The root for the word ” خ ن س ” means to recede, withdraw, retreat. In 81:15 the word ” بِالْخُنَّسِ ” God is specifically swearing “by the heavenly bodies that retreat.”
The significance of understanding this word is in understanding that this word can’t simply just mean the planets and heavenly bodies that one sees in the sky as the Earth spins on its axis orbiting the sun. This word has a more profound meaning. This can be understood by looking at the word retreat. The word retreat has a specific meaning that they are moving away from the observer.
We take for granted that earth is the only planet in the entire solar system that is positioned to witness a perfect solar eclipse. This can be appreciated by new footage showing a solar eclipse from the perspective of a viewer on Mars.
Additionally, it also happens that this is the only time in Earth’s history where the proportions between the sun, moon and Earth are perfectly matched to form such an ideal solar eclipse where the moon perfectly blocks out the sun leaving only its chromosphere. Millions of years ago the earth was not only closer to the moon, but the rotation of the earth was also much faster which would have destroyed the ability to witness the perfect proportions necessary to witness such an event.
This compounded with the fact that this is the only time in Earth’s 3.8 billion years that there is the intelligent life necessary to appreciate and benefit from such an event is truly a blessing from God for those who reflect.
Because of a perfect solar eclipse, we were able to confirm the composition of the sun and stars by analyzing the chromosphere of the sun through spectroscopy. We were also able determine Einstein’s theory of general relativity by measuring the position of stars behind the sun during a solar eclipse.
Using this crucial information, it allowed us to determine that galaxies are all retreating away from Earth and from one another (e.g. that the universe is expanding).
We constructed the sky with our hands, and we will continue to expand it.Quran 51:47
This finding ultimately allowed us to conclude that the universe started from one solid mass that exploded into existence under the Big Bang.
Do the unbelievers not realize that the heaven and the earth used to be one solid mass that we exploded into existence? And from water we made all living things. Would they believe?Quran 21:30
All this because we are living in the exact moment in the cosmic history on the perfect planet that can witness a perfect solar eclipse.
This discovery of concluding that the galaxies are all retreating from us shows that this word ” بِالْخُنَّسِ ” is best translated as galaxies and not in reference to the planets or stars that one simply sees as the Earth spins on its axis while orbiting the sun. God be glorified.