The Mathematical Miracle and Astronomy  

Extract from "First Signs of Numerical Miracles In the Holy Qur’an" By Bassam Jarrar


Sura 74 belongs to the early revelation phase of the Holy Qur’an and it contains elaboration on the number 19, which has been discussed in a previous chapter. We noted then the oath sworn by Allah in the context of the discourse about the number 19: “Nay, verily by the moon and by the night as it retreats and by the dawn as it shineth forth. This is but one of the mighty portents. ” (74:32-35)

  Night and day result from the sun’s relation to the earth. But what is the relationship of the sun, the moon and the earth with the number 19? If we refer to astronomy books, we find that there are several relationships. We have discussed these at length in our book The Miracle of the Number 19 in the Holy Qur’an: Premises Awaiting Outcomes’, but our main concern here is to give some examples relating to the Holy Qur’an and astronomy that do not specifically refer to the number 19 or any other number:

  Example 1

  The solar year is 365.2422 days long, while the lunar year is 354.361. Thus the difference between the two is 10.8752 days. Thus, after 33.58 solar years the total number of these differences is one solar year, i.e.  (365.2422/10.8752=33.584). In other words, the lunar year coincides with the solar year at the same starting point every 33.58 years. We can consider each returning point to be one cycle of 33.58 years. In the light of this if we ask in what years of history after the birth of Christ was the 19th cycle, we find that it began in the year 604 CE (AD) and ended in 638. It is noteworthy that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) received his first revelation six years after the start of the cycle in 610 and he died in 632 six years before its end, making the period of the message the focal point of the 19th cycle.

Example 2

When the earth completes one revolution around the sun it has revolved around itself 365 times while the moon will have revolved around the earth 12 times. Thus, one revolution of the earth around the sun contains 365 revolutions around itself and 12 revolutions of the moon around the earth and around itself too. That is why astronomers say that the year is solar and the month is lunar. Referring toThe Concordance of Qur’anic Words’ by Muhammad Fuad Abdul-Baqi we find that the words for ‘day’ and ‘a day’- يوم and  يوما- occurring in the singular are repeated 365 times, noting that one occurrence of يوم was dropped from the concordance by mistake, a fact that was pointed out in the introduction of the work. We also find that the words for ‘month’ and ‘a month’ - شهر and شهرا - in the singular are repeated only 12 times. Why are the words يوم and شهر counted in the singular? We think that this goes back to two matters: Firstly, in Arabic a year is 365 يوم (singular), not أيام (plural). Likewise, a year is 12 شهر not شهور. Secondly, a year is one revolution of the earth around the sun and this includes 365 revolutions of the earth around itself and 12 revolutions of the moon around the earth and around itself too. Some people have objected to Abdal Razaq Nawfal not counting the words يومئذ, يومهم and يومكم and this objection is somewhat justified when there are no direct rules for counting. Here we count يوم and يوما when it is not attached in the script to what follows it. If the word form يومئذ had been written asيوم إذ  we would have counted it. In the light of this, we count the word forms يوم and  يوماbut we do not count يومئذ, يومهم and يومكم because in the Qur’anic word count we deal with script rather than meaning. Nevertheless we have noticed that the words يوم and يوما, يومئذ, يومهم and يومكم, and أيام and يومين occur 475 times in the Qur’an, which is the number of earth days in 19 days of the sun. The day of any star or planet is its revolution once around itself. The day of the sun equals 25 days of the earth so when the sun has revolved once around itself, the earth will have revolved 25 times around itself. Consequently, when the sun has turned 19 revolutions, the earth will have turned 19×25=475 times. Thus, 475 is the number of earth days in 19 days of the sun.

When the earth revolves once around the sun, it will have revolved 365 times around itself, and the moon will have revolved around itself and the earth 12 times. This revolution is called one year. A year, then, is the return of the earth to the point from which it started revolving around the sun. However, when this return of the earth occurs, the moon will not have returned to its starting point. Thus, “year” means return of the earth to its starting point, but not the return of the moon. Astronomers say that the moon and the earth meet at the same returning point once every 19 years.  In other words, it occurs when the earth has moved around the sun 19 times and the moon has moved around the earth 235 times, a revolution which astronomers call an “ecliptic revolution”. This revolution has been scientifically used to match the solar and lunar years. Hence, calendars refer to this revolution and the number 19.

Every 19 years then, we have simultaneous revolutions of the earth and the moon when they return to the same co-ordinate. The word سنة occurs in the Holy Qur’an 7 times and سنين occurs 12 times. Thus the total frequency of  سنةand سنين is 19 times. It is worth pointing out at this point that every 19 lunar years contain 7 leap years, which have 355 days, and 12 normal years, which have 354.

Thus, when the earth and the moon turn one revolution around the sun the result is 365 revolutions of the earth around itself and 12 revolutions of the moon around the earth and around itself. It is, then, a revolution that contains sub-revolutions. Similarly one ecliptic revolution contains 19 sub-revolutions of the earth around the sun and each sub-revolution is called a year (سنة) which equals about 19.58 lunar years. It is observed the words  سنةand  سنينoccur 19 times in the Qur’an. We can also illustrate the question in a different way: the word forms يوم and يوما occur 365 times in the Holy Qur’an which indicates one revolution of the earth around the sun. Likewise, the wordsشهر  and شهرا occur 12 times, this being an indication of one revolution of the earth around the sun. This revolution is called سنة (a year). However, when the wordsسنة  and سنين occur 19 times, this indicates a more complex revolution not related to the earth alone but to the earth and the moon together. While the concept of اليوم (the day) is well defined with respect to the earth and with its relation to the sun, the concept of السنة (a year) is multifold, as there are star years, tropic years, perigee years, ecliptic years… the lengths of which vary. Hence, there are سنين (years) and not simply سنة (year). It is also noticeable that, as mentioned earlier, سنين occurs 12 times in the Holy Qur’an and that this number is the same as the number of even-numbered years (i.e. 354 days) every 19 lunar years. As for سنة, it occurs 7 times, this being the number of odd-numbered years, those containing 355 days.

Example 3

Of Nuh (Noah), peace be upon him, Allah (SWT) says in Sura 29 (‘Al-Ankaboot’):

 فلبث فيهم ألف سنة إلا خمسين عاما  - “He tarried among them a thousand years (سنه) less fifty years (عاما).” If the point of this holy aya is to say that Nuh (pbuh) stayed with his people for 950 سنة wouldn’t the meaning be fully understood if the aya simply ended with the word خمسين? Why did He use إلا خمسين عاما in one moment and ألف سنه in the next? Doesn’t this indicate that the concept of السنة differs from that of العام? If we refer to the Holy Qur’an, we find that there are verses that clearly shows the word عام being applied to the lunar year, such as in Sura 9: فلا يقربوا المسجد الحرام بعد عامهم هذا - “So let them (the idolaters) not after this year of theirs approach the sacred mosque.” (Surat At-Tauba, 9:28) It is known that this aya talks about pilgrimage, which is connected with the lunar year. The same distinction is made in the aya:

إنما النسيء زيادة في الكفر يضل به الذين كفروا يحلونه عاما و يحرمونه عاما  - “Verily the transposing of a prohibited month is an addition to unbelief: The Unbelievers are led to wrong thereby: for they make it lawful one year, and forbidden another year.” (9:37). It is known that this aya talks about the Idolaters’ tampering with the order of the Sacred Months, which are months of the lunar year.

If we look for the opposite notation we find that there is no word سنة in the Qur’an clearly indicating the lunar year, just as there is no word عام in the Qur’an clearly indicating the solar year, though this does not necessarily mean that the concept of سنة does not include the concept of lunar year. It is noticeable that when the Holy Qur’an intends maximization, it uses the word سنة, such as in the aya: و لبثت فينا من عمرك سنين - “And didst thou not stay in our midst many years of thy life?” (26:18) Also in the aya: إن يوما عند ربك كألف سنة مما تعدون - “A day in the sight of thy Lord is like a thousand years of your reckoning.”(22:47) In the aya under discussion the 1000  سنة has come to suggest the length of the period Noah preached. It is known that the solar year is longer than the lunar year so the 50  عاماis used to minimize the thing expected. In any case we cannot reverse the concept by making سنة suggest the lunar year and عام to suggest the solar year. Since this aya mentions both سنة and عام, it is likely that السنة is solar and العام is lunar.

