Email with question:
Salamun alaykum, I have been told that the prophet Muhammad has split the moon in two halves with his index fingers, the Imam showed me the following hadith:
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 208:
Narrated by Anas bin Malik
The people of Mecca asked Allah’s Apostle to show them a miracle. So he showed them the moon split in two halves between which they saw the Hiram’ mountain.
He also told me that this is confirmed in the Quran:
“The Hour has come near, and the moon has split [in two].” 54:1
He said hat God used the past tense (the moon has split) and this confirms that it was done in the past by the Prophet. Can you please let me know the truth in this wasalam.
The first observation is that the words [in two] are not found in the Arabic Quran. It is obvious that they were added by the translator in order to make the Quranic words in harmony with the hadith!
This hadith is an example of many others which present clear contradictions to the Quranic truth. What is more serious is that all who believe such a hadith when the Quranic truth is shown to them are the ones who insist on disbelieving the Quran.
With regards to the issue of the “past tense” in the Quran, this should not always be taken literally. For example, we find a number of verses in the Quran which speak about the Day of Judgement (a future event for us), yet God used the past tense, the following are examples:
[78:19]The heaven was opened (futihat) like gates.
[78:20]The mountains were removed (suyyirat), as if they were a mirage.
These two verses speak about events which will take place at the end of the world, yet they are written in the past tense, as if they already happened! Many translators changed this to the future tense, as if they are correcting God’s grammar! They do so because the do not understand the reasons why God uses the past tense in such verses! The reasons are:
1- For God there is no past, present and future! The concept of ‘Time’ is a dimension of the physical universe which we live in, but for God there is no ‘Time’ nor is God confined to the issue of ‘Time’ like we are (we cannot see the future). God uses the past tense at times and the future tense at other times to demonstrate to us that for God there is no ‘Time’.
2- God is also telling us that these things (related to the end of he world) are a certainty. Think of the following example:
– A friend comes to you and asks you if you can lend him 20 dollars at the end of the month, so you tell: “It’s done”.
Obviously you have not lent him the money yet and you will not do that except at the end of the month, but you use the past tense to assure him that it is as good as done.
We have a number of Quranic verses which say that everything that will ever happen to us is already written in a master record with God from before the universe was created, which again confirms that God is not confined in any way to the concept of ‘Time’.
As a result, verses which use the past tense do not necessarily speak of something which has already happened (78:19-20 and also 54:1).
The second issue which gives us evidence that Muhammad did not split the moon (with his index fingers) is that the Quran gives us clear evidence that Muhammad did not have any personal miracles.
In 17:90-93 God tells us how the disbelievers went to Muhammad and asked him to produce any miracle to prove to them that he is a genuine messenger, but God commanded Muhammad to just say that he is no more than a human being who was given a message from God, or in other words he does not have any personal miracles to show them:
17:90 They said, “We will not believe you unless you cause a spring to gush out of the ground.
17:91 Or unless you own a garden of date palms and grapes, with rivers running through it.
17:92 Or unless you cause masses from the sky, as you claimed, to fall on us. Or unless you bring God and the angels before our eyes.
17:93 Or unless you own a luxurious mansion, or unless you climb into the sky. Even if you do climb, we will not believe unless you bring a book that we can read.” Say, “Glory be to my Lord. Am I any more than an ordinary human and a messenger?”
The same assurance, that Muhammad did not have any miracles, is given in the following verses:
10:20 “They say, “How come no miracle came down to him (Muhammad) from his Lord?” Say, “The future belongs to God; so wait, and I am waiting along with you.””
6:37 They said, “If only a miracle could come down to him (Muhammad) from his Lord!” Say, “God is able to send down a sign, but most of them do not know.””
God told us in the Quran about the miracles of many previous messengers like those of Moses (9 miracles), Jesus (e.g. raising the dead), Abraham (the birds which he split and placed on hill tops) and others. It would make no sense whatsoever for God to give personal miracles to Muhammad then keep them a secret from us, and instead tell us that Muhammad had no personal miracles!
If we take a look at the words of 54:1 one more time we read:
“The Hour (Judgement Day) has come close and the moon was split”54:1
We cannot overlook the sequence of events here, the words say that the Judgement Day will come close first and when that happens the moon will split.
Obviously the time when Muhammad was alive was not a time near the end of the world, so that once again is clear evidence that the splitting of the moon is not associated with Muhammad nor with the time of Muhammad, but is an event that will happen just before the end of the world.
This is the Quranic truth about this matter. Should we ignore all the Quranic evidence and insist that Muhammad split the moon with his index fingers?
This will be decided by whether we decide to believe the Quran or whether we insist on rejecting the Quran.