Ostrich-Egg-Shaped Earth

Dawahganda Argument

1)   The Qur'an describes Earth using the word daha  
2)   The word daha means "to be Ostrich-egg shaped"
2.1) Daha derives from the root word duhya (meaning Ostrich Egg)
3)    Ostrich-egg is a spheroid (just like the Earth).

Therefore, Qur'an describes the earth as a spheroid (before anyone knew).

Source for Argument

1. Harun Yahya – The Earth's Geoid shape

2. Zakir Naik - Ostrich-egged-Earth


وَالْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ دَحَاهَا
(Pickthall Translation)

79:30 - And after that He spread the earth;


79:30 - Wal-arda baAAda dhalika dahaha

For other translations, visit http://quranx.com/79.30
For word-by-word analysis, visit http://quranx.com/Analysis/79.30


1. The argument is based on a misconception
2. Daha is not rooted in “duhya” & Daha does not mean "to be ostrich-egg shaped" 
3. Does the Earth look like an ostrich egg?

1. The argument is based on a misconception

            The argument is based on the presupposition that the spherical shape of the earth was not known in ancient times. This however is a result of a popular misconception known as the ‘Myth of the Flat Earth”, whereby it is thought that, until the 16th century, everyone believed the Earth was flat. However, it is has been widely recognized by historians that knowledge of a spherical earth has existed since the Ancient Greeks and has been passed down through late antiquity as well as the middle ages.[1] [2] As the historian Jeffrey Russel notes,
“It must first be reiterated that with extraordinary few exceptions no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the earth was flat. A round earth appears at least as early as the sixth century BC with Pythagoras, who was followed by Aristotle, Euclid, and Aristarchus, among others in observing that the earth was a sphere. Although there were a few dissenters--Leukippos and Demokritos for example--by the time of Eratosthenes (3 c. BC), followed by Crates(2 c. BC), Strabo (3 c. BC), and Ptolemy (first c. AD), the sphericity of the earth was accepted by all educated Greeks and Romans.
Nor did this situation change with the advent of Christianity. A fewóat least two and at most five--early Christian fathers denied the spherically of earth by mistakenly taking passages such as Ps. 104:2-3 as geographical rather than metaphorical statements. On the other side tens of thousands of Christian theologians, poets, artists, and scientists took the spherical view throughout the early, medieval, and modern church. The point is that no educated person believed otherwise.”[3]

            Therefore, even if the Qur’an states that the earth is a sphere or a spheroid, the information does not qualify as foreknowledge and thus apologists are wrong to present this verse as miraculous.

2. Daha is not rooted in “duhya” & Daha does not mean "to be ostrich-egg shaped"

            The claim that daha means “to be ostrich egg-shaped” is unfounded. It should be notable that the apologists promoting this claim are never able cite any authoritative text of the Arabic language where daha is directly and specifically defined as “to be ostrich egg-shaped”. The primary reason for such an omission on the part of the apologists is due to the fact that the authoritative texts of the Arabic language contradict their argument. Moreover, such texts also present certain clues as to the possible origins of this claim.

            For example, Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon, reports that the term "daha" is rooted in the triconsonantal root, dal-ha-waw.[4]

            The entry for the term "daha" in Lane's lexicon states that the word is used to signify the spreading, expanding, extending or widening of a surface.

            Lane's lexicon also provides an example of the usage of the word with the following statement, "also, said of an ostrich, he expanded, and made wide, with his foot, or leg, the place where he was about to deposit his eggs". Here the, the term daha is meant to signify the action performed by the ostrich i.e. the ostrich spreads out the ground in order to make a nest. There is no mention here (or any other reputable dictionary) that daha means "to be egg-shaped".

            In a consistent manner, Lane’s lexicon defines udhiya, a cognate of daha, as the place where the ostrich lays its eggs.

            Udhiya can thus be understood as the surface upon which spreading or flattening (daha) has taken place. Thus, it should abundantly clear that daha does not mean “shaped like an egg”.

            It is possible, that the apologist who came up with this mistranslation, either deliberately contorted the example involving the ostrich and the egg, or unintelligently interpreted the example.

3. Does the Earth look like an ostrich egg?

The remaining contention of whether the Earth has the same shape of an ostrich egg is irrelevant since it has been show that the term daha does not mean “ostrich-egg shaped”.

