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
“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 21, Ayah 30)
“Then He turned to the sky and it had been (as) smoke.” (Surah 41, Ayah 1)
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.
The Horsehead Nebula is a dark nebula located in Orion. It is visible only because it lies above a lighter background
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, (Ronan, 1991).
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:
“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.” (Surah 41, Ayah 9-120)
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
♦ 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 days.
♦ 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