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Books and Documents (16 May 2015 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Qur’anic Reflections on Nature: Chapter 4, Essential Message of Islam





By Muhammad Yunus & Ashfaque Ullah Syed


16 May, 2015


The Qur’an is alive with reflections on the beauty and harmony of nature and on its relationship with life as part of its ontological debate. These reflections are in the form of statements, which capture the laws of the cosmos in expansive open ways that captivate and beguile us by their beauty, majesty and accuracy. Thus for example, the following Qur’anic observations are picturesque and imaginative, and at the same time clearly indicative of the axial and the orbital rotations of heavenly bodies that science discovered many centuries later.


·        Merging (yulij) of the night into the day and vice versa (31:29).1


·        Overlapping (yukawwir) of the night into the day and vice versa (39:5).


·        The incapability of the night to outstrip (sabiq) the day, and all (the heavenly bodies) floating in an orbit (falak) (21:33).2


·        Drawing of the night (as a veil) (yughshi) over the day, which it pursues ceaselessly (7:54).


·        The sun and the moon being constant (dai’bayn) in their courses (14:33).


A cross-section of the verses including those referred to above are rendered below to give a broad overview of the Qur’anic treatment of the subject. 


4.1.          Movement of heavenly bodies in orbits


“Your Lord is God who created the heavens and the earth in six periods, and is established on the Seat of Authority. He draws the night (as a veil) (yughshi) over the day (which) it pursues ceaselessly. He has subjected the sun, the moon and the stars to His Laws. Aren’t the creation and order up to Him? Blessed be God, the Lord of all the Worlds” (7:54).


“He has made serviceable to you the sun and the moon, both constant (dai’bayn) (in their courses) and He has made serviceable to you the night and the day” (14:33).


“He is the One who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon – each floating in an orbit (falak)” (21:33).


“Haven’t you seen that God causes the night to merge (yulij) into the day and the day to merge (yulij) into the night and has subordinated the sun and the moon (to His laws) – each running (its course) for a determined term – and God is Informed of what you do” (31:29).


“(God) created the heavens and the earth in accordance with the truth (universal laws). He causes the night to overlap (yukawwir) the day and the day to overlap (yukawwir) the night and has subordinated the sun and the moon (to His laws) – each running (its course) for a determined term. Isn’t this God Almighty, Most Forgiving” (39:5).  


4.2.          Creation of Heaven and Earth


“In the creation of the heavens and the earth, (in) the alternation of night and day, (in) the ships that sail the ocean for the benefit of humanity, (in) the water which God sends down from the sky with which it enlivens the earth after its death and spreads out all kinds of creatures on it, (and in) the coursing of the winds and the clouds, compelled between the sky and the earth, are indeed signs for a people who use their reason” (2:164).


“God is the One who has raised the heavens without any pillars that you can see, and is firmly established on the Seat (of Authority). He has subjected the sun and the moon (to His laws), each running (its course) for a determined term. He regulates (all) affairs and spells out these signs that you may be certain about meeting with your Lord” (13:2).


“Don’t those who deny (God) see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (before), and We split them apart? We made every living thing from water. Won’t they still believe” (21:30).


4.3.          Earth's geography


“He sends down water from the sky, so that the valleys flow according to their measure, with the stream carrying the swelling froth (on its surface). And what they heat in the fire to make ornaments or utensils produces similar froth. Thus does God demonstrate truth and falsehood: as for the froth, it goes away like the foam, while what benefits humanity remains on earth. Thus does God draw comparisons” (13:17).


“(Say,) Who made the earth a settlement and put rivers in its clefts and set mountains on it, and placed a barrier between the two waters (sweet and saline): Is there any deity besides God? No, but most of them do not know” (27:61).


“He created the heavens without any pillars, you can see, and set firm mountains on earth - lest it might shake with you, and spread out on it all kinds of creatures; and We send down water from the sky, and We thereby produce every kind of noble species on it” (31:10).


