Until he reached the rising of the sun and found it rising on a people to whom We had not given any shelter from it. (Surat al-Kahf, 90)
The Arabic word “sitran” in verse 90 of Surat al-Kahf means “cover, shelter, curtain or screen.” The term “lam najAAal lahum min dooniha sitran” describes an environment devoid of any shelter or protection against the Sun. In the light of present-day knowledge, this is suggestive of the ozone layer that protects living things against harmful solar rays.
The area where the ozone layer around the Earth is thinnest, where it protects least against solar radiation, is the poles.1 Scientific research has established a severe thinning of the ozone layer at the North Pole at the moment the Sun rises2 and this scientific discovery has been described as Sunrise Ozone Destruction (SOD)3.
As a matter of fact, during their research, American scientists determined a rapid decrease in ozone concentration at the moment of sunrise – when there was no sign of any before.4 This phenomenon is particularly encountered in the North Pole (Arctic) region, and there is a serious loss of ozone for a few hours immediately after sunrise.5
The Arabic word “matlia” in this verse, meaning the “rising place” of the Sun, may well be a reference to this scientific discovery about the ozone layer. (Allah knows the truth.) The fact that this information, obtained with 20th century high technology, also appears in such a compatible form in the Qur’an, is yet more proof that the Qur’an is the revelation of our Lord, the One and Only Owner of science and technology.
Sunrise at the North Pole.
2 L. A. Barrie, J. W. Bottenheim, R. C. Schnell, P. J. Crutzen, R. A. Rasmussen, “Ozone destruction and photochemical reactions at polar sunrise in the lower Arctic atmosphere”, Nature, 14 July 1988, Vol. 334, pp 138-141; http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v334/n6178/abs/334138a0.html
3 I. Nagao, K. Matsumoto, H. Tanaka “Sunrise Ozone Destruction Found in the Sub-Tropical Marine Boundary Layer”, Geophysical Research Letters, 1999, Vol. 26, no. 22, pp. 3377–3380; http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1999/1999GL010836.shtml
4 Jagir S. Randhawa, “A Balloon Measurement of Ozone Near Sunrise”;http://www.stormingmedia.us/31/3147/0314707.html
5 I. Nagao, K. Matsumoto, H. Tanaka “Sunrise Ozone Destruction Found in the Sub-Tropical Marine Boundary Layer”, Geophysical Research Letters, 1999, Vol. 26, No. 22, pp. 3377–3380; http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1999/1999GL010836.shtml