The Big Bang Theory: From a Qur'anic Perspective
Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed
Clinical Professor of Medicine
University of Louisville School of Medicine
Louisville, KY 40292,USA
One of the great mysteries facing scientists today are the answers to the two following questions:
1. WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE?
2. WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF LIFE?
The answer to the first question is difficult than the answer to the second question. Allah (SWT) says in the Qur'an creation of the universe was a greater problem than the creation of man.
The following verse in the Qur'an alludes to the Big Bang Theory:
DO THEY NOT THE UNBELIEVERS SEE THAT THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH WERE JOINED TOGETHER (AS ONE UNIT OF CREATION) BEFORE WE CLOVE THEM ASUNDER? WE MADE FROM WATER EVERY LIVING THING. WILL THEY NOT THEN BELIEVE?
Surah: 21. Al-Anbiyaa, Ayath 30
The origin of universe has been explained by several cosmological theories. One theory that seems philosophically far more attractive is called the Steady-State model. This theory was proposed in the 1940s by Herman Bondi, Thomas Gold and Fred Hoyle. They stated that the universe has always been just about the same as it is now. As it expands, new matter is continually created to fill up the gaps between the galaxies.
This theory has been replaced by the "Standard Model" or the "Big Bang" Theory. Using the Doppler effect the astronomers confirmed that the galaxies are moving away and that the universe is expanding. The birth of the universe has been estimated to be between 15 and 30 billion years ago.
The experimental confirmation of the Big Bang Theory came from the detection of the Cosmic Microwave Radiation Background by a pair of radio astronomers, Arno. A. Penzias and Robert W. Wilson. In 1964 they were working in the Bell Telephone Laboratory which had in its possession of an unusual radio antenna on Crawford Hill at Holmdel, New Jersey. By measuring the cosmic microwave radiation background radiation which is the noise left over from the early universe, they calculated the temperature in the universe to be 3.5 degrees Kelvin.
In the beginning there was an explosion. This explosion is not the same as one observes on earth. As a result of this explosion, space and time were born and started to expand to this day, and they will continue to expand in the future. The temperature of the universe was about a hundred thousand million degrees Centigrade. It is so hot than none of the components of ordinary matter molecules, or atoms or even the nuclei of atoms, could have held together. In the early universe there was abundance of electrons,
Positrons (anti-electron) and neutrinos, ghostly particles with no mass or electric charge. Finally, the universe was filled with light. Light consists of particles of zero mass and zero electrical charge known as photons. The number and the average energy of the photons was about the same as for electrons, positrons or neutrinos. These particles were continually being created out of pure energy (original source of all matter in the present-day universe-galaxies, nebulae, stars, planets, earth, etc.).
As the time passed and the temperature of the universe cooled, nucleosynthesis took place and hydrogen and helium and other heavy elements were formed. After 3 minutes of the Big Bang, the universe consisted of 73 percent hydrogen and 27 percent helium. The resulting gases under the influence of gravitation ultimately condensed to form the galaxies and stars of the present universe.
The Big Bang Theory is very close to a comprehensive understanding of Surah 21, Al-Anbiyaa and Ayath 30, which is cited above. In his note # 2690, Allama Yusuf Ali says " The evolution of the ordered worlds as we see them is hinted at. As man's intellectual gaze over the physical world expands, he sees more and more how Unity is the dominating note in Allah's wonderful Universe. Taking the solar system alone, we know that the maximum intensity of sun-spots corresponds with the maximum intensity of magnetic storms on this earth. The universal law of gravitation seems to bind all mass together. Physical facts point to the throwing off of planets from vast quantities of diffused nebular matter, of which the central condensed core is sun." Of course when Allama Yusuf Ali wrote this commentary it was 1935, long before the Big Bang Theory was espoused and long before the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation.
Conclusion: The Big Bang Theory does not contradict the Qur'anic revelation (21:30) and it can be used as a Tafsir in understanding 21:30.
REFERENCE: Weinberg, S.: The First Three Minutes. A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe. Basic Books, Inc. Publishers, NY 1977