Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2. Energy and Divine Process of Creation

The universe, as we can observe, is energy distributed in space. No one knows the fundamental nature of the entity called energy. Energy lies in the realm of ghayb. According to Richard Feynman, “It is important to realize that in physics today, we have no knowledge of what energy is. We do not have a picture that energy comes in little blobs of a definite amount (emphasis added).” [1]. David Rose states “(It) is an abstract concept invented by physical scientists in the nineteenth century to describe quantitatively a wide variety of natural phenomena.” [2]. For practical purposes we define energy in terms of its manifested characteristics. A well-known definition of energy is that given by Dave Watson: “Energy is a property or characteristic (or trait or aspect?) of matter that makes things happen, or, in the case of stored or potential energy, has the “potential” to make things happen.”[1].

Two forms of energy namely, potential and kinetic, are recognized for convenience. Potential energy is matter, and kinetic energy is the ability to do work. Motion, heat, light, sound and electricity are all varied forms of energy. It is energy that manifests itself in diverse forms constituting the whole universe. Therefore it can be stated that Allah created everything in the universe with just one entity – energy. The energy took various forms (or evolved) to become ultimately the universe. How could energy do that? Energy must have the ability to develop itself into the universe. That means energy is carrier of Allah’s instructions (commands) and it must be according to the divine instructions energy evolved to become the universe. Therefore energy is basically information. This concept can be arrived at from the Quranic revelations.

Creation based on ghayb-shahadat paradigm

The divine process of creation has been long since perceived as “creation from nothing” (creatio ex nihilo). A new dimension was given to this perception on the basis of ghayb-shahadat paradigm [3, 4].  Through the Quran Allah informs us that the creation process is a mere giving the command by Him.  “To Him is due the primal origin of the skies and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He says to it: ‘Be’, and it comes into being.” (Q. 2:117). It is the command “Be” to the thing Allah wants to create that holds the key to unravelling the process of creation as well as the mystery of what energy is. Does that mean the thing that is going to be created by Allah is already there? Yes. That is what the verse indicates. It is there with Him in a form intangible to man. This virtual or intangible (ghayb) entity is supposed here as the divine software, the energy. Therefore when Allah wishes to create a thing He gives a command to the software concerned and its execution results in the creation of shahadat which is tangible or perceptible to human being in accordance with God-given human biosoftware. It is this transformation of the intangible (ghayb) into shahadat through execution of Allah’s commands (program) that can be construed as the process of creation. It should be noted that everything is shahadat to Allah. “Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god;- Who knows (all things) both secret (ghayb) and open (shahadat); He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.” (Q. 59:22). The dichotomy of ghayb and shahadat is applicable only in human context. A form of energy can be considered tangible only if our senses can perceive that form. Thus the tangibility of energy is human biosoftware-dependent. Allah created human biosoftware in such a way that man perceives the world the way Allah wants him to perceive. That is to say, the shahadat or the tangible form of the world for an animal would be quite different from that of human beings as it is determined by the biosoftware of the species. Since the production of the tangible from the intangible proceeds as directed by the program, the creation process may be aptly called “programmed evolution”.  It can be stated that all things (whether created or not) exist with Allah in the form of programs (ghayb energy). When He wants to create a thing, He need say ‘Be’ to it, i.e., to the appropriate program (software), which upon execution results in the visible (shahadat) product (to man).

The Quranic statement “Be and it is” is roughly the human version of “getting things done at the click of a mouse”. When we click or press a key on the computer keyboard we are actually activating a program for execution. For example, in the computer the print program is available. By clicking on “print’ we are actuating that program. The computer executes the program to produce a printout (hard copy) of the document selected. The matter printed was there in the computer memory in an intangible form but it was transformed into a tangible (visible) product (hardcopy) through execution of the program. The creation process can also be visualized similarly. The divine message “He says to it: ‘Be’ and it is” can be further examined in the light of a possible future computer version. Human-computer interaction is a fast developing field wherein several kinds of interface between man and machine are studied. It also includes development of human voice recognition software that will enable us to orally give instructions to a computer (or a robot) for performing a desired task. In the foreseeable future (Allah willing) we will also be giving commands to our machines orally rather than through keyboards or with the help of a mouse. That is, when we orally command a voice-recognizing computer to print a message, the machine will identify the task to be performed and the appropriate program will be activated for execution. And the computer will execute the program to produce the printout. Some of the man-made robots already employ voice-operated software. The only difference in the human and divine versions of creation is that the divine software has the ability to transform itself into the shahadat form in accordance with Allah’s instructions carried in it unlike the human version, which requires a computer to do that.

Origin of energy

The Quranic messages relating to divine process of creation also tell us what energy is and how it originates. In the statement, “when Allah wants to create a thing, He need say “Be to it”, the word “it” refers to the appropriate program. The above verses imply that the programs are already there and they are the first to be created by Allah. The Quran also reveals to us what these programs are. These software are nothing but Allah’s words (kalimaat). Consider the following verses. “Behold! The Angels said: “Oh Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of a kalimat (word) from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah.” (Q. 3:45). Allah’s word becomes reality and none can change Allah’s words. “The kalimat (word) of your Lord does find its fulfillment in truth and in justice: None can change His kalimaat (words); for He is the one who hears and knows all.” (Q. 6:115). Allah’s words are infinite. “And if all the trees on earth were pens and the ocean (were ink), with seven oceans behind it to add to its (supply), yet would not the kalimaat of Allah be exhausted: for Allah is Exalted in Power, full of Wisdom.” (Q. 31:27). From these revelations, it can be understood that Allah’s words form Allah’s commands (or instructions), which in computer parlance is software. Since it is Allah’s word that becomes reality, it is evident that the divine word is the intangible divine software or the so-called energy. The verse 31:27 is suggestive of the existence of a collection of Allah’s programs (kalimaat) in the form of intangible energy. We may suppose therefore that the cosmic software (energy), i.e., the entire universe in a “virtual” (ghayb) form, was available with Allah even before the creation of the universe. It was to that software Allah ordered “Be” to create the universe. “It is He who created the skies and the earth in true (proportions), the day He said, “Be,” behold! it comes into being. His word is the truth. His will be the dominion the day the trumpet will be blown. He knows the unseen (ghayb) and that which is open (shahadat). For He is the Wise, well acquainted (with all things).” (Q. 6:73). The verse also implies that Allah’s word has the ability to transform or evolve itself into shahadat form. Characterization of energy as Allah’s word (kalimat) would explain how and why energy behaves like “knowledgeable” entity. Energy carries Allah’s instructions. This concept may be illustrated as follows.

Allah’s Words = Allah’s programs or software = Energy (information)

It is therefore evident that Allah has with Him software (His own words) of everything He created and of the uncreated as well. And when Allah wants to create a thing, He only gives the command ‘Be’ to it (i.e., the program concerned) and it transforms into the form tangible to man. This further suggests that the collection of His Words kept with Him must be very huge. A couple of verses also suggest that. “Say: If the ocean were (used as) ink (to write) the Words of my Lord, the ocean would have been exhausted before the Words of my Lord are completed, even if We bring another ocean like it as support.” (Q. 18:109). “And if all the trees on earth were pens and the ocean (were ink), with seven (more) oceans behind it to add (to its supply), yet the Words of Allah will not be exhausted (in writing). Verily Allah is Mighty, Wise.” (Q. 31:27). These verses reveal the existence of an infinitely large collection of Allah’s Words or what can be considered as divine software base.

Creation of human robot testing facility – the universe

Origin of the universe with its living and nonliving components remains even today a hot topic in science. In the dictionary of science, “creation” is a forbidden term. We see instead only the term “origin”. The Quran gives certain hints about the overall process of creation of the universe. Our attempts to understand the origin of the universe should be along those lines and within those limits because these revelations are from the Creator. The objective of the studies in this area should be confined to generating information to explain the Quranic revelations scientifically. Any theory we develop outside the scope of Quranic revelations will be questionable. There is also no need to develop such theory. Such attempt can only be viewed as the consequence of Satanic temptation. Any theory so developed will not survive long. The history of cosmology amply testifies to that. It is against this background the topic is discussed here. Detailed treatment of the subject may be found in my published books [3, 4].

