The Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad is the second revealed source of Islam.  Like the Quran, it contains scientific information unavailable 1400 years ago.  From these miracles is the “seven” earths, mentioned by the Prophet in several of his sayings.  From them are the following two:

Hadith 1

It was narrated on the authority of Abu Salamah that a dispute arose between him and some other people (about a piece of land).  When he told Aisha (the Prophet’s wife) about it, she said, ‘O Abu Salamah!  Avoid taking the land unjustly, for the Prophet said:

“Whoever usurps even one span of land of somebody, its depth through the seven earths will be collared to his neck.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, ‘Book of Oppression.’)

 

Hadith 2

Salim narrated on the authority of his father that the Prophet said:

“Whoever takes a piece of land of others unjustly, he will sink down the seven earths on the Day of Resurrection.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, ‘Book of Oppression.’)

The aforementioned hadith prohibits oppression in general, especially the taking of a piece of land belonging to others unjustly.  What might the seven earths refer to?

Studies in geology have proven that the earth is composed of seven zones, identified from the inner to the outer layers as follows:

(1)  The Solid Inner Core of Earth: 1.7% of the Earth’s mass; depth of 5,150 - 6,370 kilometers (3,219 - 3,981 miles)

The inner core is solid and unattached to the mantle, suspended in the molten outer core.  It is believed to have solidified as a result of pressure-freezing which occurs to most liquids when temperature decreases or pressure increases.

(2)  The Liquid Outer core: 30.8% of Earth’s mass; depth of 2,890 - 5,150 kilometers (1,806 - 3,219 miles)

The outer core is a hot, electrically conducting liquid within which convective motion occurs.  This conductive layer combines with Earth’s rotation to create a dynamo effect that maintains a system of electrical currents known as the Earth’s magnetic field.  It is also responsible for the subtle jerking of Earth’s rotation.  This layer is not as dense as pure molten iron, which indicates the presence of lighter elements.  Scientists suspect that about 10% of the layer is composed of sulfur and/or oxygen because these elements are abundant in the cosmos and dissolve readily in molten iron.

(3)  The “D” Layer: 3% of Earth’s mass; depth of 2,700 - 2,890 kilometers (1,688 - 1,806 miles)

This layer is 200 to 300 kilometers (125 to 188 miles) thick and represents about 4% of the mantle-crust mass.  Although it is often identified as part of the lower mantle, seismic discontinuities suggest the “D” layer might differ chemically from the lower mantle lying above it.  Scientists theorize that the material either dissolved in the core, or was able to sink through the mantle but not into the core because of its density.

(4)  Lower Mantle: 49.2% of Earth’s mass; depth of 650 - 2,890 kilometers (406 -1,806 miles)

The lower mantle contains 72.9% of the mantle-crust mass and is probably composed mainly of silicon, magnesium, and oxygen.  It probably also contains some iron, calcium, and aluminum.  Scientists make these deductions by assuming the Earth has a similar abundance and proportion of cosmic elements as found in the Sun and primitive meteorites.

(5)  Middle Mantle (Transition region): 7.5% of Earth’s mass; depth of 400 - 650 kilometers (250-406 miles)

The transition region or mesosphere (for middle mantle), sometimes called the fertile layer, contains 11.1% of the mantle-crust mass and is the source of basaltic magmas.  It also contains calcium, aluminum, and garnet, which is a complex aluminum-bearing silicate mineral.  This layer is dense when cold because of the garnet.  It is buoyant when hot because these minerals melt easily to form basalt which can then rise through the upper layers as magma.

(6)  Upper Mantle: 10.3% of Earth’s mass; depth of 10 - 400 kilometers (6 - 250 miles)

The upper mantle contains 15.3% of the mantle-crust mass.  Fragments have been excavated for our observation by eroded mountain belts and volcanic eruptions.  Olivine (Mg,Fe)2SiO4 and pyroxene (Mg,Fe)SiO3 have been the primary minerals found in this way.  These and other minerals are refractory and crystalline at high temperatures; therefore, most settle out of rising magma, either forming new material or never leaving the mantle.  Part of the upper mantle called the asthenosphere might be partially molten.

(7)  Lithosphere

Oceanic crust: 0.099% of Earth’s mass; depth of 0-10 kilometers (0 - 6 miles)

The rigid, outermost layer of the Earth comprising the crust and upper mantle is called the lithosphere.  The oceanic crust contains 0.147% of the mantle-crust mass.  The majority of the Earth’s crust was made through volcanic activity.  The oceanic ridge system, a 40,000-kilometer (25,000 mile) network of volcanoes, generates new oceanic crust at the rate of 17 km3 per year, covering the ocean floor with basalt.  Hawaii and Iceland are two examples of the accumulation of basalt piles.

The continental crust contains 0.554% of the mantle-crust mass.  This is the outer part of the Earth composed essentially of crystalline rocks.  These are low-density buoyant minerals dominated mostly by quartz (SiO2) and feldspars (metal-poor silicates).  The crust (both oceanic and continental) is the surface of the Earth; as such, it is the coldest part of our planet.  Because cold rocks deform slowly, we refer to this rigid outer shell as the lithosphere (the rocky or strong layer).

