THE SCIENTIFIC MIRACLES OF THE QUR'AN
The Miraculous Iron
The Formation of Petrol
The Relativity of Time
Creation in Six Days
The Truth of Destiny
Duality in Creation
Pulsars: Pulsating Stars
The Star Sirius
Light and Dark
Combustion without Fire
The Miracle of Fire And Wood, That Can Not Be Optained Artificially
The Weight of Clouds
Rain in Measured Amounts
How Rain Forms
The Quivering and Swelling of
Rains which Bring a Dead Land
Back to Life
The Formation of Hail, Thunder
Winds that Fecundate
The Stages of Wind Formation
How the Process of Photosynthesis
Begins in the Morbenning
THE MIRACULORS IRON
Iron is one of the elements highlighted in the Qur'an. In Surat al-Hadid, meaning "iron," we are informed:
And We also sent down iron in which there lies great force and which has many uses for mankind... (Qur'an, 57:25)
The word "anzalnaa," translated as "We sent down" and used for iron in the verse, could be thought of having a metaphorical meaning to explain that iron has been given to benefit people. But, when we take into consideration the literal meaning of the word, which is, "being physically sent down from the sky," as in the case of rain and Sun rays, we realize that this verse implies a very significant scientific miracle. Because, modern astronomical findings have disclosed that the iron found in our world has come from giant stars in outer space.39
Not only the iron on Earth, but also the iron in the entire Solar System, comes from outer space, since the temperature in the Sun is inadequate for the formation of iron. The Sun has a surface temperature of 6,000 degrees Celsius (11,000oF), and a core temperature of approximately 20 million degrees (36 million degrees Fahrenheit). Iron can only be produced in much larger stars than the Sun, where the temperature reaches a few hundred million degrees. When the amount of iron exceeds a certain level in a star, the star can no longer accommodate it, and it eventually explodes in what is called a "nova" or a "supernova." These explosions make it possible for iron to be given off into space.40
One scientific source provides the following information on this subject:
There is also evidence for older supernova events: Enhanced levels of iron-60 in deep-sea sediments have been interpreted as indications that a supernova explosion occurred within 90 light-years of the sun about 5 million years ago. Iron-60 is a radioactive isotope of iron, formed in supernova explosions, which decays with a half life of 1.5 million years. An enhanced presence of this isotope in a geologic layer indicates the recent nucleosynthesis of elements nearby in space and their subsequent transport to the earth (perhaps as part of dust grains).41
Surat al-Hadid is the 57th in the Qur’an. The numerical value of
“al-Hadid” in Arabic is 57. The numerical value of “hadid” on
its own is 26. As can be seen from the periodic table to the side, 26
is the number of the iron atom. With the verse revealed in Surat al-Hadid
Almighty Allah indicates how iron formed, and with the mathematical code
contained in the verse He reveals to us a scientific miracle.
All this shows that iron did not form on the Earth, but was carried from supernovas, and was "sent down," as stated in the verse. It is clear that this fact could not have been known in the 7th century, when the Qur'an was revealed. Nevertheless, this fact is related in the Qur'an, the word of Allah, Who encompasses all things in His infinite knowledge.
Astronomy has also revealed that other elements also formed outside the Earth. In the expression "We also sent down iron" in the verse, the word "also" may well be referring to that idea. However, the fact that the verse specifically mentions iron is quite astounding, considering that these discoveries were made at the end of the 20th century. In his book Nature's Destiny, the well-known microbiologist Michael Denton emphasizes the importance of iron:
Of all the metals there is none more essential to life than iron. It is the accumulation of iron in the center of a star which triggers a supernova explosion and the subsequent scattering of the vital atoms of life throughout the cosmos. 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. It is molten iron in the center of the earth which, acting like a gigantic dynamo, generates the earth's magnetic field, which in turn creates the Van Allen radiation belts that shield the earth's surface from destructive high-energy-penetrating cosmic radiation and preserve the crucial ozone layer from cosmic ray destruction...
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.
The intriguing and intimate relationship between life and iron, between the red color of blood and the dying of some distant star, not only indicates the relevance of metals to biology but also the biocentricity of the cosmos...42
This account clearly indicates the importance of the iron atom. The fact that particular attention is drawn to iron in the Qur'an also emphasises the importance of the element. In addition, there is another hidden truth in the Qur'an which draws attention to the importance of iron: Surat al-Hadid 25, which refers to iron, contains two rather interesting mathematical codes.
"Al- Hadid" is the 57th sura in the Qur'an. The abjad of the word "Al-Hadid" in Arabic, when the numerological values of its letters are added up, is also 57. (For abjad calculations see the section on Numerological Calculations (Abjad) in the Qur'an.)
The numerological value of the word "hadid" alone is 26. And 26 is the atomic number of iron.
Moreover, iron oxide particles have been used in a cancer treatment method, called MagForce Nanotherapy, since 2003. Dr. Andreas Jordan, of the world famous Charité Hospital in Germany, destroys cancer cells, without causing any damage to the healthy ones, with this technique he developed-magnetic fluid hyperthermia (high temperature magnetic liquid).
This method of treatment can be summarised as follows:
1- A liquid containing iron oxide particles is injected into the tumour by means of a special syringe. These particles spread throughout the tumour cells. This liquid consists of thousands of millions of particles, 1,000 times smaller than the red blood corpuscles, of iron oxide in 1 cm3 that can easily flow through all blood vessels.43
2- The patient is then placed in a machine with a powerful magnetic field.
3- This magnetic field, applied externally, begins to set the iron particles in the tumour in motion. During this time the temperature in the tumour containing the iron oxide particles rises by up to 45 degrees Celsius (113oF).
4- In a few minutes the cancer cells, unable to protect themselves from the heat, are either weakened or destroyed. The tumour may then be completely eradicated with subsequent chemotherapy.44
The spread of this technique is a major development in the treatment of this potentially lethal disease. In the treatment of such a widespread disease as cancer, the use of the expression "iron in which there lies great force and which has many uses for humanity" (Qur'an, 57:25) in the Qur'an is particularly noteworthy. Indeed, in that verse, the Qur'an may be indicating the benefits of iron for human health. (Allah knows best.)
THE FORMATION OF PETROL
Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High: He Who created and moulded; He Who determined and guided; He Who brings forth green pasture, then makes it blackened stubble. (Qur'an, 87:1-5)
As we know, petrol forms from the remains of plants and animals in the sea. Once these have decayed on the sea bed after millions of years, all that is left are oily substances. These, under layers of mud and rock, then turn into petrol and gas. Movements in the Earth's crust sometimes lead to the sea petrifying and to the rocks containing petrol being buried thousands of metres deep. The petrol that forms sometimes leaks through the pores in the rock layers from several kilometres down, and rises to the surface, where it vaporises (turns into gas), leaving a mass of bitumen behind.
The three elements identified in the first four verses of Surat al-A'la parallel the formation of petroleum. It is quite likely that the term "mar`aa," meaning "pasture or meadow," refers to the organically-based substances in the formation of petroleum. The second word of note in the verse is "ahwaa," used to describe blackish-green, greenish-black, dark or sooty colours. This word can be thought of as describing the waste plant matter accumulated underground gradually turning black, since these words are supported by a third word, "ghuthaa'." The word "ghuthaa'" translated as "stubble," can also mean "flood-water plants, plants brought together by waste matter being collected and dispersed around valleys, rubbish, leaves or foam." In addition to the connotation of "vomiting out" implied in the word, it may also be translated as "to flood forth vomited matter," and describes the way that the earth "vomits" forth petroleum. In fact, in the light of the formation of petroleum, the way it emerges, its foam-like appearance and its colour, one can better see with what wisdom were employed the words in the verses.
As has been discussed, the plant in the verse turning into a dark and viscous liquid bears a strong resemblance to the formation of petroleum. The description of such a formation over many years, at a time when the formation of petroleum was unknown, is without doubt another proof that the Qur'an is the revelation of Allah.