The universe was created by God as the facility for testing human robots. “It is He who created the skies and the earth in six days…in order to test which of you are best in conduct...” (Q. 11:7). Planet Earth, the habitat of human beings, is the venue or the laboratory where the test is conducted. “Indeed We placed you with authority on the earth and provided you therein with livelihood. Little is the thanks that you give (to Allah).” (Q. 7:10).  As can be expected therefore, creation of the universe preceded the creation of man as the laboratory must be there before his creation. The verse 2:30 indicates that. “Behold! Your Lord said to the angels: “I am going to create a vicegerent on earth….” (Q. 2:30).  It is also evident from this verse that at the time of creation of the universe, the angels were present. This indicates creation of angels preceded the creation of the universe.  

Creation of the universe can be described as ‘programmed evolution’ based on ghayb-shahadat paradigm. The Quran informs us that the next universe will be created as He created the first one; that is, the present one. The Quran also gives certain hints about the process of creation of the next universe. Therefore the same process applies to the creation of the present universe also.

“The Day that We roll up the skies like a scroll rolled up for books. Even as We produced the first creation, so shall We produce a new one – a promise We have undertaken; truly shall We fulfil it.” (Q. 21:104). “….On the Day of Judgement, the whole of earth will be but His handful and the skies will be rolled up in His right hand….” (Q. 39: 67).

Since these verses reveal that the creation of the next universe will begin from a small size (handful), it can be deduced that the present universe also began from a small size. This small size represents the human threshold of tangible form. According to big bang theory, the initial state of the universe was something like infinitely dense energy compressed into zero volume, which the physicists call ‘singularity’. This state of energy may be considered as representing the intangible (invisible, ghayb) software to which Allah ordered “Be” to bring it from the ‘sleep mode’ to ‘operation mode’. “It is He who created the skies and the earth in truth. On the day He says “Be”, it comes into being. His Word is the truth. His will be the dominion on the Day the trumpet will be blown. He is the knower of the invisible (ghayb) and the visible (shahadat). And He is the Wise, well acquainted (with all things).” (Q. 6:73). The invisible divine software (energy) is the abioprogram, which is nothing but Allah’s Word (kalimat). This is the driving force behind the evolution of the universe and the source of chemical information based on which the evolved inanimate components acquired their characteristic properties and behavior. The big bang is the instant when Allah said “Be” to the abioprogram, which initiated its execution. It also marked the beginning of time. The execution of the instructions in the sequence specified in the abioprogram is reflected in the creation of the tangible (shahadat) forms. It is in fact this sequential manifestation of the visible forms of energy the scientists describe as ‘evolution’. It is not accident or random process as they suppose. It is the result of execution of Allah’s instructions. 

The proposition of ghayb-shahadat paradigm as the phenomenon of creation of the physical universe necessitates defining the boundary between the ghayb (intangible) and shahadat (tangible) form of energy to explain as to when or at what stage the ghayb energy becomes shahadat energy. Although execution of the abioprogram commenced when Allah said “Be” to it, the first visible (shahadat) form would not have evolved with the execution of the first instruction. Adopting the big bang model, we may examine the transition between ghayb and shahadat. The model rests on general relativity theory. The general relativity theory ceases to be valid when the density of space-time exceeds a certain value. This density is called Planck density and has an enormous value of about 1093 grams per cubic centimetre. The density indicates the quantum of energy Allah’s software carried. According to Gary Felder, “If we could extrapolate general relativity all the way back to the big bang the universe would have gone from infinite density to the Planck density in roughly 10-43 seconds.” [5]. We may visualize Planck density as something like the mass of some hundred billion galaxies squeezed into the space of an atomic nucleus. Since beyond this density all our theories in physics break down (we do not have a theory yet that can describe such a situation), we may consider this density as the cut-off point for human tangibility, i.e., the threshold of shahadat form determined by our biosoftware. Anything greater than this density is intangible to us. Therefore we may assume that the ghayb form of energy lies beyond Planck density and anything less than that is shahadat to us.

