Tuesday, December 27, 2011



The Sun is a shining glory (diya') and the Moon a light (nur). This translation would appear to be more correct than those given by others, where the two terms are inverted. In fact there is little difference in meaning since diya' belongs to a root (dw') which, according to Kazimirski's authoritative Arabic/English dictionary, means 'to be bright, to shine' (e.g. like a fire). The same author attributes to the substantive in question the meaning of 'light'.

The difference between Sun and Moon will be made clearer by further quotes from the Qur'an.
--sura 25, verse 61:
"Blessed is the One Who placed the constellations in heaven and placed therein a lamp and a moon giving light."

--sura 71, 15-16:
"Did you see how God created seven heavens one above an other and made the moon a light therein and made the sun a lamp?"

--sura 78, verses 12-13:
"We have built above you seven strong (heavens) and placed a blazing lamp."

The blazing lamp is quite obviously the sun.
Here the moon is defined as a body that gives light (munir) from the same root as nur (the light applied to the Moon). The Sun however is compared to a torch (siraj) or a blazing (wahhaj) lamp.

A man of Muhammad's time could easily distinguish between the Sun, a blazing heavenly body well known to the inhabitants of the desert, and the Moon, the body of the cool of the night. The comparisons found in the Qur'an on this subject are quite normal. What is interesting to note here is the sober quality of the comparisons, and the absence in the text of the Qur'an of any elements of comparison that might have prevailed at the time and which in our day would appear as phantasmagorial.

It is known that the Sun is a star that generates intense heat and light by its internal combustions, and that the Moon, which does not give of flight itself, and is an inert body (on its external layers at least) merely reflects the light received from the Sun.

There is nothing in the text of the Qur'an that contradicts what we know today about these two celestial bodies.

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1 comment:

  1. good day! may I ask why is it, that the crescent moon and a star is so much associated with Islam religion? I know that Islam does not allow symbolism. I am just curious how did these astronomical figures started to be connected with the religion. I hope your team could publish an article regarding to this to clarify my query. hoping for your feedback.

    thanks and more power to this site