The Structure of the Atom
Air, water, mountains, animals, plants, your body, the chair on which you sit, in short, everything you see, touch, and feel, from the heaviest to the lightest is formed of atoms. Each page of the book you hold in your hand comprises billions of atoms. Atoms are particles so minute that it is impossible to view one even with the most powerful microscopes. The diameter of an atom is only of the order of one millionth of a millimetre.
It is not possible for a human being to visualize this size. Therefore, let us try to explain it with an example:
Think that you have a key in your hand. No doubt, it is impossible for you to see the atoms in this key. If you say you must see the atoms, then you have to magnify the key in your hand to the proportions of the world. Once the key in your hand becomes as large as the earth, then each atom inside the key is the size of a cherry.13
Let us give another example to comprehend this minuteness and how everywhere and everything is full of atoms:
Let us suppose that we want to count all the atoms in a single grain of salt and let us assume that we are able to count one billion (1,000,000,000) atoms per second. Despite our considerable deftness, we would need over five hundred years to count the number of atoms inside this tiny grain of salt.14
What, then, is there inside such a small structure?
Despite its exceedingly small size, there is a flawless, unique and complex system inside the atom comparable in sophistication to the system we see in the universe at large.
Each atom is made up of a nucleus and a number of electrons moving in orbital shells at great distances from the nucleus. Inside the nucleus are other particles called protons and neutrons.
In this chapter, we will look at the extraordinary structure of the atom that constitutes the basis of everything animate and inanimate, and see how the atoms combine to form molecules and ultimately, matter.
b) Protons and electrons are made up of groups of three quarks.
c) A set of three quarks – these make up a proton – would have strings at their heart.
The Power Hidden in the Nucleus
The nucleus is located right at the centre of the atom and is made up of a certain number of protons and neutrons depending on the properties of that atom. The radius of the nucleus is about ten thousandth of the radius of the atom. To express that in numbers, the radius of the atom is 10-8 (0.00000001) cm, the radius of the nucleus is 10-12 (0.000000000001) cm. Therefore, the volume of the nucleus is equal to a ten billionth of the volume of the atom.
Since we cannot visualize this vastness (better to say, minuteness), let us take our example of the cherry. Let us look for the nucleus inside the atoms that we had visualised as the size of cherries when the key in your hand was magnified to be the size of the earth. But such a search would be inconclusive because even at that scale, it is absolutely impossible for us to view the nucleus, which is still exceedingly small. If we really want to see it, then we would have to change the scale again. The cherry representing our atom must again expand and become a large ball two hundred metres in diameter. Even at this unbelievable scale, the nucleus of our atom would not become any bigger than a very tiny grain of dust.15
So much so that when we compare the diameter of the nucleus that is 1013 cm and the diameter of the atom that is 10-8 cm, we come to the following result: if we assume the atom to be a sphere, if we wished to fill this sphere totally with nuclei, then we would need 1015 (1,000,000,000,000,000) nuclei to fill it.16
Yet there is one thing even more surprising than that: although its size is one ten billionth of an atom's size, the nucleus' mass comprises 99.95% of the mass of the atom. How is it that something constitutes almost all of a given mass, while, on the other hand, occupying almost no space?
The reason is that the density comprising the mass of the atom is not distributed evenly throughout the whole atom. That is, almost the entire mass of the atom is accumulated in the nucleus. Say, you have a house of 10 billion square metres and you have to put all the furniture in the house in a room of one square metre. Can you do this? Of course you cannot. Yet, the atomic nucleus is able to do this thanks to a tremendous force unlike any other force in the universe. This force is the "strong nuclear force", one of the four fundamental forces in the universe we mentioned in the previous chapter.
We had noted that this force, the most powerful of the forces in nature, keeps the nucleus of an atom intact and keeps it from fragmenting. All the protons in the nucleus have positive charges and they repel each other because of the electro-magnetic force. However, due to the strong nuclear force, which is 100 times stronger than the repulsive force of the protons, the electro-magnetic force becomes ineffective, and thus the protons are held together.
To sum up, there are two great forces interacting with each other inside an atom so small as to be unseen to us. The nucleus is able to stay together as a whole owing to the precise values of these forces.
