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Literal or figurative: the sky 'has no cr

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Category: Religion - Islam
Forum Name: Interfaith Dialogue
Forum Discription: It is for Interfaith dialogue, where Muslims discuss with non-Muslims. We encourge that dialogue takes place in a cordial atmosphere on various topics including religious tolerance.
URL: http://www.IslamiCity.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=24015
Printed Date: 23 April 2014 at 1:18am


Topic: Literal or figurative: the sky 'has no cr
Posted By: nospam001
Subject: Literal or figurative: the sky 'has no cr
Date Posted: 03 October 2012 at 7:09pm
As if to overcome any doubt, Sura 67 verse 3 points out that we see no cracks or rifts when we look up at the sky.

This syllogism would make sense supposing the sky were indeed a dome-shaped structure, as many civilisations used to believe until a few centuries ago.

However, as a rhetorical device, the very idea now seems quaintly misguided.

Given that the Qur'an contains no errors, should we therefore interpret this particular verse as merely figurative or poetic?

Are there any authorities that can tell us which verses in the Qur'an are literally true?



Replies:
Posted By: nospam001
Date Posted: 04 October 2012 at 9:37pm
Another possibility is that 67:3 was included on purpose as a kind of bait/decoy to ensure that undeserving infidels in future would continue to be led astray. In the meantime the same verse actually helped to win real converts.

If that's not clever, tell me what is?

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God has the right to remain silent. For His advocates, however, each resigned shrug is a missed opportunity to win new converts.


Posted By: nothing
Date Posted: 12 October 2012 at 6:29pm
Originally posted by nospam001

As if to overcome any doubt, Sura 67 verse 3 points out that we see no cracks or rifts when we look up at the sky.

This syllogism would make sense supposing the sky were indeed a dome-shaped structure, as many civilisations used to believe until a few centuries ago.

However, as a rhetorical device, the very idea now seems quaintly misguided.

Given that the Qur'an contains no errors, should we therefore interpret this particular verse as merely figurative or poetic?

Are there any authorities that can tell us which verses in the Qur'an are literally true?

Unfortunately there is none so it is just mine.
If you read the following verse 4 you can see a bit better to understand it -BUT only from today's technological availability. Edwin Hubble was the first scientist to notice the universe is expanding, by analyzing the shift in light spectrum. To do that he took series of pictures from the same location. Here in verse 4 we are asked to do the the same thing:

"Again turn thy vision a second time: (thy) vision will come back to thee dull and discomfited, in a state worn out." (67:4)

Also, people back then thought that the moon was the size of food plate, where even Al Ghazzali himself in his time centuries ago reminded the people that the sun and moon are not that small. But he did not have the tool to proof it. The clearest verse that pointing the misconception about the universe is in chapter 15: 14-15.

"Even if We opened out to them a gate from heaven, and they were to continue (all day) ascending therein"
"They would only say: "Our eyes have been intoxicated: Nay, we have been bewitched by sorcery."

The technological tools have made us understand many of them, yet we are still long way to go to understand the numerous passage in the Qur'an.

Happy reading. 



Posted By: Abu Loren
Date Posted: 13 October 2012 at 4:29am
Originally posted by nospam001

As if to overcome any doubt, Sura 67 verse 3 points out that we see no cracks or rifts when we look up at the sky.

This syllogism would make sense supposing the sky were indeed a dome-shaped structure, as many civilisations used to believe until a few centuries ago.

However, as a rhetorical device, the very idea now seems quaintly misguided.

Given that the Qur'an contains no errors, should we therefore interpret this particular verse as merely figurative or poetic?

Are there any authorities that can tell us which verses in the Qur'an are literally true?


My friend I know that you are an agnostic but when you ask questions like this it tells me that you lack faith. Of course you do you are an agnostic.

Sahih International

[And] who created seven heavens in layers. You do not see in the creation of the Most Merciful any inconsistency. So return [your] vision [to the sky]; do you see any breaks? 67:3

Here is a tasfir (explanation) of this verse.

Who created seven heavens in layers, one above the other without any contact [between them]. You do not see in the Compassionate Ones creation, of these or of other things, any irregularity, any disparity or discordance. Then cast your eyes again, turn them toward the heaven: Do you see, in it, any fissure?, any cracks or ruptures?
Tafsir al-Jalalayn

Compare 67:3 with the following

Sahih International


It is Allah who erected the heavens without pillars that you [can] see; then He established Himself above the Throne and made subject the sun and the moon, each running [its course] for a specified term. He arranges [each] matter; He details the signs that you may, of the meeting with your Lord, be certain. 13:2

He created the heavens without pillars that you see and has cast into the earth firmly set mountains, lest it should shift with you, and dispersed therein from every creature. And We sent down rain from the sky and made grow therein [plants] of every noble kind. 31:10

I would imagine that these are self explanatory. Don't you ever wonder why the sky doesn't fall down on you?


Posted By: Ron Webb
Date Posted: 13 October 2012 at 7:08am

Originally posted by Abu Loren

Don't you ever wonder why the sky doesn't fall down on you?

This is fascinating.  What do you mean by "the sky", Abu?  How high up is it, and what is it made of?



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Addeenul Aql Religion is intellect.


Posted By: Abu Loren
Date Posted: 13 October 2012 at 8:02am
Originally posted by Ron Webb

Originally posted by Abu Loren

Don't you ever wonder why the sky doesn't fall down on you?

This is fascinating.  What do you mean by "the sky", Abu?  How high up is it, and what is it made of?

 
Sorry Ron I'm not able to answer that as you are far more intelligent than me, hence you are an atheist and I'm just a humble muslim.


Posted By: Ron Webb
Date Posted: 13 October 2012 at 8:35am
Well, I'm not sure what you think there is that ought to fall down on us, but just so you know:  http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/where/index.html - Voyager I is now more than 18,000,000,000 km "up" and hasn't encountered anything yet.  No sky, no firmament, no heaven, nothing that could have cracks in it.

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Addeenul Aql Religion is intellect.


Posted By: Abu Loren
Date Posted: 13 October 2012 at 9:59am
Originally posted by Ron Webb

Well, I'm not sure what you think there is that ought to fall down on us, but just so you know:  http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/where/index.html - Voyager I is now more than 18,000,000,000 km "up" and hasn't encountered anything yet.  No sky, no firmament, no heaven, nothing that could have cracks in it.
 
Well as you don't have an ounce of faith in your heart and as it void of anything you wouldn't understand what those verses mean.
 
I hate to think what you think about the following...but again does anybody care what you thnink?
 
 
Narrated Al-Abbas ibn AbdulMuttalib:

I was sitting in al-Batha with a company among whom the Apostle of Allah (sallallahu%20alaihi%20wa%20sallam) was sitting, when a cloud passed above them.

The Apostle of Allah (sallallahu%20alaihi%20wa%20sallam) 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.



Posted By: Friendship
Date 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.

Friendship.

 



Posted By: Ron Webb
Date 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 http://www.wwwestra.com/horses/history_travel.htm - 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 http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/63158.J_B_S_Haldane - 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."



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Addeenul Aql Religion is intellect.



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