(He said): O Yusuf (Joseph), the man of truth! Explain to us (the dream) of seven fat cows whom seven lean ones were devouring, and of seven green ears of corn, and (seven) others dry, that I may return to the people, and that they may know. Yusuf said: For seven consecutive years, you shall sow as usual and that (the harvest) which you reap you shall leave in ears, (all) - except a little of it which you may eat. Then will come after that, seven hard (years), which will devour what you have laid by in advance for them, (all) except a little of that which you have guarded (stored). Then thereafter will come a year in which people will have abundant rain and in which they will press (wine and oil).    Allah, the Almighty, says: (He said): O Yusuf (Joseph), the man of truth! Explain to us (the dream) of seven fat cows whom seven lean ones were devouring, and of seven green ears of corn, and (seven) others dry, that I may return to the people, and that they may know. Yusuf said: For seven consecutive years, you shall sow as usual and that (the harvest) which you reap you shall leave in ears, (all) - except a little of it which you may eat. Then will come after that, seven hard (years), which will devour what you have laid by in advance for them, (all) except a little of that which you have guarded (stored). Then thereafter will come a year in which people will have abundant rain and in which they will press (wine and oil).”    (Yusuf: 45-49)

The Scientific Fact:

Storing corn in its ears is considered one of the basic methods of preserving such seeds during hard environmental conditions. This combination of growing crops and preserving and storing them is called preserving products.

Dr. `Abd al-Majid Bil`abid and his colleagues from Rabat University in Morocco conducted research on some wheat seeds that were left in their ears for two years and some other seeds that were left outside their ears. Primary results showed that the ears experienced no change and stayed 100% viable despite the fact that the storehouse was normal and no special conditions were provided. Scientists also found that seeds left in their ears lost a considerable amount of water and became drier than those left outside their ears. This means that 20.3 % of the weight of the seeds left outside their ears is water which will affect the seeds ability to grow once cultivated, simply because water makes it more vulnerable to decay.

Thereafter, researches compared the rates of growth between seeds left in their ears and others left outside their ears for 2 years. They found that seeds left in their sheaths have a better growth rate - of 20 % root length and 32 % trunk length. Afterwards, researchers tried to estimate the proteins and sugar that remained unchanged. They found that such substances had fallen by 32 % after 2 years of storage in the seeds left outside their ears while after one year of storage such seeds lost 20 % of these substances. The seeds stored in their ears lost nothing.

Facets of Scientific Inimitability:

Almighty Allah says: “…which you reap you shall leave in ears” which means that storing seeds in their ears is the best way to preserve them.

There are two other scientific observations in this verse:

1-     Defining the period over which seeds are expected to be viable: 15 years. People were commanded to grow wheat for 7 years and then 7 hard years would follow and then one year (totaling 15 in all) will come when people will be able to produce wine and oil. Scientific researches have proven that wheat seeds can keep their ability to grow for a maximum of 15 years.

2-     The method of storage by leaving seeds in their ears has also been tested in the research. This shows that the best way to store seeds is the way practiced by Prophet Yusuf who was taught by Allah. It is historically proven that this way was unknown before, especially to ancient Egyptians who used to store wheat seeds outside their ears. Obviously, this is a scientific miracle that shows the greatness and accuracy of the Ever-Glorious Qur'an and that it is a revelation from Allah (Exalted and Glorified be He).

"….is the likeness of a garden on a height; heavy rain falls on it and it doubles its yield of harvest. And if it does not receive heavy rain, light rain suffices it..."  (Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow): 265)

This verse mentions the scientific truth that an orchard on a flat surface, which is more elevated than what surrounds it, if subjected to heavy rain, will bear twice the amount of fruit.  This is because the likelihood of it being flooded with heavy rain is non-existent as the water quickly drains away from the soil after it has taken what it requires; this is as it is elevated above the valleys surrounding it. If, however, it does not receive heavy rain but light moisture (dew or light drizzles of rain) it is sufficient to water the plants and to produce plentiful fruit.

The point here is that such a garden on a height, thrives, flourishes, bears fruit and produces generously whether or not it receives heavy rain.

Surat Al-Baqarah describes those who spend for the sake of Allah and who are righteous. Allah makes what they have spent for Him in His cause thrive and grow (irrespective of whether the amount spent is large or small); the rewards of spending for the sake of Allah are compared to the produce of the garden on a height thrives and grows whether or not it receives heavy rain.

