THE SCIENTIFIC MIRACLES OF THE QUR’AN
THE SKY MADE A DOME
Here, the Arabic word for the sky is “assamaa binaan.” As well as the meaning of “dome” or “ceiling,” this also describes a kind of tent-like covering used by the Bedouin.22 What is being emphasised here, through mention of a tent-like structure, is a form of protection against external elements.
Even if we are generally unaware of it, a large number of meteors fall to the Earth, as they do the other planets. The reason why these make enormous craters on other planets but do no harm on Earth is that the atmosphere puts up considerable resistance to a falling meteor. The meteor is unable to withstand this for long and loses much of its mass from combustion due to friction. This danger, which might otherwise cause terrible disasters, is thus prevented thanks to the atmosphere. As well as the verses regarding the protective properties of the atmosphere cited above, attention is also drawn to the special creation in the following verse:
The protective property of the atmosphere we discussed in the preceding section protects the Earth from space-in other words, from external elements. With the word “dome,” referring to the sky in the above verse, attention is drawn to this aspect of the sky, which could not possibly have been known at the time of our Prophet (saas). The fact that this information was imparted 1,400 years ago in the Qur’an, when there were no spacecraft or giant telescopes, shows that the Qur’an is the revelation of our Lord, the Omniscient.
The verse 11 of Surat at-Tariq in the Qur’an, refers to the “returning” function of the sky.
The word “rajaai” interpreted as “return” in Qur’an translations has meanings of “sending back” or “returning.” As is known, the atmosphere surrounding the Earth consists of many layers. Each layer serves an important purpose for the benefit of life on Earth. Research has revealed that these layers have the function of turning the materials or rays they are exposed to back into space or back down to the Earth. Now let us examine, employing a few fitting examples, this “returning” function of the layers encircling the Earth.
The troposphere, 13 to 15 kilometres above the Earth, enables water vapour rising from the surface of the Earth to be condensed and turned back as rain. The ozone layer, the lower layer of stratosphere at an altitude of 25 kilometres, reflects harmful radiation and ultraviolet light coming from space and turns both back into space.
The ionosphere reflects radio waves broadcast from the Earth back down to different parts of the world just like a passive communications satellite. Thus, it makes wireless communication, radio, and television broadcasting possible over long distances. The magnetosphere layer turns the harmful radioactive particles emitted by the Sun and other stars back into space before they reach the Earth.
The fact that this property of the atmosphere’s layers, that was only demonstrated in the recent past was announced centuries ago in the Qur’an, once again proves that the Qur’an is Allah’s Word.
One item of information about the Earth given in the Qur’an is its similarity to the seven-layered sky:
The information in the above verse is confirmed in scientific sources, wherein it is explained that the Earth consists of seven strata. These, as scientists have identified, are:
1st layer: Lithosphere (water)
2nd layer: Lithosphere (land)
3rd layer: Asthenosphere
4th layer: Upper Mantle
5th layer: Inner Mantle
6th layer: Outer Core
7th layer: Inner Core
The word lithosphere is derived from the Greek word lithos, meaning stone, which is a hard stratum forming the Earth’s top layer. It is quite thin in comparison to the other strata. The lithosphere under the oceans is still thinner, and is a region with volcanic activity. Its average thickness is 80 km. It is colder and harder than the other strata, and therefore, forms the earth’s shell.
Below the lithosphere is the stratum known as the asthenosphere, from the Greek word for “weak,” asthenes. This layer is thinner than the lithosphere and shifts. It was formed of hot, semi-solid substances capable of melting when exposed to high temperatures and pressure over geological time. It is thought that the hard lithosphere floats or moves over the slowly moving asthenosphere.23 Under these layers is a high-temperature layer some 2,900 km thick, made up of semi-solid rock known as the mantle. This contains more iron, magnesium and calcium than the crust, and is also hotter and denser, because temperature and density in the Earth increase with depth.
At the centre of the Earth is the core, approximately twice as dense as the mantle. The reason for that density is that it contains a higher proportion of metals (iron-nickel alloy) than rock. The Earth’s core consists of two parts. One is the 2,200 km thick liquid outer core, the other a 1,250 km thick solid inner core. The liquid outer core provides the Earth’s magnetic field as the planet rotates.
The truth of this similarity between the sky and the layers of the Earth, only identified by 20th century technology, is without doubt another of the Qur’an’s scientific miracles.