Conclusion

The layers of the earth coincide with the above mentioned hadith of the Prophet.  The miracle is in two matters:

(1)  The expression of the hadith, ‘He will sink down the seven earths on the Day of Resurrection,’ indicates the stratification of these “earths” around one center.

(2)  The accuracy with which the Prophet of Islam referred to the seven inner layers of earth.

The only way for a desert dweller to have known these facts 1400 years ago is through revelation from God.


References

Beatty, J. K. and A. Chaikin, eds.  The New Solar System.  Massachusetts: Sky Publishing, 3rd Edition, 1990.

Press, Frank and Raymond Siever.  Earth.  New York: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1986.

Seeds, Michael A. Horizons. Belmont, California: Wadsworth, 1995.

El-Najjar, Zaghloul.  Treasures In The Sunnah: A Scientific Approach: Cairo, Al-Falah Foundation, 2004.

  Article Content

The word alcohol is derived from the Arabic word al-kohl, which means fermented grains, fruits, or sugars that form an intoxicating beverage when fermented. Khamr or khamrah is the word used in the Qur'an to denote a fermented beverage that intoxicates a person when he/she drinks it. It is sometimes translated as "wine."

 

Khamr in Early Muslim History

Pre-Islamic Arabs had harsh lives and felt that alcohol was an indispensable way to cope with their problems. Among the troubles that the Arab people had before Islam were: tribal warfare, excessive pride and competition, prostitution, insecurity, broken homes, and female infanticide. Women were treated as slaves, and children were deprived of affection, while men were expected to be tough and competitive. These were all factors that compelled people to drink.

Sale of alcohol was so common that the name for merchant, tajir, became synonymous with the seller of khamr. Khamr shops and bars were open 24 hours a day.

The first Qur'anic verse (chronologically) to deal with alcohol was revealed in Mecca before the hijra:

"And from the fruit of the date-palm and the vine ye get out wholesome drink and food: behold in this also is a Sign for those who are wise." (16:67)

After this verse, some Muslims started to wonder about the correctness of taking khamr.Revealed in Madinah a few years later, was this verse:

"They ask thee concerning wine and gambling, say: "In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit..."(2:219)

Most Muslims continued to drink but some began to abstain or reduce their intake. Certain Muslims had been abstinent even in the pre-Islamic days, most notably, Uthman Ibn Affan, who later was the third Khalifa. Uthman said, "Al-khamr 'robs' the mind totally; and I have not yet seen anything which when entirely 'robbed' or curtailed will come back in its original intact form!"

Recent studies have shown that drinking alcohol can in fact cause permanent damage to memory and learning ability.

The third mention of alcohol by Allah (SWT) in the Qur'an occurred as follows:

"O ye who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged, until ye can understand all that ye say, ..." (4:43)

Now there was a great difficulty in being drunk, since a Muslim has to pray five times a day. The Prophet (SAW) is reported to have said, "Prayer is the pillar of religion. The one who performs it has erected religion and the one who abandons it has ruined (his) religion." Since the prayers are spread throughout the day, it is difficult if not impossible, for a good Muslim to ever get drunk.

If a Muslim failed to appear at the mosque in those days, his friends would think he was ill. He would then feel guilty that really, it was just his drunkenness that prevented him from coming. The religious brotherhood of Muslims helped encourage abstinence from alcohol in those days. It is still true today, that Muslims help each other be strong in resisting such temptations. The Muslim who falls away from the rest of the community becomes like a lost sheep among wolves, and risks being engulfed by sinful ways.

Since there were no drugs in those days to help ease the pain of withdrawal symptoms, alcoholic Muslims began to slowly reduce their intake. Honey was given to these alcoholics to help them restore vitamins to their bodies and ease the detoxification process. These two techniques (slow withdrawal and honey) have been shown in recent times to be effective and helpful in treating alcoholics.

During this period of weaning from alcohol, khamr sellers also began looking for a new means of livelihood.

"...The devil wants only to cast among you enmity and hatred by means of strong drink and games of chance and to turn you from remembering Allah and from prayer. Will you then desist." (5:90-91)

These verses are the ones that declared total prohibition of alcohol to the Muslims. After this verse was revealed, the Muslim citizens of Madinah immediately began to spill their stocks of wine into the sand and streets; so that the wine ran through the streets of Madinah. Individuals who up till that moment were enjoying guiltlessly a glass of wine, quickly emptied their cups on the ground and spit out the alcohol from their mouths. They rushed to make ablutions in order to purify themselves.

Alcohol harmful effects

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, although in smaller amounts it may appear to have a mild stimulant effect. The main psychoactive ingredient in alcoholic beverages is ethyl alcohol, produced through the fermentation of sugar by yeast. Alcoholic drinks vary in strength, e.g. beer and alcoholic sodas (1-9% alcohol), wines (10-15%) and spirits (35-55%).

