One of the issues emphasized in Islam, and the Quran is contemplation and reflection. Human beings are created to worship Allah almighty, yet praising Him is not restricted to religious rituals and practices. According to Imam Hasan Al-Askari (AS), worship is contemplating on Allah Almighty's affairs . It means being mindful of the signs of Allah Almighty, pondering about them, and realizing how powerful He is. Some of these signs are mentioned in the Quran (2:164), of which some have been discovered as scientific facts many centuries after the revelation of the Quran. Here, we review some of these facts.
In Surah Saffat, it is stated that: "Indeed We have adorned the lowest heaven with the finery of the stars." (37:6). The lowest heaven means the nearest sky that we observe from the earth. The Quran introduced this fact, while in that era, the accepted hypothesis was that the fixed stars existed only in the highest sky (the 8th sky, according to Claudius Ptolemy's hypothesis). Nowadays, it is also known that as light passes through pockets of the earth's atmosphere, it is affected by winds in the atmosphere and by areas with different temperatures and densities. It is, therefore, diffracted (bounced around), causing a quick apparent dimming and brightening when looking from the ground. This phenomenon perfectly fits the term "lower heaven," while out of earth's atmosphere, it doesn't happen.
In Surah Waqi'ah, it is said that: "So I swear by the places where the stars set! And indeed, it is a great oath, should you know." (56:75-76).
Today, we know that each star holds a proper position in the sky, and its path and orbit depends on gravity. The velocity of each is also specific. Although exact calculation about the stars too far away is not possible, the measurements done for the stars of the Milky Way Galaxy confirms these facts.
In 1512 AD, the astronomer Nicholas Copernicus put forth the theory that the sun is at rest near the center of the universe and that the earth, spinning on its axis once daily, revolves annually around the Sun . This belief that the sun is motionless was not acknowledged by astronomers until the 20th century. That's while in the Quran, it is mentioned that: "And the sun runs on to its place of rest. That is the ordaining of the All-mighty, the All-knowing." (36:38).
This Quranic account of the sun's motion is consistent with modern Astronomy because the mentioned Copernicus's theory is not valid anymore. Instead, it has been well-established that the sun is not stationary, but is moving in its orbit around the center of Milky Way Galaxy.
Today, it is known that the gravitational forces hold the celestial bodies apart from each other, hence, preventing their collision . This fact was explicitly stated in the Quran: "It is Allah who raised the heavens without any pillars that you see" (13:2), and: "He created the heavens without any pillars that you may see" (31:10). According to these verses, there exist invisible supports that raise the heavens. These supports are now referred to as the gravitational and other unseen forces in the universe .
Some of the astronomical facts discussed in the Quran and were discovered later on by scientists were described above. There remain still other points presented in the second part of this topic. Follow us to find out more.
- Muhaddith Nuri, "Mustadrak al-Wasa'il," vol. 11, p. 183.
The foundation of the holy religion of Islam is built upon the belief in monotheism, to the extent that without its acceptance, one cannot be called Muslim at all. This fundamental axiom is basically defined as the fact that God exists and that He is the only one; in other words, one must not only testify to the existence of a creator, a divine source, and a higher power, but also to His absolute uniqueness and singularity.
We might wonder if we are able to understand or imagine God’s existence, the answer is yes but in quite a different way than other things. The concept of a divine source is philosophical and abstract; therefore we cannot feel or imagine it tangibly and vividly, however, our mind can understand such concepts by a kind of rational investigation and scrutiny in a general way.
There are some specific ways to understand the existence of God based on Islamic doctrine, including “innate disposition”, “scientific or pseudo-philosophical reasoning” and “philosophical reasoning”.
Perhaps the easiest form of realizing God’s existence is with the use of “innate idea” which is present in every human being. According to Islamic teaching, all of us have some desires and characteristics with which we were born and that we unconsciously seek in our lives.
One of the most important inborn desires in human beings is the yearning for a God and creator; in other words, every person with his/her special creation and distinctive spiritual characteristics knows his/her God without needing any exterior knowledge. Many psychologists have claimed the existence of a hidden self, called the unconscious, which contains the innate and unknown desires of human beings; the desires that control their actions and influence their decisions. The force in the search of God, also, can be traced in this part of the human mind.
The reasons that are mentioned under this division include the “Teleological Argument”, “Causal Argument”, “Occurrence Argument” and “Guidance Argument”.
According to “Teleological Argument”, a comprehensive and efficient system is the one whose components are in balance and harmony and are ordered in a way to achieve a certain goal. If we consider the universe as an enormous system with complex functions and a web of relations, we could easily notice its sophisticated order and discipline.
Every element in this world is built with a kind of inner structure that enables it to do its job on a regular basis. For sure, this regularity has not happened accidentally. For this huge system to work properly, a wise and powerful creator is required, one who is aware of every incident that takes place in the universe and has control over them.
Based on this argument, this world and all other creatures had not existed before and came to be at a specific point in time. Consequently, since they have occurred and started to exist, they need a creator for their occurrence.
When we look around, we find ourselves surrounded by things whose existence is depended on something else, they go through changes – for better or worse-, and they are described concerning other things – i.e., their attributes are relative. We may first try to justify each incident by another one; however, ultimately we will realize that the summit of this chain must be a higher force who is unique and untainted by any flaw and inconsistency.
Furthermore, everything in this universe –including the universe itself- has initiated and will be terminated at a specific time; in other words, nothing in this world is infinite, and everything is born from its own kind – e.g., A human from a human, a horse from a horse, etc.
Thus the universe cannot be created spontaneously and out of itself or from a pile of dust, an animal or a tree, since the origin of every living creature is always another living creature. If we suppose that every kind of creature gains its existence from single or multiple origins, or consider the initial origin of them an ameba, then again we are faced with this question that how this ameba has been created. Here we arrive at this conclusion that there is a single, omnipotent, divine source who has caused the life on earth [i].
While “Teleological Argument” tries to prove Monotheism with regard to the complex inner structure of the creatures in the world that makes them capable of being in line with their role and objective in the universe, “Guidance argument” focuses on what these creatures actually do and how they do it.
Based on this argument, the creatures in this world, after being perfectly created, are guided by a mysterious insight and intelligent force through their course of actions. However, the path that they follow in their deeds is the result of an external cause, rather than their own built-in features. This sophisticated outer force is no one other than God, the one and only.
The “Causal Argument”, also known as the principle of causality, is one of the primary propositions known to people in their ordinary lives. This principle states that there is a cause for everything. In other words, every single thing that happens and every single effect, or existence, has a cause. But there must be a start to this series of events. It is believed that the beginning of this chain is a power, which is beyond all other powers and can cause everything to exist.
This kind of reasoning, which is totally rational and philosophical, is based on the study of the existence and the existent. Briefly, philosophers claim that the existence of a “Necessary Being” [ii] is essential; meaning that if the “Necessary Being” did not exist, nothing would have started to exist and since there are things here, then a “Necessary Being” must certainly exist.
First of all, as we said before, the creator of this world should be infinite and eternal. Accordingly, we cannot consider a like for an infinite being, since He is dominant over everything and no time or place is empty of Him. Furthermore, plurality necessitates a difference; that is two beings are separate if one has something that the other lacks, so they cannot be considered perfect.
Secondly, since God is an absolute and pure being, then we cannot find any incongruity in Him, and thus there is no need for another being to make amends for His inconsistencies.
Moreover, if there were two “Necessary Beings”, they must have had a gap or lapse among themselves. Consequently, the existence of a third being becomes crucial, and this process goes on endlessly.
Finally, the unity of the universe and its oneness and the fact that there exists no inconsistency and malfunction in the elements of this world, lead us to look for a single and unique being as its creator.
To conclude, monotheism (Tawhid) as the main entry to the religion of Islam which needs to be understood rationally and then fully accepted, rejects any dualistic, Trinitarian or polytheistic beliefs. This axiom is not only the cornerstone of the other Islamic axioms but also a necessity for practicing the practical principles of the religion. Even though individual investigation and understanding will bring faith in monotheism, this belief will not be complete without total acceptance of prophethood (Nubuwwah), and this takes us to the next axiom.
[i]. Charles Darwin, the well-known English naturalist, and geologist, on this matter explicitly states that “life had been occurred through a divine breath.”
[ii]. There are two sorts of existent entities: those that exist but could have failed to exist, and those that could not have failed to exist. Entities of the first sort are contingent beings; entities of the second sort are necessary beings .
