When the sky is cleft asunder; And when the planets are dispersed, and when the oceans are poured forth. (Infitar 82:1-3)
The events that are to occur on the Day of Judgment are clearly depicted in the Qur’an. The relevant verses emphasize that the Day of Judgment is not an ending that will only involve the Earth, but one which will also incorporate other planets on a universal scale.
Insofar as causes are concerned, what could be the force that will be able to disperse a robust system, rendering all forces including gravity obsolete and forcing planets and stars out of their orbits?
The following verses seem to imply that this force will also affect “lustrous” heavenly bodies:
When the sun is folded up, and when the stars fall losing their luster; and when the mountains are set moving. (Takwir 81:1-3)
For the word kuwwirat (folded up) in the verse “When the sun is folded up,” the famous scholar Fakhreddin Razi, in concordance with a narration from the third Caliph Umar, interprets this word to mean “to darken by expunging light.” Now, how could Divine Predestination operate on the physical world, in the folding and collection of light? In the past few years, scientists have been pondering the possibility of the gravitational power of black holes in accomplishing such a role. As we know, even light, alongside matter, cannot resist the irrepressible gravitation of the black hole.
The events depicted in the verses given above may be, with the will of the Creator, dependent on the gravitational power of black holes.
It is a fact that we’re sitting on a sphere of fire, as we speak, and the gases that constitute the atmosphere are held above the Earth by the force of gravity. With the impact of the strong force of gravity however, the air we breathe will be the first thing to vanish from the Earth’s atmosphere. Thus, with the disappearance of external pressure on such an occasion, internal pressure will gain ascendance in all creatures, who are composed predominantly of water (70%), causing them to shatter into pieces.
Along with other planets, the gravitational bonds of billions of stars (asteroids, meteors and comets) found on the two asteroid zones of the Solar System, all of which are sustained by Divine Power, will perhaps be torn apart with the force of black holes.
The geometrical gravity balances could perhaps also play a role in setting the Day of Judgment in motion. As can be observed in the General Theory of Relativity, the space-time levelness of the universe could, to quote the Qur’an, be folded and scrunched akin to a piece of paper, in which case, the stars, having been moved out of their places, will plummet from their positions.
Similar to how a cloth or net is elongated or pulled down under the impact of heavy objects, the universe (the net of space-time) will also stretch and yield, and in fact rip and crack, or more precisely be punctured, from the dense objects placed inside it, that is the black holes. The puncture, in this case, denotes the invalidation of physical laws.
It can be assumed that the black holes, placed at the center of the universe, will gradually expand, until the entire galaxy virtually becomes a black hole, and with the unification of every black hole, the whole universe will effectively be rendered a black hole itself.
When the camel goes through the eye of the needle…
Those who deny our revelations and scorn them, for them the gates of heaven will not be opened nor will they enter the Garden until the camel goes through the eye of the needle. Such is how we penalize the guilty! (A’raf 7:40)
A camel going through the eye of a needle calls to mind how the universal bodies will be passed through the singularity, the tiny openings of black holes. This comparison is reminiscent of how a giant sphere that comes within the swallowing vicinity of the black hole, may become stretched out to the point of becoming a virtual string, eventually becoming ingested by an object much smaller than itself.
A star, hundreds of thousands times bigger than the sun, could be reduced to the head of a needle once it begins to be warped by the black holes, phenomena in which space and time themselves are compelled to twist and turn.
The central area where the gravity force of the black hole is at its peak is described as “the event horizon.” The black holes could in fact be passages that allow us to enter other universes. In such a situation, we can hypothetically evaluate what will become of an astronaut who falls into a black hole.
We align our watches in correspondence with the astronaut’s, and bid him farewell towards the event horizon. As the astronaut approaches the event horizon where gravity gradually increases, we notice his watch is starting to operate more slowly. In the vicinity of the event horizon of a black hole the size of our sun, while our watches indicate that 1 second has passed, the astronaut’s watch will show that 3.3 seconds have passed, as time, where he is, flows much slower.
As our astronaut draws near to the event horizon, the 33 seconds indicated by his watch (10 times slower than before) will be equivalent again to our 1 second, and when he eventually and completely enters the event horizon, time will have frozen, halting the disparity between each second.
How would the space traveler perceive this hypothetical journey?
Not only will the space traveler become cognizant of the slower elapse of time, he may also witness an elongation of his body as he draws nearer to the event horizon. Since the force of gravity will take more of a toll on the extremities, that is the head and the feet, by the time the astronaut asks the question “What is happening?” he would already have begun to be extended like a string. The passing second for the astronaut progressively approaching the event horizon, will begin to become one month or one year later in the Universe. A pace away from the horizon the entire future of the Universe will fit into a single second of the astronaut, who, by now, is swiftly being pulled in to the point of singularity, finding himself on the other side. In this area, the Special Relativity Theory, essentially based on the thesis that the velocity of light is absolute velocity, i.e. the greatest velocity in the Universe, loses its validity, in that, as one approaches the singularity, the gravitational force affecting the astronaut or space ship will become so intense that the actual speed will surpass the velocity of light itself. Thus, the tangibility of a velocity greater than that of light will render all principles of causality obsolete, during which a regressive journey in time becomes practically possible. The interpretations of this issue are as such: A person plummeting into the well of singularity may live the whole history of the universe in the blink of an eye. They now have become a time traveler; the present, past, and future are all presented to their vision. As if passing through the eye of a needle, they may have passed through to another universe.
Imam Ghazzali, while interpreting the verses concerning the Day of Judgment, in his epistle Kashf al-Ulum al-Akhirah, puts the accent on Universal cessation:
“When God wills the commencement of the Judgment with the blowing of the Horn, you will see the mountains flying and moving about like clouds, seas amalgamating with one another, the Sun folded and being blacked out, the stars scattering around like beads disengaged from their strings, the sky rotating ferociously like a millstone, the ground trembling terrifyingly, stretching and expanding like leather. In that God will decree the dismissal of the orbits and no living thing will remain alive on earth or in the heavens. The spirited will surrender their spirits. The Earth and Heavens will be availed of their inhabitants.”
Said Nursi, alternatively, lays emphasis on the deterioration of the finely tuned connections, such as gravity, electromagnetic and nuclear forces, etc., attaching universal entities together, depicting the Day of Judgment in the following words:
“Consider the Qur’anic description of the minute and precise interrelationship of the universe’s constituent parts. Consider their sublime and delicate organization into a system. If any heavenly body were told to leave its axis, the universe would be thrown into the throes of death. Stars would collide, planets would be scattered, and the sound of exploding spheres would fill space. Mountains would begin to move, and Earth would be flattened. Eternal Power will bring about the next life in just this way, and the elements of Paradise and Hell will be separated from each other.”1
Regardless of how the Armageddon occurs, Nursi asserts that what has been repeatedly highlighted by the Qur’an will be realized:
“If the universe is not destroyed by an external destructive event, with the Eternal Will’s permission, it eventually will begin to die. Even scientists say this. According to the Qur’an, it will give a sharp cry, and then the following things will happen:
When the sun is folded up, and when the stars fall losing their luster; and when the mountains are set moving. (Takwir, 81:1-3)
When the sky is cleft asunder; and when the planets are dispersed, and when the oceans are poured forth. (Infitar 82:1-3)”2
Our aim here is to evaluate the incredible events miraculously foretold by the Qur’an from the cognitive perspective bestowed upon us by God through contemporary sciences and to gain broader points of view. Only God, however, can know the exact form of present and future events.
1. Nursi, Said. The Words, The Light, Inc., New Jersey: 2005, p. 546.
2. Ibid, p. 545.