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الموضوع: ‘The phenomenon of criticism of religion in modern Western thought’

  1. #1

    افتراضي ‘The phenomenon of criticism of religion in modern Western thought’

    Dr. Sultan b. Abdul Rahman al-Umayri has written a 1,200 page book titled (ظاهرة نقد الدين في الفكر الغربي الحديث) – ‘The phenomenon of criticism of religion in modern Western thought’. Below is a translation of 52 pages from the book pertaining to criticisms against Islam in terms of its alleged conflict with science. The translation is not entirely word by word and leave has been taken in many places in order to suit it to the English language.

    The allegations of those who claim that Islam is against astronomy are scattered and these are as follows:
    Does the Qur’an contradict the fact that the earth is spherical?
    Many opponents of the Qur’an say that as per the Qur’an, the earth is not spherical but in fact just flat. For this claim, they cite the saying of the Almighty: [And it is He who spread the earth and placed therein firmly set mountains and rivers] (Q.13:3), and this verse as well where Allah (ﷻ) says: [And the earth I have spread out, and excellent is the preparer] (Q.51:48).
    They claim that many Muslim scholars took these verses as evidence that Allah (ﷻ) made the earth flat, which means that it is not spherical. However, this is definitely incorrect and based on apparently incorrect understanding of the Qur’anic text and its meanings.
    There are many other verses which say that the earth is spherical, as in this verse where Allah (ﷻ) says [He created the heavens and earth in truth. He wraps the night over the day and wraps the day over the night] (Q.39:5). Several scholars take this verse as evidence of the earth being spherical. Ibn Hazm says:
    The evidences from the Qur’an and Sunnah state that the earth is spherical as the Qur’an states: ‘He wraps the night over the day and wraps the day over the night’; it is very obvious from this that the earth wraps over itself.[1]
    In accordance with these Qur’anic evidences, we know that the belief of the spherical earth was very common and was acceptable opinion to the Muslim scholars since the past many centuries.
    Here is a statement of a famous historian al-Mas’udi:
    The earth is divided into two parts; the equator in the middle, which is between the east and the west, and this is the length of the earth, because it is the biggest longitude on the earth.[2]
    Imam al-Ghazali says in the context of talking about balance of the sense and the mind:
    How did the mind and the sense know that the sun is multiple times bigger than the earth’s sphere?[3]
    He quoted a statement of the philosophers who do not contradict religion on this:
    The earth is spherical, and the sky surrounds it from each side.[4]
    Imam Ibn al-Jawzi quoted from Ibn Aqeel:
    I have read in geometry books that the scientists in the field state that the earth is spherical.[5]
    Al-Razi also said:
    The earth is spherical; thus we can find people experience morning at a time, while others experience noon, yet others experience the time of sunrise, and others experience night all at the same time.[6]
    Many scholars quoted the consensus of the Muslim scholars on this issue. Ibn Hazm says:
    No one from the Muslim scholars, who really deserve this honor of being a scholar, has denied that the earth is spherical.[7]
    Ibn al-Munadi quotes from Ibn Taymiyyah:
    They were unanimously agreed that the earth, with all that it contains of land and sea, is like a ball.[8]
    Having said that, we don’t deny that some of the scholars understood the Qur’anic texts to mean that the earth is not spherical, among which is al-Qurtubi, who quoted verse where Allah (ﷻ) says: [And it is He who spread the earth and placed therein firmly set mountains and rivers] (Q.13:3) and explained it as follows:
    This verse is a refutation of those who claim that the earth is spherical.[9]
    His understanding is definitely not correct. The verses mentioning the earth to be flat do not state that it is not spherical and the fact of the matter is that Allah (ﷻ) mentions it in terms of what the people see and feel from their perspective on earth.
    Even before the scientific era, many scholars have alerted on this point; here al-Razi says:
    If they say that spreading out of the earth is against it being sphere, we would answer that this is not true since the earth is extremely big, and if the sphere was massive, one would call each small part as a flat part which does not imply that the whole body is flat.[10]
    While explaining this verse, [(He), who made for you the earth a bed (spread out)] (Q.2:22), al-Baydawi says:
    ‘…which means a comfortable place for living and sleeping on and not that it is flat’.[11]
    Ibn Hayaan also quoted from Abu Abdullah al-Razi that he said that the earth is spherical.[12]
    All of this means that the understanding of al-Qurtubi and opponents of Islam is not correct.
    Addition from the Translator:
    Some examples of other classical Muslims who held that the earth is spherical are:
    – Abul Qasim ibn Khordadbeh (d. 280 A.H.) in his book al-Masalik wal-Mamalik
    – Abu Bakr al-Shibli al-Baghdadi (d. 334 A.H.) as cited by Ahmad ibn Khallikan (d. 681 A.H.) in his book Wafaa’ al-‘Ayaan wa-Anbaa’ Abnaa’ az-Zamaan
    – Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Maqdisi (d. 380 A.H.) in his book Ahsan al-Taqaseem fi Ma’rifat al-Aqaaleem
    – Muhammad al-Idrisi (d. 560 A.H.) as cited by Shihab al-Umari (d. 749 A.H.) in his book Masalik al-Absaar fi Mamalik al-Amsaar
    اللهم ارفع علم الجهاد، واقمع أهل الشرك والزيغ والشر والفساد والعناد و الإلحاد؛ وانشر رحمتك على العباد.
    قال سيدُنا علي (رضي الله عنه): الناسُ ثلاثة عالمٌ رباني ومتعلمٌ على سبيل نجاة وهمجٌ رَعاعٌ اتباعُ كُلِ ناعقٍ يميلون مع كُل ريح.

  2. #2

    افتراضي Does the Qur’an err regarding the earth’s revolution and rotation?

    Does the Qur’an err regarding the earth’s revolution and rotation?

    Some opponents of Islam argue that Qur’an goes against modern science when it comes to the matter of the alteration of the night and the day; they claim that the Qur’an says that the earth is non-moving, as in this verse where Allah (ﷻ) says [And He has cast into the earth firmly set mountains, lest it shift with you, and [made] rivers and roads, that you may be guided] (Q.16:15) and also says: [And I placed within the earth firmly set mountains, lest it should shift with them, and I made therein [mountain] passes [as] roads that they might be guided] (Q.21:31) and so on.
    This is one of the most common objections raised by the opponents of Islam, whether they are Christians, atheists or deists. To clarify this point, and to answer them, we need to take a deeper look at the evidences from the Qur’an and the Sunnah pertaining to it.
    If we take a look at the opinions of Muslim scholars on this, we find that they are divided into three main opinions and studying these opinions is the best way to get a clear understanding.
    First opinion: the Qur’an says that the earth is not moving
    The scholars who are of this opinion cite around 40 evidences from Qur’an and Sunnah[13], the most important of which are:
    The first evidence: Allah (ﷻ) says [It is Allah who made for you the earth a place of settlement and the sky a ceiling] (Q.40:64); He also says: [Have I not made the earth a resting place?] (Q.78:6).[14]
    Taking these verses as evidence that the earth is non-moving is not correct since they do not negate the motion at all. On the contrary, the meaning is that it (the earth) is appropriate for living without disturbance or trembling; thus it is appropriate for living and pursuit of sustenance.
    This meaning has been approved by many Tafsir scholars; Ibn Kathir says while explaining the first verse (Q.40:64):
    The actual meaning is that we made the earth a calm place without shaking or trembling because if it was so, it would not be an appropriate place to live, but Allah (ﷻ), by His Grace and Mercy, made it a dwelling place without instability or trembling.[15]
    This meaning does not negate the earth’s movement. Sometimes we say about the plane when it takes off or ascends into the sky – we say that ‘it is static or stable’, which means that it is not trembling or shaking; however, it is, in fact, flying in the air where it moves at a fast speed. The same thing is with the ships in the seas – they sail in the rough seas yet such wording is appropriate for people to use. This is the same with the earth as well.
    The second evidence: the statement that Allah () has set thereon mountains immovable for the earth, as in this verse where Allah () says [And He has cast into the earth firmly set mountains, lest it shift with you, and [made] rivers and roads, that you may be guided] (Q.16:15), and similar verses related to the same context[16]
    Taking these verses as evidence that the earth is non-moving is not correct since the meaning of ‘lest it shift with you‘ relates to the shaking that would cease to make the earth a suitable place to live. Al-Raghib al-Isfahani says:
    The meaning of shift here refers the disorder of the earth.[17]
    Also al-Tahir b. Ashur says:
    (‘lest it shift with you’) is just a kind of purpose of the firm mountains – why are there mountains? Lest the earth should shake with you.[18]
    Therefore, the meaning of the verses is that Allah (ﷻ) has made the earth a suitable and stable place for living.
    The third evidence: some verses state that Allah () sustains the earth, lest they cease, like in this verse where Allah () says: [Indeed, Allah holds the heavens and the earth, lest they cease. And if they should cease, no one could hold them [in place] after Him. Indeed, He is Forbearing and Forgiving] (Q.35:41); therefore, if the earth was moving, it would cease to be out of its place, and this contradicts the verse.[19]
    This is not true since the meaning is not the negation of absolute moving, but of the shakiness that makes it inappropriate for living. The verse does not say that Allah (ﷻ) makes it absolutely static or without any movement but that Allah (ﷻ) sustains it lest they shake or be in disorder and that has been mentioned by many Tafsir scholars.[20]
