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Miracles of the Qur'an - Harun Yahya

MIRACLES OF THE QUR'AN

 



THE SCIENTIFIC MIRACLES OF THE QUR'AN

COMBUSTION WITHOUT FIRE
THE WEIGHT OF CLOUDS
THE PROPORTION OF RAIN
THE FORMATION OF RAIN
RAINS WHICH BRING A DEAD LAND BACK TO LIFE
THE FORMATION OF HAIL, THUNDER AND LIGHTNING
THE FECUNDATING WINDS
THE STAGES OF WIND FORMATION
HOW THE PROCESS OF PHOTOSYNTHESIS BEGINS IN THE MORNING


COMBUSTION WITHOUT FIRE

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The metaphor of His Light is that of a niche in which is a lamp, the lamp inside a glass, the glass like a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, its oil all but giving off light even if no fire touches it. Light upon Light. Allah guides to His Light whoever He wills and Allah makes metaphors for mankind and Allah has knowledge of all things. (Qur'an, 24:35)

This verse refers to something that emits light. This light-emitting entity is compared to a star. The fact that the fuel used by this star-like, light-emitting body belongs to neither East nor West may be an indication that the body has no physical dimensions. If one assumes that the fuel source is in an energy dimension, then it is very likely that the fuel in the verse refers to electrical energy, and the light-emitting body to a light bulb.

A bulb is a body which shines like a star and emits light, inside glass, and that is in full conformity with the description in the verse. Unlike oil lamps and gas lamps, light bulbs do not burn oil, and, in line with the description supplied in the verse, combustion without fire takes place inside it. As a result of the vibration among the atoms of the heat-resistant tungsten wire, the temperature inside the bulb rises to over 2,000 Centigrade. This temperature, which would melt other metals, is so high that it gives rise to a powerful, visible light. Despite that heat, however, no combustion takes place, again in line with the verse, since the bulb contains no oxygen. In addition, the filament inside the bulb closely resembles a bright star.

If we bear in mind the fact that electricity is one of the greatest discoveries in the history of the world, and that it lights just about the entire world by means of bulbs, then we may well assume that the verse may be pointing to this major discovery. (Allah knows best.)

Another explanation could be that the light is emitted as a result of the nuclear reaction in stars. Stars are bright, hot, rotating masses of gas which emit large quantities of light and heat as a result of nuclear reactions. Most newly-forming large stars begin to collapse under the weight of their own gravitational pull. That means that their centres are hotter and denser. When the matter in the centre of the star is sufficiently heated-when it reaches at least 10 million degrees Centigrade-nuclear reactions begin.53 What happens inside a star is that with enormous energy (fusion), hydrogen turns into helium. Nuclear fusion takes the particles that make up hydrogen and sticks them together to make helium (1 helium atom is made from 4 hydrogen atoms). In order to make the protons and neutrons in the helium stick together, the atom gives off tremendous energy. The energy released in the process is radiated from the surface of the star as light and heat. When the hydrogen is consumed, the star then begins to burn with helium, in exactly the same way, and heavier elements are formed. These reactions continue until the mass of the star has been consumed.

However, since oxygen is not used in these reactions inside stars, the result is not ordinary combustion, such as that takes place when burning a piece of wood. The combustion seen as giant flames in stars does not actually derive from fire. Indeed, burning of just this kind is described in the verse. If one also thinks that the verse refers to a star, its fuel and combustion without fire, then one can also think that it is referring to the emission of light and mode of combustion in stars. (Allah knows best.)


THE WEIGHT OF CLOUDS

The weight of clouds can reach quite astonishing proportions. For example, a cumulonimbus cloud, commonly known as the thunder cloud, can contain up to 300,000 tons of water.

