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The Quran's Miraculous Relevance

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Islam comprises all of civilization. Within Islam’s sources are to be found all that is of value – the ultimate treasure trove of intellectual knowledge, practical guidance and spiritual wisdom. Islam is the fount for all of civilization’s achievements and the diadem of its crown.

Islam carries, like a treasure-laden ship, within its deep hold are every sort of store and provision. Its sails are the sciences of jurisprudence and spirituality, like two wings of a bird, both of which it needs to carry its precious cargo of humankind across the vast expanse of the ocean of this life. At the helm of this vessel is the Leader and Master of mankind, Sayyidina Muhammad ÿ, under whose watchful eye and incalculable care it cuts through the depths of Allah’s unsounded and uncharted Kingdom.

Its rudder is the inimitable Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah ÿ and its compass is Qur’ān. Far above as it etches a glowing wake across the deep, the stars above, the companions of Allah’s Messenger and His deputies among them shine forth as guiding lights, directing the vessel to her destination in the darkest nights. Within its deep hold are a storehouse of science, profound wisdom and practical instruction on right ways of living, which when followed carry the ship of salvation to its destination with facility to its crew and passengers, and when discarded or disregarded, cause it to languish in the doldrums of false teachings and error.

What drives the ship of Islam – is the wind from the Prophet ÿ, for his every breath contained Allah’s revelatory fragrance and each puff of the prophetic breeze wafts with the fragrant perfumes of Paradise’s blooms. From each breath of the Prophet ÿ came oceans of knowledge and from each of word which dropped, like a petal from vast rosebush, sprang a bouquet, a garden or a veritable forest, the branches of whose knowledge begin at his feet and extend into the heavens.

Every soul, behavior, discovery, invention, or aspect of life past, present, and future is mentioned in the Qur’ān.

وَلاَ رَطْبٍ وَلاَ يَابِسٍ إِلاَّ فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ

(There is) naught of wet or dry but (it is noted) in a clear record.[1]

Allāh ¹ is saying that everything living (wet) or non-living (dry) is mentioned in the Holy Qur’ān. That is, all scientific discoveries, regarding living or non-living things, are mentioned in the Qur’ān, but not everyone can discern them.

A lawyer cannot make scientific discoveries whereas a scientist can. To make discoveries, a scientist works with theories and tests them through experimentation until they are proven to be a fact, or reality. Because the lay person does not make scientific discoveries, it does not follow that these discoveries or realities do not exist. Rather they simply are not known, or accessible, to him.

To someone living in previous times it would have seemed impossible to think that water was composed of gases, but people now have the knowledge to understand this reality. Not everyone could see that ordinary water is composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, but after its composition was discovered it was known and accepted. In chemical symbolism: 2 H2 + O2 à 2 H2O.

When it is said that everything is in the Qur’ān, this does not mean that everyone reading the Qur’ān will find what is in it. Depending on the reader’s level of knowledge and understanding he may be able to identify the appropriate verse on a given subject, just as a scientist can identify a particular element or compound in a sample. However, everything is in the Qur’ān regardless of whether one can personally ascertain it or not.

Once a great scholar was asked to define internal knowledge as opposed to external knowledge (¿ilm al-bāţin versus ¿ilm aƸ-Ƹāhir). He said:

Whatever one cannot understand is hidden and seems esoteric but to the one who knows something it is external and plain. Internal knowledge cannot be perceived by some people but to us it is a reality. One may think there are two kinds of knowledge, but in actuality there is no difference between external and internal, it is only a question of perception.

The scientific process is the same. Before something is discovered, people deny its existence but then believe it when it becomes known. Nothing has changed, only the willingness and ability to accept the reality. Therefore, before one says that something does not exist one must consider that it may exist, but one does not yet know about it.

The hadith of the Prophet ÿ are the second source of knowledge in Islam.

The Prophet ÿ said, “I have left among you two matters by holding fast to which, you shall never be misguided: Allāh’s Book and the Sunnah of His Prophet.”[2]

Thus the Sunnah is taken on a par with Allah’s Revealed Book as a source of guidance.

The Lord of Creation affirmed in the Qur’ān that each word spoken by the Prophet was neither by chance nor by mistake. The The Messenger of God ÿ was inspired and divinely guided in every word and every action.:

وَمَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَى إِنْ هُوَ إِلا وَحْيٌ يُوحَى

Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed (to him).[3]

Every utterance, every movement, every breath of the Prophet ÿ was, in fact, revelation from Allāh ¹ and consequently of utmost value in the quest to understand and follow the Qur’ān and the religion of Islam.

The hadiths of the Prophet ÿ are in fact essential to understand the Qur’ān. For every single event in his lifetime, Allāh ¹ revealed to the Prophet’s heart what to say and what to do. The Qur’ān and the hadiths both derive from revelation and are inseparable sources for understanding and implementing the divine message of Islam.[4]

For the first millennium of Islamic civilization, the Muslims were favored by Allāh ¹ with an advancement unparalleled before or since. Muslims were at the forefront of not only religious development, but were also the world’s leading researchers, physicians, chemists, astronomers, botanists, philosophers, and architects. Muslims were the shining lights that illuminated Europe and touched off the Renaissance.

They demonstrated a remarkable awareness of scientific discoveries unknown until the contemporary scientific era.

‏حدثنا ‏سعيد بن عفير ‏حدثنا ‏الليث ‏حدثني ‏عقيل ‏عن ‏ابن شهاب ‏أخبرني ‏سعيد بن المسيب ‏أن ‏أبا هريرة ‏قال ‏سمعت رسول الله ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏يقول ‏بعثت ‏‏ بجوامع الكلم...