The word “zilzal” in Arabic means earthquake, or tremors, and the word “athqalaha” means “charges, heavy burdens.” When one considers the above verses in the light of the first meaning, it can be seen that reference is being made to an important scientific fact about earthquakes.
Surat az-Zilzal 2 mentions the earth disgorging its charges. Indeed, as a result of research in recent years, it has been realised that there are heavy metals at the centre of the Earth, and that these appear as a result of movements on the Earth’s surface. According to geologists’ calculations, as the Earth cooled, heavy and dense substances sank to its centre, while lighter ones rose to the surface. For that reason, the Earth’s crust consists of the least heaviest substances (basalt and granite rocks), while heavy metals (nickel and iron) are found in the core. As a result, the subsurface, which consists of molten metals, is made of a material that is much heavier and denser than the surface.
During earthquakes, the heavy substances below the surface have an opportunity to rise, and the Earth thus disgorges its charges, as revealed in the Qur’an. Moreover, those regions where metal reserves are most concentrated are also those with the greatest volcanic activity. These scientific findings, which emerged only recently, and as a result of wide-ranging research, are just some of the scientific facts indicated by Allah in the Qur’an.
The Qur’an draws attention to a very important geological function of mountains:
The verse states that mountains perform the function of preventing shocks in the Earth. This fact was not known by anyone at the time the Qur’an was revealed. It was, in fact, brought to light only recently, as a result of the findings of modern geological research.
Formerly, it was thought that mountains were merely protrusions rising above the surface of the Earth. However, scientists realised that this was not actually the case, and that those parts known as the mountain root extended down as far as 10-15 times their own height. With these features, mountains play a similar role to a nail or peg firmly holding down a tent. For example, Mount Everest, the summit of which stands approximately 9 km above the surface of the Earth, has a root deeper than 125 km.24
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. Consequently, as stated earlier, mountains have a portion stretching downwards, as large as their visible parts on the Earth.
In a scientific text, the structure of mountains is described as follows:
Professor Siaveda, a world-renowned underwater geologist, made the following comment in reference to the way that mountains have root-like stalks attaching them to the surface:
Furthermore, a book titled Earth, by Dr. Frank Press, former president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, which is still used as a text book in a great many universities, states that mountains are like stakes, and are buried deep under the surface of the Earth.27
In other verses, this role of the mountains is pointed out by a comparison with “pegs”:
In another verse it is revealed that Allah “made the mountains firm.” (Qur’an, 79:32) The word “arsaha” in this verse means “was made rooted, was fixed, was nailed to the earth.” Similarly, mountains extend to the surface layer joining lines on and below the surface, and nail these together. By fixing the Earth’s crust they prevent any sliding over the magma layer or amongst the layers themselves. In short, mountains can be compared to nails holding strips of wood together. The fixing effect of mountains is known as isostasy in scientific literature. Isostasy is the state of equilibrium between the upward force created by the mantle layer and the downward force created by the Earth’s crust. As mountains lose mass due to erosion, soil loss or melting of glaciers, they can gain mass from the formation of glaciers, volcanic explosions or soil formation. Therefore, as mountains grow lighter they are pressed upwards by the raising force implemented by the liquids. Alternatively, as they grow heavier they are pressed into the mantle by the force of gravity. Equilibrium between these two forces is established by isostasy. This balancing property of mountains is described in these terms in a scientific source:
Today, we know that the rocky external layer of the Earth’s surface is riven by deep faults and split into plates swimming above the molten lava. Since the Earth revolves very quickly around its own axis, were it not for the fixing effect of the mountains, these plaques would shift. In such an event, soil would not collect on the Earth’s surface, water would not accumulate in the soil, no plants could grow, and no roads or houses could be built. In short, life on Earth would be impossible. Through the mercy of Allah, however, mountains act like nails, and to a large extent, prevent movement in the Earth’s surface.
This vital role of mountains, which has been discovered by modern geological and seismic research, was revealed in the Qur’an centuries ago as an example of the supreme wisdom in Allah’s creation.
In one verse, we are informed that mountains are not motionless as they seem, but are in constant motion.
This motion of mountains is caused by the movement of the Earth’s crust that they are located on. The Earth’s crust “floats” over the mantle layer, which is denser. It was at the beginning of the 20th century when, for the first time in history, a German scientist by the name of Alfred Wegener proposed that the continents of the Earth had been attached together when it first formed, but then drifted in different directions, and thus separated as they moved away from each other.
Geologists understood that Wegener was right only in the 1980s, 50 years after his death. As Wegener pointed out in an article published in 1915, the land masses on the Earth were joined together about 500 million years ago, and this large mass, called Pangaea, was located in the South Pole.
