Part V: ''Recent Scientific Findings and the Qur'an''- Verses of the Qur'an and the Universe
In the 88th verse of Surat al-Isra, Allah refers to the divine nature of the Qur’an: "Say: ‘If both men and jinn banded together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could never produce anything like it, even if they backed each other up." (Surat al-Isra: 88)
Allah sent the Qur’an to people fourteen centuries ago. Some facts that could only be discovered with the technology of the 20th century were stated in the Qur’an fourteen centuries ago. This plainly shows us that the Qur’an is one of the most important pieces of evidence that let us acknowledge Allah’s being.
In the Qur’an, there are many pieces of evidence that the Qur’an is from Allah and that mankind can never produce anything like it. One of these pieces of evidence is that the verses of the Qur’an exist in our universe:
In accordance with the verse"We will show them Our Signs on the horizon and within themselves until it is clear to them that it is the truth. Is it not enough for your Lord that He is a witness of everything?" (Surah Fussilat: 53), much of the information given in the Qur’an finds its correlate in the external world. For Allah has created everything in the universe and, therefore, possesses complete knowledge of it. He, also, has revealed the Qur’an. For this reason, a great deal of the information and analyses given in the Qur’an, will be seen and recognised by wise, conscientious believers who have insight.
However, it should not be forgotten that the Qur’an is not a "book of science". The purpose of the revelation of the Qur’an is stated thus in the verses:
"Alif Lam Ra This is a Book We have sent down to you so that you can bring mankind from the darkness to the light, by the permission of their Lord, to the path of the Almighty, the Praiseworthy." (Surah Ibrahim: 1)
"…as guidance and a reminder for people of intelligence."(Surat Ghafir: 54)
In brief, Allah sends the Qur’an to believers as a guide. It explains to them how to be slaves of Allah and seek His good pleasure.
The Qur’an, however, also gives some basic information on certain subjects such as the creation of the universe, the birth of man, the structure of the atmosphere, and the balances in the heavens and on the earth. That these pieces of information are in harmony with the most recent findings of modern science is important in the sense that it again confirms that the Qur’an is "the Word of Allah". For according to the verse "Will they not ponder the Qur’an? If it had been from other than Allah, they would have found many inconsistencies in it" (Surat an-Nisa: 82), there is perfect harmony between the statements of the Qur’an and the external world.
In the following pages we will dwell on the extraordinary parallels between the pieces of information about the universe given by the Qur’an and science.
The Formation of The Universe
Until the mid-20th century, the prevalent view across the world was that the universe was infinite, had existed forever and that it will continue to do so for all time. According to this view, known as the "static universe model," the universe had no end or beginning.
In maintaining that the universe is a collection of fixed, static and unchanging substances, this view has constituted the basis of materialist philosophy and has consequently rejected the existence of a Creator. However, as science and technology progressed during the 20th century, the static universe model has been completely uprooted.
We have now entered the 21st century and a new dawn is upon us. Through numerous experiments, observations and calculation conducted by some of the world's most prominent thinkers, modern physics has proven that the universe did indeed have a beginning, that it came into being from nothing in a single moment in a huge explosion. Furthermore, it has been established that the universe is not fixed and static, as materialists still stubbornly maintain. On the contrary, it is undergoing a constant process of movement, change and expansion. These recently-established facts all act as nails in the coffin of the static universe theory. Today, all these facts are universally accepted by the scientific community.
