The Scientific Miracles of The Qur'an
Fourteen centuries ago, God sent down the Qur'an to mankind as a book of guidance. He called upon people to be guided to the truth by adhering to this book. From the day of its revelation to the day of judgment, this last Divine Book and the Sunnah of our Prophet, peace be upon him, will remain the guide for humanity.
The matchless style of the Qur'an and the superior wisdom in it are definite evidence that it is the word of God. In addition, the Qur'an has many miraculous attributes proving that it is a revelation from God. One of these attributes is the fact that a number of scientific truths that we have only been able to uncover by the technology of the 20th century were stated in the Qur'an 1,400 years ago.
Of course the Qur'an is not a book of science. However, many scientific facts that are expressed in an extremely concise and profound manner in its verses have only been discovered with the technology of the 20th century. These facts could not have been known at the time of the Qur'an's revelation, and this is still more proof that the Qur'an is the word of God.
In order to understand the scientific miracle of the Qur'an, we must first take a look at the level of science at the time when this Holy Book was revealed.
In the 7th century, when the Qur'an was revealed, Arab society had many superstitious and groundless beliefs where scientific issues were concerned. Lacking the technology to examine the universe and nature, these early Arabs believed in legends inherited from past generations. They supposed, for example, that mountains supported the sky above. They believed that the earth was flat and that there were high mountains at its both ends. It was thought that these mountains were pillars that kept the vault of heaven high above.
However all these superstitious beliefs of Arab society were eliminated with the Qur'an. In the 2nd verse of Surat ar-Rad, it was said: "God is He Who raised up the heavens without any support... "(Surat ar-Rad: 2). This verse revealed that the belief that the sky remains above because of the mountains was incorrect. In many other subjects, important facts were revealed at a time when no one could have known them. The Qur'an, which was revealed at a time when people knew very little about astronomy, physics, or biology, contains key facts on a variety of subjects such as the creation of the universe, the creation of the human being, the structure of the atmosphere, and the delicate balances that make life on earth possible.
Now, let us look at some of these scientific miracles revealed in the Qur'an together.
The Coming of the Universe Into Existence
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 given in the Qur'an is in full agreement with the findings of contemporary science. 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 in no time. This event, known as "The Big Bang" proved that the universe was created from nothingness as the result of the explosion of a single point. Modern scientific circles are in agreement that the Big Bang is a rational and provable explanation of the beginning of the universe and of how the universe came into being.
Before the Big Bang, there was no such thing as matter. From a condition of non-existence in which neither matter, nor energy, nor even time existed, and which can only be described metaphysically, matter, energy, and time were all created. This fact, only recently discovered by modern physics, was announced to us in the Qur'an 1,400 years ago.
The Expansion of the Universe
In the Qur'an, which was revealed 14 centuries ago at a time when the science of astronomy was still primitive, the expansion of the universe was described like this:
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 this verse, is used in various places in the Qur'an with the meaning of space and universe. Here again, the word is used with this meaning. In other words, in the Qur'an it is revealed that the universe "expands". And this is the very conclusion that science has reached today.
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". The research, observations, and calculations carried out by means of modern technology, however, 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 fact was proved also by 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. 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. This fact was explained in the Qur'an when that was still unknown to anyone. This is because the Qur'an is the word of God, the Creator, and the Ruler of the entire 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, and the universe functions within a finely-tuned order, just like the wheels in a factory.
There are about 200 billion galaxies in the universe, consisting of nearly 200 billion stars in each. Most of these stars have planets, and most of those planets have satellites. All of these heavenly bodies move in very precisely computed orbits. For millions of years, each has been "swimming" along in its own orbit in perfect harmony and order with all the others. Moreover, many comets also move along in the orbits determined for them.
The orbits in the universe do not only belong to some celestial bodies. The Solar System and even other galaxies also exhibit considerable motion around other centers. Every year the Earth, and the Solar System with it, move some 500 million km 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:
Another characteristic of heavenly bodies is that they also rotate around their own axes. This may be one of the implications of the verse "[I swear] by Heaven with its cyclical systems."(Surat at-Tariq: 11).
Surely at the time the Qur'an was revealed, mankind did not possess today's telescopes or advanced observation technologies to observe millions of kilometers of space, nor the modern knowledge of physics or astronomy. Therefore, at that time, it was not possible to determine scientifically that space is "full of paths and orbits" as stated in the verse. (Surat adh-Dhariyat: 7)
However, this was openly declared to us in the Qur'an that was revealed at that time—because the Qur'an is the word of God.
The Sun's Trajectory
It is stressed in the Qur’an that the Sun and Moon follow specific courses:
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 in the general direction of the star Vega, which lies somewhat close to the “Solar Apex,” —the unique direction in our galaxy that our sun moves—at an incredible speed of 720,000 km/hour. In rough terms, this shows that the Sun traverses some 17.28 million kilometers a day. As well as the Sun itself, all the planets and satellites within its gravitational field also travel the same distance.
The Protected Roof
In the Qur'an, God 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. (Surat al-Anbiya: 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.
In addition, the atmosphere filters the light rays coming from space that are harmful to living things. Strikingly, the atmosphere 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 beings. The majority of the intense ultraviolet rays emitted from the sun are filtered out by the ozone layer of the atmosphere and 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 about minus 270 degrees Centigrade.
It is not only the atmosphere that protects the Earth from harmful effects. In addition to the atmosphere, the Van Allen Belt, a 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.
Dr. Hugh Ross has this to say on the importance of Van Allen Belts to our lives:
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.54
The energy transmitted in just one of these bursts detected in recent years was calculated to be equivalent to 100 billion atomic bombs similar to the one dropped on Hiroshima. Fifty-eight hours after the burst, it was observed that the magnetic needles of compasses displayed unusual movement and 250 kilometers above the earth's atmosphere, the temperature suddenly increased to 2,500 degrees Celsius.
In short, a perfect system is at work high above the Earth. It surrounds our world and protects it against external threats. Scientists only learned about it recently, yet centuries ago, God informed us in the Qur'an of the world's atmosphere functioning as a protective shield.
The Returning Sky
By Heaven with its cyclical systems. (Surat at-Tariq: 11)
The word rajaai interpreted as "cyclical" in Qur'an translations also has meanings of "sending back" or "returning".
As known, the atmosphere surrounding the Earth consists of many layers. Each layer serves an important purpose for the benefit of life. 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 with a few examples of this "recycling" function of the layers encircling the Earth.
The troposphere, 13 to 15 kilometers above the Earth, enables water vapor rising from the surface of the Earth to be condensed and turn back as rain.
The ozone layer, which lies in the Stratosphere at an altitude of 25 kilometers, 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, and thus 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 demonstrates that the Qur'an is the word of God.
The Layers of the Atmosphere
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.
Indeed, today it is known that the world's atmosphere consists of different layers that lie on top of each other.55 The definitions made based on the criteria of chemical contents or air temperature have determined the atmosphere of the earth as seven layers.56 According to the “Limited Fine Mesh Model (LFMII)”, a model of atmosphere used to estimate weather conditions for 48 hours, the atmosphere again consists of 7 layers. According to the modern geological definitions the seven layers of the atmosphere are as follows:
Another important miracle on this subject is mentioned in the statement "(He) revealed, in every heaven, its own mandate" in the 12th verse of Surah Fussilat. In other words, in the verse, God states that He assigned each heaven its own duty. Truly, as seen in the previous section, 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 tibaqan 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, giving the meaning of “layers.” The sky, described in the verse as being in layers, 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 Function of Mountains
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)
As we have noticed, it is stated in the verse that mountains have 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 geology.
It used to be thought that mountains were merely protrusions on the face of the earth.
