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May 11, 2011

MAN AND POLLUTION



MAN AND POLLUTION
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41- Corruption has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of people have earned, He thus lets them taste the consequences of their works that they may return.
30-The Romans, 41

Man has been paying the cost of damages he has inflicted on his surroundings and nature throughout centuries. Passion for more money, sloth and irresponsibility have made man blind to the fact that he is part of his natural environment and that the damage he causes it will unavoidably affect him. The development of environmental consciousness in man, who has suffered from damages of his own doing, is a recent event. Environmental awareness only received special emphasis in the world after 1970.

In a century and place where environmental awareness cannot be said to have existed, the reference made in the Quran to this fact, that is to the corruption caused in the land and the sea on account of that which men’s hands have wrought, is a lesson of great scope. We translate the Arabic word “bahr” as “sea” (However, it may also designate large lake, reservoir, inland sea, waterway, etc.). We are advised that we are not allowed to dispose as we like of nature’s endowments since otherwise we shall have to pay for it. We are also informed that the damage caused by man to his own environment will also affect the land and the sea beyond his own limits. Therefore nobody is allowed to say, “I am on my own. No one can meddle with what I do.” Nature is our common heritage and it is everybody’s duty to contribute to the checking of this transgression.


DAMAGE CAUSED TO THE ENVIRONMENT
It is correct to say that the industrial revolution in the 19th century highly contributed to the growth of pollution. It is, however, not correct to say that this was the beginning of pollution of the environment. This process had been going on since ancient times. What is new, however, is the development of ecology and the ecological consciousness. To begin with, the burning down of forests is a happenstance that has been going on for ages. Forest fire was the principal cause of such diseases as man often suffered in the past, like antrakosis. These pyromaniacs had certainly no inkling of what they were perpetrating with their own hands.

During the Middle Ages, environmental pollution seems to have been an important problem. In the England of 1345, people who tossed feces out of their windows were fined two shillings. In the 12th century, Philippe Auguste of France was the first king to ordain the collection of abominable waste littering the streets of the city. The public who disposed of their waste by channeling it into waterways polluted the springs they drank from. The first law on pollution that we know about was passed in 1388 by the British parliament; this law prohibited the throwing of waste into the streets and waterways. Transgressors were to be reported by the people residing in the precincts to the private secretary to the king. Only after it reached extraordinary proportions was the pollution made subject of the law.

The situation became even graver during the industrialization period in the 19th century. Metallurgy and iron and steel works polluted the land, the water and the air. This is reflected in the novels of Charles Dickens and writings of Friedrich Engels that describe the pollution in London. In 1930, sixty-three people died of pollution in the Mosa Valley in Belgium. The situation in London, in 1952, was even more serious. Four thousand died of upper respiratory tract diseases because of man’s ravages of nature.

The situation at present is hardly any rosier. There may not be such mass mortality, but according to the World Health Organization, more than one billion people are under threat from pollution. It is impossible to evaluate the degree of damage the public has suffered from throwing garbage and waste to the sea. This habit is still going on. Sea pollution that threatens the marine fauna and flora, and the settlement in their tissues of noxious substances, is thought to be the cause of many illnesses, including cancer. Carbon dioxide emissions from cars and factories also contribute to the so-called “greenhouse” effect, and it is feared that drastic changes in global climate are causing catastrophic disasters.

We see that environmental pollution is one of the greatest dangers for humankind. This reference to pollution in the Quran at a time when there was no environmental awareness is remarkably interesting. The Quran was not penned like books that are products of the human mind under the influence of social and sociological realities in due consideration of the current issues. It is sent by God, Lord of all times and beings. Knowledge unavailable at the time of its descent, problems of the past and of the future are all present in the Quran. Man is the author of his own destruction. The verse serves as a warning to redress his wrongdoings. The more we expend effort to counteract our past shortcomings, the better we can protect ourselves against catastrophes. Ecology must be our common concern.

DIFFICULTY OF ASCENDING TO THE SKY

DIFFICULTY OF ASCENDING TO THE SKY
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125- ...And whomever He wills to send astray, He makes his bosom narrow and strained as if he was ascending into the sky.
6-The Cattle, 125

A person subject to spells of dejection and who feels strained is likened to a person who is ascending to the sky. We know today that during ascension, atmospheric pressure gradually decreases, rising blood pressure causing strain on the functioning of heart and veins topped by lack of oxygen, which in turn influences the lungs, making one feel constricted. If one persists going even higher, there comes a moment when the individual loses his life.

There were no airships or aircraft at the time of the Prophet. Torricelli was the person who in 1643 invented the mercury thermometer with which he demonstrated that the atmosphere exerted a pressure. To speak of a decrease of pressure at the time was out of the question. Nor was there reliable information about circulation of the blood or lungs. One can guess that men climbed heights and had difficulty breathing as they went higher and higher. In the verse, however, ascension is toward the sky. A person experiencing difficulty of respiration on top of the mountain he has climbed may attribute this difficulty not to the lack of sufficient oxygen at the high altitude to which he has climbed. The verse speaks of a process that takes place as one rises to the sky. The question is not of the experience one has on the top of a hill. Ascension to skies has a much wider connotation.

OPTIMUM PRESSURE AND OXYGEN FOR PERPETUATION OF LIFE
The oxygen and pressure ratio being ideal, a man’s bodily functions run across no difficulty from sea level up to a height of 3000 meters. At altitudes ranging from 3000 to 5000 meters, elevated blood pressure and difficulty breathing are experienced. At an altitude of 7500 meters, the tissues are badly in need of oxygen. Above this height, a person experiences a blackout; the blood circulation, the respiration and the nervous system begin to falter. Changes in atmospheric pressure affect the circulation, increasing the pressure of the blood running through the veins and arteries. The balance of gases in the vacuums of the body and the distribution of gases in the blood and tissues (in particular of the nitrogen) is upset. The mechanical effect of a sudden rise and fall in blood pressure results in the rupture of blood vessels. Effects of the changes in gas volumes may be grouped as follows: eardrum ruptures, inflammation of the middle ear, sinusitis due to change in the volume of air in the sinuses, toothaches (dental carries), difficulty passing gas, and colic...

Thanks to the ideal proportion of oxygen, we can comfortably breathe and our circulation functions properly. Prof. Michael Denton says that if the density of the air had been a little higher, the air resistance would reach great proportions and it would be impossible to design a respiratory system to supply enough oxygen for a breathing organism. Between the possible atmospheric pressures and the possible oxygen proportions, looking for an optimum digital value for life, the bracket we come across is a highly limited one. The fulfillment of so many requirements for survival within this narrow bracket certainly points to perfect design.

The perfection of God’s creation becomes once more manifest in the course of our study of the atmospheric pressure, in harmony with the oxygen content of the air, suiting our biological makeup.

RESPIRATION AND PHOTOSYNTHESIS




RESPIRATION AND PHOTOSYNTHESIS
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18- And the dawn as it breathes.
81-The Rolling, 18

The verb to breathe is a term originally used to describe the process in which many living organisms take in oxygen from their surroundings and give out carbon dioxide. But what has respiration to do with the dawn? What brings together these two seemingly incongruous subjects? Does something new happen in the daylight different from the night? These questions were bound to remain unanswered until the time the process of photosynthesis came to light, the synthesis of simple carbon hydrates like glucose and starch from carbon dioxide and water, with the liberation of oxygen, using the energy of light, in green plants chlorophyll being the energy transformer. Nutriments of high-energy content formed as a result of this process, called photosynthesis, are stored in tissues while oxygen is given out. Briefly stated, photosynthesis is a metabolism process in contradistinction with respiration. During respiration, carbon hydrates mix with oxygen, breaking down into the component elements of water and carbon dioxide; the end products of the reactions during respiration are the primary substances of photosynthesis.

This phenomenon takes place only during the day. Photosynthesis is dependent on the energy of light and cannot be realized in the dark. When the “dawn breaks” as described in the verse, light shines and oxygen, the sine qua non of respiration, begins to be given out by plants. This makes clear the reason of juxtaposition of words “breathe” and “dawn” in the verse.



WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED HAD THERE BEEN NO PHOTOSYNTHESIS?
Energy is absolutely necessary for living organisms. This energy, which contributes to the functioning of our muscles and heart, and plays an important role in the chemical reactions of our body, is supplied by animal products and vegetables. The primary source of the energy contained in nutriments is the sun. At night, the sun’s rays do not reach us. The “dawn” is the time these rays begin to reach the earth. The plants that receive those rays transform this light energy into chemical energy through the process of photosynthesis. Regeneration and growth of plant tissues depend on this energy. While the plant continues to grow using this energy, it stores some of it in the form of chemical energy. A man or an animal that consumes this plant receives the energy it contains. This perpetuates the chemical reactions in their bodies and stores energy in their tissues. Consequently, the energy we derive from animal products and plants is the energy coming from the sun through the plants, forming the initial stage of nourishment. Had there been no process that enriched the oxygen in the air, the oxygen available in the atmosphere would have been exhausted by now. Thanks to this process that begins at dawn can we breathe. At the time of the descent of the Quran, people knew nothing about photosynthesis or transformation of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, or again, about the role played by the sun’s rays in the realization of this process. The establishment of such a connection between the dawn and respiration in this verse astounds us once again.

