The Quran Asks 24-43

Did you not consider that (it is) Allah (Who) causes the driving of the clouds then the merging between them, then He makes them a heap, so you see the rain coming out of the spaces in between them, and He causes (the rain) to be sent down from the sky, from the mountainous volumes therein of coolness, then He causes it to fall on whom He wills and turns it away from whom He wills, the flash of His lightning almost takes away the sights. (Al Quran, Surah An Nur, Chapter 24: Verse 43)

Allah (SWT) produces and causes the rain, snow, hail, lightning etc. to fall on whom He wills, He alternates the night and the day, He created all living beings from water. The above verse and this explanation needs to be understood in context with the below verses and the following explanatory notes thereafter:

24-43: Did you not consider that (it is) Allah (Who) causes the driving of the clouds then the unification between them, then He makes them a heap, so you see the rain coming out of the spaces in between them, and He causes (the rain) to be sent down from the sky, from the mountainous volumes therein of coolness {2}, then He causes it to fall on whom He wills and turns it away from whom He wills, the flash of His lightning almost takes away the sights.
24-44: Allah causes the oscillation of the night and the day, in that there is certainly a lesson for those who have insight.
24-45: And Allah created every moving creature from water, so among them is one that moves on its stomach and among them is one that walks on its two feet and among them is one that walks on four (legs). Allah creates what He wills, Allah certainly has power over everything.

Explanatory Notes with Scientific Background:
The tremendous amount of water that falls down from the sky flooding large cities on the earth should make us realize that all this water before falling down as rain, was held up in the form of clouds, suspended in the sky. In the troposphere, the layer of atmosphere immediately above the earth, the temperature decreases with increase; in height. In view of this, clouds are mountainous volumes of coolness, the proof of this coolness is hail which falls down in the form of small pieces of ice and also snow fall.

Origin of Life and Creation of Man:
Past Life:
Biologists and palaeontologists have shown that life on earth was not the same in the past as it is now. This inference is drawn from the study of fossils, which are the resistant parts or moulds of extinct animals and plants preserved in sediments deposited in water. These fossils help us in deciphering how life evolved. Life has changed continuously, it was very simple in early stages but with passing time plants and animals became more and more complex. This observation has given rise to the theory that the present living beings have gradually evolved from ancestors which were different from them.

Origin of Life:
Biologists going through the history of life are still trying to reach some point when life first appeared on this planet. The exact date is of course not known, but it is estimated that life might have made its first appearance somewhere between” 500 and 3,000 Million years back. Whether life appeared at one place on the surface of the earth at one particular instant of time or whether it was spontaneously created at various places and times is also not known.

Most scientists are of the opinion that life came into being on earth rather than arriving full-blown from outer space and that its coming into being involved the accumulation of non-living earthy materials into aggregates of molecules able to grow, react to environmental stimuli and reproduce themselves more or less faithfully generation after generation. The appearance of living beings is associated with the epoch when torrents of warm water fell from the sky on the slowly cooling surface of the earth forming extensive ocean basins which have always been recognised as the cradle of primeval life. These basins of deposition i.e. lakes, seas and oceans, in addition to other mineral matter, contained clays which are extremely small in panicle size and various chemical elements in solution. Every organism seems to require atleast 20 chemical elements and perhaps traces of several others. It may be no accident, that the elements essential to life are universally present in sea water. Water itself makes a major portion of all living beings. Following verses of the Quran appear to have a bearing on this subject:

“And Allah has created every moving creature from water” (Al Quran, Surah An Nur, Chapter 24: Verse 45)

“And He (Allah) it is Who created man from water…” (Al Quran, Surah Al Furqan, Chapter 25: Verse 54)

According to most geologists, the earth during its early history was very hot, chemical activity must have been rapid and atoms were therefore, forming and reforming into many kinds of molecules. It is assumed that the young earth had an atmosphere, composed primarily of water vapour, ammonia and methane. It is reasoned that under such conditions, simple organic substances i.e. molecules containing several carbon atoms, might have formed. Methane, ammonia and water vapour contain the kinds of atoms needed to form aminoacids. The creation of self-duplicating and energy gathering molecules from aminoacids is the essential step in the appearance of life. The energy required to form these compounds could have come from the heat of the earth and from the electric energy of lightning. Over Millions of years, an accumulation of such organic compounds within oceans, seas and lakes might have produced a kind of hot thin soup. In this thin organic soup, it is likely that simple organic compounds were concentrated, perhaps on clay flakes and ultimately bonded together to form the larger molecules that seemed to be the building blocks of all living things. Finally it is supposed that by eventually coming together these larger molecules might have formed a simple kind of “living thing”. We can imagine a transition rather than a sharp line between complicated non-living things and simple living organisms. In ‘the transition from dead matter to living beings, organisms like the virus might have developed which are crystalline like inanimate matter and multiply like living beings. Thus living creatures on earth appear to be a direct product of the earth. The transition of dead matter to living material and vice versa is confirmed by the Quran in the following words:

“Certainly, (it is) Allah Who splits the grain and the date stone (seed). He brings forth the living (animate) from the dead (inanimate) and He is the bringer forth of the dead from the living.” (Al Quran, Surah Al An’am, Chapter 6: Verse 96).

