ATHÎR – أثير
The subtle matter encompassing everywhere, which exists in all the universe. That is the matter that fills all spaces, among the stars and universe, among the atoms and the spaces inside of the atoms. The subtle matter, which is the means for spreading the electric, light, heat, powers of attraction and repulsion. The fluid, thin matter which cannot be seen or identified by the technical devices.
The atoms and the particles of them like electron, neutron and positron are created from the athîr.
“This âyah indicates that the earth was created before the samâwât, while the âyah وَ اْلاَرْضَ بَعْدَ ذلِكَ دَحَيهَا 1 shows that the samâwât were created before the earth. Then the âyah كَانَتَا رَتْقًا فَفَتَقْنَاهُمَا 2 indicates that they were created together and then split apart as the same matter.
Understand secondly that the teachings (naqliyat) of the Sharî’ah suggest that Allah Taâ’lâ created firstly a substance, that is, matter, then He manifested [His power] on it and made a part of it steam and a part fluid. Then through his manifestation, the fluid part thickened and became froth. Out of this, He created the earth or the seven globes of the earths. Then a sky was formed for each of these earths out of the wafting atmosphere. Then He expanded the steamy matter and arranged the [seven] samâwât out of it, planting the stars in them. So the samâwât took form containing the nuclei of the stars.
According to the assumptions and theories of modern science, the solar system, together with the samâwât in which it floats, were a simple substance which was transformed into a sort of steam. Out of this, some fiery liquescent matter was formed, part of which cooled down and solidified. Then due to its motion, the liquescent matter threw off [into space] sparks and pieces which broke up. These became compressed and turned into the planets, one of which is our earth.
If you have understood this, you may correlate these two explanations, for it is possible that the âyah كَانَتَا رَتْقًا فَفَتَقْنَاهُمَا 3 indicates that the earth and the solar system were a sort of dough kneaded by the hand of qoudrah out of a simple substance; I mean athîr, which compared with beings is a fluid substance that passes through and among them. The âyah وَ كَانَ عَرْشُهُ عَلَىالْمَاءِ 4 alludes to this matter, which resembles water.
After its creation, the athîr received As-Sâni’s first manifestation giving existence; that is, He created “al-athîr”, then He made it into the fundamental atoms (jawâhir farda), then some of these He made dense and out of them created the seven globes, of which our earth is inhabited. Then the earth solidified before all the rest, speedily forming a crust, and over a long period of time became the source of life while up to the present most of the samâwî bodies remained in a fiery fluid state. In so far as this was the case its creation and formation was before that of the samâwât. And since its uses and benefits and its being "spread out" - that is, arranged and set in order - were completed after the arrangement and ordering of the samâwât, the samâwât were previous in this respect, although [the samâwât and earth] were together at the beginning.” Signs of Miraculousness ( 254 )