The Quran and the 'Flat Earth' model
By: A. Muhammad

Much has been said and written lately about the claim that the Earth is not a sphere, but is a stationary flat disc. This ideology finds its routes in the ancient 'Geocentric Model' attributed to the Greco-Roman astronomer Ptolemy (100-170 AD). According to his model, which was accepted for around 14 centuries, the Earth was believed to be stationary and positioned at the centre of the universe while the Sun, Moon, planets and all stars revolved around the Earth.

The 'Geocentric Model', also closely associated with the Biblical Genesis, was later disputed and replaced by the 'Heliocentric Model' in which the Sun was at the centre of the Solar System, while all the planets of the Solar System, with their moons, rotated around the Sun. The pioneers of the 'Heliocentric Model' were the Polish Astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543 AD) and the Italian Astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564-1642 AD), the latter having been convicted of heresy and subjected to house arrest until his death for what was then considered to be anti-Biblical ideas.

The 'Heliocentric Model' gained steady support over the years and became indisputable in the 20th century when visual evidence of the spherical Earth became accessible to all. This was in the form of countless pictures and videos taken by satellites that were sent to outer space, and more recently those taken by the Hubble Telescope.
However, sometime towards the end of the 20th century, a new trend emerged by which old ideas were rejuvenated. Once again, it was thought that the Earth is stationary and flat and was returned to its old position at the centre of the universe.

Flat Earth

Walking around on the Earth's surface, it looks and feels flat, so the members of the 'Flat Earth' group labelled all evidence for the spherical Earth, such as satellite pictures, as deliberate fabrications aimed to promote a "Round Earth Conspiracy".
They claimed that the spherical Earth conspiracy is run by NASA and the UN (even though it has been known that the earth is round for many centuries, long before these 2 organisations were formed.) No rational reason is given as to what would anyone gain by hiding that the Earth is flat, if indeed it were.
Today, the 'Flat Earth' followers have their own societies, they hold conferences and believe that they are on a mission to save the world from this sinister conspiracy.

Besides the claim that the Earth is a flat disc, the advocates of this ideology have devised a complete 'Flat Earth Model' (FEM). The model places the stationary flat Earth at the base with a dome extending above the flat Earth. Inside this dome lies the Sun, the Moon and all the planets and stars, all circling above the flat Earth.

'Flat Earth Model' (FEM) with its dome

In addition to the basic claim of an Earth with a flat surface, the Flat Earth Model (FEM) incorporates various features without which the 'Flat Earth' claim would not work.
As it happens, the majority of the features of the FEM contradict and discredit a large number of scientific theories and scientific knowledge that has been known and accepted for many centuries.
The aim of this article is not to verify the validity of the FEM from a scientific point of view but only to examine whether the FEM, with its various features, is supported by Quranic evidence or it is in contradiction to Quranic evidence.
To do so, it is necessary to list the main claims associated with the Flat Earth Model (FEM):

1- The Sun is 32 miles in diameter and is 4,000 miles above the flat-disc Earth. In other words, the Sun is considerably smaller and closer than what we have been told.

2- The Sun's rays do not travel in all directions, as light normally travels, the rays only travel in the direction of the ground immediately below the Sun's trajectory, thereby lighting only the ground directly below it. In other words, the Sun is a torch-like object that projects a spotlight on the land below it, as it moves in a circle above the Earth.
It is noted that this claim violates the laws of physics which state that, unless obstructed, light travels in all directions and not in a spotlight manner. All areas on the Flat Earth should receive the light of the Sun since the latter is positioned above the surface of the Earth, albeit in varying degrees of brightness, depending on the distance of the Sun from the surface.

Torch-like light of the Sun

- The stars are points of light on the wall of the dome. They lie at a distance of only a few thousand miles above the Earth.

- Antarctica is an ice wall surrounding the disc of the Earth. By virtue of a worldwide treaty between all governments of the world, the ice wall is protected by soldiers to stop anyone from crossing it.

- In order for the FEM to work, a great number of scientific phenomena are discarded and labelled to be a hoax, such as: gravity, plate tectonics, expanding universe, nuclear fusion, pressure gradient, and many other long approved scientific phenomena. It follows that the alleged conspiracy is not only related to promoting a false spherical Earth, but that there have conspiracies, for a number of centuries, to promote many false theories, such as gravity, plate tectonics and the others in the list above.

He is the One who created seven universes in layers. You do not see any inconsistency in the creation of the Almighty. Return your sight to it, do you see any flaw? Then return your sight twice over; your sight will return to you humbled and exhausted. 67:3-4

This verse would have little significance in a universe that is contained in a dome extending only a few thousand miles above the earth. The underlined words speak of a universe, so vast in dimensions, that the mere looking at its depth causes the eyesight to be returned
"humbled and exhausted". The FEM, with its significantly modest dimensions does in fact belittle the greatness of God's immense creation.