Evolution and Migration of Life:
Evolution is the name given to the comprehensive plan of sequence in all natural events. Organisms are inherently plastic and capable of changing. This ability of life to assume various forms and to achieve various reactions in order to survive is the real significant theme that runs through the past history of life. The implication of evolution is that all life has been derived from one or few simple living beings. The germs of life once they came into existence started an evolutionary course towards higher and more diversified forms. No new organism came into existence till its food in the form of lower plants and animals had already come into existence. Once established, life could spread rapidly as long as food sources were available. As food sources declined, competition set in and only the most efficient survived. Life was not stationary, organisms migrated, dispersed themselves in various directions from their place of origin according to prevailing Opportunities and conditions. The Quran states:

“And there is not an animal in the earth nor a bird that flies on its two wings but (they are) communities (species) like those of yours…” (Al Quran, Surah Al An’am, Chapter 6: Verse 38)

Life: Result of God’s Will or Chance:
One of the most important reasons which makes Muslims discard the theory of evolution is that most of the supporters of this theory ascribe the origin of life to chance accumulation of matter in a particular form to give rise to life, they do not feel the necessity of believing God to be the Creator because they feel that chance, accidents, laws of nature, evolution etc., can explain everything from an atom to man and the universe. Following passage on Chance’ by Mottram, a writer of science, might serve as a good argument against the possibility of things coming into existence by chance and thus convince us to accept God as the Creator. ‘The inert lifeless matter of our planet sprang into life under the influence of natural forces and the simple living things so generated were gradually and slowly moulded by other natural forces into the multitudinous, wonderful, delightful, beautiful, intricate, grotesque, ugly but always entrancing manifestations of life around us i.e. we descend from specks of jelly-like living material which evolved out of inanimate matter. Scientists suggest that carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and sulphur kept on barging into each other, combining and recombining by chance, until accidentally, one day they gave rise to protein, and complex reactions of proteins constitute the phenomena we call life. By chance, in the past, something like virus, supposed to be the missing link between inanimate mater and living things, originated. Then all life evolved from them, it was all chance. Chance brought the required elements together. Chance enabled them to form protein. Chance enabled life to evolve, Everything from molecule to man can be explained by evolution and that is by chance. Charles Eugene Guye, a Swiss mathematician calculated the chance of manufacturing a single molecule of some simple protein-like substance and also the amount of material which would have to be shaken together to do it. The probability against protein ‘happening’ is very great indeed. The odds against winning the protein stakes are 100 multiplied by itself 160 times to one. Also the amount of material necessary to produce that one molecule is much greater than (lie material comprising the whole universe. Sixtellion, sixtellion, sixtellion times greater. For it to occur on one small planet it would need endless years, 10 multiplied by itself 243 times. It does not look probable that even simple proteins can be manufactured by chance. Prof. J.B. Leathes calculated, that the number of ways in which the protein links in the chain of a quite simple protein can be put together, is 10 multiplied by itself 48 times. And the virus protiens are complicated proteins which consideration makes it all the more unlikely that chance made them. It looks as though an intelligent, purposeful mind must have stepped in when matter on earth had cooled sufficiently and created proteins and endowed them with life’. (Science in Perspective Denys Thompson, A scienctific basis for belief in God.)

Creation of Man:
If the principle of organic evolution is valid, man as a physical being has a succession of ancestors extending far back to the history of life on earth and in common with other plants and animals might have evolved from one or few simple living beings, having passed through various stages of plant and animal life, taking Millions of years to reach his present form. This conclusion is based on indirect evidences such as, fossils, similarities in embryos and other biological aspects of man and some animals. Biologically, man is regarded as a vertebrate, a mammal and a primal. Let us see what the Quran states on the subject of origin of man:

Substance of Creation:
1. “He (Allah) it is Who created you from clay…” (Al Quran, Surah Al An’am, Chapter 6: Verse 2)

2. “And We had created man from mud (containing sand and clay) with black (carbon particles) which had traversed…” (Al Quran, Surah Al Hijr, Chapter 15: Verse 26)

3. “And We have created man from something taken out from wet clay:…” (Al Quran, Surah Al Muminun, Chapter 23: Verse 12)

4. “…and He began the creation of man from clay.” (Al Quran, Surah Al Sajdah, Chapter 32: Verse 7).

5. “…We certainty created them (men) from sticking clay.” (Al Quran, Surah As Saffat, Chapter 37: Verse 11).

6. “And Allah created you from the soil…” (Al Quran, Surah Al Fatir, Chapter 35: Verse 11)

7. “He created man from mud (containing sand and clay), like (that used in) pottery.” (Al Quran, Surah Ar Rahman, Chapter 55: Verse 14)

8. “When your Fosterer said to the angels I am creating man from clay, so when I set him in balance and I breathe into him of My spirit, then fall bowing down before him.” (Al Quran, Surah Saad, Chapter 38: Verses 71-72)

The Arabic words used for indicating the material from which man’s creation was started are teen, turab etc., which have been translated as clay, soil, mud etc. probably to emphasise on the degree of fineness of the material used. Atoms, molecules and colloids such as clays, are finest materials known to science. Do the Quranic verses cited above, convey the meaning that man’s creation was started from matter existing in a very fine state such as atoms, molecules or colloids? While discussing the origin of the universe, we will see that the material from which the universe was created was hydrogen according to the science and smoke or vapour according to the Quran. Terms like smoke, dust, mud etc. are easily understood by common man, whereas the understanding of the terms like hydrogen, atoms, molecules, colloids etc., requires a scientific background, besides such words in Arabic language, were not in existence at the time of the revelation of the Quran.

