‘Ālamīn and Extraterrestrial Species
Question asked by .
Answered by Siddiq Bukhary

There is a verse in the Holy Qur’rān about which I would request you to enlighten me. It reads:

We did not send you but as a mercy to ‘Ālamīn (worlds). (21:107)

What does this word, ‘Ālamīn, refer to? Is there any possibility of being extraterrestrial species on some other planet, which pray, praise and obey Allah and accept Muhammad (sws) as their Prophet and idealise him as a sublime example to follow.


‘Ālamīn should be understood in the particular style and diction of the Qur’ān. This word does not always imply a plurality as to mean the worlds, that is, other planets like this earth which sustains life and accommodates beings like humans. The Qur’ān, often, uses this word for expressing ‘totality’, ‘magnitude’, ‘expanse’ of this world and of those who subsist in it. It is this implication that is the purport of the verse in question. It therefore means that the Holy Prophet (sws) is a blessing for whole mankind. You can see various examples of this usage in the Qur’ān. I quote:

O children of Israel! remember my favour wherewith I favoured you and how I preferred you to ‘Ālamīn (all mankind). (2:47)

Lo! Allah preferred Adam and Noah and the family of Abraham and the family of ‘Imrān above ‘Ālamīn (all mankind). (3:33)

And when the angels said O Mary Lo! Allah has chosen you and made you pure and preferred you above all the women of ‘Ālamīn (this world). (3:42)

As for the possibility of being extraterrestrial species on some other planet in addition to this world, we need to bear in mind that this has nothing to do with the theme of the Holy Qur’ān. I do not think it is appropriate to extrapolate on the basis of the allusions made in the Holy Qur’ān in order to formulate scientific notions. There are established scientific techniques to figure out the nature and form of this universe and we had better confine ourselves to these techniques. Hence, we neither affirm nor rebut the notion of extraterrestrial beings.

One thing that should remain crystal clear in our mind is that the Qur’ān has its own style and diction. This can only be properly understood and appreciated if we interpret it keeping in view its particular characteristics.


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