Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Allah it is who raised up the heavens) He created the heavens and raised them up above the earth (without visible supports) He says: you see them without support; it is also said that this means: they have supports which you do not see, (then mounted the Throne) Allah was on the Throne before He raised up the heavens; it is also said that this means: He established Himself on the Throne; and it is also said that this means: as far as His knowledge and power are concerned, that which is near and that which is far are all equal to Him, (and compelled the sun and the moon to be of service) He made the light emanating from the sun and the moon of service to the Children of Adam, (each runneth unto an appointed term) to a fixed time; (He ordereth the course) He looks into the affairs of the servants and He sends the angels with revelation, Scripture and misfortune; (He detaileth the revelations) He explains the Qur'an by expositing the commands and prohibitions, (that haply ye may be certain of the meeting with your Lord) that you may believe in resurrection after death.
God is He who lifted up the heavens without pillars that you see.
Heaven and earth, land and see, air and space, are the World of Creation, the playing field of the gaze of the creatures, whose end is apparent and which can disappear. But the World of the Command can never have an end, for it is necessarily continuous. As long as a man does not pass beyond the World of Creation, he will not be given access to the World of the Command. The chevaliers whose gaze travels in the World of the Command are the Pegs of the earth. Just as in respect of form the world's mountains keep the earth in place, so also in respect of meaning the chevaliers keep the world standing. " Through them rain falls and through them provision is given. " This is why the Lord of the Worlds says,
God is He Who raised up the heavens without visible supports (‘amad is the plural of ‘imād, which is [the same as] an ustuwāna, ‘a column’; and this [statement] is true, since there are no actual supports) then presided upon the Throne, a presiding befitting Him, and disposed, made subservient, the sun and the moon, each one, of them, moving, along its course, until [the conclusion of] an appointed time, that is, [until] the Day of Resurrection. He directs the command, He conducts the affairs of His Kingdom. He details, He expounds, the signs, the indications of His power, so that you, O people of Mecca, might be certain of the encounter with your Lord, through resurrection.
God is He Who raised up the heavens without visible supports, that is, with supports that cannot be seen, these [supports] being the heavenly souls of their [the heavens'] spiritual angelic realm which keeps them up and moves them, or the heavens of the spirits that have no substratum by which to support them [physically] so that they remain upright by these [spirits], indeed, these [heavens] are disengaged and subsist by themselves; then presided, with mastery, upon the Throne, by means of [His] effective agency and [His] sustaining, or [He presided] upon the throne of the heart by means of self-disclosure; and disposed, the sun of the spirit to the comprehension of the universal gnoses and the seeking of irradiation by the sublime lights, and [He disposed] the moon of the heart to the perception of what is in all the worlds in their entirety and the seeking of replenishment from above and from below then to the reception of the self-disclosures of the attributes by means of unveilings; each one moving, until [the conclusion of] an appointed time, that is, [until] a designated purpose, which is that thing's perfection in accordance with the first primordial nature. He directs the command, at the beginning by setting up preparednesses and ordering the principles; He details the signs, at the end by ordering the perfections and stations that result from wayfaring in accordance with the self-disclosures of the acts and the attributes, so that you might be certain, with the eye of certainty, of the encounter with your Lord, at the witnessings of the signs of the self-disclosures.
Allah mentions His perfect ability and infinite authority, since it is He Who has raised the heavens without pillars by His permission and order. He, by His leave, order and power, has elevated the heavens high above the earth, distant and far away from reach. The heaven nearest to the present world encompasses the earth from all directions, and is also high above it from every direction. The distance between the first heaven and the earth is five hundred years from every direction, and its thickness is also five hundred years. The second heaven surrounds the first heaven from every direction, encompassing everything that the latter carries, with a thickness also of five hundred years and a distance between them of five hundred years. The same is also true about the third, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth and the seventh heavens. Allah said,
(It is Allah who has created seven heavens and of the earth the like thereof.) 65:12 Allah said next,
بِغَيْرِ عَمَدٍ تَرَوْنَهَا
(..without any pillars that you can see.) meaning, `there are pillars, but you cannot see them,' according to Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, and several other scholars. Iyas bin Mu`awiyah said, "The heaven is like a dome over the earth,'' meaning, without pillars. Similar was reported from Qatadah, and this meaning is better for this part of the Ayah, especially since Allah said in another Ayah,
(He withholds the heaven from falling on the earth except by His permission. )22:65 Therefore, Allah's statement,
(..that you can see), affirms that there are no pillars. Rather, the heaven is elevated (above the earth) without pillars, as you see. This meaning best affirms Allah's ability and power.
Al-Istawa', Rising above the Throne
Allah said next,
ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى عَلَى الْعَرْشِ
(Then, He rose above (Istawa) the Throne.) We explained the meaning of the Istawa' in Surat Al-A`raf (7:54), and stated that it should be accepted as it is without altering, equating, annulling its meaning, or attempts to explain its true nature. Allah is glorified and praised from all that they attribute to Him.
