Thursday 6 April 2023

Qur'an mentions the Theory of Big Bang and formation of every living being with water

The unabated discussion of Qur'an being written by a man called Muhammad ﷺ who claimed to be the prophet of God continues in the quarters of people who do not want to accept the reality of Islam being a Divine religion and Muhammad ﷺ being the last prophet. This notion normally occurs among those who have not read the Qur'an and have relied their mindset on hearsay. However, those who took the pains of reading Qur'an with understanding not only reverted to Islam but also acknowledged that every word of Qur'an has a deep-rooted meaning which could not have been written by a man, and that too more than 1400 years ago when the people did not much as they know now.

There are many verses in Qur'an that can be presented as a proof for Qur'an being a Divine Scripture as were the Psalms, Torah and Bible. We will in due course share all these verses for the benefit of those who doubt the authenticity of Qur'an as a Divine Scripture. For now, we share the 30th verse of Surah 21. Al Anbiyaa (The Prophets) which points towards the Theory of Big Bang, a theory which just surfaced in the 1900s, five hundred years after the revelation of Qur'an. The verse in question talks of two things which were alien to people of the world at the time of the revelation of Qur'an: The Theory of Big Bang, and formation of every living being with water. 

اَوَلَمۡ يَرَ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡۤا اَنَّ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضَ كَانَـتَا رَتۡقًا فَفَتَقۡنٰهُمَا​ ؕ وَجَعَلۡنَا مِنَ الۡمَآءِ كُلَّ شَىۡءٍ حَىٍّ​ ؕ اَفَلَا يُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ‏ 
(21:30) Did the unbelievers (who do not accept the teaching of the Prophet) not realize that the heavens and the earth were one solid mass, then We tore them apart, and We made every living being out of water? Will they, then, not believe (that We created all this)?

Linguistic Analysis of the aforesaid verse:
The word ‘ratq’ translated as ‘sewn to’ means ‘mixed in each, blended’ in Arabic. It is used to refer to two different substances that make up a whole. The phrase ‘fataqa’ is ‘unstitched’ and implies that something comes into being by tearing apart or destroying the structure of things that are sewn to one another. In the verse, heaven and earth are at first subject to the status of ‘ratq.’ They are separated [fataqa] with one coming out of the other. Intriguingly, when we think about the first moments of the ‘Big Bang’ we see that the entire matter of the universe collected at one single point. In other words, everything including ‘the heavens and earth’ which were not created yet were in an interwoven and inseparable condition. Then, this point exploded violently, causing its matter to disunite.

Explanation as given in Tafsir Qur'an Wiki: The ‘Big Bang Theory’  
The enormously vast universe has been the object of curiosity since time immemorial. Greek philosophers, including Aristotle, believed that the Universe had always existed and would continue to do so eternally. This was also the mainstream view in scientific circles at the beginning of the 20th century, aptly known as the ‘steady state theory’. An eternal state of the universe meant that there was no inherent need for a Creator – for what does not have a beginning does not necessitate a need for a cause. However, advancements in science would shatter this view and fundamentally prove that the Universe had a beginning.

In 1922, physicist Alexander Friedmann, produced computations showing that the structure of the universe was not static and that even a tiny impulse might be sufficient to cause the whole structure to expand or contract according to Einstein’s ‘Theory of General Relativity’. George Lemaitre was the first to recognise the implications of what Friedmann concluded. Lemaitre formulated that the universe had begun in a cataclysmic explosion of a small, primeval atom. He also proposed that the amount of cosmic radiation are the leftover remnants of the initial “explosion.”

The theoretical musings of these two scientists did not attract much attention and probably would have been ignored except for new observational evidence that rocked the scientific world in 1929. That year, American astronomer Edwin Hubble, made one of the most important discoveries in the history of astronomy. He discovered that galaxies were moving away from us at speeds directly relative to their distance from us and from each other. A universe where everything constantly moves away from everything else implied a constantly expanding universe. Stephen Hawking writes, ‘The expansion of the universe was one of the most important intellectual discoveries of the 20th century, or of any century.’  Since the universe is constantly expanding, were we to rewind a film [of its history], then necessarily we would find the entire universe was in a joint state, referred to by some as the ‘Primordial Atom’. Many scientists and philosophers resisted the idea of a beginning to the universe because of the many questions that it raised – primarily what or who caused it. However, with Penzias and Wilson’s discovery of microwave radiation emanating from all directions, possessing the same physical characteristics - namely petrified light which came from a huge explosion during the first seconds after the birth of the universe – left little doubt about the fact that the universe had a beginning.

For fourteen hundred years, since the revelation of the Qur’ān, sceptics had trouble understanding the verse, ‘...the heavens and the earth were a joined entity and We separated them...’ [21:30]. However, with the assistance of scientific advancements, we can now understand these verses in a new light which helps us piece together the cosmological puzzle. The miraculous nature of the Qur’ān lies in the knowledge it contains. Its verification of scientific facts shows that its message is as applicable to the scientist in his laboratory today as it was to the Bedouin in the desert.

Origin of Life in Water
The origin of life is now such a basic scientific fact that it is accepted without hesitation. This could lessen one’s appreciation for these verses. Yet it must be borne in mind that the Arabian Peninsula is a desert land without a single lake or river, these verses describe something unimaginable to those at the time of the Prophet Muhammad.

