It is not possible to find the Big Bang conjecture in the Quran and attempts to interpret verses in light of the Big Bang conjecture or specific elements within it will force the Muslim apologist, even if he does not realize it at the time, to accept other elements of the Big Bang model, or at least pave the way for their acceptance.This is because there is no similarity or connection between the Big Bang - [which is a collection of numerous conjectures and self-supporting assumptions brought together to formulate a model which amounts to a subjective philosophical interpretation of the observations] - and the creation narrative in the Quran.
It is dismaying to see Muslim apologists claim that this model has been mentioned in the Qurʾān or even worse, has been validated by it. This is baseless, speech and amounts to lying upon. Conjectures are not needed to interpret the Book of Allāh. This atheistic ideology is ring-fenced and protected with the full might of all available resources in finance (research funding) academia (publications), entertainment (movies) and scientific journalism. Let us now take a look at the verse which is used by Muslim apologists in light of explanations cited by the scholars of tafsīr.


Do not those who disbelieve see that the Heavens and Earth were ratqan, then We separated them and made from water, every living thing? Will they then not believe? (21:30).

In what follows, we shall turn to the exegesis of this verse from both classical, later and contemporary authorities to grasp the true intent of this verse.

Imām al-Ṭabarī (d. 310H) said, “Allāh, lofty be His remembrance, says: Do not those who disbelieve in the signs of Allāh see with the vision of their hearts and thereby see with them that the Heavens and Earth were adjacent (ratq). He says: There was no gap between them, rather they were in contact with each other (multaṣaqatayn)... and His saying, ‘And we separated them, He says: We caused them both to split and separate. Then the people of interpretation differed over the meaning of Allāh’s description of the Heavens and Earth with being adjacent and with which meaning were they cleft asunder.” Then al-Ṭabarī documents four views from the Salaf. First, that they were adjacent (in contact with each other) then Allāh separated between them through air (an atmosphere over the Earth). This view is related from IbnʿAbbās, al-Ḍahhāk and Qatādah. Second, that the Heavens were a single layer and was split into seven heavens and likewise the Earth, it was joined as a single layer and was split into seven earths. This is related from Mujāhid, al-Sudī and others. Third, that the Heavens were sealed and did not send rain and the Earth was sealed and did not produce vegetation. So he split the heaven to bring forth water and He split open the earth to bring forth produce. This is related from ʿIkrimah, ʿAṭiyyah, IbnZayd and others. Fourth, that the “separating” (fatq) is in reference to the creation of the day which came after the night. This is related from IbnʿAbbās. Al-Ṭabarī then states which view he holds to be most correct, “The most worthy of these sayings in being correct is that of the one who said its meaning is: Have not those who disbelieve seen that the Heavens and Earth are sealed from producing rain and vegetation, so we cleft the heaven to produce rain and the earth to produce vegetation. And we stated that this is more worthy of being correct due to it being evidenced by His saying [thereafter], ‘And we made from water every living thing.’ (21:30).” (Source: Tafsīr al-Ṭabarī(Muʾassasah al-Ris ālah) 5/249 onwards.)


IbnAbīZamanayn (d. 399H) said, “Al-Ḥasan said, ‘Meaning adjacent, adhered, stuck together (multazaqah), one on top of the other, ‘then we split them apart’, He says that He fixed the Earth (in its place) and raised the Heaven. His saying, ‘were both ratqan’ because the heavens can be referred to [collectively] through a single word, heaven and likewise the earth. And the meaning of ratqanis that they were a single thing joined, stuck together (shayʾanwāḥidanmultaḥaman),and this is the meaning of the saying of al-Ḥasan .”(Source :Tafsīr al-Qur ʾān al-Azīz (al-Fārūq al-Ḥadīthiyyah Lil-Ṭabāʿahwal-Nashr, 1423H) 3/145-146)

Imām al-Māwardī (d. 450H) said, “There are three interpretations: The first of them that the heavens and earth were adjacent and Allāh separated between them through the air, it was said by IbnʿAbbās. The second, that the heaven was joined together as a layer and Allāh separated it into seven heavens. The earth was likewise and He separated it into seven earths, it was said by Mujāhid. The third, that the heavens were sealed, not issuing rain and the earth was sealed, not producing vegetation. So he split open the heaven through rain and the earth through vegetation. It was said by ʿIkrimah, ʿAṭiyyah and IbnZayd.” (Source :Al-Nukatwal-ʿUyūn (DārKutub al-ʿIlmiyyah), 3/444.)

