Today it was my time to learn something completely new about Islam.
The students talked for a good 20-25 minutes about something called The Dajjal – of which I had never heard of. I had to reference the Sahih Bukhari and read up on him to get a fuller idea of what they were talking about – see http://hadithcollection.com/sahihmuslim/169-Sahih%20Muslim%20Book%2041.%20Turmoil%20And%20Portents%20Of%20The%20Last%20Hour/15273-sahih-muslim-book-041-hadith-number-7023.html
It seems The Dajjal is a type of anti-Christ that is currently locked up somewhere on Earth or under the Earth which will be realised when all Muslims have left the Earth (some kind of rapture I think) and then Isa (the Islamic concept of Jesus) will return to Earth to kill the Dajjal and claim victory for the Muslims. Although this is referenced quite a few times in the Sahih Bukhari, I don’t think it appears in the Quran. Nevertheless, today I got a lesson in Islamic eschatology.
Towards the end of the lunchtime, I asked the students about a few verses in the Quran which seem to contradict the popular Muslim appeal that the Quran contains scientific facts that predate its intellectual origins. Firstly, I showed them 67:5 – “And verily We have beautified the world’s heaven with lamps, and We have made them missiles for the devils, and for them We have prepared the doom of flame.” Which seems to suggest that stars were made/used as missiles (in another translation – things that are thrown) for the Devil. This doesn’t seem to fit with the facts that we know today about stars – being planets/novas/supernovas/etc…
I then tried to show them the contradiction that the Quran makes between how the world was formed. As some Muslims will use one particular verse 21:30 (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? ) to make the point that this corresponds to the theory of evolution with the big bang and subsequent expansion of the galaxy. However, the Quran also states that the heavens and the earth were made in 6 days – 50:38 (We created the heavens and the earth and all between them in Six Days, nor did any sense of weariness touch Us), and the Quran also states that world was made in two days – 41:9-10 (Say: Is it that ye deny Him Who created the earth in two Days?) – so which one is correct?
We will discuss more about these types of verse in the Quran next week when we have more time