Islam stands for peace. Ahmadiyya Muslim community presents the real picture of Islam.

The true victory of Islam, as is evident from the word 'Islam' (submission) itself, lies in our complete surrendering our selves to God and freeing ourselves of our egos and our passions. No idol, whether it is the idol of our desires, our our intentions, or the idol of creature worship, should stand in our way, and we should submit ourselves entirely to the will of God. After reaching this state of Fana (self-annihilation), we will attain baqa (the life of eternity) which will give our eyes a new light, our minds a new passion; and we will become a wholly new being and the same Eternal God will become for us a new God. This is the true victory, and one aspect of it is Divine ammunion.(the green announcement p. 28)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Quran and Cosmology

AT the time the Holy Quran was revealed, the human understanding of the nature of the cosmos and the movement or the stillness of the heavenly bodies was extremely primitive and obscure. This is no longer the case, as our knowledge of the universe has considerably advanced and expanded by the present age.

Some of the theories relating to the creation of the universe have been verified as facts, whereas some others are still being explored. The concept of the expanding universe belongs to the former category, and has been universally accepted by the scientific community as 'fact'. This discovery was first made by Edwin Hubble in the 1920s. Yet some thirteen centuries before this, it was clearly mentioned in the Quran:

And the heaven We built with Our own powers (aydin) and indeed We go on expanding it (musi'un).

It should be remembered that the concept of the continuous expansion of the universe is exclusive to the Quran. No other Divine scriptures even remotely hint at it. The discovery that the universe is constantly expanding is of prime significance to scientists, because it helps create a better understanding of how the universe was initially created. It clearly explains the stage by stage process of creation, in a manner which perfectly falls into step with the theory of the Big Bang. The Quran goes further and describes the entire cycle of the beginning, the end and the return again to a similar beginning. The first step of creation as related in the Quran accurately describes the event of the Big Bang in the following words:

Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were a closed-up mass (ratqan), then We clove them asunder (fataqna)? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?

It is significant that this verse is specifically addressed to non-believers, implying perhaps, that the unveiling of the secret mentioned in this verse would be made by the non-believers, a sign for them of the truth of the Quran.

In this verse the words ratqan (closed-up mass), and fataqna (We clove them asunder), carry the basic message of the whole verse. Authentic Arabic lexicons3 give two meanings of ratqan, that have great relevance to the topic under discussion. One meaning is 'the coming together of something and the consequent infusion into a single entity' and the second meaning is 'total darkness'. Both these meanings are significantly applicable. Taken together, they offer an apt description of the singularity of a black hole.

A BLACK HOLE is a gravitationally collapsed mass of colossal size. It begins with the collapse of such massive stars as are 15 or more times the size of the sun. The immensity of their inward gravitational pull causes the stars to collapse into a much smaller size. The gravitational pull is further concentrated and results in the further collapse of the entire mass into a supernova. At this stage the basic bricks of matter such as molecules, atoms etc. begin to be crushed into a nondescript mass of energy. Thus that moment in space-time is created which is called event horizon. The inward gravitational pull of that something becomes so powerful that all forms of radiation are pulled back so that even light cannot escape. A resultant total darkness ensues which earns it the name black hole, reminding one of the word ratqan used by the Quran indicating total darkness. This is called singularity which lies beyond the event horizon.

A black hole once created grows rapidly because even distant stars begin to be pulled in with the progressive concentration of gravitational energy. It is estimated that the mass of a black hole could grow as large as a hundred million times the mass of the sun. As its gravitational field widens, more material from space is drawn in at a speed close to that of light. In 1997 there was observational evidence suggesting that in our galaxy a black hole of 2,000,000 solar masses existed. But other calculations show that in our universe there could be many black holes as big as 3,000,000,000 solar masses.4 At that concentration of gravitational pull even distant stars would stagger and lose their mooring to be devoured by a glutton of such magnitude. Thus the process of ratqan is completed resulting into that singularity which is both completely closed as well as comprising total darkness. In answer to the question as to how the universe was initially created, the two most recent theories are both Big Bang theories. They claim that it was initiated from a singularity which suddenly erupted releasing the trapped mass leading yet again into the creation of a new universe through the event horizon. This dawn of light sprouting from the event horizon is called the white hole5,6. One of the two theories relating to the expansion predicts that the universe thus created will carry on expanding forever. The other claims that the expansion of the universe will, at some time, be reversed because the inward gravitational pull will ultimately prevail. Eventually, all matter will be pulled back again to form perhaps another gigantic black hole. This latter view appears to be supported by the Quran.

Whilst speaking of the first creation of the universe, the Quran clearly describes its ending into yet another black hole, connecting the end to the beginning, thus completing the full circle of the story of cosmos. The Quran declares:

Remember the day when We shall roll up the heavens like the rolling up of written scrolls ...

The clear message of this verse is that the universe is not eternal. It speaks of a future when the heavens will be rolled up, in a manner similar to the rolling up of a scroll. Scientific descriptions illustrating the making of a black hole, very closely resemble what the Quran describes in the above verse. (See plate 1).
A mass of accretion from space falling into a black hole, as described above, would be pressed into a sheet under the enormous pressure created by the gravitational and electromagnetic forces. As the centre of the black hole is constantly revolving around itself, this sheet—as it approaches—will begin to be wrapped around it, before disappearing into the realm of the unknown at last.
The verse continues:

... As We began the first creation, so shall We repeat it; a promise binding on Us; that We shall certainly fulfil.

Following the eventual collapse of the universe into a black hole, here we have the promise of a new beginning. God will recreate the universe, as He had done before. The collapsed universe will re-emerge from its darkness and the whole process of creation will start yet again (see plate 2). This wrapping up and unfolding of the universe appears to be an ongoing phenomenon, according to the Holy Quran.
This Quranic concept of the beginning and the end of the creation is undoubtedly extraordinary. It would not have been less amazing if it had been revealed to a highly educated person of our contemporary age, but one is wonder-struck by the fact that this most advanced knowledge, regarding the perpetually repeating phenomenon of creation, was revealed more than fourteen hundred years ago to an unlettered dweller of the Arabian desert. (continue reading)

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