By : Magdy Abd Al-Shafy

What does Holy Quran says about the pulsar

The Holy Quran , the last revealed authenticated book , is replete with scientific facts that have been discovered already and have become scientifically established ,and there are still many to be discovered in the course of time . One might ask why ? the answer is : besides the many other miracle of the prophet that are the same as Jesus and Moses and even Abraham , the Holy Quran is the immortal miracle which is considered the true miracle of prophet Mohummmed . People in every age can see its miracle . We are now at the age of science . People , to believe in God , needs miracles that match the miracle of this age , The time of Moses was the age of magic , so Moses' were some thing that overpowered magic and even excelled this magic ,people in the time of Jesus were clever in medicine , So most of Jesus miracles were something medical , he cured many incurable diseases. Though I truly believe in them , some people are scrupulous about these as they did not see them themselves.

So , now , what is best way to convince those atheists of the existence of God and what is the best way to prove the divinity of any book that its adherents claim its divinity – It should be something suitable to the age –the age of science.

The Holy Quran gives the answer and even stands in the face of all the claims of atheism

Among the many scientific facts that are mentioned is the Pulsar

God says in the Holy Quran what could be translated " Soon will We show them Our Signs in the (furthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that thy Lord doth witness all things?"

The universe , as Islam , considers the open Book that proves the existence of God;many scientific facts were mentioned in the Holy Quran to strengthen the belief of the believers and to take people back to God.

The Holy Quran mentions the pulsar by one of its most outstanding features ; Read the following verse from the Holy Quran :

والسماء والطارق وما أدراك ما الطارق النجم الثاقب ان كل نفس لما عليها حافظ

God says in the Holy Quran " I swear] by Heaven and the Tariq ( The Knocker ) ! And what will convey to you what the Tariq is? The Star Piercing [the darkness]! (Qur'an, 86:1-3) "

The word ( Tarek and the word Al-thakeb ) are two different Arabic words that are used in the above-mentioned verse to describe the Pulsar , the word Altarek means in English " the Knocker or that beats quickly and the word " Al-thakeb" means " piercing ", these two characteristics ( knocker and piercing ) are one of the most specific features of pulsar .

Let's first read the following information about the pulsar and we will be back again to the holy verse.


Pulsars originate when an old, massive star explodes as a supernova. In this process, the core of the star implodes. The core collapses through the white dwarf stage until its constituent protons and electrons combine to form neutrons. If it is not too massive (less than 1.4 times the mass of the Sun) it can stabilize at this point as a very hot, incredibly dense ball of neutrons with a thin crust of ordinary matter on its surface. Neutron stars are spinning rapidly when they form - up to about 800 and even one thousand rotations per second - and slow down as they age. These pulses of the pulsar are reminiscent of heart-beats or someone's knocking quickly at door.

pulsar is a highly magnetized neutron star, with a radius of 10-15 km, having somewhat greater mass than the Sun which has a radius of approximately 1 million km. Radiation is beamed out along the magnetic poles and pulses of radiation are received as the beam crosses the Earth, in the same manner as the beam from a lighthouse causes flashes. Being enormous cosmic flywheels with a tick attached, they make some of the best clocks known to mankind.

Diagram of a pulsar

A diagram of a pulsar, showing its rotation axis and its magnetic axis

Because they are so small, most neutron stars cannot be seen with optical telescopes, even very large ones. However, they have extremely strong magnetic fields.

Neutron stars form as the nuclei of super giant stars collapse. The highly compressed and dense matter, in the form of a rapidly revolving sphere, entraps and squeezes most of the star's weight and magnetic field. The powerful magnetic field created by these rapidly revolving neutron stars has been shown to cause the emission of powerful radio waves observable on Earth.

The magnetic field creates a hot-spot above each magnetic pole, which produces an intense beam of radiation that is strongest at radio wavelengths.