The origin of the universe is described in the Qur'an in the following verse:
He created the heavens and the Earth from nothing. (Surat al-An'am: 101)
This information is in full agreement with the findings of contemporary scientists. As we stated earlier, the conclusion that astrophysics has reached today is that the entire universe, together with the dimensions of matter and time, came into existence as a result of a great explosion that occurred a long time ago. This event, known as "The Big Bang," is the catalyst for the creation of the universe from nothingness. This explosion, all parties in the scientific community agree, emanated from a single point some 15 billion years ago. (See Harun Yahya, The Creation of the Universe, Al-Attique Publishers Inc., Canada, 2000)
The Expanding Universe
In the Qur'an, which was revealed fourteen centuries ago at a time when the science of astronomy was still primitive, the expansion of the universe was described in the following terms:
And it is We Who have constructed the heaven with might, and verily, it is We Who are steadily expanding it.(Surat adh-Dhariyat: 47)
The word "heaven," as stated in the verse above, is used in various places in the Qur'an. It is referring to space and the wider universe. Here again, the word is used with this meaning, stating that the universe "expands." The Arabic word "moosi'oona" in the term "inna lamoosi'oona," translated into English as "it is We Who are steadily expanding it," comes from the verb "awsa'a," meaning "to expand." The prefix "la" emphasises the following name or title and adds a sense of "to a great extent." This expression therefore means "We expand the sky or the universe to a great extent." This is the very conclusion that science has reached today. (S. Waqar Ahmed Husaini, The Quran for Astronomy and Earth Exploration from Space, 3rd ed. New Delhi: Goodword Press: 1999, pp. 103-108.)
Until the dawn of the 20th century, the only view prevailing in the world of science was that "the universe has a constant nature and it has existed since infinite time." However, modern research, observations, and calculations carried out by means of modern technology have revealed that the universe in fact had a beginning and that it constantly "expands."
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian physicist Alexander Friedmann and the Belgian cosmologist Georges Lemaître theoretically calculated that the universe is in constant motion and that it is expanding.
This notion was confirmed by the use of observational data in 1929. While observing the sky with a telescope, Edwin Hubble, the American astronomer, discovered that the stars and galaxies were constantly moving away from each other. This discovery is regarded as one of the greatest in the history of astronomy. During these observations, Hubble established that the stars emit a light that turns redder according to their distance. That is because according to the known laws of physics, light heading towards a point of observation turns violet, and light moving away from that point assumes a more reddish hue. During his observations, Hubble noted a tendency towards the colour red in the light emitted by stars. In short, the stars were moving further and further away, all the time. The stars and galaxies were not only moving away from us, but also from each other. A universe where everything constantly moves away from everything else implied a constantly expanding universe. The observations carried out in the following years verified that the universe is constantly expanding.
In order to gain a clearer understanding of this, let us imagine the universe to be the surface of a balloon being inflated. In the same way that the more the balloon is inflated, the further away the points on its surface move from one another, celestial bodies also move away from one another as the universe expands. This was theoretically discovered by Albert Einstein, regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century. However, in order to avoid violating the "static universe model" that was generally accepted at that time, Einstein laid that discovery aside. He would later describe this as the greatest blunder of his life. ("Edwin Hubble;" www.time.com/time/time100/scientist/profile/hubble.html)
This fact was explained in the Qur'an in a time when telescopes and similar technological advancements were not even close to being invented. This is because the Qur'an is the Word of Allah: the Creator and Ruler of the entire universe.
The Perfect Equilibrium in The Universe
He Who created the seven heavens in layers. You will not find any flaw in the creation of the All-Merciful. Look again – do you see any gaps? Then look again and again. Your sight will return to you dazzled and exhausted! (Surat al-Mulk: 3-4)
Countless billions of stars and galaxies in the universe move in their separate orbits yet in total harmony. Stars, planets and satellites revolve both around their own axes and within the systems to which they belong. Furthermore, sometimes galaxies consisting of almost 200-300 billions stars flow through each other. During this transition in some of the very famous examples observed by astronomers, no collisions occur to cause havoc in the great order in the universe.
Across the universe, the magnitude of the velocities is difficult to comprehend when compared with our earthly standards. Magnitudes in space are enormous when compared with the measurements we employ on earth. Stars and planets, with masses of billions or trillions of tons, galaxies, and galaxy clusters, with sizes in numerical values that can only be represented numerically by mathematicians, move in space at tremendous velocities.
