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الأربعاء، 12 يونيو، 2013

Under the soil

الأربعاء, يونيو 12, 2013

To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth, and all that is between them, and all that is under the soil. (surat Tâ-Hâ : 6)

This ayah appears at the beginning of Surat Tâ-Hâ, which was revealed in Makkah.  This Surah is titled Tâ-Hâ in honor of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), the seal of the Prophethood; Tâ-Hâ is one of his blessed names. Some scholars of Qur’an exegetes, however, consider Ta-Ha to be one of the clusters of letters that appear at the beginning of many Surahs in the Qur’an (Ta and Ha being letters of the Arabic alphabet). Allah (SWT) addresses the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) in this ayah in words that honor, soothe and ease the Prophet’s pain after the insult and injury he received from the disbelievers and polytheists of Quraysh tribe, who denied his Prophethood and accused him of lying, even though they knew him to be As-Sadiq Al-Amin (the honest and truthful one).

The entire Surah is addressed to Prophet, Muhammad (SAWS). This divine address puts emphasis on Muhammad’s Prophethood, reinforces the message he was sent with and makes it easier for him to spread the word about Allah and Islam, whether by warning people about the consequences of their actions or promising them rewards for the good deeds they do and ultimately, giving them the choice of doing good or bad. The task of judging the choices people make is left to Allah alone; in Surat Al-Baqarah (284), Allah says what can be translated as, "To Allâh belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth, and whether you disclose what is in your ownselves or conceal it, Allâh will call you to account for it. Then He forgives whom He wills and punishes whom He wills. And Allâh is Able to do all things. "(Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow): 284).

Tenets of faith in Surat Tâ-Hâ:
1)    That the Qur’an is indeed the word of the Creator.  That it was revealed to the seal of the Prophets (Muhammad,SAWS) as a reminder to those who fear Allah’s Might.
2)    Surat Tâ-Hâ states that Allah (SWT) is the sole Creator of the heavens and the earth. He rose over His Throne, in a unique manner that only befits His Majesty. Among his characteristics are that He does not misguide and He never forgets.
3)    Everything that is in the heavens and the earth, all that is between them and even that which is under the soil belongs to Allah.
4)    Allah (SWT) knows everything whether it is made public or kept hidden. He has full knowledge of all things; He knows what happens to His creation in this world and what will happen to them in the Hereafter. There is no God but Him and to Him belong the 99 beautiful names (Al-Asma’ul-Husna).
5)    He (SWT) created man from earth, will return him to it and then resurrect him.
Worshipping Allah and establishing prayer in remembrance of Him are His rights on His creation, thus people should not neglect the duties that Allah Has prescribed for them. He says what can be translated as, "But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Qur’ân nor acts on its teachings.) verily, for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection."124. He will say: "O my Lord! Why have you raised me up blind, while I had sight (before)." 125. (Allâh) will say: "Like this: Our Ayât (proofs, evidence, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) came unto you, but you disregarded them (i.e. you left them, did not think deeply in them, and you turned away from them), and so this Day, you will be neglected (in the Hell-fire, away from Allâh’s Mercy)."126. And thus do We requite him who transgresses beyond bounds [i.e. commits the great sins and disobeys his Lord (Allâh) and believes not in His Messengers, and His revealed Books, like this Qur’an], and believes not in the Ayât (proofs, evidence, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of his Lord; and the torment of the Hereafter is far more severe and more lasting.127." (Surat Ta-Ha: 124-127).
6)    The Surah mentions that the Hour (Day of Judgment) is indeed approaching. Allah hides its exact time as every person shall be rewarded for that which he strives for. It also mentions that disbelievers do not believe in the Day of Judgment and that is why all those who deny and shun that reality deserve nothing but severe punishment; he who invents a lie (against Allah) will fail miserably.
7)    Whoever comes before his Lord as a mujrim (criminal, polytheist, sinner, disbeliever in the Oneness of Allah and His Messengers), shall have Hell as his abode, wherein he will neither live nor die. Allah says what can be translated as," Verily whoever comes to his Lord as a Mujrim (criminal, polytheist, sinner, disbeliever in the Oneness of Allâh and His Messengers), then surely, for him is Hell, wherein he will neither die nor live." (Surat Tâ-Hâ: 74). "‘Adn (Eden)Paradise (everlasting Gardens), under which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever: such is the reward of those who purify themselves (by abstaining from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allâh has forbidden and by doing all that Allâh has ordained)." (Surat Tâ-Hâ: 76)
8)    Those whom Allah is angry with are lost and have failed.  Allah says what can be translated as, "And verily, I am indeed forgiving to him who repents, believes (in My Oneness, and associates none in worship with Me) and does righteous good deeds, and then remains constant in doing them, (till his death)."  (Surat Tâ-Hâ: 82).
9)    Satan is clearly an enemy of man and magic is one of the major sins.  Allah says what can be translated as, "And throw that which is in your right hand! It will swallow up that which they have made. That which they have made is only a magician’s trick, and the magician will never be successful, to whatever amount (of skill) he may attain." (SuratTâ-Hâ: 69).  That is because magic is one of the worst kinds of wrongdoing, as we see in the following ayah that can be translated as, "And (all) faces shall be humbled before (Allâh), Al-Hayyul-Qayyum (the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists). And he who carried (a burden of) wrongdoing (i.e. he who disbelieved in Allâh, ascribed partners to Him, and did deeds of His disobedience), will be indeed a complete failure (on that Day)." (SuratTâ-Hâ: 111).
10)                       A Muslim is not allowed to disclose the private parts of another person as this is clear in the following ayah that can be translated as, "And strain not your eyes in longing for the things We have given for enjoyment to various groups of them (polytheists and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh), the splendour of the life of this world, that We may test them thereby. But the provision (good reward in the Hereafter) of your Lord is better and more lasting." (Surat Tâ-Hâ: 131).

