The Telegraph recently reported some perplexing news – “respected” American astrobiologists casually discuss the potential existence of extraterrestrial life forms, i.e., “aliens”:
The Fermi paradox questions why aliens have never visited Earth despite the Universe being so old and so vast that races should have evolved interstellar travel and come calling by now.
Now two scientists believe they may have the answer.
Astrobiologists Dr Michael Wong, of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, and Dr Stuart Bartlett, of California Institute of Technology, have hypothesised that civilisations burn out when they grow too large and technical.
Faced with an ever-growing population and eye-watering energy consumption, worlds hit a crisis point known as a “singularity” where innovation can no longer keep up with demand.
The only alternative to collapse is to abandon “unyielding growth” and adopt a balance that allows survival but prevents the society moving any further forward, or venturing far from its own spot in the universe.
Writing in the Royal Society Open Science, Dr Wong and Dr Bartlett said: “We propose a new resolution to the Fermi paradox: civilisations either collapse from burnout or redirect themselves to prioritising homeostasis, a state where cosmic expansion is no longer a goal, making them difficult to detect remotely.
And it’s not just scientists. We also recently learned that the US Congress is set to “hold the first open hearing on UFOs in half-century”.
All of this raises two interesting points:
- Western scientists considering the probable existence of aliens; and
- A critique of “growth” ideology, one of the main features of modern capitalism, which is to industry and technology what “progressivism” is to traditional cultures and moral values.
Within this article we will only be focusing on the first point: secular belief in aliens. The second point (regarding “growth” ideology) may be discussed in a future article, if Allah permits.
RELATED: Progressive Muslims Are Pathetic
Aliens: Secularism’s Jinn
The belief in the ghayb, i.e., “the unseen” or “the invisible” as it’s often translated (or the non-empirical in general) is a foundational Muslim belief mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Part of this belief is the existence of extra-sensorial non-human beings such as the angels and the jinn. The latter even has an entire Qur’anic chapter (surah 72) named after them. This surah also describes how not all jinn are “evil” as many of them are actually Muslims.
Some modernists have adopted a materialistic approach to jinn, declaring them to be germs or microbes. This is due to such modernists having fallen under the spell of Western science – especially modern discoveries in medicine and bacteriology. In normative Islam however, we know that the jinn are a unique being, like “spirits” (for lack of a better term). They possess “consciousness” and volition, and although they exist in our world and are able to influence it, they have a somewhat parallel existence to our own.
And it seems that the secular West has found its own jinn in the form of aliens.
RELATED: Angels Are Not Mindless Robots
The secular West’s double standards are glaringly evident from how they deal with “irrationality”. When this so-called irrationality is linked with religion it’s a problem. However, when it comes to things like “gender fluidity” it’s completely fine. Another example that can be mentioned is how the “clairvoyant” Edgar Cayce was extremely popular during the early 20th-century.
And it’s the same story when it comes to aliens. The secular West, unable to fight its innate tendency to believe in the ghayb, proposes the likely existence of a non-human species which could communicate with our world – the same way Muslims believe in the jinn!
Of course all of this is done in the name of their own religion: science. They even have their own priests in the form of astrobiologists etc.
This belief of theirs is of the same nature as ours, even if they try and add some pseudo-empiricist spice: there may be tangible elements pointing towards the existence of aliens. They fail to grasp how we too say there are “tangible elements” regarding the influences of the jinn within our world.
RELATED: Rationality is Not the Whole Truth
Major scientists who hold (or have held) this belief in aliens include the likes of the late influential British physicist Stephen Hawking, who was against communicating with aliens as he believes their “superior tech” could destroy human civilization.
Another more recent example is Israeli astrophysicist Avi Loeb who says that ʻOumuamua, a known interstellar object detected passing through the Solar System, is proof for the existence of aliens.
Avi Loeb, who again is not a “rogue religious fanatic” but rather someone who served as the chair of Harvard University’s Astronomy Department for almost a decade, even released a book about this in 2021 named Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth. Avi Loeb is the Head and co-founder of the “Galileo Project” which is described as follows on its official website:
In 2017, the world for the first time observed an interstellar object, called ‘Oumuamua, that was briefly visiting our Solar system. Based on astronomical observations, ‘Oumuamua turned out to have highly anomalous properties that defy well-understood natural explanations. We can only speculate whether ‘Oumuamua may be explained by never seen before natural explanations, or by stretching our imagination to ‘Oumuamua perhaps being an extraterrestrial technological object, similar to a very thin light-sail or communication dish, which fits the astronomical data rather well.
Given the recently discovered abundance of Earth-Sun systems, the Galileo Project is dedicated to the proposition that humans can no longer ignore the possible existence of Extraterrestrial Technological Civilizations (ETCs), and that science should not dogmatically reject potential extraterrestrial explanations because of social stigma or cultural preferences, factors which are not conducive to the scientific method of unbiased, empirical inquiry. We now must ‘dare to look through new telescopes’, both literally and figuratively.
Such faith in aliens sounds pretty similar to our own belief in the jinn. American author and poet (and also a convert to Islam) Charles Upton, actually made a direct connection between jinn and aliens while discussing the UFO phenomenon (that of unidentified flying objects appearing in the sky) in 2001 within his book, The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age.
He writes in the seventh chapter:
‘Aliens’ are members of the Jinn.
According to Jacques Vallee, the most balanced and reliable of UFO researchers, who was invited to present his findings at a closed conference with U.N. General Secretary Kurt Waldheim (his Messengers of Deception, And/Or Press, Berkeley, 1969 and 1994, is a must-read), the phenomenon has three aspects.
(1) It is a real, and inexplicable, phenomenon which appears on radar and leaves real physical traces.
(2) It is a psychic phenomenon which profoundly affects people’s perceptions.
(3) It is surrounded by deceptions of the ‘Mission Impossible’ variety produced by actual human groups, apparently for the purpose of affecting mass belief.
But how can we possibly put these three facts together?
If UFOs are physically real, we say, then they must be spaceships.
If they are psychic, then they must either be the product of mass hysteria, or real psychic entities. But if they are ‘staged’, then how can they be either? The mind grapples for closure.
If they are spaceships, then we must turn to astronomy, NASA and the Defense Department for information on them. If they are subtle entities, then the psychics will tell us what they are up to. And if they are staged events, then we must rely on counter-intelligence and investigative reporting.
But if they are all three…? The critical mind tries to make sense of this, fails, and then shuts down. It is meant to.
Later on in the book he puts forward the idea of linking aliens with jinn. However we won’t be as categorical in declaring that aliens are jinn (or “members of the jinn” as he puts it). This is precisely because it is a matter of the ghayb regarding which we can only speculate in the absence of clear information provided by the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
Yet the question remains:
Why won’t any of these secular Western scientists equate aliens with jinn? And if they’re not willing to go that far, why won’t they at least acknowledge that according to their own principles, the Muslim belief in jinn is just as rational as their belief in aliens?