Showing posts with label Nature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nature. Show all posts

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Mentions of Life in Qur'an al Kerim

Water and earth are main components of life, says Qur'an al Kerim. 'Earth' as a concept, is more than just dead matter, such as sand, clay, or planet Earth itself. It also refers to the elements of all living and dead matter, including the tissue of plants, animals and people. Matter can be solid, as is clay, but also liquid, such as water. Qur'an acknowledges, water isn't the only liquid. Qur'an hints at difference between the elements, in verses 30:22, and 35:27&28. All living creatures develop from  'grain', 'seed', or a 'drop of fluid'. Qur'an doesn't elaborate on how the male and female component precisely form this 'seed', but it does hint at this process in several verses. Earth both undergoes, and molds, the life cycles of birth and death of its living species. Water has a key role in this process. But, at Yawm al Qiyamah, all the deceased, buried in Earth, are resurrected and brought back to life.

According Qur'an, the creation of life is a deliberate process, result of divine choices. Qur'an doesn't say, when exactly life first appeared. Nowadays, there's an evolution theory saying, that new species have gradually and randomly developed over generations, under influence of a selection process in a challenging, changing environment. Qur'an denies those theories. Yet, Qur'an confirms, that optimized solutions for creation are chosen (40:64 and 67:3). And when species have lost their function, they will be replaced by new ones (40:68 and 53:43-55). Evolution in creation means: Allah creates new species, from their beginning, in their finalized form and character. The succession of their appearance, however, may be seen as an evolution. Qur'an confirms nor denies existence of extra-terrestial life; same goes for hermaphrodites, or other kinds of a-sexual procreation. And anything else that we know exist, but isn't mentioned in Qur'an. Qur'an, however, says in verse 16:8, that 'He created that, which you know not.' There's enough, that people don't know. But, that doesn't mean, it doesn't exist.

Many living creatures, and also many other natural phenomenons, such as water, air, shadow, light, and celestial bodies, have been created to serve and feed man, and other creatures; for many purposes. But, firstly, each creature in nature, living or dead, is created to worship Allah swt; not man or other creatures. Qur'an gives examples, such as the bee; honey; cattle; birds; the spider (29:41); and the plants we use for agriculture.

The verses quoted below give a summary of the many Qur'anic verses about life: 2:28,29; 2:117, 2:164, 6:95, 6:143, 13:4, 16:3-14, 16:65-69, 16:77-81, 21:16-18, 21:30, 22:5, 24:41-45, 30:19, 30:22, 30:30, 32:5, 35:27,28; 36:33-36; 36:80-82; 39:52, 40:62, 40:68, 42:12, 51:49, 53:43-55, 67:3, and 78:8-16.




'How disbelieve ye in Allah when ye were dead and He gave life to you! Then He will give you death, then life again, and then unto Him ye will return. (28) He it is Who created for you all that is in the earth. Then turned He to the heaven, and fashioned it as seven heavens. And He is knower of all things.' (2:28,29)

'The Originator of the heavens and the earth! When He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is.' (2:117)

'Lo! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of night and day, and the ships which run upon the sea with that which is of use to men, and the water which Allah sendeth down from the sky, thereby reviving the earth after its death, and dispersing all kinds of beasts therein, and (in) the ordinance of the winds, and the clouds obedient between heaven and earth: are signs (of Allah's Sovereignty) for people who have sense.' (2:164)

'Lo! Allah (it is) Who splitteth the grain of corn and the date-stone (for sprouting). He bringeth forth the living from the dead, and is the bringer-forth of the dead from the living. Such is Allah. ...' (6:95)

'Eight pairs: Of the sheep twain, and of the goats twain. Say: Hath He forbidden the two males or the two females, or that which the wombs of the two females contain? Expound to me (the case) with knowledge, if ye are truthful. (143) And of the camels twain and of the oxen twain. Say: Hath He forbidden the two males or the two females, or that which the wombs of the two females contain; or were ye by to witness when Allah commanded you (all) this?' (6:143)

