Monday, November 9, 2009

Islam And Science

“Never judge a religion by its people, judge a religion by its scripture”

*Note: This page contains some of the scientific discoveries from Shaukat Ameen’s book “Islam, A scientifically proven religion”. The whole book can be read at http://www.cometoislam.com/science/science.htm

Chapter 1: Discoveries in Nature & Earth

(i) Creation of the Universe

(ii) More than one world

(iii) The expansion of the universe

(iv) Sky, without any support

(v) Orbits

(vi) Different nature of the sun and the moon

(vii) The proportion of Rain

(viii) The Mountains

(ix) The seas not mingling with one another

(x) The Miracle in the Iron

(xi) Presence of sub-atomic particles

Chapter 2: Discoveries in Human Beings

(i) The part that controls our movements

(ii) Fingerprints

Chapter 3: Discoveries in Human Embryonic Development

(i) Stages of embryonic growth

(ii) Three stages of the baby in the womb

(iii) The determination of the sex of the baby

Chapter 4: Other Discoveries

(i) Living-things and water

(ii) A lesson in cattle

(iii) Opposite pairs in creation

Chapter 5: Miracle of the Quran

(i) Protection and memorization of the Quran

“We shall show them our signs on the farthest horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that this is the truth” (Quran 41:53).

“If the Holy Quran is not the book of Allah then it is impossible to explain how a text produced 1400 years ago could have contained ideas that have only been discovered in modern times.”

CHAPTER – I

DISCOVERIES IN NATURE & EARTH

(i) Creation of the Universe

The formation of the universe is described in the Quran in the following verse:

“He is the Originator of the heavens and

the earth.” (6:101)

The information given in the Quran is in full agreement with the findings of modern science. The conclusion that astrophysics has reached today is that the entire universe was created as a result of great explosion that occurred in no time. This event, known as “The Big Bang” proved that the entire universe was created from nothingness as a result of the explosion of a single point. Modern scientists agree that the Big Bang is the only rational and plausible explanation of the beginning and how the universe came into being. Before the Big Bang, there was no such thing as matter. So, we come to the conclusion that matter, time, and energy were created and didn’t exist since infinite.

“Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke,

and said unto it and unto the earth: Come both

of you, willingly or not. They said: We come,

obedient.” (The Quran, 41:11)

Didn’t the Quran say that the Heaven was smoke before its creation? Modern science has every reason to maintain that the universe was formed from a gaseous mass principally composed of hydrogen and a certain amount of helium that was slowly rotating. We, therefore, see no contradiction in the Quranic use of the Arabic word “dukhan” (translated smoke) and a modern interpretation of that word as “a gaseous mass with fine particles” when speaking of the formation of the universe.

“Have they not who disbelieve seen that the heavens and earth were joined together (as one piece), then We parted them.” (21:30)

The Quran describes the phenomenon of the creation of the universe by using two specific words:

“rataq” translated as: mixed in each ; blended.

“fataqa” is the verb in Arabic and implies that something comes into being by tearing apart or destroying the structure of “rataq”.

As the earth and the heavens above (the sun, the moon, stars, planets, galaxies, etc.) have been formed from this same ‘smoke’, we conclude that the earth and the heavens were once a connected entity. Then out of this homogenous ‘smoke’, they evolved into different forms and separated from each other.

Hence, the verse reveals that the heavens and earth at the beginning were joined together, and that subsequently they were separated. Recent advance-ments in astronomy especially the Big Bang theory of the creation of the universe corroborate with this statement in the Quran. The Big Bang theory holds that about 20,000,000,000 (twenty billion) years ago the universe began with an explosive expansion of a single extremely condensed state of matter. This is what the Quran states in this verse: “the heavens and earth were joined together”. The Noble prize for Science in 1977 was awarded for this discovery.

These facts, only recently discovered by modern science, were disclosed in the Quran 1,400 years ago.

*****

(ii) More than one world

The very first verse of the first chapter of the Quran is a miracle. It says:

“Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.”

(The Quran, 1:1)

At a time when, perhaps, scientific knowledge was not even at the nascent stage, the Quran revealed about the presence of worlds other than the earth and testified to the fact that, “Allah is the Lord of the worlds”. As a matter of fact, the words, “the Lord of the worlds”, appear in the Quran a total of 73 times. With scientific advancement and use of sophisticated telescopes now we know that there are other planets and multitude of galaxies besides earth. And all this was disclosed to us by the God Almighty through his prophet Mohammad ( P.B.U.H ) 14 centuries ago.

