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Biology of the Holy Qur'an

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See also: Physics of the Holy Qur'an

Revisiting the miracles of the Holy Qur'an, we study yet a few more examples of verses that allow us to conceive once more the infinite knowledge and power Allah has imparted to us – further highlighting the remarkable nature of its revelation and overwhelming agreement with modern day scientific discoveries.

The Creation of All Living Things from Water

"Do those who disbelieve not see that the heavens and the earth were sewn together and then We unstitched them and that We made from water every living thing? So will they not then believe?" (21:30)

"Allah created every living creature from water." (24:45)

Such verses of the Qur'an point to a very important fact that is considered to be of great importance in the world of science: that water is the origin of all living things. It is nothing short of a miracle that Allah had told mankind over 1400 years ago all life on Earth originates from water, for it was not until the twentieth century that science was actually able to discover and attest to this reality. All geological studies have confirmed that water is not only the first and core compound in all living things, but also preceded the existence of all created beings.

Duality in Creation

"And it is He Who spread out the earth, and set thereon mountains standing firm and flowing rivers; and fruit of every kind He made in pairs, two and two (male and female); He draws the night as a veil over the day. Behold, verily in these things are Signs for those who reflect" (13:3)

"He Who has made for you the earth like a carpet spread out, has enabled you to go about therein by roads and channels, and has sent down water from the sky. With it We have produced diverse pairs of plants." (20:53)

The Qur'an declares here and in numerous other verses (36:36, 51:47-50, 55:52) that all created beings in general and the plants and animals in particular are created in pairs, owing their existence to each other. This disclosure, until very recently unknown to scientists, is itself proof of the divine source of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny), who asserted the existence of gender in the world of plants and the necessity of fertilization therein at a time when such a concept was completely unheard of, and even ridiculed. Notably, botanists only discovered a gender distinction in plants some 100 years ago.

"Glory be to Him Who created all the pairs: from what the earth produces and from themselves and from things unknown to them." (36:36)

This verse speaks of pairs in a broader sense; pairs created not from humans or from the earth, but 'from things unknown to man'. With the progress of modern science, the implications of this verse can be better understood. Less than one hundred years ago, the British physicist Paul Dirac made the scientific discovery that all of matter was also created in pairs, consequently winning the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1933. This finding, now known as "parity", asserts that every particle has an "anti-particle" with nearly identical properties, with the exception of an opposite electric charge. Just as protons, neutrons, and electrons combine to form atoms and matter, anti-protons, anti-neutrons, and anti-electrons (known as positrons) combine to form anti-atoms and "anti-matter", further revealing the duality in all of Allah's magnificent creations as affirmed in the Holy Qur'an.

The Female Honey Bee

"Your Lord revealed to the bees: 'Build dwellings in the mountains and the trees, and also in the structures which men erect. Then eat from every kind of fruit and travel the paths of your Lord, which have been made easy for you to follow.' From inside them comes a drink of varying colors, containing healing for mankind. There is certainly a Sign in that for people who reflect." (16:68-69)

The use of verbs in the Arabic language makes it possible to determine whether the subject is a female or a male. In the verse above, the verbs (build, eat, and travel) are written in the format indicative of a female subject. The Qur'an is essentially indicating through this verse that the honey bees working in the making of the honey are females. Indeed, studies of the honey bee species have confirmed this truth today.

The honey bee community consists of three structurally different forms: the queen bee (reproductive female), the drone (male), and the worker (non-reproductive female). Each of these is associated with different functions within the colony, with the non-reproductive female bee being the only caste capable of contributing to the making of honey. Amongst numerous other duties, these worker bees build and maintain hives for their colonies, leave their hives to gather nectar, pollen, water, and propolis (a substance used to seal the exterior of the hives) from "every kind of fruit", convert the nectar to honey and feed the young, the queen bee and the male drones. In contrast, the one and only function of male honey bees is to mate with queen bees.

Honey: Healing for Mankind

The latter part of the aforementioned verse – "From inside them comes a drink of varying colors, containing healing for mankind" – is yet another wonder of the Holy Qur'an. The use of honey as a remedy goes back through ancient times; today, however, scientists are rediscovering its effectiveness and distinctive healing properties. Clinical research and observations continue to reveal the anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that honey contains. It has also proven to be particularly effective in clearing infections and in the re-growth of tissue in the healing process. It contains strong antioxidants (which help to prevent heart problems and cancer), wards off bacteria, helps cleanse the blood, and facilitates the healing process while also preventing scarring when used in the treatment of wounds.

The Gender of a Child

Originally, it was thought that one's gender is determined by the cells of the mother, or by that of both the mother and the father. The Quran, however, tells us otherwise; that one's masculinity or femininity is created out of "a drop of sperm that has been ejected". "He has created both sexes, male and female from a drop of semen which has been ejected." (53:45-46)

Indeed, studies in molecular biology and genetics today have scientifically confirmed the accuracy of this fact that Allah had told mankind over 14 centuries ago. It is now commonly understood that a human's sex is determined by the male's sperm cell, with the female's cells playing no role in the sex-determination process. Two of the 46 chromosomes that determine the structure of a human being are identified as the sex chromosomes, namely XX (in a female) and XY (in a male). The Y chromosome carries the genes that code for masculinity, while the X chromosome carries the genes that code for femininity. Thus during fertilization, if the male's Y chromosome comes together with a female's X chromosome, a male is produced, whereas if the male's X chromosome unites with a female's X chromosome, a female is produced. Since the female contributes only X chromosomes, it is the male's sperm cells (contributing either X or Y) that determine the sex of a human child.

The Alaqah Clinging to the Uterus

"Then We formed the drop into an alaqah and formed the alaqah into a lump and formed the lump into bones and clothed the bones in flesh and then brought him into being as another creature. Glory be to Allah, the Best of Creators!" (Qur'an, 23:14)

The Arabic word alaqah, literally used to describe leeches (that cling to a body and feed off its blood), means a thing that clings to something. Comparing a leech to an embryo at the alaqah stage of prenatal development, we find a clear similarity between the two in both appearance and function. Like a leech, the embryo at this stage obtains nourishment from the blood of the mother by clinging to her uterus. It is through this attachment that the embryo can obtain the substances essential to its development from the mother's body. The word alaqah is also translated as blood clot, perhaps explained by the fact that the external appearance of the embryo and its sacs during the alaqah stage resembles that of a blood clot. Not only are there relatively large amounts of blood present in the embryo at this stage, but, also like a blood clot, the blood at this point does not begin to circulate until the end of the third week.

It is inconceivable for a human being living in the seventh century when the Qur'an was revealed to have made such statements of his own accord, which were to be scientifically established many hundreds of centuries later. Filled with scientific facts and descriptions that are supported by modern science today leaves no doubt the miraculous nature of this divine Book.

Author of this article: Farah Masood
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