For instance, the earth rotates about its axis at a mean velocity of about 1,670 km an hour. When we remember that the fastest bullet has an average velocity of 1,800 km an hour, it becomes clear how fast the earth is moving despite its giant size.
The earth’s orbital velocity around the sun is about sixty times that of the bullet’s: 108,000 km an hour. (If it were possible to manufacture a vehicle that could move so fast, it would orbit the earth in twenty-two minutes.)
These figures, however, only relate to the earth. The solar system is even more amazing. The velocity of this system is at a level which pushes the limits of logic. In the universe, as systems increase in size, velocities also increase. The solar system revolves around the centre of the galaxy at 720,000 km an hour. The velocity of the "Milky Way" itself, comprising some 200 billion stars, is 950,000 km an hour in space.
This overwhelming speed actually shows that our lives on the earth are lived on the knife-edge. Normally, it would be quite likely for huge accidents to occur in such a complex system. However, as Allah says in the verse, in this system is no "flaw" or "want of proportion". The universe is created for a purpose and it operates according to the balance Allah has established.
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. (World Book Encyclopedia, 2003; contributor: Kenneth Brecher, Ph.D., Professor of Astronomy and Physics, Boston University.) 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.
The orbits in the universe are not confined to the motions of certain celestial bodies. Our solar system and the galaxies have a great activity around other centres as well. Each year, the earth and the Solar system move 500 million kilometres away from their location of the previous year. It has been computed that even a minor deviation of the celestial bodies from their orbits would lead to results that would turn the system upside down. For instance, let us look at what a 3 millimetre deviation above or below the normal in the world’s orbit would cause:
"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." (Bilim ve Teknik, July 1983)
Another characteristic of heavenly bodies is that they also rotate around their own axes. The verse which reads "[I swear] by heaven which returns," (Surat at-Tariq: 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," (Surat adh-Dhariyat: 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 20th century saw a great many new discoveries regarding celestial phenomena in the universe. One of these entities, which has only recently been encountered, is the Black Hole. These are formed when a star which has consumed all its fuel collapses in on itself, eventually turning into a black hole with infinite density and zero volume and an immensely powerful magnetic field. We are unable to see black holes even with the most powerful telescope, because their gravitational pull is so strong that light is unable to escape from them. However, such a collapsed star can be perceived by means of the effect it has on the surrounding area. In Surat al-Waqi'a, Allah draws attention to this matter in this way, by swearing upon the position of stars:
And I swear by the stars' positions-and that is a mighty oath if you only knew. (Surat al-Waqi'a: 75-76)
The term "black hole" was first employed in 1969 by the American physicist John Wheeler. Previously, we imagined that we were able to see all the stars. However, it later emerged that there were stars in space whose light we were unable to perceive. Because, the light of these collapsed stars disappears. Light cannot escape from a black hole because it is such a high concentration of mass in a small space.
The enormous gravitation captures even the fastest particles, i.e. the photons. For example, the final stage of a typical star, three times the mass of the Sun, ends after its burning out and its implosion as a black hole of only 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) in diameter! Black holes are "black," i.e. veiled from direct observation. They nevertheless reveal themselves indirectly, by the tremendous suction which their gravitational force exerts on other heavenly bodies. As well as depictions of the Day of Judgement, the verse below may also be pointing to this scientific discovery about black holes:
When the stars are extinguished. (Surat al-Mursalat: 8)
Moreover, stars of great mass also cause warps to be perceived in space. Black holes, however, do not just cause warps in space but also tear holes in it, as astrophysicists put it. That is why these collapsed stars are known as black holes. This fact may be referred to in the verse about stars, and this is another important item of information demonstrating that the Qur'an is the word of Allah:
[I swear] by Heaven and the Tariq! And what will convey to you what the Tariq is? The Star Piercing [the darkness]! (Surat at-Tariq: 1-3)
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. (Surat at-Tariq: 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 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 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. (Surat al-Anbiya'': 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. (Surah Ya Sin: 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.