    Many scholars have related the meaning of the aforementioned verse and this verse where Allah (ﷻ) says [He restrains the sky from falling upon the earth, unless by His permission. Indeed Allah, to the people, is Kind and Merciful]. (Q.22:65) along with this verse [Then, do they not look at what is before them and what is behind them of the heaven and earth? If I should will, I could cause the earth to swallow them or [could] let fall upon them fragments from the sky. Indeed in that is a sign for every servant turning back [to Allah]]. (Q.34:9) and in this verse where Allah (ﷻ) says [And of His signs is that the heaven and earth remain by His command. Then when He calls you with a [single] call from the earth, immediately you will come forth] (Q.30:25).
    All of these verses have the same meaning which is that Allah (ﷻ) manages and controls the earth and the skies and He is the only One supposed to do so; none of them relate to the real motion of the earth.
    The fourth evidence: The Prophet (ﷺ) said (Al-Bayt al-Ma’mur, in the heavens, is a place called ‘Al Duraah’ and it is the same as, and above, the Kaaba; if it falls it would fall upon the Kaaba)[21], which means that if the earth was moving, the Kaaba’s position would change and if the Bayt al-Ma’mur falls it would not fall upon the Kaaba.[22]
    This Hadith is not a strong evidence of the earth being static because the Hadith is weak (i.e. the evidence of it being from the Prophet (ﷺ) is not strong)[23]. Moreover, even if we assume, for the sake of argument, that the Hadith is reliable, the earth’s motion does not contradict the point that al-Bayt al-Ma`mur is at the same place above the Kaaba, because the earth is very tiny compared to the sky and very far away.
    The fifth evidence: there is consensus (or agreement) of the Muslim scholars[24], specifically al Qurtubi’s saying:
    Majority of the Muslims and the people of the Book agree that the earth is static and stable, and the only motion on the earth is related to the shaking.[25]
    Moreover, al-Alusi says:
    There is no doubt among Muslim scholars that the earth is non-moving.[26]
    However, al-Qurtubi is not explicit as to what exactly he means the consensus is on. He does not mean the absolute movement but meant the shaking and the movement that is related to trembling and earthquakes. Moreover, even if we assume that he meant the absolute motion of the earth, his claim of consensus is not true because it contradicts the opinions of many other scholars who believe the earth to be spherical in shape as mentioned earlier.
    Taking al-Qurtubi’s words as evidence would be similar to al-Dahrayah’s words who said:
    The earth is continuously falling down.
    As Abdel Kaher al-Baghdadi says:
    The scholars agree that the earth is static and non-moving and its motion is only because of the shaking and the earthquakes; this contradicts al-Dahryah’s saying that the earth continuously falls down, and if it was so, we would not be able to catch a falling stone, because light things cannot out speed things are heavier.[27]
    The second opinion: the verses and Hadiths prove that the earth revolves and rotates.
    Scholars who hold this opinion have taken the following sayings as evidences:
    The first evidence: Allah (ﷻ) says: [And it is He who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon; all [heavenly bodies] in an orbit are swimming] (Q.21:33).
    This verse proves that every celestial body is spinning and this includes every planet, not just the mentioned planets.[28]
    However, taking this as an evidence for the earth’s rotation would not be entirely accurate since the meaning is that the earth is swimming along in the space, orbiting as the other planets whereas spinning on its own axis is different.
    The second evidence: Allah (ﷻ) says: [And you see the mountains, thinking them rigid, while they will pass as the passing of clouds. [It is] the work of Allah, who perfected all things. Indeed, He is Acquainted with that which you do] (Q.27:88).
    Many scholars have said that the meaning of this verse is related to what happens to the earth in present life before the last day while the people on the last day would not think that the earth is firm and they would have already seen it crushed to powder. However, Allah (ﷻ) says: [[It is] the work of Allah, who perfected all things] and this is not appropriate in the context of talking about what will happen on the last day since the system of this world would have been destroyed by that day; the appropriate context here pertains to the present life and the perfection in making it. Moreover, Allah (ﷻ) speaks to the Prophet (ﷺ) using the present tense as if he already sees it and hence, if the context was the last day then it had to be in a future form.[29]
    This verse has been controversial among many contemporary Muslim scholars and there have been many opinions surrounding it. As stated, it is not exactly the best evidence of the earth’s rotation and this is for many reasons:
    First reason:
