Response to lofty claims about Iram


Muslims claim that the Qur’an is vindicated by excavations in Ebla (not Elba! – which is the island where Napoleon was banned after being deposed from power) and parade this as one great confirmation of the historical accuracy of the Qur’an. I expected an article or at least some substantial paragraph about this city in the referenced article, but what does the article actually say?

“Ebla: Splendor Or An Unknown Empire” by Howard La Fay (pp. 730-759), National Geographic, December 1978, page 735-736:

    The names of cities thought to have been founded much later, such as Beirut and Byblos, leap from the tablets. Damascus and Gaza are mentioned, as well as two of the Biblical cities of the plain, Sodom and Gomorrah. Also included is Iram, an obscure city referred to in Sura 89 of the Koran.

No details about this city other than its existence (and it is not even clear if that is the Qur’anic ‘Iram – there are several cities named Ur for example, one near Ebla in Syria and one in Chaldea). Not even the location of ‘Iram, and certainly nothing about its “famous pillars”. Also it is in this article not stated that Ebla traded with ‘Iram. In another paragraph of above article it is stated that tablets have been found containing a list of cities Ebla was trading with, but Gary Miller is combining two different statements into one that have nothing to do with each other which shows sloppy reporting.


The name Irum would be sufficient for anyone who is neutral towards Muslims and Islam.Otherwise the whole map would be insufficient for you to believe that the people of lofty pillars i.e. Irum have really existed and so the Quran is truly revealed by Allah in which all the details are 100%correctly mentioned.

The Name Irum:

“Ebla: Splendor Or An Unknown Empire” by Howard La Fay (pp. 730-759), National Geographic, December 1978, page 735-736:

The names of cities thought to have been founded much later, such as Beirut and Byblos, leap from the tablets. Damascus and Gaza are mentioned, as well as two of the Biblical cities of the plain, Sodom and Gomorrah. Also included is Iram, an obscure city referred to in Sura 89 of the Koran.

Irum is included in the names of cities which had done business with the people of Ebla.If the name of this city was founded after sometime,it does not mean that there was no trading between the people of Ebla and Irum.

The destruction of some of the trading cities:

On the contrary,Ebla had traded with those states which were destroyed later on.It further enhances the fact that Irum had traded with the people of Ebla.According to Wikipedia,

Ebla continued to be a center of trade during the second kingdom, evidenced by the surrounding cities that appeared during its period and were destroyed along with the city.[note 19][64] Trade continued to be Ebla’s main economic activity during the third kingdom; archaeological finds show there was an extensive exchange with Egypt and coastal Syrian cities such as Byblos.

The city of pillars,burried under sand:

According to Wikipedia,

In the early 1990s a team lead by amateur archaeologist and film maker Nicholas Clapp and adventurer Ranulph Fiennes, archaeologist Juris Zarins and lawyer George Hedges announced that they had found Ubar.[7] Initially, NASA satellite photographs guided the team to a well known, and previously identified water hole at Shisr in Dhofar province.[8] However, excavations of the site uncovered a large octagonal fort with 10 foot high walls and 8 tall towers on the corners.

See the picture below and read the details provided by NASA.


Original Caption Released with Image:

This pair of images from space shows a portion of the southern Empty Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula in the country of Oman. On the left is a radar image of the region around the site of the fabled Lost City of Ubar, discovered in 1992 with the aid of remote sensing data. On the right is an enhanced optical image taken by the shuttle astronauts. Ubar existed from about 2800 BC to about 300 AD. and was a remote desert outpost where caravans were assembled for the transport of frankincense across the desert. The actual site of the fortress of the Lost City of Ubar, currently under excavation, is too small to show in either image. However, tracks leading to the site, and surrounding tracks, show as prominent, but diffuse, reddish streaks in the radar image. Although used in modern times, field investigations show many of these tracks were in use in ancient times as well. Mapping of these tracks on regional remote sensing images provided by the Landsat satellite was a key to recognizing the site as Ubar. The prominent magenta colored area is a region of large sand dunes. The green areas are limestone rocks, which form a rocky desert floor. A major wadi, or dry stream bed, runs across the scene and appears as a white line. The radar images, and ongoing field investigations, will help shed light on an early civilization about which little in known. The radar image was taken by the Spaceborne Imaging Radar C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) and is centered at 18 degrees North latitude and 53 degrees East longitude. The image covers an area about 50 kilometers by 100 kilometers (31 miles by 62 miles). The colors in the image are assigned to different frequencies and polarizations of the radar as follows: red is L-band, horizontally transmitted, horizontally received; blue is C-band horizontally transmitted, horizontally received; green is L-band horizontally transmitted, vertically received. SIR-C/X-SAR, a joint mission of the German, Italian and the United States space agencies, is part of NASA’s Mission to Planet Earth.

Image Credit:


Image Addition Date:



I didn’t see anything about the lofty pillars in “National Geographic” article, did you? It is one of those rumors that get bigger and bigger the longer they are told.

The Qur’anic claim is about the splendor of the lofty pillars of this city. For this, the above referenced article in the National Geographic does not give any indication.

Finally, the issue is allegedly so amazing, because there is absolutely no reference to the city of Iram outside the Qur’an. Since the author of the Qur’an could not have taken it from any other source, it must be divine information. Now, that archaeology confirms the existence, this is taken as evidence that that the author of the Qur’an truly must have been God.


National Geographic mentions about the watchtowers and the walls of the city,which was buried in the sand.

National geographic has mentioned the name Irum too,as quoted above.

NASA has provided the image of the city of towers,burried in sand.


This passage, found in the earliest Muslim biography of Muhammad, shows that the Jews of Medina spoke about God’s destruction of ‘Ad and Iram long before they or the Arab tribes in Medina had heard of Muhammad. Their use of this story is clear evidence that it was a well-known story in Medina, accepted as true by both the Jews and also the pagan Arabs, since otherwise a reference to it would not have any value in warning those Arab tribes against raiding the Jews.

Muhammad could have learned about it from the people in Medina, but even more likely, it was well-known throughout Arabia at that time. In any case, one cannot legitimately claim that the mention of ‘Ad and Iram in the Qur’an is in any way amazing or a miracle that proves the alleged divine authorship of the Qur’an.

The author of the Qur’an merely used the same story as the Jews did, and even for the same purpose, i.e. to warn the unbelievers of the judgment of God. It is one more instance where Muhammad simply incorporated the legends of the ancients in his alleged divine revelation, cf. The Sources of the Qur’an.


If this was the case,then there would be no differences at all,in any case.

The story of Prophet Jesus a.s. would be the same as mentioned by the Christians,the story and the role of Haman would be the same,the most popular wrong statements about the embryology and cosmology would be found in Quran too.

The truth is that there are many differences,with the presence of only such description which is proven to be scientifically correct or there are many historical evidences supporting the truth of Quran such as the inscription about Haman,found in Egypt or the city of towers,now discovered by NASA.