The fact that a mass of 300,000 tons of water can remain aloft is truly amazing. Attention is drawn to the weight of clouds in other verses of the Qur'an:

It is He Who sends out the winds, bringing advance news of His mercy, so that when they have lifted up the heavy clouds, We dispatch them to a dead land and send down water to it, by means of which We bring forth all kinds of fruit... (Qur'an, 7:57)

It is He Who shows you the lightning, striking fear and bringing hope; it is He Who heaps up the heavy clouds. (Qur'an, 13:12)

At the time when the Qur'an was revealed, of course, it was quite impossible to have any information about the weight of clouds. This information, revealed in the Qur'an, but discovered only recently, is yet another proof that the Qur'an is the Word of Allah.


THE PROPORTION OF RAIN

Another item of information provided in the Qur'an about rain is that it is sent down to Earth in "due measure." This is mentioned in Surat az-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]. (Qur'an, 43:11)

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. Therefore, water continuously circulates in a balanced cycle, according to a "measure." Life on Earth depends on this water cycle. Even if all the available technology in the world were to be employed for this purpose, this cycle could not be reproduced artificially.

Even a minor deviation in this equilibrium would soon give rise to a major ecological imbalance that would bring about the end of life on Earth. Yet, it never happens, and rain continues to fall every year in exactly the same measure, just as revealed in the Qur'an.

The proportion of rain does not merely apply to its quantity, but also to the speed of the falling raindrops. The speed of raindrops, regardless of their size, does not exceed a certain limit.



Every year, the amount of water that evaporates and that falls back to the Earth in the form of rain is "constant": 513 trillion tons. This constant amount is declared in the Qur'an by the expression "sending down water in due measure from the sky." The constancy of this quantity is very important for the continuity of the ecological balance, and therefore, life.

Philipp Lenard, a German physicist who received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1905, found that the fall speed increased with drop diameter until a size of 4.5 mm (0.18 inch). For larger drops, however, the fall speed did not increase beyond 8 metres per second (26 ft/sec).54 He attributed this to the changes in drop shape caused by the air flow as the drop size increased. The change in shape thus increased the air resistance of the drop and slowed its fall rate.

As can be seen, the Qur'an may also be drawing our attention to the subtle adjustment in rain which could not have been known 1,400 years ago.


THE FORMATION OF RAIN

How rain was formed remained a great mystery for quite some time. Only after the weather radar was invented was it possible to discover the stages by which rain is formed.

According to this discovery, 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 Allah 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 servants He wills, they rejoice. (Qur'an, 30:48)

Now, let us examine these three stages outlined in the verse in more detail.

FIRST STAGE: "It is Allah 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.


The above illustration shows the water droplets being released into the air. This is the first stage in the formation of rain. After that, the water droplets in the newly formed clouds will be suspended in the air and then condense to form rain. All of these stages are related in the Qur'an.

 

THIRD STAGE: "…and you see the rain come pouring out 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 already discussed, 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, Allah gave the most correct explanation of this phenomenon, and made it known 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 Allah 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. (Qur'an, 24:43)

Scientists studying cloud types came across surprising results with regards to the formation of rain clouds. Rain clouds are formed and shaped according to definite systems and stages. The stages of formation of one kind of rain cloud, cumulonimbus, are these:

1. STAGE, Being driven along: Clouds are carried along, that is, they are driven along, by the wind.


(A) Isolated small pieces of clouds (cumulonimbus clouds)

(B) When the small clouds join together, updrafts within the larger cloud increase. As a result, the cloud is stacked up.

2. STAGE, Joining: Then, small clouds (cumulonimbus clouds) driven along by the wind join together, forming a larger cloud.55

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.56

We must remember that meteorologists have only recently come to know these details about cloud formation, structure and function, by using advanced equipment like planes, satellites, computers etc. It is evident that Allah has provided us information that could not have been known 1,400 years ago.

