Amazing Al Quran-Part 3

Origin of the Universe and Life

An interesting characteristic of the Qur'an is how it deals with surprising phenomena which relate not only to the past but to modern times as well. In essence, the Qur'an is not and old problem. It is still a problem even today - a problem to the non-Muslims that is. For everyday, every week, every year brings more and more evidence that the Qur'an is a force to be contended with - that its authenticity is no longer to be challenged! For example, one verse in the Qur'an (Surah al-Anbiya 21:30) reads:

"Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together, then We clove them asunder, and made from water every living thing? Will they not then believe?"

Ironically, this very information is exactly what they awarded the 1973 Noble Prize for - to a couple of unbelievers.

The Qur'an reveals the origin of the universe - how it began from one piece - and mankind continues to verify this revelation, even up to now. Additionally, the fact that all life originated from water would not have been an easy thing to convince people of fourteen centuries ago.

Indeed, if 1400 years ago you had stood in the desert and told someone, "All of this, you see (pointing to yourself), is made up of mostly water," no one would have believed you. Proof of that was not available until the invention of the microscope. They had to wait to find out that cytoplasm, the basic substance of the cell, is made-up of 80% water. Nonetheless, the evidence did come, and once again the Qur'an stood the test of time.

More on Falsification Test

In reference to the falsification tests mentioned earlier, it is interesting to note that they, too, relate to both the past and the present. Some of them were used as illustrations of God's omnipotence and knowledge, while others continue to stand as challenges to the present day.

An example of the former is the statement made in the Qur'an about Abu Lahab. It clearly illustrates that God, the Knower of the Unseen, knew that Abu Lahab would never change his ways and accept Islam. Thus God dictated that he would be condemned to the Hellfire forever. Such a chapter was both an illustration of God's divine wisdom and a warning to those who were like Abu Lahab.

A Mathematical Approach

All of the examples so far given concerning the various angles from which one can approach the Qur'an have undoubtedly been subjective in nature; however, there does exist another angle, among others, which is objective and whose basis is mathematical.

It is surprising how authentic the Qur'an becomes when one assembles what might be referred to as a list of good guesses.Mathematically, it can be explained using guessing and prediction examples. For instance, if a person has two choices (i.e., one is right, and one is wrong), and he closes his eyes and makes a choice, then half of the time (i.e., one time out of two) he will be right. Basically, he has a one in two chance, for he could pick the wrong choice, or he could pick the right choice.

Now if the same person has two situations like that (i.e., he could be right or wrong about situation number one, and he could be right or wrong about situation number two), and he closes his eyes and guesses, then he will only be right one-fourth of the time (i.e., one time out of four). He now has a one in four chance because now there are three ways for him to be wrong and only one way for him to be right. In simple terms, he could make the wrong choice in situation number one and then make the wrong choice in situation number two; or he could make the wrong choice in situation number one and then make the right choice in situation number two; or he could make the right choice in situation number one and then make the wrong choice in situation number two; or he could make the right choice in situation number one and then make the right choice in situation number two.

Of course, the (only instance in which he could be totally right is the last scenario where he could guess correctly in both situations. The odds of his guessing completely correctly have become greater because the number of situations for him to guess in have increased; and the mathematical equation representing such a scenario is x (i.e., one time out of two for the first situation multiplied by one time out of two for the second situation).

Continuing on with the example, if the same person now has three situations in which to make blind guesses, then he will only be right one-eighth of the time (i.e., one time out of eight or x x ). Again, the odds of choosing the correct choice in all three situations have decreased his chances of being completely correct to only one time in eight. It must be understood that as the number of situations increase, the chances of being right decrease, for the two phenomena are inversely proportional.

Now applying this example to the situations in the Qur'an, if one draws up a list of all of the subjects about which the Qur'an has made correct statements, it becomes very clear that it is highly unlikely that they were all just correct blind guesses. Indeed, the subjects discussed in the Qur'an are numerous [some of them are listed in the Qur'an and Scientific Knowledge], and thus the odds of someone just making lucky guesses about all of them become practically nil. If there are a million ways for the Qur'an to be wrong, yet each time it is right, then it is unlikely that someone was guessing.

The following three examples of subjects about which the Qur'an has made correct statements collectively illustrate how the Qur'an continues to beat the odds.

The Female Bee

In the 16th chapter (Surah an-Nahl 16:68-69) the Qur'an mentions that the female bee leaves its home to gather food. Now, a person might guess on that, saying, "The bee that you see flying around - it could be male, or it could be female. I think I will guess female." Certainly, he has a one in two chance of being right. So it happens that the Qur'an is right. But it also happens that that was not what most people believed at the time when the Qur'an was revealed.

Can you tell the difference between a male and a female bee? Well, it takes a specialist to do that, but it has been discovered that the male bee never leaves his home to gather food. However, in Shakespeare's play, Henry the Fourth, some of the characters discuss bees and mention that the bees are soldiers and have a king. That is what people thought in Shakespeare's time - that the bees that one sees flying around are male bees and that they go home and answer to a king.

However, that is not true at all. The fact is that they are females, and they answer to a queen. Yet it took modern scientific investigations in the last 300 years to discover that this is the case.

So, back to the list of good guesses, concerning the topic of bees, the Qur'an had a 50/50 chance of being right, and the odds were one in two.

The Sun

In addition to the subject of bees, the Qur'an also discusses the sun and the manner in which it travels through space. Again, a person can guess on that subject. When the sun moves through space, there are two options: it can travel just as a stone would travel if one threw it, or it can move of its own accord.

The Qur'an states the latter - that it moves as a result of its own motion (Surah al-Anbiya 21:33). To do such, the Qur'an uses a form of the word sabaha to describe the sun's movement through space. In order to properly provide the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the implications of this Arabic verb, the following example is given.

If a man is in water and the verb sabaha is applied in reference to his movement, it can be understood that he is swimming, moving of his own accord and not as a result of a direct force applied to him. Thus when this verb is used in reference to the sun's movement through space, it in no way implies that the sun is flying uncontrollably through space as a result of being hurled or the like. It simply means that the sun is turning and rotating as it travels.

Now, this is what the Qur'an affirms, but was it an easy thing to discover? Can any common man tell that the sun is turning? Only in modern times was the equipment made available to project the image of the sun onto a tabletop so that one could look at it without being blinded. And through this process it was discovered that not only are there spots on the sun but that these spots move once every 25 days.

This movement is referred to as the rotation of the sun around its axis and conclusively proves that, as the Qur'an stated 1400 years ago, the sun does, indeed, turn as it travels through space.

And returning once again to the subject of good guesses, the odds of guessing correctly about both subjects - the sex of bees and the movement of the sun - are one in four!

Seeing as back fourteen centuries ago people probably did not understand much about time zones, the Qur'an's statements about this subject are considerably surprising. The concept that one family is having breakfast as the sun comes up while another family is enjoying the brisk night air is truly something to be marveled at, even in modern time.

Indeed, fourteen centuries ago, a man could not travel more than thirty miles in one day, and thus it took him literally months to travel from India to Morocco, for example. And probably, when he was having supper in Morocco, he thought to himself, "Back home in India they are having supper right now."

This is because he did not realize that, in the process of traveling, he moved across a time zone. Yet, because it is the words of God, the All-Knowing, the Qur'an recognizes and acknowledges such a phenomenon.

In an interesting verse it states that when history comes to an end and the Day of Judgement arrives, it will all occur in an instant; and this very instant will catch some people in the daytime and some people at night.

This clearly illustrates God's divine wisdom and His previous knowledge of the existence of time zones, even though such a discovery was non-existent back fourteen centuries ago. Certainly, this phenomenon is not something which is obvious to one's eyes or a result of one's experience, and this fact, in itself, suffices as proof of the Qur'an's authenticity.

Conclusions

Returning one final time to the subject of good guesses for the purpose of the present example, the odds that someone guessed correctly about all three of the aforementioned subjects - the sex of bees, the movement of the sun and the existence of time zones - are one in eight!

Certainly, one could continue on and on with this example, drawing up longer and longer list of good guesses; and of course, the odds would become higher and higher with each increase of subjects about which one could guess. But what no one can deny is the following: the odds that Muhammad (s), an illiterate, guessed correctly about thousands and thousands of subjects, never once making a mistake, are so high that any theory of his authorship of the Qur'an must be completely dismissed - even by the most hostile enemies of Islam!

Indeed, the Qur'an expects this kind of challenge. Undoubtedly, if one said to someone upon entering a foreign land, "I know your father. I have met him," probably the man from that land would doubt the newcomer's word, saying, "You have just come here. How could you know my father?"

As a result, he would question him, "Tell me, is my father tall, short, dark, fair? What is he like?" Of course, if the visitor continued answering all of the questions correctly, the skeptic would have no choice but to say, "I guess you do know my father. I don't know how you know him, but I guess you do!"

The situation is the same with the Qur'an. It states that it originates from the One who created everything. So everyone has the right to say, "Convince me! If the author of this book really originated life and everything in the heavens and on the earth, then He should know about this, about that, and so on."

And inevitably, after researching the Qur'an, everyone will discover the same truths. Additionally, we all know something for sure: we do not all have to be experts to verify what the Qur'an affirms. One's iman (faith) grows as one continues to check and confirm the truths contained in the Qur'an. And one is supposed to do so all of his life.

May God guide everyone close to the truth.

Addendum 1

An engineer at the University of Toronto who was interested in psychology and who had read something on it, conducted research and wrote a thesis on Efficiency of Group Discussions. The purpose of his research was to find out how much people accomplish when they get together to talk in groups of two, three, ten, etc. The graph of his findings goes up and down at places, but it reaches the highest point at the variable of two.

The findings: people accomplish most when they talk in groups of two. Of course, this discovery was entirely beyond his expectations, but it is very old advice given in the Qur'an (Surah Saba 34:46):

"Say, 'I exhort you to one thing - that you stand for God, [assessing the truth] by twos and singly, and then reflect...'"

Addendum 2: 'Iram

Additionally, the 89th chapter of the Qur'an (Surah al-Fajr 89:7) mentions a certain city by the name of 'Iram (a city of pillars),which was not known in ancient history and which was non-existent as far as historians were concerned. However, the December 1978 edition of National Geographic introduced interesting information which mentioned that in 1973, the city of Elba was excavated in Syria.

The city was discovered to be 43 centuries old, but that is not the most amazing part. Researchers found in the library of Elba a record of all of the cities with which Elba had done business. Believe it or not, there on the list was the name of the city of 'Iram. The people of Elba had done business with the people of 'Iram!

In conclusion I ask you to consider with care the following (Surah 29:50-51):

"And they say, 'Why are not signs sent down to him from his Lord?' Say, 'Indeed, the signs are with God, and I am but a clear warner.' But it is sufficient for them that We have sent down to you the Book [i.e., Qur'an] which is rehearsed to them? Verily, in that is mercy and a reminder to people who believe."








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