The aforementioned article is typical of the thinking of westernized Muslims. The obsession with ‘modern science’ (as the author states) is such that the most ludicrous arguments are produced to substantiate Quranic teachings which seem to be in conflict with the creature. Modern science, No matter how absurd an argument may be, it will be cited in substantiation of Islamic injunctions as long as it (the argument) has a ‘scientific’ tinge to titillate the minds of people awed by ‘modern science’.
In endeavouring to sound ‘scientific’ and in a futile attempt to attribute the hue of modern science to Quranic verses, the author of the article alleges that the incident of the destruction of Abraha’s army by way of the flocks of birds with little pebbles is in conformity with `modern science’. He drags in the law of gravity to place the Qur’anic Surah, Al-Feel. on a ‘scientific footing’. The arguments of the force of gravity in relationship with the incident of the birds and Abraha is manifestly unIslamic as well as ‘unscientific’, viz. in conflict with even ‘modern science’ which the author has cited in support of the incident described in the Qur’an Shareef.
Why the Author’s Argument is Un-Islamic
In his hypothesis the author claims that the pebbles released by the birds onto Abraha’s army were released at such a height that due to the force of gravity the pebbles attained the speed of a bullet, viz.1200 metres per second when they struck the army. The author postulated that the birds flew at such a height that the time taken for the pebbles to reach the army of Abraha was two minutes. It was necessary to suppose ‘two minutes’ since the pebble will only attain the speed of a bullet if dropped at a ‘two-minute height’ because the acceleration of a freely falling object towards the earth is approximately 10 metres per second after each second. Hence, if it was supposed that the pebbles were released at a one-minute height, then in terms of ‘modern science’ they would not be able to kill a man since the speed of an object falling for one minute would be 600 metres per second in the final second when it strikes the earth. This speed will, therefore, not enjoy the force of a bullet. Hence, in order to assign some validity to the argument it is necessary that the two-minute height be postulated as a fact. In the absence of the ‘two-minute’ height postulate, the author’s hypothesis will not be in conformity with ‘modern science. It is now essential for the author to answer the following questions:
What is the Shari justification for the claim that the birds did IN FACT fly at a two-minute height? The Qur’an Shareef as well as the Hadith do not confirm this. No authority of Islam has claimed that the birds were flying at such a height. Mr Hashmi, the author. himself knows fully well that the supposition of ‘two-minutes’ is a -mere figment of his imagination, hence he says: “If the birds were flying at such a height that the stones took, say. about two minutes or 120 seconds to reach the earth …”
He is constrained to say: ‘If the birds‘ for lack of Islamic proof. What if the birds were flying at one-minute height or at half a minute-height? What Islamic proof is there to disclaim that the birds were in fact flying at a very low level? In fact according to Rasulullah’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) tafseer of the Surah in question, the birds were flying at a very low level. The Tafseer Kitabs clearly state that the birds settled low overhead the army of Abraha.
The author’s ‘two-minute’ height assertion is, therefore, a baseless supposition. For the author’s un-Islamic theory to have some credibility in terms of ‘modern science’ it is absolutely necessary to present the supposition that the birds were flying at such a height that it took the stones two minutes to reach the army of Abraha. The logical conclusion of this supposition is that the Command of Allah Ta’ala to the birds to destroy the army of Abraha was circumscribed by the force of gravity. In other words, Allah Ta’ala was compelled (Na’audhu billah) by the force of gravity to order the birds to release their pebbles only at such a height which will ensure that the speed of a bullet is attained when the pebbles strike their targets. This is the baneful result of attempting to submit the Divine Commands to the god of materialsm, i.e ‘modern science’.
To bring about the destruction of the army of Abraha through the agency of the birds pelting pebbles, did Allah Ta’ala have to submit to the force of gravity? In terms of the author’s hypothesis of ‘modern science’, Allah Ta’ala had no alternative (Al-iyazi billah) but to obey the force of gravity, for the pebbles in terms of ‘modern science’ would not have served the destructive purpose if released by the birds at a distance below the ‘two-minute’ height. Does the author who claims to be a Muslim, believe the Qur’anic declaration, “Verily, Allah Ta’ala is powerful over all things.”?
If Allah Ta’ala is Qadir over all things (as He most assuredly is). then what was the need for Him to obey the force of gravity Which is His own creation, in order to bring about the destruction of Abraha’s army? It must be remembered that the whole incident of destroying Abraha’s army was a supernatural occurrence, an episode which defied all natural laws or which supersede the laws of ‘modern science’. A cursory glance at the facts of the incident will establish that almost every move in the occurrence was contrary to ‘modern science’. The Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) describes the birds as having ‘heads of beasts’. The bodies were those of birds, but the heads were those of animals. Does ‘modern science’ justify this? Each bird, according to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had three pebbles – one in its beak and one in either leg. Which law of ‘modern science’ did these birds follow in this action.
Which law of ‘modern sciences’ instilled it into their minds to airlift three pebbles each? And, which law of ‘modern science’ did these birds submit to when they settled over the army of Abraha? Why did they not release their ‘bullets’ over the Makkans as well? Both Abraha and the Makkans were kuffar. In fact, the Makkans at that stage were greater kuffar than Abraha since Abraha was a member of the ‘People of the Book’ whereas the Makkans were worshipping at that time hundreds of idols. Which law of ‘modern science’ put it in their minds to attack only the army of Abraha?