Imām al-Baghawī (d. 516H) said, “Its meaning is: Do not the disbelievers know that ‘The heavens and the earth were ratqan.’ IbnʿAbbās, ʿAṭā and Qatādah said, ‘They were a single thing (kānatāshayʾanwāḥidan)’each being (multazaqah) stuck (to each other)’. Then ‘fafataqnāhumā’ we separated between them through air. Kaʿb said, ‘He created the heavens and the earth, on top of each other, then He created the wind (air, atmosphere), placed it in between them and thus opened them up with it.’ Mujāhid and al-Sudī said, ‘The heavens were joined in a single layer, so He separated them and made them seven heavens. Likewise the earth, it was joined in a single layer and he made it into seven earths.’ ʿIkrimah and ʿAṭiyyah said, ‘The heaven was sealed, not pouring forth rain and the earth was sealed, not producing vegetation. So He split the heaven through rain and the earth through vegetation.’ He said ‘ratqan’ upon the notion of oneness, which was a characteristic of the heavens and the earth,(Meaning, that the heavens were a single heaven and the earths were a single earth, and both of them were adjacent, together)because this word is [used as] an infinitive (maṣdar), it is has been put in the place of a noun.” (Source :Maʿālim al-Tanzīl(DārṬayyibah) 5/316).

Ibn al-Jawzī (d. 597H) said, “The saying of Allāh, ‘Do not the disbelievers see’ meaning, do they not know, ‘that the Heavens and the Earth were ratqan, then we split them apart’ Abu ʿUbaydah said: The heavens are plural and the earth is singular, thus the description of the plural word covers the word for the description of the singular. For the Arabs do this when they combine between a plural and singular. The word ratqis an infinitive (maṣdar) and the single, dual, plural, masculine and feminine can be equally described by it. The meaning of ratqis that which has no perforation (hole, gap). Al-Zajāj said, ‘The meaning is that they both (the heaven and earth) possessed ratq(were uniform, single), then He made them possess fatq(separating, tearing). He did not say ratqaynbecause ratqis used as an infinitive (maṣdar). The exegetes have three sayings regarding the intended [meaning]: The first is that the heavens were sealed, not providing rain and the earth was sealed, not producing vegetation. So He split this (heaven) through water and this (earth) through vegetation. This is related by ʿAbdullāh bin Dīnār from IbnʿAbbās and it was also said by ʿAṭāʾ, ʿIkrimah, Mujāhid in a narration, and al-Ḍahhāk in two others. The second is that the heavens and earth were adjacent, connected, so Allāh the Exalted separated them apart. It is reported by al-ʿŪfī from IbnʿAbbās and al-Ḥasan, Saʿīd bin Jubayr and Qatādah also spoke with it. The third is that He separated the earth into six other earths thus becoming seven and from the heaven, six other heavens making them seven. This is related by al-Sudī from his shaykhs and IbnAbīNajīḥ from Mujāhid. And His saying, ‘And we created from water, every living thing’ there are two sayings. The first, that it is the commonly known water, so the meaning is that we made water to be the cause (sabab) that facilitates the life of every living thing. And the second is that is the nuṭfah, sperm-drop.” (Source :Zād al-MasīrFīʿIlm al-Tafsīr(al-Maktaba al-Islāmī) 5/348-349) 

Imām al-Qurṭubī (d. 671H) said, “‘Do those [who disbelieve] not see...’ meaning know ‘...that the heavens and earth were ratqan...’ AbūIshāq said, ‘They were both (kānatā), because the [seven] heavens are referred to by the single word, heaven (samāʾ) and because the heavens were a single heaven [at first] and likewise the earths.’ And He (Allāh) said, ‘adjacent (ratqan)’ and not [the dual form] (ratqayn) because it is being used as the infinitive (maṣdar) and thus the meaning is that each of the (heavens and earth) were combined. (With the meaning that the earth was one combined entity and the heaven was one combined entity).

