Reconciling between the view that the Earth is round and the verse “And Allah has made for you the earth widespread (an expanse)” Quran (71:19)

Reconciling between the view that the Earth is round and the verse “And Allah has made for you the earth widespread (an expanse)” Quran (71:19)

Mohamad Mostafa Nassar

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Question

Could you please explain these Quranic verse?

Actually one Non-Muslim asked me to explain these verses.
Quran 71:19 And Allah has made the earth for you as a carpet (spread out).
Quran 78:6 Have We not made the earth as a wide expanse, What does it mean ?
Quran 15:19 And the earth We have spread out (like a carpet); set thereon mountains firm and immovable; and produced therein all kinds of things in due balance.


Does it mean that Earth is flat? Tafsir Jalalayn says that EARTH is flat. But it is against Established Science.

Answer

Praise be to Allah.

The Quran Described the Spherical Shape of the Earth and the Light of the Moon being Reflected …

Firstly: 

The scholars are unanimously agreed that the earth is round, but to human eyes it appears to be flat, because it is very big, and its roundness or curvature cannot be seen at close distances. So the one who stands and looks sees it as flat, but when viewed as a whole, in reality it is round. 

Ibn Hazm (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

The proofs of the Qur’an and Sunnah indicate that it is round. End quote. 

See also the answer  to question  no.  118698

Secondly: 

The verse (interpretation of the meaning) “And Allah has made for you the earth widespread (an expanse)” [Noah 71:19] indicates that it is spread out and shaped so that people can feel settled in it and be able to live and prosper in it.

Ibn Kathir said: 

That is, He spread it out, prepared it, made it stable and made it firm by means of the mountains. 

Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 8/247 

Similarly, the verse (interpretation of the meaning) “Have We not made the earth as a bed” [an-Naba’ 78:6] means that it is spread out and prepared for you and for your benefit, so that you can cultivate it, build dwellings in it and travel through it. 

Ibn Katheer said:

That is, it is prepared for people in such a way that they can live in it, and it is firm, stable and steady. 

Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 8/307 

And the verse (interpretation of the meaning) “And the earth We spread out, and placed therein firm mountains, and caused to grow therein all kinds of things in due proportion” [al-Hijr 15:19] means We spread it out and placed firm mountains therein. This is like the verse in which Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And it is He Who spread out the earth, and placed therein firm mountains and rivers” Quran [ar-Ra‘d 13:3]. 

There is no contradiction between saying that it is round and saying that it was spread out, because in fact in its totality it is round, but to the one who stands on it and looks at it, it appears flat, as it appears to everyone. 

Ar-Raazi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

If it is said: Do the words “And the earth, we spread out” indicate that it is flat? 

We would respond: Yes, because the earth, even though it is round, is an enormous sphere, and each little part of this enormous sphere, when it is looked at, appears to be flat. As that is the case, this will dispel what they mentioned of confusion.

The evidence for that is the verse in which Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): “And the mountains as pegs” Quran [an-Naba’ 78:7]. He called them awtaad (pegs) even though these mountains may have large flat surfaces. And the same is true in this case.

End quote from Tafseer ar-Raazi, 19/131 

Shaykh ash-Shanqeeti (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

If the scholars of Islam affirm that the earth is round, then what would they say about the verse in which Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Do they not look at the camels, how they are created?

And at the heaven, how it is raised?

And at the mountains, how they are rooted and fixed firm?

And at the earth, how it is spread out?”

Quran [al-Ghaashiyah 88:17-20]. 

Their response will be the same as their response concerning the verse in which Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): “Until, when he reached the setting place of the sun, he found it setting in a spring of black muddy (or hot) water” Quran [al-Kahf 18:86] – that is, as it appears to be in the eye of the beholder, because the sun sets on one country, but remains up in the sky for another, until it rises from the east on the following morning. So the earth looks flat in every region or part of it, because of its immense size. 

This does not contradict its real shape, because we may see a very high mountain, but if we climb it and reach its summit, we may find a flat surface there, and find an entire nation living there, and some of the people there may not know anything about the rest of the world, and so on. End quote.

