Meaning of ‘missiles for the devils’ in verse 67:5
Fatwa No: 324712

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. How do we understand the following verse?
{And, indeed, We have adorned the lowest heaven [the heaven of the world] with lamps [stars], and made them missiles to drive away devils.} Are these refering to metorites or stars? I read in a tafsir (exegesis) that these are metorites that are flung from the stars. But metorites do not come from the stars, as the stars are very far. And if it is refering to stars, then does it mean that the stars themselves are flung? Please explain. May Allaah reward you.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Allaah says (what means): {And We have certainly beautified the nearest heaven with lamps} [Quran 67:5] 

At-Tabari said in Jaami’ Al-Bayaan:

They are the stars, and Allaah called them lamps because they emit light ... {and we have made them missiles for the devils}; Allaah says, (what means) 'We made the lamps with which We adorned the heaven missiles to stone the devils with.' Bishr reported from Yazeed, from Sa’eed, from Qataadah about the verse (which means): {And We have certainly beautified the nearest heaven with lamps and have made them missiles for the devils} that Allaah, High and Exalted is He, created these stars for three purposes, 'He created them as a beautification for the nearest heaven, as missiles to be thrown at devils, and as signs by which people can be guided.'

The missiles are part of the stars, but the star itself is fixed in its place as stated in the Tafseer (interpretation of the Quran) of Ibn Juzayy, “And we made them missiles for the devils, i.e. we made from them what is thrown at the devils, because the fixed stars are not thrown at the devils. It is like saying, 'I was generous to the people of such and such (tribe).', meaning that you were generous to some of them. A missile is the name given to what is thrown at something. Az-Zamakhshari said, “The meaning of the stars being missiles for the devils is that the meteors pounce from the stars to stone the devils who eavesdrop on the heaven. The thrown meteors detach from the fire of the stars, and (it does) not (mean) that the stars themselves are the missiles because they are fixed in their orbits.

Ibn ‘Uthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his book Sharh Kitaab at-Tawheed:

“Scholars said about the interpretation of the verse (which means): {And We have certainly beautified the nearest heaven with lamps and have made them missiles for the devils}: We have made the flame which is launched from them a missile. The pronoun 'them' refers to the part and not to the whole; the flames are the part detached from the stars. Astronomers said that they come down to earth and may cause a crack in it. But if the star itself reaches the earth, it will burn it.

At-Taahir ibn 'Aashoor said in at-Tahreer wat-Tanweer, “The burning flame is the part that detaches from some stars and falls in the air or on land or in the sea; and it is glowing when it detaches (from the star), then its light dims as it moves closer to the surface of the earth far from the light of the sun. Astronomers then call it a meteorite.

He also said about the verse (which means): {…except one who snatches [some words] by theft, but they are pursued by a burning flame, piercing [in brightness].} [Quran 37:10]; “The burning flame is the ember from the fire. What is meant here is what astronomers call meteorite.

Besides, Dr. Muhammad Sameeh, the expert geologist and former Director of the Egyptian Geological Survey Authority, said in the book (The Quran and Earth Sciences) under the title (Meteors and Meteorites):

Meteors are celestial stones which wander in irregular paths through the entire solar system. Allaah stones with them each devil that deserves stoning. While these objects are roaming, some of them fall into the earth's gravitational field, and they emit a piercing brightness when they come in contact with the earth's atmosphere at a very high speed. One may see this brightness as a glowing arrow (shooting star) on clear nights. Some meteors collide with the surface of the earth; thereby they become known as meteorites.

Allaah knows best.

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