Posts Tagged ‘Astrophysics’

Remember when we were all in grade school and we were taught about space? Didn’t it sound amazing?

It sure did then… and sure does, even now. There are some crazy things going on in space that we are still discovering. With its seemingly endless landscape, space will always be something that we are studying. Here are some of the weirdest things we have seen while studying the sky.

1.) Massive Electric Currents

These currents have beens pied radiating from black holes. One has been spotted that is about 1.5 times the size of our whole Milky Way galaxy. That’s shocking!

2.) Pluto’s Ice

The temperature on the (former) planet Pluto is so low that the ice found on the planet is harder than most steel. You have the -390 degrees Fahrenheit to thank for that.

3.) Giant Stars

This is a comparison of our sun (which is massive by the way) to a newly discovered star called VY Canis Major (which is, how do I put it…much more massive). This star is so big that its collapse could have major implications for the entire universe.

4.) The Diamond Planet

This planet looks like it will be “forever.” Scientists recently happened upon a planet of diamond. Well, okay not the whole planet, but 1/3 of the planet is diamond which is good enough for me to deem it crazily interesting.

5.) Mercury’s Mickey

While scoping out what the planet Mercury is up to, scientists discovered a familiar Earthly site. It looks like there was a visitor to the planet, one Mr. Micky Mouse.

6.) Hypervelocity Stars

Shooting Stars aren’t actually stars. They are meteors shooting through the galaxy. BUT! There are such things as shooting stars. They travel millions of miles an hour and I hope we don’t come into contact with one any time soon.

7.) The Burning Ice Planet

This planet burns at 439 degrees Celsius, but the water molecules don’t melt or evaporate. They bone together to form what is known as, “hot ice.”

8.) A Giant Water Reservoir

This cloud is light years away but it holds roughly 140 trillion times the amount of water on Earth. Bring your swim trunks, kids!

9.) Dark Energy

Dark Energy accounts for 68% of the known universe and it is the catalyst for what is making the universe expand.

10.) Unicorns

The Trifid Nebula bares a resemblance to the mythical creature but in all actuality, it is not a unicorn. Sorry.

11.) An Almost Habitable Planet

This planet the was found near the planet of Burning Ice actually, doesn’t spin so it is uninhabitable on the side facing the its sun and the side away from its sun, but the areas in between are apparently habitable.

12.) A Giant Cloud

This is one of the largest known things, not just clouds, THINGS in the known universe. It is the Himiko Cloud and it is over half the size of our galaxy. I hope it doesn’t bring rain with it.

13.) A Cold Star

Most stars are known for being blazing hot, but this star that has been found is actually not as hot as YOU! That’s right, you are hotter than a star. Our body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, stars have been found that are only 89 degrees.

14.) The Large Quasar Goup

What is scary about this Large Quasar Group isn’t only its size (40x bigger than the Milky Way), it is that it breaks the laws of physics as we know it.

15.) Dark Matter

27% of the visible universe is the mysterious Dark Matter. Spooky right?

16.) Fast Moving Black Holes

These collapsed stars are hurling themselves through the universe eating up whatever matter or light they can. Not only do they move at speeds in the millions of miles per hour, but once they consume something, their direction changes. We could be on the verge of a catastrophic disaster and we wouldn’t even see it coming due to the unpredictable nature of these black holes.

Most of these facts are pretty far out… Literally. You may not not just what’s going on in space (and let’s face it, most scientists don’t, either). However, you should learn what you can! Share this post by clicking the button below – spread the space knowledge.


“No question is more sublime than why there is a universe: why there is anything rather than nothing.”[1]

When we reflect upon our own existence we will come to the realisation, that at some point in time, we began to exist. Since we were once non-existent and are now in existence, it follows that we must have had a beginning. In light of this, the Qur’an raises some profound questions: were we created by nothing? Did we create ourselves? Or did we create the universe?

“Or were they created by nothing? Or were they the creators (of themselves)? Or did they create heavens and earth? Rather, they are not certain.” Quran 52:35-36

These questions can be addressed to the existence of everything temporal, in other words the entire universe. Therefore, the exegetical implications of these verses can be logically formulated in the following way:

Things that began to exist were either:-

1. Created or brought into being from nothing
2. Self caused or self created
3. Created or brought into being by something else that began to exist
4. Created or brought into being by a non-created or un-caused entity

Before we proceed, the first presupposition has to be subtantiated, as it forms the basis for the Qur’an’s argument for the existence of God. This first assumption is that the universe began to exist.

Did the universe begin to exist?

To substantiate the view that the universe began to exist we can bring into our discussion a plethora of philosophical and inductive arguments:

1. The second law of thermodynamics
2. The absurdity of an infinite history of past events
3. Astrophysical evidence

1. The second law of thermodynamics

The concept of entropy was introduced to explain the direction of various processes that occur in the natural world. Entropy is a measure of how evenly energy is distributed in a system. For example, heat always flows from a body of a higher temperature or energy (low entropy) to one of a lower temperature or energy (high entropy). Take the following illustration of a container with gas,

when the partition is removed, the gas in one end of the container will spread to the whole of the container, going from a state of low entropy (higher temperature or energy) to high entropy (lower temperature or energy).

Hence, according to the second law of thermodynamics, processes in a closed system tend towards higher entropy, as their energy is being used.

Applying the second law of thermodynamics to the universe we will conclude that it must have began to exist. Since the universe is a closed system, with enough time the universe will suffer a heat death or thermodynamic equilibrium. When systems are in thermodynamic equilibrium, they cannot transfer energy. This is because entropy can only increase over time. Therefore, as the universe continues to expand it will eventually become cold and dead. However this raises a question, if the universe never began to exist it would imply that the universe has existed for an infinite amount of time. If this is true then why isn’t the universe already in a state of heat death? This strongly suggests that the universe must have had a beginning, because if it didn’t it would imply that it has existed for an infinite amount of time, which would mean that it should already have suffered a heat death. Since it hasn’t suffered a heat death, it strongly indicates that the universe is finite, meaning it began to exist.

2. The absurdity of an infinite history of past events

Some philosophers such as Bertrand Russell argued that the universe is eternal, meaning it has no beginning and it will never end. However if we think about this we will conclude that this position is irrational. If the universe never had a beginning it means there must be an infinite history of past events. Yet does an actual infinite exist in the real world? Is it possible?

The concept of the actual infinite cannot be exported into the real world, because it leads to contradictions and doesn’t make sense. Let’s take the following examples to illustrate this point:

1. Say you have an infinite number of balls, if I take 2 balls away, how many do you have left? Infinity. Does that make sense? Well, there should be two less than infinity, and if there is, then we should be able to count how many balls you have. But this is impossible, because the infinite is just an idea and doesn’t exist in the real world. In light of this fact the famous German mathematician David Hilbert said,

“The infinite is nowhere to be found in reality. It neither exists in nature nor provides a legitimate basis for rational thought…the role that remains for the infinite to play is solely that of an idea.”[2]

2. Imagine you are a soldier ready to fire a gun, but before you shoot you have to ask permission for the soldier behind you, but he has to do the same, and it goes on for infinity. Will you ever shoot? No you wouldn’t. This highlights, the absurdity of an infinite regress and this applies to events to. Therefore, there cannot be an infinite history of past events.

3. Take the distance between two points, one may argue that you can subdivide the distance into infinite parts, but you will always be subdividing and never actually reach the ‘infinitieth’ part! So in reality the infinite is potential and can never be actualised. Similarly the ancient Greek Philosopher Aristotle explained,

“…the infinite is potential, never actual: the number of parts that can be taken always surpasses any assigned number.”[3]

So if we refer back to an infinite history of past events we can conclude, since events are not just ideas they are real, the number of past events cannot be infinite. Therefore the universe must be finite, in other words the cosmos had a beginning.

3. Astrophysical evidence

The ‘Big Bang’ is the prevailing theory in cosmology. It was first formulated by the aid of some observations made by an American Astronomer called Edwin Hubble. While Hubble was trying to understand the size of the universe, he observed immensely luminous stars called Cepheid Variables and noticed something peculiar. He observed that some of these stars were further away than initially anticipated, and that their colour was slightly changed, shifting towards red, something now known as red-shift. From Hubble’s observations we were able conclude that everything seems to be moving away from each other, in other words the universe is effectively expanding. As time moves on the universe continues to expand, but if time is reversed, the theory is that everything starts to coalesce and come together. Coupled with the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation, which is the radiation uniformly filling the observable universe, the idea of the ‘Big Bang’ was born. In other words the universe began at a cataclysmic event which created space-time and all matter in the universe. The physicist P. C. W. Davies explains,

“If we extrapolate this prediction to its extreme, we reach a point when all distances in the universe have shrunk to zero. An initial cosmological singularity therefore forms a past temporal extremity to the universe. We cannot continue physical reasoning, or even the concept of spacetime, through such an extremity. For this reason most cosmologists think of the initial singularity as the beginning of the universe. On this view the big bang represents the creation event; the creation not only of all the matter and energy in the universe, but also of spacetime itself.”[4]

Although our understanding of what happened 10-43 seconds after the ‘Big Bang’ is highly speculative, astrophysicists now concede little doubt that this universe in which we live is the aftermath of the emergence and expansion of space-time, which occurred approximately 14 billion years ago. John Gribbin, an astrophysicist at Cambridge University, summarises the importance of ‘Big Bang’ cosmology,

“…the discovery of the century, in cosmology at least, was without doubt the dramatic discovery made by Hubble, and confirmed by Einstein’s equations, that the Universe is not eternal, static, and unchanging.”[5]

Thus the ‘Big Bang’ model describes our universe as having a beginning a finite time ago. As Alex Vilenkin, one of the world’s leading theoretical cosmologists, writes,

“It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.”[6]

Other models have been proposed to try and explain away the obvious metaphysical questions that arise from a finite universe, for instance P.C.W. Davies questions,

“What caused the big bang? . . . One might consider some supernatural force, some agency beyond space and time as being responsible for the big bang, or one might prefer to regard the big bang as an event without a cause. It seems to me that we don’t have too much choice. Either…something outside of the physical world…or…an event without a cause.”[7]

These models include the oscillating and vacuum fluctuation models. These models however still have principles that necessitate a beginning to the universe, in other words they are non-infinitely extendable into the past. Take the oscillating model as an example, this model maintains that if the gravitational pull of the mass of the universe was able to surmount the force of its expansion, then the expansion could be changed into a cosmic contraction or ‘Big Crunch’, and then into a new expansion, with the process continuing ad infinitum. However, there are a few issues with this model,

1. Firstly there is nothing available in modern physics that would allow a universe that is collapsing to spring back into a new expanding universe.

2. Secondly the mean mass density of the universe, derived from observational evidence, has shown that it is not enough to develop the required gravitational force to stop and reverse the expansion of the universe.

3. Thirdly, the second law of thermodynamics (as discussed above) implies the finitude of the universe. According to the oscillation model, the entropy is conserved from cycle to cycle of the various oscillations of expansion, crunch and expansion. This has the effect of generating larger and longer oscillations. Therefore the thermodynamic property of this model implies a beginning, as the universe that we exist in has not suffered a heat death, or thermodynamic equilibrium.

Since we have presented good evidence that the universe began to exist. We can now address the logically possible explanations the Qur’an presents as rationalisations of the origins of the universe.

Created or brought into being from nothing

We know the universe couldn’t have come out of nothing, because out of nothing, nothing comes! This is an undeniable philosophical principle, as P. J. Zwart in his publication About Time explains,

“If there is anything we find inconceivable it is that something could arise from nothing.”[8]

A significant point to raise here is that nothingness should not be misconstrued as the nothingness that some physicists talk about. The term nothingness in this context refers to the absence of anything physical, in other words there is no pre-existing ‘stuff’. In light of the beginning of the universe, there was absolutely nothing before it began to exist, which is why physicists have explained the universe as having a space-time boundary.

However, nothingness as defined by some physicists relates to the quantum vacuum. This is misleading because the quantum is something. In quantum theory the vacuum is a field of energy pervading the whole of the universe. In the word’s of John Polkinghorne, a philosopher of science, the quantum vacuum,

“…is not ‘nothing’; it is a structured and highly active entity.”[9]

So, in context of some of the physicists’ definition, the universe could not have come from absolutely nothing, as the quantum vacuum is something. It is a sea of fluctuating energy, which is still part of the cosmos and it did not pre-exist the universe. This point leads us nicely to the next possible explanation.

Self caused or self created

Philosophically, the universe couldn’t have created itself because that would imply a paradox. It would mean that something can exist and not exist at the same time. The logical ends of this explanation are tantamount to saying that your mother gave birth to herself!

Recently, the world renowned physicist, Stephen Hawking in his new book The Grand Design argues that the universe did self create due to the law of gravity,

“Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing…”[10]

But his view on nothing, as previously mentioned, is not really nothingness but is space filled with the quantum vacuum, which is part of the universe. In essence Hawking is telling us that the universe can create itself, but it has to already exist for it to do that!

Concerning the law of gravity, well that is just a mathematical equation that describes nature. This law is part of the universe, which can also be described as a force of attraction between material objects. Therefore, how can this force exist before matter, in other words the universe?

To assert that the universe created itself would be absurd and self refuting, because in order for something to create itself it would need to exist before it existed!

Created or brought into being by something else that began to exist

This is not an adequate explanation for the origins of the universe. The universe could not have owed its existence to another state of temporal physical existence. To maintain such an explanation would be equivalent of expanding the boundaries of the universe, as all things which have a temporal beginning exist within the universe. Also, if temporal physical existence owes itself to another temporal physical existence ad infinitum, it doesn’t explain anything. Rather it highlights the absurdity of an infinite regress, and that there has to be a beginning to the temporal physical states, which logically must be a non-physical state.

Take the following example into consideration. If the universe, U1, followed another temporal cause U2, and U2 followed another temporal cause U3, and this went on ad infinitum we wouldn’t have the universe U1 in the first place. Think about it this way, when does U1 come into being? Only after U2 has come into being. When does U2 come into being? Only after U3 has come into being. This same problem will continue even if we go to infinity. If U1 depended on its coming into being on a chain of infinite temporal causes, U1 would never exist. As the Islamic Philosopher and Scholar Dr. Jaafar Idris writes,

“There would be no series of actual causes, but only a series of non-existents, as Ibn Taymiyyah explained. The fact, however, is that there are existents around us; therefore, their ultimate cause must be something other than temporal causes.”[11]

Created or brought into being by a non-created or un-caused entity

Since something cannot come from nothing, and self creation is absurd, including the unreasonableness of the aforementioned explanation, then the universe being created or brought into existence by an uncaused entity is the best explanation. This concept is intuitive but also agrees with reality: whatever begins to exist has a cause or a creator.

This cause or creator must be uncaused due to the absurdity of an infinite regress, in other words an indefinite chain of causes. To illustrate this better, if the cause of the universe had a cause and that cause had a cause ad infinitum, then there wouldn’t be a universe to talk about in the first place (something we have already discussed above). For example, imagine if a Stock Trader on a trading floor at the Stock Exchange was not able to buy or sell his stocks or bonds before asking permission from the investor, and then this investor had to check with his, and this went on forever, would the Stock Trader every buy or sell his stocks or bonds? The answer is no. In similar light if we apply this to the universe we would have to posit an uncaused cause due to this rational necessity. The Qur’an confirms the uncreatedness of the creator, God,

“He neither begets nor is born.” Qur’an 112:3

The cause or creator for the universe must be a single cause for several reasons. An attractive argument to substantiate this claim includes the use of the rational principle called Occam’s razor. In philosophical terms the principle enjoins that we do not multiply entities beyond necessity. What this basically means is that we should stick to explanations that do not create more questions than it answers. In the context of the cause for the universe we have no evidence to claim multiplicity, in other words more than one. The Qur’an affirms the Oneness of the creator,

“Say: He is God, [who is] One.” Qur’an 112:1

However some philosophers and scientists claim: why doesn’t the cause be the universe itself? Why can’t the cause stop at the universe? Well, the problem with these claims is that they would imply that the universe created itself, which we have already discussed, is absurd. Additionally, we have good reasons to postulate a cause for the universe because the universe began to exist, and what begins to exist has a cause.

