Copyright © By Dr. Adel Elsaie, Book Title: "History of Truth, The Truth about God and Religions"
9.1 The Divine Big Bang
Translate this page
History of the universe is divided into three distinct phases: the start, the expansion, and the end. The Quran deals with these phases in astounding descriptions. The Quran refers to the start of the Big Bang in two short Ayat, presenting an accurate summary to the conditions that led to creating the universe:
Surah 21, Ayah 30 "Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation) before We clove them asunder?"
Surah 41, Ayah 11 "Then He turned to the sky and it had been (as) smoke."
In the first Ayah, Allah declares clearly that the universe (the skies and the earth) was joined together, and then Allah caused it to explode. There is a very important choice of words in the original Arabic text whose translation is given above. The Arabic word ratq translated as "joined together" means "mixed in each, blended" in Arabic dictionaries. It is used to refer to two different substances that make up a whole. The phrase "We clove them asunder" is the verb fataqa in Arabic and implies that something comes into being by tearing apart or destroying the structure of ratq. In this Ayah, skies and earth are at first subject to the status of ratq and then they exploded. Intriguingly, cosmologists speak of a "cosmic egg" that consisted of all the matter in the universe prior to the Big Bang. In other words, all the heavens and earth were included in this egg in a condition of ratq. This cosmic egg exploded violently causing its matter to fataqa and in the process created the structure of the whole universe.
The accuracy of the Arabic words of such divine description of starting the universe is well beyond comprehension. A cosmic fact was revealed to an unlettered Arab that took humanity one thousand and four hundred years to discover. This Ayah addresses the unbelievers with an overwhelming challenge. No one can claim that Muhammad had knowledge of spectroscopic observations or he had instruments to measure cosmic background radiation. Also, he was not a genius mathematician. This Ayah, as with many of the scientific miracles in the Quran, addresses the unbelievers in a strong challenge. If they could not use their inherent intuition to figure out the existence and the uniqueness of One Creator, then they can listen to an unlettered Arab explaining the creation of the universe.
In the second Ayah, Allah describes the sky, after the explosion, as a smoke, not a cloud or fog, but smoke. To emphasize the importance of the smoke, the title of this Surah is "The Smoke." In the past, cosmologists used to describe the gaseous state of the young universe as a cloud or fog. Only recently, has the word "smoke" been coined, because it is closely descriptive of the initial gaseous state. The definition of smoke is a suspension of particles in a hot gaseous medium. This is truly the perfection of the Quran in choosing the closest words to describe an event. The word smoke could indicate that just after the Big Bang, the formation of planets and stars took different directions from the start. Planets were formed from the suspended particles of the smoke, while the stars were formed from the hot gases. This is quite possible since the structure of stars is different from that of the planets. The sun for example consists of 73.5 percent hydrogen and 25 percent helium. These gases were formed in the first few minutes after the Big Bang, and the rest of which is the product of the nuclear reactions in the sun. There are also traces of heavier atoms such as oxygen, carbon, iron, magnesium and so on. None of these traces of elements account for even 1 percent of the weight of the sun. On the other hand, the earth is made up of over a hundred elements with a nickel-iron core. Oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon and other elements that exist in earth and its atmosphere were all united as compound particles that existed in the original phase of the smoke. When the earth changed from the smoke phase to liquid phase during the cooling process of the universe, the compound particles reserved their composition in a melted state, and inert gases escaped from the earth. The atmosphere with its water vapor was formed from the gases produced during the cooling process of the Earth’s crust. The earlier assumption that the Earth evolved from the sun is no longer accepted.
Allah again challenges the unbelievers by adding some details to the creation sequence as follows:
Surah 41, Ayah 9-12 "Say: Is it that ye deny Him Who created the earth in two days? And do ye join equals with Him? He is the Lord of (all) the Worlds. He set on the (earth) mountains standing firm, high above it and bestowed blessings on the earth and measured therein its sustenance in four days, alike for (all) who ask. Then He turned to the sky and it had been (as) smoke. He said to it and to the earth: come ye together, willingly or unwillingly. They said: we do come together in willing obedience. So He completed them as seven firmaments in two days and He assigned to each heaven its duty and command."
The above Ayat begin by addressing the unbelievers by giving them a difficult passage, describing the primal creation of the earth and the skies around us. If we count two days for the creation of the earth, four days for stabilizing, blessing, and providing its sustenance, two days for making the seven skies, we get a total of eight days, while in all other verses of the Quran, creation is stated clearly in six days. This is a fascinating example of verses that may have a different interpretation. Some commentators understand the four days of providing the earth with its needs to include the two days of creating the earth. This could be reasonable because the process of completing the earth forms a chain of events. In the first step it is the creation of the formless earth; in the second step it is the gradual evolution of the form of the earth, its mountains and seas, and its animal and vegetable life with a perfect balance. In the above Surah 21, Ayah 30, the Quran states that the earth and the skies exploded together from a compressed state. In Surah 11, Ayah 9-12, the creation of the earth and its development are mentioned first; and the making of the sky into seven firmaments is mentioned last. The two statements are not inconsistent, because it is stated that when the sky was made into seven firmaments, it had existed previously as smoke: "Then He turned to the sky and it had been (as) smoke." Non-Muslim critics who claim that this Ayah contradicts the known six-day period of creation misinterpret this part of the Ayah. They claim that the creation period in this Ayah adds up to eight days, and therefore the Quran contradicts itself. They simply choose to ignore the statement that God turned to the sky and He ordered the sky and the earth to obey his Laws. How can He turn to the sky and order it to obey His Laws if it did not exist yet? Again, the miracle of these Ayat is that Allah addresses the unbelievers who search for anything to confuse the issue of God as the Creator of this universe.
Therefore the development of the Big Bang could have taken the following sequence:
Explosion of a fantastically dense and fantastically hot matter.
Planets and skies existed as smoke. The earth existed as a formless state and the sky existed as a gas. This process took two days.
Providing the earth with mountains, seas, blessing and its sustenance took another two days. Thus completing the creation and readiness of the earth in four day.
God ordered the earth and the sky to obey His physical laws.
The sky was made into seven firmaments in two days.
And Allah knows the best.
Who told Muhammad that? How could anyone explain the fact that Muhammad said these words in the seventh century? It was a revelation from the Mighty Creator.