THE PHYSICS OF THE DAY OF JUDGMENT
Authored by Dr. Mohammad Humayoun Khan
Slightly Modified Version
Courtesy to: http://dev.islamici ty.com/Science/ dayjudge. shtml
The belief in life after death is universal; it is reflected in the teachings of all the major religions of the world, permeating culture and time. Despite tremendous scientific and technological advancement of the twentieth century, we have no answers to many questions that have plagued the minds of people from time immemorial. What happens to us on dying? What is soul? Does it leave the body to enter the spiritual world, which is beyond human perception in some other dimension? Are the souls reincarnated entering some other body to be recycled again as in the beliefs of some eastern religions? Is the soul captured and kept somewhere until the Day of Judgment to be reunited with the body that rises from the grave? How can a body that had decayed and disappeared into dust, regain its original shape and form? We can believe what we wish; however the modern world is based on truthful pursuit of science and technology. Truth cannot be decided on wishful thinking or majority vote, if that was the case then Columbus would have surely fallen off the earth in 1492 [refers to the myth of the ‘Flat Earth’].
When Ibraham [i.e. the Prophet Abraham) said:
"Show me, Lord, how You will raise the dead" …
God said, "Take four birds, draw them to you, cut their bodies to pieces.
Scatter them over the mountaintops, and then call them back.
They will come swiftly to you.
Know that Allah is Mighty, Wise."
(Quran; 2 : 260)
We live in a world that demands proof and is not just content with belief. The belief or even the proof however, is only for the believer, and belief comes from within our hearts. The greatest of proofs will not satisfy the non-believer, while the slightest evidence can be a great source of satisfaction for the believer. In this context let us look at the story of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be on him) given in the Quran in Chapter 2, Verse 260. Prophet Abraham (peace be on him) wanted to know how God gives life to the dead. He had the faith of a man who was willing to sacrifice his own son for the sake of God, yet he wanted reassurance; which then was given to him in the form of a great miracle. Ordinary people like us are also in need of reassurance in a world where science and technology have assumed greater importance than religion.
There is only one version of the Quran. It is the only religious book that even the critics of Islam admit was never altered since its revelation to Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him: Pbuh) fourteen hundred years ago. Scientific advancements have provided better understanding of many Quranic verses that appeared obscure in the past. The Quran accurately describes a variety of scientific facts that were discovered in the last one hundred years. This is one of the reasons that the Quran stands far above other religious books in its authority as a truly revealed book.
The Quran in many verses describes the future of the universe and The Day of Judgment. The verses appear to depict some great final catastrophe that will affect the whole universe. Many chapters mention the final earthquake, the opening of gates in the sky and "a time" in which mankind will see what they had done before so that they will become witnesses against their own selves.
In this article I explore the similarities between the Quranic description of The Day of Judgment and some theories of cosmology that predict reversal of time in the future with the beginning of the contraction phase of the universe. You will be surprised to learn that the religious contention that man will rise from the grave is not a myth or wishful thinking but is based on real scientific principles. I would like to however caution the reader that scientific ideas keep on changing, and my presentation here does not in any way mean that this is the only way for mankind to come back alive. God has absolute power and when He wishes something to happen IT IS.
It is God, Who sends the winds and they raise a cloud
Then leads it to a dead land
And revives the earth after its death,
Such is the Resurrection.
(Quran; 35: 9)
The raising of clouds and the growth of plants following rain had appeared miraculous in the past. Now we understand these as due to various natural laws. In the Quran the resurrection is compared to the physical processes such as the growth of plants after rain; this suggest that revival after death is also based on some physical laws created by God. Following are the main themes of the Day of Judgment described in the Quran:
(1) The final earthquake and the transformation of the earth into a hollow sphere.
(2) Rising from the grave.
(3) A time when our hands feet and tongue will become witnesses against us.
(4) Opening of gates in the sky.
(5) Through which every one will be removed to some other higher dimensions beyond the dying universe.
All of the above events can be explained on the basis of reversal of time and the accompanying reversal of gravity which the physicists believe, has to happen if the time is going to reverse. Sometimes in the future the knowledge of the Day of Judgment that is given in the Quran might become widely known and accepted as the truth.
We (i.e. God) shall show them
Our Signs on the horizons and within themselves
Until it will become apparent to them,
That it is the Truth.
Is it not sufficient as regards your Sustainer Lord that
He is Witness over all matters?
(Quran; 41: 53)
To understand how the future of the universe is linked to the Day of Judgment, some knowledge of cosmology is essential. In the next few sections we will learn, how the universe began, what it is like now and what are the possibilities in the future. Our solar system consists of earth and eight other planets that are orbiting around a star that we call the sun. The sun, along with two hundred billion other stars, comprises our galaxy "The Milky Way." The galaxies are shaped roughly like a disc, with the stars orbiting at various distances around a large central mass.
The universe is so vast that the distances between stars and galaxies have to be measured in "light years." A light year is the distance traveled by light in a year, at the speed of three hundred thousand kilometers per second. The distance between the earth and the sun is only eight minutes at the speed of light. Compared to this, the nearest star from the earth other than our sun, is four light years away. The galaxy we live in, "The Milky Way," is one hundred and fifty thousand light years across. This means that traveling at the speed of light, it would take one hundred and fifty thousand years to go from one side of Milky Way to the other. The galaxies on the average are separated from each other by ten million light years. Many hundred billion such galaxies are part of the truly gigantic universe.
Certainly the creation of the heavens and the earth is
A greater thing than creation of mankind, but,
Most men understand not.
(Quran; 40: 57)
The galaxies other than our "Milky Way" are moving away from us at tremendous speeds. This can be ascertained, by analyzing the light given off by the galaxies, by an instrument called the spectroscope. The more distant a galaxy is the greater is its speed of recession. This motion of the galaxies is due to the expansion of the universe. The universe began about fifteen to twenty billion years ago with a tremendous explosion called "The big bang" and has been expanding ever since. The universe is not just a sphere of galaxies rushing away from each other into unending emptiness of space. It can be compared to a balloon with many dots on it, each representing a galaxy. However, the surface of this balloon, which is two-dimensional, represents all three dimensions of our space, and is expanding into a higher dimension, that is beyond our imagination.
“And it is We (i.e. God)
Who have constructed the heavens with might --
Verily, it is We who are steadily expanding it.”
(Quran; 51: 47)
(TO BE CONTINUED)
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