Sunday, July 22, 2007

225)Relative to the rest of the Cosmos, calling planet Earth miniscule is a gross overstatement; its more like an invisible, submicroscopic pinpoint.

Recent pictures from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day Website:

In the above picture of the Andromeda galaxy, the largest galaxy next to our own Milky Way galaxy, the caption below the picture says:
"The data confirm that Andromeda (aka M31) houses around 1 trillion stars, compared to 4 hundred billion for the Milky Way."

Our sun is a medium-sized star with 8 planets(of which our planet Earth is one of the smallest) and many other smaller objects orbiting around it. There are 400 billion stars like our sun in our Milky Way galaxy and the galaxy right next door to us, the Andromeda galaxy, has 1 trillion such stars in it. Thats just the beginning of it! Research using the Hubble Space Telescope has allowed people in the know to estimate that there are at least 500 billion galaxies like Andromeda and Milky Way strewn accross the Universe: "If you think of this Universe, He is above this Universe; if you think of a thousand other Universes, He is above a thousand other Universes.....". Where have I heard this before?

Other pictures, taken by astrophotographers from around the world:

Mowlana Sultan Mohammed Shah, Aga Khan III, said:
"Allah alone wishes: the Universe exists; and all manifestations are as a witness of the Divine will"(Memoirs, 1954)

He goes on to elaborate in the same chapter on Islam in his Memoirs:
"Consider, for example, the opening declaration of every Islamic prayer: "Allah-o-Akbar". What does that mean? There can be no doubt that the second word of the declaration likens the character of Allah to a matrix which contains all and gives existence to the infinite, to space, to time, to the Universe, to all active and passive forces imaginable, to life and to the soul. Imam Hassan has explained the Islamic doctrine of God and the Universe by analogy with the sun and its reflection in the pool of a fountain; there is certainly a reflection or image of the sun, but with what poverty and with what little reality; how small and pale is the likeness between this impalpable image and the immense, blazing, white-hot glory of the celestial sphere itself. Allah is the sun; and the Universe, as we know it in all its magnitude, and time, with its power, are nothing more than the reflection of the Absolute in the mirror of the fountain" (Memoirs of Aga Khan III, 1954)

I did some research on the subject of the Creation according to the Quran and key personalities in Islam and distilled a series of 28 excerpts and quotes from a wide variety of sources here:

If you follow the 28 sayings from top to bottom, I think you will get an inkling of the cascading sequence of knowledge starting with timeless, instantaneous intellect of the heart at the top and ending with sequential, cogitative and discursive rational intellect of the mind at the bottom. On the other hand, and more importantly, if one follows these sayings from the bottom to the top, we can see how studying about the Universe(what is it made of?, how does it operate?) with the proper attitude and mindset can possibly open up a door to partake in timeless, instantaneous intellect, to be able to say as Sura al-Baqara proclaims: 'Wherever you turn, there is the face of Allah'. This series of 28 sayings was featured on the Ismaili Mail website here:


Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation:Aga Khan 4(2006)
The God of the Quran is the One whose Ayats(Signs) are the Universe in which we live, move and have our being:Aga Khan 3(1952)
Our interpretation of Islam places enormous value on knowledge. Knowledge is the reflection of faith if it is used properly. Seek out that knowledge and use it properly:Aga Khan 4(2005)