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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES-03

0210-CREATION OF THE EARTH

Paper presented at a seminar organized by Saba Islamic Media at Kuala Lumpur on 6th October 2002 by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. MB ChB (MUK), MPH, DrPH (Harvard), Deputy Dean for Research and Postgraduate Affairs, Kulliyah of Medicine, International Islamic University, Kuantan Malaysia EM: omarkasule@yahoo.com

SUMMARY

This paper presents and discusses Qur’anic verses on scientific facts about the earth (creation, contents, order, and harmony) as signs, ayat, of Allah’s power and majesty. These verses also indicate the scientific miracles of the Qur’an which foretold 15 centuries ago facts that are only recently known to science. The Qur’an contains facts about the earth that modern science has not yet discovered or explained.

 

NATURE OF THE EARTH

Allah is the sole creator of the universe and all what is in it[i]. He created the earths[ii], the heavens[iii], all what exists, what existed before and what will exist in the future. There is no associate with Allah in creation[iv]. No one else has the power of creation that Allah has[v]. The creation of humans is superior to other creation because humans carry amanat.[vi] The universe consists of the earth, the heavens, the space that encloses them both and the space between them. It includes the stars, the planets, comets, galaxies, and meteors. The Qur’anic term ‘alamiin refers to the wide all-embracing universe or cosmos[vii]. All the universe is subservient to Allah[viii]. The earth and the heavens are separate[ix]. There are 7 heavens[x] and 7 earths. The universe is either the world of the seen, ‘aalam al shahadat or the world of the unseen, ‘aalam al ghaib. Paradise, jannat, and hell, jahannam, were created and are part of the universe. The earth was created [xi] and will be destroyed on the last day[xii]. The Qur’an encourages humans to study the earth[xiii] to reveal many signs of Allah that are a moral lesson and reminder. The earth contains both living and non-living things[xiv]. The earth is wide[xv]. The earth stands on its own without pillars[xvi] and is stable[xvii]. The earth moves[xviii] by revolution and rotation[xix]. The earth is round[xx], flat in some places[xxi], mountainous in others, and is orderly[xxii]. It has gravitational force[xxiii]. It is a source of esthetical pleasure[xxiv] and is a source of bounties[xxv] such as crops[xxvi]. The sky is very wide and expansive[xxvii] and has order[xxviii]. The inhabitants of the heavens are humans and angels[xxix]. The sky is the roof of the earth[xxx]. It has layers[xxxi], doors[xxxii], guards at the doors[xxxiii], and is held in place[xxxiv]. The sky is orderly[xxxv]. This order will be destroyed on the last day[xxxvi] when its inheritance will revert to Allah[xxxvii]. The sky contains life[xxxviii]. The sky is subservient to the human[xxxix]. Objects can fall from the sky to the earth such as stones for punishment[xl], water down for irrigation[xli], food[xlii], and rizq[xliii]. The sky has big stars[xliv] such as the sun. The sun is a source of light[xlv], is stable[xlvi], has movements[xlvii] that are precise[xlviii], it rises and sets[xlix] with orderly movements that are under Allah's control[l]. This order will be destroyed on the last day[li]. The sun prostrates at Allah’s throne[lii]. The moon is a satellite of the earth that moves[liii] and takes several positions[liv] that are the basis for reckoning[lv]. The moon is a source of light[lvi] and its crescent[lvii] is used as a symbol of Muslims. The moon is subservient[lviii] nd prostrates in worship to Allah[lix]. On the last day the moon will be split[lx] and will disappear[lxi]. Stars are used for navigation[lxii]. They are subservient[lxiii] and prostrate to Allah in worship[lxiv]. They move in definite positions[lxv]. On the last day they will fall[lxvi] and will be obliterated[lxvii]. The term ‘aafaaq refers to the far away space[lxviii] with signs of Allah in it[lxix].

 

THE ULTIMATE QUESTIONS

There are ultimate questions, al masail al niha’iyyat, about the universe that are beyond human intellect and can only be answered by revelation. They include: start & end of creation, purpose of creation, and the ultimate destiny of the human. The Qur’anic account of creation deals almost exclusively with human creation. We have no evidence yet from the Qur’an and scientific observation of the existence of life on other planets and other galaxies. Allah existed before any creations[lxx]. The first creation was the pen[lxxi]. Different objects were created on each of the days of the week[lxxii]. Human creation was de novo from basic elements of water and soil; there was no pre-existing life. We know that we are descended from Adam. Adam was created much later than many animals and many plants. The earths and heavens were created to submit to Allah and worship Him[lxxiii]. The earth was created as a test for the human. It has many signs and bounties from Allah. The Qur'an has taught that on the last day the universe as we know it today will be physically destroyed[lxxiv].