Energy is absolutely necessary for all biochemical processes fundamental to living organisms. The energy is the result of the breaking down into elements of nutriments stored in the cells. When they come into contact with oxygen during this process, the chemical energy stored in molecules of the nutriment is released. This is a reaction similar to the phenomenon that takes place when a piece of wood kindled gives out heat and light. So the act of respiration must not be considered exclusively as an exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, but as a more complex process that forms the basic energy source of plants and animals.

Had God not created the various requirements for photosynthesis, such as, for instance, the chlorophyll necessary for the plants’ realization of photosynthesis, not a single organism would survive. Like many phenomena in the universe, photosynthesis, the transformation of oxygen and carbon dioxide necessary for respiration, is a part of the great and perfect design.

Knowledge of photosynthesis is of fairly recent origin. Scientists have conducted major research projects; among others, those of the team headed by Melvin Calvin, an American chemical engineer, are of great import. This team was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1961.

The photosynthesis that enables us to breathe and supply oxygen can be epitomized as follows:

Light energy (coming from the sun) + Carbon dioxide (coming from the air) + Water = Chemical energy + Oxygen.

The chemical formula is:

Light + 6CO2 + 6H2O = C6H12O6 (Glucose) + 6O2

May 9, 2011

FORMATION OF PETROLEUM

FORMATION OF PETROLEUM
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4- He brings out the pasture
5- Then turns it into a blackish floodwater.
87-The Most High, 4-5

Petroleum is primarily the outcome of a long process during which herbage like algae and fern in the interstices of rocks is exposed to the chemical effects of various bacteria. Today the origin of petroleum is believed to be organic material. Pastures created before man was created were destined to turn in time to petroleum within the framework of the ecological balance of the world. Oily organic residues decomposed beneath the floor of the seas for millions of years. The underlying oily substance eventually was transformed into petroleum.

Petroleum presents the properties of “floodwater.” Petroleum, more often than not, moves away from where it was originally formed. It does not have a settling property. Petroleum behaves like flood liquid, traveling long distances and collecting at spots where it comes across hard rocks without pores. Petroleum beds have been discovered in places where they were found as deposits, hindered from continuing their course.

In brief, petroleum, as described in the verses, is

1. made of organic matter,
2. blackish and
3. moves like floodwater.

PETROLEUM’S PLACE IN OUR LIFE
Until the mid-nineteenth century, crude petroleum was collected at places where it had leaked to the surface. Because it mixed with water where animals quenched their thirst and with wells drilled for drinking water, it was considered to be a nuisance. In the 1850s Ferris, and Kier who succeeded him, initiated studies that led to its use as fuel for lamps. Edwin L. Drake discovered petroleum beds at a depth of 21 meters, on August 27, 1859. As petroleum was more reliable than whale fishing and much cheaper to be consumed as lamp oil there was a ready market; and the petroleum era was thus ushered in.

God had devised the composition of this substance in such a way that it serves different purposes in many aspects of our life. Some of the best known derivatives of petroleum are fuel oil, petrol, and paraffin oil. Derivatives less known find their usage in the manufacture of candles and wax, perfumes and cosmetics, even in substances used in cheese production wherein it prevents the cheese’s decomposition. Still other petrol oils are used in the following products: insecticides, acetone used in nail polish, artificial rubber, plastic material, chemicals used in the production of detergents and certain drugs containing petroleum derivatives. Last but not least, many textile products also contain petroleum in their composition.

The story, whose beginnings go back to the decomposition of pasture, continues with the petroleum beds in the depths of the soil, with the production of detergents, t-shirts and nail polish. In verses 4 and 5 of the sura The Most High, there are allusions to petroleum. The three verses that precede it mention that God said that everything was given in due order and proportion.

1- Glorify the name of your Lord, The Most High
2- Who creates and proportions
3- Who determines in due order and guides.
87-The Most High, 1-3

EARTHQUAKES’ MESSAGE AND HEAVY BURDENS



EARTHQUAKES’ MESSAGE AND HEAVY BURDENS
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1- When the earth is severely quaked.
2- And the earth throws out its heavy burdens.
3- And man enquires, “What has come over it?”
4- On that day, it will tell its information.
99-The Earthquake, 1-4

The Arabic word “zilzal” means “earthquake.” The above verses are quoted from the sura The Earthquake. These verses are believed to refer justifiably to the earthquake expected to occur in the end of the world; however, we should take due notice of its wider sense, depicting earthquakes in general. The fourth verse announces that men will be informed on that day. A terrible disaster like an earthquake associates in one’s mind destruction in the first place causing material damage and bodily injury, leading to a general terror and panic. This announcement must have astounded the public.

To establish a link between earthquakes and knowledge of certain facts seemed inconceivable to people up until the last century. Today we have a great many data in our possession regarding the ground beneath our feet, thanks to earthquakes. The shortest radius we could draw from where we might be to the center of the earth is longer than 6000 km, a distance we can never cover. Yes, an earthquake provides information about that portion of the earth inaccessible to us. (During the earthquake to take place at the end of the world, it is possible that men will be further enlightened on subjects beyond His prediction. We certainly do not assert that the verse’s meaning is limited to our interpretation.)

BURDENS OF THE EARTH
The second verse of the sura Earthquake is interesting in that it refers to the burdens of the earth. Years have gone by and men have failed to understand what those burdens might be. The widely accepted interpretation was that the sura referred to the earthquake that was going to take place at the end of the world when the dead would be resurrected and treasures hidden underground would rise to the surface. No one could have guessed that the ground beneath was formed of dense and heavy matter that would rise to the surface. References to earthquakes in the Quran contribute to our better appreciation of them. Let us not forget that people believed at the time that the earth rested on the horns of an ox or on a fish whose tail, when it moved, produced earthquakes (The commentary of Ibn Kethir is an example). The fact that the Quran made no reference to such false beliefs is another indication of its miraculous character.

The more we know about the contents of the Quran and about the universe, the more we appreciate God’s artistry and the perfection of his religion.

9- Say: “Are those who know equal to those who do not know? Only men of understanding take heed.”
39-The Throngs, 9

FAULTS ON THE EARTH’S SURFACE



FAULTS ON THE EARTH’S SURFACE
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12- By the fractured earth.
86-The Knocker, 12

In the verse preceding the above verse (The Knocker, verse 11), the returning property of the sky was stressed; this refers to phenomena unknown to men 1400 years ago (Chapter 20 of the present book). In the above verse there are also factual implications that the public during the Prophet’s time did not know. As faults had not yet been discovered, the verse was believed to refer to the opening of the earth for the sprouting of vegetation.

In the post-Second World War years, scientists intensified submarine research activity with a view to having access to precious metals and minerals. During this research work, they came across something quite unexpected; the bottom of the seas were covered with fissures that came to be called “faults” or “cracks.” If we draw an analogy between the period that has elapsed since the second world war until today with the period that has elapsed from the time of the descent of the Quran 1400 years ago, when there was reference to this information in the Quran, we can better appreciate the value of this reference.

EVERYTHING IS INTERCONNECTED
The Quran now draws our attention to the sky, now to the earth, displaying the hidden mysteries and inciting us to inquire into them. As is the case with the sky, so it is with the depths of the earth-endless mysteries waiting to be unraveled. The “fractured earth” referred to in the verse is of towering importance from the point of view of establishing a connection between the magma under the ground and the surface. These cracks also play a decisive role in the formation of the submarine topography.

Information about the faults is also important as it provides us with detailed knowledge about earthquakes. Big earthquakes occur along the fault lines on the crust. Differentiated movements in the huge masses of substrata form a strain along the fault line. The rocks on each side of the cracks try to resist it before the crust gives way.

In any single earthquake, the amount of slip, in other words the relative displacement of the two fault surfaces, may be a few inches, it is so even in big earthquakes. Studies have been carried out on faults to map out the regions likely to suffer greater damages, the requirements for the construction of edifices to resist the tremor.

The greatest fault upon the earth is the one that stretches from Greenland’s offshore to Antarctica. The second largest one stretches along the Pacific Ocean along the Western shore of North and South America. The third important fault lies in the depths of the Asian continent under the Himalayas and follows the South Asian direction. Along with these greater ones there are shorter ones as well. The Quran directs our attention to places where earthquakes can be expected to take place. If we give up our custom of reciting the Quran merely for the souls of those who have departed, and take it as a guide for our life, we can reach the truth hidden in it.

89- We have sent down to you a Book explaining all things, a guide, a mercy and glad tidings for those who submit.
16-The Honeybee, 89

MOUNTAINS AS PEGS



MOUNTAINS AS PEGS
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6- Have We not made the earth habitable?
7- And the mountains as pegs?
78-The Event, 6-7

Mountains are often mentioned in the Quran. The simile of pegs seems to be preternatural in the light of geological findings of the last century. The mountains we observe on the surface of the earth rest on immense strata that may be ten to fifteen times as deep as the portion remaining on the surface of the earth. For instance, the highest mountain on earth, whose peak attains an altitude of 9 km from the ground, possesses a substratum that goes about 125 km into the depths of the earth. For a peg to be able to fulfill its function, the length of the portion stuck in the earth is important. The same holds true for the mountain.

There also exist mountains rising from the bottom of seas that also possess substratum. These substrata support the visible portion of the mountains in accordance with the Archimedean principle. These substrata were unknown until a few centuries back, let alone during the time of the Prophet. The simile in the Quran is once again a miraculous statement.

FUNCTION OF MOUNTAINS
In geology textbooks that have not been updated, information is not available about the role the mountains play, the role of stabilizing the crust of the earth. However, there are some publications on this issue.

The book entitled “Earth” is one of the many now on the market. Frank Press, author of this book, is the president of the Academy of Sciences, adviser to Jimmy Carter, ex-President of the USA. This author likens the mountains to wedges, the greater part of which remain underneath the surface of the earth. In this book, Dr. Press explains the functions of mountains, drawing special attention to their important role in stabilizing the crust of the earth. This information exactly matches the statement in the Quran:

31- “And We have set on the earth mountains standing firm lest it should shake with them.”
21-The Prophets, 31

Actually, the crust of the earth floats on a liquid. This outermost layer of the earth extends 5 km from the surface. The depths of the mountain strata go as far down as 35 km. Thus, the mountains are sort of pegs driven into the earth. Just like the pegs used to stabilize a tent on the ground, so these pegs stabilize the crust of the earth. Mountains are the outcome of collisions between strata of the earth’s crust; the result of the encroachment of a given stratum on another one. These strata that go deeper and deeper enable the crust layers to
integrate.

Isostasy is defined in the Webster’s Third New Twentieth Century Dictionary as follows: “Isostasy is the general equilibrium in the earth’s crust, maintained by a yielding flow of rock material beneath the surface under gravitate stress, and by the approximate equality in mass of each unit column of the earth from the surface to a depth of about 100 km.” At a time when mountains were viewed as mere prominences, the Quran’s reference to mountains’ strata invisible to the eye and their stabilization role leaves us in awe.

DARKNESS AND INTERNAL WAVES IN THE SEAS



DARKNESS AND INTERNAL WAVES IN THE SEAS
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40-... or is like the darkness in a deep sea. It is covered by waves, above which are waves, above which clouds. Darkness, one above another. If a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it. For any to whom God gives not light, there is no light.
24-The Light, 40

The construction of submarines dates back to the 17th century. A vessel that navigated under water was first contrived in 1620 by C. Drebber. Submarines developed rapidly, and in 1954, nuclear submarines were made. The development of submarines made possible the study of submarine geology and topography, and life in the depths of oceans. Collection of data had been possible thanks to the means developed in recent centuries without which a man could not dive to a depth more than 50 meters.

At a depth of 200 meters from the surface of the sea, darkness reigns. At this depth, then, “If a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it,” as described in the verse. The bottom of seas and oceans are pitch dark. While broad daylight reigns on the surface, 200 meters below it is again completely dark. At the time of the descent of the Quran, there were neither scientific data nor knowledge based on observation about the darkness reigning in the depth of seas. Just as it told about many aspects of heavenly phenomena comprehensible by man without the help of satellites, the Quran also provided information about submarine life in the depth of seas and oceans hardly accessible to man without submarines and instruments. The Quran - whose range of information is vast enough to cover everything, from the space high above down to the depth of the seas - itself proves its divine origin by the very fact that it is flawless.

WAVES ABOVE WAVES
In general, we have the impression that the wave only breaks on the surface and that the water underneath is calm and still. That is why the expression in the Quran, “by waves, above which are waves,” may seem puzzling. These waves were discovered in 1900 and are as described in the Quran. The dark depth of the sea contains these waves topped by the waves on the surface.

In the verse, we also observe the motion of light. The sun’s rays are refracted as they strike the clouds and lose some of their luminescence. The rays that reach the surface of the seas diffract as they continue their journey in the spectrum, the first layer holding onto the yellow, while the second holds onto the green; in the last layer, the seventh in fact, the blue disappears. Thus, as the journey goes further downward, light vanishes. The sunlight refracted in the clouds, the light that vanishes in the levels of oceans, completely disappears in the depths of oceans and cannot light the bottom. Not even fish can see their way unless they themselves generate some form of light.

6- Say: “The Quran was sent down by Him, who knows the mystery that is in the heavens and the earth: verily He is Forgiving, Merciful.”
25-The Distinguisher, 6

BARRIER BETWEEN SEAS



BARRIER BETWEEN SEAS
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19- He has let free the two seas meeting together.
20- Between them there is a barrier which they do not transgress.
55-Gracious, 19-20

A famous French oceanographer, J. Cousteau, gives the following account as a result of his studies in water barriers: “We studied the assertions by certain researchers about barriers separating seas, and noticed that the Mediterranean Sea had its own salinity and density and housed autochthonous fauna and flora. Then we examined the water of the Atlantic Ocean and discovered features entirely different from those of the Mediterranean Sea. According to our expectations, these two seas that merged in the strait of Gibraltar should present similar characteristics in terms of salinity, density and other properties. The two seas presented different features even though they were adjacent. This greatly puzzled us. An incredible barrier prevented the two seas from coming together. The same sort of a barrier had also been observed in Bab Al-Mandab in the Gulf of Aden connecting with the Red Sea.

Subsequent to our observations, further researchers made it clear that the seas which had different characteristics had some barriers.” This fact that astounded oceanographers was revealed 14 centuries ago in the Quran. This aspect, not visible to the naked eye and appearing to be in conflict with the properties of water known to man, was first revealed to men in the Arabian peninsula, men who were not at all experienced in any sense with oceanography.

THE COLORFUL WORLD IN THE DEPTHS OF THE SEA
The barriers between adjacent seas demonstrate a rich diversity, a result of the perfect planning of God. Wherever we turn our gaze, the complexion of human beings, the infinite diversity of flowers, etc., demonstrate the marvelous diversity of God’s creation. The Quran refers to the waters that do not coalesce. This is because of a physical characteristic called “surface tension.” Thus, neighboring seas present different densities, salinity rates and compositions. These differences enable media that permit different species to coexist. Thus, fish, plants and microorganisms living under water present untold varieties. Water, that usually mixes easily, can turn into a wall thanks to God’s imposition and operation of physical laws, contributing to this variety. This fact is not affected by strong waves and currents. This property to which the Quran refers is a miraculous statement unknown at the time of the Prophet and presents clear evidence for the man of understanding.

53- He is the One who has set free the two seas; one is sweet and palatable, and the other is salty and bitter. And He made a barrier between them, a partition that is forbidden to be passed.
25-The Distinquisher, 53

UNDERGROUND WATERS AND WATER CYCLE


UNDERGROUND WATERS AND WATER CYCLE
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21- Do not you see that God sends down water from the sky and places it into underground springs.
39-The Throngs, 21

The rainfall and its role in our lives as mentioned in the Quran give us correct information. Had we been living in some other periods of history, we could not have grasped it. Now we are in a position to understand this, as the world’s water cycle has been made clear by the
knowledge provided by contemporary science. If we compare the ancient lore about water with the information contained in the Quran, we realize that the Quran’s communications are free from errors, as always.

Let us take up the verse of the Quran that speaks of the formation of underground waters as a consequence of the rainfall (sura 39, verse 21). Was this fact, which is no mystery for us today, as clear in the minds of the ancients as it is in ours? Two specialists, G.Castany and B. Blavoux, give the following account: “According to Thales, the waters of the ocean that gushed out in the air by the pressure exerted by winds blowing from the depths of continents fell back down, penetrating the earth. Plato shared this view and believed that its return to the ocean was caused by a huge whirlpool. Aristotle contended that the vapor that rose from the earth condensed in the cool recesses of mountains, forming subterranean lakes and spring waters that were fed by these lakes. The first significant discovery of water’s perpetual cycle was by Bernard Palissy in 1580. According to him, underground springs were formed by the penetration of rain water into the earth.”