Scientists have now come to realize that mountains are not just surface elevations or protrusions, however, but that they extend 10-15 times their height into the ground, and these extensions are called mountain roots. With these properties, mountains play a similar role to a nail or a stake hammered into the ground. For instance, a peak such as Mount Everest, which rises almost 9 km above the Earth's surface, has a root that extends downward for more than 125 km.57
Besides, 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. That means, as pointed out earlier, that 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.58
Professor Siaveda, a world famous marine geologist, made the following comment in referring to the way mountains are imbedded into the Earth like roots:
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... [T]he function of the roots are to support the mountains according to the law of Archimedes.59
Moreover, Frank Press, the former President of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, says in his book Earth, still used as a university textbook all over the world, that mountains resemble stakes and are buried into the depths of the earth.60
In a verse, this role of the mountains is pointed out by a comparison with "pegs":
Have We not made the earth as a bed and the mountains its pegs?(Surat an-Naba': 6-7)
In another verse God has revealed that He has “made the mountains firm.”(Surat an-Nazi’at: 32) The Arabic word arsaha in this verse means “has made rooted, made fixed, hammered into the ground.” Thanks to these features, mountains extend over and under the ground at the points where the layers of the earth meet, and rivet those layers together. In this way, they stabilize the earth’s crust and thus prevent it from sliding over the magma stratum or among its own strata. In short, we can compare mountains to nails holding pieces of wood together.
Today we know that the rocky outer stratum of the earth is riven by deep faults and split up into plates floating on magma. Given the high speed at which the earth rotates around its own axis, these floating plates would move around were it not for the fixative effect of the mountains. In that event, no soil could form on the face of the Earth, no water could be collected in the soil, no plants could grow, and no roads or buildings could be constructed; in short, life on Earth would be impossible. By the mercy of God, however, mountains to a large extent prevent movement on the surface of the Earth by functioning just like nails.
This vital role of mountains, that was discovered by modern geology and seismic research, was revealed in the Qur'an centuries ago as an example of the supreme wisdom in God's creation. In another verse, it is again said:
It is God Who cast firmly embedded mountains on the earth so that it would not move under you... (Surah Luqman: 10)
The Identity in the Fingerprint
While it is stated in the Qur'an that it is easy for God to bring man back to life after death, peoples' fingerprints are particularly emphasized:
Yes, We are able to put together in perfect order the very tips of his fingers. (Surat al-Qiyama: 3-4)
The emphasis on fingerprints has a very special meaning. This is because everyone's fingerprint is unique to himself. Every person who is alive or who has ever lived in this world has a set of unique fingerprints.
That is why fingerprints are accepted as a very important proof of identity, exclusive to their owner, and are used for this purpose around the world.
But what is important is that this feature of fingerprints was only discovered in the late 19th century. Before then, people regarded fingerprints as ordinary curves without any specific importance or meaning. However in the Qur'an, God points to the fingertips, which did not attract anyone's attention at that time, and calls our attention to their importance–an importance that was only finally understood in our day.
The Movement of Mountains
In one verse, we are informed that mountains are not motionless as they seem, but are in constant motion:
You will see the mountains you reckoned to be solid going past like clouds. (Surat an-Naml: 88)
This motion of the 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 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 of 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 several centimeters per year, in the meantime changing the sea and 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.61
There is a very important point to be stated here: God has referred to the motion of mountains as a drifting action in the verse. Today, modern scientists also use the term "continental drift" for this motion. 62
Continental drift is something which could not be observed at the time of the revelation of the Qur’an, and in the words, “You will see the mountains you reckoned to be solid” God revealed in advance the way in which people were to approach the subject. He then revealed another truth, saying that the mountains went past like clouds. As we have seen, attention is drawn in the verse to the mobility of the stratum in which mountains stand.
Unquestionably, it is one of the miracles of the Qur'an that this scientific fact, which has recently been discovered by science, was announced in the Qur'an.
