Author Topic: Expansion of the universe?  (Read 2781 times)


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Expansion of the universe?
« on: January 30, 2013, 09:19:16 PM »
I expect that this has been covered before,

51:47 We constructed the universe with might,
and We are expanding it.

checking here:

we see that only 51:47 has been translated to "expanding".

Any explanation supported with proof to help me understand why?


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Re: Expansion of the universe?
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2013, 10:45:56 AM »
Any explanation supported with proof to help me understand why?

Your link to the Arabic wording already demonstrates the shaky ground this is based on.
In my view and opinion it goes back 40 years to a corrupt French medical doctor who did not speak any Arabic. Here's my entire write-up on this.

This is the format this ?scientific miracle claim? of the expanding Universe is presented by some zealous followers of a religious book called ?The Koran? on hundreds of sites devoted to miracle claims, just as an example of the hundreds of copy/paste efforts all over the net, using identical wording. If I take a piece of this article, any part, and put it into inverted commas to look only for the exact string, I get >14,000 hits on Google:

In 1925, American astronomer Edwin Hubble, provided observational evidence that all galaxies are moving away from one another, which implies that the universe is expanding. The expansion of the universe is now an established scientific fact. This is what the Qur?an says regarding the nature of the universe:

?With power and skill did We construct the Firmament: For it is We Who create the vastness of Space.? [Al-Qur?an 51:47]

The Arabic word musioon is correctly translated as ?expanding it?, and it refers to the creation of the expanding vastness of the universe. One of the greatest astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, in his book, ?A Brief History of Time?, says, ?The discovery that the universe is expanding was one of the great intellectual revolutions of the 20th century.?

The Qur?an mentioned the expansion of the universe, before man even learnt to build a telescope! Some may say that the presence of astronomical facts in the Qur?an is not surprising since the Arabs were advanced in the field of astronomy. They are correct in acknowledging the advancement of the Arabs in the field of astronomy. However they fail to realize that the Qur?an was revealed centuries before the Arabs excelled in astronomy. Moreover many of the scientific facts mentioned above, such as the origin of the universe with a Big Bang, were not known to the Arabs even at the peak of their scientific advancement. The scientific facts mentioned in the Qur?an are therefore not due to the Arabs? advancement in astronomy. Indeed, the reverse is true: they advanced in astronomy, because astronomy occupies a place in the Qur?an.

The way these claims are presented is almost always the same:
1st a scientifically correct text
2nd the Koran
3rd bla bla bla

Why is heavens = sky = firmament = Universe?
Which heaven or sky is this sentence referring to? Why is this about our Universe?
A person who has studied classic Arabic comments:
?The translation above is mistaken or at best forced. Better translations of the last clause are "we are the ones who enrich it" or "we it is who made the vast extent".

It is reminiscent of Isaiah 42:5: "Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out ??

If the Koran is so easy to understand, clear and explained, why was the expansion of the Universe only noticed in the Koran after humans had discovered it in real life?
What does the Koran mean, when it supposedly says: expanded or extended?
What are the consequences if I allow for the possibility of the word in question meaning ?expand??
If the Universe is expanding, what part of it is and in what time for how long by how much to what extent?
Why use such a vague expression which roughly represents what we know today?
Does it say ?metric expansion of space??
Does it explain that because some parts are apparently moving away from each other faster than the speed of light we will lose some lights in the sky over time?
Does it explain that only gravitationally unbound objects are affected?
Does it explain that planets, stars, galaxies are not themselves moving?
Does it explain that it is not the distance between objects that is increasing, but the distance itself?
Why doesn?t the Koran suggest the model proposed by Martin Gardner some 50 years ago, providing an easy to understand visual example of dough, with raisins, in an oven, where the inflation of the dough is making the raisins/ galaxies seem to move away from each other?
There is no sign, trace or evidence that anything about the Universe is designed, manufactured or created.
Why would it require power to ?construct? a Universe? Just chuck out some matter and gravity will do the rest. 
Will the translation be changed, once more information becomes available to us?
Because there are multiple meanings for words in Arabic, how can anyone be certain this is the correct translation?
Cosmologists are abandoning the expression ?expanding? and are now using ?stretching? as the more accurate description.  Will this be reflected in the Koran and the dictionaries?
Would the translation be changed completely if we found that Hubble was wrong and the Universe is not expanding?
How will the translation be handled should the Universe contract ? which is the translation and interpretation of 21:30 and 21:104 someone like al-amiyr propagates?

As is the case in so many of these artificial ?scientific miracle claims? made by these people, we have everything hinging on a single word, where a word found in the Koran is associated with something resembling a fact we know of today. This word is then defined as placeholder for volumes of scientific literature.
The same is the case here: the word musioon. Can musioon mean expanding?

