Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Flat Earth Quran Revisited

Sam Shamoun

In this article we are going to provide irrefutable evidence that the Quran teaches that the earth is flat. We will demonstrate from the lexical sources that the Islamic scripture employs virtually all the Arabic words one could use to highlight the fact of the earth being a flat object, as opposed to a sphere. 



[It is] he who hath stretched forth (madda) the earth, and placed therein stedfast [mountains], and rivers; and hath ordained therein of every fruit two [different] kinds. He causeth the night to cover the day. Herein are certain signs unto people who consider. S. 13:3 Sale

And We have spread out the earth (flat) (madadnaha); Placed mountains (on it) firm and immovable; And in it made all kinds of things in proper balance. S. 15:19 Syed Vickar Ahamad 

And the earth, we have stretched it out (madadnaha) and thrown thereon firm mountains, and caused to grow thereon every beautiful kind. S. 50:7 Palmer

Here are a couple more places in the Quran where this particular Arabic word appears:

Hast thou not regarded thy Lord, how He has stretched out (madda) the shadow? Had He willed, He would have made it still. Then We appointed the sun, to be a guide to it; S. 25:45 Arberry

Would anyone argue that a shadow is actually spherical in shape?

“And when the earth is flattened out (muddat), And casts forth what is within it and becomes (clean) empty,” S. 84:3-4 Y. Ali

What makes this last example rather interesting is that it clearly contradicts all of the other texts, which speak of the earth already being flattened out. In light of this, how much more flatter can the earth get? 

Even more interesting is the following Muslim exposition of Q. 84:3:

The present Surah depicts the conditions that will prevail on the Day of Judgement, such as reckoning and accountability, reward of good and torment of evil. The heedless man is asked to look into himself and his environs, which will lead him to believe in Allah and the Qur'an. [The powerful opening of the Surah sketches some of the scenes of universal upheaval]. First, it speaks about the sky that will split apart. Then it goes on to speak about the earth that will be stretched and will throw up whatever it contains – whether natural treasures, or buried treasures, or dead human bodies, and then it will become empty. A new earth will be prepared for Hashr  (Gathering of the Day of Requital). It will have neither caves nor mountains, neither buildings nor trees. IT WILL BE FLAT and smooth. It will be stretched so that there is ample room for the former as well as the latter generations to gather on the plain…” (Maariful-Qur'an, by Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi', translated by Prof. Muhammad Hasan Askari & Prof. Muhammad Shamim, revised by Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani, Volume 8, p. 739; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Here the Maulana candidly acknowledges that the Arabic verb means that Allah will literally flatten out the earth on the Day of Judgment. And yet when this same verb is used in Q. 13:3, a text which says that Allah has already made the earth a flat surface, this same scholar ends up singing a different tune in order to avoid having to admit that the Quran is a flat earth book:

“The expression: 'spread out the earth' is not contradictory of its being round – because each part of something very big and round appears to be, when looked at separately, nothing but a surface spread out – and the Quran addresses common people in terms of their view of things. Since a common onlooker sees it as a spread-out surface, therefore, it was identified as such…” (Ibid., Volume 5, p. 187; bold emphasis ours)

Talk about someone being so grossly inconsistent and desperate!


Here is how the Arabic lexicons define this word:

Miim-Dal-Dal = to draw a thing (namely a rope), pull a thing, stretch a thing, strain a thing, extend by drawing or pulling, stretch forth, to prolong, expand/elongate/lengthen a thing, spread or spread out, delay or defer a thing, continue a thing, to help or aid someone, to advance, to increase, to supply ink (put ink into a thing), apply ink to a thing, manure land (with dung). (Project Root List)

These next references can all be found here.

madd pl… mudud extension; distension, dilation, expansion; stretching; spreading; lengthening, elongation, prolongation, protraction… (Hans Wehr, 4th ed., pp. 1052-1053)

madd, U, INF. madd, stretch, extend… spread out… II. INF. tamdid, stretch or extend greatly;–III. INF. midad, mumidda-t, stretch, lengthen… V. INF. tamaddud, stretch, extend, lengthen (n.)… VIII. INF. imtidad, be stretched, extended; stretch, extend, lengthen (n.), be long… madd, pl. mudud… stretch, extent… madda-t, stretching, extending (s.)… (Francis Joseph Steingass, Arabic-English Dictionary, p. 974)

m-d-d to pull, to stretch, elongation, to be tall… madda u (v. trans.) 1 to spread out (13:3)… (15:88)… 3 to extend, to elongate (25:45)… mudda (pass. v.) to be spread out, to be stretched out (84:3)… (Brill, pp. 871-872)

