First...we do not grant him that a thing cannot perish except by decaying; decaying is only one way of perishing; but it is not improbable for something to perish suddenly while it is in its complete form.
Second, even if we grant him that there is no perishing without decay, whence does he know that it does not suffer any decay? His reference to observation posts is not acceptable, because their quantities [the quantities known by them] are known only approximately.
So if the sun, which is said to be a hundred and seventy times or more the size of the earth. We now know that it is definitely more. The mass of the sun is 333, 000 times that of the earth, and its radius is 109 times the earth’s radius., were to diminish by amounts the size of mountains, that would not be apparent to the senses. So it might be decaying, and might have decreased by amounts the size of mountains or more, but the senses cannot perceive this …” (Al-Ghazali, 126)
Al-Ghazali’s guess that the size of the sun might be diminishing was, as we can now see, a rare prescience of what science would prove. Scientists now tell us that the sun does indeed decay, but much more than he thought, and that it will ultimately perish.
The amount of energy released by the sun is such that the mass of the sun is decreasing at the rate of 4.3 billion kilograms per second. Yet this is such a small fraction of the sun’s mass that the change is hardly noticeable… Our sun is believed to be about 4.5 billion years old, and will probably continue its present activity for another 4.5 billion years. (Wheeler, 596)
Jaafar Sheikh Idris
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