Hadhrat Imam Sadiq
(a.s.) and Rotation of the
Earth round the Sun
At the age of 11, Imam Sadiq (a.s.)
refuted the theory that the sun, moon and the planets rotated around the
earth. He said that the sun, during its course round the earth, passes
through the 12 constellations in one year and remains in each
constellation for 30 days, so why does it then disappear from sight
during the night. It should remain visible in each constellation for 30
Ptolemy* theory said that the sun has
two movements. One of its movements is that it crosses the sign of the
zodiac and goes round the earth in one year and the other movement is
that it goes round the earth in one night and one day, as a result of
which we see it rise in the east and set in the west.
. Aristotle was a great thinker and
philosopher. His books, Arganan and Physics, are the most precious
literary treasures of mankind, but his theory that the earth is
stationary and the sun and stars rotate around it, delayed the progress
of the science of Astronomy and kept mankind in the darkness of
ignorance for 1800 years.
The Imam remarked that those two
movements were not compatible. When the sun had to pass through the sign
of the zodiac in one year and stay in each constellation for 30 days how
could it change its course and go round the earth in 24 hours?
He also announced that the earth
rotated around its own axis. The great scholar Poincare who lived in the
20th century made fun of this theory. When such a scholar
could refuse to believe this, how could people in the 1st and
2nd century of the Hijra believe in the theory of the Imam.
The rotation of the earth on its own axis could be proved by observation
only. When astronauts landed on the surface of the moon, and directed
their telescope towards the earth they observed that it was rotating
slowly on its axis.
Some people might say that it was only
by guesswork that Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said that the earth
rotates on its own axis. Sometimes it happens that guesswork proves to
be correct. But the question arises as to why no one else had guessed
that for such a long time. This proves that he knew the laws of astro-physics
which enabled him to make that discovery. If he had not known those
laws, it would have been impossible for him to discover the rotation of
the earth on its axis. This discovery could not have been accidental.
One must know the cause to know its effect.
Tragically, for reasons stated above,
the real credit of discovery of the movement of the earth round the sun
was given to Copernicus who was an astronomer and mathematician, in the
15th Century. The theory of the earth rotation around its own
axis went to Galileo who discovered the telescope.