4.4.          Wind, rain and water cycle                


“He is the One who sends the winds as good news heralding His mercy: when they have carried heavy laden clouds, We drive them to a dead land, sending down thereby water, wherewith We produce all kinds of fruits. Thus do We raise the dead, that you may be mindful” (7:57).


“Haven’t you seen how God drives the clouds, gathers them together, then piles them into layers, and you see a downpour emerging from within them? He sends down mountain-masses (of clouds) from the sky with hail in them, and He strikes with it anyone He wills, and diverts it from anyone He wills. The flash of its lightning almost takes away the sight” (24:43).


4.5.          Plant and animal world 


“He is the One who sends down water from the sky; thereby We bring forth all kinds of sprouts. And We produce therewith green (crops), out of which We produce heaps of grains. And from the date palm and its spathes, (hang) clusters (of dates) within reach, (and We produce) groves of grapes, and olives, and pomegranates, similar but different (in variety). Look at their fruit when they bear, and in its ripeness! There are signs in this for a people who believe” (6:99).


“And what He has multiplied for you on earth are in different colors. There is a sign in this for a people who are mindful (16:13). He is the One who has made the sea subject (to His Laws) that you may eat fresh flesh from it, and you extract from it gems that you may wear; and you see the ships cleaving through it, that you may seek some of His bounty, and thus be grateful (to Him)” (16:14).


“Don’t they see how the birds are governed in the air of the sky: none holds them up but God. There are signs in this for a people who believe” (16:79).


 “Among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the living creatures that He has spread out in either of them. He has the power to gather them together when He wills” (42:29).


4.6.          God has created everything in pairs


“He is the One who has spread out the earth and set on it mountains and rivers; and He made fruits of all (kinds) in pairs. He draws the night (as a veil) (yughshi) over the day. There are signs in this for a people who reflect” (13:3).


“Glory to the One who created in pairs all of them, that the earth produces, as well as their own (human) kinds, and (those) of which they have no knowledge” (36:36). 


“The creator of the heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves and pairs from among the cattle; thus he multiplies you. There is nothing like Him and He is Observant and Aware” (42:11).                                                                                                                             


“We have made everything in pairs that you may be mindful” (51:49)


4.7.          Human Embryology  


A number of Qur’anic verses refer to the reproductive process in a woman’s fetus, touching on one or more stages of embryonic development. The stipulations of these verses are immaculately consistent and can be paraphrased into two statements: i) ‘Man is created out of a tiny drop (of semen),3 which is established in a secured resting place,4 and transformed first into a clot (22:5, 23:14),5 then into a chewed (lump of) flesh - formed and unformed (22:5), then into bones, which are finally clothed with clean flesh (23:14). ii) God completes the creation of man in due proportions6 in his mother’s womb, through different stages of formation, within three (veils of) darkness (39:6).   


“Surely We created man from an extract of clay (tin, inorganic matter) (23:12). We then placed him as a drop (of semen) in a secured resting place (13). We then transformed the drop into a clot and We transformed the clot into a chewed (lump of) flesh, and We transformed this chewed (lump of) flesh into bones, and We clothed the bones with flesh, and then We produced another creature from it. So blessed be God, the Best of Creators” (23:14).


“O people, if you are in doubt about the Resurrection, (consider) that We created you from dust (turab), then from a drop (of semen), then from a clot, then from a chewed (lump of) flesh, formed and unformed, that We may manifest (Our Power) to you; and We keep those We wish in the wombs for a determined term, then We bring you out as babies and then you (grow and) reach your prime. Some of you die (early) and some of you will be kept back until the feeblest age, so that they know nothing after having known (much); and (further), you see the earth barren and lifeless, but when We send down water on it, it is stirred (to life), it swells, and it puts forth every kind of beautiful species” (22:5).


