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Scientific and Archaeological Explanation of the Ayaats of the Holy Quran
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Surah Al Baqarah
He it is Who created for you all that is in the earth, and He directed Himself to the heaven, so He made them complete seven heavens, and He knows all things. M Shakir's Quran Translation He it is Who created for you all that is in the earth. Then turned He to the heaven, and fashioned it as seven heavens. And He is knower of all things. Pickthall's Quran Translation It is He Who hath created for you all things that are on earth; Moreover His design comprehended the heavens, for He gave order and perfection to the seven firmaments; and of all things He hath perfect knowledge. Yusuf Ali's Quran Translation
Sequence of Creation of Heavens and the Earth
This Ayat 'seems' to contradict the Big Bang theory (because of the way it is normally translated) by saying that the Heavens and the Earth were not created at the same time. In 1922, a Russian scientist, Alexander Friedman in light of Einstein's general theory of relativity, after some calculations proved that the universe is not static, in fact it is expanding. This research of Alexander could have been neglected but in 1929 a great research changed the outlook totally. Edwin Hubble an American scientist discovered that the stars are going away from earth as well as themselves. The spectrum of these stars showed the 'red shift'. Cosmologists say that in the beginning of the universe whole matter, whole energy and the whole energy and the whole space was focused at a mathematical point. Mathematical point means such a thing having zero mass. Simply this means that the universe came into being from nothing. This is called creation. Cosmologists say that the mathematical point had infinite density. This very moment when matter and time simultaneously came into existence is known as 'big bang'.
The Big Bang
According to the Big Bang theory, everything began from the explosion of a point of infinite density and zero volume. As time passed, space expanded and the gaps between heavenly bodies grew .
According to scientific researches this event took place about 13.7 billion years ago, and the universe has since been expanding and cooling. This expansion and cooling process gave rise to the earth and the heavens simultaneously. So is there an error in this ayat? Word Analysis Arabic text to be considered: To a man unaware Arabic language there might be a contradiction in this Ayat with the established science but for the one who knows Arabic it is in perfect conciliation. The word means then, simultaneously or moreover. Here should be translated as moreover or
simultaneously. Then the translation becomes: He it is Who created for you all that is in the earth. Moreover turned He to the heaven, and fashioned it as seven heavens. And He is knower of all things We see in the renowned translations that Pickthall got it wrong and Yusuf Ali and Shakir got it right. Imam Ibn e Kathir also mentions the same thing in his tafseer, quoting the view of a group of scholars at that time, “ is only for
informing not for action, meaning thereby that it is not that creation of heavens started after the creation of earth but it is only to inform that Allah created both the heavens and the earth” (TAFSIR IBN E KATHIR 1/134).Remember Tafsir ibn e Kathir was written in 8th century Hijri. Same view is also mentioned in Tafsir e Tabari; see Al-Tabari 1/437. Use of in this meaning was common amongst Arab poets. Also, the Qur'an states clearly in many places that heaven
and earth were created simultaneously. (SURAH ANBIYA 21:30) also explains this
Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them, and we made every living thing of water? Will they not then believe The French medical doctor and author, Maurice Bucaille writes in his famous “The Bible, The Quran and The Science” , “In actual fact, apart from sura 79, there is not a single passage in the Qur'an that lays down a definite sequence; a simple coordinating conjunction wa وmeaning 'and' links two terms, or the word thumma ّ ُ which can indicate either ثم a simple juxtaposition or a sequence. There appears to me to be only one passage in the Qur'an where a definite sequence is plainly established between different events in the Creation. It is contained in verses 27 to 33, sura 79.”(THE BIBLE, THE QURAN AND THE SCIENCE , PAGE 100) This topic has been discussed in the Qur'an many times For Details see: Surah Fussilat (41:9-11) and Surah Naaziat(27-33)
What is meant by seven heavens
It is worth mentioning that the concept of seven heavens is present amongst Christians, Hindus and Jews. This concept is mentioned in the Bible, Talmud as well as the Hindu Scriptures. Mawdudi states in his tafseer “It is difficult to explain precisely what is meant by the 'seven heavens'. In all ages man has tried, with the help of observation and speculation, to conceptualize the 'heavens', i.e. that which lies beyond and above the earth. As we well know, the concepts that have thus developed have constantantly changed. Hence it would be improper to tie
the meaning of these words of the Qur'an to any one of these numerous concepts. What might be broadly inferred from this statement is that either God has divided the universe beyond the earth into seven distinct spheres, or that this earth is located in that part of the universe which consists of seven different spheres.” 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. The sky of the earth (nearest heaven) is mentioned as سماء الدنياin the Holy Quran. Perhaps the whole Universe outside the earth is represented by the terminology سماء الدنياwhich means the ‘heaven of the earth’ or the ‘nearest heaven’. Hence, the سماء الدنياrefers to whatever is outside the planet earth. This is the ‘first heaven’ and with all our modern equipments we have not been able to find the ‘end’ of this universe, meaning the end of the ‘first heaven’, how can we ‘think’ beyond this heaven. “So He completed them as seven heavens in two Days, and He assigned to each heaven its duty and command. And We adorned the lower heaven ( )سماء الدنياwith lights, and (provided it) with guard. Such is the Decree of (Him) the Exalted in Might, Full of Knowledge.” (SURAH FUSSILAT 41:12) “We have indeed decked the lower heaven with beauty (in) the stars, (For beauty) and for guard against all obstinate rebellious evil spirits (So) they should not strain their ears in the direction of the Exalted Assembly but be cast away