Shooting Stars and Jinns: ِA Qur’anic Error?
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,
“Verily, We have decorated the nearest sky with an adornment, the stars, And (have made them) a security against every rebellious devil. They cannot listen to the Upper Realm and are hit from every side To be driven off, and for them there is a lasting punishment; However, if one snatches a little bit, he is pursued by a bright flame.” – Qur’an : Surah As Saaffat : Ayat 6 – 10.
These ayat are often mocked by those who don’t comprehend them. There is a wealth of scientific and theological reasoning behind the context of these verses. In this regard, Mufti Ebrahim Desai [db] has released a fatwa which, in my opinion, settles the issue quite clearly with using the latest information (as of this date), to validate and verify the meaning of the ayat in both a scientific view and theological view. However before we begin, there is some history to the opposition of these verses due to popular thought:
“At this place, it should be borne in mind that early Greek scientists believed in meteors being terrestrial substance that rose up with vapours and would burn up when it reached the fire zone. But, the words of the Qur’an, as they appear here, seem to suggest that a meteor is not a terrestrial substance, rather, it is something generated only in the upper atmosphere. At this stage, earlier commentators have been saying all along that the Greek assumption about meteors – that it was some terrestrial substance – was no more than a conjecture.” – Tafsir Maar’iful Qur’an : Mufti Muhammad Shafi [db], pg 428.
What is striking is a quote from the Late Shaykh Tantawi in his Tafsir al Jawahir has said:
“Our forebears and scholars also took it with a heavy heart that the noble Qur’an would say something counter to contemporary astronomy of their time. But, the commentators of the Qur’an did not compromise their position. They did not agree to accept their thinking and surrender the position of the Qur’an. Instead of doing something like that, they bypassed their philosophical assumptions and continued to stay with the Qur’an. After the passage of sometime, it became automatically established that the early Greeks were wrong in their assumptions. Now, if we were to acknowledge that these stars hit, hurt and burn satans, what is there to stop us from believing so? Thus, here we are in our time embracing this statement of the Qur’an as true. And we are faithfully waiting for the future (when science will also confirm it).” – Al Jawahir, Page 14, Volume 8.
The Ulama have been qualified in their statements, with this fatwa from Mufti Ebrahim Desai [db], which answers the question using purely modern day science, using that of quantum physics:
wa Allaahu Alam.
[and God knows best.]