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Different rising & setting places of the sun - V.55:17, Surah Ar-Rehman

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TEAM MUSLIM VILLA The Avid Reader | Mom of 3 cute rascals
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« on: April 14, 2019, 02:26:06 pm »



(55:17, Surah Ar-Rehman) رَبُّ الْمَشْرِقَيْنِ وَرَبُّ الْمَغْرِبَيْنِ

"rabbu   al-mashriqayni  warabbu  l-maghribayni."  (55:17) Surah Ar-Rehman. 

"Rab (of) the two Easts and Rab (of) the two Wests."  (55:17) [Translation word by word, Corpus Quran)   

 "Rab of the two Easts, and Rab of the two Wests!"  (55:17)  [Translation Pickthall]

As-Salam Alaykum dear everyone.

The note in Pickthall's tafsir explains "two Easts" and "two Wests" as the two rising places of the sun in summer and two setting places of the sun in winter.    Word by word translation at Corpus Quran also translates same as Pickthall. 


Can anyone give some information on the differences of rising and setting places in winter and summer?

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Heba E. Husseyn
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2019, 02:50:14 pm »

Walaikum As-Salam Sis Ruhi.   Yes very true.  There's a slight change in the rising and setting points of the sun each day;  thus the rising and setting points in summer and winter are quite different.  All astronomers of modern times who have carefully observed the sun's path have reported this phenomenon.  It's a complicated one with plenty of details and this change in summer and winter rising/setting points also involves the earth's rotation around its axis.   

As we know, in the Noble Quran there are several direct references to aspects of astronomy and physics, and Verse 55:17 is one such reference.   It's a direct allusion of this occurrence.   Let's not forget, Allah Almighty provided us with this factual information in the 7th century.  Allah does not want to get into too many details of everything He has created and established with a system in the entire heavens because that would be very difficult for the people of medieval times to grasp;  they would end up completely confused and disinterested.  Rather, in the Noble Quran, Allah Almighty wants all such references to be briefly and articulately balanced so that it wouldn't be too tough for the 7th century society to understand, and at the same time would also fit into the more detailed discoveries of later times.

The following are some quotes from modern astronomical sources that fully support Verse 55:17.

Writes Solar Center Stanford   "Each day the rising and setting points change slightly. At the summer solstice, the Sun rises as far to the northeast as it ever does, and sets as far to the northwest. Every day after that, the Sun rises a tiny bit further south."

Quoting Sun path in Wikipedia   "The Earth's axis of rotation tilts about 23.5 degrees, relative to the plane of Earth's orbit around the Sun. As the Earth orbits the Sun, this creates the 47° declination difference between the solstice sun paths, as well as the hemisphere-specific difference between summer and winter.   .....  Solstice day arcs as viewed from 50° latitude. During the winter solstice Sun does not rise more than 16.56° above the horizon at midday, but 63.44° in summer solstice above the same horizon direction. The difference in the length of the day between summer and winter, from here to the north, begin to be striking – slightly more than 8 hours at winter solstice, to more than 16 hours during the summer solstice. Likewise is the difference in direction of sunrise and sunset."

Writes Slate technology - position of the sun in the sky changing over a year -  "So if you measure the Sun's height above the southern horizon every day at the same time, that height changes. In summer it's high, in winter it's low."

Writes a summer school in Spain   "Abstract. The inclination of the Earth's rotation axis causes the seasons and the position of sunrise and sunset to change every day. The maximum angular distance between two sunrises or two sunsets is the angle between two solstices. This angle changes with the latitude of the place."

Alhumdulilah.  All praise be to YOU, ya Allah.

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TEAM MUSLIM VILLA The Avid Reader | Mom of 3 cute rascals
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2019, 09:02:36 pm »

Thanks a lot Sis.  So interesting.    Allah is the Fount of all knowledge.
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