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Ayat 40 Surah Yasin


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A Brief Description of the Question: 
It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor doth the night outstrip the day. They float each in an orbit. (Yasin 40) I saw some comments from non-muslims saying that Quran implies as if sun is in motion around earth just like the moon (as it is mentioned and compared with moon), however it doesn't overtake the moon. There was some criticism of that and they portrayed it be the common belief of the people 1400 years ago and an unscientific mistake. How do you rebuke this?
The Answer: 

The meaning of the related verse:

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). (Yá-Sín-40).

That the sun moves… It revolves around its own orbit. And this is with the permission of the all powerful and all knowing God.

This is no doubtlessly one of the most evident confirmation of the presence and power of the God. The Quran consolidates the issue with MUSTEKAR AND TERCİ having more than one meaning and shedding light on the works of the scientists. It is because that the word permanent meaning stability indicates to time and place and also it has the infinitive form. Furthermore, that it is used with the letter LAM gives it other meanings and help us draw various inferences. It is such that that part of the clause points to five different meanings and inspire us to contemplate deeper about the system. As for the verb “TERCİ”, it derives from the word occurrence; and is mostly known as flow or circulation.  

As understood from the explanations above, the verse designates some meanings and decrees, and becomes a good sample of telling plenty of meanings with a few words.

a) The sun revolves around its own orbit

b) It keeps its motion till an appointed time within the laws it depends.

c) It moves regularly in a certain area in accordance with the laws to which it bounds.

d) The sun revolves in stability in the domain planned to be allocated for it.

It is worked out from the first interpretation that the sun revolves around its own orbit. From the second one is realized that the sun will continue its motion and provide us energy till an appointed time.

Out of the third commentary is comprehended the sun is not moving in an aimless, arbitrary way or without any purpose but rather it is in action on a regular basis, planned and programmed way and will regularly keep on providing us its light.

The sun, from the last interpretation, is grasped to be in movement between two centers together with other planets that depend on it instead of staying steady at a certain point.

We can figure out from this sublime style of explanation that the Quran has been revealed by a divine source and always leads to the sciences of all ages. While majority of the people in the age the Quran was revealed used to spend their lifetime in an absolute ignorance, some would worship for the idols, some had belief in the sun or moon or other inanimate beings. No sound observation about sun or moon was done. For this reason, some of them assumed the sun as God and some thought the moon as an animate being. Particularly in Arabian Peninsula, there used to be no any school or Islamic theological school. The Arabian people were aggressive, ignorant and depopulator. That the Quran provided to those people such a knowledge which constitutes the basement of the present science and gives light to the ongoing inventions and scientists proves that it is neither the words of a human being nor the work of a human mind but rather all of its verses are Divine.

Thus, the attributes of God All Knowing and Glorious are indicated in the last part of the verse making up our subject. It is such that it is stated the Quran is beyond the power of human being by stressing out that God Almighty is all-powerful and all-knowing.

The stations measured for the moon

“And the Moon,- We have measured for her stations (to traverse) till she returns like the old (and withered) lower part of a date-stalk. (Yasin 39)

The motion, orbit and route of the moon are absolutely different from that of sun. Some stations have been measured for the moon. The station points toward a place to live and a distance to go. Therefore, the Quran says the moon turns not around itself but around both the world and the sun together with the world, the shadow of the world each day comes in a certain rate between the sun and moon sends it to a new station.

That the Quran gave explanations sheding light on the developing science while there was no serious knowledge or reseach about the moon is an obvious proof for the fact that the Quran is divine book and it is, in terms of this feature of it, leading to all ages.

The sun can never catch up the moon

“It is not permitted to the Sun to catch up the Moon”

The moon and sun continue their movements within different orbits. It is not a matter of question to strike and to violate the boundaries of each other. It is because the moon is the satellite of the world and close to it. It is too remote from the sun. It has its own course.

God Almighty, by this means, let us see two major important points and illustrates those who are intending to make scientific investigations by supplying them both basic information and the starting point to begin. First point indicates that there is a distance between moon and the sun, the second points to that the moon and the sun moves within separate courses.

We had better stress out the fact again the Quran giving the clearest and the most dependable data fourteen centuries ago is not a work of man. It is because there was not any sound and clear investigation about the moon and sun in those times. In the Arabian Peninsula, majority of the people leading a tribal life were illiterate.

Thus, we tried to prove the existence, unity and power of God and Muhammad (pbuh) is a true prophet through the verse forming the frame of our topic. At the same time it gives the basic data for those wishing to make scientific searches. It is impossible to claim the otherwise.

“Nor can the Night outstrip the Day”

We know the reason why the day and nighttime came about. And yet Quran gives us the gist with a little explanation by pointing out a very important issue. That is, the earth surface has been maintaining its revolving from east to west since its creation and the daytime is followed by nighttime. Then, it is out of question the night comes before the daytime since the world cannot be thought of turning reverse that is to say it cannot keep on following a course from east to west. By drawing our attentions to this truth, the Quran brings proofs for the fact that it is the words of God Almighty and it points out the truth that Quran goes in front of all civilizations by bringing light on the scientists.

In this sense, at the very beginning of the verse Ya-sin, the topic is discussed by taking oath on the Quran incorporated with science and wisdom and by referring to its qualities. In addition to this, it is designated that Muhammad (pbuh) is a true prophet.

Sources:  Celal Yıldırım, İlmin Işığında Asrın Kur’an Tefsiri, Anadolu Yayınları: 10/5049-5051.

For further information, also you can read the article given bel

39. And the Sun runs unto a resting place: that is the decree of (Him), the Exalted in Might, the All-Knowing.

39. And the Moon,- We have measured for her stations (to traverse) till she returns like the old (and withered) lower part of a date-stalk.

