RECENT SCIENTIFIC FINDINGS AND THE QUR'AN

In the 88th verse of Surat al-Isra, Allah refers to the divine nature of the Qur’an: "Say: ‘If both men and jinn banded together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could never produce anything like it, even if they backed each other up.’" (Surat al-Isra: 88)

Allah sent the Qur’an to people fourteen centuries ago. Some facts that could only be discovered with the technology of the 20th century were stated in the Qur’an fourteen centuries ago. This plainly shows us that the Qur’an is one of the most important pieces of evidence that let us acknowledge Allah’s being.

In the Qur’an, there are many pieces of evidence that the Qur’an is from Allah and that mankind can never produce anything like it. One of these pieces of evidence is that the verses of the Qur’an exist in our universe:

In accordance with the verse "We will show them Our Signs on the horizon and within themselves until it is clear to them that it is the truth. Is it not enough for your Lord that He is a witness of everything?" (Surah Fussilat: 53), much of the information given in the Qur’an finds its correlate in the external world. For Allah has created everything in the universe and, therefore, possesses complete knowledge of it. He, also, has revealed the Qur’an. For this reason, a great deal of the information and analyses given in the Qur’an, will be seen and recognised by wise, conscientious believers who have  insight.

However, it should not be forgotten that the Qur’an is not a "book of science". The purpose of the revelation of the Qur’an is stated thus in the verses:

"Alif Lam Ra This is a Book We have sent down to you so that you can bring mankind from the darkness to the light, by the permission of their Lord, to the path of the Almighty, the Praiseworthy." (Surah Ibrahim: 1)

"…as guidance and a reminder for people of intelligence." (Surat Ghafir: 54)

In brief, Allah sends the Qur’an to believers as a guide. It explains to them how to be slaves of Allah and seek His good pleasure.


He Who created the seven heavens in layers. You will not find any flaw in the creation of the All-Merciful. Look again - do you see any gaps? Then look again and again. Your sight will return to you dazzled and exhausted!
(Surat al- Mulk: 3-4)

The Qur’an, however, also gives some basic information on certain subjects such as the creation of the universe, the birth of man, the structure of the atmosphere, and the balances in the heavens and on the earth. That these pieces of information are in harmony with the most recent findings of modern science is important in the sense that it again confirms that the Qur’an is "the Word of Allah". For according to the verse "Will they not ponder the Qur’an? If it had been from other than Allah, they would have found many inconsistencies in it" (Surat an-Nisa: 82), there is perfect harmony between the statements of the Qur’an and the external world.

In the following pages we will dwell on the extraordinary parallels between the pieces of information about the universe given by the Qur’an and science.
 

THE BIG BANG THEORY AND WHAT IT TEACHES

The questions of how the seamless universe originated, where it leads to, and how the laws maintaining its order and balance work have always been topics of interest.
The prevailing materialist opinion for some centuries until the early 20th century was that the universe had infinite dimensions, that it had existed since eternity, and that it would continue to exist forever. According to this view, called the "static universe model", the universe has neither a beginning nor an end.

Laying the groundwork for materialist philosophy, this view denied the existence of the Creator while it maintained that the universe is a constant, stable, and unchanging collection of matter. However, the 20th century’s developing science and technology demolished primitive concepts such as the static universe model. Today, on the brink of the 21st century, modern physics has come to the conclusion, with many experiments, observations and calculations, that the universe had a beginning and that it was created out of nothing and began with a big explosion.
In addition, it is maintained that the universe, contrary to the claims of materialists, is not stable and constant, but that it is in constant motion, change, and expansion. Today, these facts are admitted by the world of science. Now, let us look at how these very important facts are brought to light by the world of science.


THE EXPANSION OF THE UNIVERSE

In 1929, at the California Mount Wilson observatory, an American astronomer by the name of Edwin Hubble made one of the greatest discoveries in the history of astronomy. While he observed the stars with a giant telescope, he found out that the light emitted by them was shifted to the red end of the spectrum and that this shift was more pronounced the further a star was from the earth. This discovery had an electrifying effect on the world of science, because according to the recognised rules of physics, the spectra of light beams travelling towards the point of observation tend towards violet while the spectra of the light beams moving away from the point of observation tend towards red. Hubble’s observations showed that the light from stars tends towards red. This means that they are constantly moving away from us.

Before long, Hubble made another very important discovery: Stars and galaxies move away not only from us, but also from one another. The only conclusion that can be made about a universe where everything moves away from everything else is that the universe constantly "expands".

To better understand, the universe can be thought of as the surface of a balloon being blown up. Just as the points on the surface of a balloon move apart from each other as the balloon is inflated, so do the objects in space move apart from each other as the universe keeps expanding. In fact, this had been theoretically discovered even earlier. Albert Einstein, who is considered one of the most renowned scientists of the century, had originally concluded during his work on General Relativity that his equations showed that the universe could not be static. However, he artificially altered his equations by the addition of a ‘constant’ to produce a static model of the universe because that was the dominant idea of the time. Einstein was later to identify his act as "the greatest mistake of his career".

What importance, then, did the fact that the universe expands have to the existence of the universe?


Everything in the heavens and the earth glorifies Allah. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. The kingdom of the heavens and the earth belongs to Him. He gives life and causes to die. He has power over all things.
(Surat al- Hadid: 1-2)

The expansion of the universe implies that the universe would prove to have originated from a single point. Calculations show that this "single point" that harboured all the matter of the universe must have had "zero volume" and "infinite density". The universe had come about by the explosion of this single point with zero volume. This great explosion that marked the beginning of the universe was named the "Big Bang" and the theory took its name from that.
It has to be said that "zero volume" is a theoretical expression used for descriptive purposes. Science can define the concept of "nothingness", which is beyond the limits of human comprehension, only by expressing it as "a point with zero volume". In truth, "a point with no volume" means "nothingness". The universe has come into being from nothingness. In other words, it was created.

This great fact, which was discovered by modern physics only towards the end of this century, was announced to us in the Qur’an fourteen centuries ago:

He created the heavens and the earth (from nothing). (Surat al-An'am: 101)

When we compare the statement in the verse with the Big Bang theory, we see that there is a striking resemblance. However, the Big Bang was introduced as a scientific theory only in the 20th century.

The expansion of the universe is one of the most important pieces of evidence that the universe was created out of nothing. Although this was not discovered by science until the 20th century, Allah has informed us of this reality in the Qur’an revealed 1,400 years ago:

It is We Who have built the universe with (Our creative) power, and, verily, it is We Who are steadily expanding it. (Surat adh-Dhariyat: 47)

In 1948, George Gamov came up with another idea concerning the Big Bang. He stated that after the formation of the universe from a big explosion, a surplus of radiation, left over from this explosion, should have existed in the universe. Moreover, this radiation ought to be uniformly diffused across the universe.

This evidence which "ought to have existed" was soon to be found. In 1965, two researchers, by the name of Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, discovered these waves by chance. This radiation, called "cosmic background radiation", did not seem to radiate from a particular source but rather pervaded the whole of space. Thus, it was understood that the heat waves that were radiating uniformly from every direction in space were left over from the initial stages of the Big Bang. Penzias and Wilson were awarded a Nobel Prize for their discovery.

In 1989, NASA sent the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite into space to do research on cosmic background radiation. It took only eight minutes for the sensitive scanners on this satellite to confirm the measurements of Penzias and Wilson. COBE had found the remains of the big explosion that had taken place at the outset of the universe.

Another important piece of evidence for the Big Bang was the amount of hydrogen and helium in space. In the latest calculations, it was understood that the hydrogen-helium concentration in the universe agreed with the theoretical calculations of the hydrogen-helium concentration remaining from the Big Bang. If the universe had no beginning and if it had existed since eternity, its hydrogen should have been completely consumed and converted to helium.
All of this compelling evidence caused the Big Bang theory to be embraced by the scientific community. The Big Bang model was the latest point reached by cosmologists concerning the beginning and formation of the universe.

Defending the steady-state theory alongside Fred Hoyle for years, Dennis Sciama described the final position they had reached after all the evidence for the Big Bang theory was gathered. Sciama said that he had taken part in the heated debate between the defenders of the steady-state theory and those who tested that theory with the hope of refuting it. He added that he had defended the steady-state theory, not because he deemed it valid but because he wished that it were valid. Fred Hoyle stood out against all objections as evidence against this theory began to unfold. Sciama went on to say that he had first taken a stand along with Hoyle but as evidence began to pile up, he had to admit that the game was over and that the steady-state theory had to be dismissed.

Prof. George Abel from the University of California also said that currently available evidence shows that the universe originated billions of years ago with the Big Bang. He concedes that he has no choice but to accept the Big Bang theory.

With the Big Bang’s victory, the concept of "eternal matter" that constituted the basis of the materialist philosophy was thrown into the trash-heap of history. What, then, was before the Big Bang and what was the power that brought the universe into "being" with this big explosion when it was previously "non-existent"? This question certainly implies, in Arthur Eddington’s words, the "philosophically unfavourable" fact (unfavourable for the materialists), that is, the existence of the Creator. Renowned atheist philosopher Anthony Flew comments on the issue:
Notoriously, confession is good for the soul. I will therefore begin by confessing that the Stratonician atheist has to be embarrassed by the contemporary cosmological consensus. For it seems that the cosmologists are providing a scientific proof of what St. Thomas contended could not be proved philosophically; namely, that the universe had a beginning. So long as the universe can be comfortably thought of as being not only without end but also without beginning, it remains easy to urge that its brute existence, and whatever are found to be its most fundamental features, should be accepted as the explanatory ultimates. Although I believe that it remains still correct, it certainly is neither easy nor comfortable to maintain this position in the face of the Big Bang story.

Many scientists who are not blindly conditioned to be atheists have admitted the role of the almighty Creator in the creation of the universe. This Creator must be a being Who has created both matter and space/time, yet Who is independent of them. Well-known astrophysicist Hugh Ross has this to say:

If time’s beginning is concurrent with the beginning of the universe, as the space-theorem says, then the cause of the universe must be some entity operating in a time dimension completely independent of and pre-existent to the time dimension of the cosmos. This conclusion is powerfully important to our understanding of who God is and who or what God isn’t. It tells us that God is not the universe itself, nor is God contained within the universe.

Matter and space/time are created by the almighty Creator Who is independent of all these notions. This Creator is Allah Who is the Lord of the heavens and the earth.

Allah has let us know the scientific pieces of evidence of this in His Book, which He sent to us fourteen centuries ago as the manifest evidence of His being.
 

THE PERFECTION IN THE UNIVERSE

He Who created the seven heavens in layers. You will not find any flaw in the creation of the All-Merciful. Look again – do you see any gaps? Then look again and again. Your sight will return to you dazzled and exhausted! (Surat al-Mulk: 3-4)
Countless billions of stars and galaxies in the universe move in their separate orbits yet in total harmony. Stars, planets and satellites revolve both around their own axes and within the systems to which they belong. Furthermore, sometimes galaxies consisting of almost 200-300 billions stars flow through each other. During this transition in some of the very famous examples observed by astronomers, no collisions occur to cause havoc in the great order in the universe.

Across the universe, the magnitude of the velocities is difficult to comprehend when compared with our earthly standards. Magnitudes in space are enormous when compared with the measurements we employ on earth. Stars and planets, with masses of billions or trillions of tons, galaxies, and galaxy clusters, with sizes in numerical values that can only be represented numerically by mathematicians, move in space at tremendous velocities.

For instance, the earth rotates about its axis at a mean velocity of about 1,670 km an hour. When we remember that the fastest bullet has an average velocity of 1,800 km an hour, it becomes clear how fast the earth is moving despite its giant size.

The earth’s orbital velocity around the sun is about sixty times that of the bullet’s: 108,000 km an hour. (If it were possible to manufacture a vehicle that could move so fast, it would orbit the earth in twenty-two minutes.)


He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. How could He have a son when He has no wife? He created all things and He has knowledge of all things. That is Allah, your Lord. There is no god but Him, the Creator of everything. So worship Him. He is responsible for everything. Eyesight cannot perceive Him but He perceives eyesight. He is the All-Penetrating, the All-Aware. Clear insights have come to you from your Lord. Whoever sees clearly, does so to his own benefit. Whoever is blind, it is to his own detriment.
(Surat al-An'am: 101-104)

These figures, however, only relate to the earth. The solar system is even more amazing. The velocity of this system is at a level which pushes the limits of logic. In the universe, as systems increase in size, velocities also increase. The solar system revolves around the centre of the galaxy at 720,000 km an hour. The velocity of the "Milky Way" itself, comprising some 200 billion stars, is 950,000 km an hour in space.

This overwhelming speed actually shows that our lives on the earth are lived on the knife-edge. Normally, it would be quite likely for huge accidents to occur in such a complex system. However, as Allah says in the verse, in this system is no "flaw" or "want of proportion". The universe, just as everything within it, is not left "on its own" and it operates according to the balance Allah has established.


ORBITS AND THE ROTATING UNIVERSE

One of the most important causes of the great balance in the universe is unquestionably that the heavenly bodies follow certain orbits or ‘spheres’. Though unknown until recently, these orbits are emphasised in the Qur’an:

It is He Who created night and day and the sun and moon, each one swimming in an orbit. (Surat al-Anbiya: 33)

Stars, planets and satellites revolve both around their own axes and within the systems to which they belong, and the larger universe works in a subtle order just like the gears of a machine.

The orbits in the universe are not confined to the motions of certain celestial bodies. Our solar system and the galaxies have a great activity around other centres as well. Each year, the earth and the Solar system move 500 million kilometres away from their location of the previous year. It has been computed that even a minor deviation of the celestial bodies from their orbits would lead to results that would turn the system upside down. For instance, let us look at what a 3 millimetre deviation above or below the normal in the world’s orbit would cause:

"While rotating around the sun, the earth follows such an orbit that, every 18 miles, it only deviates 2.8 millimetres from a direct course. The orbit followed by the earth never changes, because even a deviation of 3 millimetres would cause catastrophic disasters: if the deviation were 2.5 mm instead of 2.8 mm, then the orbit would be very large, and all of us would freeze. If the deviation were 3.1 mm, we would be scorched to death." (Bilim ve Teknik, July 1983)


THE SUN

Being 150 million km away from the earth, the sun uninterruptedly provides us with our required energy.

In this celestial body with its huge energies, hydrogen atoms are continuously converted into helium. Each second, 616 million tons of hydrogen is converted to 612 million tons of helium. During that, the energy released is equivalent to the explosion of 500 million hydrogen bombs.

Life on earth is made possible by the energy from the sun. The permanence of the balance on earth and 99% of the energy needed for life are provided by the sun. Half of this energy is visible and comes in the form of light. The rest of the energy is in the form of ultraviolet rays, which are invisible, and in the form of heat.
Another feature of the sun is its dilating itself periodically like a bell. This is repeated every five minutes and the surface of the sun moves 3 km closer to the earth and further away from it at a speed of 1,080 km per hour.

The sun is only one of the 200 billion stars comprising the Milky Way. Although 325,500 times bigger than the earth, it is considered one of the small stars in the universe. It is at a distance of 30 thousand light years from the centre of the Milky Way, which has a diameter of 125 thousand light years. (1 light year = 9,460,800,000,000 km.)

THE JOURNEY OF THE SUN

And the sun runs to its resting place. That is the decree of the Almighty, the All-Knowing. (Surah Yasin: 38)

According to the calculations of astronomers, the sun, due to the activity of our galaxy, travels at a speed of 720,000 km per hour towards the Solar Apex, a place on the celestial sphere close to the star Vega. (This means that approximately, it travels a distance of 720,000x24=17,280,000 km a day, as does our earth which is dependent on it.)


