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Last Updated: 2007/02/22
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What does Islam say about life on other planets?
my other question is that what does Islam says about the life on other planets?
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            Man has always pondered the thought of whether or not there are other living organisms or intelligent life forms in other galaxies or on other planets; however a definite answer has yet to be found.

            Interpretations of the Quran have indicated the existence of living creatures in the heavens, such as:

1.      The expression “Min Dabbah”: Among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and whatever creatures He has scattered in them and He is able to gather them whenever He wishes.[1]

2.      The phrase “Man Fil Samawat”: Everyone in the heavens and the earth asks Him. Every day He is engaged in some work.[2]

To Allah prostrates whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth, including animals and angels, and they are not arrogant.[3] 

The seven heavens glorify Him, and the earth [too], and whoever is in them.[4]

3.      The term “Mashareq Wa Maghareb”: So I swear by the Lord of the easts and wests that we are able.[5]

4.      The term “Al-Alameen”[6]: All praise belongs to Allah Lord of all the worlds.[7]


Out of the verses which have been presented, only the first verse[8] and the verses which contain the word “Al-Alameen” [the worlds or universes] in it indicate the probability of life on other planets.[9]

            In the commentary of the first verse, Allameh Tabataba’ie (May Allah have mercy on his soul) says: the apparent meaning of this verse is that there are living creatures (Dawab) in the heavens similar to those on earth…[10]

            In Tafsir Nemuneh it says: this verse indicates the existence of several kinds of living beings in the heavens although scientist have not yet been able to prove this with certainty and they vaguely say life on other planets does exist, yet in the Quran this reality has been expressed explicitly; that there are also an abundant amount of living creatures in the vastness of the skies.[11]

            In a tradition from of Hazrat Ali (Peace be upon him) it is said that: These stars which are in the sky are like cities similar to the cities on earth, every city with another city (every star with another star) is connected by pillars of light.[12]


As far as the indication of the Quranic verse in relation to life on other planets, a few points need to be mentioned:

1.      The word “Samaa” and “Samawat” has been mentioned in the Quran having a few different meanings: Above (directional), planets in the sky, atmosphere of the earth, etc.[13]

The implication of life on other planets in this verse is correct when the term “Samawat” denotes ‘planets in the sky’, yet it is possible that in the verse mentioned above the word “Samawat” represents the levels of atmosphere surrounding the earth and “Dabbah” may be referring to the microscopic life forms (such as viruses and the likes), and large creatures (such as birds) which surround the atmosphere.


2.      Taking into consideration the fact that the existence of life on other planets has not yet been proven, and is regarded as a significant probability; consequently, no concrete association can be made to the Quran regarding the existence of life on other planets.


In conclusion, as the basis of probable exegesis these verses may be a kind of scientific mystery foretelling about the future which has not yet been confirmed by scientist.

[1] {42:29} وَمِنْ آیَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَثَّ فِیهِمَا مِن دَابَّةٍ وَهُوَ عَلَى جَمْعِهِمْ إِذَا یَشَاء قَدِیرٌ

[2] {55:29} یَسْأَلُهُ مَن فِی السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ کُلَّ یَوْمٍ هُوَ فِی شَأْنٍ

[3] {16:49}وَلِلّهِ یَسْجُدُ مَا فِی السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِی الأَرْضِ مِن دَآبَّةٍ وَالْمَلآئِکَةُ وَهُمْ لاَ یَسْتَکْبِرُونَ

[4] {17:44} تُسَبِّحُ لَهُ السَّمَاوَاتُ السَّبْعُ وَالأَرْضُ وَمَن فِیهِنَّ 

[5] {70:40} فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِرَبِّ الْمَشَارِقِ وَالْمَغَارِبِ إِنَّا لَقَادِرُونَ; See: Sura Safaat – Verse 5; Sura A’araf – Verse 137

[6] This word “Al-Alameen” has been mentioned 61 times in the Holy Quran.

[7] {1:2} الْحَمْدُ للّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِینَ

[8] Sura Shura – Verse 29

[9] For more information see: “Research of The Scientific Miracles of The Quran” – Raza’ie Isfihani: Volume 1, Pages 195-206

[10] See: Al-Mizan - Volume 18, Page 58

[11] See: Tafsir Nemuneh - Volume 20, Pages 436-439

[12] Safinatul Bahar: Volume 2, Page 574 – Word Entry “Najm” (narrated from the commentary of Ali Ibn Ibrahim). ( هذه النجوم فی السماء مدائن مثل المدائن التی فی الارض مربوطة کل مدینة الی عمود من نور. )

[13] See: Tafsir Nemuneh - Volume 1, Pages165-166

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