When we consider the size of the atom and the number of atoms in the universe, it is impossible to fail to notice that there is tremendous equilibrium and design at work. It is crystal clear that the fundamental forces in the universe have been created in a very special way with great wisdom and power. The only thing those who reject faith resort to is nothing other than claiming that all of these came into being as a result of "coincidences". Probabilistic calculations, however, scientifically put the probability of the equilibriums in the universe being formed "coincidentally" at "0". All these are clear evidence of the existence of Allah and the perfection of His creation.
…My Lord encompasses all things in His knowledge so will you not pay heed? (Surat al-An'am: 80)
The Space in the Atom
As mentioned previously, the greater part of an atom consists of space. This makes everyone think of the same question: why is there such space? Let us think. In simple terms, the atom consists of a nucleus, around which electrons revolve. There is nothing else between the nucleus and the electrons. This microscopic distance "in which nothing exists" is in fact a very large one on the atomic scale. We can exemplify this scale as follows: if a small marble of one centimetre in diameter represents the electron closest to the nucleus, the nucleus would be one kilometre away from this marble.17 We can cite the following example to make this magnitude clearer in our mind:
There is a great space lying between the basic particles. If I think of the proton of an oxygen nucleus as the head of a pin lying on the table in front of me, then the electron revolving around it draws a circle passing through Holland, Germany and Spain (The writer of these lines lives in France). Therefore, if all atoms forming my body came together so close as to touch each other, you would not be able to see me any more. You would actually never be able to see me with the naked eye. I would be as small as a tiny dust particle of the size of a several thousandth of a millimetre.18
The space between the protons and electrons of the atom is as wide as the area marked on the above map.
At this point, we realise that there is a similarity between the largest and the smallest spaces known in the universe. When we turn our eyes to the stars, there again we see a void similar to that in the atoms. There are voids of billions of kilometres both between the stars and between the galaxies. Yet, in both of these voids, an order that is beyond the understanding of human mind prevails.
Inside the Nucleus: Protons and Neutrons
Until 1932, it was thought that the nucleus only consisted of protons and electrons. It was discovered then that there are not electrons but neutrons in the nucleus besides the protons. (The renowned scientist Chadwick proved in 1932 the existence of neutrons in the nucleus and he was awarded a Noble Prize for his discovery). Mankind was introduced to the real structure of the atom only at such a recent date.
We had mentioned before how small is the nucleus of the atom. The size of a proton that is able to fit in the atomic nucleus is 10-15 metres.
You may think that such a small particle would not have any meaning in one's life. However, these particles that are so small as to be incomprehensible by the human mind form the basis of everything you see around you.
Source of the Diversity in the Universe
There are 109 elements that so far have been identified. The entire universe, our earth, and all animate and inanimate beings are formed by the arrangement of these 109 elements in various combinations. Thus far, we saw that all elements are made up of atoms that are similar to each other, which, in turn are made up of the same particles. So, if all the atoms constituting the elements are made up of the same particles, what then is it that makes the elements different from each other and causes the formation of infinitely diverse matters?
It is the number of protons in the nuclei of the atoms that principally differentiates the elements from each other. There is one proton in the hydrogen atom, the lightest element, 2 protons in the helium atom, the second lightest element, 79 protons in the gold atom, 8 protons in the oxygen atom and 26 protons in the iron atom. What differentiates gold from iron and iron from oxygen is simply the different numbers of protons in their atoms. The air we breathe, our bodies, the plants and animals, planets in space, animate and inanimate, bitter and sweet, solid and liquid, everything… all of these are ultimately made up of protons, neutrons and electrons.
The Borderline of Physical Existence: the Quarks
Until 20 years ago, it was believed that the smallest particles making up the atoms were protons and neutrons. Yet, most recently, it has been discovered that there are much smaller particles in the atom that form the abovementioned particles.
This discovery led to the development of a branch of physics called "Particle Physics" investigating the "sub-particles" within the atom and their particular movements. Research conducted by particle physics revealed that the protons and neutrons making up the atom are actually formed of sub-particles called "quarks".
yellow sapphire 6)
blue sapphire 7)
emery stone 13)
barium sulfate 18)
rock salt 24)
What causes the difference between the elements is the number of protons in the nuclei of their atoms. It is this difference that makes the materials shown above appear so different from each other.
