This post is in category QURAN EARTH SCIENCES
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Ancient Mesopotamian people knew about the freshwater sea and saltwater sea off the coast of what is now Bahrain, and invented myths to explain why the waters did not mix.
The Quran gives the explanation as maḥjūran, which means forbidden by Allah.
Actually, the waters do slowly mix, but appear to not mix because fresh water from the underground rivers of the Arabian aquifer replenish the fresh water, and push the brackish mixed water away from the coast. The verse is not about the interaction between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
Quran verse 24:43 provides an accurate and detailed description of the formation of a thunderhead. as seen by an observer on the ground watching the storm clouds.
Quran verses 86:11-12 mentions precipitation but make no mention of evaporation.
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FRESH AND SALT WATER DO NOT MIX
Ancient Mesopotamian people knew about the freshwater sea that sits along the coast of what is now Bahrain [The word Bahrain, in Arabic, means “two seas”] and invented myths about the ocean goddess Tiamat and the fresh water god Abzu (or Apsu) to explain the freshwater sea. http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiamat
The Quran gives the reason as maḥjūran which means forbidden.
Allah has forbidden the salty or brackish water of the Arabian Sea from contaminating the furātun, which means water sweet and palatable for drinking.
The 1930 Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall translation of Quran verse 25:53 is “And He it is Who hath given independence to the two seas (though they meet); one palatable, sweet, and the other saltish, bitter; and hath set a bar and a forbidding ban between them”.
Actually, the waters do slowly mix, but appear to not mix because fresh water from the underground rivers of the Arabian aquifer replenish the fresh water, and push the brackish mixed water away from the coast. Also, the difference in density between the salt water and the fresh water separates them and slows down the rate of their mixing.
The same phenomena exists off part of the coast of Florida, in the Gulf of Alaska http://www.google.com/search?q=fresh+salt+not+mix&prmd=vmin&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi7jbTNouPPAhXHxlQKHXO7C1wQ_AUICSgD#imgrc=hLKGPJDoTxLcdM%3A and in estuaries of some large rivers.
The pure water floats on top of the saltwater and on top of the brackish mixed water, which can cause a sharp dividing line at the surface between the fresh water and the saltwater. https://youtu.be/LgkiYvB3uJY
Some Muslim websites falsely claim the verse is about the interaction between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Although that has a similar cause, it is not the example described in the Quran, because neither the Mediterranean Sea nor the Atlantic Ocean is sweet and palatable for drinking.
QURAN DESCRIPTION OF THUNDERSTORM
The same Quran verse 24:43 misinterpreted as “charged” at http://www.islamawakened.com/Quran/24/43/default.htm actually provides an accurate and detailed description of the formation of a cumulonimbus cloud, sometimes called a thunderhead, that is in agreement with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cumulonimbus
This is not science unknown at the time of Mohammed, but something that could be seen by a person on the ground watching the clouds before and during a thunderstorm.
WINDS CAUSE RAIN
The description of rain in Quran verse 30:48 has been claimed to reveal science facts about rain.
Quran verse 30:48 (Pickthall translation) says
“Allah is He Who sendeth the winds so that they raise clouds, and spreadeth them along the sky as pleaseth Him, and causeth them to break and thou seest the rain downpouring from within them”.
The verse is an accurate description of a storm as viewed by someone at ground level.
Some Muslim websites go beyond what is actually said in the verse to claim it reveals that many storms are the result of a cold air mass being pushed by winds. The cold air mass collides with warm air saturated with water vapor. The mixed air is too cool to hold all this water vapor. Some water vapor converts to liquid water. This creates more wind. More mixing occurs, intensifying the storm.
Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall’s 1930 translation of Quran verses 86:11-12 as saying “By the heaven which giveth the returning rain” is an oath swearing on the heaven that brings rain each year during the rainy season.
The footnote of Nuri & Hoque interpreted “returns” to not mean the rainy season returning but to mean the water cycle of precipitation and evaporation.
Quran never mentions evaporation, so the verse cannot be about the precipitation evaporation cycle.
Muslim websites give alternative interpretations of the verse meaning harmful rays from the sun being bounced back into space, and radio and television broadcast waves being bounced back to the earth, making modern communications possible.
RAIN IN DUE MEASURE
The 1934 Yusuf Ali translation of Quran verse 23:18 is “And We send down water from the sky according to (due) measure, and We cause it to soak in the soil; and We certainly are able to drain it off (with ease)”. The verse presents only facts that would have been obvious to any person living at the time of Mohammed.
Some Muslim websites find hidden meanings of proof that Allah exists in the phrase “due measure”, such as raindrops are too small to do damage when they hit. [Actually, raindrops are small because they begin to fall as soon as they become heavy enough to fall.]
Muslim websites claim a hidden meaning that exactly enough rain falls to fill the oceans. [Actually, this is an illusion caused by erosion over a period of a hundred million years eroding mountains until they become approximately level with the sea.]
LAYERS OF ATMOSPHERE
In 1930 Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall translated Quran verse 23:17 as “And We have created above you seven paths, and We are never unmindful of creation”. The word in the original Arabic is ṭarāiqa which means path or way, not layer. http://www.islamawakened.com/Quran/23/17/w4wcv.html
Do a Google search of “ṭarāiqa Quranic corpus” and click on the Dictionary link.
Whenever the 7 heavens are mentioned in the Quran, it is a reference to the 7 heavenly bodies and their paths, not a miracle revelation of the “scientific fact” that the atmosphere has 7 layers.
Scientists do not agree on how many layers are in the atmosphere. Some scientists divide the atmosphere into only 6 layers. http://ds9.ssl.berkeley.edu/LWS_GEMS/3/layers.htm
Another source divided the atmosphere into 5 primary layers plus at least 3 secondary layers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Earth
Image by Tiago Fioreze via Wikimedia Commons.
image credit https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clouds_over_the_Atlantic_Ocean.jpg