Our argument thus far allows us to conclude that this cause or creator must be non contingent meaning that its existence is dependent on nothing but itself. If it were contingent it would be one more effect in the chain of causes. The Qur’an verifies this,

“God is Independent of (all) creatures.” Qur’an 3:97

The cause or creator must also be transcendent, this means that the cause of the universe must exist outside of and apart from the universe. Since this being exists apart from the universe it must be non-physical or immaterial, if it was material then it would be part of the universe. This is confirmed in the Qur’an,

“There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing” Qur’an 42:11

This cause must have the power to create the universe, without this ability nothing could be created. The Qur’an testifies to God’s power,

“Certainly, God has power over all things.” Qur’an 2:20

This cause must have a will, because it wouldn’t be able to create the universe without one. What this means is that it must have a will so the power to create could be acted on. The Qur’an refers to God as having a will in many places, for instance,

“And God guides whom He wills to a straight path.” Qur’an 2:213

In summary, we have concluded what the Qur’an concluded over 1400 years ago, that a creator for the universe exists, that is one, has a will, is powerful, uncaused, immaterial and eternal.

Quantum Physics Undermines the Argument

A common contention to the central argument made in this essay is that the assumption – whatever begins to exist has a cause – is false. This is due to the apparent observations in the quantum vacuum that sub-atomic events behave spontaneously without any causes. In light of this common contention there are some good objections we can raise:

1. Firstly, the view that some events just happen, also known as indeterminism, for no reason at all is impossible to prove conclusively. Our inability to identify a cause does not necessarily mean that there is no cause.

2. Secondly, there are deterministic perspectives adopted by physicists to explain these so-called spontaneous sub-atomic events. For instance in the 1950s David Bohm showed there was an alternative formulation of quantum theory that is fully deterministic in its basic structure. [12] Commenting on Bohm’s theory Polkinghorne explains,

“In Bohm’s theory there are particles which are as unproblematically objective and deterministic in their behaviour as Sir Isaac Newton himself might have wished them to be. However, there is also a hidden wave, encoding information about the whole environment. It is not itself directly observable, but it influences in a subtle and highly sensitive manner the motions of the particles in just such a way as to induce the experimentally observed probabilistic effects.”[13]

What this means is that the apparent indeterminism present at the quantum level can be explained deterministically by this hidden wave that produces observed indeterministic or probabilistic effects.

However, since these two interpretations of quantum theory are empirically equivalent the choice between them will not be based on a scientific decision but on a metaphysical one. This leads to the philosophical objection to this contention.

3. Thirdly, from a philosophical perspective it is extremely difficult for these physicists (who adopt an indeterministic explanation of sub-atomic events) to justify their conclusions. This is because without the concept of causality we will not have the mental framework to understand our observations and experiences. In philosophical terms causality is a priori, which means knowledge we have independent of any experience. We know causality is true because we bring it to all our experience, rather than our experience bringing it to us. It is like wearing yellow-tinted glasses, everything looks yellow not because of anything out there in the world, but because of the glasses through which we are looking at everything. Take the following example into consideration; imagine you are looking at the White House in Washington DC. Your eyes may wonder to the door, across the pillars, then to the roof and finally over to the front lawn. Now contrast this to another experience, you are on the river Thames in London and you see a boat floating past. What dictates the order in which you had these experiences? When you looked at the White House you had a choice to see the door first and then the pillars and so on. However, with the boat you had no choice as the front of the boat was the first to appear.

The point to take here is that you would not have been able to make the distinction that some experiences are ordered by yourself and others are ordered independently, unless we had the concept of causality. In absence of causality our experience would be very different from the way it is. It would be a single sequence of experiences only: one thing after another. So to accept that sub-atomic events do not correspond with causality would be tantamount of denying our own experience!



[1] Derek Parfit, “Why Anything? Why This?” London Review of Books 20/2 (January 22, 1998), page 24.
[2] David Hilbert. On the Infinite, in Philosophy of Mathematics, ed. with an Intro. by P. Benacerraf and H. Putnam. Prentice-Hall. 1964, page151.
[3] Aristotle, Physics 207b8 (available online here
[4] P. C. W. Davies, “Spacetime Singularities in Cosmology,” in The Study of Time III, ed. J. T. Fraser (Berlin: Springer Verlag, 1978), pages 78–79.
[5] John Gribbin, In the Beginning: The Birth of the Living Universe (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1993), page 19.
[6] Alex Vilenkin, Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universe. Hill and Wang. 2006, page 176.
[7] Paul Davies, “The Birth of the Cosmos,” in God, Cosmos, Nature and Creativity, ed. Jill Gready (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1995), pages. 8-9.
[8] P. J. Zwart, About Time (Amsterdam and Oxford: North Holland Publishing Co., 1976), pages 117-19
[9] John Polkinghorne and Nicholas Beale. Questions of Truth. 2009, page 41
[10] Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow. The Grand Design. 2011, page 180.
[11] accessed 1 October 2011, 10:32AM.
[12] See D. Bohm and B. J. Hiley. The Undivided Universe. Routledge, 1993.
[13] John Polkinghorne. Science and Religion in Quest of Truth. SPCK. 2011, page 39

“Among His (God’s) signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the living creatures that He has scattered through them : and He has power to gather them together when He wills.”(Holy Qur’an 42:29)
On 7th August 1996, NASA (1) scientists made an announcement that made front page headlines throughout the world. Within a Martian meteorite, they had found evidence of a microscopic life form that may have existed on Mars more than three billion years ago. (2) Although other studies were later published which challenged this conclusion, (3) numerous recent discoveries, for example, the discovery by the Galileo spacecraft, (4) in February 1997, of a possible red-coloured sea under the ice crust of Jupiter’s moon, Europa, (5) are raising hopes that we may soon be able to get an answer to one of the oldest and most interesting questions asked by humans-“Is anyone out there, or are we alone in the universe?”

However, it may be that none of us may live to see the day when scientists will give us a definitive answer to this question. For Muslims, that should not be a problem. We already have the answer. Although many Muslims are unaware of the fact, the Qur’an (6) explicitly mentions the existence of extraterrestrial life.

The existence of creatures of a spiritual nature, such as angels, in the universe, is accepted as a fact by all Muslims, as well as people of other religions, such as Christians. The point that generates excitement among the public, and scientists is the question of whether material life forms like ourselves, which can be found by science, do actually exist outside the earth. (7) The objective of this article is to present evidence from the Qur’an for the existence in the universe, of MATERIAL life forms (“Life as we know it”).

In Sura 42, Verse 29 (42: 29) of the Qur’an, we are told,

“Among His (God’s) signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the living creatures that He has scattered through them : and He has power to gather them together when He wills. ” 

(8) Before proceeding further, a point or two must be noted. The word “sama”, translated “heavens”, is also the Arabic for “sky”. One may object that the verse refers to creatures in the sky (which would be birds), not in the heavens. However, birds are mentioned separately from creatures of the heavens in 24: 41,

“Seest thou not that it is God Whose praise all beings in the heavens and on earth do celebrate, and the birds (of the air) with wings outspread? . . . ” 


In a note to 42; 29, Muhammad Asad states, “In the Qur’an, the expression “the heavens and earth” invariably denotes the universe in its entirety. ” (10) The Qur’an mentions that inanimate objects also worship God:

“Do they not look at God’s creation, (even) among (inanimate) things- how their (very) shadows turn round, from right to left, prostrating themselves to God. . . “(16: 48). (11)


Therefore, may not the creatures spoken of in 42: 29 in the heavens, be inanimate creatures of God. No. The next verse, 16: 49 goes, “And to God doth obeisance all that is in the heavens and earth, whether moving (living) creatures or the angels. . . “. (12) The word translated “living creatures” here is the same as that in 42: 29- “Dabbatun”. Comments Asad, “The word dabbah denotes any sentient, corporeal being capable of spontaneous movement and is contrasted here with the non-corporeal, spiritual beings designated as “angels” “. (13) In other words, 42: 29 is referring to precisely the type of life forms that science is searching for, not some metaphysical entities. Yusuf Ali says, “Dabbatun: beasts, living, crawling creatures of all kind. ” (14) This is the same word used in 2: 164, “. . . in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth. . . are signs for a people that are wise, ” (15) and in 24: 45, “And God has created every animal from water: of them are some that creep on their bellies; some that walk on two legs; and some that walk on four. God creates what he wills. . . ” (16) Commenting on 42: 29, Allama Shabbir Ahmad Usmani says, “From the verse it appears that like on the earth, there are some kinds of animals- living creatures- in the heavens also. ” (17) On the same verse, Yusuf Ali comments, “Life is not confined to our one little Planet. It is a very old speculation to imagine some life like human life on the planet Mars. . . it is reasonable to suppose that Life in some form or other is scattered through some of the millions of heavenly bodies scattered through space. ” (18) >From such remarks, the reader will realize that Muslim scholars are well aware of the fact that 42: 29 clearly mentions the existence of aliens.

