The Science of Stars in The Quran
I have already invited the attention of the reader in the previous pages that the Quran is the Book, which brought humanity from pre-scientific age to the age of rationalism. It is the very first book in the human history, which opened the scientific era and invited mankind to observe the phenomena of nature. God said:
We shall show them our signs in the furthest regions (of the earth) and within themselves until it will be manifest unto them that it (Quran) is the Truth. (41/53)
The contention of the above verse of the Quran stated 1400 years before. God upheld his contention and gradually unfolded the scientific knowledge and taught the man what he knew not. (96/4 )We have seen in the previous pages that the scientists have confirmed many facts of the Quran as to the creation of man and the universe after a long denial. Now we shall further examined how much more of the Quranic facts about life, the earth and its furthest regions have been confirmed by modern science.
And He hath made subject to you the sun and the moon both diligently pursuing their courses. (14/33)
When the sun (with its spacious light) is folded up; When the stars fall losing their luster; (81/1- 2)
And when the stars are put out. (77/8)
In the aforementioned verses, God (the Unique) did mention the two theories of science, the first about the movement of the stars and the second about ending of solar energy.
Before and after the descent of the Quran, it was considered that the sun rises and runs all through the sky and the earth is stable (16) on its place. But this notion was dropped in sixteenth century and the theory of the famous Prussian astronomer Copernicus (1473-1543) was accepted. He said earth revolves about the sun, and when we see that the sun and stars are going from east to west, the reason of this is the axial rotation of the earth from west to east. But after the adaptation of the theory, the people quite against the version of Quran began to think that the sun is stable at its place, and the earth is revolving around it.
It was only after Galileo (1564-1642) the Italian mathematician that the true nature of solar Phenomena was recognized. ‘He gave first proof of sun’s rotation and shape.’ (The New Encyclopedia Britannica). He invented telescope and observed the rotation of the sun in its place. Thus, what the Prophet in the Quran uttered in earlier 7th century was finally confirmed in 17th century i.e. after one thousand years of descent of Quran. It had long before declared:
And the sun runs its courses in its appointed place. That is the decree of the Mighty and the Wise. (36/38)
Similarly, the Quran explaining movement of stars said:
Oh! But I call to witness the planets that recede, go straight or hide. (81/15-16)
All these details of the Quran were the target of denial by the orientalists or European rationalists, till these were confirmed true only after modern scientific research. This is the proof that the Quran is God’s book and whatsoever the infidels say that the Quran was written by Muhammad (sallallaho alaihi wasallem) is a lie.
Fourteen hundred years before there was no system to measure the astronomical details, no one could have even deemed the precise moment of the stars or that the sun and the stars will be put out. We had to accept that all these facts were revealed to Muhammad Mustafa (Sallallaho alaihi wasallem),by God. In those days, none of the non-Muslims believed that the sun and stars will lose their energy. After the Muslims conquered Spain and some other parts of Europe. The Muslim institutions were imparting knowledge to the European students in Spain and other places, the Quranic facts were transcribed to the Europeans. Yet these facts about the creation of the universe were not confirmed by any of the European scholars because they did not have any existence of their own as Europe was in its Dark Ages. The Greek and other thought that the sun is eternal and they called it Sun God. But now this veil of darkness had vanished and the Quranic science has universally been accepted. To elaborate the Quranic description and to confirm its scientific facts I give some details of stars from encyclopedia.
The scientists say that the star sun has magnetic fields, it rotates, and it generates its energy in its core. The source of its energy lies into the conversion of hydrogen into helium. Lockyer had found this gas in 1868, and said this gas is present in sun’s atmosphere. It may be recalled that solar energy source had led to atomic energy. American made hydrogen bomb in 1952. In hydrogen bomb, an enormous release of energy is achieved by converting hydrogen nuclei into helium nuclei, a fusion process started by great heat.
