Allah Ta’ala has created the sun, the moon, the stars, the sky, the earth, the trees, in short, everything including man. In order to express this great love for this favourite creation, man, Allah Ta’ala has, by this blessing, subjected all other creatures to the service of man. In fact, the beauty and the exactness of the creation are marvels which Allah Ta’ala has placed at our disposal in order to allow us to contemplate the Sublime Creator that He is. The harmony, the coherence and the equilibrium displayed by all elements in the heavens and on earth prove the fact that there is only one Creator, the Unique God. “Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding, 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! Grant us Salutation from the torment of the Fire”. (Surah 3 verses 190-1). “And from among this Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon” (Surah 41 verse 37).
In fact, the alternations of day and night, and the sun and the moon have always filled people with wonder. Inspite of modern technology, these marvels hold within themselves indecipherable riddles. Allah Ta’ala has made every single day unique, different from any other day, so that today is distinct and different from yesterday. “Every day, he has a new matter to bring forth.” ( Surah 55 verse 29).Thus, the sun rises and sets at different points day by day : ” So I swear by the Lord of all points of sunrise and sunset in the East and the West ” (Surah 70 verse 40). Due to the angle at which Allah Ta’ala makes the earth 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. ” (Surah 35 verse 13).
Our sky is predominated by the sun and the moon. Both have multiple functions. Allah Ta’ala has stated: “It is He Who made the sun a shining thing and the moon as a light, and measured out its stages, so that you might know the number of years and the reckoning.” (Surah 10 verse 5). Therefore, both the lunar and the solar year have been conceived by Allah Ta’ala to enable us to compute months and years. The moon’s cycle produces a month of 29 or 30 days. “They ask you about the new moons. Say: They are signs to mark fixed periods of time for mankind and for the pilgrimage.” (Surah 2 verse 189).
While the sun determines the duration of the day and, by its position in space, gives us the time of day, the week is determined by seven solar days. The lunar year is made up of twelve months. On the other hand, the solar year is determined by the earth’s revolution around the sun. This comes to about – although there is a slight variation – 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds.
As a result, it becomes necessary every fourth year to adjust the solar calendar, which has 365 days, by one additional day. However, this calculation is not exact since it does not reflect the fact of the earth’s orbit around the sun, where the earth is affected by the moon’s revolution around it which causes a slight variation. However, there is in fact an exact computation of the solar calendars. Allah knows it and states: “The sun and the moon run on their fixed courses (exactly) calculated.” (Surah 55 verse 5)
The lunar year is therefore more exact and easier to calculate and does not necessitate any adjustment. According to a verse of the Koran, three solar centuries are equivalent to three hundred and nine lunar years (Jalalain). Although the lunar year is shorter than the solar year, a lunar day is longer than a solar day: that is, 24 hours, 50 minutes and 28 seconds. Allah Ta’ala has established the solar year for the change in seasons and in temperature in the course of the year. That is why both seeding and harvesting are ideally carried out during the solar calendar. Migratory birds observe seasonal changes for their migration. On the other hand, the moon exerts its influence over sea tides.
If you have lost your bearings, the stars can help you find them : “and landmarks, and by the stars they (mankind) guide themselves” (Surah 16 verse 16).The Koran is very explicit about the fact that the earth rotates and follows its orbit “And they all float, each in an orbit” (Surah 36 verse 40). “He has created the heavens and the earth with truth. He makes the night to go in the day and he makes the day to go in the night.” (Surah 39 verse 5). The word KAWR means to wind the IMAMAH round the head which is normally done in an anti-clockwise direction. The earth’s rotation is also anti-clockwise. The following verse indicates that the earth is constantly rotating: “He covers the night with the day, seeking it rapidly “. (Surah 7 verse 54).
Science has established the fact that the gravitational pull maintains the moon around the earth and the earth around the sun. But up to now nobody has been able to explain the conference with which the planets revolve in empty space with a perfect equilibrium, without the moon falling on our head and without the earth plunging into the sun. Nobody can explain why the earth changes the angle of its axis with such precision every year. The Koran has an answer to this riddle when it explains that phenomenon by stating that it is Allah’s command which maintains that equilibrium: “The sun, the moon and the stars (are) subjected to this command.” (Surah 30 verse 25).
The sun, the moon and the earth are marvels which move under Allah’s command within their respective orbits in order to indicate the time to us. Time is very important for believers since most of the religious duties are related to time: swalaat (prayer), fasting, zakaat (poor-due) and Hajj (pilgrimage). Allah Ta’ala has decreed “Verily, the prayer is enjoined on believers at fixed times” (Surah 4 verse 103). “So whoever of you sights the moon (of Ramadaan) must fast that month” (Surah 2 verse 185). Hence, the sun and the moon are tools that provide us with the times required for discharging the duties laid down by the Shariah. We acknowledge Allah’s absolute power by the exactness and greatness of His creation: “And among this signs are the creation of the heavens and the earth” (Surah 30 verse 22).
In view of His love and concern for man, Allah Ta’ala has subjected the earth so that time can be divided into day and night and, in addition, has placed, for our exclusive use, a marvellous moon. It devolves upon us to be grateful and to obey all Allah’s commandments, to bow down in humility, for even the sun and the moon bow down before Allah Ta’ala: “Glory to Allah, Lord of the Universe”. (Surah 7 verse 54).