THE SCIENTIFIC MIRACLES OF THE QUR'AN
The Structural Differences between
the Sun, the Moon and the Stars
Orbits and the Rotating Universe
The Sun's Trajectory
The Moon's Orbit
Calculating the Lunar Year
The Force of Gravity and Orbital
The Spherical Earth
The Earth's Direction of Rotation
The Earth's Geoid Shape
The Diameters of the Earth and
The Well-Guarded Sky
The Sky Made a Dome
The Sky that Returns
The Layers of the Earth
The Earth Disgorges Its Charges
Radio Receivers on Mountains
The Moving Mountains
Different Points in the Rising
and Setting of the Sun
Land Loss at the Extremities
The Splitting Earth
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 "siraaj," 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:
Don't you 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 ("noor" in Arabic) and the word "lamp" for the Sun ("siraaj" 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 "najama," meaning "appearing,
emerging, visible." As in the verse below, stars are also referred to by the word "thaaqib," 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.17 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.
Like many other comets in the universe, Halley's
comet, seen below, also moves in a planned orbit. It has a specific orbit
and it moves in this orbit in a perfect harmony with other celestial
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.
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 (310 million miles) 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.18
Another characteristic of heavenly bodies is that they also rotate around their own axes. The verse which reads "[I
swear] by Heaven which returns," (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.
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 (447,000 mph). In rough terms, this shows that the Sun traverses some 17.28 million km (10.74 million miles) 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.
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 Book is yet another scientific miracle of the Qur'an.
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.
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 plural form of "kaanis," which 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 "jawaar," the plural form of "jariyah," which means one that moves and flows, is translated as "that
ride their course." Bearing the meanings in mind, 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 "jawaar" 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 "jawaar" 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 SPHERICAL 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 "yukawwir." 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 (11,500-13,000 feet) 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.19
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 in the Qur'an 1,400 years ago, at a time when the Earth was believed to be flat, and to be resting on the back of an elephant.
THE EARTH'S GEOID SHAPE
After that He smoothed out the Earth. (Qur'an, 79:30)
In the above verse, the word "dahaa" is used in the original Arabic. It, translated as "smoothed out," comes from the word "dahaw," meaning "to spread." Although the word "dahaw" 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 "dahaw." For example, the word "dahaw" 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 "dahaa" 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 "aqtaar." 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.
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. (Qur'an, 41 : 11 )
In two days He determined them as seven heavens and revealed, in every heaven, its own mandate. (Qur'an, 41:12)
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.
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.
Today, it is known that the world's atmosphere consists of different layers that lie on top of each other.20 Based on the criteria of chemical contents or air temperature, the definitions made have determined the atmosphere of the Earth as seven layers.21 According to the "Limited Fine Mesh Model (LFMMII)," a model of atmosphere used to estimate weather conditions for 48 hours, the atmosphere has 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 Arabic word "tibaaq" 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 seven heavens in layers, as described in the verse, 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 WELL-GUARDED SKY
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.
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.
In addition, the atmosphere filters the light rays coming from space that are harmful to living things. The most striking feature of this function 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 things. 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 (-454oF).
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.
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.
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.22
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 (155 miles) above the Earth's atmosphere, the temperature suddenly increased to 2,500oC (4,532oF).
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)
Here, the sky is described as "al-samaa' binaa'." As well as the meaning of "dome" or "ceiling," this also describes a kind of tent-like covering used by the Bedouin.23 By describing the sky as a tent-like structure, the Qur'an is emphasizing that it 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 to 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:
Don't you 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 humanity, 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 SKY THAT RETURNS
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 "raj`" 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 (8 to 9.3 miles) 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 (15.5 miles), 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 confirms 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 (49.7 miles). 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.24 Under these layers is a high-temperature layer some 2,900 km (1,800 miles) 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 (1,370 miles) thick liquid outer core, the other a 1,250 km (777 miles) 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 EARTHS 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 "zilzaal" in Arabic means earthquake, or tremors, and the word "athqaalahaa" 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 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 (77.7 miles).25
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.26
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.27
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.28
In other verses, this role of the mountains is pointed out by a comparison with "pegs":
Haven't We 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 "arsaahaa" 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. 29
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.
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)
Radio Receivers On Mountains
We gave Dawud great favor from Us: “O mountains and birds! Echo with him in his praise!” And We made iron malleable for him: (Surah Saba’, 10)
A radio telescope on Peach Mountain, in Dexter, Michigan
The description of mountains “echoing” in the above verse may be a reference to the way that radios work. (Allah knows the truth.) The basic principles on which radios operate may be summarized as follows:
The radio system consists of a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter takes the message to be sent, encodes it in what is known as a “sinus wave” and transmits it in the form of waves. The receiver takes in the radio waves and deciphers the message sent on the sinus wave. In this way, the message is received in exactly the same form as it was sent. The word "awwibi," translated as “echo” in the above verse and meaning “sound being repeated or returned”, may very well be a reference to the transmission of these radio waves. (Allah knows the truth.)
Sounds emitted in the form of sound waves by way of an antenna in order that the receiver can take in the data sent are also met by an antenna linked to the receiver. The purpose behind using antennae is the transmission into space of the waves emitted by the radio transmitter. The receiving antenna is intended to collect as many radio waves and messages as possible. That is why NASA uses giant antennae bowls 70 meters across for its satellites millions of kilometers away in space.
Each of the antennae in the picture weighs 212 tons, is as high as a 10-storey building and measures 25 meters across. (http://www.val-tech.com/nelsone/vla.html)
There are also radio telescopes which use radio waves to form images. Since radio waves are very long, a radio telescope has to be much larger in order to collect them as images sufficiently clear to be compared. In order to obtain sharper and better images, astronomers use a connected series of smaller telescopes or receptors. These telescopes act collectively as one very large one. And in physical appearance, these series resemble mountain systems.
In addition, "repeaters" are employed to permit radio communications over every great distances. These devices repeat and strengthen weak signals and enable them to be transmitted over considerable distances. Such devices are generally sited on tall buildings or on the tops of mountains for preference, in order to have the greatest effect. The use of the word "evvibi," translated as "echo" in the above verse, is exceedingly wise. The statement of, "O mountains and birds! Echo with him in his praise!’" in verse 10 of Surah Saba’ may thus be a description of that technology. Allah knows the truth.
THE MOVING 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.30
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.31
Continental drift is something that could not have been observed at the time of the revelation of the Qur'an, and Allah clearly indicated how it was to be understood: "You see the mountains you reckoned to be solid." Though, He described a fact afterward, 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 "mashaariq," used in the first verse for "east," and the word "maghaarib" 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. "Mashaariq" and "maghaarib" 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 the Sun rises at different points in the east and sets at different points in the west.
That the expressions regarding east and west in the above verses indicate the Sun rising and setting at different points reveals a great wisdom. (Allah knows best.)
LAND LOSS AT THE EXTREMITIES
Don't they see how We come to the land eroding it at its extremities?... (Qur'an, 13:41)
... Don't they see how We come to the land eroding it from its extremities?... (Qur'an, 21:44)
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 [6.6 lbs] per second) for the atmosphere to be used up.32 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.33
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
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.
Thanks to NASA (National Aeronautiocs and Space Administration) 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, 1998.34
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.35 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:
Research has revealed that the Earth keeps bulging at the equator.
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.36
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.
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 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.37 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.
THE SPLITTING EARTH
[I swear] by heaven which returns and the Earth which splits. (Qur'an, 86:11-12)
The Arabic word "sad`" 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 (60-90 miles).
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.38
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.