PROPHET MUHAMMAD’S AMAZING EXPLANATION ABOUT THE EARTH’S EVOLUTION[1]

by Saleem Ahmed[2]

Faith usually requires unquestioned acceptance of beliefs which are often difficult to “prove”. For example, prophet Muhammad’s Night Journey to Heaven (verse 17.1); prophet Musa’s (Moses) parting of the sea (verse 26.63); or prophet Eesa’s (Jesus) curing the blind (verse 3.49).   But  consider the following hadith regarding evolution of the earth, which has been languishing, forgotten  because it seems to suggest that the earth evolved in seven “days” and light emerged after animals and trees (“on Wednesday”):God created clay on Saturday, mountains on Sunday, trees on Monday, things entailing labor  on Tuesday, and light on Wednesday. He caused animals to spread on Thursday and created Adam after Asr on Friday, the last creation at the last hour [of creation]. (Sahih Muslim, # 1300).With my geology background, I find this to be incredibly accurate. To understand it, we must first understand that the Arabic word yaum used in this hadith can mean one “day” or several; even millions. Just as “a swarm of bees” can mean a few bees or millions. My interpretation of this hadith and my linking each “day” with scientific findings, follows:

   Clay on Saturday      After the earth was born 4.6 billion years ago (bya), it took from then to 590 million years ago (mya) to cool enough to form a crust of  “clay/soil”. The barren earth must have  then looked like our moon and Mars do currently.

Mountains on Sunday      As the earth’s surface continued cooling, differential temperatures triggered gigantic earthquakes, from 590 mya to 360 mya, creating  our initial mountains such as the Alps.

Trees on Monday      New life forms emerged in water and then on land, from 360 mya to 250 mya. These included giant trees, the remains of which provide coal.   

Things entailing labor on Tuesday      Reptiles such as dinosaurs, and mammals such as mammoths (which probably experienced labor pain in childbirth as human females do), populated the earth, 250 mya to 60 mya.       An unexpected development About 65 mya,  a giant meteor  reportedly crashed into the Gulf of Mexico, creating the Chicxulub crater. This spewed mega tons of debris into the atmosphere, thereby blocking sunlight from the earth for an undetermined period. This plunged the earth into darkness,  eliminated photosynthesis, and significantly lowered global temperatures, thereby leading to an ice age. This caused extinction of 80% of the earth’s plant and animal life. This is known as the K-T (Kreider-Tertiary) Extinction.

Light on Wednesday      When this debris settled, sunlight re-basked the earth. So, it was not that light was created after plants and animals, but that it re-shone on earth. New plants and animals  emerged on “Wednesday”.

Animals spreading  on Thursday      Giant reptiles such as dinosaurs and giant mammals such as mammoths emerged 50 mya.  

Creation of Adam on Friday        With the earth’s re-warming, new animals and plants that we now see, evolved.Adam was created between 100,000 and 300,000 years ago.

 Introspection      Could an illiterate 7th Century Arab have made up this seemingly impossible story all by himself? A story which explains, with remarkable accuracy, some major events in the four-plus billion years of the earth’s evolution? A story that also narrates the incident of “light” emerging after darkness, which darkness, we now know was due to the crashing of a giant meteor on the earth? Doesn’t this hadith provide the strongest evidence that Divinity revealed to the prophet “snapshots” of those evolving phases?  Is there any other way to describe this hadith except as insight given to the prophet by Allah?      
I suggest this hadith be considered “flagship” hadith providing the most solid physical corroboration of the prophet’s connection with Divinity. While many other hadith also provide  information connecting the prophet’s actions with Divinity (such as the three verses mentioned above), those usually require  unquestioned belief in some supernatural event. In contrast, this hadith does not need similar unquestioned belief: it has been found accurate by recent scientific findings. Many other hadith, currently languishing,  might also get resuscitated by similar analysis, thereby reaffirming God’s wonders and gifts to humanity.                                                                            

[1] Summarized from September 1, 2019 posting on Al-Jumuah 
[2] Dr. Ahmed has  an M.S. degree in Geology from the University of Karachi (1961) and Ph.D.  in Soil Science from the University of Hawaii (1965). Phone: 1-808-395-5329
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Editor’s note:
Science is defined by some as a body of knowledge that is about a new awareness, which has been around us forever, but that it was not understood. Such awareness, when analyzed and laws are formed and accepted by its practitioners, becomes a scientific facts. 
Such bodies of science have evolved exponentially in past three centuries, with advent of telescopes, microscopes, chromatometers, sonograms, magnetism, electricity, astronomical and geological sciences. 
Many observations of the past that were either explained with guesswork or accepted as it described, without questions are now seen with the available scientific laws, facts and postulations therefrom. One such field providing a lot of insight is geological and archaeological studies. These combined with other scientific progress, like in structure of DNA, our ability to watch earth from space has started providing many answers to our dilemmas and postulations. 
Dr Saleem Ahmed’s explanation about one such matter is about creation. This may perhaps be able to explain the creation of universe and not only our planetary system and also may sometime answer our questions of life on this any other galaxies? 
Editors.

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