“We will show them Our signs in the universe and in their own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that this (the Quran) is the truth” (Quran; 41:53).
Based on this Quranic verse, Allah (SWT) exhorts Muslims to observe and study the universe in order to find some of His signs. For that reason, many verses of the Noble Quran invite Muslims to study nature and seek knowledge, and this has been interpreted to mean encouragement for scientific inquiry.
The importance of seeking knowledge is repeatedly emphasized in the Noble Quran with frequent injunctions, such as “God will exalt those of you who believe and those who have knowledge to high degrees” (Quran58:11), “O my Lord! Increase me in knowledge” (Quran 20:114), and “As God has taught him, so let him write” (Quran 2:282). Such Quranic verses provide a forceful stimulus for the Islamic community to strive for education and knowledge.
Moreover, I consider this Quranic verse “And of knowledge, you mankind have been given only a little” (Quran 17:85) as an inspiration for the acquisition of new knowledge. In this perspective, according to Mr. Shamsher Ali, there are around 750 verses in the Noble Quran dealing with natural phenomena. For some Muslim writers, the study of science stems from Al-Tawheed, which means that there is a complete harmony between the signs of Allah (SWT) in nature, scientifically proven, and His words in the Noble Quran. Indeed, the Quran, which was revealed fourteen centuries ago, mentioned scientific facts only recently discovered. These are just some of the many scientific facts found in the Quran:
In Surah Al-Anbya, it was revealed: “We made every living thing from water, will they not believe?” (Quran, 21:30) and it was only after the discovery of the microscope that it was concluded that all living things consist mostly of water – while in the deserts of Arabia, the last thing a man could guess is that all of life ultimately came from water.
- Universe: The Big Bang Theory
In Surah Al-Anbya, Allah (SWT) also states: “Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them” (Quran, 21:30). In 1929, American astronomer Edwin Hubble proposed the Hubble’s Law according to which all entities in space are moving away from the Earth at speeds proportional to their distance i.e. the greater the distance from earth, the faster they are moving. Soon after this, he discovered that galaxies are moving away from each other as well which means that the universe is expanding overall.
This laid the basis for the Big Bang theory which states that around 12-15 billion years ago the universe came into existence from one single extremely hot and dense point, due to an explosion of this point the universe came into being. The universe, since then, has been expanding from this single point. In 1965, radio astronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson won the Noble Prize for the discovery that confirmed the Big Bang theory. When looking at the verse cited above, while acknowledging Allah Knows best, it remains astounding that the Quran had already revealed that “the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them”.
- Universe: The Big Crunch Theory
Again, in Surah Al-Anbya, Allah (SWT) says: “The Day when We will fold the heaven like the folding of a [written] sheet for the records. As We began the first creation, We will repeat it. [That is] a promise binding upon Us. Indeed, We will do it” (Quran, 21:104). This fits in with the theory of Big Crunch which talks about how the universe will be pulled back into the black holes and again form a tiny mass.
Indeed, the Big Crunch is one of the scenarios predicted by scientists in which the Universe may end. Just like many others, it is based on Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. That is, if the Big Bang describes how the Universe most possibly began, the Big Crunch describes how it will end as a consequence of that beginning, just as the Quran has so beautifully described above.
In Surah Al-Mu’minun, Allah (SWT) says “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 substance)…” (Quran 23:12-14).
Science has only proved this with the help of the latest technology. It is Professor Emeritus Keith L. Moore who is one of the world’s most well-known scientists in the fields of anatomy and embryology, who said that “It is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad from God, because almost all of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later”.
- The Sky’s Protection
In Surah Al-Anbya, Allah (SWT) says: “And We made the sky a protected ceiling, but they, from its signs, are turning away” (Quran 21:32). It is a scientific fact that the sky, with all of its gasses, protects the earth and life that is present on it from the harmful rays of the sun. If there was no protective layer, life on earth would cease to exist as the temperature on earth would be freezing at -270.556°C, the same as the temperature in space.
- Iron within Meteorites
In Surah Al-Hadid it is written that: “We sent down Iron with its great inherent strength and its many benefits for humankind” (Quran 57:25). According to M. E. Walrath, iron is not natural to the earth. Scientists state that billions of years ago, the earth was struck by meteorites. It was within these meteorites that iron was present and due to explosion on earth, we now have iron available to us. The Quran, as stated above, has already enlightened us of this fact by stating “We sent down iron with its great inherent strength…”.
