Friday, November 24, 2017 - 6 Rabi' al-Awwal 1439

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The seven heavens mentioned in the Qur`an, where are they?

The seven heavens mentioned in the Qur`an, where are they?

Answer

The Arabic term ‘sama’ which is used for ‘sky’ or ‘heavens’ has a much wider linguistic sense. In defining it, Arabic linguists say, "Whatever is raised above you is your ‘sama’". The word certainly does not refer to the blue color that we see because that color is not an object. The Qur`anic reference to the "Seven heavens created, one on top of another" should be understood in a general sense. Moreover, the term ‘seven’ is often used in Arabic to denote ‘plenty’—to indicate a large number and not to suggest a specific one. The same applies to the figure seventy. For instance, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is told in the Qur`an not to seek forgiveness for the hypocrites. God tells him, "If you were to ask seventy times for their forgiveness, God will not forgive them." The Prophet (peace be upon him) comments, "Had I known that if I go beyond seventy they could be forgiven, I would have done so." This clearly shows that the Prophet (peace be upon him) understood the Qur`anic statement that uses the figure seventy to indicate an indefinite number.

Now that we know that there are hundreds of galaxies, each with billions of stars and planets, we understand that the Qur`anic reference to ‘seven skies’ denotes the vast universe. This is because the term ‘sky’ or ‘sama’, is readily understood to refer to the planets and stars we see in the sky.

Therefore, we cannot see any contradiction between the Qur`anic statements in this regard and what astronomers tell us about the universe.
 

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