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Interfaith Dialogue
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Message Icon Topic: Literal or figurative: the sky 'has no cr Post Reply Post New Topic
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Quote Friendship Replybullet Posted: 13 October 2012 at 11:11am
Assalamu alaika nospam001.

First of all you do not explain the Qur'an disjunctionally and in a disjointed way. Each word must be tied to the rest of the words in a verse. There is the word 'tafaawut' meaning fault, inconsistency.  If there is inconsistency and faulty one will expect a crack by the time mankind examines carefully the marvellous art of the Lord of the universe. This is earlier explained in Genesis 1-6. That is the literal meaning. The real meaning is: Allah is the only one who created the seven heavens in the manner He deemed it fit for His Majesty and Might.

In the manner Allah created the seven heaves, He also created you and all that you know. The divisions that we see in Islam is not the Art and Work of Allah.



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Ron Webb
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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 14 October 2012 at 9:35am

Originally posted by Abu Loren

I hate to think what you think about the following...but again does anybody care what you thnink?

LOL  Maybe not, but you wouldn't have posted it if you weren't curious what I'd think, right?

Narrated Al-Abbas ibn AbdulMuttalib:

I was sitting in al-Batha with a company among whom the Apostle of Allah () was sitting, when a cloud passed above them.

The Apostle of Allah () looked at it and said: What do you call this? They said: Sahab.

He said: And muzn? They said: And muzn. He said: And anan? They said: And anan. AbuDawud said: I am not quite confident about the word anan. He asked: Do you know the distance between Heaven and Earth? They replied: We do not know. He then said: The distance between them is seventy-one, seventy-two, or seventy-three years. The heaven which is above it is at a similar distance (going on till he counted seven heavens). Above the seventh heaven there is a sea, the distance between whose surface and bottom is like that between one heaven and the next. Above that there are eight mountain goats the distance between whose hoofs and haunches is like the distance between one heaven and the next. Then Allah, the Blessed and the Exalted, is above that.

When distances are expressed as times, it usually refers to the distance that can be travelled in that time period.  I'm assuming the fastest mode of transportation in Muhammad's time was by horseback, and I understand that the best a horseman can expect to do is about 60 miles in a day.

"Seventy-one, seventy-two, or seventy-three years" sounds to me like the maximum expected lifespan in that era, so I think what he was really saying was that heaven is farther than anyone could reasonably travel.  I'm not sure he meant it literally, but just for fun let's assume he did and see how that goes.

In 72 years a horseman could travel about 1.6 million miles.  That's only the first of the seven heavens, of course.  Assuming that these seven heavens are concentric spheres, each separated by 1.6 million miles, that would make the seventh one 11.2 million miles in radius.  Then above that we have "eight mountain goats", apparently stacked one upon the other, and each adding another 1.6 million miles in height.  I'm having trouble picturing this, but somehow or other this amounts to an additional 12.8 million miles, making Allah himself a total of 24 million miles above the Earth.

And yet today we know that this number is vanishing small compared to the actual universe.  We would need to travel four times as far just to get to the sun (93 million miles); and about 500 times as far to leave the solar system (as defined by the heliosphere at about 11 billion miles -- see my link to the Voyager I web page earlier).  Our own Milky Way galaxy is about 600 quadrillion (10^15) miles in diameter.

And the universe?  Well, the observable universe has a radius of about 280 sextillion (10^21) miles, or about 10 quadrillion (10^15) times bigger than Muhammad supposed.  Of course, the actual universe probably extends far beyond that.  For all we know it could be infinite.

I imagine Muhammad sitting with his friends, watching the clouds go by.  Trying to impress them and inspire them with awe at Allah's grand Creation, he makes up a fanciful cosmology using what to them were probably inconceivably huge dimensions.  Twenty-four million miles!

It amuses me that even Muhammad's lighthearted attempt at hyperbole turns out to be an extreme underestimate.  It is another illustration of J.B.S. Haldane's famous remark: "my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose."

Addeenul ‘Aql – Religion is intellect.
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