Brining out the living from the dead
“He brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living. And He revives the earth after its death. And thus shall you be brought out (resurrected).”
This blessed ayah appears in the first third of
Ar-Rum which is a Makkan Surah consisting of 60 ayahs, excluding the Basmalah. Surat
Some of the Signs of Creation Mentioned in
Several signs of creation are mentioned in
Ar-Rum; they can be summarized as follows: Surat
1. Description of the battleground in which the Persians defeated the Romans (the Byzantine state). The term used to describe its location is adna, which denotes the lowest or nearest part of the earth. It is now known that the battle took place in the low land of the
Valley of Araba (wadi Araba), the Dead Sea and the (wadi al-Urdun). Modern scientific evidence proves that the lowest point of earth is this very place. In addition, it is the closest place to the Valley of Jordan Arabian Peninsula.
2. Prediction that the Romans would defeat the Persians a few years after their being defeated by them. Historically, the Persian armies defeated the Romans in 614/615 A.D, while the Romans defeated them in the year 624 A.D. The word used in Arabic, bid’ sineen, literally means ‘a few years’ which indicates a number of years between three and nine.
3. Establishing the truth that the creation of the heavens and the earth took place in a stated term, which is one of the signs of Allah (SWT) that proves His absolute powers.
4. Allah (SWT) is the One who originated creation, the One who will bring life back, and to Him we will all be returned.
5. Reference to the fact that Allah (SWT) brings out the living from the dead and the dead from the living, revives the earth after its death, and in such a way creatures will be resurrected.
6. Allah (SWT) created man from dust.
7. The creation of human beings (as well as other creatures) is in pairs. The ayahs state that by such a system, every couple establishes a mutual feeling of content, tranquillity, accord and mercy.
8. Reference to the diverse languages and colours of the different peoples despite their descent from one father.
9. Allah (SWT) makes night for people to rest and sleep, and creates day for them to earn their living. In spite of this, Allah (SWT) gives man the ability to sleep during the day, as He created animals that sleep all night and others sleep all night.
10. Reference to the lightning phenomenon, its relationship to the rainfall and the revival of the earth after its death.
11. Confirming the relation between the earth and the heavens, which stands by His command. The ayahs also refer to the fact that all the people will be resurrected from the earth on the Day of Judgment.
12. Stating the fact that all the creations in the heavens and the earth belong to Allah (SWT) alone; all submit to His will. Although some may disobey Him, every single cell in one's body submits completely to Allah (SWT).
13. Allah (SWT) is the One Who begins creation; thereafter He brings it back again, and it is most simple for Him. And He has the Most Exalted similitude in the heavens and the earth.
14. There is no replacement for Allah’s creation.
15. Reference to the materialistic and psychological corruption in the land and the sea for what mankind's hands have earned that He may make them taste, Allah (SWT) makes them taste some (part) of that which they have done, that possibly they would return in repentance.
16. Reference to the winds, as good tidings symbolizing Allah's mercy, and their relation to sailing according to Allah's Commands.
17. Accurate description and precision of how clouds are formed in layers from which rain falls.
18. Comparison between the revival of the earth after its death and the resurrection of the dead on the Day of Judgment.
19. Reference to the sequential stages of the life cycle of human beings, from weakness to strength and then from strength to weakness in old age.
Each of the points mentioned above requires discerning detailed insight into its meanings. Since this cannot be done all at once, I will discuss the fifth point. It tackles a very important issue – that of bringing out the living from the dead and the dead from the living. Before examining this in detail, we must first have a quick review of old and contemporary interpretations of this ayah.
