Tafseer Surah Yasin Ibnu Kathir (8): Among the Signs of the Might and Power of Allah are the Night and Day, and the Sun and Moon

Tafseer Ibnu Kathir Surah Yasin (8)

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﴿يُغْشِى الَّيْلَ
النَّهَارَ يَطْلُبُهُ حَثِيثًا﴾

(He brings the night as a cover over the day, seeking it rapidly) (7:54).
Allah says here:
﴿وَءَايَةٌ لَّهُمُ
الَّيْلُ نَسْلَخُ مِنْهُ النَّهَارَ﴾

(And a sign for them is the night. We withdraw therefrom the day,) meaning,
`We take it away from it, so it goes away and the night comes.’ Allah says:
﴿فَإِذَا هُم

(and behold, they are in darkness.) As it says in the Hadith:
«إِذَا أَقْبَلَ
اللَّيْلُ مِنْ ههُنَا، وَأَدْبَرَ النَّهَارُ مِنْ ههُنَا، وَغَرَبَتِ الشَّمْسُ،
فَقَدْ أَفْطَرَ الصَّائِم»

(When the night comes from here, and the day departs from here, and the sun
has set, then the fasting person should break his fast.) This is the apparent
meaning of the Ayah. Allah’s saying:
﴿وَالشَّمْسُ تَجْرِى
لِمُسْتَقَرٍّ لَّهَـا ذَلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ ﴾

(And the sun runs on its fixed course for a term (appointed). That is the
decree of the Almighty, the All-Knowing) There are two views over the meaning of
the phrase

(on its fixed course for a term (appointed). ) (The first view) is that it
refers to its fixed course of location, which is beneath the Throne, beyond the
earth in that direction. Wherever it goes, it is beneath the Throne, it and all
of creation, because the Throne is the roof of creation and it is not a sphere
as many astronomers claim. Rather it is a dome supported by legs or pillars,
carried by the angels, and it is above the universe, above the heads of people.
When the sun is at its zenith at noon, it is in its closest position to Throne,
and when it runs in its fourth orbit at the opposite point to its zenith, at
midnight, it is in its furthest position from the Throne. At that point it
prostrates and asks for permission to rise, as mentioned in the Hadiths.
Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Dharr, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “I was
with the Prophet in the Masjid at sunset, and he said: :

«يَا أَبَا ذَرَ،
أَتَدْرِي أَيْنَ تَغْرُبُ الشَّمْسُ؟»

(O Abu Dharr! Do you know where the sun sets) I said, `Allah and His
Messenger know best.’ He said:
«فَإِنَّهَا تَذْهَبُ
حَتْى تَسْجُدَ تَحْتَ الْعَرْشِ، فَذَلِكَ قَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى:

﴿وَالشَّمْسُ تَجْرِى
لِمُسْتَقَرٍّ لَّهَـا ذَلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ ﴾»

(It goes and prostrates beneath the Throne, and that is what Allah says: (And
the sun runs on its fixed course for a term. That is the decree of the Almighty,
the All-Knowing.))” It was also reported that Abu Dharr, may Allah be pleased
with him, said, “I asked the Messenger of Allah about the Ayah:

﴿وَالشَّمْسُ تَجْرِى
لِمُسْتَقَرٍّ لَّهَـا﴾

(And the sun runs on its fixed course for a term. ) He said:
تَحْتَ الْعَرْش»

(Its fixed course is beneath the Throne.)” (The second view) is that this
refers to when the sun’s appointed time comes to an end, which will be on the
Day of Resurrection, when its fixed course will be abolished, it will come to a
halt and it will be rolled up. This world will come to an end, and that will be
the end of its appointed time. This is the fixed course of its time. Qatadah

(on its fixed course for a term (appointed).) means, “It has an appointed
time and it will not go beyond that.” It was also said that this means, it
keeps moving in its summer orbit for a certain time, and it does not exceed
that, then it moves to its winter orbit for a certain time, and it does not
exceed that. This was narrated from `Abdullah bin `Amr, may Allah be pleased
with him. Ibn Mas`ud and Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them, recited
this Ayah as: (وَالشَّمْسُ تَجْرِي لَامُسْتَقَرَّ لَهَا) (And the sun runs with
no fixed course for a term,) meaning that it has no destination and it does not
settle in one place, rather it keeps moving night and day, never slowing down or
stopping, as in the Ayah:
﴿وَسَخَّر لَكُمُ
الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ دَآئِبَينَ﴾

(And He has made the sun and the moon, both constantly pursuing their
courses, to be of service to you) (14:33). which means, they will never slow
down or stop, until the Day of Resurrection.
﴿ذَلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ

(That is the decree of the Almighty, ) means, which none can oppose or

(the All-Knowing.) Who knows every movement and every cessation of movement,
Who has decreed that and Who has set it in motion following a pattern in which
there are no differences or inversions, as Allah says:
﴿فَالِقُ الإِصْبَاحِ
وَجَعَلَ الَّيْلَ سَكَناً وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ حُسْبَاناً ذَلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ
الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ ﴾

((He is the) Cleaver of the daybreak. He has appointed the night for resting,
and the sun and the moon for reckoning. Such is the measuring of the Almighty,
the All-Knowing.) (6:96) And this is how this Ayah ends:
﴿ذَلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ
الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ﴾

(That is the decree of the Almighty, the All-Knowing.) Then Allah says:

قَدَّرْنَـهُ مَنَازِلَ﴾

(And the moon, We have decreed for it stages,) meaning, `We have caused it to
run in a different orbit, from which passing of the months can be deduced, just
as night and day are known from the sun.’ This is like the Ayah:
﴿يَسْـَلُونَكَ عَنِ
الأَهِلَّةِ قُلْ هِىَ مَوَاقِيتُ لِلنَّاسِ وَالْحَجِّ﴾

