[Refutation] Qur’an doesn’t claim that Earth is Flat, in any way

Posted on March 9, 2010


Earth is NOT Flat (according to the Qur’an)

A) Scientific Proof from the Qur’an that Earth is NOT Flat:

The below verse is sufficient to prove the Earth is not Flat and that it is round/spherical.

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. [1]

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. [2]

B) Baseless reasoning of Aroj about Prayer Timetable, for the Earth to be Flat:

In your example, you have used fixed time for the 5 prayers (Salaah) to prove that the earth is flat (using statements of Aroj Ati Matbor, who was not a scholar and has turned out to be an Apostate of Islam). I find your arguments baseless, although your point is of a valid concern. With what you have mentioned in the example, I think the following Saying of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) is sufficient to blow-off Aroj’s theory.

The times of the prayers were mentioned by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in the Hadeeth (Saying of the Prophet (Peace be upon him)):

“The time for Zuhr is from when the sun has passed its zenith and a man’s shadow is equal in length to his height, until the time for ‘Asr comes. The time for ‘Asr lasts until the sun turns yellow. The time for Maghrib lasts until the twilight has faded. The time for ‘Isha’ lasts until midnight. The time for Subh (Fajr) prayer lasts from the beginning of the pre-dawn so long as the sun has not yet started to rise. When the sun starts to rise then stop praying, for it rises between the two horns of the Shaytaan.” [3]

This hadeeth explains the timings of the five daily prayers. As for defining them by the clock, that varies from one city or country to another.

Well, as you can see, the Hadeeth clearly focuses on how to CALCULATE the time based on the set criterion and the part of the day/night for a particular location. So, the time here is not a globally FIXED time (in terms of fixed numeric time, example 1:30pm fixed for all places), but it is relative to meeting the criterions set in the Saying (Hadeeth) with respect to the part of the day/night for a given geographical location. To differentiate the prayer time in the Hadeeth from your Fixed Time, I would call this time as the local PRESCRIBED time (i.e., subject to the Location and the laid conditions in the Hadeeth). So, however rational Aroj’s views may seem to be to a Non-Muslim, it doesn’t carry weight in the eyes of the Person who has Knowledge about Islamic Teaching from authentic sources. And so, there is no way this local PRESCRIBED time (which off course suits the modern day GMT standards) in any way establishes that the Earth is flat; rather is proves that the earth has to be spherical/round, for the Hadeeth to be used for Prayer Timing Calculations.

(For more reading on the Prayer Timetable, you can read the following Rulings at www.islam-qa.com

a. Using a timetable to know the times of prayer:

b. Times of the five daily prayers:
http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/9940 )

C) The Flexibility of offering Salaah for Travelers:

With respect to the second part of your example, which concerns as to how a traveler pursues your globally FIXED time (which should actually be the local PRESCRIBED time) at different locations, this issue is a different subject of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) all together. We saw the calculation of prayer time in the clarification of the first part of your example; so based on that clarification, the travel issue doesn’t stand as a valid argument for that earth to be flat either.

Let’s elaborate on the Ruling concerning the Traveler’s Prayer, for you to understand how Islam deals with the issue of whether a traveler prayed a specific prayer at one part of the world already, and what he should do when he arrives to the other part of the world where the time for the same prayer has just begun or is soon to begin.

Islam makes offering Salaah very easy for the travelers, i.e. by joining the Salaah of 2 times for convenience. A similar question was posed to 2 scholars below:

Al-Muwaffaq Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Mughni (3/140):

If a person completed two prayers at the time of the earlier one, then the excuse for doing so ceased to exist after he had finished praying, before the time for the later prayer began, that is still sufficient and he does not have to repeat the later prayer when the time for it comes, because his prayer was valid and he discharged his duty to perform it, and that duty no longer applies after that. He discharged his duty at a time when he had an excuse, and it is not invalidated by the fact that the excuse ceases to exist after that. This is like the case of the one who does Tayammum, if he finds water after finishing his prayer (he does not have to repeat it).

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about a traveler who joined Zuhr and ‘Asr at the time of the earlier prayer, although he knew that he would reach his destination before the time of ‘Asr. Is this permissible?

He replied:

Yes, this is permissible, but if he knows or he thinks it most likely that he will arrive before the time for ‘Asr, then it is better for him not to join the prayers, because there is no need to do so.

(For more reading on the Prayer for a Traveler, you can read the following Rulings at www.islam-qa.com

a. A traveller joined two prayers together at the time of the earlier one, then he went back to his city before the time for the later prayer began:
http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/22387 )

The above scholarly replies have solved your confusion, beautifully. And if this issue is solved, your baseless claim of Earth is flat as per the Qur’an doesn’t stand a chance.

To conclude, Modern day scientific establishments are not eliminating God, but they are elimininating Models of God. And Qur’an is being proved the word of that Almighty God, “Allah”, who is One and Alone and has no partners with Him.

[1] Qur’an, 39:5
[2] The Scientific Miracles of the Qur’an (www.miraclesofthequran.com)
[3] Narrated by Muslim, 612