Technology is God’s mercy on human beings! All the entities that appear before us every day are proofs of God’s sublime creation. Any attentive eye closely examining these entities will see that they possess completely miraculous features. The fact that some people fail to see this glorious creation they encounter every day generally stems from a failure to look carefully.
Technology is human being’s shaping of the elements in the world according to a particular objective. If we look at the technological products around us we see that they all consist of metals such as iron, copper, zinc and aluminium, or else of plastic, a side-product of oil. If these substances, and metals in particular, did not exist on Earth, if human beings lacked the means to make use of them, then it would be impossible to speak of technology at all.
Careful examination of just a few of these elements shows just what miraculous structures these substances, the existence of which we are so familiar in our daily lives, actually possess. In his book Nature’s Destiny, which describes how the laws of nature and the elements in the universe are all specially designed for human life, the famous Australian molecular biologist Michael Denton says this about the element iron:
Of all the metals there is none more essential to life than iron… It was the drawing by gravity of iron atoms to the center of the primeval earth that generated the heat which caused the initial chemical differentiation of the earth, the outgassing of the early atmosphere, and ultimately the formation of the hydrosphere…
Michael Denton goes on to stress the great importance of iron, essential for flawless respiration, to the human metabolism:
And it is iron which by its delicate association with oxygen in the hemoglobin in human blood is able to convey in subdued form this most ferociously reactive atoms, the precious giver of energy, to the respiratory machinery of the cell, where oxygen’s energies are utilized to fuel the activities of life.
This makes it clear that iron is a metal of the greatest importance to every stage of life, from the most fundamental physical balances to our ability to use the air we breath. In Denton’s words:
Without the iron atom, there would be no carbon-based life in the cosmos; no supernovae, no heating of the primitive earth, no atmosphere or hydrosphere. There would be no protective magnetic field, no Van Allen radiation belts, no ozone layer, no metal to make hemoglobin [in human blood], no metal to tame the reactivity of oxygen, and no oxidative metabolism.
Right from the very earliest times, iron has also been the most important element in civilisations’ possession. The phenomenon known as industry came about thanks to steel, itself a mixture of iron and carbon. Technology is a product of industry. For example, were it not for iron, the level of global technology would be no higher than a few wooden tools.
In short, the presence in large quantities on Earth of the element we know as iron is a mercy from God on human beings. Indeed, God has drawn our attention to this in the Qur’an, in the Sura named “Hadid,” or “Iron:”
We sent Our Messengers with the Clear Signs and sent down the Book and the Balance with them so that mankind might establish justice. AND WE SENT DOWN IRON IN WHICH THERE LIES GREAT FORCE AND WHICH HAS MANY USES FOR MANKIND, so that Allah might know those who help Him and His Messengers in the Unseen. Allah is All-Strong, Almighty. (Surat al-Hadid, 25)
Iron, “in which there lies great force and which has many uses for mankind,” is a mercy that permitted human beings to develop technology. Therefore, everything made from iron and steel, which is iron reinforced with carbon, must be a means whereby we see the mercy of God. Buildings, the various makes of motor car, planes, bridges, railways, skyscrapers and so many other things exist thanks to God’s creation of iron, “in which there lies great force” and His placing it on the Earth. At this point, we must not of course forget that God has also given human beings the bodies, minds and consciousness with which to use these tools.
From Molten Iron to Computers
When the elements that make the use of advanced technology on Earth possible are examined, one can see signs of Allah’s Creative Artistry in all.
The starting point for technology is metallurgy; in other words, the process of melting and working metals... In order for this process to be performed, the existence of the appropriate metals and the means by which we can melt and shape these metals are both essential.
One of these is fire. Denton provides the following explanation on this subject:
“Our ability to handle fire is no trivial ability because it was only through the use of fire that technological advance was possible. Through fire came metallurgy and metal tools and eventually chemical knowledge. Because metals are the only natural conductors of electricity, the discovery of electromagnetism and electriciry, even the development of computers, are all in the last analysis the result of our ancient conquest of fire..”
