Short answer: Yes, we believe it is a fact that the moon was split during the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him). It is a miracle that was given to him when some people asked for a ‘sign’. Muhammad did not split the moon himself; the Creator of the moon is The One who split the moon. This incident was mentioned in The Quran and sound hadiths.
Thank you Harry for your question.
In the Quran, Allah Almighty says:
“The Hour has come near, and the moon has split [in two].” [Quran 54:1]
You will find in this answer a more detailed analysis of these verses.
Additionally, in sound hadiths we find: Narrated Anas bin Malik,
“The people of Mecca asked Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) to show them a miracle. So he showed them the moon split in two halves between which they saw the Hira’ mountain.” (Sahih Al Bukhari)
Also Narrated Ibn Masud,
“During the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) the moon was split into two parts; one part remained over the mountain, and the other part went beyond the mountain. On that, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) said, “Witness this miracle.”” (Sahih Al Bukhari)
Why believe in what’s mentioned in the Quran?
As a non-Muslim, you might argue that you don’t believe in the Quran in the first place.
This doesn’t make the Quran disappear.
We still need to understand what this Quran is and what is its source.
There could only be a few possibilities about the Quran.
It could be written by Muhammad, copied from old Scriptures, coming from the devil, or it could be a revelation from the Creator.
If we rule out counter arguments and come to the conclusion that it is a revelation, then out of integrity and honesty we should accept what’s in it as the Truth since The Creator by definition is The One who is All-Knowing and The Ultimate Source of Truth.
One of the most interesting stories I read about someone who wasn’t Muslim, but analyzed the Quran and reached the conclusion that it is in fact a revelation is the story of theologian Gary Miller.
You can read it here.
Miller analyzed the counter arguments and presented his findings in an honest and thought provoking way.
For example, he looked at the verse saying:
“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?” (Qur’an 21: 30)
“This verse is exactly the subject of the scientific research that won the Noble Prize in 1973 and was about the theory of the “Great Explosion”.
According to this theory, the universe was the result of a great explosion that led to the formation of the universe with its skies and planet …
Additionally, the fact that all life originated from water would not have been an easy thing to convince people of fourteen centuries ago.
Indeed, if 1400 years ago you had stood in the desert and told someone, “All of this, you see (pointing to yourself), is made up of mostly water,” no one would have believed you.
Proof of that was not available until the invention of the microscope. They had to wait to find out that cytoplasm, the basic substance of the cell, is made-up of 80% water.
Nonetheless, the evidence did come, and once again the Qur’an stood the test of time.” (Miller)
Among the criticisms Miller looked into as well is the claim that the Quran was from the devil.
“They used to say, “The devils bring Muhammad that Quran!” But just as with every suggestion made, the Quran gives the answer.
In the Quran, Allah says “So when you recite the Quran seek refuge in Allah from Satan, the accursed.”
Now is this how Satan writes a book? He tells you, “Before you read my book, ask God to save you from me?” (Miller)
Regarding claims that the Quran may have been copied from other Scriptures, we find verses saying:
“That is from the news of the unseen which We reveal to you, [O Muhammad]. And you were not with them when they cast their pens as to which of them should be responsible for Mary. Nor were you with them when they disputed.” (Quran 3: 44)
Miller, who is also a former missionary, commented:
“No other holy book uses this style…. The Quran gives you the information and tells you that it’s new.
And what’s amazing is that the people of Mecca at that time used to hear those verses and the challenge that the information in those verses was new and was not known by Muhammad nor by his people at that time, and despite that, they never said:
We know this and it is not new, and they did not say: We know where Muhammad came from with those verses. This never happened, but what happened is that nobody dared to say that he was lying to them because the information really was new.” (Miller)
What is a Sahih Hadith?
To be classified as sound, there is a tedious process of assessing and filtering a hadith including:
• Its chain of transmitters is continuous and there is no missing person in the chain of narrators.
• The narrators are God-fearing, trustworthy in their religion with righteous conduct.
• The narrators are of very accurate and strong memory.
• It is not an isolated hadith.
• It has no hidden defect.
Why is this relevant to our discussion here?
Because the incident you brought up is mentioned in the Quran that we believe is The Truth and Verbatim Word of God, and it is also narrated in authentic forms of hadith.
So, even if there are scientific proofs against this incident, one must think: who said that science itself is undoubtable and can never be proven wrong?
Think about it.
I hope this answers your question.
Thank you and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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