Quran and Mountains

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How Mountains are formed

With advent of plate tectonics theory in sixties and seventies, science was able to describe the process of mountain building. Before plate tectonic theory they were multiples model and  none of them was able to answer the true process of mountain building. Plate tectonic theory revolutionized the concepts of geology. Plate tectonic theory was able to satisfy the Geo scientists for many of geological processes. One important process was “Orogeny” mountains building process. It is not possible to investigate of study the most of part of mountains. And It is also not possible to drill down to earth.According to plate tectonic theory the upper part of earth that is  crust and upper few kilometers of mantle are rigid slab of rocks. They float on semi solid material beneath (Asthenosphere). Each slab is called plate and there are about 21 prominent plates. These plates can be oceanic or continental referring to oceanic and continental distribution respectively.

These plates are mobile and driven by convectional currents in asthenosphere. Every plate has its own relative movement relative to other plates. These plates interact with other in different ways resulting different landforms and topographies. If one of the oceanic and continental part collide each other, the oceanic part being more dense subducts beneath the crustal part and in result arc of mountains are formed. In the other case if two continental  plates merge together they result in accumulation of material forming mountains. For example  High rise Himalayas in India, Nepal and Pakistan are formed in result of converging Eurasian
plate and Indian Plate. We can only see the exterior of mountains and It is not easy to drill down the mountains so to verify this plate tectonic theory by geo physical tools.

Image source: Earth, Press and Siever, p. 413.

Isostasy is concept in geophysics which can be easily understood by iceberg analogy. Similar to an ice which has most of its mass below water a mountain have large mass intruded below the earth. This concept was discovered in India around 1800’s when british surveyer were mapping Northern part of India. They observed that the plumb bob was deflecting towards Himalayan foothills. Few hypotheses were made to explain this but Airy’s model is considered best to explain this phenomina.  Airy hypothesized that mountains have “roots” which extend down into the mantle.  Therefore, elevation is proportional to the depth of the underlying “root”.

What Quran says about Mountains?

The concept of mountain building is also described in Quran. Quran described the mountains in words:

Have We not made the earth as a bed, and the mountains as pegs?  (Quran, 78:6-7)

Quran was revealed more than 1400 years ago, in the time when there was no scientific studies to examine the subsurface. Quran say that mountains have roots which are embedded in earth like pegs. At that time when people were not aware about the science of mountain building, the Quran told the exact shape of mountains. Comparing this verse with Airy model which is most accurate model to date it can be confirmed that Quran is book from the Only creater, Allah. The other term “bed” is also used is earth science to describe flat bodies  of rocks.

learn quran airy earth mountain
Image source: (Anatomy of the Earth, Cailleux, p. 220.)

Quran say’s:

And He has set firm mountains in the earth so that it would not shake with you…  (Quran, 16:15)

The most accurate and up to date theory of Plate Tectonics is concordant with this verse  that mountains work as stablizer to earthquakes. There are weak zones (decollement) in mountains which act as shock absorber for earthquakes.

islam and mountains

These two concepts were presented in Quran at time of Prophet Mohammed Peace be Upon Him when there were no considerable scientific advancements. No one knew that there are mountains below mountains.The Quran was only book for centuries that asserted the real shape of mountain. Now recent work in field of Geology has confirmed the concepts mentioned in Quran.

Author: Learn Quran Staff

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