… To stretch forth, extend, stretch, draw out… The act of extending etc.… Extended, extensive… Widely extended… (John Penrice, Dictionary and Glossary of Quran, p. 138)

… (1) Stretch; (2) spread; (3) extend… (M. G. Farid, Dictionary of Quran, p. 749)

<hath stretched, didst spread out to spread… extend, stretch, prolong… we have spread… (A. A. Nadwi, Vocabulary of the Holy Quran, p. 597)

madd (i)/vt/ 1 to extend, stretch out… the alarm clock ran, he stretched out his hand and silenced it… 2 to prolong, protract… 4 to extend… (Hind/Badawi (Egyptian), p. 813)


To be advanced (day) to stretch forth, extend, draw out, cause to increase or abound, draw forth, spread wide, strain, manure (a land), take ink, prolong.

Madda… (prf. 3rd. p. m. sing. assim.): Had stretched, draw forth, spread. Madadna… (prf. 1st. p. plu. assim.) We have spread out fertilizers, have enriched… Yamuddu… (imp. 3rd. p. m. sing. assim. V.): Draw out, extend, spread… Muddat… (3rd. p. f. sing. pp. assim.): Spread out; Stretched out and received manure… Mamdudun… (act. pic., m. sing.): Spread out; Extended… Mumaddadatin... (pis. pic. f. II.): Outstretched; Stretched forth… (Abdul Mannan Omar, Dictionary of the Holy Quran, p. 528)



[He is] the One Who has made the earth a carpet (firashan) for you and had the sky built above you, and sent water to pour down from the sky and brought forth fruit by means of it as sustenance for you. Do not set up rivals for God while you know [better]. S. 2:22 T. B. Irving

“[He] who made for you the earth a bed [spread out] and the sky a ceiling…” Sahih International

“Worship God who has rendered the earth as a floor for you and the sky as a dome for you…” Muhammad Sarwar 

And the earth — We spread it like a carpet (farashnaha) and how well We smoothed it out! S. 51:48 Aisha Bewley

And the Earth - we have stretched it out like a carpet; and how smoothly have we spread it forth! Rodwell


Fa-Ra-Shiin = to spread out, extend, stretch forth, furnish. furshan - to low (carry burden), be thrown down (for slaughter) of small animals of which flesh is used for food. farashun (gen. n.) moths. firashun (plu. furushun) - carpet, thing that is spread out to lie upon, bed. Wife/spouse (metaphorically). (Project Root List)

Here is the link for all of the following references.

firash pl.… furush.afrisha cushion, pillow; blanket, cover, spread; mattress; bed… farrash one who spreads the carpets… mifrash pl.… mafarish2 tablecloth, table cover, cover (in general); bedspread, counterpane… mifrasha pl.… mafarish2 saddle blanket… mafrush spread (carpets, mats on the floor);  carpeted, covered… mafrushat floor coverings… (Hans Wehr, p. 826)

He spread it; expanded it. (S, A, O, K.)... [I spread for him a bed: or the last signifies I spread it (namely a bed) for myself]… And… I spread for such a one. (Lth.)… He spread for such a one a carpet (IAar, K) in his entertainment. (IAar.)... [He spread the garment, or piece of cloth: or the latter signifies he spread it for himself.] (TA.)… [He spread, or spread for himself, beneath him, dust, or a garment, or piece of cloth]. (A.)… [I used to spread the sand for my bed, and make the stone my pillar]. (A, TA)… (Lane’s Lexicon, p. 2369)

