The Qur'an revealed certain scientific truths with regard to the movement of the heavenly bodies in the seventh century A.D., when superstition and mythological ideas ruled supreme and when scientifically the habitable world was in total darkness. These revelations have now been established as scientific truths. Before highlighting them it is proposed to explain the Qur'anic assertion that Allah "created the heavens and the earth in six days," (Al-A'raf, The Heights, VII: 54).
These six days symbolise celestial days and are not to be treated like the normal six days of the week in our calendar. According to the Qur' an the duration of each celestial day may range between 1000 and 50,000 years. As for instance in Surah Al-Sadah, (The Prostration, XXXII: 5), it is pointed out that "He rules (all) affairs from the heavens to the earth: in the end will (all affairs) go up to Him on a Day the space whereof will be (as) a thousand years of your reckoning."
In Surah Al-Ma'arij, The Ways of Ascent, (LXX: 4). "The angels and the Spirit ascend unto Him in a Day the measure whereof is (as) fifty thousand is years". In the light of this excessively long duration of the celestial days one tends to agree with Maurice Bucaille that "the word days should be taken to mean Periods" (p. 140). Abdullah Yusuf Ali also insists that the six days referred to in the Qur'an signify stages in the Creation and that the Qur'anic days (yawm) should be interpreted to mean "very long periods, or Ages or Aeons." (Maurice Bucaille, p. 142). Thus the process of the creation of heaven and earth in six days has to be perceived in the light of the foregoing clarification.
The creation of the earth is not to be viewed in isolation. Reference to its creation implies the creation of the solar system which according to the Qur'an was created in two celestial days "Say: Is it that ye deny Him Who created the earth in two Days (Fussilat, XLI: 9).
The Qur'an conceives of an integrated system of the Universe including the solar system and the system of galaxies. This process was started simultaneously with the creation of the earth or the solar system and is implied in the following Qur'anic verses: "the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of Creation) before we clove them asunder ." (Al-Anbiyii,' The Prophets, XXI: 30).
Subsequently they were integrated into a well knit system: "Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: "Come ye together, willingly or unwillingly." They said:
"We do come ( together) in willing obedience," (Fuussilat, XLI: 11). This process of "cloving asunder" and "coming together" of the galaxies, solar system and the seven heavens as part of a unified system was accomplished simultaneously in two celestial days. In order to comprehend their correct meaning and significance the two verses 12 and 9 of Sirah Fussilat (XLI) have to be read together.
Any gap between the process of separation and integration will make the emergence of an interlinked gallactic and solar system practically difficult. This separate reference to two days in each of the two verses (9 and 12) imply the same time-span and not additional two days.
This simultaneous occurrence is also implied in the following verses. "So. He completed them as seven firmaments in two Days, and He assigned to each heaven its duty and command. And We adorned the lower heaven with lights, and (provided it) with guard (Fussilat: XLI: 12). The Creation of stars in the lower heaven is also pointed out in Surah Al-Saffat, Those Ranged in Ranks (XXXVII: 6-7): "We have indeed decked the lower heaven with beauty (in) the stars, - (for beauty) and for guard against all obstinate rebellious evil spirits."
It is therefore distinctly clear that the seven firmaments, the galactic and the solar system were raised simultaneously and were interlinked as part of the system of Universe within the same space of time and not in two different celestial periods. The Qur'an further reveals in these verses that each of the seven heavens has been assigned specific roles without spelling them out. This has been done presumably to excite the curiosity of man in order to motivate him to probe into the mysteries of the Universe.
However, this revelation again stresses the point that there is always a well defined purpose in all Divine creations. In the remaining four celestial days of creation the Earth was set in order and made habi table for man: "He set on the (earth), mountains standing firm, high above it, and bestowed blessings on the earth, and measured therein all things to give them nourishment in due proportion in four Days in accordance with (the needs of) those who seek (sustenance) (Fussilat, XLI: 10).
The recession of the galaxies which is now firmly established by Hubble's Law and Red Shift, and which implied expansion of the Universe is also clearly indicated in the Qur'an: "With power and skill did We construct the Firmament: For it is We Who create the vastness of Space," (Al-Dhariyat, The Winds that Scatter, LI: 47). As indicated by the Big Bang Model the Universe will be annihilated at a particular point of time through the process of implosion (the big crunch), the Qur'an very definitely proclaimed it in Surah Ahqaf, Winding Sand Tracts (XLVI: 3): "We created not the heavens and the earth and all between them but for just ends, and for a term appointed." This is also emphasised in Surah Al-Zumar, The Crowds, (XXXIX: 5): "He has subjected the sun and the moon ( to His law ): Each follows a course for a term appointed." This "term appointed" presumably refers to the "big crunch," which according to the Big Bang Theory will terminate the Universe.According to the Qur'an this will be"the (Day) of Noise and Clamour (it is) a Day whereon men will be like moths scattered about and the mountains will be like carded wool." Day of Noise and Clamour. CI: 1-5). This description in the Qur'an of the Last Day of Judgement clearly hints at the breaking of all scientific laws -which Hawking also pointed out in the following words: "At the Big Bang and other singularities, all the laws would have broken down" (PL, 183). It is thus clear that what the astronomers have discovered now as scientific truth the Quran announced it fourteen hundred years ago and can be rightly termed as its scientific miracles