A man asked Imam Ali (a.s.) in Kufa Mosque, Iraq, “What is the distance between me and the sun?”
It is worth mentioning here about the complexity of this question. This man was an Arab. And in the Arabic language the numbers or count is limited up to one thousand (1000).
The count in Arabic does not exceed 1000. The answer to the question this man asked dealt in millions (distance).
It was like a challenge to Imam Ali (a.s.) to answer him in a convincing manner without confusing him.
Imam Ali (a.s.) answered: “If an Arab horse starts walking from here and continues walking for 500 years, then he (horse) will reach the sun.”
The man got convinced and walked away. But it is for us now to ponder on what Imam Ali (a.s.) said.
This one sentence of Imam Ali (a.s.) shows and proves the genius that Imam Ali (a.s.) was.
Imam Ali (a.s.) said “If an Arab horse…” the average speed of an Arab horse is 22 mph (miles per hour).
If a horse runs the full day (24hours) it will cover approximately 520 miles. This gives us the distance the horse will cover in 24 hrs (one day).
To calculate the distance covered by the horse in one month we multiply it 520 by 29.5 (Taking an average of the number of months in Arab calendar. Assuming that 6 months are of 29 days and 6 months are of 30 days.). It gives us something around 15,500. The horse covers 15,500 miles in one month (30 days).
To get the distance that he will travel in one year we multiply it by 12. Since there are 12 months in a year.
It gives you 186,000. Then multiply 186,000 by 500 as the horse should run for 500 years. It gives you 93,400,000 miles.
Now if you ask an astronomer about the distance of sun from the earth he will tell you that the distance is never constant. The orbit of the earth is oval in shape. Sometimes it comes nearer to the sun and on occasions it distances itself from the sun. When the earth is closest to the sun its distance is 91,000,000 miles and the distance when it is farthest from the sun is 94,800,000 miles. When you take an average on these two distances it comes around 930,000 miles.
Imam Ali (a.s.) 1400 years back told us about the distance of the earth from the sun.
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