The Miracle in the 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 anzalna, translated as "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 is in the case of rain and the Sun’s rays, we realize that this verse implies a very significant scientific miracle. This is because modern astronomical findings have disclosed that the iron found in our world has come from the giant stars in outer space.63
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 the element iron. The Sun has a surface temperature of 6,000 degrees Celsius and a core temperature of approximately 20 million degrees. 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 eventually it explodes in what is called a "nova" or a "supernova". These explosions make it possible for iron to be given off into space.64
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).65
All this shows that iron did not form on the Earth, but was carried from supernovas, and was "sent down ", in exactly the same way as stated in the verse. It is clear that this fact could not have been scientifically known in the 7th century, when the Qur'an was revealed. However, this fact is related in the Qur’an, the word of God Who encompasses all things in His infinite knowledge.
Astronomy has also revealed that the 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 fact. However, the fact that the verse specifically mentions iron is exceedingly thought-provoking in the light of discoveries 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... 66
The importance of the iron atom can clearly be seen from this account. The fact that particular attention is drawn to iron in the Qur’an emphasizes the importance of the element. In addition to all this, there is another secret in the Qur’an which draws attention to the importance of iron: Verse 25 in Surat al-Hadid, which refers to iron, contains two rather interesting mathematical codes.
Al- Hadid is the 57th surah in the Qur’an. The numerical (abjad) value of the word al-Hadid in Arabic, when the numerical values of its letters are added up, is also 57.
The numerical value of the word hadid alone is 26. And 26 is the atomic number of iron.
The Fecundating Winds
In one verse of the Qur'an, the "fecundating" characteristic of the winds, and the formation of rain as a result are mentioned:
And We send the fecundating winds, then cause water to descend from the sky, therewith providing you with water in abundance. (Surat al-Hijr: 22)
In this verse, it is pointed out that the first stage in the formation of rain is wind. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the only relationship between the wind and the rain that was known, was that the wind drove the clouds. However, modern meteorological findings have demonstrated the "fecundating" role of the wind in the formation of rain.
This fecundating function of the wind works in the following way:
On the surface of oceans and seas, countless air bubbles form because of the water's foaming action. The moment these bubbles burst, thousands of tiny particles, with a diameter of just one hundredth of a millimeter, are thrown up into the air. These particles, known as "aerosols", mix with dust carried from the land by the wind, and are carried to the upper layers of the atmosphere. These particles carried to higher altitudes by winds come into contact with water vapor up there. Water vapor condenses around these particles and turns into water droplets. These water droplets first come together and form clouds, and then fall to the Earth in the form of rain.
As seen, winds "fecundate" the water vapor floating in the air with the particles they carry from the sea, and eventually help the formation of rain clouds.
If winds did not possess this property, water droplets in the upper atmosphere would never form, and there would be no such thing as rain.
The most important point here is that this critical role of the wind in the formation of rain was stated centuries ago in the Qur'an, at a time when people knew very little about natural phenomena…
Another piece of information about the fecundating aspect of wind is the role it plays in the fertilization of plants. Many plants on the Earth ensure their survival by spreading their pollen by means of the wind. Many open pollinated plants, pine and palm trees and similar, as well as flowering seed plants and all grasses are fertilized by the wind. The wind takes the pollen from the plants and aids fertilization by carrying the pollen to other plants of the same species.
This effect of wind on plants was unknown until very recently. When it was realized, however, that plants are divided into males and females, the fertilizing effect of the wind was also understood. The Qur’an indicates this fact in the verse, “... We send down rain from the sky, and produce on the earth every kind of noble creature, in pairs.” (Surah Luqman: 10)
The Proportion of Rain
One of the items of information given in the Qur'an about rain is that it is sent down to Earth in due measure. This is mentioned in Surat az-Zukhruf as follows:
It is He who sends down water in measured amounts from the sky by which We bring a dead land back to life. That is how you too will be raised (from the dead).(Surat az-Zukhruf: 11)
This measured quantity in rain has again been discovered by modern research. It is estimated that in one second, approximately 16 million tons of water evaporates from the Earth. This figure amounts to 513 trillion tons of water in one year. This number is equal to the amount of rain that falls on the Earth in a year. This means that water continuously circulates in a balanced cycle, in a "measure". Life on Earth depends on this water cycle. Even if people used all the available technology in the world, they would not be able to reproduce this cycle artificially.