THE RELATIVITY OF TIME
Today, the relativity of time is a proven scientific fact. This was revealed by Einstein's theory of relativity during the early part of the 20th century. Until then, it was not known that time was relative, nor that it could change according to the circumstances. Yet, the renowned scientist Albert Einstein proved this fact by discovering the theory of relativity. He showed that time is dependent on mass and velocity.
However, the Qur'an had already included information about time's being relative! Some verses about the subject read:
... A day with your Lord is equivalent to a thousand years in the way you count. (Qur'an, 22:47)
He directs the whole affair from heaven to Earth. Then it will again ascend to Him on a day whose length is a thousand years by the way you measure. (Qur'an, 32:5)
The angels and the spirit ascend to Him in a day whose length is fifty thousand years. (Qur'an, 70:4)
The fact that the relativity of time is so definitely mentioned in the Qur'an, which began to be revealed in 610, is more evidence that it is a Divine book.
CREATION IN SIX DAYS
Your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the Earth in six days and then settled Himself firmly on the Throne... (Qur'an, 7:54)
One example of the harmony between the Qur'an and modern science is the subject of the age of the universe. Cosmologists estimate the age of the universe as 16-17 billion years. The Qur'an states that the entire universe was created in six days. These two time frames, which may seem contradictory, are actually surprisingly compatible. In fact, both these figures concerning the age of the universe are correct. In other words, the universe was created in six days, as revealed in the Qur'an, and this period corresponds to 16-17 billion years in the way that we experience time.
In 1915 Einstein proposed that time was relative, that the passage of time altered according to space, the speed of the person travelling and the force of gravity at that moment. Bearing in mind these differences in the passage of time, the period of time in which the universe was created as revealed in seven different verses of the Qur'an is actually highly compatible with scientists' estimations. The six-day period revealed in the Qur'an can be thought of as six periods. Because, taking into account the relativity of time, a "day" refers only to a 24-hour period experienced on Earth under current conditions. Elsewhere in the universe, however, at another time and under other conditions, a "day" could refer to a much longer period of time. Indeed, the word "ayyaam" in the period of six days (sittat ayyaam) in these verses (Qur'an 32:4, 10:3, 11:7, 25:59, 57:4, 50:38, and 7:54) means not only "days," but also "age, period, moment, term."
In the first period of the universe, the passage of time took place much faster than that with which we are familiar today. The reason for this is that, at the moment of the Big Bang, our universe was compressed into a very small point. The expansion of the universe and increase in its volume ever since the moment of that explosion has extended the borders of the universe to millions of light years. Indeed, the stretching of space ever since that moment has had very important ramifications for universal time.
The energy at the moment of the Big Bang slowed down the flow of time 1012 (one million million) times. When the universe was created the speed of universal time was higher up to a million million times, as time is experienced today. In other words, a million million minutes on Earth is the equivalent of just one minute in universal time.
When a six-day period of time is calculated according to the relativity of time, it equates to six million million (six trillion) days. That is because universal time flows a million million times faster than time on Earth. Calculated in terms of years, 6 trillion days equates to approximately 16.427 billion years. This is within the estimated range for the age of the universe.
6,000,000,000,000 days/365.25 = 16.427104723 billion years
On the other hand, each of the six days of creation equates to very different periods, as we perceive time. The reason for this is that the speed of the passage of time declines in proportion to the expansion of the universe. Ever since the Big Bang, as the size of the universe doubled, so the passage of time halved. As the universe grew, the speed at which the universe doubled increasingly slowed down. This rate of expansion is a scientific fact acknowledged the world over and described in the text book The Fundamentals of Physical Cosmology. When we calculate every day of creation in terms of Earth time, the following situation emerges:
* Looked at from the moment when time began, the first day of creation (first phase) lasted 24 hours. This period, however, is the equivalent of 8 billion years in Earth terms.
* The second day of creation (second phase) lasted 24 hours. This, however, lasted half as long, in our terms, as the preceding day, in other words 4 billion years.
* The third day (third phase) lasted half as long as the second day, in other words 2 billion years.
* The fourth day (fourth phase) lasted 1 billion years.
* The fifth day (fifth phase) lasted 500 million years.
* And the sixth day (sixth phase) lasted 250 million years.
* Conclusion: When the six days of creation, in other words the six phases, are added together in Earth terms, the resulting figure is 15 billion 750 million years. This figure displays an enormous parallel with modern-day estimations.
This conclusion is one of the facts revealed by 21st century science. Science has once again confirmed a fact revealed in the Qur'an 1,400 years ago. This harmony between the Qur'an and science is one of the miraculous proofs that the Qur'an is the revelation of Allah, the Creator, the Omniscient.
THE TRUTH OF DESTINY
But you will not will unless Allah wills. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. (Qur'an, 76:30)
As a result of experiments he performed in 1973, Professor Benjamin Libet, a neurophysiologist at the University of California, revealed that all our decisions and choices are set out beforehand, and that consciousness only comes into play half a second after everything has been determined.45 This is interpreted by other neurophysiologists as meaning that we actually live in the past and that our consciousness is like a monitor which shows us everything half a second later.
Therefore, none of the experiences we perceive are in real time, but are delayed by up to half a second from the real events themselves. Libet carried out his research by making use of the fact that brain surgery can be performed without the use of narcosis, in other words while the subject is fully conscious. Libet stimulated the brains of his subjects with small electrical currents, and when they experienced a perception that their hands had been touched the subjects said that they had felt that "touch" almost half a second before. As a result of his measurements, Libet arrived at the following conclusion:
All perceptions are normally transmitted to the brain. As these are subconsciously evaluated and interpreted, the ego is unaware of anything. The information that appears before our minds, in other words that we can be aware of, is transmitted to the cortex, the seat of consciousness, after a certain delay.46
The conclusion from this may be summarised as follows: The decision to move a muscle takes place before that decision reaches the consciousness. There is always a delay between a neurological or perceptual process and our becoming aware of the thought, feeling, perception or movement it represents. To put it another way, we can only be aware of a decision after that decision has been taken.
In Professor Libet's experiments, this delay varies between 350 and 500 milliseconds, although the conclusion that emerges is in no way dependent upon those figures. Because, according to Libet, whatever the length of that delay-it makes no difference whether it is great or small, whether it lasts an hour or a microsecond-our physical life is always in the past. This demonstrates that every thought, emotion, perception or movement happens before reaching our consciousness, and that proves that the future is entirely outside our control.47
In other experiments, Professor Libet left the choice of when the subjects would move their fingers up to them. The brains of the subjects were monitored at the moment their fingers moved, and it was observed that the relevant brain cells went into action before the subjects actually took the decision. To put it another way, the command "do!" reaches the individual, and the brain is readied to perform the action; the individual only becomes aware of this half a second later. He or she does not take a decision to act and then performs that action, but rather performs an action predetermined for him or her. Yet, the brain makes an adjustment, removing any recognition that the individual is actually living in the past. For that reason, at the moment we refer to as "now," we are actually living something determined in the past. As already discussed, these studies manifest the fact that everything happens by the will of Allah, as revealed in Surat al-Insan 30. (See Harun Yahya, Timelessness and the Reality of Fate, Goodword Books, New Delhi, 2001)
DUALITY IN CREATION
Glory be to Him Who created all the pairs: from what the earth produces and from themselves and from things unknown to them. (Qur'an, 36:36)
While "male and female" is equivalent to the concept of "pair," "things unknown to them," as expressed in the Qur'an, bears a broader meaning. Indeed, we encounter one of the meanings pointed to in the verse in the present day. The British physicist Paul Dirac, who discovered that matter was created in pairs, won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1933. This finding, known as "parity," revealed the duality known as matter and anti-matter. Anti-matter bears the opposite characteristics to matter. For instance, contrary to matter, anti-matter electrons are positive and protons negative. This fact is expressed in a scientific source as follows:
... every particle has its antiparticle of opposite charge... [T]he uncertainty relation tells us that pair creation and pair annihilation happen in the vacuum at all times, in all places.48
There are antimatter equivalents of all the basic particles in the universe.