(They ask you about the crescent moons. Say: “These are signs to mark fixed
periods of time for mankind and for the pilgrimage (Hajj). ”) (2:189),
﴿هُوَ الَّذِى جَعَلَ
الشَّمْسَ ضِيَآءً وَالْقَمَرَ نُوراً وَقَدَّرَهُ مَنَازِلَ لِتَعْلَمُواْ عَدَدَ
السِّنِينَ وَالْحِسَابَ﴾

(It is He Who made the sun a shining thing and the moon as a light and
measured out for it stages that you might know the number of years and the
reckoning) (10:5), and
الَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ ءَايَتَيْنِ فَمَحَوْنَآ ءَايَةَ الَّيْلِ وَجَعَلْنَآ
ءَايَةَ النَّهَارِ مُبْصِرَةً لِتَبْتَغُواْ فَضْلاً مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ
وَلِتَعْلَمُواْ عَدَدَ السِّنِينَ وَالْحِسَابَ وَكُلَّ شَىْءٍ فَصَّلْنَاهُ
تَفْصِيلاً ﴾

(And We have appointed the night and the day as two Ayat (signs). Then, We
have obliterated the sign of the night while We have made the sign of the day
illuminating, that you may seek bounty from your Lord, and that you may know the
number of the years and the reckoning. And We have explained everything with
full explanation.) (17:12) So, He has given the sun its own light, and the moon
its (reflection of) light, and has given each its own orbit. So the sun rises
each day and sets at the end of the day, giving one kind of light all the time,
but it moves, rising and setting at different points in the summer and winter,
thus making the days and nights longer or shorter alternatively according to the
season. Its authority is in the daytime, for it is the heavenly body that
dominates the day. As for the moon, Allah has decreed that it should pass
through different phases. At the beginning of the month, the moon appears small
when it rises. It gives off little light, then on the second night its light
increases and it rises to a higher position, and the higher it rises the more
light it gives — even though it is reflected from the sun — until it becomes
full on the fourteenth night of the month. Then it starts to wane until the end
of the month, until it appears like the old dried curved date stalk. Ibn `Abbas,
may Allah be pleased with him, said, “This is the original stem (which connects
the bunch of dates to the tree).” The Arabs have a name for each set of three
nights in a month, according to the phases of the moon. They call the first
three nights Ghurar; the next three nights Nufal; the next three nights Tusa`
(nine) — because the last of them is the ninth. The next three nights are
called `Ushar (ten) — because the first of them is the tenth. The next three
nights are called Al-Bid (white) — because of the light of the moon which
shines brightly throughout these three nights. The next three nights are called
Dura`, the plural of Dar`a’, because on the first of them the night is dark from
the moon rising late. Dar`a’ refers to the black sheep, i.e., the one whose head
is black; the next three nights Zulam; then Hanadis, then Da’adi; then Mihaq,
because of the absence of moonlight at the beginning of the month. Abu `Ubayd
did not recognize the names Tusa` and `Ushar, in the book Gharib Al-Musannaf.
﴿لاَ الشَّمْسُ
يَنبَغِى لَهَآ أَن تدْرِكَ القَمَرَ﴾

(It is not for the sun to overtake the moon,) Mujahid said, “Each of them has
a limit which it does not transgress or fall short of. When the time of one
comes, the other goes away, and when the time for one to prevail comes, the time
of the other ceases.” `Ikrimah said concerning the Ayah,
﴿لاَ الشَّمْسُ
يَنبَغِى لَهَآ أَن تدْرِكَ القَمَرَ﴾

(It is not for the sun to overtake the moon,) this means that each of them
has its time when it prevails. So it is not appropriate for the sun to rise at
﴿وَلاَ الَّيْلُ
سَابِقُ النَّهَارِ﴾

(nor does the night outstrip the day.) means, after night has passed, it is
not right for another night to come until it has been day. The authority of the
sun is during the day and the authority of the moon is at night. Ad-Dahhak said,
“The night does not depart from here until the day comes from here — and he
pointed to the east.” Mujahid said:
﴿وَلاَ الَّيْلُ
سَابِقُ النَّهَارِ﴾

(nor does the night outstrip the day.) “They seek one another rapidly.” The
meaning is that there is no gap between night and day; each of them follows the
other with no interval, because they have been subjugated and are both
constantly pursuing one another.
﴿وَكُلٌّ فِى فَلَكٍ

(They all float, each in an orbit.) means, night and day, the sun and the
moon, all of them are floating, i.e., revolving, in their orbits in the heaven.
This was the view of Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Ad-Dahhak, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and
`Ata’ Al-Khurasani. Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, and others among
the Salaf said, “In an orbit like the arc of a spinning wheel.”
﴿وَءَايَةٌ لَّهُمْ
أَنَّا حَمَلْنَا ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ فِى الْفُلْكِ الْمَشْحُونِ – وَخَلَقْنَا لَهُمْ
مِّن مِّثْلِهِ مَا يَرْكَبُونَ – وَإِن نَّشَأْ نُغْرِقْهُمْ فَلاَ صَرِيخَ لَهُمْ
وَلاَ هُمْ يُنقَذُونَ – إِلاَّ رَحْمَةً مِّنَّا وَمَتَاعاً إِلَى حِينٍ ﴾

(41. And an Ayah for them is that We bore their offspring in the laden ship.)
(42. And We have created for them of the like thereunto, on which they ride.)
(43. And if We will, We shall drown them, and there will be no shout for them,
nor will they be saved.) (44. Unless it be a mercy from Us, and as an enjoyment
for a while.)