Adwa’ al-Bayaan, 8/428 

Shaykh Rafee‘ ad-Deen ibn Waliyullah ad-Dahlawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in his book at-Takmeel: 

Some may understand words such as “made the earth as a bed”Quran [an-Naba’ 78:6], “He spread the earth” Quran [an-Naazi‘aat 79:30] and “…how it is spread out…” [al-Ghaashiyah 88: 20] as meaning that it is flat, whereas the scholars affirm that it is round on the basis of sound evidence, so it is thought that there is a conflict.

That may be refuted by the fact that the visible part of it (for a person standing on it) appears flat, because the larger a circle is, the more spread out it is, so we may say that it is flat on the basis of that part of it that is visible to us, and it is round in its totality, on the basis of rational thinking. 

Quoted from him by Siddeeq Hasan Khan in his tafseer, Fath al-Bayaan, 15/208 

The Miracolous concept of Spread out and the Arabic word Dahaha دحاها

Some critics of Islam have hinted out that the Arabic word Dahaha دحاها consider the ONLY meaning of the Arabic word Dahaha دحاها is SPREAD OUT.

The following Quranic Verse:

 “As for the earth, He spread it out as well” Quran (79:30)

Well linguistically speaking Dahaha دحاها mainly means: SPREAD OUT AND spherical, oval or circular shape. The Arabic word Dahaha دحاها has the meaning of make it circular spherical shape by checking the root word Daha دحى and other variations in Arabic as per the screenshots below:

The trap that the Critics of Islam have placed for themselves:

Let us Assume that Dahaha دحاها means: SPREAD OUT only, well Since The Glorious Holy Qur’an is the Universal message to ALL mankind, which means The Glorious Holy Qur’an and every single verse of it is for all and every single human on Earth Planet Regardless of the location of this human.

When Allah Exalted, He send this Universal Quranic verse to every single human on Earth Planet: “As for the earth, He spread it out as well” Quran (79:30)

This means ALL and every single human on Earth planet will find that the Earth is SPREAD OUT to Him/her REGARDLESS of the Location which means that The Earth Does NOT have sharp Ended Edges, such as the shape of a square, rectangle, triangle, or any other shapes of form of ended Edges that goes against the Quranic Fact that the Earth is SPREAD OUT as per the Glorious Holy Verse:

“As for the earth, He spread it out as well” Quran (79:30)

If the Glorious Quran indicated that the Earth is flat, or has any sharp ended edges, mentioning that it is SPREAD OUT to ALL and every single Human on Earth Planet regardless of their location would not be valid, and that is not that case here.

Proof of the spherical shape of earth in the Holy Quran

Following some Quranic verses which proves beyond any reasonable doubts that Allah Exalted He tells us that Earth is NOT just flat only or has any sharp ended Edges, the following Quranic verses need to be read and understood in conjunction the above-mentioned Quranic verse Quran (79:30)

The Holy Quran hinted at the spherical shape of earth in many ways such as:

  1. Sheikh Sharaawy, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “If you say earth is flat then it must occupy a specific area, so when you reach the edge of this area you will be at the border -after which there is only space- but God Almighty says: 

((We spread the earth)) which means that wherever you go on earth’s surface you will see earth spread out before you, so if you go to the south pole, you will see it spread out, if you go to the equator, you will see it spread out and so on and this can never happen except if earth has a spherical shape.

Consequently, when God says: ((We spread the earth)) this is a proof that earth is spherical in shape.

So, whoever explains this verse as a proof that earth is flat and considered the flat shape of earth as a fact ensured by the Holy Quran is totally mistaken so when science proves that earth is spherical, he had the illusion that there is a contradiction between science and religion.

In this case the role of ignorance becomes apparent when some people start to attack the Holy Quran, but if they would only dig a little bit deeper, they would definitely realize that the spherical shape of earth and its rotation were already mentioned in the Holy Quran.”

  • Sheikh Sharaawy, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “let’s consider the verse 5 in surah Az-Zumar where God Almighty says: ((He created the heavens and the earth with reason. He wraps the night around the day, and He wraps the day around the night. And He regulates the sun and the moon, each running along a specific course. He is indeed the Almighty, the Forgiver.)) – Surah Az-Zumar verse 5

Why did God Almighty use the word ((wraps…around))? We know that Gods’ words have to be perfectly precise so why would God use the word ((wraps…around)) and did not say spread out the night and day as long as earth is spread out or for example exchange day and night or any other similar expression?

