Fourteen centuries ago, God sent down the Qur'an to mankind as a book of guidance.
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 Sura Sad, verse 2, it was said: "God is He who raised up the heavens without any support..."(The Qur'an, 38:2). This verse invalidated the belief that the sky remains above because of the mountains. 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 is the Originator of the heavens and the earth."(The Qur'an, 6:101)
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 the only 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 sensitive sensors on board the COBE space satellite which was launched by NASA in 1992, captured evidentiary remnants of the Big Bang. This discovery served as evidence for the Big Bang, which is the scientific explanation of the fact that the universe was created from nothing.
The Splitting Asunder of "The Heavens and The Earth"
Another verse about the creation of the heavens is as follows:
"Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before We clove them asunder, and We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?"
The word ratq translated as "sewn to" means "mixed in each, blended" in Arabic dictionaries. It is used to refer to two different substances that make up a whole. The phrase "we unstitched" is the verb fataqa in Arabic and implies that something comes into being by tearing apart or destroying the structure of ratq. The sprouting of a seed from the soil is one of the actions to which this verb is applied.
Let us take a look at the verse again with this knowledge in mind. In the verse, sky and earth are at first subject to the status of ratq. They are separated (fataqa) with one coming out of the other. Intriguingly, when we remember the first moments of the Big Bang, we see that a single point included all the matter in the universe. In other words, everything, including "the heavens and earth" which were not created yet, were included in this point in a condition of ratq. This point exploded violently, causing its matter to fataqa and in the process created the structure of the whole universe.
When we compare the expressions in the verse with scientific findings, we see that they are in perfect agreement with each other. Interestingly enough, these findings were not arrived at until the 20th century.
While referring to the Sun and the Moon in the Qur'an, it is emphasized that each moves in a definite orbit.
"It is He Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. They swim along, each in an orbit. "
It is mentioned in another verse, too, that the Sun is not static but moves in a definite orbit:
"And the sun runs to its resting place. That is the decree of the Almighty, the All-Knowing. "
These facts communicated in the Qur'an have been discovered by astronomical observations in our age. According to the calculations of experts on astronomy, the Sun is traveling at the enormous speed of 720,000 kilometers an hour in the direction of the star Vega in a particular orbit called the Solar Apex. This means that the sun travels roughly 17,280,000 kilometers a day. Along with the Sun, and all planets and satellites within the gravitational system of the Sun also travel the same distance. In addition, all the stars in the universe are in a similar planned motion.
That the entire universe is full of paths and orbits such as this one, is written in the Qur'an as follows:
"By the sky full of paths and orbits."
The Mixture in the Semen
The fluid called semen, which contains the sperms, does not consist of sperms alone. On the contrary, it is made up of a mixture of different fluids. These fluids have different functions, such as containing the sugar necessary for providing energy for the sperms, neutralising the acids at the entrance of the uterus, and creating a slippery environment for the easy movement of the sperms.
Interestingly enough, when semen is mentioned in the Qur'an, this fact, which was discovered by modern science, is also referred to, and semen is defined as a mixed fluid:
"We created man from a mingled drop to test him, and We made him hearing and seeing."
In another verse, semen is again referred to as a mixture, and it is stressed that man is created from the "extract" of this mixture:
"He who has created all things in the best possible way. He commenced the creation of man from clay; then He made his progeny from an extract of discarded fluid."
The Arabic word "sulala", translated as "extract", means the essential or best part of something. By either implication, it means "part of a whole". This shows that the Qur'an is the word of a Will that knows the creation of man down to its slightest detail. This Will is God, the Creator of man.
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."
The developing disciplines of genetics and molecular biology have scientifically validated the accuracy of this information given by 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.
Thirteen 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 Clot 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.(16)
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."
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!"
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. For this reason, for a long time, some people claimed that these verses conflicted with science. 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:
During the seventh week, the skeleton begins to spread throughout the body and the bones take their familiar shapes. At the end of the seventh week and during the eighth week the muscles take their positions around the bone forms.(17)
In short, man's developmental stages as described in the Qur'an are in perfect harmony with the findings of modern embryology.
Three 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?"
As will be understood, it is 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 BasicHuman 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."(18)
These phases refer to the different developmental stages of a baby. In brief, the main characteristics of these developmental stages are as follows:
- Pre-embryonic stage
- Embryonic Stage
- Fetal stage
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 not the word of man, but the word of God.
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."
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 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."
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 Lemaitre theoretically calculated that the universe isin 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.
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 celestial bodies. The galaxies also travel at enormous speeds in computed, planned orbits. During these movements, none of these celestial bodies cuts across another's path, or collides with another.
Surely at the time the Qur'an was revealed, mankind did not possess today's telescopes or advanced observation technologies to observe millions of kilometres 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. 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 Roundness of the Earth
"He has created the Heavens and the Earth for Truth. He wraps the night up in the day, and wraps the day up in the night."