Even a minor deviation in this equilibrium would very soon give rise to a major ecological imbalance that would bring about the end of life on Earth. Yet, this never happens, and rain keeps falling every year in exactly the same quantity just as revealed in the Qur'an.
The proportion of rain does not merely apply to its quantity, but also to the speed of the falling rain drops. The speed of rain drops, regardless of their size, does not exceed a certain limit.
Philipp Lenard, a Nobel-prize winning German physicist, determined that the speed at which raindrops fall increases with drop diameter, up to a size of 4.5 mm (0.18 inch). For larger drops, however, the speed of descent does not increase beyond 8 meters per second (26 ft/sec). 67 This is attributed to the shape of the falling drops, which increases their air resistance and prevents them from exceeding a certain speed.
As can be seen, attention is drawn in the Qur’an to a delicate adjustment in rain which could not have been known 1400 years ago.
The Seas' Not Mingling With One Another
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 they come together yet do not mingle with one another at all, has only very recently been discovered by oceanographers. Because of the physical force called "surface tension", the waters of neighboring 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. 68
The Sex of the Baby
Until fairly recently, it was thought that a baby's sex was determined by the mother's cells. Or at least, it was believed that the sex was determined by the male and female cells together. But we are given different information in the Qur'an, where it is stated that masculinity or femininity is created out of "a drop of sperm which has been ejected".
He has created both sexes, male and female from a drop of semen which has been ejected. (Surat an-Najm: 45-46)
Was he not a drop of ejaculated sperm, then a blood-clot which He created and shaped, making from it both sexes, male and female? (Surat al-Qiyama: 37-39)
The developing disciplines of genetics and molecular biology have scientifically validated the accuracy of this information given by God in the Qur'an. It is now understood that sex is determined by the sperm cells from the male, and that the female has no role in this process.
Chromosomes are the main elements in determining sex. Two of the 46 chromosomes that determine the structure of a human being are identified as the sex chromosomes. These two chromosomes are called "XY" in males, and "XX" in females, because the shapes of the chromosomes resemble these letters. The Y chromosome carries the genes that code for masculinity, while the X chromosome carries the genes that code for femininity.
The formation of a new human being begins with the cross combination of one of these chromosomes, which exist in males and females in pairs. In females, both components of the sex cell, which divides into two during ovulation, carry X chromosomes. The sex cell of a male, on the other hand, produces two different kinds of sperm, one that contains X chromosomes and the other Y chromosomes. If an X chromosome from the female unites with a sperm that contains an X chromosome, then the baby is female. If it unites with the sperm that contains a Y chromosome, the baby is male.
In other words, a baby's sex is determined by which chromosome from the male unites with the female's ovum.
None of this was known until the discovery of genetics in the 20th century. Indeed, in many cultures, it was believed that a baby's sex was determined by the female's body. That was why women were blamed when they gave birth to girls.
Fourteen centuries before human genes were discovered, however, the Qur'an revealed information that denies this superstition, and referred to the origin of sex lying not with women, but with the semen coming from men.
The Embryo Clinging to the Uterus
If we keep on examining the facts announced to us in the Qur'an about the formation of human beings, we again encounter some very important scientific miracles.
When the sperm of the male unites with the ovum of the female, the essence of the baby to be born is formed. This single cell, known as a "zygote" in biology, will instantly start to reproduce by dividing, and eventually become a "piece of flesh" called an embryo. This of course can only be seen by human beings with the aid of a microscope.
The embryo, however, does not spend its developmental period in a void. It clings to the uterus just like roots that are firmly fixed to the earth by their tendrils. Through this bond, the embryo can obtain the substances essential to its development from the mother's body. 69
Here, at this point, a very significant miracle of the Qur'an is revealed. While referring to the embryo developing in the mother's womb, God uses the word alaq in the Qur'an:
Recite: In the name of your Lord Who created man from alaq.Recite: And your Lord is the Most Generous.(Surat al-'Alaq: 1-3)
The meaning of the word alaq in Arabic is "a thing that clings to some place". The word is literally used to describe leeches that cling to a body to suck blood.
