Saturday, 10 January 2015

The Quran on Clouds

Scientists have studied cloud types and have realized that rain clouds are formed and shaped according to definite systems and certain steps connected with certain types of wind and clouds.
One kind of rain cloud is the cumulonimbus cloud.  Meteorologists have studied how cumulonimbus clouds are formed and how they produce rain, hail, and lightning.
They have found that cumulonimbus clouds go through the following steps to produce rain:
1)  The clouds are pushed by the wind:Cumulonimbus clouds begin to form when wind pushes some small pieces of clouds (cumulus clouds) to an area where these clouds converge (see figures 17 and 18).
Figure 17 (Click here to enlarge)
Figure 17: Satellite photo showing the clouds moving towards the convergence areas B, C, and D.  The arrows indicate the directions of the wind. (The Use of Satellite Pictures in Weather Analysis and Forecasting, Anderson and others, p. 188.)  (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

Figure 18 (Click here to enlarge)
Figure 18: Small pieces of clouds (cumulus clouds) moving towards a convergence zone near the horizon, where we can see a large cumulonimbus cloud. (Clouds and Storms, Ludlam, plate 7.4.)   (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
2)  Joining: Then the small clouds join together forming a larger cloud1 (see figures 18 and 19).
Figure 19 (Click here to enlarge)
Figure 19: (A) Isolated small pieces of clouds (cumulus clouds).  (B) When the small clouds join together, updrafts within the larger cloud increase, so the cloud is stacked up.  Water drops are indicated by ·. (The Atmosphere, Anthes and others, p. 269.)  (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
3)  Stacking: When the small clouds join together, updrafts within the larger cloud increase.  The updrafts near the center of the cloud are stronger than those near the edges.2  These updrafts cause the cloud body to grow vertically, so the cloud is stacked up (see figures 19 (B), 20, and 21).  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.3
Figure 20: A cumulonimbus cloud.  After the cloud is stacked up, rain comes out of it. (Weather and Climate, Bodin, p.123.)
Figure 20

Figure 21
Figure 21: A cumulonimbus cloud. (A Colour Guide to Clouds, Scorer and Wexler, p. 23.)
God has said in the Quran:
 Have you not seen how God makes the clouds move gently, then joins them together, then makes them into a stack, and then you see the rain come out of it....  (Quran, 24:43)
Meteorologists have only recently come to know these details of cloud formation, structure, and function by using advanced equipment like planes, satellites, computers, balloons, and other equipment, to study wind and its direction, to measure humidity and its variations, and to determine the levels and variations of atmospheric pressure.4
The preceding verse, after mentioning clouds and rain, speaks about hail and lightning:
 ....And He sends down hail from mountains (clouds) in the sky, and He strikes with it whomever He wills, and turns it from whomever He wills. The vivid flash of its lightning nearly blinds the sight.  (Quran, 24:43)
Meteorologists have found that these cumulonimbus clouds, that shower hail, reach a height of 25,000 to 30,000 ft (4.7 to 5.7 miles),5 like mountains, as the Quran said,“...And He sends down hail from mountains (clouds) in the sky...” (see figure 21 above).
This verse may raise a question.  Why does the verse say“its lightning” in a reference to the hail?  Does this mean that hail is the major factor in producing lightning?  Let us see what the book entitled Meteorology Today says about this.  It says that a cloud becomes electrified as hail falls through a region in the cloud of supercooled droplets and ice crystals.  As liquid droplets collide with a hailstone, they freeze on contact and release latent heat.  This keeps the surface of the hailstone warmer than that of the surrounding ice crystals.  When the hailstone comes in contact with an ice crystal, an important phenomenon occurs: electrons flow from the colder object toward the warmer object.  Hence, the hailstone becomes negatively charged.  The same effect occurs when supercooled droplets come in contact with a hailstone and tiny splinters of positively charged ice break off.  These lighter positively charged particles are then carried to the upper part of the cloud by updrafts.  The hail, left with a negative charge, 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.6  We conclude from this that hail is the major factor in producing lightning.
This information on lightning was discovered recently.  Until 1600 AD, Aristotle’s ideas on meteorology were dominant.  For example, he said that the atmosphere contains two kinds of exhalation, moist and dry.  He also said that thunder is the sound of the collision of the dry exhalation with the neighboring clouds, and lightning is the inflaming and burning of the dry exhalation with a thin and faint fire.7  These are some of the ideas on meteorology that were dominant at the time of the Quran’s revelation, fourteen centuries ago. 

