A Closer look into Glorious Quranic Verses

Part One

1- The position of stars - 56:75-76
2- Cooling off period before divorce - 2:226-227
3- Iron sent down to earth 57:25
4- Belief at time of death is too late - 10:91-92
5- God named everything - 2:31
6- Universe created out of nothing - 2:117
7- The function of Mountains - 78:7
8- Which comes first, Night or Day - 41:37
9- Is it "on the earth" or "in the earth" - 6:38 - 9:2 - 10:99
10- Men cannot keep their wives against their will - 2:231

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1- The position of stars - 56:75-76

I swear by the positions of the stars. This is an awesome oath, if you only knew. 56:75-76

The number of stars in our Milky Way galaxy is thought to be around 200 billion stars. Our galaxy is about average in size with regards to number of stars.

An average galaxy contains between 1011 and 1012 stars. In other words, galaxies on average have between 100 billion and 1 trillion numbers of stars.

100,000,000,000 to 1,000,000,000,000

Astronomers estimate that there are approximately 100 billion to 1 trillion galaxies in the Universe. If we multiply the estimated number of galaxies by the average number of stars in each we get between 1022 and 1024 stars in the Universe. That is an astronomical number that is beyond our comprehension. It is so large that it is estimated to be greater than the number of sand grains on earth!

From planet earth, we can only see a small number of the stars in our Milky Way galaxy, the ones which are in that part of the galaxy that is nearest us. Most of the galaxy is hidden behind vast clouds of dust and gases. Also other galaxies are too far away for most small telescopes to pick out individual stars.

When we consider the positions of stars, the first observation is that all heavenly bodies, stars, planets, moons, etc, are constantly moving at very high speeds. Our own Sun for example, is moving through space at about 30 kilometres per second in the direction of the star Vega. Other stars are moving along with their galaxies at astronomical speeds. The speed of far away galaxies can be derived from their red shift. It was found that the most distant galaxies are travelling at speeds approaching 80% of the speed of light. This amounts to about 240,000 kilometres per second. If we chart the position of every star inside such far away galaxies, at every kilometre, we would have 240,000 positions inside every one second!
How many positions would we obtain by charting the kilometre positions of every star, inside every galaxy, for the last 13.7 billion years, which is the estimated age of the universe?

We note that the word used in 56:75 is "positions" (plural) which speaks of the continuously changing positions of all the stars in the universe.

The awesome piece of knowledge we gain from this glorious Quranic verse is that God Almighty knows the exact position of every star at every moment in time. Can we now comprehend why this oath is indeed an awesome one?

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2- Cooling off period before divorce - 2:226-227

Those who wish to separate from their women shall wait four months; if they change their minds, then God is Forgiver, Merciful.
And if they decide to go through with the divorce, then God is Hearer, Knowledgeable. 2:226-227

God's way is always the best way. The Quran offers many solutions for some of today's most urgent problems. Divorce rates are on the increase worldwide, and the worst rate of divorce is found in the USA. 50% of all marriages in the United States will end in divorce. 41% - 50% of all first marriages end in divorce, 60% - 67% for second marriages, and 73% - 74% of all third marriages.

Divorce rates are increasing at an alarming rate with the main reason being infidelity. Divorce can also be a result of other social and financial reasons. In many cases, the decision to go through with divorce can be impulsive and hasty.

The Quran regards marriage as a permanent bond between man and woman. Divorce, even though not prohibited, is discouraged. For that, the Quran imposes a number of conditions, mainly on the man, that must be fulfilled before divorce can be executed.

One of the conditions placed is the cooling off period. By virtue of 2:226-227, if a couple intend to go through with divorce they must wait a period of four months first. If after this period they still wish to go ahead with the divorce they may do so, but in many cases, this period of time leads to reconciliation.