SEVEN LAYERS OF HEAVENS

''It is Allah Who created the seven heavens and of the earth the same number.'' (Surat at-Talaq: 12)

Throughout the Qur’an, Allah mentions the seven heavens or skies. When we examine the composition of the earth's atmosphere, we find that it is made up of seven layers. In the atmosphere, interfaces divide the layers from one another. According to Encyclopaedia Americana (9/188), the following layers are one on top of another depending on temperature:

1st Layer TROPOSPHERE: Its thickness reaches 8 km at the poles and 17 km at the equator. This layer contains a great amount of clouds. The temperature goes down 6.5º C a kilometre depending on altitude. In one part of it, called the tropopause, where there are fast air currents, the temperature stays constant at -57ºC.

2nd Layer STRATOSPHERE: It reaches an altitude of 50 km. Here, ultraviolet light is absorbed causing heat to be released and the temperature to rise to 0ºC. During this absorption, the ozone layer, which has vital importance for the earth, is formed.

3rd Layer MESOSPHERE: Its altitude reaches up to 85 km. Here, the temperature drops to -100º C.
4th Layer THERMOSPHERE: Temperature rises at a decelerating pace.

5th Layer IONOSPHERE: Gases in this region are found in ionic form. Because radio waves are reflected back by the ionosphere, communication on earth becomes possible.

6th Layer EXOSPHERE: Being between 500 km and 1000 km, the characteristics of this layer change according to the activities of the sun.

7th Layer MAGNETOSPHERE: This is the area in which the earth's magnetic field lies and which looks like a great void. Energetically charged subatomic particles are retained in regions called the Van Allen radiation belts.


THE MOUNTAINS PREVENTING THE EARTHQUAKES

It is Allah Who created the heavens with no support – you can see them – and cast firmly embedded mountains on the earth so that it would not move under you, and scattered about in it creatures of every kind. (Surah Luqman: 10)

Have We not made the earth a flat carpet and the mountains its pegs? (Surat an-Naba: 6-7)

The information obtained by geological investigation of mountains is in full accord with the verses of the Qur'an. One of the most significant characteristics of mountains is their rising at the conjunction points of the earth’s plates, which are closely pressed together as they draw close to one another, and their "fixing" them. Having this attribute, mountains may be likened to nails that keep wood pieces together.

In addition to this, the pressure exerted by mountains on the earth's crust prevents the impact of magma activity at the centre of the earth from reaching the earth's surface and thus crushing the earth's crust.

THE SEAS' NOT MINGLING WITH ONE ANOTHER


''He has let loose the two seas, converging together, with a barrier between them they do not break through.'' (Surat ar-Rahman: 19-20)

In the verse above, it is stressed that two bodies of water meet together, yet do not mingle with one another due to a barrier. How is this possible? Normally, what would be expected is that the waters of the two seas mingle with one another when they meet together and that the proportions of salts and the temperatures of each of them would tend to balance. The case, however, is different. For instant, although the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, and the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean physically meet together, their waters do not mingle with one another. The reason for this is a barrier between them. This barrier is a force known as the ''surface tension''.

THE TWO CODES IN IRON

Iron is one of the four most abundant elements in the world and for ages, it has been one of the most vital metals for mankind. The verse referring to iron is as follows:
"…And We sent down iron in which there lies great force and which has many uses for mankind." (Surat al-Hadid: 25)
This verse incorporates two very interesting mathematical codes.
"Al-Hadid" (Iron) is the 57th surah of the Qur’an. The numerical value (in the "Abjad" system of Arabic in which each letter has a numerical value) of the letters of the word "Al-Hadid" is the same: 57.

The numerical value (Abjad) of the word "Hadid" (iron) alone, without the definite article "al", is 26 and 26 is the atomic number of iron.