What does the Qur'an say about shooting stars? Is there a clash in The
V. Tunniclife was quoted in The Fountain, Jan.-Mar. 1996, No 13, p.36:
Startling discovery of modern biology
All life requires energy, nearly all life on earth looks to the sun as the
source. But solar energy is not the only kind of energy available on the earth.
Consider the energy that drives the movement and eruption of the planet�s crust.
When you look at an active volcano, you are witnessing the escape of heat that
has been produced by radioactive decay in the earth�s interior and is finally
reaching the surface. Why should there not be biological communities associated
with the same nuclear energy that moves continents and makes mountains? And
why could not whole communities be fuelled by chemical, rather than, solar energy?.
. Most of us associate the escape of heat from the interior of the earth with
violent events and unstable physical conditions, with extreme high temperatures
and the release of toxic gasses�circumstances that are hardly conducive to life.
The notion that biological communities might spring up in a geologically
active environment seemed fantastic. And until recently, few organisms were
known to survive without a direct or indirect way to tap the sun�s energy. But
such communities do exist, and they represent one of the most startling discoveries
of 20th-century biology. They live in the deep ocean, under conditions that
are both severe and variable.
This �startling� discovery of modern biology contains clues to some other
realities, which sciences should consider. The Qur�an declares:
Surely, We have adorned the world�s heaven with lamps, and We have made them
missiles for the devils. (al-Mulk, 67.5)
The �startling� discovery of biology suggests that just as the earth does,
the heavens should also have inhabitants of their own. Indeed, reality also
requires it to be so, for, as Said Nursi writes (The Words 1, Izmir, 1997, pp.
233�42), despite its small size and relative insignificance, the earth being
alternately emptied and filled with living and conscious beings suggests�rather,
it shows evidently�that the heavens too, which have magnificent constellations
and are like decorated palaces, must also be filled with conscious and percipient
beings. For the Creator has embellished and ornamented the universe with innumerable
decorations, beauties, and inscriptions, and this evidently requires the existence
of contemplative and appreciative eyes that will observe and be delighted. Certainly,
beauty requires a lover, and food is given to the hungry. Men and jinn are able
to perform only a millionth of this boundless duty, this glorious viewing, and
this comprehensive worship. This means that countless sorts of angels and spirit
beings are necessary to perform these infinite and diverse duties and acts of
The Creator Who continuously creates subtle life and enlightened, percipient
beings from dense earth and turbid water, must certainly have created conscious
beings from light and even from darkness which are worthier to have a higher
life and spirit, and created them in great abundance. In the language of Islam,
those inhabitants of various kinds are called angels.
The earth and the heavens are connected to each other like two countries
under one government
The earth and the heavens are connected to each other like two countries
under one government. There are important relations and transactions between
them. Things necessary for the earth like light, heat, blessings, and forms
of mercy like rain, come, rather, are being sent, from the sky. Also, as unanimously
confirmed by all the heavenly religions, which are founded on Revelation, and
as is agreed upon by all the saintly scholars who unveil the secret truths of
creation on the basis of what they have witnessed, the angels and spirit beings
descend to the earth from the heavens. From this, it may be concluded almost
as certainly as if it were directly sensed that for the inhabitants of the earth
there is a way to ascend to the heavens.
Indeed, everyone can always travel to the heavens through his mind, vision
and imagination. So too, freed from or purified of the gross heaviness of their
carnal and material being, the spirits of the Prophets and saints travel there
by God�s leave, and the spirits of the ordinary people do so after their death.
Since those who are �lightened� and have acquired �subtlety� and spiritual refinement
travel there, for sure, certain inhabitants of the earth and the air who are
clothed in an �ideal� body or energetic envelope or immaterial form, and are
light and subtle like spirits, may go to the heavens. Since there is journeying
between the earth and the heavens, and important necessities for the earth are
sent from the heavens; and since pure spirits travel to the heavens, for sure,
imitating the pure spirits, the evil spirits too will attempt to travel to the
heavenly abode. For, physically, they are light and subtle. However, they will
certainly be repulsed and repelled, for by nature they are evil and unclean.
Again, as the silence and tranquility, the order and serene regularity of the
heavens, and their vastness and radiance, show, their inhabitants are not like
those of the earth; they are all obedient to God and do whatever He commands
them. There is nothing to cause quarrels or disputes among them because they
are innocent, their realm is vast, their nature is pure, and their stations
are fixed. So, when devils or evil spirit beings attempt to ascend the heavens,
the pure inhabitants of the heavens are mobilized to repel them from the heavens.
