Copyright © By Dr. Adel Elsaie, Book Title: "History of Truth, The Truth about God and Religions"
9.2 The Existing Universe in the Quran
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The Black Holes
The Conquest of Space
The Quran is full of reflections on the heavens. Instead of a continuous narration, there are verses scattered all over the entire Book which deal with certain aspects of Creation and provide information on the successive events marking its development with varying degrees of details. To gain a clear idea of how these events are presented, the scattered verses must all be examined together. This is quite easy now, since there are dictionaries for all the words in the Quran, and one can obtain all the Ayat that deal with a particular subject. Again, it is extremely important to keep in mind that the Quran is a Divine Book and not a science book. These verses are scattered in many chapters to serve the purpose of reflection on the Glory of the Almighty in many places and in many times. Occasionally, one listens to the Quran without grasping the divine meaning of the verse. When one is ready to receive and feel the meaning of a certain Ayah, then this becomes a great spiritual experience.
Expansion of the universe is one of the most awesome discoveries of the twentieth century. The evidences for expansion of the universe are so powerful to the extent that it is considered a fact. The discussions of cosmologists are focusing now on the mechanism and the factors that affect this expansion.
Allah refers to the expanding universe in the following verse:
Surah 51, Ayah 47 "We have built the firmaments with might and we indeed have vast power."
The above translation does not reflect the actual meaning of the Ayah. Any Arab speaking person will translate the above verse as follows:
"We have built the skies with might and we indeed are expanding (them)"
The Arabic verb used means continually expanding, and refers to the previous noun that is the skies. Other translations of this verb include "width and generosity", and "to make them wider." One of the translations called "The choice" or in Arabic "Montakhab", stated clearly its meaning that the universe is expanding.
The fact is that Allah described the expansion of the universe in a short sentence. Muhammad stated this fact that took humanity ages to discover and measure. Who told him that? This fact could not be envisioned in the seventh century and authored by an unlettered Arab when he had no previous knowledge about cosmology. It must have been a divine inspiration!
Throughout the Quran, Allah refers to the skies and the earth and what is between them:
Surah 15, Ayah 85 "We created not the heavens, the earth, and all that in between them, but for just ends."
Surah 50, Ayah 38 "We created the heavens and the earth and all between them in six days, nor any sense of weariness touch us."
What is in between the skies and the earth? The creation of the universe occurred by condensing the material of the primary nebula followed by its division into fragments that constituted the primary Protogalaxies, the first celestial bodies. The latter split up into galaxies, stars and planets. The concept of having some form of interstellar material was recently introduced to account for the huge missing mass of the universe. Does this interstellar material consist of cosmic strings that, if they exist, have tremendously dense matter and energy? Does this interstellar material consist of neutrinos or black holes? Here we are in the twenty-first century and we just do not know what is this ghost matter. Their more scientific name is "interstellar material" There is no doubt now that interstellar material exists and it can be imagined as bridges of material between or inside galaxies.
Until recently, no one ever dreamt of a matter of such magnitude and weight existed. Yet an unlettered Arab in the seventh century spoke of this very same interstellar material. If he were the author of the Quran, how did he come up with such a concept that was only discovered recently? And the exact nature of this interstellar material is still unknown. These findings should further stimulate an attempt to understand and dissect each word of the Quran very carefully, thus shedding light on what we still do not know. And God Knows the Best.
The Black Holes
In Surah 81, Ayah 15-16 Allah states in 5 Arabic words:
"So verily I call to witness the planets (stars) that recede. Go straight, or hide"
A literal translation of the above Ayat could be stated as follows:
"So verily I swear by the hidden stars that move and vacuum"
These Ayat refer to stars that recede and become hidden. This type of stars was not known until recently. Only in the last decades, Muslim scientists started examining these Ayat, and concluded that these objects are the black holes. Black holes are objects with gravitational pulls so intense that light cannot escape from them. This is why such objects are now called black holes. One Muslim scientist defined the black hole as a super giant vacuum cleaner. Some astrophysicists believe that minute black holes could have been formed from very dense matter crushed together at an early stage of the Big Bang. But black holes of larger masses probably exist in the central region of spiral and elliptical galaxies. Others suggest that black holes formed after the catastrophic collapse of very large stars. And God Knows the Best.