Antimatters possess the same mass but carry opposite charges. For that
reason, when matter and antimatter make contact they disappear by turning
Another example of duality in creation is plants. Botanists only discovered
that there is a gender distinction in plants some 100 years ago.49 Yet,
the fact that plants are created in pairs was revealed in the following verses
of the Qur'an 1,400 years ago:
It is Allah Who created the heavens with no support-you can see them-and cast firmly embedded mountains on the earth so that it would not move under you, and scattered about in it creatures of every kind. And We send down water from the sky and make every generous plant grow in it, in pairs. (Qur'an, 31:10)
It is He Who made the earth a cradle for you and threaded pathways for you through it and sent down water from the sky by which We have brought forth diverse pairs of plants. (Qur'an, 20:53)
In the same way, fruits, are of two types: male or female. As the Qur'an proclaims:
He stretched out Earth and placed firmly embedded mountains and rivers in it, and made two types [male and female] of every kind of fruit. He covers over day with night. There are signs in that for people who reflect. (Qur'an, 13:3)
The word "zawjayni," translated as "two types," comes from "zawj," meaning "one of a pair." As we know, fruits are the final product produced by ripening plants. The stage before fruit is the flower. Flowers also have male and female organs. When pollen is carried to the flower and fertilization takes place, they begin to bear fruit. The fruit gradually ripens and starts to release seeds. The fact that fruits have gender-specific features is another piece of scientific information indicated in the Qur'an.
1. Ordinary matter consists of atoms bound together by electromagnetic
force to form molecules. These molecules come together to form solids,
liquids and gasses.
2. Atoms consist of a dense nucleus surrounded by a
cloud of electrons. Electromagnetic force holds the nucleus and electrons
3. The nucleus consists of protons and neutrons held
together by a powerful nuclear force.
4.Protons and neutrons consist of three quarks each and
are held together by powerful nuclear force.
Following the development of the atomic theory of the Greek philosopher Democritus, people used to believe that matter consisted of minute, indivisible and indestructible particles known as atoms. However, advances in the study of atoms have refuted this notion. At the present time, modern science has revealed that the atom, previously regarded as the smallest particle, can actually be split. This fact only emerged in the last century, but was revealed in the Qur'an 1,400 years ago:
... He is the Knower of the Unseen, Whom not an atom's weight eludes, either in the heavens or in the earth; nor is there anything smaller or larger than that which is not in a Clear Book. (Qur'an, 34:3)
... Not even an atom's weight eludes your Lord, either on earth or in heaven. Nor is there anything smaller than that, or larger, which is not in a Clear Book. (Qur'an, 10:61)
This verse refers to "atom" and smaller particles still.
Up until 20 years ago, it was believed that the smallest particles were the protons and neutrons which comprise the atom. Very recently, however, even smaller particles of which these themselves consist were discovered. A specialised branch of physics, called "particle physics," emerged to study these "sub-particles" and their particular behaviour. Particle physics research has revealed that the protons and neutrons which comprise the atoms actually consist of sub-particles known as quarks. The size of these quarks, the basic components of protons, whose small size is beyond human conception, is astonishing: 10-18 (0.000000000000000001 of a metre).50
Another point worthy of note is that these verses draw particular attention to the weight of the atom. The word "mithqaal," in the expression "mithqaalu tharratin" (an atom's weight) in the above verses, means weight. In fact, it has been discovered that the protons, neutrons and electrons which form the atom are also compounds which give the atom its weight. Therefore, it is yet another scientific miracle of the Qur'an that attention is drawn instead to the weight of the atom and not its size or any other feature. (See Harun Yahya, The Miracle in the Atom, Ta-Ha Publishers, UK, 2004)
The 20th century saw a great many new discoveries regarding celestial phenomena in the universe. One of these entities, which has only recently been encountered, is the Black Hole. These are formed when a star which has consumed all its fuel collapses in on itself, eventually turning into a black hole with infinite density and zero volume and an immensely powerful magnetic field. We are unable to see black holes even with the most powerful telescope, because their gravitational pull is so strong that light is unable to escape from them. However, such a collapsed star can be perceived by means of the effect it has on the surrounding area. In Surat al-Waqi'a, Allah draws attention to this matter in this way, by swearing upon the position of stars:
And I swear by the stars' positions-and that is a mighty oath if you only knew. (Qur'an, 56:75-76)
The term "black hole" was first employed in 1969 by the American physicist John Wheeler. Previously, we imagined that we were able to see all the stars. However, it later emerged that there were stars in space whose light we were unable to perceive. Because, the light of these collapsed stars disappears. Light cannot escape from a black hole because it is such a high concentration of mass in a small space. The enormous gravitation captures even the fastest particles, i.e. the photons. For example, the final stage of a typical star, three times the mass of the Sun, ends after its burning out and its implosion as a black hole of only 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) in diameter! Black holes are "black," i.e. veiled from direct observation. They nevertheless reveal themselves indirectly, by the tremendous suction which their gravitational force exerts on other heavenly bodies. As well as depictions of the Day of Judgement, the verse below may also be pointing to this scientific discovery about black holes:
When the stars are extinguished. (Qur'an, 77:8)
Moreover, stars of great mass also cause warps to be perceived in space. Black holes, however, do not just cause warps in space but also tear holes in it, as astrophysicists put it. That is why these collapsed stars are known as black holes. This fact may be referred to in the verse about stars, and this is another important item of information demonstrating that the Qur'an is the word of Allah:
[I swear] by Heaven and the Tariq! And what will convey to you what the Tariq is? The Star Piercing [the darkness]! (Qur'an, 86:1-3)
PULSARS: PULSATING STARS
[I swear] by Heaven and the Tariq! And what will convey to you what the Tariq is? The Star Piercing [the darkness]! (Qur'an, 86:1-3)
Pulsars are the remains of extinguished
stars which emit very powerful, pulse-like radio waves and which
revolve very rapidly around their own axes. It has been calculated
that there are more than 500 pulsars in the Milky Way, of which
our Earth is a part.
The word "Tariq," name of the Sura 86, comes from the root "tarq," whose basic meaning is that of striking hard enough to produce a sound, or hitting. Bearing in mind the word's possible meaning as "beating," "striking hard," our attention may be being drawn in this sura to an important scientific fact. Before analysing this information, let us look at the other words employed in the verse to describe these stars. The term "al-taariqi" in the above verse means a star that pierces the night, that pierces the darkness, born at night, piercing and moving on, beating, striking, or sharp star. Furthermore, the term "wa" draws attention to the things being sworn on-the heaven and the Tariq.
Through research carried out by Jocelyn Bell Burnell, at Cambridge University in 1967, a regular radio signal was identified. Until that time, however, it was not known that that there was a heavenly body that could be the source of regular pulse or beating rather like that of the heart. In 1967, however, astronomers stated that, as matter grows denser in the core as it revolves around its own axis, the star's magnetic field also grows stronger, and thus gives rise to a magnetic field at its poles 1 trillion times stronger than that of Earth. They realised that a body revolving so fast and with such a powerful magnetic field emits rays consisting of very powerful radio waves in a conic form at every revolution. Shortly afterwards, it was also realised that the source of these signals is the rapid revolution of neutron stars. These newly discovered neutron stars are known as "pulsars." These stars, which turn into pulsars through supernova explosions, are of the greatest mass, and are the brightest and fastest moving bodies in the universe. Some pulsars revolve 600 times a second.51
The word "pulsar" comes from the verb to pulse. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the word means to pulsate, to beat. Encarta Dictionary defines it as to beat rhythmically, to move or throb with a strong regular rhythm. Again, according to the Encarta Dictionary, the word "pulsate," which comes from the same root, means to expand and contract with a strong regular beat.
Following that discovery, it was realised that the phenomenon described in the Qur'an as "tariq," beating, bore a great similarity to the neutron stars known as pulsars.
Neutron stars form as the nuclei of super giant stars collapse. The highly compressed and dense matter, in the form of a rapidly revolving sphere, entraps and squeezes most of the star's weight and magnetic field. The powerful magnetic field created by these rapidly revolving neutron stars has been shown to cause the emission of powerful radio waves observable on Earth.
