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COSMOLOGY ACCORDING TO THE QURAN
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1) One must realise that science is factual ie experimental and theoretical knowledge about the world in which we live. In short science is about observation of our environment or circumstances as far as it is possible for us to do so and its explanation as best as we can come up with. Based upon our observations and there explanations, we can make further assumptions, predictions or hypothesis as to what else may be likely to happen or may be there and try to create experiments by way of inventing techniques, systems and methods to be able to verify our those assumptions. Having as many facts as we have at any given time, we try to explain them and this explanation we call a theory, which we modify as and when we see the need for it eg if we come across new facts that do not fit within the existing explanation or theory. The ideas/explanations or theories that explain all or maximum number of available facts for any given situation or circumstances are accepted and the rest put on hold or rejected.
One must distinguish between theories, facts and hypothesis ie even though theories too are assumptions but they are assumed as explanations not as predicted facts=hypothesis or assumed facts yet to be verified. Facts are actual facts that are already known or have been verified or confirmed as such. In other words theories are chains with most links as actual facts but some as assumed facts yet to be verified or confirmed. Thus hypothesis and theories are two separate things serving different purposes. Likewise if a theory explains all related known facts then it becomes an accepted principle for as long as it stands the test of time or remains unfalsified otherwise it is proven false and discarded. I had to explain this because some people do not make clear distinction between the two different kinds of assumptions. All explanations are assumptions but they are only taken as true because they seem to work and thus solve the problems.
For example, the police find a body and examine it under various possible theories ie under all known possible categories of causes of death eg natural death, accidental death or suicidal death etc etc etc. They then start gathering all possible facts or clues that they can eg circumstantial evidences as well evidences found through examination or post mortem of the body. Now after having as many clues as it is possible for them, they try and figure out which of all those causes of deaths is more likely to be the case ie based upon so far known facts they make some assumptions for further verifications as to how the person might have met his death ie they try to answer the questions like, did he die a natural death? Was it an accidental death? Did the person commit suicide or was he murdered etc etc? The assumption/theory that explains the known clues best is taken as the cause of death and investigated further leaving the rest of theories out by this process of elimination. In other words if the body and the place where the body was found show no signs of foul play or suspicious clues then it is taken as a natural death. If the clues show signs of accident then it is taken as accidental death. If the clues show the signs of suicide then it is taken as suicidal death and likewise if the signs are found to raise suspicion of murder then the murder investigation is launched and so on and so forth.
Based on the evidence if the death is taken as natural then that is the end of the matter but if clues raise suspicion of murder then further investigation is launched under various theories of murder eg how the person might have been murdered and why? Who might have murdered him and where or when etc etc? Again clues are gathered and explanations are reached to answer such like questions. Thus different theories are created according to so far available information and various lines of inquiry are followed till a satisfactory conclusion is reached in the matter. Nonetheless some cases remain a mystery due to lack of our ability to gather evidences or to come up with their necessary explanations.
2) The followers of the quran have raised the claims that the quran is the revealed word of god and that the proof is, whatever the quran says about this world is true and can be verified by way of scientific experimentation, exploration or research. They quote 4/82 for example ie if the quran was from other than god it would have had faults in it and since the quran does not have faults in it therefore the quran is word of god. However, if we pay a little attention to the premise and the conclusion drawn, this argument is invalid. One may ask, why is that so? It is invalid because even if the quran was perfect that would not mean it is word of god, because a book being perfect is one thing and it being the word of god is quite another. To be proven true, both of these claims need to be found consistent with the relevant evidences. Also the argument raised can be proven true only one way and not the other way round. For example, if the quran contains faults then it is definitely not perfect and therefore cannot be word of god either hence this argument becomes valid, for proof is in front of our eyes in the form of faults in the alleged divine scripture. In other words it is possible to verify if there are any faults in the scripture but not possible to verify if the scripture is free of all faults.
