Monday, 17 October 2016

Sun Stopping its Movement During Night

Here is one of the clearest scientific errors in the Quran - The Quran states that sun stops its motion during the night time. This is stated in verse 36:38. Let us see verses 36:37 - 36:39 (Translated by Pickthall)

036.037 A token unto them is night. We strip it of the day, and lo! they are in darkness.
036.038 And the sun runneth on unto a resting-place for him. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Wise.
036.039 And for the moon We have appointed mansions (or phases) till she return like an old shrivelled palm-leaf.

The sequence is very clear and simple.

1) Day changes to night. (36:37)
2) Sun runs to its resting place. (36:38)
3) Moon appears in the night sky. (36:39)

Arabic transliteration:

36:38 - wa al-shamsu tajree li-mustaqarrin lahaa dhaalika taqdeeru al-'azeezi al-'aleemi

"li-mustaqarrin" means "to a resting place". Here is the meaning of "mustaqarr" as given in the famous Lane's Lexicon, the most reputed Classical Arabic-English dictionary available:

The Lane's Lexicon makes it clear that "mustaqarr" when it comes to talking about a physical object like the sun, refers to a place of rest along its path of movement.

Many Quran translators such as Yusuf Ali have hidden this error by watering down the translation of "li-mustaqarrin" as "for a term appointed" or "for a period determined". Although Lane's Lexicon briefly touches the words "to a term appointed", it makes it clear that the usage implies a point where the sun stops its movement. 

The word "mustaqarr" is mentioned in several places in the Quran, with the meaning "resting place", "dwelling place" or "settlement". Examine the verses 2:36, 6:98, 11:6, 25:24, 25:66 and 75:12 and you will see that mustaqarr is used with the above meaning, and not "term appointed". There is only one place in the Quran, ie, verse 6:67, where mustaqarr is used not as a fixed place. And that is because this verse refers to the mustaqarr of an event, not of a physical object. To conclude, the word mustaqarr in Quranic usage always refers to a place of settlement when it is related to a physical object (like the sun).

If the author meant to say "for a term appointed", or "for a period determined", he could have simply used the proper Arabic for that - "li-ajalin musamman". Throughout the Quran, the same words "ajalin musamman" have been used to refer to "term appointed", as demonstrated in verses 13:2, 14:10, 16:61, 22:5, 22:33 and 46:3.

Another apologetic argument is that the Quran is talking about the end of the life of sun in 36:38. That argument does not really stand when the Quran is clearly talking about a resting/settling place for the sun. To interpret this as the end of sun's life is actually twisting what is stated in the verse. It is also odd to think that the author of the Quran would be placing a verse about the end-times exactly in between two verses that describe what appears to be the daily observable phenomena in the sky.

To examine this matter further, let us refer Sahih Muslim, one of the most trusted hadith-collections ever.

Sahih Muslim 1:297
It is narrated on the authority of Abu Dharr that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) one day said:
Do you know where the sun goes? They replied: Allah and His Apostle know best. He (the Holy Prophet) observed: Verily it (the sun) glides till it reaches its resting place under the Throne. Then it falls prostrate and remains there until it is asked: Rise up and go to the place whence you came, and it goes back and continues emerging out from its rising place and then glides till it reaches its place of rest under the Throne and falls prostrate and remains in that state until it is asked: Rise up and return to the place whence you came, and it returns and emerges out from it rising place and the it glides (in such a normal way) that the people do not discern anything (unusual in it) till it reaches its resting place under the Throne. Then it would be said to it: Rise up and emerge out from the place of your setting, and it will rise from the place of its setting. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said. Do you know when it would happen? It would happen at the time when faith will not benefit one who has not previously believed or has derived no good from the faith.

Notice Muhammad asking his followers "Do you know where the sun goes?" (Arabic: "atadroona ayna tadhhabu hadhihi al-shamsu?"). The question is about the daily routine of the sun. They reply that Muhammad and Allah knows best. To this, Muhammad informs them without any doubt that sun keeps moving till it reaches its resting place and stays there for a period of time before rising from the east. Reading Muhammad's response in original arabic shows that there is no ambiguity in what he said:

إِنَّ هَذِهِ تَجْرِي حَتَّى تَنْتَهِيَ إِلَى مُسْتَقَرِّهَا تَحْتَ الْعَرْشِ فَتَخِرُّ سَاجِدَةً وَلاَ تَزَالُ كَذَلِكَ حَتَّى يُقَالَ لَهَا ارْتَفِعِي ارْجِعِي مِنْ حَيْثُ جِئْتِ فَتَرْجِعُ فَتُصْبِحُ طَالِعَةً مِنْ مَطْلِعِهَا

"Inna hadhihi tajree hattaa tantahiya ilaa mustaqarrihaa tahta al-'arshi, fa-takhirru saajidatan wa-laa tazaalu ka-dhalika hattaa yuqaala lahaa - irtafi'ee irji'ee min haythu ji'ti fa-tarji'u fa-tusbihu taali'atan min matli'ihaa.."