The protons and neutrons in the nucleus of the atom are formed from smaller particles called quarks.
1) 10-9m molecule 2) 10-10m atom
3) 10-14m atomic nucleus
4) 10-15m proton 5) 10-18m electron
6) 10-18m kuark
From the structure of the atom to the structure of the quark, it is possible to analyse the smallest particles forming the atom using modern accelerators. The diagram above illustrates this relationship in a progressive fashion.
The dimension of the quarks that form the proton, which is so small as to exceed the capabilities of human imagination, is much more astounding: 10-18 (0.000000000000000001) metres.
The quarks inside a proton can never be pulled apart from each other very much because the "strong nuclear force" that is responsible for keeping the particles inside the nucleus together operates here as well. This force serves as a rubber band between the quarks. As the distance between the quarks increases, so does this force and two quarks cannot become more distant from each other than a quadrillionth of a metre. These rubber bands between the quarks are formed by gluons that possess the strong nuclear force. The quarks and the gluons have a very strong interaction. However, scientists have not yet been able to discover how this interaction takes place.
Research is underway in the field of "Particle Physics" to unravel the world of sub-atomic particles. Yet, despite all the intellect, consciousness and knowledge mankind possesses, we have only recently been able to discover the very basic particles forming everything, including ourselves. Further, the more we delve into these particles, the more detailed the subject becomes, leaving us in the lurch at the limit of the 10-18 m dimension of the quark. So, what lies beyond this limit?
Today, scientists propound various hypotheses on this subject, but as mentioned above, this limit is the furthest point hitherto reached in the material universe. Everything beyond that point can only be expressed as energy, not as matter. The really important point is that man finds, in a location that he has only just been able to discover with all the technological means at his disposal, enormous balances and the laws of physics already running like a clock. Furthermore, this location is inside the atom, which constitutes the building block of all matter in the universe, as well as of human beings.
Man has just started to become aware of the perfect mechanism functioning without fail in the organs and systems in his own body. His discovery of the mechanisms of the cells forming these structures goes back only a few decades. The supreme creation evident in the atoms lying at the basis of cells, the protons and neutrons in the atoms, and the quarks in these particle is so perfect as to stagger everyone, be him believer or not. The basic point to be pondered here is that all of these perfect mechanisms run in an orderly fashion every second throughout man's life, without any intervention by him, and totally outside his control. It is very self-evident fact to everyone who uses his conscience and wisdom that all of these have been created by Allah, Owner of superior power and knowledge, and are governed by Him.
Everyone in the heavens and earth requests His aid. Every day He is engaged in some affair. So which of your Lord's blessings do you then deny? (Surat ar-Rahman: 29-30)
The Other Aspect of the Atoms: Electrons
Electrons are particles spinning and revolving around the nucleus of the atom similar to the earth rotating on its own axis as it also revolves around the sun. This rotation, like that of the planets, is realised ceaselessly and in perfect order on paths we call orbits. Yet, the proportion of the size of the earth and the sun is very different from the atomic scale. To make a comparison between the size of electrons and the size of the earth, if we enlarge an atom as big as the earth, the electron would be in the size of an apple.19
In the diagram to left, you see four different types of orbits made by electrons, depending on the wave motion. Electrons follow orbits in much the same way as the planets move around the sun depending on the properties of their particles. These different motions of the electrons prevent their precise definition.
Tens of electrons revolving in an area so small as to be invisible even to the most powerful microscopes create a very complex traffic inside the atom. The most remarkable point here is that these electrons surrounding the nucleus like an armour of electrical charge do not have even a small accident. In fact, any small accident inside the atom would cause a disaster for the atom. However, such an accident never takes place. The whole operation runs flawlessly. The electrons revolving around the nucleus at the mind-boggling speed of 1,000 km/second never collide with each other. It is extremely amazing that these electrons, which are no different from each other, follow separate orbits, and it is obviously the result of a "conscious creation". If they had different masses and velocities, it might be natural for them to settle in different orbits around the nucleus. For instance, the order of the planets in our solar system follows this logic. Planets that have totally different masses and velocities are naturally settled in different orbits around the sun. But the case with the electrons in the atom is totally different from that of these planets. The electrons are exactly alike but have different orbits around the nucleus: how do they follow these paths unerringly, how do they not collide though they have incredibly small dimensions and move at incredible speeds? These questions lead us to a single point: the only truth we face in this unique order and delicate equilibrium is the perfect creation of Allah.
