From Non-Being to Being: The Big Bang
Did you know that everything you see around you, your own body, the house you live in, the armchair you're sitting in, your mother and father, the trees, birds, soil and fruit, in short, all living things and inanimate matter you can ever imagine, gained life through the coming together of atoms caused by the "Big Bang"? Were you aware of the fact that, after this explosion, perfect order in the universe came to exist? What, then, is the "Big Bang"?
Over the last century, a host of experiments, observations and calculations carried out using advanced technology have revealed beyond any doubt that the universe had a beginning. Scientists have determined that the universe is in a constant state of expansion. And they have concluded that, since the universe expands, if it could travel backwards in time, the universe must have begun this expansion from a single point. Indeed, the conclusion that science has reached today is that the universe originated from the explosion of this single point. This explosion is called the "Big Bang."
Creation of a perfect order after a "Big Bang" is not a phenomenon that can be seen as an ordinary event at all. Consider the fact that thousands of kinds of explosions often occur on Earth, but no order develops as a result of them. All of them rather lead to devastating, damaging, destructive results. For example, if atom or hydrogen bombs, volcanic eruptions, natural gas explosions, and the explosions occurring in the sun are looked at, we can see that their effects are always harmful. A constructive or positive result is never gained as the result of an explosion. However, according to the scientific data attained by means of modern technology, the millennia-distant "Big Bang" led to a transition from non-being to being, in fact to a very orderly and harmonious existence.
Now, let us think over an example as follows: Under the ground, a dynamite explosion occurs and, after this explosion, the most magnificent palace the world has ever seen, with ornate and beautiful windows, doors and furniture, suddenly appears. Does it seem reasonable to argue, "This came into existence by chance"? Could such a thing spring into being on its own? Certainly not!
The universe which came into being after the "Big Bang" is such a magnificent, meticulously planned and marvelous system that it certainly cannot be compared to a mere earthly palace. In this situation, it would be utterly senseless to claim that the universe came into being on its own. The universe instantaneously came into being from non-being. This shows us the existence of a Creator Who created matter from nothingness and Who keeps every moment of it under His control. He is the All-Wise and the All-Mighty. This Creator is Allah, the Most Strong.
The Concept of Greatness in Space
In the universe, countless systems operate. Allah keeps all these systems under His control even while we are not aware of it, for example, while we are reading, walking or sleeping. Allah created the universe along with its countless details to make people comprehend His boundless might. In the Qur'an, Allah addresses people and explains the reason for the creation of order in the universe as, "So that you might know that Allah has power over all things and that Allah encompasses all things in His knowledge." (Surat at-Talaq: 12) This order contains so many details that man cannot possibly know where to begin to think about it.
For example, everybody knows that the universe is quite vast. However, when we begin to think of what kind of vastness this is in a real sense, we come across concepts that are a breed apart from what we can normally comprehend. The diameter of the sun is 103 times greater than that of the Earth. Let's explain this with a comparison. If we compare the Earth to a marble, then the sun is a sphere that is two times larger then a football. The interesting thing here is the distance between them. In order to set up a model that mirrors the actual scale, we need to put a distance spanning approximately 280 meters (920 feet) between the marble-sized Earth and the football-sized sun. And as for the stars existing beyond our own solar system, they need to be placed entire kilometers away.
With this comparison, you might imagine that the solar system is a quite large place. However, when we compare it to the Milky Way Galaxy where it is situated, it is dwarfed in comparison. For, in the Milky Way Galaxy, there are about 250 billion stars like our own sun, and most of them are much more massive.
Our sun is located on one of the arms of this spiral-shaped galaxy. The interesting thing, however, is that the Milky Way Galaxy is a very "small" place too, when we consider the overall context of outer space. For there are other galaxies in space too-according to some estimates, as many as 300 billion altogether…
Even these few examples we have supplied about the dimensions and vast distances between the universe's celestial bodies will suffice to show the incomparability of Allah's artistry in creation, the fact that He has no partner in creation, and that He is All-Powerful. Allah calls on people to think over these facts as follows:
Are you stronger in structure or is heaven? He built it. He raised its vault high and made it level. (Surat an-Nazi'at: 27-28)
The Solar System's Perfect Order
When you go outside, the sunlight strikes your face without bothering you, and you owe this to the perfect order existing within the solar system. The sun, which conveys a pleasant warmth and light for our benefit, is only, in fact, like a deep pit consisting of red gas clouds. It is made up of whirlpools of giant flames which gush from the boiling surface to millions of kilometers away, and of giant tornados rising to the surface from the bottom. These could be fatal to mankind. Yet, the atmosphere and the magnetic field of the Earth filter all the deadly harmful rays of the sun before they reach us. It is this perfect order in the solar system that makes the Earth a livable planet.
When we look at the structure of the solar system, we find a very delicate balance. What protects the planets of the solar system from splitting off from the system and being hurled into the freezing cold of outer space is the balance between the gravity of the sun and the centrifugal force of the planets. The sun attracts all the planets through the great force of gravity it exerts, while they continuously counter this attraction by means of their centrifugal force owing to their moving in their orbits. But if these planets rotated at a slightly slower speed, they would be attracted by the sun so strongly that they would plunge into the solar giant and be swallowed in a huge explosion. The opposite of this is also possible. If the planets rotated at a greater speed, this time the gravitational force of the sun wouldn't be enough to hold them and the planets would be hurled into the void of outer space. However, a very delicate balance has been established, and the system continues to exist because it maintains this balance.
