Fatwa ID: 03077
Answered by: Shaykh Umer Khan
Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah
What is our faith?
The sun circles the earth or the earth of the sun?
In The Name Of Allah, The Most-Merciful, The Most Kind
Firstly, it should be noted that the sources of our religion (The Qur'ān and the sunnah) are primary sources of guidance and not books of science. While it is true that the Qur'ān and sunnah do contain scientific facts that can never contradict reality nor any proven science, the purpose of the Qur'ān and the sunnah is to guide us, not clarify, substantiate, or profess scientific facts. The question you asked is a question regarding scientific fact, not faith or fiqh. Whether the Sun circles around the Earth or the Earth around the Sun is a matter related to scientific facts and is proven through observation using the senses (through instruments and tools such as telescopes) and validated through mathematical calculations and scientific analysis.
The Qur'ān does talk about the orbits of heavenly bodies, and the Sun and the moon in particular. For example, Allāh says, "He created the Heavens and the Earth for a purpose. He wraps the night around the day and the day around the night. And he has subjected the sun and the moon, each orbiting for an appointed time" (Qur'ān, 39:5). But nowhere in the Qur'ān or aḥādīth do we find mention of whether the Earth orbits the Sun or the Sun around the Earth. Also, the reasoning for mentioning these orbits is to help us understand and appreciate the beauty of Allāh's creation. For example, the moon's orbit around the Earth gives us lunar months, which are the basis for the Hijrī calendar.
We learn through science that it is the Earth that orbits the Sun, not the other way around. The Earth orbits the Sun at an average distance of 149.60 million km, and one complete orbit takes 365.256 days, during which time Earth has traveled 940 million km (Wikipedia, "Earth's orbit"). The sun is also in its own orbit [NOT around the Earth], orbiting the center of the Milky Way galaxy, presently moving in the direction of the constellation of Cygnus (Wikipedia, "Sun").
Only Allah knows best
Written by Shaykh Umer Khan
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham