Islamic Prophecies: New transport systems

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"And when the she-camels, ten months pregnant are abandoned." (81:5)

"And He has created horses and mules and asses that you may ride them, and as a source of beauty. And He will create what you do not yet know." (16:9)

"A Sign for them is that We carried their families in the laden ship. And We have created for them the like of it, in which they sail." (Qur'an, 36:41-42)

As we know people, specially those living in deserts, have now abandoned camels and other animals for traveling. But this prophecy of invention and emergence of new transport systems is on-going as we witness new and faster modes of transportation emerging all the time.

The last verse points to the fact that there will be such mass modes of transport as ships.


Rebuttal[edit]

Surah 81 deals with the “Day of Judgment” and is not prophesying of end times, but the supposed end of the world itself. It has nothing to do with the development of new transport systems.


And (He made) horses and mules and asses that you might ride upon them and as an ornament; and He creates what you do not know. And upon Allah it rests to show the right way, and there are some deviating (ways); and if He please He would certainly guide you all right.

This whole section deals with the various benefits of animals, eg. food, transport, milk, clothing etc. Some tafsir's:


[وَالْخَيْلَ وَالْبِغَالَ وَالْحَمِيرَ لِتَرْكَبُوهَا وَزِينَةً وَيَخْلُقُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ ]

(8. And (He has created) horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride, and as an adornment. And He creates (other) things of which you have no knowledge.)

This is the main purpose for which these animals were created. It was reported in the Two Sahihs that Jabir bin `Abdullah said: "The Messenger of Allah forbade us to eat the meat of domestic donkeys, but he allowed us to eat the meat of horses. Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud reported with two chains of narration, each of which meet the conditions of Muslim, that Jabir said: "On the day of Khaybar we slaughtered horses, mules and donkeys. The Messenger of Allah forbade us from eating the mules and donkeys, but he did not forbid us from eating the horses. According to Sahih Muslim, Asma' bint Abi Bakr (may Allah be pleased with them both) said: "At the time of the Messenger of Allah we slaughtered a horse and ate it when we were in Al-Madinah.

[وَعَلَى اللَّهِ قَصْدُ السَّبِيلِ وَمِنْهَا جَآئِرٌ وَلَوْ شَآءَ لَهَدَاكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ ]

(9. And it is up to Allah to show the right way. But there are ways that stray. And had He willed, He would have guided you all.)

When Allah mentioned the animals which may be used for the purpose of physical journeys, He also referred to the moral, religious routes that people may follow. Often in the Qur'an there is a shift from physical or tangible things to beneficial spiritual and religious matters, as when Allah says,

[وَتَزَوَّدُواْ فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَى]

(And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is Taqwa (piety, righteousness).) [2:197] And,

[يَـبَنِى آدَمَ قَدْ أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمْ لِبَاسًا يُوَرِى سَوْءَتِكُمْ وَرِيشًا وَلِبَاسُ التَّقْوَى ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ]

(O Children of Adam! We have granted clothing for you to cover yourselves, as well as for adornment; but the raiment of righteousness, that is better.) [7:26] Since Allah mentioned cattle and other such animals in this Surah, all of which are ridden or can be used in any way necessary, carrying people's necessities for them to distant places and on difficult journeys - then He mentions the ways which people follow to try to reach Him, and explains that the right way is the one that does reach Him. He says:

[وَعَلَى اللَّهِ قَصْدُ السَّبِيلِ]

(And it is up to Allah to show the right way.) This is like the Ayat,

[وَأَنَّ هَـذَا صِرَطِي مُسْتَقِيمًا فَاتَّبِعُوهُ وَلاَ تَتَّبِعُواْ السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَن سَبِيلِهِ]

(And verily, this is My straight path, so follow it, and do not follow the (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His path.) [6:153] and,

[قَالَ هَذَا صِرَطٌ عَلَىَّ مُسْتَقِيمٌ ]

((Allah) said: "This is the way which will lead straight to Me.) (15:41)

[وَعَلَى اللَّهِ قَصْدُ السَّبِيلِ]

(And it is up to Allah to show the right way.) Mujahid said: "The true way is up to Allah.