Each of the above mentioned scientific matters requires separate analysis; therefore, I will only focus my analysis in this article on the last point concerning the description of the garden on a height.  Before starting, we shall have a quick look at the interpretation of this noble verse by old and contemporary scholars.

Concerning the interpretation of the following verse that can be translated as,* And the likeness of those who spend their wealth seeking Allah’s Pleasure while they in their ownselves are sure and certain that Allah will reward them (for their spending in His Cause), is the likeness of a garden on a height; heavy rain falls on it and it doubles its yield of harvest. And if it does not receive heavy rain, light rain suffices it. And Allah is All-Seer (knows well) of what you do.”*

 (Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow): 265). 

Ibn-Kathir said, “This is the likeness of the believers, who spend their wealth seeking to please Allah by doing so. * “…and to strengthen their souls …” *They know for a certainty that Allah will reward them most generously for spending in His cause.

Al-Sha’abi explained* “…and to strengthen their souls…”* means that they do this out of true faith and absolute certainty.

All the scholars agree that *“…is the likeness of a garden on a height…”* means a place that is elevated from the ground; Ibn Abbas and Ad-dahak add that rivers flow through this garden. *“…Heavy rain falls on it and it doubles its yield of harvest…”* means it bears twice the amount of fruit as compared to other gardens, if it receives heavy rain.  

The scientific implications of the noble verse:
It is an obvious fact that the earth’s surface is not completely flat.  It ranges from high lofty summits to low lying mountain ranges to the level plains that stretch to reach an altitude slightly above sea level.
 

Between the lofty summits and the leveled plains, we find heights and hills with different altitudes until we reach the plains, then we find continental depressions and sea and ocean trenches.

The reason why the topography of earth is variable is because of the different chemical and mineral composition of the rocks forming it and consequently the difference in the density of these rocks.  This is because the earth’s solid layer (earth’s crust) floats on a layer of semi-molten materials, which is called the weak zone (Asthenosphere) in the earth’s layers. This floatation is governed by the laws and principles. (For example buoyancy principle, just as an iceberg that is less dense than water floats in the ocean).

The highest peak on the earth’s surface, Mount Everest in the Himalayan mountain range, reaches an altitude of 8848 m above sea level.  The lowest point on land’s surface is the floor of the Dead Sea (a part of continent not marine) and is about 400 m below sea level. The average altitude of land on earth is roughly 840 m above sea level. 

The deepest point on the ocean floor of the earth is the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean; its depth is a little over eleven km whereas the average depth of ocean floors is about four km (3729 to 4500 m) below sea level.

These variations in altitudes provide vastly varying types of living environments, each suited for a specific form of life. We find therefore that fruit and chestnut trees and in general trees that have produce grow best on hills and heights that are under one thousand m above sea level, whereas grains and potatoes stop growing at about two thousand m above sea level (around 2160 m). The maximum altitude for forest growth is 2660 m above sea level.

The height best suited for a garden that was given as an example in the verse under analysis is wondrous, since this is the best environment known to us for the growth of fruit trees and others trees that have produce such as olive trees, almond trees, pine trees and others.  This is because the environment of heights is characterized by mild weather, abundant water, a greater chance of being exposed to sunshine, rainfall, humidity, wind movement and to air renewal around it.  Therefore it is the most suited environment for the growth of trees in general and of fruit trees in particular.

Heights are features of the earth’s surface that are leveled and elevated above sea level by an average altitude ranging from 300 to 600 m.  Their altitudes are lower than that of mountains and higher than that of hills.  Consequently, rain water never drowns heights, no matter how strong the rainfall is.  That is because the rain water is pushed ever downward by the force of gravity to the surrounding areas that are lower than the height.  That is after its soil and rocks had been saturated with the required amount of water, which both cools and refreshes them and is stored in them.  Controlling the amount of stored water helps plants perform their vital activities efficiently without drowning or dehydration.  Dehydration kills the plants and drowning them in water or having an increase in the water storage in the rocks and soil would result in the decay, rotting and decomposition of the roots which would also kill the plants.

When heavy rain falls on a height, both its soil and rocks and the plants growing on it take their required intake of water, while excess water flows over to the lower surrounding areas till it reaches the valleys and the plains.  The controlled amount of water stored in the soil and rocks of the height helps the roots of plants in general and of trees in particular to extend deeper into the soil and rocks.  This multiplies the amounts of elements and compounds that become available for the roots to absorb, along with the nutritional sap they extract from the ground.  The extended roots also help fix the plants in the ground and make them resistant to strong wind and other environmental changes.  

One of the advantages of the environment of heights is that if it receives heavy rain, it doubles its produce and if the humidity decreases and only drizzle or dew are available as moisture, it still bears plenty of fruit. This is because plants growing on heights are able to benefit from the rain water whatever the quantity they receive, as well as from the dew that condenses at higher rates than in plains or in closed valleys, particularly in dry regions.  

Fruit trees and others trees such as olive, almond, and pine trees bear more fruit at heights that are above sea level than on level plains and closed valleys because if heavy rain falls on the height, the excess water quickly flows away from it after the garden has taken its water requirements.  It therefore benefits it and does not harm it in any way.  The garden therefore bears double the amount of fruit.  Nevertheless, when the garden does not receive heavy rain then the drizzle or dew condensing around it is sufficient to provide it with its water requirements, so it continues to live and bear fruit by the will of Allah.  

The verse thus likens those who spend their wealth, seeking Allah’s pleasure and to strengthen their souls (whatever their material ability) to a fertile garden with fruitful trees growing on an elevated height in favorable environmental conditions that have provided the garden with all the means for growth and a very generous production of fruit when it receives heavy rain, moreover, still a generous production of fruit if it receives light rain.  The continuous production of this garden does not stop under any circumstance, similarly believers spend in the cause of Allah driven by their faith in Allah (SWT) and their firm belief that He is the Sustainer and that He is the Powerful and the Strong.  They therefore spend in His cause whether their financial ability is strong or weak. They spend seeking only His pleasure and the strengthening of their souls, since one of the ways to train the human soul is through spending money in the cause of Allah, and in this respect Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “And the likeness of those who spend their wealth seeking Allah’s Pleasure while they in their ownselves are sure and certain that Allah will reward them (for their spending in His Cause), is the likeness of a garden on a height; heavy rain falls on it and it doubles its yield of harvest. And if it does not receive heavy rain, light rain suffices it. And Allah is All-Seer (knows well) of what you do.”*

(Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow): 265). 

This verse points clearly to the preference of growing fruit trees in general on heights, which are flat elevated grounds, lower than mountains and higher than hills, ranging in altitude between 300 and 600 m above sea level.  This is a scientific fact that has been proven by experiments over successive decades.  This scientific fact is present in the Qur’an which was revealed over 1400 years ago to an illiterate prophet (PBUH) in a nation whose large majority were illiterate and living in a dry desert with no knowledge of gardens or fruit trees except for palm or some vines in very limited areas of it.  This Qur’anic description therefore bears witness that these are the words of Allah, the Creator, who has revealed it with His knowledge to His last prophet (PBUH).  Since the Qur’an is the last message, Allah (SWT) has undertaken to guard it in the same language of its revelation (Arabic).  Therefore, He has protected it word for word, letter for letter, from any addition or omission or alteration or change, for over 14 centuries and until the Day of Judgment, as He has promised what can be translated as,* “Verily, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur’an) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption)”*

(Surat Al-Hijr (The Rocky Tract): 9).

Praise be to Allah for the favor of the Qur’an and praise be to Allah for the favor of Islam and praise be to Allah for guiding us to this while we could never have been guided to this had it not been for the guidance of Allah, and praise be to Allah in the hereafter and in this first world.  Blessings and peace be upon the last prophet and messenger and on his family and companions and all who follow his guidance and invoke with his invocation until the Day of Judgment.

A variety of oral hygiene measures have been performed since the dawn of time. This has been verified by various excavations done all over the world, in which toothpicks, chew sticks, tree twigs, linen strips, birds' feathers, animal bones and porcupine quills were recovered 1.

Those that originated from plants are tasty twigs and although primitive they represented a transitional step towards the modern toothbrush. It has been stated that about seventeen plants could be enumerated as natural sources for several of these oral hygiene devices 2.

