Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sea Barrier Miracle Claim Debunked

The quran states there are barriers BETWEEN two seas. Modern science found there are barriers (called a pycnocline) in the sea. Therefore, quran contains modern science

Source for Argument


25:53 - And it is He who has released [simultaneously] the two seas, one fresh and sweet and one salty and bitter, and He placed between them a barrier and prohibiting partition.

55:19-20 -  He released the two seas, meeting [side by side]; Between them is a barrier [so] neither of them transgresses


1) Pycnocline is not the same kind of barrier that is mentioned in the quran and thus they have committed the fallacy of equivocation; thus rendering their argument invalid.

It has uniform properties and is bounded below by a large density gradient, called the "pycnocline"” (pg 84)
Liss P.S, Slinn W. George N. Air-sea exchange of gases and particles. Springer 1983.

“The layer of seawater with the largest density gradient is called a pycnocline. A pycnocline is a layer separating light surface waters from heavier deep waters.” (pg 30)
 “Saturation of seawater with oxygen abruptly decreases within the pycnocline: from 110-60%  above the pycnocline to 60-40% within the pycnocline, and up to 5-20% below this layer” (pg 297)
 “It is important to stress that the halocline (pycnocline) is also an important means whereby sedimentary material is transported laterally.” (pg 298)
Emilianov E.M. The barrier zones in the ocean. Springer. 2005

“The pycnocline (pyknos, “strong”; clinare, “slope, to lean”) is a zone in which density increases with increasing depth. This zone isolates surface water from the denser layer below. The pycnocline contains about 18% of all ocean water.” (pg 139)

(page 141)
Garrison, Tom. S. Essentials of Oceanography. Cengage Learning, Aug 5, 2011

2) Muslim apologists have failed to provide any support for the claim that when two seas meet there will be "a barrier between them, a partition that is forbidden to be passed." (sura 25:53), "a barrier which they cannot pass" (sura 55:20). Therefore, the onus is on the muslim apologist to provide evidence that such a phenomena actually exists.

3) The so called "science" purported by muslim apologists is factually incorrect. It is physically impossible for two water bodies to prevent itself from mixing when they meet each other unless there is a solid impermeable barrier. Differences in temperature, salinity or density will not create "a forbidding partition" (NOTE: this can be easily tested in ones home). Therefore, the onus is on the muslim apologist to demonstrate such a phenomenon is possible.

4) The muslim apologist fails to consider the obvious and mundane explanation for this verse i.e the barrier is referring to the two seas being separated by land. Since, the quran describes the barrier as something that the seas CANNOT PASS, a land barrier is the most obvious explanation since a non-solid barrier can always be "transgressed".

5) The muslim apologist also fails to demonstrate why anyone should consider alternate fantastical (yet unsupported) claims of an imaginary invisible barrier OVER the obvious explanation of a land barrier.

6) The muslim apologist fails to consider similar verses in older texts namely the bible in

Proverbs 8:29 "when he gave the sea its BOUNDARY, so the waters would not overstep his command"
Jeremiah 5:22 "I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting BARRIER it cannot cross."

Almost the exact same terminology is used in both the bible and the quran.
Jeremiah 5:22 does in fact contain the word for barrier. The word is gheb-ool

7) The muslim apologist fails to consider the commonality of the knowledge prescribed to this verse as similar sentiment can be observed in scientific texts that are much older, namely that of the Greek polymath, Aristotle, when he states the following:

"Light parts are dissolved from the sea water by the sun and the dense, salty part remain" (pg 132)
"...This means that the sea has changed its place. it is possible that a gulf is formed when the barrier between the sea and lowlan is destroyed..." (pg 145)
Lettinck, Paul 1999. Aristotle's Meteorology and its reception in the Arab world

""For it is clear that a barrier of silt was formed and after it lakes and dry land, but in course of time the water that was left behing in the lakes dried up and is now all gone." (pg 27)
"The drinkable, sweet water, then, is light and is all of it drawn up: the salt water is heavy and remains behind." (pg 32)
Aristotle, Webster E.W. 2006. Meteorology.

8) Muslim apologists fail to realize that their desperate yet weak attempt at claiming scientific foreknowledge in the quran by the fallacious method of equivocating can be employed in other texts as well. For example,
i) (Ramayana BOOK III: Canto 31.: Rávan) “Breaking the wild sea's barrier down”

If the muslim apologist’s line of reasoning is valid, then one would have to necessarily conclude that the Ramayana contains scientific foreknowledge which would then lead to contradiction as it is not possible for both Islam and Hinduism to be true. Since this line of reasoning leads to a contradiction, it follows that the line of reasoning is not valid!