In the third verse of Surat at-Tariq the term "al-najmu al-thaaqibu," meaning piercing, moving on, or opening holes, indicates that Tariq is a bright star that pierces a hole in the darkness and moves on. The concept of the term "adraaka" in the expression "And what will convey to you what the Tariq is?" refers to comprehension. Pulsars, formed through the compression of stars several times the size of the Sun, are among those celestial bodies that are hard to comprehend. The question in the verse emphasizes how hard it is to comprehend this beating star. (Allah knows best.)
As discussed, the stars described as Tariq in the Qur'an bear a close similarity to the pulsars described in the 20th century, and may reveal to us another scientific miracle of the Qur'an.
THE STAR SIRIUS
The star Sirius appears in Surat an-Najm (meaning
“star”). The double stars that comprise Sirius approach
each other with their axes in a bow-shape once every 49.9 years. This
astronomical phenomenon is indicated in the verses Surat an-Najm 9
When certain concepts mentioned in the Qur'an are studied in the light of 21st century scientific discoveries we find ourselves imparted with yet more miracles of the Qur'an. One of these is the star Sirius, mentioned in Surat an-Najm 49:
... it is He Who is the Lord of Sirius. (Qur'an, 53: 49)
The fact that the Arabic word "shi'raa," the equivalent of the star Sirius, appears only in Surat an-Najm, meaning only "star," 49 is particularly striking. Because, considering the irregularity in the movement of Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, as their starting point, scientists discovered that it was actually a double star. Sirius is actually a set of two stars, known as Sirius A and Sirius B. The larger of these is Sirius A, which is also the closer to the Earth and the brightest star that can be seen with the naked eye. Sirius B, however, cannot be seen without a telescope.
The Sirius double stars orbit in ellipses about one another. The orbital period
of Sirius A & B about their common centre of gravity is 49.9 years. This scientific
data is today accepted with one accord by the departments of astronomy at Harvard,
Ottawa and Leicester Universities.52 This information
is reported as follows in various sources:
Sirius, the brightest star, is actually a twin star... Its orbit lasts 49.9 years.53
As is known, the stars Sirius-A and Sirius-B orbit each other in a double bow every 49.9 years.54
The point requiring attention here is the double, bow-shaped orbit of the two stars around one another.
However, this scientific fact, the accuracy of which was only realised in the late 20th century, was miraculously indicated in the Qur'an 1,400 years ago. When verses 49 and 9 of Surat an-Najm are read together, this miracle becomes apparent:
It is He Who is the Lord of Sirius. (Qur'an, 53: 49)
He was two bow-lengths away or even closer. (Qur'an, 53:9)
The description in Surat an-Najm 9 may also describe how these two stars approach one another in their orbits. (Allah knows best.) This scientific fact, that nobody could have known at the time of the revelation of the Qur'an, once again proves that the Qur'an is the word of Almighty Allah.
LIGHT AND DARK
Praise belongs to Allah Who created the heavens and the Earth and appointed darkness and light... (Qur'an, 6:1)
We all know that without light a person cannot see his surroundings with the naked eye. However, the light that we can see is only a very small part of all light-emitting energy. There are other kinds of light-emitting energy that human beings cannot perceive, such as infra-red, ultra-violet, x-rays and radio waves. Human beings are effectively blind to such light waves.
It is interesting, therefore, that the word for "darkness" in the Qur'an is always in the plural. The Arabic word, "thulumaat," is used in the plural in 23 verses of the Qur'an, and never used in the singular. The use of the word "darkness" in the Qur'an indicates that in addition to those light waves we can see, there may also be other kinds.
Only recently did scientists discover why the plural may have been used here. Wave lengths vary in a form of energy known as electromagnetic radiation. All the different forms of electromagnetic radiation behave as energy waves in space. This can be compared to the waves which form when a stone is thrown into a pond. As the waves on a pond can be of different sizes, so electromagnetic radiation has different-sized waves.
Stars and other sources of light do not all give off the same kind of emissions. These different rays are classified according to their wavelengths. The spectrum of wavelengths is quite wide. There is a 1025 difference between gamma rays, with the smallest size wavelength, and radio waves, which are the largest. Nearly all the rays emitted by the Sun are squeezed into just one part of this 1025 spectrum.
In order to better understand the colossal dimensions of this figure, it will be useful to make a comparison. If we wanted to count to 1025, and if we counted day and night without pause, it would take us 100 million times the age of the Earth to finish. The different wavelengths in the universe are distributed within a spectrum of just such a size. 70% of the different wavelengths emitted by the Sun are limited to a very narrow spectrum between 0.3 microns and 1.5 microns. There are three kinds of light within that band: visible light, infra-red light and ultraviolet light. Despite occupying a band less than 1 in 1025, the rays known as visible light represent 41% of all the Sun's rays.
As has been discussed, electromagnetic waves perceivable to the human eye are responsible for only a very small part of the light spectrum. The other regions represent only darkness for human beings, who are blind to wavelengths outside that band.55
COMBUSTION WITHOUT FIRE
Allah is the light of the heavens and the Earth. The metaphor of His Light is that of a niche in which is a lamp, the lamp inside a glass, the glass like a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, its oil all but giving off light even if no fire touches it. Light upon light. Allah guides to His Light whoever He wills and Allah makes metaphors for mankind and Allah has knowledge of all things. (Qur'an, 24:35)
This verse refers to something that emits light. This light-emitting entity is compared to a star. The fact that the fuel used by this star-like, light-emitting body belongs to neither East nor West may be an indication that the body has no physical dimensions. If one assumes that the fuel source is in an energy dimension, then it is very likely that the fuel in the verse refers to electrical energy, and the light-emitting body to a light bulb.
A bulb is a body which shines like a star and emits light, inside glass, and that is in full conformity with the description in the verse. Unlike oil lamps and gas lamps, light bulbs do not burn oil, and, in line with the description supplied in the verse, combustion without fire takes place inside it. As a result of the vibration among the atoms of the heat-resistant tungsten wire, the temperature inside the bulb rises to over 2,000 degrees Celsius (3,630oF). This temperature, which would melt other metals, is so high that it gives rise to a powerful, visible light. Despite that heat, however, no combustion takes place, again in line with the verse, since the bulb contains no oxygen. In addition, the filament inside the bulb closely resembles a bright star.
If we bear in mind the fact that electricity is one of the greatest discoveries in the history of the world, and that it lights just about the entire world by means of bulbs, then we may well assume that the verse may be pointing to this major discovery. (Allah knows best.)
Another explanation could be that the light is emitted as a result of the nuclear reaction in stars. Stars are bright, hot, rotating masses of gas which emit large quantities of light and heat as a result of nuclear reactions. Most newly-forming large stars begin to collapse under the weight of their own gravitational pull. That means that their centres are hotter and denser. When the matter in the centre of the star is sufficiently heated-when it reaches at least 10 million degrees Celsius (18 million degrees Fahrenheit)-nuclear reactions begin.56 What happens inside a star is that with enormous energy (fusion), hydrogen turns into helium. Nuclear fusion takes the particles that make up hydrogen and sticks them together to make helium (1 helium atom is made from 4 hydrogen atoms). In order to make the protons and neutrons in the helium stick together, the atom gives off tremendous energy. The energy released in the process is radiated from the surface of the star as light and heat. When the hydrogen is consumed, the star then begins to burn with helium, in exactly the same way, and heavier elements are formed. These reactions continue until the mass of the star has been consumed.
However, since oxygen is not used in these reactions inside stars, the result is not ordinary combustion, such as that takes place when burning a piece of wood. The combustion seen as giant flames in stars does not actually derive from fire. Indeed, burning of just this kind is described in the verse. If one also thinks that the verse refers to a star, its fuel and combustion without fire, then one can also think that it is referring to the emission of light and mode of combustion in stars. (Allah knows best.)
