Chapter X

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The Quran & The Modern Inventions

Under the caption 'TEN THOUSAND MIRACLES OF THE CHIEF OF THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD (Sallallaho alaihi wasallem) IN THE QURAN', it has been stated that the scholars have extracted more than ten thousand miracles. But this number does not include the scientific facts which have been stated in the preceding pages. These facts were found to be true only in 19th or 20th century. Specifying of such scientific facts in the Quran by the blessed tongue of the Prophet, which the non-Muslim scholars had confirmed after about 1300 years of his advent, is his miracle.

The unbelievers denied these Quranic facts, but later the modern scientific development proved their authenticity. These facts doubtlessly confirm the prophet hood of Muhammad(Sallallaho alaihi wasallem), because no one could deem or dream of them in the 7th century. Now I shall Inshallah (God willing) concisely discuss as to what do the scientists speak of space around us? And what does the Quran take into account about it?

The scientists speaking of the space between the sky and the earth say, that it can't be determined by any scale. They have worked out a system of light years by which they measure the distance from earth to some of the stars. It has been found that the light travels 186,000 miles (1 miles= 8/5 km) per second and a light year consist of 5.8 million, million miles. The scientists say that the vastness of the space is so amazing that our planet Earth is a speck in proportion to the space around it. The unpredictable vast space with its innumerable celestial bodies tells us the greatness of its Marvelous Creator. The Quran speaking of this majestic creation said:

We have built the firmament with our hands (i.e. divine power) and it is We the enlarger of it. (51/47)

I have given almost the verbatim of Arabic transcription of the above verse. Few translators do not give the verbatim or literal translation and mostly they translate their own opinion. For the exegesis of the Quran, we always follow the explanation of the Prophet, and if no explanation from him is found we take into consideration the apparent meaning of he Arabic text. What I have attempted to confirm scientific facts following this principle, and never I diverted from it.

Here in the Arabic text 'Lamooseoon' means enlarger or expander. Enlarger of the firmament means the expansion of the universe. This confirm to our present scientific thought. Our universe is a state of expansion. The galaxies are receding into space. It is known, from some of the stars in the universe, the light has not reached to planet Earth as yet. Such is the vastness of space as indicated in the aforesaid verse.

The Quran said: Do they not look at the camels, how they are created? And the firmament how it is raised? And the hills how they are set up? And the earth how it is spread? (88/17-20)

Here the Quran has invited us to contemplate the four things, which we see in our every day life. The first is the camel known as the ship of the desert. He lives on dry and thorny shrubs, and can go without water for days. Its flesh is eaten, its milk is drunk, and its hair can be used in weaving. One of my friends told me that in a journey, a camel with 600 kilogram weight was pacing forth in a sandy desert, and it surpassed a horse. Certainly, the camel is a wonderful creation.

The second thing to be considered is the blue vault high above us. The people during the advent of the Quran were unaware of the unconceivable enormous altitude of the sky. They counted months on every new moon. They knew that the heat of the sun is the component part of the life. But they never knew that this heat is coming to them from hundreds of thousand miles. After the invention of the telescope, we could imagine how wonderfully the sky is raised high. And what an apparent unimaginable void of space is around us. This space goes far beyond the millions of the light years. We see its limit in the shape of the blue canopy over us. The Quran put a question mark on its height in the 7th century. After three years, we shall enter into the last decade of the 20th century. But the question mark on the enormous altitude of the firmament is still there. We have failed to fix the limit of the space, which seems finite. That is why our scientist says that the universe is expanding. Certainly, its Creator is the Enlarger of it.

The third and the fourth things offered for our meditation are the setting of the mountain and the wonderful surface of the earth, which is slightly pear shape (27) and at the same time looks leveled. I have already discussed the mountains and their importance in balancing and keeping the earth in its track. (See THE QURAN AND THE SCIENCE OF THE EARTH). Here particularly, the attention is invited to the crest of the earth. We know the interior of the earth is liquid (magma). By Allah's command, the upper surface was cooled down and changed into solid crust. The radius of the earth is 6000 kilometers. The crust hardly forms one percent of the radius. The solid surface approximates 30% of the sea level. "It is probably no accident that one wide spread level (of the earth) approximates (so less) to sea level, since the gradational process tends to reduce the continents fill up the neighboring seas." (Chambers Encyclopedia) This situation has been explained in the Quran saying:

See they not how We gradually reduce the land from its outlying border. (13/41)

It is established that sea floor is spreading as such the dry surface of the earth is gradually decreasing. Please see 'Sea Floor Spreading in Encyclopedia Britannica.

