[Al-Quran 50:6-8] Have they not looked at the heaven above them - how We structured it and adorned it and how it has no rifts? And the earth - We spread it out and cast therein firmly set mountains and made grow therein [something] of every beautiful kind, Giving insight and a reminder for every servant who turns [to Allah].

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Creation


Qur’an [79:27], questions: ‘Are you a more difficult creation or is the heaven? Allah constructed it.’ and Qur'an [3:190] states that ‘Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding.’ 

Three ayaat of the Qur’an [6:91, 22:74, 39:67] state that the unbelievers have made no just estimate of Allah as is due to Him: Allah [i] has indeed sent down the scriptures, [ii] is strong and able to carry out His Will, and [iii] on the Day of Resurrection, the whole of the earth will be in His grip, and the heavens will be rolled up in His right hand.

Note: The word السَّمَاءُ (plural: السَّمَاوَاتِ) can be translated as sky or heaven 

Creation according to Quran 

Reading together and summarising the various ayaat pertaining to creation in the Quran, it appears to me that there are two phases of creation: the primary phase of six days (or periods) where the Earth and Heaven were created; then the secondary phase when the governance began: the already created Earth and Heaven were commanded to come together, and then the Earth and Seven Heavens were separated, , with their physical laws. The following sequence emerges: 
Primary Phase: Allah created the Heavens and the Earth in six days: the Earth was created in two days and made to grow meaningfully in four days. Meanwhile, the Heaven was like smoke. Then, He established Himself over the throne (started governing it).
Secondary Phase: the Heaven and Earth were ordered to come together as one. Then, the Heaven was raised and divided/layered into seven Heavens, and each assigned its laws. The Earth was expanded and made habitable. 

A ayat specifically mentions that as Allah created the seven Heavens, He also created a similar number of Earths, and that Allah’s command descends through them. Another ayat informs us that we can never escape the heavens without permission/authority. The Quran repeatedly states that Allah is the Lord of the Worlds. 

Two ayaat inform us that a Day can be of any length and varies from measure to measure. Many ayaat inform us of a Day to come, and that when we will be asked about how long we stayed on Earth, we will say a day or a part of it. 

Creation Narratives and Theories 

Most religions have their own creation narratives, some similar, some quite different. The Bible describes creation in six days. In Hindu cosmogony, the universe is endlessly created, destroyed and recreated in a continuous cycle. Buddhist cosmology does not speak of origin but informs of thirty-one planes of existence. 

Scientists have also long been theorising about the Universe’s origins, with the Big Bang and Steady State theories being main contenders during the last century. With Einstein’s theories of Relativity (SR and GR), the concept of the Fabric of Space-Time emerged. Lately, Quantum Mechanics (QM) and String Theory have led to the concept of multiple dimensions. The Multiverse theory, the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI), the concept of different physics in each multiverse,  are being popularly debated. The Conformal Cyclic Cosmology model proposes that the universe iterates through infinite cycles.

The Quran and Bible both state that the Heavens and Earth were created in six days. According to Hindu cosmogony, creation cycles are measured in billions of years. Modern science calculates the age of the Universe at about 14 billion years, and the Earth to be 4.54 billion years old. Are the various narratives pieces of the same puzzle? Are they compatible in some broad sense?  

For Muslims, The Quran is the divine guidance which informs us the truth about the matter. The following ayaat grant us some insights: 

Length of a Day 

A day is a period of time which has a variable length. The arabic word for day is  يَوْمٍ .  On Earth, a day is approximately 24 hours which is the approximate time the earth completes one rotation on its axis. A day on Venus is also the time it takes to complete one rotation on its axis, however the speed of rotation is so slow that a Venusian day is longer than a Venusian year. 

The Quran also states that the length of a day is variable. Consider the following ayaat: 

[Al-Qur’an 32: 5, Translator: Shakir] He regulates the affair from the heaven to the earth; then shall it ascend to Him in a day the measure of which is a thousand years of what you count

[Al-Qur’an 70:4 Translator: Shakir] To Him ascend the angels and the Spirit in a day the measure of which is fifty thousand years

Related post: Length of a Day

Creation of Earth   

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 41:9-10, Translator: Sahih International] Say, "Do you indeed disbelieve in He who created the earth in two days and attribute to Him equals? That is the Lord of the worlds.” And He placed on the earth firmly set mountains over its surface, and He blessed it and determined therein its [creatures'] sustenance in four days without distinction - for [the information] of those who ask. 

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 41:9-10, Translator: Yusuf Ali] 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 measure therein all things to give them nourishment in due proportion, in four Days, in accordance with (the needs of) those who seek (Sustenance). 

The Throne & The Governance of Creation 

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 10:3, Translator: Sahih International] Indeed, your Lord is Allah , who created the heavens and the earth in six days and then established Himself above the Throne, arranging the matter [of His creation]. There is no intercessor except after His permission. That is Allah , your Lord, so worship Him. Then will you not remember? 

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 17:42, Translator: Sahih International] Say, [O Muhammad], "If there had been with Him [other] gods, as they say, then they [each] would have sought to the Owner of the Throne a way." 

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 21:22, Translator: Sahih International] Had there been within the heavens and earth gods besides Allah , they both would have been ruined. So exalted is Allah , Lord of the Throne, above what they describe. 

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 23:116, Translator: Sahih International] So exalted is Allah , the Sovereign, the Truth; there is no deity except Him, Lord of the Noble Throne.  

Joining of Heaven & Earth 

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 41:11, Translator: Sahih International] Then He directed Himself to the heaven while it was smoke and said to it and to the earth, "Come [into being], willingly or by compulsion." They said, "We have come willingly.” 

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 21:30, Translator: Sahih International] Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe?

Creation of Seven Heavens  

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 41:12, Translator: Sahih International]  And He completed them as seven heavens within two days and inspired in each heaven its command. And We adorned the nearest heaven with lamps and as protection. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing.

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 2:29, Translator: Sahih International] It is He who created for you all of that which is on the earth. Then He directed Himself to the heaven, [His being above all creation], and made them seven heavens, and He is Knowing of all things. 

Fabric of Space-Time  



وَالسَّمَاءِ ذَاتِ الْحُبُكِ

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 51:7, Translator: Sahih International] By the heaven containing pathways, 

The word ‘hubuka’ is generally translated as pathways, as in the translation above. However, the word also means woven fabric, and seems aptly employed in this ayat to convey the idea of the ‘fabric of space-time. Some translators have used the meaning of fabric in their translations, such as: 

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 51:7, Translator: Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali] And (by) the heaven comprising interwoven tracks
[Al-Qur’an Chapter 51:7, Translator: Talal A. Itani (new translation)] By the sky that is woven.
[Al-Qur’an Chapter 51:7, Translator: [The Monotheist Group] (2013 Edition)] By the heaven that is woven  

Different Physical Laws in Each Universe  

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 41:12, Translator: Sahih International] And He completed them as seven heavens within two days and inspired in each heaven its command. And We adorned the nearest heaven with lamps and as protection. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing. 

Expansion of the Universe 

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 51:47, Translator: Sahih International]  And the heaven We constructed with strength, and indeed, We are [its] expander. 

Seven Heavens  in Layers

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 67:3-4, Translator: Sahih International] [And] who created seven heavens in layers. You do not see in the creation of the Most Merciful any inconsistency. So return [your] vision [to the sky]; do you see any breaks? Then return [your] vision twice again. [Your] vision will return to you humbled while it is fatigued. 

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 71:15, Translator: Sahih International] Do you not consider how Allah has created seven heavens in layers
  


[Al-Qur’an Chapter 55:33, Translator: Muhammad Sarwar] Jinn and mankind, if you can penetrate the diameters of the heavens and the earth, do so, but you cannot do so without power and authority. 
[Al-Qur’an Chapter 55:33, Translator: Sahih International]  O company of jinn and mankind, if you are able to pass beyond the regions of the heavens and the earth, then pass. You will not pass except by authority [from Allah ].

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 16:50, Translator: Sahih International] They fear their Lord above them, and they do what they are commanded. 

Seven Earths 

Does each Heaven have an Earth? Consider ayat 12 of chapter 65:

اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ وَمِنَ الْأَرْضِ مِثْلَهُنَّ يَتَنَزَّلُ الْأَمْرُ بَيْنَهُنَّ لِتَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ أَحَاطَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عِلْمًا

Sahih International: It is Allah who has created seven heavens and of the earth, the like of them. [His] command descends among them so you may know that Allah is over all things competent and that Allah has encompassed all things in knowledge.

Many Worlds  

The Quran starts with the statement: 

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 1:2, Translator: Pickthall] Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds 

The word الْعَالَمِينَ  occurs 73 times in the Qur’an.  

Stage to Stage

When the first heaven is rent asunder, will we travel to another plane? 
Chapter 84 starts with the ayat: 
إِذَا السَّمَاءُ انشَقَّتْ
[Al-Qur’an Chapter 84:1, Translator: Pickthall] When the heaven is split asunder

Also consider the following ayat 
[Al-Qur’an 84:19]:
لَتَرْكَبُنَّ طَبَقًا عَن طَبَقٍ 

Sahih International: [That] you will surely experience state after state.
Pickthall: That ye shall journey on from plane to plane.
Yusuf Ali: Ye shall surely travel from stage to stage.
Shakir: That you shall most certainly enter one state after another.
Muhammad Sarwar: that you will certainly pass through one stage after another.
Mohsin Khan: You shall certainly travel from stage to stage (in this life and in the Hereafter).
Arberry: you shall surely ride stage after stage.

[Al-Qur’an 70:3-4 Translator: Shakir] From Allah, the Lord of the ways of Ascent. To Him ascend the angels and the Spirit in a day the measure of which is fifty thousand years. 

From other ayaat of The Quran, I understand that only the believers who have been forgiven will be escorted away from Earth, while those who have not been forgiven will enter the Hell within Earth; also, for a considerable period of time, there will remain some men upon heights on Earth, before they are allowed to leave Earth and permitted to ascend to Heaven.

Related Posts: Fuel of Hell: Humans & Stones || Until the Camel passes through the Eye of the Needle  

Cycles of Creation

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 21:104, Translator: Sahih International] The Day when We will fold the heaven like the folding of a [written] sheet for the records. As We began the first creation, We will repeat it. [That is] a promise binding upon Us. Indeed, We will do it.

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 11:107-108, Translator: Sahih International] [They will be] abiding therein as long as the heavens and the earth endure, except what your Lord should will. Indeed, your Lord is an effecter of what He intends. And as for those who were [destined to be] prosperous, they will be in Paradise, abiding therein as long as the heavens and the earth endure, except what your Lord should will - a bestowal uninterrupted.  

Primary and Secondary Phases of Creation   

It appears that the primary phase of creation was the six days of creation. After that, the governance (commands, decrees, laws) began in the secondary phase, which precedes that Big Bang (if that model is considered the most likely description of the beginning of our Universe):   

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 41:9-12, Translator: Sahih International] Say, "Do you indeed disbelieve in He who created the earth in two days and attribute to Him equals? That is the Lord of the worlds.” And He placed on the earth firmly set mountains over its surface, and He blessed it and determined therein its [creatures'] sustenance in four days without distinction - for [the information] of those who ask. Then He directed Himself to the heaven while it was smoke and said to it and to the earth, "Come [into being], willingly or by compulsion." They said, "We have come willingly.” And He completed them as seven heavens within two days and inspired in each heaven its command. And We adorned the nearest heaven with lamps and as protection. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing. 

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 79:27-33, Translator: Shakir] Are you the harder to create or the heaven? He made it. He raised high its height, then put it into a right good state. And He made dark its night and brought out its light. And the earth, He expanded it after thatHe brought forth from it its water and its pasturage. And the mountains, He made them firm, A provision for you and for your cattle. 

Purpose of Creation

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 11:7, Translator: Sahih International] And it is He who created the heavens and the earth in six days - and His Throne had been upon water - that He might test you as to which of you is best in deed. But if you say, "Indeed, you are resurrected after death," those who disbelieve will surely say, "This is not but obvious magic.” 

Creation of Human

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 95:4-5, Translator: Sahih International] We have certainly created man in the best of stature; Then We return him to the lowest of the low

Considering the Earth is in the centre of the seven concentric heavens, then we humans are indeed, literally, in the lowest of the low. 

Moreover, we have also become biologically ‘lowest of the low’ since we lost our natural clothing, a rare condition even among the creatures on this planet. Details of this are in a series of posts: Mission of the Messengers

Another Creation  

Destruction & Re-creation of the Heaven [singular]:  
[Al-Qur’an Chapter 21:104, Translator: Sahih International] The Day when We will fold the heaven like the folding of a [written] sheet for the records. As We began the first creation, We will repeat it. [That is] a promise binding upon Us. Indeed, We will do it.

Destruction & Re-creation of the Heavens [plural]:
[Al-Qur’an Chapter 39:67, Translator: Sahih International] They have not appraised Allah with true appraisal, while the earth entirely will be [within] His grip on the Day of Resurrection, and the heavens will be folded in His right hand. Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him.

