Brought forth Iron into the earth
"..And We brought forth iron wherein is mighty power (in matters of war), as well as many benefits for mankind…"
Al-Hadid (The Iron): 25) Surat
By: Dr. / Zaghloul El-Naggar
The Glorious Qur'an contains a distinct "Surah" (Chapter) entitled "Al-Hadid" (The Iron) which emphasizes in one of its verses (Verse 25) the following two facts:
1- That iron was sent down to Earth i.e. it is of a celestial (extra-terrestrial) origin.
2- That iron is mighty strong and has many benefits for mankind.
This Qur'anic verse reads:
"..And We brought forth iron wherein is mighty power (in matters of war), as well as many benefits for mankind…"
Al-Hadid (The Iron): 25) Surat
We now know that iron is the most abundant element in the total composition of the Earth (>35% of its total mass) and the fourth abundant element in its crust (5.6%). This observation has led to the logical conclusion that the majority of the Earth's iron must be hidden bellow its crust (i.e. within both its cores and mantles). If this is the case, how could this element be send down to Earth as stated in the above mentioned Qur'anic verse? And how could it have penetrated from the outer crust of the Earth to its inner zones of mantle and core?
To answer these questions, the Earth must be treated as part of the total cosmos from which it was separated, not merely as an isolated entity. In this context, recent cosmological discoveries have proved that:
1- Hydrogen (the simplest and the lightest known element) is by far the most abundant element in the observed universe (constituting about 74%).
2- This predominant, universal hydrogen is followed in abundance by helium (the second in the periodic table of elements) which is less abundant than hydrogen (constituting about 24%).
3- These two, simple nuclei of hydrogen and helium constitute together the greatest percentage of the observed universe (> 98%), while heavier elements are only represented by traces that do not exceed 1-2% of its total mass, and are only locally concentrated in certain heavenly bodies.
These fundamental discoveries have led to the important conclusion that hydrogen nuclei are the basic building blocks from which all the other were and are currently being created by the process of the nuclear fusion. This process (of the nucleosynthesis of elements by nuclear fusion) is self- sustaining, generally highly exothermic (i.e. releases excessively large quantities of energy) and is the source of the very hot and glowing nature of all stars. However, when the process reaches the level of producing iron, it becomes endothermic (i.e. energy consuming) and hence, the star either explodes or condenses on itself and fades out gradually to complete dimming and absolute darkness (a stage generally known as the Black Hole).
Nuclear Fusion within our sun mainly produces helium, with a very limited number of slightly heavier elements. The percentage of iron in the sun is estimated to be in the order of 0.0037%. Knowing that the Earth as well as all other planets and satellites in our solar system were actually separated from the sun, which does not generate iron, another question was raised:
Where had the immense quantity of iron in our Earth come from?
Our sun is a modest star, with a surface temperature of about 6,000 oC, and an inner core temperature of about 15,000,000 oC. Such figures are far below the calculated temperatures for the production of iron by the process of nuclear fusion (which exceeds 5 X 109 K). Consequently, other sources much hotter than the sun were sought for as possible sites for the generation of iron in the observed universe. One of the suggested sources of excessive heat was the "Big Bang" explosion of the initial singularity from which our universe was created. However all speculations about this event suggest that shortly after the "Big Bang" matter was in such an elementary stage that only hydrogen and helium (with possible traces of lithium) could have been generated. Again, if any traces of iron were produced at that stage, iron would have been more evenly distributed in the observed universe, which is not the case.
One second after the "Big Bang", the temperature of the early universe is calculated to have been in the range of ten billion degrees Celsius. At this stage, the early universe is visualized to have been in the form of a steadily expanding, huge cloud of smoke, mainly composed of elementary forms of both matter and energy such as neutrons, protons, electrons, photons, neutrinos and their counter particles (or anti-particles). Radiations in the form of photons from this very hot early stage of the universe had been predicted by Gamow and others (1948) to be still in existence around the observed universe, coming from all directions with equal intensity. This prediction was later proved to be true by both Penzias and Wilson (1965) through their discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation coming from all directions in the observed universe with equal intensity, together with a remnant temperature reduced to only a few degrees above the absolute zero (-2730C).
