Day Getting Longer Miracle in the Quran
Some Islamic apologists like to claim that the Quran says that days are getting longer.
The rotation of Earth is slowing down.
Earth rotates once in about 24 hours with respect to the Sun, but once every 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds with respect to other, distant, stars. Earth's rotation is slowing slightly with time; thus, a day was shorter in the past. This is due to the tidal effects the Moon has on Earth's rotation. Atomic clocks show that a modern-day is longer by about 1.7 milliseconds than a century ago, slowly increasing the rate at which UTC is adjusted by leap seconds. Analysis of historical astronomical records shows a slowing trend of about 2.3 milliseconds per century since the 8th century BCE. Wikipedia, Earth's Rotation, 2019
The rotation of Earth is slowing down, that is, days were shorter in the past; but the few milliseconds per century would have been impossible to detect 1400 years ago. However the Quran said that the days are getting longer:
[Quran 7.54] And your Lord, Allah, who created the Heavens and the Earth in six days and then settled on the Throne. [Allah] Covers the night with the day, asks for it persistently; and the sun and the moon and the stars enslaved by His orders. Is this not His creation and His command? Blessed be Allah the Lord of all the worlds.
"Yatlubuhu hatheethan يَطْلُبُهُ حَثِيثًا" means asks for it persistently; more of the day and more of the night. If God asks more of the day and more of the night then this means the days are getting longer.
How could an illiterate man who lived 1400 years ago have known that the days are getting longer?
The word طلب (talaba) has many meanings. And it's not usually translated as "asks for it" in the verse:
Muhsin Khan: He brings the night as a cover over the day, seeking it (يطلبه) rapidly
Pickthall: He covereth the night with the day, which is in haste to follow it,
Yusuf Ali: He draweth the night as a veil o'er the day, each seeking the other in rapid succession
Sahih International: He covers the night with the day, [another night] chasing it rapidly
Dr. Ghali: He envelops the daytime (with) the night, (which) seeks it out promptly
The apologists claim that the word حثيثا means "persistently", however dictionary says something different:
حَثِيثًا ( اسم ): سَرِيعًا
allegro - in quick time; fast and lively - quickly; at a rapid rate; come, go, etc quickly - speedy
Also there's a hadith which says that Muhammad was eating dates حثيثا (quickly):
Anas reported that there were brought to Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) dates. He distributed them in the state that he had been sitting upright (in an easy posture) and he had also been eating them a (bit) quickly (حثيثا).
Was he eating them persistently?
Even the apologetic translation doesn't say that days are getting longer (and the translation also doesn't make sense):
[Allah] Covers the night with the day, asks for it persistently
And what is "it"? If it refers to the night and the day, why is it singular "it" and not plural (dual) "asking for them"?
The classical interpretation makes more sense grammatically:
يُغْشِى الَّيْلَ النَّهَارَ يَطْلُبُهُ حَثِيثًا
(He brings the night as a cover over the day, seeking it rapidly,) meaning, the darkness goes away with the light, and the light goes away with the darkness. Each of them seeks the other rapidly, and does not come late, for when this vanishes, the other comes, and vice versa.