Is There Any Alien Intelligent Life ?
Although the discovery of any form of life outside the earth would be dramatic, humankind is especially interested in knowing whether there is any alien intelligent life in the universe. NASA previously had a program on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Although now scrapped due to budget cuts, private SETI organizations (19) have now been made which continue the search. The Planetary Society, (20) a private organization, in which the film director Steven Speilberg (21) is a member of the Board of Directors, has the largest SETI program in the world. So far, no sign of alien intelligent life has turned up. Can the Qur’an provide an answer?
Sura 27: 65 commands,

“Say: None in the heavens or on earth, except God, knows what is hidden: nor can they perceive when they shall be raised up (for Judgement). ” (22) 

This shows that, like humans, there are other creatures in the universe that will also be raised from the dead. We are told in 19: 93-96, “Not one of the beings in the heavens and the earth but must come to (God) Most Gracious as a servant. He does take an account of them (all), and hath numbered them (all) exactly. And everyone of them will come to Him singly on the Day of Judgement. On those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, will (God) Most Gracious bestow love. ” (23) From these verses we learn that there are alien life forms that, like us, will also be judged according to the works that they do during their lives. Among them are the believers. Therefore, naturally, there will also be those aliens who are unbelievers. The believers will be rewarded. The life forms being described in the above verses can hardly be expected to be microorganisms. The Qur’an is referring to creatures of a level of development that makes them morally accountable beings. They must be organisms possessing qualities which we would ascribe to intelligent life forms.

In Sura 72: 14-15, jinn (a type of spiritual life form, which the Qur’an mention as living on the earth) say, “Amongst us are some that submit their wills (to God), and some that swerve from justice. Now those who submit their wills- they have sought out (the path) of right conduct: But those who swerve- they are (but) fuel for Hell-fire. ” (24)

The Qur’an mentions that good jinn will be rewarded with Paradise. Summing up from all the above verses, it is clear that Judgement Day is for creatures in the whole universe (Sura 39: 68-

“The Trumpet will (just) be sounded when all that are in the heavens and on earth will swoon, except such as it will please God (to exempt). Then will a second one be sounded, when, behold, they will be standing and looking on! “) (25) 

and like jinn, aliens will also be sharing Paradise and Hell with humans. In fact, the Qur’an mentions that Paradise is of a size like that of our present universe- 57: 21, “Therefore (vie) with one another for the pardon of your Lord, and for a Paradise as vast as heaven and earh, prepared for those who believe in Allah and His apostles.

” (26) Therefore, it is not surprising that when we are sharing this universe with aliens, we should share Paradise and Hell with them too. The Qur’an shows us, therefore, that not only do aliens exist, but among them are also intelligent beings.

Where Can Aliens be Found?
Knowing that aliens, including intelligent life forms exist elsewhere, our next question would be, “Where do they live? “Scientists naturally expect them to live on planets. They look for other planets around other stars- planets that have the right conditions to harbour life- in other words, other earths. In October 1995, scientists announced the discovery of the first extra-solar planet around the star 51 Pegasi. (27) Since then, there have been a string of discoveries of other planets. At the time of writing of this article, fifteen planets have been claimed to have been discovered. (28) Although some of these objects have been dismissed as brown dwarfs (including the object around Pegasi 51) by some scientists, (29) at least some of the fifteen objects are agreed upon as being planets. Scientists believe that on potential moons around planets found to be orbiting two stars, the right conditions may exist for life to be present. (30)

In Sura 65: 12, we are informed, “God is He Who created seven heavens and of the earth a similar number. . . ” (31)
This verse, although usually translated properly, is very commonly misinterpreted by commentators. They give their interpretation that space is divided into seven zones, and likewise, as Yusuf Ali puts it, “the crust of the earth is built up of geological strata one above another”. (32) This interpretation arises due to a misunderstanding of what a “heaven” is as mentioned in the Qur’an. Before continuing further about the topic of aliens, it is necessary to clear up this confusion. The answer can be deduced from verses in the Qur’an itself and comparing them with our current scientific knowledge about the universe.

Sura 21: 30 asks, “Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder? . . . ” (33)

Sura 41: 11-12 tell us,

“Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke, and said unto it and unto the earth: come both of you, willingly or loth. . . Then We ordained them seven heavens. . . and inspired in each heaven its mandate; and We decked the lowest heaven with lamps. . . “


and Sura 71: 15-16,

“See ye not how Allah hath created seven heavens in harmony, and hath made the moon a light therin, and made the sun a lamp? ” (35) Sura 51: 47 informs us,

“And it is We who have built the universe with (Our creative) power; and, verily, it is We who are steadily expanding it. ” (36)

Asad, comments on the above verses as follows: about 21: 30, “. . . 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 individual parts progressively breaking away to form new entities in the shape of stars, planets and the latter’s satellites”; (37) about 41: 11, he explains the word “smoke” as, “a gas- evidently hydrogen gas, which physicists regard as the primal element from which all material particles of the universe have evolved and still evolve. . . ” (38) and says about the verse, “explaining this passage, Zamakhshari observes: “The meaning of God’s command to the skies (heavens) and the earth to “come”. . . is this: He willed their coming into being. . . “”; for 41: 12, he explains “seven heavens” as, “a multiplicity of cosmic systems”; (39) about 51: 47 he says, “the phrase “inna la-musi’un” clearly foreshadows the modern notion of the “expanding universe”- that is, the fact that the cosmos, though finite in extent, is continuously expanding in space. ” (40) Finally, three more verses need to be referred to- 50: 38, “And verily We created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. . . and naught of weariness touched us” (41) , 21: 104, “The Day when We shall roll up the heavens as a recorder rolleth up a written scroll. As We began the first creation, We shall repeat it. (It is a promise binding) upon Us. Lo! We are to perform it” (42) , and 14: 48, “One day the Earth will be changed to a different Earth, and so will be the heavens. . . ” (43)

From the verses above, we learn this from the Qur’an: a heaven is a material entity which arose from the same material as the earth originated from. Initially, there was one gaseous mass. A cleavage process occurred resulting in the making of the “seven heavens” and “all that lies between them”. The sun, moon and earth are constituents of a heaven. Therefore, a heaven must be larger than a star (sun). When the end of the universe is at hand, the heavens, which till then were in an expanding universe (51: 47) will come together. Then, the way our present universe came into being, in a similar manner, a new creation will come into being, containing other heavens and another earth. Any astronomer reading these verses can tell you that there is only one entity that fits the description of a heaven in the Qur’an- a “heaven” in the Qur’an must be referring to a “galaxy”. According to modern science, the universe arose from a singularity, at the Big Bang, and has since, been expanding. From a primordial gas cloud arose huge fragments from which the galaxies and their clusters arose. Today, the galaxies are moving apart from each other in space. They are separated by intergalactic space in which may lurk invisible dark matter, making up to 90% of the total mass of the universe. if there is sufficient dark matter, at some time in the future, the universe will stop expanding and enter a contraction phase in which the galaxies will finally come close together in a Big Crunch marking an end to the present universe. The universe would have returned to a singularity state similar to that from which the present universe arose. Then, once again, scientists predict, a new universe may rebound from the singularity of the Big Crunch, as another Big Bang gives rise to a universe with its own galaxies and planets etc. Verses in the Qur’an agree amazingly with our current ideas about the universe!

