A Scientific Miracle of the Quran: ''The Dawn that Breathes''

“I swear …by the night when it draws in, and by the dawn when it exhales,;” (Surah At-Takwir, 17-18)

The air we breathe has a very delicate balance, consisting of  77 % nitrogen, 21 % oxygen and 1 % carbon dioxide and argon. However, the earth’s atmosphere, which is based on these very delicate balances, is polluted by chemicals called hydrocarbons. These are released by materials such as trees and fossil fuels when burnt. Yet, these contaminants released into the air are cleaned in a very special way created by The Almighty Allah. One of these methods is the process of photosynthesis, as announced in the Holy Quran.

It is known that while performing photosynthesis, plants breathe in the harmful gas carbon dioxide, which is not consumed by man, and instead breathe out oxygen. The oxygen we breathe in and which is the real source of life, is the main product of photosynthesis. While 30% of the oxygen in the atmosphere is produced by plants on land, the remaining 70% is produced by plants and unicellular organisms in the seas and oceans - which are capable of performing photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis is a unique procedure that scientists are still unable to completely explain, even today. We are unable to see this process with the naked eye, as this mechanism uses atoms and molecules to function. But, we are able to experience the results of this process and appreciate the oxygen that makes us breathe and the food that keeps us alive. Photosynthesis is a system that includes complex chemical reactions, on a submicroscopic, molecular level,  built on very delicate balances. Each green plant we see around us has  trillions of chemical laboratories inside, where this system operates. Moreover, plants have been constantly producing the oxygen, food and energy we need, for millions of years.

The time of day when photosynthesis is most efficient, is the time when oxygen is produced in highest amounts, and this happens in the morning hours when bright sunlight first appears. As the sun rises, the leaf transpires, and the process of photosynthesis begins. In the afternoon, the process is reversed; photosynthesis slows down and respiration increases due to increasing transpiration derived from the increase in temperature. And at night, transpiration slows down and the plant is at ease due to the decrease in temperature.

The phrase that draws the attention to the morning “itha tanaffasa” ie “as it breathes away” in the Surah At-Takwir, metaphorically means to breathe deeply or respire. The phrase emphasized in the verse is remarkable in the sense that morning is the time when oxygen production starts, as well as being the time when the oxygen is produced most. In addition, the importance of this fact is emphasized in the verse with the oath being made upon this fact. Photosynthesis, which is one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century, is one of the scientific miracles of the Quran, indicated by the verse above.  

“I swear..by the night when it draws in, and by the dawn when it exhales,;” (Surah At-Takwir, 17-18)


Water Droplets in the Atmosphere Falling onto the Earth:

Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide released into the atmosphere are absorbed by the water droplets in the clouds after going through various chemical transformations. Later on, these droplets go back to the earth by means of rain or snow, and they clear the air while doing so. That is the reason why the air smells clean and fresh after it rains. It is because the rain drops gather all the dust and impurities and bring them back to earth…

Solar Energy Clearing the Air:

Some chemicals produce some materials by reacting with sunlight. The materials clear the air from fog and other contaminating particles. The chemicals absorbing energy from the sun, fragment the fog and other contaminating particles and turn them into harmless molecules and thus clear the air. What is interesting here in this procedure is that solar rays fragment only the harmful particles that adversely affect breathing, and that they do not confuse them with the useful chemicals. There is no doubt that this fact is certainly one of the signs of Allah’s blessings upon us.


“He has given you everything you have asked Him for. If you tried to number Allah’s blessings, you could never count them. Man is indeed wrongdoing, ungrateful.. (Surah Ibrahim, 34)

Hydroxyl Ion (OH) Clearing the Air:

OH radicals are formed at the time when the chemicals naturally formed in the atmosphere absorb and emit sunlight.

OH Ions, also known as the washing agents of the atmosphere, turn hydrocarbon radicals into harmless products, fragment the pollution in the air, and prevent the formation of toxic gas in the atmosphere.

Scientists have not yet found the source of the OH radicals that are constantly produced and that are capable of living only for a single second.

While we have no knowledge of how the radicals clearing our atmosphere are produced, this splendid system ordered by the Almighty Allah is producing these radicals and enabling the air to be cleaned. Allah- the Almighty announces His art of creation in the following verse:


“He to Whom the kingdom of the heavens and the earth belongs. He does not have a son and He has no partner in the Kingdom. He created everything and determined it most exactly..” (Surah Al-Furqan, 2)

From the moment of birth until death, each being breathes constantly. However, breathing does not only consist of inhaling and exhaling. Therefore, the fact that the air that supports life is never ending nor polluted, but instead is constantly being refreshed, is a miracle that one needs to reflect on.

Have You Ever Thought That Breathing Is a Great Miracle?

There is no being that has to put effort into breathing. The interior and exterior conditions are created for man in the way that allows him to breathe easily.

The air we breathe is protected due to a splendidly wonderful order created by Allah.

The slightest change in this order can result in dangerous consequences that might lead to the destruction of all living beings. This is because the atmosphere is a wonderful mixture, where special conditions required for life are brought together, and it works flawlessly.

These particular systems clearing the air we breathe are parts of this wonderful order. Unless these clearing systems existed, organisms would be poisoned and die en masse, despite the fact that they would breathe. Yet, systems that are each unique in their own way, such as solar rays, rain drops, OH ions, and photosynthesis, do clear the earth’s atmosphere specifically for sustaining life.

There is no doubt that even this single feature is enough to prove that the Earth and the whole universe is certainly not an idle place that accidentally came into being. The universe, the Earth we live in all the systems that sustains life on Earth, animals and men, are all created by the Almighty Allah, in all their intricate detail.


“In the creation of the heavens and earth, and the alternation of the night and day, and the ships which sail the seas to people’s benefit, and the water which Allah sends down from the sky – by which He brings the earth to life when it was dead and scatters about in it creatures of every kind – and the varying direction of the winds, and the clouds subservient between heaven and earth, there are Signs for people who use their intellect. (Surah Al-Baqara, 164)

2010-11-25 23:08:23

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