Articles Qur'an Translation Glossary
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THE SKY Article(s)  
Astronomy
Whenever I describe to Westerners the details the Qur’an contains on certain points of astronomy, it is common for someone to reply that there is nothing unusual in this since the Arabs made important discoveries in the field of astronomy long before the Europeans. But, this is a mistaken idea resulting from an ignorance of history. In the first place, science developed in the Arab World at a considerable time after the Qur’anic revelation had occurred. Secondly, the scientific knowledge prevalent at the highpoint of Islamic civilization would have made it impossible for any human being to have written statements on the heavens comparable to those in the Qur’an. The material on this subject is so vast that I can only provide a brief outline of it here.
Evolution of heavens
Having called modern concepts on the formation of the Universe to mind, reference was made to the evolution that took place, starting with primary nebula through to the formation of galaxies, stars and (for the solar system) the appearance of planets beginning with the Sun at a certain stage of its evolution. Modern data lead us to believe that in the solar system, and more generally in the Universe itself, this evolution is still continuing.
Celestial organization
The information the Qur'an provides on this subject mainly deals with the solar system. References are however made to phenomena that go beyond the solar system itself: they have been discovered in recent times.
The Fusing and Separating of the Heavens and the Earth
"The basic process in the formation of the universe . . . Lay in the condensing of material in the primary nebula followed by its division into fragments that originally constituted galactic masses. The latter in their turn split up into stars that provided the subproduct of the process, i.e. the planets"
What holds up the sky
Today scientists speak of gravitational forces that hold the heavenly bodies apart from each other and prevent them from colliding with each other. How was this to be conveyed to the first readers of the Quran? God tells us in the Quran that He is the One Who raised the sky (Quran 55:7) and that he holds it back from falling on the earth (Quran 22:65). But how exactly does God do this?
The sun and the moon move with their own motion
The Qur'an makes the following statement about the sun and the moon: "Each one is travelling in an orbit with its own motion" (Qur'an 21:33; 36:40) Why did the Qur'an say that the sun and moon move with their own motion? And, if that is true, where did the author of the Qur'an get this information?
Sun and moon orbits
Today we know that the Moon revolves around the earth in approximately 29.5 days. The sun also revolves in its own orbit. To understand the sun's orbit, Dr. Bucaille says that the position of the sun in our galaxy must be considered, and we must therefore call on modern scientific ideas (The Bible, the Qur'an and Science, p. 162).
Sunlight and moonlight
“It is He who has made the Sun ZIA and the Moon NOOR” (Qur’an 10:5)
Comparing oranges and apples
The sun and the moon are different from each other not only in terms of size, but also in terms of function. The sun generates light, but the moon does not. The moon merely reflects the light coming from the sun. Every high school student today knows this. A man or woman in the seventh century, however, would not have known about this fine distinction between the sun and the moon. To such a person, the two would appear as a greater light and a lesser light. Such a person would observe that the greater light lights up the day and the lesser light lights up the night. And this indeed is how the sun and the moon were described in previous books.
The Qur’an on clouds
Scientists have studied cloud types and have realized that rain clouds are formed and shaped according to definite systems and certain steps connected with certain types of wind and clouds.
Atmospheric Pressure on the Human Chest
Whomsoever He desires to lead astray, He makes his breast narrow, tight, as if he were climbing to heaven (Qur’an An’am 125)

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