[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, January 15, 2015

Thunderbolts

Related Post: 
Abstract
The thunderbolt symbol and a thunder deity as the head of the pantheon appears across many mythologies. In the Quran, the usage of the thunderbolt is mentioned, and that some criminal civilisations were destroyed with it. The Bible and the Quran mention two events where offering to God is consumed by a ‘fire from the sky’ as a sign of acceptance. 

According to statistics, lightning strikes the ground 100 times each second, or 8 million times a day. According to the Electric Universe theory of the cosmos, everything is connected in a web of electric current in plasma form.  

This Study is an effort to put together and explore if there are any similarities and/or a common basis to the various myths and beliefs. 



Full Text 
وَيُسَبِّحُ الرَّعْدُ بِحَمْدِهِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ مِنْ خِيفَتِهِ وَيُرْسِلُ الصَّوَاعِقَ فَيُصِيبُ بِهَا مَن يَشَاءُ وَهُمْ يُجَادِلُونَ فِي اللَّهِ وَهُوَ شَدِيدُ الْمِحَالِ

[Al-Qur’an 13:13, Translator: Sahih International] And the thunder exalts [Allah] with praise of Him - and the angels [as well] from fear of Him - and He sends thunderbolts and strikes therewith whom He wills while they dispute about Allah ; and He is severe in assault. 

[Al-Qur’an 41:13, Translator: Sahih International] But if they turn away, then say, "I have warned you of a thunderbolt like the thunderbolt [that struck] 'Aad and Thamud.

Similarly, the people of Madyan were punished: 
[Al-Qur’an 11:95, Translator: Sahih International] As if they had never prospered therein. Then, away with Madyan as Thamud was taken away.

Science of Lightning and Thunder 

Frequency of Lightning on Earth   

The Electric Universe Theory 
The Electric Universe (EU) theory is an alternate to the current theories of cosmology based upon the force of gravity and a vacuum space. Proponents of the Electric Universe theory of the cosmos claim that space contains plasma, and everything is connected in a web of electric current: ‘Electric currents in plasma form filaments that attract each other at long distances and repel each other at short distances. These filaments tend to braid themselves into "ropes" that act as power transmission lines, with virtually no limit to the distances over which they can operate. In the rarefied plasma of space, the subtle flow of electricity is not easily measured, but these currents leave a definitive signature—a network of magnetic fields throughout the observed universe. Astronomers detect these fields but give no attention to the electric cause: magnetic fields are produced only by electricity. The complex magnetic fields we observe are evidence that plasma is carrying electrical energy across galactic and intergalactic space, powering secondary systems, including galaxies, stars, and planets. Exceedingly subtle charge imbalances, across the immense volume of space, are quite sufficient to configure and animate cosmic structures at all scales of observation. The reason for this power of electricity is very simple: the electric force is 10^39 times (a thousand billion, billion, billion, billion times) more powerful than gravity. Contrary to popular belief nature does not rely on the trivially weak force of gravity to do the “really big jobs” in the cosmos.’

They cite the work of Plasma scientist Anthony Peratt with particular reference to his book: The Physics of the Plasma Universe

The Ancient Sky
It is quite possible that the sky witnessed by the ancients was very different from what we see today, filled with spectacular phenomenon. In Thunderbolts of the Gods, in the Introduction to the book, they write: ‘ Ancient sky worshippers witnessed these celestial wonders, and far-flung cultures recorded the events in the great myths, symbols, and ritual practices of antiquity.’ 
The authors radically re-interpret and comment on the universal recordings of plasma formations in stone: ‘Formations now known to be characteristic of electric discharge in plasma are the core images of the antique world, recorded on papyrus and stone, mirrored in the sacred symbols of the great religions, reenacted in mystery plays, and embodied in monumental construction on every habitable continent. Once recognized, the images leap from every ancient culture. The sky was once a theater of awe and terror: on this the ancient witnesses speak with one accord’. 

Mythology 

Offering consumed by Fire from the Sky
[Al-Qur’an 3:183, Translator: Sahih International] [They are] those who said, "Indeed, Allah has taken our promise not to believe any messenger until he brings us an offering which fire [from heaven] will consume." Say, "There have already come to you messengers before me with clear proofs and [even] that of which you speak. So why did you kill them, if you should be truthful?”

There are at least two stories in which a fire from the sky consumed the sacrifice that was acceptable to God. The sons of Adam [Al-Quran 5:27-32, Genesis 2:4] and then Prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal [Al-Quran 37:123-132, 1 Kings 18].  

[Al-Qur’an 5:27, Translator: Sahih International]  And recite to them the story of Adam's two sons, in truth, when they both offered a sacrifice [to Allah], and it was accepted from one of them but was not accepted from the other. Said [the latter], "I will surely kill you." Said [the former], "Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous [who fear Him]. 

[1 Kings 18:36-38 Good News Bible] At the hour of the afternoon sacrifice the prophet Elijah approached the altar and prayed, “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove now that you are the God of Israel and that I am your servant and have done all this at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so that this people will know that you, the Lord, are God, and that you are bringing them back to yourself.” The Lord sent fire down, and it burnt up the sacrifice, the wood, and the stones, scorched the earth and dried up the water in the trench.


The Sons of Adam 
[Al-Qur’an 5:27, Translator: Sahih International]  And recite to them the story of Adam's two sons, in truth, when they both offered a sacrifice [to Allah], and it was accepted from one of them but was not accepted from the other. Said [the latter], "I will surely kill you." Said [the former], "Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous [who fear Him]. 
… 
[Al-Qur’an 5:32, Translator: Sahih International]  Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.

