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Offline Reader Questions

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Night and Day and Sun and Moon - A Scientific Error?
« on: December 31, 2011, 06:19:10 PM »
Dear brother Joseph,

Salam.

I was reading a question someone asked on the internet which I wanted your view on. The argument was that in verse 21:33, it is said that "It is He who has created the night and the day and the sun and the moon. Each one travels in its own orbit".

This verse says that the night and day are objects and as well as the sun and moon all move in the orbits. We know that the day and night are not objects and can't move so is this not a contraction or scientific error in the Quran?

How would you respond to a suggestion such as this? Thanks

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Night and Day and Sun and Moon - A Scientific Error?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2011, 06:24:12 PM »
Salamun Alaikum,

I have cited the verse below with some crucial Arabic words.

021:033
"And He is the One who created (khalaqa) the night and the day and the sun and the moon, each in a 'falakin'  'yasbahun'"

The Arabic word 'khalaqa' used in verse 21:33 in its classical sense, clearly captures the meaning of something that is given proper proportion or measure or to be brought into being according to a certain measure.

Darkness in itself does not exist. It has to be created (khalaqa) by removing light. Therefore, it can be argued that darkness is the relative absence of light. In contrast, light is not created by 'removing or adding' darkness. Light is a created entity and it exists within its own right.

In a similar way, night is the absence of the brilliance of the day. This is supported by verse:

079:029
"And He darkened its night and brought out its brightness"

Both these scenarios (night and day) fall well within the scope of 'khalaq' where they have to be given proper proportion and measure and brought into being (created).

Furthermore, 'falak' not only refers to the sky but also carries the meaning of a to and fro motion, a state of commotion, circuit, cricling etc. 'Yasbahun' can simply mean to roll onwards, perform a daily course etc.

Therefore, this description aptly captures the continuous motion in a daily fashion of all the entities described by the verse. There is absolutely no contradiction here but clearly a figurative expression in the narrative style of the Quran, capturing the various created scenarios (night, day, sun and moon).

One must appreciate the language in which a text is found. It is incredulous to insinuate in any way that the Arabs were not aware of simple observations such as night, day, the sun and the moon in a gradual daily motion and therefore introduced such a 'schoolboy howler'  in the text which resulted in a contradiction.  The Quran simply spoke in the vernacular of its primary audience who would have well understood the purport of this verse.


I hope this helps,

Regards,
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell