Earth’s Early Atmosphere resembled Smoke
This article was sent to us by Muslim named A-R Mohammad. He is presenting his views regarding the scientific aspects of verses 9-12 of Sura 41. He is not associated with our site.
Quran 41 (9-12)
قُلْ أَئِنَّكُمْ لَتَكْفُرُونَ بِٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلْأَرْضَ فِى يَوْمَيْنِ وَتَجْعَلُونَ لَهُۥٓ أَندَادًۭا ذَٰلِكَ رَبُّ ٱلْعَٰلَمِينَ
41:9 Say: "Do you verily disbelieve in Him Who created the earth in two Days? And you set up rivals with Him? That is the Lord of all that exists.''
وَجَعَلَ فِيهَا رَوَٰسِىَ مِن فَوْقِهَا وَبَٰرَكَ فِيهَا وَقَدَّرَ فِيهَآ أَقْوَٰتَهَا فِىٓ أَرْبَعَةِ أَيَّامٍۢ سَوَآءًۭ لِّلسَّآئِلِينَ
41:10 He placed therein firm mountains from above it, and He blessed it, and measured therein its sustenance in four Days equal for all those who ask.
ثُمَّ ٱسْتَوَىٰٓ إِلَى ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَهِىَ دُخَانٌۭ فَقَالَ لَهَا وَلِلْأَرْضِ ٱئْتِيَا طَوْعًا أَوْ كَرْهًۭا قَالَتَآ أَتَيْنَا طَآئِعِينَ
41:11 Then He rose over (Istawa ila) the heaven when it was SMOKE, and said to it and to the earth: "Come both of you willingly or unwillingly.'' They both said: "We come willingly.''
فَقَضَىٰهُنَّ سَبْعَ سَمَٰوَاتٍۢ فِى يَوْمَيْنِ وَأَوْحَىٰ فِى كُلِّ سَمَآءٍ أَمْرَهَا وَزَيَّنَّا ٱلسَّمَآءَ ٱلدُّنْيَا بِمَصَٰبِيحَ وَحِفْظًۭا ذَٰلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ ٱلْعَزِيزِ ٱلْعَلِيمِ
41:12 Then He completed and finished their creation (as) seven heavens in two Days and He made in each heaven its affair. And We adorned the nearest (lowest) heaven with lamps (stars) to be an adornment as well as to guard. Such is the decree of Him, the Almighty, the All-Knower.
Scientist developed a geological time scale to describe Earth’s history:
I. The precambion period includes almost 90% of Earth’s history. It is divided into the following:
A. Hadeon Eon(4.6 to 3.8 billion years ago)
B. Ardeon Eon (3.8 to 2.5 billion years ago)
C. Proterozoic Eon (2.5 to 0.57 billion years ago)
II. phanerozoic Eon- it is the present Eon in the geological timeline. It is divided into 3 Eons which in turn are divided into various periods.
The Earth was formed almost 4.6 billion years ago from a cloud of gas and known as the solar NEBULA. Te planet grew by amalgamation of cosmic dust called planetesmiales.
The Quran informs us that during the Earth’s formation, the sky/ heaven was once smoke. The Arabic word “samaa” could be interpreted as sky/ heaven. Sky could either be the atmosphere of earth or outer space visible from earth-both would be correct. In the above context it is more appropriate to interpret it as earth’s atmosphere.
The commentary given by Ibn Kathir (1301-1373) is that this smoke was STEAM given off by the Earth.
So what do scientists say about the Earth’s early atmosphere? During the Hadeon Eon (the first eon in earth history ranging from its very beginning (4.6 billion years ago) to 3.8 billion years ago, the earth was first a molten ball of rock which later cooled to form a solid crust. The Earth’s surface was covered by volcanoes and impact craters from asteroids colliding whit the earth. Gasses emitted from these volcanoes (water vapour among others) gave the atmosphere a rather HAZY appearance. Similar to smoke!!
The Quranic statement is thus compatible with scientist current views of earth’s early atmosphere.