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.(Surat al-Baqara: 29)
Then He turned to heaven when it was smoke. In two days He determined them as seven heavens and revealed, in every heaven, its own mandate. (Surah Fussilat:11-12)
The word "heavens," which appears in many verses in the Qur'an, is used to refer to the sky above the Earth, as well as the entire universe. Given this meaning of the word, it is seen that the Earth's sky, or the atmosphere, is made up of seven layers.
Today, it is known that the world's atmosphere consists of different layers that lie on top of each other. (Michael Pidwirny, "Atmospheric Layers," 1996, http://royal.okanagan.bc.ca/mpidwirn/atmosphereandclimate/atmslayers.html)
Based on the criteria of chemical contents or air temperature, the definitions made have determined the atmosphere of the Earth as seven layers. ("Numerical Prediction Models used by NWS," Integrated Publishing; www.tpub.com/weather3/4-27.htm) 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? (Surah Nuh: 15)
He Who created the seven heavens in layers... (Surat al-Mulk: 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 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. (Surat az-Zumar: 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 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... (Surat al-Anbiya': 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). (Prof. Zighloul Raghib El-Naggar, "The Miraculous Qur'an;" www.wamy.co.uk/announcements3.html)
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. (Carolyn Sheets, Robert Gardner, and Samuel F. Howe, General Science, (Newton, MA: Allyn and Bacon Inc., 1985), p. 305)
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. (www.beconvinced.com/science/QURANMOUNTAIN.htm)
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. (Frank Press, and Raymond Siever, Earth, 3rd ed. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman & Company, 1982)
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? (Surat an-Naba': 6-7)
In another verse it is revealed that Allah "made the mountains firm." (Surat an-Nazi'at: 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. (M. J. Selby, Earth's Changing Surface, (Oxford: Clarendon Press: 1985), 32.)
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... (Surah Luqman: 10)
Duality in Creation
Glory be to Him Who created all the pairs: from what the earth produces and from themselves and from things unknown to them. (Surah Ya Sin: 36)
While "male and female" is equivalent to the concept of "pair," "things unknown to them," as expressed in the Qur'an, bears a broader meaning. Indeed, we encounter one of the meanings pointed to in the verse in the present day. The British physicist Paul Dirac, who discovered that matter was created in pairs, won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1933. This finding, known as "parity," revealed the duality known as matter and anti-matter. Anti-matter bears the opposite characteristics to matter. For instance, contrary to matter, anti-matter electrons are positive and protons negative. This fact is expressed in a scientific source as follows:
... every particle has its antiparticle of opposite charge... [T]he uncertainty relation tells us that pair creation and pair annihilation happen in the vacuum at all times, in all places. (Henning Genz, "Nothingness: The Science of Empty Space," 205, www.2think.org/nothingness.shtml)
Another example of duality in creation is plants. Botanists only discovered that there is a gender distinction in plants some 100 years ago. Yet, the fact that plants are created in pairs was revealed in the following verses of the Qur'an 1,400 years ago:
It is Allah Who created the heavens with no support-you can see them-and cast firmly embedded mountains on the earth so that it would not move under you, and scattered about in it creatures of every kind. And We send down water from the sky and make every generous plant grow in it, in pairs. (Surah Luqman: 10)
It is He Who made the earth a cradle for you and threaded pathways for you through it and sent down water from the sky by which We have brought forth diverse pairs of plants. (Surah Ta Ha: 53)
In the same way, fruits, are of two types: male or female. As proclaimed in the Qur'an:
He stretched out Earth and placed firmly embedded mountains and rivers in it, and made two types [male and female] of every kind of fruit. He covers over day with night. There are signs in that for people who reflect. (Surat ar-Ra'd: 3)
The word "zawjayni," translated as "two types," comes from "zawj," meaning "one of a pair." As we know, fruits are the final product produced by ripening plants. The stage before fruit is the flower. Flowers also have male and female organs. When pollen is carried to the flower and fertilization takes place, they begin to bear fruit. The fruit gradually ripens and starts to release seeds. The fact that fruits have gender-specific features is another piece of scientific information indicated in the Qur'an.