Astronomers classify the solar year into star year (365.25636 days) and tropic year (365.2422 days). If we take the averages of the star and tropic years, the number of days in 1000  سنةis 365249 days. Astronomers also divide the lunar year into star year (327.85992 days) and tropic year (354.36707 days). If we take the averages of the star year and the tropic year, the number of days in 50  عامis 17056 days. Now we can do the following subtraction: 365249 –17056= 348193 days. This is equal to 953.3 tropic years and 953.28 star years. Thereby it becomes clear to us that Noah stayed 953 سنة not 950 سنة as might be understood from the first glance. Is there numerical evidence for this conclusion we have come to?

A.                 Sura 71 in the Holy Qur’an is Surat Noah. What is the relation of this Sura to how long he stayed and to the conclusion we have reached above? The reader will be amazed when he does a letter count of Sura 71.The number of letters is 953 letters, which is the length of Noah’s stay by astronomical calculation.

B.                 The letter occurrences in Sura 71 are as follows:







































































When we check the letter frequency of Surat Noah, we find the letter  حrepeated 3 times only. It could not have been possible for any of the other letters to be repeated 3 times. What is noticeable is that the number 3 is the difference between 953 and 950, the period Noah stayed preaching to his people, as we calculated astronomically above, and as understood from the Qur’an at first glance, respectively. The matter is even more striking when we realize that the letter  حoccurs only in the words نوحا, نوح  and  نوح. Isn’t it amazing that Surat Noah does not have the letter  حexcept in the word نوح! Is the aim to draw attention to the difference between the length of his stay from the first-impression and the real length of his stay? Or are there other secrets related to the world of astronomy and other worlds?!

Example 4

Allah (SWT) says in Sura 18: و لبثوا في كهفهم ثلاث مائة سنين وازدادوا تسعا. قل الله اعلم بما لبثوا “So they stayed in their Cave three hundred years and (some add) nine more. Say: Allah knows best how long they stayed…”(18: 25-26) The length of stay of the People of the Cave as stated in this aya is 309 سنة. While the Qur’an does not explicitly state the number of the People of the Cave, it states the length of their stay in the cave, then comments by adding: “Allah knows best how long they stayed….” Is this comment intended to highlight the veracity of this number at a time when there are so many claims and opinions about it? Or is there some other aim? The majority of interpretations take the first view, but is it not possible that the clause “Allah knows best how long they stayed” hints that Allah knows best about the truth of this number 309, its meaning and secrets, and the wisdom behind the period the People of the Cave stayed?!

Many interpreters, past and modern, maintain that 300 solar years are equal to 309 lunar years. This means to them that وازدادوا تسعا is meant to show the increase that occurs when you convert 300 solar years into lunar ones:

i.e.: (365.2422×300) ÷354.367 =309.2

When we talk the language of years, the fractions amounting to 9 years will be insignificant. These interpretations are possibly what the Qur’anic text suggests. We, in the Noon Center, have the following observations:

1. The 300 solar years comprise 109572.66 days while the 300 lunar years comprise 106310.1 days. This means the difference is 3262.56 days. This number of days is closer to 9 solar years than 9 lunar years. This means that the People of the Cave stayed 300 solar years, i.e. 300 lunar years with 9 solar years added to them. The number 300 stays the same, and the addition comes as a result of the difference between the concepts of solar and lunar year. The addition, then, is 9 solar years.

2. Allah SWT says of Noah (pbuh) that he tarried among them one thousand years less fifty…and we have said that the concept of السنة differs from that of العام . Our investigation has led us to note that the length of his stay was 953 solar years. During this period, a process of subtraction occurs, while during the stay of the people of the cave a process of addition occurs, related to the solar and lunar years. Our investigation has led us here too to the conclusion that the length of the stay was 300 solar years, i.e. 300 lunar years with the difference of 9 solar years added to it.  What may suggest this difference is the word تسعا (nine), i.e. years. If Allah had said تسعة, then the intended word would be  اعوامbecause in Arabic grammarتسعا  is followed by a feminine noun form while تسعة is followed by a masculine form. The word  سنةis feminine while عام is masculine. This remark may support our previous remarks on this subject.

3. The name of Sura 18 shows the importance of the narrative about the People of the Cave in the Sura. The story starts with aya 9: “Or dost thou reflect that the Companions of the Cave and of the Inscription…” As for the length of their stay, it is stated in aya 25: “So they stayed in their cave 300 years and (some) add nine (more).” In the language of numbers, if we start the word count from the beginning of the story (verse 9), we find that the word coming after the phrase “so they stayed in their cave” is the 309th word.


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