It is our common experience that everything is pulled by earth. The force used by earth to pull things towards itself is called its force of gravity. It is a scientific notion put forth by Newton that force of gravity exercised by a planet is directly proportional to mass of the planet; greater the mass a planet contains, greater the gravitational force it possesses. In other words, force of gravity of earth lies within earth due to its mass. Without generating a scientific discourse on premises set by this theory, we would look into the fact whether or not Quran endorses the view that force of gravity lies within the earth due to its mass.
Before taking on the actual point, it is necessary to understand the meanings of words ‘khalaqa’ and ‘jaala’ in Quran. In Quran, both words ‘khalaqa’ and ‘jaala’ are used with meaning ‘to make’. But there is a very important difference between these two words. The word ‘khalaqa’ is always used to describe making originally something physical or non-physical; but the word ‘jaala’ is always used to mention a state (kafiat) given to a thing already made. For instance, for making of mankind “khalaqa” is used in Quran (al-baqra-21); for “khilafah” given to mankind “jaala” is used (al-baqra-30). ‘Khalaqa’ has been used for original creation of mankind; whereas ‘jaala’ has been used to describe ‘khilafah’ (i.e. a state- a ‘kafiat’) given to already created mankind.
Quran states about the force of gravity in many verses. For instance Quran says:
“He placed/’jaala’ therein (i.e. in the earth's atmosphere) burdens/ ‘rawasiya’ from above it…..(fussilat-10).
In this verse word ‘jaala’ has been used, and as mentioned above, this word ‘jaala’ is used for describing a state(kafiat) given to already created thing; it is not used for describing original creation of physical things. Therefore in this verse, word ‘rawasiya’ may mean burdens or mountains (both burdens and mountains are states given to earth). But because these ‘rawasiya’ have been placed on earth from above the earth and because mountains are not placed on earth from above the earth, rather they emerged from within the earth, therefore word ‘rawasiya’ may not mean mountains. The correct meaning of word ‘rawasiya’ in this verse is burdens. Such burdens on earth have been described in many other verses too.
“He has thrown down burdens/’rawasiya’ on earth lest you should be hurled away with it (or/and lest it should shake with you). Therein He has also made rivers and roads so that you will find your way” (al-nahl-15).
In the above verse too, word ‘rawasiya’ may not mean mountains because these ‘rawasiya’ have been thrown down on earth, and obviously mountains are not thrown down on earth. Here again word ‘rawasiya’ means burdens which have been thrown down on earth from above the earth. It is also mentioned in this verse that these burdens help men in maintaining their balance on earth. This balancing role of these burdens has been described in another verse which states:
“And the earth - We have spread it and threw down burdens/ ‘rawasiya’ therein and caused to grow therein everything well-balanced” (al-hijr-19).
This verse states that the burdens thrown down on earth from above the earth cause maintenance of balance in growth of every vegetation on earth.
It may be noted that the author is not emphasizing that word ‘rawasiya’ may only mean burdens; this word may also mean both burdens and mountains in some other verses.
From above quoted all verses, it is evident that Allah has imposed burdens on earth from above the earth. These burdens on earth help us in maintaining our balance on the earth so that we may not be hurled away on earth (as we are hurled away on the Moon surface); these burdens cause every vegetation grow in balance. In other words, these burdens have the characteristics of force of gravity. These burdens are actually force of gravity which has been thrown down on the earth from above the earth. In other words, force of gravity does not lie within the earth due to mass rather it is something thrown down on earth from above.
Einstein’s theory to explain gravity as curved space phenomenon rejects Newton’s Law of Gravitation mentioned above. Einstein’s theory explains that force of gravity does not lie within mass of a planet, rather it is the result of space curvature caused by a big planet. All planets orbiting around the big planet actually orbit in the space orbits made due to space curvature. Similarly all things are attracted by the earth due to space curvature which leads everything to fall into earth. As this space curvature exists above the earth, the reason of falling of things into earth lies above the earth; it does not lie in the mass contained in the earth.