He is Allah – the Creator, the Maker, the Giver of Form. To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Everything in the heavens and earth glorifies Him. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. (Surat al-Hashr: 24)
Electrons are small particles, almost two thousandth the size of neutrons and protons. An atom has the same number of electrons as protons and each electron bears a negative (-) charge equal to the positive (+) charge borne by each proton. The total positive (+) charge in the nucleus and the total negative (-) charge of the electrons cancel each other and the atom becomes neutral.
The electric charge they carry obliges electrons to obey certain laws of physics. One of these laws of physics is that "same electrical charges repel each other and opposite charges attract each other".
First, under normal circumstances, the electrons, all negatively charged, would be expected to repel each other by obeying this rule and shoot away from the nucleus. Yet, this does not happen. If the electrons were scattered from the nucleus, then the universe would consist of idle protons, neutrons and electrons wandering in the void. Second, the positively charged nucleus would be expected to attract the negative charged electrons and the electrons would stick to the nucleus. In that case, the nucleus would attract all the electrons and the atom would implode.
However, none of these things occur. The abovementioned extraordinary escape velocities of the electrons (1,000 km/sec), the repelling force they exert on each other and the force of attraction the nucleus exerts on the electrons are based on such precise values that these three contradicting factors perfectly balance each other. As a result, this outstanding system inside the atom runs without falling apart. Even if a single one of these forces impinging on the atom were a little bit more or less than it has to be, the atom would never exist.
In addition to these factors, if the nuclear forces binding protons and neutrons in the nucleus to each other did not exist, protons having equal charges could not even come close to each other, much less bond together in a nucleus. In the same manner, the neutrons would never be able to stick to the nucleus. As a result, there would be no nucleus and therefore, no atom.
All these fine calculations are indications that even a single atom is not idle but acts under the perfect control of Allah. Otherwise, it would be inevitable that the universe we live in would end before it started. This process would backfire at the outset and the universe would not form. However, Allah, the Creator of everything, the Omnipotent and the Almighty, established extremely precise equilibriums inside the atom just as He established all the balances in the universe, thanks to which the atom continues to exist in perfect order.
Scientists have spent their best efforts over the years to unravel the secret of this balance established by Allah, and have ended up with merely appointing certain names to observed phenomena such as "the electromagnetic force", "the strong nuclear force", "the weak nuclear force", and "the mass attraction force"… Yet, as mentioned in the introductory part of the book, no one has given a thought to the question "Why?" Why do these forces act at certain intensities under certain rules? Why do the domains that are governed by these forces, the rules they obey, and the intensity of these forces have such great harmony?
Scientists were desperate in the face of all these questions because all they can do is guess at the order in which the events take place. Their research, however, gave rise to an indisputable reality. Every point in the universe reveals the intervention of an Owner of intellect and will Who does not leave even a single atom idle. There is a single power that holds all forces together in harmony, and that is Allah, Who holds all the power and might. Allah manifests His might wherever He wills whenever He wills. The entire universe from the smallest atom to the endless galaxies is able to continue its existence only by Allah's will and preservation.
Electrons revolve around the nucleus in a very delicate equilibrium just as planets revolve around the sun.
In the Qur'an, Allah states that there is no power but Him and He announces the punishment of those who, unaware of this, assume that the powerless beings (animate or inanimate) He created have power and strength independently of Him, and attribute divine characteristics to them.
Oh, that those who do evil had but known, (on the day) when they see the punishment, that power belongs wholly to Allah, and that Allah is severe in punishment! (Surat al-Baqara: 165)
So far no scientist has yet been able to explain the cause and source of the forces in the atom and therefore in the universe, and why certain forces come into play on certain occasions. What science does is only to make observations, take measurements and designate "names" for them.