THE MIRACLE OF FIRE AND WOOD, THAT CANNOT BE OBTAINED ARTIFICIALLY
Have you thought about the fire that you light? Is it you who make the trees that fuel it grow or are We the Grower? We have made it to be a reminder and a comfort for travellers in the wild. So glorify the name of your Lord, the Magnificent! (Surat al-Waqi ‘a, 71-74)
One of the chemical substances mainly responsible for the structure of wood is “lignocellulose.” This substance is a compound of the materials known as “lignin” and “cellulose” that give wood its hardness. In terms of chemicalstructure, wood is made up of 50% cellulose, 25% hemicelluloses and 25% lignin. (http://www.forestpathology.org/wood.html; Wood Chemistry and Anatomy, 2005.) An analysis of these substances’ chemical formulae reveals three vital elements: hydrogen, oxygen and carbon.
Hydrogen, oxygen and carbon are the building blocks of millions of substances in nature. But as a miracle from Allah, these three also combine to give rise to the substance “lignocellulose” found in plants. Although scientists know that they contain these substances they are unable to reproduce this special material in plants. Although these elements found in large amounts in nature can easily be obtained, scientists have been unable to obtain a single piece of wood by artificial means, despite having countless examples before them. Yet all the trees we see around us have been ceaselessly producing this compound for millions of years by combining oxygen, carbon, water and sunlight.
One of the compounds in lignocellulose is water, expressed by the formula H2O. The fact that wood is one of the most flammable materials despite containing a large amount of water is a most special state of affairs. The above verse is very wise in noting that wood cannot be made by human beings, by fire. Thanks to these compounds and the water it contains, wood is one of the most important fuels of fire.
Trees are an important sphere of scientific research, and inspire scientists, who are still struggling to grasp all the details in their creation, in a number of areas. The complex structures of the cells that constitute trees have still not been fully unraveled, despite advances in technology and intensive research. The Forestry Commission of Great Britain, one of the world’s leading forestry research institutions, says the following under the heading "Lack of Information on the Chemistry and Structure of Wood Fibres":
Despite the knowledge resulting from earlier and ongoing research, there still exists a lack of information on the chemistry and structure of wood fibres. Large variations can be found within a single tree, from the pith to the bark and from the base to the top of a tree. Often the chemistry and structure of a wood cell are extremely heterogeneous and difficult to investigate with conventional techniques. (http://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/fr/INFD-6FMCUS; The Research Agency of the Forestry Commission, 2007.)
A paper in the scientific journal Plant Physiology titled "Our Understanding of How Wood Develops is not Complete" describes the limited knowledge of the subject that scientists possess:
Considering the important role that wood is foreseen to play in the near future, it is surprising to see that our understanding of how wood develops is far from complete. With a few exceptions, very little is known about the cellular, molecular, and developmental processes that underlie wood formation. Xylogenesis represents an example of cell differentiation in an exceptionally complex form. This process is controlled by a wide variety of factors both exogenous (photoperiod and temperature) and endogenous (phytohormones) and by interaction between them. It is driven by the coordinated expression of numerous structural genes (some of known function) involved in cell origination, differentiation, programmed cell death, and heartwood (HW) formation and by virtually unknown regulatory genes orches trating this ordered developmental sequence. The presence of gene families and the extreme plasticity of the metabolism involved (as exemplified by the unusual behavior of plants with transformed cell walls; for review, see Fagard et al., 2000) add a further complexity to our understanding of the process of wood formation. (Christophe Plomion, Gregoire Leprovost, Alexia Stokes, "Wood Formation in Trees", Plant Physiology, December 2001, Vol. 127, pp. 1513–1523.)
The extraordinary creation in wood is emphasized thus in another scientific journal, Annals of Botany:
Wood formation is a highly complicated process involving an unbelievable variety of metabolic steps in the roots, stem and crown of shrubs and trees. At the centre of these processes is cambial activity which results in the release of young woody cells that undergo maturation until autolysis of the protoplast, indicating the final developmental stage. Later on, in various tree species, woody cells become further modified by an additional process called heartwood formation. The properties of wood that make it an appropriate raw material for many purposes are largely determined by the specific architecture of the cell walls. Difficulties in investigating these many developmental stages appear when routine techniques, which work well for soft plant tissues, are applied. Therefore, in most cases, these techniques need modification or the use of completely revised protocols to yield good results for woody tissues. (Uwe Schmitt, "Chaffey, N.J. ed. Wood formation in trees—cell and molecular biology techniques", Annals of Botany, 2002, Vol. 90, no. 4, pp. 545-546.)
These details in the creation of wood remind us, as set out in Surat al-Waqi ‘a, that wood cannot be made by human beings. Just a few of the inimitable features of wood, which cannot be produced artificially, are as follows:
Wood, a Resistant Material
The hard and resistant nature of wood is the result of the cellulose fibers it contains. Because cellulose is hard and insoluble in water. It is this property of cellulose that makes the use of wood in construction so advantageous. Cellulose, described as a “contractible and incomparable substance,” has for centuries been used a great deal more than other materials in keeping wooden buildings standing, other buildings, bridges and many other structures.
Wood consists of parallel columns made up of convex cells laid end to end. These are surrounded by cellulose fibers in spiral form. In addition, these cells are contained in “lignin,” a substance made from a complex, polymer structure resin. These spirally enclosed layers make up 80% of the thickness of the cell wall and are the part bearing the main load. When a wood cell collapses internally it absorbs the shock of a blow by detatching itself from the surrounding cells. Even when such collapses causes a crack along the length of the fiber, the wood remains unharmed. That is why wood is strong enough to bear specific loads even if it is broken.
In terms of absorbing the energy of low-speed blows and reducing the damage therefrom, wood is a most important material. The Second World War plane known as the “Mosquito” was made by compressing wood between strips of fiber board, making it the most damage-resistant plane of its time. The hardness and resistant nature of wood make it a very reliable material. Because wood breaks or cracks slowly enough to be visible from the outside, and that gives people enough time to take the necessary precautions. (Julian Vincent, "Tricks of Nature", New Scientist, 17 August 1996, Vol. 151, no. 2043, p. 39.)
A material based on the structure of wood can be up to 50 times more resistant than other synthetic materials in use today. (Julian Vincent, "Tricks of Nature", New Scientist, 17 August 1996, Vol. 151, no. 2043, p. 40.) This unique structure of wood is today used in materials developed to protect against the impact of high speed and destructive fragments such as bombs and bullets. But scientists have never been able to replicate a piece of wood with all its many attributes. Every detail in the creation of wood, - the thickness of the internal layers, their level of compression, the number of vessels, their layout and the materials inside it, have been specialy created to result in that resistance.
The Hydraulic System That Raises Water
Many Meters against the Force of Gravity
The dead part of wood, the “xylem,” contains hollow channels. These, also known as “wood vessels,” consist of inanimate cells that gradually lose their nuclei and cytoplasms piled one on top of the other. Long, thin wood vessels form when the membranes between the cells dissolve and disappear.
Roots spreading out beneath the soil carry the water and minerals the plant needs upward through these tissues and transmit them as far as the leaves. The way the roots absorb the water in the ground is literally reminiscent of the test bore technique. The roots have no engines to initiate the water absorption process. Neither do they have any technical equipment with which to pump water and minerals for distances of up to several meters. But the roots absorb the water in the depths of the soil by spreading over a very wide area.
This lifting process that the plant performs so flawlessly is in fact an exceedingly complex one. Yet this system has still not yet been fully understood, even in these days of high technology and space travel. The present of a “hydraulic system: in plants was determined some two centuries ago. But we still do not know how this action in defiance of the force of gravity takes place. The superior technology squeezed into such a confined space is just one of the examples demonstrating the incomparable knowledge of our Lord the creator of the system. Like everything in the universe, Almighty Allah created the transportation system in trees.
As seen in the picture to the left, wood consists of tube or straw-shaped cells. By combining one on top of the other, these cells, which make up the roots and trunks of plants, serve as channels that carry water and minerals right through the plant. This tisue, known as “xylem,” also constitutes a powerful structure that enables the plant to remain upright. To the right can be seen a slice of dry wood in cross-section. When dried out, the tube-like channels become hollow, as shown in the illustration.
