The Big Bang

When describing the creation of the “heavens and the earth,” the Qur'an does not discount the theory of a Big Bang explosion at the start of it all. In fact, the Qur'an says that “the heavens and the earth were joined together as one unit, before We clove them asunder” (Qur'an 21:30). Following this big explosion, Allah “turned to the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: ‘Come together, willingly or unwillingly.’ They said: ‘We come (together), in willing obedience’” (Qur'an 41:11). Thus the elements of what was to become the planets began to cool, come together, and form into shape, following the natural laws that Allah established in the universe.

Do Muslims believe in intelligent design?

Intelligent design is the theory that the universe shows signs of design, rather than developing solely through natural selection and random variation. Muslims do believe that an intelligent force (namely, God) is behind the ongoing process of creation. As a scientific theory, however, intelligent design is not universally accepted among Muslims.

The Qur'an states that God created the sun, the moon, and the planets, each with their own individual courses, or orbits. “It is He Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon; all [the celestial bodies] swim along, each in its rounded course” (Qur'an 21:33). Scientific knowledge of such orbits was not universally recognized until Copernicus wrote about them in the sixteenth century C.E., nearly a thousand years after the revelation of the Qur'an.

Continuous Expansion of the Universe

The Qur'an also does not rule out the idea that the universe is continuing to expand. “The heavens, We have built them with power. And verily, We are expanding [it]” (Qur'an 51:47). There has been some historical debate among Muslim scholars about the precise meaning of this verse, since knowledge of the universe's expansion was only recently discovered. Theories about the expansion of the universe were confirmed only when Edwin P. Hubble made his observations in the 1920s, noting that the galaxies are indeed moving away from each other.

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