9) (NOTE: i do not agree with point 9 but it still has some merit to it. This point was originally made by TheRationalizer). The muslim apologist fails to consider that this verse could easily be a rephrasing of verse 6 of the Book of Genesis which says "And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters."


  1. "And it is He who has released [simultaneously] the two seas, one fresh and sweet and one salty and bitter, and He placed between them a barrier and prohibiting partition."

    I believe this verse of the Koran actually describes a fresh water river delta entering a salty sea, such as the Nile river in to the Mediterranean sea. The force of the river water flowing into the sea "seems" to form a "barrier" preventing the salty sea water from mixing with the fresh.

    1. For more, see Chap. CIII Natural History by Pliny:
      Pliny's book would have been known to Mo's doctor companion.

  2. Nice and concise debunking! The other place where l-bahrayni (the two seas) is mentioned is in 18:60

    "And [mention] when Moses said to his servant, "I will not cease [traveling] until I reach the junction of the two seas or continue for a long period."

    This is in a story about Moses and Allah's servant, which non-Muslim scholars agree is based on al Khadir from the Alexander Romance. In fact, the next story about Dhu'l Qarnayn's voyages (18:83-101) is clearly related to an associated text, the Christian "Alexander Legend".

    Regardless, the two seas have a junction which a person (Moses) wishes to visit.

  3. I also discovered that the Encyclopedia of Islam (1913-1936 edition) p.862 says on the two seas Moses went to with Khadir:

    "According to Western Semitic cosmology, this is the end of the world where the heavens and earth meet."

    Al-Tabari's tafsir (9th century CE) says that ibn Abbas said the same thing in relation to the two seas in 55:19-20.

    He also reports that Qatada said the "barrier" is dry ground (al yabas) and land (al ard).

  4. I call fallacy...on you.

    Differences in temperature, salinity or density will not create "a forbidding partition" (NOTE: this can be easily tested in ones home).
    This argument itself is a logical fallacy, since the phenomena observed in the sea is not the same as observed at home, say in a cup. It is a logical and scientific miracle that the Quran knows this despite your "home theory".
    Proverbs 8:29 "when he gave the sea its BOUNDARY, so the waters would not overstep his command"
    Where does this talk about the boundary between bodies of water? It is very vague. I could simply interpret this as a boundary that prevents the ocean from overlapping the land. Jeremiah seems to think so as well.
    Jeremiah 5:22 "I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting BARRIER it cannot cross."

    Neither of these vague verses give mention on separation/barrier between bodies of water. The Quran does. It is therefore ridiculous to assume the Quran copied off the Bible in these verses.

    I also noticed that you don't actually use the translation from Harun Yahya's website despite the citation. But why should I have expected anything from a blog? It is not a peer reviewed journal or scientific article.

    However, Harun Yahya's picture description of the water body phenomena is backed up by the Quran and Science:

    "There are large waves, strong currents, and tides in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Mediterranean Sea water enters the Atlantic by Gibraltar. But their temperature, salinity, and densities do not change, because of the barrier that separates them."
    Richard A. Davis, Principles of Oceanography (Don Mills, Ontario: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company), 92-93.

    1. Thank you for your comment although you haven't quite understood what you are arguing against. It would also have been great if you could have listed the fallacy you think I made.

      The purpose of the "home theory" (as you put it) is pretty obvious. Liquids, whether in an ocean or in a cup, are bound by the same laws. Regardless, if you think otherwise, please by all means provide any evidence for this "non-solid" barrier that is supposed to keep the H2O molecules from moving past each other.

      2 points about the bible verses.
      a) This shows that people in the ancient times have used the "term" barrier in association with the seas. Therefore, the quran merely mentioning the word "barrier" in association with a sea hardly requires a supernatural explanation.
      b) I have not stated it was copied from the Bible. This is your own strawman.

      The translations used are by Mohsin Khan; far more respected than that of a propagandist like Yahya's. Regardless, the arguments presented have hardly any relevance to any particular translation.

      Why do you expect "peer-reviewed" journals for exposing religious propaganda? That is weird.

