بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Miracles of the Quran is a 4 part series based on the works of Harun Yahya. The series uncovers a vast number of miracles: astronomy, mathematics, geology, embryology, future predictions and historical facts – to name a few! We thought we’d share some of the scientific facts from part 1.
Fourteen centuries ago, God sent down the Quran to mankind as a book of guidance. He called upon people to be guided to the truth by adhering to this book.
The Quran has many miraculous attributes proving that it is a revelation from God. One of these attributes is the fact that a number of scientific truths that we have only been able to uncover by the technology of the 20th century were stated in the Quran 1,400 years ago.
Of course the Quran is not a book of science. However, many scientific facts that are expressed in an extremely concise and profound manner in its verses have only been discovered with the technology of the 20th century. These facts could not have been known at the time of the Quran’s revelation.
In order to understand the scientific miracle of the Qur’an, we must first take a look at the level of science at the time when this holy book was revealed.
In the 7th century, when the Qur’an was revealed, Arab society had many superstitious and groundless beliefs where scientific issues were concerned. Lacking the technology to examine the universe and nature, these early Arabs believed in legends inherited from past generations. They supposed, for example, that mountains supported the sky above. They believed that the earth was flat and that there were high mountains at its both ends. It was thought that these mountains were pillars that kept the vault of heaven high above.
However all these superstitious beliefs of Arab society were eliminated with the Quran:
This verse invalidated the belief that the sky remains above because of the mountains.
In many other subjects, important facts were revealed at a time when no one could have known them. The Quran, which was revealed at a time when people knew very little about astronomy, physics, or biology, contains key facts on a variety of subjects such as the creation of the universe, the creation of the human being, the structure of the atmosphere, and the delicate balances that make life on earth possible.
In the Quran, which was revealed at a time when the science of astronomy was still primitive, the expansion of the universe was described like this:
In the Quran it is revealed that the universe “expands”. And this is the very conclusion that science has reached today.
Until the dawn of the 20th century, the only view prevailing in the world of science was that “the universe has a constant nature and it has existed since infinite time”. The research, observations, and calculations carried out by means of modern technology, however, have revealed that the universe in fact had a beginning, and that it constantly “expands”.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian physicist Alexander Friedmann and the Belgian cosmologist Georges Lemaitre theoretically calculated that the universe is in constant motion and that it is expanding.
This fact was proved also by observational data in 1929. While observing the sky with a telescope, Edwin Hubble, the American astronomer, discovered that the stars and galaxies were constantly moving away from each other. A universe where everything constantly moves away from everything else implied a constantly expanding universe. The observations carried out in the following years verified that the universe is constantly expanding.
While referring to the Sun and the Moon in the Quran, it is emphasized that each moves in a definite orbit.
It is mentioned in another verse, too, that the Sun is not static but moves in a definite orbit:
These facts communicated in the Quran have been discovered by astronomical observations in our age. According to the calculations of experts on astronomy, the Sun is traveling at the enormous speed of 720,000 kilometers an hour in the direction of the star Vega in a particular orbit called the Solar Apex. This means that the sun travels roughly 17,280,000 kilometers a day. Along with the Sun, and all planets and satellites within the gravitational system of the Sun also travel the same distance. In addition, all the stars in the universe are in a similar planned motion.
That the entire universe is full of paths and orbits such as this one, is written in the Quran as follows:
There are about 200 billion galaxies in the universe, consisting of nearly 200 billion stars in each. Most of these stars have planets, and most of those planets have satellites. All of these heavenly bodies move in very precisely computed orbits. For millions of years, each has been “swimming” along in its own orbit in perfect harmony and order with all the others. Moreover, many comets also move along in the orbits determined for them.
The orbits in the universe do not only belong to celestial bodies. The galaxies also travel at enormous speeds in computed, planned orbits. During these movements, none of these celestial bodies cuts across another’s path, or collides with another.
Surely at the time the Quran was revealed, mankind did not possess today’s telescopes or advanced observation technologies to observe millions of kilometres of space, nor the modern knowledge of physics or astronomy. Therefore, at that time, it was not possible to determine scientifically that space is “full of paths and orbits” as stated in the verse. However, this was openly declared in the Quran that was revealed at that time.
The Roundness of the Earth
In the Quran, the words used for describing the universe are quite remarkable. The Arabic word that is translated as “to rolleth” (roll) or “to wrap” in the above verse is “takwir“.
The information given in the verse about the day and the night wrapping each other up includes accurate information about the shape of the world. This can be true only if the earth is round. This means that in the Quran, the roundness of the world was hinted at.
It should be remembered, however, that the understanding of astronomy of the time perceived the world differently. It was then thought that the world was a flat plane and all scientific calculations and explanations were based on this belief. The verses of the Quran, however, include information that we have learned only in the past century.
The Protected Roof
In the Quran, God calls our attention to a very interesting attribute of the sky:
This attribute of the sky has been proved by scientific research carried out in the 20th century.
The atmosphere surrounding the earth serves crucial functions for the continuity of life. While destroying many meteors big and small as they approach the earth, it prevents them from falling to earth and harming living things.
In addition, the atmosphere filters the light rays coming from space that are harmful to living things. Interestingly, the atmosphere lets only harmless and useful rays– visible light, near ultraviolet light, and radio waves pass through. All of this radiation is vital for life. Near ultraviolet rays, which are only partially let in by the atmosphere, are very important for the photosynthesis of plants and for the survival of all living beings. The majority of the intense ultraviolet rays emitted from the sun are filtered out by the ozone layer of the atmosphere and only a limited–and essential–part of the ultraviolet spectrum reaches the Earth.
The protective function of the atmosphere does not end here. The atmosphere also protects the earth from the freezing cold of the space, which is about minus 270o C.
It is not only the atmosphere that protects the Earth from harmful effects. In addition to the atmosphere, the Van Allen Belt, a layer caused by the magnetic field of the Earth, also serves as a shield against the harmful radiation that threatens our planet. This radiation, which is constantly emitted by the Sun and other stars, is deadly to living things. If the Van Allen belt did not exist, the massive outbursts of energy called solar flares that frequently occur in the Sun would destroy all life on Earth.
The Function of Mountains
The Quran draws attention to a very important geological function of mountains.
It is stated in the Ayah that mountains have the function of preventing shocks in the Earth.
According to these findings, mountains emerge as a result of the movements and collisions of massive plates forming the Earth’s crust. When two plates collide, the stronger one slides under the other, the one on the top bends and forms heights and mountains. The layer beneath proceeds under the ground and makes a deep extension downward. That means that mountains have a portion stretching downwards, as large as their visible parts on the Earth.
In a verse, this role of the mountains is pointed out by a comparison with “pegs”:
Mountains, in other words, clench the plates in the Earth’s crust together by extending above and beneath the Earth’s surface at the conjunction points of these plates. In this way, they fix the Earth’s crust, and prevent it from drifting over the magma stratum or among its plates. Briefly, we may liken mountains to nails that keep pieces of wood together.
This fixing function of the mountains is described in scientific literature by the term “isostasy“.
The Miracle in the Iron
Iron is one of the elements highlighted in the Quran. In Surat Al-Hadid, meaning Iron, we are informed:
The word “sent down,” particularly used for iron in the verse, could be thought of having a metaphorical meaning to explain that iron has been given to benefit people. But when we take into consideration the literal meaning of the word, which is, “being physically sent down from the sky”, we realize that this verse implies a very significant scientific miracle.
This is because modern astronomical findings have disclosed that the iron found in our world has come from the giant stars in outer space.
The heavy metals in the universe are produced in the nuclei of big stars. Our solar system, however, does not possess a suitable structure for producing iron on its own. Iron can only be produced in much bigger stars than the Sun, where the temperature reaches a few hundred million degrees. When the amount of iron exceeds a certain level in a star, the star can no longer accommodate it, and eventually it explodes in what is called a “nova” or a “supernova”. As a result of this explosion, meteors containing iron are scattered around the universe, and they move through the void until attracted by the gravitational force of a celestial body.
All this shows that iron did not form on the Earth, but was carried from exploding stars in space via meteors, and was “sent down to earth”, in exactly the same way as stated in the verse.
