The belief that mankind will rise from the grave, an integral part of the three Abrahamic faiths Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, is not just a myth or wishful thinking but is based on real scientific principles. Rising up from the grave and coming back alive can happen simply with the reversal of time.
” When we are dead and have become dust and bones, Shall then we indeed be raised again?” ( Quran 56:47 )
“Man thinks that, We shall not assemble his bones, Yes truly! We are able to restore his very fingers!” ( Quran 75:3-4 )
With advancement in science and technology we tend to see the world from the critical eye of science. We see people dying but no one has returned from the dead to tell us about afterlife. Is it possible to really know that there is life after death other than religious belief? There is a surprising answer which we can have as science has advanced to the point that it is possible to look at the very basis of reality as we know it, the fabric of space and time.
There are many questions that arise in our minds. What happens to us on dying? What is soul? Does it leave the body to enter the spiritual world, which is beyond human perception in some other dimension? Are the souls reincarnated entering some other body to be recycled again as in the beliefs of some eastern religions? Is the soul captured and kept somewhere until the Day of Judgment to be reunited with the body that rises from the grave? How can a body that had decayed and disappeared into dust regain its original shape and form? We can believe what we wish; however the modern world is based on truthful pursuit of science. Truth cannot be decided on wishful thinking or majority vote; if that was the case then Columbus would have surely fallen of the earth in 1492.
We live in a world that demands proof and is not just content with belief. The belief or even the proof is only for the believer, as belief comes from within our hearts. The greatest of proofs will not satisfy the non-believer, while the slightest evidence can be a great source of comfort for the believer. In this context let us look at the story of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be on him) given in the Quran. ( Quran 2:260 .) Prophet Ibrahim wanted to know how God gives life to the dead. He had the faith of a man who was willing to sacrifice his own son for the sake of God, yet he wanted reassurance; which then was given to him in the form of a great miracle. Ordinary people like us are also in need of reassurance in a world where science and technology have assumed greater importance than religion.
There is only one version of the Quran. It is the only religious book that even the critics of Islam admit was never altered since its revelation to Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) fourteen hundred years ago. Scientific advancements have provided better understanding of many verses of the Quran that had appeared obscure in the past. The Quran accurately describes a variety of scientific facts that were discovered in the last one hundred years. For the Muslims this is one of the many reasons that the Quran is truly a revealed book.
Many verses in the Quran describe the future of the universe and The Day of Judgment. The event being depicted is not some local or earthly event caused by atomic war or natural disaster. The verses appear to describe some great final catastrophe that will affect the whole universe. There is mention of the final earthquake, the darkening of the stars and the sun, the opening of gates in the sky and
“a time” in which mankind will see what they had done before so that they will become witnesses against their own selves. Quran appears to be describing reversal of time and gravity.
” We warn you of doom at hand. A day when a man will look on that his own hand has sent before, And the non-believers will cry: “Wish that we were dust.”” ( Qur’an 78:40 )
“The earth with the mountains shall be lifted and crushed with one crash.”
( Qur’an 69:14 )
The contraction of the universe
with reversal of time and gravity will commence the beginning of the end which may last for thousands and possibly millions of years. We will be removed from the regressing effects of reversed time as we come back alive at the point in time which we had died. A beautiful natural mechanism similar to black holes will create openings or gates in the sky and we will be taken across many dimensions to beyond this universe by the angels of the Grand decent. Everyone will be removed no one will be left behind.
“A day when the heaven with the clouds will be rent asunder, And the angels will be sent down, a grand descent.” ( Quran:25:25 )
“…And We gather them together, as to leave not one of them behind.” ( Qur’an18:47 )
IS RESURRECTION A PHYSICAL PROCESS?
” It is God, Who sends the winds and they raise a cloud, Then leads it to a dead land and revives the earth after its death. Such is the Resurrection.” ( Qur’an 35:9 )
Above the resurrection of the dead is compared to physical processes which are based on laws of nature like the growth of plants after rain; this suggests that revival after death is also based on some physical laws. We know that the energy from the sun heats up the oceans and water vapor rises to produce the clouds. Temperature differences cause the winds to blow across the continents carrying clouds to distant lands. Dormant seeds sprout into new plants with life giving rain fall even in the harshest of places. Sometimes in the future as our knowledge of the universe, increases the reality of “The Day of Judgment” may become widely accepted as the truth. Verses in the Quran suggest that the knowledge of the Day of Judgment is within the grasp of human understanding and mankind will become aware of this knowledge.