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 14:48, Translator: Sahih International] [It will be] on the Day the earth will be replaced by another earth, and the heavens [as well], and all creatures will come out before Allah , the One, the Prevailing.  

Edge of the Hell    

[Al-Qur’an 19:68-72, translator: Sahih International] So by your Lord, We will surely gather them and the devils; then We will bring them to be present around Hell upon their knees. Then We will surely extract from every sect those of them who were worst against the Most Merciful in insolence. Then, surely it is We who are most knowing of those most worthy of burning therein. And there is none of you except he will come to it. This is upon your Lord an inevitability decreed. Then We will save those who feared Allah and leave the wrongdoers within it, on their knees. 

[Al-Qur’an 15:41-44, translator: Sahih International] [Allah] said, "This is a path [of return] to Me [that is] straight. Indeed, My servants - no authority will you have over them, except those who follow you of the deviators. And indeed, Hell is the promised place for them all. It has seven gates; for every gate is of them a portion designated.”  

Travel through Space   

[Al-Qur’an 57:12-13, translator: Sahih International] On the Day you see the believing men and believing women, their light proceeding before them and on their right, [it will be said], "Your good tidings today are [of] gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein you will abide eternally." That is what is the great attainment. On the [same] Day the hypocrite men and hypocrite women will say to those who believed, "Wait for us that we may acquire some of your light." It will be said, "Go back behind you and seek light." And a wall will be placed between them with a door, its interior containing mercy, but on the outside of it is torment

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 15:14, Translator: Sahih International] And [even] if We opened to them a gate from the heaven and they continued therein to ascend, 

[Al-Qur’an 70:3 Translator: Shakir] From Allah, the Lord of the ways of Ascent. To Him ascend the angels and the Spirit in a day the measure of which is fifty thousand years. 

Size of the Garden 

The reward will vary in accordance with the quality of faith and actions of each individual, as indicated in the size of the gardens mentioned in 57:21 and 3:133, and as stated in 8:4 below. For those who believe and seek forgiveness for their sins, God will grace them with a garden as extensive as heaven [singular] and the earth, while those who also keep their duty to God, the pious, the reward will be greater: as extensive as the heavens [plural] and the earth. 

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 57:21, Translator: Shakir] Hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and to a garden the extensiveness of which is as the extensiveness of the heaven and the earth; it is prepared for those who believe in Allah and His messengers; that is the grace of Allah: He gives it to whom He pleases, and Allah is the Lord of mighty grace.

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 3:133, Translator: Shakir] And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord; and a Garden, the extensiveness of which is (as) the heavens and the earth, it is prepared for those who guard (against evil)

[Al-Qur’an Chapter 8:4, Translator: Shakir] These are the believers in truth; they shall have from their Lord exalted grades and forgiveness and an honorable sustenance.

Some Interesting Statistics from the Qur’an

The Qur’an mentions creation in several places. Following are some interesting statistics: 

Count of occurrence in Qur’an Fact stated in Qur’an Ayat # 
7 ayaat mention 6 days of creation 7 heavens and earth were created in 6 days  7:54, 10:3, 11:7, 25:59, 32:4, 50:38, 57:4 
ayaat mention both heaven and heavens creation was done in 6 days 2:29, 2:164, 27:60, 31:10, 41:12, 57:4
2 ayaat mention both heaven and 7 heavens heaven was divided into 7 heavens in 2 days 2:29, 41:12
ayaat mention 7 heavens the heaven is divided into 7 heavens  2:29, 17:44, 23:86, 41:12, 65:12, 67:3, 71:15 
1 ayat mentions 7 heavens and of earth a similar number the earth is mentioned in singular and always as a proper noun throughout the Quran  65:12
ayat states size of garden equivalent to heaven and earth for those who believe and hasten to seek forgiveness 57:21
1 ayat states size of garden equivalent to heavens and earth for those who are pious [keep their duty]  3:133

References: 

The Quran: 


Science: 

Cosmology Narratives: 

2 comments:

  1. Salaam, thank you for everything you are doing. it is verily a great service to Islam and humanity! You work is inspirational and keeps me going :) I wish I can meet you in person one day :)

    Duas,

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    Replies
    1. Alhamdolillah, it is purely the Grace of Allah that He lets me study His Message and share my learnings.
      Thank you

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