Friday, January 11, 2008

Sun and moon orbits

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).

Our galaxy, the milky way galaxy, includes one hundred billion stars situated in such a formation that the galaxy is shaped like a disc. This disc turns around its center like a gramophone record. Now, it is obvious that when a gramophone record turns, any point on the disc would move around and come back to its original position. Similarly, every star in the galaxy moves as the galaxy rotates on its axis. Therefore the stars that are away from the center of the galaxy orbit around the axis. The sun is one of those stars.

Dr. Bucaille explains that modern science has worked out the details of the sun's orbit as follows: "To complete one revolution on its own axis, the galaxy and the sun take roughly 250 million years. The sun travels roughly 150 miles per second in the completion of this" (The Bible, the Qur'an and Science, p. 162).

After describing this, Dr. Bucaille comments: "The above is the orbital movement of the sun that was already referred to in the Qur'an fourteen centuries ago." (The Bible, the Qur'an and Science, p. 162)

And yet this is a new finding. As Dr. Bucaille says, the knowledge of the sun's orbit is an acquisition of modern astronomy (The Bible, the Qur'an and Science, p. 162).

Two verses in the Qur'an refer to the orbits of the sun and moon. After mentioning the sun and the moon, God says: "Each one is travelling in an orbit with its own motion" (Qur'an 21:33; 36:40). How did the author of the Qur'an know of this? Even after the Qur'an was revealed, early commentators could not conceive of the orbits of the sun and moon. The tenth century commentator Tabari could not explain this so he said, "It is our duty to keep silent when we do not know" (XVII, 15 quoted in The Bible, the Qur'an and Science, p. 161).

Dr. Bucaille comments: "This shows just how incapable men were of understanding this concept of the sun's and moon's orbit." (The Bible, the Qur'an and Science, p. 161).

From this it is clear that if the Qur'an was here expressing an idea already known to the people, the commentators would have easily understood it. But this, as Dr. Bucaille explains was "a new concept that was not to be explained until centuries later" (The Bible, the Qur'an and Science, p. 161)

This confirms what God said to his prophet, on whom be peace: "This is of the tidings of the Unseen which we inspire in you (Muhammad). Neither you nor your people knew it before this" (Qur'an 11:49).

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