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الأربعاء، 3 أبريل، 2013

The Darkness and the Light

الأربعاء, أبريل 03, 2013

"All praises and thanks be to Allah, Who (Alone) created the heavens and the earth, and originated the darkness and the light;"
(Surat Al-An'âm (The Cattle):1).

This miraculous Qur’anic Ayah is found at the beginning of Surat Al-An'am (The Cattle), which was revealed in Makkah. It is one of the longest Qur'anic Surahs, as it consists of 165 Ayahs after Al-Basmallah[1]. It is the fifth Surah after Al-Fatihah (The opening surah in the Holy Qur'an) and it was called so because it made mention of Al-An'am.

Different interpretations of the Ayah:

In interpreting Allah's saying, "All Praises and thanks be to Allah, Who (Alone) created the heavens and the earth, and originated the darkness and the light; yet those who disbelieve hold others as equal with their Lord."  (Surat Al-An'âm (The Cattle):1).
At-Tabari (may Allah rest his soul) stated in his summarized interpretation, "All Praises and thanks be to Allah", means that all thanks are addressed to none but Allah. “and originated the darkness ", refers to the darkness of nighttime. The word"originated" means that He darkened the night and lightened the daytime. "Light" here refers to the daylight.  "Hold others as equal ", means that they associate others with Allah. It is said: "to equal X to Z"; namely, to deem X as a rival to Z.

Ibn Kathir (may Allah rest his soul) argued: Allah praises and thanks His generous self for creating the heavens and the earth as a dwelling place for His servants and for making darkness and light beneficial for them day and night.  He pluralized "darkness" while singularized "light", since light is more honorable. Allah then says, yet those who disbelieve hold others as equal with their Lord." namely, all these graces did not hinder some of His servants from disbelieving in Him and setting up partners and rivals. They further claimed that He has a wife and a son. Allah is High above their claims.

The interpretation of Al-Jalalein goes as follows: (All praises) refers to the lasting gratitude for Allah, whether this announcement indicates the faith in Him, or praise to Him, or both (faith and praise). The most likely among these possibilities is the third (i.e. indicating faith as well as praise). Sheikh Jalal Al-Mahaly interpreted the beginning of Surat Al-Kahf, "Who (Alone) created the heavens and the earth", saying Allah made mention of the heavens and the earth, because they are the greatest among His creations for those who have sight.  "Originated"means created, and "the darkness and the light" encompasses all darkness and light.  He puts both words in the plural form while mentioned Himself as One, since they have many causatives.  These further functions as a proof on His Oneness.  "Yet those who disbelieve", despite the existence of this proof, "hold others as equal with their Lord."  they associate others with Him in worship.

Furthermore, the author of Az-Zilal (The Shades), argued that the first touches start with praising Allah, thanking Him and exalting Him in full admittance of His right to be praised and thanked for His Divinity, which is apparent in His creation. Thus, a link is set between His praised Divinity and its main characteristic i.e. creation. It starts at the largest of all creations; the heavens and the earth, then the most observable phenomena resulted from the creation of the heavens and the earth according to a purposeful arrangement i.e. the darkness and the light. It is the broad touch including all the large cosmic bodies in the obvious universe, the large distances between such bodies and their orbits. The matter that causes one to wonder at people who can see the great magnificent page of the universe showing the power, capabilities and wisdom of The Great Creator; yet, they disbelieve in Allah and neither affirm His Oneness nor even praise Him. Instead, they set partners to Him and associate others with Him, yet those who disbelieve hold others as equal with their Lord."

The scientific implications of this gracious verse:

First: The creation of the heavens and the earth is one of the greatest evidences on the absolute divine creativeness:  
In the beginning of the twentieth century, scientists made sure that the universe is expanding.  The matter that led to the correct deduction that our universe was created from a minute point with a huge amount of matter and energy.  This point exploded and turned into a cosmic cloud of dust and smoke from which the earth and the heavens were created.  With the expansion of the universe, it cooled down from billions of degrees to three measurable absolute levels that can be measured today across the observed universe.

