Islam

Friday Sermon: Water of Life

By Babatunde Jose

Where does the order in nature come from? Discoveries, especially those made in the 20th and 21st centuries, have shown that the flawless design of the universe is clearly the work of a supreme intelligence. What we do not understand is the automatic institution of the laws of nature as we know them today. Did the law of gravity evolve with time or it has always been there from the beginning? Was there a time when matter was floating as it does in outer space? Where did water come from? If animals we know today are products of evolution, what of plants. Did the oak tree evolve from potatoes? How did plant life come about? Where did mangoes come from? What of onions and tomatoes? Ginger and coconut? How and when in the development of the earth did the seeds of plants come about? There are too many questions begging for answers. The explanations given in science books are not satisfactory, too technical for the ordinary man to understand and raise many more questions and at times only confuse the enquirer the more. How did the common grass turn to barley, wheat, rice, and oats?

We are tempted to agree with the English physicist Sir James Jeans in his book- The Mysterious Universe, who described the flawless order in the cosmos thus: A scientific study of the universe has suggested that the universe appears to have been designed by a pure mathematician.  

Every planet in the universe, is the critically important part of a larger order. Not one of their positions in space or any of their movements is random: Of all the innumerable factors influencing the balances in the universe, a change in the position of just one planet is enough to bring chaos. But these balances are never upset.

He Who created the seven heavens one above another: No want of proportion wilt thou see in the Creation of (Allah).  (Quran 67:3-4) 

Allah! There is no god but He, the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. (Quran 2: 255) 

Charles Darwin first proposed the theory of evolution, which suggests that all living things came into being by the mechanism of chance. But the universe’s perfect design led even Darwin to admit that there is no room for chance in its creation. As he wrote: This [conviction in the existence of God] follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. The Quran says: To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth: When He decreeth a matter, He saith to it: “Be,” and it is. (Quran 2: 117) 

The distance between the Earth and our moon ensures many important and vital significance for life on earth. Indeed, the slightest variation in the distance between the two bodies could give rise to significant imbalances: If it were much closer, the tides that the moon causes on the earth would become dangerously larger. Ocean waves would sweep across low-lying sections of the continents. Resultant friction would heat the oceans, destroying the delicate thermal balance needed for life on earth. A more distant moon would reduce tidal action, making the oceans more sluggish. Stagnant water would endanger marine life, yet it is that very marine life that produces the oxygen that we breathe. 

Thou seest the mountains and thinketh them firmly fixed: But they shall pass away as the clouds pass away: (Such is) the artistry of Allah, Who disposes of all things in perfect order: (Quran 27: 88) See also; (Quran 50:7) 

The distribution of heavenly bodies in the universe is designed exactly to conform to the needs of human life. In his book The Symbiotic Universe, American astronomer George Greenstein explains the importance of the huge voids in space and the distances between heavenly bodies: All that wasted space! On the other hand, in this very waste lies our safety. It is a precondition for our existence. Most remarkable of all is that the overall emptiness of the cosmos seems to have no other consequence in the astronomical realm. Had the stars been somewhat closer, astrophysics would not have been so vastly different. The fundamental physical processes occurring within stars, nebulas, and the like would have proceeded unchanged. The appearance of our galaxy as seen from some far-distant vantage point would have been the same. About the only difference would have been the view of the night-time sky from the grass on which I lie, which would have been yet richer with stars. And oh, yes—one more small change: There would have been no me to do the viewing. Such is the Creation of Allah.   . . . . .  (Quran 31:11)  

Contemporary philosopher Jean Guitton of the French Academy writes: The first conditions that determined the basic constants of nature and the emergence of life were set in place with amazing exactness. To give an idea of how precisely the universe appears to have been constructed, it is enough to think of a golfer who can hit his ball from Earth to a hole on Mars! 

Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars that ye can see;  (Quran 13: 2) See also (Quran 22: 18) ; (Quran 71:15-16); (Quran 41: 12) and (Quran 77: 25-27), He sends down water from the skies, and the channels flow, each according to its measure: . . . . (Quran 13: 17) 

If the laws of the universe allowed only the solid and gaseous states of matter, life would never have come into being. This is because the atoms in solid matter are compact, relatively motionless, and do not allow the dynamic molecular activity needed for living organisms to develop. The atoms in gasses have no stability and move freely, preventing the functioning of the complex mechanisms of living organisms.

In short, there must be a fluid environment for the functions necessary for life to develop. The most ideal fluid—rather the only ideal fluid—is water. 

The suitability of Earth’s environment for the sustaining life is too wondrous to ever be explained by chance occurrences. Lawrence Henderson, a professor in Harvard University’s department of biological chemistry, says the following in this regard: The fitness… [of these compounds constitutes] a series of maxima—unique or nearly unique properties of water, carbon dioxide, the compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen and the ocean—so numerous, so varied, so complete among all things which are concerned in the problem that together they form certainly the greatest possible fitness. 

God has created the amount of water in the world in the way most appropriate for the survival of living things. The 18th century English natural scientist John Ray, writes the following in this regard: … If there were but half the sea that now is, there would also be but half Quantity of Vapours, and consequently we could have but half as many Rivers as now there are to supply all the dry land we have at present, and half as much more; for the quantity of Vapours which are raised, as well as to the heat which raised them. The Wise Creator therefore did so prudently order it, that the seas should be large enough to supply Vapours sufficient for all the land. To claim that all these events resulted from chance events, a person would have to be completely deluded. 

For that We pour forth water in abundance And We split the earth in fragments, .  . .  (Quran 80: 25-32) 

The molecular biologist Michael Denton writes: The fitness of water [for life] would in all probability be less if its viscosity were much lower. The structures of living systems would be subject to far more violent movements under shearing forces if the viscosity were as low as liquid hydrogen… If the viscosity of water were much lower, delicate structures would be easily disrupted . . . and water would be incapable of supporting any permanent intricate microscopic structures. The delicate molecular architecture of the cell would probably not survive.

If the viscosity were higher, the controlled movement of large macromolecules and particularly structures such as mitochondria and small organelles would be impossible, as would processes like cell division. All the vital activities of the cell would be effectively frozen, and cellular life of any sort remotely resembling that with which we are familiar would be impossible. The development of higher organisms, which is critically dependent on the ability of cells to move and crawl around during embryogenesis, would certainly be impossible if the viscosity of water were even slightly greater than it is. See Quran 67: 30 and Quran 56: 68-69 

Water is renewed in a continuous cycle, in a state ready to be used by plants, animals, and human beings. Due to the sun’s influence, the Earth’s water is purified by evaporation. Evaporated water condenses in the atmosphere, forming clouds, and falls to the earth again as rain. In one year, for example, it is calculated that roughly six to seven hundred million tons of water evaporates at the equator, rises into the atmosphere, is carried towards the North and the South Poles, and eventually returns to the seas again, in the form of rain.

If this transformation did not occur—life would certainly come to an end. Allahu Akbar!!! God is great! 

Barka Juma’at and a Happy Weekend

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