40. 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)

Quran wants to give its addressees the message that there is a perfect and drawback-free order in the universe. And this order and system related with every aspect of them are verifying the unity of God. One sample of this is the movement of the sun. This movement can be around itself. It can be around the world, it can be as solar system, or it can be in a speed 18 km per second or more within the Milky way which contains the sun. The verse has such a sentence structure that it is possible for it to mean all of these meanings. And yet what important at this point is the idea of order included in all probabilities. The sun which is miraculous, sturdy, tremendous and talented servant of God can not cause any problem or disharmony despite its incredible movements each of which is taking place in various courses.

The word “sun” is the name of a star around which the members of earth and solar system turn and solar system is one of the star systems contained in milky way. And as for Milky way, it is just one of the galaxies whose numbers are almost limitless. The explorations in the field of astronomy say that the sun in terms of both greeatness and brightness is at average, and ordinary one but as it is the closest star to the earth surface, it looks greater and brighter.

The importance of the sun stems from that it is the planet around which our world revolves and it is the source of light and heat necessary for maintanance of life in earth. It is the source of natural gas, petrol and coal like the food all humanity need. The climate cases in the atmosphere, winds and rains all come about thanks to solar energy; the circulation of the water on the ground is possible with solar energy; green plants photosynthesize through it.

As for the moon the single satelite tied to world, it reflects little light that it receives from the sun, by this means it illuminates the darkness of night of the world. Also, both sun and moon are very important in terms of counting the dates and making calender. In short, the importance of both derives from their relevance with the world that is to say with the whole humanity.

The sun and moon have always attracted the attention of mankind due to their being eye catching and their significance in his life, and even they affected the religious systems to such an extend that they had such an impact that some people divinised them.

In the middle age iconography, it is observed that the sun was used as a symbol of Christ. In the Romanesque art, Jesus was associated with time determining sun and described as a sun disc.

The researches about pre-Islamic Arabic history point out that the Arabic people worshipped for the sun in a variety of areas in the Arabic peninsula and this situation extended over before Christ age. And these observations show that the religion of ignorance age was based on the worship for the stars, all of these god names originated from the names “moon father”, “sun mother” and their daughter “Venus”. And the culture of sun used to be common amongst the Arabic people of ignorance age. (Look: Cevâd Ali, el-Mufassalfî târîhi'l-Arab kable'l-İslâm, VI, 50-57) Therefore, this finding can be said to comply with the verse:

37: Among His Sings are the Night and the Day, and the Sun and the Moon. Prostrate not to the Sun and the Moon, but prostrate to Allah, Who created them, if it is Him you wish to serve. Fussilat

While the Quran is touching to the sun and moon, it intends to grip the attentions towards the vastness of God’s knowledge and these are His works of art and His blessings on mankind. Thus, at the end of the 38th verse, this point is emphasized. That almost all the verses discussing the places, movements and significances of both sun and moon in the universe are, according to majority, Meccain show that the main reason about discussion of these subjects are to clear away all false beliefs and to suggest being a good servitude to Almighty God.

While the Quran is touching to the sun and moon, it intends to grip the attentions towards the vastness of God’s knowledge and these are His works of art and His blessings on mankind. Thus, at the end of the 38th verse, this point is emphasized. That almost all the verses discussing the places, movements and significances of both sun and moon in the universe are, according to majority, Meccain show that the main reason about discussion of these subjects are to clear away all false beliefs and to suggest being a good servitude to Almighty God.

The data of the astronomy, astrophysics and solar physics highly improved recently are also important in terms of Quran investigations which have currently gained a new speed, and it strengthens the possibility of reviving the implied two-way improvement. These are good indications of that investigators working in these fields don’t conceal their admirations for the greatness of the book of universe and direct the gazes towards the underlying power of that book and by this, the areas of thoughts and science must be consolidated with a divine book authenticity of which cannot be questioned.  

We can summarize all of these as follows: the sun moves:a) Until an appointed time for it (that is to say till the doomsday)

b) Around a certain fixed position peculiar to itself

c) For the benefit of realm which is the station of it

d) Towards a point determined for it

e) In accordance with a law to which it has been appointed not with randomly or by a blind chance 

f) So as to bring a stability and balance to its own realm,

g) In order to stop and calm down at the end

h) To finalize its daily and yearly movement.

In the illustrations of the doomsday in the Quran and hadiths, it is discussed about the breaking down the present order of the sun and even it will be wrapped, and besides this, it has been confirmed by the scientific researches that each star has got a limited lifetime.

By the verse “It is not permitted to the Sun to catch up the Moon” ( ya-sin:40), it is emphasized that the sun and moon have got so vital impacts both on the mankind and earth, and these cannot go beyond their limits, all are subject to the laws established by the power and wish of the God.

This sentence was commented as “neither of its lights does look like each other” or “once one of its luminosity arises, the other’s light disappears”

The reason here why the verb “to reach” was employed for the sun can be that the moon finishes turning its course within one month and the sun completes its revolving around the world in one year. The interpretation of Razi for the verse “nor can the Night outstrip the Day” means that the night in question stands out the moon, and the daytime represents the sun. The intended meaning here is that might and command of the moon can never outstrip the strength and influence of the sun.

God Almighty appointed some stations for the moon travelling in the heavens. Though the moon receives its light from the sun, the first day it rises, it seems very small then, it gets bigger and then again becomes smaller. While the sun carries out its duty in the daytime, the moon does its task in nighttime.

God All Besought One informs us that the order and harmony in the universe are provided by Him and this is a very evident of His presence and might by stating the functions of the sun and moon are different from each other, and though the day and night follow each other, one never exceeds the other. (Kuran Yolu, interpretations ofthe verse Yasin 38, 39, 40)



16-11-2008 07:57:30

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