The Quran and Throwing Stars
In order for a book to demonstrate a divine origin, it must possess the attributes that accompany such a claim. For example, it must refrain from making statements that are outlandish and indicative of an author who was a simply a product of his times, and who shared in the common superstitions, mythology, and misconceptions that afflict humans unaided by supernatural agency.
With this in mind, examine the the Quran of the Muslim religion. The Quran makes several statements regarding heavenly “lamps” and their relationship to “devils.”
And verily in the heaven We have set mansions of the stars, and We have beautified it for beholders. And We have guarded it from every outcast devil, save him who stealeth the hearing, and them doth a clear flame pursue (Surah 15:16-18, emp. added).
Lo! We have adorned the lowest heaven with an ornament, the planets; with security from every forward devil. They cannot listen to the Highest Chiefs for they are pelted from every side, outcast, and theirs is a perpetual torment; save him who snatcheth a fragment, and there pursueth him a piercing flame (Surah 37:6-10, emp. added).
And (the Jinn who had listened to the Quran said): We had sought the heaven but had found it filled with strong warders and meteors. And we used to sit on places (high) therein to listen. But he who listened now findeth a flame in wait for him (Surah 72:8-9, emp. added).
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 (Surah 67:5, emp. added).
The reader is given the distinct impression that Allah uses shooting stars, or meteors, as missiles to drive evil spirits or demons away from heaven (to prevent them from listening to heavenly conversations) and to torment them. Such language cannot be dismissed as merely figurative, poetic, or phenonmenal. Of course, Muslim apologists recognize the absurdity of the idea of physical objects being hurled at spiritual beings, so they offer an alternative explanation. They claim the verses in question refer to soothsayers and astrologers who seek signs from the stars, but who become frightened by meteorological phenomena (see Pickthall, n.d., pp. 408,417). We leave the reader to judge whether this interpretation accounts adequately for the wording of the quranic text.
Pickthall, Mohammed M. (n.d.), The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York: Mentor).
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