Approximately 180 million years ago, Pangaea divided into two parts, which drifted in different directions. One of these giant continents was Gondwana, which included Africa, Australia, Antarctica and India. The second one was Laurasia, which included Europe, North America and Asia, except for India. Over the next 150 million years following this separation, Gondwana and Laurasia divided into smaller parts.
These continents, that emerged after the split of Pangaea, have been constantly moving on the Earth’s surface at a rate of several centimetres per year, and in the meantime changing the sea to land ratios of the Earth.
Discovered as a result of the geological research carried out at the beginning of the 20th century, this movement of the Earth’s crust is explained by scientists as follows:
There is an important point that needs to be stated here: Allah referred to the motion of mountains as drifting in a verse of the Qur’an. Today, modern scientists also use the term “continental drift” for this motion.30
Continental drift is something that could not have been observed at the time of the revelation of the Qur’an, though Allah clearly indicated how it was to be understood: “You see the mountains you reckoned to be solid” in the verse. Though, He further described this action in the following verse, stating that the mountains were going past like clouds. As has been indicated, attention is clearly drawn to the movement of the layer in which the mountains are fixed.
It is without doubt a great miracle that this scientific fact, only recently discovered by science, should have been revealed in the 7th century, when conceptions of the nature of the universe were based on superstition and myth. This is another very important proof that the Qur’an is the word of Allah.
As can be discerned, the words east and west are used in the plural sense in the above verses. For instance, the word “mashariq,” used in the first verse for “east,” and the word “magharib” used for “west,” are in plural form, indicating that there are two of each. The words “mashriqayn” and “maghribayn” in the last verse are used for two easts and two wests. “Mashariq” and “magharib” also mean the place where the Sun rises and sets. The above verses are therefore referring to different sites of the dawning and closing of the day. It is also worthy of note that the vow is taken by the Lord of “the easts and wests” in the first verse.
The axis around which the earth revolves itself is at an angle of 23° 27′. Due to that angle, and the spherical shape of the Earth, the light rays from the Sun do not always strike it at the same angle. This means that since the Sun’s rays fall on that area at different angles, someone far away from the equator will observe the Sun rising at different points in the east and setting at different points in the west. The further away from the equator that person is the more different points he will identify for the dawning and closing of the day.
Someone at the equator, however, will always observe that the Sun rises exactly in the east and sets exactly in the west, since the Sun’s rays always fall perpendicularly there. Bearing in mind that the Arabian peninsula is not that far from the equator, it would appear impossible for such an observation to be made there. That is because someone in that region would see that the Sun always rises at the same point, and always sets at the same point. The expression regarding east and west in the above verses may be indicating the Sun rising and setting at different points. (Allah knows best.)
The Earth is bombarded by proton, electron and alpha particles from the Sun. These solar winds are powerful enough to separate the atmosphere from the Earth. However, it will take about five times longer than the total life of the Sun at the Earth’s present rate of matter loss (at most 3 kg per second.) for the atmosphere to be used up.31 That is because, thanks to the powerful magnetic field formed by the magnetosphere in the atmosphere, the Earth is to some extent protected from this powerful erosion. The loss of ions-oxygen, helium and hydrogen-dispersed over the Earth’s ionosphere layer into the depths of space is of much smaller dimensions than the vast layer of air surrounding the Earth. Even so, the amount leaking into space is nevertheless of a significant size.32
Thanks to NASA spacecraft, researchers have obtained concrete evidence that energy explosions on the Sun cause oxygen and other gases to disperse into space from the outer layer of the Earth’s atmosphere. Scientists first observed that the Earth experiences a loss of matter from its outer layers on September 24-25, 1998.33
However, the above verses may also be referring to the loss of land on Earth in another regard.
At the present time, the polar ice caps are melting and the water level in the oceans is rising. The increasing quantity of water is covering ever more land. As coastal areas come under water, the land surface or total amount of land is decreasing.34 The expression “eroding it from its extremities” in the above verses may well be pointing to coastal areas being covered by water.
A New York Times report on this subject reads:
The findings made towards the end of the 20th century help us to understand the wisdom of Surat ar-Ra’d 41, and Surat al-Anbiya’ 44.
This loss at the extremities, as revealed by Allah, may be understood in light of another scientific fact revealed in the Qur’an. The fact that the Earth, which revolves around its own axis, has a geoid shape, is a fact that has gained acceptance in recent centuries.