[وَعَلَى اللَّهِ قَصْدُ السَّبِيلِ]

(And it is up to Allah to show the right way.) Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas said: "It is up to Allah to clarify, to explain the guidance and misguidance. This was also reported by `Ali bin Abi Talhah, and was also the opinion of Qatadah and Ad-Dahhak. Hence Allah said:

[وَمِنْهَا جَآئِرٌ]

(But there are ways that stray.) meaning they deviate from the truth. Ibn `Abbas and others said: "These are the different ways, and various opinions and whims, such as Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism. Ibn Mas`ud recited it as (وَمِنْكُمْ جَائِرٌ) "But among you are those who stray. Then Allah tells us that all of that happens by His will and decree. He says:

[وَلَوْ شَآءَ لَهَدَاكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ]

(And had He willed, He would have guided you all.) And Allah says:

[وَلَوْ شَآءَ رَبُّكَ لآمَنَ مَن فِى الاٌّرْضِ كُلُّهُمْ جَمِيعًا]

(If your Lord had willed, then all who are in the earth would have believed.) [10:99]

[وَلَوْ شَآءَ رَبُّكَ لَجَعَلَ النَّاسَ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلاَ يَزَالُونَ مُخْتَلِفِينَ ]

إِلاَّ مَن رَّحِمَ رَبُّكَ وَلِذلِكَ خَلَقَهُمْ وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَةُ رَبّكَ لاَمْلاَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنَ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ-]

(And if your Lord had so willed, He could surely, have made humanity one Ummah, but they will not stop disagreeing. Except those for whom your Lord has granted mercy. And it is for this that He did create them; and the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled (i.e. His saying): "Surely, I shall fill Hell with Jinn and men all together.) (11:118-119).
{ وَٱلْخَيْلَ وَٱلْبِغَالَ وَٱلْحَمِيرَ لِتَرْكَبُوهَا وَزِينَةً وَيَخْلُقُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ }

And, He created, horses and mules and asses, that you may ride them, and for adornment (wa-zīnatan is an object denoting reason; the use of both of these reasons [‘to ride’ and ‘for adornment’] as illustrations of [God’s] graces does not preclude that they may have been created for other purposes, such as for consumption in the case of horses — which is established [as lawful] by a hadīth in both Sahīhs [of Bukhārī and Muslim]); and He creates what you do not know, of marvelous and strange things.


{ وَعَلَىٰ ٱللَّهِ قَصْدُ ٱلسَّبِيلِ وَمِنْهَا جَآئِرٌ وَلَوْ شَآءَ لَهَدَاكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ }

And God’s is the direction of the way, that is, to point out the straight path, and some of them, that is, the paths, are deviant, swerving away from straightness. And had He willed, to guide you, He would have guided you, to seek the way, all, so that you would be [rightly] guided of your own choice.
{ وَٱلْخَيْلَ وَٱلْبِغَالَ وَٱلْحَمِيرَ لِتَرْكَبُوهَا وَزِينَةً وَيَخْلُقُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ }

(And horses and mules and asses (hath He created) that ye may ride them) in the way of Allah, (and for ornament) they are good to look at. (And He createth that which ye know not) He says: He created things that you do not know, since He has not named them to you.


{ وَعَلَىٰ ٱللَّهِ قَصْدُ ٱلسَّبِيلِ وَمِنْهَا جَآئِرٌ وَلَوْ شَآءَ لَهَدَاكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ }

(And Allah's is the direction of the way) He is the guide whether it is in the sea or on the land, (and some (roads) go not straight) they are crooked and one cannot find one's way through them. (And had He willed He would have led you all aright) in your way whether you are in the sea or on the land; it is also said that (And Allah's is the direction of the way) means: it is Allah Who guides to monotheism, and some of the religions are crooked and unjust such as Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism. And if Allah had willed, He would have guided you all to His religion.

Some Muslims claim that this verse refers to recent inventions designed to make travel faster and more efficient (ie. airplanes); things that were not known of or invented in Muhammad's time. However the verse says that Allah creates what you do not know  ; meaning that these creations were around in Muhammad's time. The verse does not say " He will create what you do not know." Also, this verse is not talking about man-made inventions, as Allah did not create these; it is obviously talking about a part of creation (ie. animals or plants). This is in line with the tafsir's.



Yusuf Ali: And a Sign for them is that We bore their race (through the Flood) in the loaded Ark;

Pickthal: And a token unto them is that We bear their offspring in the laden ship,

Shakir: And a sign to them is that We bear their offspring in the laden ship.


Yusuf Ali: And We have created for them similar (vessels) on which they ride.

Pickthal: And have created for them of the like thereof whereon they ride.

Shakir: And We have created for them the like of it, what they will ride on.



The translation given for claiming this prophecy is a very loose one. 3 well known translations are provided above to compare the wording of the verses in question. The word 'carried' is not in any of them, but 'bear/bore offspring'. Again to the tafsir's:


Allah tells us: another sign for them of His might and power is that He has subjugated the sea to carry ships, including -- most significantly -- the ship of Nuh , peace be upon him, in which Allah saved him and the believers, apart from whom none of the descendants of Adam were left on the face of the earth. Allah says:

﴿وَءَايَةٌ لَّهُمْ أَنَّا حَمَلْنَا ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ﴾

(And an Ayah for them is that We bore their offspring) means, their forefathers,

﴿فِى الْفُلْكِ الْمَشْحُونِ﴾

(in the laden ship.) means, in the ship which was filled with luggage and animals, in which Allah commanded him to put two of every kind. Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "Laden means filled. This was also the view of Sa`id bin Jubayr, Ash-Sha`bi, Qatadah and As-Suddi. Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah and Ibn Zayd said, "This was the ship of Nuh peace be upon him.