The most widely used tree twigs since early times is the ..Siwak" or ..Miswak" 3 .The stick is obtained from a plant called Salvadore Persica that grows around Mecca and the Middle East area in general. It is widely used among Muslims after Prophet Mohammed ( pbuh ) realised its value as a device which should be used by Muslims to clean their teeth. In this respect our Prophet ( pbuh ) is considered the first dental educator in proper oral hygiene.

Although there is no reference to the use of Siwak in Al-Quran, yet several quotations could be read in the compendium of the sayings of Mohammed ( pbuh ) as to the benefits of Siwak in mouth cleanliness. One saying reads as follows:

"IF IT WERE NOT TOO MUCH A BURDEN ON THE BELIEVERS, I WOULD PRESCRIBE THAT THEY USE THE SIWAK BEFORE EACH PRAYER".


Several anecdotes6, incidents, and rules of ethics in using Siwak were mentioned in various references talking on the subject of cleanliness of the mouth.

Salvadora Persica is in fact a small tree or shrub with a crooked trunk, seldom more than one foot in diameter, bark scabrous and cracked, whitish with pendulous extremities. The root bark is light brown and the inner surfaces are white, odour like cress and taste is warm and pungent. Chemically the air dried stem bark os S. Persica is extracted with 80% alcohol and then extracted with ether and run through exhaustive chemical procedures. This showed that it is composed of:

1.Trim ethyl amine

2.An alkaloid which may be salvadorine

3.Chlorides

4.High amounts of fluoride and silica

5.Sulphur

6.Vitamin C

7.Small amounts of Tannins, saponins, flavonoids & sterols

PURPOSE OF THE PRESENT INVESTIGATION:

Because of the great quality of oral cleanliness noticed in individuals who use Siwak as the sole device to brush their teeth and because of the low incidence of dental decay of those individuals this work was undertaken.
It is intended to study the following:
1 .The mechanical ability of Siwak as a cleaning device to the mouth and its ability to rid the mouth of bacterial plaque (aggregates harmful to the gum)
2. If Siwak is powdered and used with a toothbrush, could it act as an efficient mouth cleaner?
3. As compared to other strongly abrasive toothpowder's, could Siwak rank as highly efficient as to the used material?

Discussion

Oral hygiene and patient motivation towards a clean mouth owe their birth to the teachings of Mohammed (pbuh). Due to the repeated use of Siwak during the day, the users showed an unusually high level of oral cleanliness. It is a well known fact that plaque formed immediately after meticulous tooth brushing. By the end of 24 hours the plaque is well on its way towards maturation and hence starts its deleterious effects on the gingiva 8.

Proper oral hygiene should be maintained through intensive instructions by the periodontist as well as by a great expenditure of time and dexterity on part of the patient. This item is self corrected in Muslims because Siwak users take Siwak as a device that should be used as part of their religious ritual regimen.

The results obtained in this investigation have proved that Siwak and other tree twigs 9 could act as an effective tool in removing soft oral deposits. It could be even used as an effective device in preventive dental programme's in mass populations. The indices used in this investigations were simple and adequate as they discriminated between experimental stages as well as between experimental groups.

Using starch is not quite accurate but it was meant to evaluate the degree by which Siwak and powdered Siwak could rid teeth of deposits as compared to the best abrasive viz. commercial powder.

It is noticed that the difference between first and fifth week of the mean score of plaque percentage for powdered Siwak is the highest (-11.2%) of all readings. This indicates that powdered Siwak is used with t mechanically proper device i.e. tooth brush will give a great deal of oral cleanliness.

It has been reported that Salvadora Persica contains substances that possess antibacterial properties Some other components are astringents, detergents and abrasives 8. Those properties encourage some toothpaste laboratories to incorporate powdered stems and/or root material of Salvadora persica in their products (Beckenham U.K. Sarakan Ltd.).

Although the commercial powder gave a high degree of efficiency in plaque removal yet its use over the experimental period gave a high score of gingivitis percentage within the group using the powder. It is time that plaque eradication is essential but this should not be on the expense of deleterious side effect on other tissues.

It could be concluded that Siwak and powdered Siwak are excellent tools for oral cleanliness. Because of its availability in this part of the world, being inexpensive and readily adopted by Muslims as part of their religious regimen, it is highly recommended in implementing a preventive dental health program  Islamic countries. Also recommendations should be directed to manufacturers of toothpastes to include the powdered form of Siwak in a highly debriding sophisticated toothpaste.