During the first three minutes of the history of our universe, the neutrons are believed to have either decayed into protons and electrons, or combined with other neutrons to produce deuterium (or heavy hydrogen), which could combine to form helium. In its turn, helium nuclei could partly fuse to produce traces of lithium (the third element in the periodic table), but nothing heavier than this element is believed to have been generated as a result of the "Big Bang" explosion. Consequently, all of the universal hydrogen and most of the helium are believed to have been created immediately after the "Big Bang", while the rest of the universal helium is believed to have been steadily generated from the burning of hydrogen in the interiors of "Main-Sequence Stars" like our Sun. After the "Big Bang" explosion gravitation is believed to have pulled together clouds of smoke to form giant clusters of matter. Continued contraction of these eventually increased their temperature due to the interaction of colliding particles and the pressures created by the large gravitational attraction. As the temperature approached 15 million degrees Celsius, the electrons in the formed atoms were ripped off to create a plasma state. Continued contraction proceeded until the particles in the plasma moved with such high velocities that they began to fuse hydrogen into helium, producing stars with enough energy to generate an outward push (pressure) that reached equilibrium with the inward pull of gravity.
Most recently, elements heavier than lithium have been proved to be currently synthesized by the process of nuclear fusion in the cores of massive stars (at least ten times the mass of our sun) during their late stages of development. Such massive stars are seen burning helium to carbon, oxygen, silicon, sulphur and finally into iron when elements of the iron group are produced, the process of nuclear fusion cannot proceed any further. Elements heavier than iron (and its group of elements) are believed to have been created in the outer envelopes of super giant stars or during the explosion of nova in the form of supernova through the process of capturing elementary particles by the chattered iron cores of the exploding stars.
Consequently, it has been proved that stars are cosmic reactors in which most of the known elements are created from hydrogen and/or helium by the process of nuclear fusion. At the same time the staggering energy of stars comes from this process of intra-stellar nucleosynthesis of elements, which involves the combining of light elements into heavier ones by nuclear fusion (nuclear burning). This process requires a high speed collision which can only be achieved at very high temperatures. The minimum temperature required for the fusion of hydrogen into helium is calculated to be in the range of 5,000,000 oC. With the increase in the atomic weight of the element produced by nuclear fusion, this temperature increases steadily to several billions of the degrees. For example, the nuclear fusion of hydrogen into carbon requires a temperature of about one billion degrees Celsius.
Burning (fusing) hydrogen into helium occurs during most of the stars' lifetime. After the hydrogen in the star's core is exhausted (i.e. fused to helium), the star either changes into a" Red Giant" then into a "Dwarf" or changes into a "Red super giant", then into a "Nova", when it starts to burn helium, fusing it into progressively heavier elements (depending on its initial mass) until the iron group is reached. Up to this point, the process of nucleosynthesis of elements is highly exothermic (i.e. releases excessive quantities of energy), but the formation of the iron group elements is highly endothermic (i.e. requires the input of excessive quantities of energy). The explosions of "Nova" in the form of "Supernova" result from the exhaustion of the fuel supplies in the cores of such massive stars and the burning of all elements there into the iron group. Heavier nuclei are thought to be formed during the explosions of the supernova.
The nucleosynthesis of the iron group of elements in the inner cores of massive stars such as the "Nova" is the final stage of the process of nuclear fusion. Once this stage is reached, the "Nova" explodes in the form of a"Supernova", shattering its iron core to pieces that fly into the universal space, providing other celestial bodies withtheir requisite iron. With this analysis the celestial (extra-terrestrial) origin of iron in both our Earth and the rest of the solar system is confirmed.
NUCEOSYNTHESIS OF ELEMENTS AND THE EVLUTIONARY DEVELOPMENT OF STARS AS A SUPPORTING EVIDENCE FOR THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL ORIGIN OF IRON:
The nucleosynthesis of elements takes place in the inner cores of stars according to their initial masses as well as to how much mass they lose along the way of their development. This has been proved by following the thermonuclear reactions in the cores of the "Main Sequence-Stars" as follows:
A "Main Sequence Star" with an initial mass close to that of our sun stars with the fusion of its hydrogen nuclei to produce helium. Then the gradual increase in the amount of the produced helium nuclei pushes the remaining, non-fused hydrogen nuclei outwardly in the form of a burning hydrogen front around a helium core. In this core, gravity dominates over the outward pressure, leading to the further contraction of the helium nuclei and the further expansion of the outward, burning hydrogen front, and hence this "Main Sequence Star"changes into what is known as a "Red Giant". Further contraction of the "Red Giant's" helium core and expansion of its outer burning front, will cause a mild core collapse and eventually will lead to the depletion of its mass to about 20% of the original mass, changing into what is known as a "White Dwarf" (the size of the Earth but the mass of the sun). With subsequent slow gravitational contraction, shrinking, cooling and dimming, the "White Dwarf"changes into what is described as a "Brown Dwarf" or a "Black Dwarf". This process of core collapse, gradual shrinking, cooling and darkening is the natural result of a winning inward pull of gravity over a decreasing outward push fusion process due to the consumption of its hydrogen fuel.
Similar to the light stars, massive "Main Sequence stars" (ten or more times the mass of our sun) also pass by the"Red Giant" phase, where they are described as "Red Super giants", but they have a quite different evolutionary path. Shrinking of the helium core of a "Red super giant" creates greater forces that restart its nuclear fusion, with a much larger gravitational pull to the center of the core (due to its greater mass) and much more active internal collisions. The combined effect of 0contraction and collision results in tremendously high temperatures capable of the gradual generation of progressively heavier atomic nuclei such as carbon, oxygen, silicon and iron through the process of nuclear fusion. A nature massive star will have an iron core surrounded outwardly by shells of silicon, oxygen, carbon, helium and hydrogen. When the "Red Super giant's" core is changed into carbon, excessive quantities of energy are released, and these lead to the outward push of a second burning front of helium towards the first and enveloping hydrogen front.
With the following contraction of the carbon core, its temperature rises excessively to allow the fusion the carbon nuclei into a chain process that passes by magnesium, followed by aluminum, then silicon.
The silicon core changes gradually heavier nuclei during similar episodes of contraction of the core and expansion of the surrounding fronts, releasing more energy and changing the "Red Super giant" into a "Nova", where iron starts to form. The generation of iron in the core of "Nova" starts to consume its energy, because the fusion of silicon into iron is highly endothermic (i.e. consumes excessive quantities of energy). As the core of the "Nova"changes into iron, it explodes in a form of "Supernova", ejecting its gaseous envelopes and shattering its core to pieces that fly out into space to reach other celestial bodies that need iron. During its space journey, iron may fuse with one or more of the elementary particles that fill the universe to form heavier nuclei.
Changes that Occur to Seeds during Germination
As soon as the internal and external requirements are available for germination, the seed absorbs water, swells, and enlarges. At this point, a complicated series of anabolic and catabolic reactions takes place. Such reactions help the embryo to grow after a period of complete dormancy within the dry seed. Thus, it begins to germinate and repeats the life cycle of the mother seed. This process of germination goes in the following steps:
(1) The seed absorbs water, and gradually becomes filled with water until it swells. As a result, the testa (the hard outer coat of the seed) is torn because of the increased pressure from inside the seed. Accordingly, adequate amounts of water reach the embryo as well as the stored food surrounding it. This helps to activate the stored food chemically and the embryo biologically.
(2) The embryo's secretion of enzymes: The embryo begins secreting some enzymes that are capable of crumbling and anabolism of the surrounding food stored in the cotyledons or in the special tissue. The enzymes carry on the anabolism of the complicated insoluble substances to form simple and soluble substances that the embryo can absorb and use during the early stages of germination. Examples of such enzymes are the following:
- Diastase that converts starch to sugar
- Protease that breaks proteins down into amino acids.
- Lipase that anabolises fats and oils into fatty acids and glycerol so that the food store within the seed greatly increases.
(3) The soil's cracking: One of the most important factors causing the soil to crack is the seeds' swelling as a result of absorption of adequate amounts of water. When swollen, the seeds generate great power that can hardly be perceived by the human mind. For instance, if we fill a bottle with dry seeds and add the adequate amount of water and close the bottle tightly, the power resulting from the seeds' germination and the enlargement of their size by the water absorption can shatter the bottle however thick it is. The soil can also be cracked by the extent of thirst its minerals have for water. As a result of absorbing great amounts of water, the minerals expand and rise upwards until the soil is softened and then cracks so as to make room for the plumule extending upwards from the germinating seed. The predominance of argillaceous minerals helps to move the soil particles upwards. These argillaceous minerals take the form of minute laminated sheets reserving gases inside them, so that if water passes through it replaces these gases and pushes them out of the soil. As a result, the particles of the soil move upwards and shake violently until the soil is softened and cracks. Another factor causing the cracking of the soil is the electrical charges found in the argillaceous sheets. Such electrical charges repel with the similar ones found in the bipolar water molecule, consisting of the positive pole of the hydrogen atom and the negative pole of the oxygen atom.
(4) The growth of the embryo's cells: The embryo's cells now start to divide and grow until the root stretches downwards and anchors the plant in the soil. Accordingly, the plant is connected to the natural source that provides it with nutrients. Such nutrients are either absorbed by the plant in the form of a sap consisting of elements and compounds dissolved in water or directly extracted by the root system from the soil's components. Allah (SWT) gives each plant highly selective abilities in order to select the proper elements and compounds of the soil that are essential for its germination. After the root system is completed, the plumule goes upwards, penetrating the soil's holes to appear above its surface. Thus, the germinating seed turns into what is called a seedling, which grows gradually higher to become the stem bearing the leaves and buds that form the shoot system. By the end of the process of germination, the seedling finally turns into a complete plant. Blessed be Allah, the Best Creator.
During the germination process, a cotyledon or two may remain under the soil's surface (surrounded by the torn testa) until the embryo consumes the stored nutrients as happens in the process of germinating pea seeds or the stone of palm dates.
On the other hand, the hypocotyl may grow upwards bringing one or two cotyledons along with the plumule above the soil's surface. The single cotyledon or both of them would gradually become greener, thus participating in the process of photosynthesis. This participation would continue for a limited period of time until the plumule lengthens and the green leaves appear on it forming the shoot system. The shoot system would carry on the process of photosynthesis. Then the cotyledon would fade away and fall off after consumption of all the nutrients it has.
These complicated processes that take place during the splitting and sprouting of grains and stones can never be done by any creature. Moreover, they cannot take place without the direction and guidance of Allah. For this reason, Allah (SWT) attributed these two processes directly to Him to honor them. In fact, without these processes, life would not have been possible on earth. Thus, Allah says what can be translated as, "Verily! It is Allâh Who causes the seed-grain and the fruit-stone (like date-stone) to split and sprout" (
Al-An'âm (The Cattle): 95). Surat
All praises be to Allah for His various blessings, among which is the splitting and sprouting of seed-grains and fruit-stones and foremost of which is the Ever-Glorious Qur’an, which Allah (SWT) revealed to His final Messenger and Prophet, Muhammad (SAWS). Furthermore, Allah (SWT) declared that he would forever preserve the Ever-Glorious Qur'an from any corruption that may occur to its language of revelation, its words or even its letters; consequently the Ever-Glorious Qur’an has maintained the divine glory shining in its ayahs as well as the scientific precision presented in its content. This scientific precision serves as a witness to the truth of its revelation and the truth of Muhammad's prophethood.
To conclude, we cannot but invoke Allah to send His Peace and Blessings upon our final Prophet Muhammad, his household, companions and followers until the Day of Judgment. All praises be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.