Earth’s orbit and the Story of Zulqarnain in Quran
I would like to bring the following 2 verses of the Koran to your attention:
It is not permitted to the Sun to catch up the Moon, nor can the Night outstrip the Day: each (just) swims along in (its own) orbit (according to Law).
It is He Who created the Night and the Day, and the sun and the moon: all swim along, each in its rounded course.
I quoted these verses from a Turkish interpretation of Koran. In the interpretation, the footnote written below the verse Enbiya/33 is as follows: “Although only two celestial bodies are mentioned, it is stated through a verb tense which is used for more than two things that all of them swim in a separate orbit. It can be inferred from this that all celestial bodies, together with the Sun and Moon, move in an orbit unique to them”.
This interpretation which is indeed applicable for the Enbiya/33 also applies to Yasin/40. Because, Arabic translation of the part translated as “all of them swim in an orbit” in both verses is exactly the same: “küllün fı felekiy yesbehun”.
A verb tense which is used for more than two things obviously exists in both two verses. However, by (in my opinion) construing the verse in a very wrong way, the person who prepared the interpretation states “the meaning that all celestial bodies rotate in an orbit may be inferred”.
Indeed, the reality is much striking than this… It is obviously emphasized in the verses that “night and day” also rotate in an orbit. The reference made to night and day in the Koran is always related to the Earth’s night and day. In other words, what is actually stated in both of these two verses is the fact that Earth also rotates in an orbit just like the sun and moon!
For a moment, think about the movement of the earth in the space. While the earth is rotating around the sun, night and day which always and together exist above the earth also rotate in an orbit around the sun. From this perspective, the verses have an extremely subtle expression…
Another thing implied by the narration of the swimming of the earth in an orbit in this way by referring to night and day may be related to around what the rotation of the earth is realized. In other words, night and day in the earth emerge owing to the sun. By stating “night and day also float in an orbit”, the verses may well be referring to the fact that this orbit is around the sun.
At this point, the verses of chapter Kehf, narrating the historical character Zulqarnain, should also be mentioned.
Kehf (85-86) (Yusuf Ali)
One (such) way he followed,
Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water: near it he found a people: we said: O Zul Qarnain (thou hast authority,) either to punish them, or to treat them with kindness.
Some uses these verses as an evidence of Quran’s falsehood and claims that these verses are allegedly talking about sun’s revolvement around earth. Hovewer, Quran is a literary work and understanding it requires knowledge of rhetorical devices. Quran is very rich in terms of rhetorical devices and the verses above employ one of them called “Point of View – (Third-Person Subjective Narrative)”. In other words, the above narrative is just an expression of Zulqarnain’s own reality.
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