Creation of the Universe


Āfarīnish-i Dunyā (Creation of the universe) is a book about cosmogony. It describes and compares several cultural, religious, and scientific narratives about the origins of the universe. The book is a translation into Tajik Persian from a Tatari Turkic language (most probably from Azari), and it was published by the Tajik government press in Tashkent and Stalinabad (present-day Dushanbe) in 1929. The translator is identified as ʻAbd Allah Shinasi, about whom nothing else is known. The book is organized in three sections. Section one discusses and criticizes Judaic, Islamic, and several other religiously inspired ancient and medieval descriptions of the creation of the universe. The author (or possibly the translator) makes fun of these narratives, such as Mesopotamian, Judaic, and Islamic narratives holding that God created the world in six days or that the earth rests upon the two horns of a cow that resides over a fish that swims in the waters. After outlining the various Mesopotamian, Judaic, and Islamic creation stories, the author devotes section two to a discussion of the scientific explanation of the creation of the universe, including such topics as the rotation of the Earth and other planets in the solar system. Section three concludes the book with a critique of the Qur’anic verses that Muslims take as evidence regarding the creation of the universe. The book is typical of works produced in Central Asia in the early 20th century, when Muslim modernists, known as Jadids, were questioning the role of religion in society.

Last updated: September 29, 2016