The view adopted during the Middle Ages was Aristotle’s. According to this erroneous view, water springs were fed by underground lakes. Remenieras gives the following account: “The concepts of purely philosophic character about the natural phenomena related to waters had to wait until the Renaissance in order to yield their places to impartial observations. In the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci (1452- 1519) argued against the assertions of Aristotle. Bernard Palissy in his work ‘Discours admirables sur la nature des eaux, des fontaines, de la terre, etc.’ gives a clear account of water’s perpetual cycle with special reference to feeding of underground springs by rainwater.” The knowledge that underground springs were fed by rainwater provided in the Quran was first postulated in the 16th century in Europe against Aristotle’s contention. The prominent figures of philosophy like Thales, Plato and Aristotle had made errors in the accounts they gave of water. Muhammad in the desert, who had no other claim than that of being a messenger of God, proved to be correct when he uttered the related statements of the Quran.

203- Say: “I follow only what my Lord reveals to me.” These are enlightenments from your Lord, and guidance, and mercy for those who believe.
7-The Purgatory, 203

RAINWATER PURE TO DRINK
68- See you the water which you drink?
69- Do you bring it down from the clouds or do We?
70- If We wish, We can make it salty. You should be thankful.
56-The Inevitable, 68-70

All sorts of details related to the water cycle have been impeccably designed by God. The physical laws and the chemistry of water reflect the fine calculations behind it. The fact that rainwater contains no salt is again a blessing. We saw that the rain was the consequence of evaporation of water. More than 90% of water that evaporates has, in its origin, oceans and seas with salt waters. The rules that govern the evaporation of water are arranged in order that the water is purified and disposed of its salt content and other impurities. The water of oceans and seas is not potable, while rainwater is, thanks to the evaporation process.

In the Quran, reference is made to pure water coming from above.
48- “And we send down pure water from the sky”
25-The Distinguisher, 48

The Quran informs us that water was created after the formation
of the earth.
31- From it, He produced its own water and pasture.
79-The Snatchers, 31.

At the time of the Quran’s descent, the first stages of creation of the earth were a mystery. The fact that the emergence of water on the surface of the earth was a phenomenon that took place after the creation of the earth, as mentioned in the Quran, is a miraculous statement. The earth in the beginning was extremely hot. As it gradually cooled down, heavy metals like iron settled in its center, while granite and oxides remained at the upper layers. As a result of the cooling, an outermost solid layer formed. When the surface temperature fell below 100 degree Celsius, the water in the depths rose to the surface, forming the oceans and seas. This emergence of water is in perfect accord with the account given in the Quran.

PROPERTIES OF WATER
The proportion of water on the earth is of great importance. Had lands extended into an expanse larger than the seas, the difference between night and day temperatures would have been higher and the greater portion of the living space would turn into a desert. The fact that waters form more than 70% of the surface of the earth is the result of an intelligent design. Had the water displayed disintegrative properties like certain acids during chemical reactions or remained unaffected like argon, it could not perform its function in the universe and in our bodies. Chemical laws have special applications for water, so essential for life. All other substances, whether solid or liquid, contract as they grow cooler. The volume of a substance in solid state is smaller and denser. Water, however, has quite different characteristics. Water, like any other substance, contracts until the temperature drops down to +4 degrees Celsius. Nevertheless, as the temperature continues to fall, it begins expanding, unlike other substances. That is, its volume increases. When it freezes, it expands still further. That is why it floats on the surface instead of sinking. All other substances behave differently; in solid state they sink. Thanks to special chemical relations proper to water, life becomes possible in the seas. Had the density of ice been greater than the density of water, the frozen water in lakes and seas would have sunk. And as there would be no layer of ice on the surface, the freezing process would continue upward. In this way, the depth of the oceans, seas and lakes would be transformed into mountains of ice and when the temperature in the atmosphere became warmer only a thin layer of water would thaw; thereby the aquatic life would come to an end.

MARVELLOUS CHAIN AND WEAKEST LINK
The other chemical properties of water are such that they allow life to perpetuate. Thanks to its chemical properties, plants carry water from the depths of the soil up to the top of large trees (which distance can be measured in meters). If the surface tension of water were low, as in the case of many other liquids, the plants could not absorb water. This would be the end of the vegetation and animal kingdom.

We have so far covered many essential subjects vital for our life on earth. The subjects covered ranged from the precise regulation of the velocity of the atom in the aftermath of the primeval explosion to our remoteness from the sun, from the features of the atmosphere to Van Allen belts, from the surface temperature of the earth to the heat in the depths of the earth; the least change in any one of these creations would be the end of our lives. Our life depends on a chain of phenomena with thousands of links, each one being in perfect order and of extremely complex structure. This chain may break at its weakest link. So, the chain’s life entirely depends on that particular link. Supposing that each of the prerequisites making life possible displayed excellent performance of its function; if a seemingly insignificant event like water’s tension were ignored, our life would vanish. All these minutiae are so many evidences of precise calculation by our Creator, Omnipotent and Omniscient.

DUE MEASURE IN RAIN



DUE MEASURE IN RAIN
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11- And He is the One who sends down water in due measure from the sky, to revive dead lands therewith. Similarly you will be raised.
43-Vanity, 11

Rain is one of the gifts of God to man. In the verse above, God says that the rain has its own mathematics and that it is sent according to “due measure.” Water on earth is subject to an impeccable process and passes in due order from the state of liquid to the state of gas and solid. It has a marvelous balancing power, as it balances energy while satisfying the vital needs of the living being.

You would not have gotten an answer if you were, a century back, to ask a scientist whose field of interest was rainfall in particular, “Is there a measure in the rainfall; can it be quantified?” Being ignorant of the meteorological phenomena going on in every part of the world, the scientist would not have been in a position to say anything on the issue. The Quran told us 1400 years ago that the rainfall had a certain measure. Research conducted in the last century revealed the process of rainfall, shedding light over the cycling characteristics of water. One of the facts discovered was that the earth’s annual rainfall was always of the same amount. The amount per second varied between 16-17 million tons. Thus, the amount of rain falling was above 500 trillion tons a year while an equal amount evaporated. These yearly values remain constant. This constancy was of great significance in establishing the ecological balance of the world. The scientist of a few centuries back could not have estimated the amount of the rainfall in the region where he lived since the precipitation yearly changed according to region. He might have concluded, therefore, that rain is not quantifiable.

CALCULATIONS RELATED TO WATER CYCLE
The rainfall and cycle of water involve complicated calculations. To give you an example, researchers were curious to know the reason for the maximum temperature of the upper portion of the tropical ozone layer which was maximum 28 degrees Celsius, despite the sun’s continual warming of the water. Their research produced the following finding: the factor that prevented the overheating of the ozone layer in warmer regions was not merely water vapor, but at the same time the shadow cast by clouds. In the shade, the temperature dropped. The shield prevented the earth from overheating. Water vapor also exerts a greenhouse effect. Along with carbon dioxide, methane and other gases, it creates an invisible insulation layer in the atmosphere. This layer prevents the totality of every radiation coming down on earth under normal conditions from getting lost in the space where cold is reigning. Water vapor forms 60% of the “natural greenhouse effect,” making the basic climate of the earth relatively warm. All these things are finely calculated; we can gain an insight into this if we examine the greenhouse clouds revolving around the planet Venus. The dense clouds muffle it, so that only half of the sun’s rays reach it. The quantity of 97% carbon dioxide there creates a super greenhouse effect and the temperature rises up to 500 degrees Celsius. This temperature far exceeds the temperature range in which man can live. The water cycle on earth, passing through the states of liquid, cloud and water vapor, is calculated with precision. In contradistinction with the general properties of water, the clouds do not freeze, even at a temperature of - 30 degrees Celsius. As it is stated in the Quran, there are masses of clouds as large as mountains, but they do not freeze into mountains of ice to fall upon the earth. Had it not been for this precise calculation in the formation of clouds and the rainfall and for the ideal arrangement of the chemical composition of water by its Creator, the system would certainly not function.

When we throw an object of a few kilograms from a balcony, we can follow its descent. If we empty a large pan full of water from the balcony, we can observe the splash on the ground. The fall of tons of water from above, thanks to God’s programming, is so arranged that water coming down in drops from above is a blessing rather than a natural disaster. This is the wonderful artistry in the physical rules imposed by God. Such a balancing of acceleration is definable in physical formulas. This definability, this calculation is due to God’s creation of rain in “due measure.”

