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Monday, October 29, 2007

Compatibility Between The Quran & Modern Science - In Astronomy

This post is not intended to explain or teach science in the Quran because The Quran is not a book of science but it is a book of SIGNS. It is the sign of the Ultimate Creator, God who revealed The Quran to all mankind and it shows the truth of Islam. However, there are so many scientific facts in the Quran that shows that The Quran is not the work of man, but its God's word.


  • Creation Of The Universe: 'The Big Bang' - The creation of the universe is explained by astrophysicists in a widely accepted phenomenon,popularly known as the 'Big Bang', the whole universe was initially one bis mass(primary Nebula). Then there was a Big bang (secondary Separation) which resulted in the formation of Galaxies. The origin of the universe was unique and the probability of it occuring by 'chance' is zero. The Quran contains the following verse, regarding the origin of the universe:








"Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder?" (Al-Quran 21:30)


  • Initial gaseous mass before the galaxies - Scientists say that before the galaxies in the universe were formed, celestial matter was initially in the form of gaseous matter. Huge gaseous matter or clouds were present before the formation of the galaxies. To describe initial celestial matter, the word 'smoke' is more appropriate than the gas. The Quran states:



    "Moreover, He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke (dukhan): He said to it and to the earth: 'Come ye together Willingly or unwillingly.' They said: 'We do come (together) in willing obedience." ( Al-Quran 41:11)


  • The spherical shape of the Earth - In early times, people believed that the earth is flat. For centuries, men were afraid o venture out too far, lest they should fall off the edge. Sir Francis Drake was the first person who proved that the earth is spherical in 1597. Consider the following Quranic verse regarding the alternation of the day and night: "Seest thou not that Allah merges Night into Day and He merges Day into Night?" (Al-Quran 31:29). Merging here means that the night slowly and gradually changes to day and vise versa. This phenomenon can only take place if the earth is spherical. The following verse also alludes to this: " He created the Heavens and the Earth in He makes the Night overlap the Day and the Day Overlap the Night." (Al-Quran The Arabic word used here is Kawwara meaning 'to overlap' to 'to coil'-the way a turban is wound around the head. 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, Hath He made Ostrich-egg shaped." ( Al-Quran 79:30). The Arabic word for egg here is 'Dahaha' which means an Ostrich-egg. The shape of an ostrich egg resembles exactly the geo-spherical shape of the Earth. Just see the photo above, between chicken egg (on the right hand) and ostrich egg (on the left hand), which one resembles the shape of the Earth? See how perfect is the word of God.



    • The Light Of The Moon Is reflected Light - It was believed earlier civilisations that the Moon emanates its own light. Science now tells us that the light of the Moon is reflected light from the Sun. However, this fact was mentioned in the Quran 1400 years ago in the following verses: "Blessed is He Who made Constellations in the skies, And the placed therein a Lamp and a Moon giving light." (Al-Quran 25:61). The Arabic word for the sun in the Quran is siraaj which means a 'torch'. The word for the Moon is qamar and it is described in the Quran as muneer which means a body that gives nur i.e light. Consider the following verses: "It is He who made the sun to be a shining glory and the moon to be a light (of beauty)." (Al-Quran 10:5). and "See ye not How Allah has created the seven Heavens one above another. And the Moon, a light in their midst, and made the sun as a (glorious) Lamp?" (Al-Quran 71:15-16)



