Quran on Iron (Hadeed)

The word used in the Quran for Iron is “Hadeed” about which it is stated: … and We sent down the Iron (Hadeed) in which is severe strength and other benefits for mankind…(57:25)

…وَأَنزَلْنَا الْحَدِيدَ فِيهِ بَأْسٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ…

The energy required to synthesize iron is not available on earth, therefore, the iron in the earth must have been synthesized in outer space. In view of this, the word “Anzala” meaning sent down not only shows that the iron present in the earth, the major portion of the earth’s core being composed of it, was sent down from outer space, but also indicates that the origin of earth and other planets was associated with a star, in this case, the sun, where temperatures and energies are of a very high order and thus confirms the findings of science.

The above verse not only makes clear the origin of iron and accordingly the origin of the earth, but also throws light on its hardness and usefulness for mankind. One of these uses was demonstrated by Zulqarnain, as narrated in the following verses 93-98 of Surah Kahf, (Chapter 18):

93. حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغَ بَيْنَ السَّدَّيْنِ وَجَدَ مِن دُونِهِمَا قَوْمًا لَّا يَكَادُونَ يَفْقَهُونَ قَوْلًا

Until when he (Zulqarnain) reached (a place) between two mountains he found on the other side of the (two mountains) a people who could hardly understand a word.

94. قَالُوا يَا ذَا الْقَرْنَيْنِ إِنَّ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ مُفْسِدُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَهَلْ نَجْعَلُ لَكَ خَرْجًا عَلَى أَن تَجْعَلَ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَهُمْ سَدًّا

They said, “O Zulqarnain, Yajooj (Gog) and Majooj (Magog) are causing corruption in the earth. Then shall we pay you a tribute on (condition) that you make a barrier between us and them?

95. قَالَ مَا مَكَّنِّي فِيهِ رَبِّي خَيْرٌ فَأَعِينُونِي بِقُوَّةٍ أَجْعَلْ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُمْ رَدْمًا

He said, “That in which my Fosterer has established me is better, so help me with strength (workers), I will make between you and them a strong bank (or wall),

96. آتُونِي زُبَرَ الْحَدِيدِ حَتَّى إِذَا سَاوَى بَيْنَ الصَّدَفَيْنِ قَالَ انفُخُوا حَتَّى إِذَا جَعَلَهُ نَارًا قَالَ آتُونِي أُفْرِغْ عَلَيْهِ قِطْرًا

Bring me blocks of iron”. Then at the point when he had levelled (the space) between the two mountain sides, he said, “Blow”, until when he made it (red hot) fire, he said, “Bring me molten copper which I may pour over it”.

97. فَمَا اسْطَاعُوا أَن يَظْهَرُوهُ وَمَا اسْتَطَاعُوا لَهُ نَقْبًا

Thus they all (communities of Yajooj & Majooj) were not able to climb it nor were they able to pierce it.

98. قَالَ هَذَا رَحْمَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّي فَإِذَا جَاء وَعْدُ رَبِّي جَعَلَهُ دَكَّاء وَكَانَ وَعْدُ رَبِّي حَقًّا

He said, “This is a mercy from my Fosterer but when the promise of my Fosterer comes to pass, He will make it crumble to pieces and the promise of my Fosterer is true”

When a metallurgist reads the above verses, the first thing that would strike him is the corrosion resistance property of copper. The assembled blocks of iron were in a heated or red hot state and could have possibly reacted with atmospheric oxygen to form iron oxide. When molten copper was poured over iron oxide the possibility of formation of copper ferrite cannot be ruled out. This material is ceramic and is acid resistant. The molten copper which covered the iron blocks by flowing over it must have also acted as a surface coating increasing the corrosion resistance property. Copper flowing into the interstices must have bound the blocks of assembled iron, by establishing metal continuity due to the mechanism called diffusion. Diffusion of copper in iron and iron in copper to some extent is possible and it increases the strength and hardness of the alloy so formed which is specially useful in resisting certain types of corrosion.

The Quran certifies these aspects in the following words:

Ø CORROSION RESISTANCE:

98. قَالَ هَذَا رَحْمَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّي فَإِذَا جَاء وَعْدُ رَبِّي جَعَلَهُ دَكَّاء وَكَانَ وَعْدُ رَبِّي حَقًّا

He (Zulqarnain) said, “This is a mercy from my Fosterer but when the promise of my Fosterer comes to pass, He will make it crumble to pieces and the promise of my Fosterer is true” (18:98)

Ø STRENGTH:

95. … أَجْعَلْ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُمْ رَدْمًا

I will make between you and them a strong bank (or wall), (18:95)

…وَأَنزَلْنَا الْحَدِيدَ فِيهِ بَأْسٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ…

… and We sent down the Iron (Hadeed) in which is severe strength and other benefits for mankind…(57:25)

Ø HARDNESS:

97. فَمَا اسْطَاعُوا أَن يَظْهَرُوهُ وَمَا اسْتَطَاعُوا لَهُ نَقْبًا

Thus they all (communities of Yajooj & Majooj) were not able to climb it nor were they able to pierce it.(18:97)

The Quran has thus touched even the specialized field of metallurgy and provided guidance to us and thus proved that it is a guide for mankind in all fields till the end of the universe. Had we reflected (and acted upon) such scientific and technical subjects in the Quran earlier, we would have been in a position to guide mankind in those fields, in which, unfortunately, now the non muslims excel.

This article was published in Nov 1996 issue of The Young Muslim Digest, Bangalore, India

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