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misinterpretation of sunset

Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict XVI and the Koran
in response to reader comment: Where does the sun set?

Submitted by believer (Malaysia), Jan 3, 2013 at 20:39

the verse from Quran

"Till, when he reached the setting place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout: We said: O Zul Qarnain! Either punish or show them kindness."
Al-Quraan 18:86


Note that, This verse clearly says that "he found it setting ....", Quran does not says that The sun sets in a muddy spring.

'Sunrise' literally means rising of the sun. Today when the word 'sunrise' is used most of the people know that the earth is rotating and is moving in relation to the sun. Most of us know that the sun does not rise during sunrise. However even an astronomer uses the word 'sunrise'. Similarly we know that during sunset, the sun does not actually set. But we still use this word. this is how the language evolved. Quran was meant for people and therefore it should be in accordance with the language used by man.

"setting place of the sun" >>>>> "what do we mean when we say japan is in the east and USA is in the west?"
oes it mean that the earth is flat and japan is located at the eastern edge of the universe? This is metaphorical usage.

"he found it setting in a muddy spring…" means that he saw the sun as if it were setting in the ocean. This is something that everyone who goes to the coast or beach can see: it looks as if the sun is setting into the sea, but in fact it never leaves its path in which it is fixed.


The Qur'anic statement is clearly metaphorical, and this is the way it has been understood by most of the classical and modern commentators of the Qur'an.

Quran mentions so many scientific facts about sun and universe which were not known before.

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It was thought that the Sun was stationary and did not rotate about its axis like the Earth.

Quran (21:33) It is He Who created the Night and the Day, and the sun and the moon: all (the celestial bodies) swim along, each in its rounded course.

Quran 36:40. It is not permitted to the Sun to catch up the Moon, nor can the Night outstrip the Day: Each (just) swims along in (its own) orbit (according to Law).

Quran 14:33 And He hath made subject to you the sun and the moon, both diligently pursuing their courses; and the night and the day hath he (also) made subject to you

This verse mentions an essential fact discovered by modern astronomy, i.e. the existence of the individual orbits of the Sun and the Moon, and their journey through space with their own motion. The 'fixed place' towards, which the sun travels, carrying with it the solar system, has been located exactly by modern astronomy. It has been given a name, the Solar Apex. The solar system is indeed moving in space towards a point situated in the constellation of Hercules (alpha Layer) whose exact location is firmly established.

The sun takes approximately 25 days to rotate around its axis.
and the sun travels through space at roughly 150 miles per second, and takes about 200 million years to complete one revolution around the center of our Milky Way Galaxy.

Quran says that the sun will extinguish after a certain period.

Al- Quran 36:38 "And the Sun Runs its course For a period determined For it; that is The decree of (Him) The exalted in Might, The All-Knowing."

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