“…He creates you in your mother’s womb - transformation after transformation, within three (veils of) darkness…”(39:6)


 Any further elaboration of the Qur’anic stipulations to show their conformity with the latest scientific knowledge will be rather technical and detract from the subject, but it may suffice to quote the noted French surgeon, Maurice Bucaille quotation:7


“The Qur'anic description of certain stages in the development of the embryo corresponds exactly to what we know today about it, and the Qur'an does not contain a single statement that is open to criticism from modern science.”                


4.8.          Mysteries of nature that have come to light only in recent times


The Qur’an also makes fleeting references to diverse mysterious phenomena that have come to light only in recent times with modern scientific advancement in different fields. Such verses are therefore highly technical in nature, and sound scientific knowledge will be required to grasp the essence of these verses, as briefly listed below.


·        Relativity of time: a ‘day’ in space may be as long as 1000 years 8 or 50,000 years.9


·        Reduction in oxygen content of air at higher altitudes.10


·        Three layers of tissues enclosing the embryo in a woman’s womb.11


·        Embryonic growth in a woman’s uterus with progress of pregnancy.12


·        Individual finger prints of humans.13


·        Role of wind in carrying pollens for certain plants.14


·        The ‘barrier’ between sweet water, and saline water.15


·        Creation of the universe from a single mass,16 and the evolution of all living things from water.17


·        The universe is expanding.18


·        Man’s potential to explore space and ocean beds. 19


·        Human pain receptors are located on the skin.20


·        The frontal lobes of the brain are responsible for lying and sins.21


·        Graduated layers of darkness in ocean depths, resulting in such intense darkness deep down the ocean that one can’t see one’s own hand.22


·        Participation of only female bees in the building of the hive.23


·        The existence of communities among all animals and living creatures.24


Preservation of the Pharaoh’s dead body with the parting of river Nile,25 though until the archaeological discovery of mummies in late 19th century, the Pharaoh was known to have died and perished.26


4.9.          Summing Up


The verses cited in the foregoing under different sub-headings clearly show the extraordinary accuracy and consistency of Qur’anic stipulations on natural phenomena. Muhammad, or for that matter, any mortal in that era, had no means to repeatedly make axiomatic pronouncements on the various facets of nature for more than two decades without any reference to the prevalent myths and legends; and this reflects the extraordinary in the Qur’an.  


Notes


1.       35:13.


2.       36:40.


3.       35:11, 40:67, 53:46, 75:37, 76:2, 80:19.    


4.       23:13, 77:21.


5.       40:67, 96:2.


6.       75:38, 82:7.


7.       Maurice Bucaille, The Bible, The Qur’an and Science, 5th edition, Paris 1988, English translation, p. 218.


8.       32:5.


9.       70:4.


10.     6:125.


11.     39:6.


12.     23:14.


13.     75:4.


14.     15:22.


15.     25:53, 27:61, 55:19.


16.     21:30.


17.     21:30, 24:45.


18.     51:47.


19.     55:33.


20.     4:56. 


21.     96:16.


22.     24:40.  


23.     16:68, For explanation, see Jeffery Lang, Struggling to Surrender, 2nd revised edition, Maryland 1998, p. 35.


24.     6:38.


25.     10:92.


26.     The Bible, Exodus 14.28.


   


[26 notes]


Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. KhaledAbou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.


URL: http://www.newageislam.com/books-and-documents/muhammad-yunus---ashfaque-ullah-syed/qur’anic-reflections-on-nature--chapter-4--essential-message-of-islam/d/102994





TOTAL COMMENTS:-   11


  • Mr mohammed yunus
    you didn't comment on translation i copied and pasted from Rashad khalifa.
    your 19 miracle is a hoax and easily can be refuted.
    you can find such miracles in non-quranic texts.

    Do you believe in numerology and find it Islamic?

