Do the disbelievers not realize that the heavens and earth were ˹once˺ one mass then We split them apart? And We created from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?

— Quran 21:30

disbelievers not realize

Allah points toward the disbeliever but whom? who was able to see this process 1400 years ago?

the heavens and earth were 'once' one mass then We split them apart?

Science still does not know about heaven and has no clue about it, so how could disbeliever see the splitting process of heaven and earth?

We created from water every living thing

Were the Arabs aware that every species is created from water?

Which peoples are referred to this verse? Kindly explain it. Jazak Allah.


1 Answer 1


First of all, there are different explanations of what this verse means. Some people like Tabari (following the opinions of Ikrimah and Ibn Zaid) understood this verse to refer to the rain and plants.

Meaning, the sky and land were uniform, and Allah sent down rain from the sky and brought out plants from the earth. In this interpretation, there is no problem because both rain and plant growth is seen by the disbelievers.

However, how would the verse work if it meant the common explanation today that the sky and earth were one mass before they were split apart?

Razi mentions in his tafsir:

If someone says: "Either ⟪Do the disbelievers not see⟫ refers to sight or knowledge. As for sight, it is problematic. Firstly, people definitely did not see it, and secondly, Allah says ⟪I did not make them witness to the creation of the heavens and the earth⟫ (18:51). As for knowledge, it is also problematic. Objects in essence can be together or separated, so saying they were first together then separated is only known by being told. The debate is with disbelievers that do not accept the message, so how can this sort of thing be used as evidence?

He answers this question in a couple different ways, and I will mention summarized points:

  • It means knowledge, not sight. And he responds to the objection that they cannot know it in a couple of ways:

    1. We prove the prophethood with many miracles and evidences, then (after proving prophethood) we use Allah's statements as evidence that the creation was first together before it was separated. We use this as evidence that creation has order and purpose behind it rather than being disordered.

    2. The People of the Book already have an account of creation and may have known of this fact, and the Arabs accepted much of their mythology. So, it is possible Allah is using one of their already present beliefs as evidence.

It seems to me that the second response is stronger. It is known in many mythologies that they have a story of creation that involves there being one thing first before it was separated into the universe. It is possible the Arabs had something similar.

This is plausibly because of remnants of the knowledge from past prophets. It can also be that they borrowed from Jewish or Christian sources.

However, there is another response to this question I did not see. Namely, that the construction "Don't the disbelievers see" is only being used rhetorically. Perhaps, it does not mean they literally saw or know this. It may just be a way of Allah informing them of this fact.

This may fall into the first response Razi mentions. Allah informs them of this and uses it as evidence of order in the creation because the revelation of Muhammad (SAW) is proven.

And Allah knows best.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .