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Holy Qur’an and Control over Planets

By: Ayatullah al-Uzma Shaykh Nasir Makarim Shirazi
& Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani

Question: In the present age Russian and American scientists have succeeded in conquering to a certain extent some of the planets. In the Holy Qur’an is there any reference to this or not? And will they get more successes regarding them or not?
Answer: There is no doubt that since man came into existence he is progressing towards perfection and still we see that not a single day passes when he is not moving forward, and he does not discover some hidden secret of nature. Therefore there is no doubt that a day may come when he with his god-given power, may spread his life into the heavenly spheres.
Maybe the verse, which was revealed in Qur’an, which is about subjugating the earth and the heaven by man, may not be without indication to this possibility. Because either sun and moon and whatever is in the heavens that have become subdued for man right from the very first day.
But control and to take benefit from this control also has degrees and among them the absolute degree is that when these heavenly bodies become cradles of life. In this regard some verses are given below.
(1) And He has made subservient to you whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth, all, from Himself; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.[59]
(2) Do you not see that Allah has made what is in the heavens and what is in the earth subservient to you, and made complete to you His favors outwardly and inwardly?[60]
(3) “And He has made subservient to you the sun and the moon pursuing their courses”,[61]
And this sentence is revealed in different surahs of the Holy Qur’an.
According to the above-mentioned verses the Holy Qur’an says that: Whatever is in the earth, right from very first day it was given under your command, whereas man has acquired power over the resources which are under the earth not at one place and not only once, but gradually and in all the periods of time to a certain extent he has acquired knowledge about those resources and he has dug them out. From this it is understood that when the Holy Qur’an says: “Whatever is in the earth have given in the command control of humans.”
Than it does not mean that, all and every stocks of the earth are given under the command of man. Because most of the minerals from them have been discovered as the time passed and in each period of time a particular section of people succeeded in discovering the stocks under the earth; rather it is meant to be all the humans that come into existence as time passes. Although only very few of them are there, who search for minerals.
And it is not far that man would succeed in discovering new resources from the earth about which he has no knowledge whatsoever in the present age. On this basis it means that though planets were made subservient to man from the very first day but with passing of time he may take most of the benefits from them and bring the heavenly spheres into his reach, and the words of the Holy Qur’an made subservient to you whatsoever is in the heavens[62] would then fit him perfectly.
Besides from the 34th verse of Surah Rahman it is known that man will be able to travel in space with the help of present knowledge, industrial know-how and potentialities. As it is stated: “O assembly of the jinn and the men! If you are able to pass through the regions of the heavens and the earth, then pass through; you cannot pass through but with authority.”[63]
[59] Surah Jathiyah 45:13
[60] Surah Luqman 31:20
[61] Surah Ibrahim 15:33
[62] Please note that the above answer was printed before man put his foot on the moon and the scientist had not sent the first space traveler in the space. At that time the only step, which was taken in that direction was to send artificial satellites. The actions of man and his achievements verify what Qur’an has said more than 1400 years ago.
[63] Surah Rahman 55:33

Does This Verse Point Towards The Artificial Means of The Present World?
Question: In Surah Nahl the Almighty Allah, while pointing towards the creation of quadrupeds that humans are using for transport and riding, states in this way: And (He made) horses and mules and asses that you might ride upon them and as an ornament; and He creates what you do not know.[64]
He creates what you do not know are the means of transport and commutation of the present day?
Answer: Our writers of Qur’anic exegesis in giving tafseer of this verse have expressed possibilities about two things. One is the things, which we do not know by creation of these it is meant to be the vehicles of travel of the present world and those other artificial means about which the people of those days had no knowledge. The corroboration of this possibility is also done by that you might ride upon them.
The second possibility is that this verse means those living and existing creatures, which are created in jungles and in the deep seas and other far-flung areas, they were hidden from the sights of men in those days.
On the basis of each of the two possibilities this verse is having miraculous aspect because it informs about those existing things, which were hidden from the eyes of men of that period. With the progress of science they came to be known afterwards.
[64] Surah Nahl 16:8

