Conclusion - a "secret" waiting to be told
If the Quran is so explicit in stating the existence of living organisms in the universe (42:29), we would suppose that the
Muslim population would generally be aware of the fact that the Quran mentions extraterrestrials. Unfortunately that is not the case.
A significant proportion of Muslims have no idea that this exciting piece of information is provided in their Holy Book. I have quoted a
number of scholars in this article, who have commented on the verses relating to extraterrestrials. Among them are those such as
Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Asad, whose works are known to Muslims throughout the world. Allama Shabbir Ahmad Usmani was a
prominent figure in the Freedom Movement of Pakistan. All scholars quoted are from the mainstream of Islam. So, at least, Muslim
scholars are aware of the Quran mentioning aliens. Yet, there are scholars also who have no idea about this subject. Surprisingly,
even Maurice Bucaille, whose brilliant book, The Bible,The Quran and Science is extensive in its coverage of scientific topics in the
Quran, completely overlooked the mention of aliens.
How aware were the early Muslims, about the existence of extraterrestrials, or verses in the Quran on this topic?
Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood writes, "The idea that there is life elsewhere in the universe also, was derived from the Prophet of Allah
(pbuh) when he told Muslims, "When you sit down in the prayer for the Attahiyat and say: "Peace be upon us, and the righteous
servants of Allah" you actually send peace on all the righteous people living on the Earth and in the heavens."This clearly implies
that all type of people, good and bad live in the other worlds as they live on our Earth." (71) He also writes, with reference to
the Rasial Imam Ghazali, "According to Imam Muhammad Ghazali (11th Century), people in some of these planetary worlds
have learnt to travel and communicate with each other." (72)
The case of Ibn-e-Abbas is interesting. He was one of the Companions of the Prophet (pbuh). The Prophet (pbuh) had
prayed to God specially to endow Ibn-e-Abbas(73) with knowledge of the Quran, and he became one of the great
scholars of the Quran.Maulana Maududi writing in his Tafhim-ul-Quran, tells us that, "Ibn-e-Abbas (may Allah be pleased with
him)...believed with confidence that there are many more earth-like bodies in the heavens. ...He not only thought that such earths
are inhabited by intelligent beings but also that their people are exactly like the inhabitants on the Earth. He even went so far
as to say that they may have a Prophet like Muhammad (pbuh), and had a Adam, like our Adam, a Noah, like our Noah,
a Ibrahim like our Ibrahim, and a Jesus like our Jesus (pbuh)." (74) The knowledge of the existence of aliens and that they are
mentioned in the Quran, has been present among Muslims from the earliest days of Islam!
There is something else that we know about Ibn-e-Abbas. He did not widely publicize his views about aliens. Rather, he was
quite secretive about this matter. The reason is that he was afraid that his ideas would confuse people. In fact, he
was afraid that people would be in danger of becoming unbelievers by not accepting the truth of this matter, which the Quran itself
attested to. Perhaps it was such considerations that lead Muslim scholars of later times not to touch on the topic of aliens much, and so
today, also, so many Muslims remain unaware about this matter. But times have changed. We've come a long way in our voyage of
discovery of the wonders that surround us. The recent discoveries of extra solar planets, of ice on the moon (75) ,of microbes deep
beneath the earth's surface and around thermal vents in the oceans (76) ,of water on the sun (77) and many other amazing findings
are setting the stage for a grand finale. The public is mentally prepared to hear soon about the discovery of life outside the earth.
In recent times, Muslims have missed golden opportunities of propagating their religion to the peoples of the world. For
example, the Quran mentions the expansion of the universe. This phenomenon was discovered by scientists only in 1929.If Muslims
had let the world know beforehand, that the Quran mentioned this fact, then upon its discovery, a big impact could have been made on
the non-Muslim world. We would have shown the world the power, the miracle, of the Quran. Of course, even today, the miracle
remains that the Quran mentions the expansion of the universe, but non-Muslims tend to say, "Now you tell us, after science
has already discovered this! You must be construing the meaning of Quranic verses to suit your wishes."
Today, as we stand at the threshold of making the most revolutionary discovery in the history of humankind, we Muslims
should ask ourselves, "Hasn't the time finally come for the "secret" that Ibn-e-Abbas held to be made known to the whole world?"Yes,
the time is ripe. Let the world know, before it discovers for itself, that 1400 years ago in the deserts of Arabia, a prophet received
revelations, mentioning the existence of extraterrestrial life through countless heavenly bodies in the universe, and prophesying that
one day, humans will indeed discover aliens.
The Quran contains many amazing statements relating to science. There is no reason to believe that it has finally yielded all
of its scientific secrets and as we enter the next century, we can be confident that the Quran will continue to shed light on some of the
most enduring and intriguing scientific mysteries of our times.
LINKS By Samir Khalid Munir
6th March 2001