Some Answered Questions
On The Influence Of The Prophets In The Evolution Of Humanity
perfections, the prophethood of the Messengers of God, the divine laws, and some scientific facts.
Thus, you know that before the observations of modern times—that is to say, during the first centuries and down to the fifteenth century of the Christian era—all the mathematicians of the world agreed that the earth was the center of the universe, and that the sun moved. The famous astronomer who was the protagonist of the new theory discovered the movement of the earth and the immobility of the sun.1 Until his time all the astronomers and philosophers of the world followed the Ptolemaic system, and whoever said anything against it was considered ignorant. Though Pythagoras, and Plato during the latter part of his life, adopted the theory that the annual movement of the sun around the zodiac does not proceed from the sun, but rather from the movement of the earth around the sun, this theory had been entirely forgotten, and the Ptolemaic system was accepted by all mathematicians. But there are some verses revealed in the Qur’án contrary to the theory of the Ptolemaic system. One of them is “The sun moves in a fixed place,” which shows the fixity of the sun, and its movement around an axis.2 Again, in another verse, “And each star moves in its own heaven.”3 Thus is explained the movement of the sun, of the moon, of the earth, and of other bodies. When the Qur’án appeared, all the mathematicians ridiculed these statements and attributed the theory to ignorance. Even the doctors of Islám, when they saw that these verses were contrary to the accepted Ptolemaic system, were obliged to explain them away.
It was not until after the fifteenth century of the Christian era, nearly nine hundred years after Muḥammad, that a famous astronomer made new observations and important discoveries by the aid of the telescope, which he had
1 Copernicus.
2 Cf. Qur’án 36:38.
3 Cf. Qur’án 36:38.