Zag Kadah
2 min readAug 6, 2021


August 5, 2021

Escaping into Space

From the Quran:

“O company of the Jinn (sprites) and humans.

If you could escape from the boundaries

Of the heavens and earth,

Do so, for you could only escape by the sanctions of God.”

Quran, 55:33

There are two remarkable things about this verse. First is that it talks about escaping the boundaries of our planet into space. Making such a statement even a short 100 years ago would have made the speaker sound unintelligible or at best a dreamer.

But what if that statement was made 1,400 years ago and addressed to people who did not know much about transportation beyond donkeys, mules, horses, and camels? What is even more remarkable is that the believers accepted such a statement on faith alone without any doubt in their minds. But did they understand the meaning of the words? Not necessarily. By reviewing some of the interpretations given by scholars at the time, we can get a clearer picture.

Most scholars of the day interpreted the verse to mean that on the Day of Judgment, the angels would descend on earth and form a circle — or several circles — to stop people from escaping accountability for their deeds. But Ibn Abbas, who was a student of the prophet and a constant companion of his, provided a remarkable interpretation of the verse, stating that it urges people to seek knowledge about the heavens and the earth. This can be achieved through the sanctions of God, i.e. the knowledge He imparted in us.

The second remarkable thing about the verse is that it does not exclude the possibility of escaping from the boundaries of the earth and heaven. It simply states that if you could do that, it would be through knowledge, and the implication here is that you can do so.

Compare that with other statements in the Quran, which challenge all humans to imitate the Quran. These statements in the Quran make it clear that they never can.

Seeking knowledge was mandated in the Quran and by the teachings of the prophet.

From the Quran:

“…and teaches you scripture and wisdom and teaches you that which you don’t know.”

Quran, 2:282

Also from the Quran:

“…God will exalt those who believe among you,

And those who have the knowledge, to high ranks.”

Quran, 58:11

The prophet teaches us to seek knowledge even if (you must travel as far) in China.