According to this:- Does the Quran or any Hadith mentions the splitting of the Moon?

It's mentioned in the Quran that the moon was split into two. As the Quran is perfect and infallible, then Muslims must believe that the moon was indeed split into two and put back together again.

How is it possible that no other culture/civilization has a record of the moon being split into two? It was a time when people carefully observed and recorded even phenomena such as solar/lunar eclipse, since they were largely unexplained back then.

  • 1
    <comments deleted> Comments are intended for constructive criticism and seeking clarification, not for argument and debate.
    – goldPseudo
    Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 19:57

6 Answers 6


TL;DR: Do Muslims believe that the moon was split in two and put back again? It depends on the Muslim. Some do. Some don't.

Obviously Muslims do not think that under normal circumstances the moon can split it two.

Boromir meme: One does not simply split the moon in two

If we're going to believe the moon was literally was split in two, we're going to consider it a miracle of Allah.

In fact, Muslims believe that Allah created the moon to begin with:

And it is He who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon; all [heavenly bodies] in an orbit are swimming. -- Qur'an 21:33

If Allah wanted to split the moon in two, He need only say "Be!" and it is:

Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, "Be," and it is. -- Qur'an 2:117

So Muslims certainly believe that Allah could split the moon in two if He chose to.

What do scholars say?

Some Commentators of the Qur'an--Radi among them--have sought to solve this difficult problem by declaring the incident to be a lunar eclipse. Imam Ghazali and Shah Wali Allah also hold the view that the moon had not, in fact, been rent asunder, but that God has so designed that it appeared to the beholders as such. According to Ibn Abbas and Shah 'Abd al-'Aziz it was a kind of lunar eclipse. However, taking into consideration the forceful language in which it has been mentioned in the Qur'an, the incident appears to be something more than a mere lunar eclipse. It indeed constituted a great miracle shown by the Holy Prophet at the insistent demand of disbelievers. -- Malik Ghulam Farid (ed.), The Holy Qur'an (Arabic Text with English Translation & Short Commentary), 2003 (first published 1969), p. 1076.

In this passage alone, there's three different interpretations from Muslims: (a) "designed that it appeared to the beholders as such", (b) lunar eclipse, or (c) miracle.

Also note the Christian Bible says:

The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. (Joshua 10:12-14)

which is also scientifically impossible. Alypius at Christianity.SE writes: "Yes it was a miracle. It is clearly stated that God did this for Israel."

And it looks like Judaism also has some beliefs along the lines of "God can edit things in space at will"; see How did the moon shrink? at Judiasm.SE.

  • 2
    <comments deleted> Comments are intended for constructive criticism and seeking clarification, not for argument and debate.
    – goldPseudo
    Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 20:01
  • How is the part about Christianity and Judaism relevant?
    – G. Bach
    Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 20:29
  • 2
    @novice I strongly recommend you check our "Be Nice" policy: Whether or not you agree with someone's belief is no excuse for attacking the people who believe in it.
    – goldPseudo
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 1:47
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    For context: Malik Ghulam Farid was an Ahmadi. Without checking the sources, I would be quite reserved about accepting his description of what al-Ghazali or Ibn Abbas say.
    – G. Bach
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 14:18

In the other answers you may find the (largest) opinion about that the moon split.
I will quote another (valid) opinion here about the mentioned verse:

Most of the commentators see in this verse a reference to a phenomenon said to have been witnessed by several of the Prophet’s contemporaries. As described in a number of reports going back to some Companions, the moon appeared one night as if split into two distinct parts. While there is no reason to doubt the subjective veracity of these reports, it is possible that what actually happened was an unusual kind of partial lunar eclipse, which produced an equally unusual optical illusion. But whatever the nature of that phenomenon, it is practically certain that the above Qur’an -verse does not refer to it but, rather, to a future event: namely, to what will happen when the Last Hour approaches. (The Qur’an frequently employs the past tense to denote the future, and particularly so in passages which speak of the coming of the Last Hour and of Resurrection Day; this use of the past tense is meant to stress the certainty of the happening to which the verb relates.) Thus, Raghib regards it as fully justifiable to interpret the phrase inshaqqa l-qamar ("the moon is split asunder") as bearing on the cosmic cataclysm - the end of the world as we know it - that will occur before the coming of Resurrection Day (see art. shaqq in the Mufradat). As mentioned by Zamakhshari , this interpretation has the support of some of the earlier com­mentators; and it is, to my mind, particularly convincing in view of the juxtaposition, in the above Qur’an -verse, of the moon’s "splitting asunder" and the approach of the Last Hour. (In this connection we must bear in mind the fact that none of the Quranic allusions to the "nearness" of the Last Hour and the Day of Resurrection is based on the human concept of "time".)(Quran Ref: 54:1 ) (link)

From: “The Message of The Quran” translated and explained by Muhammad Asad

  • Also according to the tafsir of Razi (altafsir.com/…) This verse is a continuation of sura 53, where one of the last verses (57) contains: "The Day of Resurrection draws near,"
    – Kilise
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 21:54
  • This seems to miss part of the question, because sahih hadith do say that the moon was split during the lifetime of Muhammad, even if the Quran verse is interpreted to refer to a later event. So the answer to the question should be yes, they do because of the sahih hadith even if the Quran is interpreted to refer to judgment day. Commented Jan 11, 2020 at 15:10

I think the point here is how to interpret or translate the Arabic word "اِنْشَقَّ" in verse (54:1) which often is translated split or split in two pieces, the people who witnessed this event have reported to have seen it. We don't know what they have exactly seen, but maybe they've seen two different parts of the moon in a way which was strange and not familiar to them. He only conclusion from the reports is that the two parts could be distinguished somehow, so that a non-Scientist such as Abdullah ibn Masu'd described it as:

... one part remained over the mountain, and the other part went beyond the mountain ... (sahih al-Bukhari)

He said, "Be witnesses." Then a Piece of the moon went towards the mountain. (sahih al-Bukhari)

And Anas ibn Malik reported:

The people of Mecca asked Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) to show them a miracle. So he showed them the moon split in two halves between which they saw the Hira' mountain. (sahih al-Bukahri)

So the mountains referred to in this ahadith are the mountains of Mekka not that on the surface of the moon, so for sure nobody could see more of the moon as we are able to see now with naked eyes.

And as al-Qadi 'Iyad said (see wikipedia):

It has not been said of any people on the earth that the moon was observed that night such that it could be stated that it was not split. Even if this had been reported from many different places, so that one would have to exclude the possibility that all agreed upon a lie, yet, we would not accept this as proof to the contrary, for the moon is not seen in the same way by different people... An eclipse is visible in one country but not in the other one; in one place it is total, in the other one only partial.

The fact that something can be seen in a location, but not seen elsewhere is reasonably explained in this quote. Note that al-Qadi 'Iyad isn't a scientist but a scholar of fiqh and hadith sciences, but as you see a rational person!

Among the narrators of those reports two can't have been witnesses, but must have heard of it: ibn 'Abbas and Anas ibn Malik as both at least were little children at the time. And Anas was in Medina and the reports seem to indicate that the event happened before the hijrah.

Now to the linguistic perspective: اِنْشَقَّ can mean split or split in two pieces, but can also mean a superficial fissure which could be related to this picture https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/c/c0/Splitting_of_the_moon.jpg/330px-Splitting_of_the_moon.jpg

Note that some reports seem to indicate a partial eclipse, so that one part of the moon was dark and the other enlightened. This was reported by at-Tabarni in his al-Mu'jam al-Awsat (see here the Arabic original) on the authority of ibn 'Abbas who spoke about a partial solar eclipse. The disbelievers said according to this report: "Muhammad has hexed the sun".
In an other version quoted by sheikh at-Taher Benachour in his tafsir at-tahrir wa tanwir they said: "Muhammad has hexed the moon" this wording goes ahead with the verses following verse (54:1). The same report can be found in almost all tafsir books I've read so far beside those only quoting a split or witnessing the split (unfortunately qtafsir didn't quote this hadith from tafsir ibn Kathir, maybe because he quoted many more ahadith and this one was among the last and from a rather "secondary" source).
Some scholars even said that this verse shows a future event (saying it would happen on the day of Resurrection). This view was refuted by others as the verb in the verse is in past form, which indicates that this happened. Some say that the fact that the moon can be "split" this way was sign for the disbelievers that something similar could happen to earth etc. too so the sign was a warning for them. So far the classical view.

To me the eclipse explanation seems the most convincing and if we check the Nasa calculation we will find that between 610 and 622 only 5 partial eclipses could have been occurred or evidenced in Mekka and only the first of them was at the evening (before sunset). And this would explain why other cultures didn't pay too much attention at this event, as partial eclipses may occur very often and are nothing special, the special thing here is that it happens at the right time at right place! So the word "اِنْشَقَّ" in this verse is very ambiguous and could mean a lot more than we might conclude from first sight! I'd say it describes what the people saw "a split": something well known which at a certain time looked strange as if it was cut into two pieces!

Some sources suggest an other possibility: A meteorite in this seems to be witnessed elsewhere too (This article has been edited too many times, I've read older articles referencing it).

Other sources suggest something the Nasa holds as a theory too (at least to some extent): That Earth and Moon have been "split" but that would mean that this event has occurred "long" ago!

From modern Tafsir

In his tafsir Tafhim al-Quran abul 'ala' al-Maududi discusses the criticism of this event saying:

The critics raise two kinds of objections against it.

  • In the first place, they say it is impossible that a great sphere like the Moon should split asunder into two distinct parts, which should get hundreds of miles apart and then rejoin.
  • Secondly, they say if it had so happened, it would be a well-known event in the world and would have found mention in the books of History and Astronomy.
    But, in fact, both these objections are flimsy.
  • As for the discussion of its possibility, it could perhaps find credibility in the ancient days but on the basis of what man has cane to know in the present day about the structure of the planets, it can be said that it is just possible that a sphere may burst because of its internal volcanic action and its two parts may be thrown far apart by the mighty eruption, and then may rejoin under the magnetic force of their center.
  • As for the second objection, it is flimsy because the event had taken place suddenly and lasted a short time only. It was not necessary that at that particular moment the world might be looking at the Moon. There was no explosion either that might have attracted the people's attention; there was no advance information of it that the people might be awaiting its occurrence and looking up at the sky. It could not also be seen everywhere on the earth but only in Arabia and the eastern (ands where the Moon had risen and was visible at that time. The taste and art of writing history also had not yet developed so that the people who might have witnessed it, should have made a record of it and then sane historian might have gathered the evidence and preserved it in some book of History. However, in the Histories of Malabar mention has been made of a native ruler who had witnessed this phenomenon that night. As for the books of Astronomy and Calendars, this event might have been mentioned in them only if the event had affected the movement of the Moon, its orbit and the times of its rising and setting. As no such thing happened, it did not attract the ancient astronomers' attention. The observatories also were not so developed that they might have taken notice of everything happening in the heavens and preserved a record of it.

At least this seems to show that it was witnessed by other cultures! If you can read German also take a look into this "paper" which shows other interpretations and explanations.
Ibn Kathir when quoting this story in his historical book al-Bidya wa-nihaya also gave reasons why it wasn't quoted elsewhere saying that disbelievers either forgot about it, didn't witness it as it was short, at night (this would be hard to explain in case of the eclipse theory, but ibn Kathir and all other classical Quran-Interpreters considered at-Tabarani's book as a secondary source, mabe a mistake?), maybe (somewhat) localized etc. or for the simple and obvious reason that it would mean that they would admit it was true while they deny or reject Islam and the miracles of Muhammad()!
Also note that nobody would be exploring or staring at the moon at that time except for the people of Mekka whom had challenged Muhammad () to do such a thing! So the chances are few that people elsewhere have witnessed such an event. This article seem to follow a theory of a falling meteorite ...

On the whole the miracle of this event -whatever it was and whatever both Muslims and the Mekkan pagans saw- is that it happened just after the disbelievers asked Muhammad () to give them a sign. Note that nobody pretends that the moon was split and put back again as you said.