There must be a sign or reflection in the visible, material world of whatever
takes place in the kingdom of heavens
Without doubt, there must be a sign or reflection in the visible, material
world of this important interaction and contest. For the wisdom of the sovereignty
of Divine Lordship requires that the Lord should put a sign, an indication,
for conscious beings, particularly for man, whose most important duty is observing,
witnessing, supervising, and acting as a herald to, His significant disposals
in the realm of the Unseen. This is just as He has made rain a sign for men
to explain, in physical terms, His countless miracles in spring, and also made
apparent (natural) causes the pointers to the wonders of His art, so that He
may call the inhabitants of the visible, material world to witness them, indeed
to attract the attentive gaze of all the inhabitants of the vast heavens and
the earth to that amazing exhibition. That is, He displays the vast heavens
as a castle or city arrayed with towers on which sentries are posted, so that
those inhabitants of the heavens and earth may reflect on the majesty of His
Since wisdom requires the announcement of this elevated contest, there will
surely be a sign for it. However, other than some stars being used as �missiles�
against the devils, no event among those of the atmosphere and heavens seems
to be appropriate to this announcement. For it is evident how suitable for the
repulsion of the devils are these stellar events, which resemble missiles and
signal rockets fired from the formidable bastions of high castles. Further,
unlike other events taking place in the heavens, no other function is known
for such stellar events. In addition, this function has been known widely since
the time of Adam, and witnessed by those who know the reality of things and
Like angels and other creatures, stars also have many different varieties.
Some are extremely small, and some are extremely large. Everything that shines
in the sky can be called a star. One sort of stars the Majestic Creator, the
Gracious Maker, has created as a sort of jewels on the face of the sky or like
the shining fruits of a vast tree. He has also made them the places of excursion
or mounts or dwelling-places for His angels. He has made one sort of small stars
missiles to drive off devils and kill them. Thus, firing these shooting stars
to repulse devils may have three meanings:
� It is a sign that the law of contest is in force also in the most vast
sphere of existence.
� It indicates that in the heavens there are watchful guards and obedient
inhabitants, Divine forces, who do not like the earthly evil-doers to mix with
and eavesdrop on them.
� The spying satans, who are the representatives of the foulness and wickedness
on the earth, attempt to soil the clean and pure realm of the heavens inhabited
by pure beings, and spy on the talk of their inhabitants in the name of evil
spirits [unbelieving jinn and their human companions trying to mislead people
especially through sorcery, mediumship and soothsaying]. Shooting stars are
fired to prevent them and repulse them from the doors of the heavens.
What does the meteor shower signify?
The Perseid meteor shower observed in almost every year suggests that those
meteors are shot for certain, important purposes. For they surprise the observers
by showing great diversity. The observations made in, for example, 1993, demonstrate
the fact that the structure of the shower is yet poorly known.
According to information given by the International Meteor Organization about
the events of the 1993 shower (Astronomy, October 1993), the first results posted
for the night of 11/12 August came from Japan. Up to 20:30 (all times UT), 11
August, the meteor rates were found to be normal. A zenithal hourly rate (ZHR)
of 40 meteors per hour (m/h) was tentatively assigned to the shower at this
Preliminary data from European observers indicated that the rates had gradually
increased to ZHR of order 100 m/h between 20:00, 11 August and 01:00, 12 August.
Observers in France reported a noticeable increase in rates after 00:30, 12
August, with the rate being about twice that of �normal�. The rates continued
to climb between 01:00 and 03:00. A preliminary ZHR of 200-250 was ascribed
to this period. The rates appeared to reach a maximum between 03:00 and 03:30.
The ZHR at maximum was estimated to be of the order of 500. Observations from
the Canary Islands indicated that the rates began to decline after 04:00.
Higher than normal rates were also reported from many observers in the United
States and Japan. As commented by Martin Beech in Astronomy, p.11, the results
clearly indicated that the shower did not behave as predicted. Speculation about
a possible meteor storm proved incorrect. Another unexpected feature in 1993
was the high number of bright fireballs observed. Observers reported something
like five times the normal level of Perseid fireballs on the night of 11/12
August. The Perseid shower once again demonstrated how difficult it is to predict
meteor shower activity.
A. Cressy Morrison (Man Does Not Stand Alone, New York, 1945, p.100) mentions,
as a typical human characteristic, the reluctance to give up fixed ideas, the
stubborn resistance to accepting unfamiliar truths. The early Greeks knew the
earth was a sphere, but it took two thousand years to convince men that this
fact is true. New ideas encounter opposition, ridicule and abuse, but truth
survives and is verified. Neither scientific studies nor developments in science
can offer any excuse not to accept God. What we observe in nature and what we
obtain from it must encourage us to know Him more closely and see the strong
bridge between science and religion, the world and the Hereafter, and between
the reason and the spirit.