Effects

The effects of alcohol vary depending on a number of factors including:

  • type and quantity of alcohol consumed
  • age, weight and gender
  • body chemistry
  • food in the stomach
  • drinking experience
  • situation in which drinking occurs

Short-term effects

Although it varies between individuals, there is a relationship between the concentration of alcohol in the blood (Blood Alcohol Concentration - BAC) and its effects. Mild euphoria and stimulation of behaviour occur initially with minor effects on performance which become more pronounced as the concentration of alcohol rises. Unfortunately, people often believe they are performing better rather than much worse.

In a person of average build, one standard drink will raise the BAC by approximately 0.01-0.03% in an hour, and as a rough guide it will be broken down at a similar rate, i.e. one standard drink per hour.

Effects on Behaviour

Stages

 

BAC

 

Likely Effects

 

Feeling of well-being

 

Up to .05 g%

 

  • Talkative
  • Relaxed
  • More confident

 

At-risk

 

.05-.08 g%

 

  • Talkative
  • Acts and feels self-confident
  • Judgment and movement impaired
  • Inhibitions reduced

 

Risky state

 

.08-.15 g%

 

  • Speech slurred
  • Balance and coordination impaired
  • Reflexes slowed
  • Visual attention impaired
  • Unstable emotions
  • Nausea, vomiting

 

High-risk state

 

.15-.30 g%

 

  • Unable to walk without help
  • Apathetic, sleepy
  • Laboured breathing
  • Unable to remember events
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Possible loss of consciousness

 

Death

 

Over .30 g%

 

  • Coma
  • Death

 

Intoxication risks

Intoxication is the most common cause of alcohol-related problems, leading to injuries and premature deaths. As a result, intoxication accounts for two-thirds of the years of life lost from drinking. Alcohol is responsible for:

  • 30% of road accidents
  • 44% of fire injuries
  • 34% of falls and drownings
  • 16% of child abuse cases
  • 12% of suicides
  • 10% of industrial accidents

As well as deaths, short-term effects of alcohol result in illness and loss of work productivity (e.g. hangovers, drink driving offences). In addition, alcohol contributes to criminal behaviour - in Australia over 70% of prisoners convicted of violent assaults have drunk alcohol before committing the offence and more than 40% of domestic violence incidents involve alcohol.

Long-term effects

Each year approximately 3000 people die in Australia as a result of excessive alcohol consumption and around 65 000 people are hospitalised. Long-term excessive alcohol consumption is associated with:

  • heart damage
  • high blood pressure and stroke
  • liver damage
  • cancers of the digestive system
  • other digestive system disorders (e.g. stomach ulcers)
  • sexual impotence and reduced fertility
  • increasing risk of breast cancer
  • sleeping difficulties
  • brain damage with mood and personality changes
  • concentration and memory problems

In addition to health problems, alcohol also impacts on relationships, finances, work, and may result in legal problems.

Tolerance and Dependence

A regular drinker may develop tolerance and dependence. Tolerance means that they feel less effect than they used to with the same amount of alcohol. Dependence means that the alcohol becomes central in their life - a lot of time is spent thinking about alcohol, obtaining it, consuming it and recovering from it. The person will find it difficult to stop drinking or to control the amount consumed.

Withdrawal

Someone who is physically dependent on alcohol will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking or substantially reduce their intake. Symptoms usually commence 6-24 hours after the last drink, last for about 5 days and include:

  • tremor
  • nausea
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • sweating
  • headache
  • difficulty sleeping (may last several weeks)

Alcohol withdrawal can be very dangerous; people drinking more than 8 standard drinks a day are advised to discuss a decision to stop drinking with a doctor as medical treatment may be required to prevent complications.

The Mother of Every Evil

One day, as he came out from his mosque, the Prophet Muhammad, may God send praises upon him, noticed his cousin and son-in-law, Ali b. Abi Talib, visibly upset.  When the concerned Prophet asked Ali what was troubling him, Ali simply pointed to the bloody carcass of his dearly cherished camel - no ordinary camel, but the war-weathered camel that Ali would mount in his valiant defense of the Prophet and Islam on the battlefield.  Ali told the Prophet that one of their uncles had been responsible for the unsanctioned slaughter of his animal, and so the Prophet went to ascertain his (i.e. the uncle's) side of the story.

Entering in the presence of his uncle, the Prophet found him drunk with wine.  Upon seeing the displeasure in his nephew's face, the uncle knew at once, despite his intoxication, that the Prophet had come to question him about Ali's beast of war.  With nothing good to say in his defense, the guilt-ridden, drunken uncle blurted out to his nephew: "You and your father are my slaves!" The Prophet's only response to the blasphemous outburst was to exclaim: "Truly, alcohol is the mother of every evil!"

And so, from the biography of the Prophet Muhammad we learn a weighty lesson as regards the colossal and evil consequences of alcoholic drink.  Any one of the alcohol-inspired acts in this short episode from the blessed Prophet's life would suffice the reader as an admonition: whether it be the culling of Ali's camel, the drunken state of an uncle of a Prophet of God - let alone His last and final messenger to mankind - or the wicked insult he spewed out against him and his own deceased brother, who was no less than the father of the Prophet of God.  How much worse then when we consider all these crimes together?  Not to mention the many evils indirectly resulting from the uncle's consumption of the alcohol, such as the loss to the Muslim community of one its battle-hardened steeds of war, or the pain, anguish and, perhaps, embarrassment that Muhammad must have felt at this tragic family affair.  No doubt, it was precisely because the Prophet recognized that it was the alcohol that gave birth to and nurtured all these foul sins that he denounced it as: "the mother of every evil!"