Prophethood is a sublime status granted only to those who are chosen. A prophet deals with the heart and souls of humans; it is, therefore, a delicate matter to believe in the one who claims prophethood. Hence, there should be a sign that lets people recognize a real prophet from a fake one; that's "miracle." A "miracle" is an extraordinary act or event that no other human, from the first to the last, can perform it or cause it to happen, except a prophet. It can be neither explained by natural or scientific laws. For Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), the Quran is known as an everlasting miracle that is the most outstanding of Prophet's (PBUH&HP) miracles. The question is: why the Quran is considered as a miracle? Let's find out the reasons.
1. The Quran Is Unique in Style and Inimitable
The Quran is revealed with great eloquence and fluency to convey the message. Precise, poetic, targeted, and meaningful terms used in the Quran are such that no weakness of expression can be found in any of its Ayats. In fact, the words are chosen such that they express the desired meaning in the best way possible (Fasaha) with the minimum usage of words (Balaqa). And, these are features that scholars of Arab literature have noticed in every chapter of the Quran .
What makes the Quran a miracle in this regard is that, until the present, no one has been able (and no one will be able) to bring even one short Surah similar to that of this holy book. A Surah that could express the highest scientific facts in simple, comprehensible words and describes different aspects of a scientific matter as clearly as possible. This is an issue that has already been addressed in the Quran: "And if you are in doubt concerning what We have sent down to Our servant, then bring a Surah like it, and invoke your helpers besides Allah, should you be truthful." (2:23). There is no historical account of those who succeeded in defeating this claim of the Quran. If there existed any, those who have always challenged the origin of the Quran should have recorded it.
2. The Quran has been Brought by a Prophet Who Was Uninstructed (Ummi)
According to both historical records and the Quran, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was Ummi before he was chosen as a messenger of Allah Almighty; he hadn't been taught by any teacher to read and write 1]. "You were not able to read or write before the Quran was revealed to you; however, the followers of falsehood would have tried to confuse the matter" (29:48). Therefore, the Quran that its words are in extreme eloquence and fluency and reveal sophisticated concepts cannot be Prophet's (PBUH&HP) word. Hence, it is a divine work gained through revelation, a "miracle."
3. Scientific Facts Revealed by the Quran
The Quran is not a book of science or a specialized book, nor has it aimed to concentrate on scientific facts. However, these kinds of information are stated in the Quran to demonstrate the wonders of creation and Allah Almighty's glory.
In this regard, the creation of humans is described in detail in the Quran (23:12-14). In the first step, the human being was fashioned from clay. Other measures include the creation of man from spurting water, a drop of semen, the sperm fashioned into an embryo, this embryo fashioned into a shapeless lump of flesh. From the lump of flesh, fashioned bones, clothed the bones with flesh and then created the consanguinity and affinity .
The movement of the earth is another fact mentioned in the Quran: "It is Allah who raised the heavens without any pillars that you see" (13:2). In this verse, it is mentioned that there exist invisible supports that raise up the heavens. These supports are now referred to as the gravitational and other unseen forces in the universe. This scientific fact that is valid today was unknown in that era, and even one thousand years later when Galileo explained this fact and was sentenced to death. That's why it is not explicitly stated in the Quran; otherwise, it would have been banned .
4. Accurate Predictions
Some accurate predictions are among the verses of the Quran. This proves that it has been descended from an absolutely knowing source that can report the unseen.
As an example, in the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), Mecca was controlled by polytheists for a while. They did not let Muslims enter the city and do the Hajj rituals. Then, Prophet (PBUH&HP) dreamed that he succeeded in performing Hajj with his companions. This was confirmed in an Ayah: "Certainly Allah has fulfilled His Apostle's vision in all truth: You will surely enter the Sacred Mosque, God willing, in safety, with your heads shaven or hair cropped, without any fear." (48:27). In the next year, this dream came true.
In another case, the Quran has predicted that: "Byzantium has been vanquished in a nearby territory, but following their defeat, they will be victors in a few years." (30: 2-4). Some years later, both predictions came true.
From what has been discussed above, it can be deduced that the Quran cannot be written by a human being. It is undoubtedly from a superior all-knowing all-wise source, which is Allah Almighty. Consequently, the Quran can be considered as one of Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH&HP) miracles, the greatest one, of course.
- H. El-Ramady, et al., "Soils and Human Creation in the Holy Quran from the Point of View of Soil Science," Env. Biodiv. Soil Security, vol. 3, pp. 1- 9, (2019).