The Quran on Deep Seas and Internal Waves

God has said in the Quran:
 Or (the unbelievers’ state) is like the darkness in a deep sea.  It is covered by waves, above which are waves, above which are clouds.  Darknesses, one above another.  If a man stretches out his hand, he cannot see it....  (Quran, 24:40)
This verse mentions the darkness found in deep seas and oceans, where if a man stretches out his hand, he cannot see it.  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 (see figure 15).  Below a depth of 1000 meters there is no light at all.1  Human beings are not able to dive more than forty meters without the aid of submarines or special equipment.  Human beings cannot survive unaided in the deep dark part of the oceans, such as at a depth of 200 meters.
Figure 15
Figure 15: Between 3 and 30 percent of the sunlight is reflected at the sea surface.  Then almost all of the seven colors of the light spectrum are absorbed one after another in the first 200 meters, except the blue light. (Oceans, Elder and Pernetta, p. 27.)
Scientists have recently discovered this darkness by means of special equipment and submarines that have enabled them to dive into the depths of the oceans.
We can also understand from the following sentences in the previous verse, “...in a deep sea.  It is covered by waves, above which are waves, above which are clouds....”, that the deep waters of seas and oceans are covered by waves, and above these waves are other waves.  It is clear that the second set of waves are the surface waves that we see, because the verse mentions that above the second waves there are clouds.  But what about the first waves?  Scientists have recently discovered that there are internal waves which “occur on density interfaces between layers of different densities.”2 (see figure 16).
Figure 16
Figure 16: Internal waves at interface between two layers of water of different densities.  One is dense (the lower one), the other one is less dense (the upper one). (Oceanography, Gross, p. 204.)
The internal waves cover the deep waters of seas and oceans because the deep waters have a higher density than the waters above them.  Internal waves act like surface waves.  They can also 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.3

The Quran on Seas and Rivers

Modern Science has discovered that in the places where two different seas meet, there is a barrier between them.  This barrier divides the two seas so that each sea has its own temperature, salinity, and density.1  For example, Mediterranean sea water is warm, saline, and less dense, compared to Atlantic ocean water.  When Mediterranean sea water enters the Atlantic over the Gibraltar sill, it moves several hundred kilometers into the Atlantic at a depth of about 1000 meters with its own warm, saline, and less dense characteristics.  The Mediterranean water stabilizes at this depth2 (see figure 13).
 
Figure 13 (Click here to enlarge)
Figure 13: The Mediterranean sea water as it enters the Atlantic over the Gibraltar sill with its own warm, saline, and less dense characteristics, because of the barrier that distinguishes between them.  Temperatures are in degrees Celsius (C°). (Marine Geology, Kuenen, p. 43, with a slight enhancement.)  (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
Although there are large waves, strong currents, and tides in these seas, they do not mix or transgress this barrier.
The Holy Quran mentioned that there is a barrier between two seas that meet and that they do not transgress.  God has said:
 He has set free the two seas meeting together.  There is a barrier between them.  They do not transgress.  (Quran, 55:19-20)
But when the Quran speaks about the divider between fresh and salt water, it mentions the existence of “a forbidding partition” with the barrier.  God has said in the Quran:
 He is the one who has 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.  (Quran, 25:53)
One may ask, why did the Quran mention the partition when speaking about the divider between fresh 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.  It has been discovered that what distinguishes fresh water from salt water in estuaries is a “pycnocline zone with a marked density discontinuity separating the two layers.”3  This partition (zone of separation) has a different salinity from the fresh water and from the salt water4 (see figure 14).
Figure 14 (Click here to enlarge)
Figure 14: Longitudinal section showing salinity (parts per thousand ‰) in an estuary.  We can see here the partition (zone of separation) between the fresh and the salt water. (Introductory Oceanography, Thurman, p. 301, with a slight enhancement.)  (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
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, rather the two seas appear to us as one homogeneous sea.  Likewise, the human eye cannot see the division of water in estuaries into the three kinds: fresh water, salt water, and the partition (zone of separation)