Some mysteries from the Nasa reports

Here some attempts to explain the findings and observations from the moon:

The origin of lunar sinuous rilles remains controversial. Among the alternatives proposed are lava channels and lava tubes, but fracture control is decidedly apparent in some places (source)

A spider web of cracks on the crater floor suggested to R. B. Baldwin (1968) that the floor was bowed up in the middle. Later, dark mare lavas flooded low areas in the outer part of the floor and covered the cracks (source)

  • Do you know if this event was before or after the famous event when the people asked for a miracle, and jibril explained to the prophet what would happen to the people if they were shown a miracle and disbelieved in it?
    – Kilise
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 10:03
  • @Kilise I have no idea, but it happened in Mekka so Anas ibn Malik was no witness of it and must have heard it from other sahaba like ibn Mas'ud etc.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 10:31
  • Alright, thanks! If you want to add more details; there is a tradition which could be find here: altafsir.com/… stating: وعن بعض الناس: أن معناه ينشق يوم القيامة and islamicity.com/quransearch/shownote.asp?chap=54&note=1
    – Kilise
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 10:35
  • "but can also mean a superficial fissure which could be related to this picture" No one can see the rille Rima Ariadaeus with the naked eye. It certainly would be completely different from what the ahadith describe, and in no way is a rille (a long groove) anything strange.
    – G. Bach
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 13:06
  • The "might have been a partial eclipse" explanation also doesn't fit the description; the Arabs were quite familiar with eclipses and would not have considered an eclipse to be witchcraft. "It has not been said of any people on the earth that the moon was observed that night such that it could be stated that it was not split." This is quite bogus too; people don't write down common occurrences ("moon - same as every night, totally normal"). As said above, an eclipse would not be seen as special by the Arabs of the time; I'm not aware of other lunar events that would be as localized as that.
    – G. Bach
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 13:14

"this event is scientifically impossible and logically implausible" - That is what a miracle is by definition, something which defies the laws of nature/science as we know them. There would be nothing "miraculous" about an event if it fit within scientific possibilities. Think outside the box!!

Further, there is plausible explanation for why this isn't widely reported by other civilizations. People all around the world do not see the moon at the same time. So it would be a very limited number of areas which could've seen it to begin with. And of those areas, majority of people would've been asleep anyway. Plus, 7th century Arabia was not like 21st Century West where telescopes and cameras are pointed at the moon 24/7. You would really have to be expecting it in order to notice it.

I'm sure all of Arabia heard of the claim that Muhammad (ﷺ) split the moon yet none of them [including the academics of the time] came out saying otherwise, that they had witnessed the moon and it was not split. So you cannot claim it was a false incident because you haven't presented evidence which falsifies it. -- The skeptics/disbelievers of the time to whom it was shown did not even deny they saw the moon split; they just made an excuse for it (ie, magic).

And let us assume that people in other areas HAD noticed the moon that night. What they saw that night is not documented (as far as we currently are aware). It may even be possible that they had seen it and wrote about it but the records were lost over time, as many writings generally were. No one else had has a preservation and authentification system as superior as Islam had.

Islam has authentic, historical witness testimonies concerning the split moon. As Muslims, we 100% believe in the Qur'an and every thing it states.. but this is also further supporting evidence.

Narrated Abdullah: "The moon was cleft asunder while we were in the company of the Prophet, and it became two parts. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, Witness, witness (this miracle)" - Bukhari (388).

  • 1
    <comments deleted> Comments are intended for constructive criticism and seeking clarification, not for argument and debate.
    – goldPseudo
    Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 19:59

The moon was split in the time of the Prophet (SAW), and it was a miracle for the Arabs no different to the staff of Musa (AS) turning into a snake.

What is the basic evidence of it?

Before we deconstruct objections to the event, let us first consider the evidences of it. The moon splitting is recorded in the Quran (although some few scholars have tried to offer different interpretations of the verses, the overwhelming majority has maintained it) and it is mentioned in many ahadith from different companions.

The reports of the moon splitting have been graded as mutawatir (mass-transmitted at every level) such that it cannot be fabricated or a mistake on a narrator's part.

Not all the companions that mentioned it were eye-witnesses to the events, so a person may ask: Why should I accept ahadith as evidence of people that didn't even see it?

