Our expert in this chapter is Dr. William W. Hay, Professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado. After the usual hand waving, the authors present a self annihilating theory from the Qur'an.
We asked him many questions about the marine surface, the divider between the upper
and the lower sea, and about ocean floor and marine geology. We also asked Professor
Hay about the mixed-water partitions between the different seas and fresh water rivers.
He was kind enough to answer all of our questions in great detail.
With regard to the partitions between the different seas, he explained that these bodies
of water are not one homogeneous sea as it appears to us. Rather they are different
seas, distinguished by varying degrees of salinity, temperature and density. In this slide,
here the white lines represent partitions between two different seas.
Each partition divides two seas that differ in temperature, salinity, density, marine
biology and oxygen dissolubility. Scientists first had this picture, as you see it, in 1942
after hundreds of marine research stations were set up. Here we see the divider between
the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean.
Each partition divides two seas that differ in temperature, salinity, density, marine biology and oxygen dissolubility. Scientists first had this picture, as you see it, in 1942 after hundreds of marine research stations were set up. Here we see the divider between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean.
All right, so far so good. But, what does the Qur'an tell us?
Allah has informed us in the Qur'an that: He has let free (maraja) the two seas meeting together: Between them is a barrier which they do not transgress. (Qur'an 55:19-20).
Yusuf Ali: He has let free the two bodies of flowing water, meeting together: Between them is a Barrier which they do not transgress:
Pickthall: He hath loosed the two seas. They meet. There is a barrier between them. They encroach not (one upon the other).
Shakir: He has made the two seas to flow freely (so that) they meet together: Between them is a barrier which they cannot pass.
Now we are presented with the author's self defeating argument:
Traditionally, there have been two major interpretations of this verse. One opinion states that according to the literal meaning of the term maraja seas do meet and mix with each other. But the fact the Qur'an goes on to state that there is barrier between them, means that this barrier will simply prevent the seas from encroaching upon each other or flooding over each other.
Proponents of the second opinion ask how can there be a barrier between the seas so that they do not encroach upon each other, while the verse indicates that the seas meet together? They concluded that the seas do not meet and sought another meaning for the term maraja, but now modern science provides us with enough information to settle this issue. The seas do meet together, as we have seen, for example, in the picture of the Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean. Even though there is a slanted water barrier between them, we now know that through this barrier the water from each sea passes to the other. But when we the water from one sea enters the other sea, it looses its distinctive characteristics and becomes homogenized with the other water. In a way, this barrier serves as a transitional homogenizing area for the two waters.
There are two problems here:
Problem 1: The "slanted water barrier" between two different bodies of water is something that humans can, and did, observe. When a river flows into the sea, we can see a gradient, moving out to sea, of sediment which is deposited in a delta as the velocity of river water decreases as it enters the sea. The relatively heaviest particles of the suspended load are deposited progressively as the water velocity decrease (away from the mouth of the river). Herodotus noted this long before the time of Muhammad. Another "gradient", which was common knowledge long before Muhammad and the Qur'an, is the increase in the buoyancy of a boat as it sails from a fresh water body into saltier (denser) water.
Problem 2: You tell us that when the water of one sea enters another "it looses its distinctive characteristics and becomes homogenized with the other water".. Those are YOUR words. HOWEVER, the Qur'an says (in no uncertain terms):
Between them is a barrier which they cannot pass
But you are telling us that they become "homogenized with the other water". In other words, they have "passed" between the barrier which the Qur'an tells us, it cannot pass! You have now contradicted the Qur'an and have, by your original premise that the Qur'an is scientifically accurate, destroyed your original argument; OR, you have proved that the Qur'an is not telling us the truth about scientific phenomena - even those phenomena which are observable and were common knowledge long before Muhammad!
Problem 3: According to an article in the Wall Street Journal (by Daniel Golden, January 23rd, 2002):
Prof. Hay, a Methodist, says he then raised other hypotheses that Mr. Zindani also dismissed. Finally, Prof. Hay conceded that the inspiration for the reference to internal waves "must be the divine being," a statement now trumpeted on Islamic Web sites.
"I fell into that trap and then warned other people to watch out for it," says Prof. Hay, now at a German marine institute.
This is an excellent example of Islamic modern scientific research.
I agree! Islamic modern scientific research is in a lot of trouble!
Modern techniques can thus be used to prove the inimitability of the Qur'an.
Not in this case!
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