Astronomers have found at least seven earth-sized planets orbiting the same star 40 light-years away recently published in the journal Nature. These seven exoplanets are all found in tight formation around an ultra-cool dwarf star called TRAPPIST-1. Estimates of their mass also indicate that they are rocky planets, rather than being gaseous like Jupiter. Three planets out of seven are in the habitable zone of the star, known as TRAPPIST-1e, f and g, and may even have oceans on the surface according to researchers. The researchers also believe that TRAPPIST-1f in particular is the best candidate for supporting life. It is a bit cooler than Earth, but could be suitable with the right atmosphere and enough greenhouse gases.
Based on preliminary climate modeling, the researchers believe that the three planets closest to the star may be too warm to support liquid water, while the outermost planet, TRAPPIST-1h, is probably too distant and cold to support water on the surface. Like the moon, the planets closest to the star are tidally locked. This means that the planets always face one way to the star. One side of the planet is perpetually night, while the other is always day.
This discovery outside of our solar system is rare because the planets have the winning combination of being similar in size to Earth and being all temperate, meaning they could have water on their surfaces and potentially support life. However, researchers are encouraged by the discovery of this system because it improves their chances of finding another habitable planet, like Earth, in the future, by knowing where to look.
Although 40 light-years away doesn’t sound too far, it would take us millions of years to reach this star system. But from a research perspective, it is a close opportunity and the best target to search for life beyond our solar system. Life may begin and evolve differently on other planets, so finding the gases that indicate life is the key, according to the researchers. Since this type of star evolves so slowly, this star system will probably outlive us and when our sun dies, TRAPPIST-1 will still be a young star and will live for another trillion years. Thus, after we are gone, if there is another part of the universe for life to carry on, it may be in the TRAPPIST-1 system.
What we know from the Quran in connection with this discovery
When there is a Creator and a Designer behind all the creation, there is an intelligent design too. With any scientific discovery, God’s amazing creations becomes more and more impressive as we learn more about it. Although the Quran was revealed more than 1400 years ago in the Dark Ages but it contains many information related to many scientific discoveries that have occurred recently including the birth of the universe known as Big Bang Theory (21:30-32) and the Expanding Universe (51:47).
[21:30] Do the disbelievers not see that the heavens and the earth were a single entity, then we parted them and we made every living thing from water? Then will not they believe?
[21:31] And we placed in the earth fixed mountains lest it tumbles with them, and we placed wide paths therein so that they may be guided.
[21:32] And we made the heaven a protected roof. But they turn away from its signs.
[51:47] We constructed the heaven with strength, and we will continue to expand it.
There is also mention in the Quran that God has created the universe with seven heavens and the same number of earth. Below are the verses where the instances of seven (sab’a) are found in the Quran that may help us reflect to the discovery of at least three earth-like exoplanets (TRAPPIST-1 e, f and g):
[2:29] He is the One who created for you all what is in the earth (al-ardi), then He turned to the heaven (al-samaa-i) and made seven (sab’a) heavens (samwaatin), and He is aware of everything.
Note: God has first created all things in the earth to support the human beings, and then He has divided the heaven (universe) into seven heavens.
[2:196] And you shall complete the Hajj and the Umrah for God. But if you have been prevented, then (offer from) whatever has obtained with ease of the animal to sacrifice, and you do not shave your heads until the animal to sacrifice reaches its destination. But whoever has been ill among you or with him there is an ailment of his head, then ransom by fasting or charity or practice. Then when you have been secure, then whoever has taken of the Umrah to the Hajj, then (offer from) whatever has obtained with ease of the animal to sacrifice. But whoever cannot find, then fasting for three days during the Hajj and seven (sab’atin) when you have returned. That is ten in all; that is for him whoever of his family does not be nearby the Sacred Masjid. And you shall fear God, and shall know that God is severe in the retribution.
Note: For Hajj the pilgrims are to complete Umrah and Hajj, and make an animal sacrifice, which can be substituted with ten days of fasting – 3 days while in Hajj and 7 days upon return to home. However, the animal sacrifice is a ritual connected to Hajj not for the non-pilgrims has also been confirmed in the verse in addition to the verse (22:36) because of its commandment in sura al-Hajj.
[2:261] The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of God is like a grain that produces seven (sab’a) ears, in each ear there is a hundred grains. Thus, God gives manifold for whomever He wills, and God is Bounteous, Knower.
Note: When we spend in the path of God, our wealth increases as per God is concerned.
[12:43] And the King said: “I have seen seven (sab’a) fat cows are being eaten by seven (sab’un) thin ones and seven (sab’a) green ears and dry others. O my chiefs, explain to me about my dream if you can interpret the dreams.”
[12:46] “Joseph, O the truthful one, explain to us about the seven (sab’i) fat cows are being eaten by seven (sab’un) thin ones and seven (sab’i) green ears and dry others. that I may go back to the people so that they may know.”
Note: The above two verses are the description of the king’s dream.
[12:47] He said: “You will sow as usual for seven (sab’a) years, but whatever you reap, then leave it in its ears, except for a little that you will eat.”
[12:48] “Then after that seven (sab’un) (years) are hard (drought), which will consume what you have in advance for them except a little of what you will store.”