Certainly, the use of such an appropriate word for the embryo developing in the mother's womb, proves once again that the Qur'an is a revelation from God, the Lord of all the Worlds.
The Wrapping of Muscles Over the Bones
Another important aspect of the information given in the verses of the Qur'an is the developmental stages of a human being in the mother's womb. It is stated in the verses that in the mother's womb, the bones develop first, and then the muscles form which wrap around them:
(We) then formed the drop into a clot and formed the clot into a lump and formed the lump into bones and clothed the bones in flesh; and then brought him into being as another creature.Blessed be God, the Best of Creators! (Surat al-Muminun: 14)
Embryology is the branch of science that studies the development of the embryo in the mother's womb. Until very recently, embryologists assumed that the bones and muscles in an embryo developed at the same time. Yet, advanced microscopic research conducted by virtue of new technological developments has revealed that the revelation of the Qur'an is word for word correct.
These observations at the microscopic level showed that the development inside the mother's womb takes place in just the way it is described in the verses. First, the cartilage tissue of the embryo ossifies. Then muscular cells that are selected from amongst the tissue around the bones come together and wrap around the bones.
This event is described in a scientific publication titled Developing Human in the following words:
… [T]he shape of the skeleton determines the general appearance of the embryo in the bones stage during the 7th week; muscles do not develop at the same time but their development follows soon after. The muscles take their positions around the bones throughout the body and therefore Clothe the bones. Thus, the muscles take their well known forms and structures… The stage of clothing with muscle occurs during the 8th week…70
In short, man's developmental stages as described in the Qur'an are in perfect harmony with the findings of modern embryology.
Three Dark Stages of the Baby in the Womb
In the Qur'an, it is related that man is created in a three-stage process in the mother's womb:
... He creates you stage by stage in your mothers' wombs in a threefold darkness. That is God, your Lord. Sovereignty is His.There is no god but Him. So what has made you deviate? (Surat az-Zumar: 6)
The expression fee thulumatin thalathin, translated into English as “a threefold darkness,” indicates three dark regions involved during the development of the embryo. These are:
a) The darkness of the abdomen
As we have seen, modern biology has revealed that the embryological development of the baby takes place in the manner revealed in the verse, in three dark regions. Moreover, advances in the science of embryology show that these regions consist of three layers each.
The lateral abdominal wall comprises three layers: the external oblique, the internal oblique, and transverses abdominis muscles.71
Similarly, the wall of the womb also consists of three layers: the epimetrium, the myometrium and the endometrium.72
Similarly again, the placenta surrounding the embryo also consists of three layers: the amnion (the internal membrane around the fetus), the chorion (the middle amnion layer) and the decidua (outer amnion layer.)73
It is also pointed out in this verse that a human being is created in the mother's womb in three distinct stages. Indeed, modern biology has revealed that the baby's embryological development takes place in three distinct regions in the mother's womb. Today, in all the embryology textbooks studied in faculties of medicine, this subject is taken as an element of basic knowledge. For instance in Basic Human Embryology, a fundamental reference text in the field of embryology, this fact is stated as follows: "The life in the uterus has three stages: pre-embryonic; first two and a half weeks, embryonic; until the end of the eight week, and fetal; from the eight week to labor."74
- Pre-embryonic stage
In this first phase, the zygote grows by division, and when it becomes a cell cluster, it buries itself in the wall of the uterus. While they continue growing, the cells organize themselves in three layers.
- Embryonic Stage
The second phase lasts for five and a half weeks, during which the baby is called an "embryo". In this stage, the basic organs and systems of the body start to appear from the cell layers.
- Fetal stage
From this stage on, the embryo is called a "fetus". This phase begins at the eighth week of gestation and lasts until the moment of birth. The distinctive characteristic of this stage is that the fetus looks just like a human being, with its face, hands and feet. Although it is only 3 cm. long initially, all of its organs have become apparent. This phase lasts for about 30 weeks, and development continues until the week of delivery.