The word ratq(sewn, joined together) the opposite of fatq(rupture, tear) and from it is the female whose vagina is sealed (ratqāʾ). (A condition referred to as labial fusion in which the small inner lips become sealed). [The first saying] is of IbnʿAbbās, al-Ḥasan, ʿAṭāʾ al-Ḍahhāk and Qatādah who said: That they were a single thing, adjacent to each other, then Allāh separated between them through air (an atmosphere). Kaʿb said: Allāh created the Heavens and the Earth some of them on top of others, then He created wind in their middle and thus made an opening between them and then He made the heavens into seven and the earth into seven. A second saying is that of Mujāhid, al-Sudī and AbūṢāliḥ: The heavens were uniform as a single layer, then He split them and made them seven heavens and likewise the earths, they were all layered adjacently into a single layer, then He split them and made them into seven... And a third saying is that of ʿIkrimah, ʿAṭiyyah, IbnZayd and IbnʿAbbās in what has been mentioned by al-Mahdawi: That the heavens were sealed, not producing rain and the earth was sealed, not producing vegetation. So He split the heaven to produce water and earth to produce vegetation, similar to the statement of Allāh, ‘By the sky which returns [rain] and [by] the earth which cracks open.’ (86:11-12). Al-Ṭabarī preferred this saying because after it there occurs, ‘And we made from water every living thing, will they then not believe.’ (21:30). I say: And this is what is given consideration through witnessing and observation and for that reason, He informed of this in more than a single verse so that He could indicate the perfection of His power and the resurrection and recompense.” (Source : Al-Jāmiʿ Li Aḥkām al-Qurʾān(Muʾassasah al-Risālah, 1427H) 14/194 onwards) 

IbnKathīr (d. 774H) said, “Do they not see that the Heavens and the Earth were ratqan, meaning that all of them were connected (muttaṣil) to each other, touching (mutalāṣiq) and piled up (mutarākim) on top of each other at the beginning of the affair. Then He separated this (the heaven) from that (the earth), so He made the heavens to be seven and the earth to be seven and separated the lowest heaven and the earth with air. The heaven then poured forth rain and the earth produced vegetation, and hence He said [thereafter], ‘And we made from water every living thing, will they then not believe’ meaning that they are witnessing how the creations of Allāh emerge bit by bit (as a result of the water bringing life on earth). All of this is evidence for the existence of the creator who is active, powerful over what He chooses.” After this IbnKathīr presents the various views on this verse and from them are the statements of IbnʿAbbās through ʿIkrimah that when the heavens and earth were adjacent (with nothing between them) there was darkness which means that night came before day. Also the statement of IbnʿAbbās through IbnʿUmar that a man asked him about this verse and he sent him to ask IbnʿAbbās who said that the heavens were sealed and did not pour forth water and the earth likewise did not produce vegetation. Then when He created inhabitants for the earth, He opened (the heaven) through rain and the (earth) through vegetation. Then he also cites the view that the meaning of ratqis that the heaven was one and was split into seven heavens and the earth was one and was split into seven. earths. And the statement of al-Ḥasan and Qatādah that the heavens and earth were together and then separated them with air. (Source :Tafsīr al-Qurʾān al-ʿAẓīm(DārṬayyibah, 1420H) 5/337 onwards)

Al-Thaʿālibī (d. 875H) said, “[The saying of Allāh], ‘Do not those who disbelieve see that the heavens and the earth were ratqan’, ratqmeans touching, adjoining (multaṣiq) with each other, there not being any split or opening between them, and from this [meaning] is the woman said to be ratqāʾ(due to labial fusion). There has been difference over the meaning of ‘were ratqan then we split them apart.’ So a group said: The heaven was adjacent to the earth, so Allāh separated it through air (atmosphere). Another group said: The heavens were adjacent to each other, and likewise the earth. So Alllāh split them apart into seven each. On the basis of these two sayings, the seeing [mentioned in the verse] would be the seeing of the heart [meaning knowledge]. And another group said: Before it shed rain, the heaven was sealed, and the earth, before it produced vegetation was sealed. So Allāh opened them both up through rain and vegetation, just as Allāh said [in another verse], ‘By the sky which returns [rain] and [by] the earth which cracks open.’ (86:11-12).’ And this is a good viewpoint, it combines admonition with enumeration of the bounty [from Allāh] and affords a proof through something that is clearly perceivable, and it also in harmony with His saying, the Exalted, ‘And we made from water every living thing.’ Meaning, from the water that came through the opening of the heaven. Thus the meaning of the verse becomes apparent, and reflection over it can be directed to. Another group said that the heaven and earth were sealed together through darkness, so Allāh separated between them through light. Upon these two sayings, the seeing would be the seeing of the eye.” (Source:  Al-Jawāhir al-ḤisānFīTafsīr al-Qurʾān(DārIhyāʾ al-Turāth, 1418H 4/85.)