The Proportion of Rain
One of the items of information given in the Quran about rain is that it is sent down to Earth in due measure. This is mentioned in Surat Az-Zukhruf as follows:
This measured quantity in rain has again been discovered by modern research. It is estimated that in one second, approximately 16 million tons of water evaporates from the Earth. This figure amounts to 513 trillion tons of water in one year. This number is equal to the amount of rain that falls on the Earth in a year. This means that water continuously circulates in a balanced cycle, in a “measure”. Life on Earth depends on this water cycle. Even if people used all the available technology in the world, they would not be able to reproduce this cycle artificially.
Even a minor deviation in this equilibrium would very soon give rise to a major ecological imbalance that would bring about the end of life on Earth. Yet, this never happens, and rain keeps falling every year in exactly the same quantity.
The Birth of a Human Being
Many diverse subjects are mentioned in the Quran in the course of inviting people to believe: the heavens, animals, and plants are shown as evidence to man by God. In many of the verses, people are called upon to turn their attention to their own creation. They are often reminded how man came into the world, which stages he has passed through, and what his essence is:
The creation of man, and the miraculous aspect of this, is stressed in many other verses. Some items of information within these verses are so detailed that it is impossible for anyone living in the 7th century to have known them. Some of these are as follows:
1) Man is not created from the entire semen, but only a very small portion of it (sperm).
2) It is the male that determines the sex of the baby.
3) The human embryo adheres to the mother’s uterus like a leech.
4) The embryo develops in three dark regions in the uterus.
People living when the Quran was revealed, to be sure, knew that the basic substance of birth was related to the semen of the male emitted during sexual intercourse. And the fact that the baby was born after a nine-month period was obviously an observable event not calling for any further investigation. However, the items of information just quoted were far above the level of learning of the people living at that time. These were verified by 20th century science.
A Drop of Semen
During sexual intercourse, 250 million sperms are emitted from the male at a time. The sperms undertake an arduous journey in the mother’s body until they make it to the ovum. Only a thousand out of 250 million sperms succeed in reaching the ovum. At the end of this five-minute race, the ovum, half the size of a grain of salt, will let only one of the sperms in. That is, the essence of man is not the whole semen, but only a small part of it. This is explained in the Quran:
The Quran informs us that man is made not from the entire semen, but only a small part of it: “A drop of [ejected] semen”.
The Mixture in the Semen
The fluid called semen, which contains the sperms, does not consist of sperms alone. On the contrary, it is made up of a mixture of different fluids. These fluids have different functions, such as containing the sugar necessary for providing energy for the sperms, neutralising the acids at the entrance of the uterus, and creating a slippery environment for the easy movement of the sperms.
Interestingly enough, when semen is mentioned in the Quran, this fact, which was discovered by modern science, is also referred to, and semen is defined as a mixed fluid:
In another Ayah, semen is again referred to as a mixture, and it is stressed that man is created from the “extract” of this mixture:
The Arabic word “sulala“, translated as “extract”, means the essential or best part of something. By either implication, it means “part of a whole”. This shows that the Quran is the word of a Will that knows the creation of man down to its slightest detail.
The Sex of the Baby
Until fairly recently, it was thought that a baby’s sex was determined by the mother’s cells. Or at least, it was believed that the sex was determined by the male and female cells together. But we are given different information in the Quran, where it is stated that masculinity or femininity is created out of “a drop of sperm which has been ejected”.
The developing disciplines of genetics and molecular biology have scientifically validated the accuracy of this information given by the Quran. It is now understood that sex is determined by the sperm cells from the male, and that the female has no role in this process.
Chromosomes are the main elements in determining sex. Two of the 46 chromosomes that determine the structure of a human being are identified as the sex chromosomes. These two chromosomes are called “XY” in males, and “XX” in females, because the shapes of the chromosomes resemble these letters. The Y chromosome carries the genes that code for masculinity, while the X chromosome carries the genes that code for femininity.
The formation of a new human being begins with the cross combination of one of these chromosomes, which exist in males and females in pairs. In females, both components of the sex cell, which divides into two during ovulation, carry X chromosomes. The sex cell of a male, on the other hand, produces two different kinds of sperm, one that contains X chromosomes and the other Y chromosomes. If an X chromosome from the female unites with a sperm that contains an X chromosome, then the baby is female. If it unites with the sperm that contains a Y chromosome, the baby is male.
