This thread is connected to the subject about the discoveries in the Quran.. I decided to make a separate thread for it cause it`s quite long...
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THE COMING OF THE UNIVERSE INTO EXISTENCE
Until the mid-20th century, the prevalent view across the world was that the universe was infinite, had existed forever and that it will continue to do so for all time. According to this view, known as the "static universe model," the universe had no end or beginning.
In maintaining that the universe is a collection of fixed, static and unchanging substances, this view has constituted the basis of materialist philosophy and has consequently rejected the existence of a Creator. However, as science and technology progressed during the 20th century, the static universe model has been completely uprooted.
We have now entered the 21st century and a new dawn is upon us. Through numerous experiments, observations and calculation conducted by some of the world's most prominent thinkers, modern physics has proven that the universe did indeed have a beginning, that it came into being from nothing in a single moment in a huge explosion. Furthermore, it has been established that the universe is not fixed and static, as materialists still stubbornly maintain. On the contrary, it is undergoing a constant process of movement, change and expansion. These recently-established facts all act as nails in the coffin of the static universe theory. Today, all these facts are universally accepted by the scientific community.
The origin of the universe is described in the Qur'an in the following verse:
He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. (Qur'an, 6:101)
This information is in full agreement with the findings of contemporary scientists. As we stated earlier, the conclusion that astrophysics has reached today is that the entire universe, together with the dimensions of matter and time, came into existence as a result of a great explosion that occurred a long time ago. This event, known as "The Big Bang," is the catalyst for the creation of the universe from nothingness. This explosion, all parties in the scientific community agree, emanated from a single point some 15 billion years ago. (See Harun Yahya, The Creation of the Universe, Al-Attique Publishers Inc. Canada, 2000)
Before the Big Bang, there was no such thing as matter. From a condition of non-existence in which neither matter, nor energy, nor even time existed-and which can only be described metaphysically-matter, energy, and time were all created in an instant. This fact, only recently discovered by modern physics, was announced to us in the Qur'an 1,400 years ago.
The sensitive sensors on board the COBE space satellite, launched by NASA in 1992, captured evidentiary remnants of the Big Bang. This discovery served as evidence for the Big Bang, which is the scientific explanation of the fact that the universe was created from nothing
THE EXPANSION OF THE UNIVERSE
Edwin Hubble with his giant telescope
In the Qur'an, which was revealed fourteen centuries ago at a time when the science of astronomy was still primitive, the expansion of the universe was described in the following terms:
And it is We Who have constructed the heaven with might, and verily, it is We Who are steadily expanding it. (Qur'an, 51:47)
The word "heaven," as stated in the verse above, is used in various places in the Qur'an. It is referring to space and the wider universe. Here again, the word is used with this meaning, stating that the universe "expands." The Arabic word "moosiaaoona" in the term "inna lamoosiaaoona," translated into English as "it is We Who are steadily expanding it", comes from the verb "evsea," meaning "to expand." The prefix "la" emphasises the following name or title and adds a sense of "to a great extent." This expression therefore means "We expand the sky or the universe to a great extent." This is the very conclusion that science has reached today. 1
Until the dawn of the 20th century, the only view prevailing in the world of science was that "the universe has a constant nature and it has existed since infinite time." However, modern research, observations, and calculations carried out by means of modern technology have revealed that the universe in fact had a beginning and that it constantly "expands."
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian physicist Alexander Friedmann and the Belgian cosmologist Georges Lemaitre theoretically calculated that the universe is in constant motion and that it is expanding.
From the moment of the Big Bang, the universe has been constantly expanding at a great speed. Scientists compare the expanding universe to the surface of a balloon that is inflated.
This notion was confirmed by the use of observational data in 1929. While observing the sky with a telescope, Edwin Hubble, the American astronomer, discovered that the stars and galaxies were constantly moving away from each other. This discovery is regarded as one of the greatest in the history of astronomy. During these observations, Hubble established that the stars emit a light that turns redder according to their distance. That is because according to the known laws of physics, light heading towards a point of observation turns violet, and light moving away from that point assumes a more reddish hue. During his observations, Hubble noted a tendency towards the colour red in the light emitted by stars. In short, the stars were moving further and further away, all the time. The stars and galaxies were not only moving away from us, but also from each other. A universe where everything constantly moves away from everything else implied a constantly expanding universe. The observations carried out in the following years verified that the universe is constantly expanding.
In order to gain a clearer understanding of this, let us imagine the universe to be the surface of a balloon being inflated. In the same way that the more the balloon is inflated, the further away the points on its surface move from one another, celestial bodies also move away from one another as the universe expands. This was theoretically discovered by Albert Einstein, regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century. However, in order to avoid violating the "static universe model" that was generally accepted at that time, Einstein laid that discovery aside. He would later describe this as the greatest blunder of his life. 2
This fact was explained in the Qur'an in a time when telescopes and similar technological advancements were not even close to being invented.
THE END OF THE UNIVERSE AND THE BIG CRUNCH
The Big Crunch theory proposes that the universe, that began expanding with the Big Bang, will collapse in on itself with increasing speed. According to the theory, this collapse of the universe will continue until the universe has lost all its mass and turned into a single point of infinite density.
As we have stated above, the creation of the universe began with a huge explosion. From this point, the universe has been expanding ever since. Scientists say that when the mass of the universe has reached a sufficient level, this expansion will come to an end because of gravity, causing the universe to collapse in on itself. 3
It is also believed that the contracting universe will end in a fierce heat and contraction known as the "Big Crunch." This would lead to the end of all forms of life as we know them. Renata Kallosh and Andrei Linde, professors of physics from Stanford University, made the following statements on the subject:
The universe may be doomed to collapse and disappear. Everything we see now, and at a much larger distance that we cannot see, will collapse into a point smaller than a proton. Locally, it will be the same as if you were inside a black hole... We have found that some of the best attempts to describe dark energy predict that it will gradually become negative, which will cause the universe to become unstable, then collapse... Physicists have known that dark energy could become negative and the universe could collapse sometime in the very distant future... but now we see that we might be, not in the beginning, but in the middle of the life cycle of our universe. 4
This is how this scientific hypothesis of the Big Crunch is indicated in the Qur'an:
That Day We will fold up heaven like folding up the pages of a book. As We originated the first creation so We will regenerate it. It is a promise binding on Us. That is what We will do. (Qur'an, 21:104)
In another verse, this state of the heavens is described thus:
They do not measure Allah with His true measure. The whole earth will be a mere handful for Him on the Day of Rising the heavens folded up in His right hand. Glory be to Him! He is exalted above the partners they ascribe! (Qur'an, 39:67)
According to the Big Crunch theory, the universe will begin to collapse slowly and will then increasingly pick up speed. At the end of the process the universe will have infinite density and be infinitely hot and small. This scientific theory runs parallel to the Qur'anic explanation of this particular scientific concept.
CREATION FROM HOT SMOKE
The picture represents the Big Bang, which revealed once again that Allah created the universe from nothingness. The Big Bang is a theory that has been proven with scientific evidence. Although some scientists tried to advance arguments against the Big Bang, scientific evidence has caused the Big Bang theory to be completely accepted by the scientific community.
Scientists today are able to observe the formation of stars from a hot gas cloud. Formation from a warm mass of gas also applies to the creation of the universe. The creation of the universe as described in the Qur'an confirms this scientific discovery in the following verse:
He placed firmly embedded mountains on it, towering over it, and blessed it and measured out its nourishment in it, laid out for those who seek it-all in four days. Then He turned to heaven when it was smoke and said to it and to the earth, "Come willingly or unwillingly." They both said, "We come willingly." (Qur'an, 41:10-11)
The Arabic word for "smoke" in the above verse is "dukhanun," which describes the hot, cosmic smoke in question. This word in the Qur'an, in pinpoint fashion, describes this smoke very accurately for it is a warm body of gas containing mobile particles connected to solid substances. Here, the Qur'an has employed the most appropriate word from the Arabic language for describing the appearance of this phase of the universe. Let us note that only in the 20th century have scientists discovered that the universe emerged from a hot gas in the form of smoke. 5
The fact that such information about the creation of the universe is given in the Qur'an is nothing short of a miracle of the Qur'an.
THE SPLITTING ASUNDER OF "THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH"
Another verse about the creation of the heavens is as follows:
Do those who disbelieve not see that the heavens and the earth were sewn together and then We unstitched them and that We made from water every living thing? So will they not believe? (Qur'an, 21:30)
The word "ratq" translated as "sewn to" means "mixed in each, blended" in the Arabic vernacular. It is used to refer to two different substances that make up a whole. The phrase "we unstitched" is the verb "fataqa" in Arabic and implies that something comes into being by tearing apart or destroying the structure of things that are sewn to one another. The sprouting of a seed from the soil is one of the actions to which this verb is applied.
Let us take a look at the verse again. In the verse, sky and earth are at first subject to the status of "ratq." They are separated (fataqa) with one coming out of the other. Intriguingly, when we think about the first moments of the Big Bang, we see that the entire matter of the universe collected at one single point. In other words, everything-including "the heavens and earth" which were not created yet-were in an interwoven and inseparable condition. Then, this point exploded violently, causing its matter to disunite.
