“Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High: He Who created and molded; He Who determined and guided; He Who brings forth green pasture, then makes it blackened stubble. (Surat al-A’la, 1–5)
As is known the oil or petroleum are formed from the remains of rotten marine plants and animals. These remains that decay in sea beds for millions of years leave some oily material behind. These oily materials remaining under mud and big rocks transform into petroleum and gas.
Underground movements sometimes cause oceans to turn into lands and the burial of rocks consisting of petroleum into thousands of meter deep. The petroleum sometimes leak through the pores in the rock layers, surface from kilometers of depth and simply evaporate, leaving behind a debris of tar.
The three things that Allah draws our attention in the first four verses of Surat al-Ala are in great concurrence with the stages of petroleum’s formation. First of with all the Arabic word “al mar’AA” which means range or pasture it is highly probable that there is reference to the organic materials that play a major role in the formation of petroleum. The second word that draws our attention is the word “ahwa” that is used to describe smudgy colors meaning greenish black, blackish. This word can also be considered as blackening of plant wastes that have cumulated under the ground in time since these words are supported by a third word “gutha-an.” In some interpretations of the Qur’an the word “gutha-an” which is translated as the small frey also means the mixture of grass, wastes, leaves and foam thrown around by streams. Due to the meaning of “throwing up” of this word it is translated as “throwing up of the flood” and is described as “earth’s throwing up of petroleum.” Indeed when the formation of petroleum, the way it comes into existence, its foamy appearance and color are considered, the erudite use of the word is better grasped.
As it is seen the transformation of the plant into a black liquid is very much similar to the formation of petroleum. In a time when people knew nothing about the formation of petroleum the existence of such a detailed description in the verse is evidence that the Qur’an is the revelation of Allah.
“Truly it is revelation sent down by the Lord of all the worlds.” (Surat ash-Shu‘ara’, 192)