“We shall show them our signs on the horizons and within themselves, Until it will become apparent to them, that it is the truth …” ( Qur’an 41:53 )
THE TRULY TREMENDOUS UNIVERSE
“The creation of the heavens and the earth is definitely a greater thing than creation of mankind, however, most of mankind knows not.” ( Qur’an 40:57 )
The extent and majesty of the universe is truly tremendous and it gives us a glimpse of the tremendous power of Allah (SWT). The circumference of our planet earth is about forty thousand kilometers, which is a distance that light, can travel seven times in one second. As the distances become larger the numbers however become mind boggling. The universe is so vast that the distances between stars and galaxies have to be measured in “light years,” which is the distance traveled by light in a year at the speed of three hundred thousand kilometers per second.
Our solar system consists of the earth and eight other planets that are orbiting around a star that we call the sun. The distance between earth and sun is eight minutes at the speed of light. The distance to the furthest planet Pluto is five hours and twenty eight minutes at the speed of light, compared to this, the nearest star from the earth other than our sun, is four light years away.
Our galaxy of Milky Way includes the sun its orbiting planets along with two hundred billion other stars . At the edge of Milky Way galaxy our sun is just a tiny speck among billions of other stars. The Milky Way, like most other galaxies is so large that
traveling at the speed of light; it would take one hundred and fifty thousand years to go from one side of it to the other. The galaxies on the average are separated from each other by about ten million light years.
There are over 500 hundred billion galaxies in the truly gigantic universe.
Are we the only intelligent life form in this vast universe? Astronomers believe that there are innumerable habitable planets like earth in the universe. Quran tells us that there are many other earths where God’s commandments are coming slowly (or one after another) which is expected as these earths mature at different times. In the following verses of the Quran other heavens and earths are mentioned. The word seven is used to denote a very large number more like infinite.
” God it is who has created seven heavens, and similar number of the earths. The commandments come down among them slowly …..” ( Quran 65:12 )
THE BEGINNING OF THE UNIVERSE: THE BIG BANG
“Have not “those who disbelieve” known that heavens and earth were of one piece, We parted them and, We made every living thing of water, will they not then believe?” ( Qur’an 21:30 )
The universe came into existence billions of years ago. This event is called the “The big bang. It is clearly mentioned in the Quran 1400 years ago that the discovery of “The Big Bang” and that of “The aquatic origin of life” will be made by the non-Muslims, (“those who disbelieve”). In the beginning all the matter and space (heavens) was at one point (one piece). Then everything was separated in what the physicists describe as “The big bang.” The evidence that the universe began in the “The big bang” is so overwhelming that it is now considered a fact and not just a theory.
THE RECEDING GALAXIES: THE EXPANSION OF THE UNIVERSE
The galaxies other than our “milky way” are moving away from us at tremendous speeds. This is ascertained by analyzing the light given off by the galaxies by an instrument called the spectroscope. The more distant a galaxy is the greater is its speed of recession. This motion of the galaxies is due to the expansion of the universe. The universe began about fifteen to twenty billion years ago with a tremendous explosion called “The big bang” and has been expanding ever since. The universe is not just a sphere of galaxies rushing away from each other into unending emptiness of space. It can be compared to a balloon with many dots on it, each representing a galaxy. However, the surface of this balloon, which is two dimensional, represents all three dimensions of our space, and is expanding into a higher dimension, that is beyond our imagination. The expansion of the universe is clearly mentioned in the following verses of the Quran:
” The heavens, We have built with power, And We are expanding it. ” ( Qur’an 51:47 )
THE ACCELERATING EXPANSION
” THE PHYSICS OF THE DAY OF JUDGMENT ” is based on the concept that the expansion of the universe (space) is the cause of the “phenomenon of time.” If this is true then as the expansion of the universe slows it will paradoxically appear to be expanding faster as we try to measure the expansion rate of the distant space with our local earthly time which is slowing down. This anomaly of faster expansion was discovered by two groups of astronomers in 1998 . Another group of scientists from the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, and Spain’s University of Salamanca believe that slowing of our time is causing us to mistakenly interpret these measurements as accelerated expansion of the universe.
It should be noted that we cannot measure or notice slowing of time locally, however if our time is slowing then if we look into the distant space where light is coming to us from billions of years ago we will see evidence for a faster time in the past. This is what astronomers are observing when they talk of accelerating expansion of space. A faster expansion in distant past means slowing of our time and slowing of expansion of space locally.
The slowing of expansion will eventually cause time to stop and then time will reverse when the universe starts contracting. The Quran clearly supports this scenario in the following verses in which contraction of the universe is compared to the rolling up of a scroll and also suggests that the process of creation will be repeated.
“‘The day’ when, We shall roll up the heavens as a recorder rolls up a written scroll. As We began the first creation We shall repeat it.” ( Qur’an 21:104 )
REVERSAL OF GRAVITY AND TRANSFORMATION OF EARTH
” When earth is shaken with her final earthquake. ” ( Qur’an 99:1 )
Time and gravity are closely linked. Unlike electricity and magnetism gravity is only an attractive force. There is no repulsive gravity in the expanding universe in which we live now. Some physicists feel that in the contracting universe time can reverse if gravity also reverses. Quran appears to be describing both the reversal of time and gravity. The reversal of gravity will cause it to become a repulsive force; this will cause the earth to literally explode. The mountains will fall apart and red-hot lava will be thrown out lighting up the sky like molten copper.
” The earth with the mountains shall be lifted and crushed with one crash. ” ( Qur’an 69:14 )
” When the sky will be like molten copper and the hills will be like flakes of wool. ” ( Qur’an:70:8-9 )
EARTH: “EMPTY” FROM INSIDE WITH THE SKY IN ITS CENTER
The reversal of gravity will cause the earth to throw out all the mass inside it to become completely empty. This will transform earth into a massive hollow structure with sky trans-located to its center.
” And when the earth is spread out. And hath cast out all that was in her, and is empty ” ( Qur’an 84:3-4 ),
This change in the earth and the sky is again mentioned in the following verses. All these are certainly extraordinary happenings and are a reflection of the extraordinary event of the “The Day of Judgment.”
” On the day when the earth will be changed to other than this earth and the heavens also And they will come forth unto God, The One The Almighty. ” ( Qur’an 14: 48 )
THE SMOOTH OUTER SURFACE OF THE EARTH
As the earth explodes and throws out all the liquid lava which is inside it now, its outer surface will become glassy smooth lava plain without any mountains, hills, valleys or any kind of unevenness.
” They will ask about the mountains, say: My Lord will break them into scattered dust. And leave it (earth) as an empty plane, so you see neither curve nor ruggedness. ” ( Qur’an 20:105-107 )
THE REVERSAL OF TIME AND RISING FROM THE GRAVES
Time is one of the most elusive mysteries of the universe. Time passes slowly within moving objects; slowing progressively at speeds close to that of light and stops altogether at the speed of light. Time also slows near massive objects like earth, sun, neutron stars where expansion of space is slower, and almost stops inside the super massive stars “the black holes,” where the expansion of space would have almost stopped linking time to the expansion of the universe.
Time has a direction, it always moves towards the future. We see rain falling from the sky, objects breaking up, people getting older, and people dying. We do not see a glass becoming “unbroken” or anyone returning from the dead. That could happen only if time ran backwards. Some physicists like Michael Berry, Thomas Gold, and Steven Hawking have proposed that time may reverse when the universe begins to contract. Verses in the Quran suggest that one day the universe will start contracting and this will coincide with beginning of the Day of Judgment when all life will be recreated with the reversal of time.
” The day” when, We shall roll up the heavens as a recorder rolls up a written scroll. As We began the first creation We shall repeat it. ” ( Qur’an: 21:104 )
In the above verse, “The Day” means The Day of Judgment and the contraction of the universe, is compared to the closing of a scroll. This is when time and gravity will reverse. Earth would then transform into a hollow sphere with sky towards its center. Mankind will rise from the grave inside this transformed earth and come back alive . Every event will be replayed again as everything has been recorded in time.
