Issues of Interpreting the Qur’an through Science


12 Oct 2016

Miracles / I'jaz

Mohamed Ghilan

Mohamed Ghilan, in this short video created for al-Madina Institute, explains his logic for rejecting the use of so-called “scientific miracles” (iʿjāz ʿilmii).

Ghilan makes 5 points:

  1. Observations may be indisputable, but the explanations of the observations may change over time.
  2. Miracles are defined as breaks in patterns, but the patterns are based on the data at hand, and that data is rarely complete.
  3. When a scientific model, which has been used to present ijaz changes, it makes the Qurʾān appear not to be a source of objective truth.
  4. Using science in this way is elevating science, making it a higher authority than the Qurʾān.
  5. One can find “scientific miracles” in any scripture.  Every religious group makes claims like these.  Which makes it appear that Muslims are not the only possessors of truth.

Ghilan does maintain that the Qurʾān is a linguistic and revelatory miracle, without further clarification.

Ghilan suggests that one might talk about concepts from science in Qurʾānic interpretation only after presenting other exegeses, “interpreted according to the rules of tafsīr, … like a nice … cherry on top.”  He attributes this to a conversation he had with Shaykh Sa’eed Fodeh, available on this podcast from February 2016.


Islam:  Although there is nothing erroneous in what he is saying, this is a topic about which Muslims disagree, some quite vocally.

Science:  The representations about science made reflect current understandings of scientists.

History:  Ghilan’s broad generation about all “major” scholars of tafsīr rejecting iʿjāz ʿilmii is unprovable.  One might better understand this as Ghilan saying “all the scholars I have consulted”.

About Mohamed Ghilan

Mohamed Ghilan, whose family traces their roots to Sudan and Yemen through Saudi Arabia, currently resides in Canada.  He received his bachelor of science in 2010, majoring in microbiology in Victoria, British Columbia.  At the same time, he began studying Islam as an academic pursuit, and speaking publicly on the topic.  In 2015, he earned a PhD in neuroscience, still at the University of Victoria.

Ghilan has maintained a connection with Al-Madina Institute, a non-profit educational institution based in the United States.

Ghilan is active on social media, with a YouTube channel and a Facebook page.  His former Twitter feed has been removed.  He maintains a blog/podcast, Andalus:  Finding Divinity in Modernity, for which he solicits donations on Patreon.


“Mohamed Ghilan”, web site, <>, accessed 4-6-18.

“Mohamed Ghilan”, Teachers, Al-Madina Institute, <>, accessed 4-6-18.

“Mohamed Ghilan”, Al-Jazeera, author profile (2013-14), <–.html>, accessed 4-6-18.

“Mohamed Ghilan”, LinkedIn profile, <>, accessed 4-6-18.