farash, U, INF. farish, firash, spread on the floor, spread out; render easy, convenient, commodious; furnish a house; make the bed; disperse;– II. INF. tafrish, spread a carpet or mat for (2 acc.); floor the house with flat stones; spread and move the wings… IV. INF. ifrash, spread a carpet for (2 acc.);–V. INF. tafarrush, be spread like a carpet; hover above with outspread wings; have dense and extended branches;–VII. INF. infirash, be spread out;–VIII. INF. iftirash, spread out; be spread… farsh, pl. farush, anything spread on the floor: carpet, mat, mattress, bed, board… wide field, open space yard;- furush, pl. of… firush;– farsha-t, carpet; mat; mattress; bed;– firsha-t, way of spreading a carpet, of arranging the bed; face;-(m.) fursha-t, brush. (Steingass, p. 784)

farasha u [v. trans.] to spread out, to lay out, to expand something (51:48)… firash [n.; pl.… furush] 1 spread, expanse (2:22)… 2 bedding, furnishings, couches (55:54)... (Brill, pp. 700-701)

… To spread as a carpet on the ground… A carpet used as a bed, a mattress, and metaphorically a wife… (Penrice, p. 110)

… He spread the thing… He spread for such a one a carpet… He spread the house with carpets etc.… The vegetation spread on the earth… A thing spread on the ground for one to sit or lie upon; a bed upon which one sleeps… What is spread of household furniture such as carpets, mattresses and the like; seed-produce when it spreads itself upon the ground… (M. G. Farid, pp. 644-645)

<we have stretched forth… to spread out, extend, stretch forth…

carpet acc.

lit. a thing that is spread out upon the ground, a thing that is spread for one to sit or lie upon (LL.). (Nadwi, p. 452)

farash, farash (i)/vt/ 1 to spread out, lay out... we lay the blankets out on the roof… 2 [constr] to lay out (a roof) by putting in the reinforcement rods prior to the concrete… farsh /n/… 3 bedding... air the bedding… bed sheets… farsha / n pl -aat/ 1 set of bedding. 2 pavement vendor's spread of merchandise… farshah (also farshax) 1 /vt/ to spread apart, spread open… 2 /vi/ to spread apart, spread open… Shitfarshah /vi/ to be spread apart, be spread open… (Hind/Badawi, p. 649)


To spread out, extend, stretch forth, furnish… Firashun… (plu. Furushun): Carpet; Thing that is spread out to lie upon; Bed. (metaphorically) Wife or a spouse as in 56:34.

Farashna… (prf. 1st p. plu.): We have spread… Firashun/Firashan… (acc. n.): Place; Thing that is spread out; Resting place. Furushin… (n. plu.): Places; Carpets; Spouses; Wives. (L; T; R; LL) The root with its above forms has been used in The Qur'an 6 times. (Omar, pp. 421-422)



Have We not made the earth as a bed (mihadan), S. 78:6 Hilali-Khan

“Have We not made the earth a flat carpet” Aisha Bewley


Miim-ha-Dal = To make a place or thing plain or even or smooth, to prepare or establish, to gain or earn, seek to gain, to work for oneself, to spread or be spread (namely a bed). (Project Root List)

Here is the link for all of the following references.

… II to spread out evenly… to smooth, smoothen… to pave (a road); to flatten, plane, make even or level... to arrange, settle, straighten… make (a bed, etc.)… to get straightened out… mahd pl.… muhud bed; cradle... (lahd) from cradle to grave… (Hans Wehr, p. 1089)

It (a bed) became spread, and made plain, even, or smooth. (A.)… [He spread for himself a bed, and made it plain, even, or smooth]… (LL, p. 2797)

mahad, INF. mahd, spread out; attend to a business and draw profit from it;–II. INF. tamhid, spread; level, plane; carry out, despatch… V. INF. tamahhud, be spread, leveled… VIII. INF. imtihad, spread out… mahd, bed; cradle; plain; level piece of land;–muhd, & muhda-t, pl. amhad, mihada-t, id.; uneven ground, which is to be levelled … (Steingass, p. 1075)

To spread out (a carpet). To smooth… (Hava, p. 729)

m-h-d sleeping place, resting place, cradle, to prepare, to pave, to straighten things up, to make level or even… Of this root, six forms occur 12 times in the Qur'an… mahada once… mahhada once… mahidun once… tamhid once… mahd five times and… mihad seven times… mahidun [pl. of act. part.… mahid] ones who pave the way, spread out, remove difficulties, smooth things out… mahd 1 [n] cradle (19:29)… 2 [v. n./quasi-pass, part.] plain, spread out, habitable, well prepared… mihad [v. n./n.] 1 widely spreading out, widely outstretched; an expanse (78:6)… (Brill, p. 902)