*****

(iii) The expansion of the universe

According to the Holy Quran:

“And it is We who have constructed the heaven with might, and verily, it is We who are steadily expanding it.” (51:47)

The word “heaven”, as stated in this verse, is used in various places with the meaning of space and universe. Here again, the word is used with this meaning.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian physicist Alexander Friedmann and the Belgian cosmologist Georges Lemaitre theoretically calculated that the universe is in constant motion and that it is expanding.

From the moment of the Big Bang, the universe has been constantly expanding at a great speed. Scientists compare the expanding universe to the surface of a balloon that is inflated. Observing the sky in 1929 with a telescope also proved this fact. Edwin Hubble, the American astronomer, discovered that the stars and galaxies were constantly moving away from each other. These observations tell us that when everything in the universe moves away from each other, it is considered to be a constantly expanding universe. This fact was revealed in the Quran when no one knew about the expansion of the universe 1,400 years ago. This is because the Quran is the word of Allah, the Creator and the Ruler of the entire universe.

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(iv) Sky, without any support

Due to lack of knowledge, Arab society, 1400 years ago, had many superstitious beliefs regarding the earth and the sky.

They thought that the earth was flat and that the mountains were supporting the sky above. They thought that there were high mountains at both the ends of the world, working as pillars and those pillars held the sky hanging above. However, all these superstitious beliefs were eliminated with the advent of the Quran. The Quran says:

“God is He who raised up the heavens without any support…..” (Surah ar-rad, 2)

thereby invalidating the belief that the sky remained suspended above because of the mountains. How did the author of the Quran know about this fact 1400 years ago? Indeed, Quran is the book of Allah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth.

*****

(v) Orbits

We learn from the Quran that:

“By the sky full of paths and orbits.”

(The Quran, 51:7)

The entire universe is full of paths and orbits. The Quran also tells us that:

“(Allah is the) One who created the night , and the day, and the sun and the moon, swim along, each in its (own) orbit.” (21:33)

“It is not permitted to the sun to overtake the moon, nor can the night outsrip the day, each swims along in its (own) orbit.” (36:40)

While referring to the Sun and the Moon in the Quran, it is emphasized that each moves in a certain orbit. There are about 200 billion galaxies in the universe, consisting of nearly 200 billion stars in each. All celestial bodies including planets, satellites of these planets, stars and even galaxies swim along their own orbits.

It is mentioned in another verse, too, that the Sun is not static but moves in a definite orbit.

“The sun runs on its fixed course for a term (appointed); that is the decree of the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing.” (Yaseen 36:38)

According to the calculations of experts on astronomy, the Sun is travelling at an enormous speed of 150 miles per second. It means that the sun travels roughly 12,960,000 miles a day!

The fact that this information was present in the Quran long before it was discovered by the mankind is yet another testimony that Allah, the All-Knowing, and the All-Wise is the source of this knowledge.

*****

(vi) Different nature of the sun and the moon

“Allah is the One who made the sun a shining object and the moon as a light, and measured out (their) stages, that you may know the number of years and the count (of time), Allah did not create this but in truth; He (thus) explains His signs in detail, for those who understand.” (The Quran, 10:5)

“We have built above you seven strong (heavens) and placed therein a blazing lamp.” (78:12-13)

“Do you not see how Allah has created the seven heavens one above another; And made the moon a light in their midst, and made the sun a lamp.” (71:15-16)

“Blessed is He who made constellations in the skies and placed therein a lamp (sun) and a moon giving light.” (25:61)

The Quran uses two different words for the sun and the moon. When it refers to the moon, the word is “NOOR” (light) and when it refers to the sun, the word is “SIRAJ” or “ZIA” (lamp). We also learn from the second verse given above that the sun is the only source of light for our solar system. The Quran also tells us that the moon only reflects the sun’s light. These facts are in perfect harmony with discoveries made in astronomy in not very distant past. The Quran had disclosed these facts 14 centuries ago.

*****

(vii) The proportion of Rain

The Quran, in the following verse, tells us that the rain is sent down to earth in due measure:

“It is He who sends down water in due measure

from the sky by which He brings a dead land

back to life. That is how you too will be raised

(from the dead).” (43:11)

The modern science has discovered the measured quantity in rain. They have estimated that in one second, approximately 16 million tons of water evaporates from the earth, i.e., 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 constantly circulates in a balanced cycle, in a “measure”.