Hence, we find Islam completely forbidding the consumption of alcohol, whether in large or small amounts.  The Prophet Muhammad said:

"If a large amount of anything causes intoxication, a small amount of it is also prohibited." [Narrated by the Companion, Jaabir, and recorded in the collections of Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud & Ibn Majah]

In this one hadeeth narration, we see the perfection of Islam as a religion, its conclusiveness as a legal code, and its comprehensiveness as a way of life.  As one German convert to Islam noted:

"[Islam] values the moral and spiritual health of a nation as much as its physical well-being.  It considers anything that interferes with the normal working of the mind, numbs our senses, thereby reducing our level of shame or responsibility, or clouds our perception as harmful (this includes alcohol as well as other drugs altering the mind).  And recognizing that different people react quite differently to the same stimulant, it does not leave the judgment, as to how much is acceptable to them.  Too many people thought they had control over their drinking habit, yet ended up having 'one glass too many'.  Islam categorically states that if a substance can destroy the clarity of the mind in large quantities, it is harmful even in minute quantities.  Islam, therefore, advocates a total prohibition of narcotic drugs, including alcohol.  It forbids the use, not just the abuse of these substances." [Sahib M. Bleher, One glass too many. Pg. 199]

Yes, there are some benefits to be derived from alcoholic beverages.  For example, alcohol can give one strength and confidence; it helps one to relax and, in small quantities, is even good for the health of one's heart. However, as the Glorious Quran states, the harms associated with alcohol far outweigh its benefits.  As such, in the final analysis, alcohol is a foe, not a friend of its consumer.

"They ask you (O Prophet) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling.  Say: 'In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men, but their sin is greater than their benefit.'" (Quran 2:219)

It is only because Islam seeks the benefit and betterment of man that Islamic law criminalizes the consumption, production, transportation and sale of alcoholic drink.

["Allah curses all intoxicants (alcoholic beverages); (He also curses) the one who drinks it and the one who serves it, the one who sells it and the one who buys it, the one who makes it and the one who asks that it be made for him, the one who delivers it and the one to whom it is delivered." (Abu Dawood)]

In fact, the mere consumption of alcohol is a criminal pursuit so serious that it carries with it a severe corporal punishment.  As for the Hereafter, the punishment is truly grotesque:

"Every intoxicant is prohibited.  God has made a covenant regarding those who consume intoxicants to give them to drink the discharge (of the inhabitants of Hell)!" [Saheeh Muslim]

To conclude, it is perhaps useful to have the reader ponder over the following well-known story; well-known at least to many a cautious Muslim.

Once upon a time, a bad woman invited a good man to bad deeds.  The man, fearing God, flatly refused.  But, determined not to let her prey escape, the woman offered him one of three choices, each one more dastardly than the other: to consume alcohol, to commit adultery, or to murder her child from a previous marriage.  If the man refused, she would cry rape.  So, after having pondered his predicament, the pious man chose what he reckoned to be the lesser of the three evils.  However, upon taking the alcohol, the man became drunk and then, under the influence of his brain-killing beverage, he killed the child and committed adultery with the wicked woman.

Ponder, and then consider how easily you yourself could degenerate as a human being if, that is, you too were to embrace "the mother of every evil."

Muslim Values Make Alcohol Unnecessary

Islam instilled family values and gave security to the people. Thus, with Islam, there is no longer a "need" to drink in order to relieve unhappiness and stress by slipping into a fantasy world. One American convert to Islam, who used to drink before in her pre-Muslim days, comments, "I think that being Muslim has made me face up to a lot of things, which is painful, but by working them out I feel much less need to run away from my problems, and alcohol is basically the best way to run away from problems."

The fear of God helps Muslims keep away from not only alcohol, but all other evils prohibited by the Qur'an, such as adultery, abuse of wives and children, and gambling. Peer pressure (brotherhood) also helps Muslims abstain from these sins.

Attempts to abolish alcohol in America (during the Prohibition period) and drugs (the "War on Drugs") were not successful, because the factors that cause people in America to drink and use drugs have not been eliminated.

What compels people to drink? A variety of factors, including people whose jobs bring them into contact with alcohol, or who find themselves in social settings where alcohol is available or even "pushed" on them. Also, being able to afford the luxury of spending money on alcohol and having the leisure time to drink it, as well as being beguiled by ads which allure a person to think that drinking alcohol is a way to have a good time, or appear sexy, rich, powerful and cosmopolitan. Finally, the example of other drinkers, usually friends or family can lure a person into thinking that it is okay to drink. Alcoholics (people addicted to excessive drinking of alcohol) tend to want immediate gratification and are addicted to this-worldly pleasure. They don't tend to care about the long term consequences.