The Separate Seas
One of the properties of seas that has only recently been discovered is related in a verse of the Qur'an as follows:
He has let loose the two seas, converging together, with a barrier between them they do not break through. (Surat ar-Rahman: 19-20)
This property of the seas, that is, that they meet and yet do not intermix, has only very recently been discovered by oceanographers. Because of the physical force called "surface tension," the waters of neighbouring seas do not mix. Caused by the difference in the density of their waters, surface tension prevents them from mingling with one another, just as if a thin wall were between them. (Richard A. Davis, Principles of Oceanography, Don Mills, Ontario: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, pp. 92-93)
It is interesting that, during a period when there was little knowledge of physics, and of surface tension, or oceanography, this truth was revealed in the Qur'an.
The Miraculous Iron
Iron is one of the elements highlighted in the Qur'an. In Surat al-Hadid, meaning "iron," we are informed:
And We also sent down iron in which there lies great force and which has many uses for mankind... (Surat al-Hadid: 25)
The word "anzalnaa," translated as "We sent down" and used for iron in the verse, could be thought of having a metaphorical meaning to explain that iron has been given to benefit people. But, when we take into consideration the literal meaning of the word, which is, "being physically sent down from the sky," as in the case of rain and Sun rays, we realize that this verse implies a very significant scientific miracle. Because, modern astronomical findings have disclosed that the iron found in our world has come from giant stars in outer space. (Dr. Mazhar U. Kazi, 130 Evident Miracles in the Qur'an, [New York, USA: Crescent Publishing House: 1998], 110-111; and www.wamy.co.uk/ announcements3.html, from Prof. Zighloul Raghib El-Naggar's speech.)
Not only the iron on Earth, but also the iron in the entire Solar System, comes from outer space, since the temperature in the Sun is inadequate for the formation of iron. The Sun has a surface temperature of 6,000 degrees Celsius (11,000oF), and a core temperature of approximately 20 million degrees (36 million degrees Fahrenheit). Iron can only be produced in much larger stars than the Sun, where the temperature reaches a few hundred million degrees. When the amount of iron exceeds a certain level in a star, the star can no longer accommodate it, and it eventually explodes in what is called a "nova" or a "supernova." These explosions make it possible for iron to be given off into space. (Dr. Mazhar U. Kazi, 130 Evident Miracles in the Qur'an, [New York, USA: Crescent Publishing House: 1998], 110-111; and www.wamy.co.uk/ announcements3.html, from Prof. Zighloul Raghib El-Naggar's speech.)
One scientific source provides the following information on this subject:
There is also evidence for older supernova events: Enhanced levels of iron-60 in deep-sea sediments have been interpreted as indications that a supernova explosion occurred within 90 light-years of the sun about 5 million years ago. Iron-60 is a radioactive isotope of iron, formed in supernova explosions, which decays with a half life of 1.5 million years. An enhanced presence of this isotope in a geologic layer indicates the recent nucleosynthesis of elements nearby in space and their subsequent transport to the earth (perhaps as part of dust grains). (Priscilla Frisch, "The Galactic Environment of the Sun," American Scientist,January-February 2000; www.americanscientist.org/template/Asset Detail/assetid/21173?fulltext =true)
All this shows that iron did not form on the Earth, but was carried from supernovas, and was "sent down," as stated in the verse. It is clear that this fact could not have been known in the 7th century, when the Qur'an was revealed. Nevertheless, this fact is related in the Qur'an, the word of Allah, Who encompasses all things in His infinite knowledge.