” This book pronounces against you with truth. We have caused (all) you did to be recorded (In time). ” ( Qur’an 45:29 )
” And there is nothing hidden in the heavens, or the earth, But it is a clear record (in time). ” ( Quran 27:75 )
As the history of earth runs backwards through time, nations will return one after another. All the good and evil deeds of the individuals as well as that of the nations will be completely exposed as time reversal occurs.
” And you will see each nation humbled, each nation called to its record. And it will be said to them: This day you are repaid for what you used to do. ” ( Qur’an 45:28 )
The playing back of time will cause people to anticipate and see what they had done previously. They will have no control over their hands, feet, mouths, and eyes. All the wrong and right things that were done before by them will be repeated again. In this sense, tongues, hands, and feet, will become witnesses against them in front of the angels and God, and they will not be able to deny any of their wrong doings.
” On the day when their tongues and their hands and their feet. Testify against them as to what they used to do. ” ( Qur’an 24:24 )
” We warn you of doom at hand. A day when a man will look on that his own hand has sent before, and the non-believers will cry: “Wish that we were dust .” ( Qur’an 78:40 )
“And, the messengers are brought into their time appointed.” ( Qur’an 77:11 ) (The prophets will be returned into their time as time runs backwards)
NO FREE WILL IN THE CONTRACTING UNIVERSE
Man is given free will and the criteria of right and wrong to choose between good and evil in the expanding universe, that is, when all his deeds are recorded in time. In the contracting universe time will be playing back therefore there will be no free will. No one will have power to do harm or good to others, or change anything that they had done in their previous earthly life.
“A day when no soul has power at all over any other soul, The absolute command on that day is God’s.” ( Qur’an 82:19 )
WILL WE REGRESS TO NOTHINGNESS WITH THE REVERSAL OF TIME?
To an inquiring mind, it may occur that the reversal of time can cause us to rise from the grave and become alive again. If this process remained unchecked then we will continue to grow younger, pass through our childhood and regress into nothingness in our mother’s wombs. This is also what time reversal theories say, again a purposeless exercise.
Well not quite so! The thought of the great and final earthquake may instill fear into our hearts, but the real purpose is to make the higher dimensions accessible for escape from the collapsing universe and the regressive effect of time reversal. Allah has designed the universe with great precision. After the resurrection, arrangements have been made, to escape the unrelenting effect of time reversal, to beyond this universe. Portals or gates will open in the sky, a concept similar to the black holes. To understand this peculiar phenomenon we will briefly look at the concept of higher dimensions.
THE HIGHER DIMENSIONS
Mathematically there are an infinite number of dimensions, we however live in a three dimensional space. Every object in our daily lives has a length, width, and height. The concept that there are more than three dimensions is difficult to imagine. Higher dimensions do exist as it can be shown that intense gravity near the sun causes the space to curve in an extra higher dimension. Einstein considered this for the first time and was able to accurately calculate the orbit of the inner planet Mercury. Einstein’s theory of general relativity and all modern particle theories of physics are based on the concept of higher dimensions.
We may gain some insight into the concept of higher dimensions by studying the conceptual problems faced by people in the past. There was a time when people believed that the earth is flat. They were afraid of the possibility of falling off the earth if they traveled too far. This cannot happen because the surface of the earth is curved and continuous like that of a sphere. To get off the earth we just need to move in a dimension (direction) that is perpendicular to the surface. That is straight up, from anywhere we are. We face a similar conceptual problem in understanding the higher dimensions. We may imagine that we can leave the universe only by traveling very far, but that is also not true. Even if we traveled billions of miles, we will remain within the confines of our three dimensional space.
The only way to go beyond the universe is by moving into a higher dimension in a direction that is perpendicular to our three dimensional space, right from where we are. In the present expanding universe this is not possible, as our space is not continuous with the higher dimensions. For that to happen, our space will have to literally be torn apart first and then be connected to the higher dimensions. This can happen in the center of the black holes.
” And heaven is opened and becomes as gates. ” ( Qur’an 78:19 )