The purpose of our lengthy divergence from the main topic of this article was to prove that the “seven heavens” are not zones into which the universe is divided, but large astronomical entities, the galaxies. Some people have interpreted a heaven as being a solar system. However, while this view may seem appropriate for some verses, it does not tally with all the verses.

The Qur’an mentions the creation of seven heavens. Asad explains that, “. . . as regards the “seven heavens”, it is to be borne in mind that in Arabic usage. . . the number “seven” is often synonymous with “several”. ” (44) I have shown that the heavens are the galaxies and we can see that millions of them exist. Even if we assume that the heaven are some other astronomical objects that arose from the primary gas cloud, they definitely are not literally seven in number, but in the millions.

The relevance of this to our discussion on aliens is that the Sura 65: 12 tells us that, as God has created “seven Heavens”, He has created, “of the earth a similar number. . . ” Therefore, as there are millions of galaxies, God has also created millions of earths scattered throughout the universe. Usmani comments on 65: 12, “The earths as well, He created seven (Usmani thinks literally seven. We know it actually means “many”), as given in the Tradition of Tirmizi etc. It is possible they are not visible, it is possible they are visible, but people think them to be stars or planets, as the scientists of today have predicted the possibility of life on Mars etc. . . ” (45) An important thing to point out in 65: 12 is that God does not use the word “worlds”, but specifically, “earth”. An ‘earth’ would be a planet that harbours life. Scientists also often speak of looking for other earths. They mean not just any planet, but one sustaining or capable of sustaining life. In his book, The Bible, The Qur’an and Science, Maurice Bucaille writes, “. . . it comes as no small surprise to the reader of the Qur’an to find that earths such as our own may be found in the Universe. . . ” (46)

We have finally arrived at the Qur’an’s answer as to where aliens can be found. They inhabit the millions of earths that God has created among the millions of heavens (galaxies) in the universe. The Qur’an therefore, gives us a magnificent view of the universe- a universe teeming with life, a place that the late astronomer Carl Sagan described as a “cosmic fugue, with themes and counter- points, dissonances and harmonies, a billion different voices playing the life music. ” (47)

Will we ever Discover Aliens?
So far, we have learnt from the Qur’an that extraterrestrial life, including intelligent life, exists throughout countless earths in the universe. But this is not sufficient to satisfy our curiosity. We want scientists to actually discover aliens. Only after we have found incontrovertible scientific evidence that aliens exist, will our (unbelieving) hearts see that the Qur’an was correct all along. We actually won’t be satisfied till we meet an alien face to face. Is there any chance that in the future we will actually discover, through science, the existence of aliens and establish some kind of contact with them or even meet them?

To get some idea on this matter, we must return to Sura 42: 29. We are told over there that the scattering of living creatures in the heavens and the earth is a “sign”. What is a sign? Sura 6: 104 says,

 “Momentous signs have come to you from your Lord. He that sees them shall himself have much to gain, but he who is blind to them shall lose much. “ (48)

Sura 6: 109,

“They solemly swear by Allah that if a sign be given them they would believe in it. “ (49) Sura 7: 73,

“A clear proof has come to you from your Lord. Here is Allah’s she-camel: a sign for you. ” (50) Clearly, a sign is something which we can see, or at least, experience with our senses. Otherwise, it would not be a sign. Some signs are those that God showed to humans in the past. Other signs remain for God to show us in the future-

“Soon we will show them Our Signs in the (furthest) regions, and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth” (41: 53). (51)


In Sura 55: 33-34, we are addressed,

“O ye assembly of Jinn and men! If it be you can pass beyond the regions of the heavens and the earth, pass ye! Not without authority will ye be able to pass! Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny? ” (52)

Why does God ask us to go into space? There must be some purpose. Maybe it be for us to fulfill some grand destiny in store for our species- maybe to become a galactic race, a respectable part of the galactic community of civilizations. Maybe, it is our travels in space that may lead to our encounter with aliens and fulfill the prophesy in 42: 29. Only time will tell. In anticipation of the time when we become space-travellers, we are told in Sura 29: 22, “Neither on earth nor in heaven shall you be beyond reach: nor have you any guardian or helper besides Allah. ” (53)

To reach other civilizations, we must be capable of feasible interstellar transport. Might we one day be capable of undertaking such a voyage? Sura 16: 8 says,

“And (it is He Who creates) horses and mules for you to ride. . . and He will yet create things of which (today) you have no knowledge. “ (54)

The latter part of this verse is often translated in the present tense but as Asad points out, “The use in this context, of the aorist “yakhluqu” implies the future tense (“He will create”) . . . Since this reference to God’s continuing creation comes immediately after a mention of primitive means of transport, it obviously relates to other- as yet unknown- things of the same category: that is to say, to new means of transport which God unceasingly creates through the instrumentality of the inventiveness with which He has endowed man’s mind. ” (55) Therefore, it is possible that we may one day make the spacecraft required for interstellar travel. After all, God Himself has encouraged us to, “pass beyond the regions of the heavens”. Sura 42: 29 ends with the statement that God has the power to gather the creatures of the heavens and earth together if He wills. This also points to the possibility of our meeting aliens in the future. However, this gathering may well refer to that which will occur on Judgement Day as mentioned in Sura 19: 93-96 (see above).

Man’s Position Among Creation
The most revolutionary discoveries in history have been those which altered the way humans perceived themselves in the universe. We discovered that the earth was not at the centre of the universe. We discovered that our Sun was a very ordinary star located in an insignificant part of an ordinary galaxy, which was only one of millions of galaxies. These discoveries should have humbled us. Yet, even today, many of us triumphantly proclaim ourselves as being the most supreme creation of God. It is common to ascribe our cherished position among all living things to our higher intellectual abilities. If we were to find out that there are other intelligent beings in the universe, and that some may be intellectually more superior to us, where would that leave us ? Would we finally be dethroned?

Sura 17: 70 informs us, “Verily We have honoured the children of Adam. . . and preferred them above many of those whom We created with a marked preferment. “ (56) Many translations fail to mention the “marked preferment” in the verse, although the verse contains the Arabic “tafzelan” which conveys this. Note that the verse mentions that there are other creatures besides humans, who have also been given a position of distinction, and humans have been preferred above many, not all, of these creatures. Usmani states in a comment on this verse, “Under this verse a debate is opened: Who is superior- Man or Angel? But logically this verse does not decide the issue. ” (57) Another scholar has written, “From this (verse) it is evident that whatever superiority humans have got over other creatures is not whole. Allah’s creatures contain such creatures upon which humans have got no superiority. “It must be remembered here that while so far we have been discussing material alien life forms, the debate of man’s position in creation includes both material and spiritual creatures of God. Some early authorities, such as Hasan, have not accepted the word “akser” mentioned in 17: 70 as meaning “many”. Hasan maintains that the word “akser”, as used in 17: 70, should be understood as meaning “all”, since the same word is used in 26: 233 and 10: 36, where it would be inappropriate to take its meaning as “many” but rather as “all”. With such a substitution in verse 17: 70, the meaning would be altered to mean that man is preferred by God over all creatures.

The debate on man’s status continues among scholars and also among the public. Let us make an analogy to the debate of whether man is superior to woman. Suppose for a moment that we hand the trophy to man and let him enjoy his “superior” position. On the Day of Judgement, it will only be deeds that count and good women will go to Paradise and bad men will burn in Hell. Who would have been more superior? As you can see, in the final analysis, any debate on the status of a race, or species is useless. From earlier verses mentioned in this article, the reader will remember that, according to the Qur’an, God will judge humans as well as aliens on the basis of their deeds and reward them accordingly. Many humans will be sent to Hell for their wrongdoings. At the same time there will be aliens who will be rewarded for their good deeds. Who would be more superior- the unbelieving human or the faithful alien? The answer is obvious. Therefore, what’s the use of debating this point? Status of a creature is relative to its moral conduct. Sura 95: 4-5 states,

“Surely We created man of the best stature, then We reduced him to the lowest of the low. “ (58)

Islam and the Geocentric Universe
It is the fanciful idea of religion-bashers that the discovery of extraterrestrial life will undermine any remaining credibility that religion may have. In the case of Islam, as one can see from this discussion, that can hardly be the case. On the contrary, such a discovery would verify the truth of the statements contained in the Qur’an relating to the subject of alien life, and strengthen the position of Muslims. The vision of Islam is that of a truly universal religion. It is far removed from the exclusiveness of Judaism (“We are the Chosen Ones for God’s message”). It is a pity that the image of all religions has suffered a setback from the great scandal of the Church- its treatment of Galileo, for (rightly) challenging their views of a geocentric universe, in which Man was The Central Figure in God’s Plan of Creation, living on a planet around which all the rest of creation revolved.

