Question # 113: What is the shape of earth as per Quran, I have heard from many of mine Muslim friends that the earth in flat as per Quran but then we have numerous pictures from Satellites in which the earth appears round. What does Qur’an has to say about earth shape?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Answer: In early times, people believed that the earth was flat. For centuries, men were afraid to venture out too far, for fear of falling off the edge. Sir Francis Drake was the first person who proved that the earth is spherical when he sailed around it in 1597.

Consider the following Qur’anic ayah regarding the alternation of day and night: “Seest thou not that Allah merges Night into Day and He merges Day into Night?” (Soorah Luqman, 31:29). Merging here means that the night slowly and gradually changes to day and vice versa. This phenomenon can only take place if the earth is spherical. If the earth was flat, there would have been a sudden change from night to day and from day to night.

The following verse also alludes to the spherical shape of the earth: “He created the heavens and the earth in true (proportions): He makes the Night overlap the Day, and the Day overlap the Night.” (Soorah Az-Zumar, 39:5) The Arabic word used here is Kawwara meaning ‘to overlap’ or ‘to coil’– the way a turban is wound around the head. The overlapping or coiling of the day and night can only take place if the earth is spherical.

The earth is not exactly round like a ball, but geo-spherical, i.e. it is flattened at the poles. The following verse contains a description of the earth’s shape: “And the earth, moreover, hath He made egg shaped.” (Soorah An-Nazi’at, 79:30) The Arabic word for egg here is dahaahaa[1] which means an ostrich-egg. The shape of an ostrich-egg resembles the geo-spherical shape of the earth.

Thus the Qur’an correctly describes the shape of the earth, though the prevalent notion when the Qur’an was revealed was that the earth was flat. (The Qur’an and Modern Science – Compatible or Incompatible? by Dr. Zakir Naik)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.


[1] The Arabic word dahaahaa has been translated by A. Yusuf Ali as “vast expanse”, which also is correct. This word also means an ostrich-egg.