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==Absence of consensus in the Muslim world==
Knowledge of the spherical nature of the Earth was [[w:Spherical_Earth|known for centuries]]. However, however distribution of information across the world was not uniform. A commonly held stance is that Muhammad and his companions had this knowledge.
[https://islamqa.info/en/118698 One Islamic fatwah website]<ref>[https://islamqa.info/en/118698 IslamQA.info - 118698: Consensus that the Earth is round]</ref> (copied by others) quotes from scholars who lived hundreds of years after Muhammad in a failed attempt to show that there was always a Muslim consensus that the Earth is round. They are implying that the Qur'an does not reflect a very human lack of knowledge about the shape of the Earth.
It is the hadiths and companions that we are interested in for the purposes of this article (the Qur'an verses cited by ibn Taymiyyah are {{Quran|21|33}}, {{Quran|36|40}}, {{Quran|39|5}}, and {{Quran|67|5}}).
Ibn Taymiyyah then mentions the hadith in Sunan Abu Dawud (graded weak) {{Abu Dawud||4726|darussalam}} in which Muhammad forms a dome with his fingers above his head when saying that Allah's throne is above the heavens. Ibn Taymiyyah's interpretation is that the throne is dome shaped.<ref>if you ask Allah for anything, ask Him for the Firdaus, for it is the last part 'Narrations of Paradise and the highest part of Paradise, and at its top there is the Throne of Beneficent, and from it gush forth the rivers of Paradise." [the word translated companions''last' means middle].
The solitary piece of evidence that Ibn Taymiyyah brings from the companions about round heavens is that ibn 'Abbas and others said regarding {{Quran|36|40}} and the heavenly bodies swimming in a falak (rounded course):
Sahih Bukhari 9{{Quote-text||فِي فَلْكَة كَفَلْكَةِ الْمِغْزَل fee falka, ka-falkati almighzal in a whirl (whorl), like the whirl of a spindle}} See the comments and footnotes about falak in the article [http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Geocentrism_and_the_Quran Geocentrism and the Quran] (a whirl was a small wheel or hemisphere that span around a spindle<ref>الفَلَكُ falak - [http://www.studyquran.org/LaneLexicon/Volume6/00000228.pdf Lane's Lexicon] Volume 1 page 2444. See also the [http:93//www.studyquran.org/LaneLexicon/Volume6/00000227.pdf previous page]. Lane says that the falak was generally imagined as a celestial hemisphere by the Arabs, but also that the Arab astronomers applied the term to seven spheres for the sun, moon, and the five visible planets, rotating about the celestial pole. This must reflect the post-Qur'anic influence of Ptolemy, whose astronomical work was translated for the Arabs from the 8th century onwards.</ref>). Now given that the sun and moon appear both to arc across the sky, even to those who imagined the Earth was flat and the heavens a dome (or a sphere), such people would also imagine some path for them continuing beneath the Earth after they have set so they can return whence they came (as also in the hadith from Abu Dharr discussed later in this article). Indeed, this is precisely what we read from ibn 'Abbas as noted by ibn Kathir in his Tafsir for {{Quran|31|29}}. The sun runs in its falak (فَلَكهَا) in the sky / heaven (السَّمَاء) during the day, and when it sets it runs during the night (بِاللَّيْلِ - omitted from the translation) in its falak beneath the Earth until it rises from its rising place (من مشرقها - mistranslated below as "in the east")<ref>See [https:519//www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=7&tSoraNo=31&tAyahNo=29&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=1 altafsir.com] for the Arabic</ref> {{Quote-text|1=[http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1784 Tafsir ibn Kathir for 31:29]|2=Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn ’Abbas said, “The sun is like flowing water, running in its course in the sky during the day. When it sets, it travels in its course beneath the earth until it rises in the east.” He said, “The same is true in the case of the moon.” Its chain of narration is Sahih.}} The evidence from the companions presented by ibn Taymiyyah about the shape of the heavens is therefore ambiguous, and says nothing directly nor indirectly about the shape of the Earth. '''Hadiths''' Ibn Taymiyyah then mentions the hadith in Sunan Abu Dawud (graded weak) {{Abu Dawud||4726|darussalam}} in which Muhammad forms a dome with his fingers above his head when saying that Allah's throne is above the heavens. Ibn Taymiyyah's interpretation is that the throne is dome shaped. The other hadith he mentions is in Sahih Bukhari, which says: {{Quote-text|{{Bukhari|9|93|519}}|if you ask Allah for anything, ask Him for the Firdaus, for it is the last part of Paradise and the highest part of Paradise, and at its top there is the Throne of Beneficent, and from it gush forth the rivers of Paradise. [the word translated 'last' means middle].}}
Ibn Taymiyyah then says that a middle only exists in a round thing. How any of this helps demonstrate that the heavens are spherical is a mystery.
