Recently, a friend and I couldn’t seem to sleep, so we just hung out in the corridor chatting about various stuff. I then glanced at the sky and commented on how dark the sky was tonight. My friend said that the moon isn’t showing herself tonight, which led us to remember the bits of science taught to us during primary school – the one about how the earth spins on its axis for 24 hrs (1 day), and how one complete orbit around the sun takes 365 days (1 year).
Then I remembered a lesson I learnt in my Arabic class which discussed verses 3 – 10 of Surah Yunus in the Holy Qur’an. Verse 5 mentions that Allah created the sun and the moon to move in its own orbit so that we (as the slaves of Allah) will know how to count the months and the years. So my Ustaz told us that the Roman calendar (tahun Masihi) is based on the sun and consists of 365 days a year, while the Hijriyah calendar is based on the moon and has 354 days in a year. That means that if we follow the Hijriyah calendar, we’d actually be older than we are now since it has fewer days in a year compared to the Roman calendar. Slight shudder there.
Another fascinating thing which my Ustaz pointed out to us in Verse 5 is the way Allah described the sun and the moon - Allah has created the sun to radiate and the moon to glow. However, I find that the Malay translation of that particular verse is more apt and easier to understand, believe it or not. Dia-lah yang menjadikan matahari bersinar dan bulan bercahaya. The significance of Allah’s usage of the word dhiya’ (which means ‘to radiate’) in describing the sun is because the sun emits light – bersinar. On the other hand, the word nuur is used to describe the moon because nuur means cahaya. In this case, the word cahaya means ‘light’, but in the sense that when the moon catches the light from the sun, it shines because it is reflecting the light from the sun. Of course, you will recall from your primary school science that this is because the moon doesn’t emit or radiate its own light – rather, it reflects the light from the sun (and thus, bulan bercahaya).
The shining sun
The glowing moon
It’s really beautiful and amazing actually the way Allah has paired and suited the perfect adjectives to describe His creations. Even I had to refer to a number of dictionaries and Qur’anic translations while writing this post. But then again, it shows that although we human beings are gifted with ‘aqal (mind), our knowledge will never, ever surpass Allah’s knowledge, unless He wills it to happen.
**Please correct me if there are any mistakes...Thank you.