Note: The above two verses are the interpretation of the king’s dream by Joseph.
[15:44] “It has seven (sab’atu) gates. To each gate, there is a specific portion of them.”
Note: The Hell will be brought into existence on the Day of Judgment, which will have seven gates indicating precise punishment for each of those who will go to Hell for their wrong doing.
[15:87] And certainly, we have given you seven (sab’an) pairs and the great Quran.
Note: Here is the reference of the great Quran indicating seven pairs of Quranic initials prefixed to 29 suras known as initialed suras, even connected to know the time of end of the world.
[17:44] The seven (al-sab’u) heavens and the earth glorify Him and whatever is in them, and there is not a single thing but glorifies His praise, while you do not comprehend their glorification. Indeed, He is Forbearing, Forgiving.
Note: There are creations in the seven heavens other than human being who glory their Lord.
[18:22] They will say, “Three, the fourth is their dog.” And they say, “Five, the sixth is their dog,” guessing at what they do not know. And they say, “Seven (sab’atun), and the eighth is their dog.” Say, “My Lord is fully aware of their number, none know them except for a few.” So do not debate in them except with clear argument, and do not ask for information about them from anyone.
Note: This is the story around the dwellers of the cave. There is evidence that the dwellers were the young Christians who followed the teachings of Jesus but fled away from the prosecution of the neo-Christians who corrupted the Christianity while the exact number of dwellers in the cave is known to God and those who are well found with knowledge.
[23:17] And indeed, we created above you seven (sab’a) heavens, and we are not unaware of the creation.
Note: God has created seven heavens and He is aware of every creation in them.
[23:86] Say, “Who is the Lord of the seven (al-sab’i) heavens and the Lord of the great dominion?”
Note: God has divided the universe into seven heavens and He is the Lord of it.
[31:27] If all the trees in the earth were made into pens and the ocean would be (ink), adding seven (sab’atu) to it one after another and the words of God would not run out. God is Almighty, Most Wise.
Note: The Quran has all the words of God that we need to lead a righteous life through our perfect beliefs and proper practicing His rites given to us.
[41:12] Thus, He completed them as seven (sab’a) heavens in two days, and He set to each heaven its laws. And we provided the lowest heaven with lamps and guard. Such is the design of the Almighty, the Omniscient.
Note: God has designed and created seven heavens in two days and set to each heaven its set laws while He has provided the lowest heaven with lamps and guard.
[65:12] God is the One who created the seven (sab’a) heavens and the earth, as like of them. The command flows among them that God is powerful over all things and that God is fully aware of all things.
Note: God has created seven heavens and the same number of the earth. The command flows among them and He is aware of all things.
[67:3] He created the seven (sab’a) heavens in layers. You do not see any imperfection in the creation of the Most Gracious. So turn the vision, do you see any flaw?
Note: God has created seven heavens in layers with perfection.
[69:7] He unleashed it upon them for seven (sab’a) nights and eight days, continuously. You could see the people tossed around like decayed palm trunks.
Note: The people of Ad were destroyed by persistent and violent storm for seven nights and eight days.
[71:15] Do you not see, how God created the seven (sab‘a) heavens in layers?
Note: God has created seven heavens in layers.
[78:12] And we built above you seven (sab’an) strong (heavens).
Note: God has built seven perfect heavens above us.
The 24 instances of sab’a are found in 20 verses across 13 suras of the Quran. If the relevant sura # and verse # are added, the sum is a multiple of 19 =>1653 = 19x87 (See table below for details):
Note: The instance 46 represents the verse 46 which is the repetition of the verse 43 of the same sura where the seven is mentioned for 3 different elements: 7 fat cows, 7 thin cows and 7 green ears and dry others.
This mathematical confirmation indicates the relationship of the creation of the flawless universe with the achievement of righteousness and the reward, specific knowledge given to certain people, the violent and precise punishment for the wicked, and the signs to know the time of end of the world.
There are 24 instances of sab’a (seven) in the Quran in different contexts. The details are given in the context of the creation of the heavens and the earth that God has created all things to support us in the earth, then He made the universe into seven heavens and that He is aware of the creation in them and is the Lord of the seven heavens and of the great dominion. He created the seven heavens in layers without imperfection as well as with strength above us. He created the seven heavens in two days and set laws for each heaven. He created the seven heavens and the same number of the earth, and the command flows among them.
The other contexts are related to the Hajj ritual, a manifold reward for spending in the path of God, a special knowledge given to His servant for interpretation of certain matter, the seven pairs given as a sign to the great Quran and the history of the dwellers of the cave connected to predict the end of the world based on Quran, Quran being complete with God’s words is a source of knowledge for us, the destruction of the people of Ad through violent storm, and the seven gates to be given to the Hell to impose the precise punishment for the unappreciative and the wicked upon equitable judgment.
This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments, places that are conducive to life, and finding so many planets like these for the first time in the habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal. However, the Quran outlines the astronomical facts being mathematically confirmed to give us a clue how far researchers would be able to go. Thus, this discovery may be an opportunity for the intellectual community to realize that God has efficiently designed the universe and has given us knowledge to explore it to know the truth to be appreciative to Him, and if they can do it may save them in the eternal life that starts with the death.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.