Q & A: Someone asked, “Is Islam Falsifiable?”

An agnostic said: How can Islam make any scientific assertions, surely science is only needed on matters that are falsifiable. But if you say Islam makes statements about scientific phenomena, then you are saying that Islam is falsifiable? Am I right or wrong?

Answer: It is interesting that you assert that scientific questions are falsifiable, in the tradition of Karl Popper I presume. This pleases me, because the theory of man’s evolution (not all aspects of evolution) thus becomes non-scientific. After all, claimed historical events cannot be tested in a controlled experiment to see if they happened.

As for your question; the Quran contains statements that could be called “falsifiable,” and this is of utmost importance. Miracles, which are extraordinary events that happen in association with a claim of Prophethood, are sometimes based on falsifiable assertions that are extraordinarily proven to be true. The importance of miracles is that once the existence of the Creator is proven, and that nothing can happen but by His Will, miracles prove that a prophet has the Creator’s support in his claim of Prophethood. One example, is that the Quran has been preserved to the last letter, without any perversions or alterations for some 1400 years. This in itself is an extraordinary event, because no other book has been preserved in this way in human history. It is a miracle also, because the Prophet Muhammad affirmed by what was revealed to him that it would be preserved. Allah said in the Quran:

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ

Meaning: “Allah has revealed this remembrance that is the Quran, and He protects it.” (Al-Hijr, 9).

This is a miracle then, because this confirmation of preservation associated with the Prophet, stated in the Quran, matches this already extraordinary preservation of 1400 years.

Added to this preservation is the fact that the Quran challenges anybody who opposes Prophet Muhammad’s claim to Prophethood, to compose a Surah like any of its 114 Surahs. Allah said (Al-Baqarah, 23):

وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِمَّا نَزَّلْنَا عَلَى عَبْدِنَا فَأْتُوا بِسُورَةٍ مِنْ مِثْلِهِ

Meaning: “If you are in doubt about what Allah has revealed to the Prophet, then bring a Surah like any of its Surahs in eloquence, if you can, but you will not be able.”

This challenge came despite the fact that the shortest Surah in the Quran can be written on a single line on a piece of paper (Al-Kawtħar, 1-3):

إِنَّا أَعْطَيْنَاكَ الْكَوْثَرَ فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ إِنَّ شَانِئَكَ هُوَ الْأَبْتَرُ

Yet, nobody succeeded in meeting this challenge among the Arabs, despite the Arabs pride in eloquence at the time, and the widespread occurrence of poetry competitions between tribes and individuals. In fact, nobody during these 1400 years has met this challenge. Moreover, if the challenge had been met during his time, then Prophet Muhammad would have lost his support. Add to that the fact that Prophet Muhammad was unlettered and never took part in composing any poetry.

If you think about it, this miracle also proves that nothing happens except by Allah’s Will.

In addition, the Quran contains many statements about things the Prophet could not have known through ordinary means, such as the description of what would happen to the breathing of a person if lifted up into the atmosphere (Al-An`aam, 125):

فَمَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَهدِيَهُ يَشْرَحْ صَدْرَهُ لِلإِسْلامِ وَمَنْ يُرِدْ أَنْ يُضِلَّهُ يَجْعَلْ صَدْرَهُ ضَيِّقًا حَرَجًا كَأَنَّمَا يَصَّعَّدُ فِي السَّمَاءِ

Meaning: “Whoever Allah has willed to guide, He will open his heart to accept Islam, and whoever He has willed misguidance for, He will make his chest tight and narrow, as if he is ascending up in the sky.”

Authored by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

12 Responses to Q & A: Someone asked, “Is Islam Falsifiable?”

  1. […] Esther wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptAn agnostic said: How can Islam make any scientific assertions, surely science is only needed on matters that are falsifiable. But if you say Islam makes statements about scientific phenomena, then you are saying that Islam is … […]

  2. loveProphet says:

    Assalam-o-Alaikum,

    Nice.
    Remember that Karl Popper on that basis ruled evolutionary theory as unscientific if i remember correctly!