Research has revealed that the equatorial diameter of the Earth expands under the effect of the force stemming from this rotation, and that it is compressed at its extremities, in other words the poles. Furthermore, since the Earth is in constant rotation this change continues to occur. Indeed, the term “nanqusu” in Surat ar-Ra’d 41, translated as “eroding,” shows that this process of erosion is an ongoing one.
It is the force of gravity that has given such celestial bodies as the Earth their spherical form. However, that shape is not exactly spherical; it flattens out somewhat at the poles and thickens at the equator. According to NASA figures, the radius of the Earth is 6,378.1 km (3,963.2 miles) at the equator but only 6,356.8 km (3,949.9 miles) from pole to pole.36 This is a difference of some 0.3%.
This model of the shape of the Earth was suggested by Sir Isaac Newton in 1687. This fact, revealed in the Qur’an 1,400 years ago, is another of its scientific miracles.
Caption: Research has revealed that the Earth keeps bulging at the equator.
The Arabic word “sadA” in the above verse means “cracking, splitting apart.” Allah’s swearing by the splitting of the Earth points to an important phenomenon, as do the other scientific miracles in the Qur’an. Scientists first descended to the depths of the seas and oceans in order to study mineral resources in 1945-1946. One of the most important facts to emerge from that research was the fissured structure of the Earth. The rock layer on the external surface of the Earth was split by large numbers of cracks (faults), tens of thousands of kilometres long, running from north to south and east to west. Scientists also realised that there was molten magma under the sea, at depths of 100-150 km.
Due to these splits and cracks, lava flows from volcanoes on the sea bed. Due to this fissured structure, a significant amount of heat is also given off, and a large part of molten rocks forms the mountains under the oceans. If the Earth did not possess this structure, which allows large amounts of heat to escape from its crust, life on Earth would become impossible.37
There is no doubt that such information, which required such advanced technology to be discovered, being given 1,400 years ago is yet another proof that the Qur’an is the Word of Allah.
Iron is one of the elements highlighted in the Qur’an. In Surat al-Hadid, meaning Iron, we are informed:
The word “anzalna,” translated as “sent down” and 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,” as in the case of rain and Sun rays, we realize that this verse implies a very significant scientific miracle. Because, modern astronomical findings have disclosed that the iron found in our world has come from giant stars in outer space.38
Not only the iron on earth, but also the iron in the entire Solar System, comes from outer space, since the temperature in the Sun is inadequate for the formation of iron. The sun has a surface temperature of 6,000 degrees Celsius, and a core temperature of approximately 20 million degrees. Iron can only be produced in much larger 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 it eventually explodes in what is called a “nova” or a “supernova.” These explosions make it possible for iron to be given off into space.39
One scientific source provides the following information on this subject:
All this shows that iron did not form on the Earth, but was carried from Supernovas, and was “sent down,” as stated in the verse. It is clear that this fact could not have been known in the 7th century, when the Qur’an was revealed. Nevertheless, this fact is related in the Qur’an, the Word of Allah, Who encompasses all things in His infinite knowledge.
Astronomy has also revealed that other elements also formed outside the Earth. In the expression “We also sent down iron” in the verse, the word “also” may well be referring to that idea. However, the fact that the verse specifically mentions iron is quite astounding, considering that these discoveries were made at the end of the 20th century. In his book Nature’s Destiny, the well-known microbiologist Michael Denton emphasizes the importance of iron:
This account clearly indicates the importance of the iron atom. The fact that particular attention is drawn to iron in the Qur’an also emphasises the importance of the element. In addition, there is another hidden truth in the Qur’an which draws attention to the importance of iron: Surat al-Hadid 25, which refers to iron, contains two rather interesting mathematical codes.
“Al- Hadid” is the 57th sura in the Qur’an. The abjad of the word “Al-Hadid” in Arabic, when the numerological values of its letters are added up, is also 57. (For abjad calculations see the section on Numerological Calculations (Abjad) in the Qur’an.)
The numerological value of the word “hadid” alone is 26. And 26 is the atomic number of iron.
Moreover, iron oxide particles were used in a cancer treatment in recent months and positive developments were observed. A team led by Dr. Andreas Jordan, at the world famous Charité Hospital in Germany, succeeded in destroying cancer cells with this new technique developed for the treatment of cancer-magnetic fluid hyperthermia (high temperature magnetic liquid). As a result of this technique, first performed on the 26-year-old Nikolaus H., no new cancer cells were observed in the patient in the following three months.