THE CREATION OF WHAT LIES BETWEEN THE HEAVENS
AND THE EARTH
The Qur'an contains a great many verses concerning the creation of the earth, the heavens and what lies between:
We did not create the heavens and earth and everything between them, except with truth. The Hour is certainly coming, so turn away graciously. (Qur'an, 15:85)
Everything in the heavens and everything on the earth and everything in between them and everything under the ground belongs to Him. (Qur'an, 20:6)
We did not create heaven and earth and everything in between them as a game. (Qur'an, 21:16)
Scientists state that first of all, a mass of hot gas increased in density. This mass later divided into smaller parts to form galactic matter and later still, the stars and planets. To put it another way, the Earth along with stars around it, are all parts which separated from a united body of gas. Some of these parts brought the suns and planets into being, thus leading to the emergence of the many Solar Systems and galaxies. As we have set out in earlier sections of this book, the universe was first in a state of "ratq" (fusion: combined together, united) and then became "fataqa" (divided into parts). The emergence of the universe is described with the most suitable words in the Qur'an, in such a way as to confirm the scientific accounts.
On the occasion of every division, a few particles remained outside the new, fundamental bodies forming in space. The scientific name for these extra particles is "interstellar galactic material." Interstellar matter consists of 60% of hydrogen, 38% of helium and 2% of all other elements. 99% of the interstellar matter consists of interstellar gas and 1% of interstellar dust, which probably consists of heavy elements in small particles of 0,0001 to 0.001 mm in diameter. Scientists regard these substances as very important from the point of view of astrophysical measurements. These substances are so fine as to be capable of being regarded as dust, smoke or gas. However, when one considers these substances as a whole, they represent a larger mass than the total of all the galaxies in space. Although the existence of this interstellar galactic matter was only discovered in 1920, attention was drawn to the existence of these particles, described as "ma baynahuma"-translated as "everything between them"-hundreds of years ago in the Qur'an.
THE PERFECT EQUILIBRIUM IN THE UNIVERSE
He Who created the seven heavens in layers. You will not find any discrepancy in the creation of the All-Merciful. Look again-do you see any gaps? Then look again and again. Your sight will return to you dazzled and exhausted! (Qur'an, 67:3-4)
The billions of stars and galaxies in the universe move in perfect equilibrium in the paths set out for them. Stars, planets and satellites rotate not only around their own axes but also together with the systems of which they are an integral part. Sometimes, galaxies containing 200-300 billion stars move across each others' paths. Yet amazingly, no collisions take place that might damage the great order in the universe. This miracle is something over which all of us should reflect.
In the universe, the concept of speed assumes giant dimensions when compared to earthly measurements. Stars, planets, galaxies and conglomerations of galaxies-whose numerical properties can only be conceived by mathematicians-weigh billions or trillions of tons, and move through space at extraordinary speeds.
For example, the Earth rotates at 1,670 kmph. If we consider that the fastest-moving bullet today possesses an average speed of 1,800 kmph, we can see how fast the Earth is moving, despite its enormous size and mass.
The speed of the Earth as it orbits the Sun is some 60 times faster than a bullet: 108,000 kmph. If we were able to construct a vehicle capable of moving at that speed, it would be able to circumnavigate the Earth in 22 minutes. These figures apply only to the Earth.
Those for the Solar System are even more fascinating. The speed of that system is such as to exceed the bounds of reason: The larger the systems in the universe, the greater their speed. The Solar System's speed of orbit around the centre of the galaxy is 720,000 kmph. The Milky Way, with its 200 billion or so stars, moves through space at 950,000 kmph.
There is no doubt that there is a very high risk of collisions in such a complicated and fast-moving system. Yet nothing of the sort actually happens and we continue with our lives in complete safety. That is because everything in the universe functions according to the flawless equilibrium set out by Allah. It is for this reason that, as stated in the verse, there is no "discrepancy" in the system.
THE FINE TUNING IN THE UNIVERSE
He Who created the seven heavens in layers. You will not find any flaw in the creation of the All-Merciful. Look again-do you see any gaps? Then look again and again. Your sight will return to you dazzled and exhausted! (Qur'an, 67:3-4)
Do you not see how He created seven heavens in layers? (Qur'an, 71:15)
He to Whom the kingdom of the heavens and the earth belongs. He does not have a son and He has no partner in the Kingdom. He created everything and determined it most exactly. (Qur'an, 25:2)
Materialist philosophy emerged with the claim that all the systems in nature and the universe were like machines that functioned on their own, that the flawless order and balance within them were the work of chance. However, today, the false nature of materialism and of Darwinism, its so-called scientific foundation, has been scientifically demonstrated. (See Harun Yahya, The Evolution Deceit, 8th ed., Taha Publishers, 2004 and Darwinism Refuted, Goodword Books, 2003.)
The scientific discoveries of the 20th century that followed swiftly, one after the other, in the fields of astrophysics and biology have proved that life and the universe were created. As the theses of Darwinism collapsed, the Big Bang theory has shown that the universe was created from nothing. Discoveries have revealed that there is a great design and fine-tuning in the material world and this has categorically demonstrated the groundless nature of the claims of materialism.
Considering the conditions necessary for life, we see that only the Earth meets these particular conditions. For an environment suitable for life, there are innumerable conditions taking place simultaneously and unceasingly all around us. There are some hundred billion galaxies, each with-on average-a hundred billion stars. In all the galaxies, there are perhaps as many planets as stars.8 In the face of such overpowering numbers, one can better comprehend the significance of the formation of such an exceptional environment on the Earth.
From the force of the Big Bang explosion to the physical values of atoms, from the levels of the four basic forces to the chemical processes in the stars, from the type of light emitted by the Sun to the level of viscosity of water, from the distance of the Moon to the Earth to the level of gases in the atmosphere, from the Earth's distance from the Sun to its angle of tilt to its orbit, and from the speed at which the Earth revolves around its own axis to the functions of the oceans and mountains on the Earth: every single detail is ideally suited to our lives. Today, the world of science describes these features by means of the concepts of the "Anthropic Principle" and "Fine-Tuning." These concepts summarise the way that the universe is not an aimless, uncontrolled, chance collection of matter but that it has a purpose directed towards human life and has been designed with the greatest precision.
Attention is drawn in the above verses to the measure and harmony in Allah's creation. The word "taqdeeran," meaning "to design, measure, create by measuring," is employed in Qur'anic verses such as Surat al-Furqan 2. The word "tibaqan," meaning "in harmony," is used in Surat al-Mulk 3 and Surah Nuh 15. Furthermore, Allah also reveals in Surat al-Mulk with the word "tafawutin," meaning "disagreement, violation, non-conformity, disorder, opposite," that those who seek disharmony will fail to find it.
The term "fine-tuning," which began to be used towards the end of the 20th century, represents this truth revealed in the verses. Over the last quarter-century or so, a great many scientists, intellectuals and writers have shown that the universe is not a collection of coincidences. On the contrary, it has an extraordinary design and order ideally suited to human life in its every detail. (See Harun Yahya, The Creation of the Universe, Al-Attique Publishers, November 2002 and A Chain of Miracles, Global Publishing, May 2004.) Many features in the universe clearly show that the universe has been specially designed to support life. The physicist Dr. Karl Giberson expresses this fact thus:
In the 1960s, some physicists observed that our universe appears to have been fine-tuned for the existence of human life. 9
The British astrophysicist Professor George F. Ellis refers to this fine-tuning in these terms:
Amazing fine tuning occurs in the laws that make this [complexity] possible. Realization of the complexity of what is accomplished makes it very difficult not to use the word "miraculous" without taking a stand as to the ontological status of the word. 10
Everything in the heavens and everything in the earth belongs to Allah. All matters return to Allah.
The speed of the Big Bang explosion:
The balances established with the Big Bang, the instantaneous formation of the universe, are one of the proofs that the universe did not come into being by chance. According to the well-known Adelaide University professor of mathematical physics Paul Davies, if the rate of expansion that took place following the Big Bang had been just one in a billion billion parts different (1/1018), the universe could not have come into being.11 In his book A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking recognises this extraordinary precision in the universe's rate of expansion:
If the rate of expansion one second after the big bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have recollapsed before it ever reached its present size. 12
The Four Forces:
All physical motion in the universe comes about thanks to the interaction and equilibrium of the four forces recognised by modern physics: gravity, electromagnetic force, strong nuclear force and weak nuclear force. These forces possess extraordinarily different values to one another. Michael Denton, the famous molecular biologist, describes the extraordinary equilibrium among these forces thus:
If, for example, the gravitational force was a trillion times stronger, then the universe would be far smaller and its life history far shorter. An average star would have a mass a trillion times less than the sun and a life span of about one year. On the other hand, if gravity had been less powerful, no stars or galaxies would have ever formed. The other relationships and values are no less critical. If the strong force had been just slightly weaker, the only element that would be stable would be hydrogen. No other atoms could exist. If it had been slightly stronger in relation to electromagnetism, then an atomic nucleus consisting of only two protons would be a stable feature of the universe-which would mean there would be no hydrogen, and if any stars or galaxies evolved, they would be very different from the way they are. Clearly, if these various forces and constants did not have precisely the values they do, there would be no stars, no supernovae, no planets, no atoms, no life. 13
The Distances between Celestial Bodies:
The distribution of celestial bodies in space and the enormous spaces between them are essential to the existence of life on Earth. The distances between celestial bodies have been set out in a calculation compatible with a great many powerful universal forces in such a way as to support life on Earth. In his book Nature's Destiny Michael Denton describes the distance between supernovae and stars:
The distances between supernovae and indeed between all stars is critical for other reasons. The distance between stars in our galaxy is about 30 million miles. If this distance was much less, planetary orbits would be destabilized. If it was much more, then the debris thrown out by a supernova would be so diffusely distributed that planetary systems like our own would in all probability never form. If the cosmos is to be a home for life, then the flickering of the supernovae must occur at a very precise rate and the average distance between them, and indeed between all stars, must be very close to the actual observed figure. 14
- If gravity were stronger, excessive ammonia and methane would collect in the Earth's atmosphere, which would have a most damaging effect on life.
