Qur'an Difficulty:

Mountains and Earthquakes

The Prophets (Al-Anbiya') 21:31, Middle Meccan, 
  ``And We have set on the earth firm mountains, lest it should 
shake with them...'' 

The Bee (Al-Nahl) 16:15, Late Meccan, 
  ``And He has cast onto the earth firm mountains lest it should 
shake with you...'' 

Luqman 31:10, Late Meccan, ``He has created the heavens without 
supports that you can see, and has cast onto the earth firm 
mountains lest it should shake with you..'' 

The News (Al-Naba') 78:6-7, Early Meccan, 
  ``Have We not made the earth an expanse, and the mountains as 
stakes.''(``as those used to anchor a tent in the ground'' -
Bucaille p182.)

The Overwhelming (Al-Ghashiya) 88:17,19, Early Meccan, 
  ``Do they (the unbelievers) not look...at the mountains, how they 
have been pitched (like a tent)'' (Translation Bucaille p 181) 

I have heard several Muslims talk about this and how this is the latest scientific insight. On the scientific discussion of this issue see the chapter in Dr. Campbell's book. I have a different question here:

Given that this idea is given quite some emphasis in the Qur'an since it is repeated several times, I am wondering what Muslims think about the several dozens of earthquakes that happen every year? Some of them of greatly devastating power! If the prevention of earthquakes was the purpose for mountains, why are they not preventing them? Isn't this claim [without any science] refuted by anybody who is able to read a newspaper?

You might want to inform yourself at the QUAKES Home Page I didn't find anything about mountains as a means of quake-prevention...

A Muslim's Response by Shaahin Amiri-Sharifi
Date: Sun Nov 24 21:44 EST 1996

this is to answer:
--Mountains and Earthquakes.

--regarding earthquke and its relation to these verses of quran 
  i have to say that, for the thousandth time, this misunderstanding
  of quran happened to you (and some others) because of reading
  translations in english instead of the arabic text!
  when quran says montains are there to prevent from shaking, the
  "surface" is not meant, but the "whole sphere earth" is the
  matter here! without mountains the revolutional movement of
  earth around its axis would'nt be "smoth", and it would "shake"
  as n the case of a nonhomogeneous roulette. when earth was in
  its original liquid state, these mountains appeared in exactly 
  right places (according to laws of physics, fluid dynamics, if
  we want to be accurate) to prevent it "shaking" (as described
  above). so these mountains are there to make the earth an overall
  "homogeneous" object to be able to have a smoth (non "shaky")
  revoloution around its axis. this is an undisputeable "fact",
  scientifical fact, now, and i can provide you with exact mathematical
  and physical explanations in this regard. 
  as a further explanation, one can observe the revoloutional movement 
  of asteroids. they have never been in liquid state so the "mountains"
  on their surface do not adjust this rotational movement and
  therefore thier spinning is "shaky". that would cause very strong
  and wild, at the same time periodical, "tides" that makes living or
  even sticking to the ground on them so hard, if not impossible!
  this fact has nothing to do with earthquakes!


Then I do have to wonder why Dr. Bucaille talks about mountains and earthquakes in his book "The Bible, Qur'an and Science" which is so highly praised by Muslims? How come Muslims haven't protested yet about this completely erroneous mistranslation? Please do read Dr. Campbell's chapter on the issue following the first link on this page. It is fantastic how Muslims are often able to completely change their interpretations within the time you need to blink with your eyes as soon as they see the thing propagated so far doesn't work anymore. ...

But maybe your interpretation is sustainable from the Arabic language. Let us assume so. Please do give the exact mathematical and physical explanation for your assertions. I am a mathematician, I am not affraid of it. And I am teaching Calculus II currently and have just finished the center of mass topic which is relevant to this rotation axis issue. I am pretty convinced this is scientifically even more shaky than you suppose the asteroids to be. I wonder if you could give me even one scientific reference to tumbling asteroids. Never heard of such a thing.

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