1)    The Surah states that Allah (SWT) is the Creator of 
the heavens and the earth. Allah says what can be translated as, "A revelation from Him Who created the earth and the heavens on high." (Surat Tâ-Hâ: 4). It means that these things were created and are not eternal nor did they exist independently without a Creator. Creation has a starting point; experimental science is trying to calculate that point. It is quite logical that everything that has a beginning must, some day, come to an end.
2)    "To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth, and all that is between them, and all that is under the soil." (Surat Tâ-Hâ: 6) There is an allusion to the centrality of the earth in the whole universe in this ayah and to the presence of life in the earth itself. These facts were not known to any one at the time of revelation except for the Messenger of Allah (SAWS). They were not known for a long time after the revelation and there is still a lot of knowledge, that the Qur’an contains, that remains unknown even in our scientific age.
3)    "And if you (O Muhammad pbuh) speak (the invocation) aloud, then verily, He knows the secret and that which is yet more hidden." (Surat Tâ-Hâ: 7). Three levels of communication are indicated here: verbal speech, which is made public when others hear it and is secret when others are unaware of it; in both cases, Allah is fully aware of what is communicated. Those who are absent will not hear the words nor would they know them. There is also confidential talk which denotes words spoken in secrecy, known only to the speaker and of which the sole listener is Allah.  Then we have that which is yet more hidden, which denotes the inner thoughts that a person does not tell others about, including  personal thoughts on a subconscious level that a person may even not realize, but Allah (SWT) is fully aware for He the Knower of the things unseen.
4)    "[Mûsâ (Moses)] said: "Our Lord is He Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright." (SuratTâ-Hâ: 50). This ayah emphasizes the fact of creation and the divine nature of the Creator. It also points out the laws that control the smallest details of the universe, all of which are commanded and guided by Allah.
5)    “Who has made earth for you like a bed (spread out); and has opened roads (ways and paths) for you therein, and has sent down water (rain) from the sky. And We have brought forth with it various kinds of vegetation. 53. Eat and pasture your cattle (therein); verily, in this are Ayât (proofs and signs) for men of understanding. 54. Thereof (the earth) We created you, and into it We shall return you, and from it We shall bring you out once again.55.” (Surat Tâ-Hâ: 53-55). In these ayahs there are indications of preparing the earth, making paths through it, water falling from the sky all over the world as part of the water cycle, causing hundreds of different plants to sprout up, each in pairs. Creating items in pairs is a common feature of all creation, so that Allah may retain the singular quality of Oneness for Himself. The ayahs then order man to eat of the plants Allah has created, to let cattle eat of them and to contemplate the miraculous creation of nature, as in it are signs for people of understanding. The ayahs also emphasize that humans are created form the earth, buried in it and thence resurrected.
6)    Reference is made to the miracle of the sea splitting open for Musa and those who believed in his message. Miracles are unusual phenomena which is why science can not explain them. However, it is due to Allah’s mercy that He provides us with some material proofs for these miracles so that we can believe in them. We need to use these material proofs as a means of calling people to Islam and convincing people of the reality of such events in our scientific age.
7)    This Surah gives an accurate scientific description of what will happen to the mountains on the Day of Judgment. Although, as Muslims, we believe that the afterlife has laws and regulations that differ completely from those that govern our world, it is due to Allah's mercy that He gives us material proofs in the rocks found in the heavens and on the earth to emphasize that what He states shall happen in the hereafter can happen. Concerning how the mountains shall crumble in the Hereafter, Allah says what can be translated as, “And they ask you concerning the mountains: say, "My Lord will blast them and scatter them as particles of dust. 105. "Then He shall leave them as a level smooth plain. 106. "You will see therein nothing crooked or curved." 107.” (Surat Tâ-Hâ: 105-107).
 In our world, we see that mountains are formed through processes of curvature, splitting and other processes that lift or lower the surface of the earth. The two processes of curvature and splitting together may have contributed to the formation of many of the mountains on earth today. These facts were only realized as scientific knowledge about geology increased over the past two centuries. Mentioning such facts in the Qur’an, revealed by Allah to mankind some fourteen centuries ago, to an illiterate Prophet in a nation that was mostly illiterate emphasizes the fact that the Qur’an could not have been written by man.  It is undoubtedly a divine work, revealing Allah’s orders to His final Messenger. Allah (SWT) has guaranteed that the Qur’an shall be preserved in the language in which it was revealed (Arabic).  That is why the Qur’an has lost none of the divine attributes of its radiant letters, words, ayahs and attributes, all of which provide evidence of its miraculous quality.  Concerning His Noble Book, Allah says what can be translated as, “Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur’ân) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption)” (Surat Al-Hijr (The Rocky Tract): 9).

