Suratu’r-Rahman (The All-Merciful)
رَبُّ ٱلْمَشْرِقَيْنِ وَرَبُّ ٱلْمَغْرِبَيْنِ
He is the Lord of the two easts and the Lord of the two wests.
This verse denotes the final two points or limits of east and west. For instance, the sun rises and sets at different points in winter and summer. On the longest day of the year in summer, the sun rises and sets at the farthest points while it rises and sets at the two nearest points on the shortest day of the year in winter. Thus, when the year is divided into two marked by the beginning of spring on March 21st and the beginning of fall on September 23rd in the northern hemisphere, these beginnings are also the beginnings of the earth’s movements around the sun with the result that the former is the beginning of day’s being longer than night, and the latter is the beginning of night’s being longer than day. Between these two points of beginning are many other points where the sun rises and sets at different times. Referring to this fact, the Qur’an says: “He is the Lord of the two easts and the Lord of the two wests.” Indeed, considering all these points of the sun’s rising and setting, the Qur’an declares: “So, I swear by the Lord of the points of sunrise and sunset…” (Al-Ma‘arij 70:40). When considering the two easts and the two wests, we can also refer to the fact that every point of the sun’s rise in a hemisphere is the point of its setting in the other, and every point of the sun’s setting is the point of its rise.
In addition, there are many other celestial bodies which rise and set, the positions and movements of which are connected or related to the earth. Also, the earth rotates around the sun, and together with its system, the sun moves in the Milky Way toward a final point appointed or destined for it. These movements also present to us two different easts and wests. The movements of the earth in the solar system and the sun in the Milky Way remind us of God’s Power and bounties. The Power is a guarantor of the existence of Paradise and eternal happiness, and bounties refer to God’s answering and meeting our physical and spiritual needs; therefore, we should always be thankful to God Almighty. From this perspective, the easts and wests or the sun’s repeated rise and setting always remind us of God’s Power and bounties and our duty of thankfulness. Aware of this, we fill with gratitude and are fully alert to the reality of, “Then, which of the favors of your Lord will you deny?” (Ar-Rahman 55:18).
God knows best and to Him is the return and homecoming.
M. Fethullah Gülen