Imām al-Shawkānī (d. 1250H) said, “Al-Zajāj said: He said, ‘were both (kānatā)’ (The intent here is to explain that the word kānatāis a reference to two entities, referring to the heaven (which in turn comprised all that was to become the seven heavens and the earth) because ‘the heavens’ can be alluded to through a single word since the heavens were initially a single heaven, likewise the earths. The word ratqmeans to close up (sadd), the opposite of fatq(to open, separate). It is said, ‘He closed up the fissure (tear, crack), he repaired it so it became closed up’ meaning, it became mended, patched up. From it is also the word ratqāʾwhich refers to a female with labial fusion (of the inner lips of the vagina). So the meaning is that (the heaven and earth) were a single thing (kānatāshayʾanwāḥidan),each being (multazaqah) stuck (to each other), then Allāh separated them both. He said, ‘ratqan’ and not ‘ratqayn’ (the dual form) because it is used as the infinitive (maṣdar), thus the meaning is that each of them (the heaven and earth) possessed ratq(being together, adjacent). And the meaning of ‘fafataqnāhumā’ is we separated them from each other, thus we raised the heaven and left the earth in its place, ‘And we made from water every living thing’ meaning that we gave life to everything through the water we sent down from the sky, including both animals and plants. And the meaning is that water is the cause of the life of everything.”

Imām al-Saʿdī (d. 1376H) said, “Do not those who disbelieve in their Lord and who reject singling Him out in servitude see what proves to them by direct witness that He is the praiseworthy, noble Lord and Deity, such that they witness the heaven and earth and find them ratqan. [Meaning, that] this (the heaven) has no clouds and no rain and this (the earth) is dead and calm (lifeless), there are no plants on it. Then we split them apart, (meaning), the heaven by way of the rain and the earth by way of vegetation. Is not the one who brought clouds into the sky after the air was clear with not even the smallest of clouds and then He placed copious amounts of water in it, drove it to a dead land whose extremities had become dusty (dry) and undergone a water drought and which then became energetic, went into motion, grew and produced every beautiful kind of varying types, [being] numerous, beneficial .”(Source :Taysīr al-Karīm al-Raḥmān(Dār al-Salām, 1422H) p. 608. )

Imām al-Shanqīṭī (d. 1393H) said, “Know that the scholars have differed about the intent behind [the words] ratqand fatqin this verse into five sayings, some of them extremely futile and one of them is indicated by other evidences from the Mighty Qurʾān: The first, that the meaning of ‘were both ratqan’ is that the heavens and earth were adjacent, touching, one of them on top of the other, so Allāh split them apart, separating between the heavens and earth, and raised the heaven to its place and made the earth remain in its established place. He separated between them through the air (atmosphere) which is between them as you can see. The second saying is that the seven heavens were adjacent, meaning each touching each other, so Allāh separated them into seven (distinct) heavens, between each two is a separation. The earths were also adjacent, so He separated them and made them into seven, separated from each other. The third saying is that the meaning of ‘were both ratqan’ is that the rain did not come from the heaven and the earth would not produce vegetation, so Allāh split the heaven through rain and the earth through vegetation. The fourth is that they ‘were both ratqan’ meaning in darkness, nothing could be seen due to its severity, so Allāh separated them through light.44 This saying in reality goes back to the first saying and the second. The fifth - and it is the furthest one due to its futility - that non-existence is intended by ratqand being brought to existence is intended by fatq. Meaning, that they were non-existent then we brought them into existence.” (Source: Aḍwāʾ al-Bayān(DārʿĀlam al-Fawāʾid) 4/702-703.) Al-Shanqīṭī then states that the third saying is the one supported by evidences from the Book of Allāh, the Exalted. He proceeds to mention three of them: “The first, that the verse states, ‘Do not those who disbelieve see’ indicating that they see what [the verse is alluding to] because what is most apparent in my view is that is vision of the eyes, they see it with their eyes that the sky can sometimes not release water and the earth is dead, calm (without activity) their being no vegetation on it. Then they witness with their eyes that Allāh sends down rain and causes to grow by way of it varieties of vegetation. The second indication, that He followed that [statement] with His saying, ‘And we made from water every living thing.’ It is apparent that this speech is connected to what is before it. Meaning, that we made from the water - by which we cleaved asunder the sky and by which we caused varieties of vegetation to grow by cleaving asunder the earth - every living thing. The third indication is that this meaning has come clearly explained in other verses from the Book of Allāh, such as His saying, the Exalted, ‘By the sky which returns [rain] and [by] the earth which cracks open.’ (86:11-12). Here the intent behind rajʿ (return) is the descent of rain from the sky time after time (recurringly). And the intend behind ṣadʾ is the cracking open of the earth for vegetation (to appear). Also the saying of the Most High, “Then let mankind look at his food, how We poured down water in torrents, then We broke open the earth” (98:24-26) to the end of the verse. This view was chosen by IbnJarīr, IbnʿAṭiyyah and others besides them due to the supporting evidences we have mentioned, and it is supported by the frequent reference in the Qurʾān to the sending down of rain and sprouting of vegetation from the earth as evidence for the perfection in Allāh’s power, His great favour upon His creation, and His power over resurrection.” (Aḍwāʾ al-Bayān (DārʿĀlam al-Fawāʾid) 4/703-704) .Al-Shanqīṭī then proceeds to defend this view further by rebutting arguments against it. (Aḍwāʾ al-Bayān(DārʿĀlam al-Fawāʾid) 4/704 onwards) 

It must be kept in mind that the creation of the heavens and earth was not witnessed by any human and thus all knowledge regarding it is indirect and falls automatically in the realm of speculation. This is why cosmology is acknowledged to be a theoretical science and not a hard empirical science. As such, atheist refutations of the Qurʾān in which their Big Bang cosmology is assumed to be true are only as valid as the foundations upon which such cosmology is based: conjecture, speculation and make believe through fairy-tale maths and weird physics. Thus, when an atheist says, “We now know...”, “It is now proven...” and then proceeds to explain the universe and how it came to be in the form of basic elements, stars, galaxies and so on, he has nothing but speculations founded on unproven, untested assumptions and is in reality lying in his claim. There is nothing which pulls the rug under such people more than when they are asked to identify and reveal all the hidden assumptions relied upon in the foundational historical experiments and measurements which their view of the universe, its current state, size, dimensions and workings are based upon. Their beliefs rely upon arguments made upon hidden assumptions and hypotheses which they do not readily put on the table and for which no falsification tests are provided.

One can develop models which appear to work theoretically and mathematically but that does not mean they represent actual reality. For that reason, even amongst the non-Muslims there are many different models which can explain a significant amount of the observations but they cannot all be correct because they comprise conflicting claims. Thus, whilst a model appears to be successful, it is not proof that reality works like that. The smarter astronomers know and acknowledge this fact. George Ellis is a famous astronomer who authored books with Stephen Hawking and in a profile in Scientific American by W.W. Gibbs, Ellis was quoted as saying, “People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations... For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations... You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds... What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that.” (Scientific American 273(4):55, October 1995 ).