If you (wrap) something around a sphere you would say that it is wrapped around the sphere which means you made it look like wrapped sphere and if you want a human to make something that looks like a sphere you would tell him to wrap it as a sphere, so he makes it look like a sphere and hence when God Almighty says: 

((wraps the night around the day, and He wraps the day around the night)) means to make them surround earth at all times which is considered as a Quranic miracle. God Almighty did not say ((wraps the night around the day)) and then ((wraps the day around the night)).

But He says ((wraps the night around the day, and He wraps the day around the night)) which means that both day and night co-exist at the same time around the spherical earth…That’s what the Holy Quran said more than fourteen hundred years ago, a fact only lately known to mankind.

  • God says: ((It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor does the night outstrip the day. They float each in an orbit.)) – Surah Yassin verses from 36 to 40 The statement ((nor does the night outstrip (precede) the day)) was revealed to rectify a false notion that prevailed among the early Arabs. It negates something which was not true, although it appeared to be so.

And which therefore needed to be rectified. The Arabs used to say that night always preceded day. Their ‘day’ began with sunset and accordingly the month of Ramadan was confirmed after the sunset of the last day of Sha’ban. But if night preceded day, as the Arabs said, then day could never precede night.

Here we are faced with two statements: the first is that night precedes day, and the second is that day can never precede night. Allah did not refer to the latter statement because it was a true fact; but He corrected the former which was indeed a misconception affirming that ((nor does the night outstrip the day)).

With this answer, Allah affirms that day and night are always present, simultaneously, on both hemispheres. At the same time, He has provided the evidence that the earth is a sphere, for the phenomenon of day and night occurring simultaneously could never happen otherwise. Allah used the correction to tell us more about the earth.

If the earth had been created flat the sun would have been facing the upper surface at the moment of creation, and consequently day would have occurred first; but if, on the other hand, the sun had been facing the lower surface, then night would have occurred first. But Allah states in the above verse that both day and night have been created at the same time.

His saying that neither one preceded the other proves that the earth was created as a sphere, because this is the only shape which allows such a phenomenon to occur. Thus in a few words Allah has revealed to mankind a scientific fact which had remained a mystery for centuries until He deemed it suitable to make it available to science.

Noble Quranic verses 13:3, 20:53 and 15:19 in which God Almighty says that He has spread out the Earth could very well be referring to the spreading out of the continents.   Geologists and archaeologists believe that the Earth’s land-masses were once a single land mass they call Pangea, the super-continent.  Over time, the land was stretched apart into different continents.

This gradual movement of tectonic plates is also the cause of many mountain ranges.   Is it any surprise that God mentions the mountains right after He mentions the “stretching” or “spreading out” of the land?

As for the “flattening” of the Earth, it should be noted that the fact that the Earth’s diameter is longer at the equator than between the poles is caused by Earth’s rotation (At least that appears to be conventional wisdom at this time).  If the Earth were to start spinning faster, it would theoretically get “flatter” or in other words, its ellipsoid properties would be more pronounced.

  • God says: ((And you see the hills you deem solid flying with the flight of clouds: the doing of Allah Who perfects all things)) – Surah al-NamI verse 88.


Mountains are considered to be a kind of stabilizing mass which eliminates the vibration and swaying of the earth. Their massiveness gives the beholder the impression that the earth is motionless and still.

Allah tells us ((you deem)) to dispel such false notions and illuminate our perception, Allah tells us in the above verse that the mountains which may seem to us to be stationary and immobile are in fact moving in the same manner as the clouds sailing above them. But how?

We all know that the wind is the force behind the movement of the clouds. But because the mountains are rooted in the earth they can move only if the earth on which they sit is moving. Nor are the mountains moving slowly; they are ((flying with the flight of clouds.)) Thus in a few words Allah provided science with the established fact that the earth is a sphere which rotates in space.

