By: Zia Mahmood Minhas

-Formation of Galaxies

-Qur’an on Formation of Galaxies

-Life on Other Planets



Formation of Galaxies

The scientists believe that the universe was formed from a gaseous mass principally having hydrogen and helium as constituents. This matter termed as nebula then split into multiple fragments with huge dimensions and masses. These fragments gave birth to galaxies.The condensing processes then set in. It was followed by emergence of gravitational forces along with magnetic fields and radiation. Further split of galaxies lead to the formation of stars and planets.


These chain reactions left huge volume of matter of principal elements in between the galaxies and stars acting like bridges. This matter of relatively very low density is called the ‘Inter Stellar Material’

 Earth is part of our solar system which is located in the Milky Way-our Galaxy. The Milky Way is made up of a central centrifugal swelling encircled by four arms spirally winding towards the exterior. Our solar system lies in one of this spiral arm named as Giant Arm. Milky Way is gigantic in its vastness and has over100 billion stars. The distance across the most compact group of stars is over 90’000 light years. The galaxy revolves with all its constituents in space. The oldest stars in the galaxy have been estimated to be 15 billion years old.

The vastness of the universe is beyond human imagination. The farthest galaxies exist at a distance of 15 billion light years away. The farthest known stars are called ‘Quasars’. The stars are made up of glowing hot bodies of gaseous matter. Extreme heat is produced in the stars due to nuclear fusion reaction which occurs in the core of the stars.

Qur’an on Formation of Galaxies

                There are numerous verses of the Qur’an which refer to the galaxies, stars and other celestial bodies and vastness of the universe

الَّذِي خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ طِبَاقًا ۖ مَّا تَرَ‌ىٰ فِي خَلْقِ الرَّ‌حْمَـٰنِ مِن تَفَاوُتٍ ۖ فَارْ‌جِعِ الْبَصَرَ‌ هَلْ تَرَ‌ىٰ مِن فُطُورٍ‌ ﴿٣﴾ ثُمَّ ارْ‌جِعِ الْبَصَرَ‌ كَرَّ‌تَيْنِ يَنقَلِبْ إِلَيْكَ الْبَصَرُ‌ خَاسِئًا وَهُوَ حَسِير

He created seven heavens, piled one upon another. In the creation of the All-Merciful, you   cannot detect any disparity. Turn your gaze back: do you see any rift? Then turn your gaze back twice more, and your sight will return to you, humbled and flagging.

(Soorah Al-Mulk 67:3-4)

(أَأَنتُمْ أَشَدُّ خَلْقًا أَمِ السَّمَاءُ ۚ بَنَاهَا ﴿٢٧﴾ رَ‌فَعَ سَمْكَهَا فَسَوَّاهَا ﴿٢٨

Are you more difficult to create or are the heavens that He constructed? He raised its height.

(Soorah An- Naziyat 79: 27-28)

(لَخَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضِ أَكْبَرُ‌ مِنْ خَلْقِ النَّاسِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ‌ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ ﴿٥٧

The creation of heaven and the earth is indeed greater than the creation of mankind and yet most mankind know not

(Soorah Ghafir 40:57)

الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ

It is He who created the heavens and earth and what is between them in six days

(Soorah Al-Furqan 25:59)

(فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِمَوَاقِعِ النُّجُومِ ﴿٧٥﴾وَإِنَّهُ لَقَسَمٌ لَّوْ تَعْلَمُونَ عَظِيمٌ ﴿٧٦

Yes indeed I swear by the motion of stars and Almighty oath it is, if only you know.

(Soorah Al-Waqi’ah 56:75-76)

اللَّـهُ الَّذِي رَ‌فَعَ السَّمَاوَاتِ بِغَيْرِ‌ عَمَدٍ تَرَ‌وْنَهَا ۖ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْ‌شِ

وَسَخَّرَ‌ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ‌ ۖ كُلٌّ يَجْرِ‌ي لِأَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ۚ

Allah is who raised the heavens without pillars that you see. Then He settled firmly on the throne. He made the sun and the moon to do His bidding, each running for an appointed time.

 (Soorah Ar-Ra’d 13:2)

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يُمْسِكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضَ أَن تَزُولَا ۚ وَلَئِن زَالَتَا إِنْ أَمْسَكَهُمَا مِنْ أَحَدٍ

(مِّن بَعْدِهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حَلِيمًا غَفُورً‌ا (٤١

Verily Allah grasps firmly heavens and Earth lest they pass away. If they were to pass away, none after Him can grasp them firmly. Allah is All- For bearing, All- Forgiving.

(Soorah Fatir 35:41)

(وَلَقَدْ جَعَلْنَا فِي السَّمَاءِ بُرُ‌وجًا وَزَيَّنَّاهَا لِلنَّاظِرِ‌ينَ ﴿١٦

We set up constellations in the heavens, and made them attractive to on lookers.

(Soorah Al-Hijr 15:16)

تَكَادُ السَّمَاوَاتُ يَتَفَطَّرْ‌نَ مِن فَوْقِهِنَّ ۚ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ يُسَبِّحُونَ بِحَمْدِ رَ‌بِّهِمْ وَيَسْتَغْفِرُ‌ونَ لِمَن فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ

(أَلَا إِنَّ اللَّـهَ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ‌ الرَّ‌حِيمُ ﴿٥

The Heavens above them are all but split in pieces, while the angles glorify the praises of their Lord and ask forgiveness of those on Earth. But Allah is assuredly All- Forgiving, Compassionate to each.

