Possibility of temporary parting of Sea water in light of physical laws

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Al-Quran describes an incidence of Moosa A.S and Pharoah, where Moosa A.S and his followers were able to cross a large body of water with the help of a temporary passage, which was made for them with the will of God. However, when the Pharoah and his team tried to use the same passage, the temporary passage was filled with water and they were drowned. As per our observations of the Universe around us, everything follows God’s will. The physical laws created by God are Gods’ will and all His orders are carried out per His Will and per the physical laws created by Him. These laws are also His practice and He does not change His practice.

2:117  بَدِيعُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ وَإِذَا قَضَىٰ أَمْرًا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ

To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He says to it. “Be,” and it is.

35:43  اسْتِكْبَارًا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَكْرَ السَّيِّئِ ۚ وَلَا يَحِيقُ الْمَكْرُ السَّيِّئُ إِلَّا بِأَهْلِهِ ۚ فَهَلْ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَّا سُنَّتَ الْأَوَّلِينَ ۚ فَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ اللَّهِ تَبْدِيلًا ۖ وَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ اللَّهِ تَحْوِيلًا

On account of their arrogance in the land and their plotting of Evil, but the plotting of Evil will harm only its authors. Now are they but looking for the way the earlier people were dealt with? But no change will you find in Allah’s practice. no turning off will you find in Allah’s practice.

When God intends to do any thing, he orders for it and His orders are carried out accordingly. We see that God’s orders are carried out by His practice which are laws of the nature and God does not change His practice.

26:63  فَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ مُوسَىٰ أَنِ اضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ الْبَحْرَ ۖ فَانفَلَقَ فَكَانَ كُلُّ فِرْقٍ كَالطَّوْدِ الْعَظِيمِ

Then We told Moses by inspiration. “Strike the sea with your rod.” So it divided, and each separate part became like the huge, firm mass of a mountain.

10:90  وَجَاوَزْنَا بِبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ الْبَحْرَ فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ وَجُنُودُهُ بَغْيًا وَعَدْوًا ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَدْرَكَهُ الْغَرَقُ قَالَ آمَنتُ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا الَّذِي آمَنَتْ بِهِ بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ وَأَنَا مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

We took the BANI-ISRAEL/Children of Israel across the sea: Pharaoh and his group followed them in insolence and spite. When he (Pharaoh) sensed his drowning, he said ‘ I believe  that there is no god except Him whom the Children of Israel believe in: I am of those who are muslims/ submitters’.

The parting of waters of the sea was with the orders of God. The below link explores the possibility of temporary parting of sea water per physical laws with the help of studies conducted with computer simulations.


The Biblical image of Moses raising his arm to part the waters of the Red Sea is one of the most enduring to emerge from the Old Testament. But what has long been thought to be either a fable or a miracle may in fact have happened – as researchers postulate theories as to how and where such an event might have taken place.


Parting the Red Sea: Examining the Possibilities

In 1992, a paper by Doron Nof and Nathan Paldor looked at possible scientific explanations for the parting of the Red Sea as set out in the book of Exodus. They considered two options – a tsunami generated by an earthquake or other event (such as landslide or volcanic eruption) and a mechanism called ‘wind setdown’ in which winds drive back the sea.

Although the Red Sea region is highly seismically active, Nof and Paldor rejected the tsunami as the most likely explanation in favor of the wind setdown, which fits better with the description of the event laid down in Exodus.  Wind setdown is the opposite of a storm surge, and occurs when wind (sometimes in combination with tides) drives water abnormally far from the coast.

Nof and Paldor concluded that the Biblical description of an overnight easterly wind at a (not excessive) speed of 20ms-1 would have generated a sea level drop of over 2.5m at the northern end of the Red Sea. Combined with the possible existence of a submarine ridge, this would have allowed the Israelites a land bridge and time to cross.

The destruction of the pursuing Egyptians (a shortcoming of the tsunami model) is also explained by wind setdown. A sudden drop in the wind speed, or a change in the wind direction, would have allowed the waters to rush back rapidly. Nof and Paldorf’s calculations suggest that the dry area could be completely flooded in as little as four minutes, leaving no hope of escape for anyone still on the dried-out ridge.

Red Sea Crossing: Refining the Location With Computer Simulations

In 2010, further work was undertaken on the theoretical possibility of a scientific explanation for the Red Sea crossing. Using computer simulations, Drews and Han focused upon historical topography and considered Nof and Paldor’s proposals. Also following the theory of wind setdown, they considered alternative locations and found what they considered to be a better fit elsewhere.

Rather than the location at the north end of the Red Sea/Gulf of Suez favored by Nof and Paldor, they identified a site on the Mediterranean coast, at the Lake of Tanis. Here, computer modeling demonstrated that the former coastline would, under a wind set-down of 28ms-1, open up a 3-4 kilometer-long land bridge which would remain open for around four hours.

Red Sea Miracle: The Truth?

There are obvious difficulties in drawing a firm conclusion about the passage across the Red Sea. The Bible’s information can be interpreted in different ways and is vague about location. Also, the topography of the Red and Mediterranean Seas and their coasts has changed as sea levels fluctuate over periods of thousands of years.

Scientific research indicates, however, that such an event might have taken place as described purely through the natural mechanisms of wind set-down and a favorable topography. Whether such an event happened at the behest of the Lord, as the Bible maintains, or whether the Israelites were simply very lucky remains, of course, a matter for much greater, and less scientific, debate.

Drews, K., Han, W. “Dynamics of Wind Setdown at Suez and the Eastern Nile Delta” PLoS ONE. (2010).

Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. Hendrickson Bibles.

Nof, D., Paldor, N.”Are there oceanographic explanations for the Israelites’ crossing of the Red sea?” Bulletin American Meteorological Society. (1992).

Food for thought:

2:258  أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِي حَاجَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ فِي رَبِّهِ أَنْ آتَاهُ اللَّهُ الْمُلْكَ إِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّيَ الَّذِي يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ قَالَ أَنَا أُحْيِي وَأُمِيتُ ۖ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْتِي بِالشَّمْسِ مِنَ الْمَشْرِقِ فَأْتِ بِهَا مِنَ الْمَغْرِبِ فَبُهِتَ الَّذِي كَفَرَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ

Did you see the one who disputed with Abraham in his Lord, because Allah had granted him Kingdom? Abraham said. “My Lord is He Who Gives life and death.” He said. “I give life and death”. Said Abraham. “But it is Allah who causes the sun to rise from the east, then you cause it to rise from the West.” Thus was he confounded who (in arrogance) rejected faith. Nor does Allah Give guidance to the people unjust.

It is God who created the Universe and firmly established the laws in it. Everything works under the laws established by Him in the Universe. Everybody knows that no entity besides Him, no matter however powerful, can not change any law of the Universe. Any body challenging the authority of God should think, can they change even an iota of His established principles?


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