Roots Capable of Selecting Minerals from the Soil:
Plants draw all the mineral nutrients they need, such as potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and sulfur, from the soil. Since the substances are not found seprately in the soil, they absorb them as ions (positive/negatively charged atoms). Of all the many inorganic ions in dissolved state in the soil, plants absorb only the 14 they need.
The iron concentration inside plant cells is 1,000 times greater than that in the soil outside. (Malcolm Wilkins, Plantwatching, Facts on File Publications, New York, 1988, p. 119.) Under normal condition, an exchange of matter from a high density region to a lower density one will take place. But exactly the opposite happens in plant roots, and the ions in the soil are easily able to pass into the root cells. (William K. Purves, Gordon H. Orions, H. Craig Heller, Life, The Science of Biology, 4th edition, W.H. Freeman and Company, p. 724.S)
Because of this state of affairs that operates contrary to the pressure system, the plant uses a high level of energy in the pumping process. In addition, in the plant roots’ taking up ions from the soil, there needs to be an identification system that attracts only the wanted ions and repels the unwanted ones. This shows that the ion pumps in the root cells are no ordinary pumps, but possess the ability to select between ions. Bearing in mind that the cell in the plant roots are made up of atoms devoid of any intelligence or consciousness, one can better see what an extraordinary process ion selection truly is.
Photosynthesis: The Superior Technology in a Miniature Factory
It is not only the wood and root parts of trees that cannot be obtained by artificial means, but also the leaves. Most important of the features that make leaves inimitable is their ability to make photosynthesis. Photosynthesis, one of the systems that scientists still do not fully understand, may be summarized as plants manufacturing their own nutrients. Thanks to the structure in plant cells that makes them able to make direct use of solar energy, they store solar energy, at the end of various complex processes, in the form of energy that can be used by human beings and animals. In addition, the photosynthetic energy stored in trees is also given off during burning. For example, the energy emitted by wood burned to heat a house is actually energy from the Sun stored during the formation of wood. (http://www.montana.edu/wwwpb/pubs/mt8405.html; Michael Vogel, "Heating with Wood: Principles of Combustion", 2003.)
The photosynthesis system, which operates like a miniature factory, takes place in an organelle known as the “chloroplast” inside the plant cell that gives the plant its green color. Chloroplasts are just one-thousandth of a millimeter in size, for which reason they can only be seen under the microscope. When solar energy falls on the leaf they transmit it to the layers inside it. Chlorophyls inside the choloplasts in the leaf cells convert this light energy into chemical energy. The plant obtaining this chemical energy immediately uses it in obtaining nutrients. It took scientists until the mid-20th century to obtain this information summarized in just a few lines here. Pages of chain reactions are written to describe the whole process of photosynthesis. But some links in the chain are still unknown. Yet plants have been performing these processes uninterruptedly for hundreds of millions of years, thus providing the Earth with food and oxygen.
The chloroplast shown magnified in the illustration above is in fact just one-thousandth of a millimeter in size. It contains many organelles that assist with the process of photosynthesis. Photsynthesis, which takes place in many stages, not all of which are yet understood, takes place at high speed in these microscopic factories.
The fact that not a single cell constituting wood can be made by artificial means, and human beings’ helplessness in the face of dead wood cells, shows the presece of a sublime Creator. The properties of wood, about which many volumes could be written, their countless aspects that so inspire scientists, all reveal the sublime knowledge and intellect behind the creation of wood. This intelligence and knowledge manifested in wood belongs to Almighty Allah, the Creator and sole Lord of all things.
THE WEIGHT OF CLOUDS
The weight of clouds can reach quite astonishing proportions. For example, a cumulonimbus cloud, commonly known as the thunder cloud, can contain up to 300,000 tons of water.
The fact that a mass of 300,000 tons of water can remain aloft is truly amazing. Attention is drawn to the weight of clouds in other verses of the Qur'an:
It is He Who sends out the winds, bringing advance news of His mercy, so that when they have lifted up the heavy clouds, We dispatch them to a dead land and send down water to it, by means of which We bring forth all kinds of fruit... (Qur'an, 7:57)
It is He Who shows you the lightning, striking fear and bringing hope; it is He Who heaps up the heavy clouds. (Qur'an, 13:12)
At the time when the Qur'an was revealed, of course, it was quite impossible to have any information about the weight of clouds. This information, revealed in the Qur'an, but discovered only recently, is yet another proof that the Qur'an is the word of Allah.
RAIN IN MEASURED AMOUNTS
Another item of information provided in the Qur'an about rain is that it is sent down to Earth in "measured amounts" This is mentioned in Surat az-Zukhruf as follows:
It is He Who sends down water in measured amounts from the sky by which We bring a dead land back to life. That is how you too will be raised [from the dead]. (Qur'an, 43:11)
This measured quantity in rain has again been discovered by modern research. It is estimated that in one second, approximately 16 million tons of water evaporates from the Earth. This figure amounts to 505 trillion tons of water in one year. This number is equal to the amount of rain that falls on the Earth in a year. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_cycle)Therefore, water continuously circulates in a balanced cycle, according to a "measure." Life on Earth depends on this water cycle. Even if all the available technology in the world were to be employed for this purpose, this cycle could not be reproduced artificially.
Even a minor deviation in this equilibrium would soon give rise to a major ecological imbalance that would bring about the end of life on Earth. Yet, it never happens, and rain continues to fall every year in exactly the same measure, just as revealed in the Qur'an.
The proportion of rain does not merely apply to its quantity, but also to the speed of the falling raindrops. The speed of raindrops, regardless of their size, does not exceed a certain limit.
Philipp Lenard, a German physicist who received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1905, found that the fall speed increased with drop diameter until a size of 4.5 mm (0.18 inch). For larger drops, however, the fall speed did not increase beyond 8 metres per second (26 ft/sec).57 He attributed this to the changes in drop shape caused by the air flow as the drop size increased. The change in shape thus increased the air resistance of the drop and slowed its fall rate.
As can be seen, the Qur'an may also be drawing our attention to the subtle adjustment in rain which could not have been known 1,400 years ago.
HOW RAIN FORMS
The above illustration shows the water droplets being released into the
air. This is the first stage in the formation of rain. After that,
the water droplets in the newly formed clouds will be suspended in
the air and then condense to form rain. All of these stages are related
in the Qur'an.
How rain was formed remained a great mystery for quite some time. Only after the weather radar was invented was it possible to discover the stages by which rain is formed.
According to this discovery, the formation of rain takes place in three stages. First, the "raw material" of rain rises up into the air with the wind. Later, clouds are formed, and finally raindrops appear.
The Qur'an's account of the formation of rain refers exactly to this process. In one verse, this formation is described in this way:
It is Allah Who sends the winds which stir up clouds which He spreads about the sky however He wills. He forms them into dark clumps and you see the rain come pouring out from the middle of them. When He makes it fall on those of His servants He wills, they rejoice. (Qur'an, 30:48)
Now, let us examine these three stages outlined in the verse in more detail.
FIRST STAGE: "It is Allah Who sends the winds..."
Countless air bubbles formed by the foaming of the oceans continuously burst and cause water particles to be ejected towards the sky. These particles, which are rich in salt, are then carried away by winds and rise upward in the atmosphere. These particles, which are called aerosols, function as water traps, and form cloud drops by collecting around the water vapour themselves, which rises from the seas as tiny droplets.
(A) Isolated small pieces of clouds (cumulonimbus clouds)
(B) When the small clouds join together, updrafts within the larger
cloud increase. As a result, the cloud is stacked up.
SECOND STAGE: ".... which stir up clouds which He spreads about the sky however He wills. He forms them into dark clumps..."
The clouds are formed from water vapour that condenses around the salt crystals or dust particles in the air. Because the water droplets in these clouds are very small (with a diameter between 0.01 and 0.02 mm [0,0004 and 0,0008 inch]), the clouds are suspended in the air, and spread across the sky. Thus, the sky is covered in clouds.
