What is the interpretation of the following verse:
‘Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water: Near it he found a People: We said: “O Zul-qarnain! (thou hast authority,) either to punish them, or to treat them with kindness’ ‘’ -86. Al-Kahf.
Some Tafsir (interpretation) books indicate that the sun sets into a spring of hot water. There is no evidence to suggest this so-called spring exists or that there are people who reside by it when the sun is viewed from outer space.
In the Name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful.
May Allah bless Muhammad and his Family and damn their enemies.
In ‘Taqqrib Al-Qur’an Ila Al-Ath-han’, (The Qur’an Brought Closer to our Understanding) by Al-Mujaddi Al-Shirazi (may Allah sanctify his soul), it is written that the interpretation of the holy verse: ‘Until, when he reached the setting of the sun’ is a reference to the geographical direction which is considered ‘the west.‘ We might say: ‘Moscow, the eastern side of the Earth’ or ‘London, the western side of the world’.
‘Found’ means Zul-qarnain saw the sun ‘set in a spring of murky water.’ i.e., to your west lies a mountain, the sun is setting and appears to disappear ‘into’ it slowly. If it was a desert, it might look as if the sun is setting into the desert; likewise, if it were the sea that was to your west, then the sun might seem to submerge deep into the sea.
It appears that Zul-qarnain reached a point in the pacific ocean, called the Sea of Dark, and that is where he witnessed the sun setting into the sea/ocean. The term ‘sea’ is also called ‘spring’ in the Arabic language. Similarly, the term ‘murky’ refers to the water’s appearance, as in its colour. It is also possible he watched the sun setting into a murky spring.
It is worth mentioning that the verse tells the story from the perspective of Zul-qarnain, not the reality of the direction or the location of where the setting sun.
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