    This contradicts the context because the context speaks about the terrible events of the last day and before that verse Allah (ﷻ) says: [And [warn of] the Day the Horn will be blown, and whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth will be terrified except whom Allah wills. And all will come to Him humbled] (Q.27:87). Then Allah (ﷻ) said [And you see the mountains, thinking them rigid, while they will pass as the passing of clouds. [It is] the work of Allah, who perfected all things. Indeed, He is Acquainted with that which you do] (Q.27:88), which means that the intended meaning is what will happen on the Day of Judgment.[30]
    Second reason:
    It is common in the Qur’an that the motion of the mountains comes in the context of the last day, as in this verse where Allah (ﷻ) says: [On the Day the heaven will sway with circular motion and the mountains will pass on, departing] (Q.52:9-10); also in this verse: [And [warn of] the Day when I will remove the mountains and you will see the earth prominent, and I will gather them and not leave behind from them anyone] (Q.18:47), and in this verse: [And they ask you about the mountains, so say, “My Lord will blow them away with a blast] (Q.20:105), and many other verses discussing the mountains in context of the last day.[31]
    Third reason:
    Even if this verse refers to present life, it still does not speak of the rotation of earth on its own axis; it would only be a proof that the earth is moving along with the other planets, and proving the general motion does not imply the specific one. In this case, it is the same as Allah (ﷻ)’s saying [And it is He who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon; all [heavenly bodies] in an orbit are swimming] (Q.21:33).
    The third evidence: Allah (ﷻ)’s saying: [And He has cast into the earth firmly set mountains, lest it shift with you] (Q.16:15).
    This verse confirms that Allah (ﷻ) set the mountains lest the earth trembles or shakes and if the earth is non-moving, then what is the point of setting them on earth? This verse is not a strong evidence to claim that the earth is static, for many reasons:
    First: Lest the earth shakes proves that the earth is suitable for living and suitable for the humans; therefore, it is not about the motion.
    Second: If we assume that it speaks of the motion of the earth, it does not imply its rotation on its own axis. On the contrary, it would only be speaking about the earth orbiting like the other planets.
    Third: Allah (ﷻ) says: [He wraps the night over the day and wraps the day over the night] (Q.39:5). We can take this from the verse: Allah (ﷻ) has mentioned about the overlapping which implies that there has to be some sort of motion to the earth.[32]
    Using this verse as evidence does not imply that the earth is rotating on its own axis. Even though the verse speaks of the succession of the night and the day, it does not talk about any reason of this succession. We assume and know it is due to revolution but the Qur’an remains silent on it. The Qur’an states it implicitly and not explicitly.
    The third opinion: the Qur’an neither contradicts the earth spinning on its own axis nor affirms it.
    From those who agree with this opinion is Mahmud Shukri al-Alusi; when he mentioned the different opinions about the earth’s motion, he said:
    The Qur’an is silent about this case, and this is one of the miracles of the Qur’an.[33]
    Muhammad b. al-Uthaymeen says about this matter:
    As a summary of our opinion about the earth’s motion, it is one of the matters that has neither been contradicted nor proven either in the Qur’an or in the Sunnah; additionally, this verse: [He has cast into the earth firmly set mountains, lest it should shift with you] (Q.31:10), is not explicit about the earth’s rotation. even though, some scholars took it as an evidence of the earth’s rotation because Allah (ﷻ) says lest it should shift with you and without the mountains it would shake and tremble; moreover, the statement of Allah (ﷻ) [It is Allah who made for you the earth a place of settlement and the sky a ceiling] (Q.40:64) is also not explicit in contradicting the earth’s rotation.[34]
    To conclude, this is the correct position; since the arguments around this case are not very convincing and whether the earth’s motion is a scientific fact or not, there is no relation between it and the Qur’an at all. Therefore, to claim that the Qur’an goes against science regarding the earth’s motion is completely inaccurate.
    اللهم ارفع علم الجهاد، واقمع أهل الشرك والزيغ والشر والفساد والعناد و الإلحاد؛ وانشر رحمتك على العباد.
    قال سيدُنا علي (رضي الله عنه): الناسُ ثلاثة عالمٌ رباني ومتعلمٌ على سبيل نجاة وهمجٌ رَعاعٌ اتباعُ كُلِ ناعقٍ يميلون مع كُل ريح.