Why is that so? It is because if the quran did not contain even a single fault as regard this world, it can still not be free of suspicion and doubt as regard the information about the next world which remains to be verified or tested. Now the case is not only about the validity of the quranic statements regarding the hereafter but also, as I am pointing out, the quran contains many claims that are not verifiable even about this world eg did a man call adam, noah or abraham etc etc ever exist? Did noah live for 950 years? Do angels and demons really exist? What is soul and does it exist? So many of the quranic claims are mere claims and nothing more. The shooting stars driving away jinns makes no sense because jinns are not supposed to be effected by material things and if they are, we should be able to detect their presence in this very world. The case is same with the idea of angles and spirits, for interaction between so called spiritual world ought to be either possible or not possible at all. Such quranic confusions in themselves are sufficient proof that most quranic claims are myths or fiction and have nothing to do with reality or the science. So the Quranic claim that it can be verified that it is perfect is invalid being inconsistent within itself and the reality of our existence ie we cannot verify it. As I already raised the point that even if we could verify that the quran is a perfect book, it would only mean that ie the quran is a perfect book. It would not mean it is the word of god. For that we will need an evident or verifiable link between the quran and the god who is supposed author of it as explained elsewhere in my writings.
3) Since muslims claim the quran is full of scienitific information, I am going to comment on some quranic verses as to their true meanings in contrast with science. The idea is to collect all the related verses in the quran in one place then see what do they mean or can possibly mean. For example, to know what is meaning of word samaa=heaven, we must search through whole of the quran and get all the verses there from related to heaven and see what they say and then draw the sense from them as to what the whole thing is all about. So let us look at the verses in the quran regarding cosmology as an example.
YUSUFALI: (It is Allah) Who has made the earth your couch, and the heavens your canopy; and sent down rain from the heavens; and brought forth therewith Fruits for your sustenance; then set not up rivals unto Allah when ye know (the truth).
The quran here by word AL-ARD means the earth we are living on but what are the heavens=ASSAMAAWAAT? Where are they located looking from the earth? They are not spherical but semi-spherical. It is clear from this verse that heavens are skies above the earth, one above the other ie domes raised high above the earth that are thought of as solid build physical structures. They are as solid as the earth itself but are made of some other material perhaps eg copper etc 55/37, 70/8, 84/1. The earth is thought to be the solid floor and the heavens the solid ceiling 22/15, 52/5. The moon is cleft asunder just as the heaven will be 54/1, 84/1. This idea will become clear as we read more and more verses like 52/5,9,36,44, 53/1, 54/1, 55/7,33, 37, 56/75, 57/4, 65/12, 67/3-5, 69/16, 70/8, 71/11,15, 72/8, 73/18, 77/9, 78/12,19, 79/27, 81/11, 82/1-2, 84/1, 85/1,15, 86/11, 88/18, 91/5 etc etc.
YUSUFALI: It is He Who hath created for you all things that are on earth; Moreover His design comprehended the heavens, for He gave order and perfection to the seven firmaments; and of all things He hath perfect knowledge.
Now we are clearly told that there are seven heavens above the earth that are all almost identical. As we continue we will see that the quran tells us clearly that these heavens are one above the other. The way they are located is, they are all above the earth not below it. The rain is sent down from the lowest heaven to the earth so this heaven is actually visible from the earth like the ceiling of the room as far as the quran is concerned. However, what is visible is the blue sky which is not a solid structure as the quran would have us believe. So it is the blue sky that is thought of as the lowest heaven which is made of solid material because it has doors and windows, and that pieces of it could break and fall on the people and crush them due to denying faith in the god of the quran. A point to be note here is the argument between the alleged divine messengers and their people. The messengers warn that Allah could make pieces of sky or even the whole sky fall upon them to crush them to death and they say if you speak the truth then let the sky fall down upon us. This clearly shows that by word smaa the alleged divine messengers meant the sky as a solid structure that could fall down upon people and crush them like a falling roof would and that is what the opponents of the prophets understood. This clearly leaves no room as to what the heavens mean in the allegedly divine revelation.
YUSUFALI: Lord of the heavens and of the earth and all between them, and Lord of every point at the rising of the sun!