Such "namings" are regarded as great discoveries in the world of science. In fact, what scientists do is not an attempt to form a new equilibrium in the universe or build a new system but just an effort to comprehend and unravel the secret of the evident equilibrium in the cosmos. What they mostly do is simply observe one of the countless wonders of Allah's creation in the universe and assigning a name to it. Scientists detecting a superior system or structure created by Allah are awarded various scientific prizes, honoured and admired by other people. In this case, the one who really should be honoured is, without doubt, Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, Who brought that system into being when it was not, furnished it with exceedingly delicate balances, and endlessly creates extraordinary miracles the like of them.
In the alternation of night and day and what Allah has created in the heavens and the earth there are Signs for people who fear Him. (Surah Yunus: 6)
Accelerators and Colliders
The CERN particle physics laboratory is an international research centre located on the Swiss–French border and formed by a membership of 19 European nations. The research subject of this laboratory is the basic structure of matter and the main particles forming this structure. About 3,000 physicists, engineers, technicians and administrative personnel are employed in the laboratory, which is visited by over 6,000 member physicists for research purposes.
Studying the particles that are the building blocks of matter is possible by investigating particles that are millions of times smaller than the atom.
Research on these extremely minute particles may only be carried out using very enormous and complex particle physics experimental apparatuses. Such highly complex experiments can only be controlled with extensive use of computers.
High-energy particle physics is a field of science that studies the building blocks of matter and the interactions between them. Recent experiments carried out by the help of new high technology allow us to rapidly expand our knowledge on the composition of matter. Research on particle physics is conducted in particle accelerator laboratories kilometres in diameter. In particle accelerators, charged particles – mostly protons and electrons – are accelerated to great velocities in an electromagnetic field and directed into a cloud chamber. The accelerated particles are then made to collide with either fixed targets or with each other. The particles shattered as a result of these collisions are examined by various detector systems.
CERN's physicists carry out experiments using several enormous underground particle accelerators, the largest of which is 27 km (17 mi) in circumference.
The accelerator and detector technologies, whose sophistication increasingly progressed from the 1950's on, made very high-energy collisions possible. The study of these collisions by advanced detector systems gave way to the discovery that protons and neutrons, known as the basis of matter, have a sub-structure composed of particles called quarks. Measurements made at high energy levels gave scientists the opportunity to study the composition of matter at distances as small as one hundredth of the radius of the proton.
Accelerator laboratories are found only in a few centres in the world as their foundation and operation are very costly. The most important ones are CERN (Geneva), DESY (Hamburg), Fermilab-FNAL (Chicago) and SLC (California). Highenergy physicists participate in experimental studies in these centres in large groups and study the secrets of the atom. Among these laboratories, the SLC is 3 km in diameter and CERN 27 km. However, the champion in the competition for size is the US project SSC which is being constructed in the centre of Texas in the USA, with a perimeter diameter of about 85 kilometres. The cost of the machinery increases in direct proportion to size (For SSC, this figure will be approximately 6 billion dollars).20
Orbits of Electrons
Tens of electrons, which spin and orbit in an area unobservable even by the most powerful microscopes, create an extremely complex traffic inside the atom as we mentioned earlier. This traffic, however, is so orderly as to be incomparably more orderly than the most systematic city traffic. Electrons never collide with each other, because each electron has a separate orbit and these orbits never coincide.
There are 7 electron shells around the nucleus of the atom. The numbers of electrons in these seven electron shells that never change have been specified by a mathematical formula: 2n2. The maximum numbers of electrons that can be present in each electron shell around the atom have been fixed by this formula. (The letter n in the formula shows the electron shell number).
ELECTRONS IN THE SERVICE OF MANKIND
Electricity is one of the most important parts of our life. We apparently cannot do anything without it. Our lives are tied to electricity when we eat, watch TV, go from one place to another or do cleaning. We push a button and everything around us is lit up. We push another button and all electrical devices start working. This form of electricity we use each moment of our lives is called the electric current. What make this current possible are the electrons we have been reviewing since the beginning of this book. Electricity is the charged current formed as a result of the movement of negative (-) charged electrons and ions. Devices like television and the refrigerator in ordinary use draw 1-2 ampere electricity. So, what does this amount mean?