  3. #3

    افتراضي Does the Qur’an say that the sun moves?

    Does the Qur’an say that the sun moves
    ?


    The opponents say: since the Qur’an says that the earth is stable and static, thus the sun is what is moving and there are many verses that state that the night and the day are because of the sun orbiting around the earth, not because of the earth going around the sun. In many verses the Qur’an describes the sun as if rises and sets, goes and comes and describes its appearance, like in this verse: [And [had you been present], you would see the sun when it rose, inclining away from their cave on the right, and when it set, passing away from them on the left, while they were [laying] within an open space thereof] (Q.18:17); also in this verse [So be patient over what they say and exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting] (Q.20:130), as well as this verse [He has subjected the sun and the moon (to his Law)! Each one runs (its course) for a term appointed], and similar verses in addition to the saying of the Prophet (ﷺ):
    The sun hasn’t been blocked on any human except Yusha’a when he was walking to Jerusalem.[35]
    When we look at the opinions of the tafsir scholars, we see (as the opponents claim) that they take the apparent meaning; we find that they say: ‘apparently Qur’an proves that the sun moves and the light and night are because of the motion of the sun and not the rotation of the earth’.
    The opponents also mention some other opinions such as the saying of Sheikh Hussein al-Jisr:
    There is no clear evidence about the earth’s motion (in the Qur’an), but apparently, since there are other evidences about the sun’s motion and the planets, then we could say that the earth is static and the daily motion are the planets’ and the sun’s motions and not the earths’.[36]
    Sheikh Ibn al-Uthaymeen also says:
    Allah (ﷻ) says [when it rose, inclining away from their cave on the right, and when it set, passing away from them on the left]’ this is an evidence that the sun moves and according to its motion, it sets and rises; however, this contradicts what the people say today that the earth is what rotates while the sun is static or non-moving. We have to take the apparent meaning except if there were other clear evidences to the contrary. Hence, if there is clear evidence that the earth’s rotation is the cause of day and night, then we have to re-explain the verses according to this fact and if there is no such evidence, then we have to say that the sun’s movement is the cause of day and night.[37]
    One of the opponents said: this means that the Muslim scholars understood that the Qur’an proves that the day and the night are because of the sun and not the earth’s rotation and they were wrong since many centuries and thus contradicted modern science. Such argumentation is not wise for the following reasons:
    First reason:
    There is no doubt that the Qur’an speaks about the sun as if it moves as in this verse where Allah (ﷻ) says: [And the sun runs [on course] toward its stopping point. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing] (Q.36:38). Also the Almighty says: [And it is He who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon; all [heavenly bodies] in an orbit are swimming] (Q.21:33); thus, the motion of the sun in the Qur’an is very clear but the Qur’an does not speak much about the manner of this motion nor its nature and the absolute motion of the sun is not contradictory to modern science at all since all scholars agree that the sun moves somehow.[38]
    Second reason:
    We agree that some scholars say that the Qur’an’s relation between the sun and its characteristics is an evidence of the movement of the sun. However, their opinion is indecisive because all of their evidences only relate to the characteristics ‘like the rising and the setting’ of the sun; they do not state the reasons and the causes and whether it was because of the earth’s rotation, the sun’s rotation, or both, or rotation of another planet.
    Therefore, relating these characteristics to the sun does not imply that it moves and rotates. Thus, sun setting, rising, appearing, and hiding are just some aspects of the motion and not the motion itself. Attributing setting and rising to the sun is only because of the people’s point of view; they watch the sun rise and set, thus, the Qur’an talks about what they see and know and it does not speak the actual fact of the matter.
    Many people in the present era – the scientific era – still relate sunrise and sunset to the sun while not believing that the sun actually rises or sets; they do believe that sunrise and sunset are because of the rotation of the earth and these include scientists as well who may say let’s meet at the time of sunset or wake up at sunrise.
    Similarly, Allah (ﷻ) says in the Qur’an: [Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it [as if] setting in a spring of dark mud, and he found near it a people. Allah said, “O Dhul Qarnayn, either you punish [them] or else adopt among them [a way of] goodness].
    Many tafsir scholars say that the sun does not actually set but that it is related to the people and what their eyes see. The same thing is with the characteristics of the sun – this is how it appears to the people. Read more on this here.
    To add as evidence that these characteristics relate to what appears to the people is the fact that the Qur’an relates the night and day to a diverse set of things; sometimes to the sky as in this verse [And He darkened its night and extracted its brightness] (Q.79:29), and sometimes to the sun itself: [By the sun and its brightness] (Q.91:1). This diversity of meanings is just a diversity of expressions and not necessarily the facts.
    According to this, our opinion is that we do not believe that the Qur’an apparently proves that the sun moves but we say that what is apparent in the Qur’an are the characteristics resulting from the motion of the sun; the Qur’an does not mention the type of this motion. Thus, from these two different opinions, we know that it is the scholars who say so and to say the Qur’an says that the sun moves is not a correct opinion.
    Point to note: the Qur’an is not a physics, mathematics, or a history book but is a guide for all mankind; it guides them to Allah (ﷻ)’s miracles in the universe and what brings them close to him, and clarifies about the Almighty, His Majesty. What is grasped by the people with their eyes and through pondering is sufficient to understand the verses.
    Some could argue that this would mean that the Qur’an speaks to people according to their wrong perceptions of the universe like their perception of the sun being the cause of night and day. We say that this is incorrect. We don’t say that the Qur’an speaks to people on incorrect basis rather we say that it does not discuss the facts at all (in this case); it talks to them about what they know and are familiar with all the time. The Qur’an does not speak of universal facts in either contradiction or affirmation because it is not a physics or an astronomy book.
    اللهم ارفع علم الجهاد، واقمع أهل الشرك والزيغ والشر والفساد والعناد و الإلحاد؛ وانشر رحمتك على العباد.
    قال سيدُنا علي (رضي الله عنه): الناسُ ثلاثة عالمٌ رباني ومتعلمٌ على سبيل نجاة وهمجٌ رَعاعٌ اتباعُ كُلِ ناعقٍ يميلون مع كُل ريح.