This method of treatment can be summarised as follows:
1. A liquid containing iron oxide particles is injected into the tumour by means of a special syringe. These particles spread throughout the tumour cells. This liquid consists of thousands of millions of particles, 1,000 times smaller than the red blood corpuscles, of iron oxide in 1 cm3 that can easily flow through all blood vessels.42
2. The patient is then placed in a machine with a powerful magnetic field.
3. This magnetic field, applied externally, begins to set the iron particles in the tumour in motion. During this time the temperature in the tumour containing the iron oxide particles rises by up to 45 degrees.
In a few minutes the cancer cells, unable to protect themselves from the heat, are either weakened or destroyed. The tumour may then be completely eradicated with subsequent chemotherapy.
In this treatment it is only the cancer cells that are affected by the magnetic field, since only they contain the iron oxide particles. The spread of this technique is a major development in the treatment of this potentially lethal disease. In the treatment of such a widespread disease as cancer, the use of the expression “iron in which there lies great force and which has many uses for mankind” (Qur’an, 57:25) in the Qur’an is particularly noteworthy. Indeed, in that verse, the Qur’an may be indicating the benefits of iron for human health. (Allah knows best.)
22. “The Quran and Modern Physics,” http://webhome. idirect.com/ ~alila/Writings/ Physics.htm23. “Inside the Earth,” http://pubs. usgs.gov/ publications/ text/inside. html.
24. http://www.wamy.co. uk/announcements 3.html, from an address by Prof. Zighloul Raghib El-Naggar.
25. Carolyn Sheets, Robert Gardner, and Samuel F. Howe, General Science (Newton, MA: Allyn and Bacon Inc.: 1985), 305.
26. http://www.beconvinced. com/science/ QURANMOUNTAIN. htm.
27. Frank Press, and Raymond Siever, Earth, 3rd ed. (San Francisco: W. H. Freeman & Company: 1982).
28. M. J. Selby, Earth’s Changing Surface (Oxford: Clarendon Press: 1985), 32.
29. Sheets, Gardner, and Howe, General Science, 305
30. Powers of Nature (Washington D.C.: National Geographic Society: 1978), 12-13.
31. “Press Release,” Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF), 9 March 2001, http://www.irf.se/press/ press_010309eng. html.
32. “Solar Wind Blows Some of Earth’s Atmosphere into Space,” NASA, http://science. nasa.gov/ newhome/headline s/ast08dec98_ 1.htm.
34. Kazi, 130 Evident Miracles in the Qur’an, 115.
35. John Noble Wilford, “Ages-Old Icecap at North Pole Is Now Liquid, Scientists Find,” New York Times, 19 August 2000, http://www.planetwaves. net/polar_ NYT.html.
36. http://nssdc. gsfc.nasa. gov/planetary/ factsheet/ earthfact. html.
37. “Arctic Explorers,” 23 June 2000, http://tea.rice. edu/schauer/ 6.23.2000. html; Tetsuzo Seno, Satoru Honda, “Mantle Convection and The Global Sea Level: When Did Plate Tectonics Begin on The Earth?,” http://www.eri.u-tokyo. ac.jp/seno/ sealevel_ abst.html; “Mantle Convection,” http://theory. uwinnipeg. ca/mod_tech/ node195.html; Prof. Zaghloul El-Naggar, “Scientific Signs in the Qur’an: Examples from the Area of Earth Sciences,” http://www.nekkah.com/ Main/EngPage/ Scientific_ Signs_in_ the_Quran. htm.
38. Kazi, 130 Evident Miracles in the Qur’an, 110-111; and http://www.wamy.co. uk/announcements 3.html, from Prof. Zighloul Raghib El-Naggar’s speech
40. Priscilla Frisch, “The Galactic Environment of the Sun,” American Scientist, January-February 2000, http://www.americanscienti st.org/template/ AssetDetail/ assetid/21173? fulltext= true.
41. Michael J. Denton, Nature’s Destiny (The Free Press: 1998), 198.
42. http://www.inm-gmbh. de/cgi-bin/ frame/frameloade r.pl?sprache= en&url=http://www. inm-gmbh. de/htdocs/ technologien/ highlights/ highlights_ en.htm.
43. “Nanotechnology successfully helps cancer therapies,” IIC Fast Track, Nanotech News from Eastern Germany, Industrial Investment Council, October 2003; http://www.iic.de/uploads/ media/NANO_ FT_Nov2003_ 01.pdf