Sunday, September 14, 2008


With the ‘Large Hadron Collider’ experiment going live, everyone is looking into their religions and wondering if it supports such a study. People are greatly confused and even scared of the wrath or curse of God. Some feel that if the experiment goes wrong, the whole earth will be destroyed. Having said that, we have nothing to fear as everything on this earth and universe, is controlled by the Almighty God, who will have a final say in the matter. The earth will end only when HE wills.

Everyone might not have heard about the Big Bang theory. It’s only the people who've studied science or kept themselves updated about things. So it is but natural that even some religious scholars might not be able to comment much on the subject. 

Many news channels have over-hyped the entire experiment by screaming themselves hoarse that the world is coming to an End. They have given out unnecessary ‘Red Alerts’ without studying the experiment or the logic behind it in detail. This has resulted in chaos in some places, where people working away from their homes have returned back to their families and even a suicide case has also been reported.

Scientists from 80 countries, including Indian scientists have been working on this experiment since many years. From the various reasons of carrying out the experiment, one of the main reasons according to some scientists is to study whether God created the Universe or the Universe got created by itself with a Big Bang. Now this is one part with which I do not agree. Because the Big Bang theory is clearly mentioned in the Quran.

I did my bit of research on Science on the Subject and related texts in Quran and came out with amazing revelations!

What is the Big Bang Theory?

The Big Bang theory is an effort to explain what happened at the very beginning of our universe. Discoveries in astronomy and physics have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that our universe did in fact have a beginning. Prior to that moment there was nothing; during and after that moment there was something: our universe. The big bang theory is an effort to explain what happened during and after that moment.

According to the standard theory, our universe sprang into existence as "singularity" around 13.7 billion years ago. What is a "singularity" and where does it come from? Well, to be honest, we don't know for sure. Singularities are zones which defy our current understanding of physics. They are thought to exist at the core of "black holes." Black holes are areas of intense gravitational pressure. The pressure is thought to be so intense that finite matter is actually squished into infinite density (a mathematical concept which truly boggles the mind). These zones of infinite density are called "singularities." Our universe is thought to have begun as an infinitesimally small, infinitely hot, infinitely dense, something - a singularity. Where did it come from? We don't know. Why did it appear? We don't know. After its initial appearance, it apparently inflated (the "Big Bang"), expanded and cooled, going from very, very small and very, very hot, to the size and temperature of our current universe. It continues to expand and cool to this day.

Contrary to belief, there was no giant explosion as such. Something happened and the universe was formed and started expanding. What is this something and how it happened is what the scientists are trying to study with the ‘Big Bang Experiment’.

Having understood the ‘Big Bang’ theory, which speaks about the Origin of the Universe, let us not mix it with the Origin of Life. Both are two different things. By accepting the ‘Big Bang’ theory, how can we prove that God was not ‘creator of the universe and life on earth’? Many people think that this theory is against religion and often confuse it with Origin of Life. Now let us look at it this way. The Universe was formed some billion of years ago. At that time it was still too hot and still in the earlier stages of expansion, so the question of existence of life then was not possible. Life came into existence much later.

Science states that the universe was once just a cloud of 'smoke' This is one of the undisputed principles of standard modern cosmology.
God said in the Quran:Then He turned to the heavens when it was smoke...
[Holy Quran 41:11]

Out of this one mass of smoke, the sun, moon, stars, galaxies etc (i.e. the Universe) was formed. That is what the Big Bang theory proposes too.

Refer to the Verse from Quran which clearly mentions about this fact :Surah Al Anbiyaa Verse- 30
"Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together before We split them asunder ? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?"

The first half speaks about the Big Bang theory, while the second half speaks about the Origin of Life. It clearly states that life was formed from water. Science tells us now that the life on earth originated from water. Even today while we are exploring the galaxies and actively searching for life on other planets, the first question we ask : ‘Is there any water on that planet to sustain life?’, because we know that without water life is impossible.

Also refer to the following Verse detailing the ‘Big Bang’ expansion theory :The heavens, We have built with power and, We are expanding it.
(Chapter: 51, Verse: 47)

There are seperate Verses in the Holy Quran which talk about how Evolution of Life as well as other scientific facts. Quoting just a few here :

"(God is the one who) raised the heavens without any pillars that you see, and He is firm in power and He made the sun and the moon subservient (to you); each one pursues its course to an appointed time; He regulates the affair, making clear the signs that you may be certain of meeting your Lord."
(Chapter 13 - verse 2)

"And He it is Who spread the earth and made in it firm mountains and rivers, and of all fruits He has made in it pairs; He makes the night cover the day; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect."
(Chapter 13 - verse 3)

This verse also points out the sexual reproduction in plant kingdom, much before science discovered it. In 13/3 male and female fruit plants are described.
Similarly reference is made to the water origin of animals:-

"Allah Almighty (God) created from water every living creature: so of them is that which walks upon its belly, and of them is that which walks upon two feet, and of them is that which walks upon four".

In other verses, it also goes on to explain about the Creation of Man. But we are only discussing the Origin of the Universe here. Discussing Science and Islam would require a separate Chapter. I’ve added the verses of Origin of Life to clear the confusion between the two things.

