We asked him whether at some point in time the firmament was in a form of smoke. He stated that all signs and indications are converging to prove that at one point in time the whole firmament was nothing but a cloud of smoke. This has come to be established as a proven visible fact. Scientists now can observe new stars forming up out of that smoke, which is the origin of our universe.
Let us look at this passage:
Yusuf Ali: Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: "Come ye together, willingly or unwillingly." They said: "We do come (together), in willing obedience."
Pickthall: Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke, and said unto it and unto the earth: Come both of you, willingly or loth. They said: We come, obedient.
Shakir: Then He directed Himself to the heaven and it is a vapor, so He said to it and to the earth: Come both, willingly or unwillingly. They both said: We come willingly.
There are many problems with this ayah. Beyond the questions of science, you also have a huge theological problem in this passage.
1. According to Sura 41 (also see Sura 2:29), the earth existed while the rest of the universe was "smoke". In fact, the previous ayah (41:10) decribes how God placed mountains on the earth:
and then, after calling the "smoke" together, God made the seven heavens in Sura 41:12:
Therefore, according to this argument, the earth is the oldest body in the universe. In fact, the mountains on the earth, are, according to this Sura, older than the stars. This clearly does not agree with modern science. The Qur'an also has a serious problem of internal consistency with respect to its cosmic chronology. In fact, there is a contradiction between the previous passage (Sura 41:10-12) and Sura 79:27-32:
Which suggests, in contradiction to Sura 41:10-12, that the heavens were created first, then the earth, and then the mountains. Another question, unanswered by the Qur'an, is: how, and from what, was the earth created?
2. In Chapter 10, we were presented with Sura 21:30-31 which says:
Now we have a problem. In Sura 41:10-12, we are told that God called the "smoke" and earth to come together, then He created mountains, and last but not least, He created the stars. However, in Sura 21:30-31, the earth and heavens were one unit which God split apart. After that, God made the mountains. Therefore, according to this passage, the mountains and stars are approximately the same age. So, did God create the universe by bringing "smoke" together or by "cloving" one unit asunder? Also, which is older, the mountains or the stars?
3. In the introduction, you said: "Scientists now can observe new stars forming up out of that smoke, which is the origin of our universe", yet the Qur'an says "Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke, and said unto it and unto the earth: Come both of you, willingly or loth. They said: We come, obedient." Therefore, the fact that there is "smoke", which is now forming new stars, suggests that this ayah is not accurate since it claims that the "smoke" came together, obeying God's command. Why did this "smoke" not obey God as the Qur'an claims?
4. There is a theological issue when you use this ayah, which is clearly metaphysical, to explain the creation of the universe in scientific terms. If we look at this passage in the light of modern science, we cannot claim that any portion is metaphorical. Therefore, the question is: does smoke have consciousness? In other words, did these clouds of smoke hear God and could they have refused to obey Him? The Qur'an has not only made a scientific error in this case (that smoke has consciousness and an individual will that can refuse) but it promotes animistic concepts by giving attributes and power to smoke that it simply does not have!
You can call it whatever you wish, perhaps "dust" is the most accurate term. However, when we consider all of the verses of the Qur'an which describe creation, we cannot derive a clear scientific model of what happened.
This Sura, along with the other Qur'an passages that describe creation, are logically and scientifically inconsistent. Also, if we ignore the metaphysical nature of this Sura and attempt to extract science from a literal interpretation, this passage preaches animism.
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