How does our body know its friends from its enemies?

Many battles are fought between the bacteria and viruses aiming to increase in number and the defense  cells that protect the body against these enemies every day without us ever realizing it.

However, even though defense cells stand guard and fight against these foreign organisms, how do they recognize good bacteria and not attack them?

What prevents these soldiers that protect our body from counterattacking these beneficial invaders?

The elements of the defense system fight against the enemies that will harm the body just like ordered and disciplined soldiers. First the soldiers that render the enemies ineffective by swallowing them (known as phagocytes) come to the battlefield. Sometimes however, the battlefield conditions overwhelm the abilities of these soldiers. Then other soldiers (known as macrophages) step in. This causes an "situation alert“ to occur in the target area and an army of soldiers (called helper T cells) is called to the battlefield. However, during this struggle, a miracle takes place.

Even though the body is always on the alert to fight against the organisms that can cause it harm, it allows  millions of other types of bacteria to live in some organs. For example, it is known that 80 species of organisms live in the mouth, throat and the tonsils. According to reasearch, there are 200 organism species which keeps our bodies constantly healthy. The reason that our defense system does not attack these organisms is that these are vital for our survival.

Tolerance of the Defense System


•    T cells are the fighter white blood cells of our body. They fight against everything harmful to the body and they eliminate  hazardous bacteria and molecules out of our body.

•    During the clean up they do not harm the body’s own cells and bacteria beneficial to the body.

•    Every cell has an identification system to introduce itself that we call receptors. Fighter T cells can make this distinction by recognizing the receptors in all other cells, and they oversee the cells the body needs. This quality of the defense system is called “tolerance.”

•    This situation what is called  “tolerance” by scientists is actually a great miracle because the defense system is able to distinguish thousands of different proteins from one another.

•    If a T cell faces a body cell, it does not attack it, and makes itself ineffective.

•    In the same way, if there is a substance that acts like an antigen but needs to be destroyed, the body does not produce any defensive reactions  and does not attack this substance.


Research  has revealed that a defense element that could harm the body either dies  or destroys  itself.

So how did cells acquire a system that allows them to distinguish such different structures from one another?

How do they recognize the body’s own cells?

It is of course impossible that the ability to choose, which requires characteristics such as knowledge, consciousness and intelligence is acquired by structures formed by unconscious atoms as claimed in the theory of evolution. There is no doubt that the defense system acts with the inspiration of Almighty Allah as revealed in the verse "And obeys its Lord and it must." (Surat al-Inshiqaq, 2)

The Tolerance of the Defense System in the Pancreas

The defense system that  we have been speaking of, and works on a level of organization difficult for the mind to comprehend causes another very miraculous event.


•    Under normal circumstances, the pancreas is a closed organ system  to the rest of the  body. Therefore, the white blood cells do not directly work together with pancreas cells.

•    Instead, pancreatic cells interface  with messenger white blood cells and introduce themselves. . Thus these cells put on a mask that resembles the pancreas. These are called “branchy cells.”

•    The branchy cells of the pancreas place the receptors of the friendly bacteria that behave like antigens on their cell surfaces, pressure the defense system and keep it in a quite and calm state.

•    Fighter T-cells recognize these antigens and learn not to become alarmed by the pancreatic cells  and attack this organ.


As it can be seen from this example, it is clear that qualities like developing new methods to recognize one another, agreeing with one another, making plans and moving with a perfect organization according to these plans cannot be expected from defense cells and a mere organ. There is no doubt that even a community of human beings couldn't move in such a flawless synchronicity and accomplish what needs to be done without failing, forgetting, being surprised or causing confusion.

There is only one definite truth that must be accepted here and that is all cells are created specially by Allah Who is the Owner of an infinite power, knowledge and intelligence, just like everything else in nature.


“...He created all things and He has knowledge of all things.” (Surat al-An‘am, 101)

The Tolerance of the Defense System in the Intestines

Another organ which the defense system tolerates is the intestines. Even though our general body is covered with very detailed defensive weapons, millions of bacteria nonetheless continue to survive in our intestines because the food we eat and the fluids we drink are digested by the bacteria in our small intestines. In addition, these bacteria provide a natural method of protection as they prevent the reproduction of other bacteria that could harm the body. So defense cells cooperate with these bacteria that prove benficial for the body. Even though there is the possibility of activating the defense system and starting a war in the intestine, T-cells somehow ignore the bacteria in the small intestine and prevent this.

So, how do defense cells tolerate the bacteria in the cells?

The Cells’ Training That Amaze the Science World

In a research paper published in Nature Immunology magazine, researchers under the leadership of Shannon Turley have found that the defense system has a tolerance mechanism that was previously unknown. According to this;


•    The lymph nodes are like strategic encampments that surround the whole body. The white blood cells, which are defense cells, pull the antigens to the lymph nodes and fight them.

•    However, the lymph nodes found in the intestines are like a training center more than a strategic encampment. The basic cells found there train the T-cells, which are the soldiers of our defense system, about behaving in an approriate manner towards these uninvited guests.


It cannot be explained away that such a system in this part of the body could have come into existence by coincidences. When the perfection of the system is analyzed, it is clear that it is a meticulously created system. How does the training process, which scientists cannot fully comprehend through the most advanced technological means of today, occur? Shannon Turley, one of the pathologists at Harvard University that leads research about this subject, states her excitement as such:

“T-cells either ignore the intestine tissue or bring it into a tolerant state. However, it is still not known how the cells teach the T-cells, which are very sensitive towards microbes, not to attack intestine cells.”

Unconscious cells do not have the intelligence, consciousness and ability to make it possible to “teach” a biological process to one another. There is no doubt that a system, which even the most intelligent reseachers and scientists cannot comprehend, being placed inside a cell with no ability to think and consider things for itself has a very special meaning. This is a reflection of the matchless Creation of Allah, the Owner of infinite knowledge, seen in a small cell. It is revealed that Allah’s infinite knowledge encompasses all in the Qur’an as such:

“... They cannot grasp any of His knowledge save what He wills. His Footstool encompasses the heavens and the earth and their preservation does not tire Him. He is the Most High, the Magnificent.” (Surat al-Baqara, 255)

Could the Tolerance of Defense Cells Help find  the Cure of Autoimmune Diseases?

Autoimmune disease; this is a disease that forms as a result of the body’s defense system attacking the body’s own cells and killing healthy tissues. At the basis of this  disease lies the normal body cells being perceived of as intruders. There are 40 different autoimmune diseases known to mankind. The studies done show that many autoimmune diseases like Multiple Sclerosis and Type -1 diabetes can be treated with the "training“ of defense cells. However, the only problem here is that scientists still do not know how unintelligent and unconscious cells make this training process happen.

The Defense System Is Created with a Complete Gear

The tolerance of the defense cells points out the perfection in Almighty Allah’s Creation. As Almighty Allah created the whole universe in a flawless way, He also inspired small cells with the abilities to understand one another, to train other cells, and make plans. These special beings, which let organisms that protect the human body, which is itself millions of times bigger than they are against diseases, and that are beneficial to human beings in maintaining their functions, are no doubt one of the manifestations of Almighty Allah’s superior intelligence, and they are created in a single moment as He said “Be.” In one verse it is revealed as follows:


“The Originator of the heavens and earth. When He decides on something, He just says to it, ‘Be!’ and it is.” (Surat al-Baqara, 117)

2011-08-02 22:26:03

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