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My question is regarding Surah 25 Verse 53 which talks about the sea and rivers. it mentions the two different types of water masses: the one one sweet and the other salty and bitter, and says that there is a barrier that they cannot pass. some people say this verse refers to the phenomenon of pycnocline. However even with this phenomenon there is some mixing between the two bodies of water. Does this mean there is a contradiction in the verse of the Holy Quran as it implies that the barrier cannot be crossed?
this verse is used by muslim haters to discredit the Quran
Wa Alaykumu Salam,
Thank you for your kind words and well wishes.
Two fundamental points need serious consideration in regards to your question. The first being, that the verses of the Qur’an should not be isolated to fit meanings; rather, they must be contextualized according to the overall import of the message. When one adheres to this simple principle the verses reveal themselves to their true understanding without external assistance. The second point, is that the Qur’an does not prop itself as a book of science or one that mentions scientific facts. Actually, it mentions things well known to its addressees to point them in the direction of faith. It uses what is familiar to stir their senses to appreciate and realize what they are missing from the Truth.
Hast thou not turned thy vision to thy Lord?- How He doth prolong the shadow! If He willed, He could make it stationary! then do We make the sun its guide; Then We draw it in towards Ourselves,- a contraction by easy stages. And He it is Who makes the Night as a Robe for you, and Sleep as Repose, and makes the Day (as it were) a Resurrection. And He it is Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His mercy, and We send down pure water from the sky,- That with it We may give life to a dead land, and slake the thirst of things We have created,- cattle and men in great numbers. And We have distributed the (water) amongst them, in order that they may celebrate (our) praises, but most men are averse (to aught) but (rank) ingratitude. Had it been Our Will, We could have sent a warner to every centre of population. Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness, with the (Qur’an). It is He Who has let free the two bodies of flowing water: One palatable and sweet, and the other salt and bitter; yet has He made a barrier between them, a partition that is forbidden to be passed. It is He Who has created man from water: then has He established relationships of lineage and marriage: for thy Lord has power (over all things). Yet do they worship, besides Allah, things that can neither profit them nor harm them: and the Misbeliever is a helper (of Evil), against his own Lord! – Al Furqan 25:45-55
If science was the aim of the verses then the Arabs would have been at a loss because they were not scientifically inclined, as far as we know. The message must have an impact on our intellect and souls to have true meaning, otherwise its revelation of a scientific fact may please some but will remain in contention with others and will serve no purpose in relation to guidance.
Lastly, while we may not ascribe to the scientific explanations that some proffer for Qur’anic verses we do want to stress that even if viewed from the scientific lens these verses do not contravene scientific facts. There is such a thing as pycnocline and the Qur’an does mention bodies of water naturally divided. Even the staunchest opponent of Islam should realize that neither science nor the Qur’an concern themselves with the disruption of that order. The fact stated, is that there is a divide between the waters and there is a clear distinction between salt and freshwater. From a superficial view this distinction is clear and from a much more penetrating view there is an actual phenomena that takes place just as the Qur’an describes. The detractors tend to grasp at straws when they argue such frivolous points because when the mechanics of pycnocline is taking place then there is a barrier that does not allow mixing. When the water converges then pycnocline is not taking place and that issue is moot.
The most important point in all this is that we try to appreciate God’s words for what they are: guidance for humanity. We need to engage the Qur’an on an intellectual and spiritual level to achieve the closeness we desire with the Almighty
I hope this helps.
God knows best.