The phenomenon Denton refers to as ability to handle fire is actually Allah’s placing fire at human beings’ disposal. Looked at in scientific terms, we see that fire has the exactly appropriate structure for human life on Earth. Fire starts with the ignition of inflammable bodies. What makes an object inflammable is the presence of carbon within it. When carbon and oxygen react with one another, they release a large amount of heat, which we see and perceive as fire.
The Earth Might Turn into a Fireball at Any Moment
However, there is a very important point here that should not be missed: Oxygen comprises some 21% of the Earth’s atmosphere, and carbon exists inside all living things, including our own bodies. In other words, the materials that give rise to fire are found side by side all over the world. So why do these molecules not immediately react with one another? Why does everything not immediately burst into flames?
An in-depth look at this question shows that there is a quite stunning creation in fire. Due to their chemical features, oxygen and carbon only react and produce fire at very high temperatures. Therefore, a high temperature is essential in order to make fire somewhere. When someone rubs two sticks together to produce fire, what they do is actually raising the temperature by way of friction. When lighting a match you have to rapidly heat the matchstick by rubbing it against a rough surface.
Were it not for fire and the elements that give rise to it, life on Earth would become impossible. If oxygen and carbon were just slightly more prone to react with one another then a small rise in air temperature would cause human beings, animals and plants to suddenly burst into flames. For instance, someone walking in the desert might suddenly go up in flames, just like a matchstick, when he went out at the hottest time of day. Plants and animals would face just the same danger. And of course it would be impossible to speak of normal life on such a world.
On the other hand, if oxygen and carbon required a slight level of heat in order to react with one another than they actually do, human beings could never manage to make fire at all. Fire would therefore be a mythical form of energy that only occurred as the result of forests being struck by lightning. The structures of oxygen and carbon bestow the most appropriate form on fire to allow it to be used by man. Denton also notes that human beings’ physical structures (hands, arms, movement ability, sense of sight etc.) are ideal in terms of making use of fire. He furthermore emphasizes that the Earth is an ideal environment to light a fire:
“The use of fire is of course dependent on additional environmental factors on the availability of wood, for example, and relatively dry conditions. Unless these additional factors were also favorable, then despite all the physical and mental adaptations which makes us Homo sapiens and despite the fitness of the earth as an abode for carbon-based life, neither fire, metallurgy, chemistry, nor any scientific progress would have been possible.”
All the conditions allowing human beings to develop technology have been created with the ideal structures and values. Allah points to this in the Qur’an, telling us that the substance of fire has been specially created:
He Who produces fire for you from green trees so that you use them to light your fires. ( Surah Ya-Sin, 80 )
Allah Is the Creator of All Blessings
In addition to the fact that fire is capable of being controlled, there is yet another important design that makes metallurgy possible: the metals on Earth melt and assume a liquid form at a temperature capable of being reached by fire. For example, iron requires a temperature of 1535 Centigrade degrees to melt; and this can only be obtained with powerful fire.
If the level of heat needed to melt iron were too high to be reached by the fuels on Earth, then there would be no such science as metallurgy. By the will of Allah, however, and the way that He has bestowed all kinds of means on man, human beings have produced magnificent works. Following a brief summary of the scientific development of man, Denton goes on to comment:
“But although the journey was long…the evidence increasingly suggests that the end was never in doubt, that we followed a path already charted to an end foreseen and that our success was not in the least a matter of contingency…we have been drawn along a predetermined path from the discovery of fire to the birth of science to the revelation of our own centrality in the order of nature.”
All this information provided by Michael Denton, a professor of biochemistry, using scientific terminology reveals a fact that the believer learns from the Qur’an: Allah has created the Earth for human life, has placed the entities on Earth at man’s disposal, and has enriched him with all forms of blessing. As our Lord tells us in verses from the Qur’an:
Allah is He Who created the heavens and the Earth and sends down water from the sky and by it brings forth fruits as provision for you. He has made the ships subservient to you to run upon the sea by His command, and He has made the rivers subservient to you, and He has made the sun and moon subservient to you holding steady to their courses, and He has made the night and day subservient to you. He has given you everything you have asked Him for. If you tried to number Allah’s blessings, you could never count them. Man is indeed wrongdoing, ungrateful. ( Surah Ibrahim, 32-34)