CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE
The modern science has every reason to maintain that the Universe was formed of a gaseous mass principally composed of Hydrogen and a certain amount of Helium that was slowly rotating. This primary nebula subsequently split up in to multiple fragments of huge masses. This phenomenon is, popularly known as the ‘Big Bang’ theory. According to it, the whole universe was initially one big mass (Primary Nebula). Then there was a ‘Big Bang’ (Secondary Separation) that resulted in the formation of Galaxies. These then divided to form stars, planets, the sun, the moon, etc.
The Qur’an contains the following verse, regarding the origin of the universe:
"Do not the unbelievers see that the heaven and the earth were joined together (as one Unit of creation), before we clove them asunder?" [Al-Qur’an 21:30]
The striking congruence between the Qur’anic verse and the ‘Big Bang’ is inescapable!
CREATION OF GALAXIES
Scientists say that before the galaxies in the Universe were formed, celestial matter was initially in the form of huge gaseous matter or clouds. To describe initial celestial matter, the word ’smoke’ is more appropriate than gas. The relevant verse in the Holy Qur’an thus goes:
"And God turned to Heaven when it was smoke." [Al-Qur’an 41:11]
The Milky Way - The galaxy which contains our Solar System
The m31 Galaxy
The above Qur’anic verse refers to this state of the universe by the word ‘dhukhan’ which means smoke or gaseous substratum, plus in more or less stable form suspension of fine particles that may belong to solid and even liquid states of matter at high or low temperature.
This picture was obtained only recently with the help of the Hubble space telescope. It shows one of the stars as it forms up out of the smoke. Look at the outer reddish parts of the smoke as it begins to heat and cluster. And look at the center of the cloud and how the smoky matter is of such high density that it becomes irradiant. The illuminating stars we see today were, just as was the whole universe, in that smoke form
Again, this fact is a corollary to the ‘Big Bang’ and was not known to the Arabs during the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). What then, could have been the source of this knowledge?
Sir Francis Brake was the first person who proved that the earth is spherical when he sailed around it in 1597. Consider the following Qur’anic verse regarding the alteration of day and night:
"Do you not see that Allah merges Night into Day And He merges Day into Night?" [Al-Qur’an 31:29]
Merging here means that the night slowly and gradually changes to day and vice versa. This phenomenon can only take place if the earth is spherical.
A photograph of the Earth from space, which clearly indicates the spherical shape
Another photograph of the Earth from space. Notice the dark side of the Earth (left) which is experiencing nightime. The moon is visible at the top-left position.
Yet another verse alludes to the spherical shape of the earth:
"He created the heavens and the earth in true (proportion): He makes the Night Overlap the Day, and the Day Overlap the Night." [Al-Qur’an 39:35]
The Arabic word used here is ‘kawwara’ meaning ‘to overlap’ or ‘to oil’- the way a turban is wound around the head. The overlapping or coiling of the day and night can only take place if the earth is spherical. The shape of the earth is not exactly round like a ball, but geo-spherical i.e. it is flattened at the poles. The following verse contains a description of the earth’s shape:
"And the earth, moreover He has made egg shaped" [Al-Qur’an 79:30]
The Arabic word for egg here is ‘dahaha’, which means an ostrich-egg. The shape of an ostrich-egg resembles the geo-spherical shape of the earth. Thus the Qur’an correctly describes the shape of the earth, though the prevalent notion when the Qur’an was revealed was that the earth is flat.
THE MOON - A Satellite
As we all know today that Moon is a satellite that does not give off light itself and is an inert body that reflects the light of the sun. Whereas Sun is a bright burning star which generates intense heat and light by its internal combustion. The temperature of the corona above the surface is estimated to be 2 million deg C.