? ? the related verb can mean something along the lines of causing something else to be wide or vast (i.e. expanding that thing). This is supported by various modern Arabic-English dictionaries and concordances. Hans Wehr gives the meaning ?expand? under the form II stem for the root, and notes that the form IV stem can have all the same meanings as the form II. For form II as given by Wehr, Lane gives ?made wide, broad, spacious [...] amplified, enlarged, made ample?

The mistake the person here makes is simply saying that ?causing something else to be wide or vast? as is given in the dictionary ?means = expanding that thing? How is this the case? Where does this person get this from?

This what the experts have to say on the topic of musioon:

M. M. Pickthall   We it is Who make the vast extent (thereof).
Shakir   We are the makers of things ample.
Yusuf Ali    it is We Who create the vastness of pace.
Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar   And, truly, We are ones who extend wide.
Wahiduddin Khan   We built the universe with Our might, giving it its vast expanse.
[Progressive Muslims]   And We constructed the universe using matter, and We will expand it.
Abdel Haleem   We built the heavens with Our power and made them vast,
Abdul Majid Daryabadi   And the heaven! We have built it with might, and verily We are powerful.
Ahmed Ali   We built the heavens by Our authority; and We are the Lord of power and expanse.
Aisha Bewley   As for heaven ? We built it with great power and gave it its vast expanse.
Amatul Rahman Omar   As for the heaven, We have built it with (Our) Mighty power, and verily We are Makers of the vast extent.
Hamid S. Aziz   And the heaven, We raised it high with power, and it is We that expand the vastness of space (or We are the expanders of it).
Muhammad Ghali   And the heaven (is also a sign). We have built it with (Our) Hands (i.e., Capability) and surely We are indeed extending (it) wide.
Muhammad Sarwar   We have made the heavens with Our own hands and We expanded it.
Syed Vickar Ahamed   With Power (and Skill) did We construct the (mighty Arch of the) heaven : Verily, We are Who create the vastness of space with it.
Farook Malik   We have built the heavens with Our hands, for We have the power to do so.
Dr. Kamal Omar   And the heaven: We constructed it with (Our Own) hands; and surely We are indeed those Who make expansion and create vastness.
Bilal Muhammad   With power and skill did We construct the firmament, for it is We Who create the vastness of space.
Maududi   And heaven ? We made it with Our Own Power and We have the Power to do so.
Shabbir Ahmed   And it is We Who have built the Universe, and behold, We are steadily expanding it.

We see that there are conflicting views on the translation and interpretation of this short sentence.

Can musioon theoretically mean ?expanding?? Yes. The word can be found in a modern dictionary ? for whatever reason.
When was the word ?expand? added to the dictionary? After humans discovered the fact?
Does it specify which word is what meaning? No, it lust lists the words or meaning that can be formed from that root.
Is it realistic? No.

Where does all this hype come from?

Well, in his 1976 book ?The Bible, The Qur'an and Science?, French doctor Maurice Bucaille writes:

The Expansion of the Universe.
The expansion of the Universe is the most imposing discovery of modern science.  Today it is a firmly established concept and the only debate centres around the way  this is taking place. 

It was first suggested by the general theory of relativity and is backed up by physics in  the examination of the galactic spectrum; the regular movement towards the red  section of their spectrum may be explained by the distancing of one galaxy from  another. Thus the size of the Universe is probably constantly increasing and this  increase will become bigger the further away the galaxies are from us. The speeds at  which these celestial bodies are moving may, in the course of this perpetual  expansion, go from fractions of the speed of light to speeds faster than this.  The following verse of the Qur' an (sura 51, verse 47) where God is speaking, may  perhaps be compared with modern ideas: 

"The heaven, We have built it with power. Verily. We are expanding it." 

'Heaven' is the translation of the word sama' and this is exactly the extra-terrestrial  world that is meant.  'We are expanding it' is the translation of the plural present participle musi'una of the  verb ausa'a meaning 'to make wider, more spacious, to extend, to expand'. 

Some translators who were unable to grasp the meaning of the latter provide  translations that appear to me to be mistaken, e.g. "we give generously" (R. Blach?re).  Others sense the meaning, but are afraid to commit themselves: Hamidullah in his  translation of the Qur'an talks of the widening of the heavens and space, but he  includes a question mark. Finally, there are those who arm themselves with authorized  scientific opinion in their commentaries and give the meaning stated here. This is true  in the case of the Muntakab, a book of commentaries edited by the Supreme Council  for Islamic Affairs, Cairo. It refers to the expansion of the Universe in totally  unambiguous terms.

