scientific discoveries in the Quran
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13 Scientific Discoveries Mentioned in the Quran

Aside from our Holy Quran serving us as a moral and spiritual guide, with advice, commands, stories, and lessons, it also consists of historical and scientific discoveries. Such information was sent down from Allah and compiled into the Quran way before it was even discovered and confirmed to be a fact through scientific research! Some of these facts will make you think, “How on earth could anyone at that time have known if not for it being the word of God?”

Such miracles of the Quran serve as evidence of God, His knowledge of all things, and proof of His divine word. We know that the Quran was brought down to us through the narration of the angel Gabriel to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) piece by piece until it was compiled after the passing of the prophet in the 7th century. (Keep this in mind for reference!)

Compiled here is a list of 13 scientific discoveries that were first mentioned in the Quran before being discovered through scientific research.

1. The Extension of Mountains Under the Sea & Under the Ground

Source: Kace Rodriguez via Unsplash

اَلَمْ نَجْعَلِ الْاَرْضَ مِهٰدًاۙ (٦) وَٱلْجِبَالَ أَوْتَادًۭا (٧)

The Quran (78:6-7)

Translation: “Have We not made the earth as a bed, and the mountains as pegs?”

This verse refers to the mountains as pegs, alluding to the fact that they extend under the ground or sea. Mountains were not theorized to have roots until the mid-1800s, and the first seamount wasn’t discovered until the late 1800s!

2. The Continental Drift

Source: @OscarHLW via Twitter

وَتَرَى ٱلْجِبَالَ تَحْسَبُهَا جَامِدَةًۭ وَهِىَ تَمُرُّ مَرَّ ٱلسَّحَابِ ۚ صُنْعَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَتْقَنَ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ خَبِيرٌۢ بِمَا تَفْعَلُونَ (٨٨)

The Quran (27:88)

Translation: “Now you see the mountains, thinking they are firmly fixed, but they are traveling just like clouds. That is the design of Allah, Who has perfected everything. Surely He is All-Aware of what you do.”

It is now a well-known fact that plate tectonics happened in the earth’s past, and are in fact in constant motion. However, the theory of plate tectonics has only been universally accepted as true just over the last 110 years, when the theory began to gain attention in 1912.

3. The Expansion of the Universe & the Big Bang Theory

أَوَلَمْ يَرَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓا۟ أَنَّ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ كَانَتَا رَتْقًۭا فَفَتَقْنَـٰهُمَا ۖ وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ ٱلْمَآءِ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ حَىٍّ ۖ أَفَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ (٣٠)

The Quran (21:30)

Translation: “Do not the disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were a closed-up mass, then We opened them out? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?”

وَٱلسَّمَآءَ بَنَيْنَـٰهَا بِأَيْي۟دٍۢ وَإِنَّا لَمُوسِعُونَ (٤٧)

The Quran (51:47)

Translation: “And heaven (is also a sign). We have built it with (Our) Hands and surely We are indeed extending (it) wide.”

It wasn’t proven until the 1920s that distant galaxies were receding from the earth and therefore causing the universe to expand. The idea behind the Big Bang Theory is that the universe began as simply a single point, then it expanded and grew as enormous as it is now, while continuing to stretch. The revelation and verification of cosmic microwave background radiation in the year 1965 secured the Big Bang Theory as the best theory behind the inception and transformation of the universe.

4. The Atmosphere Protecting the Earth

Scientific Discoveries in the Quran
Source: @MattheMonawar via Twitter

(٣٢) ‏وَجَعَلْنَا ٱلسَّمَآءَ سَقْفًۭا مَّحْفُوظًۭا ۖ وَهُمْ عَنْ ءَايَتِهَا مُعْرِضُونَ ‎

The Quran (21:32)

Translation: “We made the sky a protective ceiling. And yet they are turning away from Our signs!”

Notice this verse comes just two verses after the previously discussed verse about the expanding universe. The atmosphere protects the earth from meteorites and radiation, while simultaneously protecting it from the freezing cold of space. It wasn’t until the 1600s that we discovered what the atmosphere is and what it contains.

5. The Sun’s Orbit

وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلَّيْلَ وَٱلنَّهَارَ وَٱلشَّمْسَ وَٱلْقَمَرَ ۖ كُلٌّۭ فِى فَلَكٍۢ يَسْبَحُونَ (٣٣)

The Quran (21:33)

Translation: “And He is the One Who created the day and the night, the sun and the moon — each traveling in an orbit.”

Notice this verse is written in the Quran immediately following the previously mentioned verse about the atmosphere. While there have been theories of the moon and planets moving in an orbit around the sun since ancient times, it wasn’t until as late as the early 1900s that science confirmed that the sun was in motion and revolving around its own galaxy.

