by Nazir Noor Mahomed
September 1 , 2010
The light of the sun is due to a chemical process on its surface that has been taking place continuously for the past five billion years. It will come to an end at some point of time in the future, when the sun will be
totally extinguished, leading to extinction of all life on earth. Regarding the impermanence of the sun’s existence, the Qur’an says:
“And the Sun runs its course for a period determined for it; that is the decree of (Him) the exalted in Might, the All-Knowing.” [Al-Qur’an 36:38]
The Arabic word used here is mustaqarr, which means a place or time that is determined. Thus the Qur’an says that the sun runs towards a determined place, and will do so only up to a pre-determined period of time – meaning that it will end or extinguish.
2.7) INTERSTELLAR MATTER
Space outside organized astronomical systems was earlier assumed to be a vacuum. Astrophysicists later discovered the presence of bridges of matter in this interstellar space. These bridges of matter are called
plasma, and consist of completely ionized gas containing equal number of free electrons and positive ions. Plasma is sometimes called the fourth state of matter (besides the three known states viz. Solid, liquid and
gas). The Qur’an refers to the presence of this interstellar material in the following verse:
“He Who created the heavens and the earth and all that is between.”
It would be ridiculous for anyone to even suggest that the presence of interstellar galactic material was known 1400 years ago!
2.8) THE EXPANDING UNIVERSE
In 1925, American astronomer Edwin Hubble, provided observational evidence that all galaxies are moving away from one another, which implies that the universe is expanding. The expansion of the universe is now an established scientific fact. This is what the Qur’an says regarding the nature of the universe:
“With power and skill did We construct the Firmament: For it is We Who create the vastness of Space.” [Al-Qur’an 51:47]
The Arabic word musioon is correctly translated as ‘expanding it’, and it refers to the creation of the expanding vastness of the universe. One of the greatest astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, in his book, ‘A Brief History of Time’,says, “The discovery that the universe is expanding was one of the great intellectual revolutions of the 20th century.
” The Qur’an mentioned the expansion of the universe, before man even learnt to build a telescope! Some may say that the presence of astronomical facts in the Qur’an is not surprising since the Arabs were advanced in the field of astronomy. They are correct in acknowledging the advancement of the Arabs in the field of astronomy. However they fail to realize that the Qur’an was revealed centuries before the Arabs excelled in astronomy. Moreover many of the scientific facts mentioned
above, such as the origin of the universe with a Big Bang, were not known to the Arabs even at the peak of their scientific advancement. The scientific facts mentioned in the Qur’an are therefore not due to the Arabs’ advancement in astronomy. Indeed, the reverse is true: they advanced in astronomy, because astronomy occupies a place in the Qur’an.
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