 (Soorah Ash-Shura 42:5)

The study of these verses reveals the following phenomena:

The number of Heavens (Samawat) and Earths have been given as seven. This no. gives a sense of being multiple or many and in Arabic.  The Greeks and Romans also used this number to indicate undefined idea of plurality. According to some interpreters this refers to spatial expanse of the universe consisting of solar systems, galaxies, groups of galaxies, black holes and quasars etc.

The postulated explanation of ‘Seven Heavens’ referred to in Soorah 67:3-4 is as under:

Heaven one)-The terrestrial planets making the first stratum of our solar system i.e. Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. These are relatively smaller planets.

Heaven two) – Gas Giants i.e. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Heaven three) – Kuper Belt beyond Neptune having icy dwarf planets.

Heaven four) – Milky way Galaxy which includes our Solar System too. It has span of 130,000 light years.

Heaven five) – Local cluster of galaxies in proximity to The Milky Way.

Heaven six) – Outer cluster of galaxies which have peripheral location.

Heaven seven) – Quasars, the most distant cluster of galaxies. The knowledge about these galaxies is extremely limited due to their distant location. These are considered to be nursery for creation of galaxies

This postulation is just an effort to explain the phenomenon in verses about heavens being in layers or piled one upon another. The reality is known to Allah only since the knowledge of scientists despite advancement of research facilities is extremely limited. Moreover the scientific facts are based on hypotheses which go on changing with new discoveries.

-The creation of heavens (samawat) has been referred to as greater than creation of mankind. This obviously refers to great expanse of universe and indications of life in other solar systems.

-The Inter- Stellar material has been referred to in Soorah25:59 where Allah states that He has created the Heavens, Earth and what is between them.

The force of gravity that holds the whole universe in order has been referred to in Soorah67:3-4, 35:41, and 42:5.The reference to complete harmony in the celestial bodies and being no rift there is indicative of this phenomenon. In Soorah 42 Allah has referred to intense reactions, counter-reactions, radioactivity and nuclear fusion. The celestial bodies might split as a result of any deviation with catastrophic consequences .
Two Galaxies on collision path

This also refers to creation of very delicate balance through force of gravity and mutual attraction amongst the celestial bodies which ensures smooth working of universe.  Qur’an describes this as mercy of Allah the Almighty and granted upon prayers of angels for those living on Earth.

Life on Other Planets

The existence of life in other solar systems is referred to as extra-terrestrial life and its studies termed as Exobiology or Astrobiology. The man has been fascinated by the concept of existence of intelligent life in other planets and possible interface in future.

There has been lot of research for ascertainment of existence of intelligent creatures in other celestial bodies. So far the possibility is hypothetical and there is no conclusive evidence either way .The universe is so expansive with trillions of stars and their satellites that there is great possibility of existence of planets where environments are suitable for living creatures.

Eminent scientists Carl Sagan and Dr. Stephen Hawking have stated, “It would be improbable for life not to exist somewhere other than Earth”. But it is highly probable that the creatures might be at a different stage of intelligence, development and may have different metabolic systems suited to their environments.

The Qur’an has indicated that life exists in other planetary systems. This inference is drawn from the following verses:

(فَلِلَّـهِ الْحَمْدُ رَ‌بِّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَرَ‌بِّ الْأَرْ‌ضِ رَ‌بِّ الْعَالَمِينَ ﴿٣٦

So all praise and thanks to Allah, the Lord of heavens and the Lord of the earth.

(Soorah Al – Jathiya 45:36)

(وَلِلَّـهِ يَسْجُدُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ مِن دَابَّةٍ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ وَهُمْ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُ‌ونَ ﴿٤٩

And before Allah prostrate all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth of moving creatures and the angles and they are not arrogant.

(Soorah An-Nahal 16:49)

(وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضِ وَمَا بَثَّ فِيهِمَا مِن دَابَّةٍ ۚ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ جَمْعِهِمْ إِذَا يَشَاءُ قَدِيرٌ‌ ﴿٢٩

Among His signs is the creation of the Heavens and Earth, and what He dispersed therein of creatures that crawl; and He is capable of gathering them together whenever He pleases.

(Soorah Ash-Shura 42:29)

(وَلِلَّـهِ يَسْجُدُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضِ طَوْعًا وَكَرْ‌هًا وَظِلَالُهُم بِالْغُدُوِّ وَالْآصَالِ  ﴿١٥

To Allah prostrate themselves all who are in heavens and earth, willing or unwilling, as do their shadows at dawn

 or dusk. 

(Soorah Ar-Ra’d 13:15)

(يَسْأَلُهُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضِ ۚ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ هُوَ فِي شَأْنٍ ﴿٢٩

All in the heavens and earth beseech Him; He is ever engaged upon some matter. 

(Soorah Ar-Rehman 55:29)

 All these verses clearly refer to presence of intelligent creatures in other solar systems. Science has not been able to establish beyond doubt about extraterrestrial life, but Qur’an confirms its existence. There are many scientific phenomena which Qur’an preceded and these were discovered centuries later by scientists. With the continuing research, scientists may be able to confirm the existence of life in other planets. Allah has decreed that when He decides all the creatures will be gathered at one place (Soorah 42:29)