 

SIGNS OF ALLAH IN THE UNIVERSE

The Qur’an calls upon humans to observe the empirical world and deliberate on its bounties and signs. It encourages humans to explore space[lxxv]. Humans can learn a lot from the open book of Allah’s signs in the universe[lxxvi] and in humans[lxxvii]. The believers see and understand the signs[lxxviii], obey the creator, increase their iman[lxxix] and taqwat[lxxx] from the signs, they think about signs[lxxxi] and understand them[lxxxii] thereby increasing their certainty, yaqeen[lxxxiii] and knowledge[lxxxiv]. They express gratitude to the Lord for all the signs and bounties in the creation[lxxxv]. The unbelievers reject the signs and behave arrogantly towards them[lxxxvi].

 

ALLAH’S WILL, iraadat al Allah

Allah is the sovereign of the heavens and earths[lxxxvii]. He has an independent and unfettered will[lxxxviii]. He does what He wants and wills and in whatever manner He desires. Any physical laws or any of His previous actions does not restrict him.

 

3.1.5 ORDER, CHANGE AND PERMANENCE

The universe is ordered and coordinated following physical laws sunan allah that are among the signs of Allah, ayat al allaah. They are fixed and are characterized by stability, thabaat[lxxxix]. Even apparent differences and exceptions follow some fixed laws[xc]. Order and relations among various physical phenomena are manifestations of Allah's signs[xci]. The universe is orderly, systematic, harmonious, and predictable[xcii]. The order is not due to human whims and fancies[xciii] but reflects Allah's will. The earth and heavens are held together and in their positions by His will[xciv]. The orderly universe is the best logical manifestation for one sole creator[xcv] and is an open book and proof of tauhid al rububbiyyat[xcvi]. The purpose of all scientific investigation is to find these laws, understand them, and use them for the benefit of humans. The universe has a stable state to which it returns after temporary disturbances. Only Allah is permanent everything else changes continuously. The miracle of Allah’s creation is that changes are regulated and are co-ordinated following a system. Such phenomena can occur only occur in a situation in which there is one powerful creator for the universe. Change is a constant phenomenon. The Qur'an tells us that social changes are ordered and are regulated by the laws of Allah, sunan  al llaah fi al taghyiir[xcvii]. The same applies, by analogy, to physical changes. The change is according to a definite order and is not chaotic. There is no strict dichotomy between the world of the seen, ‘alam al shahadat, and the world of the unseen, aalam al ghaib. The world of the unseen has two components: the absolute, ghaib mutlaq, and the relative, ghaib nisbi.  Examples of ghaib mutlaq is knowledge of the ruh[xcviii], knowledge of the last day[xcix], the time of human death, ajal[c]. Examples of ghaib nisbi are: knowledge of the past[ci], knowledge of contemporary events[cii], and knowledge of the future[ciii]. Most phenomena in the physical universe are ghaib nisbi. Only Allah knows ghaib mutlaq[civ]. He has the keys to the unseen[cv]. Humans, even prophets, do not know ghaib[cvi]  unless so permitted by Allah. Jinn do not know ghaib[cvii] without Allah's permission. It is one of the distinguishing characteristics of believers that they believe in ghaib[cviii]. The Qur’anic concept of wasatiyyat [cix] is used to refer to the average, the middle ranks, or the normal expectation. One of the constant laws of the universe is that for every action there is a reaction. This is necessary to restore and maintain order. The Qur'an described tadafu'u as a tool of maintaining order[cx]. Objectivity, istiqamat, allows humans to maintain order. Minimizing changes and maintaining constancy, thabaat, is desirable in some physical phenomena in order to maintain order. Allah in His mercy also allows changes because rigid constancy would not allow response and adjustment to changing circumstances.

 

 

 



