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Heavenly Bodies

Guidance-I

“And it is He Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. Each of them is floating in its orbit.”

(Al-Qur’ān – 21:33)

The words kullun and yasbahoon used in this ayat suggest that the reference is not only to the sun and the moon, but also to other heavenly bodies such as the stars and planets. This is borne out by the use of the verb in its plural rather than dual form. Another word used here is falak, which is a familiar term in Arabic for sky. Since the ayat says that each is floating in its falak, two points clearly emerge. One, that all the heavenly bodies are not floating in one and the same orbit; rather each has its own orbit. And two, an orbit is not something static with a planet fixed on to it. It rather seems to be something fluid, something seemingly vacuous, like space where if any heavenly bodies move, their movement gives the impression of floating.

In ancient times, the concepts that people held about the heavens and the earth were quite different from what we now believe. Our present notions pertaining to those matters have greatly changed. It cannot be definitely said how the statements made on these matters by the Qur’ān will be understood in the future for man’s expanding knowledge is bound to have a bearing on this. It is significant that man finds these Qur’ānic statements in verses 30 to 33 to fully conform with the latest scientific information on the subject.



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