Given that Ibn Taymiyyah cites these scholars, the narrations he then uses to support spherical heavens (when asked about the shape of both the heavens and Earth), were presumably the best they could come up with. If a consensus for a round Earth went back to Muhammad and the companions, surely the scholars could come up with better than this feeble evidence.
Even the already dubious claims of just a ''scholarly'' consensus are further undermined when we read Tafsir al-Jalalayn, which was written centuries later by two people who were not trying to massage the Qur'an to fit a round Earth reality. For {{Quran|88|20}} we read the following:
{{Quote-text|1=[http://main.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=88&tAyahNo=20&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 Tafsir al-Jalalayn for Qur'an 88:20]|2=As for His words sutihat ‘laid out flat’ this on a literal reading suggests that the earth is flat which is the opinion of most of the scholars of the revealed Law and not a sphere as astronomers (ahl al-hay’a) have it even if this latter does not contradict any of the pillars of the Law.}}
For details on this word, sutihat, in verse 88:20, see [[Flat Earth and the Quran#Qur.27an 88:20 - sutihat .28spread out flat.29|this section]] of the flat Earth article.
 
Similarly, ibn Kathir says the heavens are a dome or roof or like the floors of a building over the Earth in his tafsir for verses [http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=410 2:229], [http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2645&Itemid=76 21:32], [http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1487 36:38], and [http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2128&Itemid=97 41:9-12].
The website goes on to quote from a 20th century book of fatwas, which claims that the Earth is egg shaped and also makes an argument using verse 39:5, both of which are debunked in the article [https://wikiislam.net/wiki/Flat_Earth_and_the_Quran Flat Earth and the Quran].
Professor Kevin Van Bladel says:
"{{Quote-text||When the worldview of educated Muslims after the establishment of the Arab Empire came to incorporate principles of astrology including the geocentric, spherical, Aristotelian-Ptolemaic world picture – particularly after the advent of the ‘Abbāsid dynasty in 750 – the meaning of these passages came to be interpreted in later Islamic tradition not according to the biblical-quranic cosmology, which became obsolete, but according to the Ptolemaic model, according to which the Quran itself came to be interpreted."<ref>Van Bladel, Kevin, “Heavenly cords and prophetic authority in the Qur’an and its Late Antique context”, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 70:223-246, p.241, Cambridge University Press, 2007</ref>}}
In Earlier in the same paper, Van Bladel describes how Christian theologians in the region of Syria in the sixth century CE shared the view that the Earth was flat and the heaven, or series of heavens was like a dome or tent above the Earth, based on their reading of the Hebrew and New Testament scriptures. This was a rival view to that of the churchmen of Alexandria who supported the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic view of a spherical Earth surrounded by spinning celestial spheres. See the footnote below<ref name="KVB">ibid. pp.224-226. Here are some more excerpts:
<BR>
{{Quote||Entering into the debate was John Philoponus, a Christian philosopher of sixth-century Alexandria, who wrote his commentary on Genesis to prove, against earlier, Antiochene, theologians like Theodore of Mopsuestia, that the scriptural account of creation described a spherical geocentric world in accord with the Ptolemaic cosmology. [...]