The Quranic revelation that the universe was just ‘handful’ in the beginning may be considered to indicate the primordial shahadat form. This stage is denoted in Figure 1 as the primordial abiochip (PAC) representing the first visible size of the universe, which the Quran describes as ‘handful’. What we are discussing is the size occupied by PAC in about 10-43 seconds after Allah said “Be”.

                      Figure 1. Monocyclic universe based on the Quran
The evolving universe in the beginning was like ‘smoke’. The first component to evolve was Earth. The rest of the universe was still in the form of ‘smoke’ then. “Say: Is it that you deny Him Who created the earth in two Days?...He set on the (earth) mountains standing firm high above it and bestowed blessings on the earth and measured therein its sustenance…Then He turned to the sky which was smoke and said to it and to the earth to come together… So He completed them as seven skies in two Days and inspired in each sky its duty and command. And We adorned the lower sky with lights and rendered it inviolable. Such is His Decree the Exalted in Might, full of Knowledge.” (Q. 41:9-12). It should be noted that the Quran gives more emphasis to the earth than to any other component of the universe because the earth is the laboratory created for testing human robots and hence it has more significance and immediate relevance to man. Going by the purpose of creating the universe, we find that the other components of the universe were created as supplementary facility and they evolved following the creation of Earth. “It is He who created for you all things that are on earth. Then He turned to the sky and He perfected it as seven skies. And of all things He has complete knowledge.” (Q. 2:29).
The ‘hot gas’ (ion cloud) blown out by the big bang is consistent with the Quranic version of ‘smoke’. When the evolution of Earth was completed, the rest of the universe was still in the form of smoke. This would mean Earth was also created from the ‘smoke’. Following the evolution of Earth, they all came together and the universe got organized as seven skies one above the other with the lower sky provided with light sources (stars). The young universe that was completed as the earth and seven skies were together initially. With the separation of the individual components and initiation of their orbital motion, the universe entered the adult phase as can be inferred from the verse 51:47 on creation of the vastness of space (i.e., expansion of the universe). “With power and skill did We construct the sky: For it is We Who create the vastness of space.” (Q. 51:47). Orbital motion of celestial bodies and expansion of the universe are well-established scientific facts. In 1924, American astronomer Edwin Hubble demonstrated that ours is not the only galaxy; there are some hundred thousand million galaxies spaced far between. The spectral analysis of the radiations coming from the stars revealed that most galaxies were red-shifted thus confirming an expanding universe.
The adult universe is composed of innumerable structures (shahadat forms evolved from the ghayb energy) from subatomic level to galaxies and beyond. All these structures represent divine instructions. The Quran points to that through verses 41:9-12 (quoted above) that divine commands are immanent in the evolved structures. This means chemical structure encodes divine instructions, which we can distinguish as ‘chemical information’ in science. This will explain how a chemical structure derives its properties and behaviour from its structure. This also answers the big question how a chemical structure knows how to react and what to produce. The information encoded by the structure is also the source of natural laws and rules. We only discover them. Natural laws described in physics and chemistry, e.g., Newton’s law of gravity, thermodynamics, theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, deterministic chaos, and string theory, are a few of them. Further, the existence of universal constants reflects operation of these rules uniformly over the entire universe. Faraday constant, Avogadro number, Planck constant, velocity of light, gas constant and Boltzmann constant are some examples. Evolution of the universe to the level of atoms and molecules demonstrates how from an original source of chemical information (abioprogram), substances encoding Allah’s instructions were formed through transformation of intangible (ghayb) energy into tangible (shahadat) forms. Since the evolution occurred as transformation from the original quantum of energy (divine software), energy content of the universe remains unaltered. This in fact forms the basis of the first law of thermodynamics, which states that energy can be transformed from one form to another but cannot be created or destroyed. This is how the universe was designed, developed and perfected as a coherent system by Allah.
“ (It is He) Who created the seven skies one above another: No lack of proportion you will see in the creation of Most Gracious. So turn your vision again. Do you see any flaw? Again turn your vision a second time. Your vision will come back to you dull and discomfited in a state worn out.” (Q. 67:3-4).
The universe with its diverse components represents the tangible forms of energy. It is nothing but Allah’s instructions distributed in space.
End of the universe
End of the universe is also part of the divine scheme. As we have already discussed, the present temporary universe was created as facility for testing human robots. Following the test, the successful robots will be deployed as Allah’s robots in Heaven, which is the earth of the next eternal universe. Therefore, on completion of the divine test programme, the present universe will end and the next eternal universe will be created in continuation. This is another certainty revealed through the Quran. The fate of the universe cannot be determined through scientific experiments with certainty. Scientific studies at best may indicate certain probabilities. We can accept however those theories, which corroborate the Quranic revelations. The agreement of a theory with the Quran confirms its validity. The theories so chosen will help explain the Quranic revelations scientifically. Occasionally we do hear about prediction of the end of the universe by scientists and others who think it likely. But it will be too naïve to accept those estimates. The Quran tells us that information about the end of the universe is with the Creator alone. “They ask you (Prophet Muhammad) about the Final Hour – when will be its appointed time? Say: the knowledge thereof is with my Lord (alone). None but He can reveal as to when it will occur…” (Q. 7:187).