- If it were weaker, the Earth's atmosphere would lose excessive quantities of water, making life impossible.
The Earth's Distance from the Sun:
- If this were any greater, the planet would grow very cold, the water cycle in the atmosphere would be affected, and the planet would enter an ice-age.
- If the Earth were any closer to the Sun, plants would burn up, the water cycle in the Earth's atmosphere would be irreparably damaged, and life would become impossible.-
The Thickness of the Earth's Crust:
- If the crust were any thicker, then an excessive amount of oxygen would be transferred to it from the atmosphere.
- If it were any thinner, the resulting amount of volcanic activity would make life impossible.
The Speed at which the Earth Revolves:
If this were any slower, the temperature difference between day and night would grow enormously.
-If it were any faster, then atmospheric winds would reach enormous speeds, and cyclones and storms would make life impossible.
The Earth's Magnetic Field:
- If this were any more powerful, very strong electromagnetic storms would arise.
- If it were any weaker, then the Earth would lose its protection against the harmful particles given off by the Sun and known as solar winds. Both situations would make life impossible.-
The Albedo Effect (Ratio between the amount of light the Earth reflects and the amount of light that is absorbed):
- If this were any greater, an ice-age would rapidly result.
- If it were any less, the greenhouse effect would lead to excessive warming. The Earth would first be flooded with the melting of the glaciers, and would then burn up.-
The Proportion of Oxygen and Nitrogen in the Atmosphere:
- If this were any greater, vital functions would be adversely accelerated.
- If it were any less, vital functions would adversely slow down.
The Proportion of Carbon Dioxide and Water in the Atmosphere:
- If this were any greater, the atmosphere would overheat.
- If it were any less, the temperature of the atmosphere would fall.
The Thickness of the Ozone Layer:
- If this were any greater, the Earth's temperature would fall enormously.
- If it were any less, the Earth would overheat and be defenceless against the harmful ultraviolet rays emitted by the Sun.
Seismic Activity (Earthquakes):
- If this were any greater, there would be constant upheaval for living things.
- If it were any less, the nutrients at the sea bottom would fail to spread into the water. This would have a damaging effect on life in the seas and oceans and all living things on Earth.-
The Earth's Angle of Tilt:
The Earth has a 23 degree angle of inclination to its orbit. It is this inclination that gives rise to the seasons. If this angle were any greater or any less than it is now, the temperature difference between the seasons would reach extreme dimensions, with unbearably hot summers and bitterly cold winters.
The Size of the Sun:
A smaller star than the Sun would mean the Earth would freeze and a larger star would lead to its burning up.
The Attraction between the Earth and the Moon:
- If this were any greater, the powerful attraction of the Moon would have extremely serious effects on atmospheric conditions, the speed at which the Earth revolves around its own axis and on the ocean tides.
- If it were any less, this would lead to extreme climate changes.-
The Distance between the Earth and the Moon:
- If they were just a little closer, the Moon would crash into the Earth.
- If they were any further, the Moon would become lost in space.
- If they were even a little closer, the Moon's effect on the Earth's tides would reach dangerous dimensions. Ocean waves would inundate low-lying areas. The friction emerging as a result of this would raise the temperature of the oceans and the sensitive temperature balance essential to life on Earth would disappear.
- If they were even a little further away, the tides would decrease, leading the oceans to be less mobile. Immobile water would endanger life in the seas, and the level of the oxygen we breathe would be endangered. 15
The kingdom of the heavens and earth belongs to Allah. Allah has power over all things. In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are
Signs for people with intelligence.
The Temperature of the Earth and Carbon-Based Life:
The existence of carbon, the basis of all life, depends on the temperature remaining within specific limits. Carbon is an essential substance for organic molecules such as amino-acid, nucleic acid and protein: These constitute the basis of life. For that reason, life can only be carbon-based. Given this, the existing temperature needs to be no lower than -20 degrees and no higher than 120 degrees Celsius. These are just the temperature limits on Earth.
These are just a few of the exceedingly sensitive balances which are essential for life on Earth to have emerged and to survive. Yet even these are sufficient to definitively reveal that the Earth and the universe could not have come into being as the result of a number of consecutive coincidences. The concepts of "fine-tuning" and the "anthropic principle" that began to be employed in the 20th century are further evidence of Allah's creation. The harmony and proportion therein were described with magnificent accuracy fourteen centuries ago in the Qur'an.
THE STRUCTURAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE SUN, THE MOON AND THE STARS
We built seven firm layers above you. We installed a blazing lamp. (Qur'an, 78:12-13)
As we know, the only source of light in the Solar System is the Sun. With advances in technology, astronomers discovered that the Moon was not a source of light but that it merely reflects the light reaching it from the Sun. The expression "lamp" in the above verse is a translation of the Arabic word "sirajan," which most perfectly describes the Sun, the source of light and heat.
In the Qur'an Allah employs different words when referring to such celestial bodies as the Moon, the Sun and the stars. This is how the differences between the structures of the Sun and Moon are expressed in the Qur'an:
Do you not see how He created seven heavens in layers, and placed the moon as a light in them and made the sun a blazing lamp? (Qur'an, 71:15-16)
In the above verse, the word "light" is used for the Moon ("nooran" in Arabic) and the word "lamp" for the Sun ("sirajan" in Arabic.) The word used for the Moon refers to a light-reflecting, bright, motionless body. The word used for the Sun refers to a celestial body which is always burning, a constant source of heat and light.
On the other hand, the word "star" comes from the Arabic root "nejeme," meaning "appearing, emerging, visible." As in the verse below, stars are also referred to by the word "thaqib," which is used for that which shines and pierces the darkness with light: self-consuming and burning:
It is the star that pierces through darkness! (Qur'an, 86:3)
We now know that the Moon does not emit its own light but reflects that reaching it from the Sun. We also know that the Sun and stars do emit their own light. These facts were revealed in the Qur'an in an age when mankind simply did not have the means to make scientific discoveries of their own accord. It was an age when peoples' knowledge of celestial bodies was severely restricted, to say the least. This further emphasises the miraculous nature of the book of Islam.
ORBITS AND THE ROTATING UNIVERSE
One of the most important reasons for the great equilibrium in the universe is the fact that celestial bodies follow specific paths. Stars, planets and satellites all rotate around their own axes and also rotate together with the system of which they are a part. The universe functions within a finely-tuned order, just like the wheels in a factory.
There are more than 100 billion galaxies in the visible universe and each small galaxy contains approximately a billion stars. Furthermore, each big galaxy contains more than a trillion. 16 Many of these stars have planets and many of those planets have satellites. All these celestial bodies follow the most finely calculated paths and orbits. For millions of years, each one has been moving in its own path in flawless harmony with all the others. In addition to these, there are also a great many comets moving along in their own pre-determined paths.
In addition, the paths in the universe are not restricted to a few celestial bodies. The Solar System and even other galaxies also exhibit considerable motion around other centres. Every year, Earth, and the Solar System with it, move some 500 million km from where they were the previous year. It has been calculated that even the slightest deviation from celestial bodies' paths could have drastic consequences which might spell the end of the entire system. For example, the consequences of the earth's deviating from its course by a mere 3 mm have been described in one source as follows:
While rotating around the sun, the earth follows such an orbit that, every 18 miles, it only deviates 2.8 millimetres from a direct course. The orbit followed by the earth never changes, because even a deviation of 3 millimetres would cause catastrophic disasters: If the deviation were 2.5 mm instead of 2.8 mm, then the orbit would be very large, and all of us would freeze. If the deviation were 3.1 mm, we would be scorched to death. 17
Another characteristic of heavenly bodies is that they also rotate around their own axes. The verse which reads "[I swear] by Heaven with its cyclical systems," (Qur'an, 86:11) indicates this truth. Naturally, at the time when the Qur'an was revealed, people had no telescopes with which to study bodies millions of kilometres away in space, advanced observation technology or our modern knowledge of physics and astronomy. It was therefore impossible to establish that space had "its oscillating orbits," (Qur'an, 51:7) as described in the verse. The Qur'an however, revealed at that time, provided clear information concerning that fact. This is proof that this book is indeed Allah's Word.
Like many other comets in the universe, Halley's comet, seen above, also moves in a planned orbit. It has a specific orbit and it moves in this orbit in a perfect harmony with other celestial bodies.