Matter and antimatter and other forms of energy were formed in different stages, determined by scientists in the following points:

  1.  The age of quarks and gluons: This period lasted after a part of a hundred thousand millions of a second after the big bang. In this period, the primary particles of matter were created with its anti-particles from the cosmic dust. This includes the quarks and anti-quarks, neutrinos and anti-neutrinos.  The cosmic dust was dense and dark while gravity was a separate force binding the parts of this cosmic dust together. The strong nuclear force was then separated from the weaker electromagnetic force.  It is believed that the number of particles in this dust was more than the number of anti-particles or else there would be no universe.  Another possibility is that a higher power separated the particles from the anti-particles so that the heavens and the earth would be established by Allah’s Command.  This period was a period of astounding expansion of the universe.

  1. The lepton age:  It continued for a part of a million parts of a second after the big bang.  In this period, the leptons, the lightest elementary particles for matter such as electrons, neutrinos and anti-neutrinos, were clearly distinguished from the quarks.  Similarly, bosons were distinguished and the weak force was separated from the force unity known by the weak electric force.

  1. The nucleons and the anti-nucleons age: This period lasted up to 225 seconds after the Big Bang. Meanwhile, quarks united together to form the nucleons and their anti-nucleons like the protons and neutrons and their antiparticles.  The energy was weak enough at this point so it did not permit the formation of the nucleons and their anti-nucleons on a wide range or else there would be no universe.

  1. The formation of the nucleate of elements age: This period was between 225 seconds and one thousand seconds after the Big Bang.  In this period, stable deuterons were formed each by the combination of a proton with a neutron. Through their formation, nuclear fusion started to form hydrogen atoms' nucleate.  By their unity, the nucleate of helium atoms as well as some of the nucleate of other heavier atoms were formed until the percentage of hydrogen reached 74%, helium 24% and nucleate of other heavier elements reached 1%.

  1. Ions formation age: This period started from one thousand seconds to ten trillion seconds after the Big Bang.  Meantime, the hydrogen and helium ions were formed and the universe continued its expansion and continued to cool down.

  1. The atom formation age: It extends through the period starting from ten trillion seconds to one thousand trillion seconds after the Big Bang.  At that time, the atoms of various elements were formed and bonded by the gravitational force. Then the universe became transparent.

  1. The age of the formation of stars and galaxies: It extends from one thousand trillion of a second after the Big Bang (about 32 million years of our current years) up to this day i.e. about 10 milliards of years. In this period, most elements known to us were formed (which are more than 105 elements) by the process known as nuclear fusion, happened inside stars until the element known as iron was formed in the nebula and the great nebula. Elements of higher atomic weight than the iron atoms nucleate were formed by catching the elementary particles that were spread all over the heavens.
Qur'an preceded this scientific knowledge with 14 centuries, as Allah (SWT) says, "Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were joined together as one united piece, then We parted them? And We have made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?" (Surah Al-Anbiyâ' (The Prophets):30).

He (SWT) says also, "Then He rose over (Istawâ) towards the heaven when it was smoke, and said to it and to the earth: “Come both of you willingly or unwillingly.” They both said: “We come willingly."  (Surat  Fussilat (They are explained in detail):11).

He (SWT) further says, "With power did We construct the heaven. Verily, We are Able to extend the vastness of space therefore." (Surat Adh-Dhâriyât (The Winds that Scatter): 47)

These stages confirm the absolute wisdom and control in the creation of the heavens and the earth, because a slight error in calculations could have prevented the formation of the universe.  This includes quantitative and qualitative calculations, the temperature, expansion rates and the combination discipline, especially as the entire process was a result of a big bang.

Mostly, an explosion causes destruction and scatters everything haphazardly. Therefore, when an explosion causes the construction of a universe with such a magnitude and great number of cosmic bodies with their controlled orbits, spinning rates and their precise relation with one another, then it must have been preceded, accompanied and followed by accurate estimation, ingenious creation and special care. The matter that led it to the present form obvious in our own selves and around us. All this proves the magnificence of The Creator, His absolute Power, perfect making and accurate estimation.