The point being here that atheist refutations of the creation narrative in the Qurʾān amount to nothing but conjectures regarding unobservable historical events masqueraded as facts trying to drown what every human knows and feels deep in his soul for all intents and purposes that he has a privileged place in the cosmos by virtue of the clear, evident signs he sees all around him on a daily basis, all of which appear to be subjected just for his benefit. As Allāhstates:

Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and earth, and the alternation of the night and the day, and the [great] ships which sail through the sea with that which benefits people, and what Allah has sent down from the heavens of rain, giving life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and dispersing therein every [kind of] moving creature, and [His] directing of the winds and the clouds controlled between the heaven and the earth are signs for a people who use reason. (2:164)



As for the claim of the alleged expansion of the entire universe in all directions being mentioned in the Qurʾān, in the following verse in Sūrah al-Dhāriyāt:

And the Heaven, we constructed it with power, and we

made it a vast expanse. (51:47)

Some Muslim apologists have seen fit to lie outright in their translation of this verse in front of their audiences. For example, one famous indian speaker of  comparative religion says, “It was Edwin Hubble who discovered that the universe is expanding. The Qurʾān says in SūrahDhāriyāt, chapter 51, verse 47, ‘We have created the expanding universe, the vastness of space.’ The Arabic word mūsiʿūna refers to vastness, the expanding universe.”49 There is no mention of a universe in this text anywhere and no mention of it expanding either. This is blatant example of attributing lies to Allāh. The meaning of “wainnā la-mūsiʿūn” is explained as follows by the mufassirūn.

[IbnKathīr]: “We have made expansive its space (area), raising it without any pillars until it stands alone as it is.”

[Al-Ṭabarī]: “We are possessors of great vastness (in ability) in creating it (the heaven) and creating what we wish to create and in (our) power over it... the powerful (is what is meant by the one who is mūsiʿ)... Hemade it expansive.”

[Al-Qurṭubī]: “IbnʿAbbās said, ‘We are powerful, able.’ And it is said, ‘We have great vastness (in ability) in creating it and in creating other things besides it, nothing that we desire (to create) is difficult upon us.’ And it is said, ‘We have made expansive the provision for our creation’ from IbnʿAbbās as well. Al-Ḥasan, ‘We are capable’ and from him as well, ‘We expand the provision by way of rain.’ And al-Ḍaḥḥāk said, ‘We have sufficed you, its evidence is ‘...the wealthy (al-mūsiʿ) according to his ability...’ (2:236). Al-Qutabī said, ‘We are possessors of vastness (in generosity, richness) over our creation.’ And the meaning is approximate. It is also said, ‘We made between it (the heaven) and the earth a great expanse.’ Al-Jawharī said, ‘A man became ʾawsaʿ, meaning a possessor of abundance and riches, and from it is the saying of the Exalted, ‘And the Heaven, we constructed it with power, and we made it a vast expanse’ meaning, rich (aghniyāʾ) and powerful (qādirūn).’ And this incorporates all the sayings.”

[Al-Saʾdī]: “[And verily we made it expansive] in its area and space and we are also expansive upon our servants with sustenance.”

[Al-Shawkānī]: “Al-Mūsiʿ is the one possessing abundance and the meaning is we are possessors of vastness in our creation of it and other than it, we are not incapable of that. It is also said: We are able (qādirūn) with the meaning of ability (ṭāqah) and power (qudrah). It is also said: We are expansive in providing sustenance through rain.”

[Al-Baghawī]: “IbnʿAbbās said, ‘Powerful, able (qādirūn’ and also form him, ‘Of vastness in providing sustenance to our creation.’ It is also said, ‘Possessors of vastness.’ And al-Ḍahhāk said, ‘Rich (aghniyāʾ), its evidence is the saying of Allāh(), ‘...the wealthy (al-mūsiʿ) according to his ability...’ (2:236). Al-Ḥasan said, ‘Able, (muṭīqūn)’.”

[Ibn al-Jawzī]: “There are five sayings: The first, expanding sustenance through the rain, said by al-Ḥasan. The second, expanded the heaven (making it huge), said by IbnZayd. The third, [we are] powerful, able, said by IbnQuṭaybah. The fourth, we can expand (our creation) by making another heaven similar to it, said by Mujāhid. And the fifth, possessors of vastness (in ability) nothing that we desire (to do) is difficult, this was cited by al-Māwardi.”

[Al-Thaʿālibī]: “Meaning, in constructing the heaven, meaning, we have made it expansive (huge), it was said by IbnZayd.”