All celestial bodies—including planets, satellites of these planets, stars and even galaxies—have their own orbits that have been determined with very delicate computations. The One Who established this perfect order and maintains it is Allah, Who created the entire universe.
THE SUN'S TRAJECTORY
It is stressed in the Qur'an that the Sun and Moon follow specific trajectories:
It is He Who created night and day and the sun and moon, each one swimming in a sphere. (Qur'an, 21:33)
The word "swim" in the above verse is expressed in Arabic by the word "sabaha" and is used to describe the movement of the Sun in space. The word means that the Sun does not move randomly through space but that it rotates around its axis and follows a course as it does so. The fact that the Sun is not fixed in position but rather follows a specific trajectory is also stated in another verse:
And the sun runs to its resting place. That is the decree of the Almighty, the All-Knowing. (Qur'an, 36:38)
These facts set out in the Qur'an were only discovered by means of astronomical advances in our own time. According to astronomers' calculations, the Sun moves along a path known as the Solar Apex in the path of the star Vega at an incredible speed of 720,000 kmph. In rough terms, this shows that the Sun traverses some 17.28 million km a day. As well as the Sun itself, all the planets and satellites within its gravitational field also travel the same distance.
THE MOON'S ORBIT
And We have decreed set phases for the moon, until it ends up looking like an old date branch. It is not for the sun to overtake the moon nor for the night to outstrip the day; each one is swimming in a sphere. (Qur'an, 36:39-40)
The Moon does not follow a regular orbit like the satellites of other planets. As it orbits the Earth, it sometimes moves behind it and sometimes in front. As it also moves with the Earth around the Sun, it actually follows a constant pattern resembling the letter "S" in space. This route, traced by the Moon in space, is described in the Qur'an as resembling an old date branch and does indeed resemble the twisted form of the date tree branch. Indeed, the word "urjoon" employed in the Qur'an refers to a thin and twisted date branch and is used to describe that part left after the fruit has been picked. The way that this branch is described as "old" is also most appropriate since old date branches are thinner and more twisted.
Since the Moon revolves around the Sun together with the Earth, it follows a path through space which resembles the letter “S.” The appearance of this orbit resembles the twisted shape of a dry date branch, as is revealed in the Qur’an.
There is no doubt that it was impossible for anyone to have any knowledge about the orbit of the Moon 1,400 years ago. The way that this pattern, identified by modern technology and accumulated knowledge, was revealed in the Holy Book is yet another scientific miracle of the Qur'an.
CALCULATING THE LUNAR YEAR
It is He Who appointed the sun to give radiance, and the moon to give light, assigning it phases so you would know the number of years and the reckoning of time. Allah did not create these things except with truth. We make the Signs clear for people who know. (Qur'an, 10:5)
And We have decreed set phases for the moon, until it ends up looking like an old date branch. (Qur'an, 36:39)
In the first of the above verses, Allah has clearly revealed that the Moon will be a means of measurement for people to calculate the year. Furthermore, our attention is also drawn to the fact that these calculations will be performed according to the positions of the Moon as it revolves in its orbit. Since the angles between the Earth and Moon and the Moon and Sun constantly change, we see the Moon in different forms at different times. Furthermore, our ability to see the Moon is made possible by the fact that it is illuminated by the Sun. The amount of the lighted half of the Moon we see from Earth changes. Bearing in mind these changes, a number of calculations can be made, making it possible for human beings to measure the year.
In former times a month was calculated as the time between two full moons, or the time it took the Moon to travel around the Earth. According to this, one month was equal to 29 days, 12 hours and 44 minutes. This is known as the "lunar month." Twelve lunar months represent one year, according to the Hijri calendar. However, there is a difference of eleven days between the Hijri calendar and the Gregorian calendar, in which a year is the time it takes the Earth to orbit the Sun. Indeed, attention is drawn to this difference in another verse:
They stayed in their Cave for three hundred years and added nine. (Qur'an, 18:25)
We can clarify the time referred to in the verse thus: 300 years x 11 days (the difference which forms every year) = 3,300 days. Bearing in mind that one solar year lasts 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45.5 seconds, 3,300 days/365.24 days = 9 years. To put it another way, 300 years according to the Gregorian calendar is equal to 300+9 years according to the Hijri calendar. As we can see, the verse refers to this finely calculated difference of 9 years. (Allah knows best.) There is no doubt that the Qur'an, which contains such pieces of information, which transcended the everyday knowledge of the time, is a miraculous revelation.
THE FORCE OF GRAVITY AND ORBITAL MOVEMENTS
No! I swear by the planets-that recede, that ride their course [and] hide themselves. (Qur'an, 81: 15-16)
The word "khunnas" in Surat at-Takwir 15 bears such meanings as shrinking and cowering, retracting and turning back. The Arabic expression translated as "hide themselves" in the 16th verse is "kunnas." The word "kunnas" is the plural form of "kanis" and refers to a specific path: entering a nest, the home of a body in motion or things entering their homes and hiding there. Again in verse 16, the word "aljawari," the plural form of the word "jariya" which means one that moves and flows, is translated as "that ride their course." Bearing in mind the meaning of these words, it is very possible that these verses refer to the gravitational forces of the planets and their movements around their orbits.
These words in the above verses fully describe orbital movements stemming from the force of gravity. Of these, the word "khunnas" refers to the planets' attraction towards their own centres and also their attraction towards the Sun, which is the centre of our Solar System. (Allah knows best.) The force of gravity already existed in the universe-although it was only possible to reveal this attractive force with mathematical formulae with Sir Isaac Newton, who lived in the 17th and 18th centuries. The word "aljawari" in the following verse emphasises the orbital movements that arise as a result of the centrifugal force that opposes this attractive one. There is no doubt that the use of the word "aljawari" together with "khunnas" (attraction towards the centre, shrinkage) and "kunnas" (path, entering the nest, the home of a body in motion) indicates an important scientific truth that nobody could have known about 1,400 years ago. (Allah knows best.) Moreover, these verses, one of the subjects sworn on in the Qur'an, are another indication of the importance of the subject.
THE ROUNDNESS OF THE EARTH
He has created the Heavens and the Earth for Truth. He wraps the night up in the day, and wraps the day up in the night. (Qur'an, 39:5)
In the Qur'an, the words used for describing the universe are quite remarkable. The Arabic word which is translated as "to wrap" in the above verse is "takwir." In English, it means "to make one thing lap over another, folded up as a garment that is laid away." For instance, in Arabic dictionaries this word is used for the action of wrapping one thing around another, in the way that a turban is put on. The information given in the verse about the day and the night wrapping each other up includes accurate information about the shape of the world. This can be true only if the Earth is round. This means that in the Qur'an, which was revealed in the 7th century, the roundness of the world was hinted at.
However, it should be remembered that the understanding of astronomy of the time perceived the world differently. It was then thought that the world was a flat plane and all scientific calculations and explanations were based on this belief. However, the Glorious Qur'an has employed the most definitive words when it came to describing the universe. These facts, which we could only correctly fathom in our century, have been in the Qur'an for a vast length of time.
THE EARTH'S DIRECTION OF ROTATION
You will see the mountains and reckon them to be solid; but they go past like clouds-the handiwork of Allah Who gives to everything its solidity. He is aware of what you do. (Qur'an, 27:88)
The above verse emphasises that the Earth not only rotates but that it also has a direction of rotation. The direction of movement of the main cloud masses at 3,500-4,000 metres high is always from West to East. That is why it is generally the state of the weather in the West which is looked at in meteorological forecasts.18
If only they had believed and had fear [and awareness of Allah]!
A reward from Allah is better, if they only knew.
Do you not know that Allah is He to Whom the kingdom of the heavens and the earth belongs and that, besides Allah,
you have no protector and no helper?
The main reason why cloud masses are pulled from West to East is the direction in which the Earth rotates. As we now know, our Earth spins from West to East. This scientific fact, only recently established by science, was revealed 1,400 years ago in the Qur’an, at a time when the Earth was believed to be flat, and to be resting on the back of an ox.
THE EARTH'S GEOID SHAPE
After that He smoothed out the earth. (Qur'an, 79:30)
In the above verse, the word "daha" is used in the original Arabic. It, translated as "smoothed out," comes from the word "dahv," meaning "to spread." Although the word "dahv" also means to cover or to set out, the meaning of the verb is more than just a prosaic setting out, since it describes setting out in a circle.
The concept of roundness is also present in other words derived from "dahv." For example, the word "dahv" also refers to children dropping a ball into a hole in the ground, games involving throwing stones into holes and games played with walnuts. Words derived from that root are also used for an ostrich making a nest, cleaning stones from where it is about to lie down, the place where it lays its eggs and the egg itself.
Indeed, the Earth is round, in a manner reminiscent of an egg. The slightly flattened spherical shape of the Earth is known as geoid. From that point of view, the use of the word "daha" contains important information about the shape that Allah has given to the Earth. For hundreds of years, people imagined the Earth to be completely flat and only learned the truth thanks to technology. Yet, this fact was revealed in the Qur'an fourteen centuries ago.
