Theory of Relativity and Quran
E=mc2 is the most fascinating, complex and intriguing theory of the 20th century and has been the most sought-after topic for Science fiction. In this theory, if described in the simplest of terms, Einstein emphasised the unified entity of space and time, outlined the concept of all motion being relative and time being a dimension, not an absolute quantity.
One of the ideas that emerge from the theory of relativity is the ‘Relativity of Simultaneity.’ Distant simultaneity is not an absolute concept but depends upon the observers’ reference frame. Change of dimension separates the simultaneously occurring events. When one is trying to navigate this overwhelming notion, it is incredible to find that this concept was revealed to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) more than 1400 years ago.
” …For a Garden, width whereof is equal to the width of heavens and the earth…” [Holy Quran 57:22]
Upon hearing this the companions asked the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him), “If paradise encompasses the heavens and the earth, where will the hell be?”
He replied, “Where is the night when the day comes? It is there too but you cannot decipher it.” (Ibn al Kathīr) This reply was a manifestation of the fact that if the dimension changes the simultaneously occurring objects lose connection with each other.
Another exciting term the theory of relativity entails is, ‘Time dilation’. Remember the cool fact of astronauts ageing slowly? The science behind it is that the rate at which time passes depends on your frame of reference. Time is a dimension itself and is not an absolute quantity. Relativity of time has been indicated at various places in the Holy Quran.
“And verily, a day with thy Lord is as a thousand years of your reckoning.” [Holy Quran 22:48]
At another instance, it is stated that,
“The angels and the Spirit ascend to Him in a day the measure of which is fifty thousand years.” [Holy Quran 70:5]
Another mind-boggling question raised nowadays is about dreams. Researchers are diving into the possibility that maybe dreams are something happening in another dimension, in a different sphere of reality. Though this remains a mystery yet, it takes me to some verses of the Holy Quran. Verse 260 of chapter 2 mentions a man, who during one night’s sleep, was shown the incidents of the 100 years and upon waking up his food and donkey were as he left them and he was perplexed about the time-lapse. Similarly, the spiritual ascension of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) mentioned in Chapter 53 of the Holy Quran indicates a spiritual vision that took him on a metaphysical journey crossing the dimensions of time and space.
This is just the tip of the iceberg and there are numerous other examples in the Quran shedding light on the various aspects of Relativity.
Before I leave you to ponder upon it, the crux of the matter is that nothing is absolute in this world, everything is relative and interdependent. It is only God who is independent and besought of all. [Holy Quran 112:3]
- The Holy Quran translated by His Holiness Mirza Tahir Ahmed (4th Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community).