He created the heavens and the earth with truth. He 'yukkawwir' (rolls) the night over the day and 'yukkawwir' (rolls) the day over the night, and He subjected the sun and the moon, each running for a specified term. Unquestionably, He is the Dignified, the Forgiving. 39:5

The Arabic word used in this verse for "rolls" is "yukkawwir". This word is the verb form from the noun 'kora' which means ball. Since the
"night and day" are not physical objects that can be rolled like a ball, but only visual phenomena, the rolling can only be related to the physical object on which these phenomena occur, which is the Earth. The underlined words in 39:5 therefore confirm the rolling/spinning of the Earth.
Since it is not possible to roll/spin a flat surface, it follows that the Earth is spherical in shape.

And He is the One who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon; each swimming in an orbit. 21:33

The FEM is a geocentric model whereby the Earth is stationary while the Sun and the Moon rotate above the flat Earth.
In 21:33, God speaks of 4 items, they are (Night - Day - Sun - Moon).
The words in 21:33 tell us that, it is not only the Sun and the Moon that are travelling in orbits, but also the "Night and Day" are travelling in orbits.
How can the "Night and Day" be travelling in an orbit?
As mentioned, the Night and the Day are not physical objects, thus cannot be travelling as such. What is travelling in an orbit can only be the physical object on which the Night and Day occur, which is planet Earth.
This verse confirms that the Earth with its 2 sides: a dark side (Night) and a lit side (Day) travels in an orbit and is not stationary as the FEM suggests.

And you see the mountains, thinking they are standing still, when in fact they are moving just like the movement of the clouds. 27:88

We read in this verse that the mountains are moving. Since the mountains are fixed to the earth, they could not be moving unless the Earth itself is moving. The words in 27:88 refute the claim of a stationary Earth.
This glorious verse also confirms the laws of Inertia, explaining why we do not feel the spinning of the Earth or its movement in its orbit.
The laws of Inertia state that when we are on a moving body, we would not feel or detect our movement. Picture yourself sitting on a train that is travelling at a high speed. You would see everything outside the train window moving and it would feel to you that you are stationary. But in fact, that the exact opposite is happening: you are in fact moving while the landscape outside your window is stationary.
The same happens to us while standing on earth. Even though the Earth is spinning and travelling in an orbit, we do not feel any movement simply because we are on a moving body (Earth).

And the universe, We constructed it with might and We are expanding it.51:47

The concept of a static dome-like universe defies the Quranic assurance that the universe is in a state of constant expansion. The word used in 51:47 is
'expanding' (present tense) which indicates that the expansion of the universe is a continuous process.

Do you not see that God has subjected for you what is in the earth and that the ships sail in the sea by His command? He withholds the sky, preventing it from collapsing onto the earth, except by His permission. God is Benevolent and Merciful towards the people. 22:65

To understand the significance of this glorious verse we need to ask:
Why would the sky fall down onto the earth? It can only be because there exists a force that pulls heavenly bodies towards one another. This force is gravity; the words in 22:65 confirm the force of gravity.
However, gravity is an enemy of the FEM! Gravity wrecks havoc with the FEM, and so, the Flat Earthers declared the whole concept of gravity to be a hoax!

The reason why gravity does not accommodate the FEM is that for any body with mass, gravity pulls all objects towards the centre of gravity of the body. That is why when we throw a ball straight above our head it falls straight down to where it was thrown.

On a spherical Earth, the centre of gravity is the centre of the Earth. The centre of the Earth is immediately below our feet, wherever we may be standing on the globe.
However, if the Earth was flat, gravity would affect people and objects quite differently, depending on how far they are from the centre of the flat Earth.
A person standing at the centre of the flat disc of the Earth would be pulled downwards to the same spot he is standing, not any different from how we feel gravity today. The matter gets tricky the further away one is located from the centre.
A person standing near the edge of the disc would feel a horizontal pull and not a downward pull. This is because he would be pulled towards the centre of gravity of the disc, which is no longer below his feet, but farther away from him and at the centre of the disc.
Likewise, if a person near the edge of the flat Earth throws a ball upwards above his head, it will be pulled sideways and would land a few feet away from where he is standing, and in the direction of the centre of the disc-shaped Earth. And since this is not what people who are located far from the centre of the Earth experience, the Flat Earthers decided that it is easier to declare that there is no such thing as gravity! It is a hoax!

Do you not see how God created seven universes in layers? 71:15

God speaks of 7 universes in layers and not a single dome-shaped universe! God says that outside our universe, there is another universe, and another, etc. However, the Flat Earth Model states that outside the dome-shaped universe is water!

