Seven skies is mentioned a lot in the Quran. What is meant by those skies? Accordingly, can you explain this verse: “And We have made, above you seven tracts; and We are never unmindful of (Our) Creation.” What are those seven tracts?

Details of the Question
Seven skies is mentioned a lot in the Quran. What is meant by those skies? It is certain that it is not the atmosphere because there are only five skies that are known. Accordingly, can you explain this verse: “And We have made, above you seven tracts; and We are never unmindful of (Our) Creation.” What are those seven tracts?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The word “sama” which means “sky" is mentioned hundreds of times in the Quran in its singular and plural forms; In seven verses, the number of the skies is mentioned as “seven”; in two of those verses it s stated that the seven skies are in the form of “layers”. (al-Mulk, 67/3; Nuh, 71/15) Interpreters of the Quran generally think that the seven skies is meant by the sentence, “We have made, above you seven tracts " (al-Mu'minun 23/17). (see al- Baqara 2/29; al-A'raf 7/54; Fussilat 41/11-12; adh-Dhzariyat 51/7, 47; ar-Rahman 55/7)

It is possible to understand from the verse that all of the visible skies are the sky of the earth and that there are six other skies. 

Yes, the breadth of the Qur'anic address and the comprehensiveness of its meanings and indications and its conforming to and flattering all the degrees of understanding from the most uneducated common people to the highest of the elite shows that all its verses have an aspect which looks to each class. Thus, as a consequence of this mystery, as an example, seven classes of men understand as follows the meaning of seven various levels from the universal meaning "seven heavens":   

a. A short-sighted and narrow-minded class of men understands the atmosphere from the verse and .fashioned them into “seven heavens”.

b. While another class of men befogged by astronomy understands the famous stars known popularly as the”seven planets”, and their orbits.

c. Yet another group understands seven celestial globes resembling our globe, which are inhabited by living creatures.

d. A further group of men understands the solar system being separated into seven levels, and seven solar systems together with our system.

e. And yet another group understands the ether being separated into seven levels.

f. Another class of men with broader ideas counts all the visible skies gilded with stars as a heaven, and saying that it is this world's heaven, understands that there are six levels of heavens besides it.

g. And mankind's seventh and highest class do not consider the seven heavens to be restricted to the Manifest World, and understands that the Worlds of the Hereafter and the Unseen, and this World, and the World of Similitudes all have seven heavens, each of which is an encompassing container and roof.

Similarly, there are many further particular meanings in the universal of the verse, like the above-mentioned seven levels of meaning of the seven levels. Everyone receives his share according to his understanding and everyone finds his sustenance at that heavenly table.(see Nursi, Lem'alar, On İkinci Lem'a, İkinci Sual, İki Mesle-i muhimme).

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