  3. Sign of Saturn says:

    Hi,

    I was wondering if you could tell me something about “[Shaykh] Abu Adam”. Is this person a scientist? What is his scientific background and education?

    Thank you!

    Regards,
    Sign of Saturn

  4. loveProphet says:

    How do we respond to someone who says that the reason that science hasn’t explained a miracle is because it hasn’t advanced enough yet but will explain in the future?

  5. Hmmm. Has science explained anything to this date, even other than miracles? It describes correlations yes, such as the phenomena of gravity, but when did it ever explain anything?

  6. loveProphet says:

    Science can’t explain miracles, otherwise it is not a miracle since a law(well known and solid one) is broken. Now science won’t be able to say why the law changed nor can it replicate the change without the specific belief in God that was used. An example is Moses’ splitting of the sea.
    Yes so far none of the Islamic miracles have been explained by science till today. So it wouldn’t be based on any evidence to say that science will explain it. Thus not only is there the theoretical difficulty of explaining such things by science, but also that it has never been done in the past.
    Also you mentioned that Qur’anic verse, i love also the embryology verses in the Qur’an. They are 100% sure proof as it couldn’t be known without a microscope.

    As for this “Saturn” person, has one asked Dawkins about his qualifications in philosophy and theology(since he shows himself extremely ignorant of both)? Or Karl Popper’s qualifications in science? Or Kahn and Kant?
    Arguments should be judged according to the soundness of the arguments, not on the qualifications of the person.

  7. It cannot explain miracles, quite right, but it cannot even explain everyday events. It can describe them as so called laws, but that is no explanation. Where are the laws from according to them? By responding in this way you have used their own weapon against them and put them on the defense.

  8. loveProphet says:

    Speaking of falsifiability, can you post a Hadith or Qur’anic verse that is a prophecy that has recently been fulfilled(in the last few centuries or so) and couldn’t have been made by a human before?
    Some have said that these verses is a prediction of man ascending to the moon but i don’t know if its a correct interpretation:
    84:18 And the Moon in her fullness:
    84:19 Ye shall surely travel from stage to stage.
    84:20 What then is the matter with them, that they believe not?-
    ??
    And this verse makes a remarkable correlation with the scientific knowledge of the atmosphere protecting humans from deadly radiation such as the solar wind:
    21:32 “and [that] We have set up the sky as a canopy well-secured? And yet, they stubbornly turn away from [all] the signs of this [creation],”

  9. Sign of Saturn says:

    This message is for Shaykh Abu Adam,

    I’m curious to know about your scientific background. Are you a scientist? What is your educational background?

    Thank you!

    Regards,
    Sign of Saturn

  10. bandu_dandu says:

    lol no one replied about Shaykh Abu Adam’s scientific background!!
    As for richard dawkins…if no one asked about his background and qualifications then they should have!! I mean if a person’s qualifications and background is not important..than every Tom, Dick and Harry can talk about basically anything tomorrow and everyone will have to just accept them?
    Would you Muslims not question a person’s background and qualifications before he speaks on something related to Islam?

  11. Ibn Mazhar says:

    as salam `alaykum

    A scientific topic was never discussed per se in the same way a scientist would discuss science. Only an idea from science was brought from an agnostic and light was thrown upon it using Islam. And since it was Islam’s viewpoint that was discussed, it only makes sense to ask for the author’s Islamic credentials, which can be found in the About Us section.

    To make it absolutely clear, the author did not discuss a scientific topic, but rather was asked to throw Islamic light upon a scientific phenomenon.

    wallahu `alam

  12. Tariq Abdul Jabbar says:

    There is another falsifiability test in the Qur’an:

    Allah challenges in surat-ul-waqia that,

    if you deny the existence of the afterlife, then revive a dead person.

    People have believed it is possible to bring back the dead throughout history.

    This is said 1400 years ago, at the time of belief in magic.
    And even today, with so much technological improvements, people will be reluctant to make a statement like this; only if someone knows the future can anyone make this statement.

    To bring back the soul, i.e. a dead person along with their memories, is indeed a falsifiability test of the Qur’an.

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