- The Meeting of the Seas
In Surah Ar-Rahman, it states “He released the two seas, meeting [side by side], Between them is a barrier [so] neither of them transgresses” (Quran, 55:19-20). Science has discovered that in places where two different seas meet, there is a barrier that divides them which helps both the seas maintain their own temperature, salinity, as well as density.
- Sun Moving in Orbit
In Surah Al-Anbya, it states “And it is He who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon; all [heavenly bodies] in an orbit are swimming” (Quran, 21:33). Although it was only a widespread belief in the 20th century amongst the astronomers, today it is a well-established fact that the Sun, the Moon, and all the other bodies in the Universe are moving in an orbit and constantly moving, not stationary as commonly thought before.
- Mountains as Stakes
In Surah An-Naba, Allah (SWT) states: “Have We not made the earth a resting place? And the mountains as stakes?” (Quran, 78:6-7). In a book by geophysicist Frank Press called ‘Earth’ (1986), he explains how the mountains are like stakes and are buried deep within the earth’s surface. Mt. Everest which has a height of approximately 9 km above sea level has a root deeper than 125 km – thus only reinforcing the Quranic revelation of the importance and strength of mountains on our earth.
- Expansion of the Universe
In Surah Adh-Dhariyat, Allah (SWT) says “And the heaven We constructed with strength, and indeed, We are [its] expander” (Quran, 51:47). According to the prominent physicist Stephen Hawking in his book ‘A Brief History of Time’, “The discovery that the universe is expanding was one of the great intellectual revolutions of the 20th century”, although centuries before the Quran had already revealed to us that in regards to the universe, “We are its expander”.
- Pain Receptors
In Surah An-Nisa, it is stated that “We shall send those who reject our revelations to the (hell) fire. When their skins have been burned away, We shall replace them with new ones so that they may continue to feel the pain: God is almighty, all-wise” (Quran, 4:56).
For a long time it was thought that the sense of feeling and pain was dependent on the brain. However, it has been discovered that there are pain receptors present in the skin. Without these pain receptors, a person would not be able to feel pain – another example of the scientific miracles of the Holy Quran.
- Internal Waves in the Oceans
In Surah An-Nur, Allah (SWT) has revealed: “Or [they are] like darknesses within an unfathomable sea which is covered by waves, upon which are waves, over which are clouds – darknesses, some of them upon others. When one puts out his hand [therein], he can hardly see it. And he to whom Allah has not granted light – for him there is no light” (Quran, 24:40).
Incredibly, oceanographers have stated that unlike the belief that waves only occur on the surface, there are waves that take place internally in the oceans, below the surface of the water. Invisible to the human eye, these can only be detected through special equipment.
- Frontal Lobe
In Surah Al-Alaq, in the story of a man named Abu Jahl who was a cruel oppressive tribal leader in the times of the Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), Allah revealed a verse to warn him. Therein Allah (SWT) says: “No indeed! if he does not stop, We will seize him by the forehead, his lying, sinful forehead” (Quran, 96:15-16).
According to a book titled ‘Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology,’ it is clearly stated that the forehead or frontal area of the brain is responsible for motivation and the foresight to plan and initiate movements. All this takes place in the prefrontal area of the brain. The part of the brain that is responsible for movement and planning is said to be seized if he does not stop. Other studies have proved that it is this prefrontal region that is responsible for the function of lying.
Another study at the University of Pennsylvania in which volunteers were questioned during a computerized interrogation showed that the volunteers who were lying had increased activity in their prefrontal and premotor cortices. Subhanallah, there is a deeper meaning behind why the Quran stated: “We will seize him by the forehead”.
The most important thing to remember is that the conception of knowledge (Al-Ilm) in Islam is the Guiding Light (Huda) separating right from wrong (Al furqan). Therefore, in the same way the sun brings light to our eyes to see the world around us, Al-Ilm is the source of guidance to see the signs of Allah (SWT) around us. More such facts that are already mentioned in the Quran and will be proven in the future by mankind as Allah (SWT) says in the Quran in Surah Ar-Rahman, “So which of the favors of your Lord would you deny?”