The manners in which verb tenses are used in the verses indicate a clear reference to an event that is yet to take place. Verse 3 states that Romans, after their defeat, will overcome – ‘sayaghleboon’. Verse 4 states that ‘yawma-edhin yarfraho al-mo’menoon’, which translates to ‘and that day the believers will rejoice’. In all its placements in the Noble Quran, the word ”yawma-edhin’ is used to point to a future happening . With all the linguistic beauty of the Qur’an, if the verses were referring to past events, they would have been stated differently.
Lowest Land or Nearest Land?
The third verse states that the Romans were defeated in ‘adna al-ard’. The word adna is homonymous, and so the verse can mean that the defeat occurred in either the nearest or the lowest land . Scholarly books translate adna to nearest, because the defeat of the Romans took place in the nearest area of the Roman land to the Arab region .
Islamic scholars believe that adna could also mean lowest because recent studies show that the area of the Dead Sea basin, in addition to being the nearest Roman occupied land to the Arabian Peninsula, is also the lowest point of dry land on earth, reaching almost 418 meters below sea level .
Although history does not pinpoint the exact locations of all battles, the proximity of Damascus and Jerusalem to this area presents strong support this interpretation.
Seeing the possibility of such a major scientific sign, refuters first argue that adna does not mean lowest, although this meaning is available in Arabic dictionaries and is used as such in several verses of the Noble Quran.
They then argue that most Quranic commentary books translate adna as nearest, not lowest. The reason is that this geographical discovery only appeared recently. Here is where the beauty of the Quran lies; continuously revealing new meanings that coincide with modern science.
Recognizing the weakness of their arguments, refuters then argue that this is a false claim and that the Bentley Subglacial Trench in Antarctica is the lowest part on earth. Indeed, they are correct. However, they need to realize that the Quran explicitly referred to the lowest dry land, and not ice.
With the spread of refutations of the Quran over the different media, it is important for Muslim scholars to present proper rebuttals. Most debates are done between non-scholars who support their claims using information from scholarly books that they do not fully comprehend.
If one wants to use a hadith to support an argument, he should first educate himself with the science of hadith, understand the methodologies of the different Imams of hadith, and learn how other scholars understood and evaluated them.
While Islam encourages us to read and enquire, Allah SWT also tell us to “ask the people of the message if you do not know” (21:7). When in doubt, we should admit our ignorance and consult specialized Islamic scholars.
Our effort here is to simply break down the refutations, while admittedly, the issues discussed can take volumes of further explanation.
This article is from our archive, originally published on an earlier date, and highlighted now for its importance
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