Allah, not chance, created the universe

Updated 29 May 2014

Allah, not chance, created the universe

The universe was created in a moment by Almighty Allah telling it “Be!” Created in such a short time, the universe still possesses a glorious variety and harmony. Allah’s creation of the entire universe is a great blessing for human beings, because it shows us that we are under the control of the Omniscient Allah.
The universe, which enfolds outer space and all things, possesses an immaculate creation, matchless systems and includes our Earth with a balance and order meeting all the conditions needed to sustain life. All scientific findings in the 20th and 21st Centuries in particular show that the universe is the result of an immaculate creation. The one truth revealed by science is that All-Mighty and All-Knowing Allah created the universe.

The observable universe
Researchers calculate the age of the universe at 13.8 billion years. However, that calculation is based on the link between the speed of light and distance, and a distance of 13.8 billion light years is observable from the Earth. This is rather like only being able to see a certain distance around from a ship in the middle of the ocean. In the same way, scientists are able to see a distance of 13.8 billion light years from the Earth with their telescopes. As shown by the use of the word “observable,” we are still unaware of the existence of a region beyond that distance. It is therefore impossible for us to acquire absolutely definitive information about the age of the universe or its dimensions. However, the scientifically proven fact is that this universe we are still unable to observe is constantly expanding. Another interesting feature of the universe, whose age we are unable to calculate, is that it was created from nothing in the explosion known as the “Big Bang.” The universe we cannot observe, and whose age we do not know, survives at this wondrous size within a flawless order at the command of our Almighty Lord. In revealing this matchless creation of the universe in the Qur’an, Almighty Allah also reminds us of His greatness:
“Do those who are disbelievers not see that the heavens and the earth were sewn together and then We unstitched them and that We made from water every living thing? So will they not have faith?” (Surat Al-Anbiya, 30)

The sensitive tasks of supernovae in the universe
A giant star destroys itself in a huge explosion and all the matter it contains is scattered at high speed in all directions. The light emitted during this explosion is thousands of times more powerful than that normally given off by the star. The scattering of a star in this way is known as a supernova.
Astronomers estimate that these explosions serve to carry matter from one point in the universe to another. The stellar wastes scattered in the explosion are believed to collect in other corners of the universe and to form new stars or stellar systems. According to this hypothesis, the sun, the planets in the solar system and of course our earth all emerged as the result of a supernova explosion in very, very remote times.
The amazing thing however is that supernovae, which might look like ordinary explosions at first sight, are in fact built around highly sensitive balances. As Michael Denton writes in his book Nature’s Destiny: “The distances between supernovae and indeed between all stars is critical for other reasons. The distance between stars in our galaxy is about 30 million miles. If this distance was much less, planetary orbits would be destabilized. If it was much more, then the debris thrown out by a supernova would be so diffusely distributed that planetary systems like our own would in all probability never form. If the cosmos is to be a home for life, then the flickering of the supernovae must occur at a very precise rate and the average distance between them, and indeed between all stars, must be very close to the actual observed figure.” (Michael Denton, Nature’s Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe, New York: The Free Press: 1998, p. 11)

The solar system
One of the areas where we can most clearly observe the regularity in the universe is the solar system, home to our earth. The solar system contains eight planets and 54 satellites dependent on those planets. In order of their proximity to the sun, these planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus. The only one of these planets and 54 satellites with a surface and atmosphere suited to life is our Earth.
When we look at the structure of the Solar System, we again encounter a remarkable balance. The effect that protects the planets from being cast off into the icy depths of space is the balance between the “gravitational attraction of the sun” and the “centrifugal force” of the planets. Due to its great gravitational force, the sun attracts the planets toward it, while they try to escape from it through the centrifugal force set up by their orbits. However, if the planets’ orbits were slightly slower, these planets would be pulled toward the sun and be swallowed by it in a tremendous explosion.
The opposite might also apply. If the planets orbited the sun slightly faster, the power of the sun would be unable to restrain them and the planets would simply spin off into the void of outer space. Yet this highly sensitive balance has been put in place, and the system survives because it is maintained by that balance.
At this point it needs to be stated that the balance in question is instituted separately for each planet because the planets lie at very different distances from the sun. Their masses are also very different. They all therefore need to have different orbital velocities in order not to fly away into space or plunge into the sun. Almighty Allah reveals this glorious order He has created in this verse: “It is not for the sun to overtake the moon nor for the night to outstrip the day; each one is swimming in a sphere.” (Surah Ya Sin, 40)
Each one of the planets in the universe, great or small, is a component that is of crucial importance to this order. Neither their positions in space nor their courses are at all random: On the contrary, they are all created with numerous details, some of which we know and others not, and for a specific purpose. Indeed, of all the factors that affect the balances in the universe, just a minute change in the position of the planets would be enough to tear apart all these inter-related balances. Yet these balances are never compromised, and the perfect order in the universe continues uninterrupted. This is the immaculate creation by Almighty Allah.

The writer has authored 300 books on politics, religion and science.

The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016

The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.