The Conquest of Space
Some people believe that mentioning the subject of jinn is unscientific and superstitious. Their usual argument is that if something exists, then we should be able to measure, analyze, and examine it. It should also conform to our known laws of physics, as if we have discovered every law in the universe. These idle ideas represent a severe limitation to the vision and imagination of mankind. Yet, if one approaches this subject with an open mind, the existence of jinn can solve many of the unresolved mysteries or phenomena that we dare to explain without any evidence.
For the conquest of space, five Ayat in the Quran in two Surat should command our full attention. The first expresses, without any trace of ambiguity, what jinn and men collectively should and will achieve in this field:
Surah 55, Ayah 33-35 "O ye assembly of Jinns and men! If it be ye can pass beyond the zones of the heavens and the earth, pass ye! Not without authority shall ye be able to pass! Then which of the favors of your Lord will ye deny? On you will be sent (O ye evil ones twain!) a flame of fire (to burn) and a smoke (to choke): no defense will ye have."
The translation given here requires some explanatory comments:
The condition in the first sentence is for the achievable hypothesis (Arabic, "in"), which clearly means that conquest of space is achievable with power. The Quran therefore suggests the material possibility of this concrete realization. This subtle linguistic distinction formally rules out the mystic interpretation that some have accepted. This mystic interpretation suggests that evil things, such as fire and molten brass, will punish the evil spirits.
God is addressing the jinn and mankind and not allegorical figures, as some may suggest.
The Arabic literal word for "to pass" in the above Ayat is "to penetrate" which means to "to pass right through and come out of the other end." It therefore suggests a deep penetration and emergence at the other end of the regions in questions.
The power that jinn and man will use to achieve their goal would seem to come from the Lord, since the following sentence is an invitation to recognize the Lordís blessing. That power could well be the science that Allah taught us.
If jinn or man penetrate deep in space beyond certain limits, God will send a flame of fire or molten brass on them.
We know that jinn have more power of motion than man does. They may have attempted to cross certain limits and were returned back by flames of fire. The reference to molten brass may refer to some metallic meteors that come from all direction of space. There can be no doubt that these Ayat indicate that humans will travel deep in space, and not just in the immediate atmosphere of the earth.
In the second Surah, God is speaking of the unbelievers in Mecca, as follows:
Surah 15, Ayah 14-15 "Even if we opened out to them a gate from heaven and they were to continue (all day) ascending therein, they would only say: Our eyes have been intoxicated: Nay, we have been bewitched by sorcery."
The conditional "if" in above Ayat is an unachievable hypothesis for the unbelievers of Mecca. These Ayat express astonishment at a remarkable spectacle, different from anything man could imagine.
The Quran presents two passages when addressing the conquest of space
One of them refers to what will one day become a reality, thanks to the powers of intelligence and ingenuity that God gave to jinn and man.
And the other describes an event that the unbelievers of Mecca will never witness; hence its character is a condition that will never be realized by them. Others will however see the event, as referred to in the above first Surah. It describes the human reaction to the unexpected spectacle that space travelers will see: their confused sight as in drunkenness, and the feeling of seeing magic.
The second Surah expresses exactly how astronauts have experienced this remarkable adventure since the first human space flight around the earth in 1961. It is a known fact now that once a human is above the earthís atmosphere, the skies no longer have the azure appearance we see from earth. This is due to the phenomena of absorption of the sunís light into the layers of the atmosphere. The sunís light consists of different frequencies. Human eyes can detect a certain range of these frequencies that are translated by the brain in the known spectrum of light: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Red color has long wavelength, and can penetrate easily through the earthís atmosphere. Blue color has short wavelength, and cannot penetrate the earthís atmosphere. Therefore blue color tends to disperse and reflect on the small particles that exist in space. We, on earth, see the reflection of that blue color in the sky. But the human observer in space above the earthís atmosphere sees a black sky, and the earth seems to be surrounded by a halo of bluish color due to the same phenomena of absorption of light by the earthís atmosphere. The moon has no atmosphere however, and therefore appears in its true color against the black background of the sky. It is a completely new spectacle that human observers in space are not accustomed to. Now the photographs of this spectacle have become well known and famous to the present-day man.
Here again, it is extremely difficult not to be impressed, when comparing the text of the Quran to the data of modern science, by statements that simply cannot be ascribed to the thought of an unlettered Arab who lived more than fourteen centuries ago.