EXPANDING UNIVERSE

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THE ARABIC WORD MEANS “EXPANSE”
After scientists discovered that the universe is expanding, Muslims translators began to translate the word in verse 51:47 as “expanding” to add modern science to the Quran.
Notice that the form of the word used in verse 51:47 is a noun, It cannot possibly be the verb or adjective “expanding”.
Some translated it as “steadily expanding”, but no Arabic word meaning “steadily” is in the verse.
Muslim websites cite the 1955 (non-Muslim) Arthur John Arberry interpretation “We extend it wide”, not mentioning he was not a Muslim.
LIST OF 50 QURAN TRANSLATIONS OF VERSE 51:47 BY MUSLIMS
[The dates are the dates of the original translations from Arabic.

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redshift-svg

frequency shift toward the red of bands of light absorbed by the gas surrounding a star

RED SHIFT
The red shift is caused by objects moving away from us in expanding universe [similar to the doppler shift in sound of a car moving away from us]  
Black lines are the absorption lines (which are particular frequencies for each element) caused by light moving through the cooled gas surrounding a star

If an object is moving away from us, its black spectral lines of absorption are shifted toward the red. In an expanding universe, the most distant objects are moving away from us faster, and have the most red shift.

THE ARABIC WORD MEANS “EXPANSE”
After scientists discovered that the universe is expanding, Muslims translators began to translate the word in verse 51:47 as “expanding” to add modern science to the Quran.
Do a Google search of “quran arabic corpus lamūsiʿūna dictionary”. In all but 1 of the 32 places any form of the word is used, it means “ample”, “of ample means” (rich), “spacious”, “vast” or something similar.
Notice that the form of the word used in verse 51:47 is a noun, It cannot possibly be the verb or adjective “expanding”.
Some translated it as “steadily expanding”, but no Arabic word meaning “steadily” is in the verse.
Then an Arabic dictionary was changed to include the “expanding universe” meaning the translators had invented.

ARTHUR JOHN ARBERRY
Muslim websites cite the 1955 (non-Muslim) Arthur John Arberry interpretation “We extend it wide”,  not mentioning he was not a Muslim, but it is unclear whether or not this translation is saying the universe is currently expanding.

LIST OF QURAN TRANSLATIONS BY MUSLIMS
[The dates are the dates of the original translations from Arabic.
None of the pre-1967 translations by Muslims made any mention of the universe currently expanding, only of it having expanded in the past.
1910 Mirzat Ab’ul Fazl “large extent”
1910 Ahmed Raza Khan (Barelvi) (in Urdu)
later into English by Faridul Haque “he expanse”. [sic]
1930 Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall “vast extent”
1934 (Abdullah) Yusuf Ali “vastness of space”
1936 Maulawi (or Maulvi) Sher Ali “We have vast powers”
1957 Abdul Majid Daryabadi “We have built it with might”
1964 Khadim Rahmani Nuri (author) and Zohurul Hoque (editor) “vast proportions”
Since 1967, many translators have translated the verse as saying currently expanding, but some translators have not.
The 1967 Syed Abdul Latif translation “We have the power to expand” could be interpreted as saying the universe is currently expanding.
In 1969 Malik Farid added footnote 2837A “We go on expanding” to his commentary on the Maulawi Sher Ali 1936 translation.
Translations of 51:47 by Muslims after 1969
1970 Muhammad Zafrulla Khan “go on expanding”;
1972 Abul Ala Maududi “We have the Power”.
1977 Muhammad Muhsin Khan and Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali [promoted by Saudi government] “We are able to extend the vastness”
1978 Rashad Khalifa (Quranist) “we will continue to expand it”
[Khalifa was assassinated in the United States after Saudi clerics issued a fatwa against his translation of the Quran.]
1980 Muhammad Asad “steadily expanding it”
[Footnote 31 says “continuously expanding”.]
1981 M.H. Shakir “We are the makers of things ample”
1981 (Shaykh) Muhammad Sarwar “We expanded it.”
1984 Ahmed Ali “We are the Lord of power and expanse” (not the same person as S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali)
1985 T. B. Irving [American convert] “We are extending it”;
1992 Kamal Omar “Who make expansion”
1992 Nurettin Uzunoglu et al. “We are able to expand it”
1993 Mir Aneesuddin. “We are the Expanders”
1995 M. & Samira Ahmed “We are extending/spreading”
1997 M. Farook Malik “built”
1997 Umm Muhammad “We are its expander”
1997 Amatul Rahman Omar “We are Makers of its vast extent”
1998 Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali “are extending it”
1999 Syed Vickar Ahamed “We are Who create the vastness of space”
1999 Abdalhaqq Bewley & Aisha Bewley “gave it its vast expanse”
2000 Hamid Aziz “We are the expanders”
2000 Munir Munshey “We expand it (steadily)”
2001 Bijan Moeinian “will continue to expand it”
2001? Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah “Widely extended it”
2003? Al-Muntakhab “we are expanding the universe”
[The botched attempt to copy the “chewed substance” stage of embryology from Abdul-Majeed A. Zindani dates Qaribullah and al-Muntakhab as being written after 1981.]
2003 Shabbir Ahmed “We are steadily expanding it”
2003 S. Ali Quli Qara’i “it is We who are its expanders”
2004 Abdel-Haleem “made them vast”
2005 (Muhammad) Tahir-ul-Qadri “expanding”
2006 Ali Ünal “keep expanding it”
2006 Muhammad Taqi Usmani “We are the expanders”
2007 Edip Yuksel (Quranist) “We are expanding it” with footnote saying “continuously expanding”
Available used on the internet
[The original publisher (Palgrave Macmillan] dropped out, possibly because a cleric warned them a fatwa might be written against the unorthodox translation of Edip Yüksel.]
2007 Laleh Bakhtiar “We are ones who extend wide”
2008 Monotheist Group (Progressive Muslims) “We will expand it”
2008 M. K. Jasser “made it bigger”
2009 M. Wahiduddin Khan “We built … giving it its vast expanse”
2012 Talal Itani “are expanding”
2012 Bilal Muhammad “We who create the vastness of space”
2015 The Study Quran “We make vast” with a footnote saying the Arabic means “the Spreaders”
Most of these Quran translations into English (but missing the commentary) can be found at http://www.islamawakened.com/Quran/51/47/default.htm
or at http://al-quran.info/51/47 among the English translations.
Commentary added to 1972 Abul Ala Maududi translation is at http://www.englishtafsir.com/Quran/51/index.html  and more explanation at its footnote 44.
Ask your local librarian about borrowing books from other libraries, or check new and used booksellers on the internet.

Image by Georg Wiora, via Wikimedia Commons.
image credit https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Redshift.svg#mw-jump-to-license

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