6. Internal Ocean Waves & Darkness in Its Depths

أَوْ كَظُلُمَـٰتٍۢ فِى بَحْرٍۢ لُّجِّىٍّۢ يَغْشَىٰهُ مَوْجٌۭ مِّن فَوْقِهِۦ مَوْجٌۭ مِّن فَوْقِهِۦ سَحَابٌۭ ۚ ظُلُمَـٰتٌۢ بَعْضُهَا فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ إِذَآ أَخْرَجَ يَدَهُۥ لَمْ يَكَدْ يَرَىٰهَا ۗ وَمَن لَّمْ يَجْعَلِ ٱللَّهُ لَهُۥ نُورًۭا فَمَا لَهُۥ مِن نُّورٍ (٤٠)

The quran (24:40)

Translation: “Or (their deeds) are like layers of darkness in a vast deep sea overwhelmed by a wave, above which there is another wave, above which there are clouds — layers of darkness, one above the other. When one puts forth his hand, he can hardly see it; and the one to whom Allah does not give light can have no light at all.”

The discovery of internal ocean waves did not occur until the late 1800s and was further understood decades afterward when — due to the help of more modern inventions in the 20th century — descents deep enough to observe the fading of light in bodies of water took place.

7. Bodies of Water With Barriers Interfering With Mixing

Scientific Discoveries in the Quran
Source: Ivan Bandura via Unsplash

وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِى مَرَجَ ٱلْبَحْرَيْنِ هَـٰذَا عَذْبٌۭ فُرَاتٌۭ وَهَـٰذَا مِلْحٌ أُجَاجٌۭ وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَهُمَا بَرْزَخًۭا وَحِجْرًۭا مَّحْجُورًۭا (٥٣)

The quran (25:53)

Translation: “And He is the One Who merges the two bodies of water: one fresh and palatable and the other salty and bitter, placing between them a barrier they cannot cross.”

أَمَّن جَعَلَ ٱلْأَرْضَ قَرَارًۭا وَجَعَلَ خِلَـٰلَهَآ أَنْهَـٰرًۭا وَجَعَلَ لَهَا رَوَٰسِىَ وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَ ٱلْبَحْرَيْنِ حَاجِزًا ۗ أَءِلَـٰهٌۭ مَّعَ ٱللَّهِ ۚ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ (٦١)

The quran (27:61)

Translation: “Or ask them, “Who made the earth a place of settlement, caused rivers to flow through it, placed firm mountains upon it, and set a barrier between fresh and salt bodies of water? Was it another god besides Allah?” Absolutely not! But most of them do not know.”

مَرَجَ ٱلْبَحْرَيْنِ يَلْتَقِيَانِ (١٩) بَيْنَهُمَا بَرْزَخٌۭ لَّا يَبْغِيَانِ (٢٠)

The quran (55:19-20)

Translation: “He merges the two bodies of fresh and saltwater, yet between them is a barrier they never cross.”

Thermoclines, chemoclines, and pycnoclines are occurrences known to provoke this type of phenomenon, and we can find many examples of bodies of water with barriers as a result of these clines. These anomalies seem to have only been studied and defined in the 1900s.

8. Living Things Consisting Mostly of Water

Scientific Discoveries in the Quran
Source: @RH7ii__ via Twitter

أَوَلَمْ يَرَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓا۟ أَنَّ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ كَانَتَا رَتْقًۭا فَفَتَقْنَـٰهُمَا ۖ وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ ٱلْمَآءِ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ حَىٍّ ۖ أَفَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ (٣٠)

the quran (21:30)

Translation: “Do not the disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were a closed-up mass, then We opened them out? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?”

You may notice this is the same verse we first highlighted that also references the expansion of the universe. Living things were not discovered to be made from water until after the invention of the microscope, which took place in the late 1500s.

9. Embryology

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا ٱلْإِنسَـٰنَ مِن سُلَـٰلَةٍۢ مِّن طِينٍۢ (١٢) ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَـٰهُ نُطْفَةًۭ فِى قَرَارٍۢ مَّكِينٍۢ (١٣) ثُمَّ خَلَقْنَا ٱلنُّطْفَةَ عَلَقَةًۭ فَخَلَقْنَا ٱلْعَلَقَةَ مُضْغَةًۭ فَخَلَقْنَا ٱلْمُضْغَةَ عِظَـٰمًۭا فَكَسَوْنَا ٱلْعِظَـٰمَ لَحْمًۭا ثُمَّ أَنشَأْنَـٰهُ خَلْقًا ءَاخَرَ ۚ فَتَبَارَكَ ٱللَّهُ أَحْسَنُ ٱلْخَـٰلِقِينَ (١٤)

The quran (23:12-14)

Translation: “And indeed, We created humankind from an extract of clay, then placed each human as a sperm-drop in a secure place, then We developed the drop into a clinging clot of blood, then developed the clot into a lump of flesh, then developed the lump into bones, then clothed the bones with flesh, then We brought it into being as a new creation. So Blessed is Allah, the Best of Creators.”

