God's Preparations for Life on Earth
By Liaqath Ali
So far we saw how, when and with what God created the universe with all its galaxies, planets and the like. We learnt from God’s word that are all meant to serve man, His viceroy. Let us now examine in the light of Qur’an a few of the arrangements and preparations that God completed to this end.
Innumerable rocks, metallic chunks and other bodies of all sizes are roaming about, strewn in space. Despite their orderly behaviour they get attracted to earth by gravity and fall to it in zillions with immense velocities. Should they hit earth’s surface the plant life and animals would get wiped out. Why, there would hardly be an opportunity for them to develop on the first hand! But the atmosphere that God surrounded our planet with puts brake on them and decelerates them. Most of them burn out as meteors, into gas due to the friction generated. A few surviving remnants of the firework only make it to the surface and still much fewer giant meteorites do hit disastrously. In other words the gigantic sure danger is reduced into next to nothing.
The ultraviolet (UV) rays accompanying the life- giving sunlight is also detrimental to life - birth and survival included. Full dose as it comes from the sun is capable of scorching out skin and flesh. Lesser exposure can cause skin cancer. But the ozone layer of the atmosphere filters out UV rays for good (Unfortunately man’s reckless greed has resulted in repletion of ozone causing holes in the layer. Some major health problems of today are attributed to this.)
A raging solar wind of ions is constantly storming our planet. It intensifies during solar flares occurring once in eleven years. This is no less hostile to life than meteorites and UV rays. But earth’s magnetic field surrounding it, with its poles about the poles of rotation, comes to the rescue. It shields away most of the ions and dumps the remaining at the sparsely populated polar regions, where they subsequently get neutralized. There they produce fantastic display of colourful spectacle known as aurora.
We do not know how many such protective moats and shields Allah has planned and executed for our sake. We will come to know of them one by one as and when man discovers each. Qur’an notes.
“..We (not merely) beautified the lower heavens with lamps; in addition we made it inviolable. This all is the plan of the Omnipotent and Omniscient...” [Ha Meem Sajda : 12]
The Twosome light sources
The most important of these lamps find mention in Qur’an:
“And (Allah) made the moon a (reflected) light and the sun a (light-emitting) lamp.” [Nooh :16]
Even though both the heavenly objects illuminate earth we in modern times are aware of the vast difference in their nature. How did Qur’an call the sun a lamp (Siraj) and the moon merely a light (noor) and could distinguish between them? That it is from the Omniscient is the only possible explanation.
The Stabilizers of Landmass
When smoke cooled and coalesced to form our planet, it was initially a molten globe. As it cooled further crests of solid formed and grew just as cream does atop milk on cooling. Steam condensed and formed ocean around it. The single gigantic super continent cracked, broke up and went adrift and thus formed the present continents (Fig.1). They even collided with each other and thus Lemuria Continent was drowned as did other continents partially. The movements of ‘tectonic plates’ gave rise to geological ‘faults’ and mountain ranges. Mountains were also formed through certain other processes like volcanic action.
The super-earthquakes that arose out of tectonic movements decreased drastically in terms of frequency and severity. Thus the crust was stabilized so as to allow life to appear and thrive. Further divisions and collisions of continents practically stopped. So says modern geology. What does Qur’an say?
“Have We not made the earth an expanse, and the high hills bulwarks?” [Naba : 6,7; see also Nahl : 15, Luqman : 10]
“And We have placed in the earth firm hills lest it should quake with them (i.e. ‘every living thing’)...” [Anbiya : 31]
But it can hardly be said that the geological plates are locked fast in place. Though lessened a great deal the remnant minimal swaying and rocking of landmasses still persist, but gently by geological scale. So God mentions:
“..(God is the One) Who has made for you the earth like a cradle...” [Ta Ha : 53]
The regions other than mountains are fairly flat and great water courses and grand trunk routes formed on land. Passes and hill routes formed in mountainous regions. These all enable human societies in later ages to seek nature’s bounties, to spread out and to communicate with each other. Claims Qur’an : “And Allah hath made the earth a wide expanse for ye that ye may thread the valleyways thereof.” [Noah : 19. 20 Also see Nahl : 15, Ta Ha : 53]
The mountains were not only stabilizers of earth but also produce wealth. Before forests formed on level ground mountains were the precipitators of good water as rain.