… aor. a. To spread open a bed… n.a. A bed, cradle… One who spreads a couch. A couch, a place of wde extent… II. To make (things) smooth and agreeable… n.a. The act og making smooth. (Penrice, p. 141)

… He spread a bed and made it even and smooth… A child's bed; a bed; a thing spread to lie, recline or sit upon… and it is applied to earth meaning an even or smooth expanse… He Who has made the earth for you a cradle (43:11)… Have We not made the earth a bed (78:7)?... He shall speak to the people in the cradle (3:47)… And how excellent do We prepare things; how excellently We have spread it (51:49). (Farid, p. 761)

to extend, unfold, stretch out, make level, plain, prepare… spreaders… I made smooth… preparation, making smooth

cradle (1)…

And he will speak unto mankind in his cradle…

bed (2)…

Who hath appointed the earth as a bed… expanse, resting place, that which lies spread out (Nadwi, p. 619)

mahd /n pl muhuud/ cradle. (Hind/Badawi, p. 837)


To prepare, extend, unfold, stretch out, make level, make provision.

Yamhaduna… (imp. 3rd, p. m. plu.): They prepare, make provision. Mahiduna… (act. pic. m. plu.): Those who spread couch; Spreaders. Mahhadtu… (imp. 1st p. sing. II.): I made smooth etc. Tamhidan… (v. n. II. acc.): Making smooth. Mahd… (n.): Cradle; Bed. Mihad… (n. acc.): Resting place; That which lies spread out. (L; T; R; LL)

The root with its above six forms has been used to the Holly [sic] Qur'an as many as 16 times. (Dictionary of the Holy Quran, p. 544)



and by the earth and That which extended it (tahaha)! S. 91:6 Arberry

And/by the earth/Planet Earth and who spread and extended it. Muhammad Ahmed – Samira 


Tay-ha-Alif/Ya = to spread out, extend, scatter/disperse, to execute/perform a matter firmly/soundly/thoroughly. (Project Root List)



And the earth, after that He flattened it (dahaha) (for life). S. 79:30 Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali

Certain Muslim apologists claim that the verb dahaha means that the earth has been shaped like an ostrich egg since it is claimed that the root, from which this Arabic word is derived, refers to the egg of an ostrich. However, this is simply a gross misrepresentation of the root meaning of this verb, just as the following lexical sources will demonstrate.


Dal-Ha-Waw (Dal-Ha-Alif) = To hurl, spread forth, expand, stretch out, cast away, extend, drive along. (Project Root List)

1… He spread; spread out, or forth; expanded; or extended; … or He (God) made the earth wide, or ample… also, said of an ostrich, (S, TA,) he expanded, and made wide, (TA,) with his foot, or leg, the place where he was about to deposit his eggs: (S, TA:) and, said of a man, he spread, &c., and made plain, even, or smooth. (TA in art…)… 5… He spread out, or extended, himself; ... Such a one slept, and [extended himself so that he] lay upon a wide space of ground. (TA in that art.)... The camels made hollows in the ground where they lay down, it being soft; leaving therein cavities like those of bellies: they do only when they are fat. (El-'Itreefee, TA in art...)… 9… It (a thing, TA) was, or became, spread, spread out or forth, expanded, or extended (K.)… in a prayer of 'Alee, means O God, the Spreader and Expander of the [seven] earths:  (TA:)… [properly] signifies  the  things  that are spread,  &c… The rain that removes [or drives] the pebbles from the surface of the earth. (TA.)… The place of the laying of egg,  (S, K) and of the hatching thereof, (S,), of the ostrich, (S,) in the sand; (K;) because that bird expands it, and makes it wide, with its foot, or leg; for the ostrich has no [nest such as is termed]… [likewise] signifies  the place of the eggs of the ostrich.  (.)  [Hence,]… A female ostrich. (TA.)__[Hence also,]… A certain Mansion of the Moon, (K, TA,)  [namely, the Twenty-first  Mansion,]…(LL, p. 108)

These next references can all be found here.

daha u (dahw) to spread out, flatten, level, unroll… udhiya ostrich nest in the ground. (Hans Wehr, 4th ed., p. 315)

daha, U, A, INF. dahw, extend, spread (a.); push; throw down; lie with; be big and flabby;-V. INF. taddahhi, be spread… (Steingass, p. 356)

daha u [v. trans.] to roll out, to spread out, to expand, to widen up (79:30)… (Brill, p. 300)

… aor. a. and o. To spread out, expand, transitive. (Penrice, p. 47)

… God has spread, spread out, expanded or extended the earth; made wide or ample… (79:31)… (Farid, p. 264)

stretched out… [79:30] (Nadwi, p. 162)


To hurl, spread forth, expand, stretch out, cast away, extend, drive along.

