Guest: Dr. Shabir Ally.
Q: Aliens and extraterrestrial life.
What are extraterrestrial life forms?
Are there any verses in the Quran that hint at their existence?
Would these beings have the potential to be Muslims too, and to abide by the Quran and the Prophet’s teachings?
With me to discuss is Dr. Shabir Ally, President of the Islamic Information & Dawah Centre, Toronto, Canada.
Dr. Shabir, what would it mean for us if there were extraterrestrial life forms?
Dr. Shabir: Let’s think about what the term itself means first.
There is an excellent article about this on the OnIslam website. The article stresses that we must be clear on what we mean by this.
When people think about extraterrestrial life forms nowadays, they are often thinking about the Hollywood images. There are some people who perhaps think that the crash landing of a spaceship in Roswell, New Mexico was carrying alien life forms and that the US government is somehow suppressing this information lest people be concerned about this, and so on.
What is very clear is that the study of the level of Astrophysics, we can be sure that none of this has actually happened. Because to have life as we know it, a planet would have to be like ours, in that it would be distant from its “sun”, but not too distant. Distant enough to not be too hot, and not too far away so that it becomes too cold. It would have to have the right mixture of certain ingredients. It would have to be able to support water, which is essential for life as we know it.
If such intelligent life as human beings emerged in a planet somewhere else, that planet would be very far away. So far, no planet like ours has been discovered within our Solar System, and other systems are very far away.
To give you an idea, light travels at the speed of 186,000 miles per second, or 300,000 kilometers per second. Other systems are some 4.3 billion light years away. So we do have the vastness of our space and the possibility of the hundred billion galaxies that are out there similar to our Milky Way Galaxy and the hundred billion stars within each one, you can have many Earths out there similar to our own and of course intelligent life, but, we don’t have knowledge of them and the distances are so vast that we don’t expect that any of them would have actually arrived on Earth, even given the most advanced technologies they would have.
Q: Of course there is a fear that if there is extraterrestrial life out there, it’s intelligent life and more intelligent that human beings perhaps.
Dr. Shabir: Yes, and if there were such beings out there and they had the capability of traveling and coming to Earth, they wouldn’t be coming in such isolated incidents that are sometimes reported on these conspiracy sites that we can read on the web. There would be teaming with such extraterrestrial visitors, but this is not the case.
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