THE DIAMETERS OF THE EARTH AND SPACE
Company of jinn and men, if you are able to pierce through the confines of the heavens and earth, pierce through them. You will not pierce through except with a clear authority. (Qur'an, 55:33)
The Arabic word translated as "confines" in the above verse is "aqtar." This is the plural form of the word "qutr," meaning diameter and refers to the skies and the Earth having many diameters. It is possible in Arabic to tell from the form in which a word is used whether it is singular, plural (more than two), or employed in a dual form. Therefore, the form of the word used here, the plural, refers to another piece of miraculous information.
A three-dimensional body can only be said to have a single diameter if it is perfectly spherical. The term "diameters" can only refer to an irregular but basically spherical shape. This word chosen in the Qur'an-diameters-is important from the point of view of indicating the geoid shape of the Earth. The second noteworthy subject in the verse is that the Earth and the heavens are mentioned separately in reference to diameters.
According to Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, the universe is expanding. But this does not mean that the galaxies and other heavenly bodies are being dispersed in space. This means that space is expanding and that the distance between the galaxies is increasing.
The definition of the "confines of the heavens" in Surat ar-Rahman 33 indicates the spherical structure of space. (Allah knows best.) In the same way that the diameters of space will be different from different points in space, so the diameters of a constantly expanding space will also display differences. From that point of view the use of the plural form of the word confine is full of wisdom, and is one of the indications that the Qur'an is the revelation of our Omniscient Lord.
… [T]he sun and moon and stars are subservient to His command. Both creation and command belong to Him. Blessed be Allah,
the Lord of all the worlds.
THE LAYERS OF THE ATMOSPHERE
One fact about the universe revealed in the verses of the Qur'an is that the sky is made up of seven layers:
It is He Who created everything on the earth for you and then directed His attention up to heaven and arranged it into seven regular heavens. He has knowledge of all things. (Qur'an, 2:29)
Then He turned to heaven when it was smoke. In two days He determined them as seven heavens and revealed, in every heaven, its own mandate. (Qur'an, 41:11-12)
The word "heavens," which appears in many verses in the Qur'an, is used to refer to the sky above the Earth, as well as the entire universe. Given this meaning of the word, it is seen that the Earth's sky, or the atmosphere, is made up of seven layers.
Today, it is known that the world's atmosphere consists of different layers that lie on top of each other.19 Based on the criteria of chemical contents or air temperature, the definitions made have determined the atmosphere of the earth as seven layers.20 According to the "Limited Fine Mesh Model (LFMMII)," a model of atmosphere used to estimate weather conditions for 48 hours, the atmosphere is also 7 layers. According to the modern geological definitions the seven layers of atmosphere are as follows:
The Qur'an says, "[He] revealed, in every heaven, its own mandate," in Surah Fussilat 12. In other words, Allah is stating that He assigned each heaven its own duty. Truly, as will be seen in following chapters, each one of these layers has vital duties for the benefit of human kind and all other living things on the Earth. Each layer has a particular function, ranging from forming rain to preventing harmful rays, from reflecting radio waves to averting the harmful effects of meteors.
The verses below inform us about the appearance of the seven layers of the atmosphere:
Do you not see how He created seven heavens in layers? (Qur'an, 71:15)
He Who created the seven heavens in layers… (Qur'an, 67:3)
The atmosphere only lets rays required for life reach the Earth. For example, ultraviolet rays make it to the world only partially. This is the most appropriate range to allow plants to make photosynthesis and eventually for all living things to survive.
The Arabic word "tibaqan" in these verses, translated into English as "layer" means "layer, the appropriate cover or covering for something," and thus stresses how the top layer is well suited to the lower. The word is also used in the plural here: "layers." The sky, described in the verse as being in layers, is without doubt the most perfect expression of the atmosphere. It is a great miracle that these facts, which could not possibly be discovered without the technology of the 20th century, were explicitly stated by the Qur'an 1,400 years ago.
THE PROTECTED ROOF
In the Qur'an, Allah calls our attention to a very important attribute of the sky:
We made the sky a preserved and protected roof yet still they turn away from Our Signs. (Qur'an, 21:32)
This attribute of the sky has been proved by scientific research carried out in the 20th century: The atmosphere surrounding the Earth serves crucial functions for the continuity of life. While destroying many meteors-big and small-as they approach the Earth, it prevents them from falling to Earth and harming living things.
In addition, the atmosphere filters the light rays coming from space that are harmful to living things. The most striking feature of the atmosphere is that it lets only harmless and useful rays-visible light, near ultraviolet light and radio waves pass through. All of this radiation is vital for life. Near ultraviolet rays, which are only partially let in by the atmosphere, are very important for the photosynthesis of plants and for the survival of all living beings. The majority of the intense ultraviolet rays emitted from the Sun are filtered out by the ozone layer of the atmosphere. Only a limited and essential part of the ultraviolet spectrum reaches the Earth.
The protective function of the atmosphere does not end here. The atmosphere also protects the earth from the freezing cold of the space, which is approximately -270oC.
It is not only the atmosphere that protects the Earth from harmful effects. In addition to the atmosphere, the Van Allen Belt-the layer caused by the magnetic field of the Earth-also serves as a shield against the harmful radiation that threatens our planet. This radiation, which is constantly emitted by the Sun and other stars, is deadly to living things. If the Van Allen belt did not exist, the massive outbursts of energy called solar flares that frequently occur in the Sun would destroy all life on Earth.
The magnetosphere layer, formed by the magnetic field of the Earth, serves as a shield protecting the Earth from celestial bodies, harmful cosmic rays and particles. In the above picture, this magnetosphere layer, which is also named Van Allen Belts, is seen. These belts at thousands of kilometres above the Earth protect the living things on the Earth from the fatal energy that would otherwise reach it from space.
All these scientific findings prove that the world is protected in a very particular way. The important thing is that this protection was made known in the Qur'an in the verse "We made the sky a preserved and protected roof" fourteen centuries ago.
On the importance of the Van Allen Belt, Dr. Hugh Ross says:
In fact, the Earth has the highest density of any of the planets in our Solar System. This large nickel-iron core is responsible for our large magnetic field. This magnetic field produces the Van-Allen radiation shield, which protects the Earth from radiation bombardment. If this shield were not present, life would not be possible on the Earth. The only other rocky planet to have any magnetic field is Mercury-but its field strength is 100 times less than the Earth's. Even Venus, our sister planet, has no magnetic field. The Van-Allen radiation shield is a design unique to the Earth.21
The energy transmitted in just one of these bursts detected in recent years was calculated to be equivalent to 100 billion atomic bombs, each akin to one dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II. Fifty-eight hours after the burst, it was observed that the magnetic needles of compasses displayed unusual movement and 250 kilometres above the Earth's atmosphere, the temperature suddenly increased to 2,500oC.
Most people looking at the sky do not think about the protective aspect of the atmosphere. They almost never think what kind of a place the world would be like if this structure did not exist. The above photo belongs to a giant crater caused by a meteor that fell in Arizona, in the USA. If the atmosphere did not exist, millions of meteoroids would fall to the Earth and the Earth would become an inhabitable place. Yet, the protective aspect of the atmosphere allows living things to survive in safety. This is certainly Allah's protection of people and a miracle proclaimed in the Qur'an.
In short, a perfect system is at work high above the Earth. It surrounds our world and protects it against external threats. Centuries ago, Allah informed us in the Qur'an of the world's atmosphere functioning as a protective shield.
THE SKY MADE A DOME
It is He Who made the earth a couch for you, and the sky a dome. He sends down water from the sky and by it brings forth fruits for your provision. Do not, then, knowingly make others equal to Allah. (Qur'an, 2:22)
The Geminid meteor shower is observed at its highest intensity in the second week of December each year. The short lines in the photograph to the side are traces belonging to stars; the long ones belong to meteors. The meteors in the shower seen in the picture fall at a density of up to 58 per hour.
Here, the Arabic word for the sky is "assamaa binaan." As well as the meaning of "dome" or "ceiling," this also describes a kind of tent-like covering used by the Bedouin.22 What is being emphasised here, through mention of a tent-like structure, is a form of protection against external elements.
Even if we are generally unaware of it, a large number of meteors fall to the Earth, as they do the other planets. The reason why these make enormous craters on other planets but do no harm on Earth is that the atmosphere puts up considerable resistance to a falling meteor. The meteor is unable to withstand this for long and loses much of its mass from combustion due to friction. This danger, which might otherwise cause terrible disasters, is thus prevented thanks to the atmosphere. As well as the verses regarding the protective properties of the atmosphere cited above, attention is also drawn to the special creation in the following verse:
Do you not see that Allah has made everything on the earth subservient to you and the ships running upon the sea by His command? He holds back the heaven, preventing it from falling to the earth-except by His permission. Allah is All-Compassionate to mankind, Most Merciful. (Qur'an, 22:65)
The protective property of the atmosphere we discussed in the preceding section protects the Earth from space-in other words, from external elements. With the word "dome," referring to the sky in the above verse, attention is drawn to this aspect of the sky, which could not possibly have been known at the time of our Prophet (saas). The fact that this information was imparted 1,400 years ago in the Qur'an, when there were no spacecraft or giant telescopes, shows that the Qur'an is the revelation of our Lord, the Omniscient.
THE RETURNING SKY
The verse 11 of Surat at-Tariq in the Qur'an, refers to the "returning" function of the sky.