'And in the Earth are neighbouring tracts, vineyards and ploughed lands, and date-palms, like and unlike, which are watered with one water. And we have made some of them to excel others in fruit. Lo! herein verily are portents for people who have sense.' (13:4)

'He hath created the heavens and the earth with truth. High be He Exalted above all that they associate (with Him). (3) He hath created man from a drop of fluid, yet behold! he is an open opponent. (4) And the cattle hath He created, whence ye have warm clothing and uses, and whereof ye eat; (5) And wherein is beauty for you, when ye bring them home, and when ye take them out to pasture. (6) And they bear your loads for you unto a land ye could not reach save with great trouble to yourselves. Lo! your Lord is Full of Pity, Merciful. (7) And horses and mules and asses (hath He created) that ye may ride them, and for ornament. And He createth that which ye know not. (8) And Allah's is the direction of the way, and some (roads) go not straight. And had He willed He would have led you all aright. (9) He it is Who sendeth down water from the sky, whence ye have drink, and whence are trees on which ye send your beasts to pasture. (10) He it is Who sendeth down water from the sky, whence ye have drink, and whence are trees on which ye send your beasts to pasture. Therewith He causeth crops to grow for you, and the olive and the date-palm and grapes and all kinds of fruit. Lo! herein is indeed a portent for people who reflect. (11) And He hath constrained the night and the day and the sun and the moon to be of service unto you, and the stars are made subservient by His command. Lo! herein indeed are portents for people who have sense. (12) And whatsoever He hath created for you in the earth of divers hues, lo! therein is indeed a portent for people who take heed. (13) And He it is Who hath constrained the sea to be of service that ye eat fresh meat from thence, and bring forth from thence ornaments which ye wear. And thou seest the ships ploughing it that ye (mankind) may seek of His bounty and that haply ye may give thanks.' (16:3-14)

'Allah sendeth down water from the sky and therewith reviveth the earth after her death. Lo! herein is indeed a portent for a folk who hear. (65) And lo! in the cattle there is a lesson for you. We give you to drink of that which is in their bellies, from betwixt the refuse and the blood, pure milk palatable to the drinkers. (66) And of the fruits of the date-palm, and grapes, whence ye derive strong drink and (also) good nourishment. Lo! therein is indeed a portent for people who have sense. (67) And thy Lord inspired the bee, saying: Choose thou habitations in the hills and in the trees and in that which they thatch; (68) Then eat of all fruits, and follow the ways of thy Lord, made smooth (for thee). There cometh forth from their bellies a drink divers of hues, wherein is healing for mankind. Lo! herein is indeed a portent for people who reflect.' (16:65-69)

'And unto Allah belongeth the Unseen of the heavens and the earth, and the matter of the Hour (of Doom) is but as a twinkling of the eye, or it is nearer still. Lo! Allah is Able to do all things. (77) And Allah brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers knowing nothing, and gave you hearing and sight and hearts that haply ye might give thanks. (78) Have they not seen the birds obedient in mid-air? None holdeth them save Allah. Lo! herein, verily, are portents for a people who believe. (79) And Allah hath given you in your houses an abode, and hath given you (also), of the hides of cattle, tent-houses which ye find light (to carry) on the day of migration and on the day of pitching camp; and of their wool and their fur and their hair, caparison and comfort for a while. (80) And Allah hath given you, of that which He hath created, shelter from the sun; and hath given you places of refuge in the mountains, and hath given you coats to ward off the heat from you, and coats (of armour) to save you from your own foolhardiness. Thus doth He perfect His favour unto you, in order that ye may surrender (unto Him).' (16:77-81)

'We created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between them in play. (16) If We had wished to find a pastime, We could have found it in Our presence - if We ever did. (17) Nay, but We hurl the true against the false, and it doth break its head and lo! it vanisheth. And yours will be woe for that which ye ascribe (unto Him).' (21:16-18)

'Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them, and we made every living thing of water? Will they not then believe?' (21:30)

'O mankind! if ye are in doubt concerning the Resurrection, then lo! We have created you from dust, then from a drop of seed, then from a clot, then from a little lump of flesh shapely and shapeless, that We may make (it) clear for you. And We cause what We will to remain in the wombs for an appointed time, and afterward We bring you forth as infants, then (give you growth) that ye attain your full strength. And among you there is he who dieth (young), and among you there is he who is brought back to the most abject time of life, so that, after knowledge, he knoweth naught. And thou (Muhammad) seest the earth barren, but when We send down water thereon, it doth thrill and swell and put forth every lovely kind (of growth).' (22:5) 

'Hast thou not seen that Allah, He it is Whom all who are in the heavens and the earth praise, and the birds in their flight? Of each He knoweth verily the its worship and the its praise; and Allah is Aware of what they do. (41) And unto Allah belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, and unto Allah is the journeying. (42) Hast thou not seen how Allah wafteth the clouds, then gathereth them, then maketh them layers, and thou seest the rain come forth from between them; He sendeth down from the heaven mountains wherein is hail, and smiteth therewith whom He will, and averteth it from whom He will. The flashing of His lightning all but snatcheth away the sight. (43) Allah causeth the revolution of the day and the night. Lo! herein is indeed a lesson for those who see. (44) Allah hath created every animal of water. Of them is (a kind) that goeth upon its belly and (a kind) that goeth upon two legs and (a kind) that goeth upon four. Allah createth what He will. Lo! Allah is Able to do all things.' (24:41-45)

'He bringeth forth the living from the dead, and He bringeth forth the dead from the living, and He reviveth the earth after her death. And even so will ye be brought forth.' (30:19)

'And of His signs is this: He showeth you the lightning for a fear and for a hope, and sendeth down water from the sky, and thereby quickeneth the earth after her death. Lo! herein indeed are portents for folk who understand.' (30:24)

'... There is no altering (the laws of) Allah's creation. That is the right religion, but most men know not' (30:30)

'He directeth the ordinance from the heaven unto the earth; then it ascendeth unto Him in a Day, whereof the measure is a thousand years of that ye reckon.' (32:5)

'Hast thou not seen that Allah causeth water to fall from the sky, and We produce therewith fruit of divers hues; and among the hills are streaks white and red, of divers hues, and (others) raven-black; (27) And of men and beasts and cattle, in like manner, divers hues? The erudite among His bondmen fear Allah alone. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Forgiving.' (35:27,28) (And 30:22).

'A token unto them is the dead earth. We revive it, and We bring forth from it grain so that they eat thereof; (33) And We have placed therein gardens of the date-palm and grapes, and We have caused springs of water to gush forth therein, (34) That they may eat of the fruit thereof, and their hands made it not. Will they not, then, give thanks? (35) Glory be to Him Who created all the sexual pairs, of that which the earth groweth, and of themselves, and of that which they know not!' (36:33-36)

'Who hath appointed for you fire from the green tree, and behold! ye kindle from it. (80) Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth Able to create the like of them? Aye, that He is! for He is the All-Wise Creator, (81) But His command, when He intendeth a thing, is only that he saith unto it: Be! and it is.' (36:80-82)

'Know they not that Allah enlargeth providence for whom He will, and straiteneth it (for whom He will). Lo! herein verily are portents for people who believe.' (39:52)

'Allah it is Who appointed for you the earth for a dwelling-place and the sky for a canopy, and fashioned you and perfected your shapes, and hath provided you with good things. Such is Allah, your Lord. Then blessed be Allah, the Lord of the Worlds!' (40:64)

'He it is Who quickeneth and giveth death. When He ordaineth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is.' (40:68)

'His are the keys of the heavens and the earth. He enlargeth providence for whom He will and straiteneth (it for whom He will). Lo! He is Knower of all things.' (42:12)