The verse is categorical and states a universal reality – that the source of all ‘life’ and everything ‘living’ is water. Water is the main element of all living organisms. It has been proved that the percentage of water in a human body is 71% in an adult and 93% in an embryo that is a few months old. All vital actions and processes like nutrition, excretion, growth and reproduction cannot be undertaken without water: photosynthesis, the exchange of solutions between cells due to the capillarity of aquatic solutions as they pass through the cell wall [osmosis] and the building of new cells and tissues that help growth and reproduction. The absence of water equates ‘death’ of every living organism.

Scientists, having studied millions of life forms that live in innumerable ecosystems globally, conclude that for any ‘living’ organism to exist, water must be present. Even astronomers, investigating the existence of life forms on other planets, seek the presence of water when considering the possibility of life on that planet.

Explanatory Note
The Qur’ān may refer to some universal facts, like the one stated here: “The heaven and the earth were once one single entity, which We then parted asunder.” We accept this as an absolute certainty simply because it is stated in the Qur’ān. We certainly do not know how the heavens and the earth were parted, or ripped one from the other. We accept astronomical theories which are not in conflict with this general fact mentioned in the Qur’ān. What we will not do however is take up the Qur’ānic text and try to fit it to any astronomical theory. We do not seek an endorsement of the Qur’ān through human theories, because the Qur’ān states only what is certain. The most we can say is that the astronomical theory accepted today is not in conflict with the general import of this Qur’ānic statement revealed many generations prior to it.

The next sentence of the verse states “We have made out of water every living thing.” This short sentence states a great and crucial fact. Indeed, scientists shower praise on Darwin for having identified that water was the first environment where life began.

It is indeed a fact that should capture all our attention. That it is mentioned in the Qur’ān neither fills us with wonder nor increases our belief in the truth of the Qur’ān. Our belief in the absolute truth of everything it states is based on our unshakeable belief that it is God’s revelation, not on its being confirmed by scientific discoveries or theories. The most that can be said here is that on this particular point, Darwin’s evolutionary theory is not in conflict with what the Qur’ān states.

For fourteen centuries, the Qur’ān has drawn the attention of unbelievers to the great marvels God has placed in the universe, wondering how they could deny what they see everywhere: “Will they not, then, believe?” How could they persist in their disbelief when everything around them in this universe inevitably leads to faith in God, the Creator, the Wise who conducts all affairs?

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
It is, as a rule, futile to make an explanation of the Qur'an dependent on "scientific findings" which may appear true today, but may equally well be disproved tomorrow by new findings. Nevertheless, the above unmistakable reference to the unitary origin of the universe - metonymically described in the Qur'an as "the heavens and the earth" - strikingly anticipates the view of almost all modern astrophysicists that this universe has originated as one entity from one single element, namely, hydrogen, which became subsequently consolidated through gravity and then separated into individual nebulae, galaxies and solar systems, with further individual parts progressively breaking away to form new entities in the shape of stars, planets and the latters' satellites. 

(Regarding the Qur'anic reference to the phenomenon described by the term "expanding universe", see 51:47 as given below.)
AND IT IS We who have built the universe with [Our creative] power; and, verily, it is We who are steadily expanding it.
The statement that God "made out of water every living thing" expresses most concisely a truth that is nowadays universally accepted by science. It has a threefold meaning: (1) Water - and, specifically, the sea - was the environment within which the prototype of all living matter originated; (2) among all the innumerable - existing or conceivable - liquids, only water has the peculiar properties necessary for the emergence and development of life; and (3) the protoplasm, which is the physical basis of every living cell - whether in plants or in animals - and represents the only form of matter in which the phenomenon of life are manifested, consists overwhelmingly of water and is, thus, utterly dependent on it. Read together with the preceding statement, which alludes to the unitary origin of the physical universe, the emergence of life from and within an equally unitary element points to the existence of a unitary plan underlying all creation and, hence, to the existence and oneness of the Creator. This accent on the oneness of God and the unity of His creation is taken up again in verse {92} of the same chapter.

Now you may listen to the following short clipped video to explanation of the aforesaid Ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Zakir A Naik:
This verse is one of the leading early information of the theory of Big Bang and that every living being is made of water. Could any person fourteen centuries ago know this? Those doubting the Qur'an being a man written scripture may like to ponder upon and try to have a second thought of their prejudiced approach toward Islam.

Those who claim that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ "wrote" the Qur'an by taking excerpts from other Divine Scriptures when he used to go out with his trade caravans and getting to extract Divine knowledge from people of other religions. If that we so, does this mention of finger prints exist in any other scripture. Or for instance the mention of Big Bang Theory, Formation of all living being with water or the separation of the seas? And how could Muhammad ﷺ know that iron is an alien body that came from outer space?

We have already written posts on things said in Qur'an the meaning of which people of the time did not know for their knowledge was too limited to interpret the Divine Wisdom. It is only recently been validated by scientific discoveries. Only God could know of these things Who actually made these to happen, far beyond the comprehension of human mind and that too centuries before advent of modern-day science. 

Please read our earlier posts for details of Divine Revelations in the Qur'an, validated by Scientific Discoveries:
Let us start calling a spade a spade and do not contest Qur'an but start to read it objectively, correlating with latest scientific developments and start to agree that Qur'an is a word of God and no human being can ever write a single line worth that of the Qur'an.
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Divine Revelations in Qur'an validated by Scientific DiscoveriesYou may also refer to our Reference Pages and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2

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