“He placed therein firm hills rising above it and blessed it and measured therein its sustenance....” [Ha Meem Sajdah:10]
“And after that He spread the earth. And produced there from the water thereof and the pasture thereof. And He made fast the hills.” [Naziat:30-33. Also see:Dhariat:48, Ghashia: 19,20]
The Water Resource
It is claimed that the ocean is where life began. But it is sweet water that is essential for the terrestrial plant and animal life to originate and thrive. Surface water, ground water, rivers and lakes and tanks all ultimately depend on rains and snow that descend from clouds. But clouds in turn are raised primarily from oceans.
Meteorology says that sea water evaporates due to sun light and condenses into small pieces of clouds and is taken adrift by gentle winds, heavily impregnated with water over immense tracts of land and sea. Barometric low pressure develops at a point in the atmosphere and the clouds are led to it by fast winds. They coalesce into vast cloudscape, often to the size of a subcontinent (Fig.2). It descends as low as 2-1/2 km from earth. What looks like a flat gray expanse are the cumulonimbus clouds. They can be seen from an aircraft as a horizon-to-horizon collection of hideous mountains. They are multi-layered about 7 km tall (Fig.3). Observe every word of what God Says:
“ And We send the winds fertilizing and cause water descend from the sky,.....” [Hijr:22]
“ And Allah it is who sendeth the winds and they raise a cloud; then We lead it unto a dead land.......” [Fatir (Mala’ika):9]
“ Hast thou not seen how Allah wafteth the clouds, then gathereth them, then maketh them layers, and thou seest the rain come forth between them; He sendeth down from the heaven mountains wherein is hail,.......” [Noor : 43]
God speaks a great deal about rain in Qur’an. But the following verse especially is worthy of contemplation:
“ Is it ye who shed it (water) from the rain cloud, or are We the shedder? If We willed, We verily could make it bitter....” [Waqia : 69,70]
Does not a thought cross our mind about the improbability of saltish rain? Let not our mind waver, for God has declared Qur’an as Un doubtable Scripture! [Baqara : 2]
Several incidents of raining of fish and other ocean life have been recorded. Scientists explain that colossal water spouts suck up a million tonne of sea water along with whole schools of aquatic life, violently swirling as a funnel shaped cloud column reaching cloud level. Water spouts usually get dissipated before hitting land. But occasionally they could travel hundreds of kms over ocean and land. The water mostly gets dumped back before reaching land but the fish and insignificant salinity get carried onward. The fish then descend when the whirling force of wind is spent, perhaps along with undetectable amount of salt water. So, the scientific community could not deny the possibility of salt water being carried in great amounts and dumped on land.
Qur’an mentions in many places the usefulness of the ocean for transportation and as a source of rains, food and ornaments. Here we will focus on what God says about sweet water in the context of seawater. The overlapping and complementary verses in this regard are : Furqan:53, Fatir:12, Rahman 19,20 & Naml:61. Collectively they say:
It is forbidden (for the two seas) to cross it. (So) They do not transgress it.”
- “Allah let loose a pair of seas
- They are dissimilar
- One is agreeable, sweet and pleasing to drink
- The other is bitterly saltish
- (But) between them there is a barrier that He has put
Allah uses the term bahrayn for seas in this context, the singular of which is bahr. Bahr also denotes any large body of water such as river and lake. Here He talks of the twin systems of sweet and salt waters. They are closely connected into an integral dynamic system of global hydrology:
The two kinds of water also co-exist side by side in nature with no visible separating structure. Yet there is no mix up between them rendering sustenance of terrestrial and freshwater life impossible. Also the marine life cannot survive in fresh water. The Beneficent has devised an invisible barrier between the pair of seas in the following manner:
* Though possible, God has prevented saltish rains.
* Pit dug in beach, though close to waves, give sweet water. Likewise wells on the lengthy shores along backwaters usually gives sweet water. The salt pan regions are a small exception.
* The ground water and sea water percolate through porous sand and have an interface. But sweet water does not get polluted with salt.
Apart from this indirect meeting grounds there are direct ones which thoroughly demonstrate the veracity of God’s word.