The word ((solid)) in the above verse needs some explanation for it unfolds a second scientific fact concerning the sensation of motionlessness which one experiences when there is no other body in relation to which it would be possible to estimate the movement of one body. The verse explains our inability to sense the movement of the earth.

The fact that to the beholder, the mountains and the earth are all rotating together, and the absence of a stable background against which he could contrast their movement, make the sensation of immobility quite real. This sensation is felt most acutely when one is flying in an aeroplane. If the aeroplane is flying at a very high altitude beyond all atmospheric disturbances, with all windows sealed, and vibration nonexistent, it becomes difficult to sense the movement or speed of the plane.

This is the sensation implied in the word ((solid)). Allah is actually giving us the reasons underlying our inability to sense or detect the movement of the earth and the mountains sitting on it simply by watching them; the fact that we are all rotating together, and the absence of a contrasting background that can be observed with the naked eye, make the mountains seem to be solid and still.

Allah, anticipating that the knowledge imparted in the above verse would be perplexing, asks us – in this verse ­ not to wonder at His accomplishments: ((…the doing of Allah Who perfects all things)

More than one of the scholars have narrated that there is consensus that the Earth is round.

Note: Round does Not means 100% Circle but Circular spherical as evidenced below and above in this article

SHAPE OF THE EARTH IS SPHERICAL


In early times, people believed that the earth was flat. For centuries, men were afraid to venture out too far, for fear of falling off the edge! Sir Francis Drake was the first person who proved that the earth is spherical when he sailed around it in 1597. Consider the following Qur’anic verse regarding the alternation of day and night:


اَلَمْ تَرَ اَنَّ اللّٰهَ يُوْ لِجُ الَّيْلَ فِي النَّهَارِ وَيُوْ لِجُ النَّهَارَ فِي الَّيْلِ
“See you not that Allah merges Night into Day and He merges Day into Night?” (Al-Qur’an 31:29)
Merging here means that the night slowly and gradually changes to day and vice versa. This phenomenon can only take place if the earth is spherical.

If the earth was flat, there would have been a sudden change from night to day and from day to night. The following verse also alludes to the spherical shape of the earth:
خَلَقَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضَ بِالْحَـقِّ ۚ يُكَوِّرُ الَّيْلَ عَلَي النَّهَارِ وَيُكَوِّرُ النَّهَارَ عَلَي الَّيْلِ
“He created the heavens and the earth in true (proportions): He makes the Night overlap the Day, and the Day overlap the Night.” (Al-Qur’an 39:5)


The Arabic word used here is Kawwara meaning ‘to overlap’ or ‘to coil’– the way a turban is wound around the head. The overlapping or coiling of the day and night can only take place if the earth is spherical.
The earth is not exactly round like a ball, but geo-spherical, i.e. it is flattened at the poles. The following verse contains a description of the earth’s shape:
وَالْاَرْضَ بَعْدَ ذٰلِكَ دَحٰىهَا
“And the earth, moreover, hath He made egg shaped.” (Al-Qur’an 79:30)


The Arabic word for egg here is dahaahaa (the Arabic word dahaahaa has been translated by A. Yusuf
Ali as “vast expanse”, which also is correct. This word also means an ostrich-egg) which means an ostrich-egg. The shape of an ostrich-egg resembles the geo-spherical shape of the earth.


Thus the Qur’an correctly describes the shape of the earth, though the prevalent notion when the Qur’an was revealed was that the earth was flat.
(from The Quran and Modern Science, Compatible or Incompatible? by Dr. Zakir Abdul Karim Naik

What does Science tells us:

The Scientic Confirms that the Earth shape is NOT 100% Circle But A LITTLE Bit dented towards the North and South Polar and LITTLE Bit Flattened towards the Equator Know by The Equatorial bulge.

The Earth has a rather slight equatorial bulge: it is about 43 km (27 mi) wider at the equator than pole-to-pole, a difference which is close to 1/300 of the diameter. If the Earth were scaled down to a globe with diameter of 1 meter at the equator, that difference would be only 3 millimeters.

Reference: https://www.space.fm/astronomy/earthmoonsun/earthshape.html

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