</ref> for excerpts of that chapter, which he summarises by saying:
"{{Quote-text||Clearly the Ptolemaic cosmology was not taken for granted in the Aramaean part of Asia in the sixth century. It was, rather, controversial."<ref name="KVB2"></ref>}}
David A. King writes:
"{{Quote-text||The Arabs of the Arabian peninsula before Islam possessed a simple yet developed astronomical folklore of a practical nature. This involved a knowledge of the risings and settings of stars, associated in particular with the cosmical setting of groups of stars and simultaneous heliacal risings of others, which marked the beginning of periods called naw’, plural anwā’. […] Ptolemy’s Almagest was translated at least five times in the late eighth and ninth centuries. The first was a translation into Syriac and the others into Arabic, the first two under Caliph al-Ma’mūn in the middle of the first half of the ninth century, and the other two (the second an improvement of the first) towards the end of that century […] In this way Greek planetary models, uranometry and mathematical methods came to the attention of the Muslims."<ref>King, David A., “Islamic Astronomy”, In Astronomy Before the Telescope, Ed. Christopher Walker, p.86, London: British Museum Press, 1996</ref>}}
Hoskin and Gingerich say:
"{{Quote-text||In 762 [Muhammad’s] successors in the Middle East founded a new capital, Baghdad, by the river Tigris at the point of nearest approach of the Euphrates, and within reach of the Christian physicians of Jundishapur. Members of the Baghdad court called on them for advice, and these encounters opened the eyes of prominent Muslims to the existence of a legacy of intellectual treasures from Antiquity - most of which were preserved in manuscripts lying in distant libraries and written in a foreign tongue. Harun al-Rashid (caliph from 786) and his successors sent agents to the Byzantine empire to buy Greek manuscripts, and early in the ninth century a translation centre, the House of Wisdom, was established in Baghdad by the Caliph al-Ma’mun. […] Long before translations began, a rich tradition of folk astronomy already existed in the Arabian peninsula. This merged with the view of the heavens in Islamic commentaries and treatises, to create a simple cosmology based on the actual appearances of the sky and unsupported by any underlying theory."<ref>Hoskin, Michael and Gingerich, Owen, “Islamic Astronomy” in The Cambridge Concise History of Astronomy, Ed. M. Hoskin, p.50-52, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999</ref>}}
==Flat Earth in Tafsirs==
In the tafsir of al-Tabari (b. 224 AH / 839 CE) for {{Quran|18|86}}, we see the following remarks about the nature of the spring into which the sun sets. The similar sounding words hami'ah (muddy) and hamiyah (hot) seem to have become confused at some point:
{{Quote-text|1=[http://quran.al-islam.com/Page.aspx?pageid=221&BookID=13&Page=1 Tafsir al-Tabari for verse 18:86]|2=الْقَوْل فِي تَأْوِيل قَوْله تَعَالَى : { حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغَ مَغْرِب الشَّمْس وَجَدَهَا تَغْرُب فِي عَيْن حَمِئَة } يَقُول تَعَالَى ذِكْره : { حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغَ } ذُو الْقَرْنَيْنِ { مَغْرِب الشَّمْس وَجَدَهَا تَغْرُب فِي عَيْن حَمِئَة } , فَاخْتَلَفَتْ الْقُرَّاء فِي قِرَاءَة ذَلِكَ , فَقَرَأَهُ بَعْض قُرَّاء الْمَدِينَة وَالْبَصْرَة : { فِي عَيْن حَمِئَة } بِمَعْنَى : أَنَّهَا تَغْرُب فِي عَيْن مَاء ذَات حَمْأَة , وَقَرَأَتْهُ جَمَاعَة مِنْ قُرَّاء الْمَدِينَة , وَعَامَّة قُرَّاء الْكُوفَة : " فِي عَيْن حَامِيَة " يَعْنِي أَنَّهَا تَغْرُب فِي عَيْن مَاء حَارَّة . وَاخْتَلَفَ أَهْل التَّأْوِيل فِي تَأْوِيلهمْ ذَلِكَ عَلَى نَحْو اِخْتِلَاف الْقُرَّاء فِي قِرَاءَته The meaning of the Almighty’s saying, ‘Until he reached the place of the setting of the sun he found it set in a spring of murky water,’ is as follows:
When the Almighty says, ‘Until he reached,’ He is addressing Zul-Qarnain. Concerning the verse, ‘the place of the setting of the sun he found it set in a spring of murky water,’ the people differed on how to pronounce that verse. Some of the people of Madina and Basra read it as ‘Hami’a spring,’ meaning that the sun sets in a spring that contains mud. While a group of the people of Medina and the majority of the people of Kufa read it as, ‘Hamiya spring’ meaning that the sun sets in a spring of warm water. The people of commentary have differed on the meaning of this depending on the way they read the verse.}}
So he says of the Basra version:
"{{Quote-text||بـمعنى: أنها تغرب فـي عين ماء ذات حمأة"
"Meaning: that it sets in a spring of muddy water."}}
And of the people of Kufa reading hot spring:
"{{Quote-text||يعنـي أنها تغرب فـي عين ماء حارّة"
"It means that it sets in a spring of hot water"}}
He goes on to quote various opinions such as Ibn 'Abbas, that the sun sets in black mud:
===The sky is a dome above the Earth===
 