Interpretation of This Ayah by Scholars:
“He brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living. And He revives the earth after its death. And thus shall you be brought out (resurrected).” (
According to Tafseer Al-Jalalein, “He brings out the living from the dead…” (
Bringing Out the Living from the Dead and the Dead from the Living in the Noble Qur’an:
1. “You make the night to enter into the day, and You make the day to enter into the night (i.e. increase and decrease in the hours of the night and the day during winter and summer), You bring the living out of the dead, and You bring the dead out of the living. And You give wealth and sustenance to whom You will, without limit (measure or account).” (
2. “Verily! It is Allâh Who causes the seed-grain and the fruit-stone (like date-stone) to split and sprout. He brings forth the living from the dead, and it is He Who brings forth the dead from the living. Such is Allâh, then how are you deluded away from the truth?” (
Al-An'âm (The Cattle):95). Surat
3. “Say (O Muhammad )pbuh)): "Who provides for you from the sky and the earth? Or who owns hearing and sight? And who brings out the living from the dead and brings out the dead from the living? And who disposes the affairs?" They will say: "Allâh." Say: "Will you not then be afraid of Allâh’s punishment (for setting up rivals in worship with Allâh)?" (
Yûnus (Jonah):31). Surat
4. “He brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living. And He revives the earth after its death. And thus shall you be brought out (resurrected).” (
Ar-Rûm (The Romans):19) Surat
Scientific Implications of this Blessed Ayah:
This ayah refers to the Omnipotence of Allah (SWT) to create living things from preliminary substances made available after His creation of the universe. Such substances are dead ones with no spirit nor life. Likewise, after extracting the spirit from a living thing, the body returns to its preliminary state from which it was created. Therefore, it is Allah (SWT) alone who has the powers to bring out the living from the dead and the dead from the living. This applies to the creation of life when there was none, as well as the resurrection of the dead on the Day of Judgment. In between the creation of life and the resurrection of the dead are the birth, growth, reproduction, and death, all are natural processes controlled by fixed and ceaseless Divine laws. Such laws of nature were discovered by human acquired sciences only in the late decades of the twentieth Century. The fact that these are already mentioned in the book of Allah (SWT) 1400 years earlier is an evidence that this Qur'an is not manmade, but rather the words of Allah (SWT) the Creator. It is further a proof of the Prophethood of Muhammad (SAWS), the accuracy and truth of his message, which was taught to him by the Creator of the heavens and the earth.
Before we explain the scientific implication of this blessed ayah, we must first define and differentiate between the words al-hayy (the living) and al-mayyit (the dead).
The Dead in Our Universe:
Seventy-four percent of the identified universe consists of hydrogen, the simplest and lightest gas. Due to its gaseous composition, it is non-living. The next largest gas constituent of the universe is helium, which forms 24 percent of the universe’s substances. Helium is produced inside the sun by the fusion of four hydrogen nuclei, which release energy in the process. This means that the other known chemical elements, whose number exceeds 100, form less than two percent (2%) of the universe.
All of these gases are non-living and are produced by the nuclear fusion of hydrogen nuclei. This process takes place deep inside the stars, which are considered as ‘atomic furnaces’ that produce different gases via a stepwise process. It begins with the lightest gas “hydrogen”, and produces iron at the end, which can only be produced in massive stars – more specifically ‘red giant’ stars. Once the core of these stars is converted to iron, all of its energy will be consumed and it will therefore explode (supernova), scattering its remnants. Some of these remnants will enter the gravitational fields of other stars by Allah’s decree in the form of comets and meteors. Some of the iron’s nuclei scattered across the universe are able to trap large numbers of particles by Allah’s decree to form heavier and more complex elements. The atomic elements are formed by the combination of the nuclei with electrons. Then the atoms combine to form molecules. Those molecules interact with each other to produce compounds.
When our earth was separated from the sun (or from the nebula from which the sun was formed), it contained nothing but ashes; with no elements of higher mass than that of silicon. It was then hit by a large number of comets and meteors which were formed by iron and it contained other elements of even higher masses than iron. These elements of large masses were pushed through the primitive earth deep into its core (which initially consisted of ash), separating the internal structure of the earth into seven zones: an internal solid core consisting mainly of iron and nickel, followed by a zone of liquid iron and nickel, then four zones in which the percentage of iron lessens from inside to outside, afterwards is the rocky crust of the earth crust, which contains 5.6% of iron. During this stage of differentiation, the mineral compounds were formed. Such compounds form the preliminary (igneous) rocks from which the rocky cycle begins. The igneous rocks are considered the original source of other rocks, such as sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. With the formation of igneous rocks by volcanic eruptions, Allah (SWT) brought out from inside the earth its water and gas. These three components: rocks (lithosphere), water (hydrosphere) and gas (atmosphere) are all dead substances, with no spirit or life.