YUSUFALI: We have indeed decked the lower heaven with beauty (in) the stars,-
YUSUFALI: (For beauty) and for guard against all obstinate rebellious evil spirits,
YUSUFALI: (So) they should not strain their ears in the direction of the Exalted Assembly but be cast away from every side,
YUSUFALI: Repulsed, for they are under a perpetual penalty,
YUSUFALI: Except such as snatch away something by stealth, and they are pursued by a flaming fire, of piercing brightness.
YUSUFALI: Say: Is it that ye deny Him Who created the earth in two Days? And do ye join equals with Him? He is the Lord of (all) the Worlds.
YUSUFALI: He set on the (earth), mountains standing firm, high above it, and bestowed blessings on the earth, and measure therein all things to give them nourishment in due proportion, in four Days, in accordance with (the needs of) those who seek (Sustenance)
YUSUFALI: 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 or unwillingly." They said: "We do come (together), in willing obedience."
YUSUFALI: So He completed them as seven firmaments in two Days, and He assigned to each heaven its 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.
The universe as it exists is a single process from start to finish. It did not come about in stages or interruptions as the quran clearly states. It makes the very same mistake when it talks about human creation 22/5 etc. The universe is like a clockwork process which once triggered continues till the end of the process. It does not stop and restart in the middle of the process to give it distinct stages. It has no room for direct divine intervention as the quran clearly suggests. So telling people that the universe was created in six 2/29 or eight 41/9-12 days is a huge mistake no matter how we look at it. In fact according to hadith reports days are said to be seven. The days were always the same since the creation of the heavens and the earth ie 24 hour days 2/189, 9/36. Allah began creating things on Saturday and completed them on Friday. The quran also tells us here that the earth was created first and then the heavens, for heavens were yet a cloud of smoke after the creation of the earth, which is not at all the scientific view. It also seems that these verses contradict other verses by giving us number of days which add up to be eight instead of six. Moreover if we look at verses like 79/27-30, 88/18-20, 91/5-6 etc, they tell us that the earth was created after the heavens which contradicts 2/29, 41/9-12 etc etc. On top of all this one has to wonder that it took allah four days just to create and set up the earth yet only two days to create and set up all the rest of the universe ie the heavens and all the stars, which pose a bigger task as compared to the earth. The heavens were yet a smoke when the earth was already created but in 21/30 we are told that they were stuck together and were separated at the same time from each other. Moreover, we are told that his throne was over the water already even before the creation of the seven heavens and the earth 11/7. So the water and the throne of allah already existed before he even started the creation.
YUSUFALI: Allah is He Who created seven Firmaments and of the earth a similar number. Through the midst of them (all) descends His Command: that ye may know that Allah has power over all things, and that Allah comprehends, all things in (His) Knowledge.
This verse seems to contradict various other verses which tell us there is only one earth and seven heavens. But there are some hadith that support this verse ie they too talk about seven earths.
YUSUFALI: He Who created the seven heavens one above another: No want of proportion wilt thou see in the Creation of (Allah) Most Gracious. So turn thy vision again: seest thou any flaw?
YUSUFALI: Again turn thy vision a second time: (thy) vision will come back to thee dull and discomfited, in a state worn out.
YUSUFALI: And we have, (from of old), adorned the lowest heaven with Lamps, and We have made such (Lamps) (as) missiles to drive away the Evil Ones, and have prepared for them the Penalty of the Blazing Fire.
YUSUFALI: "'See ye not how Allah has created the seven heavens one above another,
YUSUFALI: "'And made the moon a light in their midst, and made the sun as a (Glorious) Lamp?
YUSUFALI: 'And we pried into the secrets of heaven; but we found it filled with stern guards and flaming fires.
YUSUFALI: 'We used, indeed, to sit there in (hidden) stations, to (steal) a hearing; but any who listen now will find a flaming fire watching him in ambush.
YUSUFALI: And (have We not) built over you the seven firmaments,
YUSUFALI: And placed (therein) a Light of Splendour?
