Modern Oceanographic Information
Studies related to marine sciences and sea depths did not practically start before the beginning of the eighteenth century, when appropriate instruments and techniques were available and when later advanced submarines were invented. After 1958, and as a result of three centuries of scientific studies and research by successive generations of oceanographers, man arrived at wonderful findings, such as the following:
1. Sea divides into two major parts:
·The surface sea that is penetrated by the solar energy and light.
·The deep sea where the solar energy and light are non-existent.
2. The deep sea and surface sea differ in temperature, density, pressure, the amount of sun light and the creatures living in each of them. They are separated by internal waves.
3. Sea internal waves:
Internal waves cover the deep sea and serve as a boundary between the deep sea and the surface sea. Surface waves cover the sea surface and serve as a boundary between water and air. Internal waves were discovered in 1904. The lengths of internal waves range from tens to hundreds of kilometers. Their height ranges from 10 meters and 100 meters.
4. The deeper the sea the darker it becomes till it gets as dark as pitch from the depth of about (200) meters. At this depth there starts the thermocline that separates the warm surface waters from the cold waters of the deep. In it we find the internal waves that cover the cold water in the depth of the sea. Light disappears completely at the depth of 100 meters.
As for the darkness that overwhelms the deep, fishermen have realized that light is absorbed even in clear water and that the slopping sea bottom with its white sand changes its color gradually till it disappears completely at a certain depth. Light penetration is inversely proportional to depth. The simplest scientific instrument for measuring how deep light penetrates the ocean water is “the Secchi disc.” Although this disc is an easy way to approximately measure the penetration of light into water and although it is widely used, the measurement of darkness in seawater was not achieved except after the use the photography at the end of the past century and the development of the devices of measuring the intensity of light that used the photoelectric cells during the thirties of the twentieth century, and after the invention of such equipment as made it possible to dive to these deep levels.
In deep seas there are several layers of darkness, and light is non-existent in them. Living organisms and fish that live in them depend on chemical energy to produce light with which to find their way. Some species are blind and use means other than sight to sense their surroundings. Darkness begins at the depth of about 200 meters, and the entire visible light disappears at the depth of about 1000 meters. The structure of these fish is mostly water to withstand the enormous pressure.
Layers of darkness one over the other:
The darkness that gets greater from the depth of 500 to 1000 meters takes place in the deep sea as a result of several layers of darkness topping one another because of two main factors:
The darkness of the colors of sunlight:
The penetration of light ray into water depends on its wavelength; the shorter the wavelength the deeper the light ray penetrates. The red color is absorbed at the depth of about 20 meters and then disappears. Consequently there appears the darkness of the red color. If a diver should be injured at the depth of about 25 meters and wanted to see the blood he would see it black because of the absence of the red color of the light. At the depth of about 30 meters the orange light is absorbed causing another type of darkness under the darkness of the red color, that is, the darkness of the orange color. At the depth of about 50 meters the yellow light is absorbed; at the depth of about 100 meters the green color is absorbed; at the depth of about 125 meters the violet and indigo colors are absorbed. The last color to be absorbed is the blue color at about 200 meters deep. Thus several layers of darkness of the colors of sunlight top one another because of the depth of water where colors are successively absorbed at different depths.
The Darkness of Barriers
The barrier darkness along with the color darkness contributes to the deep darkness in the deep sea. There are three types of barrier darkness:
a. The cloud darkness:
The surfaces of deep seas are often covered with clouds as a result of evaporation. Clouds partially obstruct sunlight and cause the first barrier darkness that is seen as shadow of these clouds on the earth and sea surface.
b. The darkness of surface waves:
The slopping surfaces of surface sea waves reflect sunlight. An observer at the seashore would notice the degree of the brilliance of the light reflected on these slopping surfaces of the surface waves.
c. The darkness of internal waves:
Long, narrow sea surface slicks associated with internal waves are common features of exposed coastal environments. Such slicks, which may be accompanied by foam or debris, also have been shown to be associated with high concentrations of many types of planktonic organisms
Internal waves overwhelm and cover deep sea at the depth from 70 meters to 240 meters. Millions of millions of organisms are suspended on the surfaces of internal waves. An internal wave may extend to the sea surface where these organisms appear as dirt gathering together on the sea surface, which makes them along with the inclination of the internal waves an obstacle to prevent light from penetrating into the deep sea. Thus a third layer of darkness occurs under the cloud darkness and the darkness of the surface waves.
We conclude from what has been said that the layers of darkness in the deep are:
a. Seven layers of darkness (the seven colors of the spectrum), which top one another.
b. The three layers of barrier darkness 1) clouds 2) surface waves and 3) internal waves. They also top one another. Thus we have ten layers of darkness.
Scientific Discoveries Related to the Verse
Experimental science, over the last three centuries and as a result of the availability of precise instruments and the findings of a large number of researchers and oceanographers, has discovered the following facts:
1) There are layers of darkness in deep seas topping one another. Darkness gets more intense gradually till visibility is utterly impossible. There are internal waves that cover the deep sea. The internal waves with the organisms suspended on hem prevent light from penetrating.
2) The layers of darkness accumulated on deep seas are ten: seven layers of darkness are caused by depth of waters, and three by barriers: clouds, surface waves and internal waves.
3) The waters of the seas are of two types:
·The surface waters where light energy is found.
·The waters of the deep over which layers of darkness are accumulated.
The Description of these Marine Secrets and Facts in the Holy Qur’an
Allah (SWT) says: “Or (the unbelievers’ state) is like the layers of darkness in a deep sea covered by waves topped by waves, topped by clouds: Layers of darkness, one above another. If a man stretches his hand, he can hardly see it. For any to whom Allah gives no light, there is no light.”(Quran 24: 40)
The Qur’an confirms the existence of layers of darkness in the deep sea. It describes the sea by the term “lujji” (deep) to emphasize that such layers of darkness are found only in deep seas, thus excluding the surface sea where such darkness is non-existent.