[I swear] by Heaven which returns. (Qur'an, 86:11)
The word "rajaai" interpreted as "return" in Qur'an translations has meanings of "sending back" or "returning." As is known, the atmosphere surrounding the Earth consists of many layers. Each layer serves an important purpose for the benefit of life on Earth. Research has revealed that these layers have the function of turning the materials or rays they are exposed to back into space or back down to the Earth. Now let us examine, employing a few fitting examples, this "returning" function of the layers encircling the Earth.
The presence of water is essential for life on Earth. One of the factors acting in the formation of water is the Troposphere, one of the layers of the atmosphere. The troposphere layer enables water vapour rising from the surface of the Earth to be condensed from whence it returns to the Earth in the form of rain.
The atmosphere layer that blocks the rays that might be fatal to life on Earth is the Ozonosphere. The Ozonosphere turns harmful cosmic rays like ultraviolet back to space, hence preventing them from reaching the Earth and harming life.
Each layer of the atmosphere has beneficial attributes for human beings. For example, the Ionosphere layer, one of the upper layers of the atmosphere, reflects radio waves broadcast from a certain centre back down to the Earth, thus enabling broadcasts to be received from long distances.
The troposphere, 13 to 15 kilometres above the Earth, enables water vapour rising from the surface of the Earth to be condensed and turned back as rain. The ozone layer, the lower layer of stratosphere at an altitude of 25 kilometres, reflects harmful radiation and ultraviolet light coming from space and turns both back into space.
The ionosphere reflects radio waves broadcast from the Earth back down to different parts of the world just like a passive communications satellite. Thus, it makes wireless communication, radio, and television broadcasting possible over long distances. The magnetosphere layer turns the harmful radioactive particles emitted by the Sun and other stars back into space before they reach the Earth.
The fact that this property of the atmosphere's layers, that was only demonstrated in the recent past was announced centuries ago in the Qur'an, once again proves that the Qur'an is Allah's Word.
THE LAYERS OF THE EARTH
One item of information about the Earth given in the Qur'an is its similarity to the seven-layered sky:
It is Allah Who created the seven heavens and of the earth the same number, the Command descending down through all of them, so that you might know that Allah has power over all things and that Allah encompasses all things in His knowledge. (Qur'an, 65:12)
The information in the above verse is confirmed in scientific sources, wherein it is explained that the Earth consists of seven strata. These, as scientists have identified, are:
1st layer: Lithosphere (water)
2nd layer: Lithosphere (land)
3rd layer: Asthenosphere
4th layer: Upper Mantle
5th layer: Inner Mantle
6th layer: Outer Core
7th layer: Inner Core
The word lithosphere is derived from the Greek word lithos, meaning stone, which is a hard stratum forming the Earth's top layer. It is quite thin in comparison to the other strata. The lithosphere under the oceans is still thinner, and is a region with volcanic activity. Its average thickness is 80 km. It is colder and harder than the other strata, and therefore, forms the earth's shell.
Below the lithosphere is the stratum known as the asthenosphere, from the Greek word for "weak," asthenes. This layer is thinner than the lithosphere and shifts. It was formed of hot, semi-solid substances capable of melting when exposed to high temperatures and pressure over geological time. It is thought that the hard lithosphere floats or moves over the slowly moving asthenosphere.23 Under these layers is a high-temperature layer some 2,900 km thick, made up of semi-solid rock known as the mantle. This contains more iron, magnesium and calcium than the crust, and is also hotter and denser, because temperature and density in the Earth increase with depth.
At the centre of the Earth is the core, approximately twice as dense as the mantle. The reason for that density is that it contains a higher proportion of metals (iron-nickel alloy) than rock. The Earth's core consists of two parts. One is the 2,200 km thick liquid outer core, the other a 1,250 km thick solid inner core. The liquid outer core provides the Earth's magnetic field as the planet rotates.
The truth of this similarity between the sky and the layers of the Earth, only identified by 20th century technology, is without doubt another of the Qur'an's scientific miracles.
THE EARTH DISGORGES ITS CHARGES
When the earth is convulsed with its quaking and the earth then disgorges its charges and man asks, "What is wrong with it?", on that Day it will impart all its news. (Qur'an, 99:1-4)
The word "zilzal" in Arabic means earthquake, or tremors, and the word "athqalaha" means "charges, heavy burdens." When one considers the above verses in the light of the first meaning, it can be seen that reference is being made to an important scientific fact about earthquakes.
Surat az-Zilzal 2 mentions the earth disgorging its charges. Indeed, as a result of research in recent years, it has been realised that there are heavy metals at the centre of the Earth, and that these appear as a result of movements on the Earth's surface. According to geologists' calculations, as the Earth cooled, heavy and dense substances sank to its centre, while lighter ones rose to the surface. For that reason, the Earth's crust consists of the least heaviest substances (basalt and granite rocks), while heavy metals (nickel and iron) are found in the core. As a result, the subsurface, which consists of molten metals, is made of a material that is much heavier and denser than the surface.
During earthquakes, the heavy substances below the surface have an opportunity to rise, and the Earth thus disgorges its charges, as revealed in the Qur'an. Moreover, those regions where metal reserves are most concentrated are also those with the greatest volcanic activity. These scientific findings, which emerged only recently, and as a result of wide-ranging research, are just some of the scientific facts indicated by Allah in the Qur'an.
THE FUNCTION OF MOUNTAINS
The Qur'an draws attention to a very important geological function of mountains:
We placed firmly embedded mountains on the earth, so it would not move under them… (Qur'an, 21:31)
The verse states that mountains perform the function of preventing shocks in the Earth. This fact was not known by anyone at the time the Qur'an was revealed. It was, in fact, brought to light only recently, as a result of the findings of modern geological research.
Formerly, it was thought that mountains were merely protrusions rising above the surface of the Earth. However, scientists realised that this was not actually the case, and that those parts known as the mountain root extended down as far as 10-15 times their own height. With these features, mountains play a similar role to a nail or peg firmly holding down a tent. For example, Mount Everest, the summit of which stands approximately 9 km above the surface of the Earth, has a root deeper than 125 km.24
Mountains have roots deep under the surface of the ground. (Press and Siever, Earth, 413.)
Schematic section. Mountains, like pegs, have deep roots embedded in the ground. (Andre Cailleux and J. Moody Stuart, Anatomy of the Earth (McGraw-Hill Companies: 1968), 220.)
Another illustration shows how mountains are peg-like in shape, due to their deep roots. (Edward J. Tarbuck and Frederick K. Lutgens, Earth Science (USA: Macmillan USA: 1993), 158.)
Mountains emerge as a result of the movements and collisions of massive plates forming the Earth's crust. When two plates collide, the stronger one slides under the other, the one on the top bends and forms heights and mountains. The layer beneath proceeds under the ground and makes a deep extension downward. Consequently, as stated earlier, mountains have a portion stretching downwards, as large as their visible parts on the Earth.
In a scientific text, the structure of mountains is described as follows:
Where continents are thicker, as in mountain ranges, the crust sinks deeper into the mantle.25
Professor Siaveda, a world-renowned underwater geologist, made the following comment in reference to the way that mountains have root-like stalks attaching them to the surface:
The fundamental difference between continental mountains and the oceanic mountains lies in its material... But the common denominator on both mountains are that they have roots to support the mountains. In the case of continental mountains, light-low density material from the mountain is extended down into the earth as a root. In the case of oceanic mountains, there is also light material supporting the mountain as a root... Therefore, the function of the roots are to support the mountains according to the law of Archimedes.26
Furthermore, a book titled Earth, by Dr. Frank Press, former president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, which is still used as a text book in a great many universities, states that mountains are like stakes, and are buried deep under the surface of the Earth.27
In other verses, this role of the mountains is pointed out by a comparison with "pegs":
Have We not made the earth as a bed and the mountains its pegs? (Qur'an, 78:6-7)
In another verse it is revealed that Allah "made the mountains firm." (Qur'an, 79:32) The word "arsaha" in this verse means "was made rooted, was fixed, was nailed to the earth." Similarly, mountains extend to the surface layer joining lines on and below the surface, and nail these together. By fixing the Earth's crust they prevent any sliding over the magma layer or amongst the layers themselves. In short, mountains can be compared to nails holding strips of wood together. The fixing effect of mountains is known as isostasy in scientific literature. Isostasy is the state of equilibrium between the upward force created by the mantle layer and the downward force created by the Earth's crust. As mountains lose mass due to erosion, soil loss or melting of glaciers, they can gain mass from the formation of glaciers, volcanic explosions or soil formation. Therefore, as mountains grow lighter they are pressed upwards by the raising force implemented by the liquids. Alternatively, as they grow heavier they are pressed into the mantle by the force of gravity. Equilibrium between these two forces is established by isostasy. This balancing property of mountains is described in these terms in a scientific source:
G.B Airy in 1855 suggested that the crust of the earth could be likened to rafts of timber floating on water. Thick pieces of timber float higher above the water surface than thin pieces and similarly thick sections of the earth's crust will float on a liquid or plastic substratum of greater density. Airy was suggesting that mountains have a deep root of lower density rock which the plains lack. Four years after Airy published his work, J.H Pratt offered an alternative hypothesis... By this hypothesis rock columns below mountains must have a lower density, because of their greater length, than shorter rock columns beneath plains. Both Airy and Pratt's hypothesis imply that surface irregularities are balanced by differences in density of rocks below the major features (mountains and plains) of the crust. This state of BALANCE is described as the concept of ISOSTASY.28
Today, we know that the rocky external layer of the Earth's surface is riven by deep faults and split into plates swimming above the molten lava. Since the Earth revolves very quickly around its own axis, were it not for the fixing effect of the mountains, these plaques would shift. In such an event, soil would not collect on the Earth's surface, water would not accumulate in the soil, no plants could grow, and no roads or houses could be built. In short, life on Earth would be impossible. Through the mercy of Allah, however, mountains act like nails, and to a large extent, prevent movement in the Earth's surface.