Elijah and the prophets of Baal  
Elijah is a heroic figure of the jewish tradition. As per 1 Kings 18, Baal worship had become widespread during King Ahab’s reign, who built a temple to Baal and also introduced the image of goddess Asherah (1 Kings 16:29-34). Baal was the mythical god of thunder, rain and storm, and the son the the mythical god El, represented by the statue of a golden bull, introduced to the kingdom by a predecessor of King Ahab, King Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:25-33). (Worship of the golden calf is also related in the story of Moses and the Bani Israel.)
In the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18, the Prophets of Yahweh were being killed and Elijah was being hunted for:
10 By the living Lord, your God, I swear that the king has made a search for you in every country in the world. Whenever the ruler of a country reported that you were not in his country, Ahab would require that ruler to swear that you could not be found. 
13 Haven't you heard that when Jezebel was killing the prophets of the Lord I hid a hundred of them in caves, in two groups of fifty, and supplied them with food and water? 

Elijah confronted King Ahab and the false prophets, and the truth was decided through a fire from the sky: 
17 When Ahab saw him, he said, “So there you are — the worst troublemaker in Israel!” 
18 “I'm not the troublemaker,” Elijah answered. “You are — you and your father. You are disobeying the Lord's commands and worshipping the idols of Baal. 
19 Now order all the people of Israel to meet me at Mount Carmel. Bring along the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of the goddess Asherah who are supported by Queen Jezebel.” 
20 So Ahab summoned all the Israelites and the prophets of Baal to meet at Mount Carmel. 
21 Elijah went up to the people and said, “How much longer will it take you to make up your minds? If the Lord is God, worship him; but if Baal is God, worship him!” But the people didn't say a word. 
22 Then Elijah said, “I am the only prophet of the Lord still left, but there are 450 prophets of Baal
23 Bring two bulls; let the prophets of Baal take one, kill it, cut it in pieces, and put it on the wood — but don't light the fire. I will do the same with the other bull. 
24 Then let the prophets of Baal pray to their god, and I will pray to the Lord, and the one who answers by sending fire — he is God.” The people shouted their approval. 
25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Since there are so many of you, you take a bull and prepare it first. Pray to your god, but don't set fire to the wood.” 
26 They took the bull that was brought to them, prepared it, and prayed to Baal until noon. They shouted, “Answer us, Baal!” and kept dancing round the altar they had built. But no answer came. 
27 At noon Elijah started making fun of them: “Pray louder! He is a god! Maybe he is daydreaming or relieving himself, or perhaps he's gone on a journey! Or maybe he's sleeping, and you've got to wake him up!” 
28 So the prophets prayed louder and cut themselves with knives and daggers, according to their ritual, until blood flowed. 
29 They kept on ranting and raving until the middle of the afternoon; but no answer came, not a sound was heard. 
30 Then Elijah said to the people, “Come closer to me,” and they all gathered round him. He set about repairing the altar of the Lord which had been torn down. 
31 He took twelve stones, one for each of the twelve tribes named after the sons of Jacob, the man to whom the Lord had given the name Israel. 
32 With these stones he rebuilt the altar for the worship of the Lord. He dug a trench round it, large enough to hold almost fourteen litres of water. 
33 Then he placed the wood on the altar, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood. He said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the offering and the wood.” They did so, 
34 and he said, “Do it again” — and they did. “Do it once more,” he said — and they did. 
35 The water ran down round the altar and filled the trench. 
36 At the hour of the afternoon sacrifice the prophet Elijah approached the altar and prayed, “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove now that you are the God of Israel and that I am your servant and have done all this at your command
37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so that this people will know that you, the Lord, are God, and that you are bringing them back to yourself.” 
38 The Lord sent fire down, and it burnt up the sacrifice, the wood, and the stones, scorched the earth and dried up the water in the trench
39 When the people saw this, they threw themselves on the ground and exclaimed, “The Lord is God; the Lord alone is God!” 
40 Elijah ordered, “Seize the prophets of Baal; don't let any of them get away!” The people seized them all, and Elijah led them down to the River Kishon and killed them. 

Chapter 37 of the Qur'an briefly relates the event: 
وَإِنَّ إِلْيَاسَ لَمِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ 37:123
سَلَامٌ عَلَىٰ إِلْ يَاسِينَ 37:130

[Al-Qur’an 37:123-132, Translator: Sahih International] And indeed, Elias was from among the messengers, When he said to his people, "Will you not fear Allah ? Do you call upon Ba'l and leave the best of creators -  Allah , your Lord and the Lord of your first forefathers?” And they denied him, so indeed, they will be brought [for punishment], Except the chosen servants of Allah. And We left for him [favorable mention] among later generations: "Peace upon Elias.” Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good.  Indeed, he was of Our believing servants. 

Note: 37:130 sends peace on Ilyassin - variously translated:  http://islamawakened.com/quran/37/130/ 
I think the translation should be 'Family of Ilyas' as this historic event was a 'Mubahilla', that is, the people gathered to witness the decision of God - where truth was validated and falsehood exposed. The Quranic verse for Mubahilla is: 
[Al-Qur’an 3:61, Translator: Pickthal] And whoso disputeth with thee concerning him, after the knowledge which hath come unto thee, say (unto him): Come! We will summon our sons and your sons, and our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves, then we will pray humbly (to our Lord) and (solemnly) invoke the curse of Allah upon those who lie.



References: 

Facts & Statistics  

Scripture & Mythology 

Plasma Cosmology & Electric Universe Theory 

Last updated on: June 23, 2015

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