It is interesting to note that this Quranic solution, which is 14 centuries old (Quran revealed in the 7th century), is now being implemented by some countries in their attempts to lower the divorce rate. The following piece of news was from a non Muslim country, who saw wisdom in recommending this procedure:

"A cooling-off program piloted by the Seoul Family Court since March played a part in lowering the divorce rate in Seoul. Lee Myeong-sook, a lawyer, said that the program, which requires couples who file for divorce to take time to reconsider, may have helped reduce divorce cases where couples wanted to split in a fit of anger."

source: http://www.divorcereform.org/nonus.html#anchor5599108

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3- Iron sent down to Earth - 57:25

We have sent Our messengers with the clear proofs, and We brought down with them the Scripture and the balance so that the people may uphold justice, and We brought down the iron, wherein there is great strength and benefits for the people. 57:25

An interesting matter here is related to the formation of iron. It was found that the amount of energy required to form iron is greater than all the energy that was available in all the solar system when it was formed.
To be precise, it was found that the energy required to form iron was about four times as much as the energy of the entire solar system. For that reason, it is believed that iron was not formed in the solar system but was introduced as an extraterrestrial element.
This information is in harmony with the Quranic words in 57:25

We note the use of the words "brought down" which are very accurately in line with scientific knowledge.

Further points of interest:

1- The majority of the iron on earth lies in the centre of the earth (core). Iron is also the main element of the core of the earth. It is interesting to find that the Sura called Iron lies exactly in the centre of the Quran. The Quran contains 114 sura's and the Sura named Iron is number 57.

2- The Gematric Value of the chapter's title (The Iron) "Al-Hadeed" is 57, which matches the chapter number (57).

3- The Gematric Value of the word Iron "Hadeed" is 26, which is Iron's Atomic Number (26). The atomic number of an element is the number of protons inside its nucleus.

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4- Belief at time of death is too late - 10:91-92

We delivered the Children of Israel across the sea then Pharaoh and his soldiers pursued them with hatred and aggression, then when he realised that he was drowning he said, "I believe that there is no god except the One in whom the Children of Israel have believed and I am one of the Muslims."
"What! Now? When you had previously rebelled and you were one of the corruptors?
Today, We will preserve your body, so that you serve as a sign for those to come after you." Indeed, many people are oblivious of Our signs. 10:90-92

A Quranic truth, confirmed in a number of verses, is that the human being is given a life long chance to accept God and to be a believer. This chance ends when death is upon him. For at the moment of death, all humans know the truth and know that God alone is Supreme. It is at this point that they wish to be returned to earth to do better work:

When death comes to one of them, he says, "My Lord, send me back so that I may do good deeds regarding what I have neglected." 23:99-100

Once this reality is upon the human, there would be no credit due for accepting God. The story of Pharaoh in Sura 10 is a fine example of this reality.

The Quran urges every soul to repent and be sincere in their repentance. However, repentance is not accepted from those who feel death coming, for then it becomes too late:

Not acceptable is the repentance of those who do bad deeds until death comes to one of them then he says, "Now I have repented." Nor is it acceptable from those who die as disbelievers. For those, We have prepared a painful torment. 4:18

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5- God named everything - 2:31

He taught Adam all the names. 2:31

The truth in the above words is simple and uncomplicated, but its implications are vast indeed. The above words tell us that God gave everything its name, long before we seemingly gave various things their names. It is God who called the tree a tree, and the sea the sea, and so on.
The verse above speaks about
"all the names". This means that everything in the universe, including our own names, have been named by God before we were even created.

This truth has a lot of implications, especially in connection with the fact that the Quran has all the details of the religion (6:114) and that nothing has been left out of the book (6:38).

Some Muslims have the habit of asking questions such as:
"How do we know when the month of Ramadan is? If the Quran contains all the details, then where do we know from the Quran when the month of Ramadan comes?"
Some others would ask:
"God commanded us to observe Hajj but does not tell us how we are to know when Hajj does start."

The Quran is not a calendar that flips its own pages until the month of fasting, or until the month for Hajj arrive, at which point an alarm sounds to alert us!

It is here where verse 2:31 is of significance.
It is God who called the month of fasting as Ramadan, and this knowledge is available to all people, so that when the month of Ramadan comes we know when to fast. Equally, it is God who gave the month for Hajj, Dhu Al-Hijjah (that of the Hajj) its name, so that when it comes around we would know that Hajj has started,

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6- Universe created out of nothing - 2:117

He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. 6:101

The Originator of the heavens and the earth. 2:117

Up to the 20th century, and certainly at the time the Quran was revealed in the 7th century, astronomers believed that the universe did not have a beginning, but rather that it had always existed. That theory, known as the Steady State theory, was disproved when Edwin Hubble discovered in 1929 that the universe was expanding. Subsequently, the theory was completely discarded with the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation in 1964 by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson. Together, these discoveries gave birth to the Big Bang model which in turn drove the final nail into the coffin of the Steady State theory.

The Big Bang theory states that the entire universe, comprising of matter, time and space, came into existence as a result of a great explosion from a single infinitely small point. Before the Big Bang, there was no such thing as matter, space, not even time. They were all created at that initial moment. As a result, the universe was created from nothingness.

Speaking to a sold out crowd at the Berkeley Physics Oppenheimer Lecture, Stephen Hawking, the renowned physicist said on the 13th March 2007 that he now believes the universe spontaneously popped into existence from nothing.

This information, given in the Quran in the verses above, is in full agreement with the findings of contemporary science. God is the One who created the universe out of nothing, the Initiator of the universe.

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7- The Function of Mountains - 78:7

According to modern geological theory, mountains emerge as a result of the movements and collisions of massive plates forming the Earth's crust. When two plates collide, the stronger one slides under the other one. The one on the top bends and forms heights and mountains. The layer beneath proceeds under the ground and makes a deep extension downward. This means that mountains have a greater portion stretching downwards. In scientific parlance, the structure of mountains is described as follows:
"Where continents are thicker, as in mountain ranges, the crust sinks deeper into the mantle." (General Science, Carolyn Sheets, Robert Gardner, Samuel F. Howe; Allyn and Bacon Inc. Newton, Massachusetts, 1985, s. 305)

The most amazing aspect of mountains, is that what we see above ground, is only about one eigth of the total mountain; seven eighths of the mountain remains underground. According to the Quranic verse below, they act as pegs that stabilise the earth's crust, much like a tent peg stabilises a tent when it is hammered into the ground:

Did We not make the earth a resting place, and the mountains as pegs? 78:6-7

The Quranic words speak of the similarity of mountains to pegs, not only in their function, but also in their shape. The triangular shape of the mountain that appears above the ground is coupled with an inverted triangular mountain below the ground, just as the shape of a peg.

The stabilising effect of mountains over the earth's crust helps prevent the movement of the layers that lie below the ground.
This fact was not known by anyone at the time the Quran was revealed. It was, in fact, brought to light only recently as a result of geological discoveries.
The following Quranic verse describes the role of mountains in preventing the movement of the layers that lie beneath the Earth's crust:

We placed in the earth stabilisers (mountains) so it would not drift along with them. 21:31

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8- Which comes first: Night or Day - 41:37

Many have debated the question of whether day or night come, first in the Quran. The majority of people regard the day to be the beginning of our 24 cycle. They support their view with the fact that the human being starts his/her day upon waking up in the morning, and thus day comes before night. Others claim that our 24 hour cycle starts at sunset. They support their view with the fact that the sighting of the crescent, which is at, or shortly after sunset, is described in the Quran as a timer which marks the beginning of the month and thus the beginning of the day.

When we study various Quranic verses, this issue can be resolved as follows:

1- In a universal sense, and when God speaks specifically about creation, we find that 'night' is always mentioned before 'day':

Among His proofs are the night and the day, as well as the sun and the moon. 41:37 (also see 16:12, 21:33 and others).

