Long before Jagdish Chandra Bose discovered that trees and plants were living things very much like cows and camels, and geologists confirmed that stones and dust particles have life and experience pain and pleasure very much like human beings, it was declared that Earth dies and then gets a new life (Al-Baqarah 2:164). All that is Matter has a set of laws and every material thing sincerely obeys those Laws – their Shari‘ah. Matter has a lesson for Man. Listening and learning is that matters
MUHAMMAD TARIQ GHAZI
[dropcap]P[/dropcap]hysical elements can be named differently in many languages of different times, but their genesis or creational reality never changes. For example, the metal known as gold in English is called zahab in Arabic, zar in Persian, altin in Turkish, sona in Urdu and Hindi, waraq in Amharic, ari in Albanian, swarna in Sanskrit, d’or in French, áureo in Italian and Spanish, zoloto in Russian, guld in Danish, kulta in Finnish, gouden in Dutch, however, unalterable physical properties of this yellow or red metal are that its single atom always consists of 79 electrons, 79 protons and 118 neutrons.
The golden rule is that these numbers never change, except when this metal is blended with some other element. In that case it doesn’t remain gold, it is no longer an atom, it’s a molecule.
Similarly an atom of copper is made up of 29 electrons, 29 protons and 34 neutrons. Man knows about 118 elements, four of which are yet to be confirmed physically. In short, creational reality of every single element is a permanent characteristic unique to it. Every atom exists like a solar system, with its nucleus of protons and neutrons having one or hundreds of electrons orbiting around it liked planets move around a star.
This is the spiritual property of material elements. Man is wonder-struck when studying these astonishing truths about creative wisdom of Allah. Muslim mystics say that the one who spiritually reaches The Presence is left with nothing but wonderment. Even at our lowest human level, these phenomena enhance man’s faith in Him, enabling man to create – if he so desires – a civilization based on true Faith.
On the contrary, the man deficient in grey matter is lost in the tiny world of an atom, let alone Universe. History of civilizations suggests that such waywardness is the first step on the path to self-destruction.
The universe is working on a well-defined spiritual order of constant fusion and diffusion, creation, equilibrium, disintegration, dispersal and refusion. It is a normal process. One result of this process is emergence of massive clouds of atomic particles that spread over an area millions of light years vast. These clouds known as nebula, Sadim (سد یم) in Arabic, are hot and intense gaseous smoke, swirling like cyclone and tornado.
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“Then He directed Himself to the heaven while it was smoke and said to it and to Earth, “Come (into being), willingly or by compulsion”. They said, “We have come willingly” (The Qur’an Fussilat 41:11).
Every atom in these spatial clouds is moving in the fashion divinely set for its components. Nebulae themselves have certain style of axial movement causing massive storms and finally producing electromagnetic field, gravity and formation of new galaxies of billions of suns, planets, moons and other satellites, very much like a smoky cyclone transforming into billions of raindrops.
Then those millions of galactic fiery orbs start having atomic storms, further fanning horrifying fires. Atomic winds resulting from the flow of plasma on the surface of our Sun produce solar storms reaching velocity of 145 kilometers per earth-second or 324,000 miles per earth-hour, reminding us of (وَاْلذَّٰر ِیٰت ِ ذَرْوًا) “By those winds, scattering dust, dispersing” (The Qur’an Az-Zariyat 51:1 – Shaikh Tantawi Jawhari/Al-Jawahar fi Tafsir Al-Qur’an 23:116-117; Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Bayan al-Qur’an 1077).
Minimum surface temperature on the Sun is one million degree Celsius. A 200,000-to-300,000-mile-high flame and a cloud carrying millions of tons of radiation material of liquid plasma burst out of the solar surface when Sun heaves. At mere realization of this phenomenon one involuntarily recites the verse (فَاْلحَٰمِلَٰت ِ وِقْرًا) = “And the carriers (clouds) of liquid load” (Az-Zariyat 51:2).