Astronomy has also revealed that other elements also formed outside the Earth. In the expression "We also sent down iron" in the verse, the word "also" may well be referring to that idea. However, the fact that the verse specifically mentions iron is quite astounding, considering that these discoveries were made at the end of the 20th century. In his book Nature's Destiny, the well-known microbiologist Michael Denton emphasizes the importance of iron:
Of all the metals there is none more essential to life than iron. It is the accumulation of iron in the center of a star which triggers a supernova explosion and the subsequent scattering of the vital atoms of life throughout the cosmos. It was the drawing by gravity of iron atoms to the center of the primeval earth that generated the heat which caused the initial chemical differentiation of the earth, the outgassing of the early atmosphere, and ultimately the formation of the hydrosphere. It is molten iron in the center of the earth which, acting like a gigantic dynamo, generates the earth's magnetic field, which in turn creates the Van Allen radiation belts that shield the earth's surface from destructive high-energy-penetrating cosmic radiation and preserve the crucial ozone layer from cosmic ray destruction...
Without the iron atom, there would be no carbon-based life in the cosmos; no supernovae, no heating of the primitive earth, no atmosphere or hydrosphere. There would be no protective magnetic field, no Van Allen radiation belts, no ozone layer, no metal to make hemoglobin [in human blood], no metal to tame the reactivity of oxygen, and no oxidative metabolism.
The intriguing and intimate relationship between life and iron, between the red color of blood and the dying of some distant star, not only indicates the relevance of metals to biology but also the biocentricity of the cosmos... (Michael J. Denton, Nature's Destiny [The Free Press: 1998], 198.)
This account clearly indicates the importance of the iron atom. The fact that particular attention is drawn to iron in the Qur'an also emphasises the importance of the element. In addition, there is another hidden truth in the Qur'an which draws attention to the importance of iron: Surat al-Hadid 25, which refers to iron, contains two rather interesting mathematical codes.
"Al- Hadid" is the 57th sura in the Qur'an. The abjad of the word "Al-Hadid" in Arabic, when the numerological values of its letters are added up, is also 57. (For abjad calculations see the section on Numerological Calculations (Abjad) in the Qur'an.)
The numerological value of the word "hadid" alone is 26. And 26 is the atomic number of iron.
Moreover, iron oxide particles have been used in a cancer treatment method, called MagForce Nanotherapy, since 2003. Dr. Andreas Jordan, of the world famous Charité Hospital in Germany, destroys cancer cells, without causing any damage to the healthy ones, with this technique he developed-magnetic fluid hyperthermia (high temperature magnetic liquid).
This method of treatment can be summarised as follows:
1- A liquid containing iron oxide particles is injected into the tumour by means of a special syringe. These particles spread throughout the tumour cells. This liquid consists of thousands of millions of particles, 1,000 times smaller than the red blood corpuscles, of iron oxide in 1 cm3 that can easily flow through all blood vessels. ("Highlights;" www.inm-gmbh.de/cgi-bin/frame/ frameloader.pl?sprache= en&url=http://www.inm-gmbh.de/htdocs/technologien/highlights/ highlights_en.htm)
2- The patient is then placed in a machine with a powerful magnetic field.
3- This magnetic field, applied externally, begins to set the iron particles in the tumour in motion. During this time the temperature in the tumour containing the iron oxide particles rises by up to 45 degrees Celsius (113oF).
4- In a few minutes the cancer cells, unable to protect themselves from the heat, are either weakened or destroyed. The tumour may then be completely eradicated with subsequent chemotherapy. ("Nanotechnology successfully helps cancer therapies," IIC Fast Track, Nanotech News from Eastern Germany, Industrial Investment Council, October 2003; www.iic.de/uploads/media/ NANO_FT_Nov2003_01.pdf)
The spread of this technique is a major development in the treatment of this potentially lethal disease. In the treatment of such a widespread disease as cancer, the use of the expression "iron in which there lies great force and which has many uses for humanity" (Surat al-Hadid: 25) in the Qur'an is particularly noteworthy. Indeed, in that verse, the Qur'an may be indicating the benefits of iron for human health. (Allah knows best.)