Do These Verses Support The Theory of Evolution?
Question: Recently a book is written whose author has tried to prove evolution. That is the transformation one living species to another living species. After much argumentation for the correctness of the theory of evolution he has tried to compare it with the verses of Qur’an.
And according to his saying, he proved that the Holy Qur’an also supports evolution of a living existing species towards another species. To prove his view correct, he has argued with the following two verses.
(1) “Does not man remember that when We created him initially, he was nothing?”[65]
The author has also quoted the Qur’anic words: Before reaching to this state of excellence man was nothing. He lived a life like that of single cell of living organisms, which gradually evolved into man-like monkeys. Even that he did not have any sign of presently existing physical or psychological excellence of man.
(2) There surely came over man a period of time when he was a thing not worth mentioning.[66]
The author here also has deduced from these words that: Before man could acquire the capability that his name be mentioned in heavenly books, he was nothing. Extremity is that because the man was not having human excellence and being in the animal gathering was not having the capability that his name and condition be mentioned in the heavenly books. [Suhufe Ibrahim (a.s.) - Taurat, Injeel and Qur’an]
The above-mentioned verses do really argue about the man's (transformation) gradual evolution from one species to another species and if this is not consistent with the theory of evolution. Then what is the meaning of these verses?
Answer: According our point of view the above-mentioned verses have no connection with evolution. These verses have other meanings, the explanation of which is given below:
Tafseer of the first Ayat: One of the issues which are difficult for man to believe and satisfy himself easily is the hereafter i.e. man will be transferred to live in another place. That is the reason that many Ayats of the Holy Qur’an were revealed explaining the state of affairs of those atheist (non believers in hereafter) and with the purpose to remove their doubts. The verses 66, 67, 68 of Surah Maryam are also from them.
In those verses Allah mentions the condition of those atheists negating the concept of the day of resurrection and giving them answer in this way: “And says man: What! When I am dead shall I truly be brought forth alive?
Does not man remember that We created him before, when he was nothing?
So, (O Prophet (s.a.w.a.)) by your Lord! We will most certainly gather them together and the Shaitans,
As you have observed, the verse that the author has used to base his argument is in reply to those who say that how it is possible that man after his death, when the particles of his body have separated from each other and scattered, can again become alive and come to his first (original) condition? Have they forgotten the beginning of their creation? Do they not know that We brought them into existence from nothing?
Those who know, that We have that 'Power', why they think that to resurrect the dead again is impossible for Us. Whereas their initial creation was as per the laws of permanence of matter and strength, which can never be destroyed, and remains existing forever. The God Who has the power to bring man into existence from nothing, can He not put together the scattered parts of his body?
Therefore the verses cannot in any way be construed to mean that man before attaining this stage of excellence was in the category of unlimited living existences. But this verse is like many other verses, which were revealed regarding the proof of Qiyamat for atheists.
Tafseer of the second Ayat: When a newborn child in a very strong winter is separated from its parents as a result of some misfortune, naturally that child will die very soon. Now if some good person reaches there on time and takes that child to his home and looks after him/her as an affectionate father and that child is lucky with his love and receives his full favor filled with trays of grace, then that child of yesterday who was without any preparations today will find himself to be in such a situation that he apparently will be the basis of all necessaries of life and be independent of others.
Many a times it is possible that arrogance and selfishness in that boy may obliterate the remembrance of that virtuous man's previous love from his heart, and he for the sake of his temporary benefits may fight and quarrel with that man and become guilty of being ungrateful.
In that case the pious man has the right to make that boy remember his time of helplessness and powerlessness and rebuke him for his ungratefulness and thanklessness.
The Almighty Allah has also in the beginning of Surah Dahr to admonish those headstrong and rebellious people, who forgetting their initial creation have taken to ungratefulness and thanklessness.
Accordingly He says: Those children of Adam who have become headstrong and arrogant, was not there a time which passed on them, when they were absolutely nothing and non-existent; and there was absolutely no existence whatsoever of them? When he was a thing not worth mentioning.
But We decided that We would bring them from non existent to existence and cover their bodies with the dress of humanism? Have they forgotten these blessings and favors and accepted the way of rebellion and ingratitude?
Thus this Ayat also has no connection, whatsoever to the theory of evolution.
[65] Surah Maryam 19:67
[66] Surah Dahr 76:1

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