In his tafsir for {{Quran|2|22}}, al-Tabari includes narrations from some of the earliest Muslims about the sky being a dome or ceiling over the Earth:
{{Quote-text|1=[http://quran.al-islam.com/Page.aspx?pageid=221&BookID=13&Page=1 Tafsir al-Tabari for 2:22]<BR>See also the English translation from [https://islaambooks.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/the-commentary-on-the-quran-volume-i-tafsir-al-tabari.pdf J. Cooper's abridged translation of Tafsir al-Tabari]<ref>The commentary on the Qur'an, by Abu Ja'far Muhammad b. Jarir al- Tabari ; being an abridged translation of Jami' al-bayan 'an ta'wil ay al-Qur'an, with an introduction and notes by J. Cooper, general editors, W.F. Madelung, A. Jones. Oxford University Press, 1987. p.164</ref>|2=حَدَّثَنِي مُوسَى بْن هَارُونَ , قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا عَمْرو بْن حَمَّاد , قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا أَسْبَاط , عَنْ السُّدِّيّ فِي خَبَر ذَكَرَهُ , عَنْ أَبِي مَالِك , وَعَنْ أَبِي صَالِح , عَنْ ابْن عَبَّاس , وَعَنْ مُرَّة , عَنْ ابْن مَسْعُود وَعَنْ نَاس مِنْ أَصْحَاب النَّبِيّ صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : { وَالسَّمَاء بِنَاء } , فَبِنَاء السَّمَاء عَلَى الْأَرْض كَهَيْئَةِ الْقُبَّة , وَهِيَ سَقْف عَلَى الْأَرْض .وَحَدَّثَنَا بِشْر بْن مُعَاذ , قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا يَزِيد , عَنْ سَعِيد , عَنْ قَتَادَةَ فِي قَوْل اللَّه { وَالسَّمَاء بِنَاء } قَالَ : جَعَلَ السَّمَاء سَقْفًا لَك .
Musa ibn Harun narrated and said that Amru ibn Hammad narrated and said that Asbath narrated from al-Suddi in the report mentioned, from Abu Malik, and from Abu Salih, from ibn 'Abbas and from Murrah, from ibn Masud and from people of the companions of the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him):
==Relevant Quotations==
{{Quote|{{Quran|18|86}}| حتى اذا بلغ مغرب الشمس وجدها تغرب في عين حمئة ووجد عندها قوما قلنا ياذا القرنين اما ان تعذب واما ان تتخذ فيهم حسنا  Hatta itha balagha maghriba alshshamsi wajadaha taghrubu fee AAaynin hami-atin wawajada AAindaha qawman qulna ya tha alqarnayni imma an tuAAaththiba wa-imma an tattakhitha feehim husnan Till, when he reached Given the setting-place topic of this article, there are no quotes form the sun, he found it setting Quran itself in a muddy spring, and found a people thereaboutthis section. We said: O Dhu'l-Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness.}}<br /> {{Quote|{{Bukhari|9|93|519}}|if you ask Allah for anythingRather, ask Him for the Firdaus, for it is quotes below are relevant to commonplace beliefs about the last part shape of Paradise and the highest part of Paradise, and at its top there is Earth among the earliest Muslims. For the Throne of Beneficentsame reason, and from it gush forth matters little whether the rivers hadiths are authentic or not; either way they demonstrate beliefs of Paradise." [the word translated 'last' means middle]early Muslims.}} <br />
{{Quote|{{Bukhari|3|43|634}}|Narrated Salim's father (i.e. `Abdullah):
The Prophet said, "Whoever takes a piece of the land of others unjustly, he will sink down the seven earths on the Day of Resurrection."}}
<br />This next hadith is on the same topic. It is graded daif (weak), but shows what some early Muslims (if not actually Muhammad) thought about the world:
{{Quote|{{Al Tirmidhi|47|6|44|3298}}|...Then he said: ‘Do you know what is under you?’ They said: ‘Allah and His Messenger know better.’ He said: ‘Indeed it is the earth.’ Then he said: ‘Do you know what is under that?’ They said: ‘Allah and His Messenger know better.’ He said: ‘Verily, below it is another earth, between the two of which is a distance of five-hundred years.’ Until he enumerated seven earths: ‘Between every two earths is a distance of five-hundred years.’...}}
<br />The following hadith is graded Sahih by Dar-us-Salam (Hafiz Zubair 'Ali Za'i) and has a chain of narration graded as Sahih (authentic) by al-Albani. It is from Sunan Abu Dawud, book XXV - Kitab Al-Ahruf Wa Al-Qira’at (Book of Dialects and Readings Of The Qur’an):
{{Quote|{{Abudawud||4002|darussalam}}|Narrated Abu Dharr:
I was sitting behind the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) who was riding a donkey while the sun was setting. He asked: Do you know where this sets ? I replied: Allah and his Apostle know best. He said: It sets in a spring of warm water (Hamiyah).}}
 
<br />Notice that the next hadith below says, "from its rising place" (min matli'iha مَطْلِعِهَا ), and "from the place of your setting" (min maghribiki مِنْ مَغْرِبِكِ). The sun is commanded to go somewhere – it cannot be claimed that this is an idiomatic way of commanding the Earth to rotate, nor that the words mean the east and west here (despite mistranslations of similar hadiths), not least because the words al mashriq and al maghrib would have been used for that purpose and without the possessive suffixes. The words used in this hadith must refer to the sun’s rising and setting places.