RAIN IS LIFE
In the same verse, God speaks of the rain’s regenerative power. It is a well-known fact that dry land is revitalized by rain and the vegetation becomes lush once again. The basic element of the animate being is DNA in which the hydrogen bonds keep changing, perpetuating life. This hydrogen is exchanged with the hydrogen that emerges during the ionization of water. A dehydrated living being is like a frozen skeleton even though it may preserve its DNA and genetic code; it cannot reproduce or move. Only when the water comes up and lends the hydrogen from its disintegrated ions can the code be activated. Such characteristics can be observed in living microorganisms like microbes. The more developed living beings cannot recover their vitality when fresh water is supplied, as their tissue surfaces have already deteriorated. Rain is thus the source of regeneration of plants and bacteria. The last sentence of the verse that reads: “Similarly you will be raised” evokes the following association in our mind: God sends down rain in predetermined amounts, by which plants and bacteria that are near death are resuscitated. The rising of man from the dead is no problem for God, who knows the measure of all things.

God, who devised the system of regeneration of plants and bacteria through a well-calculated amount of rain, will raise man from the dead according to the measures and knowledge in His wisdom. The sprouting of vegetation from the dead soil is something our eyes behold. What we see is the evidence of the facility by which our Creator will re-create His creation whose measure, calculation and formula are known only to Him.

CLOUDS AND THE PROCESS OF RAIN



CLOUDS AND THE PROCESS OF RAIN
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43- Do not you see that God drives the clouds, then joins them together, then piles them on each other, then you see the rain comes forth from between them. And He sends down hail from the sky, where there are mountains of it. And strikes those with it whom He will and diverts it from whomever He wills. The vivid flash of its lightning nearly blinds the sight.
24-The Light, 43

Water is life. The greater portion of water that is the basic need for the living beings on earth is in continuous motion and transformation. The uninterrupted sequence of these successive transformations is referred to as cycling. Water is always present in the air. It goes without saying that this state of water differs from its state in the seas and rivers. The formation of clouds by water in the state of vapor, the transformation of these clouds into rainwater and their falling upon the earth as precipitation are the result of God’s impeccable cycling system. More than 1400 years ago, the Quran began to draw our attention to the facts that today can be established only by the help of satellites. Scientists studied types of clouds and established that they were the consequence of well-designed systems and stages. Meteorologists examined the cumulonimbus clouds. The stages they described tallied with the process described in the sura The Light, verse 43.

1- Clouds move thanks to winds: The fact that the wind is the primary cause in the process of the formation of clouds that generates rain is depicted in the sura, The Romans, verse 46 (In the previous chapter, we saw the role played by wind in the formation of clouds).

2- Joining: Then the small clouds combine to form a single large cloud.

3- Piles them on each other: When the small clouds join together, updrafts within the larger cloud increase. The updrafts near the center 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. 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.

GENIUS OF A MAN?
Meteorologists have acquired what they know about the formation, structure and function of clouds only in recent years by the help of satellites, computers and balloons. It is significant to read about the formation of clouds in the Quran. Today’s data are obtained through the use of instruments and satellites that have a panoramic view of clouds from above, otherwise, it would be impossible for men living on the surface of the earth to have an insight into the updraft in the clouds during their formation and the precipitation emerging from this cloud expanding vertically.

In the verse above, the simile of “mountain masses” is an apt one, since the cumulonimbus rain clouds at an altitude of 5-6 km present a formation like a mountain.

While the verse reveals knowledge unavailable at the time of the Prophet, there is no mention whatsoever of the misconceptions of the time. Up until the 1600s the western world was dominated by the meteorological lore of ancient Greece, itself a hotchpotch of correct and wrong data. It was believed that the atmosphere was made up of two different types of vapor, namely the dry and the moist; that thunder was the outcome of the collision of dry clouds with their neighbors, and that the flash of lighting was produced by the kindling of the dry vapor. In the verse in question no such false information has been provided, while a description is made of the flash of lightning, along with the downfall of rain and hailstones, establishing a link between them. The lightning flash in atmospheric electricity is the total observed luminous phenomena accompanying a lightning discharge, which is a series of electric processes by which change is transferred within the atmosphere along a channel of high ion density between electric charge centers of opposite sign. The water droplets within the clouds are a source of electricity. The water droplets falling down as a result of gravitation break down into yet smaller droplets with positively charged electricity while the surrounding atmosphere is negatively charged. The electric charge of droplets increases at each division into smaller units. Along with the emergence of the electrical charge as a consequence of disintegration of water droplets, the ice crystals at the upper portion of the cloud gain positive electricity charge, thus separating from the atmosphere with negative charge and increasing the electrical charge of the cloud. This process results in an electric arc, i.e., a flash of light. The verse draws attention to the connection of the precipitation with the flash of lightning, leaving out the wrong information that attributes this process to the kindling of clouds. Describing the meteorological process that creates rain accurately, while eliminating the false ideas predominant at the time successfully, cannot be explained as pure coincidence or the genius of a man.

12- It is He who shows you the lightning for fear and hope,
and raises heavy clouds.
13-The Thunder, 12

FECUNDATING WINDS



FECUNDATING WINDS
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22- And We send the fecundating winds.
15-Hijr, 22

Research conducted on physical phenomena and plants demonstrated the importance of the fecundating property of winds. Winds play a role in the reproduction of plants by transporting small reproductive bodies produced in pollen sacs of the seed plants. The winds have also the character of fecundating the rain clouds, another essential factor for life on earth.

Before rising to the upper layers of the atmosphere, the gaseous suspension of ultramicroscopic particles of a liquid called aerosol, generated by foaming in seas and other waters, gets mixed with the dust that the winds sweep from the lands. These particles combine with water vapor that condenses around these particles. Had it not been for these particles, one hundred per cent water vapor could not form the cloud. The formation of clouds is the consequence of the winds’ formation of the water vapor in suspension with the fecundating particles they carry. Had the winds failed to perform this duty there would not have been any rain clouds. As there would be no rain, life could not thrive upon the earth. However, winds have other functions as well.

Clouds charged with positive and negative electricity, weighing tons, are swept by winds. Without winds there would be no clouds; even if we assume that they did form, the water would then fall down upon the seas and waters over which they condensed, and human beings, plants and the animal kingdom would be deprived of their benefit. So the clouds are formed thanks to winds, and it is thanks to winds that rains fall over the land. Life can only thrive upon the earth thanks to rain. We are witnessing again the perfect design of our Creator.

WINDS’ WONDERFUL SYSTEM
The Quran stresses the great role of the wind, an essential for our lives; another example of the generosity of our Lord. Indeed, the rain is affected, among other things, by the rotation of the earth, by the topography, by the low and high pressure zones, etc. If our world did not have an inclination of 23.5 degrees, the cooling and the effect of the sun on the North and South poles would not be subject to daily change. The difference of temperature between the equator and the poles is reduced, the consequence being moderately blowing winds. If the topography of the world had been different, the winds blowing from the poles to the equator and from the equator to the poles might turn into ravaging storms.

Mountains, planes and plateaus are designed so as to allow the winds to penetrate every nook and corner, creating warm and cold front systems. The wind, the rain, the mountain, the rotation of the earth and the heat are interconnected. Whoever created one of these elements is also the Author of the rest. This interconnection cannot be refuted. This interrelatedness is another evidence of the oneness of the Creator. All these subtleties, perfections and details are meant to reflect His artistry, wisdom and unlimited power.

When a breeze blows, refreshing the sultry atmosphere we are breathing, let us remember His munificence, as we take delight in having been caressed by it. The wind is mathematics, art, power and science all at the same time. All these phenomena bespeak a perfect design behind them and show that we are not forlorn abandoned figures.

The wind, regardless whether it is a gentle breeze, a brisk northern wind or a sultry south wind, is still the one designed by our Creator, governed by physical laws without which man cannot survive.

5-...and the manipulation of the winds are signs for those who understand.
45- Kneeling, 5

THE EARTH DOES ROTATE EVEN THOUGH WE ARE NOT CONSCIOUS OF IT



THE EARTH DOES ROTATE EVEN THOUGH WE ARE NOT CONSCIOUS OF IT
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88- When you look at the mountains, you think that they are standing still. But they are moving like clouds. Such is the artistry of God, who disposes of all things in perfect order. He is indeed fully aware of what you do.
27-The Ant, 88

The mountains’ features seem to make them the most stationary components of the earth’s surface. The idea of the unattainability of mountains led certain primitive mentalities to believe in polytheism and fancy that the mountains were the abode of divinities. The idea of mountain peaks being beyond man’s reach was an illusion, as was also their stationary aspect. The verse refers to this illusion and speaks of the motion of mountains like clouds. If the mountains that had a stationary aspect did move, it would follow that the earth itself also moved. The verse thus dismisses the idea of a fixed world entertained as a consequence of false perception, and informed the public of the time of the movement of mountains, likening them to clouds.

This sign, beyond the grasp of the public contemporary with the Prophet, led people to believe that it was a premonitory sign foretelling the end of the world. Even someone who had no knowledge of the Arabic language could see that this interpretation was groundless and conflicting with the Quran. In the verse it is stated that men believe that the mountains are stationary, but this is an illusion. It is impossible to deduce from the mountains in motion that this is to take place at the end of the world.

WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THE EARTH DID ROTATE?
These false assumptions deduced during the first century after the Prophet may be condoned after we read the commentaries of Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Baz from Saudi Arabia. As late as the 1970s, he claimed that the earth did not move and that anyone who asserted the contrary was considered to have committed a blasphemy. The Saudi Sheikh spoke as follows: “Anyone who thinks otherwise would be considered to have gone astray and be called on to repent. If he does repent, so much the better, if not, he will be declared to have uttered a blasphemy and be put to death, his estate being forfeited by the treasury of the Muslim State. If the earth rotated as they asserted, lands, mountains, trees, rivers and seas would turn into an absolute chaos. The Western lands would have changed directions and shifted to the East. And the Eastern lands would shift to the West changing the direction of the Kýbla Mecca), henceforth impossible to determine. As none of these happenings are observed, the assertion that the world is in motion is a false statement for many reasons.”

We see that the opinions entertained about the stationary character of the earth were so firm that bigoted theologians disregarding the revelations of the Quran could utter that anyone who thought that the earth moved had to be subjected to capital punishment in the twentieth century! The Quran is full of miraculous revelations, but there is no end to the lies concocted in the name of religion. The people who took as their guide such concoctions and merely read the Quran as a textbook without understanding its meaning have done the greatest harm to religion. One must understand the reliability of the Quran and avoid all superstitions.

GALILEO’S ORDEAL
Though historically it is a rare and anecdotal reaction and not shared by many Muslim scholars, I mentioned the bigoted reaction of a scholar who railed against the idea of a rotating earth. The case of Galileo, however, is known all over the world. Galileo was an Italian astronomer and physicist, one of the founders of modern science; he believed that the universe was created by God. His empirical and observational scientific approach enabled him to be a pioneer in many fields of science. His ordeal is well known. His postulation that the earth rotated caused him to undergo terrible and painful experiences. The Church had adopted the views of Aristotle and Ptolemy on the universe and the world. This conception posited that the earth remained fixed while the sun revolved around the moon. The Church adopted this earth-centered view as its official credo. The Church propounded all its views as the reflection of God’s will; to oppose them was tantamount to taking a stand against God. We witness once more that one of the main sources of commentaries trying to show that religion and science are mutually exclusive were ignorant dogmatic bigots and the religious establishments under their domination. So has been the case with Islam.

Once man ceases to mix his own ideas with God’s, the problem will be solved. Otherwise, man will continue committing the sin of mixing his views with God’s revelations. Galileo Galilei, like Copernicus and Kepler, argued that the earth moved and the sun stood in the center. According to their contention, the earth had no central position. The Church was not as tolerant as it had been in the case of Copernicus and Kepler. Galileo’s adoption of the Copernican system was refuted by the Church, and under threat of torture from the Inquisition, he was forced to publicly recant his heretical views. This was not the end of the ordeal; he still had to face material and spiritual tortures. He was forced to spend the last eight years of his life under house arrest. The story of the Church and Galilei illustrates best the quarrel between “religion” and science. But the fact remains that the original religion as such was not to blame, but the so-called representatives of fabricated religion were. The Quran warns us against those people who will show up and present themselves as spokesmen of God’s religion as well as against the ignominies perpetrated for material gains.

34- O believers, many rabbis and priests devour the substance of men and hinder them from the way of God.
9-Repentance, 34

We must beware of the class of the unenlightened and opportunistic who call themselves representatives of religion. True enlightenment is possible only by guiding ourselves by the precepts of the Quran. To adopt the Quran as our guide is the remedy against superstitions and the sine qua non of coming face to face with the truth.


MOUNTAINS IN MOTION
The verse we are studying in this chapter may have another sign, as well. The terrestrial crust moves as if floating on the mantle, which is denser. This was the reason why the continents, once a whole, were severed from each other. The ideas posited by German meteorologist and geologist Alfred Wegener in an article published in 1915 made him the first serious proponent of the theory of the continental drift. His theory was not espoused by most geologists of his time. It is, however, accepted now as correct in principle. The continental drift is the concept of continent formation by the fragmentation and movement of masses of land on the surface of the earth. The seas and lands are in collision with each other like floating rafts on a lake, sometime overlapping each other. Their speeds vary between 3cm and 15cm per year. Thus, the mountains, that appear stationary to us, are in fact in motion along with the earth, as well as with the continent of which they form a part.

The world we inhabit rotates around its axis and revolves about the sun in its rapid course in space along with the solar system; in addition, we must take into account the world’s movement in relation to the moon. We shall include also the gravitational force of other planets. Unconscious of all these phenomena, we sleep tightly, enjoy our meals with relish, and take pleasure in reading and doing sports. A car is considered super when it does not let us feel we are riding in it. Our
world travels at an immense speed and follows extremely complex courses unpiloted, without our being consciously affected by them. The verse we analyzed at the beginning of this chapter is an evidence of the incontestable perfection of God’s design.

DIAMETERS OF THE EARTH AND SPACE



DIAMETERS OF THE EARTH AND SPACE
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33- O society of jinns and men, cross the diameters of the heavens and the earth, if you have the ability, then pass beyond them. But you cannot, unless you acquire an authorization.
55-Gracious, 33

The Arabic word for diameter is “kutr” of which the plural is “aktar;” this refers to the fact that the heavens and the earth have a plurality of diameters. The Arabic language has a special plural to express “duality;” the word aktar expresses a magnitude superior to one or two. We must be careful in the case of three-dimensional objects; “diameter” exists only in spheroid figures. In the case of a perfect sphere we cannot speak of a plurality of diameters, for, in a perfect sphere, there can be only one diameter. We observe in the verse the use of the plural, which is remarkable.

This verse is particularly important, as it refers to the geoidal structure of the world. Doubts about the spheroid structure of the world were dispelled by the law of gravitation of Newton (1642-1724). Previously it was believed that men, the living beings and the seas beneath the surface of the earth would have fallen down had the world been a sphere. Isaac Newton’s law of gravitation convinced men that their belief was false. Objections to the sphericity of the world were henceforth withdrawn, although many people still adhered to their former convictions. If you spoke of “diameters” of the earth, Newton would have corrected you saying: “the diameter of the earth.” A sphere can have but one diameter but in the geodesic sphere, which is the actual shape of the world, this is possible.

CONFINES OF SPACE
The mention in the verse of “the diameters of the heavens” is also significant. Until man took cognizance of the primeval explosion and the
expanding universe, many scientists believed space to be infinite. Space continuously expands and wherever it expands a new and still larger diameter is formed (this was explained in Ch. 1, 2 & 3). As a matter of fact, scientists have likened space to an inflating balloon in accord with the statement of the verse. Measurements taken at various spots in space would give different diametrical results, while even these measurements taken would change every instant. The use of the plural for the diameter of the heavens is of towering importance, since there is more than just one diameter and because the concept of infinite space is refuted.

The equatorial axes and the diameters in between the equatorial axis will be the longest, while the shortest diameter will be in the polar region. Other diameters will range in between. The diameter measured from the level of the poles to the end point of the atmosphere, the one drawn from the equator to the end point of the atmosphere, and the diameters in between differ also.

We should like to draw your attention to a point. In a good many translations of the Quran there are references to the confines of the earth and the heavens, to its periphery and contours and frontiers, and the word “diameters” is skipped. Indeed, the extremities of the diameter of an area give the contour, the limits and the periphery of that area. We draw the attention of translators to this subtle point.

ROLLING THE NIGHT OVER THE DAY



ROLLING THE NIGHT OVER THE DAY
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5- He created the heavens and the earth truthfully. He rolls the night over the day, and rolls the day over the night...
39-The Throngs, 5

The Arabic word for “roll” is “yukevviru.” The word is used to depict the act of wrapping a turban around someone’s head. This word was also used in the sense of overlapping of the night and day and vice versa. The reason for the day’s turning into night and the night’s turning into day is due to the spheroid form of the earth. In this verse also we observe implied the sphericity of the world.

VIEW OF THE WORLD FROM SPACE ABOVE
During the Prophet’s lifetime it was impossible to scientifically determine the correct view. The scientific demonstration of the statements of the Quran was only possible after the lapse of a millennium. Why were these scientific explanations in the Quran-beyond the comprehension of the Prophet’s contemporaries, contradicting the hypotheses prevalent at the time and likely to cause harm to their messenger, certainly being of no benefit to him? We see that the Quran’s objective is to tell the truth at all costs. The fact that these phenomena could be explained thanks to the advance of science one thousand years later testifies to the universal address of the Quran and its character; it addresses not only its own time, but also the entirety of humanity until the end of the world.

