Our Cosmic (In)Significance With Stephen Hawking

via Guardian Animations

Today, we lost modern cosmology’s brightest star who was born on the death of Galileo and died on the birth of Einstein. I feel like humanity took a giant leap backwards, but as one assured me, there are people who will strive harder in his name.

While the majority are mourning the loss of this brilliant mind, others are shoving his “lack of faith” down our throats. This, coming from the people whose Prophet stood up when a funeral of Jew passed by him. And when it was said to him, the Prophet replied with, “Was he not a soul?

In Islam, there is no conflict between God and Science, and critical thinking is encouraged. The Qur’an challenges and instructs us to contemplate the wonders of creation, as Allah (SWT) emphasises the need for us to think rationally and scientifically. For a sincere Muslim, science is a blessing bestowed on mankind.

“Reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth …” (3:191)

Quran advocates this level of thinking because naturally, superficial thinking alone isn’t enough to cut through the beliefs and faiths that people have held onto for centuries. Thus, for many centuries, Muslims led the world in exploration and scientific inquiry.

And that’s exactly what Stephen Hawking did, too. His work substantially contributed to the understanding of the universe which we (as Muslims) believe is created by Allah (SWT). The contradictory elements aside, we cannot deny the fact that he made us aware of our cosmic (in)significance, because when we reflect on the vastness of the universe, our humdrum cosmic location and the inevitable future demise of humanity, our lives seem utterly insignificant.  He beat the ‘expected’ time and made it worth, and we are lucky to have existed in the same time and on the same planet as Stephen Hawking.

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.” – Stephen Hawking

Thank you for everything.

“His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake. But it’s not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

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