The Qur’an gives us a picture of our place in the universe that is quite different. In Sura 40: 57, God says,

 “Assuredly the creation of the heavens and the earth is a greater (matter) than the creation of men: yet most men understand not. ” (59)

Comments Yusuf Ali, “Man is himself a tiny part of creation. Why should he be so ego-centric? ” (60) No one race of humans was chosen to be the exclusive custodians of the truth. Sura 16: 36 tells us,

“For We assuredly sent amongst every People an apostle, (with the command), “Serve God, and eschew Evil”:

of the people were some whom God guided, and others on whom Error became inevitably (established). So travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who denied (the Truth). ” (61) According to some Traditions of The Prophet (pbuh), 124, 000 messengers have been sent into the world by God, throughout the ages to people all over the world. No nation was denied access to the Truth. Even on earth, guidance was provided not only to humans, but also the Jinn who co-habit this planet with us- 6: 130: “(Then He will say): “Jinn and men! Did there not come to you apostles of your own who proclaimed to you my revelations and warned you of this day? ” (62) . God’s bounty, according to Islam, is not confined to creatures of the earth because He is,

“. . . Lord of the heavens and Lord of the earth, the Lord of the Worlds” (45: 36). (63)

To the people were sent revealed Books also, the last of which is the Qur’an. About the Qur’an itself, we are told in 43: 4, “It is in the Mother Book with Us, sublime and full of wisdom. ” (64) About other planets, S. Bashir-ud-din Mahmood has this to say, “On the basis of the interpretation of verse 65: 12 by Ibn-e-Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him), we can say that inhabitants of these worlds must have their religion like ours and so the Holy Books. They all come from the same “Supreme Source” of revelation from where the Holy Qur’an originated for us on the Earth. It is evident from the verse of the Holy Qur’an” (i.e.. 43; 4. All Books come from the “Mother Book with Us”). (65) The very first verse of the Qur’an begins, “Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. ” (66)

Summing up, while the Qur’an does point out that man has a favoured position on earth, (2: 30- “Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: “I will create a vicegerent on earth. “”; (67) 2: 34- “We said to the angels: “Bow down to Adam. . . “” (68) 95: 4- We have indeed created man in the best of moulds. ” (69) ) there are other creatures of God who have also been favoured in the universe (17: 70). Humans are just a small part of God’s creation (40: 57). When they act wrongly, they are reduced to the lowest of the low (95: 5). Salvation is not only for some race of humans, but for all humans and creatures throughout the universe. There is a grand destiny planned by God for all of them. All humans as well as aliens who follow the guidance that God sent to their respective planets, will be rewarded (19: 96). “. . . it is God Whose praise all beings in the heavens and on earth do celebrate. . . ” (24: 41). (70) All will return to Him. How far the picture of the universe that Islam paints is from that of a geocentric universe!

Conclusion – A “Secret” Waiting to be Told
If the Qur’an is so explicit in stating the existence of living organisms in the universe (42: 29), we would suppose that the Muslim population would generally be aware of the fact that the Qur’an mentions extraterrestrials. Unfortunately that is not the case. A significant proportion of Muslims have no idea that this exciting piece of information is provided in their Holy Book. I have quoted a number of scholars in this article, who have commented on the verses relating to extraterrestrials. Among them are those such as Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Asad, whose works are known to Muslims throughout the world. Allama Shabbir Ahmad Usmani was a prominent figure in the Freedom Movement of Pakistan. All scholars quoted are from the mainstream of Islam. So, at least, Muslim scholars are aware of the Qur’an mentioning aliens. Yet, there are scholars also who have no idea about this subject. Surprisingly, even Maurice Bucaille, whose brilliant book, The Bible, The Qur’an and Science is extensive in its coverage of scientific topics in the Qur’an, completely overlooked the mention of aliens.

How aware were the early Muslims, about the existence of extraterrestrials, or verses in the Qur’an on this topic? Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood writes, “The idea that there is life elsewhere in the universe also, was derived from the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) when he told Muslims, “When you sit down in the prayer for the Attahiyat and say: “Peace be upon us, and the righteous servants of Allah” you actually send peace on all the righteous people living on the Earth and in the heavens. “This clearly implies that all type of people, good and bad live in the other worlds as they live on our Earth. ” (71) He also writes, with reference to the Rasial Imam Ghazali, “According to Imam Muhammad Ghazali (11th Century), people in some of these planetary worlds have learnt to travel and communicate with each other. ” (72)

The case of Ibn-e-Abbas is interesting. He was one of the Companions of the Prophet (pbuh). The Prophet (pbuh) had prayed to God specially to endow Ibn-e-Abbas(73) with knowledge of the Qur’an, and he became one of the great scholars of the Qur’an. Maulana Maududi writing in his Tafhim-ul-Qur’an, tells us that, “Ibn-e-Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him). . . believed with confidence that there are many more earth-like bodies in the heavens. . . . He not only thought that such earths are inhabited by intelligent beings but also that their people are exactly like the inhabitants on the Earth. He even went so far as to say that they may have a Prophet like Muhammad (pbuh), and had a Adam, like our Adam, a Noah, like our Noah, an Ibrahim like our Ibrahim, and a Jesus like our Jesus (pbut). ” (74) The knowledge of the existence of aliens and that they are mentioned in the Qur’an, has been present among Muslims from the earliest days of Islam!

There is something else that we know about Ibn-e-Abbas. He did not widely publicize his views about aliens. Rather, he was quite secretive about this matter. The reason is that he was afraid that his ideas would confuse people. In fact, he was afraid that people would be in danger of becoming unbelievers by not accepting the truth of this matter, which the Qur’an itself attested to. Perhaps it was such considerations that lead Muslim scholars of later times not to touch on the topic of aliens much, and so today, also, so many Muslims remain unaware about this matter. But times have changed. We’ve come a long way in our voyage of discovery of the wonders that surround us. The recent discoveries of extra-solar planets, of ice on the moon (75) , of microbes deep beneath the earth’s surface and around thermal vents in the oceans (76) , of water on the sun (77) and many other amazing findings are setting the stage for a grand finale. The public is mentally prepared to hear soon about the discovery of life outside the earth.

In recent times, Muslims have missed golden opportunities of propagating their religion to the peoples of the world. For example, the Qur’an mentions the expansion of the universe. This phenomenon was discovered by scientists only in 1929. If Muslims had let the world know beforehand, that the Qur’an mentioned this fact, then upon its discovery, a big impact could have been made on the non-Muslim world. We would have shown the world the power, the miracle, of the Qur’an. Of course, even today, the miracle remains that the Qur’an mentions the expansion of the universe, but non-Muslims tend to say, “Now you tell us, after science has already discovered this! You must be construing the meaning of Qur’anic verses to suit your wishes. ”

Today, as we stand at the threshold of making the most revolutionary discovery in the history of humankind, we Muslims should ask ourselves, “Hasn’t the time finally come for the “secret” that Ibn-e-Abbas held to be made known to the whole world? “Yes, the time is ripe. Let the world know, before it discovers for itself, that 1400 years ago in the deserts of Arabia, a prophet received revelations, mentioning the existence of extraterrestrial life through countless heavenly bodies in the universe, and prophesying that one day, humans will indeed discover aliens.

The Qur’an contains many amazing statements relating to science. There is no reason to believe that it has finally yielded all of its scientific secrets and as we enter the next century, we can be confidant that the Qur’an will continue to shed light on some of the most enduring and intriguing scientific mysteries of our times.