THIRD STAGE: "...and you see the rain come pouring out from the middle of them"
The water particles that surround salt crystals and dust particles thicken and form raindrops, so, drops that become heavier than the air leave the clouds and start to fall to the ground as rain.
As already discussed, every stage in the formation of rain is related in the verses of the Qur'an. Furthermore, these stages are explained in exactly the right sequence. Just as with many other natural phenomena on the Earth, Allah gave the most correct explanation of this phenomenon, and made it known in the Qur'an centuries before it was discovered.
In another verse, the following information is given about the formation of rain:
Haven't you seen how Allah drives along the clouds, then joins them together, then makes them into a stack, and then you see the rain come out of it? And He sends down from the sky mountain masses [of clouds] with cold hail in them, striking with it anyone He wills and averting it from anyone He wills. The brightness of His lightning almost blinds the sight. (Qur'an, 24:43)
Scientists studying cloud types came across surprising results with regards to the formation of rain clouds. Rain clouds are formed and shaped according to definite systems and stages. The stages of formation of one kind of rain cloud, cumulonimbus, are these:
1. STAGE, Being driven along: Clouds are carried along, that is, they are driven along, by the wind.
2. STAGE, Joining: Then, small clouds (cumulonimbus clouds) driven along by the wind join together, forming a larger cloud.58
3. STAGE, Stacking: When the small clouds join together, updrafts within the larger cloud increase. The updrafts near the centre of the cloud are stronger than those near the edges. These updrafts cause the cloud body to grow vertically, so the cloud is stacked up. This vertical growth causes the cloud body to stretch into cooler regions of the atmosphere, where drops of water and hail formulate and begin to grow larger and larger. When these drops of water and hail become too heavy for the updrafts to support them, they begin to fall from the cloud as rain, hail, etc.59
We must remember that meteorologists have only recently come to know these details about cloud formation, structure and function, by using advanced equipment like planes, satellites, computers etc. It is evident that Allah has provided us information that could not have been known 1,400 years ago.
THE QUIVERING AND SWELLING OF THE EARTH
And you see the earth dead and barren. Then, when We send down water onto it, it quivers and swells and sprouts with luxuriant plants of every kind. (Qur'an, 22:5)
The Arabic word for "quivers" is "ihtazzat," meaning "to set in motion, come alive, quiver, move, stir; the movement and stretching of a plant." The word "rabat," translated as "swells," bears the meanings "to increase, grow in number, swell, grow, develop, rise (of a plant), provision, fill with air." These words describe in the most appropriate manner the changes that occur in the molecular structure of soil during rain.
The motion described in the verse is different from the movement of Earth's crust, such as when a portion of it moves to produce an earthquake, for it is only the soil particles that are moving. These particles are composed of layers, each of which is on top of the other. When water penetrates the layers, it causes the swelling of mud particles. The stages referred to in the verse can be scientifically explained as follows:
1. Quivering of the soil: The electrostatic charge on the particle surface that appears after the water falls on the soil in sufficient amount would cause its instability and quivering movements. This movement is stabilized only after this charge has been neutralized with an opposing one. The soil particle's moving and quivering is also due to its collision with water particles. Since the water particles move in no specific direction, the soil particles move as they are struck from all sides. Robert Brown, a Scottish botanist, discovered in 1827 that when raindrops fall on the soil, they cause a kind of shaking and vibration in the soil molecules. He described this movement of microscopic particles, which today is known as the "Brownian motion."60
2. Swelling of the soil: When it rains, those raindrops hitting the soil cause its particles to swell and increase in volume. This is because when there is abundant water, the space between soil particles, which allows water particles and dissolved ions to enter, increases. When water and the nourishing elements dissolved in it diffuse between the layers, the size of the soil particles increases. Consequently, these particles serve as water deposits that bring the soil to life. It is due to Allah's infinite grace upon humanity that this water is stored in this manner without seeping downward due to the action of gravity. If the soil could not hold water and these mineral deposits could not be laid down in the soil, the water would soak into Earth's deepest parts and, because of its resulting absence, all plants would soon die. However, our Lord has created the soil in such a way that various products can emerge from it.
3. Sprouting of the earth: When there is enough water in the soil, the seeds become active and absorb simple nutritious material. Growing plants meet their water requirements for 2 to 3 months from these deposits.
The above verse describes, in three stages, what happens when rain falls onto dry ground: the soil particles quiver, and the soil swells and then brings forth various products. These stages, which the Qur'an revealed 1,400 years ago, are strikingly parallel to the scientific descriptions. Another verse reveals this about plants:
A sign for them is the dead land that We bring to life and from which We bring forth grain, of which they eat. (Qur'an, 36:33)
RAINS WHICH BRING A DEAD LAND BACK TO LIFE
The rain's function of "bringing a dead land back to life" is indicated in several verses of the Qur'an:
... We send down from heaven pure water so that by it We can bring a dead land to life and give drink to many of the animals and people We created. (Qur'an, 25:48-49)
As well as bringing water, an essential requirement for living things, to the earth, the rain also has a fertilising property. Drops of rain which evaporate from the sea and reach the clouds contain certain substances which "revitalise" dead soil. These raindrops with such "revitalising" properties are called "surface tension droplets." These form from the top layer of the surface of the sea, called the micro-layer by biologists; in this surface layer, less than one-tenth of a millimetre thick, are found large quantities of organic waste formed from the decomposition of microscopic algae and zooplanktons. Some of these wastes collect and absorb elements such as phosphorus, magnesium and potassium, which are rarely found in sea water, as well as heavy metals such as copper, zinc, cobalt and lead. Seeds and plants on the surface of the Earth receive large quantities of the mineral salts and elements they need to grow from these raindrops. The Qur'an refers to this in these terms:
And We sent down blessed water from the sky and made gardens grow by it and grain for harvesting. (Qur'an, 50:9)
These salts which descend with the rain are examples in miniature of fertilisers traditionally used to enhance productivity (calcium, magnesium, potassium etc.). Heavy metals of the kind found in aerosols create elements which increase productivity during growth and production of plants. In short, rain is an important fertiliser. With the fertiliser provided by rain alone, within a hundred years, a soil of poor quality can obtain all the elements necessary for plants. Forests also grow and are nourished with help from these chemicals which originate from the sea.
In this way, every year some 150 million tons of particles of fertiliser fall to earth. Were it not for this fertilising function, there would have been far fewer plants on the Earth and the balance of life would have been disturbed. The information about the revitalisation of plants in the verse is just one of the countless miraculous properties of the Qur'an.
THE FORMATION OF HAIL, THUNDER AND LIGHTNING
... He sends down mountains from the sky with hail inside them, striking with it anyone He wills and averting it from anyone He wills. The brightness of His lightning almost blinds the sight. (Qur'an, 24:43)
The above verse refers to hail and lightning. When the formation of hail and lightning are examined, it can be seen that an important meteorological truth is being indicated in this verse. About the formation of lightning and hail, the book Meteorology Today says that a cloud becomes electrified as hail falls through a region in the cloud of supercooled droplets and ice crystals. Liquid droplets freeze and release latent heat as they collide with a hailstone. This keeps the surface of the hailstone warmer than that of the surrounding ice crystals. An important phenomenon occurs when the hailstone comes in contact with an ice crystal: Electrons flow from the colder object toward the warmer one. In this way, the hailstone becomes negatively charged. This effect also occurs when supercooled droplets come in contact with a hailstone and small pieces of positively charged ice break off. These particles, which are lighter and positively charged, are carried to the upper part of the cloud by currents of air. The hail has a negative charge now, and falls towards the bottom of the cloud, thus the lower part of the cloud becomes negatively charged. These negative charges are then discharged as lightning. It may be concluded from this that hail is the main factor in the formation of lightning.61
In the following verse, however, attention is drawn to the link between rain clouds and lightning, and to the order of formation, information that parallels that discovered by science:
Or [their likeness is] that of a storm-cloud in the sky, full of darkness, thunder and lightning. They put their fingers in their ears against the thunderclaps, fearful of death... (Qur'an, 2:19)
Rain clouds are tremendous masses covering 20 to 260 square metres (10 to
100 square miles) and reaching great vertical heights of 9,000 to 12,000 metres
(30,000 to 40,000 ft.). Due to these extraordinary dimensions, the lower part
of these clouds are dark. It is impossible for the Sun's rays to pass through
them, because of the large quantities of water and ice particles they contain.