The reason for this deliberate sequence of placing the night before the day is due to the fact that before any light was created (which comes from stars) there was total darkness. So concerning the creation of the universe, there was darkness before any light existed. It is for the same reason that God mentions darkness before light in the verses which speak of the creation of the universe:

Praise be to God, who created the heavens and the earth, and ordained the darkness and the light. 6:1

2- However, as far as the human being is concerned, specifically regarding the order of our Salat, God places our Fajr (Dawn) Salat before our Isha (Night) Salat. In the following verse, we note how God placed the Dawn Prayer (Fajr) before the Night Prayer (Isha):

O you who believe, those whom your right hand possess, as well as those who have not yet attained puberty, should seek your permission at three times: before the Fajr Salat, when you relax your clothes at noon and after the Isha Salat. These are three times during which you may wish to be exposed. 24:58

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9- Is it 'on the earth' or 'in the earth' - 6:38 - 9:2 - 10:99

A conspicuous phrase often repeated in the Quran, which speaks about living creatures, is that live "in the earth" and not the customary 'on earth'.
Before looking at some of these verses, it must be mentioned that most translators translated the Arabic words into 'on earth' rather than 'in the earth' as they were oblivious of the fact that
"in the earth"
is a deliberate choice of words by God, and that the phrase "in the earth" is the scientifically accurate phrase of the two. The following are some verses which use this phrase:

There is no creature in the earth, nor a bird that flies with its wings, that are other than communities like you. 6:38

Had your Lord willed, all the people in the earth, in their entirety, would have believed. 10:99

Normally, we think of all creatures as living 'on earth', however this is not accurate from a scientific point of view.

The earth's atmosphere is a part of the earth. The fact that it is a gas layer does not mean it is not a part of the earth. All living creatures live in the lowest layer of the atmosphere and not on top of the atmosphere. Hence all living creatures live inside the earth rather than on the earth.

The atmosphere is divided into five layers. It is thickest near the surface which thins out with height until it eventually merges with outer space.

1- The troposphere: is the first layer above the surface and extends about 10 kilometres above the earth’s surface. This layer contains around 80% of the Earth's atmosphere (in mass). Weather occurs in this layer, and all living creatures live inside the troposphere.

2- The stratosphere: is the second layer extending 50K above the surface; it is where jet planes fly and also where the ozone layer is found.

3- The mesosphere: is the third layer extending 85K above the surface and it is where meteors and rock fragments burn up

4- The thermosphere: is the fourth layer and it extends up to 800K and is the layer where we see the auroras. It is also where the space shuttle orbits.

5- The exosphere: is the fifth layer, it is above 1000k and is where the atmosphere merges into space and is extremely thin. This is the upper limit of our atmosphere.

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10- Men are not allowed to keep their wives against their will - 2:231

Do not force them to stay against their will if it brings them misery in order for you to be vindictive. 2:231

In many Islamic countries today we find that men are given a number of privileges which God never authorised. In marriage, it is customary in such countries to find men given what is referred to as the 'esmah'. This is a clause in the marriage contract which gives men the right to divorce their wives, while women are deprived of their right to seek divorce without the husband's approval. In addition, men are able to divorce their wives instantly and without seeking a court order. However if a wife wishes to obtain a divorce she must obtain a court order. However, this is made very difficult in such countries, resulting in it being virtually impossible for a woman to obtain divorce without her husband's approval.

How did men acquire these non Quranic rights? The answer is through the upholding of a number of sources of law besides the Quran such as hadith, human innovation and fatwa, besides the effect of culture and tradition.

According to 2:231 a man is forbidden from keeping his wife against her wishes. If all efforts for reconciliation between the couple fail, the husband must consent to his wife's wishes and grant her a divorce.

And We brought down to you the Book, truthfully, confirming what is present of the Scripture, and superseding it. So rule among them in accordance with what God has brought down. 5:48

In addition, we read in 5:44 that those who do not rule by God's law are disbelievers:

Those who do not rule by what God has brought down are the disbelievers.
5:44

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Continued in Part Two