Date Posted:Friday, January 16, 04:51:45pm Author:Fasil Mumtaz Subject: A Secret waiting to be told READ THE CONCLUSTION AT THE BOTTOM
the Qur'an does allude to life in outer space, thus:
"And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the living creatures He has scattered through them." (42.29)
"The seven heavens and the earth, and beings therein, declare his glory." (17:44)
These verses indicate that there is life in some form or other planets in the galaxies. Until scientific means become more sophisticated to make this discovery, this Qur'anic statement will remain an unfulfilled prophecy.
Will we ever discover aliens?
So far,we have learnt from the Quran that extraterrestrial life,inclucing 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 Quran 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) THERFORE,SURA 42:29 CONTAINS A PROPHESY THAT A TIME WILL INDEED COME IN THE FUTUTE WHEN HUMANS WILL DISCOVER ALIENS.
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 fulfil 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 fulfil 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).
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 Quran 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.
CONCLUSTION - a "secret" waiting to be told
If the Quran 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 Quran 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 Quran mentioning aliens.Yet,there are scholars also who have no idea about this subject.Surprisingly,even Maurice Bucaille,whose brilliant book, The Bible,The Quran and Science is extensive in its coverage of scientific topics in the Quran,completely overlooked the mention of aliens.
How aware were the early Muslims,about the existence of extraterrestrials,or verses in the Quran 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 Quran,and he became one of the great scholars of the Quran.Maulana Maududi writing in his Tafhim-ul-Quran,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 Quran, 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 Quran 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 extrasolar 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 Quran 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 Quran 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 Quran.Of course,even today,the miracle remains that the Quran 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 construeing the meaning of Quranic 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 Quran 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 Quran will continue to shed light on some of the most enduring and intriguing scientific mysteries of our times.