Is it no wonder that we are living over the hot burning magma? This magma is 60 kilometers below us. That is why the Quran sounded an amazing note on the surface of the earth and said:

And the Earth have We laid out, how gracious is the Spreader (thereof). (51/48)

If we look into the various stages of layout of the earth, and of its being globular then looking all the while a plain surface, we shall certainly praise its Maker. That is why Allah mentioning the lay out of the earth praised His Own Graciousness.

The following verse of the Quran gives us a fair idea of the vastness of the space around us:

He directeth the ordinance from the Heaven unto the earth; then it ascendeth unto Him in a Day, whereof the measure is A thousand years of that ye reckon. (32/5)

Ibn Kathir referring to Mujahid, Qatada and Dhohak writes, 'The descent of the angel may involve 500 years and his ascent 500 years, but he covers all this distance in a twinkling of an eye. It is therefore, said that from your reckoning it may be thousand years, but by Allah's direction the angels come down and ascend in a very short span of time.

The other verse says:

The angels and the Spirit ascend unto Him in a Day whereof the span of fifty thousand years. (70/4)

The commentators say that 'Spirit' stands for the angel Gabriel. They support their contention with the Quran:

On the Day when the angels and the Spirit stand arrayed. (78/38)

It may be noted that the Arabic word 'Ruh' (Spirit) is singular so it cannot give a plural meaning.

Ibn Abbas speaking about 'Spirit' says, He is the greatest of all angels in creation. "Further the Quran says:

The angels and the Spirit descend therein... (97/4)

The Quran uses the word Gabriel on many places. It also calls him the Spirit, and calls him the True Spirit. (26/193)

Imam Razi referring to Wahab and other commentators writes, 'The angel ascent to the places in a short while, whereof any one wants to ascent shall take fifty thousand years.'

Few say that by thousand and fifty thousand years only a very long span of time is meant. This is most probable otherwise, the Quran had not used the two different times for the ascent of the angels.

I have already referred Ibn Abbas when a man asked him about these two days of one thousand and fifty thousand years, he expressing the inability to explain these two days said that he disliked to utter anything about the Book of God which he did not know.

It is a reality that at the time of the revelation of the Quran everyone was unaware of the enormousness of the space between the earth and the sky. Therefore, the time span of one thousand and fifty thousand years could not be apprehended. These verses refer to the time and distance simultaneously. When the Quran mentioned a Day of thousand years, it meant the period of time or an age. Thus, we could know the six days of making the earth and the seven heavens were in six ages, as twenty-four hour's day the then did not exist. On the other hand the Quran referred to the direction of the affairs from the heaven to the earth, thus we learnt the time period in measuring the distance is intended.

However a distance of thousand years was quite novel to the Arabs at the time of the revelation. Should we call it a coincidence that now we are measuring the distance in the light years? No. Because when the Quran mentioned any facts, it is presumed that it is bound to occur. The time of the descent of the Quran was the time of scientific ignorance. With the advancement of the science, we measured these distance in years as was specified in the Quran with only addition of the word light with years.

Another very interesting point worth to be noted is that the Quran did not mention the distance between sky and the earth in hundred and thousands of miles but it stated in thousands of years. Thus, it positively pointed to the enormousness of the space, which was unknown in those pre-scientific days. This proves that the Quran is the Book of God, the Omniscient of all things and Muhammad Mustafa (sallallaho alaihi wasallem) is His Prophet who invoked the humanity to accept the truth and the perfect order with which he was sent.

27. This is latest discovery of the satellite age. The distance from the earth's centre to the North Pole being greater than the distance to the South Pole.