﴿وَخَلَقْنَا لَهُمْ مِّن مِّثْلِهِ مَا يَرْكَبُونَ ﴾

(And We have created for them of the like thereunto, on which they ride.) Al-`Awfi said, narrating from Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, "This means the camel, for it is the ship of the land on which they carry goods and on which they ride. Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "Do you know what the Ayah:

﴿وَخَلَقْنَا لَهُمْ مِّن مِّثْلِهِ مَا يَرْكَبُونَ ﴾

(And We have created for them of the like thereunto, on which they ride.) refers to We said, "No. He said, "This refers to the ships which were made after the ship of Nuh, peace be upon him, which was similar to it. This was also the view of Abu Malik, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Abu Salih and As-Suddi, that the Ayah

﴿وَخَلَقْنَا لَهُمْ مِّن مِّثْلِهِ مَا يَرْكَبُونَ ﴾

(And We have created for them of the like thereunto, on which they ride.) refers to ships.

﴿وَإِن نَّشَأْ نُغْرِقْهُمْ﴾

(And if We will, We shall drown them,) means, those who are on board the ships.
{ وَآيَةٌ لَّهُمْ أَنَّا حَمَلْنَا ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ فِي ٱلْفُلْكِ ٱلْمَشْحُونِ }

And a sign for them, of Our power, is that We carried their seed (dhurriyatahum: a variant reading has dhurriyyātihim), that is to say, their original ancestors, in the laden Ark, that is, Noah’s fully-loaded ship,


{ وَخَلَقْنَا لَهُمْ مِّن مِّثْلِهِ مَا يَرْكَبُونَ }

and We have created for them the like of it, that is, the like of Noah’s Ark, namely, the small and large ships resembling it which they have made, by the instruction of God, exalted be He, in which they ride.
{ وَآيَةٌ لَّهُمْ أَنَّا حَمَلْنَا ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ فِي ٱلْفُلْكِ ٱلْمَشْحُونِ }

(And a token unto them) and a lesson and sign to the people of Mecca (is that We bear their offspring) in the loins of their fathers when the fathers bore their offspring (in the laden ship) the ship of Noah,


{ وَخَلَقْنَا لَهُمْ مِّن مِّثْلِهِ مَا يَرْكَبُونَ }

(And have created for them of the like thereof) the like of the ship of Noah (whereon they ride) of boats and camels.
وَآَيَةٌ لَهُمْ أَنَّا حَمَلْنَا ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ فِي الْفُلْكِ الْمَشْحُونِ ﴿36:41﴾

36:41) Another Sign for them is that We carried all their offspring in the laden vessel "A laden vessel" : the Ark of the Prophet Noah. As to boarding of the progeny of man in it, it means that although apparently a few companions of the Prophet Noah had boarded it, in reality all human beings who are to be born till Resurrection were boarding it; all the rest of mankind had been drowned in the Flood, all later human beings arc the children of those who were rescued in the Ark.

وَخَلَقْنَا لَهُمْ مِنْ مِثْلِهِ مَا يَرْكَبُونَ ﴿36:42﴾

36:42) and then created for them other vessels like those on which they ride.

This indicates that the first vessel ever to be made in the world was the one made by the Prophet Noah. Before that time man did not know any method of crossing the rivers and the seas. This method was first of all taught by Allah to the Prophet Noah, and when some servants, of Allah were rescued in it from the Flood, their future generations started making boats and ships for their sea journeys


These verses are clearly referring to ships - the example given is Noah and his ark. The claim however says that these verses refer to the "mass mode of travel" ie. ships and is prophetic of them. Since Noah is an (alleged) historical figure, this cannot be prophetic! How is it prophetic then, that ships will be used in the future? Nowhere in these verses or the tafsir's does it mention "mass traveling" by ships - unless you are counting animals two by two.


Conclusion[edit]

The first claim is definitely not a current day prophecy proof as suggested. The second verse presented is regarding animals that were, of course, around in the time of the writing of the Quran. Regarding the third set of proofs, its nothing to do with prophecy due to the fact that (a)this verse is about Noah's ark and (b)the people of Muhammad's time knew about ships, the people before that time knew about ships, so its logical to conclude that they would continue to be used. "mass transport uses" for ships is not mentioned or implied.


External Links[edit]

Muslim websites:


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