A current of 1 ampere per second means the transmission of 6 billion times a billion electrons from a given section per second. This figure is one million times more for a bolt of lightning.
Electrons follow an extremely complex orbit within the atom. Although a much more crowded environment than city traffic is formed in such a small place, not even one accident takes place.
That the endless number of electron shells of atoms making up the universe precisely stick to the same number by obeying the 2n2 formula indicates order. That no chaos occurs inside the atom although the electrons move about at incredible speeds is a further indication of this unique order. This is an order that can by no means be attributed to coincidence. The only explanation for the existence of this order is that Allah created everything as a manifestation of His power in an order and harmony as told in the Qur'an. Allah refers to this order He created in the verses of the Qur'an:
...Allah has appointed a measure for all things. (Surat at-Talaq: 3)
…He created everything and determined it most exactly. (Surat al-Furqan: 2)
Everything has its measure with Him, the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible, the Most Great, the High-Exalted. (Surat ar-R'ad: 8-9)
As for the earth, We stretched it out and cast firmly embedded mountains in it and made everything grow in due proportion on it. (Surat al-Hijr: 19)
The sun and the moon both run with precision. (Surat ar-Rahman: 5)
He erected heaven and established the balance. (Surat ar-Rahman: 7)
As the verses reveal, Allah, the Lord of all the worlds, is He Who creates everything in perfect proportion, measure and order. This proportion and measure cover the entire realm of beings from the smallest sub-atomic particle to the gigantic celestial bodies in space: solar systems, galaxies and everything between them. This is the outcome of the endless and infinite might, knowledge, artistry and wisdom of Allah. Allah introduces His attributes to human beings in the perfect measure, order, and equilibrium in the beings and systems He creates. He displays His endless power before our very eyes. This is the truth to which all scientific research and calculations must lead man.
Wave or Particle?
When electrons were first discovered, they were thought to be particles like the protons and neutrons found in the nucleus. In the experiments that followed, however, it was discovered that they display wave characteristics like light particles, that is, photons. Subsequently, quantum physicists came to the conclusion that every particle is simultaneously a wave form with its own distinct frequency.
SIGNS FROM THE QUR'AN
When studying the subject of electron shells, one must also think over a verse pointing to this subject in the Qur'an. There are 7 electron shells around the nucleus of the atom. On each shell are electrons in fixed numbers. Could it be that the expression "the seven heavens" used in the Qur'an to describe the layers forming the heavens, may also be pointing to the orbits electron shells that are as if the heavens of the atom?
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? (Surat al-Mulk: 3)
This figure never changes. It never becomes 6 or 8. Here, the really miraculous thing is that this figure of seven electron shells is in total harmony with the verse.
It is known that light is spread in a way similar to the ripples created on the surface of water when a stone is throne into a lake. However, light sometimes bears the characteristic of a particle of matter and is observed in the form of sporadic, intermittent pulses like rain drops falling on a window-pane. This same dichotomy was experienced in the electron as well, which led to great confusion in the world of science. The following words of Richard P. Feynman, the renowned Professor of Theoretical Physics, was to lay the whole confusion to rest:
Now we know how the electrons and light behave. But what can I call it? If I say they behave like particles I give the wrong impression; also if I say they behave like waves. They behave in their own inimitable way, which technically could be called a quantum mechanical way. They behave in a way that is like nothing that you have ever seen before… An atom does not behave like a weight hanging on a spring and oscillating. Nor does it behave like a miniature representation of the solar system with little planets going around in orbits. Nor does it appear to be somewhat like a cloud or fog of some sort surrounding the nucleus. It behaves like nothing you have ever seen before. There is one simplification at least. Electrons behave in this respect in exactly the same way as photons; they are both screwy, but in exactly the same way. How they behave, therefore, takes a great deal of imagination to appreciate, because we are going to describe something that is different from anything you know about. 21
Because scientists were never able to explain the behaviour of electrons, as a solution they gave a new name to it: "Quantum Mechanical Motion". Let us again quote from Professor Feynman who in the following words states the exceptional nature of that and the awe he feels:
Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, 'But how can it be like that?' because you will get 'down the drain', into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that.22
Yet, the blind alley Feynman refers to here is actually not so. The reason why some people can never figure a way out of this dilemma is that despite substantial evidence, they cannot accept that these incredible systems and equilibriums have been brought into existence by the sublime Creator. The situation is extremely clear: Allah created the universe when it was not, furnished it with extraordinary balances and brought it into being without any preceding example. The answer to the scientists' question "How can it be like that?" that can never be solved, nor understood, lies in the fact that Allah is the Creator of everything and that everything exists only by His command "Be!"
