Meaning of 'Hubuk' in verse 51:7
Fatwa No: 343699

  • Fatwa Date:18-3-2017 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 20, 1438
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Question

Hi, I am a Physician.
While reading the Quran, I found this verse: {By the heaven containing Hubuk.} [Quran 51:7]
There is a valid theory called 'The fabrical cosmos'. This prominent theory ratifies that the Universe is a fabric tissue of matters, anti-matters, and space-time. http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-fabric-of-the-cosmos/
Is the ancient interpretation of (Hubuk) exact? Sahih International: By the heaven containing pathways. Muhsin Khan: By the heaven full of paths. Pickthall: By the heaven full of paths. Yusuf Ali: By the Sky with (its) numerous Paths. Shakir: I swear by the heaven full of ways. Dr. Ghali: And (by) the heaven comprising interwoven tracks.
So, what do you say?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

What you mentioned, dear Brother, about the interpretation of the word Hubuk in the verse as cited in translated Tafseers (books of exegesis) is one of the reported interpretations of the term. The verse: {By the heaven containing Hubuk.} [Quran 51:7] was interpreted in several ways that are not contradictory and are all true in describing the sky.

Ibn Al-Jawzi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said:

"There are four interpretations regarding the meaning of 'containing Hubuk':

First: that of the beautiful appearance. This was the view of Ibn ‘Abbaas as narrated by Ibn Abi Talhah, and it was adopted by Qataadah.

Second: that of the precise structure (perfect and free of defect). This was the view of Mujaahid.

Third: that with adornment. This was the view of Sa‘eed ibn Jubayr. Al-Hasan said, 'Its Hubuk are its stars.'

Fourth: that with pathways. This was the view of Adh-Dhahhaak and the linguists.

Al-Farraa' said, 'Hubuk means the ripples produced on surfaces, such as the sand if slow wind passes over it and still water if wind passes over it. The bends of the curly hair are Hubuk...' Az-Zajjaaj said, 'Linguists say that Hubuk means the good ways. 'Mahbook' is what was done with perfection. Also, all the tracks that you see on the (surface of) sand and water when wind passes over them are Hubuk...'" [Zaad Al-Maseer]

As you can see, all these descriptions are applicable to the sky; it is of a beautiful appearance, has a precise structure, is adorned with stars, is full of pathways trodden by the angels in their ascent and descent, and is full of planetary orbits. Allah, The Exalted, says (what means): {And We have created above you seven Taraa'iq...} [Quran 23:17] Scholars of Tafseer said that they were described as Taraa'iq (pathways) because they are tracks for angels in descending and ascending. It was also said: because they are tracks (orbits) for the planets in their motion... The same interpretation was cited in Adhwaa' Al-Bayaan.

The author of At-Tahreer wa At-Tanweer said, "Taraa'iq is the plural of Tareeqah. It means pathways, and here it is intended to mean tracks of celestial bodies, and so on."

Most Tafseer scholars underlined that the word 'Taraa'iq' in the verse denotes the seven heavens. They were called as such because they are layered one above the other. Adhwaa' Al-Bayaan underlined that based on this interpretation, the seven Taraa'iq in the verse is explained by the other verse that reads: {Do you not consider how Allah has created seven heavens in layers.} [Quran 71:15] This is the view of most Tafseer scholars.

If the scientific theory to which you referred in the question suggests that the heavens have pathways, then this further refutes the argument of those who disbelieve in the Quran; otherwise, the believer should believe with certainty in whatever is stated in the Quran regardless of whether it is proven by modern science or not.

Allah knows best.

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