Linguists and Commentators explained the meaning of “lujji”. Qatadah and the author of al-Jalalain said: “Lujji” means “deep”. Al-Zamakhshari said: “’Lujji’ means deep and with large amounts of water.” Al-Tabari said: “Describing the sea as ‘lujji’ indicates its depth and abundance of water in it.” Al-Bashiri said: “It refers to something the bottom of which cannot be sounded.
Such layers of darkness form because of the depth the deep (lujji) sea. They are the layers of darkness mentioned above. Allah (SWT) says: “Or like the layers of darkness in a deep sea”. Al-Zamakhshari said; “Accumulated layers of darkness because of the depth of the sea, the waves and the clouds.” Al-Khazin said: “’Or like the layers of darkness in a lujji sea’ means ‘deep and with abundant water…’ which means that the lujji sea has a very dark bottom because of the depth of water.”
The Qur’an mentions that the deep sea is covered by waves: “Or like the layers of darkness in a lujji sea topped by waves”. The Verse mentions that there are othr waves atop the first waves. Allah (SWT) says: “covered by waves topped by waves...” This is a characteristic of the sea in that it has two types of waves atop one another. They are not successive waves in one place but simultaneous waves, the second type atop the first. The verse states that over these waves, which cover the deep sea, there are other waves. Allah (SWT) says: “topped by clouds.” These other waves are none but the waves at the surface of the sea that must cover the first waves.
The verse states that the superiority of the second waves over the first waves is like the superiority of the clouds over the second waves. Allah (SWT) says: “covered by waves topped by waves, topped by clouds….”
The Verse mentions that there are waves covering the deep sea and also other waves that top the first waves, which entails the existence of a sea over the first waves and the deep sea, i.e. the surface sea that covers the second waves that are topped by clouds.
The Qur’an confirms the role of these three barriers in forming the successive layers of darkness in the deep sea and that they are atop each other, as Allah (SWT) says: “covered by waves topped by waves, topped by clouds: Layers of darkness, one above another….” This is what some Commentators understood. Al-Imam al-Baghawi, interpreting the Verse, said: “The darkness of the first waves over that of the sea, and the darkness of the second waves over the first waves, and the darkness of the clouds over that of the second waves.” Al-Imam Ibn al-Jawzi, in his commentary, says: “Layers of darkness mean the darkness of the sea, the darkness of the first waves, the darkness of the waves that top the other waves, and the darkness caused by the clouds.”
The verse refers first to the seven layers of darkness in the deep and to the three layers of darkness caused by barriers at last: “Or like the layers of darkness in a deep sea covered by waves topped by waves, topped by clouds: Layers of darkness, one above another….”
The verse states that the above-mentioned layers of darkness caused by the depths or the barriers are atop each other. The Qur’an uses the Arabic term “Zulumat” (pl. of Zulma) “a layer of darkness” which is a plural form that is used to indicate a number between 3 and 10. This indicates that the successive layers of darkness in the deep sea are between 3 and 10. This is verified by modern science, as we have mentioned: 7 layers of darkness created by colors as a result of depths and three layers caused by barriers (internal waves, surface waves and clouds).
The verse demonstrates the gradual intensity of darkness in deep seas by using the Arabic word meaning “hardly” “If a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it” which makes the expression carry two likely meanings: First: the person who stretches out his hand in these depths to look at it will not see it but with the greatest difficulty, (according to some commentators, such as al-Mubarrid and al-Tabari. Second: such a man will not see it at all (according to some other commentators, such as al-Zajjaj, Abu ‘Ubaidah, al-Farra’ and al-Naysaburi. Both interpretations are relevant, for one is true for depths closer to the surface and the other is true for depths reaching about 1000 meters, as has been stated above. See how a concise Qur’anic expression carries several correct meanings!
The Aspect of the Miracle
The Holy Qur’an mentions precise information about the layers of darkness in the deep sea. It refers to the causes underlying their formation and their arrangement atop each other. Man could not know of these layers of darkness until after 1930 AD. The Qur’an informs us of the existence of internal waves in the seas, a fact unknown to people before 1900 AD. It informs us that the internal waves cover the deep sea, a fact discovered only after the invention and use of submarines in the thirties of the twentieth century. The Qur’an also discloses the role of the surface waves and internal waves in creating the layers of darkness in the deep sea, a matter known only with the scientific advances in the later centuries.
The above-mentioned pieces of information and knowledge were not discovered by man expect after he had invented such instruments of scientific research as enabled him to reach these depths and study these phenomena, and after a long period of research extending for three centuries during which hundreds of researchers and investigators worked hard to discover these facts. Who then informed Mohammed (Peace be upon him) of these secrets of the deep sea at a time when the means of scientific research were non-existent, and superstitions and myths were prevalent worldwide, particularly, in the marine field! How did these precise secrets reach this illiterate man, who lived among an illiterate nation and a desert environment, and who never sailed the sea throughout his life?
When these facts were presented to Professor Rao and was asked his opinion on the phenomenon of the scientific miracles in the Qur’an and the Sunnah and how it was possible for Muhammad (peace be upon him) to inform of these facts fourteen centuries ago, he said: “It is difficult to imagine that this type of knowledge existed at that time around 1400 years back. Maybe some of the things they had simple ideas about, but to describe those things in great detail is very dificult. So, this is definitely not a simple human knowledge. A normal human being cannot explain this phenomenon in that much detail. So, I thought the information must have come from a supernatural source.”