The signs of creation revealed by Allah in the ayahs of Surat Tâ-Hâ require particular thought, which is why I shall limit my discussion to the second point above, namely the sixth ayah of Surat Tâ-Hâ. I shall start with a brief review of the interpretations made by a number of scholars commenting on this ayah that can be translated as, "To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth, and all that is between them, and all that is under the soil." (Surat Tâ-Hâ: 6)

  1. Ibn-Kathir states that the ayah means that everything is at His disposal and works according to His orders and His will. He is the sole Creator of everything and no one else is a partner in this activity with Him.  Concerning and all that is under the soil, Muhammad Ibn Ka’b says that, “it means what is under the seventh layer of the earth”.
  2. Al-Galalein states that “To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth” means all of creation, whereas, “and all that is under the soil”  signifies that which lies under the humid dust, in other words; the seventh layer of the earth.
  3. The author of “Fi Zilal al-Qur’an, said: With Gomination and Glory come the attributes of Ownership and Omniscience: To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth, and all that is between them, and all that is under the soil. The signs of creation are used here to elaborate the meaning of dominance and supreme omniscience in a picture that can be apprehended by the human mind. However reality is much greater than that, for Allah owns much more than that which is in the heavens, the earth, in between and 
  4. under the ground.

Scientific implications in this ayah:

1.     First "All that is in the heavens"

The word heaven in the Arabic language is derived from the word “Sumu’w” meaning elevation and loftiness, which is why it is said that everything above you is the heavens. The lower heaven is the one that faces the earth in this universe. At the same time, it means the higher cosmos around us. It comprises the different celestial bodies which are found in various forms and what’s found in them, around them or emitted from them such as the energy which fills the universe in a vivid presentation or in some invisible hidden form. 

Allah (SWT) created the heavens, just as He created everything, and He raised it with no pillars to rest on. He created angels and other creatures of whom we know nothing to inhabit the heavens. Allah has protected the heavens from devils. From an astronomical point of view, astronomers estimate the observed part of the universe is more than 24 billion light-years. This is equivalent to 24 billion x 9.5 thousand billion Kilometers, which is 228 thousand trillion Kilometers. This is only the lower heaven. This observed part of the universe is in a continuous state of extension, expanding at an astonishing speed to reach an end that no one knows but Allah (SWT). He says what can be translated as, "And indeed We have adorned the nearest heaven with lamps, and We have made such lamps (as) missiles to drive away the Shayâtîn (devils), and have prepared for them the torment of the blazing Fire." (Surat Al-Mulk (Dominion): 5). About the heavens, Allah also says: "With power did We construct the heaven. Verily, We are Able to extend the vastness of space thereof. "(Surat Adh-Dhariyat (The Winds that Scatter): 47).

The observed part of the universe has been constructed with considerable accuracy in a unified manner, starting with planets, moons, asteroids, comets and meteors all circling the stars which group together in thousands of millions to form galaxies. Galaxies then assemble in local galactic groups, then in galactic clusters, then in larger clusters and so on. These groups continue to get larger and larger, the extent of which is known only to Allah.

