Short Islamic Courses

The Roundness Of The Earth

Back in the early times, humans believed that the Earth was flat. They were afraid to travel too far as they feared they would fall off the end. Thanks to Sir Francis Drake, an explorer who sailed around the Earth in 1597 proved The earth was not flat but spherical/rounded.

The Qur’an mentions the below verse over 1400 years ago. The below verse could not have been true if the Earth was flat. If the Earth was flat, there would have been a sudden change from night to day and from day to night, not a merge or a wrap from day to night and vice versa. So we were given a hint of the Earth’s shape in the 7th century.

“Seest thou not that Allah merges Night
into Day And He merges Day into Night?” (Qur’an 31:29)

Other translations of the verse above:
Sahih International: Do you not see that Allah causes the night to enter the day and causes the day to enter the night and has subjected the sun and the moon, each running [its course] for a specified term, and that Allah , with whatever you do, is Acquainted?
Pickthall: Hast thou not seen how Allah causeth the night to pass into the day and causeth the day to pass into the night, and hath subdued the sun and the moon (to do their work), each running unto an appointed term; and that Allah is Informed of what ye do?
Yusuf Ali: Seest thou not that Allah merges Night into Day and he merges Day into Night; that He has subjected the sun, and the moon (to his Law), each running its course for a term appointed; and that Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do?
Shakir: Do you not see that Allah makes the night to enter into the day, and He makes the day to enter into the night, and He has made the sun and the moon subservient (to you); each pursues its course till an appointed time; and that Allah is Aware of what you do?
Muhammad Sarwar: Have you not seen that God causes the night to enter into the day and the day into the night. He has made the sun and moon subservient (to Himself). Each moves (in an orbit) for an appointed time. God is certainly All-aware of what you do.
Mohsin Khan: See you not (O Muhammad SAW) that Allah merges the night into the day (i.e. the decrease in the hours of the night are added in the hours of the day), and merges the day into the night (i.e. the decrease in the hours of day are added in the hours of night), and has subjected the sun and the moon, each running its course for a term appointed; and that Allah is All­Aware of what you do.
Arberry: Hast thou not seen how that God makes the night to enter into the day and makes the day to enter into the night. and He has subjected the sun and the moon, each of them running to a stated term, and that God is aware of what you do?

Another verse from the Qur’an mentions:

“He created the heavens and the earth truthfully. He rolls
the night over the day, and rolls the day over the night” (Qur’an, 39:5)

The Arabic word for “roll” is “yukevviru.” The word is used to depict the act of wrapping a turban around someone’s head. This word was also used in the sense of overlapping of the night and day and vice versa. The reason for the day’s turning into night and the night’s turning into day is due to the spheroid form of the earth. In this verse also we observe implied the sphericity of the world.

Other translations of the above verse:
Sahih International: He created the heavens and earth in truth. He wraps the night over the day and wraps the day over the night and has subjected the sun and the moon, each running [its course] for a specified term. Unquestionably, He is the Exalted in Might, the Perpetual Forgiver.
Pickthall: He hath created the heavens and the earth with truth. He maketh night to succeed day, and He maketh day to succeed night, and He constraineth the sun and the moon to give service, each running on for an appointed term. Is not He the Mighty, the Forgiver?
Yusuf Ali: He created the heavens and the earth in true (proportions): He makes the Night overlap the Day, and the Day overlap the Night: He has subjected the sun and the moon (to His law): Each one follows a course for a time appointed. Is not He the Exalted in Power – He Who forgives again and again?
Shakir: He has created the heavens and the earth with the truth; He makes the night cover the day and makes the day overtake the night, and He has made the sun and the moon subservient; each one runs on to an assigned term; now surely He is the Mighty, the great Forgiver.
Muhammad Sarwar: He has created the heavens and the earth for a genuine purpose. He covers the night with the day and the day with the night and has subdued the sun and the moon, each of which floats for an appointed time. God is certainly Majestic and All-Forgiving.
Mohsin Khan: He has created the heavens and the earth with truth. He makes the night to go in the day and makes the day to go in the night. And He has subjected the sun and the moon. Each running (on a fixed course) for an appointed term. Verily, He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving.
Arberry: He created the heavens and the earth in truth, wrapping night about the day, and wrapping the day about the night; and He has subjected the sun and the moon, each of them running to a stated term. Is not He the All-mighty, the All-forgiving?

The Qur’an mentions the Universe in much more detail which could not have been known by humans over 1400 years ago. The above is just a glimpse of what the Qur’an describes regards the Earth and the Universe. You will be surprised at the great detail covered within the Qur’an revealed over 1400 years ago, at a time when the technology did not exist.

Some have also argued that the verse mentions expanded or stretched so it must be relating to the earth being flat – spread the earth” or “expanded it”, “smoothed out”.

Translations of Chapter 79 ,verse 30 are below from a few translators.

Sahih International: And after that He spread the earth.
Pickthall: And after that He spread the earth,
Yusuf Ali: And the earth, moreover, hath He extended (to a wide expanse);
Shakir: And the earth, He expanded it after that.
Muhammad Sarwar: After this, He spread out the earth,
Mohsin Khan: And after that He spread the earth;
Arberry: and the earth-after that He spread it out,

For those who question that the verse means the Earth is flat. Scientists have proven that planet Earth was at one point all covered with land with shallow and limited  bodies of water. The large amount of water that we have on Earth today, where the Earth today is covered by 70% water, happened after  the expansion of the earth which is what the above verse (Qur’an, Chapter 79 ,verse 30) seems to relate to.

We have proof today that the Earth has indeed expanded over time, but this does not mean it was flat. See image below:

moutains-movement

In the above verse, the word “daha” is used in the original Arabic. It’s also translated as “smoothed out,” comes from the word “dahv,” meaning “to spread.” Although the word “dahv” also means to cover or to set out, the meaning of the verb is more than just a prosaic setting out, since it describes setting out in a circle.

The concept of roundness is also present in other words derived from “dahv.” For example, the word “dahv” also refers to children dropping a ball into a hole in the ground, games involving throwing stones into holes and games played with walnuts. Words derived from that root are also used for an ostrich making a nest, cleaning stones from where it is about to lie down, the place where it lays its eggs. From that point of view, the use of the word “daha” contains important information about the shape that God has given to the Earth. Many signs were given via the one word alone at a time when humans believed the Earth was flat. God knows best.

The Qur’an is truly an amazing book and includes many scientific miracles which have been proven to be true by modern science. Many more verses exists within the Qur’an which may be discovered in the future as technology advances. The Qur’an doesn’t give scientific equations, it instead gives many scientific notions that have been proven to be clear scientific miracles because they fit perfectly with modern science. One of the miracles of the Qur’an is that God, through his perfect use of the complex and artistic language of Arabic used scientific notions to make the Qur’an truly dynamic for all the times that it is presented in. These scientific notions hid in them, for many centuries, the scientific statements and discoveries that we just came to know today, and perhaps are even hiding in them more statements that our future generations will discover. This is why you may hear that scriptures before the Qur’an were revealed for those people at the time, but the Qur’an was revealed for all of humanity.

The Qur’an was perfectly created and science continues to discover and prove the Qur’an corrrect. Today, people only believe in what science discovers and as we move on the remaining signs from the Qur’an will be proved correct.

God knows best.

January 31, 2017

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