Intellectual Discourse Series no 32
One Universe, Many Worlds: Quranic Pictures of the Universe
Prof Datuk Dr. Osman explains by starting on the linguistic meaning of the word ‘Universe’. ‘Cosmo’, ‘al Alam’, ‘Alam Semesta,’ all implies the universe in Greek, Arabic and Malay respectively.
The word cosmos originated from Greek. Its meaning implies as whole and orderly. The word universe is from Latin.
In Arabic, ‘al-alamin” is found in the first surah of the Quran to mean the many world implying that God is the Creator and the Dominion of the whole creations inclusive of man, all creatures, animals, plants , the Stars, Planets ,and whatever between the heavens and earth.
Prof explains that the Quran refers ‘al-alamin’ as everything else other than God, Allah.
Prof elaborated on the definitions as found in Islam. Physical man and animal and plants and spiritual beings that includes angels, jinns and satan.
Islam definition is God centric. Other theological definition of cosmos as the image of God, Cosmology is the branch of knowledge that deals with the nature of the cosmos, its origin, evolution, content structure and its end.
What is the importance of cosmology?
Student of comparative civilisation studies will state that it is the foundation of universal sciences and arts, as opposed to all other particular sciences, and also it is also viewed as foundation of civilization itself.
Modern beliefs of cosmology
The history of shrinking of western cosmos. Although it is little known. The shrinking actually began marginalization of an important component, like the belief in angels, when they banish spiritual creatures angels, in the 16th and 17th centuries.
In the 19th century , the evolution of western cosmology, with the introduction of Darwin’s theory of evolutions.
Islamic Cosmos is the opposite of the Western cosmos.
The universe of modern science is an expanding body, idea of space expansion. But without soul or spirit. It shows their materialistic inclination of their beliefs.
In Islam the cosmos has an origin and divinely associated with God. God has revealed Himself in the Quran and it provided a very picture of cosmos.
Prof Osman explains the concept of ‘angelogy’, it talks about the concept of Islamic cosmos on angelic affairs. Islam also rejects the origin of universe in western Darwin’s Theory. He explains the Big Bang theory, how Islam has explain the traditional teaching in terms of Big Bang, the Jesus theory, all cosmic events. Since the cosmos is an image of God, the 99 names of God, each name and quality is reflected in the cosmos, it is possible to know God in the cosmos.
The Quran through its verses explains and presents the astronomical picture, the observable cosmos as planetery stellar system, the configuration of the celestial bodies. It also describes the space and its functions, the relationship between the sun, the moon and the earth, orbital motion. God swears in the Quran (85:1) al-Buruj ‘by the sky containing great stars’. Visible through our nakd eye are 88 constellations of stars.
God also invites man to reflect on what is mention to spread out the earth. The word farashna, or to spread as a carpet.
Symbolism of architectural picture – 67:3 AlMulk , divine architectural dimension of the sky and stars.
The most important is the unity of the cosmic picture, tawhid – core message of Islam, God is One, Unity in the names of Allah, the purpose of sciences and art is to realise this unity of the cosmos through its diverse pictures.