104- On that day We will fold the heaven, like the folding
of a book. Just as We initiated the first creation, We will
revert it. This is Our promise. We will certainly fulfill it.
21-The Prophets, 104
I would like to bring an interesting point to your attention. In the
verse it is said that God will return it to its former state. Therefore, to
be able to understand the end of the universe, we have to go back to
the first three chapters of our book where the beginning of Creation
is described. The fact that they appear in the same sura is meaningful
(The beginning is explained in the sura The Prophets; verse 30, in the
same sura, verse 104, the end is explained).
30- Do not these disbelievers see that the heavens and the
earth were an integrated mass, which We then split, and
from water We made all living things? Will they not believe
21-The Prophets, 30
47- With power did We construct Heaven. Verily, We are
51-The Dispersing, 47
We deduce from the above two verses;
1- that the universe was separated from a whole, and
2- that the universe formed following this separation is expanding.
The extraordinary miracle in these verses of the Quran was exam-ined in the first three chapters. Now if we may be allowed to go back
to the verse we quoted in this chapter, if the universe is going to
regress to its original state, then:
1- the expanding universe will have to contract, and
2- the expanding universe will return to its primordial unity.
Experts versed in astrophysics will take cognizance of the magnificence of this verse. We know today that the universe is expanding. We
also know that this expansion is the consequence of the acceleration
generated by the Big Bang. We are faced with two alternatives here.
According to one of them, the expanding universe will spread out to
a vast expanse, all the stars will have exhausted their energies, the temperature will fall and thus the end will be reached. Following the
exhaustion of the energy of the stars and the coming to a standstill of
all actions, all celestial bodies will break apart and escape from gravitational force. This is called the “Open Universe Model.” According
to a second alternative, the expanding universe will stop because of
the mutual attraction of all bodies, and the universe will contract to
return to its primordial state.
ONE MIRACLE AFTER ANOTHER
It seems that the Quran’s implication is inclined toward the second
alternative. At a time when people believed that the earth stood on
the horns of an ox or on a fish, the Quran’s description of the event
was incredible. There is no way this fact could have been rendered
from the scientific knowledge base of the day, or have been a product
of fancy or flight of thought. The source of this knowledge is not scientific observation but God’s revelation. The verse under our scrutiny also gives an answer as to which of the two alternatives man should
put faith in. The greatness of the Quran, which stated that the universe was created from the one primordial wholeness, that it expanded, and that it would shrink back -at a time when all scientific evidence was lacking- is understood better today with the advance of science and the discovery of the mystery of the universe.
The collapse of the universe is referred to as the “Closed Universe
Model.” The power to realize this folding up is gravity. As we know, all
matter is in mutual attraction. When something is thrown into the air,
the object thrown cannot help falling back after some time because of
gravity; matter that has scattered in every possible direction in space following the Big Bang will retrace its steps in a given time to be folded
up. We must remember that at the time of the descent of the Quran,
the notion of gravity did not exist and that it was to be known some one
thousand years later, thanks to Newton’s discovery.
Once the expansion of the universe was established, scientists began
to study whether the universe would continue to expand or come to a
close by folding up. To this end, they tried to find out the critical density of matter in the universe and arrived at certain ratios that they called
“Omega.” If the density in the universe is at a certain level, the process
of folding up will begin before the scattering of matter into infinity…
Humans are born, live and die and eventually return to the dust of
which they were made. The same thing holds true for beasts and
plants. It appears that the law that governs all living creatures is also
applicable in the case of the universe. In the verse we examined, this
event is stressed with the word “revert.” Following are the verses in
which this word is used.
27- And He is the One who first creates and then reverts it.
This is very easy for Him. And to Him belongs the most
sublime similitude, in the heavens and the earth. And He is
the Almighty, Wise.
30-The Romans, 27
34- Say: “Can any of your idols initiate creation, then
revert it?” say “It is God who initiates the creation, and
then reverts it. Then, how could you deviate?”
HEAVEN RENT ASUNDER AND THE RED ROSE
37- When the heaven will split asunder, and become rosy
red like the dregs of anointing oil.
The Quran speaks of the color of heaven on the day the solar system
comes to an end. Heaven’s “split asunder” is also mentioned in other
verses of the Quran.
9- When the heaven split asunder.
77-The Emissaries, 9
16- When the heaven will crack and split asunder. That day
it will be flimsy.
I believe that these verses may be understood in two different ways.
If we take heaven for the entire universe, one may think of the decay
at the outer extremities of the universe in continuous expansion. (By
this the decay in the vacuum structure of the universe may have been
meant. However, I am not going to dwell on this long issue.)
According to a second alternative, if we take heaven for the atmosphere of our earth, big earthquakes, activities on the surface of the
earth will likely affect the atmosphere, which will be split asunder and
the protective layer of the atmosphere will be peeled off. As a matter
of fact, the atmosphere depends on the fine balance between the
earth’s gravitational force and the movement of molecules in the
atmosphere. Any alteration in this balance will likely affect the atmosphere. Either of these two alternatives, or both, for that matter, may
have been meant by the verses.
187- They ask you about the Hour and when it will come
to pass. Say, “The knowledge thereof is with my Lord.
Only He reveals its time. Heavy it is, in the heavens and the
earth. It will come to you suddenly.” They ask you as if you
are well-informed of it. Say, “The knowledge thereof is
with God. But most people do not know.”
7-The Purgatory, 187
The Quran says that the process of the end of the world and the universe will begin all of a sudden. According to the theory of relativity, the fastest motion in
the universe belongs to light, the speed of which is not surpassed by
anything. The data we obtain from light-emitting objects and the
reflection of light are the limits of our understanding of the phenomena
taking place in the universe. If information about the time the Hour
will take place is to be transmitted at the speed of light, we can never
be informed of it before some time has elapsed. For instance, if the
sun explodes this very moment and the beginning of the end has
come, we will be aware of it only after the lapse of eight and a half
The same holds true for other phenomena that will likely occur,
causing the destruction of the universe. If the process in question has
started at some point in the universe, we cannot be aware of it for
some time. A series of phenomena will occur before we are conscious
of it, up until the time we are suddenly caught by it.
1– When the inevitable comes to pass.
2- There can be no denying of its befalling.
3- It will lower some, and raise others.
4- When the earth will be shaken up.
56-The Inevitable, 1-4
The end of the universe and of the world is the most serious event
next to its formation. Riches, reputations, situations, families, beauty,
ugliness, joy, distress will be no more; the entire universe will be transformed into a small unit. Superiority will no longer be measured by
riches, possessions and high offices. Now, “superiority” will depend
on the sort of life man has led. From the scenery of the end of the universe and the world described in the Quran, there are lessons to draw
in this life of ours. All these are not for the mere sake of knowing.
What is communicated has as its objective to move people and guide
them to God. We must bear in mind the third verse of the 56th sura:
3- It will lower some, and raise others.
56-The Inevitable, 3