A whole range of Muslim apologists have claimed that the Qur’an is miraculous in its prediction of the moon reflecting sunlight; about this matter Zakir Naik writes:
THE LIGHT OF THE MOON IS REFLECTED LIGHT
It was believed by earlier civilizations that the moon emanates its own light. Science now tells us that the light of the moon is reflected light. However this fact was mentioned in the Qur?aan 1,400 years ago in the following verse:
"Blessed is He Who made Constellations in the skies, And placed therein a Lamp And a Moon giving light." [Al-Qur?aan 25:61]
Consider the following verses related to the nature of light from the sun and the moon: "It is He who made the sun To be a shining glory And the moon to be a light (Of beauty)." [Al-Qur?aan 10:5]
"See ye not How Allah has created The seven heavens One above another, "And made the moon A light in their midst, and made the sun As a (Glorious) Lamp?" [Al-Qur?aan 71:15-16]
See also a youtube video debunking Zakir Naik’s speculation:
Osama Abdallah has also made similar claims:
So why would Ibn Kathir come up with this statement, many centuries before man discovered that the earth was spherical and that the moon does indeed reflect the sun's light?
Notice that Osama Abdallah believes that Ibn Kathir came up with statements about this scientific accuracy only because the Qur’an makes such statements.
Firstly, I am not so sure whether Kathir got this idea from the Qur’an, I don’t think the passage from Kathir clarifies that.
See also two articles from Answering-Islam that refute the claim that the Qur’an even utters such claims:
However, let’s assume that the Qur’an does describe the moon reflecting sun-light; are Zakir Naik and Osama Abdallah then correct in their claims that these are miraculous statements, that these ideas were unknown prior to the revelation of the Qur’an?
The answer is no! This is yet again and example of the typical lies spread by modern Islamic apologists.
In fact the concept that the moon reflected sun-light was a very common concept even a thousand years prior to Islam.
Then why do individuals such as Zakir Naik and Osama Abdallah spread such lies to the masses?
There are three possibilities:
1) Either they knowingly spread such misconception and hence willingly deceive their readers and listeners.
2) Or they have simply not done their homework.
3) Or they are simply taken over by their emotionalism for Islam and are blinded from considering the related facts.
Anaxagoras (4-5 Century BC) indicated that within the ancient scientific of his time it was argued whether the moon shines by reflected light or emits its own light. Even in this era, even without divine revelation human thinkers got a number of ideas scientifically correct, such as Aristarchus (310-230 BC) whose ideas predicted the modern scientific discovery that the earth with the other planets orbits the sun and that the earth was in a constant rotation, and completed a full rotation once in every twenty-four hours (Russel, History of Western Philosophy, p.222-223).
Hence I wonder why Zakir Naik and Osama Abdallah not give up their faith in Islam and build a religion around Aristarchus, or include him as one of the greatest prophets ever; at least his ideas predict modern science and must therefore indicate divine revelation.
However, let’s look at how common this concept was prior to Muhammad and the rise of Islam:
Thales (585 BC):
The moon is lighted from the sun. 29; 360. Thales et al. agree with the mathematicians that the monthly phases of the moon show that it travels along with the sun and is lighted by it, and eclipses show that it comes into the shadow of the earth, the earth coming between the two heavenly bodies and blocking the light of the moon (Doxographi on Thales, Aet. ii. 1 ; Dox. 327) (6).
Anaxagoras (500-428 BC) considered the moon be to a false-shining star (255).
The Doxographist elaborate further on this:
The moon is below the sun and nearer us. The sun is larger than the Peloponnesos. The moon does not have its own light, but light from the sun (The Doxographists on Anaxagoras, Hipp. Phil. 8 ; Dox. 561) (260-1).
As sunlight striking the broad circle of the moon. 154. A borrowed light, circular in form, it revolves about the earth, as if following the track of a chariot (Empedocles, translations of the fragments I) (177).
The Moon principally generates moisture; her proximity to the earth renders her highly capable of exciting damp vapours, and of thus operating sensibly upon animal bodies by relaxation and putrefaction. She has, however, also a moderate share in the production of heat, in consequence of the illumination she receives from the Sun (Ptolemy?s Tetrabiblos: Book the First: Chapter IV, The Influence of the Planetary Orbs) (13).
Lucretius (100-50 BC):
How then, if the sun is so small, can it give of such a flood of light (p.189)?
The moon, too, whether it sheds a borrowed light upon the landscape in its progress or emits a native radiance from its own body. What then of the moon? It may be that it shines only when the sun’s rays fall upon it. Then day by day, as it moves away from the sun’s orb, it turns more its illuminated surface towards our view till in its rising it gazes down face to face up the setting of the sun and beams with lustre at the full. Thereafter, it is bound to hide its light bit by bit behind it as it glides around heaven towards the solar fire from the opposite point of the zodiac (192-193) (Lucretius, The Nature of the Universe).
The Jewish Talmud gets this right:
Abraham once worshipped the moon and said: The light of the moon must be derived from the light of the sun (A Cohen, Everyman?s Talmud, London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd/NewYork: E.P. Dutton & Co. Inc, 1949: 2).
Hence once again we have refuted Zakir Naik, Osama Abdallah and a number of modern Muslim apologists who claim that the moon reflecting sun-light was a concept unknown prior to the era of Muhammad and the Qur’an, that is of course only if the Qur’an truly makes this prediction in the first place; but that is stuff for another article.
I urge therefore Zakir Naik, Osama Abdallah, Harun Yahay and others to correct this error.