Quran and Science: Evolution, Big Bang, Embryology, ET Life and Beyond

Shazib Arshad, Student, Jamia Ahmadiyya UK
Quran 1

Materialism and atheism are at an all-time high and, when it comes to creation, many atheists assert that there is no being as the driving force behind it – that the world consists of self-sustained laws, without a Designer. The Holy Quran, however, asserts that the Being Who has revealed this Holy Book is the Creator of the universe, Who manifests Himself through His divine Words.

This is not just an assertion, as the divine origin of the Holy Quran is evident from the scripture itself. This is demonstrated, among other things, through the descriptions of scientific phenomena found in the Quran, which have been proven true in modern times.

There is still much more which has been mentioned in the Quran but is yet to be discovered by mankind, and modern-day science can greatly benefit from the hints and advice Allah has given in the Quran in terms of the world around us.

Let us now briefly take a look at some of the scientific prophecies that the Holy Quran has mentioned.


The theory of evolution is often attributed to Charles Darwin (d. 1882), but it is important to note that Muslim scientists like al-Jahiz (d. 868), Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406) and Rumi (d. 1273) also explored this concept. It would be natural to assume they drew their understanding of evolution from teachings rooted in the Holy Quran, which presents a different perspective than Darwin’s theory of chance. The Quran asserts that God actively guides evolution, emphasising His power and autonomy.

John William Draper (d. 1882), author of The History of the Conflict Between Science and Religion wrote:

“Theological authorities were therefore constrained to look with disfavor on any attempt to carry back the origin of the earth to an epoch indefinitely remote, and on the Mohammedan theory of the evolution of man from lower forms, or his gradual development to his present condition in the long lapse of time.” (The History of the Conflict Between Science and Religion, John William Draper, 1875, p. 188)

The Holy Quran talks about evolution in the following words:

مَا لَکُمۡ لَا تَرۡجُوۡنَ لِلّٰہِ وَقَارًا – وَقَدۡ خَلَقَکُمۡ اَطۡوَارًا

“What is the matter with you that you expect not wisdom and staidness from Allah? And he has created you in [different] forms and [different] conditions.” (Surah Nuh, Ch.71: V.14-16)

Here we have the Holy Quran – revealed 1400 years ago – enlightening the world that man developed from lower life forms to higher ones.

The evolution discussed in the Holy Quran does not support the Darwinian form of evolution, which is based on chance. Rather, the Holy Quran tells us God Himself guides evolution. He depends on no one and is beyond all:

وَرَبُّکَ يَخۡلُقُ مَا يَشَآءُ وَيَخۡتَارُ ؕ مَا کَانَ لَہُمُ الۡخِيَرَةُ ؕ سُبۡحٰنَ اللّٰہِ وَتَعٰلٰي عَمَّا يُشۡرِکُوۡنَ

“And thy Lord creates whatever he pleases and chooses [whomsoever he pleases]. It is not for them to choose. Glorified be Allah, and far is He above all that they associate [with him].” (Surah al-Qasas, Ch.28: V.69)


The Big Bang

Scientists realised the universe was rapidly and continuously expanding like a balloon. Belgian Catholic priest, mathematician, and theoretical physicist, George Lemaitre concluded this expansion had to have a beginning.

1400 years ago, the Holy Quran described the big bang perfectly:

اَوَلَمۡ يَرَ الَّذِيۡنَ کَفَرُوۡۤا اَنَّ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضَ کَانَتَا رَتۡقًا فَفَتَقۡنٰہُمَا ؕ وَجَعَلۡنَا مِنَ الۡمَآءِ کُلَّ شَيۡءٍ حَيٍّ ؕ اَفَلَا يُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ

“Do not the disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were [a] closed-up [mass], then we opened them out? And we made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?” (Surah al-Anbiya, Ch.21: V.31)

The Arabic word in this verse – رتقا – means a “closed-up mass”:

“The word رتق here means, ذواتي رتق i.e., things closed up, or better, a closed-up mass, and فتق refers to the splitting of the amorphous mass or to the throwing off of the planets of the solar system.” (Five Volume Commentary, Vol. 4, Surah al-Anbiya, 21:31, p. 1689)

The concept of the ongoing expansion of the universe is only mentioned in the Holy Quran; no other divine scripture has ever mentioned it.