Sellers of khamr in Madinah were given ample warning that they should find another trade, so the change away from an alcohol-laden economy was gradual and not disruptive. Today in America, much of the economy revolves around the alcohol industry. The government, for example, collects a hefty sum of money from taxes on alcohol. Do you think that the U.S. government today could be serious about wanting to get rid of alcohol? Companies which produce alcohol continue to spend grandly on ads and TV commercials, and then donate a portion of their profit to "help" some of the people whose lives have been ruined by consumption of their product.

A practicing Muslim will not touch alcohol out of fear of God. Those who do usually feel much guilt on breaking a Qur'anic injunction. Many drinkers will cease this activity during Ramadan. Sometimes, excessive drinkers find themselves so changed by the experience of Hajj (pilgrimage) that they never drink again.

In a true Islamic State, a person is not likely to ever reach the point of physical dependence on alcohol. Friends, family and neighbors will not just look away while a person destroys himself and his family. Muslims are supposed to be very involved in correcting wrongs that they see. Islam is a very community-oriented faith. There is no place for an individual to do what he wants to do, if it hurts others. And by hurting yourself through drinking, you inadvertently hurt others.

Too much guilt about drinking alcohol can make a person feel so bad that he or she drinks just to smother the guilt. To balance feelings of guilt, Muslims need to remember the mercy and forgiveness of Allah.

"And those who, having done something to be ashamed of, or wronged their own souls, earnestly bring Allah to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their sins, --- and who can forgive sins except Allah? --- and are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in (the wrong) they have done." (3:135)

Modern methods of curing alcoholics have not been very successful; many will regress to drinking again. Among the new methods of "treating" alcoholics is injecting the drinker with a drug like apomorphine, which makes the victim feel sick and vomit as soon as the drink is taken. This is done repeatedly over several weeks so that the drinker learns to associate drinking with nausea and vomiting. Temporary paralysis via scoline injection and electric shocks are other techniques Western doctors use to try to get heavy drinkers to quit.

The Perspective of Islam and Christianity

Proverbs 31: 6-7 "" Give intoxicating liquor, you people, to the one about to perish, and wine to those who are bitter of soul . Let one drink and forget one's poverty, and let one remember one's own trouble no more.""

Genesis 9:21-22 "" And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.""

Genesis 9:24 "" And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.""

Genesis 19:32 "" Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.""

Numbers 6:20 "" And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine.""

Numbers 28:7 "" And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink offering.""

The Holy Quran, 5:90-91 "You who believe! Intoxicants and Gambling, all are an abomination of Satan's handiwork. Eschew such abomination, that you may prosper. Satan's plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of God, and from prayer; will you not then abstain?"

The Holy Quran, 2.219 "They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: "In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit." They ask thee how much they are to spend; Say: "What is beyond your needs." Thus doth Allah Make clear to you His Signs: In order that ye may consider."

We, Muslims, are ordered by Allah (swt), in the Koran, to believe in the former Divine Messages which are intact, i.e. void of interpolation and distortion. Do you believe that pathologists and physicians know better than our Creator, the Omniscient about the bad effects of intoxicants on the human body systems which are the "make" of God?

We, Muslims, deny and absolutely reject such non-sense to be believed as revelation of God in the Holy scriptures! It is man, not God, who added that "Praise" of the intoxicants to the Holy Scriptures for human selfish purposes, just as we see and read in our present time the commercial promotions which try hard to convince the people about the wholesomeness and great advantage the intoxicants give to the body and mind of man!

Adding for the benefit, the number one leading cause of death in America is DWI, Driving While Intoxicated. In fact, Alcoholism is responsible for more than 50% of crimes reported in the United States alone.


Sources:

·Alcohol and Its Effects [Drug & Alcohol Services South Australia]

·Alcohol: The Devil's Deadly Disease. By Ben Adam

·Alcohol and Muslims. By Alyssa [islamawareness.net]

"And by the Earth which has its own Sad'a (Fault)"

(Surat At-Tariq (The Night-Comer):12)

the Arabic term mentioned in the verse Sad'a means Split or Fault. This Qur’anic verse comes in the context of an oath, while Allah (all glory be to Him) is definitely above giving such a pledge. Consequently, this is understood as an emphasis for the special significance of the matter by which the oath is given. Now, what is the special significance of the faults of our planet?

Early commentators on the Glorious Qur’an saw this significance in the fracturing of the soil by the sprouting plants, which is very true. Once you place a seed in the soil and water it properly, it starts to germinate and a green shoot starts to penetrate the soil and grow into a fully developed plant, bearing beautiful flowers, delicious fruits and / or magnificent wood.

 

However, Earth Scientists have recently discovered that the Earth’s outer rocky sphere (Lithosphere; which is about 65- 70 km thick under the oceans and 120-150 km thick under continents) is broken up by a network of deep faults (or rift systems) into 12 main rigid plates, added to a number of small ones (micro plates or platelets). These plates float on a semi-molten plastic layer known as the asthenosphere (the sphere of weakness) and move freely away from or towards each other, and past one another. At one boundary of each plate (or micro plate) molten rock (magma) rises to form strips of new ocean floor, and at the opposite boundary, the plate collides with the adjacent plate and moves to sink underneath it, to be gradually consumed in the underlying uppermost mantle layer (the asthenosphere) at exactly the same rate of sea-floor spreading at the opposite side.