These updrafts cause the cloud body to grow vertically and 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. This scientific fact was announced in Sura Nur 43 fourteen centuries ago by Allah in this way: "... then [He] makes them into a stack, and then you see the rain come out of it…"


RAINS WHICH BRING A DEAD LAND BACK TO LIFE

The rain's function of "bringing a dead land back to life" is indicated in several verses of the Qur'an:

… We send down from heaven pure water so that by it We can bring a dead land to life and give drink to many of the animals and people We created. (Qur'an, 25:48-49)

As well as bringing water, an essential requirement for living things, to the earth, the rain also has a fertilising property. Drops of rain which evaporate from the sea and reach the clouds contain certain substances which "revitalise" dead soil. These raindrops with such "revitalising" properties are called "surface tension droplets." These form from the top layer of the surface of the sea, called the micro-layer by biologists; in this surface layer, less than one-tenth of a millimetre thick, are found large quantities of organic waste formed from the decomposition of microscopic algae and zooplanktons. Some of these wastes collect and absorb elements such as phosphorus, magnesium and potassium, which are rarely found in sea water, as well as heavy metals such as copper, zinc, cobalt and lead. Seeds and plants on the surface of the earth receive large quantities of the mineral salts and elements they need to grow from these raindrops. The Qur'an refers to this in these terms:

And We sent down blessed water from the sky and made gardens grow by it and grain for harvesting. (Qur'an, 50:9)

These salts which descend with the rain are examples in miniature of fertilisers traditionally used to enhance productivity (calcium, magnesium, potassium etc.). Heavy metals of the kind found in aerosols create elements which increase productivity during growth and production of plants. In short, rain is an important fertiliser. With the fertiliser which provided by rain alone, within a hundred years, a soil of poor quality can obtain all the elements necessary for plants. Forests also grow and are nourished with help from these chemicals which originate from the sea.

In this way, every year some 150 million tons of particles of fertiliser fall to earth. Were it not for this fertilising function, there would have been far fewer plants on the Earth and the balance of life would have been disturbed. The information about the revitalisation of plants in the verse is just one of the countless miraculous properties of the Qur'an.

THE FORMATION OF HAIL, THUNDER AND LIGHTNING

… He sends down mountains from the sky with hail inside them, striking with it anyone He wills and averting it from anyone He wills. The brightness of His lightning almost blinds the sight. (Qur'an, 24:43)

The above verse refers to hail and lightning. When the formation of hail and lightning are examined, it can be seen that an important meteorological truth is being indicated in this verse. About the formation of lightning and hail, the book Meteorology Today says that a cloud becomes electrified as hail falls through a region in the cloud of supercooled droplets and ice crystals. Liquid droplets freeze and release latent heat as they collide with a hailstone. This keeps the surface of the hailstone warmer than that of the surrounding ice crystals. An important phenomenon occurs when the hailstone comes in contact with an ice crystal: Electrons flow from the colder object toward the warmer one. In this way, the hailstone becomes negatively charged. This effect also occurs when supercooled droplets come in contact with a hailstone and small pieces of positively charged ice break off. These particles, which are lighter and positively charged, are carried to the upper part of the cloud by currents of air. The hail has a negative charge now, and falls towards the bottom of the cloud, thus the lower part of the cloud becomes negatively charged. These negative charges are then discharged as lightning. It may be concluded from this that hail is the main factor in the formation of lightning.57

In the following verse, however, attention is drawn to the link between rain clouds and lightning, and to the order of formation, information that parallels that discovered by science:

Or [their likeness is] that of a storm-cloud in the sky, full of darkness, thunder and lightning. They put their fingers in their ears against the thunderclaps, fearful of death… (Qur'an, 2:19)

Rain clouds are tremendous masses covering 20 to 260 square metres (10 to 100 square miles) and reaching great vertical heights of 9,000 to 12,000 metres (30,000 to 40,000 ft.). Due to these extraordinary dimensions, the lower part of these clouds are dark. It is impossible for the Sun's rays to pass through them, because of the large quantities of water and ice particles they contain. Very little solar energy therefore reaches the Earth through the clouds, which is why the clouds appear dark to someone looking up at them.58