Astronomers estimate that the observed part of the universe (the lower heaven) has more than 200 thousand million galaxies, some of which are larger than our galaxy, the Milky Way, and some others are much smaller than ours. Galaxies also contain nebulae of various shapes and sizes some of these nebulae are hidden (Dark Matter).  Matter spreads among the stars and galaxies in the form of a diffused cloud of interstellar dust or gases mostly consisting of hydrogen that is loaded with very tiny dust particles of solid substances. Stars are created by gravitational collapses of nebulae. Stellar evolution is as follows: birth, youth, maturity, old age, death, then –sometimes- turning to gases again. From the stages in the life of stars we have what’s known as: the proto-star. When an old star explodes, it becomes, depending on its mass; either a red giant or a red super giant.  The red giant then becomes a planetary nebula, a white dwarf and then finally the first type of supernova. If, on the other hand, the red super giant becomes the second type of supernova, it either becomes a neutron star or a black hole, all of which depends on the primary mass of the proto-star. There is also what we call pulsars; they are forms of variable stars.  They have minute masses and they spread along the outer edges of the observed part of the universe.  They emit very high radio pulses but some of them are silent and emit no pulses at all. 

These are the celestial bodies we are aware of in the observed part of the lower heaven, yet no astronomer, even now, knows whether these bodies are inhabited by creations of Allah or no.  However ayah 29 of Surat Ash-Shura says what can be translated as, “And among His Ayât (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, etc.) is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and whatever moving (living) creatures He has dispersed in them both. And He is All-Potent over their assembling (i.e. resurrecting them on the Day of Resurrection after their death, and dispersion of their bodies) whenever He wills.”  (SuratAsh-Shûra (The Consultation): 29). This ayah alludes to the presence of creation in the heavens. Science only knows little about the universe. Allah tells us in the Noble Qur’an that He created seven heavens, made up of layers one above the other. All the seven heavens and all that they contain belong solely to Allah (SWT).
2.     Second: “what’s in the soil”

The Earth’s volume is equal to about one trillion cubic kilometers, has an average density of about 5.52 gm/cm3 and a mass of 6 thousand Million trillion tons. The internal structure of the Earth consists of seven zones:

1)    First zone (continental and oceanic crust): the hard crust of earth upon which we live. Its thickness ranges from 5-8 km under the oceans and between 30 to 40 km in the continents.

2)    Second zone (lithosphere):  the layer under the rigid crust consists mainly of rocks (rock sphere). Its thickness ranges from 60-70 km under the oceans and 80-90 km under the continents.

3)    Third zone: the upper part of the earth’s mantle; it is the zone of weakness in the earth known as the asthenosphere (weak sphere). In this zone, rocks are found in a plastic, semi melted and highly dense, viscous form. The thickness of this layer is about 280 km (with a depth of 120-400 km).

4)    Fourth zone: the middle part of the earth’s mantle (intermediate sphere). In this layer, rocks are found in a solid, hard condition. This layer has a thickness of about 270 km (with a depth that ranges from 400-670 km).
5)    Fifth zone: the lower part of the earth’s mantle. In this layer, rocks are also found in a solid, hard condition. The thickness of this layer is about 2215 km (with a depth that ranges from 670-2885 km from sea level).

6)    Sixth zone (Outer Core): the liquid part of the earth’s core, consisting mainly of Iron (90%), Nickel (9%) and a few light elements (1%). All these elements are found in a liquid state. The thickness of this layer is about 2270 km and its depth ranges form 2885-5155 km.

7)    Seventh zone (Inner Core): the solid part of the earth’s core. It consists of a spherical mass of iron (90%), nickel (10%) and other elements, such as sulfur, phosphorous, carbon and silicon (1%). The solid core (center of the earth) has a radius of about 1216 km.

8)                The radius of the earth is estimated at about 6371 km, its average circumference is 40042 km and its surface area is approximately 510 million km2. As for the earth’s hydrosphere, it is about 1.4 million km3 covering an area of 362 million km2, leaving only 148 million km2 of land. 

More than six billion people live on the earth today; they are all the descendents of Adam and Eve.  There are more than one and a half million species of creatures on the earth and in the sea, in addition to the fossils of more than a quarter of a million extinct species. Through the annual rate of discovering new and extinct species (through fossils), scientists believe that the number of different species that have inhabited and/or continue to inhabit the earth may be anything up to five million.

The Earth is estimated to be five billion years old (4,600,000,000 years). The entire universe is estimated to be ten billion years old, whereas the average age of man is about 50 years.

The earth contains many mineral resources, chemical compounds and water and energy resources in addition to plant and animal resources. However, we are unaware of many of Allah’s blessings. These blessings are from and belong solely to Allah; they are the products of His kindness and benevolence.  