And all this was revealed to our Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him) by Allah in the Holy month of Ramzan through Angel Gabriel (Jibrail Alaissalaam) 1400 years ago by way of The Quran. Since Muhammed (PBUH) was himself illiterate, he couldn’t have read about all this or copied it from somewhere. And many of these facts were only discovered within a span of the last hundred years and were not known to Mankind 1400 years ago! And no data in Quran has ever been manipulated, adapted, changed since then. Every available copy of the Holy Quran on this earth, whether old or new, whether handwritten or printed will be the same. Of course there are translations, but the original text hasn’t changed over the years. So there is no chance of later additions.

Surprisingly, Quran not only speaks about the ‘Expansion of Universe (Big Bang)’, but also about the subsequent ‘Contraction of the Universe’ (Big Crunch).

What is Big Crunch?

If the expansion continues, after billions of years, all the energy of the sun and stars will be exhausted and every living thing will freeze to death. Eventually, only the expanding emptiness will remain. Alternatively if there is enough mass in the universe, gravity will one day stop the expansion and then contraction will begin. A contracting universe would ultimately end in a very hot and compressed state called "The Big Crunch." This would also destroy all life forms, as we know them.

Some physicists like Michael Berry, Thomas Gold, and Steven Hawking feel that time may reverse when the universe begins contracting. This prospect has a striking resemblance to the Quranic description of the Day of Judgment.

That Day We will fold up heaven like folding up the pages of a book. As We originated the first creation so We will regenerate it. It is a promise binding on Us. That is what We will do. (Qur'an, 21:104)

In another verse, this state of the heavens is described thus:
They do not measure Allah with His true measure. The whole earth will be a mere handful for Him on the Day of Rising the heavens folded up in His right hand. Glory be to Him! He is exalted above the partners they ascribe!
(Qur'an, 39:67)

What is Time and What is Reversal of Time ?

Many people have tried to explain time including Albert Einstien, but it is still an elusive mystery. What moves slowly for us, might be a matter of seconds in another part of the universe or in God’s context. There are many other references in the Holy Quran like Muhammed (PBUH)’s trip on the night of Shab-e-Mehraj, where the Prophet covered the seven heavens, but was missing from his bed only for a few minutes/ seconds and was back when the bed was still warm! Time, as we know, keeps moving into a future direction. Things form, then destroy with time. People are born, then die. This is time. What if time is reversed? Everything in the world will go in a reverse direction. The dead will come to life, the old will become younger. Now that’s what the Day of Judgement is all about as stated in the Quran. So the contraction of the Universe will lead to reversal of time and finally everything will be back to its original hot single mass. That will be the Day of Judgement (Qayamat).

Day of Judgement 

Does this mean that we will be able to predict the Day of Judgement when the Universe starts contracting? NO. Though, the concept of contracting of earth appears to be simple as expansion, it would not be so easy for us to decipher. And moreso, because God clearly states in the Quran that :Men ask you of the Hour. Say the knowledge of it is with Allah only.
What can convey to you that may be the Hour is near.
(Chapter: 33, Verse: 63)

They bid you to hasten on the doom.
And if a term had not been appointed,
The doom would have definitely come on them.
And it will come upon them suddenly
When they perceive not.
(Chapter: 29, Verse: 53)

This is explained by the fact that time will also reverse with the contracting (slowing down of expansion) and we will not be able to measure the difference. If time slows with slowing down of expansion, we will be calculating speed with our slower time, and will not realize that the contraction has started since the rate of expansion will appear same to us. In fact with our slower time, when we calculate expansion till the far reaches of the universe, it might even appear to be faster. Ain’t that mind boggling?

What I discovered in a Day is truly amazing. This is so complicated. You have to relate time, theory of relativity, Big Bang and study it in depth with Physics to really understand all this. And still there are many questions unanswered.

But the fact remains that the Day of Judgment cannot be predicted by any of us. It will be decided by our Creator -The Almighty and will come when we’re least expecting it. So all the Dooms Day predictors please relax and chill out! You won’t know when it’s going to come.

The Unanswered Questions
This is what the CERN’s ‘Large Hadron Collider’ experiment seeks to obtain -Answers to many questions regarding the Origin of the Universe and it’s Future.

Is this against any Religion or are we playing with Nature ?
It is not wrong to know and seek knowledge because Quran clearly encourages all Men and Women equally to seek knowledge
"Are those who have knowledge and those who have no knowledge alike? Only the men of understanding are mindful. " (Quran, 39:9)

"My Lord! Enrich me with knowledge.." (Quran, 20:114)

Quran also encourages scientific research :
"And whoso brings the truth and believes therein such are the dutiful."
(Quran, 39:33)

So there is nothing wrong in carrying out this experiment. As far as playing with nature is concerned, we all know that nothing happens without the will of God. The World will end when God Wills.

References :
And Of course, The Holy Quran


sk said...

Excellent article Shagufta. The way you have highligted things in context to the Holy Quran must have required great efforts from your side. People should be encouraged to read the Quran and also put efforts in understanding the knowledge conveyed. Various aspects our day to day life have been conveyed in the Quran which serve as a guide to all Muslims. But unfortunately some people have misinterpreted the messages and missused them according to their convenience. So when we read the Quran ourselves with understanding, we get the right messages, not the ones conveyed by people with ulterior motives.

Shagufta said...

Thanks SK for the appreciation. This article required 1 and a half day of thorough research. And to top it, I was not aware of the Hadron Collider experiment until the Day it was actually started. So it was quite an achievement for me.