The Quran on the Cerebrum

God has said in the Quran about one of the evil unbelievers who forbade the Prophet Muhammad  from praying at the Kaaba:
 No!  If he does not stop, We will take him by the naseyah (front of the head), a lying, sinful naseyah (front of the head)!  (Quran, 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?  What is the relationship between the front of the head and lying and sinfulness?
If we look into the skull at the front of the head, we will find the prefrontal area of the cerebrum (see figure 12).  What does physiology tell us about the function of this area?  A book entitled Essentials of Anatomy & Physiologysays 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...”1  Also the book says, “In relation to its involvement in motivation, the prefrontal area is also thought to be the functional center for aggression....”2
Figure 12 (Click here to enlarge)
Figure 12: Functional regions of the left hemisphere of the cerebral cortex.  The prefrontal area is located at the front of the cerebral cortex. (Essentials of Anatomy & Physiology, Seeley and others, p. 210.)  (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
So, this area of the cerebrum is responsible for planning, motivating, and initiating good and sinful behavior and is responsible for the telling of lies and the speaking of truth.  Thus, it is proper to describe the front of the head as lying and sinful when someone lies or commits a sin, as the Quran has said, “...A lying, sinful naseyah (front of the head)!”
Scientists have only discovered these functions of the prefrontal area in the last sixty years, according to Professor Keith L. Moore.

The Quran on the Origin of the Universe

The science of modern cosmology, observational and theoretical, clearly indicates that, at one point in time, the whole universe was nothing but a cloud of ‘smoke’ (i.e. an opaque highly dense and hot gaseous composition).1  This is one of the undisputed principles of standard modern cosmology.  Scientists now can observe new stars forming out of the remnants of that ‘smoke’ (see figures 10 and 11).
 
Figure 10
Figure 10: A new star forming out of a cloud of gas and dust (nebula), which is one of the remnants of the ‘smoke’ that was the origin of the whole universe. (The Space Atlas, Heather and Henbest, p. 50.)

Figure 11 (Click here to enlarge)
Figure 11: The Lagoon nebula is a cloud of gas and dust, about 60 light years in diameter.  It is excited by the ultraviolet radiation of the hot stars that have recently formed within its bulk. (Horizons, Exploring the Universe, Seeds, plate 9, from Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc.)  (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
The illuminating stars we see at night were, just as was the whole universe, in that ‘smoke’ material.  God has said in the Quran:
 Then He turned to the heaven when it was smoke...  (Quran, 41:11)
Because 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 one connected entity.  Then out of this homogeneous ‘smoke,’ they formed and separated from each other. God has said in the Quran:
 Have not those who disbelieved known that the heavens and the earth were one connected entity, then We separated them?...  (Quran, 21:30)
Dr. Alfred Kroner is one of the world’s renowned geologists.  He is Professor of Geology and the Chairman of the Department of Geology at the Institute of Geosciences, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.  He said: “Thinking where Muhammad came from . . . I think it is almost impossible that he could have known about things like the common origin of the universe, because scientists have only found out within the last few years, with very complicated and advanced technological methods, that this is the case.”  Also he said: “Somebody who did not know something about nuclear physics fourteen hundred years ago could not, I think, be in a position to find out from his own mind, for instance, that the earth and the heavens had the same origin.

The Quran on Mountains


A book entitled Earth is a basic reference textbook in many universities around the world.  One of its two authors is Professor Emeritus Frank Press.  He was the Science Advisor to former US President Jimmy Carter, and for 12 years was the President of the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC. His book says that mountains have underlying roots.1  These roots are deeply embedded in the ground, thus, mountains have a shape like a peg (see figures 7, 8, and 9).
 
Figure 7
Figure 7: Mountains have deep roots under the surface of the ground. (Earth, Press and Siever, p. 413.)

