Where can aliens be found?

              Knowing that aliens, including intelligent life forms exist elsewhere, our next question would be, "Where do they live?
"Scientists naturally expect them to live on planets. They look for other planets around other stars- planets that have the right
conditions to harbor life- in other words, other earths. In October 1995, scientists announced the discovery of the first extra solar
planet around the star 51 Pegasi. (27) Since then, there have been a string of discoveries of other planets. At the time of writing of this
article, fifteen planets have been claimed to have been discovered. (28) Although some of these objects have been dismissed as
brown dwarfs (including the object around Pegasi 51) by some scientists, (29) at least some of the fifteen objects are agreed upon as
being planets. Scientists believe that on potential moons around planets found to be orbiting two stars, the right conditions may exist
for life to be present. (30)

              In Sura 65:12, we are informed, "God is He Who created seven heavens and of the earth a similar number..." (31) This
verse, although usually translated properly, is very commonly misinterpreted by commentators. They give their interpretation that
space is divided into seven zones, and likewise, as Yusuf Ali puts it, "the crust of the earth is built up of geological strata one
above another". (32) This interpretation arises due to a misunderstanding of what a "heaven" is as mentioned in the Quran. Before
continuing further about the topic of aliens, it is necessary to clear up this confusion. The answer can be deduced from verses in the
Quran itself and comparing them with our current scientific knowledge about the universe.

              Sura 21:30 asks, "Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation),
before we clove them asunder?..." (33) Sura 41:11-12 tell us, "Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke, and said
unto it and unto the earth: come both of you, willingly or unwillingly. Then We ordained them seven heavens...and inspired in each
heaven its mandate; and We decked the lowest heaven with lamps..." (34) and Sura 71:15-16,"See ye not how Allah hath created
seven heavens in harmony, and hath made the moon a light therein, and made the sun a lamp?" (35) Sura 51:47 informs us, "And it
is We who have built the universe with (Our creative) power; and, verily, it is We who are steadily expanding it." (36) Asad, comments
on the above verses as follows: about 21:30,"...the above unmistakable reference to the unitary origin of the universe- metonymically
described in the Quran as "the heavens and the earth"- strikingly anticipates the view of almost all modern astrophysicists that this
universe has originated as one entity from one single element, namely, hydrogen, which became subsequently consolidated through
gravity and then separated into individual nebulae, galaxies, and solar systems, with individual parts progressively breaking away to
form new entities in the shape of stars, planets and the latter's satellites"; (37)

              About 41:11, Asad explains the word "smoke" as, "a gas- evidently hydrogen gas, which physicists regard as the primal
element from which all material particles of the universe have evolved and still evolve..." (38) and says about the verse, "explaining
this passage, Zamakhshari observes:"The meaning of God's command to the skies (heavens) and the earth to "come"... is this :He
willed their coming into being..."";for 41:12,he explains "seven heavens" as, "a multiplicity of cosmic systems"; (39) about 51:47 he
says, "the phrase "inna la-musi'un" clearly foreshadows the modern notion of the "expanding universe"- that is, the fact that the
cosmos ,though finite in extent, is continuously expanding in space." (40) Finally, three more verses need to be referred to. First:
50:38,"And verily We created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them...and naught of weariness touched us" (41)
,21:104,"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.(It is a promise binding) upon Us .Lo! We are to perform it" (42) , and 14:48, "One day the Earth will be changed to a different
Earth ,and so will be the heavens..." (43)

              From the verses above, we learn this from the Quran: a heaven is a material entity which arose from the same material as
the earth originated from. Initially, there was one gaseous mass. A cleavage process occurred resulting in the making of the "seven
heavens" and "all that lies between them". The sun, moon and earth are constituents of a heaven. Therefore, a heaven must be larger
than a star (sun).When the end of the universe is at hand, the heavens, which till then were in an expanding universe (51:47) will
come together. Then, the way our present universe came into being, in a similar manner, a new creation will come into being,
containing other heavens and another earth. Any astronomer reading these verses can tell you that there is only one entity that fits the
description of a heaven in the Quran- a "heaven" in the Quran must be referring to a "galaxy".

             According to modern science, the universe arose from a singularity, at the Big Bang, and has since, been expanding. From
a primordial gas cloud arose huge fragments from which the galaxies and their clusters arose. Today, the galaxies are moving apart
from each other in space. They are separated by intergalactic space in which may lurk invisible dark matter, making up to 90% of the
total mass of the universe. if there is sufficient dark matter, at some time in the future, the universe will stop expanding and enter a
contraction phase in which the galaxies will finally come close together in a Big Crunch marking an end to the present universe. The
universe would have returned to a singularity state similar to that from which the present universe arose. Then, once again, scientists
predict, a new universe may rebound from the singularity of the Big Crunch, as another Big Bang gives rise to a universe with its own
galaxies and planets etc. Verses in the Quran agree amazingly with our current ideas about the universe!

              The purpose of our lengthy divergence from the main topic of this article was to prove that the "seven heavens" are not
zones into which the universe is divided, but large astronomical entities, the galaxies. Some people have interpreted a heaven as
being a solar system. However, while this view may seem appropriate for some verses, it does not tally with all the verses. The Quran
mentions the creation of seven heavens. Asad explains that,"...as regards the "seven heavens", it is to be borne in mind that in Arabic
usage...the number "seven" is often synonymous with "several"." (44) I have shown that the heavens are the galaxies and we can see
that millions of them exist. Even if we assume that the heaven are some other astronomical objects that arose from the primary gas
cloud, they definitely are not literally seven in number, but in the millions.

              The relevance of this to our discussion on aliens is that the Sura 65:12 tells us that, as God has created "seven Heavens",
He has created, "of the earth a similar number..." Therefore, as there are millions of galaxies God has also created millions of earths
scattered throughout the universe. Usmani comments on 65:12,"The earths as well, He created seven (Usmani thinks literally seven.
We know it actually means "many"), as given in the Tradition of Tirmizi  etc. It is possible they are not visible, it is possible they are
visible, but people think them to be stars or planets, as the scientists of today have predicted the possibility of life on Mars etc..." (45)
An important thing to point out in 65:12 is that God does not use the word "worlds", but specifically, "earth". An 'earth' would be a
planet that harbors life. Scientists also often speak of looking for other earths. They mean not just any planet, but one sustaining or
capable of sustaining life. In his book, The Bible, The Quran and Science, Maurice Bucaille writes,"...it comes as no small surprise to
the reader of the Quran to find that earths such as our own may be found in the Universe..." (46)

              We have finally arrived at the Quran's answer as to where aliens can be found.
They inhabit the millions of earths that
God has created among the millions of heavens (galaxies) in the universe. The Quran therefore, gives us a magnificent view of
the universe- a universe teeming with life,
a place that the late astronomer Carl Sagan described as a "cosmic fugue, with themes
and counter- points, dissonances and harmonies, a billion different voices playing the life music." (47
)