The Prophet ÿ said, “I was sent with the pithiest expressions with the vastest meanings…”[5]

Examining the hadiths of the Prophet ÿ today, many of these vast meanings are now being grasped by both Muslims and non-Muslims. It is not desirable for science to determine one’s faith because Muslims believe in whatever is in the Qur’ān and hadiths regardless of what scientists say. However, today’s researchers are discovering many realities previously unknown to them, but which were alluded to by Prophet Muhammad ÿ and mentioned in the Holy Qur’ān and the hadiths fourteen hundred years ago.

These things were not elucidated by the Prophet ÿ to the people of his time for two reasons. Firstly, they were not able to understand these discoveries. Secondly, the Prophet did not explain the meaning of these verses of the Qur’ān or these hadiths so they would exist as independent proofs for later days when scientists would discover them for themselves and verify their reality. They were left for future generations to appreciate the greatness of Prophet Muhammad ÿ and the miraculous knowledge Allāh ¹ gave him in the Qur’ān and hadith. When non-Muslim researchers make a “discovery” using today’s advanced scientific knowledge and technology, it is a compelling testimonial to the Qur’ān and hadith, which mentioned them centuries before it was possible to know of such things.

If Muslims discovered these things, one might speculate they were merely trying to bolster their own faith. Yet it is non-Muslims who are independently corroborating these facts, verifying realities which were mentioned by the Prophet ÿ fourteen hundred years ago. In this way Allāh ¹ is guiding non-Muslims, through their own research, to realize that the Prophet ÿ spoke the truth when he mentioned these things, and hopefully to infer that he also spoke the truth in conveying the message of Islam, Allāh’s religion. Many things have been discovered and some things are still in process of unfolding. The Prophet ÿ knew of discoveries on earth and beyond the earth, in space.

سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَتَّى يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ أَوَلَمْ يَكْفِ بِرَبِّكَ أَنَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ

We will soon show them Our signs in the Universe and in themselves, until it will become manifest to them that it is the truth…. [6]

The verse does not say, “We are showing them,” but “We will show them Our signs in the horizons,” i.e. the skies and space. Signs are not juristic rulings or legal verdicts based on historical precedents. Signs are the uncovering of realities. Allāh ¹ said, “I will show them in the atmosphere.” A discovery on earth may have somehow been discovered before. However, it is impossible for someone fourteen hundred years ago to have known the discoveries made possible by space exploration. Islamic scholars who read this verse in the past were wondering what kind of signs Allāh ¹ was going to show in the horizons. The Prophet ÿ did not explain some aspects of the Qur’ān and hadith, but left them to be discovered later. That is why, up to today, there are many things that scientists are discovering in Qur’ān which were not understood, even recently.

Many things that are in the Qur’ān are not understood even today. Even today's scholars say that there are many secrets in the Qur’ān, and that is an aspect of its miraculous knowledge (i¿jāz al-Qur’ān). Those are secrets that were not even explained to the Companions, for they were not in a position to understand them.

نضر الله عبدا سمع مقالتي فواعها و حفظها و بلغها فربّ حامل فقه غير فقيه و ربّ حامل فقه إلى من هو أفقه منه ثلاث لا يغل عليهن قلب مسلم إخلاص العمل لله منا صحبة أئمة المسلمين و لزوم الجماعة فإن الدعوة تحيط من ورائهم

The Prophet ÿ said:

May Allāh brighten the face of that of His servants who hears my words, remembers them, guards them, and hands them on. Many a transmitter of knowledge does not himself understand it, and many may transmit knowledge to others who are more versed in it than they...[7]

Here the Prophet ÿ foretold that the transmitters of hadith might not understand the import of a particular statement he uttered, but in order that later generations, more able to grasp their significance, would hear them correctly, urged the transmitters of hadith to take utmost care in preserving their original wording.

The miraculous knowledge taught by the Prophet ÿ comes to us today from two sources, the Holy Qur’ān and the hadith. Today, scientists are finding an amazing congruence between what is in Qur’ān and hadith and what science is discovering from the wonders of Allāh’s creation. These discoveries cover a wide scientific spectrum, and reveal the divinely inspired levels of knowledge of the Prophet Muhammad ÿ fourteen hundred years ago.

The astounding detailed foreknowledge of these realities could not have been independently discovered without the benefit of modern technology nor could they be happenstance or a lucky guess. Quite simply, the predictions made by Prophet Muhammad ÿ are of unprecedented accuracy, detail, and content that did not come before him or after. These demonstrate the divine knowledge that the Prophet ÿ brought that could only be known through revelation from Allāh ¹.

With the benefit of modern science people of today are in a unique position to appreciate the incredible and miraculous knowledge found in the message of Islam brought by Prophet Muhammad ÿ in the Holy Qur’ān and hadiths. Before delving into the hadiths regarding the signs of the Last Days, a few verses of the Holy Qur’ān and their significance in light of recent scientific discoveries, will be examined. These verses illustrate the miraculous knowledge with which Allāh ¹ favored the Prophet ÿ, and are a compelling testimony to why everyone, both Muslim and non-Muslim, must examine the message of Prophet Muhammad ÿ in its entirety and especially what he predicted was to come in the future.

The Description of Iron’s Origins in Qur’an

Allāh said:

وَأَنزَلْنَا الْحَدِيدَ فِيهِ بَأْسٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ

And We sent down Iron, wherein is mighty power, as well as many benefits for mankind…. [8]

Islamic scholars in the past, and even recently, explained anzalnā (We caused to descend, revealed) as khalaqnā (We created). They knew iron was mined out of the depths of the earth, and could not conceive that iron descended or was brought down from above the earth.

Scientists have uncovered that iron is found not only on earth but in the sun, in many types of stars, and throughout the universe. Moreover, the Muslim scholars learned that it is not possible for even a single atom of iron to be created on earth or even with the extremes of energy inside the earth. To produce one atom of iron (ħadīd) requires energy greater than that of the sun. According to the theory of nucleosynthesis, the only place in the universe that is sufficiently hot to produce iron is in a supermassive star which then explodes, spreading the iron throughout the universe.[9] This confirms that iron was not created here on earth, but, as Allāh ³ said, descended or was sent down to the earth from above.[10] It was impossible for someone living fourteen hundred years ago to know that iron did not come from the earth but descended into the earth from space. This is an example of the miraculous knowledge with which Allāh ³ favored the Prophet Muhammad ÿ in the Holy Qur’ān and the hadith.