Figure 8 (Click here to enlarge)
Figure 8: Schematic section.  The mountains, like pegs, have deep roots embedded in the ground. (Anatomy of the Earth, Cailleux, p. 220.)  (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

Figure 9 (Click here to enlarge)
Figure 9: Another illustration shows how the mountains are peg-like in shape, due to their deep roots. (Earth Science, Tarbuck and Lutgens, p. 158.)  (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
This is how the Quran has described mountains.  God has said in the Quran:
 Have We not made the earth as a bed, and the mountains as pegs?  (Quran, 78:6-7)
Modern earth sciences have proven that mountains have deep roots under the surface of the ground (see figure 9) and that these roots can reach several times their elevations above the surface of the ground.2  So the most suitable word to describe mountains on the basis of this information is the word ‘peg,’ since most of a properly set peg is hidden under the surface of the ground.  The history of science tells us that the theory of mountains having deep roots was introduced only in the latter half of the nineteenth century.3
Mountains also play an important role in stabilizing the crust of the earth.4  They hinder the shaking of the earth.  God has said in the Quran:
 And He has set firm mountains in the earth so that it would not shake with you... (Quran, 16:15)
Likewise, the modern theory of plate tectonics holds that mountains work as stabilizers for the earth.  This knowledge about the role of mountains as stabilizers for the earth has just begun to be understood in the framework of plate tectonics since the late 1960’s.5
Could anyone during the time of the Prophet Muhammad  have known of the true shape of mountains?  Could anyone imagine that the solid massive mountain which he sees before him actually extends deep into the earth and has a root, as scientists assert?  A large number of books of geology, when discussing mountains, only describe that part which is above the surface of the earth.  This is because these books were not written by specialists in geology.  However, modern geology has confirmed the truth of the Quranic verses.

The Quran on Human Embryonic Development

In the Holy Quran, God speaks about the stages of man’s embryonic development:
 We created man from an extract of clay.  Then We made him as a drop in a place of settlement, firmly fixed.  Then We made the drop into an alaqah (leech, suspended thing, and blood clot), then We made the alaqahinto a mudghah (chewed substance)... 1(Quran, 23:12-14)
Literally, the Arabic word alaqah has three meanings: (1) leech, (2) suspended thing, and (3) blood clot.
In comparing a leech to an embryo in the alaqah stage, we find similarity between the two2 as we can see in figure 1.  Also, the embryo at this stage obtains nourishment from the blood of the mother, similar to the leech, which feeds on the blood of others.3
Figure 1
Figure 1: Drawings illustrating the similarities in appearance between a leech and a human embryo at the alaqah stage. (Leech drawing from Human Development as Described in the Quran and Sunnah, Moore and others, p. 37, modified from Integrated Principles of Zoology, Hickman and others.  Embryo drawing from The Developing Human, Moore and Persaud, 5th ed., p. 73.)
The second meaning of the word alaqah is “suspended thing.”  This is what we can see in figures 2 and 3, the suspension of the embryo, during the alaqah stage, in the womb of the mother.
Figure 2: We can see in this diagram the suspension of an embryo during thealaqah stage in the womb (uterus) of the mother. (The Developing Human, Moore and Persaud, 5th ed., p. 66.)  (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
Figure 2  (Click here to enlarge)
  