By: Dr. M. Ragaii El-Mostehy, Dr. A.A.Al-Jassem, Dr. I.A.Al-Yassin, Dr.A.R; El-Gindy and Dr. E. Shoukry


Forget about your Toothbrush! Try Miswak

A Miswak or Siwak is probably an alien thing to the western world. But, it’s a twig which a majority of people from Muslim countries use daily to brush their teeth. Although it might sound outdated to use twigs from trees for cleaning your teeth, studies conducted on the Miswak prove otherwise. Studies have inferred that Miswak is better than toothpaste for preventing gum disease. It is being known as chewing stick in the western world and is being looked upon as a form of alternative medicine. So, let’s analyze this “wonder twig” keeping documented scientific studies as proofs.

Miswak

But first of all, why would anyone think of using a tree twig to clean their teeth? The fact is ancient man did not have the facility of a toothbrush and many cultures have used Miswak for oral hygiene. The use of Miswak is well spread in the Muslim population of the world, and is a common entity in Muslim countries. The reason for common use of Miswak by Muslims can be attributed to religious beliefs. The last messenger of Islam used it frequently and also instructed his followers to do the same and hence the practice continues widely in Muslim countries. There are 70 benefits of Miswak as suggested by Islamic Literature and many of these have been scientifically proven and the rest haven’t been studied yet.

You might be wondering what exactly a Miswak is in the first place. The Miswak is obtained from the twigs of the Arak tree (Peelu tree) although a few other trees can also be used to obtain it such as walnut and olive.

A few important benefits of Miswak

  • Kills Gum disease causing bacteria.
  • Fights plaque effectively.
  • Fights against caries.
  • Removes Bad breath and odor from mouth.
  • Creates a fragrance in the mouth.
  • Effectively clean between teeth due to its parallel bristles.
  • Increases salivation and hence inhibits dry mouth (Xerostomia)

Scientific Studies on Miswak

Although the 70 supposed benefits of Miswak range widely, the main one we are examining is its effect on oral health. So, let’s throw some light on scientific studies conducted on Miswak.

The Wrigley Company made a study on Miswak which was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The study found that mints laced with Miswak extract were 20 times more effective in killing bacteria than ordinary mints. A small testimony to this fact is that after half an hour, the mints laced with Miswak extract killed about 60% of the bacteria where as the ordinary mints managed only 3.6%

In the August issue of Journal of Periodontology (2008) appeared a study conducted by Swedish researchers on Miswak. The study apparently found that suspended Miswak pieces in a petridish (medium for culturing bacteria) were able to kill bacteria that cause periodontal disease with out being in physical contact with the bacteria. The researchers suggested that Miswak might be giving antibiotics as gases trying to explain this phenomenon.

A study which compares toothbrushing and using Miswak (Miswak ing!) can be seen on Pubmed (U.S National Library for Medicine Service). The study concluded that Miswak was more effective than toothbrushing in reducing plaque and gingivitis provided it was used correctly. Similar studies found on the same website and elsewhere vouch for the effectiveness of Miswak over toothbrush.

A study conducted by a group of dentists at King Saud University concluded that using Miswak was at least as good as tooth brushing, if not better. There have been plenty of published studies on Miswak and infact entire books published which study its oral and systemic benefits.

Now, with all those studies chucked at you, you couldn’t help but wonder why it is so effective. This can be attributed to its strong antibacterial properties. Another important aspect to consider is that its bristles are parallel to the handle rather than perpendicular which means effective cleaning between the teeth. Now, that’s one natural toothbrush cum toothpaste cum floss.


A few related studies and articles on Miswak

·Tootbbrush V/s Miswak

·Systemic effects of Miswak

·Comparing toothbrushing and Miswak in a population of Sudan

·Journal of periodontal research

·Journal of contemporary Dental practice

·Study on anti-fungal effect of miswak

·Study on uptake and release of fluoride from Miswak


Quran, the Miraculous Book calls our attention to the multifarious phenomena of nature occurring around us. It keeps on diverting the attention of its reader from the day its revelation started to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) till present and future generations to the search for existence of God. It picks up examples and observations we have in our close environment. Here to quote one example for people who would know God from the phenomena of combustion and fire we kindle. The Quran reads and claims as;

"أَفَرَأَيْتُمُ النَّارَ الَّتِي تُورُونَ{71} أَأَنتُمْ أَنشَأْتُمْ شَجَرَتَهَا أَمْ نَحْنُ الْمُنشِؤُونَ{72}" (الواقعة : 21-72)

“See ye the fire which ye kindle? Is it ye who grow its tree or do We grow it” (56: 71-72).

