Science In Islam
In the Holy Quran, God speaks about the stages of man’s embryonic development, 1,400 years before modern day scientists ‘discovered’ important information on creation of man and his 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 alaqah into a mudghah (chewed-like substance)… (Quran 23:12-14)
Literally the Arabic word alaqah has 3 meanings:
In comparing a leech to the embryo at the alaqah stage, we find similarity between the two.”
“Also, the embryo as this stage obtains nourishment from the blood of the mother, similar to the leech which feeds on the blood of others.”
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’. The suspension of the embryo, during the alaqah stage, in the womb of the mother very appropriately fits this description.
Figure 2: We can see in this diagram the suspension of an embryo during the alaqah 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 3: In this photomicrograph, we can see the suspension of an embryo (marked B) during the alaqah stage (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.)
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 stage. Also during this stage the blood in the embryo does not circulate until the end of the third week. So the embryo at this stage is like a clot of blood.
Figure 4: Diagram of the primitive cardiovascular system in an embryo during the alaqah 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.)
By examining a diagram of the primitive cardiovascular system in an embryo during the alaqah stage we would notice 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
So the three meanings of the word alaqah correspond accurately to the descriptions of the embryo at the alaqah stage.
The next stage mentioned in the verse is the mudghah stage. The Arabic word mudghah means “chewed-like substance.” If one were to take a piece of gum and chew it in his mouth, and then compare it with the embryo at the mudghah stage, we would conclude that they would be almost identical because of the somites at the back of the embryo that ‘somewhat resemble teeth marks in a chewed substance.’(see figures 5 and 6)
Figure 5: Photograph of an embryo at the mudghah 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 6: When comparing the appearance of an embryo at the mudghah stage with a piece of gum that has been chewed, we find similarity between the two.
A) Drawing of an embryo at the mudghah stage. 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.
How could Muhammad (pbuh) have possibly known all this 1,400 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 using an improved microscope in 1677 A.D. (more than 1,000 years after Muhammad, peace be upon him]. They mistakenly thought that the sperm cell contained a miniature preformed human being that grew when it was deposited in the female genital tract
[The Developing Human, p.9]
Professor Keith Moore is one of the world’s 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 considered a scientific reference work and was chosen by a special committee in the United States as the best book authored by on person. Dr. Keith Moore is a Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. 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, or Allah, because almost all of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later. This proves to me that Muhammad must have been the messenger of God, or Allah [The reference for this statement is on 'This is the Truth' (video tape). For a copy of this video tape please contact us].
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.”
During one conference, Professor Moore stated, “… because the stagein 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 the Sunnah (sayings of Muhammad, peace be upon him). The proposed system is simple, comprehensive, and conforms with present embryological knowledge. The intensive studies of the Quran and Hadith (reliably transmitted sayings and reports of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) in the last four years have revealed a system of classifying human embryos that is amazing since it was recorded in the 7th century A.D. Although Eric Statle, 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 stagein 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 7th century A.D. The only reasonable conclusion is that 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.” [This is the Truth -video tape]
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). 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’. The illuminating stars we see at night were, just as was the whole universe, in that ‘smoke’ material. God said in the Quran:
Then He turned to the heavens when it was smoke...(Quran 41:11)
Because the earth and the heavens above (the sun, 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 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)
Professor Alfred Kroner is one of the world’s well-known geologists. He is a Professor of the Department of Geosciences, University of Mainz, 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 advance technological methods that this is the case.” (From ‘This is the Truth’ ). 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.”
According to the scientists today:
“Water vaporizes from the oceans and rivers forming tiny clouds. The small clouds join together and the updrafts within the larger cloud increase. The updrafts closer to the center are stronger, because they are protected from the cooling effects by the outer portion of the cloud. 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.”
[From "The Atmosphere" p. 269 and "Elements of Meteorology" pp. 141-142]
- Now just for the sake of argument, let us see what the “Muslim scientists” used to formulate their understandings centuries ago based on the revelation of the Quran (revealed 1400 years ago):
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)
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.)
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.)
Example: A cumulonimbus cloud. After the cloud is stacked upward, rain comes out of it. Diagram taken from the book entitled, “Weather and Climate”, Bodin.
Figure 21: A cumulonimbus cloud. (A Colour Guide to Clouds, Scorer and Wexler, p. 23.)
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.
The preceding verse, after mentioning clouds and rain, Quran 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.
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) like mountains, as the Quran says;
…And He sends down hail from mountains (clouds) in the sky… (Quran 24:43)
Now this verse may raise the question: “Why does the verse say “its lightning” while referring to hail? This seems to indicate that hail is a major factor in producing lightning. Looking to a book on the subject (Meteorology Today) we find that it says:
“Clouds become electrified as hail falls through a region in the cloud of super cooled droplets and ice crystals. As liquid droplets collide with the hail they freeze on contact and release latent heat. This keeps the surface of the hail warmer than that of the surrounding ice crystals. When the hail comes in contact with an ice crystal, an important phenomenon occurs: electrons flow from the colder object toward the warmer object. So, the hail becomes negatively charged. The same effect occurs when super cooled droplets come in contact with a piece of hail 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 toward the bottom of the cloud, so the lower part of the cloud becomes negatively charged. These negative charges are then discharged to the ground as lightning.
