Q46: Why do Muslims believe in “fairy tales”?

All religions contain stories that may seem illogical and /or hard to comprehend as we cannot see them. This can include all sorts of things such as angels, hell and paradise. But do we need to see everything to fully believe in them? People cannot see many things that have already been proven scientifically, such as the existence of molecules, air around us, radiation in the atmosphere and much more. People believe in such things without ever seeing them. For example, people can fully believe that they have a brain despite never seeing and that if someone cut their head open they would die, despite having never experienced death before.


People have had doubts about Islamic stories before. Such a thing occurred during the time of the Prophet PBUH (Peace Be Upon Him) when he first had the revelation and saw the angel for the first time that nobody else saw. It is mentioned in the Quran:


وَمَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ

The heart did not lie [about] what it saw. (Surah Al Najm 11)


It is also mentioned in the Quran:


سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَىٰ بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ

Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (Surah Al Isra 1)


This is a reference to the journey of Isra and Miraj where the Prophet PBUH went from Makkah to Jerusalem and returned in one night (you can find out more about the journey from here. Many people at the time did not believe him as it might have taken a month to make such a journey back then. However, now that technology has improved considerably, it is quite easy to take flights and cover great distances.


The Quran is not a scientific book and does not need to contain science. However, various things have been mentioned in the Quran, which have only been confirmed scientifically fairly recently. For example, it is mentioned:


وَالسَّمَاءَ بَنَيْنَاهَا بِأَيْدٍ وَإِنَّا لَمُوسِعُونَ

And the heaven We constructed with strength, and indeed, We are [its] expander. (Surah Al Dhariyat 47)

This refers to the expanding of the universe, which we now from the big bang theory


بَيْنَهُمَا بَرْزَخٌ لَّا يَبْغِيَانِ

He released the two seas, meeting [side by side] (Surah Al Rahman 20)


This refers to the sea having an invisible barrier between mineral and salt water. This can be seen practically in various places such as in South Africa


أَوَلَمْ يَرَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَنَّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ كَانَتَا رَتْقًا فَفَتَقْنَاهُمَا ۖ وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ الْمَاءِ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ حَيٍّ ۖ أَفَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ

Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe? (Surah Al Anbiya 30)


This refers to the continents (Asia, Europe, Africa, Australasia, Antarctica and the Americas) all being connected together once and now being separate. It also makes reference to everything living thing containing water. We now know both of these to be true.


It is also mentioned:

And certainly did We create man from an extract of clay. Then We placed him as a sperm-drop in a firm lodging. Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, and We made the clot into a lump [of flesh], and We made [from] the lump, bones, and We covered the bones with flesh; then We developed him into another creation. So blessed is Allah, the best of creators. (Surah Al Muminoon 12-14)


This is a reference to the various stages of human embryology.


None of these stories have been proven completely wrong and /completely contradict scientific facts (not theories). You can find out more from the book, The Bible, the Quran and Science by Dr Maurice Buccaille. You can read it from here.


Apart from the above, the Prophet PBUH made various prophesies regarding the End of Times /events that would occur before the Day of Judgement. There are two types: minor signs and major signs. Regarding the minor signs, you can find a list of many of them from here. This is a very long topic so this is not an extensive list.


I would like bring your particular attention to these which have already come true: Naked, destitute, barefoot shepherds will compete in building tall buildings (Sahih Bukhari, Vol 1: book 2: 47) (this is a reference to what we are witnessing in the Arabian Peninsula which many tall buildings such as in Dubai, Kuwait and other places, which used to be barren desert not too long ago); Arabia will become a land of gardens and rivers (Sahih Muslim, Book 005: 2208) (this is happening as many places in the Arabian peninsula are more green than they used to be). There are also some more here. Some of these that have already occurred include: people will indulge in homosexuality; children of fornication will become widespread or prevalent. [at-Tabarani, al-Hakim]; when men lie with men, and women lie with women. [Al-Haythami]; adultery and fornication will be prevalent. [Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Majah]; the nations of the Earth will gather against the Muslims like hungry people going to sit at a table full of food. This will occur when the Muslims are large in number, but “like the foam of the sea”; books/writing will be widespread and (religious) knowledge will be low. [Ahmad]


