Even if you get out of the range of the earth and the planets you would still be within jurisdiction of the God´s sovereignty – The Quran 55:33

Foreign Editor: The Light      Mohammad Yaqub Khan

1 February 1959.


The Quran is not a book on Astronomy


The Quran is not a book on astronomy. It is concerned primarily with unfolding the mysteries of the realm of the spirit, and awakening man to the reality of that non-physical dimension of existence which is beyond the reach of man´s physical senses.

Nevertheless, it does use the phenomena of physical nature as an intellectual stepping-stone, as it were, for man to rise to a higher level of consciousness, and have some glimmerings, however faint, of the wonders of that hidden realm which sustains this physical universe and serves as its substratum.

The sun, the moon, the planets, their movements in space, the interaction between some of these and the earth, the clouds, their formation, how they are wafted by winds, how they bring rainfall to distant parched regions of the earth,  how dead soil, at the quickening touch of this rain-water resuscitates and there springs up vegetation all around to serve as sustenance for human and animal life – these and numerous such-like phenomena of both the outer nature and the Nature within man himself form the themes of the Quran with a view to focussing attention on the underlying life-principles, which, though not perceptible by physical senses, are the basic realities which sustain this physical existence.

Some very revealing flashes of light are likewise thrown on the starry creation and the immensity of space beyond all human comprehension. If all the trees become pens, we are reminded in one Quranic Passage, and all the seas become ink, it would not be possible to count God´s creation (31:27). This may have sounded an exaggeration when man´s knowledge of the starry world was limited to what he could see with his naked eye. That now when, with the help of powerful instruments, it has been possible to penetrate far deeper into space, the science of astronomy tells us that there is no end to the extent of the starry creation, and that our solar system is but one tiny speck in that creation.

The primary purpose of the Quran in referring to the wonders of the cosmos is to imprint the all-comprehensiveness of God

                 The primary purpose of the Quran, in calling attention to these wonders of the cosmos, is to imprint the all-comprehensiveness sovereignty of God on the mind of man, so that he may attune his own life to this all-pervading Divine Symphony of existence, which is the only path to true self-realisation and self-fulfilment.

The modern man´s scientific achievements and the arrogant attitude towards the spiritual realities born of them marks a definite epoch in the evolution of man, and has, therefore, come in for special mention and admonition in the Providential scheme of things as revealed in the Quran.

The Quran is full of references to this modern age, and it seems that in the Divine scheme of things, the present civilisation has reached a momentous cross-road of history. On the one hand man´s wonders in the domain of the conquest of Nature have reached the highest pitch, on the other his denial of God and His sovereignty is also assuming the proportions of a wide-spread epidemic. As such, it carries in its womb immense possibilities for the future of mankind. If it persists in its present course, with an eye only on the material aspect of life, turning a blind eye to the deeper meaning of life, it is bound to go the way of the so many previous civilisations which lie buried in the earth – the Babylonian, the Egyptian, the Indo-Gangetic, the Greco-Roman civilisations which, in their day attained to great heights of achievement, but had to make an exit from the world-stage for their transgressions against the sovereignty of the Divine rule.

There is however, a silver-lining to this dark cloud as well. If only modern man opens his blind eye to the reality of the spiritual law, mankind may yet step into a new era of peace and prosperity of universal human equality and fellowship when social justices will reign, and man will cease to oppress fellow-man.

The Quran which, like every foregoing religion, came to proclaim this kingdom of God, and urge its establishment on earth, therefore makes it a point to pinpoint this modern age. It has been described as an industrial age when man will pride himself on his manufactures, as an age of the ascendency of the Western nations, an age when these nations will form alliances, and make wars upon one another – a reference to the two World Wars, as an age when men of all races and colours and languages will be brought together into a common jumble, when newspapers will be widely circulated, when animal transport will give place to power-propelled transport, when gigantic ships looking like huge mountains will sail in the seas, and last, but not least, when man will conquer the air, and launch an expedition to push his way out of the orbit of the earth and the moon.

Quran and the Modern Age

                 Whether man will ever set foot on the moon, or whether the moon is at all fit for human habitation, or whether man will get to some other planet beyond the moon – these are questions which it is not the business of a moral and spiritual Book as the Quran is, to answer. The fact, however, that over a thousand years ago when man in Arabia knew no better transport than a camel, it visualised the power-driven vehicles of the modern age, its air travel, and its sputniks and satellites, is an evidence to its Divine origin which cannot be lightly dismissed.

And that exactly is the object the Quran had in view in calling attention to these great space adventures of modern man. However far you may penetrate into the heights of space, wherever your rockets may reach, you will still be within the sovereignty of the Divine rule, and you can never get out of it, do what you may. This is the significance of the verse quoted at the top.

The idea is to make modern man God-minded and take the scales off his spiritual eye which happens to be stark blind. The remainder is therefore followed by a warning that unless you open your eyes to the Divine law of life, you must be prepared for the retribution when flaming fire and molten metal will rain down on you from the skies – a pointed reference to the nuclear warfare and its horrors.

What nails the whole issue and those involved in this wonderful, yet grim drama is that both the warning and the exhortation to turn to God have been addressed to the “Two Big Powers” (Ath-thaqalan – a significant reference to the Two Blocs of our day. The exhortation not to turn away from God Who has blessed you with numerous bounties, has also been addressed to the two which is the meaning of the word Rabbikuma (the Lord of you two) and forms the repeated burden of the chapter Al-Rahman.