The Orbital Movement of the Sun and the Moon

The Orbital Movement of the Sun and the Moon

وَهُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ كُلٌّ فِي فَلَكٍ يَسْبَحُونَ

“And it is He who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon; all [heavenly bodies] in an [falak] orbit are [yasbahoon] swimming.” Qur’ān 21:33

لَا الشَّمْسُ يَنبَغِي لَهَا أَن تُدْرِكَ الْقَمَرَ وَلَا اللَّيْلُ سَابِقُ النَّهَارِ وَكُلٌّ فِي فَلَكٍ يَسْبَحُونَ

“It is not allowable [i.e., possible] for the sun to reach the moon, nor does the night overtake the day, but each, in an [falak] orbit, is [yasbahoon] swimming.” Qur’ān 36:40

The Arabic words used in these verses are falak and yasbahoon which can be translated as ‘sphere or orbit’ and ‘swimming.’ This concept of the movement of the sun and the moon and the other planets is in perfect harmony with recent discoveries. A gravitational wave is an invisible (yet incredibly fast) ripple in space and theoretically travels at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second). These waves squeeze and stretch anything in their path as they pass by. In 2015, scientists detected gravitational waves for the very first time using a very sensitive instrument called LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory).
NASA explains, “Albert Einstein theorized that when objects move through space they create waves in spacetime around them. These gravitational waves move outward, like ripples from a stone moving across the surface of a pond.” The word used by God to describe the movement of the planetary bodies is yasbahoon, meaning ‘swimming.’

It is inconceivable that an Arab living centuries ago in one of the most primitive parts of the world could have rightly used such a specific term to describe the movements of planets without divine guidance. It should be noted that the discovery of the orbital movement of all celestial bodies was due to the invention of telescopes.  


Leave a Comment