YUSUFALI: Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the night and the day; in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which Allah Sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the change of the winds, and the clouds which they Trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth;- (Here) indeed are Signs for a people that are wise.
Please note the definition of the universe. As far as the quran is concerned, the universe consists of water, the earth on the water and the seven heavens above it one above the other that are crowned by the mighty throne that was already there, and whatever is between them. We have seen what else is in between them eg the only sun, the only moon and many many stars as small lamps. Which shoot at jinns so that they cannot hear things the angels talk about in the lowest heaven. The idea is that the largest light in the whole of this quranic universe is the sun then the moon. The stars are thought to be only small lamps just below the lowest heaven for purpose of beauty and chasing away the jinns as well as so that people could guide themselves when on the move or are travelling through the land or sea. Here one can also raise the question as to what are the signs the quran is talking about? Unless it is made clear what are we looking for, we cannot verify anything. The quran is in habit of saying, everything is a sign from god. It does not clarify as to how something is a sign from god or in which sense and how can it be verified as such? If one said, I am a doctor, look at that chicken there is a sign in it for you, what would the people make of it? How does looking at a chicken prove that one is a doctor?
So just by telling us look at this or that for no reason at all or for a reason other than verification would not prove anything. So each time the quran states anything as a sign, one must ask such questions to realise that in fact there are no signs. The text used is only to give impression of signs but not actual detail of signs. Likewise the phenomenon of day and night is cited as a sign but no where the quran explains as to how exactly it occurs. In 14/33, 25/62, 36/40, 55/5 etc we are told this phenomenon occurs because the sun and the moon follow a course. It is thought of by the author of the quran that it is the sun that revolves around the earth rather than the earth orbiting around the sun. The main reason for this mistake is phenomenon as observed from here on the earth. The repeated statement that the sun has a course to follow and that has something to do with the phenomenon of day and night leaves no room for other interpretations. Moreover the quran clearly states that the earth is firmly fixed ie it does not have any course to follow like the sun or the moon etc etc 10/5, 15/19, 27/61 etc. The ideas is exactly the same in case of the heavens ie they too have no course to follow. The idea for existence of the mountains on the earth is to ensure that the earth does not move. It is as if it is held down to something ie water or as if it was floating on the water surface like a plank of wood which is balanced by weights like ships to dampen down the oscillations. This seems to be the idea because the throne of god rested upon water before the creation of the universe 11/7. The idea of the universe described in the quran is as if we are looking at a ship with decks or floors and ceiling or roofs that is floating on the water surface. So the earth rests on the water hence it is said it was created first. Then the rest of the things are created like one would built a ship or house ie foundations first and then the walls or pillars and ceiling or roof etc etc.
YUSUFALI: Hast thou not Turned thy vision to one who disputed with Abraham About his Lord, because Allah had granted him power? Abraham said: "My Lord is He Who Giveth life and death." He said: "I give life and death". Said Abraham: "But it is Allah that causeth the sun to rise from the east: Do thou then cause him to rise from the West." Thus was he confounded who (in arrogance) rejected faith. Nor doth Allah Give guidance to a people unjust.
Please note the science that Abraham has been taught by Allah according to the quran. He thinks that the sun rises from the east and so thinks it falls in the west. Allah is telling us about it very proudly and does not correct his mistake that it is not the sun that rises and falls but that this is how the people on the earth perceive this phenomenon. The sun as compared to the flight of the earth around it is stationary. Its movement is only of importance when we talk about the movement of the whole solar system as compared to the rest of our galaxy. Because the idea at the time was that somebody eg an angel etc was moving the sun between the heaven and the earth hence the phenomenon of sunrise and sunset and so occurred this mistake.
Please read about the ancient concepts of the universe and all this will make perfect sense. It is because of this very concept that the author of the quran made such like statements as are found in the quran eg telling us that had allah wished he could have kept the night on the earth for ever or the day for that matter. Now those who know astronomy, know very well the way the universe is, and in it the way our solar system is, it is impossible for such a thing to happen. For example, the only way to keep night permanently on the earth will be to remove the sun or its ability to shine. That will be the end of the life on the earth as well as of solar system itself. Likewise to create permanent day on the earth will require more suns so that there is no darkness on the earth at all anywhere at any time. Or the earth will need to be made of some material that is clear so that sunlight gets through it to everywhere, for night is result of earth’s own shadow on the other side that is not facing the sun due to being opaque hence not letting the light pass through it.
