Qur'an 13:2, 31:10: "Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars that you can see". At first glance this may be read as simple mythology; it isn't saying there are really pillars holding up the heavens. Hence, the correct doctrine that the Earth is a planet orbiting the sun with no particular place "above" the earth, is compatible. However, it says without pillars that you can see. This means there are pillars you can't see. Perhaps, a force such as gravity? There is no such force - the heavens aren't held up in any way at all; gravity formed the Earth - "the heavens" is simply our view of the universe's stars. Although this verse is not a direct contradiction of science, it was surely written by someone who didn't know what the structure of the Universe really was, or, by someone who writes poor analogies!
Qur'an 7:54, 13:3, 91:1-4: "He brings the night as a cover over the day". This is simply wrong; darkness is the absence of light. The sun isn't 'concealed' - it is still there, burning brightly, but at night we are simply facing away from it on the Earth. Light is composed of photons with a frequency that our eyes are receptive to; there is no "cover" for the day, it is simply a period where light from the sun can't get around the far side of the Earth. The light is blocked by the Earth but in exactly the opposite way to a "cover", which goes above, for if you draw a line from the sun to the dark side of the Earth, the light-block is underneath our feet, not a cover. It is simply a bad analogy. This verse was written by someone who did not understand the physical properties of light and dark nor the positioning and motions of the sun and the Earth.
Qur'an 6:96-97 says that (1) God created the stars so that Humans could navigate at night time, (2) created night so humans could rest and (3) made the moon in order to calculate the months (also 10:5). Most of the logic here is backwards. Criticisms are: (1) The stars were always an incredibly confusing and poor method of navigation; us human beings have invented many better ways than the one God purportedly made! And it seems ridiculous that an entire universe of stars was created so that a fledgling species for a while could use them to steer boats. (2) We evolved to rest at night alongside all other animals - we adapted to night, rather than night being designed for us (consider animals that live at the poles, with completely different circadian patterns). (3) The months could be divided up according to star rhythms, or even just be counts of numbers of days; the division is arbitrary and not important. To state that the moon fulfils a non-existent requirement shows, like the other things mentioned in these verses, an intellectual shallowness and scientific ignorance on behalf of the author of those verses.
Comets chase devils away: The Qur'an contains dozens of verses that explain that devils sometimes sneak close to the earth to steal things, or, to listen in on things; such devils/jinn/evil spirits, are then chased away by bright flaming fires in the sky (sometimes translated as 'missiles'). The stars are also positioned in the 'near heavens' as guards, ready to be turned into such missiles. See Qur'an 15:16-18, 21:32, 37:10, 41:12, 67:5 and 72:8-9. In Arabian mythology it was commonly said that comets are fiery missiles chasing away devils; so the Quran's text on this matter merely results from the influence of local culture from the time of the founding of Islam. In reality, comets are not stars, and they're certainly not protectors of the Earth given the devastation that can be caused when large ones hit the ground.
The Earth Does Not Move: 35:41 says God holds the Earth and the Heavens still, so that they do not move. But this verse is simply completely wrong; the Earth orbits the sun, and the sun and all other stars are themselves moving in mobile galaxies. Nothing is fixed.
The Sun orbits the Earth: "And He it is Who has created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon, each in an orbit floating" (Qur'an 21:33). This is affirmed in 14:33 and 36:38-40. Less directly, 91:1-2 says that the moon follows the sun. This only makes sense if you think that the sun and moon both orbit the Earth.
Stars are in the "near" heaven: See 37:6-8 and 41:12. The visible stars are not in any "near heaven" but spread throughout the whole universe, near and far. The author of this verse did not appreciate the true scale of the universe, nor knew where stars are.
The Earth is Flat:
18:84-86,89-90 tells the story of a traveller who first travels to the extreme West, where he finds the sun setting in a muddy spring, and then, he travels to the extreme East to the point where it rises from, and it rises upon a particular people who are stationed there. Needless to say, this story is quite confused. The sun wouldn't fit in a muddy pool, and certainly doesn't set into one! Nor is there any special people above whom the sun rises because it stays put, and we all take turns to face it as the Earth spins. A story in the Hadiths confirms this; Sahih Bukhari, vol. 4, book 54:421 has Muhammad explain that the sun may one day not get permission to rise in the East, and darkness will fall over the whole Earth. This is rubbish; the only way for the sun not to rise is for the Earth to stop spinning. In which case, only half the Earth will be without sunlight - the other half will be in permanent daytime. It seems lucky for Muhammad, when he dictated the Qur'an, that God also thought the Earth was flat!
To pray facing Mecca only makes true sense if the command was written by those who think the world is flat. On the surface of a sphere, only those in the immediate vicinity can really "face" a location. Everyone else is staring out to space or must angle themselves downwards in a very strange manner which no Muslims hold to be the correct way. See: How to Pray in Islam, According to the Qur'an: 6. Quran 2:144-9: Facing Mecca - A Nonsensical Instruction That Only Makes Practical Sense on a Flat Earth.
Qur'an 78:6 says the world is a "wide" expanse. It fails to mention that it is actually more like a spherical one. Likewise many verses like 15:19 are often translated as saying the world is "spread out" or "flat".
Things go 'up' into heaven - 57:4. Things actually go "up" into space.
36:40 warns us that the sun and moon both float in orbits; however, rather than spread confusion and error, the Qur'an could have explained to people the truth that the moon orbits the Earth, and the Earth orbits the sun. It comes nowhere near making such statements. But in the verse just mentioned... it does console all those who believe we on Earth are looking up at a sun and a moon in orbit around us, and tells us they can't overtake each other, and the daytime will not be overtaken by permanent night. Well, it seems the Qur'an has done as much as the Bible to harm our understanding of astronomy.
Max Shimba Ministries