The temperature of sun deep in its core is estimated to be seven million-degree F. The earth intercepts only one part of its energy in 2200 million parts. It is not easy to describe the output of solar energy. If the sun were enveloped in a shell of ice 40 feet thick, it would thaw its way out in one minute of time.
It has been estimated that the energy released by a single flare would be enough to provide the electric power for the whole world for one million years at the current use of rate depending upon the size of the flare.
The sun radiates (3.86X1033) ergs of energy every second; this corresponds to a mass loss of 4 million and seven thousand tons per second. The total lifetime of the sun is estimated to be some (1010) years. Computation on evolutionary models predict in a few time (109) years the sun will reach to the red giant stage. Finally, when all nuclear energy sources are used up, then it will reach its last evolution stage, that it will become a white dwarf, a star of small radius. Its radius will be almost hundred times smaller than it is now. Its internal temperature and its luminosity will gradually diminish on a time scale of (109) years and eventually the sun will become a black dwarf, a very dense non-luminous object of degenerate matter. The total lifetime if the sun is estimated to be some (1010) years.
The scientists estimated about the life of the sun may be right or wrong, we are the least concerned about it but their admission that the sun will lose its luminosity confirms what was said by the Quran:
When the sun (with its spacious light) is folded up. (81/1- 2)
Now I ask every person who refuses to accept the prophet-hood of Muhammad (Sallallaho alaihi wasallem) and the Quran as God’s book. Had any body in seventh century had known what the secret of the solar energy is, what is hydrogen? And what is helium? Or that this energy will ever be exhausted? Every man will reply that the world was unaware of these facts. As such, we have to acknowledge that the Quran is the book of Allah, and Muhammad (Sallallaho alaihi wasallem) is His true Prophet. Allah is the Great Creator, He creates every thing as he willed and has the knowledge of its continuance or annihilation, and whatever He narrated in His Book is the truth. And this is also true that He will destroy all this solar system on Doomsday. The scientists accept the death of the sun, and the death of the sun is the death of this earth, As God said:
But man wishes to do wrong (even) in the time before him. He questions: When will be the day of Resurrection? (75/5- 6)
The man without caring for the life in Hereafter wants to commit sins for his remaining life and ironically asks when will be the day of Resurrection? Allah tells him:
But when the sight is dazed, and the moon is made dark, and the sun and the moon are joined together, on that day man will cry whither to flee! By no means there will be no place of safety! Unto thy Lord is the recourse that day. On that day the man will be told. What he hath sent before and left behind. (75/7-13)
We have already learnt from the scientists that the great luminaries will lose there light. After all the nuclear energy is used up by the sun will change from red giant stage to a white dwarf. We also know that the moon reflects light of the sun, so when the sun is made dim, the moon will no longer reflect its light instead it will bury into darkness. After energy sources having exhausted there will be change into the velocity of the solar system, and God will join the sun and the moon together. The remaining heat of the sun with a close distance like that of the moon from the earth, “Will boil the water of the seas.” (81/6), and will daze the people and, “they will cry whither to flee, “(from the death) but there will be no place, of safety, except recourse to God. Then God will resurrect them on the appointed day.
Thus, modern science confirms, Doomsday mentioned by the Quran. When all the Quranic details about the creation and the destruction of the universe of are confirmed by scientists, the resurrection is also true, Who has created can certainly resurrect.
THE CELESTIAL BODIES AS IN THE HOLY QURAN
Now we shall see concisely as to what does the Quran speak of other celestial bodies. We can find that the Quran has divided the heavenly bodies into three categories, namely stars (nujum), planets (kawakib), meteors etc. (Shahab).
