Until the 16th century, it was thought that the Earth was the center of the universe. This is known as the Geocentric model. This belief was questioned by the famous astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus in 1543 and later Galileo Galilei in 1610, scientifically established that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Then remember what happened to Giordano Bruno in 1600 and to Galileo Galilei 33 years later because they supported heliocentrism, thus opposing the official dogma of the Roman Catholic Church. In Muslim communities, this happened even in late 20th century as one famous religious cleric Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Baz from Saudi Arabia claimed that the earth did not move and that anyone who asserted the contrary was considered to have committed a blasphemy.
Now we know that our Earth rotates around its axis at 1600km/hr, which causes day and night on Earth. Then it revolves around the Sun at 107,000km/hr which is responsible for our 12 months year and different seasons on Earth. But Quran almost around 1400 years ago told us about the movement of planets, Earth and all celestial bodies in space and also around their own axis.
He hath created the heavens and the Earth with truth. He maketh night to succeed day, and He maketh day to succeed night, and He constraineth the Sun and the moon to give service, each running on for an appointed term. Is not He the Mighty, the Forgiver? Surah Zumar 39:5
Meaning Of The Word “فَلَكٍ” And “يَسْبَحُونَ”
The Arabic words used in these verses are فَلَكٍ and يَسْبَحُونَ which means the “Sky / Orbits” and “Swim without sinking” respectively. The Arabic word يَسْبَحُونَ derived from the root word س ب ح and its detailed meaning is given below in “DETAILED ANALYSIS OF THE IMPORTANT WORDS” Section. It has in it the meaning of motion not only related to swimming in orbits but also contains the meanings of movement within itself i.e rotation around the axis.
Miracle In The Use Of Word “كُلٌّ”
There is also a miracle of using the word “كُلٌّ / kulun” in the two above mentioned verses as Tanween (The tanween is an “n” sound added to the end of the word in certain circumstances) showing the absence of pronoun. Usually in Arabic after “كُلٌّ / kulun” comes some noun or a pronoun like “Every/All Students” etc but here it is absent. Also in Arabic other than singular and plural, there is also a binary two /dual form for pronouns. Arabic has singular, dual, and plural forms of pronouns, nouns, verbs, adjectives. The singular form is used when referring to one person or thing, the dual subject pronoun to refer to two people or two things, and the plural form when referring to more than two people or things. Here (specifically see Surah Anbiya 21:33) Quran used كُلٌّ and not كلاهما as would have been used in case God wanted to show that only Sun and Moon are in motion as these are the only two celestial bodies mentioned in the verse, but the Quran is referring to three or more. This is also a miracle as now just recently we came to know that Night and Day (as mentioned in the verse) is nothing but because of the movement of Earth around its axis. Thus according to the Quran, all the three move: Sun, moon, and the Earth.
Miracle In The Use Of Word “يُكَوِّرُ”
Further when we look at Surah Zumar verse 5 the word used are “He (God) wraps the night over the day”. The Arabic word “يُكَوِّرُ” translated as “Wraps” and it means to revolve upon, fold up, flow into, shroud, make one thing lap over an other. It is used for the act of wrapping one thing around another in the way that a turban is folded on the head. This revolving or folding of the day and night can only take place if the earth is spherical. If the earth was flat, then the day and night would change suddenly. If we look the earth from space this is exactly what we see that day and nights are rolling over a spherical ball like the image on the right.
Surah Naml: Mountains As Clouds Showing Movement Of Earth
And you see the mountains, thinking them firmly fixed, 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. Surah Naml 27:88
Further, if you look at Surah Naml verse 88, it speaks about the motion of mountains as clouds. Past commentators of the Quran took it as the end of the world signs as they were not able to understand and connect this motion of mountain with their day to day observations. But this interpretation was baseless as in the verse, it is stated that men perceive and thinks that the mountains are stationary, but this is an illusion. That is a miracle of divine revelation that it should be universal valid for all ages. That is for the previous human generations this verse was giving a sense as per their time, and for us again, the verse has the capacity that it gives new meaning as per our modern understanding of science. And we now know that the mountains are passing and moving as the whole earth is moving from West to East with a speed of 1600km/hr.
DETAILED ANALYSIS OF THE IMPORTANT WORDS USED IS GIVEN BELOW
The tenth word of verse 21:33 is an indefinite masculine noun and is in the genitive case مجرور. The noun’s root is (ف ل ك). ThIS root occurs 25 times in the Quran, in two derived forms.
N – genitive masculine indefinite noun اسم مجرور
(ف ل ك): “Falakati l Jaria” The girl became round in the breast or her breast became round/ The place of the revolving of the stars; the vault of heaven; firmament; celestial sphere/ also signifies: The circuit or main part of anything; orbit; waves of the sea in a state of commotion; a hill or mound of sand, having round it a wide expanse of land; pieces of land or of sand having a circular form and elevated what is around them/ ful’k (فُلْك) A ship or ships (singular and plural, masculine and feminine)
The eleventh word of verse 21:33 is divided into 2 morphological segments. A verb and subject pronoun. The imperfect verb فعل مضارع is third person masculine plural and is in the indicative mood مرفوع. The verb’s root is (س ب ح). The suffix (الواو) is an attached subject pronoun. ThIS root occurs 92 times in the Quran, in seven derived forms.
V – 3rd person masculine plural imperfect verb
PRON – subject pronoun فعل مضارع والواو ضمير متصل في محل رفع فاعل
(س ب ح): Yasbahun “يَسْبَحُونَ” swim/float without sinking in liquid as in 21:33 the word عام/عوم also has same meaning other than general/year etc/ “Sabh” also signifies the running of a horse in which the fore-legs are stretched forth well like as are the arms of a man in swimming; being quick or swift; being or becoming remote, word “Tasbeeh / تُسَبِّحُ” glorify by repeating name/ “Subhan” far remote from imperfection.
The fifth word of verse 39:5 is a form II imperfect verb فعل مضارع. The verb is third person masculine singular and is in the indicative mood مرفوع. The verb’s root is (ك و ر). This root occurs three times in the Quran as the form II verb kuwwirat (كُوِّرَتْ)
V – 3rd person masculine singular (form II) imperfect verb فعل مضارع
(ك و ر): I کورالعمامة: He wound/folded the turban in a spiral form and folded it up. کورہ: He threw him down. It also means be eclipsed. To wind, twist. Kawwaraکور : to revolve upon, fold up, flow into, shroud, make one thing lap over an other, cause to intertwine. Takwîr تکویر: The act of folding.