[Al-Quran 50:6-8] Have they not looked at the heaven above them - how We structured it and adorned it and how it has no rifts? And the earth - We spread it out and cast therein firmly set mountains and made grow therein [something] of every beautiful kind, Giving insight and a reminder for every servant who turns [to Allah].
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Sunrise from the West
An interesting argument related in the Qur’an is that of Prophet Abraham’s conversation with the King who rejected Allah, and considered himself as capable as Allah. Prophet Abraham challenged him to make the Sun rise from the West:
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِي حَاجَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ فِي رَبِّهِ أَنْ آتَاهُ اللَّهُ الْمُلْكَ إِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّيَ الَّذِي يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ قَالَ أَنَا أُحْيِي وَأُمِيتُ ۖ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْتِي بِالشَّمْسِ مِنَ الْمَشْرِقِ فَأْتِ بِهَا مِنَ الْمَغْرِبِ فَبُهِتَ الَّذِي كَفَرَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ
[Al-Qur’an 2:258, Translator: Arberry] Hast thou not regarded him who disputed with Abraham, concerning his Lord, that God had given him the kingship? When Abraham said, 'My Lord is He who gives life, and makes to die,' he said, 'I give life, and make to die.' Said Abraham, 'God brings the sun from the east; so bring thou it from the west.' Then the unbeliever was confounded. God guides not the people of the evildoers.
Can the Sun rise from the West?
The general direction of rotation of most objects in the observable Universe is counter-clockwise, including the Earth, which means that the eastern side sees the Sun before the western side.
However, Venus is an exception. It rotates clockwise on its axis, which means that if we were standing on Venus, we would see the Sun rise on the western horizon. Planet Uranus also rotates clockwise.
Signs of the Heavens
Was Abraham aware of the retrograde rotation of some heavenly bodies? Consider the following verse:
وَكَذَٰلِكَ نُرِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ مَلَكُوتَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَلِيَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُوقِنِينَ
[Al-Qur’an 6:75, Translator: Arberry] So We were showing Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and earth, that he might be of those having sure faith.