    • The Sun Rotates - For a long time European philosophers and scientists believed that the Earth stood still in the centre of the Universe and every other body moved around it. In the west, this geocentric concept of the universe was prevalent right from the time of Ptolemy (1512), Nicholas Copernicus put forward his Heliocentric Theory of planetary motion, which asserted that the sun is motionless at the centre of the solar system with the planets revolving around it. In 1609, the German scientist Yohannus Keppler says that not only do the planets move in elliptical orbits around the Sun, they also rotate upon their axes at irregular speeds. After this discoveries, it was thought that the Sun was stationary and did not rotate about its axis like the earth. i remember having studied this fallacy from Geography books during my school days some 17 years ago. Consider the following Quranic 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-Quran 21;33). The Arabic word used in the above verse is yashabun which derived from the word sabaha. It carries with the idea of motion that comes from any moving body. If you use the for a man on the ground, it would mean he is walking or running. If you use the word for a man in water it would not mean that he is floating but would mean that he is swimming. Similarly, if you use the word yasbah for a celestial body such as the Sun it would not mean that it is only flying through space but would mean that is is also rotating as it goes through space. In fact, the Sun travels through space at roughly 150miles per second, and takes about 200 million years to complete one revolution around the center of our Milky Way galaxy. "It is not permitted to the sun to catch up the Moon, nor can the Night outstrip the Day, each (just) swim along in (its own) orbit (according to Law)." (Al-Quran 36:40). The 'fixed place' towards which the Sun travels, carrying with it the solar system, has been located exactly by modern astronomy. It has even been given a name, the Solar Apex. The solar system is indeed moving in space towards a point situated in the constellation of Hercules (aloha Lyrea) whose exact location is firmly established.


      • The Presence Of Interstellar Matter - Space outside organised astronomical systems was earlier assumed to be a vacuum. Astrophysicists later discovered the presence of bridges of matter in this interstellar space which is 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 (besides solid, liquid and gas). The Quran mentions the presence of this interstellar material in the following verse: "He who created Heavens and the Earth and all that is between." (Al-Quran 25:59). Another verse says "We did not create heaven and earth and everything in between them as a game." (Qur'an, 21:16)


    • 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. The expansion of the universe is now an established scientific facts. This what the Quran says regarding the nature of the universe: "With the power and skill did We construct the firmment, for it is We Who are steadily expanding it" (Al-Quran 51:47) . 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 Quran mentioned the expansion of the universe, before man even learnt to build a telescope.


    • The Perfect Equilibrium In The Universe - The billions of stars and galaxies in the universe move in perfect equilibrium in the paths set out for them. Stars, planets and satellites rotate not only around their own axes but also together with the systems of which they are an integral part. Sometimes, galaxies containing 200-300 billion stars move across each others' paths. Yet amazingly, no collisions take place that might damage the great order in the universe. This miracle is something over which all of us should reflect.
      In the universe, the concept of speed assumes giant dimensions when compared to earthly measurements. Stars, planets, galaxies and conglomerations of galaxies-whose numerical properties can only be conceived by mathematicians-weigh billions or trillions of tons, and move through space at extraordinary speeds.
      For example, the Earth rotates at 1,670 kmph. If we consider that the fastest-moving bullet today possesses an average speed of 1,800 kmph, we can see how fast the Earth is moving, despite its enormous size and mass. There is no doubt that there is a very high risk of collisions in such a complicated and fast-moving system. Yet nothing of the sort actually happens and we continue with our lives in complete safety. That is because everything in the universe functions according to the flawless equilibrium set out by Allah. It is for this reason that, as stated in the following verse, there is no "discrepancy" in the system:

"He Who created the seven heavens in layers. You will not find any discrepancy in the creation of the All-Merciful. Look again-do you see any gaps? Then look again and again. Your sight will return to you dazzled and exhausted!" (Qur'an, 67:3-4)



    • The End Of the Universe and The Big Crunch - As we have stated above, the creation of the universe began with a huge explosion. From this point, the universe has been expanding ever since. Scientists say that when the mass of the universe has reached a sufficient level, this expansion will come to an end because of gravity, causing the universe to collapse in on itself.
      It is also believed that the contracting universe will end in a fierce heat and contraction known as the "Big Crunch." This would lead to the end of all forms of life as we know them. Renata Kallosh and Andrei Linde, professors of physics from Stanford University, made the following statements on the subject:
      The universe may be doomed to collapse and disappear. Everything we see now, and at a much larger distance that we cannot see, will collapse into a point smaller than a proton.
    • "That Day We will fold up heaven like folding up the pages of a book. As We originated the first creation so We will regenerate it. It is a promise binding on Us. That is what We will do." (Qur'an, 21:104)