In a book like the Quran, which is to be read by people of all standards and all times, including those of the past generations when the knowledge of scientific subjects was definitely less than what it is now. General terms such as smoke, clay etc., are bound to be used. The reason applied for considering vapour or smoke to mean hydrogen can be applied in the case of origin of man and the terms clay, dust, mud etc., could he taken to mean atoms, molecules or colloids. If, this reasoning is correct, then the material from which man was created would be the same both according to the Quran and science. Besides, clay or mud also contain organic matter and all are composed of atoms and molecules. We are, however, not sure whether the clay, or mud from which man’s creation was started, belonged to the earth or some other heavenly body where according to cosmo-chemistry, atoms and molecules of various chemical elements including some organic compounds, have been found to occur. The Quran on the same subject further states:

“And Allah created every moving creature from water…” (Al Quran, Surah An Nur, Chapter 24: Verse 45).

“And He (Allah) Is is Who created man from the water..” (Al Quran, Surah Al Furqan, Chapter 25: Verse 54)

Do these verses indicate, that the creation of all living beings, including man, started in and from water which contained atoms, molecules and colloids of different elements and thus confirms the inference drawn by science that life originated in water or it refers to water which all living beings contain in their bodies or water that sustains life?

Place of Creation:
On the subject of place of creation of man, following verses of the Quran deserve consideration:

1. “From it (earth) We created you and into it We shall send you back and from it will We raise you a second time.” (Al Quran, Surah Taa Haa, Chapter 20: Verse 55)

2. “…He knows you best when He brings you forth from the earth and when you are embryos in the wombs of your mothers, so do not attribute purity to your souls…” (Al Quran, Surah An Najm, Chapter 53: Verse 32)

3. “And Allah has made you grow out of the earth as a growth, then He returns you to it, then will He bring you forth a (new) bringing forth.” (Al Quran, Surah Nuh, Chapter 71: Verses 17-18)

These verses may refer to mankind in general. Parents take food which is a product of the earth and which is & converted to sperm in man and egg in a woman, which again on combining give birth to human offspring. This would not only mean that mankind has been created from earth but also that mankind grew out of the earth as a growth, in a manner similar to plants which grow out of the earth by taking their food from the earth. Contrary to this, if the above Quranic verses refer to the original creation of man, then clay, soil or mud from which man’s creation was started, belonged to the earth.

Manner of Creation:
Let us try to find out from the Quran, the manner in which man reached his present physical state, whether through evolution i.e. bypassing through various stages of plant and animal life as believed by scientists or by first being moulded in the form of a statue of mud and life being put into him later, as narrated in various Islamic traditions other than the Quran. Following verses of the Quran deserve consideration in this regard:

There surely came over man a period of time when he was not a thing that could be spoken of. (Al Quran, Surah Al Insan, Chapter 76: Verse 1)

“Say: Travel in the earth and see how He makes (he first creation, then Allah creates the later creation; surely Allah has power over all things.” (Al Quran, Surah Al Ankabut, Chapter 29: Verse 20)

Do these verses refer to past life and fossils which made scientists believe in the evolution of life?

“And indeed He has created you through various grades.” (Al Quran, Surah Nuh, Chapter 71: Verse 14)

This verse could refer to various stages encountered during the birth of human beings or to stages of knowledge and civilization or to stages of evolution.

“He it is Who has produced you from a single soul.” (Al Quran, Surah Al An’am, Chapter 6: Verse 99)

Does this verse indicate that the evolution of man started from a single living being, similar to the present day amoeba, which is capable of multiplying itself by subdivision; and thus confirms the inference of science that life originated through a single or few simple living beings?

If man is really the product of biological evolution, then scientists have correctly understood and explained the problem of origin and evolution of life. But understanding the mechanism of origin and evolution of life is no basis for denying the existence of God and ascribing all happenings to chance. In fact the mechanism of origin and evolution of man and the universe he lives in, which scientists have understood, should not only make them believe in the existence and powers of God but also make them bow down before Him in admiration. However convincing the theory of evolution might appear, it cannot be considered as the final word on the subject and as reliable as the Quran, which neither supports nor denies evolution in clear and understandable terms. In view of the facts that God transformed the wooden staff of Moses into live snake, he created Jesus Christ without a father and made him mould a live bird out of clay, the possibility of man having been created in the form of a statue of mud or some other manner cannot be totally ruled out. In the absence of conclusive scientific proof in support of evolution and decisive information from the Quran, it is difficult to state conclusively whether man is a product of evolution or was created in some other manner.

One thing is definite: ALLAH CREATED MAN.

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