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A Quran Blunder: The Days and Order of Creation

The Quran in several places proclaims that Allah created the heavens and earth and everything within them in six days:

Lo! your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days, then mounted He the Throne. He covereth the night with the day, which is in haste to follow it, and hath made the sun and the moon and the stars subservient by His command. His verily is all creation and commandment. Blessed be Allah, the Lord of the Worlds! S. 7:54 Pickthall

Lo! your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days, then He established Himself upon the Throne, directing all things. There is no intercessor (with Him) save after His permission. That is Allah, your Lord, so worship Him. Oh, will ye not remind? S. 10:3 Pickthall

And verily We created the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, in six Days, and naught of weariness touched Us. S. 50:38 Pickthall

He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days; then He mounted the Throne. He knoweth all that entereth the earth and all that emergeth therefrom and all that cometh down from the sky and all that ascendeth therein; and He is with you wheresoever ye may be. And Allah is Seer of what ye do. S. 57:4 Pickthall

At this point, the Muslim scripture is in agreement with the Holy Bible:

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:1-3

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” Exodus 31:12-17

However, the Quran elsewhere contradicts both itself and God’s true Word, the Holy Bible, by teaching that it actually took Allah a total of eight days to create the heavens and earth:

Say (O Muhammad, unto the idolaters): Disbelieve ye verily in Him Who created the earth in two Days, and ascribe ye unto Him rivals? He (and none else) is the Lord of the Worlds. He placed therein firm hills rising above it, and blessed it and measured therein its sustenance in four Days, alike for (all) who ask; THEN TURNED HE to the heaven when it was smoke, and said unto it AND UNTO THE EARTH: Come BOTH OF YOU, willingly or loth. THEY SAID: WE come, obedient. Then He ordained them seven heavens in two Days and inspired in each heaven its mandate; and We decked the nether heaven with lamps, and rendered it inviolable. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Knower. S. 41:9-12 Pickthall

Allah created the earth in two days and produced its sustenance in another 4 days. He then took the heaven when it was smoke and fashioned that into seven heavens in an additional 2 days, giving us a total of eight days: 2+4+2=8.

The hadiths compound the problem by indicating that it actually took Allah seven days to create the heavens and earth, in contrast to the six or eight days mentioned within the Quran!

Abu Haraira reported that Allah’s Messenger took hold of my hands and said: Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, created the clay on Saturday and He created the mountains on Sunday and He created the trees on Monday and He created the things entailing labour on Tuesday and created light on Wednesday and lie caused the animals to spread on Thursday and created Adam after ‘Asr on Friday; the last creation at the last hour of the hours of Friday, i.e. between afternoon and night. (Sahih Muslim, Book 039, Number 6707

Now pay attention how the following scholar contradicts himself in his attempt of harmonizing the foregoing hadith with the Muslim scripture:

The Universe was created in Six Days

Allah states that He created the universe, the heavens and earth and all that is in, on and between them in six days, as He has stated in several Ayat in the Qur’an. These six days are: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On Friday, the entire creation was assembled and on that day, Adam was created. There is a difference of opinion whether these days were the same as our standard days as suddenly comes to the mind, or each day constitutes one thousand years, as reported from Mujahid, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, and from Ibn `Abbas according to Ad-Dahhak’s narration from him. As for Saturday, no creation took place in it since it is the seventh day of (of the week). The word ‘As-Sabt’ means stoppage, or break. Imam Ahmad recorded Abu Huraryah saying: Allah’s Messenger told me…

((Allah created the dust on Saturday, and He created the mountains on Sunday, and He created the trees on Monday, and He created the unpleasant things on Tuesday and He created the light on Wednesday and He spread the creatures through out it on Thursday and He created Adam after ‘Asr on between ‘Asr and the night.)) (Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Abridged (Surat Al-A’raf to the end of Sura Yunus) [Darussalam Publishers and Distributors, First Edition: May 2000], Volume 4, pp. 76-77; emphasis mine)

Ahmad 2:327 and Muslim no. 2149. (Ibid., fn. 2, p. 77)

Ibn Kathir must have forgotten that the very narration which he cited refutes his assertion that no creation took place on Saturday since it plainly states that Allah created the dust on that very specific day!

This means that it took Allah seven days to create all things, not the six or eight days mentioned in his so-called revelation to his supposed prophet!

To make matters worse, Q. 41:9-12 introduces another major contradiction, namely with modern scientific theories, by stating that the heaven was still smoke even after Allah had already created and filled the earth with all of its nourishments!