As the earth rotates on its own axis the parts/phases of the earth that were facing the sunlight before become dark and are termed night and the parts/phases that were in the dark before now face the sunlight and are termed day. The idea may be understood by way of a demonstration eg a person could shine a beam of light on a football the while the football is being rotated at a constant speed in a dark room. This will give rise to the effect I am talking about. Moreover, there are many other implications if the earth was made of clear material eg that material may not have had the ability to give rise to living things. So the way things work is the only way they could be. In other words even if it was god who made this world yet he had to do it the best he could, for even god cannot be expected to not to do his best at the end of the day. Whichever way we look at this problem, it is a problem that the quran has landed itself into.
One must also note another point here about proof and proving. Abraham is looking for a proof from the infidel as regard his claim of being a god. He thinks that proof is necessary before anyone could accept anyone a god. Moreover he thinks that it should be in the power of god to make sun rise from the west ie god must be able to intervene directly. He also thinks that proof must be produced on demand, or he would not be right in asking for it. All this is backed by Allah because he is allegedly telling Abraham’s story with pride and the same is true in case of Muhammad because he is given this message and he believes in it and thus backs it up. So if I ask my muslim brethren to furnish me with proof as to what they claim, it should not be anything out of the ordinary, should it? If we did not talk about proof and proving then anyone could claim anything and get away with it.
Since god can intervene directly according to the quran it creates a problem. How can we be asked to study nature if nature is not allowed to go its own natural way? Moreover if it was alright for god to make past people believe in him by showing miracles to them then why do we not need miracles from god or why would it be wrong for god to show similar miracles to us? According to the quran god’s way of doing things never changes and he does not like double standards 83/1-4 etc. So god will be in the wrong if he showed discrimination, according to himself. If he was right to do things miraculously then, he is wrong to not to do them the same way now, for that will lead people to confusion. Likewise if he does things naturally now, he ought to do the same then or again people would have ended up confused. Consistency is vital for god or things would be chaotic ie not work out. So one can see how things are according to allegedly divine scriptures and in this case the quran.
YUSUFALI: Hast thou not turned thy vision to thy Lord?- How He doth prolong the shadow! If He willed, He could make it stationary! then do We make the sun its guide;
Again one can see that the author of the quran is not aware of how solar system works. The only way shadows could be made stationary is by stopping the earth from rotating on its own axis. What will happen if the earth was stopped from rotating? The solar system would collapse, because balance of the forces that are keeping the solar system functioning would be seriously altered from the state of its equilibrium leading to its destruction.
YUSUFALI: Say: See ye? If Allah were to make the night perpetual over you to the Day of Judgment, what god is there other than Allah, who can give you enlightenment? Will ye not then hearken?
YUSUFALI: Say: See ye? If Allah were to make the day perpetual over you to the Day of Judgment, what god is there other than Allah, who can give you a night in which ye can rest? Will ye not then see?
YUSUFALI: Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?
The quran here clearly states that the heavens are as physically real as the earth. So my question is where are those seven heavens that were stuck with the earth, which allah had to separate? Where did they go after they were separated? Did they disappear into thin air the while the earth is still here and we are all living on it?
As for the quran, is this the origin of the universe or is it the origin of the solar system the verse is talking about or is it neither but repetition of ancient idea of what they thought the universe was? For in cosmology almost all people of the field accept the idea that the universe came to existence around 20 billion years ago. This is not their view as to origin of the solar system. It is again an agreed fact that solar system is only around four billion years old. It was not part of the original creation of the universe but came to being later on as a result of secondary creation of which the author of the quran is completely unaware and so are those who claim to be scientists yet interpret the quran this way and follow it. To explain it for understanding, our solar system is child of a star of our galaxy called milky way. This star due to becoming unstable exploded and turned into a cloud of gas and dust instead of imploding and turning into a black hole. After explosion as the cloud tried to disperse the acting forces came into play and fragmented it. These fragments due to interaction between themselves collapsed upon themselves giving rise to a new smaller star and its planets which we today call our solar system.