Figure 3: In this photomicrograph, we can see the suspension of an embryo (marked B) during the alaqahstage (about 15 days old) in the womb of the mother.  The actual size of the embryo is about 0.6 mm. (The Developing Human, Moore, 3rd ed., p. 66, from Histology, Leeson and Leeson.)
Figure 3
The third meaning of the word alaqah is “blood clot.”  We find that the external appearance of the embryo and its sacs during the alaqah stage is similar to that of a blood clot.  This is due to the presence of relatively large amounts of blood present in the embryo during this stage4 (see figure 4).  Also during this stage, the blood in the embryo does not circulate until the end of the third week.5  Thus, the embryo at this stage is like a clot of blood.
Figure 4: Diagram of the primitive cardiovascular system in an embryo during thealaqah stage.  The external appearance of the embryo and its sacs is similar to that of a blood clot, due to the presence of relatively large amounts of blood present in the embryo. (The Developing Human, Moore, 5th ed., p. 65.)  (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
Figure 4  (Click here to enlarge)
So the three meanings of the word alaqah correspond accurately to the descriptions of the embryo at the alaqahstage.
The next stage mentioned in the verse is the mudghahstage.  The Arabic word mudghah means “chewed substance.”  If one were to take a piece of gum and chew it in his or her mouth and then compare it with an embryo at the mudghah stage, we would conclude that the embryo at the mudghah stage acquires the appearance of a chewed substance.  This is because of the somites at the back of the embryo that “somewhat resemble teethmarks in a chewed substance.”6 (see figures 5 and 6).
Figure 5: Photograph of an embryo at themudghah stage (28 days old).  The embryo at this stage acquires the appearance of a chewed substance, because the somites at the back of the embryo somewhat resemble teeth marks in a chewed substance.  The actual size of the embryo is 4 mm. (The Developing Human, Moore and Persaud, 5th ed., p. 82, from Professor Hideo Nishimura, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.)
Figure 5
  
Figure 6: When comparing the appearance of an embryo at the mudghahstage with a piece of gum that has been chewed, we find similarity between the two.
A) Drawing of an embryo at the mudghahstage.  We can see here the somites at the back of the embryo that look like teeth marks. (The Developing Human, Moore and Persaud, 5th ed., p. 79.)
B) Photograph of a piece of gum that has been chewed.
(Click on the image to enlarge it.)
Figure 6  (Click here to enlarge)
How could Muhammad  have possibly known all this 1400 years ago, when scientists have only recently discovered this using advanced equipment and powerful microscopes which did not exist at that time?  Hamm and Leeuwenhoek were the first scientists to observe human sperm cells (spermatozoa) using an improved microscope in 1677 (more than 1000 years after Muhammad ).  They mistakenly thought that the sperm cell contained a miniature preformed human being that grew when it was deposited in the female genital tract.7
Professor Emeritus Keith L. Moore8 is one of the world’s most prominent scientists in the fields of anatomy and embryology and is the author of the book entitled The Developing Human, which has been translated into eight languages.  This book is a scientific reference work and was chosen by a special committee in the United States as the best book authored by one person.  Dr. Keith Moore is Professor Emeritus of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.  There, he was Associate Dean of Basic Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine and for 8 years was the Chairman of the Department of Anatomy.  In 1984, he received the most distinguished award presented in the field of anatomy in Canada, the J.C.B. Grant Award from the Canadian Association of Anatomists.  He has directed many international associations, such as the Canadian and American Association of Anatomists and the Council of the Union of Biological Sciences.
In 1981, during the Seventh Medical Conference in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Professor Moore said: “It has been a great pleasure for me to help clarify statements in the Quran about human development.  It is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad from God, because almost all of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later.  This proves to me that Muhammad must have been a messenger of God.”9  
Consequently, Professor Moore was asked the following question: “Does this mean that you believe that the Quran is the word of God?”  He replied: “I find no difficulty in accepting this.”10
During one conference, Professor Moore stated: “....Because the staging of human embryos is complex, owing to the continuous process of change during development, it is proposed that a new system of classification could be developed using the terms mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah (what Muhammad said, did, or approved of).  The proposed system is simple, comprehensive, and conforms with present embryological knowledge.  The intensive studies of the Quran and hadeeth(reliably transmitted reports by the Prophet Muhammad’s  companions of what he said, did, or approved of) in the last four years have revealed a system for classifying human embryos that is amazing since it was recorded in the seventh century A.D.  Although Aristotle, the founder of the science of embryology, realized that chick embryos developed in stages from his studies of hen’s eggs in the fourth century B.C., he did not give any details about these stages.  As far as it is known from the history of embryology, little was known about the staging and classification of human embryos until the twentieth century.  For this reason, the descriptions of the human embryo in the Quran cannot be based on scientific knowledge in the seventh century.  The only reasonable conclusion is: these descriptions were revealed to Muhammad from God.  He could not have known such details because he was an illiterate man with absolutely no scientific training.”

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