Earth, The

Posted on 03/28/2012 by marina

Wikis > Dictionary of Islam > Earth, The

EARTH, The. Arabic arz ارض
Muhammad taught his followers that hust as there are seven heavens [HEAVEN.] on above another, so there are seven earths one beneath another, the distance between each of these regions being five hundred years’ journey. (Mishkat, book xxiv c I part 3)
In the Qur’an the earth is said to be stretched out like a carpet or bed (Surah ii 20; xiii 8; xxviii, 6), which expression the ancient commentators understood to imply that the earth was a vast palne, but circular; and (Surah xxxix 67) to be but a handful in the sight of God, which in the last day shall be changed with another earth (Surah xiv 49).
The earth is believed by Muslim writers to be surrounded by a great sea called al-Bahru ‘l-Muhit, or the circumambient ocean which is bounded by the mountains of Qaf. The extent of the earth is said to be two hundred years journey being allotted to the sea two hundred to the uninhabited desert, eighty to the country of Gog and Magog (Yajuj wa Majuj) and the rest to the civilized world. Certain terrae incognitae in the midst of the mountains of Qaf are said to be inhabited by the jinn or genii. According to some, Makkah (or Jerusalem according to others) is situated in the centre of the earth. On the Muhit is the Arshu ‘l-Iblis, or “Throne of Satan.” The western portion of the Muhit is often called the Bahru ‘z-Zulmat, or “Sea of Darkness,” and in the south-west corner of the earth is the Fountain of Life of which al-Khizi drank, and in virtue of which he still lives, and will live till the Day of Judgement. The mountains of Qaf which bound the great sea Muhit, form a circular barrier round the whole earth, and are said to be of green chrysolite, the color of which the Prophet said imparts a greenish tint to the sky. The general opinion is that the mountains of Qaf bound our earth, but some say there are countries beyond, each country being a thousand years’ journey.
The seven earth, which are five hundred years’ journey from each other, are situated one beneath the other, and each of these seven regions has its special occupants. The occupants of the first are men, genii, and animals; the second is occupied by the suffocating wind which destroyed the infidel tribe of ‘Ad (Surah lxix 6); the third is filled with the stones of hell, mentioned in the Qur’an (Surah ii 22; lxvi 6) as “the fuel of which is men and stones”; the fourth by the sulphur of hell; the fifth by the serpents of hell; the sixth by the scorpions of hell, which are in size and color like black melons, and have tails like spears; and the seventh by the devil and his angels. Out earth is said to be supported on the shoulders of an angel, who stands upon a rock of ruby, which rock is supported on a huge bull with four thousand eyes, and the same number of ears, noses, mouths, tongues, and feet between every one of each is a distance of five hundred years’ journey. The name of this bull is Kujuta, who is supported by an enormous fish, the name of which is Bahamut.
The above is but a brief outline of the Muslim belief as regards the earth’s formation; but the statements of Muslim commentators are so wild on the subject, that it seems quite useless to quote them as authorities, for they contradict each other in endless variety.

Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam