I have a question about Surah 41:11-12.  It says the nearest heaven was made for protection.  Does that mean the Qur’an is describing the earth’s atmosphere/ozone layer protecting it? Is it a scientific fact?


It sounds like you have been looking at the web site of a Muslim apologist.  What we need to do is look at this passage in its context, rather than read a small part of it out of its context.  So, here is the passage in full in the Qur’an. I am using a translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali:  “Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been as smoke: He said to it and to the earth: ‘Come ye together willingly.’ They said, ‘We do come together in willing obedience.’ So He complete them as seven firmaments in two Days, and He assigned to each heaven a duty and command. And We adorned the lower heaven with lights, and provided it with guard. Such is the Decree of Him, the Exalted in Might, Full of Knowledge.”

First of all, Allah is personifying nature here, which is a perfectly good thing to do by Near Eastern standards.  Muhammad has nature speaking.  But there is a problem.  In this passage there are seven heavens.  This is standard Greek cosmology, but what are these seven heavens?  Are there seven heavens?  Also, in this cosmology, the lower heaven is where the lights (presumably the sun, moon and stars) are.  So, what is in the other six, outer heavens?  What does it mean that the sky is like smoke?  What is the science of this smoke and of these seven supposed “heavens?”  This sura and ayat says that the lower heavens are the location of the lights and this “guard.”  Is this the ozone layer?  In this passage, this lower heaven is where the lights are.  Is the ozone layer in the same layer as the moon and sun?  I REALLY doubt that this is what the passage is talking about.  This is a rather blatant example of Muslims taking a tiny phrase in the Qur’an out of context and trying to make it appear to be scientific.  I suggest you not be fooled by this unfortunate attempt to give you only a small portion of the passage in order to create the false impression that it is “scientific.”  When you hear such claims you should get your copy of the Qur’an, translated into English, and judge for yourself.  In this case, you can see that this claim does not hold water at all.

Thanks for asking.

John Oakes

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