Now going back to what the verse says. The quran is clear that the throne, the seven heavens, the only greatest light in this quranic universe (the sun), the only lesser light in this quranic universe, (the moon), the small lamps (the stars) and the earth are the whole universe as far as the quran is concerned. This whole quranic universe was created by this quranic god namely Allah in six days who did not feel the need for rest as the jewish god jehova did. The problem here is that the heaven the quran is repeatedly talking about were created at the same time as the earth was. All things in the heavens and the earth were created at that very time. The quran clearly tells us that the god allah began this activity and did not rest but finalised it. Now we know that the origin of the universe did not give rise to the earth and the creation of solar system nor did it give rise to seven heavens that were stuck to each other and were similar in nature of their material. So if the quran was word of real god, it would not have had such clear cut mistakes in it. It shows that Allah is an imaginary god created by the author/s of the quran for his/their own purpose, which if I have the time, will be explained when I talk about Islamic constitution, Islamic society and politics.
I cannot tackle each and everything in one go to show that true god should not be attributed with such faulty scriptures. Are we not afraid that we attribute such things to god as make god look ignorant and stupid to us? Who are we really trying to kid and why? Is it right for us to respect our holy books so much so in the name of god that we ignore the god himself? The quran further tells us that before god created the universe ie the seven heavens and the earth his throne was over the waters. Now where did the water or for that matter the throne of god come from if the universe was not even created yet? Moreover Allah is unaware of the fact that phenomenon of the sunrise and the sunset only occurs on planets and even planets have places where this phenomenon does not occur eg compare the equator with the poles. Elsewhere people are told to pray on time even when travelling. Since the phenomenon of time only occurs on planets and the space travelling was not thought of so attention was not paid to that aspect, showing that the quran was not written by real God but somebody who was not even aware of the poles. Facing the ka’ba during prayer is another such factor. Because when you are far far away from makkah, the earth curvature prevents you from facing the ka’ba 2/142,144 etc.
YUSUFALI: We created the heavens and the earth and all between them in Six Days, nor did any sense of weariness touch Us.
YUSUFALI: Bear, then, with patience, all that they say, and celebrate the praises of thy Lord, before the rising of the sun and before (its) setting.
YUSUFALI: He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days - and His Throne was over the waters - that He might try you, which of you is best in conduct. But if thou wert to say to them, "Ye shall indeed be raised up after death", the Unbelievers would be sure to say, "This is nothing but obvious sorcery!"
YUSUFALI: Be ye foremost (in seeking) Forgiveness from your Lord, and a Garden (of Bliss), the width whereof is as the width of heaven and earth, prepared for those who believe in Allah and His messengers: that is the Grace of Allah, which He bestows on whom he pleases: and Allah is the Lord of Grace abounding.
YUSUFALI: A revelation from Him Who created the earth and the heavens on high.
YUSUFALI: (Allah) Most Gracious is firmly established on the throne (of authority).
YUSUFALI: To Him belongs what is in the heavens and on earth, and all between them, and all beneath the soil.
Here Allah clearly thinks that there is nothing out there outside the universe, for the heavens and the earth are the universe. There is no concept of anything being below the earth ie underneath it for the earth is as low as it can be and the heavens are as high as they could be. Please see 18/86,90 etc as well wherein we are told about the places wherefrom the sun rises or wherein it set etc etc. Also Allah tells us in the quran that he set mountains upon the earth which is not the way the mountains form.
YUSUFALI: Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars that ye can see; is firmly established on the throne (of authority); He has subjected the sun and the moon (to his Law)! Each one runs (its course) for a term appointed. He doth regulate all affairs, explaining the signs in detail, that ye may believe with certainty in the meeting with your Lord.
