Is there life in other places than The Earth?
Science is still unable to explain what life really is. This world is the
arena where God manifests His Will from behind the veil of what we experience
and describe as ‘natural causes’, but life is the result of the direct manifestation
of His Name, the Ever-Living. So, as long as science insists on its positivistic,
even materialistic, viewpoint, it will never penetrate the mystery of what life
Scientists restrict the concept of life to the conditions that obtain on
or beneath the outer surface of our planet. Therefore, when they have looked
for extra-terrestrial life, what they have looked for is conditions which are
the same as or similar or closely correspondent to the conditions in which life
is evident on the surface of earth. But surely, if they had retained a sufficient
sense of the absolute wonder of life (and that absolute wonder is an aspect
of life’s being a direct manifestation of the Ever-Living), they should not
have ruled out forms and conditions of life which are at present beyond their
understanding. In their view, the arguments put forward by Said Nursi, a Muslim
scholar from Turkey who wrote mostly in the first half of this century, for
the existence of angels and other spirit beings may not be worthy of consideration.
However, the latest discoveries in deep sea biology may persuade them to review
Nursi’s arguments. Said Nursi wrote at the beginnings of the 1930s:
Reality and the wisdom [purposiveness] in the existence of the universe require
that the heavens should have conscious inhabitants of their own as does the
earth. These inhabitants of many different kinds are called angels and spirit
beings in the language of religion.
It is true that reality requires the existence of angels and other spirit
beings because the earth, although insignificant in size compared with the heavens,
is continually being filled with and emptied of conscious beings. This clearly
indicates that the heavens. . . are filled with living beings who are the perfect
class of living creatures. These beings are conscious and have perception, and
they are the light of existence; they are the angels, who, like the jinn and
mankind, are the observers of the universal palace of creation and students
of this book of the universe and heralds for their Lord’s kingdom.
The perfection of existence is through life. Moreover, life is the real basis
and the light of existence, and consciousness, in turn, is the light of life.
Since life and consciousness are so important, and a perfect harmony evidently
prevails over the whole creation, and again since the universe displays a firm
cohesion, and as this small ever-rotating sphere of ours is full of countless
living and intelligent beings, so it is equally certain that those heavenly
[realms] should have conscious, living beings particular to themselves. Just
as the fish live in water, so those spirit beings may exist in the heat of the
sun. Fire does not consume light, rather, light becomes brighter because of
fire. We observe that the Eternal Power creates countless living beings from
inert, solid substances and transforms the densest matter into subtle living
compounds by life. Thus It radiates the light of life everywhere in great abundance
and furnishes most things with the light of consciousness. From this we can
conclude that the All-Powerful, All-Wise One would certainly not leave without
life and consciousness more refined, subtle forms of matter like light and ether,
which are close to and fitting for the spirit; indeed He creates animate and
conscious beings in great number from light, darkness, ether, air and even from
meanings and words. As He creates numerous species of animals, He also creates
from such subtle and higher forms of matter numerous different spirit creatures.
One kind. . . are the angels, others are the varieties of spirit beings and
jinn. (The Words 2, Izmir 1997, pp. 189–94 )
Half a century after Said Nursi wrote this, nearly 300 animal species, almost
all them previously unknown, have been discovered living around hydrothermal
vents which form when sea-water leaking through the ocean floor at spreading
ridges is heated by the underlying magma and rushes into the cold ocean. Verena
All life requires energy, nearly all life on earth looks to the sun as the
source. But solar energy is not the only kind of energy available on the earth.
Consider the energy that drives the movement and eruption of the planet’s crust.
When you look at an active volcano, you are witnessing the escape of heat that
has been produced by radioactive decay in the earth’s interior and is finally
reaching the surface. Why should there not be biological communities associated
with the same nuclear energy that moves continents and makes mountains? And
why could not whole communities be fuelled by chemical, rather than, solar energy?
. . . Most of us associate the escape of heat from the interior of the earth
with violent events and unstable physical conditions, with extreme high temperatures
and the release of toxic gases—circumstances that are hardly conducive to life.
The notion that biological communities might spring up in a geologically active
environment seemed fantastic. And until recently, few organisms were known to
survive without a direct or indirect way to tap the sun’s energy. But such communities
do exist, and they represent one of the most startling discoveries of 20th-century
biology. They live in the deep ocean, under conditions that are both severe
This ‘startling’ discovery of biology contains clues to some other realities,
which sciences should consider. The Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and
blessings, states that angels are created from light. We read in the Qur’an
that God created man from dried earth, from wet clay and from an extract of
clay. According to the Qur’an, man has been made a khalifa on the earth. Khalifa
means, literally, one who succeeds. Many interpreters of the Qur’an have concluded
from this that the jinn once ruled the earth and they were succeeded by men.
Starting from the clues above, it should be possible to do formal studies
to determine the worth of conclusions such as these:
God first created nur and then light. The process of creation followed a
gradual, regular accumulation of identities and/or a saltational sequence of
abrupt leaps. Fire followed light and then came water and earth. God spread
one existence through another, compounding and interweaving. He also created
living beings in every phase of creation appropriate for each phase. While the
universe was in a state of pure fire or some other high energy, He created the
appropriate life-forms. And when the earth became conducive to life, He created
plants, animals and man. He adorned every part and phase of the universe with
creatures, among them living ones, that are appropriate for that part and phase.
Finally, just as He created innumerable beings from light, ether, air, fire,
water and earth, so too, from every word and deed of man, He forms either his
paradise or hell. In other words, as He grows a tree from a tiny seed through
particles of earth, air and water, so He will build the other world from the
material of this world which He will adapt for the other world during the convulsions
of Doomsday. And He will use the words and actions of human beings in preparing
the paradise or hell of each.