The Prophet PBUH mentioned: “The major portents of the Hour are those which were mentioned by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in the hadeeth of Hudhayfah ibn Aseed, and there are ten signs: The Dajjaal; the descent of ‘Eesa ibn Maryam (Jesus son of Mary); Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj (Gog and Magog); three landslides, one in the east, one in the west and one in the Arabian Peninsula; the smoke; the rising of the sun from its place of setting; the Beast; and the fire which will drive the people to their place of gathering. These signs will appear one after another, and when the first of these signs appear, the others will come soon after.” You can find out more from here 


For clarification: “Dajjal” is the “Anti-Christ”. The root word “Dajal” in Arabic can have various meanings, most notably to lie /deceive. It can also mean to cover and to pass through places. Incidentally, this is similar to the actual belief about the Dajjal –that he will be a liar who will hide the truth and will pass through the earth. Yajooj and Majooj are large groups of people who will spread corruption on earth and nobody will be able to defeat them. The beast will emerge from the earth and speak to people. You can get a rough idea about them from here.


None of the major signs have occurred yet and they seem to be much harder to comprehend than the minor signs. However, there was a time when the minor signs would have also been very hard to comprehend (such as the shepherds competing to build tall buildings or deserts becoming green, which could not have been imagined over 1,400 years ago). Again, none of these prophesies have been completed disproved.


Apart from science, when comparing religious texts, it is interesting to note that out of all religions, there are 3 in particular that are very similar. They are Judaism, Christianity and Islam. They follow the Torah, Bible and Quran respectively. They all have very similar stories and prophets such as the story of Nuh (Noah) and the ark /flood; Musa (Moses) with Pharaoh; Yunus (Jonah) who was swallowed by a whale; Yusuf (Joseph) who was thrown into a well; Adam and Eve (Hawa) and the tree that they were not allowed to eat from and more. The Prophet PBUH lived about 600 years after Isa (Jesus) PBUH and he lived a long time after Musa PBUH. All three of them lived in different countries. Despite this, all 3 religions have so many similar stories.


From an archaeological point of view, many of the cities /countries mentioned in the Islamic texts such as Makkah, Medina, Tabuk, Yemen, Levantine /Asia Minor, Hunain and other places still exist today. Some places have undergone name changes such as “Persia” (now Iran and neighbouring countries), “Abyssinia” (now Ethiopia) and “Costantinople” (now Istanbul). Specific locations that were mentioned such as “Ghar Hira” where the revelation first came, can still be seen today. Likewise, many of the personal belongings of the Prophet PBUH and his companions can still be seen today in various museums, most notably at the Islamic museum at the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. This includes things such as swords, clothes and food bowls. Among the collection is a letter written by the scribe of the Prophet PBUH to Muqawqas, who was the leader of Egypt at the time.


Taking into account of all that has been mentioned earlier (including the prophesies, scientific references and archaeological evidence), could all of this simply be a pure coincidence? If after studying the religion and reading the Quran people have doubts, the challenge for creating a similar book is still open within the Quran itself:


أَمْ يَقُولُونَ افْتَرَاهُ ۖ قُلْ فَأْتُوا بِسُورَةٍ مِّثْلِهِ وَادْعُوا مَنِ اسْتَطَعْتُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ


Or do they say [about the Prophet], “He invented it?” Say, “Then bring forth a surah like it and call upon [for assistance] whomever you can besides Allah, if you should be truthful.” Surah Yunus 38


Of course, there is no compulsion in religion so it is mentioned in the Quran:


Say, “O disbelievers, I do not worship what you worship. Nor are you worshipers of what I worship. Nor will I be a worshiper of what you worship. Nor will you be worshipers of what I worship. For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.” (Surah Al Kafiroon)


People are therefore free to choose their paths in life. Still, being open minded and having knowledge and awareness is always useful, even if people do not agree with each other. If someone is Muslim, it helps to have a basic awareness and understanding of other religious beliefs and likewise if someone is not Muslim they are welcome to look at basic Islamic beliefs as well. I hope that this article has at least given you some basic understanding of the religion. Please feel free to have a look at the other articles and if you find them useful, please share them.

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