[i] Qur’an 2:21 & 14:32

[ii]  Qur’an 2:164 & 65:12

[iii]  Qur’an 2:29 & 71:15

[iv]  Qur’an 7:191 & 52:35-36

[v]  Qur’an 7:191 & 10:34

[vi]  Qur’an 33:72

[vii]  Qur’an 2:4 & 81:27

[viii]  Qur’an 1:2 & 83:6

[ix]  Qur’an 21:30

[x]  Qur’an 2:29 & 78:12

[xi] Qur’an 2:164 & 65:12

[xii]  Qur’an 14:48 & 99:1-2

[xiii]  Qur’an 3:137 & 47:10

[xiv]  Qur’an 77:25-26

[xv]  Qur’an 4:97 & 39:10

[xvi]  Qur’an 13:2 & 35:41

[xvii]  Qur’an 27:61 & 40:64

[xviii]  Qur’an 2:164 & 99:1-2

[xix]  Qur’an 27:88

[xx]  Qur’an 79:30

[xxi]  Qur’an 71:19-20 & 88:20

[xxii] Qur’an 2:251 & 35:41

[xxiii]  Qur’an 13:2 & 35:41

[xxiv]  Qur’an 10:24 & 18:7

[xxv]  Qur’an 2:168 & 47:10

[xxvi] Qur’an 2:61 & 80:24-31

[xxvii]  Qur’an 51:47

[xxviii]  Qur’an 2:22 & 91:5

[xxix]  Qur’an 17:95 & 53:26

[xxx]  Qur’an 52:5

[xxxi]  Qur’an 67:3 & 71:15

[xxxii]  Qur’an 7:40 & 78:19

[xxxiii]  Qur’an 72:8

[xxxiv]  Qur’an 22:65 & 35:41

[xxxv]  Qur’an 2:22 & 91:5

[xxxvi]  Qur’an 14:48 &  84:1

[xxxvii]  Qur’an 3:180 & 57:10

[xxxviii]  Qur’an 16:49 & 55:29

[xxxix]  Qur’an 31:20 & 4:13

[xl]  Qur’an 2:59 & 67:17

[xli]  Qur’an 2:22 & 54:11

[xlii]  Qur’an 5:112 & 5:114

[xliii]  Qur’an 7:96 & 51:22-23

[xliv]  Qur’an 15:16 & 85:1

[xlv]  Qur’an 78:13 & 78:13

[xlvi]  Qur’an 36:38

[xlvii]  Qur’an 6:78 & 39:5

[xlviii]  Qur’an 6:96 & 55:5

[xlix]  Qur’an 2:258 & 50:39

[l] Qur’an 2:258 & 55:5

[li]  Qur’an 75:9 & 81:1

[lii] Qur’an Bukhari K59 B4

[liii] Qur’an 6:77 & 39:5

[liv] Qur’an 10:5 & 31:39-40

[lv] Qur’an 2:189 & 55:5

[lvi] Qur’an 6:77 & 71:16

[lvii] Qur’an 2:189 & 36:39

[lviii] Qur’an 7:54 & 35:18

[lix] Qur’an 22:18

[lx] Qur’an 54:1

[lxi] Qur’an 7:8-9

[lxii] Qur’an 6:97 & 16:16

[lxiii] Qur’an 7:54 & 16:12

[lxiv] Qur’an 22:18

[lxv] Qur’an 56:75

[lxvi] Qur’an 53:1

[lxvii] Qur’an 77:8

[lxviii] Qur’an 41:53 & 81:23

[lxix]  Qur’an 2:164 & 51:20

[lxx]  Qur’an Ibn Majah Intr B13

[lxxi] Qur’an Tirnmidhi K44 S68

[lxxii] Qur’an Ahmad 2:327

[lxxiii] Qur’an 1:2 & 83:6

[lxxiv]  Qur’an 14:48 & 99:1-2

[lxxv] Qur’an 55:33

[lxxvi] Qur’an 2:259 & 51:20

[lxxvii] Qur’an 3:6 & 51:21

[lxxviii] Qur’an 2:73 & 53:18

[lxxix] Qur’an 2:248 & 48:20

[lxxx] Qur’an 2:187 & 24:34

[lxxxi] Qur’an 2:219 & 45:13

[lxxxii] Qur’an 6:65 & 6:98

[lxxxiii]  Qur’an 2:118 & 51:20

[lxxxiv] Qur’an 6:37 & 30:22

[lxxxv] Qur’an 5:89 & 42:33

[lxxxvi] Qur’an 6:93 & 45:31

[lxxxvii] Qur’an 2:107 & 85:9

[lxxxviii] Qur’an 2:26 & 74:31

[lxxxix] Qur’an 17:77 & 48:23

[xc] Qur’an 6:165 & 43:32-33

[xci] Qur’an 2:22 & 67:3-5

[xcii] Qur’an 2:251 & 35:41

[xciii] Qur’an 22:65

[xciv] Qur’an 35:41

[xcv] Qur’an 2:22 &  67:3-5

[xcvi] Qur’an 2:21 & 71:15-20

[xcvii] Qur’an 6:89 & 47:38

[xcviii] Qur’an 17:85

[xcix] Qur’an 6:31 & 79:42-22

[c] Qur’an 31:34

[ci] Qur’an 3:44 & 30:2

[cii]  Qur’an 4:34 & 12:25

[ciii] Qur’an 10:20 & 72:26-27

[civ] Qur’an 6:50 & 79:42-44

[cv] Qur’an Bukhari K65 S6 B1

[cvi] Qur’an 5:109 & 68:47

[cvii] Qur’an 34:14

[cviii] Qur’an 2:3

[cix] Qur’an 2:143 & 68:28

[cx] Qur’an 2:251 & 70:2

 

 

 

 

Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. October 2002