We subjected the mountains to glorify [Allah] with him in the
evening and at sunrise.
He cast firmly embedded mountains on the earth so it would not move under you, and rivers and pathways so that hopefully
you would be guided.
This vital role of mountains, which has been discovered by modern geological and seismic research, was revealed in the Qur'an centuries ago as an example of the supreme wisdom in Allah's creation.
… [He] cast firmly embedded mountains on the earth so that it would not move under you… (Qur'an, 31:10)
THE MOVEMENT OF MOUNTAINS
In one verse, we are informed that mountains are not motionless as they seem, but are in constant motion.
You see the mountains you reckoned to be solid going past like clouds. (Qur'an, 27:88)
This motion of mountains is caused by the movement of the Earth's crust that they are located on. The Earth's crust "floats" over the mantle layer, which is denser. It was at the beginning of the 20th century when, for the first time in history, a German scientist by the name of Alfred Wegener proposed that the continents of the Earth had been attached together when it first formed, but then drifted in different directions, and thus separated as they moved away from each other.
Geologists understood that Wegener was right only in the 1980s, 50 years after his death. As Wegener pointed out in an article published in 1915, the land masses on the Earth were joined together about 500 million years ago, and this large mass, called Pangaea, was located in the South Pole.
Approximately 180 million years ago, Pangaea divided into two parts, which drifted in different directions. One of these giant continents was Gondwana, which included Africa, Australia, Antarctica and India. The second one was Laurasia, which included Europe, North America and Asia, except for India. Over the next 150 million years following this separation, Gondwana and Laurasia divided into smaller parts.
These continents, that emerged after the split of Pangaea, have been constantly moving on the Earth's surface at a rate of several centimetres per year, and in the meantime changing the sea to land ratios of the Earth.
Discovered as a result of the geological research carried out at the beginning of the 20th century, this movement of the Earth's crust is explained by scientists as follows:
The crust and the uppermost part of the mantle, with a thickness of about 100 kms., are divided into segments called plates. There are six major plates, and several small ones. According to the theory called plate tectonics, these plates move about on Earth, carrying continents and ocean floor with them. Continental motion has been measured at from 1-5 cm per year. As the plates continue to move about, this will produce a slow change in Earth's geography. Each year, for instance, the Atlantic Ocean becomes slightly wider.29
There is an important point that needs to be stated here: Allah referred to the motion of mountains as drifting in a verse of the Qur'an. Today, modern scientists also use the term "continental drift" for this motion.30
Continental drift is something that could not have been observed at the time of the revelation of the Qur'an, though Allah clearly indicated how it was to be understood: "You see the mountains you reckoned to be solid" in the verse. Though, He further described this action in the following verse, stating that the mountains were going past like clouds. As has been indicated, attention is clearly drawn to the movement of the layer in which the mountains are fixed.
It is without doubt a great miracle that this scientific fact, only recently discovered by science, should have been revealed in the 7th century, when conceptions of the nature of the universe were based on superstition and myth. This is another very important proof that the Qur'an is the word of Allah.
DIFFERENT POINTS IN THE RISING AND SETTING OF THE SUN
No! I swear by the Lord of the Easts and Wests that We have the power. (Qur'an, 70:40)
Lord of the heavens and the earth and everything between them; Lord of the Easts. (Qur'an, 37:5)
The Lord of the two Easts and the Lord of the two Wests. (Qur'an, 55:17)
As can be discerned, the words east and west are used in the plural sense in the above verses. For instance, the word "mashariq," used in the first verse for "east," and the word "magharib" used for "west," are in plural form, indicating that there are two of each. The words "mashriqayn" and "maghribayn" in the last verse are used for two easts and two wests. "Mashariq" and "magharib" also mean the place where the Sun rises and sets. The above verses are therefore referring to different sites of the dawning and closing of the day. It is also worthy of note that the vow is taken by the Lord of "the easts and wests" in the first verse.
The axis around which the earth revolves itself is at an angle of 23° 27'. Due to that angle, and the spherical shape of the Earth, the light rays from the Sun do not always strike it at the same angle. This means that since the Sun's rays fall on that area at different angles, someone far away from the equator will observe the Sun rising at different points in the east and setting at different points in the west. The further away from the equator that person is the more different points he will identify for the dawning and closing of the day.
Someone at the equator, however, will always observe that the Sun rises exactly in the east and sets exactly in the west, since the Sun's rays always fall perpendicularly there. Bearing in mind that the Arabian peninsula is not that far from the equator, it would appear impossible for such an observation to be made there. That is because someone in that region would see that the Sun always rises at the same point, and always sets at the same point. The expression regarding east and west in the above verses may be indicating the Sun rising and setting at different points. (Allah knows best.)
LAND LOSS AT THE EXTREMITIES
Do they not see how We come to the land eroding it at its extremities?… (Qur'an, 13:41)
… Do they not see how We come to the land eroding it from its extremities?… (Qur'an, 21:44)
Immense twisting solar eruptions are filled with ionised helium gas at a temperature of 60,000 degrees Centigrade. (As observed by the SOHO satellite in extreme ultraviolet light.)
The Earth is bombarded by proton, electron and alpha particles from the Sun. These solar winds are powerful enough to separate the atmosphere from the Earth. However, it will take about five times longer than the total life of the Sun at the Earth's present rate of matter loss (at most 3 kg per second.) for the atmosphere to be used up.31 That is because, thanks to the powerful magnetic field formed by the magnetosphere in the atmosphere, the Earth is to some extent protected from this powerful erosion. The loss of ions-oxygen, helium and hydrogen-dispersed over the Earth's ionosphere layer into the depths of space is of much smaller dimensions than the vast layer of air surrounding the Earth. Even so, the amount leaking into space is nevertheless of a significant size.32
Thanks to NASA spacecraft, researchers have obtained concrete evidence that energy explosions on the Sun cause oxygen and other gases to disperse into space from the outer layer of the Earth's atmosphere. Scientists first observed that the Earth experiences a loss of matter from its outer layers on September 24-25, 1998.33
However, the above verses may also be referring to the loss of land on Earth in another regard.
At the present time, the polar ice caps are melting and the water level in the oceans is rising. The increasing quantity of water is covering ever more land. As coastal areas come under water, the land surface or total amount of land is decreasing.34 The expression "eroding it from its extremities" in the above verses may well be pointing to coastal areas being covered by water.
A New York Times report on this subject reads:
Over the last century, the average surface temperature of the globe has risen by about 1 degree Fahrenheit, and the rate of warming has accelerated in the last quarter-century. That is a significant amount… Previous studies of satellite and submarine observations have seemed to establish a warming trend in the northern polar region and raise the possibility of a melting icecap. Scientists at the Goddard Space Science Institute, a NASA research center in Manhattan, compared data from submarines in the 1950's and 1960's with 1990's observations, demonstrating that the ice cover over the entire Arctic basin has thinned by 45 percent. Satellite images have revealed that the extent of ice coverage has significantly shrunk in recent years.35
The findings made towards the end of the 20th century help us to understand the wisdom of Surat ar-Ra'd 41, and Surat al-Anbiya' 44.
2. 8 minutes : Ultraviolet and x-ray emissions travelling at the speed of light can block out radio broadcasts.
3. 30 minutes: Charged particles at a high energy level can threaten satellites and high-flying jets.
4. Between 48 minutes and 96 hours: The Earth’s magnetic field is disrupted by mass solar particles. The effect of this is to endanger electricity networks.
5. THE MAGNETOSPHERE is a region in space occupied by the Earth’s magnetic field. It usually extends for 64,000 kilometres (40,000 miles) towards the Sun, although powerful solar storms can compress the magnetosphere to a mere 42,000 kilometres (26,000 miles), leaving satellites outside exposed to solar winds.
This loss at the extremities, as revealed by Allah, may be understood in light of another scientific fact revealed in the Qur'an. The fact that the Earth, which revolves around its own axis, has a geoid shape, is a fact that has gained acceptance in recent centuries.
Research has revealed that the Earth keeps bulging at the equator.
Research has revealed that the equatorial diameter of the Earth expands under the effect of the force stemming from this rotation, and that it is compressed at its extremities, in other words the poles. Furthermore, since the Earth is in constant rotation this change continues to occur. Indeed, the term "nanqusu" in Surat ar-Ra'd 41, translated as "eroding," shows that this process of erosion is an ongoing one.
