The sun, the stars, the moon, the earth and many other astronomical
signs are mentioned in The Qur'an. Especially in the early suras. Why is
that? Well, a very good friend of mine would say:
"Because Muhammed was young, full of energy and had
nothing interesting to say. So, he described the
early morning views he was seeing in the cave!"
This is total bologna. A man with Mohammed's power and intelligence would not talk about "early morning views." That sounds as if Muhammed was a lunatic or unbalanced man, which anybody with a little knowledge about Islam and Muhammed would totally disagree.
Here are a few examples about astronomy that were mentioned in the Qur'an:
I. The nature of the Sun vs. the nature of the moon:
"And made the moon a light in their
midst and made the sun as a Lamp(Siraja)"
"The sun must not catch up the moon
nor does the night outstrip the day. Each one is traveling in an orbit
with its own motion."
Here is an essential fact that is clearly stated: the existence
of the sun's and moon's orbit, plus a reference is made to the traveling
of these bodies in space with their own motion.
This is what The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia says about the moon and
the sun's orbit.
"The lunar orbit is elliptical, and the average distance of the
moon from the earth is about 240,000 mi."
Also, the Qur'an says:
"The sun is c.28,000 light-years from the nucleus and takes 200
million years to revolve once around the galaxy."
"And the Sun runs her course for a period
determined for her: that is the decree of (Him) the exalted in Might the
And the Moon We have measured for his
mansions (to traverse) till he returns like the old (and withered) lower
part of date-stalk."
In this verse, we can see that the Qur'an explains how the sun has
an appointed or allotted amount of time that it will last for. This agrees
with the modern science which says that the sun will probably have a limited
span of 5 billion years. However, the verse also mentions the moon's independent
orbit around the earth in which it will return regardless of the sun's
status with the earth. Here we can conclude that the sun and the moon have
independent orbits, one closely connected to that of the earth, which is
the moon, and the other with a limited term of orbit and life span and
independent of the moon's orbit.
In all of the verses quoted, we see no references of any facts stating
the sun is orbiting around the earth, which at the time was a very popular
belief. Rather, we see the Qur'an stating that the moon and sun are quite
independent and that they follow very different paths. Muslims at the time
followed whatever scientific fact was in popular reason and in fact, when
Ibn Shater during the 12th-13th century hypothesized that the earth was
not the center of the universe and proved it by trigonometric means, Muslims
had no problem accepting his theory. Later on, Copernicus restated this
theory to the Europeans. He received the credit for the discovery even
until today. At the time, his theory was rejected and he was threatened
by the church to change his opinion; which he did.
We can see the Muslims throughout history have had no problems accepting
true scientific facts as it was part of their religious duty, but European
Christians have always had to separate religion and science even until
this very moment.