Physics of the Night Journey of Prophet Muhammad
4 Nov 2017
Miracles / I'jaz, Physics
Video blogger (vlogger) Sabreen Syeed attempts to use modern physics to explain the Night Journey (miʿrāj and ʿisrāʾ) of the Prophet Muhammad, an uncommon use of iʿjāz ʿilmii.
The presentation suggests that the Prophet Muḥammad traveled to a parallel universe, after traveling near the speed of light on Buraq, the famed winged horse of the Night Journey narrative. Viewers are cautioned, however, to note that much of the speeds provided in the video are of dubious accuracy. For instance, the speed of a regular lightning bolt varies, but seems to be roughly 0.33 km/second.
She mentions a few Qurʾānic verses, including one that she adjusts the translation of on the screen, and others which include translations that may not be supported by the Arabic, in order to make the verse match scientific phenomenon.
The final minute and a half of the video consists of clips of five physicists (Alan Guth, Leonard Susskind, Martin Rees, and Paul Davies) all speaking about multiverses, and screen shots of four articles or blog posts about parallel universes or multiverses.
Topics: lightning and the energy it creates, parallel universes, Black holes, Planck Energy, string theory, the condition of Jerusalem at the time of Muḥammad (although what she’s saying applies only to Temple Mount).
Sabreen presents herself as an authoritative speaker, indicating that she has “studied advanced physics”, although the title page shows that she has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
Islam: Most of the material presented is within what Muslims have considered generally acceptable, although some may find changing the understanding of the Qurʾān to fit scientific understandings inappropriate.
Science: Using science to try to reinterpret religious narratives is understood by scientists to be a misapplication of the scientific method. The video includes errors of fact as well; the “speed” of a lightning strike varies. Although a billion joules sounds like a large number, but diesel fuel, for instance, has 48 megajoules/kilogram, or 48,000,000 joules/kg. Thus a mere 100 kg of diesel — about 118 liters — would create more than a matching amount of energy.
History: The vlogger is given to hyperbole about history. Given that the Night Journey cannot be historically demonstrated (other than as a narrative), and it does not occur during the modern period, it can hardly be “the most important event in modern history”.