Have the disbelievers not seen that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity then We ripped them apart and that We made from water all living things? Will they not believe? 21:30

This glorious verse speaks of the origin of the universe. The
'heavens' which comprises all the space in the universe, and the 'earth' which symbolises matter, were one entity and they were ripped apart (exploded). This is an accurate description of what happened in Big Bang; the event which brought about the creation of the universe.
The FEM suggests a static universe that does not change in size. The Big Bang model is thus rejected since it suggests that the universe started to expand immediately after its creation and is continuing to do so.

God is the One who created seven universes and of the earth their like. 65:12

In 65:12, God compares the 7 universes and that there are other earth-like heavenly bodies. Indeed, we have in the Solar System other
earth-like planets.
The 7 other earth-like planets in the Solar System are: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
These earth-like planets share numerous properties, such as:
- They revolve around the mother star (Sun) in orbits.
- They are cold bodies in comparison with their mother star.
- They do not give off light, but only reflect light.
- They share the same shape.

We know by looking at these planets that they are spherical and not flat. If the Earth was flat, thereby being the odd one out, these planets would not be earth-like.

O tribes of jinn and humans, if you are able to penetrate through the regions of the heavens and the earth, then go ahead and penetrate; you will not penetrate without authorisation. 55:33

The words in 55:33 ascertain that we will not be able to penetrate through the different regions of the heavens or the Earth.

- With regards to the regions of the heavens, the 7 universes, we know that we will never penetrate through any of them. We have not even been able to travel to the nearest planet to our own, let alone travel to another universe.

- The words in 55:33 state that we will not be able to penetrate through the regions of the Earth either. This can only be if the layers of the Earth are of considerable thickness. This is not the case in the FEM where the Earth is a flat disc of relatively thin depth in relation to its surface area.

The Kola Superdeep Borehole on the
Kola peninsula of Russia was the deepest man has ever dug through the Earth. It reached a depth of 40,230 ft (7.6 miles). Digging had to be abandoned at that depth because the temperature reached 180 C which was damaging to the equipment used in the drilling.
God ascertains that we will not be able to penetrate through the layers of the Earth, and indeed, the 7.6 miles depth that we have reached is quite a tiny depth as compared to the overall depth of the Earth.
The radius of the Earth is 3981 miles. The 7.6 miles man has dug is less than one fifth of one percent of the Earth's depth.
This modest depth of penetration is much more in agreement with a spherical Earth that has impenetrable layers, than with a relatively thin disc-shaped Earth as suggested by the FEM.

So be patient in the face of what they say, and glorify your Lord with praise before the rising of the sun and before its setting, and during the night you shall glorify, as well as at the ends of the day, so that you may be content. 20:130

In the FEM, it is claimed that the Sun does not set in the traditional sense (dipping below the horizon), but that it travels away from the line of view of the viewer, thereby getting smaller and smaller in size until it disappears from view.
However, in 20:130 God does not speak of a Sun that diminishes in size due to getting further away in distance, God deliberately mentioned the "rising" and the "setting" of the Sun.
The act of rising and setting requires a horizon or an edge. When the Sun rises, it rises above the horizon, and when it sets it dips below the horizon.

Setting Sun

How is this supposed to be a Sun that never goes below the horizon? The flat-Earthers claim that sunsets are caused by "perspective" (the Sun getting farther away). If that were true, the setting Sun would appear to get smaller (which it doesn't) and it would also stay above the horizon (which it doesn't).
What we see during a sunset is not a smaller Sun, what we see is less of the Sun as a larger sector of the Sun gradually dips below the horizon.
It is interesting to know that if you visit Dubai during the month of Ramadan, and you visit Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest building in the world; a height of 829 metres (2722 ft), you will find that when it is time to break fast during the month of fasting (Ramadan), which happens at sunset, people dining at the top restaurant break their fast 2 minutes later than the timing at ground level. This is because they can see further and thus they see the Sun for 2 minutes longer than those on ground level.
This can only be due to the curvature of the Earth, which makes people at higher altitude see further than those at ground level.

Extended View due to Elevation

On a flat Earth model, the Sun at sunset should be at the same distance from the person on ground level as from the one at the top of the Burj, so why does the one at the top see the Sun for 2 minutes longer?
The reason can only be because of the dipping of the Sun below the curved surface of the Earth.

After reading and pondering on the content of the verses presented in this article, there can be little doubt that the Flat Earth Model is in total contradiction to the Quranic information God gives us about the Earth as well as the Sun, Moon and the universe we live in.
God is the One who created all what is in the Heavens and the Earth, and so we must trust what He tells us to be the absolute indisputable truth. Never should we place the word of men above the word of God.
Excuse may be given to those who do not believe in the Holy Quran, however there can be no excuse for those who believe the Quran to be the true Word of God.