An Allegation of Contradiction levelled against the Quran: Six or eight days?
The Heavens and Earth were Created in 6 Days but some Christian Missionaries seem to think the Quran contradicts Itself on this Fact. All these references from the Holy Quran show that the Heavens and the Earth were created in 6 days: 7:54, 10:3, 11:7, 25:59, 32:4, 50:38, 57:4 and 41:9-12.
The Christian missionary (or any other critic) agrees with all these references but one (41:9-12). The critic tries to put this reference forward as a contradiction. After simple analyses we realise the critic is completely wrong and is basing his/her allegation solely on their own inadequate understanding of the verses in question.
The Quran was revealed in the Arabic language and remains in the Arabic language despite it being translated in numerous other languages, English is one of these languages it has been translated in. The most popular English translation of the Quran is by Abdullah Yusuf Ali. Often, Christian missionaries and other critics of Islam utilize this translation when quoting from the Quran.
However, on this occasion the critics do not utilize the Yusuf Ali Translation. This is very interesting as this particular translation disproves their claims and clearly shows that there in no contradiction contained within the Quran. The question that needs to be asked is; why would the critic of Islam depart from the most popular translation of the Quran on this occasion?
The answer to this question may become apparent to the neutral observer during the course of this refutation. Without further delay allow us to move on to the Quranic verses that the critics allege to be contradictory.
The Quran teaches, in numerous verses, that the Earth was created in 6 days. The critic would agree with this but they would allege that 41:9-12 teaches it was created in 8 days, they come to this allegation as they incorrectly double count, this is proven within this article. In order to highlight the errors of the critic it requires us to quote the English translation of the Quran, I will use Abdullah Yusuf Ali, and this is the translation of each verse (whatever is in the brackets is commentary for clarification purposes from me):
41:9- Say: Is it that ye deny Him Who created the earth in two Days? And do ye join equals with Him? He is the Lord of (all) the Worlds.
This is the initial creation of the Earth and the earlier stage of Creation and it lasted for two days. The next stage of the development of the Earth, as we know it, is mentioned in the next verse of the Quran.
41:10- He set on the (earth), mountains standing firm, high above it, and bestowed blessings on the earth, and measure therein all things to give them nourishment in due proportion, in four Days, in accordance with (the needs of) those who seek (Sustenance).
This is the next (last) stage of the Creation of the Earth and seems more like the finishing touches (i.e. adding’ mountains’, ‘blessings’ and ‘nourishment’) and this stage took four days while the initial stage took two days. Simple Mathematics tells us that 4+2=6! Therefore it is clear that the duration of the Creation of the Earth is 6 days. The next verse is a further reference to the first two days but refers to the Heavens.
41:11- Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: "Come ye together, willingly or unwillingly." They said: "We do come (together), in willing obedience."
This verse refers to the ‘sky’ (Heavens) and teaches us that it was’ as smoke’ before its Creation. It is clear that this verse is referring to a stage of Creation when the Earth had not been completed as the Earth had not ‘come together’ with the sky at this stage. So, at this stage the Earth had not been finalised (fully created), therefore it is clear that the creation of the Heavens and the Earth are occurring simultaneously. The next verse mentions the Heavens.
41:12- So He completed them as seven firmaments in two Days, and He assigned to each heaven its duty and command. And We adorned the lower heaven with lights, and (provided it) with guard. Such is the Decree of (Him) the Exalted in Might, Full of Knowledge.
The Creation of the Heavens is completed in two days. These two days fall within the 6 days that God used to create the Earth. This is clear as the Earth is not finalised whilst the Heavens were being Created. Therefore we can safely say that the Earth and the Heavens were created simultaneously. This follows modern scientific knowledge too.
So, it is clear that the Quran teaches 6 days for Creation. However, one may be wondering how the critics claim that the Quran teaches eight (8) days rather than six (6). The critic double-counts and confuses himself as he counts the two days that it took for the Creation of the Heavens as extra days, thus adding these two days onto 6 days, therefore the critic wrongly gets a total of 8 days. The error is committed by the critic as the critic overlooks the fact that the Earth had not been fully formed whilst the heavens were being created (i.e. both were being created at the same time). In short, the critic does not realise that the Creation of the Heavens and the Earth are Created simultaneously. I hope they realise their errors after reading this article and God-Willing they will correct themselves.
This article does give me the chance to address deceptive methods used by some critics and anti-Islamic websites (mainly produced by Christian missionaries). As earlier stated in the article; Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translation of the Quran into the English language is commonly used but for these verses in question (41:9-12) many critics and anti-Islamic websites break from the norm and use alternative translations. They do this as the first word in 41:11 is summa which can be translated into three different English words:
Moreover (Abdullah Yusuf Ali uses this word to translate summa)
Then (the critics tend to use translations that use this word)
It is sad that the critics would use a ‘pick and mix’ methodology and deliberately ignore the best-known translation (Yusuf Ali) in order to try and further their allegation. The critic who uses this methodology has been exposed but even the translation of ‘summa’ to the word ‘then’ rather than ‘moreover’ or ‘simultaneously’ does not strengthen their claim as it is clear from the content of 41:11 that the Earth had not been finalised whilst the Heaven was being created in 2 days. Therefore, even if they use the word ‘then’, it is still clear that the Earth and Heaven were Created simultaneously so there is no need for the critic to double count!
I am pretty sure that the objective reader would acknowledge that this is a fair explanation and accept that it is not a contradiction. However, I am equally sure that the extreme critic (usually tend to be Christian missionaries) will dismiss this explanation and continue down the route of deception. May Allah guide them, aameen. I would also like to leave them with some food for thought:
As we have discussed the Creation of the Heavens and Earth let us conduct a quick comparison between the Quran and the Bible concerning Creation. The Quran (50:38) teaches us that God created the Heavens and Earth in 6 days and no fatigue touched god, i.e. God was not tired after Creating the Heavens and Earth but the Bible (Exodus 31:17 KJV) teaches us that God had a ‘rested’ and was ‘refreshed’ on the seventh day. I ask you which one is correct. The Bible, (which teaches God has rest and refreshment) or the Quran (which teaches that God does not get tired)? The choice is yours! If a Christian can give me information concerning this then I would be grateful. I do want to state that my objective is not to offend or mislead so if a Christian has anything to add to this topic or the article in general then they are more than welcome.
* The term ‘Christian missionary’ was used in this article not to tarnish all Christians but merely to highlight the fact that much of the incorrect information about Islam on the internet is being sourced from Christian missionary websites. So the Christian missionary will publish it on their website (despite it lacking truth) and bigots (of different faiths, not solely Christianity) would propagate and reproduce that information as it fits their anti-Muslim agenda. These bigots mostly tend to be fundamentalist Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, racists and militant-atheists. Of course not all Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and atheists take part in such unscholarly activity. We are only speaking about a crazed minority who do not care about the truth but just want to mud-sling and name-call.
* The word days in Arabic (ayyaam) can mean long periods, i.e. epochs. So it is not something that must be taken literally.
*This article leans heavily on Dr Naik’s research, may Allah bless him and all those who helped in the production/propagation of this article. (http://www.irfnet.org/) and www.irf.net/irf/drzakirnaik/index.htm