An ideal rectangular asthospheric plate would thus have one edge growing at a mid-oceanic rift system (divergent boundary), an opposite edge being gradually consumed into the asthenosphere below the over-riding or colliding plate (convergent boundary) and other two edges sliding past the edges of adjacent plates along a system of transform faults (transcurrent or transform, fault boundaries). In this way, the lithospheric plates are constantly shifting around the globe, despite their rigidity, and as they are carrying continents with them, such continents are also constantly drifting away or towards each other. As a lithospheric plate is forced under another plate and melts, viscous magmas are intruded and squeezed between the colliding plates, while lighter and more fluid ones are extruded at the opposite edge to form island-arcs. These eventually grow into subcontinents and continents, are plastered to the margins of nearby continents or squeezed between two colliding continents.

Such divergence, convergence and sliding of lithospheric plates are not confined to ocean basins, but are also found along the margins, as well as within and in between continents. Both the Red Sea and the Gulf of California troughs (which are extensions of oceanic rifts) are currently widening at the rate of 3 cm/year in the former and 6 cm/year in the latter case. On the other hand, the collision of the Indian Plate with the Eurasian Plate resulted in the formation of the Himalayan Chain, with the highest peaks on the surface of the Earth.

Fault planes traversing the outer rocky sphere of the Earth for tens of thousands of kilometers across the globe, running in all directions for a depth of 65-150 km are among the most salient features of our planet. These came to human notice only after the Second World War and were only understood within the framework of the concept of plate tectonics which was finally formulated in the late sixties and the early seventies of this century. These lithospheric faults are a globe - encircling system of prominent fracture zones (65-150 km deep and tens of thousand km long) along which lithospheric plates are displaced with respect to one another divergently, convergently or sliding past each other. They are also passageways through which the trapped heat below the lithosphere is steadily released, and different maginas are steadily outpouring. Molten magmas in hot spots, deep in the mantle, being less dense, tend to rise in the farm of hot plumes that create convection currents which simulate conveyor belts that carry lithospheric plates and move with them across the globe.

 

 

 

Earth Faults and continental drift

During the early history of the Earth, its interior was much hotter (due to the greater amount of residual heat of accumulation and the much greater amounts of radioactive isotopes such as 235 U and 40 K) and hence convection was much faster and so were all the phenomena associated with it {such as volcanic activity, earthquakes, plate movements, mountain-building movement and continental build-ups, (or the so-called ocean - continent cycle or the geosynclinal / mountain - building cycle), etc.}. During these processes, both the atmosphere and the hydrosphere of the Earth were out gassed, the continents were constructed as positive areas above the ocean basins ( through the accretion of volcanic island arcs into sub-continents and continents) and mountains were built.

About 500 million years ago the early continents were dispersed across the surface of the Earth, in positions much different than the ones occupied by the continents of today. Convection currents then operating in the mantle ended up by pushing all the early continents together around 200 million years ago, into a single super continent (Pangea) above a single super ocean (Panthalassa). The huge landmass of Pangea acted as a hot lid, impeding heat flow from inside the Earth. The trapped beat produced a welt right in the middle of the mother continent. The welt cracked, and the crack propagated along the axis of the welt both northward (separating North America from North Africa about 180 million years ago and from Europe about 150 million years ago) and southward (separating South America from Africa bout 110 million years ago). The last cut was the separation of Greenland from Norway (about 65 million years ago), when Iceland began forming. When this break-up of Pangea began, a westward waterway from the mother ocean (Panthalassa) in the form of a broad gulf (called Tethys) encroached gradually over Pangea, breaking it into a northern continent (Laurasia) and a southern one (Gondwana). Further fragmentation produced the present continental masses which are currently undergoing more breaking up.

The original welt is now the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, whose axis is still an active site of basaltic outpourings similar to many other fracture zones along which current sea-floor spreading is taking place. More than 64,000 km of mid-ocean rift valleys have been pouring out fresh basaltic material on both sides of such ruptures in the Earth’s crust, since the very early days of their formation. The youngest oceanic crust will always be around the deep rift valleys and will steadily push older crusts away from it. The oldest existing oceanic crust does not exceed the Mesozoic in age (about 200 million years old), and is currently being consumed at the convergent edges of the plates with rates almost equivalent to the rate of producing new oceanic crust. Few volcanic mountains are also found on the continents such as the isolated peaks of Mount Ararat (5100 in), Etna (3300m), Vesuvius (1300m), Kilimanjaro (5900 m) and Kenya (5100m). These are associated with intra-cratonic, deep rift systems that traverse the whole thickness of the lithosphere, and communicate with the uppermost mantle (the asthenosphere), and hence are currently fragmenting existing continents into smaller landmasses.

