The calculation of centuries as deciphered from the Qur’an

Allah Ta’ala has created the sun, the moon, the stars, the sky, the earth, the trees, in short, everything including man. To express His great love for His favourite creature Man, Allah Ta’ala has, by His mercy, subjugated His other creatures to the service of man. In fact, the beauty and exactness of His creation are wonders which Allah Ta’ala has displayed for us to contemplate the work of the Sublime Creator that He is. The harmony, the coherence and the equilibrium displayed by elements in the heavens and on earth bear testimony to the existence of a Unique Creator, the One and Only God.

“Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of night and day, there are signs for men of understanding.”

“Those who remember Allah standing, sitting and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth (saying): Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose. Glory to You! Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire.” (3: 190-191)

“And from among His signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon.” (41: 37). Indeed, the alternation of day and night, the movement of the sun and the moon create a wonder in many a mind. In spite of modern technology, these marvels contain within themselves some indecipherable enigmas. Allah Ta’ala has made of every day an original creation, different from any other; so that today is distinctly different from yesterday. “Every day He has a (new) matter to bring forth.” (55: 29). Thus, the sun rises and sets at different points from day to day. “ So I swear by the Lord of all points of sunrise and sunset…” (70: 40)

In view of the angle at which Allah Ta’ala causes the earth to revolve, the day lengthens gradually during summer whereas winter provides us with longer nights. “He merges the night into the day, and He merges the day into the night. And He has subjected the sun and the moon, each runs its course for a term appointed.” (35: 13)

The sun and the moon hold sway in our sky. Both have multiple functions. Allah Ta’ala has conceived them for diverse ends. Allah Ta’ala has stated: “It is He who made the sun a shining glory and the moon as a light, and He has measured out (their) stages, that you might know the number of years and the reckoning (of time).” (10: 5). Hence, the solar year and the lunar year have both been conceived by Allah Ta’ala in order to enable us to calculate the number of months and years. The cycle of the moon produces a month of 29 or 30 days. “They ask you (O Prophet! (saw)) about the new moons. Say: They are signs to mark fixed periods of time for mankind, and for the pilgrimage.” (2: 189). Whereas the sun determines the day and, by virtue of its position in space, indicates the time of day. The week is made up of seven solar days. The lunar year is made up of twelve lunar months. On the other hand, the solar year is determined by the earth’s revolution around the sun; which gives a total of 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds. There is, however, a slight variation which requires that, at the end of every four years, one day has to be added to the solar calenders, which has a basis of 365 days. However, this calculation does not reflect exactly the earth’s orbit around the sun, since planet earth is subjected to a variation caused by the moon’s revolution around it. However, there is well and truly an exact reckoning for the solar calendar. Allah Ta’ala knows it and has stated: “The sun and the moon run on their fixed courses (exactly) calculated.” (55: 5)

In consequence, the lunar year is more exact, simpler to calculate and necessitates no adjustment. According to a verse of the Qur’an, three centuries of solar year are equal to three centuries and nine lunar years (Jalaalain). Although the lunar year is shorter than the solar year, one lunar day is, however, longer than one solar day; that is, 24 hours, 50 minutes and 28 seconds. Allah Ta’ala has conceived the solar year in order to allow for seasonal and temperature changes during the year. Thus, sowing and harvesting are ideally carried out in accordance with the solar calendar. Migratory birds plan their migration by observing the alternation of seasons. On the other hand, the moon exerts its influence over the tides of the sea.

The stars can serve as guides for those who have lost their bearings (during travel): “And landmarks and by the stars, they (mankind) guide themselves.” (16: 16)

The sun’s and the moon’s orbits according to the Qur’an

The Qur’an is explicit about the fact that the earth revolves and follows its orbit. “They all float, each in an orbit.” (36: 40). “He has created the heavens and the earth with truth. He makes the night overlap the day and makes the day overlap the night. The word KAWR means to wrap the imamah around the head, which is usually done in an anti-clockwise direction. The earth also revolves in an anti-clockwise direction. The following verse indicates that the earth revolves incessantly: “He draweth the night as a veil over the day, each seeking the other in rapid succession.” (7: 54)

Contrary to the Christian Church, the Qur’an has not clashed with science. The unfortunate Galileo had to undergo unjust humiliation, although he was perfectly right about his findings. The church did condemn him to house arrest in 1632 for the rest of his life. Whereas Muslim scientists fortify their faith in Allah and in His Word when they read: “And each runs in its (own) orbit.” (36: 40). The sun has its orbit and the earth also has its own orbit. The geocentric theory is not valid, according to the Qur’an. And yet, thousands of Christian scientists have held on this theory for centuries!