  4. #4

    افتراضي How do we understand the Hadith of the sun’s prostration beneath the T

    How do we understand the Hadith of the sun’s prostration beneath the Throne?

    One of the things that is controversial is this case is as follows:
    The Prophet (ﷺ) said to Abu Dhar (رضي الله عنه) when the sun set: “Do you know where it goes?” I said: Allah (ﷻ) and His Messenger (ﷺ) know best. He said: “It goes and prostrates beneath the Throne, then it asks for permission (to rise) and permission is given to it. Soon it will prostrate, but it will not be accepted from it, and it will ask for permission (to rise) but permission will not be given to it; it will be said to it: “Go back to where you came from.’ So it will rise from its place of setting, and that is what Allah (ﷻ), may He be glorified, refers to in the verse (interpretation of the meaning): [And the sun runs on its fixed course for a term (appointed). That is the Decree of the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing] [Q.36:38].[39]
    The opponents claims that this saying of the Prophet (ﷺ) proves that the sun is what moves and sets, then it hides from the whole earth, and that the sun prostrates beneath the Throne, and waits for permission to come back again to rise which means that it stops moving at a point when it goes beneath the Throne which contradicts what has been proven by modern science that the sun is still and rotates on its own self.
    If you follow the writings of the opponents, you will find that they jump with joy on this; a lot of them mention it and don’t get bored by repeating it continuously, and they find it as one of the strongest statements against Islam.
    Before clarifying this case, we first have to know that this has been a controversial topic among Muslim scholars before the scientific era[40]; many scholars have spoken of it and tried to explain it and clarify its meanings to address the doubts surrounding it. They were not blind to this Hadith and it was a very interesting topic for them.
    To make it clear, we would separate the objection and divide it into four main points:

    1. The Hadith mentions that the sun sets while facts are contrary to it; the sun neither sets nor moves to any place and the earth’s rotation causes the sunset. This contradiction is not correct since the Hadith only mentions the sunset without mentioning the cause; it is the same as the verses mentioned earlier which speak of what the people see.