It is the force of gravity that has given such celestial bodies as the Earth their spherical form. However, that shape is not exactly spherical; it flattens out somewhat at the poles and thickens at the equator. According to NASA figures, the radius of the Earth is 6,378.1 km (3,963.2 miles) at the equator but only 6,356.8 km (3,949.9 miles) from pole to pole.36 This is a difference of some 0.3%.
This model of the shape of the Earth was suggested by Sir Isaac Newton in 1687. This fact, revealed in the Qur'an 1,400 years ago, is another of its scientific miracles.
Caption: Research has revealed that the Earth keeps bulging at the equator.
Allah created the heavens and the earth with truth. There is certainly a Sign in that for the believers.
THE SPLITTING EARTH
[I swear] by Heaven which returns and the earth which splits. (Qur'an, 86:11-12)
The Arabic word "sadA" in the above verse means "cracking, splitting apart." Allah's swearing by the splitting of the Earth points to an important phenomenon, as do the other scientific miracles in the Qur'an. Scientists first descended to the depths of the seas and oceans in order to study mineral resources in 1945-1946. One of the most important facts to emerge from that research was the fissured structure of the Earth. The rock layer on the external surface of the Earth was split by large numbers of cracks (faults), tens of thousands of kilometres long, running from north to south and east to west. Scientists also realised that there was molten magma under the sea, at depths of 100-150 km.
The above representative pictures show the fragmented structure of the Earth. The magma layer under the Earth’s crust is allowed to escape to the surface by this fragmented structure. This significantly reduces the temperature of the Earth.
Due to these splits and cracks, lava flows from volcanoes on the sea bed. Due to this fissured structure, a significant amount of heat is also given off, and a large part of molten rocks forms the mountains under the oceans. If the Earth did not possess this structure, which allows large amounts of heat to escape from its crust, life on Earth would become impossible.37
If the Earth’s surface did not permit high levels of heat to escape, life on Earth would be impossible.
There is no doubt that such information, which required such advanced technology to be discovered, being given 1,400 years ago is yet another proof that the Qur'an is the Word of Allah and nothing else or no one else.
THE MIRACLE OF 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 "anzalna," translated as "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.38
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, and a core temperature of approximately 20 million degrees. 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.39
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).40
Surat al-Hadid is the 57th in the Qur’an. The numerical value of the word “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…41
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 were used in a cancer treatment in recent months and positive developments were observed. A team led by Dr. Andreas Jordan, at the world famous Charité Hospital in Germany, succeeded in destroying cancer cells with this new technique developed for the treatment of cancer-magnetic fluid hyperthermia (high temperature magnetic liquid). As a result of this technique, first performed on the 26-year-old Nikolaus H., no new cancer cells were observed in the patient in the following three months.
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.42
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.
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.43
In this treatment it is only the cancer cells that are affected by the magnetic field, since only they contain the iron oxide particles. 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 mankind" (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 "almaraa," meaning pasture or meadow, refers to the organically-based substances in the formation of petroleum. The second word of note in the verse is "ahwa," 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, "ghuthaan." The word "ghuthaan" 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 "ayyamin" in the period of six days (sittati ayyamin) 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 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.44 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.45
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 material 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.46
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.
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)
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 into energy.
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.47
Another example of duality in creation is plants. Botanists only discovered that there is a gender distinction in plants some 100 years ago.48 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)
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.
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 together.
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.
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).49
Another point worthy of note is that these verses draw particular attention to the weight of the atom. The word "mithqal," in the expression "mithqali 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.
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 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 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. 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 "alttariqi" 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 "waal" 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.50
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 "alnnajmu alththaqibu," meaning piercing, piercing and 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 "adraka" 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
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 "shiaara," 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 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 and 49.
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.51
This information is reported as follows in various sources:
Sirius, the brightest star, is actually a twin star … Its orbit lasts 49.9 years. (Exposes Astronomiques, La troisième loi de KEPLER, http://www.astrosurf.com/eratosthene...etheoastro.htm)
As is known, the stars Sirius-A and Sirius-B orbit each other in a double bow every 49.9 years. (http://www.dharma.com.tr/dkm/article.php?sid=87)
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, "ththulumat," 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 (10)25 (a billion times a billion times a billion) 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 (10)25 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.52
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 Centigrade. 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 Centigrade-nuclear reactions begin.53 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 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.
THE PROPORTION OF RAIN
Another item of information provided in the Qur'an about rain is that it is sent down to Earth in "due measure." This is mentioned in Surat az-Zukhruf as follows:
It is He Who sends down water in due measure 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 513 trillion tons of water in one year. This number is equal to the amount of rain that falls on the Earth in a year. 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.
Every year, the amount of water that evaporates and that falls back to the Earth in the form of rain is "constant": 513 trillion tons. This constant amount is declared in the Qur'an by the expression "sending down water in due measure from the sky." The constancy of this quantity is very important for the continuity of the ecological balance, and therefore, life.
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).54 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.
THE FORMATION OF RAIN
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.
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), the clouds are suspended in the air, and spread across the sky. Thus, the sky is covered in clouds.
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.
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:
Have you not 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.
(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.
2. STAGE, Joining: Then, small clouds (cumulonimbus clouds) driven along by the wind join together, forming a larger cloud.55
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.56
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.
These updrafts cause the cloud body to grow vertically and 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. This scientific fact was announced in Sura Nur 43 fourteen centuries ago by Allah in this way: "... then [He] makes them into a stack, and then you see the rain come out of it…"
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 which 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.57
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.58
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 Centigrade). As a result, there is a sudden expansion of the air, which in turn causes the loud noise associated with thunder.59
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.
THE FECUNDATING WINDS
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:
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.
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…
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."
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, 20:53)
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.
The diagram to the side shows the formation of air currents and winds on the Earth.
In the Arabic expression "tasreefi rriyah," 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)
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.
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 begins.
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---> C6H12O6+ 6O2
(6 water molecules + 6 carbon dioxide molecules are turned into 1 sugar molecule and 6 oxygen molecules by means of photosynthesis.)
THE SEAS NOT MINGLING WITH ONE ANOTHER
One of the properties of seas that has only recently been discovered is related in a verse of the Qur'an as follows:
He has let loose the two seas, converging together, with a barrier between them they do not break through. (Qur'an, 55:19-20)
This property of the seas, that is, that they meet and yet do not intermix, has only very recently been discovered by oceanographers. Because of the physical force called "surface tension," the waters of neighbouring seas do not mix. Caused by the difference in the density of their waters, surface tension prevents them from mingling with one another, just as if a thin wall were between them.
A satellite photograph of the Strait of Gibraltar.
It is interesting that, during a period when there was little knowledge of physics, and of surface tension, or oceanography, this truth was revealed in the Qur'an.
There are large waves, strong currents, and tides in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Mediterranean Sea water enters the Atlantic by Gibraltar. But their temperature, salinity, and densities do not change, because of the barrier that separates them.
DARKNESS IN THE SEAS AND INTERNAL WAVES
Or [the unbelievers' state] are like the darkness of a fathomless sea which is covered by waves above which are waves above which are clouds, layers of darkness, one upon the other. If he puts out his hand, he can scarcely see it. Those Allah gives no light to, they have no light. (Qur'an, 24:40)
In deep seas and oceans, the darkness is found at a depth of 200 meters and deeper. At this depth, there is almost no light, and below a depth of 1,000 meters there is no light at all.61
Today, we know about the general formation of the sea, the characteristics of the living things in it, its salinity, as well as the amount of water it contains, and its surface area and depth. Submarines and special equipment, developed with modern technology, have enabled scientists to obtain such information.
Measurements made with today's technology have revealed that between 3 and 30 percent of the sunlight is reflected at the surface of the sea. Then, almost all of the seven colours of the light spectrum are absorbed, one after another, in the first 200 metres, except for blue light (picture at left). Below a depth of 1,000 metres, there is no light at all (above picture). This scientific fact was pointed out in Sura Nur 40 in the Qur'an 1,400 years ago.
The picture above represents internal waves at interface between two layers of water of different densities. The lower layer is denser than the upper one. This scientific fact, declared in Sura Nur 40 of the Qur'an 14 centuries ago, has been discovered by today's scientists only very recently.
Human beings are not able to dive to a depth of more than 70 meters without the aid of special equipment. They cannot survive unaided in the dark depths of the oceans, such as at a depth of 200 meters. For these reasons, scientists have only recently been able to discover detailed information about the seas. However, that the depth of the sea is dark was revealed in the Qur'an 1,400 years ago. It is certainly one of the miracles of the Qur'an that such information was given at a time where no equipment to enable man to dive into the depths of the oceans was available.
In addition, the statement in Surat an-Nur 40 "…like the darkness of a fathomless sea which is covered by waves above which are waves above which are clouds…" draws our attention to another miracle of the Qur'an.
Scientists have only recently discovered that there are sub-surface waves, which "occur on density interfaces between layers of different densities." These internal waves cover the deep waters of seas and oceans because deep water has a higher density than the water above it. Internal waves act like surface waves. They can break, just like surface waves. Internal waves cannot be discerned by the human eye, but they can be detected by studying temperature or salinity changes at a given location.62
The statements in the Qur'an run parallel precisely the above explanation. Certainly, this fact, which scientists has discovered very recently, shows once again that the Qur'an is the word of Allah.