The following also attests to the seven heavens being formed only after the earth had already been created:

He it is Who created for you all that is in the earth. THEN TURNED HE to the heaven, and fashioned it as seven heavens. And He is knower of all things. S. 2:29 Pickthall

As if it couldn’t get any more confusing, this next example places the creation of the earth’s nourishments only after Allah had already fashioned the heavens!

Are ye the harder to create, or is the heaven that He built? He raised the height thereof and ordered it; And He made dark the night thereof, and He brought forth the morn thereof. AND AFTER THAT (ba’da) He spread the earth, And produced therefrom the water thereof and the pasture thereof, And He made fast the hills, A provision for you and for your cattle. S. 79:27-33 Pickthall

The above passage clearly and explicitly teaches that Allah brought forth the earth’s sustenance and made the mountains firm AFTER he had built heaven, which contradicts Q. 41:9-12 which says he did when the heaven was nothing but smoke!

Here is what one of Islam’s greatest Muslim scholars and historians stated in response to those who tried to deny that the Arabic word ba’da in Q. 79:30 literally means “afterwards”:

Someone might say: You realize that a number of interpreters have considered God’s word: “And it was the earth that He spread out thereafter,” to mean: “He spread out simultaneously” (attributing to the preposition ba’da “after” the meaning of ma’a “together [simultaneous] with”). Now, what is your evidence for the soundness of your statement that we have here the meaning of “after”, the opposite of “before”? The reply would be: The meaning of “after” generally known in Arabic speech, as we have said, is that of the opposite of “before,” and not “simultaneous with.” Now, word meanings considered applicable are those that are preponderant and generally known among speakers (of a language), and no others are. (The History of al-Tabari, Volume 1 – General Introduction and from the Creation to the Flood, translated by Franz Rosenthal [State University of New York Press, Albany 1989), Volume 1, p. 216; bold emphasis mine)

Speaking of al-Tabari, note his exposition of the ahadith of Muhammad where he named the precise days on which Allah created specific aspects of the heavens and earth:

We have stated before that time is but hours of night and day and that the hours are but traversal by the sun and the moon of the degrees of the sphere.

Now then, this being so, there is (also) A SOUND TRADITION FROM THE MESSENGER OF GOD told us by Hannad b. al-Sari, who also said that he read all of the hadith (to Abu Bakr) – Abu Bakr b. ‘Ayyash – Abu Sa’d al-Baqqal – ‘Ikrimah – IBN ‘ABBAS: The Jews came to the Prophet and asked him about the creation of the heavens and the earth. He said: God created the earth on Sunday and Monday. He created the mountains and the uses they possess on Tuesday. On Wednesday, He created trees, water, cities and the cultivated barren land. These are four (days). He continued (citing the Qur’an): “Say: Do you really not believe in the One Who created the earth in two days, and set up others like Him? That is the Lord of the worlds. He made it firmly anchored (mountains) above it and blessed it and decreed that it contain the amount of food it provides, (all) in four days, equally for those asking”- for those who ask. ON THURSDAY, HE CREATED HEAVENON FRIDAY, HE CREATED THE STARS, THE SUN, THE MOON, and the angels, until three hours remained. In the first of these three hours He created the terms (of human life), who would live and who would die. In the second, He cast harm upon everything that is useful for mankind. And in the third, (He created) Adam and had him dwell in Paradise. He commanded Iblis to prostrate himself before Adam, and He drove Adam out of Paradise at the end of the hour. When the Jews asked: What then, Muhammad? He said: “Then He sat straight upon the Throne.” The Jews said: You are right, if you had finished, they said, with: Then He rested. Whereupon the Prophet got very angry, and it was revealed: “We have created the heavens and the earth and what is between them in six days, and fatigue did not touch Us. Thus be patient with what you say.” (The History of al-Tabari- General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood translated by Franz Rosenthal [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1989], Volume 1, pp. 187-188; bold and capital emphasis mine)


According to al-Muthanna – al-Hajjaj – Hammad – ‘Ata’ b. al-Sa’ib – ‘Ikrimah: The Jews asked the Prophet: What about Sunday? The Messenger of God replied: On it, God created the earth and spread it out. They asked about Monday, and he replied: On it, He created Adam. They asked about Tuesday, and he replied: On it, He created the mountains, water, and so on. They asked about Wednesday, and he replied: Food. They asked about Thursday, and he replied: He created the heavens. They asked about Friday, and he replied: God created night and day. Then, when they asked about Saturday and mentioned God’s rest(ing on it), he exclaimed: God be praised! God then revealed: “We have created the heavens and the earth and what is between them in six days, and fatigue did not touch Us.” (Ibid., p. 190; bold and capital emphasis mine)


