SuraYaseen continues in verse 39 and states:
- And the moon, We have measured for it mansions (to traverse) till it returns like the old dried curved date stalk.
Here, it is mentioned that Allah has fixed stages for the moon. The moon moves/travels through different points until it completes its orbit. The moon completes its orbit in one month, and on account of the movement of the moon through these stages/mansions, the different lunar months are recognized. In its orbit, the moon goes through 28 mansions in 28 nights. Every night it reaches to a different mansion (manzil) without straying away from that mansion or crossing its limit. When the moon reaches the last mansion, it becomes thin and curve like a bow. It is about this, the verse refers to when it states, ‘until it returns like the old dried curved date stalk’. This statement describes the state of the moon at the end of the month when it has passed the 28 mansions which Allah has fixed for it as its course. At this time, the moon withdraws from the stage of the full moon to the extent that it becomes in the shape of an old dried date stalk which is curved.
While commenting on the above verse, Hafiz Ibn Katheer has stated that Allah has made another travel/journey for the moon (other than the sun) which serves as a guide for the passing of the months just as the night and the day are known through the sun. Allah has made the sun with its specific light, and has made the moon with its unique brightness, and has made a difference between the travel/course of both these bodies.
The Sun rises everyday and sets at the end of the day upon the same one light. However, it moves in its place of rising and setting in summer and winter. On account of this, the day becomes long and the night is short. Then the night becomes long and the day is short. The authority/sway of the sun is therefore at daytime. It is for this reason, the sun is known to be the star of the day. As for the moon, Allah has fixed mansions/stations for it. It rises on the first night of the month being bright with a small amount of light. It then increases in light on the second night and rises to another mansion. Then, when it goes up to another station, it increases in light even though its light is achieved from the sun. This continues until its light/brightness becomes full/complete on the 14th night. After this, it begins to decrease until it becomes like an old dried curved date stalk, then it begins as anew in the beginning of another month. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.5 pg. 284 Dar Al Kitab Al Arabiya Beirut 2013)
SuraYaseen continues in verse 40 and states:
- It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor does the night outstrip the day. They all float, each in an orbit.
The verse speaks about the control which Allah has over the celestial bodies and that nothing can stray/move away from the order which He has fixed for it. Allah explains in the verse that it is not possible for the sun to catch up with the moon or meet it, so that it may remove its light. This is impossible, and it cannot happen, since Allah has already stipulated a course for each of these bodies. The night also cannot outstrip/surpass the day so that it takes away its light and brings about total darkness over the earth. Each has its fixed time which it must fulfill.
While commenting on this verse, the great exegete, Ikrimah says, ‘Each one of these bodies has an authority. It therefore cannot happen that the sun rises at night. Similarly, when the night appears, then another night cannot come until a day appears. The authority of the sun is at the day and the authority of the moon is at night’. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.5 pg. 284)
At the end of the verse, it states, ‘They all float in an orbit’. It means that each of the heavenly bodies float and swim through space, each moving in its own orbit. While commenting on this, Hasan says, ‘The sun, moon and stars are all in an orbit between the sky and the earth. These are not attached and firmly fixed on anything. If these were firmly attached, they would not move’. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.15 pg. 33)
As mentioned by the commentators, ‘the objective of mentioning this verse is to explain and show the power and capability of Allah over these heavenly bodies. The sun, the moon and all stars are in their own motion. They do not exceed their movements nor do they go against their fixed course of travel/journey. Each has a limit and a point which it cannot exceed, nor can it stop short of it in its movements. These celestial bodies will continue on the course which Allah has fixed for them until the day of the destruction of the universe. At that time, life will end on the earthly planet.
SuraYaseen continues in verse 41 and states:
- And an Ayah (sign) for them is that We bore their offspring in the laden ship [of Nuh (Noah)].
Here, Allah places another manifest sign of His great power and ability for man to consider. The sign given is that of carrying the progeny of Adam (A.S) in the boat/ship. This refers to the favour of Allah which He bestowed upon Nuh (A.S) and his followers when He saved them from the destruction of the flood. At that time, in order to grant protection to Prophet Nuh (A.S) and the believers, Allah ordered Nuh (A.S) to build an ark in which he was ordered to place the believers and a pair of each of the animals and birds. Through this, they were all protected from the severe Azab (punishment) from Allah which destroyed everyone and everything besides those who were protected in the ark of Prophet Nuh (A.S).
The verse indicates to the Divine power and ability Allah has over the sea, in that He has created boats and ships which sail on the surface of the water. Through this, man can travel across the water at sea and be protected from the danger of drowning. This is the mode of transport which Allah ordered Nuh (A.S) to build in order to protect himself and the believers at his time. Through this incident, Allah has inspired man to build boats and ships of all sizes and types, for the sake of transporting people and goods. For centuries, this remained as the only means of transport through which people travelled from one city/country to another. Until today, humans depend upon this mode of transport for many things. Man is therefore required to recognize this as a great favour from Allah and a sign of His existence and Omnipotence.
SuraYaseen continues in verse 42 and states:
- And We have created for them of the like thereunto, so on them they ride.
Here, Allah explains that besides the boat/ark which He created and inspired man to build, He further created many different modes of transport like that of the boats/ships which they ride and use. These are all His favours which humans ought to recognize and show gratitude for. These are also signs of Allah’s great power and ability that He has not only created one type/mode of transport, but has created many types which man can access with ease.
By saying ‘And We have created for them of the like thereunto’, it means that just as Allah has inspired man to build boats/ships (after He had shown Nuh (A.S) the way it should be built) which were to be used on water, He has also inspired man to build means of transport for the land. On account of this inspiration, man has been able to build many different types of transport which he has used over the ages on land. Besides these, Allah has created animals which provide transportation for man on the land. It is about these, the verse refers to when it states, ‘And We have created for them of the like thereunto, on which they ride’. It means that just like the boat/ship which Allah created, He has also created similar means of transport which people ride as their conveyance.
While commenting on this verse, great commentators like Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A), Mujahid, Qatada and others have stated that the verse means that Allah has created the camels as a means of transport on the land, just as He has created the boat as a transport of the sea’. Some commentators have stated that the verse means that Allah has created the camels, other animals and all that can be ridden as modes of transport. Other commentators have explained that the verse means that Allah has created (inspired man) to make other boats and ships. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.15 pg. 34 Mataba Rasheediya Pakistan)