Dubai: Popular public speaker and Islamic scholar Dr Zakir Naik told a large Dubai audience on Thursday that the Quran spoke of scientific processes centuries before they were discovered by man.
Dr Naik, an Indian debater who heads the Dubai-based Peace TV, made the comments during a packed late-night Ramadan Forum at the Dubai World Trade Centre, attended by thousands of residents on Thursday night.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai also attended the lecture for a short while.
Dr Naik, 47, said the Quran revealed accurate details about aspects of embryology, oceanology, astronomy and other scientific disciplines over 1,400 years ago.
“The Quran is not a book of science, but a book of signs [from God]. There are more than 6,000 verses in the Quran – 1,000 of them speak about science,” he said.
His latest presentation for the annual forum was titled ‘Quran and Modern Science – Compatible or Incompatible?’
“For any book to claim it is from God, it must stand the test of time. Today’s the age of science and technology, so let’s analyse if Quran and science are compatible.”
Quoting various verses, Dr Naik, who trained as a medical doctor prior to his public speaking career, said the Quran rightly describes how the primordial human comes to be and develops over time. He noted descriptions of a “leech-like” life-form “clinging to a secure place” – the embryo attaching itself to the uterine wall.
“It not only looks like a leech at this stage, but behaves like one too – a bloodsucker – that takes it supply from the placenta,” Dr Naik said.
He added that the Quran says the embryo develops into a “tube-like lump” – the foetus – and is “clothed with flesh. It is then given hearing and then sight, the Quran says. We now know that first to develop is hearing and then sight.”
Dr Naik also pointed out that the Quran says it is God who created the Earth, heavens, stars and “everything in between.”
“We used to think that space is a vacuum with nothing in between. But we only recently discovered the presence of what is called plasma in space… And the Quran says the sky was made as a protective canopy; we know that it protects us from harmful rays from space.”
He also said the Quran attests to the fact the Moon has no light of its own, always describing moonlight as “borrowed” or “reflected” – while describing the Sun as a “burning lamp” that has light of its own.
Other scientific details in the Quran that Dr Zakir drew attention to include the water cycle, the transitional zone that exists between fresh and sea water where they merge, the function of mountains as “pegs” to stabilise the Earth, and the behaviour and hierarchy of bees that has been confirmed in modern times.
Dr Naik is also the founder and president of the Islamic Research Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in India. He has authored a number of publications on Islam and comparative religion.
The orator is hugely popular in the Indian subcontinent and is renowned for his sharp memory and fast-quoting of chapters and verses of the Quran.