The two reports transmitted by us FROM THE MESSENGER OF GOD have made it clear that the sun and the moon were created AFTER God had created many things of His creationThat is because the hadith of Ibn Abbas ON THE AUTHORITY OF THE MESSENGER OF GOD indicates that God created the sun and the moon ON FRIDAY. If this is so, earth and heaven and what was in them, except the angels and Adam, had been created BEFORE God created the sun and the moon. All this (thus) existed while there was no light and no day, since night and day are but nouns designating hours known through the traversal by the sun and the moon of the course of the sphere. Now, if it is correct that the earth and the heaven and the what was between them, except what we have mentioned, were in existence when there was no sun and no moon, the conclusion is that all existed when there was no night or day. The same (conclusion results from) the following hadith OF ABU HURAYRAH reported ON THE AUTHORITY OF THE MESSENGER OF GOD: God created light on Wednesday – MEANING BY ‘light’ THE SUN, if God wills. (Ibid., pp. 190-191; bold and capital emphasis mine)

Ibn Kathir whom we mentioned earlier narrated similar traditions:

(Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days) (7:54). is explained in more detail; the creation of the earth and the creation of the heaven are discussed separately. Allah says that He created the earth FIRST, because it is the foundation, and the foundation should be built first, then the roof. Allah says elsewhere…

(He it is Who created for you all that is on the earth. Then He rose over (Istawa ila) the heaven and made them seven heavens) (2:29).

With regard to the Ayat

(Are you more difficult to create or is the heaven that He constructed He raised its height, and has perfected it. Its night He covers with darkness and its forenoon He brings out (with light). And after that He spread the earth, And brought forth therefrom its water and its pasture. And the mountains He has fixed firmly, (to be) a provision and benefit for you and your cattle.) (79:27-33)

This Ayah states that the spreading out of the earth came after the creation of the heavens, BUT THE EARTH ITSELF WAS CREATED BEFORE THE HEAVENS according to some texts. This was the response of Ibn `Abbas as recorded by Al-Bukhari in his Tafsir of this Ayah in his Sahih. He recorded that Sa`id bin Jubayr said: “A man said to Ibn `Abbas saying: `I find some things in the Qur’an which confuse me

And Allah says…

(Are you more difficult to create or is the heaven that He constructed) until…

(And after that He spread the earth.) (79:27-30) So He mentioned the creation of the heavens before the earth, then He said…

(Say: “Do you verily disbelieve in Him Who created the earth in two Days…”) until…

(We come willingly.) Here He mentioned the creation of the earth BEFORE the creation of the heavens… Ibn `Abbas replied…

Allah created the earth in two days, then He created the heavens, then He (Istawa ila) the heaven and gave it its shape in two more days. THEN He spread the earth, WHICH MEANS HE BROUGHT FORTH THEREFROM ITS WATER AND ITS PASTURE. And He created the mountains, sands, inanimate things, rocks and hills and everything in between, in two more days. This is what Allah says…

((He) spread (the earth)) (79:30) And Allah’s saying…

((He) created the earth in two Days) So He created the earth and everything in it in four days, and He created the heavens in two days. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 41:9-12; bold and capital emphasis mine)


(And after that He spread the earth,) He explains this statement by the statement that follows it…

(And brought forth therefrom its water and its pasture.) It already has been mentioned previously in Surat Ha Mim As-Sajdah that the earth was created before the heaven was created, but it was only spread out after the creation of the heaven. This means THAT HE BROUGHT OUT WHAT WAS IN IT WITH A FORCEFUL ACTION. This is the meaning of what was said by Ibn `Abbas and others, and it was the explanation PREFERRED BY IBN JARIR.

In reference to the statement of Allah…

(And the mountains He has fixed firmly,) meaning, He settled them, made them firm, and established them in their places. And He is the Most Wise, the All-Knowing. He is Most Kind to His creation, Most Merciful. Allah then says…

(As provision and benefit for you and your cattle.) meaning, He spread out the earth, caused its springs to gush forth, brought forth its hidden benefits, caused its rivers to flow, and caused its vegetation, trees, and fruits to grow. He also made its mountains firm so that it (the earth) would be calmly settled with its dwellers, and He stabilized its dwelling places. All of this is a means of beneficial enjoyment for His creatures (mankind) providing them of what cattle they need, which they eat and ride upon. He has granted them these beneficial things for the period that they need them, in this worldly abode, until the end of time and the expiration of this life. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 79:27-33; bold and capital emphasis mine)

The foregoing conclusively establishes that Muhammad, his companions and Islam’s greatest historians/commentators all believed that the earth was created before the heavens came into being. Some of these authorities sought to harmonize the Quran’s contradictory statements by postulating the notion of the earth being flattened out only after the creation of the heavens in order to make it habitable.