Translation: "Indeed this glides until it reaches its resting-place under the throne and falls prostrate and does not cease its state (of prostration) until it is said to it - 'get up and return from wherever you came' - and it returns and rises from its rising-place..."

He even affirms that this is daily regular phenomena by explicitly mentioning that this happens repeatedly. Please note that only the last part (which says that one day, the sun will rise from the west) is about judgement day. The first part describes the regular daily phenomena. This explanation by Muhammad is also recorded in Sahih al Bukhari:
Conclusion: The Quran has a clear scientific error in stating that sun stops moving after setting. The authentic hadiths confirm this with even more clarity. This sort of thinking is quite normal for a seventh century Arab who simply had no idea what the sun does after it sets.


  1. First of all there is a different Qira'at for the verse 36:38 and that is the Qira'at of Ahlulbayt(a.s), Ibn Abbas and Ibn Masoud which reads: "لا مستقر لها" (laa mustaqarrin lahaa) i.e. "it has no stop-point".

    Secondly "li mustaqarrin lahaa" could also mean that it comes back to its stop-point i.e. to where it started moving at the beginning.

    Thirdly the following verse which is verse 40 clearly indicates that the sun and the moon are constantly moving in their orbits and not stopping at some point as the guy has imagined.

    Fourthly even if we take your interpretation we can say that it could refer to it stopping at the end of its life.

    Furthermore there are other possible interpretations that I don't think is necessary to mention. So as the rule says "when there is possibility, objection is void.", the objection is void.

    as for the narration from Abu Darr, it is a false narration in bakri books that is not reliable to us the Shia.

  2. So, in case the Shia tafsirs say "sun has no resting place", and the quran says "sun runs to a resting place", which should I believe?

  3. Secondly, as I have addressed in the article, the verse specifically talks of sun stopping its movement.

    And this verse is put exactly in between two other verses that apparently describe the phenomena before and after the nightfall. Rather than see the obvious sequence mentioned by the author (day changes to night -> sun runs to a resting place --> moon appears in the night sky), why should I believe that this is talking about the end of sun's life?

    You may call Abu Dharr as unreliable, but I don't see any reason why I should not trust him.

    1. cycle for moon mentioned is clearly 30 days(apx), NOT one day cycle. So it is not necessary that period for sun mentioned is also one day. Instead, modern science tells us that all stars and galaxy are moving. may be later we find that there is a stopping point/time for the stars.

    2. Firstly, keep in mind that quran 36:38 is talking about sun running to a particular place when it stops moving.

      Secondly consider how the verse is sandwiched in between two verses which describe the observable phenomena before and after 36:38, ie, we have every reason to think the author is describing a sequence here.

      Thirdly, read the hadith Sahih Muslim 1:297 quoted in the topic post which states in plain words that the sun stops during its daily course.

      This is a clear contradiction that disproves the Quran.

    3. yes, the sun will reach that particular place after millions of years (remember galaxies are accelerating)
      verse is sandwiched but still it is not just one day cycle in these verses because moon phases complete in 30 days.
      As for the hadith, I'm also searching for explanation but didn't found yet. But hadith is not Quran, so don't be so don't be so quick to say that Quran is disproved. I really appriciate your blog.

    4. Anees, thanks for being open minded. Its the best thing to get from readers.

      My take on this is that the reason the author describes the monthly course of the moon is because he immediately wanted to depict the shape of the moon.

      Quran has verses which talk about the end of sun's life... but the quran explicitly says sun will be folded up... i dont think this verse (36:38) is one of those... because it is almost a clear continuation of 36:37 which describes the changeover from day to night... since this changeover happens daily, i think the author most probably meant the same for verse 36:38 too (something to happen regularly, NOT an end-times happening).

      For you, id also suggest my articles about the setting place and the rising place of sun in the Quran:

    5. Honestly, first translation of the verse comes in mind is what you suggested. I'll do more research on this and I'll share it on this blog. I'm thankful to you for raising reasonable questions on the authenticity of Quran.

  4. This looks like a very good blog and I'm glad you use things like Lane's Lexicon to back up your arguments. Readers may also be interested in the geocentrism page on wikiislam, which was considerably rewritten this year. It makes similar observations and other things that aren't well known on this topic. It's good that many voices are noticing these things.

  5. Yes bro, wikiislam is an awesome site for information about Islam. If there is a single best site about Islam, it is wikiislam in my opinion. :)

    And thanks for your compliment.

  6. First of all, you need to understand this that Quran is written in Pure Arabic language. Back when this language was pure( i mean without slang and new words), it was easier for people to understand what Quran is saying. Later on, after many generation. when Arabic became impure, scholars had to translate them so people can understand it. They did as best as they can considering they also speak impure Arabic. In that verse, when it says its stops at one point, if you think a little bit harder, it means that it stops giving light in that particular part of Earth. God made it easy for people to understand that when the Earth revolves around the axis, there is one point where there is no sun shining in that side of the earth, the side you live in and that's called the Night. God is only talking about what you see on the sky, not the science behind it. If you want to understand Quran, you have to look at it through God's angle of vision. Quran is full of rhetorical devices so you cannot use the literal meaning of it. You have to look at through different angles.
    I would love to help you clear any misunderstanding about Quran.
    I hope you understand what I am trying to say considering English is my second language.