1. NASA Home Page
2. Medline citation
–Ref: Search For Past Life On Mars: Possible Biogenic Activity In Martian Meteorite
2. ALH84001. McKay et al. in Science, Vol. 273, pages 924-930; August 16, 1996.
–Scientific American: The Case For Relic Life On Mars. December 1997.
3. Ref: Scott, Edward R. D. et al, Petrological evidence of shock melting of carbonates
3. in the Martian meteorite ALH84001. Nature, 387, 377-379(22 May, 1997).
4. Galileo Home Page
5. Water on Europa:
-Scientific American: Exhibit: Great Balls of Ice: August 19, 1996.
–NASA Space Science News: The Frosty Plains of Europa
6. The Qur’an:
–Translations by Yusuf Ali, Pickthall and Shakir. Muslim Students Association site
–(MSA-USC), containing the entire translated text by three scholars.
–Qur’an Search Engine. Search for verses in the Qur’an by key words.
–Transliteration of the Qur’an. The complete transliterated text of the Qur’an.
–Listen to the Qur’an. The complete text recited in Arabic and English in RealAudio files.
–Qur’an in MP3 format. Download the Qur’an as mp3 files.
7. The Astrobiology Web. Information on space life science. Highly recommended.


8. Sura 42: 29. The Holy Qur’an. Text, Translation and Commentary. Abdullah Yusuf Ali.
9. Sura 24: 41. Yusuf Ali.
10. Note 33 on Sura 42: 29. The Message of the Qur’an. Muhammad Asad.
11. Sura 16: 48. Yusuf Ali.
12. Sura 16: 49. Yusuf Ali.
13. Note 55 on Sura 16: 49. Asad.
14. Note 4568 on Sura 42: 29. Yusuf Ali.
15. Sura 2: 164. Yusuf Ali.
16. Sura 24: 45. Yusuf Ali.
17. Note 43 on Sura 42: 29. The Nobel Qur’an. Tafseer-e-Usmani. Allama Shabbir Ahmed
17. Usmani.
18. Note 4569 on 42: 29. Yusuf Ali.

Is There Any Alien Intelligent Life ?

19. SETI organizations:
—The SETI Institute.
—SETI@home. Now you can participate in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence
—from your own home by installing a screen saver. Check it out.
20. The Planetary Society. This has the world’s largest SETI program.
21. Steven Spielberg.
22. Sura 27: 65. Yusuf Ali.
23. Sura 19: 93-96. Yusuf Ali.
24. Sura 72: 14-15. Yusuf Ali.
25. Sura 39: 68. Yusuf Ali.
26. Sura 57: 21. The Meaning of the Qur’an. Dr. Mahmud Y. Zayid.

Where Can Aliens be Found ?

27. A planet around 51 Pegasi:
—-Mayor, M. & Queloz, D. A Jupiter-mass companion to a solar-type star. Nature
—-378, 355-359. (1995).
28. The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia. The main internet catalogue of all extrasolar planets
28. discovered so far.
29. Challenge to a planet around 51 Pegasi:
—-Walker, Gordan. One of our planets is missing. Nature, 385, 775-776. (27 Feb 1997).
—-Gray, David F. Absence of a planetary signature in the spectra of the star 51 Pegasi.
—-Nature, 385, 795-796. (27 Feb 1997).
—-Update: – New evidence for a planet around 51 Pegasi:
—-Marcy, Geoffrey. Extrasolar planets: Back in focus. Nature, 391, 127. (8 Jan 1998).
—-Gray, David F. A planetary companion for 51 Pegasi implied by absence of pulsations in the
—- stellar spectra. Nature, 391, 153-154. (8 Jan 1998).
—-Hatzes, Artie P. et al. Further evidence for the planet around 51 Pegasi. Nature, 391,
—-154-156. (8 Jan 1998).
30. The possible earths are potential moons of planets orbiting 16 Cygni B in the Swan
—-and 47 Uma in Ursae Majoris.
—-Chyba, Christopher F. Exobiology: Life on other moons. Nature, 385, 201. (16 Jan ’97).
—-Williams, Darren M. et al. Habitable moons around extra-solar giant planets. Nature,
—-385, 234-236. (16 Jan 1997).
31. Sura 65: 12. Yusuf Ali.
32. Note 5527 on Sura 65: 12. Yusuf Ali.
33. Sura 21: 30. Yusuf Ali.
34. Sura 41: 11-12. The Glorious Qur’an. Text and Explanatory Translation. Muhammad
—-Marmaduke Pickthall.
35. Sura 71: 15-16. Pickthall.
36. Sura 51: 47. Asad.
37. Note 38 on Sura 21: 30. Asad.
38. Note 12 and Note 13 on Sura 41: 11. Asad.
39. Note 14 on Sura 41: 12. Asad.
40. Note 31 on Sura 51: 47. Asad.
41. Sura 50: 38. Pickthall.
42. Sura 21: 104. Pickthall.
43. Sura 14: 48. Yusuf Ali.
44. Note 20 on Sura 2: 29. Asad.
45. Note 32 on Sura 65: 12. Usmani.
46. Ref: Bucaille, Maurice. The Bible, The Qur’an and Science. Section: The Qur’an and
46. Modern Science. Chapter III: The Creation of the Heavens and the Earth.
46. Subheading: The Basic Process of the Formation of the Universe and the Resulting
46. Composition of the Worlds.
47. Ref: Sagan, Carl. Cosmos. Chapter II.
—-Read the classic article: The Quest for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. By Carl Sagan.

Will we ever Discover Aliens ?

48. Sura 6: 104. Zayid.
49. Sura 6: 109. Zayid.
50. Sura 7: 73. Zayid.
51. Sura 41: 53. Yusuf Ali.
52. Sura 55: 33-34. Yusuf Ali.
53. Sura 29: 22. Zayid.
54. Sura 16: 8. Asad.
55. Note 6 on Sura 16: 8. Asad.

Man’s Position Among Creation

56. Sura 17: 70. Pickthall.
57. Note 105 on Sura 17: 70. Usmani.
58. Sura 95: 4-5. Pickthall.

Islam and the Geocentric Universe

59. Sura 40: 57. Yusuf Ali.
60. Note 4431 on Sura 40: 57. Yusuf Ali.
61. Sura 16: 36. Yusuf Ali.
62. Sura 6: 130. Zayid.
63. Sura 45: 36. Pickthall.
64. Sura 43: 4. Zayid.
65. Ref: Mahmood, Bashir-ud-din. Doomsday and Life After Death. Chapter 18,
65. Sub-heading: The Qur’an in Other Worlds. Ta-Ha Publishers.
66. Sura 1: 1. Pickthall.
67. Sura 2: 30. Yusuf Ali.
68. Sura 2: 34. Yusuf Ali.
69. Sura 95: 4. Yusuf Ali.
70. Sura 24: 41. Yusuf Ali.

Conclusion – A “Secret” Waiting to be Told

71. Ref: Mahmood, Bashir-ud-din. Doomsday and Life After Death. Chapter 18,
71. Sub-heading: Life in Other Worlds.
72. Ref: Mahmood, Bashir-ud-din. Doomsday and Life After Death. Chapter 18,
72. Sub-heading: Life in Other Worlds.
73. Ibn-e-Abbas- a short biographical note
74. Maududi, Abul Ala. Tahfhim-ul-Qur’an.
75. Ice on the Moon:
—-Scientific American: Science and the Citizen. Water, Water Everywhere: May 1998.
—-NASA Press Release: Ice on the Moon.
76. Subterranean microbes:
—-Wellsbury, Peter et al. Deep marine biosphere fuelled by increasing organic matter
—-availability during burial and heating. Nature, 388, 573-576. (7 Aug 1997).
—-Scientific American: Article: Microbes Deep Inside the Earth. October 1996.
77. Water on the Sun:
—-Polyansky, Oleg L. et al. Water on the Sun: Line Assignments Based on Variational
—-Calculations. Science, Vol. 277, pages 346-348; July 18, 1997.
—-Science magazine



The superimposed heavens in the Quran are the extra spatial dimensions in modern physics.

Astronomers have just confirmed the existence of Dark Matter. This mysterious Dark Matter is invisible however it provides the bulk of gravity that holds galaxies (not the regular matter that forms stars and planets). This invisible Dark Matter has weird collision properties (collisionless). Simply put: we cannot see Dark Matter nor collide with it but we can detect its gravity.