Information on the development in the mother's womb became available only after observations with modern devices. Yet, just like many other scientific facts, these pieces of information are imparted in the verses of the Qur'an in a miraculous way. The fact that such detailed and accurate information was given in the Qur'an at a time when people had scarce information on medical matters is clear evidence that the Qur'an is the word of God.
We have instructed man concerning his parents. Bearing him caused his mother great debility and the period of his weaning was two years: "Give thanks to Me and to your parents. I am your final destination." (Surah Luqman: 14)
Mother's milk is an unmatched mixture that is created by God as both an excellent food-source for the newborn baby, and a substance that increases its resistance to diseases. The balance of the nutriments in mother’s milk is at ideal levels, and the milk is in the ideal form for the baby’s as yet immature body. At the same time, mother’s milk is also very rich in nutrients which accelerate the growth of brain cells and the development of the nervous system. 75 Even artificial baby food produced by today's technology cannot substitute for this miraculous source of nutrition.
The list of advantages to the baby provided by mother’s milk is being added to every day. Research has shown that babies fed mother’s milk are particularly protected against infections concerning the respiratory and digestive systems. That is because the antibodies in mother’s milk provide a direct defense against infection. Other anti-infection properties of mother’s milk are that it provides a hospitable environment for “good” bacteria called “normal flora” and constitutes a barrier to harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites. Furthermore, it has also been established that there are factors in mother’s milk which order the immune system against infectious diseases and allow it to function properly.76
Since mother’s milk has been specially designed it is the most easily digestible food for babies. Despite being nutritionally very rich, it is easily digested by the baby’s sensitive digestive system. Since the baby thus expends less energy on digestion it is able to use that energy for other bodily functions, growth and organ development.
The milk of mothers who have had premature babies contains higher levels of fat, protein, sodium, chloride and iron to meet the baby’s needs. Indeed, it has been established that the functions of the eye develop better in premature babies fed on mother’s milk, and that they perform better in intelligence tests, as well as a great many other advantages.
Another new scientific discovery regarding mother’s milk is that it is most beneficial to the baby for two years.77 This important information discovered by science only recently was revealed to us by God in the verse “… his weaning was two years…” 1400 years ago.
All that we have seen so far shows us one clear fact: the Qur'an is such a book that all the news related in it has proved to be true. Facts about scientific subjects and the news given about the future, facts that no one could have known at the time, were announced in its verses. It is impossible for this information to have been known with the level of knowledge and technology of the day. It is clear that this provides clear evidence that the Qur'an is not the word of man. The Qur'an is the word of the Almighty God, the Originator of everything and the One Who encompasses everything with His knowledge. In one verse, God says on the Qur'an"If it had been from other than God, they would have found many inconsistencies in it." (Surat an-Nisa': 82) Not only are there no inconsistencies in the Qur'an, but every piece of information it contains reveals the miracle of this Divine Book more and more each day.
What falls to man is to hold fast to this Divine Book revealed by God, and receive it as his one and only guide. In one of the verses, God commands us:
And this is a Book We have sent down and blessed, so follow it and have fear of God so that hopefully you will gain mercy.(Surat al-An'am: 155)
63. Dr. Mazhar, U. Kazi, 130 Evident Miracles in the Qur’an, Crescent Publishing House, New York, 1997, pp. 110-111; http://www.wamy.co.uk/announcements3.html; from Prof. Zighloul Raghib El-Naggar’s speech
64. Dr. Mazhar, U. Kazi, 130 Evident Miracles in the Qur’an, Crescent Publishing House, New York, 1997, pp. 110-111; http://www.wamy.co.uk/announcements3.html; from Prof. Zighloul Raghib El-Naggar’s speech
69. Keith L. Moore, E. Marshall Johnson, T. V. N. Persaud, Gerald C. Goeringer, Abdul-Majeed A. Zindani, Mustafa A. Ahmed, Human Development as Described in the Qur'an and Sunnah, Commission on Scientific Signs of the Qur'an and Sunnah, Makkah, 1992, p. 36