It should also be noted that dawahgandists have made several forced and fabricated attempts to make the ludicrous claim that the shape of the Earth is exactly like that of an ostrich egg.[5]

Nonetheless, this exercise is left for the reader, i.e. to compare the shapes of the Earth[6] and an ostrich egg.[7]



            Knowledge of a spherical earth precedes the Qur’an. The word in question, daha, does not mean “ostrich-egg-shaped” as advocated by apologists. The lexicons of classical Arabic reveal that the term means spreading out or flattening. Lexicons give examples of an ostrich “spreading out” the ground for a nest. It can be suspected that such an example is the root of the mistranslation of daha as “ostrich-egg-shaped”. Thus this miracle claim is false and debunked.

[1]. Russell, Jeffrey Burton (1991), Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and modern historians, New York: Praeger. Page 3

[3]. Russell, Jeffrey Burton (1997), "The Myth of the Flat Earth", Studies in the History of Science (American Scientific Affiliation) . http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/history/1997Russell.html

[4]. Lane, Edward William; "An Arabic-English Lexicon"; Librairie Du Liban, 1968. Vol. 3, page 857. http://www.studyquran.org/LaneLexicon/Volume3/00000023.pdf

[5]. DetInspectorMonkFish's Ramadan and the Eggsact shape of the Earth. 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXeh8AG7FpU

[6]. Reto Stöckli, Nazmi El Saleous, and Marit Jentoft-Nilsen. Earth from Space. NASA GSFC 2000. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=885

[7]. Raul654. An ostrich egg. Taken at Disney's Animal Kingdom. 2005.  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ostrich_egg.jpg


Additional Links

Video Presentations

1. Nabeel al-Khalidy's (aka LearnQuranicArabic) Does the Quran describe the earth as being in the shape of an ostrich egg?

2. TheRationalizer's The Earth's Geoid Shape - Exposing Dr. Zakir Naik (Oxford University)

3. DetInspectorMonkFish's Ramadan and the Eggsact shape of the Earth

Articles & Blogs

1. IslamToday.net - Claiming that the Earth is egg-shaped

2. Rahul Raj Is Earth Egg Shaped as Per Qur'an?


  1. Quran miracles either
    1) get the science wrong
    2) get the Quran wrong
    or if are really lucky like this one
    3) Both!
    3) if you are really

  2. http://www.answering-christianity.com/egg-shaped_earth.htm

    1. That is the very claim that has been debunked here. Do you even read?

  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5D4ChAnqkxU

    1. We are finally in agreement over at least 1 point. Hope this is a start of something better ...

  4. Saying duhiya does not mean ostrich egg without giving examples from the Arabic language does not make your half cooked research right. Answeringchritianity gives detail examples of how duhiya is used in many ways to describe something that is SPREAD OUT, THROWN, PUSHED, LEVEL, ROLLED it even gives examples of how daha means round fat belly and rolled into small balls. Detailled example vs your hlf cooked Christian bull c##p.

    1. When you have calmed down, read the post again and then your comment again;

      The word in question is "daha" and not "duhiya". You are wrong even before you started;

      Secondly, if you have an even a slight understanding of arabic, re-read the answering-chrstianity article more carefully and you will see just how plain wrong they are; apart from the laughable "expanding earth" blunder, you will easily see that instead of looking at the actual meaning of "daha", they are reinterpreting the meaning of OTHER words that have the letters 'dal' and 'ha';

      for example, the site says - "In Prophet Muhammad's Hadith: كان لأسامة بطننٌ مُندحٌ اي متسع Osama had a round and big tummy."

      The word used there is "mundah". This is why no rational person takes the site seriousky. It also doesn't help that its creator is a mumbling fool - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CK01KC6S1qs

      If you are too angry to even accurately consider what I am saying, here are refutations by Muslims themselves


      All I really need to ask you to do is to find any lexicon that directly explains 'daha' as being "ostrich-egg-shaped" rather than giving me laughable dawahganda reinterpretations. Perhaps, the fact you are unable to give a direct explanation is a sign that maybe you are being lied to

  5. Hello Anwar

    Perhaps you'd like to comment on the following:

    In several dialects northafrican arabic diHyah الدحية actually signifies 'an egg'. perhaps the original old root
    for this was د ح ي and not د ح و . This is indicated in the juz amma commentary by the She'e writer al-Ha'ire.
    The Turkish writer haluk Nurbaki, 'the facts of science and the glorius koran' also hints at this, and states that 'BayDawe' sees 'sphericity' in d-h-y - but I've not seen this in BayDawe's tafser/exegesis.

    Elsewhere in the Qur'an the word is used فلك 'falak' which signifies 'orbit' as well as تكوير which means 'rolling into a ball'; 'winding a turban' this latter item featured in M Bucaille's work.



    1. Could you give the proper references to the original sources that make your claim. I cannot comment without knowing what your sources are.