The Holy Qur’an says:
"It is He who has made the Sun a radiant lamp and moon a light, and has determined for it phases so that you might know the number of years and the computations." [Al-Qur’an 10:5]
It further says:
"Blessed is He who made constellations in the skies, and placed therein a Lamp and a Moon giving light." [Al-Qur’an 25:61]
A snapshot of the Moon from space
The Sun is referred to as ‘siraaj’, which means a ‘torch’, or as ‘wahhaaj’, which means ‘a blazing lamp’, or as ‘diya’, which means ‘shinning glory’. All three descriptions are appropriate to the sun, whereas the moon is described in the Qur’an as ‘muneer’, which is a body that gives ‘nur’ i.e. light.
THE SOLAR SYSTEM
In 1609, the German scientist Yohannus Keppler published his findings in ‘Astronomia Nova’ that the planets not only move in elliptical orbits around the Sun, but they also rotate upon their axes at irregular speeds. With this knowledge it became possible for European scientists to explain correctly many of the mechanisms of the solar system including the sequence of night and day. It is also established that the sun has spots that complete a circular motion once every 25 days i.e. the sun takes approximately 25 days to rotate around its axis. In fact, the Sun travels through space at roughly 150 miles per second, and takes about 200 million years to complete one revolution around the center of our Milky Way Galaxy.
Consider the following Qur’anic verse:
"It is He Who created the Night and the Day, and the sun and the moon: all (the celestial bodies) swim along, each in its rounded course." [Al-Qur’an 21:33]
The Arabic word ‘yasbahun’, derived from the word ‘sabaha’ when applied for a celestial body such as the Sun implies that the object is not only flying through space but would mean that it is also rotating along it ‘s axis.
The existence of the individual orbits of the Sun and the Moon, and their journey through space with their own motion is a very well established fact So also the movement of Solar system towards a point called ‘Solar Apex’ situated in the constellation of Hercules (alpha Lyrae) whose exact location is firmly established.
The Holy Quran says:
"It is not permitted to the Sun to catch up the Moon, nor can the Night outstrip the Day: each (just) swims along in (its own) orbit (according to Law)". [Al-Qur’an 36:40]
Further it says:
"And the Sun runs to its course to a ‘settled place’ for it; that is the decree of (Him) the exalted in Might, the All - knowing." [Al-Qur’an 36:38]
The Arabic word used here is ‘mustaqarr’, which means a fixed place that is determined.
THE SUN - A DYING STAR
An ultraviolet image of the Sun
The light of the sun is due to a chemical process on its surface that has been taking place continuously for the past five billion years. It will come to an end at some point of time in the future when the sun will be totally extinguished leading to extinction of all life on earth. Regarding the impermanence of the sun’s existence & the ‘Doom’s Day’ the Qur’an Says:
"When the Sun is folded up. When the stars fall losing their luster" [Al-Qur’an 81:1-2]
"And the moon is buried in darkness. And the Sun and Moon are joined together" [Al-Qur’an 75:8-9]
THE INTERSTELLAR MATTER
Astrophysicists have discovered the presence of bridges of matter in the interstellar space. These bridges of matter are called plasma, and consist of completely ionized gas containing equal number of free electrons and positive ions. Plasma is sometimes called the fourth state of matter.
The Qur’an mentions the presence of this interstellar material in the following verse:
"He who created the heavens and the earth an all that is in between". [Al-Qur’an 25:29]
It would be ridiculous, for anybody to even suggest that the presence of interstellar galactic material was known 1400 years ago.
THE EXPANDING UNIVERSE
In 1925, an American astronomer by the name of Edwin Hubble provided observational evidence that all galaxies are receding from one another, which implies that the universe is expanding.
This is what Al-Qur’an says regarding the nature of the universe:
"The Heaven, We have built it with power. Verily We are expanding it". [Al-Qur’an 51:47]
The word ‘Heaven’ in the Holy Qur’an is frequently used to refer to ‘The Extra-Terrestrial World’ whereas the Arabic word ‘musiun’ can be correctly translated as ‘expanding it, or ‘making it wider’ and it refers to the expanding vastness of the universe.
Stephen Hawking, in his book, ‘A Brief History of Time’, says, “The discovery that the universe is expanding was one of the great intellectual revolutions of the 20th century.” The Qur’an mentioned the expansion of the universe, before man even learnt to build a telescope!