And they ask you, [O Muhammad], about Dhul-Qarnayn. Say, "I will recite to you about him a report." Indeed We established him upon the earth, and We gave him to everything a way. So he followed a way until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it [as if] setting in a spring of dark mud, and he found near it a people. Allah said, "O Dhul-Qarnayn, either you punish [them] or else adopt among them [a way of] goodness." He said, "As for one who wrongs, we will punish him. Then he will be returned to his Lord, and He will punish him with a terrible punishment. But as for one who believes and does righteousness, he will have a reward of Paradise, and we will speak to him from our command with ease." Then he followed a way until, when he came to the rising of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had not made against it any shield. Thus. And We had encompassed [all] that he had in knowledge.That is the Sahih International translation of Surah 18:83-90.
This passage of the Koran makes it look as though the author thinks that the sun sets in a particular part of the world, a place where there is a spring of dark mud, and that there are people who live in that place. Likewise, there is a place where the sun rises, and the people there don't have a shield from the sun.
Is there some way that this passage can be reasonably understood not to mean what it appears to mean? I welcome explanations from Muslims in the comment box.