      In another verse, this state of the heavens is described thus:
      "They do not measure Allah with His true measure. The whole earth will be a mere handful for Him on the Day of Rising the heavens folded up in His right hand. Glory be to Him! He is exalted above the partners they ascribe!" (Qur'an, 39:67)

  • ORBITS AND THE ROTATING UNIVERSE - In addition, the paths in the universe are not restricted to a few celestial bodies. The Solar System and even other galaxies also exhibit considerable motion around other centres. Every year, Earth, and the Solar System with it, move some 500 million km from where they were the previous year. It has been calculated that even the slightest deviation from celestial bodies' paths could have drastic consequences which might spell the end of the entire system. For example, the consequences of the earth's deviating from its course by a mere 3 mm have been described in one source as follows:
    While rotating around the sun, the earth follows such an orbit that, every 18 miles, it only deviates 2.8 millimetres from a direct course. The orbit followed by the earth never changes, because even a deviation of 3 millimetres would cause catastrophic disasters: If the deviation were 2.5 mm instead of 2.8 mm, then the orbit would be very large, and all of us would freeze. If the deviation were 3.1 mm, we would be scorched to death. 17
    Another characteristic of heavenly bodies is that they also rotate around their own axes. The verse which reads "[I swear] by Heaven with its cyclical systems," (Qur'an, 86:11) indicates this truth. Naturally, at the time when the Qur'an was revealed, people had no telescopes with which to study bodies millions of kilometres away in space, advanced observation technology or our modern knowledge of physics and astronomy. It was therefore impossible to establish that space had "its oscillating orbits," (Qur'an, 51:7) as described in the verse. The Qur'an however, revealed at that time, provided clear information concerning that fact. This is proof that this book is indeed Allah's Word.
    Like many other comets in the universe, Halley's comet, seen above, also moves in a planned orbit. It has a specific orbit and it moves in this orbit in a perfect harmony with other celestial bodies.
    All celestial bodies—including planets, satellites of these planets, stars and even galaxies—have their own orbits that have been determined with very delicate computations. The One Who established this perfect order and maintains it is Allah, Who created the entire universe.
  • THE MOON'S ORBIT - "And We have decreed set phases for the moon, until it ends up looking like an old date branch. It is not for the sun to overtake the moon nor for the night to outstrip the day; each one is swimming in a sphere." (Qur'an, 36:39-4 0)


The Moon does not follow a regular orbit like the satellites of other planets. As it orbits the Earth, it sometimes moves behind it and sometimes in front. As it also moves with the Earth around the Sun, it actually follows a constant pattern resembling the letter "S" in space. This route, traced by the Moon in space, is described in the Qur'an as resembling an old date branch and does indeed resemble the twisted form of the date tree branch. Indeed, the word "urjoon" employed in the Qur'an refers to a thin and twisted date branch and is used to describe that part left after the fruit has been picked. The way that this branch is described as "old" is also most appropriate since old date branches are thinner and more twisted.

Since the Moon revolves around the Sun together with the Earth, it follows a path through space which resembles the letter “S.” The appearance of this orbit resembles the twisted shape of a dry date branch, as is revealed in the Qur’an.
There is no doubt that it was impossible for anyone to have any knowledge about the orbit of the Moon 1,400 years ago. The way that this pattern, identified by modern technology and accumulated knowledge, was revealed in the Holy Book is yet another scientific miracle of the Qur'an.
  • THE FORCE OF GRAVITY AND ORBITAL MOVEMENTS -

    "No! I swear by the planets-that recede, that ride their course [and] hide themselves." (Qur'an, 81: 15-16)

    The word "khunnas" in Surat at-Takwir 15 bears such meanings as shrinking and cowering, retracting and turning back. The Arabic expression translated as "hide themselves" in the 16th verse is "kunnas." The word "kunnas" is the plural form of "kanis" and refers to a specific path: entering a nest, the home of a body in motion or things entering their homes and hiding there. Again in verse 16, the word "aljawari," the plural form of the word "jariya" which means one that moves and flows, is translated as "that ride their course." Bearing in mind the meaning of these words, it is very possible that these verses refer to the gravitational forces of the planets and their movements around their orbits.

