Dr. Zohurul Hoque & Husain Nuri
2:29 He it is Who has created for you everything that are in the earth; moreover He turned to the space; so that He perfected them into seven heavens; for He is Knower of all things.
2:29 The term thumma is generally interpreted to mean 'then' or 'next', however it may also be used in the sense of conjunction without denoting sequence of time (Tabari, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathîr, Zamakhsharî). Commenting on this verse Zamakhsharî further notes that God is beyond time and movement and the usage thumma signifies the difference between the two creations. God's turning towards (istawâ) the heaven indicates His exercising dominion and authority in the creation (see usage 41:11). The term samâ (lit. heaven, sky) is applied to anything that is spread like a canopy over any other thing, in this instance the visible sky, spread over the earth. In wider context this also has the connotation of the cosmic system. In Arabic literary style, seven (sab'a) often denotes 'several' or 'many' (Tâj al 'Arus; Lisân al-'Arab), just as seventy or seven hundred often means many more or countless (see usage in 2:261; 9:80; 23:17). The seven heavens is used to signify multiple cosmic system in the universe (41:11; 65:12; 79:30), whether they are solar systems within the same Milky Way Galaxy, consisting of several billion stars one of which happens to be the sun, or many other galaxies in the ever expanding universe. Today when the branch of astronomy has opened up the properties of the universe like never before, a prudent approach would be to understand the Qur'ânic allusion of universe based on the current knowledge. To limit the heaven to seven literal skies would not only undermine Allâh's infinite creativity, but also evidence Muslim's lethargy to embrace scientific truth.
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