Holy scripture or scientific text? The Quran is both


2 Aug 2018

Astronomy, Geology

Clare Forestier

This video serves two purposes.  The first is to present an interpretation of verses 11-14 of chapter 86 of the Qurʾān.  It does this without providing the original Arabic.  The video suggests that scientific “facts” that can be read out of the Qurʾān prove that its source is divine, a form of iʿjāz.

The second purpose is to provide a vehicle for banners requesting donations.

The presenter, Clare Forestier, suggests that Einstein’s theory matches the phrase “the sky which has the bounce”.  She indicates this means that “when space is stretched out it bounces” like “a child bounces on a stretchy trampoline”.  She also says that “we’ve always known that rocks are incredibly strong and can’t be stretched apart”.  This logically flies in the face of her argument that it is miraculous for the statement to be in the Qurʾān.  The Earth cracking would not have been miraculous knowledge in the Middle East, a very seismically active region, during the lifetime of Muḥammad (d. 632 CE).

The video, one of many produced by the group There Is No Clash, includes new animated opening and closing sequences.  It does not include credits as earlier videos did, although the set on which Forestier speaks remains the same.

There are several errors in the video (see additional discussion in the score justification, on the right).  The title sequence misspells the word “holy”.  At minute 2:53, Forestier repeats an error we noted in an earlier video, that the Qurʾān was revealed to the Prophet Muḥammad in the sixth century.  According to Muslim sources, the Qurʾān was reveal in the early seventh century, completed in 632 CE with Muḥammad’s death.


Islam:  This video includes non-standard translations for Qurʾānic material, and errors about the Qurʾān’s revelation.  Suggesting that science is proof of the Qurʾān is a common form of dawah, Islamic proselytization.

Science:  The representation of Einstein’s theory as “bouncing” is inaccurate.  The metaphor of an elastic sheet is one way of discussing gravity based on Einstein’s theories, but the bounce of a trampoline is not part of it.  In any case, use of iʿjāz to try to prove religious ideas is understood by contemporary scientists as a misuse of the scientific method.

History:  610-623 CE is the seventh century, not the sixth.  That fissures appear in the Earth was known before the seventh century.