    1. The Hadith mentions that the sun prostrates beneath the Throne which implies that the sun stops moving and this contradicts modern science. Before commenting on this matter, we have to clarify that the mentioned prostrating is a special prostrating and is not the absolute physical movement to Allah (ﷻ); thus the Hadith states a special prostration related only to the sun. Moreover, saying that the prostration implies a stop is inaccurate. Since the base of the claim is faulty, that the sun prostrates like humans do, the argument itself is faulty as well. The fact is that the sun’s prostration and asking for permission is unknown to us. We do not know about it nor how it happens. Read a specially dedicated piece on this argument here.

    The same is true for the prostration of the trees and stones and their glorification of Allah (ﷻ); if they are close to us and around us yet we do not know the manner in which they prostrate, then how can we understand the sun’s prostration?
    Allah (ﷻ) says about their prostration: [The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him. And there is not a thing except that it exalts [Allah] by His praise, but you do not understand their [way of] exalting. Indeed, He is ever Forbearing and Forgiving] (Q.17:44).
    If the manner of the sun’s prostration is unknown to us, we cannot claim that it contradicts science as applied science does not recognize unknowns and only deals with what is applicable to the experiment. If science hasn’t experimented on a case, we cannot negate that case by saying that since science does not know yet, it does not exist and if it does not exist now, it has never existed. Such logic would be rejected by science and to do the same with Islam would be incorrect.
    It is clear that the opponents of the sun’s prostration claiming it to be against science don’t have clear evidence to prove it a contradiction, and they have said it themselves that if it is unknown to science, it does not exist.
    Moreover, prostration of the sun does not contradict the human mind because proving the opposite of something is invalid except if we know it for a fact and understand its nature. The sun’s prostration is unknown to us and we don’t know its manner, then how can we judge it and say that it contradicts our mind?!
    We do not deny that what the Hadith states is unfamiliar to the human mind; however, there is a big difference between what the mind does not understand and what the mind cannot comprehend. Sometimes what the prophets inform people are topics which the mind does not understand but they do not tell the people about that which is impossible and that which the mind cannot comprehend. We have mentioned earlier that many opponents confuse between these two matters; sometimes they say that if it is unknown to the mind, it is impossible after which, for them, Islam contradicts science and mind.
    Therefore, if the sun’s prostration is an unknown thing, it is not correct to contradict it and say that it implies that sun stops because it is not correct to state something’s specifications except if we already know its facts.
    Many scholars have discussed this subject. Al-Khattabi says:
    And it’s prostrating every night is not contradictory to its movement in its orbit.[41]
    Al-Bayhaqi says:
    There’s nothing contradictory in its prostration beneath the Throne and its orbiting and purpose for what it has been created for.[42]
    There are authentic Hadiths about the sun and its condition being unknown to the people such as this Hadith from Saheeh Muslim:
    And it returns and emerges out from its rising place and it glides (in such a normal way) that the people do not discern anything.
    This means that nobody understands its prostration or seeking permission. Thus they do not discern anything.
    Somebody may argue that the Hadith says that the sun is still until it is said to it: Rise up and return to the place whence you came. They may argue that this implies that the sun has to stop moving. We answer that it is not like that; it means that it is still under prostration until permission from Allah (ﷻ) to rise again is received, thus the permission is related to the prostration and not the motion. We have already said that the prostration does not imply motion except if it was a familiar prostration to the humans; however, this is about the sun and we don’t know how its prostration looks like.

    1. The Hadith mentions that the sun goes under the Throne and prostrates there but the fact is that the sun does not change its path or its orbit, then how can it go and come back?!