Stars are self-luminous bodies, which are shining due to internal energy sources. That is why, the Quran tells that the sun and the stars will be put out. (See Stars and the Planets). The planets reflect the light of their suns. The Quran very vividly exemplified the planets saying:
The lamp is in the glass. The glass looks like a shining planet. (24/35)
I have given only that part of the verse, which explains what is a planet? And I have given the literal translation of the Arabic text. The glass looks like a shining planet because it is reflecting the light of its lamp. Thus, the planet reflects the light of their lamps i.e. stars. God said:
Lo! We have adorned the lowest heaven with (beauty of the) planets. (37/6)
Lastly the Quran described “shahab” meaning a shining body emitting flame from the burning fire in it, as meteors etc. this Quranic division of the ignorance age still holds good when the people had never known that the planets reflect the light of their stars.
God emphasizing the creation of the stars said:
Nay. I swear by the places of the stars. And Lo! That verily is the tremendous oath, If ye but know. (56/75-76)
Mujahid say, “The places of stars mean the places where the stars rise and shine.” Qatada says, “The word places mean their mansions.” Few other say, it means their diffusing and vanishing. Ibn Kathir says, “God swear of any of his creations, and it is the proof of the greatness of that creation.”
Swearing by the places of the stars God emphasized their prodigious creation. As he said:
Assuredly the creation of heaven and the earth is greater than the creation of mankind: but most of mankind know not. (40/57)
The creation of mankind though perfect and wonderful yet God says that the creation of heavens and the earth is pre-eminent, and excellent.
At the time of descent of the Quran in early 7th century, the people did not know eminence of this amazing creation, viz a viz the inestimable vastness of space, or the tremendous volume of stars, their prodigious weight, their swimming and orbiting into space, their innumerable number, their immense distance from the earth, their going straight, receding and hiding, and their reappearance above the horizon.
All these facts were hidden from mankind till the modern age. That is why God said:
I swear by the places of the stars. And Lo! That verily is the tremendous oath, if ye but know.
If ye but know, refers to the people in the Quranic age and certainly that period is known to be scientific ignorance. The people were unaware of the greatness of the creation of the stars, heaven and earth, and as such they were unaware of the Omnipotence of their God the Creator. Therefore, this statement of the Quran that most of mankind know not, (this wonderful creation) has now been proved true.
I have substantiated the greatness of the creation of the heaven, stars and earth in testimony 14th, Ch: Bodily Ascent to Seven Heavens of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaho alaihi wasallem) of this book. Now I describe some of the encyclopedic facts about the greatness of this creation, so that we can understand why at all God emphasized this amazing creation with an oath.
Stars are massive self-luminous objects shinning by radiation derived from internal energy sources. The source of the energy lies in the conversion of hydrogen into helium.
Aldebran (Arabic name), Arcturus, and Capell are larger than the sun, they are giant star. Their distance from the sun is 100, 110, and 160 light years respectively. A light year is 5.8 million million miles. Their diameters are ten to twenty million miles. They are hundred times as bright as the sun.
Few are called super giant stars. They are Antares, Alpha Hercules, Betelgeuse and Meraciti. Their diameters are 420 to 480 times larger than the sun. Several of the nearby stars have planet like companions.
Creator the great has made various kinds of stars. Few are subjected to great explosions. We call them Novea or temporary stars. In supernovae, the explosion is catastrophic. Some of the stars are ten thousand times or more brighter than the sun.
Hundreds of thousands of stars are in the form of clusters. The scientists have divided them into open clusters and globular clusters. Open cluster contain from a dozen to many hundreds of stars usually in an unsymmetrical arrangement. Pleiades, Hyades, and the coma clusters are old systems are included in open clusters. Globular clusters are old systems containing thousands to hundreds of thousands of stars closing packed in symmetrical roughly spherical form.
The clusters are found in galaxies. In a small Magallanic cloud at a distance of one hundred fifty thousand light years about hundred twenty cluster are known. In a large Magallanic cloud at a distance of one hundred eighty thousand light years, nearly 1200 clusters have been catalogued. In a great Andromeda spiral galaxy 312 million two hundred thousand light years away, more than 300 clusters are known.
Galaxies are vast system of stars that also contain gas and dust in various ratios, and are distributed in groups and in cluster throughout space to the limits of the astronomical observations. The observable universe contains 1011, i.e. about ten billion galaxies. There are 109 to 1011 stars per galaxy.