Allah subjected the Sun and the Moon to rotate continuously
(He has subjected the sun and the moon, each running (its course) for a term appointed.) It was said that the sun and the moon continue their course until they cease doing so upon the commencement of the Final Hour, as Allah stated,
وَالشَّمْسُ تَجْرِى لِمُسْتَقَرٍّ لَّهَـا
(And the sun runs on its fixed course for a term (appointed).)36:38 It was also said that the meaning is: until they settle under the Throne of Allah after passing the other side of the earth. So when they, and the rest of the planetary bodies reach there, they are at the furthest distance from the Throne. Because according to the correct view, which the texts prove, it is shaped like a domb, under which is all of the creation. It is not circular like the celestial bodies, because it has pillars by which it is carried. This fact is clear to those who correctly understand the Ayat and authentic Hadiths. All the (praise is due to) Allah and all the favors are from Him. Allah mentioned the sun and the moon here because they are among the brightest seven heavenly objects. Therefore, if Allah subjected these to His power, then it is clear that He has also subjected all other heavenly objects. Allah said in other Ayat,
(He explains the Ayat in detail, that you may believe with certainty in the Meeting with your Lord.) means, He explains the signs and clear evidences that testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Him. These evidences prove that He will resurrect creation if He wills, just as He started it.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
In other words, "Allah keeps the myriads of heavenly bodies in space without any visible and perceptible support." Though there is nothing apparent and visible that is supporting these bodies, yet there is an invariable and imperceptible Power which is not only holding and keeping each and everyone of these huge bodies including the earth we inhabit in their proper places and orbits but also does not let any collision take place between them.
For the fuller details of "He sat Himself on the Throne of His Kingdom," please refer to E.N. 41 of Al-Aaraf. Here the purpose will be served if it is understood that this thing has been mentioned in the Qur'an at many places in order to bring out clearly the fact that Allah has not only created the earth, but also rules over His Kingdom, and that His universe is a factory that is not working automatically as some ignorant people seem to think nor is it being ruled by many gods as other ignorant people seem to believe. But it is a regular system that is being run and ruled over by its Creator.
It should be noted here that the addressees themselves accepted the truth of all the claims that have been made in this verse. Therefore no proofs were required of the facts that it is Allah Who raised up the heavens without any visible support and subjected the sun and the moon to a fixed order. These things have been mentioned here only as arguments to prove that Allah is the sole Sovereign and ruler of the whole universe.
Now let us consider this question: How can such an argument as this convince those who do not believe at all in the existence of God nor acknowledge that He is the Creator of the universe and the Director of all its affairs ? The answer is that the arguments in support of the Doctrine of Tauhid advanced in the Qur'an to convince the mushriks equally apply against the atheists to prove the existence of God. It is like this: The whole of the universe-the earth, the moon, the sun and the countless heavenly bodies-constitute a perfect system which is working, under the same all-powerful Law. This is a proof that such a system must have been designed by some All-Powerful Sovereign, Who possesses wisdom and unerring knowledge. This proves conclusively the existence of that Allah Who has no other equal nor associate nor partner. For there can be no system without an administrator, no law without a ruler, no wisdom without a sage, and no knowledge without the possessor of that knowledge. Above all, no one can ever conceive that there can be any creation without a Creator except the one who is obdurate or has no sense left in him at all.
This system is not only a standing proof of the fact that an All-Powerful Sovereign is ruling over it, but is also an evidence of the great wisdom underlying it; it also bears witness that there is nothing ever-lasting in it. Everything in it remains for a fixed term after which it comes to an end. This is equally true for each and every component part of it as well as for the whole system. It is quite evident from its physical structure that there is nothing ever-lasting and immortal. There must be some fixed term for the system as a whole, after the expiry of which it shall come to an end. Then there shall be another world: therefore it is most likely that there shall be Resurrection as predicted in the Qur'an: nay, its inevitability is beyond any doubt.
Allah makes plain those Signs which help prove the truth of what the Holy Prophet was informing them. These Signs are spread all over the universe and everyone who observes these with open eyes can perceive that the realities towards which the Qur'an invites the people are testified by these Signs.
The preceding Signs have been cited to prove two things. First, the universe has only one Creator and Administrator. Second, there shall be life in the Hereafter in which everyone shall be judged in the Divine Court and awarded rewards and punishments on merit. As the first thing was quite obvious, it has not been mentioned in the conclusion drawn from the Signs. But the second thing, life in the Hereafter, has been mentioned because that was rather hidden from perception. Therefore it has specifically been stated that these Signs have been made plain in order "to convince you that you shall meet your Lord in the Hereafter and render an account of all your actions in this world."
Now let us consider how these Signs help prove life in the Hereafter. These make it evident in two ways:
(1) When we consider how big heavenly bodies as the sun and the moon are completely subject to the will of Allah, our hearts feel convinced that Allah Who has created these things and regulated their movements so orderly around their orbits, has undoubtedly the power to bring to life the whole human race after its death.
(2) The terrestrial system also proves that its Creator is All-Wise. Therefore it can never be imagined that the All-Wise Creator could have created man and endowed him with wisdom and intelligence and invested him with power and authority, and then left him free to do what he liked with these, without being responsible and accountable for their use or abuse. For His Wisdom demands that He should take full account of all the acts and deeds of man in this world. It requires that. He should take to task those who committed aggressions and compensate their victims and He should give rewards to those who practiced virtue and punishments to those who did wicked deeds. In short, His Wisdom requires that He should call to account every human being and demand: "How did you carry out the trust that was placed in your hands in the shape of your wonderful body with its wonderful faculties and the numerous resources of the earth?" It may be that a foolish and unjust ruler of this world might entrust the affairs of his kingdom in the hands of his agents and then forget to call them to account, but such a thing can never be expected from the All-Wise and All-Knowing Allah.
It is this way of observing and considering the heavenly bodies that can convince us that life in the Hereafter is both possible and inevitable.