Iron in the Quran
5 May 2016
Cosmology, I'jaz / Miracles
Zaghloul R. M. El-Naggar (An-Najjar)
In what appears to be an episode of an unnamed show or broadcast, Zaghloul An Najjar discusses the element iron and how it came to be on Earth.
An Najjar begins by presenting some basic cosmology, starting with the universe as a singularity, expanding into what we know today, and eventually returning to a singularity with “The Big Crunch”. He suggests that the universe which comes after the Big Crunch would be the place where people would be resurrected. He does this without any specific reference to the Qurʾān or ḥadīth.
An Najjar then notes that as the Earth formed, it did not contain significant amount of iron, which it eventually gathered from meteorites striking the forming planet. He notes that it is created from stars other than our own. He links this to verse 57:25 of the Qurʾān, which is in a chapter called “Iron” (al-Ḥadīd), and mentions “clear signs”. He adds some numerology based on the surah and verse numbers to augment his proof.
An Najjar uses the discussion to suggest that the representations of iron in the Qurʾān is a “scientific miracle” (iʿjāz ʿilmi) that “testifies” to the Qurʾān’s divine source. Structuring such a narrative around a theory which has not attained the status of scientific consensus is controversial even among Muslims who accept scientific miracles generally.
This video was apparently created for FanarQatar. The copyright date is given as 2014 in the back bumper.
Although Muslims agree on resurrection and an afterlife, that it has any concrete connection to our physical world is not part of most historical or contemporary theological discussions. Many Muslims would also be concerned about trying to connect the Qurʾān directly to a theory about the universe that is only one among many.
The “Big Crunch” is one theory among several about the future of the universe, but there seems to be accumulating evidence that it may not happen. As such it currently would not be considered well supported science. The presentation of iron coming from meteorites is accurate, although An Najjar’s ranking of the elemental composition of the planet does not agree with many other scientists. Additionally, and in contradiction to the assertion of iʿjāz, that meteorites contained iron was known among seventh century peoples in the Mediterranean basin.
There is insufficient historical material on which to base an evaluation.
About Zaghloul R. M. El-Naggar (An-Najjar)
Born in 1933 in Egypt, Zaghloul El-Naggar received a PhD in geology in 1963 from the University of Wales in the UK. The majority of his scholarship has focused on i’jāz, the idea that scientific facts may be found in the Qurʾān, proving its miraculous nature. A collection of his videos can be found on the Discovering Islam website.
He was considered a threat by earlier Egyptian governments; he now is the head of the Committee of Scientific Notions in the Qurʾān, Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Cairo.
El-Naggar believes that scientific interpretation may only be done with material that may be experienced, unlike references to the soul, jinn, etc, which should be approached with faith alone. However, he also suggests that the Qurʾān may “orient scientists in attaining new ‘cosmic truths’.” (Bigliardi, 103)
“Zaghloul El-Naggar” Wikipedia. Accessed 19 April 2015.
Bigliardi, S. (2014). Islam and the Quest for Modern Science: Conversations with Adnan Oktar, Mehdi Golshani, Mohammed Basil Altaie, Zaghloul El-Naggar, Bruno Guiderdoni and Nidhal Guessoum. Istanbul, Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul.
“Dr. Zaghloul Najjar.” Discovering Islam. Discovering Islam, n.d. Web. Accessed 18 June 2015.