THE ROUNDNESS OF THE EARTH
He has created the Heavens and the Earth for Truth. He wraps the night up in the day, and wraps the day up in the night. (Qur’an, 39:5)
In the Qur’an, the words used for describing the universe are quite remarkable. The Arabic word which is translated as “to wrap” in the above verse is “takwir.” In English, it means “to make one thing lap over another, folded up as a garment that is laid away.” For instance, in Arabic dictionaries this word is used for the action of wrapping one thing around another, in the way that a turban is put on. The information given in the verse about the day and the night wrapping each other up includes accurate information about the shape of the world. This can be true only if the Earth is round. This means that in the Qur’an, which was revealed in the 7th century, the roundness of the world was hinted at.
However, it should be remembered that the understanding of astronomy of the time perceived the world differently. It was then thought that the world was a flat plane and all scientific calculations and explanations were based on this belief. However, the Glorious Qur’an has employed the most definitive words when it came to describing the universe. These facts, which we could only correctly fathom in our century, have been in the Qur’an for a vast length of time.
THE EARTH’S DIRECTION OF ROTATION
You will see the mountains and reckon them to be solid; but they go past like clouds-the handiwork of Allah Who gives to everything its solidity. He is aware of what you do. (Qur’an, 27:88)
The above verse emphasises that the Earth not only rotates but that it also has a direction of rotation. The direction of movement of the main cloud masses at 3,500-4,000 metres high is always from West to East. That is why it is generally the state of the weather in the West which is looked at in meteorological forecasts.18
If only they had believed and had fear [and awareness of Allah]!
A reward from Allah is better, if they only knew.
Do you not know that Allah is He to Whom the kingdom of the heavens and the earth belongs and that, besides Allah,
you have no protector and no helper?
The main reason why cloud masses are pulled from West to East is the direction in which the Earth rotates. As we now know, our Earth spins from West to East. This fact, only recently established by science, was revealed in the Qur’an hundreds of years ago.
THE EARTH’S GEOID SHAPE
After that He smoothed out the earth. (Qur’an, 79:30)
In the above verse, the word “daha” is used in the original Arabic. It, translated as “smoothed out,” comes from the word “dahv,” meaning “to spread.” Although the word “dahv” also means to cover or to set out, the meaning of the verb is more than just a prosaic setting out, since it describes setting out in a circle.
The concept of roundness is also present in other words derived from “dahv.” For example, the word “dahv” also refers to children dropping a ball into a hole in the ground, games involving throwing stones into holes and games played with walnuts. Words derived from that root are also used for an ostrich making a nest, cleaning stones from where it is about to lie down, the place where it lays its eggs and the egg itself.
Indeed, the Earth is round, in a manner reminiscent of an egg. The slightly flattened spherical shape of the Earth is known as geoid. From that point of view, the use of the word “daha” contains important information about the shape that Allah has given to the Earth. For hundreds of years, people imagined the Earth to be completely flat and only learned the truth thanks to technology. Yet, this fact was revealed in the Qur’an fourteen centuries ago.