In certain Ahadith it appears that each pebble had the name of one of Abraha’s soldiers inscribed on it. Hence, each pebble was destined for a particular person. Every man was killed with a pebble bearing his name. Which law of ‘modern science’ explains this phenomenon?
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) explained that the pebbles struck their victims with such tremendous force that a pebble striking a soldier’s head would penetrate his body, find its exit through the anus and then penetrate to a depth into the earth. What law of ‘modern science’ explains this? If the author wishes to explain this tremendous force also in terms of the force of gravity, he will have to relinquish his ‘two-minute’ height supposition and posit a far higher distance which will enable the pebbles to have such tremendous force at the point of striking. But, to do so would be not only Islamically wrong, but would be scientifically absurd just as the two-minute height theory is scientifically ‘absurd. In sha’Allah, it will be shown later that ‘modern science’ too does not support the author’s contention.
According to the Ahadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), the leader of the elephants in Abraha’s army was a massive creature whose name was ‘Mahmood’. Outside the precincts of Makkah Muazzamah an Arab chieftain whispered into the elephant’s ear: This is the sacred land of Allah Ta’ala’. Upon hearing this the elephant sat down and refused to budge. No amount of whipping, etc. would make the elephant proceed in the direction of the Ka’abah. The elephants were specially brought to demolish the Ka’abah. When the face of the elephant was turned into a different direction (away from the Ka’abah) it would immediately rise and quickly move away into that direction. Repeatedly attempts were made to divert it towards the Ka’abah, but to no avail. Every time it was turned to the direction of Makkah, it sat down. What law of ‘modern science’ explains this perculiar behaviour of the elephant?
Indeed, if Allah Ta’ala desired to destroy the army of Abraha through the agency of `modern science’ or through some such way which could be explained in terms of the laws of nature then so would He have done. A storm, and incidentally one did accompany the invasion of the birds, or a deadly pestilence or a torrential downpour could have sufficed. What was the need to despatch flocks of birds so supernaturally and destroy the army of Abraha in this supernatural manner? Even the author, in the deepest recess of his heart will be constrained to confess that the arrival of large flocks of birds with pebbles to destroy a particular army is in deed a supernatural act which defies the laws of ‘modern science’.
This incident of the destruction of Abraha’s army described briefly in Surah Al-Feel is a demonstration of one of the numerous supernatural and miraculous act displaying the Power of Allah Ta’ala. These miraculous displays have no relationship. to ‘modern science’. They do not operate in submission to the laws of nature or ‘modern science’. They are a clear revelation of the Power of Allah Ta’ala. He, Who is the Creator of all natural laws which our apologetic bretheren term ‘modern science’, is not bound by these laws. He acts solely by His lraadah (Will), and none can encompass His Attributes.
The futile and apologetic endeavours to strike a relationship between the Mu’jizah (Miracles of the Ambiya), Karamat (Miracles of the Auliya) and ‘modern science’ is fraught with serious consequences to one’s intellect. The puerile attempt to conform the Miraculous acts with the laws of ‘modern science’ culminates in the covert negation of the Power of Allah Ta’ala. Besides the incident of the birds and Abraha, there are many miraculous deeds and events which ‘modern science’ can never hope to explain. How will ‘modern science’ explain the shaq-qul qamr (splitting of the moon into two by the sign of the finger) act of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)? In conformity with which law of ‘modern science’ did Nabi Musa (alayhis salam) enact the act of ‘yade baidha’ (the glittering hand which stunned all)? What was the law of modern science’ which enabled Musa (alayhis salam) to transform with the touch of his hand his staff into a monstrous serpent capable of swallowing the whole palace of Fir’awn?
And, which law of ‘modern science’ can explain the opening of the Red Sea which enabled Bani-Isra’eel to traverse safely across, but engulfed Fir’awn and his troops? Which law of ‘modern science’ explains the creation in Jannat of Aadam (alayhis salam)? In fact ‘modern science’ totally rejects the conception of man’s origin in the being of Aadam (alayhis salam). According to ‘modern science’ man’s origin is the ape. Must the Muslim then ape, ‘modern science’ in attempting to present an apologetic explanation to non-Muslims who cannot accept the eternal truths of the Qur’an? Which law of ‘modern science’ explains the creation of Hawwa’ (alayhis salam) from the rib of Aadam (alayhis salam)? Which law of ‘modern science’ explains the Mi’raj of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)? Which law of ‘modern science’ explains Yunus’s (alayhis salam) three-day stay in the stomach of the fish? Does ‘modern science’ teach that a human being can remain alive three days inside the stomach of a fish? Which law of ‘modern science’ explains the Resurrection, Jannat, Jahannum, the Sirat and the innumerable other beliefs of Islam? These innumerable beliefs and practices of Islam have absolutely no truck with the laws of ‘modern science’. Many of the laws and theories of the so-called ‘modern science’ are clear-cut beliefs of kufr.