    These words in the above verses fully describe orbital movements stemming from the force of gravity. Of these, the word "khunnas" refers to the planets' attraction towards their own centres and also their attraction towards the Sun, which is the centre of our Solar System. (Allah knows best.) The force of gravity already existed in the universe-although it was only possible to reveal this attractive force with mathematical formulae with Sir Isaac Newton, who lived in the 17th and 18th centuries. The word "aljawari" in the following verse emphasises the orbital movements that arise as a result of the centrifugal force that opposes this attractive one. There is no doubt that the use of the word "aljawari" together with "khunnas" (attraction towards the centre, shrinkage) and "kunnas" (path, entering the nest, the home of a body in motion) indicates an important scientific truth that nobody could have known about 1,400 years ago. (Allah knows best.) Moreover, these verses, one of the subjects sworn on in the Qur'an, are another indication of the importance of the subject.

  • THE LAYERS OF THE ATMOSPHERE:
One fact about the universe revealed in the verses of the Qur'an is that the sky is made up of seven layers:

"It is He Who created everything on the earth for you and then directed His attention up to heaven and arranged it into seven regular heavens. He has knowledge of all things." (Qur'an, 2:29)

"Then He turned to heaven when it was smoke. In two days He determined them as seven heavens and revealed, in every heaven, its own mandate." (Qur'an, 41:11-12)

The word "heavens," which appears in many verses in the Qur'an, is used to refer to the sky above the Earth, as well as the entire universe. Given this meaning of the word, it is seen that the Earth's sky, or the atmosphere, is made up of seven layers.
Today, it is known that the world's atmosphere consists of different layers that lie on top of each other.19 Based on the criteria of chemical contents or air temperature, the definitions made have determined the atmosphere of the earth as seven layers. According to the "Limited Fine Mesh Model (LFMMII)," a model of atmosphere used to estimate weather conditions for 48 hours, the atmosphere is also 7 layers. According to the modern geological definitions the seven layers of atmosphere are as follows:
1. Troposphere
2. Stratosphere
3. Mesosphere
4. Thermosphere
5. Exosphere
6. Ionosphere
7. Magnetosphere
The Qur'an says, "[He] revealed, in every heaven, its own mandate," in Surah Fussilat 12. In other words, Allah is stating that He assigned each heaven its own duty. Truly, as will be seen in following chapters, each one of these layers has vital duties for the benefit of human kind and all other living things on the Earth. Each layer has a particular function, ranging from forming rain to preventing harmful rays, from reflecting radio waves to averting the harmful effects of meteors.
The verses below inform us about the appearance of the seven layers of the atmosphere:

"Do you not see how He created seven heavens in layers?" (Qur'an, 71:15)

"He Who created the seven heavens in layers… (Qur'an, 67:3)


The atmosphere only lets rays required for life reach the Earth. For example, ultraviolet rays make it to the world only partially. This is the most appropriate range to allow plants to make photosynthesis and eventually for all living things to survive.
The Arabic word "tibaqan" in these verses, translated into English as "layer" means "layer, the appropriate cover or covering for something," and thus stresses how the top layer is well suited to the lower. The word is also used in the plural here: "layers." The sky, described in the verse as being in layers, is without doubt the most perfect expression of the atmosphere. It is a great miracle that these facts, which could not possibly be discovered without the technology of the 20th century, were explicitly stated by the Qur'an 1,400 years ago.
  • THE SKY MADE A DOME:

"It is He Who made the earth a couch for you, and the sky a dome. He sends down water from the sky and by it brings forth fruits for your provision. Do not, then, knowingly make others equal to Allah." (Qur'an, 2:22)


The Geminid meteor shower is observed at its highest intensity in the second week of December each year. The short lines in the photograph to the side are traces belonging to stars; the long ones belong to meteors. The meteors in the shower seen in the picture fall at a density of up to 58 per hour.