from every side, Repulsed, for they are under a perpetual penalty, Except such as snatch away something by stealth, and they are pursued by a flaming fire, of piercing brightness.” (SURAH AL SAAFAAT 37:6-10) These Ayaats clarify that the first heaven (lower heaven, sky of the earth) contains stars, hence proving that the complete universe is the first heaven. If we read the incident of Ma’iraj (Ascension to heavens) of the Prophet SAW it gives us a clear picture of the seven heavens. SAHIH BUKHARI 5.227 Narrated by Anas bin Malik …..Then a white animal which was smaller than a mule and bigger than a donkey was brought to me." (On this AlJarud asked, "Was it the Buraq, O Abu Hamza?" I (i.e. Anas) replied in the affirmative). The Prophet said, "The animal's step (was so wide that it) reached the farthest point within the reach of the animal's sight. I was carried on it, and Gabriel set out with me till we reached the nearest heaven (the hadith uses the word .) سماء الدنيا When he asked for the gate to be opened, it was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel answered, 'Gabriel.' It was asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.' It was asked, 'Has Muhammad been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!' The gate was opened, and when I went over the first heaven, I saw Adam there. Gabriel said (to me). 'This is your father, Adam; pay him your greetings.' So I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious son and pious Prophet.' Then Gabriel ascended with me till we reached the second heaven. Gabriel asked for the gate to be opened. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel answered, 'Gabriel.' It was asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel answered in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!' The gate was opened. When I went over the second heaven, there I saw Yahya (i.e. John) and 'Isa (i.e. Jesus) who were cousins of each other. Gabriel said (to me), 'These are John and Jesus; pay them your greetings.' So I greeted them and both of them returned my greetings to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.' Then Gabriel ascended with me to the third heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel replied, 'Gabriel.' It was asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed, what an excellent visit his is!' The gate was opened, and when I went over the third heaven there I saw Joseph. Gabriel said (to me), 'This is Joseph; pay him your greetings.' So I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.' Then Gabriel ascended with me to the fourth heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel replied, 'Gabriel' It was asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.'
It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed, what an excel lent visit his is!' The gate was opened, and when I went over the fourth heaven, there I saw Idris. Gabriel said (to me), 'This is Idris; pay him your greetings.' So I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.' Then Gabriel ascended with me to the fifth heaven…… (to the end of the hadith)
The word ‘Seven’ as a Phrase
Some people have mentioned in their commentaries and translations that the word seven here is used as a phrase, not in the actual numerical sense. Remember the words seven, seventy and seven hundred are used in Arabic to express the great numerical amount of something, it is not necessary that they give the actual count in all cases. However, in this particular case of ‘seven heavens’ the actual count is perhaps ‘seven’ as can be evidently seen from the narrations of the Prophet SAW on mai’raj (ascension to heavens) in which he counted them to be seven.
The seven atmospheric Layers
Few Muslims have tried to prove that these seven heavens refer to seven atmospheric layers. Atmosphere above the earth is divided into several layers and they have been classified as seven by some scientists, and some make broader classification so the numbers of layers they count are less than seven. The last layer which is the Exosphere extends to 960 km, this would limit the meaning of ‘seven heavens’ to only the atmosphere around the earth. Whereas, in most of the commentaries on the Quran it is mentioned vividly that the world ‘heavens’ is used to refer to the sky above the earth and what lies beyond it.
The Magnetic Layers
Dr Haluk Nabraki has divided the universe into seven spatial locations. He is of the view that these Ayaats refer to the seven magnetic fields receding into the infinity of space. Looking at the cosmos from the earth, these are: 1- The Spatial field we constitute together with the solar system. 2- The Spatial field of our galaxy (The magnetic field sculpting the core of Milky Way) 3- The Spatial field of our ‘Local cluster’ of galaxies. 4- The central magnetic field of the universe represented by the collectivity of galaxy clusters. 5- The Cosmic band represented by Quasars. 6- The field of the expanding universe represented by the receding Galaxies. 7- The outermost field representing the limitless infinities of the Universe. ( VERSES FROM THE HOLY QURAN AND THE FACTS OF SCIENCE, DR HALUK NABRAKI) This view of Dr Haluk Nabraki might be regarded as correct, if we forget the concept of ‘spiritual heavens’, because his classification only encompasses the ‘Heavens’ of our Universe which are continuously expanding. Some Muslim scholars are of the view that these Heavens have gaps within themselves. Ofcourse, the explanation of Dr. Haluk Nabraki cannot explain those gaps. Furthermore from Ayaats 37:6-10 and 67:5 we can infer that only the سماء الدنيا contains stars. All those who divide these seven heavens within the boundaries of universe cannot explain this as well. Ayaat of Quran on Seven Heavens The Qur'an has discussed the seven heavens topic at 9 places: Surah Baqarah (2:29), Surah Israa (17:44), Surah Mominun (23:17), Surah Mominun (23:86), Surah Fussilat (41:12), Surah Talaq (65:12), Surah Mulk (67:3), Surah Nuh (71:15), Surah Naba (78:13).
This document is based on my under process book. I plan to collect all the Ayaats of the Holy Quran with deal with scientific, historical and archaeological subjects. I am trying to provide explanation to those Ayaats in light of Previous commentaries (Tafaseer), established science, archaeological discoveries and Arabic lexicons. Send in your comments, queries and suggestion at Muhammad.Awais.Tahir@gmail.com Please do not copy paste without permission, until my book is published, Insha’Allah.
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