* At the mouths of the world’s great rivers-Nile, Euphrates, Amazon, Yanktze, Mississippi, Ganges, Indus etc., only fresh water exist for 100-200 kms into the sea for the entire depth down to seabed. Ships could collect their fresh water supply with out going to the harbour or into the river.
* The permafrost and seasonal ice formations at the poles are of fresh water. After winter ice melts colossal water currents, dwarfing the great rivers, flow across hemispheres right inside oceans. They are indeed super-rivers, nay, hyper-rivers of fresh water. With appropriate technology they can satisfy the entire fresh water and electrical energy needs of the globe many times over.
* Under the earth’s surface there exist inexhaustible sea-like lakes and even running rivers comparable to the great rivers-suggest scientists. It is said that Arab countries are floating on an ocean of oil. But Bahrain has an ocean of sweet water also under its land and surrounding sea. Fresh water rushes up bubbling from seabed. It is quite interesting to note that this country, surrounded by a single sea, is strangely named Bahrain-Twin Seas-exactly the term that God has used in the context of unmixing pair of seas, not to speak of the land being called Seas!
* The scene changes at Euphrates at high tides during new moon and full moon. The swelling sea water pushes the sea water back into the river and itself enters the river tract. In the process the river water surges laterally and irrigates the agricultural fields. Though this has taken place billions of times sea water never inundates the fields. It reaches back into the sea when high tide is over. The fresh water ‘sea’ at river mouth resumes to roughly 100 miles (160Kms) radius! Nor do the two ‘seas’ of sea and river waters ever get mixed up!
Day-Night Rotation : A Mercy
One of the most significant arrangements God has made for originating and sustaining life is the alteration of day and night. He made our planet rotate. Says He:
“ Allah causeth the revolution of the day and the night. Lo! Herein is indeed lesson for those who see.” [Noor:44]
What are the lessons God wishes us the observers to learn? In room : 23, Furqan : 47 & 62, etc. God points out that the daytime is provided for seeking fortune and night to relax and meditate upon him. Allah observes in Furqan : 45,46 that
- Shade (night) follows after the sun (i.e dattime); and
- It is He who withdraws the shade gradually.
- * “...And had He so wished. He could have made it (the shade) still....”
This automatically implies that the other hemisphere would have sunshine constantly. This can happen if the same side of planet earth always faces the sun. That is, its day would be equal to its year!
If such a condition is brought about now, the life, vegetation as well as animals, in the night side could not sustain themselves. Clouds cannot form. In the day side relaxation will be impossible and the various psychological process of the mind could not take place. But on the first hand everything will be scorched to extinction. Had the condition existed right from the beginning, it is easy to see, that life could not have evolved except perhaps some marginal life in the narrow ring of twilight region.
The question is whether constancy of day and night is spoken of here as a possibility or as a pure hypothesis? Well, we do have a demonstration in our Moon whose same side faces earth, its principal, always. There is every possibility of the same side of a planet to be made to face the sun constantly. Venus turns around its axis only once in 250 days. This is a very rough example of the condition God threatens for the earth. Is not rotation of earth and the consequent quick succession of day and night the very fundamental mercy of the Rahman for life? One can keep on enlisting benevolence of God in the style of Surae Rahman endlessly. ‘Those who reflect’, ‘those who have sense’ and ‘those who can perceive’ to whom Allah appeals will do well to carry out fuller research of gifts He mentions such as honey, milk, dates, pomegranates, figs, olives, gourd... We can be quite sure that count of His benevolence could not be exhausted just as “And if all the trees in the earth were pens, and the sea, with seven more seas to help it (were ink) the words of Allah could not be exhausted...” [Luqman : 27]
So with a sense of futility to exhaust counting His mercies let us stop at just recognizing the Greatest of His mercies, namely Prophet (Pbuh) - Mercy to the worlds, Mercy unto Believers and Mercy from God! Let us move on to examine in the next part the Qur’anic information on origin of life on earth and a few other scientific data related to certain species.
[The author is Director of Dr. Ambedkar Institute of Productivity, NPC, Chennai. Phone / Fax : 044-4254904, Email :
Fig. 1 : Landmass broke up and drifted away to form today’s continents. Mountains stopped further drift and consequence quakes and dashing
Fig. 2 : God sends winds to gather rain clouds. It is 7 km tall.
Fig. 3 : God menions mountains of rain/hail clouds. It is 7 km tall.