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62. THE ORBIT OF THE MOON

62. THE ORBIT OF THE MOON

39- And the moon. We have measured for it mansions. Till it returns like an old curved palm tree branch.
36-Ya-Seen, 39

In comparison with other satellites of the solar system, the moon is a very large one. Competing theories have been developed regarding the formation of the moon. According to the one most widely accepted, the earth must have collided with a celestial body, the impact parceling out a big mass from the earth’s crust that was eventually to turn into the moon. Although this may not be the true story, recent data obtained - with the help of the Lunar Prospector, the American probing instrument - seem to corroborate this theory. There are, in the Quran, many references to the moon and its movements. The data provided by modern scientific findings demonstrated how necessary the moon is for life on earth. The moon with its great volume, a well-designed distance in terms of proportions of a satellite, fixes the earth’s center of rotation. This makes possible the climatic conditions of our planet, creating the ideal medium for life on it. This situation has been going on for millions of years. There are scientists who contend that the core of our world preserves its liquid form thanks to the gravity exerted by the moon. This protects our planet’s magnetic field (We shall come back to this in Chapters 18 & 19). Had there been no magnetic field, the cosmic radiation would destroy life on the earth. Had it not been for the moon, it is estimated that the earth would have rotated about its axis in ten hours, which would seriously affect the life on earth. The moon’s exerting its attraction on oceans slowed down its rotation.

All these formations, including the mass and the spinning velocity of the moon, are the result of infinitesimal calculations made at the time of creation by God. God used the word “qadar” (measured) for the mathematics to which He had recourse. We are not going to dwell on the erroneous interpretation of this concept haphazardly contrived in the name of religion. In Verse 39 of the sura Ya-Seen, the mathematical arrangement is expressed by the word “qadar.” The moon’s distance from the earth, its mass and the velocity of its revolution, its position in relation to the sun and gravity are calculated with mathematical precision. Its “qadar” has been predetermined. The slightest variation in these calculations would bring life on earth to an end. The moon is not only the actor of romantic nights, the object of inspiration of poets, but also the sine qua non friend of life on earth. As the moon orbits around the earth it has a sinuous orbit that looks like an old
curved palm tree branch. The illustration here demonstrates the moon’s orbit through space.
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OLD CURVED PALM TREE BRANCH
The moon orbits earth in 27 days, 7 hours, 43 minutes and 11 seconds. The Arabic word “qamar” meaning “moon” is used 27 times in the Quran. (The miraculous character of this shall be dealt with in the coming pages.) The moon’s orbit around the earth traces a sinuosity. While the earth travels around the sun, the moon revolves about the earth in a variable orbit, tracing a curvature, a sinuosity, a spiral. The same face is always presented to the earth. The curve it traces is reminiscent of a curved branch. The Arabic word used to designate the orbit of the moon is “urjun,” the curved palm tree branch. This branch is qualified by the attribute “old” that denotes a thinner and more curved branch. The simile beautifully describes the orbit traced by the moon about the earth.
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MOON’S DEPENDENCE ON THE SUN
1- By the sun and its brightness
2- And the moon that follows it.
91-The Sun, 1-2

In the verses above, the moon’s relation to the sun is described. The Arabic word “talaa” means a “follower,” “a hanger-on.” The moon revolves around the sun together with the earth of which it is a satellite; they follow in the footsteps of the sun. Both the moon and our world are dependent on the sun’s motion. They displace while pursuing the sun. The moon and the earth revolve around a moving sun. The Quran’s revelation about the moon’s dependence on the sun is another miracle that leaves us in awe.


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