41:11 Then He turned towards the sky, while it was smoke, so that He said to it and to the earth: “Come you both willingly or unwillingly.” They said: “We both come willingly.”
41:11 The word thumma (lit. then, moreover) in the above context has no connotation of sequence of events (2:29). It could be rendered as ‘and’ to refer to the events in the series. To the early audience the word smoke might have provided a surrealistic image of early history of the universe, consistent with the knowledge available at that time, however, in the modern time the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe confirms Qur’ānic testimony of the universe was a nebular mass – graphically a smoky dispersion (21:30). The Qur’ān often personifies various objects; in this case the universe and the earth, to show that had these objects possessed ability to make decision, they would nonetheless obey Allāh. Their willingness to comply with Allāh’s invitation indicates subjugation of the creation to the divine law (cf. 3:83; 13:15).