The Holy Qur’an is the book given to us by the Creator of the Universe. Allah, (literally: THE God) which is His personal Name, knows us best and is aware that humans can be very skeptical creatures.
Allah points out, "...if you were to seek a tunnel into the earth or a ladder into the skies and bring them a sign, (they still wouldn’t be convinced.) If it were Allah’s will, He could gather them all into true guidance, so don’t be among those who are influenced by ignorance." (6:35)
Allah, the Keeper of Wisdom, makes it a point to give as many proofs in the Qur’an about His existence and creative abilities as possible so the maximum number of humans can be guided. We need proof, and Allah gives us that proof. (2:26, 40:57)
Allah, of course, does not need us to follow Him, or believe in Him. As He states, "Allah can do without them and Allah is free of all needs." (64:6)
He merely wishes that people would choose to believe in Him so He can reward them for their choice. Allah is ready to forgive even those who acted wrongly if they but ask for His forgiveness.
In a Hadith, or saying of the Blessed Prophet Muhammad, we learn, "When Allah decreed the creation (of the universe,) He set down in His book which is with Him, ‘Indeed, My mercy is stronger than My wrath.’" (Bukhari & Muslim. Also see 6:12)
Among the proofs given in the Qur’an for us to learn from is a very detailed explanation of the different features of the universe, how it was made and how the planets and stars were formed. Allah says that, "To Him is due the origin of space and the Earth." (6:101)
Of course, most people who lived at the Prophet’s time would never have understood what those ayat really meant, but they accepted them anyway and interpreted them as best they could. Sometimes they came up with very interesting explanations.
Allah instructs us to accept everything in the Qur’an, even if we don’t yet know how to understand it. The understanding of the Qur’an grows with each passing generation. As He said, "The intelligent people declare, ‘We believe in the book, the whole of it is from our Lord." (3:7)
Modern Science and Islam.
Modern day scientists have been awe-struck at how complex and intricate the universe is. (67:3-4) The sciences of astronomy, chemistry, astrophysics and molecular biology have pushed the limits of our knowledge ever further.
These new discoveries have assisted greatly in the understanding of what the ayat in the Qur’an mean. For example, there is a section of verses where Allah mentions that during the process of human development, there is a stage where we were an ‘Alaq in the womb. (96:1-5) The word literally means, "a clinging thing." But no one knew in past centuries how that could be part of the process of growth for a fetus.
So translators, commentators and scholars have tried to explain it as meaning we were clots of blood or other such strange things in the womb. But new discoveries in the last few years have shown that in the early stages of pregnancy, the fertilized egg actually attaches itself to the uterine wall and clings there as it is growing. Thus, modern knowledge unlocks another mystery that previous Muslims could only guess at.
Qur’anic History of Creation.
After we find the references to creation in the Qur’an, then we can piece them together to get a picture of how Allah’s revelation explains the beginning. As Muslims, however, we must not forget to look into the lesson taught in each passage. We must remember what the purpose is for including these signs in the Qur’an so we can be enlightened spiritually as well as mentally.
Allah begins by stating that the universe and planet Earth took six "days" to create. (7:54) Now it must be remembered that in Arabic the word Youm can mean a day as we know it, or it can mean any stage or period of time. As Allah points out, a day to him can be a thousand years, fifty thousand years or more.
The creation of planets and the Earth took place in the last two periods of time. As Allah states in the Qur’an, "Declare, ‘Do you disbelieve in the One Who created the Earth in two stages? Do you make others equal to Him? He is the Lord of all the worlds.’" (41:9)
The process of creation can be summarized as follows: All matter in the universe was compacted together in one place. Then Allah gave the command and it blew apart scattering molecules and gases in all directions. ("The Big Bang.") The force of this initial explosion keeps the universe expanding.
Space was filled with matter, anti-matter and gases which eventually combined into larger particles. These bits of matter eventually grew into asteroids, planets, stars and moons. Each object of inter-stellar space conformed to a set of physical laws which governed the trajectory of their orbits so a regular pattern of rotation could be seen. (21:33, 29:61)
Stars ignited in a fury of radioactive fusion and gave off light and heat which brought warmth to those planets near them. (86:3) Small moons were captured in the orbit of larger planets and came to have a regular orbit around them, often reflecting light from the sun. (54:1-2)
Finally, the planets themselves developed and formed in a variety of ways with fantastic geologic formations and movements both above and below the surface. (27:61)
The planet Earth, in particular, cooled near its outer layers, forming a thin crust made up of plates that moved and grated against each other. (15:19) This allowed the Earth’s surface to constantly erase the damage caused by occasional asteroid impacts. But the colliding of the plates also had the side effect of raising tall mountains and exposing the geologic history of the planet.
Escaping gases from the ground and water, warmed in the sunlight, eventually raised to a high altitude where they formed a protective layer. This Ozone Layer shielded out harmful radiation and ultraviolet rays from the sun.
After a time, life was to appear but that is the subject of the next lesson. For now, it is amazing that this scientific narrative is almost exactly the same as what Allah revealed in the Qur’an. Look at the following illustrations showing what happened, what Allah said about it, and the ayat from which they come.
You will be amazed and can only proclaim your wonder at Allah’s Revelation. Remember, He mentioned these things to teach us to be believers in Him. If He tells us the truth, we would be fools not to believe in Him. Right?
"Don’t they see anything in the functioning of space and the Earth and in all things Allah created?" (7:185)
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