3.     Third: “all that is between them” (the Heavens and Earth)

There are 20 ayahs in the Qur’an that make explicit reference to the existence of the heavens (in their huge dimensions) and the earth (with its comparatively smaller size). All that is between the heavens and earth is a space characterized by both time and space.  This space is filled with various substances and energy. In this space, the clouds, angels and other creatures known only to Allah are subjugated to Him. Allah’s orders are sent down to man on earth through this space.

Science shows that the creation of space, time, matter and energy were all completed at the same time as there is (in the known universe) no space without time or time without space. There is also no time and space without matter and energy. Thus matter and energy are present in all celestial bodies, such as the earth, the sun, the solar system and the stars. Allah caused volcanoes to erupt to release the liquid and gaseous layers of the earth. Then water returned to the earth, by the will of Allah, as the water cycle. At the same time, the gases on earth vaporized and mixed with the fumes in the heavens to form a distinct stratum surrounding the earth (lithosphere), distinct from the heavens and earth, named in the Qur’an as the troposphere. This field extends from the sea surface to heights that differ with climatic spheres, ranging from 6 to 17 km, in which more than 66% of the main substance of the whole atmosphere of the earth exists. This region is characterized by a drop in temperature with the increase in altitude. The temperature reaches about -60oC just above the equator. This level is known as the stagnant airspace as atmospheric pressure goes down in it to about 1/10 of the atmospheric pressure above the sea level.

This field which represents the separating boundary between the heavens and the earth (lithosphere) is mainly composed of nitrogen molecules (78.1%), oxygen (21%), argon (0.93%) and carbon dioxide (0.03%). This is in addition to varying amounts of water vapor and traces of methane, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen, helium, ozone and some inert gases, like argon. This composition is totally different from that of the matter in between other stars and planets; it is also different from that of the cosmic gases from which the heavens and the earth were first created. All of this demonstrates the miraculous nature of the Noble Qur’an, which informs us of these processes. It is also described in a Hadith which says: “We glorify Allah as numerous as His creations in the heaven, We glorify Allah as numerous as His creations on earth, We glorify Allah as numerous as His creations in between the earth and heavens, We glorify Allah as numerous as His creations in that field which separates between the heavens and earth. All that is in this field belong indisputably only to Allah with no partner, like, wife nor a son”.

4.     Fourth: “all that lies beneath the soil”

Qur’anic commentators were puzzled by the phrase “all that lies beneath the soil”.  Some explained that it stood for the fact that all forms of existences are owned, created, compelled and dominated by Allah.  Others explained that it represented the fact that Allah is sole possessor of all that exists.

The word “thara” in Arabic means “moist soil”. Scientifically, the humus soil (that which contains humus substances or black matter formed due to the presence of organic substances of both plant and animal origin) has a great capacity for retaining water.  It is a soil rich in various mineral compounds, such as nitrides and sulfides.  It is a soil that is properly aired and it releases its water content easily.  Due to all of this, this soil with the underlying zones and layers are extremely rich in living organisms, such as:

1.     Microscopic plants or the remains of normal plants such as bacteria, fungi, algae and pollen of all types.  Some bacteria act as fixing agents for nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, sulfur, iron, manganese or other compounds that enrich the fertility of the soil.  Some others break up carbohydrates, cellulose, protein or fatty substances into the organic remains of the soil enriching it with substances that plants need.

2.     Various animal life-forms, such as microscopic ones like protozoa (protista), medium-sized ones and the large ones like worms, mollusks, insects, larvae, spiders, some crustaceans, vertebrates and others.

The soil can be sub-divided into three distinguished horizons, which were formed by the weathering processes for the crust. These zones from up to down are:

  1. The upper horizon (the uppermost soil horizon): This zone is the most exposed to weathering and humidity.  It can extend from the surface of the earth to the soil rocks or the unexposed rocks.  Some organic remains can be traced in this zone but the downward movement of water leaches it of the organic content required by plant life. Its thickness varies from several centimeters to tens of centimeters.
  2. The middle horizon: starting from the end of upper soil horizon and goes down for about a meter.  This soil horizon is less exposed to weathering, but the movement of water, from above is able to reach it, enriching it with various chemical compounds that have been leached from the above horizon.  That’s why this horizon is the richest, most fertile soil.
  3. The bed rock: is the source of the upper two horizons by they effect of the weathering processes.

The life teeming “beneath the soil” was an unknown fact when the Qur’an was revealed and remained unknown for centuries to follow.  Having such signs in Qur’an proves that it is the word of Allah, the Creator.  It proves the Prophethood of the Muhammad, the seal of the Prophets, and that he was connected to the revelation, taught by the Creator

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