Attention of the reader is diverted to the phenomena of fire burning in relation to a tree with a question that who created its tree that produce fire. What is the use of the word ‘tree’ Quran relates with the fire? Why not Quran choose the word ‘wood’ because fire burns dry wood as we observe in our daily life. What is the relation of tree with a fire to occur? Simpler, for a 7th century reader is that fire burns dry wood and that is our common observation too. But a very close reading of the passage would mean something different for a person who is more specialized in science and would seek the existence of God in his/ her scientific discoveries. He/she would put the question why does Quran not explain the exact process of fire if it has taken it as something that would guide mankind to the existence of God. What all science knows is neither tree nor wood but ‘Oxygen’ that is released by plants during photosynthesis which means ''putting together with light.'' The best known form of photosynthesis is the one carried out by higher plants and algae, and some cyanobacteria responsible for a major part of photosynthesis in oceans. All green plants on the surface of earth have green coloring chlorophyll which contains chloroplast in them. Chlorophyll absorbs the sunlight and combines carbon dioxide and water in a process called photosynthesis. The end products of this photosynthesis are carbohydrate (sugar) and oxygen (Figure Photosynthesis).


The carbohydrate or glucose which plants produce is utilized by the plants for making starch, fats, and proteins. The second product of this process is oxygen. All oxygen we have in the environment for respiration and combustion comes from this process of photosynthesis. And all this what science has found is correct.He/ she then would say ‘what is God and how would I perceive His existence if I were to take this example of fire?

The Quran answers this question in a more concise manner and shows its reader to know GOD from your scientific discoveries and read the verse below;

"الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُم مِّنَ الشَّجَرِ الْأَخْضَرِ نَاراً فَإِذَا أَنتُم مِّنْهُ تُوقِدُونَ{80}" (يس : 80)

Know that “God is One Who produces for you fire out of the green tree, when behold! You kindle therewith”. (36:80).

"And Allah is one Who produces for you fire out of the green tree, then Behold? you kindle there with".

More special in the verse above is the word ‘green trees’ which has challenged the 7th century reader to contemplate and as an answer for the 21st or later century readers. The second point that needs more attention is the Arabic word ‘Min’ meaning “from” or “out of”.What is that which the green trees produce for burning through which we kindle our fire? Is it not explaining the end process of photosynthesis in green trees with which we burn our fire? (Oxygen as one of the end product of photosynthesis is a common knowledge for today’s man but for a reader of 7th century, the phenomenon was yet to be discovered). It is up to you the men of Science and knowledge. What name you choose for it. You call it element of life, fire or "Oxygen". It is the property Almighty Allah has put in green trees for you as a sign and a lesson to understand God. If there were no green trees, there would have been no oxygen and no combustion. Nomadic people of desert had no knowledge of oxygen. All they knew was their observation of burning, either it was dry wood or a by-product of a green tree such as coal or oil. Oxygen was not known to them but they were challenged with the word ‘fire’ from green tree and were asked to uncover the knowledge that would lead you to the belief of existence of God after all their discoveries submit to the power of God who put such properties in green trees.

We notice here two remarkable features of the Quran. The first feature is that it expresses scientific truths that will be verified centuries later. The second feature is that the Quran expresses those truths using terms and expressions that would avoid confusing its first readers in the 7th century. The 7th century reader easily relates it to the image of fire from a tree and the 21st century scientist can easily interpret the word ‘fire from green trees’ as Oxygen.

Thus Quran fulfills the curiosity and mental capabilities of both 7th and succeeding century readers.

In the last message, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) said, "All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others, again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly”. In the preceding verses from the Holy Quran we can observe this fact that the words of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) were correct. The Quran revealed to him is the last book and has the miraculous capacity of answering questions of all ages present and future and that Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) was chosen as the last prophet of God who would fulfill this responsibility of prophecy to the present and future generations as well. Indeed Quran is for all ages, and all kinds of people. It is a source of knowledge. It provides hints to humanity for contemplation and knowing about the Creator.

“Allah has taught man that which he knew not” (96: 5).

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

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