YUSUFALI: And it is He who spread out the earth, and set thereon mountains standing firm and (flowing) rivers: and fruit of every kind He made in pairs, two and two: He draweth the night as a veil o'er the Day. Behold, verily in these things there are signs for those who consider!
YUSUFALI: And in the earth are tracts (diverse though) neighbouring, and gardens of vines and fields sown with corn, and palm trees - growing out of single roots or otherwise: watered with the same water, yet some of them We make more excellent than others to eat. Behold, verily in these things there are signs for those who understand!
YUSUFALI: Those who sustain the Throne (of Allah) and those around it Sing Glory and Praise to their Lord; believe in Him; and implore Forgiveness for those who believe: "Our Lord! Thy Reach is over all things, in Mercy and Knowledge. Forgive, then, those who turn in Repentance, and follow Thy Path; and preserve them from the Penalty of the Blazing Fire!
The heavens are raised high without any pillars that you could see, which means there are pillars that you cannot see eg angels like the ones who carry the mighty throne 2/210, 6/158, 17/93, 19/90, 39/75, 42/5, 69/17. The problem here is that the heavens are not visible either ie we cannot see any heavens the quran is talking about as they are fully defined in the quranic text. So no wonder that imaginary heavens have imaginary pillars or vice versa.
YUSUFALI: Your Guardian-Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six days, and is firmly established on the throne (of authority): He draweth the night as a veil o'er the day, each seeking the other in rapid succession: He created the sun, the moon, and the stars, (all) governed by laws under His command. Is it not His to create and to govern? Blessed be Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds!
As already has been commented the heavens are not below us but above us. Remember I said that heavens are domes or canopies so one can see where the quran is leading us in cosmology. The truth is there are no such heavens as the quran suggests. By now it should be clear as to where of the quran got its scientific information about cosmology. Which other book before it describes the things in almost exactly the same way? You guessed it, the holy bible in the old testament, in its very first book called genesis. The only difference is that the bible is telling us about all this in the beginning as a story and the quran is doing the same in many different lectures. Thus repetition became an inevitable fact.
One should be able to see how the quran lists things in one lecture then expand on the listed items in another lecture and thereafter in another lecture. If one remembers what one read in one place then it is easy to collect similar information about things from all over the quran eg wherever the quran talks about the heavens and the earth, it is talking about exactly the same thing.
YUSUFALI: He Who created the heavens and the earth and all that is between, in six days, and is firmly established on the Throne (of Authority): Allah Most Gracious: ask thou, then, about Him of any acquainted (with such things).
YUSUFALI: Blessed is He Who made constellations in the skies, and placed therein a Lamp and a Moon giving light;
One can see in verses like this that as for the quran, the sun is the only light in the quranic universe and only for the day just as the moon is the only light for the night in the quranic universe. The sun too is thought of as a lamp due to its size as compared to the vast sky.
YUSUFALI: "Now cause a piece of the sky to fall on us, if thou art truthful!"
The quran is telling us that these heavens it is talking about are made of some solid stuff like the earth.
YUSUFALI: The heavens are almost rent asunder from above them (by Him Glory): and the angels celebrate the Praises of their Lord, and pray for forgiveness for (all) beings on earth: Behold! Verily Allah is He, the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
YUSUFALI: And We have made the heavens as a canopy well guarded: yet do they turn away from the Signs which these things (point to)!
Again and again the quran is making wrong assumption that the sky is the solid heaven beyond which only angels live and human cannot go 55/33, 40/37, 38/10, 17/37. I have not talked about the hadith yet but if one looks at the story of prophet’s ascension to heavens, it becomes very clear that the quran is talking about the same heavens as the hadith. Some people dismiss the hadith yet think the quran is different but that is not really the case.
YUSUFALI: The Day that We roll up the heavens like a scroll rolled up for books (completed),- even as We produced the first creation, so shall We produce a new one: a promise We have undertaken: truly shall We fulfil it.
