The Earth is round according to Islam:
The sections of this article are:
- Muslim scientists in the 14th century concluded that the earth
from the Noble Quran.
- The "two Easts and two Wests" in the Noble Quran and the roundness
of the earth.
This article was taken from multiple Islamic web sites. I added some coloring to help the reader see the most important points.
The following section was taken from http://www.thetruereligion.org/earth.htm
Early Muslim Consensus: The Earth is Round
Ibn Taymiyah (d.
728 H / 1328 CE), may Allah be merciful with him, in his famous treatise, ar-Risalah
al-'Arshiyah, refutes the position of the neo-Platonic philosophers who identified Allah's
Throne with the ninth celestial sphere (Majmu'ul-Fatawa, Vol. 6, pp. 546-ff). In the
course of his response, Ibn Taymiyah discusses the question of the earth is it round or
flat? He writes:
[That] celestial bodies are round (istidaaratul-aflaak) - as it is the statement of astronomers and mathematicians (ahlul-hay'ah wal-hisab) - it is [likewise] the statement of the scholars of the Muslims; as Abul-Hasan ibn al-Manaadi, Abu Muhammad ibn Hazm, Abul-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi and others have quoted: that the Muslim scholars are in agreement [that all celestial bodies are round]. Indeed Allah - taala - has said: And He (i.e., Allah) it is Who created the night and the day, the sun and the moon. They float, each in a falak (The Noble Quran, 21:33). Ibn Abbas says: A falaka like that of a spinning wheel.
Ibn Taymiyah continues: The [word] falak [in
the Arabic language] means that which is round. From which is the statement [of the
Arabs]: <<The young girl's breasts have ta-fa-la-ka when they become round.>>
(Vol. 6, pp. 566-567)
In an earlier passage (Vol. 6, pp. 565-566), Ibn Taymiyah discusses why those on the other side of the earth are not below us, just like we are not below them. He writes:
As for the other side of the earth it is surrounded by water. [Note: Admittedly, Ibn Taymiyah - as all Muslim scholars of his day- were not aware of the Americas and believed that the Old World was encompassed by an ocean.] There are no human beings or anything like that [on that side]. Even if we were to imagine that people were on that side of the earth, such individuals would still be on the face of the earth. Those on that side of the earth are not below those who are on this side; just like those on this side are not below those on that side. For as all spherical bodies surround a center point (markaz), no one side of a spherical body is under the other, nor is the north pole under the south [Note: Unlike Western maps, Muslim cartographers (map-makers) would draw the world with the south-side up.] or vice versa.
In another passage (Vol. 5, p. 150) Ibn Taymiyah clearly states the earth is spherical.
Significantly Abu Ya'la in his work Tabaqatal-Hanabilah (Biographical Entries of the Hanabali Scholars) quotes the unanimous consensus (ijma) of all Muslim scholars that the earth is round.
This consensus was mentioned by the scholars of the second generation (the students of the Prophet's Companions) and was based upon Ibn Abbas' explanation to 21:33 (previously cited) and other evidences.
The later belief of Muslim scholars, like as-Suyuti (died 911 AH / 1505 CE) that the earth is flat represents a deviation from this earlier opinion.
The two Easts and two Wests in the Noble Quran:
The following section was taken from http://www.islamic-book-depot.org.uk/bulletins/august_2001.htm
Lord of the two Easts, and
Lord of the two Wests.
Which then of the bounties of thy Lord will you deny?
(The Noble Quran, 55:17-18)
In the verse, Lord of the two Easts, and Lord of the two Wests, there is sure evidence that the earth is round because two Easts and two Wests can come about only when the earth is round; for when the sun rises over one region it sets in another, and when it sets in one sphere it rises in another. Thus the actuality of two Easts and two Wests can clearly be seen.
Now let us look at the inner or spiritual world of man. It is an established fact in the physical world that the reason for the rising and setting of the sun is that, in the course of the earths revolution, whichever half of the earth faces the sun gets the sunrise and becomes bright. Similarly, the other half of the earth which is turned away from the sun, or which, in a manner of speaking, has its back to the sun, experiences the setting of the sun and its consequent darkness.
The same thing happens in the spiritual world. Any nation that turns its face towards guidance finds that the sun of guidance and progress begins to shed its rays on it, and this is so whether the enlightenment is physical or spiritual. In other words, to whatever kind of education a man directs his attention, the sun of that kind of guidance shines on him.
On the other hand, if a nation turns its face away from guidance it will be enveloped in the darkness of decadence and perdition. Thus, there is one East that pertains to the physical growth and perfection and another East that relates to spiritual advancement and perfection, and these are the two Easts mentioned in the verse above. Similarly, there are two Wests one pertaining to physical decline and decay and the other to spiritual degradation and deviation from the true path. These conditions overtake nations in turns and this is so because of peoples own deeds.
From another vantage point, we find that today, too, the world is divided into two Easts a near East and a far East and two Wests a near West, referring to Europe, and a far West, meaning America.
In short, these verses tell us that Allah is the complete Lord of both Easts and both Wests. As proof of His physical Providence, His physical sun shines on people in the East as well as those in the West. Similarly, why should His spiritual Providence not allow the Holy Quran, His spiritual sun, to illuminate the nations of the East and the West as well? And why should the East and the West not live under the same spiritual law? This comprises the second East and the second West.
In fact, these verses contain a prophecy that although at this time the sun of the Holy Quran shines on the Eastern nations, yet a time will come when that light will also irradiate the people of the West. But this has a resemblance to the physical system, that is, just as when the physical sun sets on the East it rises in the West, so, too, this spiritual sun of the Holy Quran will rise in the West just when the people of the East turn their backs on the Holy Quran, and because of this abandonment of the Book all kinds of misery and darkness will overtake them. When this happens, this spiritual sun will rise over the Western nations who will then bow their heads before the verities of the Holy Quran and will be illuminated by its splendour. This is the meaning of the prophecy recorded in the Hadith that before the Day of Resurrection the sun shall rise in the West. Thus, there is a remarkable prophecy hidden in this verse that the sun of the Holy Quran which now shines through the grace of the Holy Prophet (sas) in the East will one day illumine the Western world. And why should this not be so when Allah is not only the Lord of both East and West but the Lord of both kinds of Easts and Wests, that is, the physical and the spiritual East and West, and His Providence encompasses the physical as well as the spiritual kingdoms? If the physical sun gives light to both the East and the West, why should the spiritual sun of the Holy Quran not illumine both East and West? Thus, how unjust it is to deny these marvellous bounties of the Almighty!
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