The Crab Nebula From the Ground (left) and Its Interior With Pulsar

The magnetic field axis is offset from the rotation (spin) axis. Hence if the pulsar is oriented suitably so that the beam can shine in our direction, as the pulsar spins we detect a pulse of radio waves each time the beam flashes past the radio telescope. The rotating lights on emergency vehicles produces flashes in the same way. Neutron stars have very intense magnetic fields, about 1,000,000,000,000 times stronger than Earth's own field. However, the axis of the magnetic field is not aligned with the neutron star's rotation axis. The combination of this strong magnetic field and the rapid rotation of the neutron star produces extremely powerful electric fields, with electric potential in excess of 1,000,000,000,000 volts. Electrons are accelerated to high velocities by these strong electric fields. 

Read the following comparison   


Typical Magnetic Field srengths

object Strength (Gauss)
Earth magnetic Field 0.6
Simple iron bar magnet 100
Strongest sustained laboratory fields 4 x 105
Strongest man-made fields (millisecond duration 107
Maximum field for ordinary stars 106
Typical fields for radio pulsars 1012
Magnetars 1014 - 1015

As matter grows denser in the core as it revolves around its own axis, the star's magnetic field also grows stronger, and thus gives rise to a magnetic field at its poles 1 trillion times stronger than that of Earth. They realised that a body revolving so fast and with such a powerful magnetic field emits rays consisting of very powerful radio waves in a conic form at every revolution. Shortly afterwards, it was also realised that the source of these signals is the rapid revolution of neutron stars.

artist concept of neutron star

This image shows strong magnetic fields running in loops from pole to pole. Radiation in the form of X-rays appears to pulse on and off as hot patches of gas are exposed at the poles with the neutron star's rotation. (The axis of rotation is different from the axis of the magnetic field.)

The word "pulsar" comes from the verb to pulse. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the word means to pulsate, to beat. Encarta Dictionary defines it as to beat rhythmically, to move or throb with a strong regular rhythm. Again, according to the Encarta Dictionary, the word "pulsate," which comes from the same root, means to expand and contract with a strong regular beat.

Following that discovery, it was realised that the phenomenon described in the Qur'an as "tariq," beating, bore a great similarity to the neutron stars known as pulsars.

Neutron Star Anatomy

a neutron star's anatomy is very simple, and it has three main layers: A solid core, a "liquid" mantle, and a thin, solid crust. Neutron stars also have a very tiny (a few centimeters - about an inch) atmosphere, but this is not very important in the functioning of the star. Typical sizes for these parts are about 1 km for the crust, and 10 km for the mantle and core combined.

A model of a neutron star's internal structure

A model of a neutron star's internal structure

A neutron star also has two axes - a magnetic one and an axis of rotation. Just as Earth's magnetic axis does not run through the geographic poles, a neutron star's axes rarely line up.

We can say that a neutron star is a star made entirely out of neutrons, as the name suggests. These are the remains of stars that had between 1.4 and 9 times the mass of our sun (solar masses). After a star goes nova, the remaining core collapses while the outer layers are blasted off into space to create a nebula. Gravity shrinks and condenses the core into a sphere about the size of Manhattan (25 km (15 mile) diameter) within a few seconds. A neutron star is so dense that a pinhead's worth of material from one would weigh as much as a supertanker.


Compare the diameter of the pulsar , the earth and the sun

So a pulsar is a star - a very small, unusual star, though, with a diameter of about 20km. Compare this with our Sun, which is an "ordinary" star:

Back again to the Holy Quran

[I swear] by Heaven and the Tariq ( The Knocker ) ! And what will convey to you what the Tariq is? The Star Piercing [the darkness]! (Qur'an, 86:1-3)

God in the above mentioned verse , though He needn't swear , Did swear by that star.when God swears , he swears by something great and also what He swear on is assuredly great.

