|Comparing Apples and Oranges
The sun and the moon
are different from each other not only in terms of size, but also in terms
of function. The sun generates light, but the moon does not. The moon
merely reflects the light coming from the sun. Every high school student
today knows this.
A man or woman in the seventh century, however, would not have known about
this fine distinction between the sun
and the moon. To such a person, the two would appear as a greater light
and a lesser light. Such a person would
observe that the greater light lights up the day and the lesser light
lights up the night. And this indeed is how the sun
and the moon were described in previous books.
The Bible, describing the creation, says:
God made two great lights the greater light to govern the
day and the lesser light to govern the night (Genesis
The author of the Quran however, was aware that this comparison
between the sun and the moon is not adequate.
Therefore the Quran does not refer to them as being a greater and
a lesser light.
The Quran says:
God is the One who made the sun a shine and the moon a light
Commenting on this, Dr. Bucaille says:
Whereas the Bible calls the sun and moon lights, and
merely adds to one the adjective greater and to the other
lesser, the Quran ascribes differences other than that
of dimesion to each respectively (The Bible, the Quran and
Science, p. 156).
Similarly, the Quran says:
Blessed is the One Who placed the constellations in heaven and placed
therein a lamp and a moon giving light
Here again, the difference between the sun and the moon is noted. The
sun is called a lamp, and the moon is called an
object giving light.
Again in the Quran God says that He made the moon a light
and made the sun a lamp (Quran 71:15-16).
Furthermore, God calls the sun a blazing lamp (Quran
78:12-13). This term which is used for the sun is never used
for the moon in the Quran.
In all of these verses, God expresses the notion that the sun and the
moon are not absolutely identical lights (The
Bible, the Quran and Science, p. 156).
Dr. Bucaille draws his conclusions from what he found in the Quran
about the sun and the moon:
What is interesting to note here is the sober quality of the comparisons,
and the absence in the text of the Quran of
any elements of comparison that might have prevailed at the time and which
in our day would appear as
phantasmagorial (The Bible, the Quran and Science, p. 157).
In short, There is nothing in the text of the Quran that contradicts
what we know today about these two celestial
bodies. (The Bible, the Quran and Science, p. 157).