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I am intrigued by the world السماواتthat is often used in Holy Quran to describe God creation of skies and the earth. In arabic السماوات means skies, which is not the same as Universe. Sky is the region of the atmosphere and outer space seen from the earth. On the other universe is all existing matter and space considered as a whole. In short Sky is only part of the universe at best not the whole. From the verse below, Almighty Allah clearly treats لسماوات and Earth as separate entities. This gives a concept of a sky above and the Earth below. I also learned that the correct word for Universe is الكونnot samawat.

My question is did God ever mention Universe in Quran? Samawat clearly does no mean universe because if it meant universe, then Earth is indeed part of the Universe. But if sawamat means skies that makes sense because God is talking about Skies and the earth as two object. So my question is did the Holy Quran ever mention Universe? For reference

Sky سماء    
Skies السماوات
Heaven الجنة
Universe الكون

As you can see above, the Universe and sky have two different words in arabic.

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Sky

Universe enter image description here

Verses for references are below

6:1 Skies and earth are treated two separate objects.

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3:190, To Allah is all that is in skies and in Earth. There is a lot more that we cannot see in sky but is part of universe.

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2:22 Quran talks about Ski as canopy. This is clearly not universe.

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4:132, says that to God belongs what is in Skies and what is on Earth. enter image description here


  • maybe it would be better if you could further clarify what you mean. For example what's the difference between World and the Universe that you mean? does universe that you mean only contain Dunya (with Earth and all the skies, starts and galaxies and etc.) or also contains Barzakh and Akherah? If it contains all then there is a Hadeeth from Imam Sadiq --peace be upon him-- that states there are too many universes each based on its own sets of logic, some shared with ours and some independent and maybe contradicting, so that we CANNOT understand some sciences therein. – owari Dec 31 '12 at 11:59
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    The images do not help this question at all. – goldPseudo Feb 13 '13 at 21:33
  • The word sama' can also mean the universe in Arabic. See 37:6 "Indeed, We have adorned the nearest heaven with an adornment of stars". When you look up on the heaven you see the universe and stars. – Kilise Dec 27 '15 at 12:53
  • why is not word "galam" ok for you? by the way i have checked and now knwo that it is of one root with "know" and i do not see relaton of them. – qdinar Feb 24 '17 at 16:49
  • In Quran uses Aalameen for Universe. Alhumdo lilahi Rabil Aalameen. – Shakir Ahmad Aug 1 '18 at 17:10

10 Answers 10

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When the Quran was written: The word for Universe did not really exist in Arabic just like the word Universe did not exist in English before physicists. The Word universe meant something else like "all that exists". So the Quran may not say the 'Alkoon' because at the time it was written, that word did not denote "the universe".

The word for 'sky' is the closest Arabic word the Quran could have used to describe the universe as no other word was better.

  • Ahmed, nice and best acceptable answer, thanks. – user3218 Sep 18 '13 at 13:37
  • which basically means that at that time, there was the concept of "earth" below and "Sky"above so Quran just sticked with it. – muslim1 Feb 6 '16 at 5:50
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Surah No 51 - Ayah No 47 says

And the heaven We built with Our own powers (aydin) and indeed We go on expanding it.

It should be remembered that the concept of the continuous expansion of the universe is exclusive to the Quran. No other Divine scriptures even remotely hint at it. The discovery that the universe is constantly expanding is of prime significance to scientists, because it helps create a better understanding of how the universe was initially created.

Reference

  • The word "heavens" (with an "s") is definitely more appropriate if you ask me! – banging Jun 14 '13 at 1:49
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The word الكون is not mentioned in Quran as far as I know BUT:

As you already mentioned السماوات it completely contains our "worldly" understanding of universe... why is that ? all and everything we define as being part of the universe is in the language of Quran part of "sky number 1". As mentioned in Quran there are seven skies - they relate to each other like a small tent to a very big desert (according to Sunnah/Hadith). "sky number 2" is much much bigger than "sky number 1" and contains among other things "sky number 1" and so on.

From my POV universe is mentioned a lot in Quran although not as a word (الكون) but (even more important IMHO) as a part of the creation.