In this image, two huge clusters of invisible Dark Matter (in blue) clashed with each other:

With each cluster having a mass of 10,000 galaxies (each cluster a quadrillion times the mass of the Sun, 1015!!!) (See: Universe Today). However upon impact, instead of disintegrating into smaller pieces, they passed through each other unscathed! This means that they did not collide with each other either! They simply passed through each other!!!

In order to explain why this invisible Dark Matter neither collides with each other, nor does it collide with us but still we detect its gravity, physicists and cosmologists are working on theories with extra dimensions. Traditionally scientists thought that we live in a four dimensional universe: Time and the usual three spatial dimensions of length, width and height (x,y,z). However today there is evidence for six extra spatial dimensions. So we cannot see nor collide with this Dark Matter because it is mass in the remaining six extra dimensions.


(YouTube) According to the Quran, we cannot see nor collide with Jinn but they have weight:

[Quran 55.31] We [Allah] will settle your affair, both you of weight (man and jinn)

The Jinn have weight means that we can detect their gravity and they can detect our gravity. So according to the Quran we cannot see the Jinn nor collide with them but we can detect their gravity.

Just as the Jinn is of different type that we cannot see nor collide with but we can detect their gravity, there are six other Heavens that we cannot see nor collide with either but we can detect their gravity, superimposed above the visible one:

[Quran 41.12] So [Allah] decreed them as seven heavens (one above the other) in two days and revealed to each heaven its orders. And We [Allah] adorned the lowest heaven with lights, and protection. Such is the decree of the Exalted; the Knowledgeable.

According to the Quran, only the lowest heaven has visible light. This means that this Dark Matter exists in the six Heavens superimposed above the lowest one. Also according to the Quran, each of these remaining six Heavens is of a different type and each has its own planets like Earth:

[Quran 65.12] Allah is the one who created seven Heavens and from Earth like them (of corresponding type); [Allah’s] command descends among them so that you may know that Allah is capable of anything and that Allah knows everything.

Earth is not a unique planet in Islam. Other planets like Earth do exist throughout the other six Heavens. It is just that we cannot see them nor collide with them but we can detect their gravity.

General relativity predicted gravitational lensing, that is, the gravitational field generated by a galaxy causes the light passing through it to bend (change direction). Dark Matter does not emit any light but we can still map its location by using gravitational lensing, that is, by detecting where light is bending in places where it shouldn’t. In the above image and video light gets bent by invisible Dark Matter in places where it shouldn’t. Moslems say that this is how God challenges nonbelievers to detect the remaining six superimposed Heavens:

[Quran 67.3-4] [Allah] is the one who created seven superimposed Heavens “سبع سموات طباق“. You do not see variations in the formations of the Compassionate, soredirect your sight, do you see any creation (Futtur in Arabic فطور)? Then redirect your sight again, your vision returns to you in defeat and regret.

Futtur in Arabic فطور means creation out of nothing (it does not mean “rip”). So the question in the Quran is “Do you see any creation out of nothing?”. Your initial answer should be NO. But in the second verse, when you are supposed to redirect your sight your answer will change to YES, with defeat. Why should you redirect your sight when you observe Dark Matter? Why should you look to another direction and then back? Well the gravity of a massive object makes you see the background stars in another direction:

Gravitational Lensing & Seven Heavens

This is how we detect Dark Matter today, the background images are lensed at a certain angle. Since Dark Matter does not emit any light then we have to trace the light from the background galaxies. From the distances and the angle of lensing we estimate the mass of the Dark Matter. So when detecting the superimposed seven heavens you have to look away and then back in order to measure the angle. No angle no Dark Matter.

How could an illiterate man who lived 1400 years have known that light could change direction? How could he have known about Dark Matter and Gravitational Lensing?

The Quran insists on seven superimposed heavens. We are in the lowest heaven, Angels are in the seventh, and Satan (Jinn) is in one heaven in-between. However all seven heavens are superimposed. There are two angels at your shoulders right now. The Jinn can pass right through you. The Quran says that we cannot see them nor collide with them but we can detect their gravity. However these are the exact same properties of Dark Matter, we cannot see them nor collide with them however we can detect their gravity. String Theory explains what they are: They are mass in other dimensions.

Traditionally physicists thought that the smallest particles in atoms were point like, that is, they looked like points. However recently discovered evidence suggest that the smallest particle is not point like, as previously thought, but rather a vibrating string of energy. But physicists also discovered that these strings need more than three spatial dimensions to vibrate in. Particularly they need six extra spatial dimensions. In all versions of String Theory there are 10 dimensions: “Time” plus the usual three spatial dimensions x,y,z (4 dimensions, our observable universe) plus six extra spatial dimensions making a total of ten dimensions (1 time + 9 spatial = 10 dimensions).

(YouTube) In this animation the strings with different colors are actually vibrating in different dimensions. They do not interact with each other except gravitationally. The two dimensional membrane that they are attached to in this animation is the three dimensions that we are used to projected on 2D (for this presentation). Photons only travel on this 2D plane (again for this presentation), and this is why we cannot see them. We can only detect the strings’ gravitational shadow on the 2D plane. Other competing theories like M-Theory has one extra spatial dimension (making the total 11 dimensions), however this extra spatial dimension is for the description of strings themselves (whether a string is a one-dimensional object like a thread, or whether a string is a rolled up two-dimensional membrane like a tube). If the strings have thickness (or variable thickness as in this animation) then we need this 11th dimension in order to describe them (to describe the tube). However if the strings have no thickness (always unity) then there is no need for the 11th dimension. In any case, in all currently competing theories, this Dark Matter is strings vibrating in six extra spatial dimensions. And in all those theories gravity is a force carried by gravitons (just like magnetism is carried by photons). Gravitons are emitted from strings and are then absorbed by other strings even those vibrating in other dimensions (different colors in this presentation). The place where gravitons travel is called the bulk (different than the 2D plane where light travels in this presentation).

[Quran 20.6] To Him belongs what is in the Heavens and what is on Earth and what is between them and what is under the soil.

Not only does the superimposed heavens (extra dimensions) belong to Allah but also what’s between them (برزخ, the bulk where gravitons travel). The bulk is a location just like under the soil is a location.

From a physics point of view, we are not living in a “Universe” but rather in a “Multiverse“;several universes superimposed above each other. Gravity is the only thing shared between these parallel universes:

(YouTube) The invisible Dark Matter is simply mass in other dimensions.

You might ask how does those six extra spatial dimensions look like:

(YouTube) Extra dimensions are tiny and curled up at each point in space. To envision a single extra dimension imagine the ant in the above video shrinking billions of times. Then this ant becomes small enough for transition to the extra circular dimension (like a roller coaster):

Speed of Light

However instead of one extra circular dimension there are six dimensions and not necessarily circular; but they are all curled up at each point in space. The ant would encounter multiple routes like this:

Speed of Light

As long as the ant remains in any of those extra dimensions we would not be able to see the ant nor collide with it but we would still detect its gravity. In M-Theory the Dark Mater is not only mass in other dimensions but they are in parallel universes (where the laws of physics might not be the same as ours). The only thing shared among those superimposed parallel universes is gravity. Add our universe to those parallel universes you get the Multiverse.

Speed of LightOn the other hand God swears by the heaven that has weaves:

[Quran 51.7] And the heaven that has weaves (Hubuk in Arabic).

Hubuk is plural of Habka which means a knot or a weave. Doesn’t the route that this ant needs to take look like a weave? Of course. Actually those Seven Heavens (Multiverse) are parallel universeswoven together (literally).

God also swears that someday we will travel to one of those extra dimensions:

[Quran 84.16-18] I swear by the afterglow of sunset… You will ride one layer from another layer.(لتركبن طبقا عن طبق)

Here “Tabak طبق” is a noun meaning “a layer”. The adjective “Tibak طباق” means “superimposed” and is used in describing the seven heavens “سبع سموات طباق“. The superimposed heavens in the Quran are the extra spatial dimensions in modern physics.  

Today we are sure that we are not living in a “Universe” but rather in a “Multiverse“. No physicist today believes that we are living in the three-dimensional universe of the Christian Bible (where not even time is a dimension!). Moslems ask how could an illiterate man who lived 1400 years have known that we are living in a Multiverse?

[Quran 40.57] The creation of the heavens and earth is greater than the creation of mankind, but most of the people do not know.