In the Qur'an, the words used for describing the universe are quite remarkable. The Arabic word that is translated as "to wrap" in the above verse is "takwir". In English, it means "to make one thing lap over another, folded up as a garment that is laid away". (For instance, in Arabic dictionaries this word is used for the action of wrapping one thing around another, in the way that a turban is put on.)
The information given in the verse about the day and the night wrapping each other up includes accurate information about the shape of the world. This can be true only if the earth is round. This means that in the Qur'an, which was revealed in the 7th century, the roundness of the world was hinted at.
It should be remembered, however, that the understanding of astronomy of the time perceived the world differently. It was then thought that the world was a flat plane and all scientific calculations and explanations were based on this belief. The verses of the Qur'an, however, include information that we have learned only in the past century. Since the Qur'an is God's word, the most correct words were used in it when it comes to describing the universe.
The Protected Roof
In the Qur'an, God calls our attention to a very interesting attribute of the sky:
"We made the sky a preserved and protected roof yet still they turn away from Our Signs.."
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. Interestingly, 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° C.
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.(1)
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° C.
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
The verse 11 of Sura Tarik in the Qur'an, refers to the "returning" function of the sky.
"By Heaven with its cyclical systems."
This word 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, 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 onlt 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.
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."
"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."
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. Furthermore, it consists, just as is described in the Qur'an, of exactly seven layers. In a scientific source, the subject is described as follows:
Scientists have found that the atmosphere consists of several layers. The layers differ in such physical properties as pressure and the types of gasses. The layer of the atmosphere closest to Earth is called the TROPOSPHERE. It contains about 90% of the total mass of the atmosphere. The layer above the troposphere is called the STRATOSPHERE. The OZONE LAYER is the part of the stratosphere where absorption of ultraviolet rays occurs. The layer above the stratosphere is called the MESOSPHERE. The THERMOSPHERE lies above the mesosphere. The ionized gases form a layer within the thermosphere called the IONOSPHERE. The outermost part of Earth's atmosphere extends from about 480 km out to 960 km. This part is called the EXOSPHERE. (2)
If we count the number of layers cited in this source, we see that the atmosphere consists of exactly seven layers, just as stated in the verse.
Another important miracle on this subject is mentioned in the statement "(He) revealed, in every heaven, its own mandate.", in verse 12 of Sura Fussilet. In other words, in the verse, God states that He assigned each heaven its own duty. Truly, as seen in previous chapters, 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.
One of these functions, for example, is stated in a scientific source as follows:
Earth's atmosphere has 7 layers. The lowest layer is called troposphere. Rain, snow and wind only take place in the troposphere.(3)
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…"
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.
According to these findings, 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 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.(4)
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?"
Mountains, in other words, clench the plates in the Earth's crust together by extending above and beneath the Earth's surface at the conjunction points of these plates. In this way, they fix the Earth's crust, and prevent it from drifting over the magma stratum or among its plates. Briefly, we may liken mountains to nails that keep pieces of wood together.
This fixing function of the mountains is described in scientific literature by the term "isostasy". Isostasy means the following:
Isostasy: general equilibrium in the Earth's crust maintained by a yielding flow of rock material beneath the surface under gravitational stress.(5)
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.
"We placed firmly embedded mountains on the earth, so it would not move under them..."
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."
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 on the earth were joined together about 500 million years ago. As Wegener pointed out in a 1915 article, the land masses of the earth were joined together some 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 wasGondwana, 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 centimetres 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.(6)
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. (7)
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.
Iron is one of the elements highlighted in the Qur'an. In Sura Hadid, meaning Iron, we are informed:
"…And We sent down iron in which there lies great force and which has many uses for mankind...."
The word "sent down," particularly 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", 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.
The heavy metals in the universe are produced in the nuclei of big stars. Our solar system, however, does not possess a suitable structure for producing iron on its own. Iron can only be produced in much bigger 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". As a result of this explosion, meteors containing iron are scattered around the universe, and they move through the void until attracted by the gravitational force of a celestial body.
All this shows that iron did not form on the Earth, but was carried from exploding stars in space via meteors, and was "sent down to earth", 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.
The Pairs in Creation
The Relativity of Time
Today, the relativity of time is a proven scientific fact. This was revealed by Einstein's theory of relativity at the early years of the 20th century. Until then, people did not know that time was a relative concept, and that it could change according to the environment. Yet, the great scientist Albert Einstein openly proved this fact with the theory of relativity. He showed that time is dependent on mass and velocity. In the history of humanity, no one had expressed this fact clearly before.
With one exception though; the Qur'an included information about time's being relative! Some verses about the subject read:
"They ask you to hasten the punishment. God will not break His promise. A day with your Lord is equivalent to a thousand years in the way you count."