Second: creating darkness and light proves the absolute divine creativeness and entails praising Allah (SWT). 
According to the most accepted scientific theories, our universe started in a gaseous state that was dense and dark.  This continued, at least, for a period of 30 million years (of our current years).  Later, the universe started to transform to a more transparent state that was able to absorb the light resulted from nuclear fusion, which happened inside the stars. This lasted for a period of approximately 10 milliards of years, up to our current time and until Allah (SWT) wishes. 

Since the majority of light, emitted by the stars, is unseen, darkness in our universe was categorized as follows:

  1. The primary darkness of the universe: It covered the period from the Big Bang up to the beginnings of the nuclear fusion operation. It took about 30 million years (according to our current time). This period was characterized by the high density of matter in its most elementary form. Further characteristics were the complete dimness and darkness.

  1. The current darkness of the universe: After about 30 million years from the Big Bang, stars were formed and the thermal nuclear fusion started inside them and continued until today; more than 10 milliards of years later and it will continue according to Allah's wills.

Consequently, stars started emitting their light to the vast heavens, although most of it is invisible, as it is formed of a chain of electromagnetic waves that includes radio waves with all its various wavelengths as well as infrared, ultraviolet and gamma rays.  Those electromagnetic waves differ only in their frequencies and wavelength.  The wavelength spectrum extends from few kilometers for radio waves, to a part of billion parts of a millimeter for gamma rays.

As for the visible light, the wavelength ranges between 0.01 micron to 100 micron (1 micron = 0.001 mm). This includes visible light, infrared and ultraviolet rays. Out of the visible light spectrum, the human eye can distinguish the red color (with the longest wavelength and lowest frequency) then orange, yellow, green, blue, cyan and violet (which has the shortest wavelength and is the highest in frequency).  Those waves are not seen clearly except in the day layer, which is a very small part of the earth's atmosphere facing the sun. The thickness of this layer does not extend more than 200 kilometers.  Besides, various colors are reflected in it by the dust particles and water drops when they mix together.  Their mixing gives us the white light, which people on earth and on any other planet with a similar atmosphere can see and enjoy.  

Accordingly, if we pass the daytime layer, we will see the sun as a blue disk at the middle of a black page of darkness. This is the current darkness of the universe that Allah (STW) described in His saying, "And even if We opened to them a gate from the heaven and they were to keep on ascending thereto (all the day long). 14.  They would surely say (in the evening): “Our eyes have been (as if) dazzled (we have not seen any angel or heaven). Nay, we are a people bewitched. 15.” (Surat Al-Hijr (The Rocky Tract): 14-15).                                                                                                                  

In describing the sky, Allah said, "Its night He covers with darkness and its forenoon He brings out (with light)."  (Surat An-Nâzi'ât (Those Who Pull Out): 29).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

This is the darkness of the night of the sky. Its darkness increases when it meets the darkness of the night of the earth.  The action, which is caused by the rotation of the earth around its axis. Therefore, the earth surface is divided into night and day with the part facing the sun having daytime while the other part having nighttime.

  1. The darkness of seas and oceans depth: It is scientifically proven that the bottoms of seas and oceans are extremely dark, because their depths extend hundreds of meters below (approximately 11034 meters with an average of 3795 meters).  Sunrays can never reach such depth.  It is proven that the ozone layer in the atmosphere reflects back most of the ultraviolet rays away from the earth, while clouds reflect 30% of the sunrays and absorb about 19%.  Accordingly, only 51% of the sunrays reach the oceans and seas surface.  The waves then reflect 5% and consume 35% of the infrared rays in evaporating water and in the photosynthesis process carried out by some seaweed.

As the remaining part of the sun layer penetrates the water, it is subjected to multiple refractions that resolve it to its various components. They gradually get absorbed according to their wavelength starting from the red all the way to the violet. Therefore, most of the observed light waves from the sunrays get absorbed at a depth of about 100 meters from sea level in seas and oceans.  This region is known as the illuminated region.