Conclusion

"And by the Earth which has its own Sad'a (Fault)" (Quran 86:12)

From the above mentioned discussion, it becomes obvious that the magnificent network of deep fault systems (65-150 km deep) that encircle the globe for tens of thousands of kilometers in all directions {breaking its outer rocky layer (the lithosphere) into major, lesser and minor plates, micro plates (or platelets), plate fragments and remnants} is one of the most striking realities of our planet. Without these deep fault systems the Earth could not possibly have been inhabitable. This is simply because of the fact that it is through such deep faults that the atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere have been created and are constantly rejuvenated, continents are steadily built and destroyed, mountains are constructed, the crust is periodically enriched with new minerals, lithospheric plates are moved, the accumulating internal heat of the Earth is gradually and steadily released and the whole dynamics of our planet are achieved. Consequently, such an established fact of the Earth is so vital for its existence as well as for our own survival on its surface that it becomes well deserving to be mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an as one of the signs of The Creator. However, such fact did not attract the attention of Earth Scientists until after the Second World War, and was not fully understood until the late sixties and the early seventies of this century. The Qur’anic precedence with such an established salient feature of the Earth more than 14 centuries ago, is one of numerous signs that clearly testify for the Divine nature of this illustrious Book, and for the truthfulness of the Prophecy of Muhammad (pbuh).

Allah (SWT) ordained that plants, people and animals receive their food from what plants produce in their green factories.

These green factories are built up by the plant at the beginning of its growth and are called by botanists “Chloroplasts” which contain the chlorophyll, which the Qur’an calls “Al-Khadir” (green substance), where the plant utilizes the light energy and changes it into chemical energy leading ultimately to the production of various kinds of grain, fruit and other parts of vegetation that we see in gardens and fields.

The Qur’an draws our attention to these facts in the Saying of Allah (SWT):

“It is He who sends down water (rain) from the sky. With it We produce vegetation of all kinds from which (water or plants) We produce green substance (Khadir), out of which We produce grain in clusters. And out of date palms, from their spathes come forth clusters of dates hanging low and near, and (We produce) gardens of grapes, olives and pomegranates, each similar (in leaves or shape), yet different (in fruit and taste). Look at (and think over) their fruits when they begin to bear fruit, and (look at) the ripeness thereof. Behold! In these things there are Signs for people who believe.” (Quran 6: 99)

Thus, these green factories appear in the plant at the beginning of its growth. The plant is produced from its seed or part of its body by means of water. Allah (SWT) sends rain down from the sky to produce with it vegetation of all kinds, and from the plant He produces these green factories that produce the substances necessary to produce grain, fruit and all the other parts of the plant.

Yet this fact was not uncovered to people till 1600 AD, after 300 years of research, when botanists carried out numerous researches and experiments in the field of botanical physiology to understand the process of photosynthesis.

In 1804 AD, De Saussure proclaimed that there are two types of gas exchange: one type takes place in the light, the other in the dark, and that it is the green parts of the plant that absorb CO2 and release O2 in the presence of light. Then there proceeded continuous discoveries in this field.

In 1942 AD Meyer said that the original source of energy used by plants and animals is the sun and that the light energy absorbed by plants is converted into chemical energy through photosynthesis.

In 1961 AD Glass said that the most significant compounds involved in the process of converting the light energy into chemical energy in plants are the pigments found inside the chloroplasts or “pigment carriers”.

Chloroplasts visible in the cells of Plagiomnium affine — Many-fruited Thyme-moss

The plant starts photosynthesis by means of these components and organelles. All this results in producing carbohydrates which are involved in complex biological processes that produce the raw material for the cellular wall, amino acids, proteins, lipids, hormones, pigments, …etc. These substances are the essential matter to make all the plant parts that people and animals feed on.

Photosynthesis is a two-stage process. The first process is the Light Dependent Process (Light Reactions), requires the direct energy of light to make energy carrier molecules that are used in the second process. The Light Independent Process (or Dark Reactions) occurs when the products of the Light Reaction are used to form C-C covalent bonds of carbohydrates. The Dark Reactions can usually occur in the dark, if the energy carriers from the light process are present. Recent evidence suggests that a major enzyme of the Dark Reaction is indirectly stimulated by light, thus the term Dark Reaction is somewhat of a misnomer. The Light Reactions occur in the grana and the Dark Reactions take place in the stroma of the chloroplasts.

Photosynthesis process in chloroplasts

Aspect of the miracle

Scholarly researchers in the field of plant physiology have discovered that the green substance (the chloroplasts) absorbs the light energy and converts it into chemical energy to produce various fruits. This discovery was realized after continuous studies and various experiments that lasted for three centuries, up to the twentieth century.

This process of producing grain, fruits and trees was an unknown secret hidden deep in the thylakoids of the chloroplasts that cannot be seen with the naked eye and which have been known by botanists only after a prolonged series of continuous researches and studies carried out by scholars over several centuries.

Only after methods of precise scientific investigation were available that they ultimately declared that in the plant there is a green substance and that it is this substance that produces carbohydrates that constitute the basic matter for producing all types of fruit, trees and vegetation.

This is what the Holy Qur’an decided fourteen centuries ago and was conveyed by an illiterate Prophet who lived in a desert environment among an illiterate nation at a time when no equipment of scientific research was available.