The rain keeps falling every year in exactly the same quantity as revealed in the Quran. This is yet another great miracle of the Quran and a “food for thought” for the non-Muslims.

*****

(viii) The Mountains

Allah says in the Holy Quran:

“Have We not made the earth as a bed, and the mountains as pegs?” (78:6-7)

Geologists tell us that mountains have underlying roots. These roots are deeply embedded in the ground, thus, mountains have a shape like a peg. Geologists have proven that mountains have deep roots under the surface of the ground and that these roots can reach several times their elevations above the surface of the ground. So, the most suitable word to describe mountains on the basis of this information is the word ‘peg’. Didn’t the Quran use the word ‘peg’ in the verse above?

The history of science tells us that the theory of mountains having deep roots was introduced only in the latter of the 19th century. The modern geology has thus confirmed the truth of the Quranic verse.

*****

(ix) The seas not mingling with one another

“He has set free the two seas meeting together. There is a barrier between them. They do not transgress.” (The Quran, 55:19-20)

Modern science has discovered that at places where two different seas meet, there is a barrier between them. This barrier divides the two seas so that each has its own temperature, salinity and density.

But when the Quran speaks about the divider between the fresh and salt water, it mentions the existence of a “forbidding partition” with the barrier. Allah says in the Quran:

“He is the one who set free the two kinds of water,

one sweet and palatable, and the other salty and

bitter. And He has made between them a barrier

and a forbidding partition.” (25:53)

One may ask, why did the Quran mention the partition when speaking about the divider between sweet and salt water, but did not mention it when speaking about the divider between the two seas??

Modern science has discovered that in estuaries [where fresh (sweet) and salt water meet] the situation is somewhat different from what is found in places where two seas meet. Scientists have discovered that what distinguishes fresh water from salt water in estuaries is a “pycnocline zone with a marked density discontinuity separating the two layers.”[1] This partition (zone of separation) has a different salinity from the fresh water and from the salt water. This information has been discovered only recently, using advanced equipment to measure temperature, salinity, density, oxygen dissolubility, etc. The human eye cannot see the difference between the two seas that meet. Likewise, the human eye cannot see the division of water in estuaries[2] into three kinds: fresh water, salt water, and the partition (zone of separation).

The interesting side to this is that during a period when people had no knowledge of physics or oceanography, this fact was revealed in the Quran.

*****

(x) The Miracle in the Iron

“Indeed We have sent Messengers with clear proofs, and sent down with them the Book and Balance, that mankind may observe justice; And We sent down iron, in which is (material for) mighty power, as well as many benefits for mankind, that Allah may test who it is that will help, unseen, Him and His Messengers, for Allah is full of strength, exalted in might.” (The Quran, 57:25)

The Quran tells us that the iron was sent down to earth. Scientists have, only recently, come to discover the relevant facts about the formation of iron. Geologists believe that the entire energy of our solar system is not sufficient to produce even one atom of iron. Moreover, they state that four times as much energy as that of our solar system would be required to make one atom of iron on the surface of the earth. The geologists thus conclude that iron is an extraterrestrial material that was sent down to earth from some other planet.

Who besides Allah could have such absolute knowledge which excels and encompasses all levels of human knowledge??

*****

(xi) Presence of sub-atomic particles

Recent discoveries in Physics have shown that an atom can be broken into smaller units. According to the Holy Quran:

“The unbelievers say: Never to us will come the Hour (the day of Judgment); Say: Nay! By my Lord! It will surely come upon you by Him, who knows the unseen, not an atom’s weight, or less than or greater (than atom), escapes Him in the heavens and/or in the earth, but it is in a clear record.” (34:3)

The Arabic word used in this verse is “Zarrah”. Abdullah Yousef Ali, Mohsin Khan, and Marmaduke Pickthal have translated Zarrah as an atom. At the time this verse was revealed, a Zarrah was the smallest known particle to mankind. The Quran testifies to the presence of particles smaller than Zarrah or an atom. The discovery of splitting of an atom into smaller units does not relate to a very distant past while the Quran had acknowledged this fact 1400 years ago.