"He directs the whole affair from heaven to earth. Then it will again ascend to Him on a Day whose length is a thousand years by the way you measure."
"The angels and the Spirit ascend to Him in a day whose length is fifty thousand years."
In some verses, it is indicated that people perceive time differently and that sometimes people can perceive a very short period of time as a very lengthy one. The following conversation of people held during their judgement in the Hereafter is a good example of this:
"He will say, 'How many years did you tarry on the earth?' They will say, 'We tarried there for a day or part of a day. Ask those able to count!' He will say, 'You only tarried there for a little while if you did but know!"
The fact that the relativity of time is so clearly mentioned in the Qur'an, which started to be revealed in 610, is another evidence that it is a holy book.
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 Sura Zukhruf as follows;
"It is He who sends down water in due measure from the sky by which We bring a dead land back to life. That is how you too will be raised (from the dead)."
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.
How rain forms remained a great mystery for a long time. Only after weather radar was invented was it possible to discover the stages by which rain is formed.
According to this, the formation of rain takes place in three stages. First, the "raw material" of rain rises up into the air with the wind. Later, clouds are formed, and finally raindrops appear.
The Qur'an's account of the formation of rain refers exactly to this process. In one verse, this formation is described in this way:
"It is God Who sends the winds which stir up clouds which He spreads about the sky however He wills. He forms them into dark clumps and you see the rain come pouring out from the middle of them. When He makes it fall on those of His slaves He wills, they rejoice"
Now, let us examine these three stages outlined in the verse more technically.
FIRST STAGE: " It is God Who sends the winds..."
Countless air bubbles formed by the foaming of the oceans continuously burst and cause water particles to be ejected towards the sky. These particles, which are rich in salt, are then carried away by winds and rise upward in the atmosphere. These particles, which are called aerosols, function as water traps, and form cloud drops by collecting around the water vapour themselves, which rises from the seas as tiny droplets.
SECOND STAGE: ".... which stir up clouds which He spreads about the sky however He wills. He forms them into dark clumps..."
The clouds are formed from water vapour that condenses around the salt crystals or dust particles in the air. Because the water droplets in these clouds are very small (with a diameter between 0.01 and 0.02 mm), the clouds are suspended in the air, and spread across the sky. Thus, the sky is covered in clouds.
THIRD STAGE: "…and you see the rain come pouring our from the middle of them"
The water particles that surround salt crystals and dust particles thicken and form raindrops, so, drops that become heavier than the air leave the clouds and start to fall to the ground as rain.
As we have seen, every stage in the formation of rain is related in the verses of the Qur'an. Furthermore, these stages are explained in exactly the right sequence. Just as with many other natural phenomena on the Earth, God gives the most correct explanation of this phenomenon as well, and made it known to people in the Qur'an centuries before it was discovered.
In another verse, the following information is given about the formation of rain:
"Have you not seen how God drives along the clouds, then joins them together, then makes them into a stack, and then you see the rain come out of it? And He sends down from the sky mountain masses (of clouds) with cold hail in them, striking with it anyone He wills and averting it from anyone He wills. The brightness of His lightning almost blinds the sight."
Scientists studying cloud types came across surprising results regarding the formation of rain clouds. Rain clouds are formed and shaped according to definite systems and stages. The formation stages of cumulonimbus, one kind of rain cloud, are these:
1.STAGE, Being driven along: Clouds are carried along, that is, they are driven along, by the wind.
2.STAGE, Joining: Then, small clouds (cumulus clouds) driven along by the wind join together, forming a larger cloud.(9)
3.STAGE, Stacking: When the small clouds join together, updrafts within the larger cloud increase. The updrafts near the centre of the cloud are stronger than those near the edges. These updrafts cause the cloud body to grow vertically, so the cloud is stacked up. This vertical growth causes the cloud body to stretch into cooler regions of the atmosphere, where drops of water and hail formulate and begin to grow larger and larger. When these drops of water and hail become too heavy for the updrafts to support them, they begin to fall from the cloud as rain, hail, etc.(10)
We must remember that meteorologists have only recently come to know these details of cloud formation, structure and function, by using advanced equipment like planes, satellites, computers etc. It is evident that God has given us a piece of information that could not have been known 1,400 years ago.
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."
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 vapour up there. Water vapour 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 vapour 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 a verse of the Qur'an, at a time when people knew very little about natural phenomena…
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."
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.(11)
The interesting side to this is that during a period when people had no knowledge of physics, surface tension, or oceanography; this was revealed in the Qur'an.
"Or (the unbelievers' state) are like the darkness of a fathomless sea which is covered by waves above which are waves above which are clouds, layers of darkness, one upon the other. If he puts out his hand, he can scarcely see it. Those God gives no light to, they have no light."
