“The splitting of the moon”-Modern claims of evidence & Islam

The splitting of the moon (Arabic: انشقاق القمر‎) was a miracle attributed to the prophet Muhammad in Islamic tradition.[1] It derives from the Qur’anic verse “Sura Al-Qamar, verse 1-3”54:1-2: The HOUR (of Judgment) is nigh and the moon did split. And if they see a sign they turn away, and say: “This is transient magic.” Sura Al-Qamar Qur’an verse in Arabic: بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ وَإِن يَرَوْا آيَةً يُعْرِضُوا وَيَقُولُوا سِحْرٌ مُّسْتَمِرٌّ

The incident is mentioned in Muslim traditions as the context of revelation (asbāb an-nuzūl), or explanation, for the verse. Some Muslim commentators interpret the event as a literal split in the moon, while others identify it as an optical illusion. Some assert that the verse refers to something that will happen at the day of judgement, not to a miracle performed by the prophet.

Early traditions supporting a literal interpretation are transmitted on the authority of companions of Muhammad such as Ibn Abbas, Anas bin Malik, Abdullah bin Masud and others.[2][3] According to the Indian Muslim scholar Abdullah Yusuf Ali, the moon will split again when the day of judgment approaches. He says that the verse may also have an allegorical meaning, i.e. the matter has become clear as the moon.[4][5] The Qur’anic verse 54:1-2 was part of the debate between medieval Muslim theologians and Muslim philosophers over the issue of the inviolability of heavenly bodies. Philosophers held that the heavenly bodies could not be pierced because unlike the terrestrial matter, they were not composed of the four fundamental elements of earth, air, fire, and water.[5] Some other rationalistic Muslim thinkers had difficulties accepting any preternatural event, and sometimes argued that only an appearance of the split of the moon had happened.[4]

Western historians such as A.J. Wensinck and Denis Gril, reject the historicity of the miracle arguing that the Qur’an itself denies miracles, in their traditional sense, in connection with Muhammad.[6][7]

The narrative was used by some later Muslims to convince others of the prophethood of Muhammad.[4] It has also inspired many Muslim poets, especially in India.[6]

Modern claims of evidence:-

Following an Apollo mission, photographs of the Rima Ariadaeus, a rift line across the surface of the moon, emerged. Some Muslims claimed that this line was evidence of the moon being split in half. According to NASA, “Experts agree that Rima Ariadaeus, about 300 km (186.4 mi) long, is a fault system similar to those on Earth.”[15]


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