[Meteorology Today p. 437]
This information on lightning was discovered recently. Until 1,600 A.D., Aristotle’s ideas on meteorology were dominant in the non-Muslim countries. 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.
[Works of Aristotle Translated into English pp. 369 a&b]
These are some of the ideas on meteorology that were dominant at the time of the Quran’s revelation, fourteen hundred years ago.
A book entitled “Earth” is considered a basic reference text in many universities around the world. One of the authors of this book is Frank Press. He is currently the President of the Academy of Sciences in the USA. Previously, he was the science advisor to former USA President Jimmy Carter. His book says that mountains have underlying rootsThese roots are deeply embedded in the ground. So mountains have a shape like a peg as is seen in an example on page 220 in the same book. Another illustration shows how the mountains are peg-like in shape, due to their deep roots
Figure 7: Mountains have deep roots under the surface of the ground. (Earth, Press and Siever, p. 413.)
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: 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 described mountains. God 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 and that these roots can reach several times their elevations above the surface of the ground. So the 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. [Geological Concept of Mountains p.5]
Mountains also play an important role in stabilizing the crust of the earth.
They hinder the shaking of the earth. God 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
Could anyone during the time of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) have known of the true shape of mountains? Could any one 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 Quran’s verses.
Allah 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. Darkness, 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. Below a depth of 1,000 meters there is no light at all [Oceans Elder and Pernetta p.27]
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.
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.” [Oceanography, Gross, p. 205]
Example: 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 600 feet, except the blue light. “Oceans,” Elder and Pernetta.
Example: Internal waves at interface between two layers of water of different densities. One is dense (the lower one), the upper one is less dense. “Oceanography”, Gross.
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.
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. [Principles of Oceanography - Davis, pp. 92-93]
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 1,000 meters with its own warm, saline and less dense characteristics.
The Mediterranean water stabilizes at this depth. [Principles of Oceanography p. 93]
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.)
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. Allah said:
He has let free the two seas meeting to gather. 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.
Allah said in the Quran:
He is the one who has let free the two bodies of flowing 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)
On 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.” [Oceanography p. 242] this partition (zone of separation) has a different salinity from the fresh water and from the salt water [Oceanography p. 244 and Introductory Oceanography pp. 300-301]
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.)
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: the fresh water, the salt water, the partition (zone of separation).
Let him beware! If he does not stop, We will take him by the Naseyah (front of the head), a lying, sinful Naseyah (from 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, in the area we call the forehead. What does physiology tell us about the function of this area? A book entitled Essentials of Anatomy & Physiology says about this area, “The motivation and the foresight to plan and initiate movements occur in the anterior portion of frontal lobes, the prefrontal area. This is a region of association cortex..” Also the book says, “In relation to its involvement in motivation, the prefrontal area is also thought to be the functional center for aggression…”
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.)
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. So, it is proper for the telling of lies and the speaking of truth. So, it is proper to describe the front of the head as lying and sinful when someone lies or commits a sin, as the Quran says:
...A lying, sinful Naseyah (from of the head)! ( Quran 96:16)
Scientists have only discovered these functions of the prefrontal area in the last sixty years, according to Professor Keith L. Moore. [Scientific Miracles in the Front of the Head p. 41]
As we shall see later on, Pharaoh regarded himself as a deity and responded with slanders and threats to Prophet Musa’s (as) calls for him to believe in Allah. This arrogant attitude lasted until he was faced with the threat of death through drowning. The Qur’an relates that Pharaoh immediately turned to belief when faced with Allah’s punishment:
We brought the tribe of Israel across the sea, and Pharaoh and his troops pursued them out of tyranny and enmity. Then, when he was on the point of drowning, he [Pharaoh] said: “I believe that there is no god but Him in Whom the tribe of Israel believes. I am one of the Muslims.” (Qur’an, 10:90)
However, this last-minute conversion was not accepted, for it was not sincere. According to the Qur’an, Allah exclaimed:
“What, now! When previously you rebelled and were one of the corrupters? Today we will preserve your body so you can be a Sign for people who come after you. Surely many people are heedless of Our Signs.” (Qur’an, 10:91-92)
The information that Pharaoh’s corpse would serve as a sign for later generations may be regarded as an indication that his body would not decay. On display in the Royal Mummies Chamber of theEgyptianMuseuminCairois a mummified body believed to be that of this tyrant. In all likelihood, Pharaoh’s body floated to shore after being drowned, was found and mummified by the Egyptians, and then carried to a previously prepared burial chamber.
The Quran was sent over 1,400 Years ago, and describes the preservation of his body, and how he will be a sign for many to come. The Pharaoh Died between 1,300BC-1,400BC, Long before the Quran was sent Down, and the Body of Pharaoh was discovered in 1881AD. How would anyone know where the body was? And if there was even a body? When the Pharaoh was found, this confirmed the Verse in the Quran.
This is another Miracle of Allah for all mandkind to see.