The general environment in deep seas is described in the book named Oceans:
The darkness in deep seas and oceans is found around a depth of 200 meters and below. At this depth, there is almost no light. Below a depth of 1000 meters there is no light at all.(12)
Today, we know about the general structure of the sea, the characteristics of the living things in it, its salinity, as well as the amount of water it contains, its surface area and depth. Submarines and special equipment, developed with modern technology, enable scientists to obtain this information.
Human beings are not able to dive more than 40 meters down without the aid of special equipment. They cannot survive unaided in the deep, dark parts of the oceans, such as at a depth of 200 meters. For these reasons, scientists have only recently been able to discover these detailed pieces of information about seas. However, the statement of "darkness in a deep sea" was used in Sura Nur 1,400 years ago. It is certainly one of the miracles of the Qur'an that such information was given at a time where no equipment to enable man to dive into the depths of the oceans was available.
In addition, the statement in verse 40 of Sura Nur "…like the darkness of a fathomless sea which is covered by waves above which are waves above which are clouds…" draws our attention to another miracle of the Qur'an.
Scientists have recently discovered that there are internal waves, which "occur on density interfaces between layers of different densities." These internal waves cover the deep waters of seas and oceans because deep water has a higher density than the water above it. Internal waves act like surface waves. They can break, just like surface waves. Internal waves cannot be seen by the human eye, but they can be detected by studying temperature or salinity changes at a given location.(13)
The statements in the Qur'an run absolutely parallel to the above explanation. Without research, one can only see the waves on the surface of the sea. It is impossible for one to know about the internal waves beneath the sea. Yet, in Sura Nur, God draws our attention to another type of wave that occurs in the depths of the oceans. Certainly, this fact, which scientists has discovered very recently, shows once again that the Qur'an is the word of God.
The Region That Controls Our Movements
"No indeed! If he does not stop, We will grab him by the forelock, a lying, sinful forelock."
The expression "the lying, sinful forelock" in the above verse is most interesting. Research carried out in recent years revealed that the prefrontal area, which is responsible for the management of particular functions of the brain, lies in the frontal part of the skull. Scientists only discovered the functions of this area, which the Qur'an pointed out 1,400 years ago, in the last 60 years. If we look inside the skull at the front of the head, we will find the frontal area of the cerebrum. A book entitled Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology, which includes the results of the latest research on the functions of this area, says:
The motivation and the foresight to plan and initiate movements occur in the anterior portion of the frontal lobes, the prefrontal area. This is a region of association cortex…(14)
The book also says:
In relation to its involvement in motivation, the prefrontal area is also thought to be the functional center for aggression…(15)
So, this area of the cerebrum is responsible for planning, motivation, and initiating good and sinful behaviour, and is responsible for telling lies and the truth.
It is clear that the statement "the lying, sinful forelock" corresponds completely to the above explanations. This fact, which scientists have only discovered in the last 60 years, was stated by God in the Qur'an long years ago.
The Birth of a Human Being
Many diverse subjects are mentioned in the Qur'an in the course of inviting people to believe. Sometimes the heavens, sometimes animals, and sometimes plants are shown as evidence to man by God. In many of the verses, people are called upon to turn their attention to their own creation. They are often reminded how man came into the world, which stages he has passed through, and what his essence is:
"It is We Who have created you. Why, then, do you not accept the truth? Have you ever considered that (seed) which you emit? Is it you who create it? Or are We the Creator?"
The creation of man, and the miraculous aspect of this, is stressed in many other verses. Some items of information within these verses are so detailed that it is impossible for anyone living in the 7th century to have known them. Some of these are as follows:
1. Man is not created from the entire semen, but only a very small portion of it (sperm).
People living when the Qur'an was revealed, to be sure, knew that the basic substance of birth was related to the semen of the male emitted during sexual intercourse. And the fact that the baby was born after a nine-month period was obviously an observable event not calling for any further investigation. However, the items of information just quoted were far above the level of learning of the people living at that time. These were verified by 20th century science.
Now, let us go over them one by one.
A Drop of Semen
During sexual intercourse, 250 million sperms are emitted from the male at a time. The sperms undertake an arduous journey in the mother's body until they make it to the ovum. Only a thousand out of 250 million sperms succeed in reaching the ovum. At the end of this five-minute race, the ovum, half the size of a grain of salt, will let only one of the sperms in. That is, the essence of man is not the whole semen, but only a small part of it. This is explained in the Qur'an:
"Does man reckon he will be left uncontrolled (without purpose)? Was he not once a drop of ejected semen?"
As we have seen, the Qur'an informs us that man is made not from the entire semen, but only a small part of it. That the particular emphasis in this statement announces a fact only discovered by modern science is evidence that the statement is divine in origin.