Until the mid-20th century, the prevalent view across the world was that the universe was infinite; that it had existed forever; and that it will continue to do so for all time. According to this view, known as the “static universe model”, the universe had no end or beginning.
In maintaining that the universe is a collection of fixed, static, and unchanging substances, this view has constituted the basis of materialist philosophy and has consequently rejected the existence of a Creator. However, as science and technology progressed during the 20th century, the static universe model has been completely uprooted.
We have now entered the 21st century, and a new dawn is upon us. Through numerous experiments, observations, and calculations conducted by some of the world’s most prominent thinkers, modern physics has proven that the universe did indeed have a beginning, and that it came into being from nothing in a single moment in a huge explosion. Furthermore, it has been established that the universe is not fixed and static, as materialists still stubbornly maintain. On the contrary, it is undergoing a constant process of movement, change, and expansion. These recently-established facts all act as nails in the coffin of the static universe theory. Today, all these facts are universally accepted by the scientific community. The origin of the universe is described in the Qur’an in the following verse:
He created the heavens and the earth from nothing… (Al-An`am 6:101)
This information is in full agreement with the findings of contemporary scientists. As we stated earlier, the conclusion that astrophysics has reached today is that the entire universe, together with the dimensions of matter and time, came into existence as a result of a great explosion that occurred a long time ago. This event, known as the “Big Bang”, is the catalyst for the creation of the universe from nothingness. This explosion, all parties in the scientific community agree, emanated from a single point some 15 billion years ago.
The Expanding Universe
In the Qur’an, which was revealed 14th centuries ago at a time when the science of astronomy was still primitive, the expansion of the universe was described in the following terms:
And it is We Who have constructed the heaven with might, and verily, it is We Who are steadily expanding it. (Adh-Dhariyat 51:47)
The word “heaven”, as stated in the verse above, is used in various places in the Qur’an. It is referring to space and the wider universe. Thus, this Qur’anic verse clearly states that the universe expands. This is the very conclusion that science has reached today.
Until the dawn of the 20th century, the only view prevailing in the world of science was that the universe has a constant nature and has existed since infinite time. However, modern research, observations, and calculations carried out by means of modern technology have revealed that the universe in fact had a beginning and that it constantly “expands”.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian physicist Alexander Friedmann and the Belgian cosmologist Georges Lemaître theoretically calculated that the universe is in constant motion and that it is expanding.
This notion was confirmed by the use of observational data in 1929. While observing the sky with a telescope, Edwin Hubble, the American astronomer, discovered that the stars and galaxies were constantly moving away from each other. This discovery is regarded as one of the greatest in the history of astronomy. During these observations, Hubble established that the stars emit a light that turns redder according to their distance. That is because according to the known laws of physics, light heading towards a point of observation turns violet, and light moving away from that point assumes a more reddish hue. During his observations, Hubble noted a tendency towards the colour red in the light emitted by stars. In short, the stars were moving further and further away, all the time. The stars and galaxies were not only moving away from us, but also from each other. A universe where everything constantly moves away from everything else implied a constantly expanding universe. The observations carried out in the following years verified that the universe is constantly expanding.
In order to gain a clearer understanding of this, let us imagine the universe to be the surface of a balloon being inflated. In the same way that the more the balloon is inflated, the further away the points on its surface move from one another, celestial bodies also move away from one another as the universe expands. This was theoretically discovered by Albert Einstein, regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century. However, in order to avoid violating the static universe model that was generally accepted at that time, Einstein laid that discovery aside. He would later describe this as the greatest blunder of his life.
This fact was explained in the noble Qur’an in a time when telescopes and similar technological advancements were not even close to being invented. This is because the Qur’an is the word of Allah, the Creator and Ruler of the entire universe.
End of Universe & the Big Crunch
As we have stated above, the creation of the universe began with a huge explosion. From this point, the universe has been expanding ever since. Scientists say that when the mass of the universe has reached a sufficient level, this expansion will come to an end because of gravity, causing the universe to collapse in on itself.
It is also believed that the contracting universe will end in a fierce heat and contraction known as the “Big Crunch”. This would lead to the end of all forms of life as we know them. Renata Kallosh and Andrei Linde, professors of physics from Stanford University, made the following statements on the subject:
The universe may be doomed to collapse and disappear. Everything we see now, and at a much larger distance that we cannot see, will collapse into a point smaller than a proton. Locally, it will be the same as if you were inside a black hole… We have found that some of the best attempts to describe dark energy predict that it will gradually become negative, which will cause the universe to become unstable, then collapse… Physicists have known that dark energy could become negative and the universe could collapse sometime in the very distant future… But now we see that we might be, not in the beginning, but in the middle of the life cycle of our universe.
This is how this scientific hypothesis of the Big Crunch is indicated in the Qur’an:
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. (Al-Anbiya’ 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 Resurrection, and the heavens will be folded up in His right hand. Glory be to Him! He is exalted above the partners they ascribe! (Az-Zumar 39:67)
According to the Big Crunch theory, the universe will begin to collapse slowly and will then increasingly pick up speed. At the end of the process, the universe will have infinite density and be infinitely hot and small. This scientific theory runs parallel to the Qur’anic explanation of this particular scientific concept. (Allah knows best)
Creation from Hot Smoke
Scientists today are able to observe the formation of stars from a hot gas cloud. Formation from a warm mass of gas also applies to the creation of the universe. The creation of the universe as described in the Qur’an confirms this scientific discovery in the following verse:
He placed firmly embedded mountains on it, towering over it, and blessed it and measured out its nourishment in it, laid out for those who seek it-all in four days. Then He turned to heaven when it was smoke and said to it and to the earth, “Come willingly or unwillingly.” They both said, “We come willingly.” (Fussilat 41:10-11)
The Arabic word samaa’, translated here as “heaven”, refers to the entire universe. The word dukhanun (smoke in Arabic) describes the matter before the universe took its shape—the hot cosmic smoke present during the creation of the universe, as now acknowledged by scientists. This word in the Qur’an, in pinpoint fashion, describes this smoke very accurately, for it is a warm body of gas containing mobile particles connected to solid substances. Here, the Qur’an has employed the most appropriate word from the Arabic language for describing the appearance of this phase of the universe. Let us note that only in the 20th century have scientists discovered that the universe emerged from a hot gas in the form of smoke.
In addition, the word thumma, translated as “then” in the expression (Then He turned to heaven when it was smoke), bears other meanings such as “at this, in addition, furthermore, moreover, again, once more.” Here, thumma is employed not as an expression of time, but as an additional clarification.
The fact that such information about the creation of the universe is given in the Qur’an is nothing short of a miracle of this noble and divine book.
The article was first published in Harun Yahya’s book: Allah’s Miracles in the Qur’an. Here taken with kind permission from harunyahya.com