These verses describe the process of conception wherein the sperm sits in the uterus, and how it then develops into an embryo and then into a shapeless lump, before developing bony structures and covering it with flesh. These stages were not well-considered and studied until around the 17th century shortly after the invention of the microscope, and further confirmed with ultrasound technology in the 1950s. 

10. The Capacities of the Prefrontal Cortex of the Brain

كَلَّا لَئِن لَّمْ يَنتَهِ لَنَسْفَعًۢا بِٱلنَّاصِيَةِ (١٥) نَاصِيَةٍۢ كَـٰذِبَةٍ خَاطِئَةٍۢ (١٦)

The quran (96:15-16)

Translation: “But no! If he does not desist, We will certainly drag him by the forelock— a lying, sinful forelock.”

The first major discovery relating to the prefrontal cortex (which is located in the forehead region) associated its capabilities and functions with intelligent thinking, personality, and decision-making (this includes lying!), in the mid-1800s. 

11. Female Bees Ingesting Nectar to Produce Honey

وَأَوْحَىٰ رَبُّكَ إِلَى ٱلنَّحْلِ أَنِ ٱتَّخِذِى مِنَ ٱلْجِبَالِ بُيُوتًۭا وَمِنَ ٱلشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعْرِشُونَ (٦٨) ثُمَّ كُلِى مِن كُلِّ ٱلثَّمَرَٰتِ فَٱسْلُكِى سُبُلَ رَبِّكِ ذُلُلًۭا ۚ يَخْرُجُ مِنۢ بُطُونِهَا شَرَابٌۭ مُّخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَٰنُهُۥ فِيهِ شِفَآءٌۭ لِّلنَّاسِ ۗ إِنَّ فِى ذَٰلِكَ لَـَٔايَةًۭ لِّقَوْمٍۢ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ (٦٩)

The quran (16:68-69)

Translation: “And your Lord inspired the bees: “Make your homes in the mountains, the trees, and in what people construct, and feed from the flower of any fruit you please and follow the ways your Lord has made easy for you.” From their bellies comes forth liquid of varying colors, in which there is healing for people. Surely in this is a sign for those who reflect.”

Upon looking at the translation here, we cannot see its full significance due to linguistic differences. However, the Arabic grammar in the Quran refers to the worker bees as females in the act of collecting nectar, as well as when referencing their stomachs in which they produce the honey. Records don’t seem to have recognized worker bees as entirely female until some time around the 1800s. 

12. Iron Being Sent Down to Earth

لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِٱلْبَيِّنَـٰتِ وَأَنزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ وَٱلْمِيزَانَ لِيَقُومَ ٱلنَّاسُ بِٱلْقِسْطِ ۖ وَأَنزَلْنَا ٱلْحَدِيدَ فِيهِ بَأْسٌۭ شَدِيدٌۭ وَمَنَـٰفِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَلِيَعْلَمَ ٱللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُۥ وَرُسُلَهُۥ بِٱلْغَيْبِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ قَوِىٌّ عَزِيزٌۭ (٢٥)

The quran (57:25)

Translation: “Indeed, We sent Our messengers with clear proofs, and with them, We sent down the Scripture and the balance of justice so that people may administer justice. And We sent down iron with its great might, benefits for humanity, and means for Allah to prove who is willing to stand up for Him and His messengers without seeing Him. Surely Allah is All-Powerful, Almighty.”

A study in 1928 found that the iron in an ancient Egyptian artifact had a high nickel content, which is a feature of iron meteorites. This discovery led to the theory that this material came from outside of earth. It is now a noted fact that iron’s origin is indeed from space.

13. Pain Receptors Present Within Skin

إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا سَوْفَ نُصْلِيهِمْ نَارًۭا كُلَّمَا نَضِجَتْ جُلُودُهُم بَدَّلْنَـٰهُمْ جُلُودًا غَيْرَهَا لِيَذُوقُوا۟ ٱلْعَذَابَ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًۭا (٥٦)

The quran (4:56)

Translation: “Surely, those who reject Our signs, We will cast them into the Fire. Whenever their skin is burnt completely, We will replace it, so they will constantly taste the punishment. Indeed, Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.”

This verse suggests that our skin has pain receptors present within it. Although, for a while, scientists theorized that the feeling and sensation of pain were determined by the brain. Nociceptors (the sensory receptors that detect pain and are present in skin) were discovered in 1906.

Thanks to the revelation of the Quran, these are facts that Muslims have known for over 1400 years now, while most of these realities have only been confirmed by science in the last couple of hundred years!

And who knows, maybe later on there will be even more discoveries that we will be able to reference back to the Quran. It is important to remember, however, that the Quran is not a science book, but rather that it is consistent with science. It serves as a guide to us and impacts every aspect of our lives as we use it as a model for our lifestyles.

Not your typical muslim/american/gen z/leftist/human stereotype.