Such colossal explosions of solar plasma generate a process of nuclear fusion and bombardment of radiation material into the solar system for several earth-weeks, disturbing electronic systems on Earth and raising land temperatures.
Then one is reminded of a Hadith of scientific value, in which Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said that earth temperatures rise when the Sun exhales. Exegetic explanations of the above verse as earthly phenomena help understand seasons and natural events, but expanding their application to Universe further provides an insight into the Realm of Creation.
Outer space is the nursery of suns hundreds of thousands of times larger than our tiny Sun. One can just imagine the immensity of their stellar winds (اَلْذّاَٰرِیٰت) Az-Zariyat.
On the scale of our Sun being as small as a mustard seed, a nearby sun, Betelgeuse (corruption of Arabic name Yad al-Jawza = ید الجوزا) in the Orion nebula, will be as big as an orange – 600 times more than the mass of our Sun – and Antares will appear like a big pomegranate. Antares is 65,000 times more luminous than our Sun and because of its incredible mass it is classed among Red Giant stars.
If it replaces our Sun its radius will cover the orbit of Mars, reaching midway to the orbit of Jupiter; gobbling up Mercury, Venus and Earth and igniting the gaseous surface of Jupiter. Assuming Antares is as big as a grape, Pistol Star will appear like grapefruit, and if Pistol Star is scaled down to a grape, Arcturus sun will appear big like a grapefruit.
Our mighty Sun when put beside Arcturus will appear smaller than a sand grain. Nuclear activity on these massive super-suns is anybody’s guess. No. It’s beyond imagination.
Some of us may laugh off the notion that Matter too has a Shari‘ah but extensivity of these giant stars and grainity of tiny atoms notwithstanding, a common factor binding all physical phenomena from an atom to Antares, from a grain to a galaxy, is that they do not violate their creational properties and purpose, and never did so in billions of earth — years of their existence. Unlike man, they do not defy their Shari‘ah – the Divine Law!
However, like a tree that grows fruits, then drops them for ultimate use as fertilizer, the creations in the universe also undergo periods of make and break. When Allah wishes, solar systems and galaxies collapse on themselves. Suns cool off and shrink so that atoms are compressed and glued together increasing gravity and finally exploding into Near Space, smashing planetary systems, dispersing quadrillion-quadrillions of atoms.
All the orbs disintegrate thus producing a huge cloud of atomic dust. A new nebula is created. All the atoms in the smoke then await for fresh order from The Creator.
“Allah begins creation and then repeats it” (Al-Qur’an Yunus 10:34); “Indeed, it is He who originates [creation] and repeats” (Al-Qur’an Al-Buruj 85:13).
کہ آرہی ہے دمادم صدائے کن فیکوں – اقبال
The sound of Be and It’s is coming in every breath – Iqbal
This is not a pastime. Only the Creator knows the wisdom of this endless process of creation, disintegration, recreation. There is a purpose which we humans are not always able to comprehend. However, the Qur’an warns: “Then watch for the Day when the sky will bring a visible smoke” (Ad-Dukhan – The Smoke 44:10). On that Day, who knows where this recreated Earth will be spread out in a remote swirl of that smoke for judging our good-bad deeds.
Nobody knows when that will happen, but for now, a Hadith comes to mind. The Prophet declared: None of you can be a believer unless he/she makes his/her desires subservient to the Shari‘ah I have brought (Maulana Muhammad Idris Kandhlawi, Ma‘arif ul-Qur’an 1:56).
The majority of humans have always been indifferent; everything material in the material Universe however is a Believer.
Isn’t it strange that Man who was made an ideal spiritual being is proud to become a slave of physio-material phenomena while purely material creations honestly obey the spiritual order, their divine Shariah!
–This is the first of a series of articles sourced from an upcoming book on civilizations by the veteran Indian journalist and editor based in Canada