Flat earth?

Daniel 4:10-11—”This verse teaches that the earth is flat, for no tree could be visible to all parts of a spherical earth.”

The critic entirely ignores (or conceals) the fact that this passage is simply quoting how a pagan king tried to describe a bewildering dream he had. King Nebuchadnezzar may well have thought the earth to be flat. As dreams often do, his dream may have contorted physical realities, or he may have misunderstood the dream in his description. Yet the scripture is not to blame for accurately quoting this king’s fallible attempt to describe a dream. It shows the desperation of the critic, in his having to resort to dreams of pagan kings to disprove the Bible. One might as well say the Qur’ān teaches “Ezra is the son of Allah” since it quotes the statement apparently made by Jews (Tawbah 9:30).

The Qur’ān also has verses which appear to indicate a flat earth:

“Do they never reflect on .. the heaven, how it was raised on high? The mountains, how they were set down? The earth, how it was made flat?” (Al-Ghashiyah 88:18-20)

Renowned commentator Al-Jalalayn’s tafseer on this verse reads,

“As for His words sutihat , ‘laid out flat’, this on a literal reading suggests that the earth is flat, which is the opinion of most of the scholars of the Law, and not a sphere as astronomers have it…”1

Likewise, the Egypt Shafi’ie theologian Imam al-Suyuti also taught that the earth is flat.

  1. Available online from http://altafsir.com (Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, Jordan).

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