The Moon Cleft Asunder
By: Dr. / Zaghloul El-Naggar
Anas ibn Malik (A.S.) narrated that the people of Makkah asked the Prophet (PBUH) to show them a miracle , so he showed them the splitting of the moon , into two distinct parts , that they even saw the mountain of Hira' between them.
Explanation of the Hadith
This incident was narrated by a number of the companions of the Prophet (PBUH), among them were: 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar, 'Abdullah ibn Abbas and others. The Indian and Chinese calendars have recorded the incident of the splitting of the moon.
A few years ago while I was giving a lecture at the Faculty of Medicine at Cardiff University, in Wales, a Muslim asked me a question about the verses at the beginning of Surat al-Qamar (the moon), about the splitting of the moon, and whether it is considered as one of the scientific signs which are mentioned in the Qur'an and whether there is any scientific evidence discovered to explain this incident.
My answer was that this incident is considered one of the most tangible miracles, which took place to support the Prophet (PBUH) when he was challenged by the polytheists and disbelievers of Quraish, showing them this miracle to prove that he is a Messenger of Allah. Anyway, miracles take place as unusual incidents that break all regular laws of nature. Therefore, conventional science is unable to explain how miracles take place, and if they were not mentioned in the Qur'an and in the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH), we would not have been obliged to believe in them. Therefore, we believe that the incident of the splitting of the moon took place exactly as the words of Allah Glorified be Who says:
﴾ The Hour has drawn near , and the moon has been cleft asunder . And if they see a sign, they turn away, and say: (This is continuous magic). They belied (this Qur'an), and followed their own lusts. And every matter will be settled [according to the kind of deeds (for the doer of good deeds, his deeds will take him to Paradise, and similarly evil deeds will take their doers to Hell)]. And indeed there has come to them news (in this Qur'an) wherein there is (enough warning) to check (them from evil), Perfect wisdom (this Qur'an), but (the preaching of) warners benefit them not. ﴿
(Surat Al-Qamar (The Moon): 1-5)
When I finished my speech, a British man from the audience named Dawud Musa Pidcock, leader of the British Muslim Party, asked to add something to my answer. He said: “It is these verses, at the beginning of surat al-Qamar that made me embrace Islam in the late seventies.” This occurred while he was doing extensive research in comparative religion, and one of the Muslims gave him a copy of translation of the meanings of the Qur'an. When he opened this copy for the first time, he came across Surat al-Qamar, and he read the verses at the beginning of the surah, and could not believe that the moon had split into two distinct parts and they were rejoined, so he closed the copy of the translation and kept it aside.
In 1978 Mr. Pidcock was destined by Allah's Will to watch a program about space journeys, in which the well-known British announcer Jamed Burke, received three of the American space scientists. During the debate, the announcer kept criticizing the immoderate spending by NASA (millions of Dollars) on space projects, while there are millions of people on earth suffering from starvation, diseases and ignorance. The answer of the space experts came to assert that it was these journeys that made it feasible to develop important technology applied in medical diagnosis and treatment, industry, agriculture, and many other fields. During this debate, they referred to the first time that a human being landed on the surface of the moon, and how this trip cost more than $100 million dollars. The scientists went on to say that this journey proved a scientific fact, that if they had spent several times as much as they did to convince people with it, no body would have believed them. This fact was that the moon had been split a long time ago and rejoined, and there is a lot of concrete evidence on the surface of the moon to prove this.
Mr. Pidcock went on to say : “ When I heard this , I jumped off my chair , and said this is a miracle which took place fourteen hundred years ago to support Muhammad , and the Qur'an narrates it in such a detailed way . After this long period and during the age of science and technology, Allah employs people (non-Muslims) who spent all this money for nothing but to prove that this miracle had actually happened. Then, I said to myself, this must be the true religion, and I went back to the translation of the meanings of the Qur'an, reading it eagerly. It was these verses at the opening of surat al-Qamar that lie behind my reversion to Islam.”
This happens at a time when some Muslims claim that the splitting of the moon has not yet taken place, and that it is one of the signs of the Hereafter as the opening of the surah says: ﴾ The Hour has drawn near. ﴿ They are oblivious to the fact that the Prophet (PBUH) said in a hadith narrated by Imam Muslim , on the authority of Sahl ibn Sa'd that Sahl said : "I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) say :
“I and the Last Hour are (close to each other) like this (and he pointed by joining his forefinger, (one) next to the thumb and the middle finger (together).”
Those who deny the incident of the splitting of the moon, use incorrect evidence to support their opinion as they use the verse in surat al-Isra:
﴾ And nothing stops Us from sending the evidences (proofs , signs) but that the people of old denied them. ﴿
(Surat Al-Isrâ' (The Journey by Night): 59)
This verse is not used in the right context since many perceptible signs and miracles took place during the noble life of the Prophet (PBUH).
Peace and blessings of Allah be upon the seal of Prophets (PBUH) , for whom Allah made the moon split into two parts , twice , as an honor for him and to raise his rank and support his message (among his people) , and left for us a concrete evidence to prove that this splitting did actually take place .