Less than 1% of the sunrays continue past the depth of 150 meters, 0.01% continues to the depth of 200 meters in pure clear water.  This small remaining amount of observed light continues to be refracted, dispersed and absorbed until it disappears completely at a depth that hardly reaches one thousand meters below sea level. The remaining part of the sunrays is negligible at this point (one part of tens of trillions). That in case no deep waves prohibited this remaining portion of light from reaching such a depth.  Those waves start forming at a depth of 40 meters below sea level and might be repeated at lower depths.  

The Glorious Qur'an describes the darkness in the bottom of deep as, "Or (the state of a disbeliever) is like the darkness in a vast deep sea, overwhelmed with waves topped by waves, topped by dark clouds, (layers of) darkness upon darkness: if a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it ! And he for whom Allah has not appointed light, for him there is no light." (Surat An-Nûr (The Light): 40).

  1. The darkness of the womb: Allah (SWT) describes it saying, "… He created you (all) from a single person (Adam); then made from him his wife (Hawwâ' (Eve)).  And He has sent down for you of cattle eight pairs (of the sheep, two, male and female; of the goats, two, male and female; of the oxen, two, male and female; and of the camels, two, male and female). He creates you in the wombs of your mothers: creation after creation in three veils of darkness.…" (Surat Az-Zumar (The Groups): 6). The threefold darkness were interpreted to be: the darkens of the belly, followed by the darkness of the womb, followed by the darkness of the placenta with its mesentery and fluids.

  1. The darkness of the grave representing the darkness of every closed place under or above earth:
According to the honorable Sunnah, the grave is to be dug to the extent of a qamah (6 feet) and a bastah (platform). It is to be dug sideway and towards the qibla.  The body of the deceased is placed in it on the right side with the face facing the qiblah.  Then, it should be built with mud bricks, filled up with sand and dust and raised to a length of a span of a hand above the earth. Else, a hole can be made at the middle of the grave and build it with bricks to put the deceased in it and cover it with something that did not enter fire like wood. Then dust and sand are placed over it to about a span of a hand length above the earth.  After closing the grave, the darkness then is complete, from which Allah's Prophet (SAWS) used to seek refuge in Allah.  The darkness of graves is similar to that of caves, mines, deep trenches in the earth, dark hideouts and every well-sealed place.  As for the beautiful white day light, it is not seen except in the lower half of the atmosphere facing the sun to a thickness of 200 kilometers only where there are enough dust water particles and air gas particles that reflect, diffract and mix the observed waves spectrum to give us that amazing white light which distinguish daytime.

Allah (STW) describes this saying, "By the sun and its brightness.1. By the moon as it follows it (the sun). 2. By the day as it shows up (the sun’s) brightness.3." (Surat Ash-Shams (The Sun): 1-3).

He indicates the delicacy of daytime layer by saying, "And a sign for them is the night. We withdraw therefrom the day, and behold, they are in darkness." (Surat Yâ-Sîn: 37).

Allah (SWT) says also, "Allah, it is He Who has made the night for you that you may rest therein and the day for you to see. …" (Surat Ghâfîr (The Forgiver): 61).

He further says, "All praises and thanks be to Allâh, Who (Alone) created the heavens and the earth, and originated the darkness and the light; yet those who disbelieve hold others as equal with their Lord." (Surat Al-An'âm (The Cattle): 1).

He mentioned darkness as plural owning to its vastness and prevalence in the universe.  On the other hand, He made light singular for its specialty and limited source in life. Those are facts that were not realized except in the late twentieth century.  Those facts being mentioned in a book revealed more than 14 centuries ago to an illiterate Prophet (SAWS) and in an ignorant nation, are a clear proof that the Qur'an is the words of Allah; The Creator.  It proves also that the seal Prophet who received the Qur'an was in touch through the revelation and was taught by The Creator of the heavens and the earth.  Peace and Blessing be upon Allah's Prophet, his Household, his Companions and whoever follows his guidance and proclaims his message till the Day of Judgment and praise be to Allah the Lord of all the worlds.

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