To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth. When He decides on something, He just says to it, 'Be!' and it is. (Surat al-Baqarah: 117)
The World Full of Colour Whose Gates are Opened by Electrons
Have you ever thought what it would be like to live in a world without colour? Try to visualise your body, the people around you, the seas, the sky, trees, flowers, in short, everything in black. You would never want to live in such a world, would you?
What makes the earth colourful? How do the colours, which make our world so extraordinarily beautiful, come into being?
Certain characteristics present in the nature of matter allow us perceive objects in colour. Colours are formed as a natural result of certain motions of the electrons inside the atom. You may think "What do the motions of electrons have to do with colours?" Let's briefly explain this relationship:
Electrons revolve only in electron shells. We just mentioned that there are 7 electron shells. Each electron shell has a specific level of energy, which varies depending on the distance of the shell from the nucleus. The closer an electron shell is to the nucleus, the less energy its electrons have, and the farther it is to the nucleus, the more energy its electrons have.
Each electron shell has "sub-shells", among which the electrons of that shell continuously move.
An electron needs to receive external energy to be able to travel outwards between the shells. The source of this energy is the "photon".
In its simplest terms, the photon is a "light particle". Every star in the universe is a source of photons. The most important source of photons for our world is, of course, the sun. Photons are diffused throughout space from the sun at a speed of 300,000 km a second.
70% of the rays reaching our earth from the sun are just appropriate for the existence of life on the earth.
1) Radio Waves
2) Micro Waves
3) Infrared rays
4) Visible light
5) Ultra violet rays
6) X Rays
7) Gama Rays
A great variety of rays arrive on the earth from the sun. As seen in the electromagnetic spectrum to left, we only perceive a very small portion of these rays.
When these photons, arriving on earth from the sun, strike the atoms of objects on earth, the electrons of atoms sometimes begin their travel. If the electrons that are able to travel by the help of this energy rise to a higher energy shell and then return to their own shell, they emit a photon that is to form the colour that will meet our eye. Each one of these processes summarized in the few sentences above has been continuing since the outset of creation without fail. Every step runs under a great plan and to order. If only one part of this interaction between electrons and photons had not worked, this would cause a colourless, dark universe.
Let us again list these steps that have to work according to plan and in order for the formation of a universe with colours instead of a dark one.
Light coming from the sun to the earth diffuses in the form of photon particles. These photon particles scattered around the earth strike atoms of matters.
Photons cannot travel a long way inside the atoms. They strike the electrons circling the nucleus.
Electrons absorb these photons that strike them.
When the electrons take in the energy of the photons they absorb, they jump to another shell having a higher level of energy.
These electrons try to return to their original states.
As they return to their own shells, they emit an energy charged photon.
These photons emitted by the electrons determine the colour of that object.
To sum up, the colour of an object in fact consists of a mixture of these light particles that are absorbed, then emitted by this object, and reach our eyes. The colour of an object that does not emit light itself but reflects the light it receives from the sun depends both on the light it receives and the change it makes on this light. If the object illuminated with white light appears "red", this is because it absorbs a large portion of the mixture that arrives to it from the sunrays and emits only red. By saying "it absorbs", we mean the following:
As mentioned before, every shell has sub-shells and electrons travel between these sub-shells. Each shell corresponds to a specific level of energy, and electrons carry as much energy as allowed by the energy level of the shell on which they circle. Shells that are more distant from the nucleus, have higher energy. When a space for one electron becomes available in an upper shell, the electron suddenly disappears, and then re-appears again in that sub-shell with higher energy level. Yet, in order for the electron to perform this, it has to raise its energy level to the level required by the shell to which it jumps. The electron increases its energy level by absorbing (swallowing) photon particles coming from the sun.