YUSUFALI: Even if We opened out to them a gate from heaven, and they were to continue (all day) ascending therein,
YUSUFALI: At it the skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin,
YUSUFALI: The Day the heaven shall be rent asunder with clouds, and angels shall be sent down, descending (in ranks),-
YUSUFALI: "Or thou cause the sky to fall in pieces, as thou sayest (will happen), against us; or thou bring Allah and the angels before (us) face to face:
YUSUFALI: Seest thou not that Allah has made subject to you (men) all that is on the earth, and the ships that sail through the sea by His Command? He withholds the sky (rain) from failing on the earth except by His leave: for Allah is Most Kind and Most Merciful to man.
All these like verses are clear all by themselves as to what the author of the quran thinks about the sky. The word shaqa=split or rent asunder is used for the moon 54/1, for the earth 19/90, 50/44 and for the heaven 25/25, 69/16, 84/1 and elsewhere as well.
YUSUFALI: "Now cause a piece of the sky to fall on us, if thou art truthful!"
YUSUFALI: See they not what is before them and behind them, of the sky and the earth? If We wished, We could cause the earth to swallow them up, or cause a piece of the sky to fall upon them. Verily in this is a Sign for every devotee that turns to Allah (in repentance).
YUSUFALI: It is Allah Who sustains the heavens and the earth, lest they cease (to function): and if they should fail, there is none - not one - can sustain them thereafter: Verily He is Most Forbearing, Oft-Forgiving.
YUSUFALI: Were they to see a piece of the sky falling (on them), they would (only) say: "Clouds gathered in heaps!"
YUSUFALI: By the Sky with (its) numerous Paths,
YUSUFALI: With power and skill did We construct the Firmament: for it is We Who create the vastness of pace.
YUSUFALI: And We have spread out the (spacious) earth: How excellently We do spread out!
There are quite a few verses that tell us about pieces of heavens falling down on the earth thus clearly showing that the heavens are solid in their structure that is capable of breaking into pieces. So the interpretations of the quran by people as take a verse and start explaining phenomenon as observed by scientific methods are completely wrong. So the question is, where are these heavens that are dome like above the earth which can fall down upon us if we do not believe in Allah or if Allah lets them fall upon us etc etc? The answer is clear that the sky is mistaken for a solid object beneath which are imagined the stars. Not only that but it is thought of as a canopy rather than a globe. This shows that the author/s of the quran is unaware of the fact that the phenomenon called sky is globe like in nature rather than semi globe like a dome or canopy etc.
YUSUFALI: Yea, to Him be praise, in the heavens and on earth; and in the late afternoon and when the day begins to decline.
Here it is Allah speaking as he sees things happening himself. He observes the phenomenon that day is declining. Does it make sense? The sense here is clear that the sun is the only light for the heavens and the earth. If the phenomenon is said to be from human point of view from here on the earth then the quranic text itself is wrong because it is not making this clear.
YUSUFALI: It is Allah Who hath created the heavens and the earth and sendeth down rain from the skies, and with it bringeth out fruits wherewith to feed you; it is He Who hath made the ships subject to you, that they may sail through the sea by His command; and the rivers (also) hath He made subject to you.
YUSUFALI: And He hath made subject to you the sun and the moon, both diligently pursuing their courses; and the night and the day hath he (also) made subject to you.
YUSUFALI: One day the earth will be changed to a different earth, and so will be the heavens, and (men) will be marshalled forth, before Allah, the One, the Irresistible;
What does change of heavens and the earth mean? The heavens and the earth will be destroyed according to other verses 21/104. Also it is the very same heavens and the earth that are to be changed, perhaps by removing highs and lows as stated in some other verses eg 11/107, 18/47, 39/67-69. In other verses we are told the paradise and hell have already been created 3/133, 57/21 so why do we need the heavens and the earth as well when nobody is going to live therein? There are a whole more verses in the quran but I think this will do for now. There are verse about rain that contradict each other eg 24/43 and 30/48. There are verses in the quran that tell us that human beings think with their hearts rather than their brains etc etc. The quranic concept of soul also needs to be challenged.