      As noted above, you are merely equivocating with such references. I ask you again to demonstrate the existence of any kind of "non-physical" barrier that prevents water molecules from passing over each other. (Hint: It doesn't exist, and by claiming this is what the quran means, you are unnecessarily introducing an error into the Qur'an. So good luck)

    2. Correction: The translations used are from Sahih International

    3. You stated //"There are large waves, strong currents, and tides in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Mediterranean Sea water enters the Atlantic by Gibraltar. But their temperature, salinity, and densities do not change, because of the barrier that separates them."
      Richard A. Davis, Principles of Oceanography (Don Mills, Ontario: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company), 92-93.//

      I tried to verify this and it seems you have mixed up your sources. This quote is from the following dawahganda site, rather than the book you are citing.

      Please check your sources before citing them. This is how you help spread misinformation

  5. Pardon me, but the barrier that is stated is there nonetheless, how it got there was not mentioned, except that god created it. He created the miracle in a way that we could comprehend it. so please cut the atheist ____. Thanks.

    1. You are not pardoned. If you read the post, you will understand no such barrier (as described in the Qur'an) exists. Thanks

  6. From the bible verse it talks about sand boundry to the sea, how is it talking about two different sea water barrier. You just made a fool out of yourself lol

    1. The argument is that a reference to a "barrier" in seas does not need to have anything to do with modern science since people predating the quran have made the same reference to other objects. Saying otherwise is to commit the fallacy of undistributed middle.

  7. "...nobody in history said a barrier exists (Aristotle describes a tapering effect & Genesis is not even worth bringing up)..." Semantics. "through modern science we learnt there is literally a barrier in the sea., such as the PYCNOCLINE being described as a boundary (britanicca encyclopedia)." Embellishment of ancient verses = a no no. Quran is 100% accurate & these videos are deception

    1. Care to rephrase your contention more coherently. The cut and paste job you did didn't make much sense.

      P.S. If you knew modern science, as well as the, Quran; you would have known that no such unmixable barrier exists between seas except that of dry land which is observable.

  8. Hi Captain
    Interesting post.
    I understood the verses regarding the barriers, to mean between rivers and seas, as the word "bahr" in those verses refers to both. And the sweet vs salty description would clarify this further.

    So if we accept that the barrier refers to rivers and seas, then we can go the next step.

    The barrier described is in relation to the salinity or salt content of the water, since this was the property referred to in the sweet and salty description of the two bodies of water which are separated by a barrier.
    So the barrier would be between the taste. That is the why the audience in 7th century arabia would understand this property of water or salinity, right?

    If we accept that the barrier is with regards to the salinity of both the rivers and seas, then consider this:
    One way which water flows is due to pressure - molecular, gravitational etc..
    Of course, river water (sweet water) mixes with salty sea water when it flows out. It mixes, we can see it.
    But the verses refer to the taste or salinity of both bodies of water.
    So back to the flow of water.

    If water flows due to pressure, the larger size of the sea, the entire body of seas and oceans even without gravitational pressure (waves) would be much larger than that of all the rivers of the world pouring out into the vast body of seas and oceans right? Add to that the increased pressure caused by the higher salt content of the seas, making it more dense than fresh river water. Add to that the pressure of the movements with in the seas, waves, underwater movements and earthquakes, the pressure would be mounting and in a purely logical comparison, would cause the salty sea water to flow inwards, upstream, into the river water making it salty. The pressure of the sea would be greater than that of the river outflow, and would flow upstream, like water flows up a water pipe.

    But the river water remains with lower salt content, and tastes sweeter, despite the massive pressure the sea holds.

    Would this be a probable barrier?

    1. The explanation about different salinity is also a very possible interpretation. The wikiIslam article has also made this observation. See

      I didn't understand your point about pressure and my preliminary thought is that it isn't relevant here because the difference in salinity would already be a satisfying explanation for the verse. I am also not sure if what you are saying about pressure being a "barrier" would holistically make sense. So if you think it does, please think about writing a post explaining it in detail.

      The reason I think it is irrelevant is because of the following argument;
      (1) since the ancient Arabs knew river water was fresh and drinkable as opposed to the salty sea water and
      (2) since they knew that rivers went out into the sea and
      (3) yet river water remains fresh and un-salty,
      (conclusion) The ancient Arabs thus seems to have come to the (erroneous) explanation that there is some impermeable barrier between the river and sea since in order to explain how the river water would still remain un-salty.

      This to me is already a holistic explanation of the verse. Along with the other possible interpretation that the barrier could merely be referring to dry land; I am not convinced that one needs to over-complicate the verse just to suit certain needs.

      What do you think?

    2. My point about pressure, was from a basic science point of view. Pressure is not the barrier referred to, no.

      But what prevents the larger body of sea water (with higher pressure due to salt content, size and mass, movements etc) flowing upstream into lower pressure (smaller size, lower salt content) body of water, river water?