[Abu Ḥayyān](Note that Abu ḤayyānMuḥammad bin Yūsuf (745H) had some Ashʿarī leanings (as did al-Qurṭubī) in the verses pertaining to the al-Baḥr al-Muḥīṭ: “Meaning, that we constructed it and the sentence is an adverbial one (jumlahḥāliyyah), meaning that we made it whilst being expansive therein (in its making), similar to the saying, ‘Zayd come whilst he was rushing’ meaning he came rushing. Thus, [the heaven] is as though the earth and what covers it of water and air are like a dot in the middle of a [large] circle. And IbnZayd said something close to this which is that the expansiveness returns back to the heaven [in comparison to the earth]. It is also said, we are expansive in strength, power, meaning we are able from ability (wusʾ, ṭāqah). And al-Ḥasan said, ‘We expand the sustenance through rain and water’.” As for the statement of al-ʿIzz bin ʿAbd al-Salām52 in his tafsīr, “[That we are possessors of abundance] in enlargening sustenance through rain, or the heaven, or [that] nothing that we desire is difficult for us, or [that] we [are able] to create another heaven like it, or with a greater expanse than the expanse of [this] heaven” then there is no indication or proof in it to establish that the universe is expanding as alleged in the Big Bang conjecture.

Whilst some of the commentary cited above may be stretched a long way to remotely suggest that the heaven is being expanded right now in the present and thereby made to appear to support the central element of the Big Bang model of expansion of space, the iʿrāb(grammatical structure) of the verse indicates that the correct meaning of the verse is “We made the heaven to be vast whilst we were constructing it with power.” The particle wawin “wainnā la-mūsiʿūn” is adverbial (ḥāliyyah)(Refer to Iʿrāb al-Qurʾān al-Karīm Bi RiwāyatḤafṣʿanʿĀṣimof MuḥammadMaḥmūd al-Qāḍī (Dār al-Ṣaḥwah, 1431H), p. 1042)which means that in the course of constructing the heaven, Allāhmade it expansive and vast.


Muslim apologists focus on the words ratqand fatqin order to claim that the Big Bang is mentioned in the Qurʾān. The error of this claim should already be apparent from what has preceded. It is known by the following:

