Interview with an
I received the following email from
Iran. It contains questions of an Iranian student and the
answers of his erudite Islamic teacher who is a renowned scholar
of Islam. Although this person did not mind me publishing the
name of that scholar and his own first name, I do not think it
is prudent. Someone could read this interview, inform that
scholar who would certainly remember the interviewer and the
safety of our young friend could be at risk. So I hide the names
of both parties.
Dear Mr. Sina
I had a debate with a teacher of mine a
couple weeks ago that I would like to share with you. He is
Islamic scholar X. He has been teaching the Quran and
Islam for over 30 years now. He is a respected teacher at the
University of Tehran. Only the best of the best of teachers gets
the opportunity to teach at this university, and therefore he
seemed a worthy opponent to ask a few questions.
Please understand that my lack of
answering back or not being able to say exactly what I want is
because of my position here in Iran. I cannot say anything that
would contradict the Quran by a great means, so I kept my debate
and questioning very simple. I absolutely cannot debate in a way
that you did with Ayatollah
Montazeri, that would be instant death for me.
My questions to him are in blue and his
responses are in black.
Let me start with my first question,
You will read in verse (Q.18:86)
"When he reached the setting place of the Sun, he found
it setting in a muddy spring". Could you please explain
the meaning of this verse.
I understand why this is in the
you see back then people would have freaked out if they were
told that the earth is a sphere and is floating in the middle of
nowhere, or it is possible that it has a different meaning and
that we humans have not advanced intellectually enough to
understand it. Right now there are many verses in the Quran that
we have yet to understand. That is the beauty of the Quran.
If god knew that his children would
freak out by telling the truth about the earth, wouldn't god
have also thought that the people would have freaked out by
telling them some of the stories in the Quran that are obviously
hard to swallow like the story of Noah and how water over-ran
the earth and killed thousands of people, and wouldn't god know
that people would freak out by telling them they would have
boiling water poured over them in hell?
Like I said, it could have a different
meaning, and the historical events in the Quran aren't in anyway
that would freak people out, and god had to talk like that to
the Arabs that lived 1400 years ago. Many people ask me why does
the Quran repeat itself so much. It's because us humans remember
things easier when it is repeated and god knows that, and
repeating was absolutely necessary for the Arabs back then.
You said that many verses of the Quran
are much higher than our intellect and therefore we cannot
understand them, but if god sends a book of guidance for all
mankind, wouldn't god write it in a way that everyone would be
able to read it, and not just the ones with a Ph.D.
That's a good question. You see you can
divide the Quran into 3 parts. The parts that everyone can
understand, the parts that only a few people can understand and
the scientific parts. The parts were everyone can understand are
the only parts of the Quran that are needed for guidance. You do
not need to know the other parts for ultimate guidance.
Now my next point, the Quran teaches
that Adam and Eve are the first humans on earth, but now we know
that we humans have evolved through millions and millions of
years. It is not possible that Adam and Eve were the first
humans that appeared 6000 years ago.
It is true that we have evolved through
millions of years of evolution, but the Quran teaches that Adam
and Eve were the first humans to evolve into semi-intelligent
You say semi-intelligent. If the
meaning of life is for god to test it's semi-intelligent
creations then why did god take so long to create the humans.
Why did god bother with the dinosaurs and the billions of years
that there were no semi-intelligent beings on the earth?
At that time god had humans to test on
other planets. Imam Ali even says in the Nahj AlBalaghe that
there are many other planets with humans on them.
I had a question about the ship of
Noah. Apparently it rained so hard in one day that water rose so
high that it elevated higher than even the tallest mountain. Now
if it rained this hard in one day it wasn't rain, it was more
like oceans of water coming out from the sky. Didn't the rain
fill up the ship?
The people quickly poured the water
But that's too much water for a couple
of people to pour out. Like I said there would have to be oceans
and oceans of water coming from the sky for water to rise that
high in one day.
God can do whatever he pleases.
We know that water can not leave the
atmosphere of the earth. We also know that 29% of the earth is
land and 71% is water. No matter how much it rains or how much
water is evaporated this amount stays the same, because water
travels in a cycle on earth. The cycle is of course from the
earth to the sky and from the sky to the earth. If it rained
that much that is recorded in the Quran, the percentage of water
would have gone over 71%. Now where did the water go afterwards
knowing that water cannot leave the atmosphere of the earth?
That's what makes it a miracle.
In a contractual marriage you and a
partner write a contract identifying how much money the woman
will get for her services for the man and for how long. I don't
understand how this is different from Prostitution.
The difference is that you read an ayah
from the Quran.
I agree with you.