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Salaam,

"And we have decorated the lowest heaven with lanterns (stars)." 41:12

The words in verse 41:12 say that the lowest heaven was decorated with stars. It doesn't mean that the lowest "sky" was created with stars. Because the sky naturally doesn't have "stars" in them.

I emailed an author of an Islam website and asked a similar question, and he answered:

*"Any one of the following examples indicate that Sama/samawat and ARD are used in the Quran symbolically to means all the universe, and all physical matter that is in the universe:

[6:73] And He is the One who created the heavens and the earth truthfully and the day He says, "Be" it is. His word is the truth, and to Him belongs the kingship on the day the horn is blown. The Knower of the unseen and the seen, He is the Wise, the All-Aware.

God did not create just our sky and our Earth but God created the whole universe (samawat) and all physical matter that is in the universe (ARD).

[13:15] To God prostrates all who are in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly and so do their shadows, in the mornings and the evenings.

To God prostrates everything in all the universe and not just those on Earth.

[21:19] To Him belongs everyone in the heavens and the earth and those in His Presence are not too arrogant to worship Him, nor do they get tired of it.

Once again, to God belongs everything in all the universe and not just on Earth,"*

"And the heaven We constructed with strength, and indeed, We are [its] expander." Quran 51:47.

Verse 51:47 talks about expanding our heaven, but our heaven doesn't expand. Our universe does. So when God says heaven, it means universe. Since the lowest heaven has ALL the stars.

Salaam,

Mohammed

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i don't know if I might give my point of view about the verse where el samawet was translated as heavens,while we do all know that the samawet means skies,so it is better to say the creation of skies and and earth on the other side as to opposite objects contrasting each oother.olso the meaning of heavens is djannat ,and it was possible for him soubhanahou wa ta3ala to say the creation of heavens /inna fi khalki el djannat wa elrad.wa allah a3lam

  • Thank you for participating. However, this does not seem to go in the direction of answering the question. Answers should specifically be used to answer (and give references) the question. Points of view should be given in comments. Please consider deleting your answer and posting a comment instead ;) – ZakC Feb 17 '16 at 10:21
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As far as i understand sky should not be translated as heaven. Samaa means sky and Jannat means heaven. If one think that universe is heaven he is totaly wrong. Now we come to the point that why sky is used instead of universe.
Quran is not written for scientists only. So, it uses common words so layman can unterstand it.

sky is not only atmoshere of earth. At Night sky goto your roof. You can see all visible universe at sky. So sky means universe not heaven.

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Rightly said In Surah Al Fatiha we read as Rabbil Aalameen. What is the meaning of Samawat then? Looks like Samawat is a sub set of Aalameen. One version could be Samawat are commonly known and physically visible part of creation. Whereas Aalameen could comprise visible as well as invisible worlds like Aalam e arwah , spiritual worlds etc

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I would like to suggest you to research more cause I guess you are understanding through translation of english which even mentions Sama as heavens should be (heaven it's singular) and samawat also as heavens which is not real Arabic meaning now to the topic as most of us are seeing the creation of UNIVERSE through the eyes of science rather we should firmly believe in the book of Allah the creator of All and everything including the seven dimensions of different space and times to which prophet Mohammad peace be upon him was elevated and shown all 7 dimensions of space and times his life is example for us he is the 1st human to travel beyond and come back.his journey indicates indeed Allah has created seven different types of universes or dimensions to which we can call to parallel universe or multiverse theory which ain't theory rather it exists. So don't fall for NASA research which has been to moon only and denies the truth of Quran.

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Let us stand by what in Holy Quran contain the Glorious words of ALMIGHTY THE ONLY CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE. ALLAH SWT states HE is expanding. What HE is Expanding? The Universe. So let us not have doubt in mind Holy Quran defined Universe under the guise of different Names. Thank You. Plain Truth

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i have read many comments but everyone is clarifying by their own knowledge... while you are reciting these verses from your childhood in salah the very first chapter and the very first verse... why you fooling yourself Al-hamdulillahi Rabbil Aalameen (Universes or Multiverse)....... (Surah Fatiha) Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala used "Aalameen" not "Alam" it means that they are many universe (it is still hypothetical among scientist) Read Here : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse

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