*****

CHAPTER – II

DISCOVERIES IN HUMAN BEINGS

(i) The part that controls our movements

“No indeed! If he does not stop, We will grab him by the forelock, a lying, sinful forelock.” (96:15-16)

Why did the Quran describe the front of the head as being lying and sinful? Why didn’t the Quran say that the person was lying and sinful? Is there a relationship between the front of the head and lying & sinfulness?

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. What does physiology tell us about the functions of this area? A book entitled, “Essentials of Anatomy & Physiology”[3] says about this area:

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 …………………

The book further says:

In relation to its involvement in motivation, the prefrontal area is also thought to be the functional center for aggression….

So, this area of the cerebrum is responsible for planning, motivation and initiating good and sinful behavior, and is responsible for telling lies and speaking the truth.

It is clear that the statement, “the lying, sinful lock” corresponds completely to the above explanations. Allah in the Quran stated this fact, which scientists have only discovered in the last 60 years, centuries ago.

*****

(ii) Fingerprints

While it is stated in the Quran that it is easy for God to bring man back to life after death, people’s fingerprints are particularly emphasized:

“Does man think that We cannot assemble his bones? Nay, We are able to put together in perfect order the very tips of his fingers.” (The Quran, 75:3-4)

This emphasis on fingerprints has a very special meaning. It is now an established fact that each human being has his own unique fingerprints. Everyone who is alive or has ever lived in this world, including identical twins, has a set of unique fingerprints. This is why fingerprints are used as a source of identification around the world. In other words, people’s identities are coded at their fingertips. This coding system may also be compared to the barcode system that is used today.

Before the discovery of the fingerprints people thought of them as ordinary curves without any meaning or importance. In the Quran, Allah points to the fingertips and calls our attention to their significance. This is yet another miracle of the Quran that was only finally understood in our days.

*****

CHAPTER – III

DISCOVERIES IN HUMAN EMBROYNIC DEVELOPMENT

(i) Stages of embryonic growth

“We created man from an extract of clay, We later placed him as a mixed drop in a place of settlement, firmly fixed, later We made the mixed drop into a leech-like structure, and then We changed the leech-like structure into a chewed-like substance, then out of the chewed-like substance We made the skeleton/ bones, then we clothed the skeleton with muscles/ flesh, later We caused him to grow and come into as another creation, So, blessed be Allah, the best of Creators.” (The Quran, 23:12-14)

The Quran in the above verses uses two words for “then”. “fa” in the Arabic language refers to an immediate action while the word “thumma” refers to a delayed action. In the above verses, Quran used the word thumma three times, showing that there are three different stages of human development in the embryo. (You may check these 3 stages in “The three stages of the baby in the womb” on pages 32-33 of this book.)

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 confirmed that the revelation of the Quran is word for word correct.

Who besides Allah could have revealed such minute and specific information 1400 years ago??

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(ii) Three stages of the baby in the womb

The Quran tells us 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 made you deviate?” (The Quran, 39:6)

As we learn from this verse of the Quran that a human being is created in three different stages in the mother’s womb. Today, in all the embryology text books studied in the faculties of medicine, this subject is taken as an element of basic knowledge. We learn from the modern biology that : “The life in the uterus has three stages: pre-embryonic; first two and a half weeks, embryonic; until the end of the 8th week, and fetal; from the 8th week to labor.”

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 “foetus”. This phase begins at the 8th week of gestation and lasts until the moment of birth. The distinctive character of this stage is that the foetus 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.

Is it not amazing that 1400 years ago when Biology and medical science had not achieved the present day perfection, the Quran had revealed what was discovered by the Scientists only recently? Is it not clear evidence that the Quran is not the word of man, but the word of Allah?

*****

(iii) The determination of the sex of the baby

Until fairly recently, it was thought that a baby’s sex was determined by the mother’s cells. That was why, in many cultures, women were blamed when they gave birth to girls. However, this belief was negated with the arrival of the Quran where it is stated that masculinity or femininity is created out of “a drop of semen which has been ejected”.