In other words, a baby’s sex is determined by which chromosome from the male unites with the female’s ovum.
None of this was known until the discovery of genetics in the 20th century. Indeed, in many cultures, it was believed that a baby’s sex was determined by the female’s body. That was why women were blamed when they gave birth to girls.
Before human genes were discovered, however, the Quran revealed information that denies this superstition, and referred to the origin of sex lying not with women, but with the semen coming from men.
The Clot Clinging to the Uterus
When the sperm of the male unites with the ovum of the female, the essence of the baby to be born is formed. This single cell, known as a “zygote” in biology, will instantly start to reproduce by dividing, and eventually become a “piece of flesh” called an embryo. This of course can only be seen by human beings with the aid of a microscope.
The embryo, however, does not spend its developmental period in a void. It clings to the uterus just like roots that are firmly fixed to the earth by their tendrils. Through this bond, the embryo can obtain the substances essential to its development from the mother’s body.
Here, at this point, a very significant miracle of the Quran is revealed. While referring to the embryo developing in the mother’s womb, God uses the word “alaq” in the Quran:
The meaning of the word “alaq” in Arabic is “a thing that clings to some place”. The word is literally used to describe leeches that cling to a body to suck blood.
Certainly, an appropriate word for the embryo developing in the mother’s womb.
The Wrapping of Muscles over the Bones
Another important aspect of the information given in the verses of the Quran is the developmental stages of a human being in the mother’s womb. It is stated in the verses that in the mother’s womb, the bones develop first, and then the muscles form which wrap around them.
Until very recently, embryologists assumed that the bones and muscles in an embryo developed at the same time. For this reason, for a long time, some people claimed that these verses conflicted with science. Yet, advanced microscopic research conducted by virtue of new technological developments has revealed that the revelation of the Quran is word for word correct.
These observations at the microscopic level showed that the development inside the mother’s womb takes place in just the way it is described in the verses. First, the cartilage tissue of the embryo ossifies. Then muscular cells that are selected from amongst the tissue around the bones come together and wrap around the bones.
Three Stages of the Baby in the Womb
In the Quran, it is related that man is created in a three-stage process in the mother’s womb.
It is pointed out in this verse that a human being is created in the mother’s womb in three distinct stages. Indeed, modern biology has revealed that the baby’s embryological development takes place in three distinct regions in the mother’s womb. Today, in all the embryology textbooks studied in faculties of medicine, this subject is taken as an element of basic knowledge.
These phases refer to the different developmental stages of a baby:
1) Pre-embryonic; first two and a half weeks,
2) Embryonic; until the end of the eight week, and
3) Fetal; from the eight week to labor.
The Female Honey Bee
In the honey bee colonies where each of the many bees is assigned a specific task, the only exception is the male honey bee. The males do not contribute to the defence of the hive or its cleaning, to gathering food, or making of the honeycomb and honey. The only function of the male bees in the hive is to inseminate the queen bee.
Apart from reproductive organs, the males possess almost none of the features possessed by the other bees and it is therefore impossible for them to do anything but fertilise the queen.
The worker bees carry the entire load of the colony. Although they are females like the queen, their ovaries have no maturity. This renders them sterile. They have several duties: cleaning the hive, maintaining the larvae and the young, feeding the queen bee and the males, producing honey, constructing the honeycomb and repairing it, ventilating the hive and safeguarding it, gathering supplies like nectar, pollen, water and resin, and storing these in the hive.
In Arabic, there are two different usages of verbs. By means of the usage, it is possible to determine whether the subject is a female or a male. As a matter of fact, the verb used for the honey bee in the Ayat are used in the format of the verb for females.
Through this, the Qur’an indicates that the honey bees that work in the making of the honey are females.
We should not forget that it is impossible for this fact to have been known about the honey bees in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), yet, Allah has pointed at this fact and shown us yet another miracle of the Qur’an.
SubhanAllah – there are so many miracles in the Quran! To discover more about the miracles of the Quran, you can watch the full series here. Or download the eBook, Allah’s Miracles in the Quran, here.