Which gravitational force holds the galaxies?

Science has justified the fact that there is a gravitational force that keeps the moon around the earth and the earth around the sun. However, nobody has as yet been able to explain the Coherence whereby planets swim in empty space in perfect equilibrium, without causing the moon to fall on our heads, or the earth to plunge into the sun. Nobody can explain why the earth alters its angle of rotation with such precision every year. The Qur’an can provide an answer to this riddle by explaining this phenomena by the fact that it is the will of Allah Ta’ala that maintains this equilibrium. “The sun, the moon and the stars (are) subjected to His command.”(7: 54). “And among His signs is that the heaven and the earth stand by His Command.” (30: 25)

The sun, the moon and the earth are wonders which swim under Allah Ta’ala’s Command in their respective orbits simply to enable us to reckon time. Time is a very important factor for believers whose religious observances are for the most part related to time: prayer, fasting, the poor-due and the pilgrimage. Allah Ta’ala has stated: “Verily, the prayer is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours.” (4:103). “So, whoever of you is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting.” (2: 185). Hence, the sun and the moon are devices which indicate time to us to enable the performance of duties prescribed by the shariah. We recognize Allah Ta’ala’s absolute power through the qualities of exactness and grandeur He has endowed His Creation with: “And among His signs are the creation of the heavens and the earth.” (30: 22)

The stars and the horoscope

In his quest for discovery of what is overhead, man has always been fascinated by what he sees in the sky. The sun has been for him an invincible and burning force. The moon has been viewed as a sign of beauty, and the stars scattered in the sky have been considered as symbols of stability. In short, man’s imagination conjures up propositions and caricatures. Like the constellations mentioned in the horoscopes. False theories held in the minds of pseudo-philosophers. The prophet (saw) has stated: “Whoever says: we have had rain thanks to this or that star, has renounced the faith.” (Bukhari). Thus, horoscopes based on constellations (of stars) and on dates of birth are sources of loss of faith are totally contrary to Islam.

The reckoning of centuries

Regarding the calculation of a century, Allah Ta’ala has placed figures side by side by revealing to us this verse of the Qur’an: “And they stayed in their cave three hundred (solar) years, and add nine (for lunar years).” (18:25)

According to the Tafseer of Jalaalain, the verse narrates that the people of the cave slept during three solar centuries which are equivalent to three lunar centuries plus nine years of the lunar calendar. However, now, during these past decades, the computation of solar and lunar years has been done with great precision. You may wish to refer to recent statistics published by scientists. On the other hand, let us see what the above-quoted verse reveals:

300 solar years (300 X 365.2421 days) = 109, 572.63 days
309 lunar years (309 X 29.550329 days X 12 months) = 109, 572.62 days

Therefore, 300 solar years are equivalent to 309 lunar years, to the nearest hundredth of a second!

The Qur’an is a living miracle. Once more, we understand its splendor. One can read in it: “The sun and the moon run on their fixed courses (exactly) calculated.” (55: 5). “And from among His signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon.” (41: 37). “And He has made the sun and the moon, both constantly pursuing their courses, to be of service to you.” (14: 33). But the day’s verse maintains that the movements of the sun and the moon follow a definite course exactly calculated where no error is possible: “It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor does the night outstrip the day. They all float, each in an orbit.” (36: 40). “Blessed be Allah, the Lord of all the ‘aalameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists).” (7: 54)

It is a pleasure to continue reading the Qur’an, even after Ramadhan. Let us convince ourselves of this truth so that others may also be convinced.