There is the i¿jāz al-¿ilmi (astonishing or miraculous knowledge) and there is i¿jāz al-raqamī (or i¿jāz al-¿adadī) the astonishing numerology in the Qur’ān. In the Qur’ān there are many instances of the numbers pointing to something that is later discovered by science.

The atomic number (number of protons in the nucleus) of iron is 26. There are four naturally occurring stable isotopes of iron with atomic weights of 54, 56, 57, and 58 (see Table 1). The isotope iron 56 is the most abundant form of iron on earth.[11] The 57th Sūrah of the Qur’ān is named after iron, Sūratu ’l-Ħadīd and iron 57 is possibly the most abundant isotopic form of iron in the universe.[12] In this Sūrah the word iron appears in the 25th verse. All of the chapters of the Qur’ān (except one) begin with the basmala[13] and it is considered by many scholars to be a verse. Counting the basmala as a verse brings us to the word iron (hadīd) in the 26th verse which is the same as the atomic number of iron, the number of protons. The Sūrah itself contains 29 verses, but with the basmala the total is 30, the number of neutrons in iron.

Isotope of Iron

Atomic mass (ma/u)

Natural abundance (atom %)

54Fe

53.9396127 (15)

5.845 (35)

56Fe

55.9349393 (16)

91.754 (36)

57Fe

56.9353958 (16)

2.119 (10)

58Fe

57.9332773 (16)

0.282 (4)

Table 1 Abundance of Iron Isotopes on Earth

Neutron Bombs and Warplanes

Since all of us here believe in Allah and the Prophet (s), we accept the predictions of the Prophet. But it is extraordinary, when delving into the sīrāh of the Messenger, to find that many of the incidents that took place in his lifetime were like predictions of future scientific achievements and breakthroughs in technology.

One example comes from the time just prior to the birth of the Prophet, when the Abyssinian leader Abrāhah came to destroy the Ka`aba with a tremendous army accompanied by elephants. Confronted by such a huge and well-equipped army, what was `Abdul Muttalib, the Shaykh of the Quraysh able to do? He spoke to Abrāhah at a parley saying, “Does not the House have a Lord who will protect it?”

He asked only that Abrāhah return the camels that he had confiscated, for Abdul Muttalib had full faith that the Owner of the House was fully capable to defend it. And so it came to pass, as Allah said in Sūratu ’l-Fīl

أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ فَعَلَ رَبُّكَ بِأَصْحَابِ الْفِيلِ

Are you not aware of how your Lord dealt with the Army of the Elephant?[14]

Allah took care of that evil army and its leader and made their plans come to nought. It is written in Durr al-manthūr, the tafsīr of Imām Suyūtī, that these were “pebbles spinning at extremely high speed and red hot, and written on each pebble was the name of the person to be struck by it, and his father’s name.” As they flew through the air they left a glowing red trail in the darkness.

If we look at this event in the light of today’s scientific understanding it is easy to understand that what was sent on Abrāhah’s army were guided missiles, trailing red light like today’s tracers. Imām Suyūtī quoting the Sahaba, described them as banādir. This word is used today for rifles - did they know about rifles at that time?

وَأَرْسَلَ عَلَيْهِمْ طَيْرًا أَبَابِيلَ

We sent against them birds [15]

Those were creatures that they never expected and we never saw creatures like those. Allah sent a normal creation, birds, but in a manner and with capabilities which made them what could be described in modern parlance as armed forces. Today they send airplanes. Allah’s “warplanes” were these birds – and they were far more effective than the airplanes of today. What were they carrying? The Qur’ānic explanations describe hijāratin min sijjīl as pebbles – fiery pebbles. In fact “pebbles” does not convey the meaning of the term. If a pebble hits you it kills you. But Allah said,

فَجَعَلَهُمْ كَعَصْفٍ مَّأْكُولٍ

and caused them to become like a field of grain that has been eaten down to stubble. [16]

It no longer means simply pebbles. It is something that explodes inside them destroying them but not destroying the House of Allah.

Today they invented something that is similar to what is described in this sūrah – something which destroys without harming the physical surroundings. That is the neutron bomb. Allah eliminated the army sent to destroy the sacred House with an army of “warplanes” carrying guided missiles, each one tipped with something like a neutron bomb. With this tremendous weaponry Allah swt came against that army like a violent storm (al-¿asifa).The result was they became like crops after the cattle have passed over them - like something eaten. This storm of divine weaponry ate them - they disintegrated leaving nothing remaining.

Statistics and Probability

The science of statistics is statistics is a reliable means of describing accurately the values of economic, political, social, psychological, biological, and physical data based on counting all members of a population or a sample of them and enumerating their characteristics. Allah swt said,

لَقَدْ أَحْصَاهُمْ وَعَدَّهُمْ عَدًّا

He does take an account of them (all), and hath numbered them (all) exactly.[17]

Aħšāhum means when you take an account of something, you assemble and put them next to one another and count them one by one. Allah swt knows the hairs of your head. He knows the drops of blood in your body.

وَكُلَّ شَيْءٍ أحْصَيْنَاهُ فِي إِمَامٍ مُبِينٍ

and of all things have We taken account in a clear Book.[18]

Here Allah is stating that all things, in creation have been enumerated and taken into account, all their characteristics have been defined and described. This is not like human statistics – it is infinitely superior. For Allah’s information about any of His creation is exact, precise and boundless.

Probability of Extinction

Today's scientists say that there were once different species of huge creatures inhabiting the earth called dinosaurs. If one accepts that in the past dinosaurs lived on earth, then one must also ask, why are they no longer in existence today? Today one no longer sees dinosaurs on earth, so one must wonder what became of them. From an Islamic point of view, their time ended. Allāh ¹ did away with them, and they became extinct. How Allāh ¹ took them away is a topic of debate, even among scientists.

When dinosaurs roamed the earth, they may have thought themselves great and powerful, even though there was a probability that they would all be destroyed and made extinct. Even if the probability was small it still existed for them. Whatever event made them become extinct, eventually occurred. Although they were so magnificent in size and strength, they have now disappeared completely from the face of the earth. After them other species have come, also not expecting to be made extinct, although the probability exists for them to be rendered extinct just as it did for the dinosaurs.

Statistics and probability are empirical sciences, branches of mathematics, based on counting the occurrence of something over time. Zero probability means that there is no possibility whatsoever that something will ever happen. A probability of one means there is absolute certainty that something will definitely take place. For any possible event there is a probability between zero and one that it will occur. Someone can estimate or intelligently predict the probability of an event occurring by examining historical patterns. In the past, a certain event happened so many times which leads to the assumption that this will happen again in the future with a certain probability. This science is used in many areas of practical knowledge: quantum physics, chemistry, thermodynamics, weather, population, and even predicting the stock market. Probability is used for predicting the possibility of events for all things which cannot be precisely predicted by a mathematical formula.

If we want to take a scientific or probabilistic approach to the question of man's life on earth, we must admit that there is a chance that the human race will end. Dinosaurs also faced a probability of extinction and this came to pass. According to paleontologists, there were five massive extinctions throughout the history of the world. Moreover, biologists fear that as many as half of all living species will become extinct within the next century. A recent report of the United Nations predicts that within thirty years almost a quarter of the world’s mammals will be in danger of becoming extinct.[19] If so many species are becoming extinct, who is to say that other mammals like human beings will not also face extinction one day? Using probability and logic we may infer that as dinosaurs and other species have came to an end, so too is there a probability that the human race will one day end.

Clear evidence of human existence on earth dates back to around five thousand to seven thousand years ago, and the oldest evidence of apparent human existence to about fifty thousand years ago. The creatures who existed fifty thousand years ago were different from today’s humans, and there are no clearly human relics until the Stone Age five thousand to seven thousand years ago. Where are the relics from the creatures of fifty thousand years ago and why did they disappear so suddenly? Humans have lived on earth for a few thousand years, so our probability of disappearing is much higher than it was for the dinosaurs who survived for millions of years.

There is a distinct possibility that man will someday disappear. With extinction, either man will become nonexistent, as scientists and others believe, or as religions say, people are going to face an accounting. If we become extinct then we will be like others before us, but there is a probability that we will face an evaluation, a judgment. Let us take the two cases: either humankind will become extinct, with its existence finally and completely coming to an end, or humankind will come before the Creator and face an accounting. If these are the only two possibilities then all things being equal, the probability is one half, (½) or fifty percent that one or the other will take place.

If there is a chance that buying a certain stock would make one fabulously rich then many people would buy it, even if the probability was as low as twenty or thirty percent. At fifty percent people would even be willing to borrow money to take a chance on the stock skyrocketing in value. If people are this calculating and clever for the chance to succeed in a worldly venture in which one might lose or gain, then what about a prospect that is “out of this world.” Statistically, given a fifty percent chance of the existence of an afterlife, why is no one investing? Even if one lives to be one hundred years old, it is but the blink of an eye compared to the millions and millions of years the earth has been in existence. Comparing one hundred years to eternity is beyond the mind’s grasp. If there is no afterlife, one might say he “lost” one hundred years, but if there is an afterlife his gains are infinite. If the eternal afterlife is a reality (and we as Muslims know that it is), then the small investment of one hundred years is next to nothing.

There have been many inspired people throughout the ages who said, “We are messengers of the Creator, Allāh ¹,” and who told people what was to come in the future and in the afterlife. In many religious traditions there were prophets and messengers who informed us of a coming evaluation, the Day of Judgment. The chance of so many thousands of prophets from different places all coming with the same message is minute. If they were correct and there is an appraisal to be given, one must prepare oneself for that most crucial examination.

Such a proposition of a coming Judgment and Afterlife is not farfetched. Something much more implausible is wholeheartedly accepted without question by most scientists. Today’s scientists hold that via random chance and completely accidental occurrences, monkeys transformed into human beings. Using postulates based on purely haphazard events, they were able to elaborate a complex theory which they consider to be an actual fact, although its foundation is built upon sheer probability. Even if the basis for this theory was feasible, the number of mutations needed to randomly occur in an extremely short period of time is all but impossible. Darwin’s original theory has been shredded by subsequent scientific discoveries but has been patched together by its proponents with a sort of blind faith that is ironically more consistent with religious belief than science.

Islam has sparked innumerable advances in the sciences and is not in the least antagonistic to scientific inquiry. In fact, Islam encompasses the knowledge of modern sciences and evidence of such was mentioned in the Qur’ān and by Prophet Muhammad ÿ in hadiths many centuries before the scientific age. For example, scientists of today believe they invented probability, yet it was mentioned fourteen hundred years ago in the Holy Qur’ān:

وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّ السَّاعَةَ قَرِيبٌ…

…And what will make you realize that perhaps the Hour is close at hand?[20]

The word used here in the Qur’ān, La¿alla means “perhaps,” indicating a possibility or a probability. In Allāh's ¹ knowledge, the Hour’s timing is known precisely, yet in the perfect eloquence of the Qur’ān, Allāh ¹ uses “perhaps” here, as if to tell today’s scientists, “Even if you don't accept it, there is still a possibility that the Judgment Day will occur and it may be very close.” For Allāh ¹, there is no probability. Probability is an empirical tool used to measure the chance of something taking place for those lacking precise knowledge of a thing. For One who has perfect knowledge of what has passed and what is to come, there is no element of chance for it is already known. Allāh ¹ is al-¿Alīm, the Absolute Knower, and thus for Allāh ¹ all things are known with perfect knowledge, precision and certainty.

اللّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَحْمِلُ كُلُّ أُنثَى وَمَا تَغِيضُ الأَرْحَامُ وَمَا تَزْدَادُ وَكُلُّ شَيْءٍ عِندَهُ بِمِقْدَارٍ

Allāh doth know what every female (womb) doth bear, by how much the wombs fall short (of their time or number) or do exceed. Everything is counted and is encompassed in His knowledge.[21]

For those to whom Allāh ¹ reveals these realities, there is also no probability, for they are acting according to certain knowledge. With certain knowledge from Allāh ¹, the probability of an event occurring is “one,” definite and certain.

Believers know that when Allāh ¹ says something it will inevitably come to pass, but for modern intellectuals predictions are based on assumptions, not belief. When Allāh ¹ informed Nūh ¡ (Noah) that a flood would be coming and that he should prepare a ship in which to escape, he did so based on faith. Through this well-known story, Allāh ¹ has created a paradigm for the people of later times, including the skeptics of today. Allāh ¹ is showing them that even without faith, using empirical analysis, there is a chance that a flood would occur and water would reach the ship Nūh ¡ built. As if to say, “Let us go along with your system and rules of science and probability. Even though there is no way to imagine that the sea will reach that elevated area, probability states that there is a chance, no matter how miniscule, that rivers or springs might overflow and cause the ship to float.” As is well-documented, the flood occurred and Nūh’s predictions revealed to him by Allāh ¹ came true.

Similarly for Mūsā ¡ (Moses), who obeyed Allāh’s ¹ orders to flee towards the sea from Pharoah and his army. Despite knowing that he and the Children of Israel would be cut off by the sea, he put full faith in Allāh’s Orders that he and his people would be saved. Viewing it within a scientific, probabilistic paradigm, Allāh ¹ is again showing here that, “Yes, there is a probability, according to the laws of chance, that the sea would part and create a path of escape for Mūsā ¡ and his people.”

Life will not continue forever. As Nūh ¡ prepared himself for the day of the flood, so must people prepare themselves for their passing from this life. Here Allāh ¹ is addressing people using their own intellectual methodology demonstrating that there is a possibility of their destruction taking place. Similarly, there is a probability that a Judgment Day will transpire and people will become accountable for their actions in this life. Even if someone does not believe in Allāh ¹, statistical science and the laws of probability hold that there is a chance mankind may be brought for judgment. An unexpected event might occur and bring about the complete destruction of mankind who may then come before Allāh ¹ to account for their actions. Who can say this is impossible when it is demonstrated frequently on a smaller scale by the action of earthquakes, volcanoes, floods and many other acts of God which take place without warning, taking away people, animals and homes. These occurrences are unpredictable, and as unlikely as they may be for a given person, people take out insurance against all these events, for just the same reason Nūh ¡ built the Ark, seeking protection and safety. If people have not prepared themselves for that day, there will be no escape from the doom that awaits them.

Predictions and Probability

Another element of probability is found in the sayings and predictions of Prophet Muhammad ÿ. We will describe many of these in greater detail in this book, but in relation to probability let us look at just one example.

وأن ترى الحفاة العراة العالة رعاء الشاء يتطاولون في البنيان

One of the signs of the Last Days that the Prophet ÿ mentioned was:

You will see the barefoot, naked, destitute bedouin shepherds competing in constructing tall buildings.[22]

If we wish to discuss this scientifically, then the probability for this to occur must be analyzed. The chance that someone fourteen hundred years ago would make such a prediction is very remote and the chance it would actually happen is even less likely. Even one hundred years ago such a prediction would have been rejected outright by scientists. How could it happen that barefooted, naked, primitive shepherds would build tall buildings? Yet the prediction was made long before the last century, when it was an even less likely occurrence. Nonetheless, the Prophet ÿ predicted this implausible event with certainty, saying “you will see,” not “you might see,” and no matter how improbable at one time, this has come to pass, exactly as he foretold.

Believers accept these predictions on face value and simply wait for them to transpire. Believers who doubt that the Judgment is near, or say that it is yet far off, or whose faith in that event is weak, should reconsider their expectations. Muslims must know and evaluate the current situation in light of what the Prophet ÿ said about the signs of the Last Days. If one supposes that skyscrapers being built by bedouins is one of the signs of the Judgment Day, a sign which just took place, then one must admit that Judgment Day is near. Perhaps the remaining signs will take place very quickly, one after the other. Even the science of probability shows that it might happen and at any time. The law of probability says that anything can happen, but the chance of its happening is measured in terms of occurrences within a period of time; if not once in a hundred years, then once in a thousand years, or once in a million years. All people must take heed, and prepare for that Day. The existence of even the smallest probability that it will occur should be enough to make us take care for the future.

Telecommunications Predicted in Hadith

Abū Sa¿īd ¦ related a long hadith, in part of which the Prophet ÿ said:

By Him in Whose hand is my soul, the Hour will not come until wild creatures talk to men, and a man speaks to the end of his whip and the straps of his sandals (shoes), and his thigh will tell him about what happened to his family after he left.[23]

This hadith signifies that people in the Last Days will talk about someone that they do not know. They will speak about someone they have only heard about somewhere and go into discussions about that person, or his family, or what he has or has not done.

“A man speaks to the end of his whip,” indicates that people will speak into something with a cord like speaking into a telephone. Students of physics experiment by oscillating a string to see the resultant waveforms. Also, when one shakes a whip it creates a waveform down the length of the whip. The Prophet ÿ is showing through the motion of the whip that people in the Last Days will discover a technology using waveforms by which they will speak. This transmission using wavelengths includes all kinds of communications whether radio, television, or satellite. One’s cellular telephone in his pocket next to “his thigh will tell him about what happened to his family after he left.”

In some places there is a saying that “the walls have ears,” i.e. whatever one says and does is known. In this hadith the Prophet ÿ is saying that there is coming a time where everything one does will be exposed. Even as someone “speaks to his whip,” or his shoe, people unknown and unseen will be aware of it. Telecommunications are monitored by computers and people, and every cellular telephone is able to pinpoint its user’s location. One’s cellular phone will relay information and signals or “speak about him” to unknown observers while he calls his family.

Shoes in this hadith represent what is needed to walk and move about and travel. Today’s cars with GPS (global positioning satellite) technology are able to be located at the touch of a button. The location of one’s plane high above the clouds is known to unknown air traffic controllers around the world. One’s activities on the street are often recorded by security cameras on earth and satellites high in the sky. This hadith is also a warning to Muslims of the Last Days to be pious and virtuous because everything one does today is monitored by unknown people, and everything is exposed.

Cutting Ties of Relationship

Imām Aħmad narrated an authentic hadith that the Prophet ÿ said:

Verily with the Hour there will be: greetings offered only to acquaintances; an increase in trading and business to the extent that the wife will help her husband in working for money; the cutting of family relations; the bearing of false witness; the concealment of the truth; and the pre-eminence of the pen.[24]

This hadith mentions that there would be, qat‘u ul-arhām―”cutting of family relationships.” The close relationship between blood relatives is disappearing, between parents, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts. Nowadays, children have problems with their parents and as soon as they grow up they leave the family home. One does not see the children anymore, and they do not visit their parents.

In this hadith “qat¿u ’l-rħām” also means “to cut the means of continuing the family,” namely fertility and childbirth. Today, contraception is widespread, abortions are commonplace, and both men and women are undergoing surgery to prevent fertility. The continuity of the family is being cut in all ways. People are severing the bonds of relationships already established and are failing to bring the next generation of relations, cutting off both past and future family ties.

Another literal manifestation of this hadith, “cutting of the womb―qat¿ul-arħām,” is the actual cutting of the womb (uterus) that is occurring at an unprecedented pace. Routine births are commonly performed via caesarean section, surgically cutting into the uterus to deliver the baby abdominally, often to accommodate the busy schedule of the physician or even the mother. Hysterectomies, actual removal of the uterus, are commonly performed. Surgeries on the uterus are increasing, including intrauterine surgery on the fetus. Recently, in Saudi Arabia, the first attempt at a uterine transplant took place.[25] The Prophet ÿ foresaw all of these aspects of contemporary life and technology fourteen hundred years ago and foretold that during the end of time the “cutting of the womb” would become commonplace.

Another meaning which comes to mind for this term is the new technology of DNA-manipulation which while not yet applied to humans, is likely to be done in the near future. In this case, the ties of relationship are “cut” as the familially-transmitted DNA or chromosomes are modified, in much the same way that childbirth out of wedlock will cause a “cut” in the family lineage. Interestingly as well, the tools used to manipulate the gene sequences in essence cut linkages of the gene sequence from a lengthy strand which is then manipulated to be replaced by a similar strand from another source of genetic material.

The Coccyx and Recreation of Mankind on Judgement Day

The Prophet ÿ gave an indication about how people will be re-created at the Resurrection, and this has been confirmed with the help of modern technological advances.

حدثنا عمر بن حفص: حدثنا أبي قال: حدثنا الأعمش قال: سمعت أبا صالح قال: سمعت أبا هريرة، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال:
بين النفختين أربعون. قالوا يا أبا هريرة، أربعون يوما؟ قال أبيت، قال أربعون سنة؟ قال أبيت، قال أربعون شهرا؟ قال أبيت ويبلى كل شيء من الإنسان إلا عجب ذنبه، فيه يُركب الخلق (أخرجه البُخارِي في كتاب تَفْسيرِ القُرْآنِ)

Abū Hurayra ¦ related that the Prophet ÿ said:

Between the two blasts of the Trumpet there will be forty. The people said, “O Abū Hurayra! Forty days?” He refused to reply. They said, “Forty years?” He refused to reply and added: “Everything of the human body will decay except the coccyx and from that bone Allāh will reconstruct the whole body.”[26]

حدثنا عبد الله حدثني أبي حدثنا علي بن حفص أنبأنا ورقاء عن أبي الزناد عن الأعرج عن أبي هريرة قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم
-كل ابن آدم تأكله الأرض إلا عجب الذنب فإنه منه خلق ومنه يركب. (أخرجه الإمام مالك في الجنائِز و غيره)

Abū Hurayra ¦ also related that the Prophet ÿ said:

The earth eats all of the human being except the coccyx. He was created from it, and on it he is built.[27]

Fourteen hundred years ago the Prophet ÿ said that with death, the whole body is consumed by the earth, except for the coccyx. Muslim scientists could not understand this hadith in the past, because when a grave was opened they would not find the coccyx bone as all the remains were disintegrated. Scientists were finally able to unravel the secret behind this hadith of the Prophet ÿ using the sophisticated techniques of DNA analysis. Scientists took a sample of the coccyx and subjected it to the most severe stresses imaginable. They crushed it under high pressure, boiled it, and even cremated it, yet no matter what they did it was impossible to destroy the DNA contained in the coccyx. Under conditions which annihilate all other bones and cells, the remnant of the coccyx somehow survived thereby preserving the DNA of that person. Each cell of the human body contains the entire genetic blueprint for the whole body, and this microscopic remnant of the coccygeal DNA contains sufficient information to recreate the entire human being.

Such information, bestowed by Allāh on the Prophet so many centuries ago, show Allāh’s Greatness, our smallness and are a powerful evidence to believers that their time would be better spent in seeking the benefit of the afterlife with the fervour most spend in pursuing the interests and pleasures of this temporary life.

The Coccyx and Embryology

The last hadith mentions that the human being is “constructed” from the coccyx, “He was created from it, and on it he is built.” An examination of this in light of modern embryological findings is revealing. At approximately two weeks of age, the developing embryo separates from the placenta until there is no contact between the two except via a connecting stalk at the embryo’s caudal-most end which is the future location of the coccyx.[28] This stalk is the precursor to the umbilical cord, which will connect the developing embryo to its nourishment from the placenta. Not only is the source of nutrition coming into the embryo from the caudal end (coccyx), but the embryo’s formation also progresses from the starting point of the coccyx.

The embryo’s orientation and subsequent development begins when a line called the “primitive streak” forms at the caudal end (coccyx) of the embryo and proceeds towards the cranial end (head). Development proceeds from this point, and the final phase of the neural tube closure is again at the caudal end―at the area of the coccyx―from whence it began. Fourten hundred years ago the Prophet ÿ described the coccyx and human development, saying mankind “was created from it, and on it he is built.”

Such discoveries are enough, O mankind, to realize the Glory of He Whose Greatness knows no bounds and Whose Superiority over His Creation is incomprehensible. It is sufficient as confirmation that we are endlessly in need of His forgiveness, His love and His tender mercy.

With the first trumpet blast Allāh ¹ destroys everything, and with the second trumpet blast human beings and creation will be brought back to life. Then Allāh ¹ will send a rain for forty days which reaches the height of seventy arm-lengths.

حدثنا أبو كريب، محمد بن العلاء. حدثنا أبو معاوية عن الأعمش، عن أبي صالح، عن أبي هريرة، قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ما بين النفختين أربعون قالوا يا أبا هريرة أربعون يوما؟ قال أبيت.قالوا أربعون شهرا؟ قال أبيت قالوا أربعون سنة؟ قال أبيت ثم ينزل الله من السماء ماء فينبتون كما ينبت البقل ، قال وليس من الإنسان شيء إلا يبلى إلا عظما واحدا وهو عجب الذنب ومنه يركب الخلق يوم القيامة (أخْرَخه اليخاري في كتاب تَفْسير و مسلم في كتاب الفتن)

Abū Hurayra ¦ related that the Prophet ÿ said:

…Allāh will send down rain that makes the people grow like vegetables. Every part of the human body will be destroyed except the coccyx. By it Allāh will reconstruct the whole body.[29]

Every drop of that rain will be composed of sperm which will connect to the “egg” of each person―that being the remains of the coccyx―in order to re-create that person.

Allāh ¹ said in the Holy Qur’ān:

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنَّكَ تَرَى الأرْضَ خَاشِعَةً فَإِذَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْهَا الْمَاء اهْتَزَّتْ وَرَبَتْ إِنَّ الَّذِي أَحْيَاهَا لَمُحْيِي الْمَوْتَى إِنَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

And among His Signs is this: thou seest the earth barren and desolate; but when We send down rain to it, it is stirred to life and yields increase. Truly, He Who gives life to the (dead) earth can surely give life to (people) who are dead. For He has power over all things.[30]

Allāh ¹ said:

إِذَا زُلْزِلَتِ الأرْضُ زِلْزَالَهَا وَأَخْرَجَتِ الأرْضُ أَثْقَالَهَا

When the earth is shaken to its (utmost) convulsion, and the earth brings forth its burdens (from within)…. [31]

The way a sieve is shaken to separate different sized particles, the earth will shake and bring out the coccygeal remnants. Allāh ³ will bring out all these remnants by sifting the whole earth so that each one may meet its destined raindrop. Allāh ³ will recreate the earth and bring back each man, woman, and child as they were.

Conclusion

Allāh’s Signs are evident in each creation, each atom, each subatomic particle. So too, Allāh’s bestowing of miraculous knowledge on the Last Prophet Sayyidina Muhammad ÿ is from His bounty, and we as human beings are most fortunate, for it is from our species of creatures that Allāh ¹ chose to place the soul of His Beloved Prophet ÿ. And it is through the Prophet’s mediation, as receiver, transmitter and explainer of the Divine Message, al-Qur’ān, that mankind has been honored. We ask that Allāh ¹ make us worthy recipients of this boundless knowledge and open our minds and hearts to understand it as it was meant to be understood, and make our actions, despite all the weakness in our capabilities, worthy of the Divine Presence.

A talk given to a conference in Sarawak, Malaysia, 2003

[1] Sūratu ’l-An¿am [Cattle], 6:59.

[2] Narrated from Ibn ¿Abbās by al-Bayhaqī in al-Sunan al-kubrā (10:114 #20108) and―as part of a longer hadith―by al-Ħākim (1:93=1990 ed. 1:171) who declared it Saħīħ and―without chain―by Mālik in his Muwattā’.

[3] Sūratu ‘n-Najm [The Star], 53:1-4.

[4] The Prophet said:

Verily this Qur’ān is difficult and felt as a burden to anyone that hates it, but it is made easy to anyone that follows it. Verily my sayings are difficult and felt as a burden to anyone that hates them, but they are made easy to anyone that follows them. Whoever hears my saying and preserves it, putting it into practice, shall come forth together with the Qur’ān on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever dismisses my sayings dismisses the Qur’ān, and whoever dismisses the Qur’ān has lost this world and the next.

Narrated from al-Ħakam ibn ¿Umayr al-Thumalī by Khatīb in al-Jāmi¿ li Akhlāq al-Rāwī (1983 ed. 2:189), Qurţubī in his Tafsīr (18:17), Abū Nu¿aym, Abū al-Shaykh, and Daylamī.

[5] Narrated from Abū Hurayra in Saħīħ Bukhārī.

[6] Sūrah Fuššilat [Explained in Detail], 41:53

[7] Narrated from Zayd ibn Thābit byTirmidhī (ħasan), Abū Dāwūd, Ibn Mājah, Aħmad, al-Dārimī, and al-Shafi'ī in his Risāla (#1102). Al-Tirmidhī's version does not mention the last sentence. On the variant wordings of this important hadith see Shaykh ¿Abd al-Fattāħ Abū Ghudda's al-Rasūl al-Mu¿allim (p. 55-56).

[8] Sūratu ’l-Ħadīd [Iron], 57:25.

[9] Donald Clayton says:

In a process known as nucleosynthesis, the most common type of stars, known as main-sequence stars, generate energy by converting hydrogen into helium through thermonuclear fusion. As stars use up their hydrogen fuel, they evolve off the main-sequence into what are known as giant or supergiant stars, whose energy given off may exceed one hundred times its original luminosity. During these stages stars will begin to “burn” helium or other even heavier elements as the core of the star reaches higher and higher temperatures and densities. How far this process proceeds depends on the initial mass of the star. The lowest mass stars will never go past burning hydrogen while the highest mass stars can produce elements all the way up to iron in their cores.

In the more massive stars as Hydrogen is converted into Helium and is used up, the pressure inside the star decreases allowing the core to collapse and heat up more. At some point, instead of fusing hydrogen into helium, the temperature will reach the point where helium begins to fuse into Carbon. The core will go through several such stages in which the product of thermonuclear fusion at one stage becomes the fuel for the next stage, with each succesive product being a heavier element in a series of evolutionary steps, depending on its mass, beginning with helium, then carbon, oxygen, silicon, and last being Iron.

With each change in fuel, there is an increase in core temperature and simultaneously the outer layers of the star heat up and begin to expand creating what are known as giant or supergiant stars. The most massive of these stars have an onion-skin structure -- an iron core surrounded by layers of the different elements which were “products” of previous stages, with the heaviest burning at the core to produce the star’s energy output.

A start in the red giant stage will have expanded to about 40 times its normal radius, reaching 30 million km. and a temperature of 400 million degrees K.

The fusion of lighter elements produces a star’s energy. However, once Iron becomes the fuel at the star’s core, it no longer produces energy―instead it uses up energy. When this takes place, and this only occurs in extremely massive stars, at some point the star’s core will collapse inward causing a massive explosion known as a supernova, in which all the outer layers are blasted into space at gigantic speeds. In the process, all kinds of nuclear reactions take place, synthesizing elements as high in the periodic table as plutonium or higher. It is this process which is believed by astrophysicists to have “seeded” the star clouds within galaxies with heavier elements―elements which at some point may condense during the formation of planets such as the earth, and from which life finally emerges.

After the supernova event, what remains of the original star is a tiny core, perhaps 100 km. in radius but burning at an incredible 100 billion degrees K. and spinning at 2000 rpm. Such stars are known as neutron stars, for the protons and electrons have joined together under the tremendous gravitational field to become neutrons.

For even more massive stars, the result is more extraordinary. Gravitational forces are so strong that the star collapses inward forever, and becomes a point, with an infinite density. These are known as black holes. Not even light can escape the gravitational field of a black hole.

The Origin of Elements and Life of a Star, Clayton, Donald, Clayton University, 1999

[10]

…the numbers of naturally occurring atoms of the metals between atomic weights 45 and 65… are dominated, like a mountain, by four Abundant isotopes of iron. This is the sort of Abundance data that the theory of nucleosynthesis must consider. The scientific method has achieved a great triumph here, from the first argument half a century ago that iron is the natural product of the evolution of the stellar core, to the recent proof by detected gamma rays from supernovae that the iron isotopes were ejected as isotopes of radioactive nickel and cobalt, and in just the ratios found within a common hammer!… The calcium in our bones, the iron in our hemoglobin, all, all but the initial hydrogen and helium, are thermonuclear debris from exploding stars.

The Origin of Elements and Life of a Star, Clayton, Donald, Clayton University, 1999

[11] Commission on Atomic Weights and Isotopic Abundances report for the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry in Isotopic Compositions of the Elements 1989, Pure and Applied Chemistry, 1998, 70, 217. [Copyright 1998 IUPAC]

[12] 57 is the weight of the most Abundant stable isotope (variant nucleus) of iron seen in the solar neighborhood, according to measurements made by Charge, Element, Isotope Analysis System (CELIAS) on the SOHO spacecraft. It may be that in the entire universe, this is in fact the dominant isotope.

The Origin of the Elements and the Life of a Star, Clayton, Donald, Clayton University, 1999]

[13] Bismillāh ir-Rahmān ir-Rahīm in the Name of God, the Most-Merciful, the Mercy-Giving.

[14] Suratu’l-Fīl [The Elephant],105:1.

[15] Suratu’l-Fīl [The Elephant],105:3.

[16] Suratu’l-Fīl [The Elephant],105:5.

[17] Sūrah Maryam, 19:94.

[18] Sūrah YāSīn, 36:12.

[19] Global Environment Outlook-3 (Geo-3) report of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Earthscan Publications Ltd, London, 2002.

[20] Sūratu ’sh-Shūra [Mutual Consultation] 42:17.

[21] Sūratu ’r-R¿ad [Thunder], 13:8.

[22] Saħīħ Bukhārī, “Kitāb al-Īmān.”

[23] Aħmad, Musnad (3:84 and 85). Ħākim, Mustadrak (4:467).

[24] (Saħīħ). Aħmad, Musnad (1:407, 408). Haythamī, Majma‘ az-Zawā’id (7:331). Ħākim Mustadrak (4:445, 446). Albānī, #647 Silsila Saħīħa. He said al-Bazzār’s men are Saħīħ.

[25] W. Fageeh et. al. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics 76 2002, pp. 245-251.

[26] Saħīħ Bukhārī (6:338).

[27] Imām Mālik's Muwaţţa, Book 16.

[28] Early Embryogenesis. Dr. David Rapaport. UCSD Department of Surgery, Division of Anatomy.

[29] Saħīħ Bukhārī. Saħīħ Muslim (9:p. 92). Riyāļ as-sālihīn #1836:

[30] Sūrah Fuššilat [Explained in Detail], 41:39.

[31] Sūratu ’l-l-Zalzala [The Earthquake], 99:1-2)

 

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