      If this is the Baidawi you are referring to, then this is what he says about 79.30

      "{ وَٱلأَرْضَ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ دَحَـٰهَا } بسطها ومهدها للسكنى."
      Translation: {And the earth after that [Allah] dahaha } He spread it and smoothened it for living

      This commentary is also in line with the vast majority of scholarly opinion on the topic. So please check again and give me the specific quotes.

      While you do that, let me just point to you the following difficulties you nevertheless face

      1) The over-whelming evidence (classical lexicon, tafsirs) is that daha is a verb rooted in dal-ha-waw that means to spread, to flatten, to extend etc
      1.1) You would have to counter this over-whelming evidence with the evidence for your claim

      2) Your claim that some dialect somewhere has the word dahiya that means an egg would not, in of itself, entail a change in the already established meaning of the verb daha

      3) The earth doesn't look like an egg (see this video )

      4) Your claim might be dangerous to your own (or at least the traditional Islamic) position that Qur'an has not been corrupted. You are proposing a new etymology for a word. Not sure even Islamic scholars would be keen on that, especially given that the way it is understood now is not necessarily erroneous and your new interpretation is not necessarily scientific.

      5) It is still the case that the spherical shape of the earth has been known at least since the time of the Greeks (as pointed out in objection 1)

      Lastly and leastly, Bucaille is not a reliable source and his arguments are flawed, erroneous and fallacious.

      If you like to make your case with the verses containing the words "falak" and "yukawwir", please do so. I will wait for you to make your specific arguments in full because from where I stand it can be easily argued that those verses have nothing to say about the shape of the earth.

  6. Thank you for replying.

    please have a look at this muslim explaining 'falak' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KPEiGqDQHg

    1. Nouman Ali Khan is another character whose entire career seems to be built on illogical argumentation. Either way, assuming you are referring to the segment from 22:00, what has anything he said have to do with the topic above?

      BTW, the "falak" and related topics will be covered in a separate post in the future.

    2. Everytime I think of aflak, I think of 'kawa'ib.' but hey that's just me.

      I'm still seeking the root d h y
      د ح ي

      not the d h w root above. perhaps this root will shed light on rotundity.

  7. The Vocabulary of The Quran by Dr Abdullah Abbas an-Nadwi, translates 'da-Ha' as 'stretched out'.. and by 'stretching out', does it necessarily mean "flattening out" the world like you would happily claimed it to be?

    1. > translates 'da-Ha' as 'stretched out'.. and by 'stretching out', does it necessarily mean "flattening out" the world like you would happily claimed it to be?

      Could you point out where that was claimed?

      P.S. Why is it that Muslim commentators on this site are almost always throwing out strawman points or their own false presuppositions rather than actually engage the arguments presented here?

    2. Does my question imply that i disagree with your argument here? reading this very verse along with the verses prior to it, i do agree with you in term of the context of this verse. It shouldnt be hard to see that this verse illustrates the scenic depiction of earth during the sunrise..no need to overtranslating it other than that.

      However, the fact that Quran has two instances of word to describe the expanse of the earth:
      1) Ta-Haa in chapter 91 verse 6
      2) da-Haa, the verse that's being discussed now

      where two different words describe roughly the same attribute of the earth. Knowing the nature of language, there should be some slight variarion to the detail of meaning, when translating to another language. "Expanse", described by Ta-Haa and da-Haa must have its different perspective.

      Your explanation doesnt address the richness of the language, rather you tend to oversimplify where a little more detail is needed.

      da-haa, du-hi-ya... are pretty close in term of letter assignment, arrangment and the pronounciation too. In arabic, the sound that comes out from your mouth do matter to the meaning of the word.

      Maybe, all the so labelled 'apologists' you mentioned, are under this understanding when approaching the verse. Thus, the extrapolation. Are they wrong? I dont think so... it's their interpretation after all.

      Maybe you could bring forth more sound examples or proof other than lanes lexicon ONLY. Explanation with some etymology oriented thing might get you a good start in refuting.:-)

    3. > Your explanation doesnt address the richness of the language, rather you tend to oversimplify where a little more detail is needed.

      Do you understand what this site is for? It is examining the arguments of Dawahgandists. If you are looking for subjective literary analysis of Arabic texts, go find some other place.

      > da-haa, du-hi-ya... are pretty close in term of letter assignment, arrangment and the pronounciation too. In arabic, the sound that comes out from your mouth do matter to the meaning of the word.

      If your idea of an argument is to say that "cat" and "rat" are the same or similar because they have common letters/ sounds; then please stop wasting my time.