These divisions are with regard to the form and shape, but as the matter of fact there are only three kinds of stars as described by the Quran, the stars which shine by radiation, the planets which reflect the light of the their stars and the meteors i.e. shooting stars, this shooting may be caused due to massive explosions as in novae or supernovae.
In view of the facts narrated above, the Quranic verse, “I swear by the places of the stars. And Lo! That verily is the tremendous oath, if ye but know,” can be explained as follows:
Allah the Most Glorious, the Most Sublime gave a great weight to the stars and planet. The creator of the sun, created stars greater and brighter than the sun, then by His order ‘BE’ suspended them with their hundreds of millions tons of weight in the space and then without the help of any machines, He made them to run on their axis and orbits. Our planet earth is one of them. Please see testimony 14th Ch: Bodily Ascent… What machines are making out stars and earth to run? Some of the planets have velocity far greater than the earth. Our earth is running at the speed of 18.5 miles per second i.e. 66,600 miles per hour. The Quran described this speedy movement of the stars saying:
And the sun runs its course in its appointed place. (36/38)
And their floating into space has been explained saying:
Each swims along in its own orbit. (36/40)
All celestial bodies have been given axial or orbital or both motions. Few go straight in their orbit and then recede, and few go straight and then hide. This rotation has been mentioned by the Quran saying:
So verily I call to witness the planets that recede go straight or hide. (81/15-16)
The hiding place of stars is called occident. Among these countless heavenly bodies and in spite of their varied movements never their occurs any collision. The Creator gave them the matter, which makes them twinkle. If it is helium and hydrogen, He also is the creator of these gases. He gave them symmetry and fixed their orbits. Some of them go straight and recede, others have circular movement on their elliptical orbits. Some stars emit heat they are suns, some are planets, which reflect the light from their suns, and some are given red light, and some glitter blue and white. Some are luminous radiating energy, some are known for catastrophic explosions. Creator the Great tied them into a comprehensive order, and, therefore, God said:
We created not the heaven and the earth and all that is Between as (merely an idle) sport (17). (44/38)
Stating the revolution of the earth, the sun and the moon, He said:
He created the night and the day and the sun and moon. They are floating in their orbit. A reference to it is made in S. 36 verses in 40.
The day and the night happen due to axial rotation of the earth, mentioning of the day and night along with the sun and the moon proves the motion of all the three celestial bodies in their orbit. However, the Arab word ‘kul’ in the above verse is used for three or more objects, as such the Quran describe the floating of earth, sun and moon in their courses. All the celestial bodies are divided into stars or suns, with their planets and moons, (18) therefore, the Quran states the floating of all of them.
God further said:
He has made subject to you the night and the day and the sun and the moon. And the stars are in subjection by His command. Lo! In this are signs for people who are wise. (16/12)
The Quran has already stated the rotation of the earth (19), sun and moon, now in the above verse it included the stars with them, and all are subject to or subservient to His command. That is to say that all are swimming into their orbits appointed by the Creator for them.
The Quran mentioned the sun and the other stars in one category as It said:
When the sun (with its spacious light) is folded up. When The stars fall losing their luster. (81/1-2)
It further said:
When the stars are put out. (77/8)
Thus, we see that the sun and the stars, which are now running in their appointed courses, will finally be put out. I have already stated in previous pages that the science after 1400 hundred years has confirmed all the Quranic facts about the celestial bodies. Thus, on one hand it is manifest unto all of us that the Holy Quran is the Book of God, and on the other hand, it is the miracle of Muhammad (sallallaho alaihi wasallem) who by Gods grace told such facts of which the people of his time were totally unaware. This is why Allah swore by the places of
Stars and described it as a tremendous oath because this great creation in our time has upheld the greatness of His book and the prophet-hood of Muhammad (Sallallaho alaihi wasallem).