We can make the situation clearer with a few examples. Let us consider the Morpho Butterfly. The pigments on the butterfly absorb the entire sunlight re-emitting only the colour blue. When the light particles for that reflected colour reach the retina in the eye, they are converted to electrical signals by the cone cells in the retina in such a way to be perceived as blue and sent to the brain. Eventually, the colour blue is formed in the brain.
This means that the colour of an object depends on the character of the light emitted from the light source and how much of this light is re-emitted by the object in question. For instance, the colour of a dress is not the same under sunlight and in a store. If an object is perceived as black by our brain, it means that this object absorbs all the light coming from the sun reflecting none to the outside. In the same manner, if the object reflects all light coming from the sun and does not absorb any of it, then it is perceived as white by our brain. In this case, the points that need careful consideration are the following:
The colour of an object depends on the properties of the light emitted by the light source.
The colour of an object depends on the reaction of the electrons of the molecules in its structure, as to which light these electrons will absorb and which they will not.
The colour of an object depends on how our brain will perceive the photon striking the retina.
Here, let us stop and think once more.
The electrons that revolve at incredible speed around the nucleus of the atom, which is a matter too small to be seen with the eye, suddenly disappear from their own shells and jump to another place called a sub-shell. There also needs to be a space available on the sub-shell for this leap. They are supplied the energy they require during the process by absorbing photons. They then go back to their original orbits. During this action, colours perceivable by the human eye are formed. What's more, atoms in number expressible in trillions keep doing this every moment, thanks to which we are able to view an uninterrupted "image".
The superior design in the formation of colours leads us to a single fact: the universe has been created in a great harmony and order from its smallest to its largest particles. The artistry in the colours is one of the signs of Allah's perfect creation.
This magnificent mechanism is not comparable to the operation of any man-made machine. A clock, for instance, has a highly complex mechanism in itself, and all the parts of a clock (gears, discs, screws, nuts, etc.) must be located in the right places in the right way for a clock to work properly. The smallest problem in this mechanism would impede the mechanism of the clock. Yet, when we think of the structure of an atom and how the abovementioned mechanism of the electrons works, the simplicity of the structure of a clock is better understood. As we said, the mechanism of the electrons is too complex, perfect and flawless to be compared to any man-made system. Definitely, a system that has such mind-boggling complexity and runs so perfectly could not have come about spontaneously, as a result of coincidence, as claimed by materialist scientists. Let us now ask the following question: if you saw a working clock on the ground while walking in a desert, would you think that this had formed out of dust, sand, soil and stones by chance? Nobody would think that, because the design and wisdom in the clock are all too obvious. However the design and wisdom in a single atom are, as we mentioned above, incomparably superior to those in any man-made mechanism. The owner of this wisdom is Allah, Who has supreme knowledge, Who knows, sees and creates everything.
Allah created every 'where' both that which we are able to see and that which we cannot, with boundless artistry and He gave innumerable favours to be at our service, whether we are aware of them or not. The subject of colours about which we previously knew nothing, and felt no need to learn, has been brought to our attention in all its details and complexity as science advanced. It is undeniable that scientific development and progress ought to cause everyone who uses his wisdom and conscience to believe in the existence of Allah. Nonetheless, people still exist who ignore the superior artistry and wisdom observable at every point in the universe. The acclaimed scientist, Louis Pasteur made an interesting remark on this subject saying "Little science takes you away from God but more of it takes you to Him".23
As a person learns more about the examples of creation surrounding him, he grasps much better that Allah encompasses him from every direction, He directs all affairs in heaven and earth, and holds everything under control. He understands that his life will certainly be taken and he will be answerable for everything he has done on earth. As a believer becomes more acquainted with the innumerable phenomena taking place around him, his admiration for Allah's knowledge increasingly grows. This admiration is a very important step on the way to perceiving the infinite power and might of Allah as much as possible and fearing Him as required. This is stated in the Qur'an:
Do you not see that Allah sends down water from the sky and by it We bring forth fruits of varying colours? And in the mountains there are streaks of white and red, of varying shades, and rocks of deep jet black. And mankind and beasts and livestock are likewise of varying colours. Only those of His slaves with knowledge have fear of Allah. Allah is Almighty, Ever-Forgiving. (Surah Fatir: 27-28)