This is why. What these ahadith prove at the very least is that this miracle was claimed by the Muslims at the time of the Prophet and companions, and they also claimed that many people from Quraish (at least and perhaps other Arabs as well) saw it. Claiming something entirely false in the presence of the supposed eye-witnesses and not losing your entire credibility as a result is itself affirmation by the hundreds of eye-witnesses.

What we know is that the Arabs after this claimed event occurred increased in their acceptance of Islam. It is also telling that we have recorded many of the Quraish's responses to this claimed miracle. They say that it was an illusion or magic hence denying not the event but the cause of it.

Shouldn't we have records of other people seeing it?

There are many issues and assumptions that go into this objection. First, I will list some of the reasons we shouldn't.

Related to the event itself:

  • Only a part of earth is at night at any given time.

  • Night is when most people are asleep. So, the witness pool is even smaller, and only on one portion of the earth.

  • It happened for a short duration. A person who was not told that the moon would split that night would just assume he saw something else: a cloud or an illusion.

  • Weather conditions may further reduce the amount of people who could see it.

Related to the historical time period:

  • Most people were illiterate. People could not just take out their cellphone and record everything.

  • There were few astronomers who would intentionally be observing the sky. Even those that did observe wouldn't do it always or without sleep.

  • Documents surviving from that time are very few.

Misconception of Meticulous Astronomy

Some people are under the misconception that this was a time of great meticulous record keeping of astronomical events. This couldn't be further from the truth.

It's just based on a lack of understanding of the historical context. Let us take another astronomical event that occurred: a supernova called SN 1054 which happened in 1054 AD.

This appeared basically as an extremely bright star (even brighter than venus) visible in the sky (both day and night) for almost a year! Millions of people without doubt saw this event. Do you know how many sources record it?

Even ignoring the inconsistencies and issues in many of the sources and whether they actually refer to it, there are only a handful of sources. Let us give it the hypothetical (too high) number 50.

If you divide the amount of time this phenomenon was visible and the fact that all parts of the world could see it by the same amounts for the splitting of the moon, you would see why it is hardly shocking no historical sources mention the moon.

The idea that astronomy was well-recorded in the past is a misconception.

What if everyone saw it?

There is a further reason Allah would intentionally prevent other people from seeing the splitting of the moon as mentioned by our scholars.

If other people saw it, they might give it false religious significance or false prophets could try to use it until Islam reaches them. When Islam reaches them, they would say: "Our prophet simply used the splitting of the moon like your prophet."

Basically, it would become a common phenomenon, and people would just say the Prophet used it after it had already happened!

The people of scientific mind today would say it was some sort of natural phenomenon that occurred and many false prophets used it. Thus, the evidentiary power of the miracle is lost.

However, as it is now, it is still well-proven that it occurred and the Arabs saw it while being impossible to deny that, if it occurred, it occurred only for the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

And Allah knows best.


Do you remember learning about the refraction of light at school? Yes?: then has it crossed your mind that what Mohammed and the people around him saw was an illusion caused by the air refracting light coming from the moon towards Mecca? That would explain why no one away from Mecca saw the anything unusual. The refraction only worked if you were in the line of sight from the Moon to Mecca. Yes, it is not impossible that the splitting of the Moon was visible away from Mecca but that no-one away from Mecca noticed the split, or that if anyone did notice the split they forgot about it, or did not bother to write down what they saw or if they did write down what they saw, every single record was lost or destroyed later.
But that is far fetched. Maybe, there are no records of anyone away from Mecca seeing the Moon split because the Moon never did split. What about this Indian king who is said to have seen the Moon split? Is the original manuscript upon which the account was written still around? If so, has anyone dated when it was written? Unless the original manuscript is still around and unless it can be shown to have been written soon after 617CE when the split would have happened, the story of the Indian king seeing the Moon split might be no more than a story.

  • Welcome to Islam.SE! Please check out a tour of our site to learn more about how this site works. This answer attempts to address a different question; namely, why isn't the report of the moon splitting mentioned in other sources. If you wish to address that question, please ask a separate question and answer it yourself. However, this question asks if Muslims believe that the moon was split in two, not about why others didn't record this event. Commented Jan 11, 2020 at 14:59

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