The word "Tariq," name of the Sura 86, comes from the Arabic root "tarq," whose basic meaning is that of striking hard enough to produce a sound, or hitting. Bearing in mind the word's possible meaning as "beating," "striking hard," our attention may be being drawn in this sura to an important scientific fact. Before analysing this information, let us look at the other words employed in the verse to describe these stars. The term "al-taariqi" in the above verse means a star that pierces the night, that pierces the darkness, born at night, piercing and moving on, beating, striking, or sharp star. Furthermore, the term "wa" draws attention to the things being sworn on-the heaven and the Tariq.

press here to listen to the pulsar

In the third verse of Surat at-Tariq the term "al-najmu al-thaaqibu," meaning piercing, moving on, or opening holes, indicates that Tariq is a bright star that pierces a hole in the darkness and moves on. The concept of the term "adraaka" in the expression "And what will convey to you what the Tariq is?" refers to comprehension. Pulsars, formed through the compression of stars several times the size of the Sun, are among those celestial bodies that are hard to comprehend. The question in the verse emphasizes how hard it is to comprehend this beating star. (Allah knows best.

As discussed, the stars described as Tariq in the Qur'an bear a close similarity to the pulsars described in the 20th century, and may reveal to us another scientific miracle of the Qur'an.

The significance of the word piercing

The word " piercing " in Arabic has three meanings and all these meanings match description of the pulsar

(a)(Althakeb in Arabic means , according to Arabic dictionary ,piercing , this star is composed of neutrons which are electrically neutral . A neutron is the heaviest particles in the atom , being electrically neutral , it penetrates the atom easily . so the word " piercing in the holy Quran" is the best word to describe this feature of the pulsar,

(b)This star emits very strong waves that pierce anything whatever it could be , it pierces even our bodies . Though these stars are so far , the effect of these stars was found at the bottom of the seas . So the Quran , God's wordhas used the Arabic word"Thakeb " in English "piercing " to describe this star by one of its features

The Holy verse in the Holy Quran refers assuredly to the pulsar,and not to any othercelestial object ,simply because of the following points :

Characteristics of the celestial object mentioned in 86:1-3 are:

1- It pulsates (knocks) 2- It is a star  3- It penetrates, pierces, drills.

These pulsars , though originate in massive explosion being encompassed with dense matter , they strikingly begin to shine with strong light and radiation that pierce every celestial body , the Quranic word " Thakeb " gives the two meanings . Scientists use many words to describe these pulsars but the Holy Quran use just two words that imply all the characteristics of the pulsar .

The rest of the holy verse adds a new unseen fact , it states that every one of us has angels , these angels write down what man does , nothing could escape them . So fast are they , their fastness associates harmoniously with the fastness of pulsars that reach up to one thousand rotations per second . Everyone will be reckoned for every thing .In another verse God says what means says "When the earth is shaken to her (utmost) convulsion, And the Earth throws up her burdens (from within), And man cries (distressed): What is the matter with her? On that Day will she declare her tidings: For that thy Lord will have given her inspiration. On that Day will men proceed in companies sorted out, to be shown the Deeds that they (had done). Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it."

In another verse God says what means says " Not a word does he utter but there is a sentinel by him, ready (to note it). "

In another verse God says what means says "That man can have nothing but what he strives for"

In another word God what means says "O ye who believe! Fear God, and let every soul look to what (provision) he has sent forth for the morrow. Yea, fear God: for God is well acquainted with (all) that ye do."

And now :

Having read this article ,one should ask himself these questions :

How did prophet Mohummed , who was unlettered ,know this amazing fact that has been discovered recently ?

How did he know this very specific feature of this star?

How could he , if he was imposter , talk about these facts that science will give its opinion about later ?

The Answer is: "It is God , the creator , the All-knowing, Who reveasled facts in the Holy Quran.

When one reads this miracle and the all the other miracles in the Holy Quran , one must believe in the Holy Quran as God's final word to the world.

Do you still need proves that Islam is God's final word?

What is sworn on in this verse?

Man doesn't stand alone in this life ; that is what the rest of the verse implies ; the swore by a sensible object for something unseen : Man was created in this life to know God and to worship Him

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   (1) http://www.harunyahya.com/articles/miracles_universe.php

(2)  www.wikipedia.org

   (3)pictures taken from Nasa website

  (4) Dr Yahya Al-Magry (Arbic refrence)

  (5) Dr Zagloul Al-Nagar ( lecture on the Egyptian Tv)

(6) http://www.55a.net/firas/arabic/index.php?age=show_det&id=1182&select_page=12