LOWEST HEAVEN

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This post is in category QURAN ASTRONOMY AND PHYSICS

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CEILING LAMPS
Quran verses 67:5 and 79:28 say the sky is a ceiling with lamps hanging from it.
[The ceiling and roof of the lowest heaven is closer to the Earth than the first heaven, which is where the moon is located.]
The jinn attempt to climb up to the lowest heaven, and listen to the angels talking about events of the future which Allah had told them about. The jinn then pass this information on to fortune-tellers. 

In Rashad Khalifa’s interpretation of Quran verse 21:32, the sky is dscribed as a “guarded ceiling” with “portents therein”. The portents are shooting stars (ceiling lamps) the angels throw at the jinn to prevent the jinn from climbing onto the roof of the lowest heaven. The jinn are withheld permission to climb onto this roof, where the angels gather to talk.

Quran verse 81:15-16 mentions an oath on the “retreating stars that hide”. which almost certainly refers to stars not being visible after the sun rises. The 1734 interpretation of George Sale, interpreted this as the apparent retrograde motion of Mercury.

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meteor_burst

time lapse photograph of a meteoroid shower

CEILING LAMPS
Quran verse 67:5 (Abdel Haleem translation) says “adorned the lowest heaven with lamps”.
The Umm Muhammad (Sahih International) translation of Quran verse 79:28 states “He raised its ceiling”. Together, these 2 verses imply that the sky is a ceiling with lamps hanging from it.
[The ceiling and roof of the lowest heaven is closer to the Earth than the first heaven, which is where the moon is located.

THE JINN
The jinn are devils, creatures also mentioned in pre-Islamic Arabian myths.
Jinn cannot be seen by humans, but they can whisper in your ear.
Unlike angels, jinn have free will, and most jinn choose to disobey Allah.

ANGELS THROWING STARS
The jinn attempt to climb up to the lowest heaven, and listen to the angels talking about events of the future which Allah had told them about. The jinn then pass this information on to fortune-tellers.
Zohurul Hoque and Husain Nuri mentioned in a footnote to their translation of Quran verse 21:32 the guards preventing astrologers from reading the future.
George Sale translated Quran verses 15:17-18 as “And we guard them from every devil driven away with stones except him who listeneth by stealth, at whom a visible flame is darted.”.
George Sale translated Quran verse 82:8 about the jinn as “And we formerly attempted to pry into what was transacting in heaven; but we found the same filled with a strong guard of angels, and with flaming darts”.
The “flaming darts” are the ceiling lamps (stars) which Allah orders the angels to throw at the jinn.
Ali Ünal translates Quran verse 67:5 as “lowest heaven … with lamps (stars)”.
It is only in more modern translations of the Quran that “shooting stars” are not described as being stars.
Quran verse 21:32, the sky is dscribed as a “guarded ceiling” with “portents therein”. The portents are shooting stars (ceiling lamps) the angels throw at the jinn to prevent the jinn from climbing onto the roof of the lowest heaven. The jinn are withheld permission to climb onto this roof, where the angels gather to talk.
The portents are “shooting stars”, which are stars (ceiling lamps) the angels throw at the jinn to prevent the jinn from climbing onto the roof of the lowest heaven. The jinn are withheld permission to climb onto this roof, where the angels gather to talk.

NO VISIBLE PILLARS
The ancient people of Arabia thought that pillars held up the sky.
Muslim websites claim that Quran verses 13:2 and 31:10 revealed the previously unknown scientific fact that there were not pillars holding up the sky.
The Study Quran mentions that there is an interpretation that the pillars holding up the sky are invisible pillars.
Actually, not everyone prior to Mohammed believed there were pillars holding up a ceiling only a few kilometers above us.
Hipparchus, in the 2nd century BC, had calculated the correct distance to the moon by comparing data of the solar eclipse of 129 BC being observed from Syene and from Alexandria.
http://www.saburchill.com/HOS/astronomy/006.html
Greek astronomers thought that the sun, planets, and stars were further away than the moon.

MANSIONS IN THE SKY
Quran verse 15:16 uses the word burūjan, which the Quran Arabic corpus dictionary says means “constellations”.
[Do a Google search on “quran arabic corpus burūjan dictionary”, and click on the link it finds.]
This is close to the true meaning of the word, but it would be more accurate to say the verse divides the sky into mansions or houses, a concept of Babylonian astrology. The.verse could either refer to lunar mansions (28 in a year) or zodiac signs (12 in a year).
Several translators do not want to admit that the verse is about astrology, and claim the “mansions” are fortified defensive towers.
Quran verse 4:78 does use the related Arabic word burūjin, which does mean “lofty towers”, but that is not the word used in Quran verse 15:16.
Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri’s (2005) translation “galaxies to safeguard the planets” shows he is completely ignorant of how much larger a galaxy is than a planet.

THE PLACES ON EARTH WHERE THE STARS SET
Muhammad Taqi Usmani interprets Quran verses 56:75-76 to imply there are actually on the Earth “places where the stars set!”.    http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/56/75/
Muslims have given various other interpretations of the meaning of this pair of verses, claiming it reveals the scientific facts that planets circle the sun, matter disappears inside black holes, and galaxies move through the universe.

RETROGRADE MOTION OF MERCURY?
Quran verse 81:15-16 mentions an oath on the “retreating stars that hide”. which almost certainly refers to stars not being visible after the sun rises. Nuri & Hoque in 1964 (and the Study Quran in 2015) in their footnote copied the 1734 interpretation of George Sale, interpreting this as the apparent retrograde motion of Mercury and Venus around the sun as the planet earth passes them in its orbit around the sun.

EVERYTHING WE SEE IS IN THE LOWEST HEAVEN
Nuri & Hoque interpret Quran verse 67:5 as saying the lowest heaven is everything that is visible in the sky. This misinterpretation removes from the Quran the teaching that stars are nearer to us than the moon or planets.

Image by NASA Ames Research Center, via Wikimedia Commons.
image credit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Meteor_burst.jpg

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