The existence and nature of intelligent species is a more complicated subject in the Islamic worldview. Indeed, one finds the Qur’an on the one hand presenting Man as “God’s vice-regent” on Earth and the beneficiary of “all that is in the heavens and on earth”, and on the other hand reminding us that animals constitute other “communities”, that we are only one (small) part of God’s creation, and that “everyone in the heavens and the earth” shall be brought to judgment on the Day of Reckoning. And a number of commentators have remarked that the Qur’an speaks of beasts, animals, or “living crawling creatures of all kinds” scattered in the heavens and the earth.
I must also stress that few have discussed in any detail the implications of a discovery or encounter with extra-terrestrial species, and those who did, haven't realized the enormous spectrum of physiologies and mental structures and capabilities that can potentially be found out there if we are not alone. What kind of worldviews and beliefs would (very) intelligent species hold? What common denominator could we find for meaningful exchanges with them? What impact will that have on our own understanding of life, the world, and existence?
I will discuss all these issues, presenting both the “standard” Islamic viewpoints and my own.
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