'And all things We have created by pairs, that haply ye may reflect.' (51:49) 

'And that He it is who maketh laugh, and maketh weep, (43) And that He it is Who giveth death and giveth life; (44) And that He createth the two spouses, the male and the female, (45) From a drop (of seed) when it is poured forth; (46) And that He hath ordained the second bringing forth; (47) And that He it is Who enricheth and contenteth; (48) And that He it is Who is the Lord of Sirius; (49) And that He destroyed the former (tribe of) A'ad, (50) And (the tribe of) Thamud He spared not; (51) And the folk of Noah aforetime, Lo! they were more unjust and more rebellious; (52) And Al-Mu'tafikah He destroyed (53) So that there covered them that which did cover. (54) Concerning which then, of the bounties of thy Lord, canst thou dispute?' (53:43-55)

'... Thou (Muhammad) canst see no fault in the Beneficent One's creation; then look again: Canst thou see any rifts? ...' (67:3)

'And We have created you in pairs, (8) And have appointed your sleep for repose, (9) And have appointed the night as a cloak, (10) And have appointed the day for livelihood. (11) And We have built above you seven strong (heavens), (12) And have appointed a dazzling lamp, (13) And have sent down from the rainy clouds abundant water, (14) Thereby to produce grain and plant, (15) And gardens of thick foliage.' (78:8-16)

Source:
http://www.quranexplorer.com




Friday, January 26, 2018

Mentions and Meaning of Water in Qur'an al Kerim

Water appears in Qur'an al Kerim as a circulating entity. It streams through earth, and through living and dead creatures. It serves as a nutrient and building element. It is carried by clouds and in larger streams; on, and through, earth. It is an independent element, and it is no integral part of the earth, or the organism. Yet, without water, a living organism just dies and dries out. And vice versa, earth 'comes to life' thanks to water, because both earth and water are living creatures' building materials. This basic fact of life and nature, is used as a metaphor for beginning and end of each creation, among which humanity and Earth. The metaphor of water may exhort humans to do their best in the life that is granted them, and it may fill them with a sense of gratitude. Water may come and go, and shouldn't be taken for granted. Hail and snow aren't ignored, as shows ayat 24:43. Water is important element of the entire system of nature, where each element has its exact place and, directly or indirectly, serves all others.

Apparently, water has existed since eternity, without first beginning, as says ayat 11:6.

Water is a carrier of small particles of different minerals and other solid goods from the Earth and from living creatures. Their quantities and qualities differ per lake, sea, or ocean, depending on the land on which the water flows, and depending on the time spent at location. Rain water comes fresh from the sky and is relatively pure, whereas water in the deeper parts of the ocean may have been there for centuries and will contain many small earth, plant, and animal particles. Hence, vast bodies of different seas meet, at several spots on Earth, but they don't easily mingle. Qur'an describes these phenomenons in some of the verses below.  

These are some of the many Qur'anic verses about water:

'The similitude of the life of the world is only as water which We send down from the sky, then the earth's growth of that which men and cattle eat mingleth with it till, when the earth hath taken on her ornaments and is embellished, and her people deem that they are masters of her, Our commandment cometh by night or by day and We make it as reaped corn as if it had not flourished yesterday. Thus do we expound the revelations for people who reflect.' (10:24)

'And He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days - and His Throne was upon the water - that He might try you, which of you is best in conduct.' (11:6)

'And in the Earth are neighbouring tracts, vineyards and ploughed lands, and date-palms, like and unlike, which are watered with one water. And we have made some of them to excel others in fruit. Lo! herein verily are portents for people who have sense.' (13:4)

'He it is Who sendeth down water from the sky, whence ye have drink, and whence are trees on which ye send your beasts to pasture. (10) Therewith He causeth crops to grow for you, and the olive and the date-palm and grapes and all kinds of fruit. Lo! herein is indeed a portent for people who reflect. (11) ... And He it is Who hath constrained the sea to be of service that ye eat fresh meat from thence, and bring forth from thence ornaments which ye wear. And thou seest the ships ploughing it that ye (mankind) may seek of His bounty and that haply ye may give thanks.' (16:10,11,14)

