THE FORCE OF GRAVITY AND ORBITAL MOVEMENTS
081.015► فَلا أُقْسِمُ بِالْخُنَّسِ
081.016► الْجَوَارِ الْكُنَّسِ
No! I swear by the planets-that recede, that ride their course [and] hide themselves. (Qur’an, At-Takwir -81: 15-16)
The word “khunnas” in Surat at-Takwir 15 bears such meanings as shrinking and cowering, retracting and turning back. The Arabic expression translated as “hide themselves” in the 16th verse is “kunnas,” the plural form of “kaanis,” which refers to a specific path: entering a nest, the home of a body in motion, or things entering their homes and hiding there. Again in verse 16, the word “jawaar,” the plural form of “jariyah,” which means one that moves and flows, is translated as “that ride their course.” Bearing the meanings in mind, it is very possible that these verses refer to the gravitational forces of the planets and their movements around their orbits.
These words in the above verses fully describe orbital movements stemming from the force of gravity. Of these, the word “khunnas” refers to the planets’ attraction towards their own centres and also their attraction towards the Sun, which is the centre of our Solar System. (Allah knows best.) The force of gravity already existed in the universe-although it was only possible to reveal this attractive force with mathematical formulae with Sir Isaac Newton, who lived in the 17th and 18th centuries. The word “jawaar” in the following verse emphasises the orbital movements that arise as a result of the centrifugal force that opposes this attractive one. There is no doubt that the use of the word “jawaar” together with “khunnas” (attraction towards the centre, shrinkage) and “kunnas” (path, entering the nest, the home of a body in motion) indicates an important scientific truth that nobody could have known about 1,400 years ago. (Allah knows best.) Moreover, these verses, one of the subjects sworn on in the Qur’an, are another indication of the importance of the subject.