The hour drew nigh and the moon did rend asunder

اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانْشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ

"The hour drew nigh and the moon did rend asunder. " (Al- Qamar, 54: l)

Q: Healthy logic and intelligence accepts that when the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) pointed to the moon, it split into two and thereafter at his order the two parts rejoined. But it is mentioned in Sunnah that one of the pieces entered the right sleeve of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and the other half in the left. This latter part of the saying seems to be against logic just as the saying that the world is contained in the skin of an egg.

Please let us know if this latter part is mentioned in reliable traditions: If so what is the reply to this question?

A: What is agreed by all in the matter of the Prophet's miracle called splitting of the Moon (Shaqqul Qamar) is that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had pointed to the moon and split it into two. The two parts remained separate for some time and when the Prophet once again gestured, they joined and returned to the previous state. Upto this is, there is no doubt in what has been mentioned in Quran and in consecutive traditions. It is also not correct to say that breaking and joining of heavenly bodies in the sky is impossible. Recent research in space sciences has revealed that the globe of moon is, like globe of earth and amenable to breaking and joining and there is no difference as such in these two celestial bodies.

As for the subject of coming of the moon to earth and going of it into the sleeve of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), I have not found any such thing in Quranic commentaries and books of religious scholars. This is mentioned only in Nasikhut Tawarikh; and that too without quoting the source. There is no doubt that it is not only unacceptable but also illogical; unless it is explained properly and until the true meaning of this statement is brought forth.

Sayyid Abdul Husayn Dastghaib