Daha… (prf. 3rd. p.m. sing.) stretched out; Hurled away; Cast (79:30). (L; T; R; LL) (Omar, p. 174)

The foregoing lexicons refute the assertion that daha refers to an ostrich egg. As the above data indicates, the term actually refers to the flat surface or ground, which an ostrich buries its eggs in. More specifically, the word is used to describe the action of the female ostrich that digs into the sand as a place to hide her egg, and then proceeds to flatten (tadhoo) the sand or earth over it.

Moreover, the egg of an ostrich is more ovoid in shape whereas the earth is a geoid. This means that even if we assume that ostrich egg is one of the meanings derived from daha the Quran would still be wrong!



Nor even how the earth has been flattened out (sutihat)? S. 88:20 T. B. Irving 

Here is how the two Jalals interpreted this passage:

And the earth, how it was laid out flat?, and thus infer from this the power of God, exalted be He, and His Oneness? The commencing with the [mention of] camels is because they are closer in contact with it [the earth] than any other [animal]. 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 [revealed] Law, and not a sphere as astronomers (ahl al-hay'a) have it, even if this [latter] does not contradict any of the pillars of the Law. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)


Siin-Tay-Ha = to spread out, level, expand, stretch. (Project Root List)

These next references can all be found here.

sataha a (sath) to spread out, spread, unfold, unroll… to level, even, plane, flatten, make smooth… to throw to the ground, fell… II to spread out, spread, unfold, unroll… to level, even, plane, flatten, make smooth… V to be spread out be unfolded; to be leveled, be evened; to lie down on one's back VII to spread out, be unfolded; to lie flat on one's back, be supine… sath pl… sutuh surface (also geom.); plane (geom.); (pl. also… astihaastuh) (flat) roof, terrace; deck (of a ship)… sutuh (eg., syr.) roof terrace… s. al-buhr sea level… inclined plane… sathi external, outer, outward, outside, exterior; flat; superficial; pl… sathiyat externals, superficialities… surface mail (in contrast with air mail)… sathiya flatness; superficiality… satih flat, spread out, stretched out, spine (Hans Wehr, 4th ed., p. 477)

satah, INF. sath, spread; roll thin and flat; level, flatten, give a flat roof to a house; throw one on his back, lay him on his side;– -II. INF. tastih, spread, make, smooth and level;–VII. INF. insitah, pass. of II.; lie extended on the back. (Steingass, p. 492)

satih, flat, spread out; lying on the back; fallen so as not to be able to rise again; killed;–also satiha-t, large water-bag made of three skins;–satiha't, plane surface. (Ibid., p. 493)

s-t-h to be flat, flattened, to spread out, upper side. Of this root only… sutihat occurs once in the Qur'an… sutiha [pass. v.] to be made flat, to be flattened, to be spread out (88:20)... (Brill, p. 435)

… He spread it out or expanded it… God spread or expanded the earth... How it is spread (88:21)… He threw him down so that he lay on his back; he threw him on his side… The flat top or roof of a house; the surface of a place; a plane. (Farid, p. 394) 

satah (a)/vt/ to flatten, spread out flat. darab-u w-satah-u he knocked him flat… (Hind/Badawi, p. 411)


To spread out, level, expand, stretch.

Sutihat… (pip. 3rd. p. f. sing.): It is spread out (88:20). (L; T; R; LL) (Omar, p. 258)

In light of the foregoing, could the Muslim scripture be any clearer that the earth is not a sphere but a flat object, seeing that every word that it employs to describe the shape of the earth always refers to something that is flat or straight?

This should finally put to rest the oft-repeated Muslim assertion that the Quran describes the earth as being spherical in shape.


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