Responses to Answering Christianity

Jochen Katz, not Dhu'l Qurnain in Murky Waters

"Until when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting as if in a pool of murky water, and near it he found a people. WE said, `O Dhu'l Qarnain, you may punish them, or treat them with kindness.' (Al- Quran chapter 18 verse 86)

Here Jochen states : "first: It is scientifically proven that the sun does not go down in a muddy spring."

Response :

Are you not aware of the fact that the words "the place were the sunset"; signify the westernmost parts of Cyrus' Empire or the north-western boundary of Asia Minor and refer to the Black Sea becasue it formed the north-western boundary of the Empire of Cyrus ? The verse refers to the expedetion which Cyrus undertook agaist his enemies in the West.

Unfortunately, that is not what this verse says! Read it again:

Sura 18:86

Yusuf Ali: Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water: Near it he found a People: We said: "O Zul-qarnain! (thou hast authority,) either to punish them, or to treat them with kindness."

Pickthall: Till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout. We said: O Dhu'l-Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness.

This verse says that Dhu'l Qurnain reached the place where the sun set. It DOES NOT say that he saw the sun set. In other words, the word "place" indicates a geographical location. The Qur'an does not say the he saw it set in a muddy spring, it says that he "found" it setting in a muddy spring. The term "found" (wagada), and its variants, are found 107 times in the Qur'an and this term never refers to the act of "seeing". To "see" the sun set, or rise, requires that we use the word "ra'a". For example, Sura 6:78 tells us :

"When he [Abraham] saw (ra'a) the sun rising, he said, "This is my Lord". But when it set he said, ..."

"Soon after the conquest of the Midian empire Cyrus was attacked by a ccalition of other powers of the East-Babylon, Egypt and Lydia, joined by Sparta, the greatest military power of Greece. In the spring of 546 Croesus of Lydia began the attack and advanced into Cappadocia, while other powers were still gathering their troops. But Cyrus anticipated them; he defeated Croesus and followed him to his capitsl. In the Autumn of 546 Sardis was taken and the Lydian kingdom became a province of the Persians . . . during the next few years the Persian army supressed a rebellion of the Lydians. The King of Cilcia voluntarily acknowledged the Persian supremacy" (Enc. Brit., & Historians' History of the World, under Cyrus)

Does the Qur'an say that Dhu'l Qurnain is Cyrus? Some Islamic scholars claim that he is Alexander the Great while other believe that he is Cyrus. In fact, the Qur'an commentator Syed Maududi does not identify Dhu'l Qurnain in his commentary on this Sura. Additionally, Maududi, in another publication, says : "Nevertheless, the information available to date does not enable us to form a definitive opinion concerning Dhul-Qarnayn's identity." (source: Maududi's "Towards understanding the Qur'an").

The words, "he found it (the sun) setting in a spring of murky water,"

signify that it is not a small pool to which they refer. The waters referred to are so extensive that if one were to take his stand on the shore at the time of sunset, the sun would appear to be setting in the sea.

Huh? The translations say that the sun is setting in a spring of murky water (Ali), or a muddy spring (Pickthall). Neither of these terms can be enlarged to the point that the constitute a sea!

Second part of accusation, verse under refrence:

"Till, when he reached the rising-place of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had appointed no shelter from it." -- Sura 18:90

Katz's accusation:

Second: This seems to presuppose a flat earth, otherwise how can there be an extreme point in the West or in the East? It does not say, he went as far as possible on land in these directions and then observed the sun-rise or sun-set while standing at this shore. A sunrise there would be basically just the same as at any other place on this earth, at land or sea. It would still look as if it is setting "far away". It does say, that he reached THE PLACE where the sun sets and in his second journey the place where it rises."

Sura 18:90

Yusuf Ali : Until, when he came to the rising of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had provided no covering protection against the sun.

Pickthall: Till, when he reached the rising-place of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had appointed no shelter therefrom.

The fact of the matter is that there is no mention of there being a flat earth here in verse 91. Rather Allah in this verse is speaking of Dhu'l Qarnian conquests to the East.

Actually, Ayah 91 says: (He left them) as they were: We completely understood what was before him. - you misquoted it. The phrase "the rising place of the sun" implies that the sun rises in one place and the "setting-place of the sun" implies that the sun sets in a different location. This could only work on a flat surface. A sphere, by comparison, would have no rising or setting place since the sun is constantly rising and setting at various locations. When we read the traditions, we find a real gem of a statement from Muhammad. Narrated Abu Dharr:

Once I was with the Prophet in the mosque at the time of sunset. The Prophet said, "O Abu Dharr! Do you know where the sun sets?" I replied, "Allah and His Apostle know best." He said, "It goes and prostrates underneath (Allah's) Throne; and that is Allah's Statement:--

'And the sun runs on its fixed course for a term (decreed). And that is the decree of All-Mighty, the All-Knowing....' (36.38)" Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Number 326

This verse refers to Cyrus's Expedition to the East--to Afganastan and even Baluchistan.

Once again, do you know that Dhu'l Qarnian is Cyrus? Do not attempt to make the Qur'an say something that it does not say!

Christain Scholars have no idea of what they are talking about, they are of my opinion not completly ignorant. We can say that their allegations stem from hate for Islam. They produce baseless arguments to take the attention of their followers away from the falsehood of their own teology.

First, I prefer to be called a Christian instead of a "Christain" and I have never studied "teology", although I have studied theology! Second, and most important, I DO NOT hate Islam or Muslims. In fact, I love my Muslim brothers and sisters very dearly. This love is the reason that I spend what little leisure time that I have to write these responses. It is my sincere hope that all who read my words will carefully, and honestly, consider the truth claims of the Bible and the life and works of Jesus Christ in comparison to the truth claims of the Qur'an and the life and works of Muhammad. The decision that we make will be of eternal importance.

Andrew Vargo

More on Dhu'l Qarnian

This section is composed of the writings of other authors which have been cut and pasted. For more information, please read : Zul-Qarnain, his gate, and the place of sunset.

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