In Surah Al-Rehman, there is a challenge for both men and jinn to penetrate the heavens. What is this referring to and what are its implications. Many people find in this a reference towards space travel, which to my mind is a stretch of imagination.
I fully agree with you that the referred verse is not referring to space travel. On the other hand, the referred verse, if seen together with a couple of its preceding verses, is actually informing the Jinn and the men that soon God shall bring a Day of Judgment, on which the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ shall meet their respective promised ends. Thus, if the men and the jinn want to avoid facing that Day, they may, if they can, try to free themselves from the boundaries that God has set for them. They may try as hard as they can, but they shall never be able to get out of the boundaries of the heavens and the earth, except that God Himself grants them permission to do so. Thus, if they cannot even cross the boundaries of the heavens and the earth, they should consider the fact that how impossible would it be for them to get out of God’s control.
The verse reads as:
O group of Jinn and men, if you can cross the limits of the heavens and the earth, then you may cross them; You shall never be able to cross them, except with God’s permission. (Al-Rahman 55:33)
This verse, as should be clear from the foregoing explanation, has nothing to do with space travel.
December 26, 2000