When the astronomers went to space, they bore witness to this statement of the Quran and took photographs. The face of the world facing the sun was day, while the other side was night. The rotation of the world around its own axis made the night and day alternate, and in some parts the transition from day to night took place simultaneously.

The phenomena related to the roundness of the world and the succession of days and nights are the sine qua non conditions of our life on earth. Had our world not been of a spherical shape, had night and day not succeeded each other thanks to its rotation, life on the face of the earth exposed to heat would be extinct and in the portion left in the shade vegetation would not thrive. God’s omniscience, omnipotence and art, His perfect design of everything, and the miraculous character of the Book are better understood as we contemplate them

GEOIDAL FORM OF THE WORLD



GEOIDAL FORM OF THE WORLD
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30- He made the earth egg-shaped.
79-The Snatchers, 30

The Arabic word “dahw” means rotundity like that of the ostrich’s egg. The above verse was also interpreted to refer to the shaping of the earth in the form of an ostrich egg. Prof. Dr. Suleyman Atefl, former head of Religious Affairs in Turkey, gives the following definition of the word, based on the famous Arabic dictionary Lisan u’l Arab: “The word ‘dahw’ means to spread out, giving (something) a round shape.” The word “dahw” had also been defined as a game played with walnuts. Derived from the same stem, the word “medahi” referred to round stones. Despite the meaning of rotundity concealed in words derived from the word “dahw” there have been translators for whom a spherical earth was difficult to conceive, who had to translate it as “to spread out.” The actual shape of the earth does have the shape of an ostrich egg. Thus the shape of the earth is spheroid with depressions at the poles. The exact figure of the earth which had posed a problem throughout history was established by the Quran.

Even the books written a few centuries after the descent of the Quran likened the shape of the earth to a tray. Beliefs according to which the earth rested on the horns of an ox or was supported by a fish reigned over mentalities in the Arabic peninsula and many believed that earthquakes occurred when the fish down below waved its tail. The Prophet had no ocean-going ship to cross the earth from one extremity to the other, that would have supplied him with evidence proving the spheroid shape of the earth, nor had he a spacecraft from which he could have had an overall view of our world that would have provided him a photographic image of it, as he was not equipped with a camera. Our knowledge of the sphericity of the earth, which seems to us as an established fact, was then beyond the comprehension and imagination of the majority. Therefore, the Quran’s statement to this effect failed to be grasped. Men believed that the verse referred to the plenitude of the earth, ignoring the sense of rotundity.

Thus, at a time when most of the people believed in the shape of earth’s figure as a tray supported by an ox or fish, the Quran had beautifully described its actual shape. The fact that ostriches abounded in the Arabian Peninsula at the time must have permitted those who inquired into this mystery to hold an ostrich egg in their hands and examine it. The geoidal form is a gentle indication of this. The subtlety of the Quran’s expressions provides men with evidence.

174- O people! Verily there has come to you an infallible proof from your Lord. We have sent unto you a manifest light.
4-The Women, 174

HEAVENS NOT SUPPORTED BY PILLARS

HEAVENS NOT SUPPORTED BY PILLARS
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2- God is He who raised the heavens without any pillars...
13-The Thunder, 2

The fact that the Quran speaks of scientific phenomena that could not be accessible to the level of knowledge at the time of the Prophet is a miracle in itself. While trying to emphasize this feature of the Quran, we often stressed that the Quran had, 1400 years ago, spoken of scientific facts that have only come to light in recent years, if not in the course of the twentieth century. One of the facts that could not possibly be attained by observations and research at the time of the Prophet is given in the verse quoted above. However, this discovery is certainly not of recent date. But at the time of the descent of the Quran, there was no general consensus about this. Even after the time of the Quran’s descent there were still people who believed that the world abutted mountains at both extremities.

For instance, in the New American Bible, a picture is drawn to show how the authors of the Bible imagined the world. In that picture, the sky resembles an overturned bowl and is supported by columns (The New American Bible, St Joseph’s Medium Size Edition, and pp. 4-5). Ibn Abbas (d. 687 AD), Mujahid (d. 718 AD) and Ikrima (d. 733 AD) believed in the existence of pillars (mountains) supporting the sky, too. These persons asserted that the Quran’s verses referred only to what was visible and that in the portion of space invisible to the eye the pillars held up the sky. This had also been the contention of the Babylonians who believed that the sky abutted on mountains at its extremities. At the time of the Prophet, mankind did not know that the earth was spherical and that traveling in opposing directions led two people to the same spot. Therefore, the said subject of debate could not scientifically be accounted for at the time of the Prophet. Moreover, such a bold statement would have had deleterious effects on the Prophet’s credibility, and objections would not tarry to arrive. Those who claimed that Muhammad was the author of the Quran would not be in a position to account for such a statement.

To appreciate better the value of these statements in the Quran, our imagination must go back to the time of the Prophet and try to guess at the mentality of the people. The Quran was revealed at a time when the airplane and the automobile did not exist, when the actual shape of the earth was unknown, when there was no such thing as a world map and when the majority of Arabs were illiterate. This is to remind the persons who claim that the authorship of the Quran should be attributed to the Prophet or to other writers at the time of the Prophet. So, if one considers that the statements of the Quran had been revealed in such a situation, the miraculous character of the explanations may gain a different dimension.

HEAVEN’S SUPPORT
In the long history of the world, man benefited from the atmosphere’s characteristics and advantages without being cognizant of the mystery behind this boon. How did this mass of gases come into being then? How is it that its stability is maintained? The fact that the sky had a “well protected roof” (Ch 19), that it possessed returning and reflecting properties (Ch 20), that it was made of layers, each having its proper function (Ch 17) and that its maintenance was without pillars, all point to the glorious design of God.

Research conducted on planets of the solar system led us to conclude that none of them was surrounded by an atmosphere like the one that surrounds our world; and the way it is designed to make life on earth possible was a proof of the fact that God had decided that life thrives on earth.

The gas molecules upon the surface of the planet move at a tremendous speed. If the gravitational force of the planet overcomes this motion, the planet would attract the gas molecules and the surface of the planet would absorb the gas molecules. On the other hand, if the gas molecules moved rapidly and could escape the planet’s gravitational field, they would pursue their travel in space. So, both the atmosphere and the balances established took place at a stage after the creation of the earth. The expression in the Quran, “He raised the sky, and set the balance” (55-Gracious, 7) is in perfect accord with the formation of the sky and the establishment of balance in it after the creation of the world. The formation of gas molecules in the form of the atmosphere and its fixation was possible only by the establishment of a balance, a balance between the gravitational force of the sphere and the speed at which the gas molecules travel. God contrived a precise balance in order to raise the sky high without pillars.

However, this design had to be coupled with what was necessary for its perpetuity.

41- Verily, God is the One who holds the heavens and the earth, lest they cease.
35-The Originator, 41

The establishment of this balance depends on the synchronization of a variety of data. For instance, the heat balance of the surface of the earth depends on the position of the earth in relation to the sun, which, in turn, will affect the motion of gas molecules. The rotation of the earth is an important factor for the homogeneity of heat. If there is an increase in this speed, the atmosphere will scatter; if, on the other hand, this speed slows down, the homogeneity will be upset, for the atmosphere will be absorbed by the soil. For the maintenance of the atmosphere, the difference in temperature between the equator and the polar regions and the chains of mountains like the Himalayas, the Taurus Mountains and the Alps that forestall the terrible consequences that air currents would generate are also important. The chain of mountains contributes to the preservation of the balance by blocking the winds blowing upon the surface of our sphere and gathering the cold air at heights. The gases in the atmosphere also play an important role in the maintenance of the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, whose proportion in the atmosphere is insignificant, has the function of covering the earth as a blanket, thus preventing the loss of heat at night. From the raison d’être of the mountain range to the creation of carbon dioxide, from the magnitude of the earth to the position of the sun, from the balance of heat on the surface of the earth to the characteristics and speeds of gases in the atmosphere, everything has been designed with an unerring precision in perfect conformity. An atmosphere can function without adhering to the earth, without getting scattered in every possible direction, thanks to innumerable conditions.

4- Verily in these things there are signs for those who understand.

RETURNED BY THE SKY


RETURNED BY THE SKY
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11- By the sky that returns
86-The Knocker, 11

The Arabic word “raj” means “to return, to turn.” Rain is a prerequisite for the perpetuation of life on earth. The water that the sun’s rays causes to evaporate does not disappear into space. Rain and water also returned to earth at the time of the Prophet, but scientific knowledge to explain the process was lacking. Once the layers of the atmosphere came to be differentiated, it was understood that the Troposphere, which is one of these layers, prevented the escape of vapor into space and contributed to the perpetuation of life on earth. This layer sends the condensed vapor back to earth in the form of precipitation.