In the meantime, it is important to note that the above-mentioned balance is established for each planet separately because each planet's distance from the sun is unique. In addition, their masses are different. For this reason, for each one of them, a different rotation speed has been established so that they can avoid both colliding with the sun and being hurled off into outer space.
This example constitutes only minor evidence for the magnificent balance in the solar system. Anyone who possesses reason can understand that the balance which puts giant planets and the entire solar system into order, and which moreover keeps this order for day after day and century after century, cannot have come into existence by chance. It is evident that this order has been delicately calculated. Allah, the All-Powerful, shows us, with the perfect details He has created in the universe, that everything is under His control. Astronomers such as Kepler and Galileo, scientists who worked to uncover the extraordinarily sensitive balance in the solar system, stated many times that this system indicated a very obvious design and constituted evidence for the sovereignty of Allah over the entire universe. Allah creates and holds everything with His boundless knowledge; He is All-Powerful.
The Peerless Planet: Earth
Think for a moment about what is necessary for a man to survive. Water, the sun, oxygen, the atmosphere, plants and animals… All kinds of details, all kinds of conditions you can or can't think of at that moment are naturally available on the Earth. In addition, when we investigate further, we can see that all these vital needs have a web of interrelated details, and that all these details exist in their full splendor on Earth. Everything on Earth, its living things, plants, the sky, and the seas, all these have been created in the best and most complete way in order to suit the existence and survival of humanity.
Along with the Earth, there are also other planets in our solar system. However, among these planets, the only planet that is suitable for life is Earth. The distance of the Earth from the sun, the rotational speed of the Earth on its axis, the inclination of its axis to its orbit, the structure of the Earth's surface and many other independent factors much like these enable our planet to enjoy a warm temperature which is appropriate for life and to diffuse this warmth all over the Earth in a homogeneous way. The composition of the Earth's atmosphere and the size of the Earth are also just as they should be. The light coming to us from the sun, the water we drink, and the foods we enjoy are extremely suitable for our lives.
In short, any sort of close look at the planet we live on will show us that the Earth was designed especially for man. For us to see that the conditions on Earth were specially designed, it will be enough to take a rough look at conditions on other planets. Take Mars, for example. The atmosphere of Mars is a toxic mixture containing a heavy dose of carbon dioxide. There is no water on the surface of the planet. Huge craters caused by the impact of massive meteors are obvious in the picture on the right. As for the weather, monster storms and sandstorms which last for months on end are quite common. The temperature averages -53o C (-64o F).
Considering these features as a whole, Mars, which among our neighboring planets shares the most in common with the Earth, is clearly a dead planet where life is not possible. This comparison palpably demonstrates that the features which make the Earth a livable place are truly tremendous blessings. The One Who has created the entire universe, formed perfectly its stars, planets, mountains and seas, is Allah. Throughout our lives, we should be thankful for His creations and blessings, and take Him as a friend and protector. Allah, Who is the owner of all these things, is the One Who is worthy of all praise. Allah informs us of this fact in the Qur'an:
Is He Who creates like him who does not create? So will you not pay heed? If you tried to number Allah's blessings, you could never count them. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat an-Nahl: 17-18)
The Explicitly Designed Composition of the Atmosphere
Breathing might mean to you nothing more than inhaling air and then letting it back out. However, for this process to work properly, a system which is perfect from all aspects has been established. We need not make the slightest effort whatsoever in order to breathe. In fact, perhaps most people have never consciously thought about the process at all. Everybody needs to breathe continuously, from the moment we come into this world until we die. All the necessary conditions, in both our body and our environment, have been created by Allah and, therefore, we are able to breathe easily in this way.
First of all, for a person to breathe, it is necessary that the balance of gasses in the atmosphere be arranged just right. Even a slight change in this balance could prove fatal but such failures do not occur at all, because the Earth's atmosphere is a unique mixture that was designed as a combination of very specific conditions all mixed together in a way that functions flawlessly.
The Earth's atmosphere is made up of nitrogen (77%), oxygen (21%), carbon dioxide (1%), argon and other gasses. Let's begin with the most important of these gasses, that is, oxygen.
The atmosphere's preservation of the balance of its oxygen ratio is realized by means of a perfect "recycling" system. Human beings and animals continuously consume oxygen while they produce and expel carbon dioxide gas, which is poisonous for them. Plants, on the other hand, carry out just the opposite process and maintain survival by transforming carbon dioxide into oxygen. Every day, billions of tons of oxygen are released into the atmosphere by plants in this way.
Now, if human beings and animals carried out the same chemical reactions as do plants, the Earth, in a very short time, would become an unlivable planet. If both animals and plants produced oxygen, the atmosphere would become extremely combustible and the smallest spark would cause huge fires. Ultimately, in such a scenario, the Earth would be reduced to a cinder. If, on the other hand, both plants and animals produced carbon dioxide, then the oxygen in the atmosphere would quickly run out and, in short order, all living things would begin to die of suffocation.
All this shows that Allah created the Earth's atmosphere especially for human life. The universe is not an uncontrolled, chaotic place. It has been planned in every detail and Allah, the possessor of eternal power, brought it into being.