{{Quote|{{Muslim|1|297}}|It is narrated on the authority of Abu Dharr that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) one day said:
'''Do you know where the sun goes?''' They replied: Allah and His Apostle know best. He (the Holy Prophet) observed: Verily it (the sun) glides till it reaches its resting place under the Throne. Then it falls prostrate and remains there until it is asked: '''Rise up and go to the place whence you came, and it goes back and continues emerging out from its rising place''' and then glides till it reaches its place of rest under the Throne and falls prostrate and remains in that state until it is asked: Rise up and return to the place whence you came, and it returns and emerges out from it rising place and the it glides (in such a normal way) that the people do not discern anything ( unusual in it) till it reaches its resting place under the Throne. Then it would be said to it: '''Rise up and emerge out from the place of your setting, and it will rise from the place of its setting.''' The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said. Do you know when it would happen? It would happen at the time when faith will not benefit one who has not previously believed or has derived no good from the faith.<ref>For the Arabic, see [http://sunnah.com/muslim/1/306 sunnah.com] or #159: [http://hadith.al-islam.com/Page.aspx?pageid=192&TOCID=81&BookID=25&PID=299 hadith.al-islam.com]</ref>}}
<br />This next hadith is relevant because on a flat Earth night begins for everyone at the same time. {{Quote|{{Muslim|4|1657}}|Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:
Allah descends every night to the lowest heaven '''when one-third of the first part of the night is over''' and says: I am the Lord; I am the Lord: who is there to supplicate Me so that I answer him? Who is there to beg of Me so that I grant him? Who is there to beg forgiveness from Me so that I forgive him? '''He continues like this till the day breaks.'''}}
“There is no (pilgrim) who recites the Talbiyah but that which is to his right and left also recites it, rocks and trees and hills, to the farthest ends of the earth in each direction, from here and from there.”}}
==Apologetic Arguments==
===Narration of companions===
Ibn Taymiyyah argued that the companions believed in "round heavens" as he explains ibn 'Abbas' account and others said regarding {{Quran|36|40}}
{{Quote-text|al-Tabari and ibn Kathir Tafsirs for 36:40|فِي فَلْكَة كَفَلْكَةِ الْمِغْزَل
 
fee falka, ka-falkati almighzal
 
in a whirl (whorl), like the whirl of a spindle}}
 
See the comments and footnotes about falak in the article [http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Geocentrism_and_the_Quran Geocentrism and the Quran] (a whirl was a small wheel or hemisphere that span around a spindle<ref>الفَلَكُ falak - [http://www.studyquran.org/LaneLexicon/Volume6/00000228.pdf Lane's Lexicon] Volume 1 page 2444. See also the [http://www.studyquran.org/LaneLexicon/Volume6/00000227.pdf previous page]. Lane says that the falak was generally imagined as a celestial hemisphere by the Arabs, but also that the Arab astronomers applied the term to seven spheres for the sun, moon, and the five visible planets, rotating about the celestial pole. This must reflect the post-Qur'anic influence of Ptolemy, whose astronomical work was translated for the Arabs from the 8th century onwards.</ref>). Now given that the sun and moon appear both to arc across the sky, even to those who imagined the Earth was flat and the heavens a dome (or a sphere), such people would also imagine some path for them continuing beneath the Earth after they have set so they can return whence they came (as also in the hadith from Abu Dharr discussed later in this article). Indeed, this is precisely what we read from ibn 'Abbas as noted by ibn Kathir in his Tafsir for {{Quran|31|29}}. The sun runs in its falak (فَلَكهَا) in the sky / heaven (السَّمَاء) during the day, and when it sets it runs during the night (بِاللَّيْلِ - omitted from the translation) in its falak beneath the Earth:<ref name="TafsirArabic" />
 
{{Quote-text|Tafsir ibn Kathir for 31:29|Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn ’Abbas said, “The sun is like flowing water, running in its course in the sky during the day. When it sets, it travels in its course beneath the earth until it rises in the east.” He said, “The same is true in the case of the moon.” Its chain of narration is Sahih.}}
Ibn Taymiyyah's argument does not account for the shape of the Earth.
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