The age of the earth is estimated to be approximately 4600 million years. Since the oldest trace of living on earth is estimated to be 3800 million years old, it can be concluded that it took at least 800 million years to prepare the earth to accept life on it. Certainly, Allah (SWT) is capable of commanding the earth to exist by merely saying the word ‘be', but this stepwise development of the earth is meant for humans to understand Allah’s creation. It is also meant for human beings to understand the sending of vicegerent to earth and that every person should abide by his duties.
The Living Beings on our Earth:
There are billions of living beings on this earth, on its land, in its waters and in its air, which form about two million species. They are classified under six different kingdoms: monera, protista, fungi, plants, animals and humans. These are, in turn, divided into many: classes, orders, families, genera, species and varieties.þ
Using the total number of species discovered until today, scientists estimate that the total number of living things that have lived on this earth, including those which became extinct, may reach up to five million, each represents billions of individuals. It is estimated that the main living age of each species ranges from 500,000 to five million years.
Allah (SWT) gave each of these living species the ability to carry out the activities expected of them, including feeding, carrying out metabolic activity, excretion, breathing, growth, reproduction, adaptability, movement (with the exception of plants), and sense. These abilities, in addition to other factors, differentiate the living from dead things.
Bringing out the Living from the Dead:
Creation comes in three forms: the creation of the universe, life, and human beings. These three types of creations are considered part of the unseen issues which are incomprehensible by the human understanding. Allah (SWT) says in the Qur'an, “I (Allah) made them (Iblîs and his offspring) not to witness (nor took their help in) the creation of the heavens and the earth and not (even) their own creation, nor was I (Allah) to take the misleaders as helpers. (
Al-Kahf (The Cave):51). At the same, while the previous ayah confirms the human absence during the creational processes, Allah (SWT) in the Glorious Qur’an invites us to think about how these creations took place, " Say: "Travel in the land and see how (Allâh) originated the creation, and then Allâh will bring forth the creation of the Hereafter (i.e. resurrection after death). Verily, Allâh is Able to do all things." ( Surat Al-'Ankabût (The Spider):20). Surat
By combining these two blessed ayahs of the Qur'an, it is evident that Allah (SWT), by His mercy, left signs for us in the rocks of the earth and in the heavens despite the fact that these processes of creation happened at a time when no one existed to witness them. These signs help scientists to form certain perception of the beginning of the creation. However, the perceptions deduced are limited by our environment and knowledge. Thus, many theories were developed. For Muslims, there remains a light from Allah (SWT) and from the Prophet (SAWS) that can help them decide which of these theories is most accurate and compatible with what is mentioned in the Qur’an or Hadith. This, therefore, allows humans to validate what they discover and bring it closer to the truth, and not vice versa. This level of knowledge represents a height that can only be reached by a Muslim.
Existentialists tried to explain the beginning of creation as being the result of chemical and organic development and advancements. If the word “development” refers to the gradual build-up and the improvement of the earth with all what is on it, then this is a truth which can be supported by evidence and logic. However, the enemies of religion use this fact to make three false claims:
1. The Allegation of the Randomness of Initial Creation
Accurate scientific observations condemn and reject such an allegation, which assumes the randomness of amino acid production (these are the building blocks of proteins, which are, in turn, the building blocks of living cells). This means randomness in producing 200 thousand protein segments; which are then accidentally gathered to form the first living cell. This single living cell results in the production of millions of different living things, each of which has billions of individuals of each. All of this is assumed to have taken place through a haphazard processes. However, it is a scientifically well-known fact that each amino acid and protein segment are so complex that it is impossible for them to come together by chance.
2. The Allegation of Evolution
The second allegation was also rejected by accurate scientific observations. Each type of the living beings contains a specific number of chromosomes. These chromosomes control the organism's phenotype and characteristic activity, including that of reproduction. They also carry its specific genetic code, a code so complex and specific that it is impossible for it to be a product of pure chance.
In addition, the method by which the earth became inhabitable for the different species occurred in a very specific manner. Each living being came at a specific time and carried out a specific role in shaping and preparing the earth for the next set of living beings. It is, therefore, impossible for all of this to occur by chance. There is also evidence from fossils which negate the arbitrariness of the progression of living things on earth.
3. The Allegation of the Random Appearance of Human Beings in This Long Chain of Creation
Once more, this is a deliberate escape from the inevitable truth that Allah (SWT) is the Creator, although it is also rejected by accurate scientific observations. The distinct genetic code of humans, the specific number of chromosomes, the specific morphological features, mental capacity, and skeletal features, which are different from other species, are enough evidence to refute any assumption. It is impossible for such distinct features to have evolved in such a short period of time. In addition, human intellectual and linguistic abilities, as well feelings, reactions, expressions, socialization, learning new skills and teaching them, clearly distinguish human beings from any other species.
The ability of the hereditary genetic code to divide and replicate itself can be traced back to one single father: Adam (AS). Add to this the precision in which the living cell is built with its processes and the control of its metabolic activity despite its small size (less than a fraction of ten millionth of a cubic millimetre). This cell also has a membrane that resembles a high fence, which contains gates controlled by extreme precision. It also has defensive, offensive and reserve forces which are armed with electromagnetic equipment. Moreover, these same cells contain processes, which control nutritional supply, as well as an ability to produce more than 200,000 types of proteins with controlled internal and external relations to deal with neighbouring cells. There are many other features of this small cell which require extensive details, but the message is that chance cannot possibly be the only determinant of its creation.
The creation of a living cell from the elements of a non-living earth is one of the greatest forms of bringing out the living from the dead which the ayah refers to, in addition to its resurrection on the Day of Judgment.
One of the other signs of Allah’s miraculous abilities is His granting of plants the ability to transform the non-living components of the earth, such as water and air, into living components, which is what occurs during the process of photosynthesis. During this process, green plants use the water from the soil, carbon dioxide from the air and energy from the sun to produce carbohydrates such as sugar, starch and cellulose, using its chlorophyll. They are all extremely important products, as they are considered to be the building blocks in the production of the different parts of the plant as well as being an important source of food for humans and animals.
In humans, animals and certain plants, these carbohydrates are converted into proteins. Proteins consist of complex substances resulting from the binding of carbon and hydrogen atoms to oxygen and nitrogen atoms, and occasionally to sulphur and phosphorus. They are the building blocks found in animals and humans and are used as basis for producing different types of cells. They also result in the movement of muscles and bones, in the circulation of blood, in nerve transmissions and in the control of different metabolic reactions controlled by enzymes and hormones (which are essentially proteins). With the exception of nerve cells, all other living cells are constantly being renewed as the human body loses and replaces approximately 125 million cells every second.þ
The constant transformation of the dead components of the earth – its air, water and energy provided by the sun – to produce the essential and other non-existent building blocks of life is one form of bringing out the living from the dead as well as the bringing out of the dead from the living. These building blocks include carbohydrates, proteins and other substances that are required for the growth and reproduction of living beings. Besides, it is known that when these living beings die, their remnants return to the earth. Hence, this is evidence for bringing the dead from the living. It is important to note that these were unknown facts to humans until the end of the 20th Century. All praise is due to Allah (SWT), who revealed the Qur’an upon the Seal of His Prophets and Messengers so that it may be a testimony for those who are deceived by science these days. It is a testimony against those who deny the Divinity of the Qur’an and the Prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (SAWS). Allah (SWT) says, "…And Allâh has full power and control over His Affairs, but most of men know not." (