting this as revealing that the sun was created before the Earth and trees.
The word thumma occurs 338 times in the Quran. In 336 of these, “thumma” clearly means “afterwards”.
Quran verse 2:29 is traditionally interpreted as saying Allah created the Earth and trees, but afterwards created the sun and stars.
A few translators, such as Yusuf Ali (1934) and Shakir (1981), mistranslated “thumma” in this verse 2:29 to not mean “afterwards”, but vaguely as “and” or “moreover”. Maybe Yusuf Ali and Shakir deliberately were vague to encourage the misinterpretation that the sun was created at the same time as the trees.
One Muslim website falsely claims that Yusuf Ali and Shakir translated “thumma” in this verse 2:29 as “simultaneously”.
A Muslim website claims that each of the 6 days of creation was about 2 billion years long, but badly botches the sequence of the Days of creation, misinterpreting Quran verse 41:9 to falsely claim that the Earth was created during the 5th and 6th days of creation, and falsely claiming the verse reveals the scientific fact that the universe is 3 times as old as the Earth.
Actually, the Quran teaches creation of the Earth on Day 1, but creation of the sun and stars on Day 6, shortly before man is created.
The creation verses of the Quran do not say whether or not Allah later made any changes to man, animals or plants, so the Quran does not forbid the concept of evolution directed by Allah. However, the Quran says trees were created before animals, so the Quran requires Muslims to reject the scientific evidence from fossils that animals existed before there were trees.
Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam (which includes some Christianity in its interpretation of Islam) in the United States interprets the Quran as revealing that black people were created before white people, and that the universe is billions of years old.
Quran verses 21:16 and other verses say that Allah created the heavens and the Earth and everything between them.
The translation by Pickthall is “We created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between them in play.” Some translators substitute “for entertainment” instead of “in play”.
The moon is the first of the seven heavens.
Therefore the verse may refer to things such as angels that are not as far away as the moon.
Some Muslim websites claim it is a revelation that there exists ionized interstellar matter between the stars.
Image by William Blake, via Wikimedia Commons.
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