Most of the phenomena that we have studied during our examination of the verse and in which the sky was likened to “a well protected roof” occur thanks to the sky’s return of certain things. The sky protects our world by sending back the radioactive particles, radiation and harmful ultraviolet rays coming from the space. While it reflects back to space what is harmful for man, it prevents the evaporated water necessary for life on earth from leaving the atmosphere. The Quran’s reference to this characteristic of sky, explored only in the last century, cannot be explained by the lore of the contemporaries of the Prophet.

UMBRELLA UNAFFECTED BY ADVERSE CIRCUMSTANCES
If the atmosphere had not been endowed with this capacity, the maintenance of a desired temperature to foster life on earth would be impossible. Life is possible only within a narrow temperature bracket. In the spectrum of heat ranging from the temperature in the sun to absolute zero, life thrives only in a span of less than 1%. Once attained, maintenance of this 1% span is difficult. A sudden fall and rise in temperatures would also be deadly. For instance, when we feel comfortable, say at an ambient temperature of 20 degrees Celsius, we witness a sudden increase of temperature, rising as high as 100 degrees Celsius or there is a sudden fall to -100 degrees Celsius, destruction would be imminent. The atmosphere’s returning power maintains stability.

The composition of the atmosphere is as follows: 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% carbon dioxide plus other gases. These rates are ideal for life on earth. If, for instance, the proportion of oxygen rose from 21% up to 22%, the chance of lightning likely to start a forest fire would increase by 70%. Had the oxygen and nitrogen rates in the atmosphere been in excess of what they actually are, vital functions gaining momentum would be to the detriment of life. Had these been inferior, these vital functions would sensibly slow down again, causing great damage to living beings. The steady maintenance of these rates has been possible by a series of phenomena of which the atmosphere’s property of reflection is but one; but the lack of this one characteristic would be fatal. Who would claim that this perfect umbrella immune to all adverse circumstances was a fortuitous event? Who would assert that our being protected and well guarded is the result of happy coincidences that duly perform their duties in keeping for us the water and the air vital for our survival? Our Creator has beyond doubt designed everything to serve its purpose before infusing life to us. The Quran He has sent was meant to enable us to behold His wonderful creation.

27- Not without purpose did We create heaven and earth and all between! Such is the thinking of tho

WELL PROTECTED ROOF









WELL PROTECTED ROOF
32- And We made the sky a well protected roof. Still they turn away from its signs.
21-The Prophets, 32

The atmosphere is a gaseous envelope of 10,000 km surrounding our planet, invisible to the eye. Millions of meteorites of varying sizes keep falling from space in the direction of our world. Despite its transparent structure, our atmosphere puts up a bold front against this meteorite bombardment like a steel shield. Had it not been for this feature, there would have been no life on earth, and our world would have been riddled with holes. We witnessed a sample of it when we landed
on the moon. Meteor showers kept hitting the surface and the meteoric bodies of greater volume penetrated the crust of the moon, digging deep holes on it. Meteors strike the molecules in the atmosphere with a great speed, and the heat generated turns them into dust particles before disappearing in the air.

The atmosphere also has the function filtering the harmful rays of the sun, protecting life on earth against extinction. This ingenious design partially absorbs incident electromagnetic radiation. Thus, the atmosphere filters the rays harmful to life while letting the rays that foster life on earth pass through. The heavens perfectly perform the duties and functions apportioned to them by God, and unfold before the eyes of those able to discriminate intelligent and teleological creation.

The verse refers once more to the dogmatic disbelievers blind to these marvels. All these formations in the atmosphere show the design behind them, namely, the creation and perpetuation of life. The approximate temperature in space is -270 degrees Celsius. Our earth is protected against this cold thanks to the atmosphere. The atmosphere prevents the energy directed to the earth from going back to space. The atmosphere arranges an even distribution of heat on earth by meteorological phenomena. A hot air mass is thus carried to parts less warm in the atmosphere, establishing a balance between the overheated equatorial and the cold polar regions. Protection from the lethal cold and heat is secured thanks to the perfect design of the atmosphere. The Arabic word “sema” (meaning sky, heaven in addition to its signification of atmosphere) may have the connotation of the entirety of space and the phenomena taking place in it, as well.

VAN ALLEN BELTS
The Van Allen belts protect us against radiation bombardment. Had it not been for this, life on earth would have been impossible. The lethal cosmic rays coming from the stars other than the sun cannot penetrate this shield. These plasma clouds can reach 100 billion-fold the value of the atom bomb dropped over Hiroshima. Thanks to the Van Allen belts at a distance of 60,000 km from the world, the solar winds cannot penetrate the earth we live in. The “Well protected roof” in the verse 21:32 was the result of the speed of rotation of our world, its position in relation to the sun, the structure, the shape and thickness of atmospheric layers, the structure of the core of the earth, the proportion of the constituents in its composition and the perfect and harmonious combinations of a multitude of parameters have made this possible. The Author of all these prerequisites for our life cannot be other than the Creator Himself. Logic and conscience cannot accept that all these protective measures in the sky have come about fortuitously and that the Quran was the product of a human intellect and genius.

LAYERS OF EARTH








LAYERS OF EARTH
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12- It is God who created the seven heavens and of the earth the same number. The commands flow among them that you may know that God has power over everything and everything is held within the knowledge of God.
65-Divorce, 12

The 12th verse of sura 65 mentions the seven heavens and as many layers in the earth. We already saw that the seven layers of the heavens were in perfect harmony with each other, each performing its duty impeccably. The 12th verse of the 65th sura establishes a similarity between the heavens and the earth.

Our earth is also stratified as the heavens are, and our life on earth depends on these layers. In the Arabic community of the Prophet’s time, the surface of the earth was an expanse full of mystery. The knowledge prevalent at the time did not permit man to have an inkling of the stratigraphy. The fact that the statement in the Quran of the atmospheric layers is almost a replica of this stratification of the earth is another miracle.

LIFE DEPENDENT ON TERRESTRIAL STRATA
As I have already pointed out in previous chapters, the Quran’s statements are not meant to be miracles as such. But the fact that these statements reflect at the same time actualities beyond the grasp of the scientific lore of the Prophet’s time points to announcements of miraculous dimensions. Our aim is not only to establish truths expressed therein, but rather to meditate upon the wonderful designs of God. Thanks to the matter forming the substance of the core that is one of the layers of our sphere, a magnetic field is produced around our world, making life on earth possible. Had the dynamo in the center of the earth been a little bit weaker, the magnetic field around the earth known as the Van Allen belts (belts of intense radiation in space about the earth formed by high-energy charged particles which are trapped by the geomagnetic field) would fail to form an obstacle sufficient enough to stop the lethal radiation threatening our world. The harmony in the concentration of such substances as nickel and iron in liquid form within the core of the earth renders possible the function of the Van Allen belts. All these minutely calculated designs are created in perfect order by our Creator in preparation for man’s emergence upon the earth.

It took our earth billions of years to cool (it is estimated that the earth formed about 4.5 billion years ago). Despite this fact, the core of the earth contains lava, the temperature of which is extremely high. The proportion of the upper crust of the earth, of the soil - on which we live - to the world, may be likened to the ratio of the peel of an apple to its mass. The proportion of the crust of the earth to the diameter of the world is less than 1%. We are far from being conscious of this fact as we read our book, go on a walk, eat and talk. The terrific phenomena occurring in the core of our earth have little unwanted effect on our condition upon the earth where we continue to live as if by the side of a calm lake. These occurrences we qualify as terrific because the high temperatures and magnetic phenomena are in actual fact necessary for our survival. Our existence depends on these phenomena without being adversely effected. The phenomena in question
are far from fortuitous and beyond our control. God is the Author of all these correlated phenomena. It is incumbent upon us to give thanks to our Creator in full consciousness of our human frailty for all the beauties and perfection we are witnessing.

NUMBER OF LAYERS
The earth is made of many different and distinct layers. The deeper layers are composed of heavier metals; they are hotter, denser and under much greater pressure than the outer limits. One of the layers is the Oceanic Crust (1), and another one is the Continental Crust (2). Beneath is the Upper Mantle (3). Another layer is the Asthenosphere (4) that exhibits plastic properties. Beneath is the Lower Mantle (5). The Outer Core (6) is underneath; its liquid content with the dynamo effect generated by the rotating of the earth forms the protective magnetic field around it. And the last layer is the Inner Core (7).

We see that our world is made of layers whose raw material and function vary. The figure 7 is again indicated in the Quran for the layers of the earth. If the two layers are integrated into a single layer for study purposes, changing the figure 7, then the meaning of 7 in the Arabic language must be taken as a plurality. A detailed examination of God’s wonderful world shows that God has power over all things and that God comprehends all things in His knowledge, as it is said in the verse which we examined in this chapter.