The Verse of the Holy Qur’an could have done without mentioning the “green substance” and nobody would have objected to that, except one that knew the fundamental role of that substance. However, its mention implies that the one who mentions it knows well its main role in the production of grain, fruit and all trees and vegetation. How great it is of the Holy Qur’an to mention the truth and guide people on the road to find out the secret, by saying:

“Look at (and think over) their fruits when they begin to bear fruit and (look at) the ripeness thereof.”

Look at (and think over) their fruits

It draws the attention to the beginning of the fruit formation and its relation with ripeness whereupon no more fruits are produced because the leaves of some plants turn yellow and their cells die.

Who, then, informed Muhammad (Peace be upon him) of this fact? Muhammad, the illiterate Prophet, who lived in an illiterate culture, at a time when the simplest instruments were not available, let alone possessing the advanced instruments and research centers and laboratories in the field of plant physiology that are required to discover these facts.

The existence of this precise botanical information in the Qur’an proves that it is from Allah, Who says:

“But Allah bears witness to that which He has sent down to you. He has sent it down with His Knowledge, and the angles bear witness, and Allah is sufficient as a witness.” (Quran 4: 166)


Plant Physiology, Rebort M. Dolphine and Francis H. Witham

"They say: "What! when we are reduced to bones and dust, should we really be raised up (to be) a new creation?" Say: "(Nay!) be ye STONES or IRON, "Or created matter which, in your minds, is hardest (to be raised up), - (Yet shall ye be raised up)!" then will they say: "Who will cause us to return?" Say: "He who created you first!" Then will they wag their heads towards thee, and say, "When will that be?" Say, "May be it will be quite soon!  (Quran, 17:49-51)"

In these verses disbelievers are questioning how could Allah bring them back after death after they are converted into bones and dust? But God tells his prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to say to them: even if you are converted after death into stones or even iron, God is still able to bring you back to life.

Quran in these verses refers to the conversion of the dead into stones or iron and this fact has been proven scientifically, not only that but also this fact is now the scientific basis for more complicated studies of paleontology (prehistoric life science). So Quran preceded the modern science by referring to the fact of fossils formation due to conversion of the dead into stones or iron.

Fossils

Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals, plants, and other organisms from the remote past. The totality of fossils, both discovered and undiscovered, and their placement in fossiliferous (fossil-containing) rock formations and sedimentary layers is known as the fossil record. Fossils range from thousands of years to many millions of years in age.

The observations that certain fossils were associated with certain rock strata led early geologists to recognize a geological timescale in the 19th century. The development of radiometric dating techniques in the early 20th century allowed geologists to determine the numerical or "absolute" age of the various strata and thereby the included fossils. [1]

The only way we know anything at all about prehistoric life is through fossils. Some people refer to specimens of dinosaurs as "dinosaur bones", but in fact, they are not. No organic material can remain unchanged for millions of years. That is why, the only pieces of the past that survive to be looked upon by human eyes, do so as rocks, or fossils, as they are called when they came from living organisms. So really, there are no dinosaur bones left anywhere, just the ones that have been turned to stone. [2]

How do things turn to stone, or become fossilized? First of all, a very small amount of prehistoric life got fossilized. In order for this phenomenon to take place, conditions had to be exactly right. It was just like winning the prehistoric lottery.

Only the hard parts of an organism can become fossilized, such as teeth, claws, shells, and bones. The soft body parts are usually lost, except for in very special conditions.

How Bones are converted into Stones or Iron?

Bones of animals or humans are fossilized by replacement of its components by minerals.Replacement occurs when the shell, bone or other tissue is replaced with another mineral. In some cases mineral replacement of the original shell occurs so gradually and at such fine scales that microstructural features are preserved despite the total loss of original material. A shell is said to be recrystallized when the original skeletal minerals are still present but in a different crystal form, as from aragonite to calcite.

The minerals that usually replace the bones are calcite or silica or pyrite and these minerals can be divided into two categories:

1- Stone or rock fossils

Calcite and silica are common constituents of many types of rocks and silica is the most abundant mineral in the earth crust, so when the bones are replaced by calcite or silica; it forms bones-shaped stones. So a fossilized bone is just a rocky model of an ancient bone. A fossil is composed of different materials than the original bone was. During the fossilization process, the original atoms are replaced by new minerals, so a fossil doesn't have the same color (or chemical composition) as the original object.

2- Iron ores fossils

These fossils are formed when the bones are replaced by Iron pyrite or other Iron ores; it forms bones-shaped Iron. This process is called Pyritization, The mineral iron pyrite is an iron sulfide with the formula FeS2. This mineral's metallic luster and pale-to-normal, brass-yellow hue have earned it the nickname fool's gold due to its resemblance to gold. [3]

So it is clear that bones are preserved for millions of years when it is replaced by minerals like calcite and silica forming a rocky model of the bones or replaced by Iron pyrite or other iron ores.

"(Nay!) be ye STONES or IRON, "

Finally

This fact proves the Divine origin of the holy Quran as there were no means in the time of Quran revelation to know this magnificent fact.


References:

1- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossils

2- http://www.paleontology.esmartstudent.com/fossilization.html

3- Understanding fossilization: Experimental pyritization of plants, Geology Journal, Stephen T. Grimes

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