Quran Explanation: Lord of the ‘Two Easts’ and ‘Two Wests’ | IqraSense.com

Quran Explanation: Lord of the ‘Two Easts’ and ‘Two Wests’

One of the questions that’s discussed often is about the Quran verse, “Lord of the two easts and the two wests” as mentioned in Surah Rahman.

The following provides three explanations. The first explanation is based on the interpretations of a number of scholars. The other two are discussed in scientific and public circles (outside the Quran translations and interpretations).

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The Quran verse in question is the following: “Lord of the two easts (Mashriqayn) and the two wests.” (Surah Rahman: 17).

There is another verse:

So, the first verse uses the word ‘Mashriqayn” (two easts) and the second one uses “Mashariq” (multiple easts).

Here are the three explanations:

  1. Most of the scholars and translations/interpretations tie the meaning of ‘East’ to the point of rising of the sun.  For the ‘Mashriqayn’ (two easts), they suggest it to mean the two different points at which sun rises and sets in summers and winters. For the ‘Mashariq’ (multiple easts), they use the same interpretation in that the exact point at which the sun rises changes daily by a slight margin. So, they tie the multiple rising points of sun as ‘multiple easts’. (The scholars who use this argument include translation of Sahih International, Sh. Modudi, Dr. Mustafa Khattab, and others.)
  2. The second interpretation discussed in a number of places is based on the scientific fact that the sun mostly doesn’t rise exactly in the east. It’s always north or south depending on the seasons. The fact is that the sun rises EXACTLY in the east only TWICE. Those days are referred to as the EQUINOX. According to Wikipedia, “A solar equinox is a moment in time when the Sun crosses the Earth’s equator, which is to say, appears directly above the equator, rather than north or south of the equator. On the day of the equinox, the Sun appears to rise “due east” and set “due west”. This occurs twice each year, around 20th March and 23rd September.” So, if we attribute the rising of the sun as ‘east’, then this interpretation satisfies both the ‘mashriqayn’ and the ‘mashariq’ argument.
  3. The third explanation is based on the observation that each solar system has its own stars. Our (Earth’s) solar system’s east and west is based on our star which is the Sun. But other solar systems have their own ‘suns’. So, their east and west are different than ours. This observation may satisfy the verse “Lord of multiple easts and wests” as the verse may refer to the multiple solar systems. However, it still doesn’t explain the “Lord of the two east and the west”.

And Allah knows best!

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