Allegation that the Quran says the earth is flat
Regarding the allegation which is commonly made against the Quran, where websites and youtube videos allege the Quran says the earth is flat. The Quran does not say the world is flat.
Once again the allegation:
The Quran says that Allah has made the earth for you as a carpet. This gives an indication that the earth is flat. Does this not contradict established modern science?
1. Earth made as a carpet
The question refers to a verse from the Qur’an in Surah Nuh:
“And Allah has made the earth for you as a carpet (spread out).” The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 71, Verse 19
But the sentence in the above verse is not complete. It continues in the next verse, explaining the previous verse. It says: “That ye may go about therein, in spacious roads.” The Holy Quran, Chapter 71, Verse 20
A similar message is repeated in Surah TaHa:
“He Who has made for you the earth like a carpet spread out; has enabled you to go about therein by roads (and channels)….” The Holy Quran, Chapter 20, Verse 53
The surface of the earth i.e. earth’s crust is less than 30 miles in thickness and is very thin as compared to the radius of the earth which is about 3750 miles. The deeper layers of the earth are very hot, fluid and hostile to any form of life. The earth’s crust is a solidified shell on which we can live. The Quran rightly refers to it like a carpet spread out, so that we can travel along its roads and paths.
2. Carpet can also be spread on other than an absolute flat surface
Not a single verse of the Quran says that the earth is flat. The Quran only compares the earth’s crust with a carpet. Some people seem to think that carpet can only be put on an absolute flat surface. It is possible to spread a carpet on a large sphere such as the earth. It can easily be demonstrated by taking a huge model of the earth’s globe covering it with a carpet.
Carpet is generally put on a surface, which is not very comfortable to walk on. The Quran describes the earth crust as a carpet, without which human beings would not be able to survive because of the hot, fluid and hostile environment beneath it. The Quran is thus not only logical, it is mentioning a scientific fact that was discovered by geologists centuries later.
3. Earth has been spread out
Similarly, the Quran says in several verses that the earth has been spread out.
“And We have spread out the (spacious) earth: how excellently We do spread out!” The Holy Quran, Chapter 51, Verse 48
Similarly the Quran also mentions in several other verses that the earth is an expanse:
“Have We not made the earth as a wide expanse. And the mountains as pegs?” The Holy Quran, Chapter 78, Verse 6-7
None of these verses of the Quran contain even the slightest implication that the earth is flat. It only indicates that the earth is spacious and the reason for this spaciousness of the earth is mentioned. The Quran says:
“O My servants who believe! truly. spacious is My Earth: therefore serve ye Me –(And Me alone)!”
The Holy Quran, Chapter 29, Verse 56
Therefore none can give the excuse, that he could not do good and was forced to do evil because of the surroundings and circumstances.
4. Earth is geospherical in shape
The Quran mentions the actual shape of the earth in the following verse: “And we have made the earth egg shaped”. The Holy Quran, Chapter 79, Verse 30
The “dahu” in the Arabic Language means to extend and even out. It is said: “daha” the thing; “yad’hu dahwan”. These terms can mean he either evened out and extended it or he threw it and rolled it. It is also said: “the rain daha the stones from the face of the earth,” which means it rolled it and washed it away. It is also said: “The horse passed by yad’hu dahwan,” which means he is beating his foot on the ground and yad’hu its sand. Also, the ostrich’s mad’hi means its laying of its eggs, and “ad’hiha” is the nest where its chicks are born.
So as we clearly see, all of the above Arabic words that are derived from “daha” mean:
1- To extend.
2- To roll.
3- To even out.
4- Causing to become egg-shaped or creating, making or producing eggs (see the ostrich’s mad’hi example above).
The meanings all derive from the root word in arabic, there is nothing wrong with applying all the meanings especially amazing in this situation seeing as they are all true. Arabic is a rich language and words usually have more then one meaning
The Arabic word dahaha in Noble Verse 79:30 above did have multiple meanings and uses. One of them was when one refers to an ostrich egg. Another was when referring to making something extended, spread out, stretched and/or expanded. This is an example of how Allah Almighty uses scientific notions in the Noble Quran when He talked about how He created certain things. He gave words that had multiple meanings and interpretations to them to make the Noble Quran truly be for all times and all places, and show it has deeper meanings. The meanings unravel more and more as scientific discoveries increase
The shape of the earth being similar to an oblate spheroid [ Also according to Wikipedia: “The Earth’s shape is very close to an oblate spheroid—a rounded shape with a bulge around the equator—although the precise shape (the geoid) varies from this by up to 100 metres (327 ft).”
Eggs can be described as prolate spheroids, ovate spehroids or oblate spheroids. The fact is the word used in the Quran has particular root link to an ostrich egg
We are specifically observing an Ostrich egg which does resemble an Oblate Spheroid and NOT Prolate Spheroid. More over technical labeling is irrelevant since these are invented modern names that we ascribe to the earth. How would it make sense for God to describe the earth as an ‘Oblate spheroid’ 1400 years ago? Even if God were to describe the Earth as simply ’round’ it would be incorrect. Describing the Earth as resembling an ostrich egg is very significant and precise as it was not only unique at the time but is still accurate and visually relevant
Thus its not just a case of bad translation, the words in arabic have multiple meanings and all cant be used at once however deeper analysis do show that all the meanings are accurate. This however is not likely to convince the non muslim who most probably thinks the muslims are stretching it abit and using words they want to use, which is their choice and is fair enough. But to say the verses are irrelevant is incorrect, they certainly have some merit
Thus the allegation is untrue, the Quran and modern established science are in perfect harmony.
Why does the Quran not go into detail about the crust?
The Quran is not a book of science. The Quran does not need to go into detail about the crust, all we have to do is show that what it is saying does not go against established science. If the Quran gave scientific measurements and details about every little issue, it would be a million times bigger then it is and not be fit the the purpose it was revealed.
The description given was emphasizing a certain point regarding the way the surface of the earth is vast and spread out, for which it uses the term carpet. This is clear from the context provided. The Quran then goes onto clarify the actual shape of the earth as being egg shaped. Both are clear, and not against established science. So if you read the whole Quran, and the particular verses in question it will be clear to you that in one part the surface is being referred to and in the other the shape of the earth is given, both put together or looked at separately are correct. Simple deduction will lead you to this.
The verses did not need to go into great deal about the intimate details because as i said it is not a book of science. The descriptions and words were made so they would be easy for the people of the time to understand, and be easy for us to understand today. This again is clear by virtue of the fact that the verses do not contradict any established scientific fact.
There is an allegation that the Quran copied from the Greeks regarding this issue for some reason, we may as well look at this claim even though there is no real evidence to support this allegation
Around 250 BC, the Greek mathematician Eratosthenes came to the conclusion that the earth was spherical. The actual fact however based on scienctific research is that the earths shape is oblate spheroid, which is a rotationally symmetric ellipsoid having a polar axis shorter than the diameter of the equatorial circle. Hence the earth is not a sphere, as was put forward by the greeks.
If what the anti islamists say is true, and Muhammad wrote the Quran and copied the greeks – why would he not actually copy what they said? I mean to say, surely he would also have written the earth is a sphere shape. In actual fact if we look at the Quran, it states the shape of the earh is egg shaped and not a sphere. The Quran mentions the actual shape of the earth in the following verse: “And we have made the earth egg shaped”. The Holy Quran, Chapter 79, Verse 30
The shape of an egg being oblate spheroid, just like the earth. This clearly proves that the Quran did not copy from the greeks, because if it had it would have said the same thing, and not corrected the mistake the greeks had made. This information is not from the greeks, but is from the creator himself.