The verse goes on to say that water is the foundation of life, which is also now an accepted scientific fact. Hence, when NASA looks for planets that can sustain life, they look for water; the key ingredient for life.

This verse’s striking impact serves as an essential sign for today’s doubting generation.


Despite the science, many are unaware of the process that occurs in the womb during foetal development. This knowledge was only recently discovered with the progress of science. However, over 1400 years ago, the Holy Quran already described the stage-by-stage process of human development in the womb, providing a clear and detailed explanation that does not warrant further elaboration:

وَلَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا الۡاِنۡسَانَ مِنۡ سُلٰلَةٍ مِّنۡ طِيۡنٍ۔ ثُمَّ جَعَلۡنٰہُ نُطۡفَةً فِيۡ قَرَارٍ مَّکِيۡنٍ۔ ثُمَّ خَلَقۡنَا النُّطۡفَةَ عَلَقَةً فَخَلَقۡنَا الۡعَلَقَةَ مُضۡغَةً فَخَلَقۡنَا الۡمُضۡغَةَ عِظٰمًا فَکَسَوۡنَا الۡعِظٰمَ لَحۡمًا ٭ ثُمَّ اَنۡشَاۡنٰہُ خَلۡقًا اٰخَرَ ؕ فَتَبٰرَکَ اللّٰہُ اَحۡسَنُ الۡخٰلِقِيۡنَ

“Verily we created man from an extract of clay; then we placed him as a drop of sperm in a safe depository; then We fashioned the sperm into a clot; then We fashioned the clot into a [shapeless] lump; then We fashioned bones out of this [shapeless] lump; then we clothed the bones with flesh; then we developed it into another creation. So blessed be Allah, the best of creators.” (Surah al-Mu’minun, Ch.23: V.13-15)

Extraterrestrial life

Now, let’s talk about extraterrestrial life! This is a topic, I am sure, we are all fascinated by, especially with recent space travel and the possible existence of UFOs being discussed all across social media and the news.

The Holy Quran states:

وَمِنۡ اٰيٰتِہٖ خَلۡقُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ وَمَا بَثَّ فِيۡہِمَا مِنۡ دَآبَّةٍ ؕ وَہُوَ عَلٰي جَمۡعِہِمۡ اِذَا يَشَآءُ قَدِيۡرٌ

“And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and [of] whatever living creatures He has spread forth in both. And He has the power to gather them together when He pleases.” (Surah ash-Shura, Ch.42: V.30)

Here, the Holy Quran mentions living creatures that move across land and reside in the “heavens” – or, in other words, space. The verse continues by saying that humans will eventually interact with these creatures in some way.

Despite mankind’s advancement in technology and research, scientists have yet to overcome their initial scepticism about the possibility of the existence of life in outer space.

A well-known enthusiast who is fiercely committed to learning whether intelligent life is possible on extraterrestrial bodies is Professor Archibald Roy of the University of Glasgow. He writes:

“At various international conferences on the problem of extraterrestrial life, the question has been discussed and it has become clear that not only is there a chance of recognizing that a signal is of intelligent origin but it would also be possible to enter into communication with the intelligent species and exchange information.” (Astronomy: Structure of the Universe, p. 270)

Remarkably, scientists are only now considering the possibility of what the Holy Quran revealed almost 1400 years ago! The Holy Quran goes a step further by presenting the possibility of humans establishing contact with extraterrestrial life.

These remarkable prophecies, though very briefly explained in this article, demonstrate the Holy Quran’s unequalled accuracy and the wisdom of its teachings, which continue to inspire and guide Muslims around the world.

In conclusion, the Holy Quran contains many scientific indications, facts and prophecies that modern scientific research is now uncovering. These prophecies remind us of the Holy Quran’s divine origin and its relevance to our understanding of the natural world. It also highlights the importance of continued scientific research and discovery in uncovering the secrets of the universe. As Muslims, we must learn from the emphasis and importance the Quran places on science and faith coexisting and not conflicting each other.

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud, Khalifatul Masih IIra reminded Ahmadi Muslims of the following:

“The Promised Messiahas showed convincingly that modern science and philosophy cannot overawe the Holy Quran. They cannot show any contradiction between the Holy Quran and reason. Science was concerned with nature, the handiwork of God. The Quran was the Word of God. Both His handiwork and His Word are His. There can be no contradiction between the two.” (Invitation to Ahmadiyyat, p. 315)

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