  1. In the Big Bang conjecture at the point when all matter (and space, time and energy) were allegedly fused, there was no earth and nor any heaven - in fact there was absolutely no structure, not even atoms. In the Qurʾān however, ratqis mentioned whilst the heavens and earth already exist as entities and this is plainly evident from the tafsīr of the verse as has preceded. In the Big Bang model, earth does not form until 9 billion years later. This means that the reality alluded to in the Qurʾān where the earth already exists as an entity is not the reality alleged by the Big Bangists in their conjectural model.
  2. The meaning of ratqis that the heaven was layered on top of the earth, adjacent to it, touching it, connected to it, there not being any separation between them and there being total darkness between them. The use of words by the exegetes such as iltizāq, iltiṣāq, irtikāmall indicate adherence and togetherness from the angle of being piled up, stacked, layered on top of each other - and not what is asserted in the Big Bang of all matter, space, time and energy being fused into a ‘singularity’ of infinite density and heat without any structure existing in the form of atoms or molecules. Thus, it is incorrect for Muslim apologists to use certain words such as fused, merged, coalesced, melded, combined and what is similar so on so as to give the impression that the ratqbeing referred to is the same as the ‘singularity’ in the Big Bang.
  3. The meaning of fatqcan then be explained depending on whether we consider the word “see” at the beginning of the verse, “Do not the disbelievers see...” (21:30) to refer to a seeing of the heart which means attaining knowledge of it or a seeing of the eye which means vision. If it refers to attaining knowledge then it has to refer to definitive, non-conjectural knowledge and if it refers to vision it is something that we can directly observe as a sign from the signs of Allāh pointing to His oneness.
  1. Assuming the verse refers to having knowledge, then fatqwould mean either
    a) that the heaven was separated from the earth by air, meaning, an atmosphere placed between them. This would mean that originally there was no atmosphere over the earth and it was exposed directly to the heaven.Or
    b) that the heaven was separated into seven, being raised above the earth and that the earth was separated into seven. These affairs could not have been witnessed and are only related by way of revelation and the tafsīr of the Companions and their students. Thus, upon this assumption, the disbelievers would have to come to the realisation that the earth had no atmosphere initially. That it was in direct contact with space and that through one mechanism or another the earth subsequently acquired an atmosphere. However, as alluded to by some of the mufassirīn, this explanation does not provide the same type of far- reaching, repeat admonition that would be provided if the verse is read with the other interpretations below where the vision is the vision of the eye.
  1. Assuming the verse refers to the vision of the eye, then fatqwould either mean
    c) that the people see no rain coming from the sky for a period, as is common in all places, and then it is split asunder through rain. Likewise, the people see no vegetation, with the earth being dead, barren and lifeless. Then it brings forth its vegetation whilst the water [from the heaven] is a cause of it. This is the fatq(opening) of the heaven and the earth which all people routinely witness in almost all parts of the earth. Or d) that it refers to the phenomenon of night and day wherein at night there does not appear to be any separation from the heaven. If a person looks up, it appears as if the heaven is directly above him and its darkness envelopes everything right to the surface of the earth. So here there is no separation, no opening, the stars and all heavenly bodies are visible. But then when the light appears, separation is brought about and the heaven appears separated from the earth and stars can no longer be seen. If a person was to ascend the sky during the daylight until he went above the earth and its atmosphere, it would turn completely dark again despite the sun still being visible above the earth’s atmosphere. And when he descends again to earths’ surface, he will no longer see the darkness of the heaven. So here light creates a separation between the heaven and earth. This is a phenomenon everybody can observe daily with the alternation of the night and day.
  1. It is clear from the statements of the most highly regarded mufassirūn (exegetes) that they consider explanation c) to be the most sound and appropriate in light of other similar supporting evidences from the Qurʾān. This can be observed in the statements of al-Ṭabarī, al-Qurṭubī, al-Saʾdī and al-Shanqīṭī.
  1. Some expressions have been used by the mufassirūn in summarizing the statements of the Companions and their students such as, “they were a single thing joined, stuck together” (shayʾanwāḥidanmultaḥaman) in the statement of IbnAbīZamanayn who was explaining the meaning of the saying of al-Ḥasan and “they were a single thing” (kānatāshayʾanwāḥidan) in the statement of al-Baghawī as cited from ʿAṭāʾ and Qatādah and “(the heaven and earth) were a single thing” (kānatāshayʾanwāḥidan) in the statement of al-Shawkānī. These statements have no connection to the Big Bang model and do not constitute evidence for Muslim apologists to argue for the Big Bang being alluded to in the Qurʾān. This is made clear by looking at the statements in full and within context. The heaven and earth are two already existing entities and not a unified, conjoined, unstructured mass of matter and energy. The meaning of ‘being one’ or ‘a single thing’ is from the angle of being stuck together, layered on top of each other, after already having been created and existing as entities. The earth was created with mountains and its provisions and sustenance was determined. The state of the single heaven at this stage was dukhān(smoke) over the earth and it was then split apart and completed as seven heavens.When one looks at all the verses and their explanations it is not possible to reconcile that with the Big Bang conjecture in which an infinintely dense and hot mass rapidly expands. The earth and sun do not even start forming until around 9 billion years later, with the earth originally being part of the sun. However, in the verse in question, the earth already exists as an entity and the heavens already exist as an entity in the form of a single heaven as dukhān(smoke). The seven heavens are then formed and separated whilst the earth is already in existence.
  1. The claim that the universe is expanding is based upon selective interpretation of red-shift measurements. Out of sixty or so possible interpretations that can be made, Big Bangists select the one that connects these measurements to velocity and distance, thereby supporting the cosmological model and its assumption of the universe being uniform in its distribution of matter and appearing the same when viewed from any location or direction.This is not science but following whims, desires and conjectures. True science would be to devise experiments with a view to testing if the red-shift interpretation of velocity and distance can be falsified. The scientific method involves the process of falsification and not just predictions of hypotheses which are very easy to accumulateand subject to confirmation bias.Indeed, such falsifying evidence does exist in abundance, but because it brings down the walls and causes the propped-up ceiling to fall right through the flimsy floor and through the flimsy foundations, it is suppressed and concealed from public view. As for the verse in the Qurʾān (51:47), it simply means that Allāh created the heavens to be vast and His power is such that if He wanted to create another heaven even larger than this one, He can certainly do so as He is not incapable of doing what He wishes.

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