      So basically, to summarise and hopefully clarify:
      1. Water flows from higher pressure to lower pressure points
      2. Sea water has higher pressure (here I'm taking all sea and oceans exerting pressure as a large single unit against the rivers of the world - like a huge bowl of water exerting outwards into leaking holes being the rivers)
      3. A barrier prevents the higher pressure sea water flowing into the lower pressure river water. The effect seen in the river water remaining fresh.
      4. I'm not sure what that barrier is... discovered or undiscovered, perhaps it is still to be corroborated by science. But if my argument stands as above, is there a barrier there or not?
      IE shouldn't the sea water flow into the river water, (from high to low pressure point)?

      Those are my thoughts, Captain.

    3. I'd encourage you to write up a post with proper references from scientific literature. This is because if you are right, your post would have informative value and on the other hand if you are wrong, you will figure out where your misunderstanding lies.

      With my limited understanding, while water flows from higher pressure to lower pressure, this is not the entire picture with regards to seas and oceans. You also have to take gravity into account. The oceans and seas are at "sea level" while the vast portion of the land masses are much higher than sea level. Gravity is acting against sea water flowing up into the rivers.

      And I also doubt scientists are looking for some "impermeable barrier" in order to explain something as basic as why the river runs into the sea rather than vice versa.

      But once again, if you think you are right, do write up a post with proper references and we will take it from there

    4. I'll consider that, thanks. It will take some research though.
      Stay well.

  9. Whether or not the verse contains 100% scientific information is obviously controversial, but how did they know there were 2 bodies of water of differing salinity not mixing when they hadn't seen such a sight since its in Alaska?

    1. What is the basis of your assumption that this is referring to something in Alaska? Are there no seas around Arabia?

      But most importantly, where did you get the idea that seas of different salinities don't mix? Of course, they do. Check your sources again


  10. Now, once it has been agreed upon that a barrier does form initially between the two bodies, the question would be what makes the barrier be passed? As it is has been observed with salt-wedge estuaries, and in the "Home experiment" too, that when the salt water is highly concentrated, application of external factors is required to quicken the process, be that thermal or kinetic energy.

    "The amount of mixing between fresh water and seawater depends on the direction and speed of the wind, the tidal range (the difference between the average low tide and the average high tide), the estuary’s shape, and the volume and flow rate of river water entering the estuary"


    "So when you mix the two, (this is easy to see if you dissolve some food coloring into one of them), the salt water immediately sinks to the bottom (so it only contacts freshwater on a small surface) and at this boundary, there is a requirement for thermal energy if the salt water is fairly concentrated, slowing the diffusion of the two. However, if you wait a long while, you will see that they do mix-- this can be hastened by heating or by vigorous stirring."


    So the verses could be reconcilable with science by saying the barrier is not broken by the water itself, without its physical and chemical properties changing, and that once it has changed, the barrier can be broken, and the waters mix.

    Furthermore, when the Quran refers to this barrier, it does not say that they will never pass the barrier, for that another verb form would have to have been used, the definitive form; LAA YABGHIYAANNI, with a double consonantal sound at the end. The verb form used here can be used for present tense too, meaning that they do not pass the barrier, when they meet. Proof of this is that this verb is linked to the previous verb; "they meet", making that the conditional preposition, meaning that this refers to the time when they meet.

    Therefore, the deductible fact is that at the point when the two distinct seas meet, a barrier forms which they do not cross, and that is what the verse refers to.

    The verses say:
    WHEN the two seas meet, they cannot pass through the barrier that forms between them, they are stopped by it.

    What science tells us is:

    This barrier is broken by factors changing the properties of the waters, and they pass through.

    The two do not contradict one another this way, in fact science continues the subject, with the further explanation of the verse in question, it would not thus be inappropriate to call it the tafseer (exegesis) of this verse!

    This is just my understanding, Allah knows best the true meaning.

  11. Jawad Shah,

    > Now, once it has been agreed upon that a barrier does form initially between the two bodies

    Nope.If it is not referring to land, Don't agree there is a barrier, as described in the Qur'an, between seas or rivers.

    So the rest of your doesn't even matter. However, what you tried to do was a bit clever but ultimately inaccurate. The Qur'an does use the words, "(يَبْغِيَانِ)" in 55:20 and "(مَحْجُورًا)" in 25:53, both referring to the seas. Whether they mix by external or internal forces (whatever that means), they are still mixing which goes against what the Qur'an says. Nice try. Better luck next next time.