The stages of the formation of thunder and lightning after that darkness, mentioned in the verse, are as follows: An electrical charge forms inside the rain cloud. This comes about as a result of such processes as freezing, the division of raindrops and charge formation during contact. The accumulation of such electrical charges, when the air between becomes unable to insulate them, leads to a great spark, a discharge between the positive and negative fields. The voltage between two oppositely charged areas can reach 1 billion volts. The spark can also form within the cloud, can cross between two clouds, from a positively charged area to a negative one, or be discharged from the cloud to the ground. These sparks form dazzling lightning strikes. This sudden increase in the electrical charge along the line of lightning causes intense heat (10,000 degrees Centigrade). As a result, there is a sudden expansion of the air, which in turn causes the loud noise associated with thunder.59

The thunder glorifies His praise, as do the angels, out of fear of Him. He discharges the thunderbolts, striking with them anyone He wills. Yet still they argue about Allah when He is inexorable in His power!
(Qur’an, 13:13)

As has been discussed, dark layers, followed by the electrically charged sparks known as lightning, and then the loud noise called thunder, form within a rain cloud. Everything modern science has established about clouds, and has to say about the causes of thunder and lightning, is in complete accord with the descriptions in the Qur'an.


THE FECUNDATING WINDS

In one verse of the Qur'an, the "fecundating" characteristic of the winds, and the resulting formation of rain are mentioned.

And We send the fecundating winds, then cause water to descend from the sky, therewith providing you with water in abundance. (Qur'an, 15:22)

This verse points out that the first stage in the formation of rain is wind. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the only relationship known between the wind and the rain was that it was the wind that drove the clouds. However, modern meteorological findings have demonstrated the "fecundating" role of the wind in the formation of rain.

As explained earlier, this fecundating function of the wind works in the following way:

On the surface of oceans and seas, a large number of 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 millimetre, 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 mentioned, 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 rain.

The most important point to be recognized here is that this critical role of the wind in the formation of rain was stated centuries ago in the Qur'an, at a time when very little was known about natural phenomena…

The picture above shows the stages in the formation of a wave. Waves are formed by the wind blowing above the surface of the water. With the wind, water particles start to move in a circular motion. This movement soon forms waves, one after the other, and bubbles formed by the waves spread in the air. This is the first stage in the formation of rain. This process is declared in the verse as "We send the fecundating winds and then cause water to descend from the sky."

Further information provided in the verse about the fertilising quality of the wind is its role in the pollination of flowers. Many plants on Earth disperse their pollen by means of the wind in order to ensure the survival of their species. Several open-seeded plants, pine trees, palm and similar trees, seeded plants that produce flowers, and grass-like plants are entirely pollinated by the wind. The wind carries the pollen from the plants to others of the species, thus fertilising them.

Until recently, the way that the wind was able to fertilise plants was unknown. When it was realised, however, that plants are divided into males and females, the fertilising role of the wind was also discovered. This truth was already indicated in the Qur'an: "… [He] sent down water from the sky by which We have brought forth various different types of plants in pairs." (Qur'an, 20:53)


THE STAGES OF WIND FORMATION

… and [in His] directing of the winds, there are Signs for people who use their intellect. (Qur'an, 45:5)


The diagram to the side shows the formation of air currents and winds on the Earth.

Wind is a movement of air which forms between two different temperature centres. Due to the different pressures caused by different temperatures in the atmosphere, air constantly flows from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure. If differences between pressure centres, in other words, temperatures in the atmosphere, are large, the flow of air, in other words, the wind, is very strong, so strong in fact that tornadoes which can inflict terrible damage can be formed.

What is astonishing here is that, despite there being belts of very different temperatures and pressures, such as the equator and the poles, thanks to the order in Allah's creation, our Earth is not exposed to disastrously fierce winds. Were the force of the winds that would otherwise blow between the poles and the equator not tempered, the Earth would become a dead planet constantly buffeted by tornadoes.

In the Arabic expression "tasreefi rriyah," in the above verse, the word "tasreef" means "turning over many times, directing, shaping something, managing, distributing." The choice of this word for the wind fully describes the way it blows in an ordered manner. It is also a clear expression of the fact that the wind does not blow by chance, of its own accord. It is Allah Who directs the winds in such a way as to make human life possible.


