The Roundness of the Earth
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." (The Qur'an,
In the Qur'an, the words used for describing the universe
are quite remarkable. The Arabic word that 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.
It should be remembered, however, that the understanding
of astronomy of the time perceived the world differently. It was
then thought that the world was a flat plane and all scientific
calculations and explanations were based on this belief. The verses
of the Qur'an, however, include information that we have learned
only in the past century. Since the Qur'an is God's word, the most
correct words were used in it when it comes to describing the universe.