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Offline Reader Questions

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Does the Quran say that Stars orbit the Earth?
« on: December 08, 2011, 05:26:01 PM »

In verses 81:15-16, the Quran says

15. But nay! I swear by the stars,
16. That run their course (and) hide themselves,

As this verse is speaking from the perspective of observable phenomena of the Arabs in the desert, is the Quran not clearly saying that the stars orbit the earth?

Please can you clarify.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Does the Quran say that Stars orbit the Earth?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2011, 05:28:33 PM »
Salamun Alaikum,

Firstly, there is no mention of stars in the Quranic Arabic. To restrict the Arabic word 'khunas' to planets is an unwarranted restriction on the linguistic interpretation of the term.

'Khuns' just means to retreat, to withdraw, to recede etc and does not simply apply to stars. A similar term (from the same root) is also used in 114:4 which refers to the mischief of evil whisperers and how they withdraw (khannas).

114.004
"From the evil of the whisperer the one who withdraws (Arabic: khannas)"

Therefore, verses 81:15-16 simply says:

"I swear by those that recede / retreat, those that run / flow (Arabic: jawari) and disappear"

If the verse is applied to stars, the verse must be understood from the perspective of the Bedouin Arabs who would have noted the heavenly bodies to appear and run their course and then to recede from view in a continuous cycle during the night. This ties in with the Arabic word "jawari" which means to flow, pursue a course, or to run quickly.

The verse only captures an observable phenomena which is a far cry from the assertion that the stars actually orbit the earth.
 
Regards,
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell