Astronomy in The Qur’an
In the name of The God, The Most Gracious The Most Merciful.
I believe The Qur’an predicts a galactic collision and merger between our Milky Way Galaxy and the Andromeda Galaxy. This is because some of the events of the End of the World described in The Qur’an concerning the stars and the sun seem very much to fit the description of a galactic collision and merger:
Surah 81, verses 1 and 2:
“Itha ashshamsu kuwwirat, wa-itha annujoomu inkadarat.”
The Arabic word ‘kuwwirat’ means something like, ‘to be rolled,’ or ‘to be thrown,’ or even ‘to be overthrown.’ The word ‘annujoomu’ means ‘the stars,’ or ‘the constellations,’ or ‘the galaxies.’ And ‘inkadarat’ means ‘to be extinguished,’ ‘to stop shining,’ ‘to lose lustre,’ ‘to lose shine,’ or ‘to collide’ or ‘to be crashed into eachother.’ These verses are multiple-meaning verses: On one hand as ‘annujoomu’ means ‘the stars,’ while ‘inkadarat’ means ‘to stop shining’ or ‘lose shine,’ these verses describe what would happen if our sun was thrown out of place; if this happens, then depending on where it is thrown, (see the quotation below from www.galaxydynamic.org), there will be very few stars left visible at night. Many stars will not be visible anymore from the night-sky, and this is what is meant by ‘when the stars stop shining.’ But on the other hand, since ‘annujoomu’ also means ‘the galaxies’ and ‘inkarat’ can also mean ‘to collide,’ then another equally logical meaning becomes apparent; in that way, these verses are then describing a major galactic event that the scientists have actually predicted will occur in 3-4 billion years, for what is clearly meant by “when the galaxies collide” is when our Milky Way Galaxy will collide with the Andromeda Galaxy. Either way, both translations constitute the two basic meanings of 81:1-2 of The Qur’an. This is what those translations, my translations, look like:
1) “When the sun is thrown away, and when the stars stop shining.”
2) “When the sun is thrown away, and when the galaxies collide.”
Here are some other translations:
“When the sun is wrapped up [in darkness], And when the stars fall, dispersing,” – Sahih International.
“When the sun Kuwwirat (wound round and lost its light and is overthrown). And when the stars shall fall;” – Muhsin Khan.
“When the sun is overthrown, And when the stars fall,” – Pickthal.
“When the sun (with its spacious light) is folded up; When the stars fall, losing their lustre;” – Yusuf ‘Ali.
“When the sun is covered, And when the stars darken,” – Shakir.
“When the sun will be rolled, (i.e., folded; compressed). And when the stars will be turbid,” – Dr. Ghali.
“When the sun is rolled. The stars are crashed into each other,” – Dr. Rashad Khalifa.
“When the sun is rolled away. And when the stars stop shining,” Dr. ‘Ali Fazeli, (supposedly, Fazeli’s Qur’an translation is literal).
“When will this collision occur? Plausible orbits and models of the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies suggest that the big event could occur in as soon as 3 billion years. The Sun will still be burning brightly when this collision occurs and maybe life of some sort will still be around on Earth (or at least within the solar system) at that time. So what would people see in the night sky during this billion year galactic dance? As Andromeda approaches, it will grow in size and just before the collision the night sky will be filled by a giant spiral galaxy. When the two galaxies intersect, our familiar Milky Way arch over the sky will be joined by a second intersecting arch of stars but this will only last for 100 million years or so and will be a very confusing state of affairs for galactic astronomers. Finally, when the two galaxies merge our view will depend on which direction the Sun is thrown. There are two possible fates for the Sun which depend closely on the details of where it is in its galactic orbit at the time of the collision. In the first case the Sun may take a ride on a tidal tail and be ejected into the darkness of intergalactic space. In this case, our star would be all alone with few stellar neighbours so the night sky would be very dark with few stars to see — maybe like the disappointing view of the nightsky from an urban centre like downtown Toronto. In the second case, the Sun may be thrown right into the centre of the merging pair where a great starburst will be underway. The huge number of stars forming will result in supernovae going off at a rate of a few per year in the new merged galaxy. While these will likely not present a direct hazard to the Earth, they will truly light up the sky letting you read at night but probably frustrating the endeavours of backyard astronomers!” – http://www.galaxydynamics.org/tflops.html
The above paragraph is a quotation from an astronomical site, which explains how scientists predict that the Milky Way Galaxy and the Andromeda Galaxy will collide and merge. Now, they predict that the sun will be thrown, which is what 81:1 describes; and they predict that our galaxy and the Andromeda Galaxy will collide, and that when the sun is thrown, depending on where it is thrown, very few stars will be visible at night, both of which are meant by 81:2; but, you might say, “Hey, wait a minute; you’ve got one verse mentioning the sun being thrown, and another describing the galaxies colliding – or the stars being extinguished or going dark; but what verse describes the merger of our galaxies?” and then I anwer, “Both verses do. The sun being thrown, will be a result of the merger of the Andromeda Galaxy with the Milky Way Galaxy, not of their collision. So, the merger is clearly implied, as is the darkening of the stars as a result of the sun being thrown.” The Qur’an actually predicts, along with modern astronomical science, that the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way Galaxy will collide and merge, and that the sun will be thrown out of place and the stars will become dark and invisible in the night-sky.
At-tariq, The Bright Star, (or Galaxy):
Galaxies are not visible in the nightsky to the naked eye. The ancients could not have seen the galaxies. So I must point out something: earlier I said that “annujoomu” also means “galaxy;” this is more of a modern, scientific interpretation of how the word is used in The Qur’an in some situations. It would not have meant that to the ancients in the time of Muhhamad, since they had not seen galaxies. At most, they had seen part of the Milky Way, our own galaxy. It is a meaning which is modernly attributed to the word, for the sake of scientific interpretations of The Qur’an. But this does not mean that the verses of The Qur’an have no implications of galaxies; galaxies are basically large star-clusters anyways. As for stars colliding: individual stars do not collide, but galaxies, star-clusters, do. And the stars darkening will likely only happen if galaxies collide and thus the sun is thrown out of place. With that being said, I must explain something else: I believe The Qur’an even describes the prediction of scientists that the nightsky will be filled by the Andromeda Galaxy, that the Andromeda Galaxy will become bright and visible in our nightsky. I believe that by “At-tariq” The Qur’an means the Andromeda Galaxy.
“As Andromeda approaches, it will grow in size and just before the collision the night sky will be filled by a giant spiral galaxy,” – from the above quote from http://www.galaxydynamics.org/tflops.html.
“At-tariq” means “The Night Visitor,” (Dr. ‘Ali Fazeli’s translation). It is mentioned in 86:1-3 of The Qur’an:
“By the sky and the night comer, And what can make you know what is the night comer? It is the piercing star,” – Sahih International.
“By the heaven, and At-Tariq (the night-comer, i.e. the bright star); And what will make you to know what At-Tariq (night-comer) is? (It is) the star of piercing brightness;” – Muhsin Khan.
“By the heaven and the Morning Star. Ah, what will tell thee what the Morning Star is! The piercing Star!” – Pickthall.
“By the Sky and the Night-Visitant (therein); And what will explain to thee what the Night-Visitant is? (It is) the Star of piercing brightness;” – Yusuf ‘Ali.
“I swear by the heaven and the comer by night; And what will make you know what the comer by night is? The star of piercing brightness;” – Shakir.
“And (by) the heaven and the Night Visitant! (Or: “The Morning Star; literally: The Rapper). And what makes you realize what the Night Visitant is? (Or: “The Morning Star; literally: The Rapper). The Piercing Star!” Dr. Ghali.
“By the sky and Al-Taareq. Do you know what Al-Taareq is? The bright star,” Rashad Khalifa.
“By the sky and the Night Visitor. And do you realize what the Night Visitor is? The piercing star,” Dr. ‘Ali Fazeli.
So At-tariq is a bright and piercing star that visits by night – hence “The Rapper,” or rather, “The Knocker,” which implies the idea of someone visiting you at night and rapping or knocking on your door. Or it is a galaxy; actually, I believe that it contains both the meaning of a star and of a galaxy, and I believe that it refers thus both to a specific star – most likely the dogstar Sirius which is the brightest star visible to the naked eye in the nightsky – and to a specific galaxy, as in the Andromeda Galaxy which will quite surely “visit” our galaxy and the nightsky when it collides and merges with our Milky Way Galaxy. And in our nightsky, it will certainly become a bright galaxy – and remember that in modern times “annujoomu” as well as any variant forms of the word, is sometimes taken to mean “galaxy.” To me it seems 86:1-3 is a very clear reference in The Qur’an to the Andromeda Galaxy.
The Light of Allah:
The Qur’an says the Earth will shine with the light of Allah in 39:69:
“And the earth will shine with the light of its Lord, and the record [of deeds] will be placed, and the prophets and the witnesses will be brought, and it will be judged between them in truth, and they will not be wronged,” – Sahih International.