    By rational mohammed yunus - 5/17/2015 10:39:40 PM



  • Dear Rational Yunus,

    The answer to your question was in the article itself - which you either did not read or did not understand. I am copy-pasting it below from the posted text that you can verify: 
    The text reads: :If we ponder over the number 19, as the verse (74:31) apparently invites us to, we find some easily verifiable clues that point to a mysterious bearing of this odd prime number in the formatting and composition of the Qur’anic text. Thus for example"...

    The article then tables some 15 examples that you can readily verify - as I am sure you can distinguish a 'qaf'.  

    The text then concludes:

    "Given the innate incapability of human mind to comprehend a sentence or a passage with a predetermined arithmetical order to have a mathematical consistency of a completed work, it is just not possible to have the cited 15 easily verifiable examples as a mere coincidence."

    Now it is up to you to believe in it or dismiss it or conceive any idea about me or the Qur'an. But kindly don't tell me what others say. Others can say anything they wish. I am not responsible for them nor obliged to share their views when I have .reached the stage of "aynal yaqin" (direct verification) on a given theme such as under discussion.

    If you don't agree, fine, move on to new themes please.  

    By muhammad yunus - 5/17/2015 10:11:36 PM



  • Mr Mohammed yunus has worn the clock of silence on miracle 19 in the queen.

    Then the also mention hole in ozone layer. Perhaps scientists discovered after reading the Quran? Which university is teaching them the Quranic sciences?

    By rational mohammed yunus - 5/17/2015 8:25:14 PM



  • So only Spain can be quoted to show how Islam allowed diversity.
    What about mecca and Medina in prophetic era and era of khulfa e rashideen?

    By rational mohammed yunus - 5/17/2015 8:17:21 PM



  • HOW MANY CHURCHES IN MUSLIM NATIONS? 

    http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2010/08/newt-gingrich-v-mike-ghouse-on-cordoba.html
    By Mike Ghouse - 5/17/2015 12:22:25 PM



  • Mr yunus
    Please define the pair and is it true that every living being is in pair?
    The knowledge of seems to be very primitive. It doesn't look like of a all-knower.

    By rational mohammed yunus - 5/17/2015 2:28:51 AM



  • Mr yunus
    Please define the pair and is it true that every living being is in pair?
    The knowledge of seems to be very primitive. It doesn't look like of a all-knower.

    By rational mohammed yunus - 5/17/2015 2:27:24 AM



  • Mr yunus

    will you provide some statics that how many Churches and synagougs are in Arab world compared to Mosques in non-Muslim world?

    By rational mohammed yunus - 5/17/2015 2:05:12 AM



  • Mr Mohammed Yunus

    "
    ‘Our Lord is God!’Had God not driven people, some (communities) by others – monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques in which God's name is regularly proclaimed, would have been demolished. (Remember,) God helps those who help His (cause). Indeed God is Powerful, Almighty” (22:40). "

    Did the prophet and companions practiced this verse in their lives? any historical example of this beautiful verse in prophetic and companions ere?
    Please name some of churches and synagogs the prophet and companions allowed to coexist.
    Please give example of Arabia not India.

    By rational mohammed yunus - 5/17/2015 2:02:26 AM



  • Dear Ashish,

    The answer to your question is No!, if you define Islam by its core scripture - the Qur'an and interpret it in accordance with its guidelines as noted in the Preface of my joint publication that you can readily locate in the Book Section of this website, the relevant except below:

     

    "Thus, the Arabic Qur’an can be very challenging and can even disorient and misguide a casual reader, not aware of its subtleties, nuances and various contexts. However, the Qur’an leaves sufficient clues for the reader to help comprehending its guidance and broader message. Thus, the Qur’an affirms that it contains some clearly stated verses that form ‘the essence of the Book’ (3:7).

    “He is the One who has revealed to you (O Muhammad,) the Book which contains (some) clear verses that (form) the essence of this Book, while others are allegorical. As for those with perversity in their hearts, follow that which is allegorical seeking confusion and seeking an interpretation. No one knows its interpretation, except God. Those, who have knowledge, say: ‘We believe in it; it all comes from our Lord;’ yet none is mindful of this, except the prudent”(3:7).