    1. "if you think a little bit harder, it means that it stops giving light in that particular part of Earth." IF YOU THINK A LITTLE BIT IMPARTIALLY, YOUR TRANSLATION IS ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT. I understand your logic placed after this statement but that doesn't apply to this particular verse.

    2. The translation i gave here is perfect. It says sun runs to a resting place. If you want to twist it to say "sun stops giving light in that part of earth", you are changing the verse.

    3. And i dont have any misunderstandings here. The quran itself says that the substance of the book are CLEAR verses and only a part of it are allegorical (3:7).

      The verses 36:37 - 36:39 are CLEAR verses. It talks of what is the observable phenomena... no allegory there... the author does insert one thing "sun runs to its resting place" but that was his ignorance about what the sun does after it sets.

      If you want to twist every error of the quran as allegorical, there is no way to show you the light.

  7. Mustaqar is used for appointed time as well in Quran. For instance, chapter 6, verse 67 is translated as " For every happening is a "finality"; and you are going to know." , or " For every happening is a time; and you are going to know." where "Mustaqar" has been used to denote finality or appointed time. Infact, in all of the verses in Quran that mention no verse can be literally translated as defining a stop in motion. Rather, the term is used metaphorically to denote appointed destination or appointed time. Furthermore, the preposition used here is "Lam (For)" instead of "Ila (Towards)" which makes Yusuf Ali translation plausible. Finally, if you take the context two three verses back, the author is talking about "signs" not just describing "day and night", and the motion of sun for an appointed time makes sense as a sign; however, the sun going towards a resting place can hardly be justified as a sign of Allah. I understand that Quran is rhetorical and different people will take different meanings of the same verse but I believe that the translation of Yusuf Ali is a possible valid translation.

  8. first arabic language has very vast meaning of a single word one word can be used at different places with different meaning sometimes even seemingly contradictory to each other. second it is scientifically proven that with reference to earth sun is stationary but if u look at the galaxy, every star and planet is oving in its orbit that has definitely its end point that means sun is moving but it is stationary as well it depends upon the reference point you are using to describe it. third this verse emphasises on the fact that every thing in universe is subject to change and ultimately it has to come to a resting point or in other words it has to come to an end point wether it is alternating day and night or sun or moon fourth this verse is telling about the daily routine we humans observe i.e day and night alternating each other sun rises and falls and moon appears at night all this phenomenon points towards a great scientific law of universe and it proves that there is a single god behind all this otherwise if there were multiple gods (as u believe) than this law of universe would be ruined as every god would try to become superior and interfere with the law of universe, the basis behind this verse is that there is only one god who governs all this fifth if u want every thing in the verse to be scientifically proven then u cant do it because this verse is pointing towards day night sun and moon and thier relation to each oter from a human perspective as we daily observe this otherwise we know scientifically that day doesnt come and night doesnt go away but eath revolves and all this happens we know sun doesnt rise or falls it is earth that revolves and brings these changes we know that moon doesnt appear at night , but it is already present there, we humans can see it only at night so every thing in this verse point towards our perspective not the actual reality I already mentioned its all about the reference point that is used what science explains about these phenomenon is 100% correct (to date) but that doesnt mean what we see or percieve in our daily life ,is total illusion, as I mentioned its the reference point u use so please dont try to prove this verse scientifically incorrect because it states what we see from our reference, so understand the theme of verse that is "only one god" and dont be tangled in those meaning of verse for which it is not meant

  9. you ight get better and satisfactory answer fro dr zakir naik ,the founder of islaic research center. u can eail hi and he will surely reply u

  10. you might get better and satisfactory answer from dr zakir naik ,the founder of islamic research center. u can email him and he will surely reply u.

  11. Mustaqarr means "settlement"... The usage "settlement" can be used in the sense "finality" in 6:67. But the only appropriate usage is "settlement" in verse 36:38. "wa alshamsi tajree li-mustaqarrin lahaa..." Here, "settlement" refers to the place, not time. Because the object is SUN, not an event (like in 6:67). When we see the flow of words from 36:37, its clear what the author is meaning... He is describing the changeover from day to night and what happens immediately afterwards.

    Oh and please, Zakir Naik is a persistent liar. You would know that if you fact-checked his claims.

  12. probably Muhammad was high on "Hashish" when he received this revelation!!!!

  13. Thank you Rahul .This was very interesting ,well documented article.I post it on my Twitter account.Thank you

  14. If the Quran and Ahadith say that the Sun sets in a muddy pond or stops to prostrate under Allah's high Throne then who are you Mr Balakrishnan to question a proven scientific fact.
    If Dr Zakir Naik was not absconding to evade Indian authorities about his financial frauds, he would have clarified everything, Dr Zakir Naik knows the Quran and Ahadith as he knows the back of his hand; mind you his right hand ✋ and not left hand which is used to clean behind after the job is done by using odd number of pebbles as our Beloved and Holy Prophet Mohammad Salalahu Alaihi Wasallam pbuh etc etc had prescribed. Alhamdulillah الحمدالله