However, other Muslim expositors disagreed since some of them believed that the earth was created and flattened out before the seven heavens were fashioned:

and after that He spread out the earth: He made it FLAT, for it had been created BEFORE THE HEAVEN, but without having been spread out; (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Q. 79:30; bold, capital and underline emphasis mine)

As if it couldn’t get any more bizarre the Quran teaches that Allah created seven earths, all of which happen to be flat according to some of Islam’s greatest scholars!

It is Allah Who has created seven heavens and of the earth the like thereof (i.e. seven). His Command descends between them (heavens and earth), that you may know that Allah has power over all things, and that Allah surrounds (comprehends) all things in (His) Knowledge. S. 65:12 Hilali-Khan

Nor even how the earth has been flattened out (sutihat)? S. 88:20 (T.B.Irving

Here’s another rendering of the above verse:

On the earth, how it was flattened (N. J. Dawood

So much for the claim that the Quran teaches that the earth is a sphere!

Notice how the Muslim elite interpreted these texts along with a few other ones:

(Allah it is Who hath created seven heavens) one above the other like a dome, (and of the earth the like thereof) seven earths but THEY ARE FLAT. (The commandment cometh down among them slowly) He says: He sends the angels down from heaven with revelation, Scripture and calamities, (that ye may know) and acknowledge (that Allah is Able to do all things) relating to the dwellers of the heavens and the earths, (and that Allah surroundeth all things in knowledge) and that His knowledge encompasses everything’. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs, Q. 65:12; bold, capital and underline emphasis mine)

And the earth We have stretched it out, SPREAD IT FLAT, and cast therein firm mountains, lest it should sway beneath its inhabitants, and caused to grow therein every kind of balanced thing, [every kind of thing] known and determined. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Q. 15:19:; bold and capital emphasis mine)

And God has made the earth a FLAT [open] expanse for you, (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Q. 71:19:; bold and capital emphasis mine)

And the earth, how it was laid out FLAT?, and thus infer from this the power of God, exalted be He, and His Oneness? The commencing with the [mention of] camels is because they are closer in contact with it [the earth] than any other [animal]. As for His words sutihat, ‘LAID OUT FLAT’, this on a literal reading suggests THAT THE EARTH IS FLAT, which is the opinion of MOST OF THE SCHOLARS THE [revealed] LAW, AND NOT A SPHERE as astronomers (ahl al-hay’a) have it, even if this [latter] does not contradict any of the pillars of the Law. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Q. 88:20:; bold, capital and underline emphasis mine)

Talk about mass confusion!

All of this mess simply confirms what the late Dr. Robert A. Morey wrote in regards to the mental gymnastics that Muslims often employ to get around these irreconcilable contradictions:

How Many Days of Creation?

The very first problem in the Quran concerns the number of days it took God to create the world.

When you add up all the days mentioned in Sura 41:9, 10, 12 the Quran says that it took God eight days to create the world (4 days + 2 days + 2 days = 8 days).

But it only took six days according to the Bible (Genesis 1:31). Thus the Quran begins its contradiction of the Bible in the very first chapter of the Bible.

A Muslim friend objected to this, stating that the Hebrew text of the Bible was no doubt corrupted at this point and that it originally said that the creation took eight days.

I pointed out that there was no evidence in the Hebrew manuscripts of any corruption. Also, the Bible elsewhere says that the world was created in six days (Exodus 20:11).

Then I pointed out that the Quran in Suras 7:51 and 10:3 agreed with the biblical account that the creation of the world took only six days.

If six days is wrong, then the Quran in Suras 7 and 10 is wrong. But if eight days is wrong, then Sura 41 is wrong.

Using classic Muslim reasoning, he responded that then the Quran did not say eight days.

I added up the days mentioned in Sura 41 as 4 + 2 + 2 = 8.

He then added it up and came up with 4 + 2 + 2 = 6 “because 4 is divisible by 2 and hence 4 is actually a 2!”

When I pointed out that the Arabic said 4 and not 2, it did not faze him. He argued that 4 = 2, otherwise he would be trapped into having to admit that the Quran was in error.

Thus he made the utterly ridiculous statement that 4 = 2 rather than simply accepting the fact that Muhammad made an error at this point. (Morey, Islamic Invasion: Confronting the World’s Fastest Growing Religion [Christian Scholars Press, Revised and expanded edition 1992], pp. 156-157)

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