The universe is created to run for a fixed term, which forms the duration of human robot testing programme. The sun, earth, and the whole cosmos would not overshoot that limit. “Don’t you see that Allah merges night into day and He merges day into night, that He has subjected the sun and the moon (to His Law), each running its course for a term appointed….” (Q. 31:29). “And the sun runs its course for a pre-determined period: that is His Decree, the Exalted in Might, the All-Knowing.” (Q. 36:38). “We created the skies and the earth and all between them for just ends, and for a term appointed….” (Q. 46:3). We know stars have only limited supply of hydrogen in their cores and therefore they have only limited life [6]. This indicates that the stars cannot go on forever. The finite life of stars is clear indication of the finite life of the whole universe.
The fate of the universe has been a topic of serious discussion following the failure of the steady state theory (which described the universe as static system without beginning and end). Theoretical explorations to find answers to this issue have been made with the big bang model which portrays an expanding universe. Consistent with the observations of several supernovae (a supernova is a stellar explosion producing an extremely luminous object made of plasma – an ionized state of matter.) in other galaxies, the rate of expansion of the universe has been found to be accelerating. The concepts of dark energy and dark matter, which act against gravitational attraction, have been introduced to allow for the acceleration. The ultimate fate of the universe is supposed to depend on how much dark energy it contains and the value of the density parameter, omega (Ω). Density parameter (Ω) is defined as the average matter density of the universe divided by a critical value of that density. Based on these conditions, three possible scenarios have been proposed as the ultimate fate of the universe [7]. An Ω greater than 1 represents a “closed universe” In a closed universe gravity eventually brings the expansion of the universe to a stop, after which it starts to contract until all matter in the universe collapses to a point, a final singularity termed the “big crunch”. A universe is called “open” if its Ω is less than 1. The open universe expands forever. Matter will spread thinner and thinner. Galaxies will exhaust their gas supply for forming new stars. The old stars will eventually burn out, leaving only dust and dead stars. The universe will become quite dark and, the temperature of the universe will approach absolute zero. The universe will peter out in a “big chill”. An Ω equal to 1 describes a “flat universe”. A flat universe expands forever but at a decelerating rate asymptotically approaching zero. The universe will not end in a big crunch nor expand into an infinite big chill, but will remain at equilibrium [8]. Besides these, the possibility of “multiverse” (parallel universes) is also indicated. It is assumed that our universe may be one among many universes with even different physical laws. There is also the cyclic cosmological model that suggests the universe will exist forever through cyclic repetition of big bang and big crunch.
From these theoretical probabilities, it is possible to choose a theory that agrees with the Quranic revelation of the end of the universe as the correct one. The Quran repeatedly draws our attention to the end of the universe in order to remind us of the impending event. It also provides certain hints about the end process. “The Day that We roll up the skies like a scroll rolled up for books. Even as We produced the first creation, so shall We produce a new one – a promise We have undertaken; truly shall We fulfil it.” (Q. 21:104). “….On the Day of Judgement, the whole of earth will be but His handful and the skies will be rolled up in His right hand….” (Q. 39:67). These aspects were discussed earlier while explaining the creation of the present universe.  Two points mentioned in these messages namely, the skies will be rolled up like a scroll, and  the size of the universe will be reduced to a handful are fully consistent with the theoretical expectations of the big crunch hypothesis which predicts that the universe will eventually stop expanding and start collapsing. Therefore this model can be recognized as the most acceptable one among the available theories and the Quranic revelation of the end of the universe may be explained based on that (Figure 1). The inward contraction towards a hot, dense state by the collapsing universe is analogous to a time-reversal of the big bang. The collapse thus leads to the end of the universe. “The rolling up of the heavens as a scroll of paper” may be considered as metaphoric description of the process of collapse of the universe while the reference to the size of the earth as “handful” is consistent with the prediction of small mass of very high density attainable by a collapsing body. The big crunch theory is therefore acceptable as it agrees with the Quranic description of the end of the universe in a broad theoretical sense.
Re-creation of the universe
As with the end of the universe, the re-creation of the universe is also a certainty. The Quranic verse cited above (Q. 21:104) also gives certain hints about the mode of re-creation of the universe. Allah tells us that the mode of re-creation of the universe will be similar to the one adopted by Him in its first creation. If we accept the big bang model to describe the cosmogony (genesis of the universe), according to the Quran it will be by the same process that God will re-create the universe on the Day of Judgement. The end (big crunch) of the present universe being a cosmic singularity, it may serve as the big bang of the next universe (Figure 1). According to Khoury et al., the universe can undergo a transition from big crunch to a big bang through a string theoretic regime which connects the two phases [9]. This scenario offers a continuum between the first and the next universe and corroborates the Quranic disclosure of re-creation of the universe following the end of the present universe (Figure 2).

Figure 2. The nature of the present universe (closed) and the next universe (flat) as revealed by the Quran

The most glaring feature of the re-created universe that distinguishes it from the present universe is its eternal nature mentioned at many places in the Quran in conjunction with the description of Heaven (Q. 3:15; 25:16) and Hell (Q. 4:93). The eternal nature is theoretically a characteristic of “flat universe” with Ω equal to 1. A flat universe will expand at a rate that is just enough to avoid re-collapse (Figure 2). It also implies that the abioprogram relating to the re-created universe will satisfy the eternal nature as well as its other special characteristics. This proposition of the re-creation of the universe is comparable with the theoretical model of cyclic universe with the difference that the big crunch occurs only once and the re-created universe will not meet with the same fate (big crunch) as its predecessor. In other words with the creation of the next universe, the cycle completes. That being the case, the abioprogram of the universe has to be seen as integrated divine software for a monocyclic universe covering the present and the next one.


2. Quoted in the book Energies, by Vaclav Smil, attributed to David Rose, Retrieved February 2, 2007.
3. Wahid, P.A. 2006. The Computer Universe: A Scientific Rendering of the Holy Quran. Adam Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi.
4. Wahid, P.A. 2007. An Introduction to Islamic Science. Adam Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi.
5. Gary Felder. 2002. Beyond the big bang: Inflation and the very early universe.  Retrieved on April 5, 2007.
6. Spergel, D.N., Bolte, M. and Freedman, W. 1997. The age of the universe. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 94:6579-6584.
9. Khoury, J. et al. From big crunch to big bang. arXiv:hep-th/01018187v4 Retrieved on March 2, 2002.