Category: Miscellaneous
Fatwa#: 38902
Asked Country: United Kingdom

Answered Date: Jan 29,2018

Title: Why is there no historical evidence for the Splitting of the moon?

Question

Slam, there is a misconception about the miracle of splitting the moon of the prophet peace upon him, atheists say that if this happened than it would have been recorded in national history and not just Islamic. I would like a answer as soon as you can. Thank you

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.         

The fundamental issue in dealing with atheists is proving the existence of Allah. No amount of Mu’jizas (miracles performed by a prophet) may convince atheists on the existence or authenticity of Mu’jizahs. Almighty Allah has created innumerable signs of his Existence, Power and Greatness in His various creations. Atheists do not take heed of such clear signs of the existence of Allah and simply refer to those signs as nature. What hope can there be in convincing them on the Mu’jizah of the splitting of the moon?

Nevertheless, for the benefit of Muslims who have some doubt on the Mu’jizah of the splitting of the moon, we address the issue below:

 

 The incident of the splitting of the moon has been mentioned in the following verse of the Quran:

اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانْشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ

“The Hour has come near, and the moon has split” (54:1)

There are two views on the interpretation of this verse[1]: 

1)    The splitting of the moon will take place on the day of Qiyamah.

2)    The splitting of the moon took place during the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

According to the first view, there is no need to answer the objection. However, Ibn Kathir mentions that the incidient of the splitting of the moon took place during the lifetime of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) on the behest of the non-Muslims of Makkah who wanted to witness a sign of his prophethood.

عن أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه، أنه حدثهم: أن أهل مكة سألوا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أن يريهم آية «فأراهم انشقاق

القمر»

The Meccan people requested Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) to show them a miracle, and so he showed them the splitting of the moon.[2]

Ibn Kathir states the number of sound narrations reporting this incident is mutawaatir (absolutely authentic)[3]. Likewise, Fakhr al-din al-Razi dismisses the view that the incident will take place in the future as it had already taken place[4]. Al-Zamakhshri also states that splitting of the moon took place and cites the following[5]:

وَإِنْ يَرَوْا آيَةً يُعْرِضُوا وَيَقُولُوا سِحْرٌ مُسْتَمِرٌّ 

Translation: And if they see a miracle, they turn away and say, "Passing magic." (54:2)

The objection that the splitting of the moon did not take place stems from the principle of silence[6]. That is, since there is no documentary evidence on the issue, the incident did not take place. For example, since incident A was not mentioned in document B, incident A did not occur.

 

In the context of the splitting of the moon, there must be a document relevant to the event (for example, a record of a contemporary astronomical observation) that we have good reason to believe would have recorded the miraculous event. It is worth mentioning that there is historical evidence that suggest that an Indian King from Malabar named Chakrawati Farmas (alternately referred to by some as Cheraman Perumal) from the Chera dynasty had witnessed the event. Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah mentions in his book “Muhammad Rasulullah” that the incident is documented in a manuscript kept at the India Office Library, London, reference number: Arabic,2807,152-173.

Apart from the above mentioned document, the following should also be considered.

The Arabs were generally illiterate people. There were very few people who were able to read and write. They relied on their memories. It is possible that the incident has not been recorded due to the Arabs not being able to read or write at that time. However, the miraculous incident was much spoken about at that time like the incident of the elephants which is also referred to in the Quran like the incident of the splitting of the moon.

Nevertheless, the incident of the splitting of the moon is a Mu’jiza and we believe in the incident through our Iman like the incident of Me’raj. If the validity of the incident of the splitting of the moon would be dependent on documentation and scientific proof, then Atheists will call for the proof of the incident of Me’raj as well.

The fact that Allah has mentioned the incident in the Quran is recorded in Ahadith, that is sufficient for us. We do not need to convince atheists or anyone on the authenticity of the incident.

 

 

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

 



تفسير الزمخشري = الكشاف عن حقائق غوامض التنزيل (4/ 430) [1]

[سورة القمر (54): الآيات 1 الى 3]

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانْشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ (1) وَإِنْ يَرَوْا آيَةً يُعْرِضُوا وَيَقُولُوا سِحْرٌ مُسْتَمِرٌّ (2) وَكَذَّبُوا وَاتَّبَعُوا أَهْواءَهُمْ وَكُلُّ أَمْرٍ مُسْتَقِرٌّ (3)

انشقاق القمر من آيات رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ومعجزاته النيرة. عن أنس بن مالك رضى الله عنه أن الكفار سألوا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم آية فانشق القمر مرتين « وكذا عن ابن عباس وابن مسعود رضى الله عنهما، قال ابن عباس: انفلق فلقتين فلقة ذهبت وفلقة بقيت «1» . وقال ابن مسعود: رأيت حراء بين فلقتى القمر «2» . وعن بعض الناس: أن معناه ينشق يوم القيامة،

 

صحيح البخاري (4/ 206) [2]

حدثني عبد الله بن محمد، حدثنا يونس [ص:207]، حدثنا شيبان، عن قتادة، عن أنس بن مالك، ح وقال لي خليفة: حدثنا يزيد بن زريع، حدثنا سعيد، عن قتادة، عن أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه، أنه حدثهم: أن أهل مكة سألوا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أن يريهم آية «فأراهم انشقاق القمر»

 

 

تفسير ابن كثير ت سلامة (7/ 472) [3]

وَقَوْلُهُ: {وَانْشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ} : قَدْ كَانَ هَذَا فِي زَمَانِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، كَمَا ثَبَتَ ذَلِكَ فِي الْأَحَادِيثِ الْمُتَوَاتِرَةِ بِالْأَسَانِيدِ الصَّحِيحَةِ. وَقَدْ ثَبَتَ فِي الصَّحِيحِ عَنِ ابْنِ مَسْعُودٍ أَنَّهُ قَالَ: "خَمْسٌ قَدْ مَضَيْنَ: الرُّومُ، وَالدُّخَانُ، وَاللِّزَامُ، وَالْبَطْشَةُ، وَالْقَمَرُ" (2) . وَهَذَا أَمْرٌ مُتَّفَقٌ عَلَيْهِ بَيْنَ الْعُلَمَاءِ أَيِ انْشِقَاقُ الْقَمَرِ قَدْ وَقَعَ فِي زَمَانِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَأَنَّهُ كَانَ إِحْدَى الْمُعْجِزَاتِ الْبَاهِرَاتِ

 

تفسير الرازي = مفاتيح الغيب أو التفسير الكبير (29/ 288) [4]

وَقَالَ بَعْضُ الْمُفَسِّرِينَ الْمُرَادُ سَيَنْشَقُّ، وَهُوَ بَعِيدٌ وَلَا مَعْنَى لَهُ، لِأَنَّ مَنْ مَنَعَ ذَلِكَ وَهُوَ الْفَلْسَفِيُّ يَمْنَعُهُ فِي الْمَاضِي وَالْمُسْتَقْبَلِ، وَمَنْ يُجَوِّزُهُ لَا حَاجَةَ إِلَى التَّأْوِيلِ

 

تفسير الزمخشري = الكشاف عن حقائق غوامض التنزيل (4/ 431) [5]

 وعن بعض الناس: أن معناه ينشق يوم القيامة، وقوله وَإِنْ يَرَوْا آيَةً يُعْرِضُوا وَيَقُولُوا سِحْرٌ مُسْتَمِرٌّ يردّه، وكفى به رادّا

 

[6] "argumentum e silentio noun phraseThe Oxford Essential Dictionary of Foreign Terms in English. Ed. Jennifer Speake. Berkley Books, 1999.

 

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