When this was written, cosmologists had discovered that parts of the Universe looked as though they were moving away from each other, but not that the process was accelerating. That is why some ?translations? still have the word ?steadily? in it, as seen in the Shabbir version above. This, of course, is completely wrong and they simply forgot to remove it when the acceleration factor was discovered. This demonstrates the dishonest tactics behind these artificial claims, an attempt by some humans to make the Koran seem more modern than it is.

Is the interpretation found in the almost 40-year-old book based on research? Nope.
Did Bucaille speak any Arabic or classic Arabic for that matter? Nope!
So why do so many followers of the Koran believe this guy more than so many others who are qualified translators and scholars of classic Arabic? Is this a classic case of confirmation bias?
If it is so easy for me to show that Bucaille made stuff up, fabricated wild interpretations and simply lied, why is this so difficult to verify and accept for others?


Is there any evidence that any ?scientific miracle claim? proposed by some followers of the Koran based on this vague and ambiguous sentence is correct?
We see that it is merely the attempt at projecting knowledge available today, into a book, which has been around for over 1000 years.
The context does not help us either because the next sentences refer to the spreading out of Earth and the erroneous assumption that everything was ?created? in pairs.
What is the value of this meaning to anyone, when it is only understood once humans have discovered this themselves anyway and have many open questions - which remain unanswered?
Would the interpretation of a word based only on wishful thinking boost the faith of a believer if it were true? I sincerely hope not.

Fun fact: the pseudo-scientific blablabla at the end of the article claims that it was ?the origin of the universe with a Big Bang?, which is just as false as the continuous claim of evolution theory including the origin of life. The Big Bang model only describes the early development of the Universe, not the origin. Oh boy!


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Re: Expansion of the universe?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2013, 04:35:59 AM »
We see that it is merely the attempt at projecting knowledge available today, into a book, which has been around for over 1000 years.
The context does not help us either because the next sentences refer to the spreading out of Earth and the erroneous assumption that everything was ?created? in pairs.
What is the value of this meaning to anyone, when it is only understood once humans have discovered this themselves anyway and have many open questions - which remain unanswered?
Would the interpretation of a word based only on wishful thinking boost the faith of a believer if it were true? I sincerely hope not.

I think you just answered your own question. As I understand, the Quran is a Living Book, and must be constantly re-examined under the light of new facts and evidence. How could we possibly understand something in the Quran, without knowledge of what it's talking about? That's why we have to keep coming back to it, again and again, as the world changes. This way, it'll always be relevant, because there may be things we previously misunderstood or overlooked without the correct knowledge. I'm not saying that any current links between the Quran and scientific knowledge are absolutely correct, just that I think we're supposed to apply everything we learn about the world to the Quran in an attempt to expand our understanding of both.


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Re: Expansion of the universe?
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2013, 04:42:09 AM »

Understanding the Arabic grammar more,

Waw-Siin-Ayn = to be ample, take in, comprehend, embrace.

Wasi'a (prf. 3rd. m. sing.): Extended; Comprehended.
Wasi'at (prf 3rd. p. f sing.): Embraces.
Wasi'ta (prf 2nd. p. m. sing.): Thou comprehended.
Sa'atun (v. n.): Abundance; Amplitude; Bounty.
Waasi'un (act. pic. m. sing.): Bountiful; All-Pervading.
Al-Waasi'un: one of the names of God.
Wasi'atun (act. pic. f. sing.): wide, spacious.
Muus'i (ap-der. m. sing. vb. IV): maker of the vast extant.
Wus'un (n.): capacity, scope.

wasi'a vb. (1) perf. act. 2:255, 6:80, 7:89, 7:156, 20:98, 40:7
n.vb. (1) 2:247, 4:100, 4:130, 24:22, 65:7, 65:7
n.vb. (2) 2:233, 2:286, 6:152, 7:42, 23:62
pcple. act. 2:115, 2:247, 2:261, 2:268, 3:73, 4:97, 4:130, 5:54, 6:147, 24:32, 29:56, 39:10, 53:32

awsa'a vb. (4) pcple. act. 2:236, 51:47

Lane's Lexicon, Volume 8, pages: 306, 307

Related to EXTEND

drag (out), draw out, elongate, lengthen, outstretch, prolong, protract, stretch
abbreviate, abridge, curtail, cut, cut back, shorten
Related Words
amplify, enlarge, expand, increase; attenuate, thin
Near Antonyms
decrease, diminish, lessen, reduce; thicken

it is clear that it is an "active participle" meaning it was expanding when the verse was revealed and I don't think that there is any reason to believe that it isn't still expanding.