A Giant Network That Surrounds
During all your activities throughout the day, your nerve cells are constantly busy.
Through the nerves all around your body, your brain constantly receives stimuli from the rest of your body. The brain evaluates these stimuli and responds to the relevant parts of your body. It is these answers provided by the brain that enable you to move, see and hear.
1. Brain, 2. Spinal cord
Indeed, nerve impulses are active in your body at this exact moment too. Nerves in your fingertips are sending messages to your brain regarding the weight of this book that you are holding in your hand, so that you lift the book with a force suited to its weight. In the meantime, stimuli are sent from your eyes, nose, ears, feet and many other parts of your body to your brain as well.
Your brain evaluates these incoming stimuli and sends relevant responses to the concerned parts of your body, which act according to these responses. Now let's recall all of these actions. Many processes occur within your body simultaneously. You read a book while at the same time you hear sounds from the external world, feel the soft fur of your cat as it passes between your legs, taste the flavour of the fruit juice you drink, your heart keeps beating and many other actions take place in your body.
What would happen if you were to control all of these for a few seconds? Surely you would not be able to control all at the same time. However, thanks to the perfect creation of Allah, your brain and other parts of your body operate jointly and execute all these tasks without needing any intervention of yours. All kinds of information are transmitted from the body to the brain in the form of stimuli, which need to be interpreted. Only then can you perceive the softness of your dog's fur, the coolness of the wind, the flavour of the peach juice, the smell of the fried potatoes. Well then, do you think it is possible for your brain, which is a piece of flesh weighing not more than 1.5 kilos, to fulfil all these by itself? Of course not. Thanks to the splendid creation of Allah, your brain can carry out all these processes at the same time.
The cell on the right with the fringe-like extensions is a nerve cell (neuron). Billions of nerve cells, interconnected through these branches extending out from the cell body, form a network right through the body. There are gaps between nerve ends, and nerve signals are carried across these gaps to other nerve cells.
You would blink your eyes if a friend of yours approached you silently and clapped his hands suddenly when you had not noticed his or her coming. There is not another option, because this is a reflex. A reflex is an immediate involuntary response. The reason why it is immediate is that stimuli are not transmitted to the brain in such cases and the required response is received directly from the spinal cord. This is a significant gift that Allah created for us because, thanks to such reflexes, we are protected from many dangers. For instance, you can remove your hand immediately when you touch a hot glass. The reflex is a security mechanism that Allah created for the protection of our bodies. With the inspiration of Allah, nerve stimuli proceed in your body at a speed of approximately 9 kilometres (6 miles) in a second and so you are protected against many dangers.
HOW DOES THE BRAIN FUNCTION?
Scatter puzzle pieces irregularly on the floor and suppose they are the entire knowledge about the world. For instance, let some pieces represent light, some represent colours and yet others represent sounds. Now take these pieces one by one and start reassembling them to form the picture. What you can do by thinking it over at length is done hundreds of times in a second by your brain, which works by Allah's inspiration. Do you wonder how?
The brain gathers the information received from the eyes, nose, ears, skin, mouth etc. and construes them. What makes this interpretation is a collection of 100 billion nerve cells in your brain. These cells operate unceasingly and enable you to see the colour of the apple you eat, to recognise the voice of your best friend and to perceive the smell of hot chocolate.
1-Taste 2-Speech 3-Motion 4-Touch 5-Smell 6-Sleep
7-Hearing 8-Sight 9-Balance
The picture on the next page shows some children who are talking, hearing, smelling, moving and sleeping in the brain. Of course this is an imaginary picture, intended to show the particular portions of the brain and their functions. In reality, what the brain consists of is nerve cells, which can be seen only under a microscope. Do you think nerve cells can see your favourite toy or taste the flavour of chocolate ice cream? Certainly not. That is because nerve cells are composed of fine pieces of flesh. Hence there must be another being with supreme power who created this wonderful world. This being is Allah. Allah, the possessor of everything, creates everything perfectly and presents each of us with a beautiful life. What we should do in return is to be thankful to our Lord. Allah has given our eyes and ears as an example, and has told us to give thanks for them to Him:
It is He Who has created hearing, sight and hearts for you. What little thanks you show! (Surat al-Muminun: 78)