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What Is the Story of Creation from the Quran? (Part 2)

17 January, 2017
Q What is the Islamic creation story? I have tried looking in the Quran for the Islamic creation story, but can only find that the universe was created in six days or stages. Is there an exact creation story and if yes, what is it?

Answer

Asalamu Alaikum Shafiq,

In fact, I have some more to add to the answer previously provided to you by our brother Yahia Hamed here

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Actually, the Quran has hinted at the early stages of the creation of this universe, in concise but precise expressions.

Most recent observations and analysis have shed more light on the significance of these Quranic expressions, giving further support to the authenticity of the revealed Book of Islam.

The Quran says:

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{And have not the ones who disbelieved seen that the heavens and the earth were an integrated [mass], then We unseamed them, and of water We have made every living thing? Would they then not believe?} (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:30)

This is in accordance with relatively recent photographs of the depths of the universe, 15 billion light years away, which record how the universe was during these pre-historic times.

They indicate that the substance of the universe expanded, after being fragmented (the big bang) into billions of parts, in the form of a bulky mass of smoke.

Later, these massive particles of that cosmic smoke formed the celestial bodies that we now see in the heavens, that is, the stars from which the planets—Earth included—and moons separated.

This is in accordance also with the Quran when it says:

{Then He leveled Himself to the Heaven [while] it was smoke, then said to it and to the earth: “Come up [you two] willingly or unwilingly!” They [both] said: We come up willingly.} (Fussilat 41:11)

The six days referred to in other verses obviously do not mean our 24-hour days. The 24-hour day is measured as the time of one full rotation of the earth around its own axis, in front of the sun.

At the beginning of creation, the celestial bodies including the solar system, were still in the process of formation, and hence it is meaningless to use a 24-hour day as a unit of time then. What is meant is six stages, the length and details of which are known only to Allah. 

It is noteworthy also that, in the Quran, whenever the earth and the heavens are mentioned in conjunction, the word heavens precedes the word earth, the same as the order of creation. This consistently occurs in 187 verses.

In two exceptional cases, the word “heavens” is preceded by the word earth, but that was entailed by the context. This is again in accordance with the Quranic concept of the creation and with modern science. 

It is worthwhile here to contrast this perfect Quranic references to the Biblical reference as laid down by the scribes of the Old Testament [Genesis 1,2]:

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. … And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. … And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters […[ And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. […]

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, […] and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. […]

And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. […] And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. […] Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

Quoting comments of Maurice Bucailles in his Quran and Modern Science

Earlier on, we also noted how perfectly the Quran agrees with general, modern ideas on the formation of the Universe, whereas the Biblical narration stands in contradiction to them; the allegory of the primordial waters is hardly tenable, nor is the creation of light on the first day, before the creation of the stars which produce this light; the existence of an evening and a morning before the creation of the Earth; the creation of the Earth on the third day before that of the Sun on the fourth.

All these statements are the result of beliefs prevalent at the time this text was written and do not have any other meaning. None of the preceding statements is acceptable according to modern knowledge. From this point of view, we can measure the enormous gap separating the Bible from the Quran. 

I hope this addition is helpful. If you need any further explanation, please do contact us again.

Thank you and please keep in touch. 

Salam

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

What Is the Story of Creation from the Quran?

Is Modern Science Compatible with Islam?

What Is The Nature of Time?

Creation: Why Not in Less Than 6 Days?

About Dr. Nabil Haroun
He got the bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering, Cairo University, in 1960. He, then, got the PhD degree in ceramic materials from Sheffield University, England, in 1967. He worked as a professor in the University of King Abdul-Aziz in Saudi Arabia. Afterwards, he worked as an editor-in chief- for the English textbooks of the American Open (Islamic) University in Qatar in 2000. He also worked as the consultant editor of the Islamic Translation Department at Dar Al-Farouk for Publication in 2000-2003