Here, the Arabic word for the sky is "assamaa binaan." As well as the meaning of "dome" or "ceiling," this also describes a kind of tent-like covering used by the Bedouin.22 What is being emphasised here, through mention of a tent-like structure, is a form of protection against external elements.

Even if we are generally unaware of it, a large number of meteors fall to the Earth, as they do the other planets. The reason why these make enormous craters on other planets but do no harm on Earth is that the atmosphere puts up considerable resistance to a falling meteor. The meteor is unable to withstand this for long and loses much of its mass from combustion due to friction. This danger, which might otherwise cause terrible disasters, is thus prevented thanks to the atmosphere. As well as the verses regarding the protective properties of the atmosphere cited above, attention is also drawn to the special creation in the following verse:

"Do you not see that Allah has made everything on the earth subservient to you and the ships running upon the sea by His command? He holds back the heaven, preventing it from falling to the earth-except by His permission. Allah is All-Compassionate to mankind, Most Merciful." (Qur'an, 22:65)

The protective property of the atmosphere we discussed in the preceding section protects the Earth from space-in other words, from external elements. With the word "dome," referring to the sky in the above verse, attention is drawn to this aspect of the sky, which could not possibly have been known at the time of our Prophet (saas). The fact that this information was imparted 1,400 years ago in the Qur'an, when there were no spacecraft or giant telescopes, shows that the Qur'an is the revelation of our Lord, the Omniscient.

  • THE RETURNING SKY:

The verse 11 of Surat at-Tariq in the Qur'an, refers to the "returning" function of the sky.

"[I swear] by Heaven which returns." (Qur'an, 86:11)

The word "rajaai" interpreted as "return" in Qur'an translations has meanings of "sending back" or "returning." As is known, the atmosphere surrounding the Earth consists of many layers. Each layer serves an important purpose for the benefit of life on Earth. Research has revealed that these layers have the function of turning the materials or rays they are exposed to back into space or back down to the Earth. Now let us examine, employing a few fitting examples, this "returning" function of the layers encircling the Earth.

The presence of water is essential for life on Earth. One of the factors acting in the formation of water is the Troposphere, one of the layers of the atmosphere. The troposphere layer enables water vapour rising from the surface of the Earth to be condensed from whence it returns to the Earth in the form of rain.
The atmosphere layer that blocks the rays that might be fatal to life on Earth is the Ozonosphere. The Ozonosphere turns harmful cosmic rays like ultraviolet back to space, hence preventing them from reaching the Earth and harming life.
Each layer of the atmosphere has beneficial attributes for human beings. For example, the Ionosphere layer, one of the upper layers of the atmosphere, reflects radio waves broadcast from a certain centre back down to the Earth, thus enabling broadcasts to be received from long distances.

The troposphere, 13 to 15 kilometres above the Earth, enables water vapour rising from the surface of the Earth to be condensed and turned back as rain. The ozone layer, the lower layer of stratosphere at an altitude of 25 kilometres, reflects harmful radiation and ultraviolet light coming from space and turns both back into space.

The ionosphere reflects radio waves broadcast from the Earth back down to different parts of the world just like a passive communications satellite. Thus, it makes wireless communication, radio, and television broadcasting possible over long distances. The magnetosphere layer turns the harmful radioactive particles emitted by the Sun and other stars back into space before they reach the Earth.


  • THE LAYERS OF THE EARTH

One item of information about the Earth given in the Qur'an is its similarity to the seven-layered sky:

"It is Allah Who created the seven heavens and of the earth the same number, the Command descending down through all of them, so that you might know that Allah has power over all things and that Allah encompasses all things in His knowledge." (Qur'an, 65:12)

The information in the above verse is confirmed in scientific sources, wherein it is explained that the Earth consists of seven strata. These, as scientists have identified, are:

1st layer: Lithosphere (water)

2nd layer: Lithosphere (land)

3rd layer: Asthenosphere

4th layer: Upper Mantle

5th layer: Inner Mantle

6th layer: Outer Core

7th layer: Inner Core


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