A Saudi cleric rejects the fact that Earth rotates around the sun and says the opposite is true. Earth doesn’t rotate. It is stationary and doesn’t move.
In an attempt to answer a student question at a University in the United Arab Emirates on whether Earth is stationary or it moves, Sheikh Bandar Al-Khaibari said: “Earth is stationary and doesn’t move.”
To support his argument, Al-Khaibari cited Islamic clerics Abdulaziz Bin Baz, a leading Saudi Islamic theologian and former Mofti of Saudi Arabia and Saleh Al-Fozan, a Saudi prominent Islamic scholar.
Al-Khaibari insists on his “logical” explanation bringing some selected religious statements and Quran verses to prove the sun movement around Earth.
“We have theories as Muslims,” Al-Khaibari claimed.
His argumentation reached a controversial turning point in debunking the Earth rotation theory when he used visual to logically illustration his understanding of astronomy.
“First of all, where are we now?” He asked. “We go to Sharjah airport to travel to China by plane. Focus with me! This is Earth,” he added, holding a sealed water cup in his hand.
“You say that Earth rotates,” he said sarcastically. “If the plane stops still in the air, wouldn’t China be coming towards it? Isn’t that right?”
He further argued that if Earth rotates on the opposite direction, an airplane would never reach China because “China is also rotating.”
Al-Khaibari made also separate statements on the first man’s trip to the moon. For him, man never went to the moon, deeming NASA’s lunar excursion as a Hollywood fabrication. “They said they have been to the moon, but they have never been to the moon.”
Al-Khaibari’s theorisation on space dynamics triggered a social media response of ridicule and mockery.
Many Islamic clerics still roam in the same swamps of the past beyond critical thinking and scientific explanation.
In 1966, Abdulaziz Bin Baz ruled that Earth is stationary and the sun orbits Earth. He repeated his fatwa in 1976 and several times in the 90s. Those who say otherwise should be killed and their belongings should be confiscated because such a claim is apostate.
According to Bin Baz, evidence should be drawn from the original texts, the Quran and the tradition of the prophet Mohammad. Therefore, his basis for such a fatwa was the Quran, which, according to him, implies that the sun rotates around Earth.
Starting from that point, any new science that doesn’t come in accordance with the old Islamic assumptions must be false. The problem now lies in the literal interpretation of original texts, the Quran and the tradition of Mohammad. Original texts, if interpreted literally, offer content, which is paradoxical to what science and logic. It is not a unique feature of Islam, but rather of all religions.
Some of the verses Bin Baz relied on are: “(Allah is) the one who created the night, the day, the sun and the moon. Each one is travelling in an orbit with its own motion” From this verse among others, Bin Baz confirmed that the sun moves and rotates around Earth and not vice versa.
He also used the Hadith (sayings) of the prophet Mohammad when he (the prophet Mohammad) asked his companions if they knew where the sun goes. When they said that they don’t know but they would like to know, the prophet told them that it goes to kneel to the creator until it is allowed to rise again, which is from the east. This cycle continues until the doomsday, where Allah says to the sun that it has to go back from where it came from – i.e. to rise from the west.
This seemed to be a solid proof for Bin Baz and other many other Islamic scholars that the sun moves around Earth and not the opposite.
There are also other verses in Quran, which make it clear, if interpreted literally, that Earth is steady and fixed and on which Bin Baz relied. “[It is He] who has made for you the Earth as a bed [spread out].”
“And He has cast into the Earth firmly set mountains, lest it shift with you, and [made] rivers and roads, that you may be guided.”
From these Quran verses, Bin Baz concluded that Earth is stationary. Most prominent Islamic clerics such as Abdullah Bin Abdurahman Aljibreen, Saleh Al-Fozan and Abu Bakr Al-Jazairi confirmed the same ruling relying on the same sources for legislation.
Sheikh Muhammad Bin Uthaymeen, a prominent Sunni Islamic scholar from Saudi Arabia also confirmed what Bin Baz ruled out and concluded that the sun rotates around Earth and not vice versa and that explains “the existence of the day and night”.
This is not the first time Islamic clerics make controversial statements about a space-related topic. In 2014, Muslim clerics in the UAE declared a colony on Mars as un-Islamic and issued a fatwa against anyone living on Mars as there is “no righteous reason” to be there. They argue that trying to live there would be close to committing suicide and killing oneself is strictly forbidden in Islam.