“He has created both sexes, male and female from a drop of semen which has been ejected.” (The Quran, 53:45-46)

With the development of genetics science and molecular biology in the 20th century, Scientists have validated the accuracy of this information given by the Quran. It is now understood that the sex is determined by the sperm cells from the male, and that the female does not play the main 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 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 characteristics of masculinity, while the X chromosome carries those of femininity. In the mother’s egg, there is only the X chromosome, which determines female characteristics. In the semen from the father, there are sperms that includes either X or Y chromosomes. Therefore, the sex of the baby depends on whether the sperm fertilizing the mother’s egg (ovum) contains an X or Y chromosome. For example, if an X chromosome from the female unites with a sperm that contains X chromosomes, then the baby is a female. If it unites with the sperm that contains a Y chromosome, the baby is male. In other words, as stated in the verse, the factor determining the sex of the baby is the semen which comes from the father. This knowledge, which could not have been known at the time when the Quran was revealed, is evidence to the fact that the Quran is the word of God.

*****

CHAPTER – IV

OTHER DISCOVERIES

(i) Living-things and water

The scientists tell us that billions of years ago primaeval matter in the sea began to generate protoplasm[4] out of which came the amoeba; and out that mire in the sea came all living things. In one word ALL LIFE came from the sea, i.e., Water !!

When we ask them that no man of learning, no philosopher or poet could ever have guessed your biological discovery fourteen centuries back, could he?? They tell us “No, never!”. Well, then, just see what the Quran has to say:

“And we made from water every living thing; will they (the unbelievers, the atheists, and the agnostics) then not believe?” (The Quran, 21:30)

The above statement is further elaborated in the Quran as:

“And Allah created every animal from water, of them there are some that creep on their bellies, some that walk on two legs, and some that walk on four legs; Allah creates what He wills, for verily Allah has power over all things.” (The Quran, 24:45)

It is clear that this fact could not have been scientifically known when the Quran was revealed. This testifies to the fact that the Quran is the book of Allah, most gracious, most merciful.

*****

(ii) A lesson in cattle

In the field of physiology, there is one verse in the Holy Quran which appears extremely significant. One thousand years before the discovery of the blood circulatory system, and roughly thirteen centuries before it was determined that the internal organs were nourished by the process of digestive absorption, a verse in the Quran described the source of the constituents of milk in conformity with scientific facts.

“Verily in cattle, there is lesson for you; We give you to drink of what is inside their bellies coming from a conjunction between the contents (of the intestine) and blood, a milk, pure and pleasant for those who drink it.” (The Quran, 16:66)

The initial event, which sets the whole process in motion, is the conjunction of the contents of the intestine and blood at the level of the intestinal wall, which produces milk. This specific knowledge was unknown to mankind at the time when the Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H).

*****

(iii) Opposite pairs in creation

“Glory be to Him Who created all the pairs; from what the earth produces and from themselves and from things unknown to them.” (The Quran, 36:36)

Although the concept of “pair” or “couple” commonly stands for male and female, the statement : “from things unknown to them” has wider implications. Today, one of the implications of the verse has been revealed. With the advanced technology and research, scientists have found out that even matter is created in pairs. British scientist, Paul Dirac, who proposed that matter is created in pairs, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1933, while the Quran told us about the pairs 1400 years ago. This discovery is called “parite”. This fact is stated in a scientific manner as follows:

“…every particle has its antiparticle of opposite charge………and the uncertainty relation tells us that pair in creation and pair annihilation happens in the vacuum at all times, in all places."

Recent advancements in science have shown that not only all animals, plants, and matters but bacteria also have an opposite pair or strain. In plants, now we know, there are male and female seeds and male and female trees. A male date tree looks different from a female tree.

This verse, which clearly states a fact about “pairs of unknown” that was not known to previous generations, and has been recently discovered, could have only come from the All-Knowing Allah.

*****

CHAPTER—V

MIRACLE OF THE QURAN

Protection and memorization of the Quran

“We (Allah) without any doubt sent down the Message (the Quran), and We will assuredly guard againt it (from any corruption).” (The Quran, 15:9)

“And We (Allah) have made the Quran easy to understand and remember, then is there any that will receive admonition.” (The Quran, 54:17,22,32,40)

One of the ways by which Allah has assured the protection of the Quran is the fact that He made it easy for the true Believers to memorize His book. As a matter of fact, the Quran is the only religious book that is memorized by its true followers. The one who memorizes the Quran is called a Hafiz. They don’t only memorize the entire text of the Quran, but also the punctuation and diatrical marks of each and every word and verse of the Quran. Allah promised to protect the Quran and thus gave the power of memorization to its true followers. The protection of the Quran from corruption and its memorization by its true believers is an open challenge to mankind.

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