    This alleged contradiction is inaccurate for two reasons:

    1. The sun’s going is not known; thus it is the same as the prostration discussed above. The prostration of the sun, the manner of which we don’t know, is the same as its movement here and there. Al-Khattabi states:

    It is unknown. We won’t deny it and we don’t ask or say how it is; moreover, our mind and science cannot understand or know anything about it.[43]

    1. The word for going in the Arabic language does not only mean the transformation from some place to another but may also mean the alignment; thus it would mean that the sun just aligns with/under the Throne, and what makes it more clear is that the Throne is much bigger than the sun and the skies and the whole earth. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

    ‘The seven heavens in relation to the Kursi are like a ring thrown into a waterless desert. And the superiority of the ‘Arsh over the Kursi is like the superiority of the desert over that ring.’[44]
    Ibn Kathir says about the Hadith:
    This does not mean that it goes to the skies, but that it just sets out of our eyes even though it is still in its orbit.[45]
    Al-Khattabi comments on this Hadith as follows:
    The sun prostrating beneath the Throne is not a denial of the fact that it aligns with the Throne while it orbits.[46]
    This style is known in the Arabic language; we say, for the one who went to pray, that he went to meet his God but the meaning here is not that he went above the heavens to meet Allah (ﷻ) there.
    Similarly, here’s a verse about Ibrahim (عليه السلام) where Allah (ﷻ) says: [I will go to my Lord! He will surely guide me!] (Q.37:99). This does not mean that he was going to meet Allah (ﷻ) above the seven heavens but that he was going to the place on earth where Allah (ﷻ) was being worshiped.[47]
    It is correct to say: the man has gone to the desert to meet the moon and to lie down below it; the meaning is not that he is going to the moon in its orbit to meet it there.

    1. The Hadith has specified the time of prostration, which is at the sunset, and mentioned that it does not prostrate at the time of sunrise; it is known that the sunrise and sunset are rational matters, since the sun is already rising and setting at the same time in different places, then it would be impossible to think that the sun prostrates and not prostrates all the time and having a single sunset at some moment on the whole earth contradicts applied science.

    This matter is not right for two reasons:

    1. The sun’s prostration is unknown as we have already mentioned and we cannot specify the criteria of/for unknown things. Thus, saying that it is mandatory that the sun prostrates all the time is based on our wrong understanding of the prostration, which is unknown to us.

    For this, we find a similar matter elsewhere in Islamic texts and that is coming down of Allah (ﷻ) every night to the first sky in the last third of the night. Some have criticized this coming down claiming that there is always a last third at some point of the earth and hence this would mean that Allah (ﷻ) would be coming down all the time, every time.
    This alleged contradiction is based on an incorrect idea that Allah (ﷻ)’s coming down is the same as the humans which is totally false.[48] The same thing is with the sun, we do not know how the prostration looks like and hence, we cannot relate it to our understanding of the human prostration.

    1. It might be correct that the sun has some point in its orbit where it will be typically adjacent to the Throne and this point is at the time of the sunset on the Arabian Peninsula where the Prophet (ﷺ) spoke the Hadith.

    This would mean that the Hadith does not state that the sun, at the time of sunset, prostrates beneath the Throne, neither does it say that the sun prostrates every time the sun sets. Accordingly, the Hadith does not mention that the prostration takes place only at the time of sunset. The Prophet (ﷺ) did not say that (the sun was setting beneath the Throne) but he was speaking to those present at that time and at that time, the sun had set and prostrated and asked for permission from Allah (ﷻ). Therefore, this would mean that the Hadith is related to that point and that specific time.
    Many scholars have spoken along similar lines. Al-Khattabi says:
    This is not denying that it is adjacent to the Throne while it orbits[49].
    Ibn Hajar says:
    Actually his saying “beneath the Throne” means adjacent to it, and this does not contradict Allah (ﷻ)’s statement: [when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it [as if] setting in a spring of dark mud]; thus, the meaning is that it pertains to those who look at it, but the prostration is after the sunset.[50]
    These opinions imply that the scholars did not understand that the sun prostrates when it has some sort of partial setting; thus, it does not prostrate all the time but just once when it is adjacent the Throne and that is when it sets from the Arabian Peninsula.
    According to this, many of the opponents are now in trouble because they did not understand the actual meaning of the sayings and built a faulty understanding and wrong consequences and mixed up between the unknown and the impossible matters.
    اللهم ارفع علم الجهاد، واقمع أهل الشرك والزيغ والشر والفساد والعناد و الإلحاد؛ وانشر رحمتك على العباد.
    قال سيدُنا علي (رضي الله عنه): الناسُ ثلاثة عالمٌ رباني ومتعلمٌ على سبيل نجاة وهمجٌ رَعاعٌ اتباعُ كُلِ ناعقٍ يميلون مع كُل ريح.

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