Saturday, October 20, 2012

Re:Quran Error: the Sun Sets in a Mud Puddle? Does the Sun Set in a Muddy Spring? (Surah 18:86)

Well, please take this points into considerations:

  • Till that moment no one have found a single simple mistake in the Qur'aan - All are alleged depending on ignorance of many people regarding islam and arabic .
  • Your problem with the ayat is primarily due to lack of the arabic knowledge, and evident external factors.
  • There is a rule for Muslims that sources of faith are primarily qur'aan And sunnah ( SAHIH hadith ).
  • Men's opinions and understandings and translations- that must be affected by their acquired knowledge and prevalent ideas, thoughts at their times have no effect on the original sacred text
  • Missionaries & anti-islamists tactics are no more than a sort of deception:

We notice that the word Maghrib was translated as " the setting place" or the "setting"

Now let's refer to arabic language:
The word is:

Now let's see what Almu'jam Alwaseet المعجمالوسيط( Arabic dictionary published by Academy_of_the_Arabic_Language ) tell us about that word:

  1. مكان غروب الشمس
  2. وزمان غروبها
  3. وجهة غروبها
  4. وبلاد المغرب البلاد الواقعة في شمال إفريقية في غربي مصر وهي ليبيا وتونس والجزائر ومراكش
  5. ومملكة المغرب اليوم الجزء الواقع في أقصى بلاد المغرب في غربي الجزائر ويحدها البحر

So, it's :

  1. Place of sunset
  2. Time of sunset
  3. Point of sunset
  4. Countries located in North Africa in the west of Egypt ( Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco)
  5. and the Kingdom of Morocco ( Called Maghrib in arabic )

Note that Point of sunset = west is called Maghrib as those countries named.

Now, when he reached sunset ( its place, point i.e. the west or time(1,2 or 3 that's only could be applied to the context ).
Note that the time was apparently of the sunset and he was apparently looking at the sun ,

He "found" it setting in a dark muddy spring

If you are heading west at the time of sunset, and before you a mount, you will find the sun - in your opinion - sets behind the mountain, if I said, describing this scene: The sun disappeared behind the mountain, you will not understand one of you say this is that the sun hides really behind the mountain, but the concept that this happened in his abstract vision.
Similarly, those who are at the western coast see the sun setting in the water everyday.

and he found near it a people

Refer to word translation, Near it = AAinda-ha = عندها


ها (it ) is added to the word and called Dameer There is a rule in arabic that any Dameer is related to the nearest noun

الضمير عائد على أقرب متعلق

since otherwise proved or refered by the speaker.

Now let's apply this to the ayat:
The last noun was the spring that's dark muddy (adj) Not the sun. So, evidently those people were near the spring not the sun !

Then disbelievers continue to give you some fabricated hadeeth to make some noise.

A) They say that there is a hadeeth from tabari history supports their allegations !

For a hadeeth to be austhentic it has to be Sahih or Hassan as already mentioned.

For a brief intro. to hadith science:

Now which one was the hadith mentioned above ? None !

خلاصة حكم المحدث: في إسناده نظر

Which means it's neither sahih nor Hassan !

B) Another unreliable Hadith about Sunset in the Spring of Warm Water 

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الحمد لله وحده و الصلاة و السلام على من لا نبي بعده و على آله و أصحابه أجمعين

Analysis of the reliability of the alleged report about the sun setting in a spring of warm water according to the Holy Prophet- peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

There is a Hadith from Sunan Abu Dawud that has been brought up by some anti-Islamic polemicists.

The narration:

The narration along with the chain of narrators goes as;

Yazid bin Harun- Sufyan bin Husain- Al-Hakam bin ‘Utaybah- Ibrahim (b. Yazid al-Taymi)- Yazid al-Taymi- Abu Dharr said: 
 I was sitting behind the Apostle of Allah who was riding a donkey while the sun was setting. He asked: Do you know where this sets? I replied: Allah and his Apostle know best. He said: It sets in a spring of warm water.
(Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith 3991)

Analysis of the chains of narrators:

From Abu Darr, it both ways i.e. with and without the words under consideration, it narrated by Yazid al-Taymi and from him by his son Ibrahim bin Yazid al-Taymi. From Ibrahim it is narrated by six different narrators;
1- Al-A’mash: And from him at least five people narrate it. See Sahih Bukhari etc.

2- Yunus bin ‘Ubaid: And from him at least three narrators report this narration. See Sahih Muslim etc.

