When does the day start?

The Details of the Question

- As it is known, in religious literature, the new day begins with the sunset. What is the evidence for this knowledge within the framework of the Quran and Sunnah?
- Or, is it a tradition?
- How should we understand the verse “Nor can the Night outstrip the Day” mentioned in the chapter of Yasin in this context?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

- In the Islamic tradition, Friday night is the night after Thursday evening and before Friday morning. A full day begins with sunset of the previous evening and lasts until the next evening. The same thing is valid for holy nights. The night before the holy day is considered to be the holy night.

Likewise, the night of Arafah is the night preceding the day of Arafah. The night before eid is the eid night. The other blessed nights are determined according to this criterion.

- The statement “Nor can the Night outstrip the Day” mentioned in verse 40 of the chapter of Yasin expresses a metaphorical meaning because the view that “night and day do not replace each other” is not appropriate.

The true knowledge is as follows: “The moon represents the night and the sun represents the day.”

Accordingly, the meaning of those two verses can be understood as follows:

“The Sun cannot catch the Moon: The night (representing the Moon) cannot catch the day (representing the Sun). (See Razi, the interpretation of the verse in question)

A clearer expression of it is as follows:

“The Sun and the Moon each move in the orbits assigned for them. Neither the Sun enters the orbit of the Moon lest it should always be daytime only, nor the Moon enters the orbit of the Sun, lest it should always be night only...” (see Tabari, Maraghi, the interpretation of the verse in question)

As it can be understood from the explanation above, there is no expression in the verse that determines the boundaries of night or day.

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