    ....

    The Qur’an however asserts that only those stand to benefit from it, who approach it with a pure heart,19 probe into its verses,20 and seek the best meaning in it.21  

    Secondly, if the Qur'an did call for demolishing temples, how can you find tens of thousands of ancient temples such as I personally saw in the outskirts of Ajmer, remaining intact through the half a millennium Muslim rule in India. 

    Thirdly, the Qur'an explicitly declares that God's name is pronounced in all places of worship:

    “Permission (to fight) is given to those who have been wronged and God is indeed Able to grant them victory (22:39): those who have been driven from their homelands unlawfully – only because they say: ‘Our Lord is God!’Had God not driven people, some (communities) by others – monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques in which God's name is regularly proclaimed, would have been demolished. (Remember,) God helps those who help His (cause). Indeed God is Powerful, Almighty” (22:40). 

    Fourthly, the Qur'an proclaims its message on the brotherhood of humanity in its conclusive phase - after its struggle for survival were over. It makes two cardinal declarations:

    "For each of you We have made a (different) code (shir‘ah), and an open way (of action) (minhaj). If God so pleased, He would have made you (all) into one community. Therefore vie (with each other) in goodness (so that) He may test you by what He has given you. (Remember, you) all will (eventually) return to God, and He will tell you in what you differed” (5:48)

    “O People! We have created you as male and female, and made you into races and communities* for you to get to know each other. The noblest among you near God are those of you who are the most heedful (atqakum). Indeed God is All-Knowing and Informed” (49:13). *[Lit., ‘tribes’] 

    Fifthly, the Qur’an commands Muslims and to mock anyone on ground of faith or give anyone an insulting title:

    “You who believe, whenever you campaign in God's way, be discerning and do not say to anyone who offers you peace: ‘You are not a believer’ - seeking worldly gains (by exploiting him), for there are plenty of gains with God. (Remember,) you were like them before - till God favored you. Therefore be discerning. Indeed God is Informed of what you do” (4:94).

    “Don’t insult those whom they invoke besides God, lest they ignorantly insult God in enmity. Thus We have made their action seem pleasing to every community; then their return is to their Lord, and He will tell them what they had been doing” (6:108).

    “You who believe, let not any people (qawm) among you mock other people (qawm) who may be better than they are; nor should some women (ridicule) other women who may be better than they are; and do not find fault in each other, nor insult others with (insulting) nicknames. (Giving) an insulting name after embracing the faith is most wicked, and those who do not repent (after giving such nicknames to others) – it is they who are unjust” (49:11).

    Six.  The Muslim rulers in India had regarded the Hindus as People of the Book until the time of Aurangzeb (1648-1707), the last of Moghul Emperors. Aurangzeb’s eldest brother, Dara Shikoh (1615-1659) who was the heir apparent and killed by Aurangzeb went to the extent of speculating that the kitab al maknun (the hidden book), mentioned in the Qur’an was no other than the Upanishads. Accordingly, he translated into Persian, some 50 Upanishads from the original Sanskrit, and advocated mystical affinities between Vedantic and Sufic speculations in his famous book Majma-ul-Bahrain ("The Confluence of the Two Seas").

    Bottom Line; It will be wrong to judge any faith by the deeds or claims of its adherents, then you will have to dismiss all religions.


    By muhammad yunus - 5/16/2015 10:23:02 PM



  • Mr Yunus, Does Islam preach to destroy temples and construct Mosque in the same place?  It is a well documented fact that Kashi and Mathura temples were destroyed and mosques constructed and these stand even now. These 2 places are to hindus what mecca and medina are to muslims and its really painful to see mosque on the destroyed temple land. I hope you understand what I am trying to tell...
    By ashish - 5/16/2015 12:43:23 PM



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