I was studying the ancient Jewish legends for signs of the hidden meanings of Solomon's temple, and read things which I remembered about Islam.
Anyway, here is what the Tabernacle (the tent in which was the ark of the covenant) represented:
Day 1-Hence the Tabernacle in its separate parts also corresponded to the heaven and the earth, that had been created on the first day.
Day 2-As the firmament had been created on the second day to divide the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above, so there was a curtain in the Tabernacle to divide between the holy and the most holy.
Day 3-As God created the great sea on the third say, so did He appoint the laver in the sanctuary to symbolize it, and as He had on that day destined the plant kingdom as nourishment for man, so did He now require a table with bread in the Tabernacle.
Day 4-The candlestick in the Tabernacle corresponded to the two luminous bodies, the sun and the moon, created on the fourth day; and the seven branches of the candlestick corresponded to the seven planets, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, the Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars.
Day 5-Corresponding to the birds created on the fifth day, the Tabernacle contained the Cherubim, that had wings like birds.
Day 6-On the sixth, the last day of creation, man had been created in the image of God to glorify his Creator, and likewise was the high priest anointed to minister in the Tabernacle before the Lord and Creator.
(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetsacred-texts(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/jud/loj/loj304.htm"]The Legends of the Jews, By Louis Ginzberg, vol 3, ch 2:THE INSTALLATION OF ELDERS[/url], section "THE ERECTION OF THE TABERNACLE COMMANDED" (it's at the very end; I inserted 'Day #-' for ease of reading here)
From this the Quranic account quoted at the start fits in well. There is additional material:41:11. Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: "Come ye together, willingly or unwillingly." They said: "We do come (together), in willing obedience."
In front of the curtain was the altar of incense, thereby producing smoke in-front of the curtain, "as smoke". (Exdodus 40:26, "He put the gold altar in the tabernacle of meeting in front of the veil (curtain); and he burned sweet incense on it")
The seven heavens and seven earths probably correspond respectively to the steps going from the main temple through the curtain into the Holy of Holies, and the steps going into the temple from the outside. See the picture in wikipedia, (you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_en.wikipedia(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/wiki/Solomon%27s_temple#Architectural_description"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_en.wikipedia(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/wiki/Solomon%27s_t...ral_description[/url]From this we can deduce that whenever anything to do with the sky/'outer space' or the earth is mentioned we have to think carefully if it refers to the world we see around us or to the tabernacle and/or temple!!!
In other words, if we find bizarre things described then it probably refers to the temple symbolism, for example:
"and after that He spread out the earth: He made it flat, for it had been created before the heaven, but without having been spread out"; (Tafsīr al-Jalālayn on [79:30]): well of course the earth is flat - what else do you expect a floor to be like? (i.e. floor of tabernacle/temple!)
"Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. "( Bible, Isaiah 40:22): er, the tabernacle was a tent, with the top fabric being deep blue, like the sky!
It all becomes very simple:
Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 421
"Abzar do you know after setting where does Sun go?" I replied, I do not know, only Allahâ€™s apostle can say better. Then Prophet replied, "After setting, the sun remains prostrated under Allahâ€™s Aroâ€™sh and waits for Allahâ€™s command for rising again in the East. Day will come when sun will not get permission to rise again and Qeyamot will fall upon Earth."
(For non-Muslims, Aroâ€™sh is the Throne, and I think Qeyamot is the Last Judgment.)
The sun refers to the seven branched lamp-stand, but also probably any lamp. The other lamps were put out at night, which is probably all that is referred to by "After setting, the sun remains prostrated under Allahâ€™s Aroâ€™sh" and the rising in the east to the lamps being lit again; the entrance to the temple was in the east.
So once it is realised how deep this symbolism is, and how seamlessly integrated into the Bible/legends/Quran/hadith/commentaries a lot of things start to make sense!