3- Musa bin al-Musayyab al-Thaqafi: From him it is narrated by Abdah bin Sulayman, See Al-‘Uzmah of Abu al-Shaykh al-Asbahani 4/1189
4- Abdul A’la al-Taymi: The narrator down from him is Mis’ar, See Hilyah al-Awliya 5/89

5- Harun bin Sa’d: Abdul Ghaffar bin al-Qasim narrates from him. See Al-‘Uzmah of Abu al-Shaykh al-Asbahani 4/1191 and Al-Tabarani’s Mu’jam Al-Awst, Hadith 4470

6- Al-Hakam bin ‘Utaybah: The sole narrator down from him is Sufyan bin Husain, See Sunan Abu Dawud, Musnad Ahmad, Mustadrak al-Hakim, Musnad al-Bazzar etc.

Of all these various routes from Ibrahim bin Yazid al-Taymi, it is only through Al-Hakam bin ‘Utaybah that these words “It sets in a spring of warm water” are narrated.

In short, there are six narrators reporting the hadith from Ibrahim bin Yazid, and only one of them i.e. Al-Hakam bin ‘Utaybah quotes the particular words. And to add to the trouble there is again only one narrator down from him and he is Sufyan bin Husain whereas parallel to Sufyan there are at least eleven people narrating the hadith without these words on the authority of five different people narrating from Ibrahim bin Yazid.

Following flow diagram for the above detail gives the pictorial display the strangeness of these words. Down from Ibrahim bin Yazid al-Taymi only the narrators with red outline for their names give the words under consideration against loads of other narrators who do not report these words.

The narration is anomalous (shaadh) and defective (mu’allal):

This fact alone is enough to make the narration dubious. No doubt both Al-Hakam and Sufyan are per se trustworthy narrators but because on their respective levels they go against much reliable and numerous narrators. Such a narration reported this way is termed as “shaadh” i.e. anomalous.

Carefully read the definition of anomalous (shaadh) hadith given by Ibn al-Salah (d. 643 A.H.) in his magnus opus, “Kitab Ma’rifat ‘anwa’ ‘ilm al-Hadith” translated under the title “An Introduction to the Science of Hadith”;

“… the anomalous hadith is the one which a reliable transmitter relates and which is in conflict with what other people relate.” (An Introduction to the Science of Hadith, Translated by Dr. Eerik Dickinson, Garnet Publishing Ltd. Berkshire 2006 p.57)

Also see the definition of defective (mu’allal) hadith given by Ibn Salah;

“A defective hadith is one in which a defect impugning its soundness is detected, although it outwardly appears to be free of the defect. That may apply to an isnad made up of reliable transmitters which outwardly seems to fulfill the conditions of soundness. Someone being alone in transmitting the hadith as well as others contradicting him aid in catching the defect.” (An Introduction to the Science of Hadith, p.67)

And when a report or a part of it becomes “shaadh” it ceases to be a sahih (sound) report. For this the definition of a “Sahih hadith” will help.

Hafiz Ibn Salah writes;

“The sahih (sound) hadith is a “supported” hadith (al-hadith al-musnad), the isnad of which coheres continuously through the transmission of one upright and accurate person from another up to its point of termination. The sound hadith can be neither anomalous (shaadh) nor defective (mu’allal), (An Introduction to the Science of Hadith, p.5)

So merely being “sahih al-isnaad” is not enough for the report itself to be sahih.

Therefore, the very fact that Al-Hakam bin ‘Utaybah’s narrates differently from five other narrators reporting it on the authority of Ibrahim bin Yazid al-Taymi, makes the narration “shaadh” (anomalous) which is a kind of weak (da’if) reports.

But the trouble with the narration does not end here. Down from Al-Hakam bin ‘Utaybah, Sufyan bin Husain is also unique in narrating these words whereas the number of narrators down from narrators other than Al-Hakam narrating it from Ibrahim al-Taymi is at least eleven. There is not a single supporting narrator for Sufyan either.

Hafiz Al-Bazzar (d. 292 A.H.) after giving this narration writes;

“We do not know anyone other than Sufyan bin Husain reporting it through the chain: Al-Hakam bin ‘Utayba –Ibrahim- his father- Abu Dharr, while Yunus bin ‘Ubayd, Suleman Al-A’mash and Harun bin Sa’d have also narrated it from Ibrahim.”
(Musnad Al-Bazzar- Bahr al-Zakhkhar, under Hadith 4010)

And this is important, not only because it adds more to the oddity of the narration, but also because Sufyan bin Husain though generally considered authentic was also criticized by few scholars. This criticism does not harm his general narrations but becomes significant when he goes out of the way and narrates what other narrators from the same original source do not.

Muhammad ibn Sa’d said about him: “He was reliable (but) he made many mistakes in his narrations.” (Tabaqat al-Kubra, Dar al-Kotob al-Ilmiyya, Beirut, 1990, vol.7 p.227 No. 3417)


These details make it quite clear that according to rules of reporting it is not right to attribute these words to the Messenger of Allah- on him be the peace and blessings of Allah.

So the excitement of the anti-islamists is in vain. Pity!

Indeed Allah knows the best!

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