HOW THE PROCESS OF PHOTOSYNTHESIS BEGINS IN THE MORNING

And [I swear] by the night when it draws in, and by the dawn when it breathes in. (Qur'an, 81:17-18)


Light is one of the most essential elements in the performance of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis varies in proportion to the intensity and duration of the light source. With the reception of the Sun’s rays in the morning, photosynthesis—in other words, the production of oxygen begins.

When plants undergo photosynthesis, they take in carbon dioxide, a harmful gas that human beings cannot consume, from the air, and give off oxygen instead. Oxygen, which we breathe and which is our basic source of life, is the main product of photosynthesis. Some 30% of the oxygen in the atmosphere is produced by plants on land, the remaining 70% being produced by plants and single-celled living things in the seas and oceans.

Photosynthesis is a complex process, and one which scientists have still not yet fully understood. This process cannot be observed with the naked eye, because the mechanism employs electrons, atoms and molecules. However, we can see the results of photosynthesis in the oxygen which enables us to breathe, and in the foodstuffs that keep us alive. Photosynthesis is a system which involves complicated chemical formulae and units of weight, and on very small scale, and consisting of the most sensitive equilibriums. There are trillions of chemical laboratories that carry out this process in all the green plants around us. Furthermore, plants have been meeting our oxygen, food and energy needs non-stop for millions of years.

The productivity of photosynthesis is measured by the level of oxygen output. The greatest point is in the morning, when the Sun's rays are most concentrated. At dawn, the leaves begin to sweat, and photosynthesis increases accordingly. In the afternoon, however, the opposite applies; in other words photosynthesis slows down, and respiration increases because as the temperature rises perspiration also increases. At night, as the temperature falls, perspiration declines and the plant rests.

The term "itha tanaffasa" in Surat at-Takwir, in reference to the morning hours, in other words, "when it breathes in," is a metaphorical reference to breathing, respiration, or breathing deeply. This term particularly emphasises the way that the production of oxygen begins in the morning, and that the greatest levels of oxygen, essential for respiration, are given off at that time. The importance of the phenomena is also emphasised by the way that Allah swears upon it. The way that Allah indicates the action of photosynthesis, among the most important discoveries of the 20th century, in this verse, is another of the scientific miracles of the Qur'an.


Photosynthesis is the use by plants and sometimes by certain bacteria and single-cell life forms of the Sun’s rays in order to produce sugar (carbohydrate) from carbon dioxide and water. As a result of this reaction, the energy in the Sun’s rays is stored inside the sugar molecule produced. The following formula summarises the reaction that takes place during the process by which unusable solar energy is transformed into usable chemical energy:

6H2O + 6CO2 ---PHOTOSYNTHESIS---> C6H12O6+ 6O2

(6 water molecules + 6 carbon dioxide molecules are turned into 1 sugar molecule and 6 oxygen molecules by means of photosynthesis.)

 
 

    

53. Digitale Ausgabe LexiRom (Digital Expenditure LexiRom)
54. Keith C. Heidorn, Ph.D., “Philipp Lenard: Brushing the Teardrops from Rain,” www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/history/lenard.htm.
55. Richard A. Anthes, et al., The Atmosphere, 3rd ed. (Columbus: Charles E. Merrill Publishing Company: 1981), 268-269; Albert Millers, Jack C. Thompson, Elements of Meteorology, 2nd ed. (Columbus: Charles E. Merrill Publishing Company: 1975), 141.
56. Anthes, et al., The Atmosphere, 269; Millers, and Thompson, Elements of Meteorology, 141-142.
57. C. Donald Ahrens, Meteorology Today: An Introduction to Weather, Climate and Environment, 3rd ed. (St. Paul: West Publishing Company: 1988), 437.
58. Athar Lila, “The Quran and Modern Physics,” 10 December 1998, http://webhome.idirect.com/~alila/Writings/Physics.htm.
59. Ibid.