Very little solar energy therefore reaches the Earth through the clouds, which
is why the clouds appear dark to someone looking up at them.62
The stages of the formation of thunder and lightning after that darkness, mentioned in the verse, are as follows: An electrical charge forms inside the rain cloud. This comes about as a result of such processes as freezing, the division of raindrops and charge formation during contact. The accumulation of such electrical charges, when the air between becomes unable to insulate them, leads to a great spark, a discharge between the positive and negative fields. The voltage between two oppositely charged areas can reach 1 billion volts. The spark can also form within the cloud, can cross between two clouds, from a positively charged area to a negative one, or be discharged from the cloud to the ground. These sparks form dazzling lightning strikes. This sudden increase in the electrical charge along the line of lightning causes intense heat (10,000 degrees Celsius [18,030 degrees Fahrenheit]). As a result, there is a sudden expansion of the air, which in turn causes the loud noise associated with thunder.63
As has been discussed, dark layers, followed by the electrically charged sparks known as lightning, and then the loud noise called thunder, form within a rain cloud. Everything modern science has established about clouds, and has to say about the causes of thunder and lightning, is in complete accord with the descriptions in the Qur'an.
WINDS THAT FECUNDATE
In one verse of the Qur'an, the "fecundating" characteristic of the winds, and the resulting formation of rain are mentioned.
And We send the fecundating winds, then cause water to descend from the sky, therewith providing you with water in abundance. (Qur'an, 15:22)
This verse points out that the first stage in the formation of rain is wind. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the only relationship known between the wind and the rain was that it was the wind that drove the clouds. However, modern meteorological findings have demonstrated the "fecundating" role of the wind in the formation of rain.
As explained earlier, this fecundating function of the wind works in the following way:
The picture above shows the stages in the formation
of a wave. Waves are formed by the wind blowing above the surface of
the water. With the wind, water particles start to move in a circular
motion. This movement soon forms waves, one after the other, and bubbles
formed by the waves spread in the air. This is the first stage in the
formation of rain. This process is declared in the verse as "We send
the fecundating winds and then cause water to descend from the sky."
On the surface of oceans and seas, a large number of air bubbles form because of the water's foaming action. The moment these bubbles burst, thousands of tiny particles, with a diameter of just one hundredth of a millimetre, are thrown up into the air. These particles, known as "aerosols," mix with dust carried from the land by the wind, and are carried to the upper layers of the atmosphere. These particles carried to higher altitudes by winds come into contact with water vapour up there. Water vapour condenses around these particles and turns into water droplets. These water droplets first come together and form clouds, and then fall to the Earth in the form of rain. As mentioned, winds "fecundate" the water vapour floating in the air with the particles they carry from the sea, and eventually help the formation of rain clouds.
The diagram to the side shows the formation
of air currents and winds on the Earth.
If winds did not possess this property, water droplets in the upper atmosphere would never form, and there would be no rain.
The most important point to be recognized here is that this critical role of the wind in the formation of rain was stated centuries ago in the Qur'an, at a time when very little was known about natural phenomena...
Further information provided in the verse about the fertilising quality of the wind is its role in the pollination of flowers. Many plants on Earth disperse their pollen by means of the wind in order to ensure the survival of their species. Several open-seeded plants, pine trees, palm and similar trees, seeded plants that produce flowers, and grass-like plants are entirely pollinated by the wind. The wind carries the pollen from the plants to others of the species, thus fertilising them.
Until recently, the way that the wind was able to fertilise
plants was unknown. When it was realised, however, that plants are divided
into males and females, the fertilising role of the wind was also discovered.
This truth was already indicated in the Qur'an: "... [He] sent down water from the sky by which We have brought forth various different types of plants in pairs." (Qur'an,
THE STAGES OF WIND FORMATION
... and [in His] directing of the winds, there are signs for people who use their intellect. (Qur'an, 45:5)
Wind is a movement of air which forms between two different temperature centres. Due to the different pressures caused by different temperatures in the atmosphere, air constantly flows from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure. If differences between pressure centres, in other words, temperatures in the atmosphere, are large, the flow of air, in other words, the wind, is very strong, so strong in fact that tornadoes which can inflict terrible damage can be formed.
What is astonishing here is that, despite there being belts of very different temperatures and pressures, such as the equator and the poles, thanks to the order in Allah's creation, our Earth is not exposed to disastrously fierce winds. Were the force of the winds that would otherwise blow between the poles and the equator not tempered, the Earth would become a dead planet constantly buffeted by tornadoes.
In the Arabic expression "tasreefi al-riyaah," in the above verse, the word "tasreef" means "turning over many times, directing, shaping something, managing, distributing." The choice of this word for the wind fully describes the way it blows in an ordered manner. It is also a clear expression of the fact that the wind does not blow by chance, of its own accord. It is Allah Who directs the winds in such a way as to make human life possible.
HOW THE PROCESS OF PHOTOSYNTHESIS BEGINS IN THE MORNING
And [I swear] by the night when it draws in, and by the dawn when it breathes in. (Qur'an, 81:17-18)
Light is one of the most essential elements in the performance of photosynthesis.
Photosynthesis varies in proportion to the intensity and duration of
the light source. With the reception of the Sun’s rays in the
morning, photosynthesis—in other words, the production of oxygen
When plants undergo photosynthesis, they take in carbon dioxide, a harmful gas that human beings cannot consume, from the air, and give off oxygen instead. Oxygen, which we breathe and which is our basic source of life, is the main product of photosynthesis. Some 30% of the oxygen in the atmosphere is produced by plants on land, the remaining 70% being produced by plants and single-celled living things in the seas and oceans.
Photosynthesis is a complex process, and one which scientists have still not yet fully understood. This process cannot be observed with the naked eye, because the mechanism employs atoms and molecules. However, we can see the results of photosynthesis in the oxygen which enables us to breathe, and in the foodstuffs that keep us alive. Photosynthesis is a system which involves complicated chemical formulae and units of weight, and on very small scale, and consisting of the most sensitive equilibriums. There are trillions of chemical laboratories that carry out this process in all the green plants around us. Furthermore, plants have been meeting our oxygen, food and energy needs non-stop for millions of years.
The productivity of photosynthesis is measured by the level of oxygen output. The greatest point is in the morning, when the Sun's rays are most concentrated. At dawn, the leaves begin to sweat, and photosynthesis increases accordingly. In the afternoon, however, the opposite applies; in other words photosynthesis slows down, and respiration increases because as the temperature rises perspiration also increases. At night, as the temperature falls, perspiration declines and the plant rests.
The term "itha tanaffasa" in Surat at-Takwir, in reference to the morning hours, in other words, "when it breathes in," is a metaphorical reference to breathing, respiration, or breathing deeply. This term particularly emphasises the way that the production of oxygen begins in the morning, and that the greatest levels of oxygen, essential for respiration, are given off at that time. The importance of the phenomena is also emphasised by the way that Allah swears upon it. The way that Allah indicates the action of photosynthesis, among the most important discoveries of the 20th century, in this verse, is another of the scientific miracles of the Qur'an.
||Photosynthesis is the use by plants and sometimes
by certain bacteria and single-cell life forms of the Sun’s rays
in order to produce sugar (carbohydrate) from carbon dioxide and water.
As a result of this reaction, the energy in the Sun’s rays is stored
inside the sugar molecule produced. The following formula summarises
the reaction that takes place during the process by which unusable solar
energy is transformed into usable chemical energy:
6H2O + 6CO2 ---PHOTOSYNTHESIS--->
(6 water molecules + 6 carbon dioxide molecules are turned into 1
sugar molecule and 6 oxygen molecules by means of photosynthesis.)