'Allah sendeth down water from the sky and therewith reviveth the earth after her death. Lo! herein is indeed a portent for a folk who hear.' (16:65)

'(O mankind), your Lord is He Who driveth for you the ship upon the sea that ye may seek of His bounty. Lo! He was ever Merciful toward you. (66) And when harm toucheth you upon the sea, all unto whom ye cry (for succour) fail save Him (alone), but when He bringeth you safe to land, ye turn away, for man was ever thankless. (67) Feel ye then secure that He will not cause a slope of the land to engulf you, or send a sand-storm upon you, and then ye will find that ye have no protector? (68) Or feel ye secure that He will not return you to that (plight) a second time, and send against you a hurricane of wind and drown you for your thanklessness, and then ye will not find therein that ye have any avenger against Us?' (17:66-69)

'And coin for them the similitude of the life of the world as water which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingleth with it and then becometh dry twigs that the winds scatter. Allah is Able to do all things.' (18:45)

'Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them, and we made every living thing of water? Will they not then believe?' (21:30)

'And we send down from the sky water in measure, and We give it settle in the earth, and lo! We are Able to withdraw it. (18) Then We produce for you therewith gardens of date-palms and grapes, wherein is much fruit for you and whereof ye eat; (19) And a tree that springeth forth from Mount Sinai that groweth oil and relish for the eaters. (20) And lo! in the cattle there is verily a lesson for you. We give you to drink of that which is in their bellies, and many uses have ye in them, and of them do ye eat; (21) And on them and on the ship ye are carried.' (23:18-22)

'Or as darkness on a vast, abysmal sea. There covereth him a wave, above which is a wave, above which is a cloud. Layer upon layer of darkness. When he holdeth out his hand he scarce can see it. And he for whom Allah hath not appointed light, for him there is no light.' (24:40)

'Hast thou not seen how Allah wafteth the clouds, then gathereth them, then maketh them layers, and thou seest the rain come forth from between them; He sendeth down from the heaven mountains wherein is hail, and smiteth therewith whom He will, and averteth it from whom He will. The flashing of His lightning all but snatcheth away the sight.' (24:45)

'Have they not seen how We lead the water to the barren land and therewith bring forth crops whereof their cattle eat, and they themselves? Will they not then see?' (32:27)

'And the two seas are not alike: this, fresh, sweet, good to drink, this (other) bitter, salt. And from them both ye eat fresh meat and derive the ornament that ye wear. And thou seest the ship cleaving them with its prow that ye may seek of His bounty, and that haply ye may give thanks.' (35:12)

'Hast thou not seen how Allah hath sent down water from the sky and hath caused it to penetrate the earth as watersprings, and afterward thereby produceth crops of divers hues; and afterward they wither and thou seest them turn yellow; then He maketh them chaff. Lo! herein verily is a reminder for men of understanding.' (39:21)

'He hath loosed the two seas. They meet. (19) There is a barrier between them. They encroach not (one upon the other).' (55:19,20)

'Have ye observed the water which ye drink? (68) Is it ye who shed it from the raincloud, or are We the Shedder? (69) If We willed We verily could make it bitter. Why then, give ye not thanks?' (56:68-70)

'Say: Have ye thought: If (all) your water were to disappear into the earth, who then could bring you gushing water?' (67:30) 

'Let man consider his food: (24) How We pour water in showers (25) Then split the earth in clefts (26) And cause the grain to grow therein (27) And grapes and green fodder (28) And olive-trees and palm-trees (29) And garden-closes of thick foliage (30) And fruits and grasses: (31) Provision for you and your cattle.' (80:24-32)

Sources:
http://www.quranexplorer.com
http://www.answering-christianity.com/oceanology.htm



Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Conflict Zone: The Laws of Nature as Part of Religious Belief


From now I'll approach the issue from a religious point of view. There is a certain tension between the choice for the best solution to which even God finds Himself bound, and God's Omnipotence. Is it thinkable, that even the best solution is only a choice for the Creator? We have growing knowledge of what the earth must have looked like several millions of years ago, we acknowledge change in species of plants and animals, and change in layers of stone and relief. Continents have shifted and weather conditions have changed. Remote stars have exploded millions of light years ago, and perhaps only two weeks ago space agencies have witnessed their supernovas. Therefore, on the longer term we see the universe change, usually gradually; sometimes dramatically immediate. On the short term, however, we see a stable, well-structured natural and human environment. Each individual has its characteristics, and variations within the species do exist. However, within the species very little difference and change occurs. Species feed from each other and need certain conditions in weather, soil, water presence and temperature. Whoever observes nature, notices a delicate balance between the many different living creatures; the elements they need for survival -- water, air, fire, earth and each other; and in the bigger environment -- the celestial bodies, light and darkness. As far as we know, these elementary basics behind nature have not changed. Celestial bodies move in the universe, and certain forces we now know to be magnetic and electrical fields, keep them apart and bind others to their orbit. These forces prevent those on their surface from being thrown off. Some of the celestial bodies cast light and others don't, but they enjoy the benefits of this light.

Natural phenomena and the apparent rules they listen to, may be a stimulant to religious beliefs among people and sometimes most emphatically not. However, the rules and systematic order in empirical nature perhaps belong to the main issues of conflict between believers and non-believers of religion, but also between religious believers. To some believers, laws of nature are a profane effort to belittle God's Omnipotence. To others, these laws are part of God's delicate and immense creative genius. Atheists have a big problem with this first group; the idea of an omnipotent creator not bound to the laws of nature, is to them a sign of ignorant popular belief meant to frustrate or smother any empirical research. Research and development may be skipped as unnecessary, in this approach. The idea that God alone creates when, how, whatever He wishes, indeed answers the how to-questions with an easy skipping of the how-to's. 

How contradictory is trying to answer questions about a creator within the framework of natural possibilities and the law of nature? When we think about God being omnipotent within the absolutely possible, it is not so contradictory. It is obvious that going back in time is not possible, division by zero neither so, and that God exists within the existing. God cannot be in the non-existent. It is also obvious that the balance of nature is a consequence of practical possibility. Animals need to protect themselves from natural enemies and possess therefore certain colors, qualities or capabilities. The bigger question behind this is: Why does the animal have an enemy, why is there a universe at all? This is a question that religious scriptures like to answer. For this reason, as said above, it is very appealing to combine the easier answer to the how to-question of how God's might works in the universe -- God creates whatever, when, and why He wishes -- with a traditional prophetic scripture explaining why we all were created. It is a very easy way out and never wrong to use these answers. It's why religious scholars traditionally used them both in popular works for ordinary followers and in elaborate studies among their peers. But the answer is a shallow one and not satisfactory to more inquisitive minds, as the concept of unlimited divine omnipotence clashes with absolute impossibilities, such as those mentioned above. Besides and last but not least, traditional scriptures differ not only between main religions, but also between schools of thought within religions. How do we come to terms with that, if at all.

Especially in modern days, with empirical scientific knowledge having grown so extensive, it is necessary to now and then consider natural boundaries to divine omnipotence. However, ancient and medieval philosophers as Aristoteles and Ibn Rushd considered the laws of nature -- not yet with this name -- as an essential part of the universe. They believed in intermediary forces by which God works in His creation according the rules of the truly possible. I think, therefore, that if it's impossible that God works and resides in the non-existing, God must reside in the existing, and that He can't create the existent from the non-existent and vice versa. If God is eternal, so must be the universe: An ever changing, yet well-structured, fully obedient creation by the eternal God, without first beginning. Like God Himself, matter and moving forces were always there.