Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Surah Al Baqarah (2:74) – Do non living things speak ?

ثُمَّ قَسَتْ قُلُوبُكُم مِّن بَعْدِ ذَلِكَ فَهِيَ كَالْحِجَارَةِ أَوْ أَشَدُّ قَسْوَةً وَإِنَّ مِنَ الْحِجَارَةِ لَمَا يَتَفَجَّرُ مِنْهُ الأَنْهَارُ وَإِنَّ مِنْهَا لَمَا يَشَّقَّقُ فَيَخْرُجُ مِنْهُ الْمَاء وَإِنَّ مِنْهَا لَمَا يَهْبِطُ مِنْ خَشْيَةِ اللّهِ وَمَا اللّهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ


Then your hearts hardened after that, so that they were like rocks, rather worse in hardness; and surely there are some rocks from which streams burst forth, and surely there are some of them which split asunder so water issues out of them, and surely there are some of them which fall down for fear of Allah, and Allah is not at all heedless of what you do.

M Shakir's Quran Translation

The Surah has been relating a number of incidents which show that the Israelites were always prone to disobedience and rebellion and had to undergo punishment again and again. Such an experience should have taught them humility and obedience. On the contrary, their hearts became all the more hardened against divine guidance. For this very reason, the hearts of the people of Bani Israel are compared to rocks in this Ayat. Different types of rocks are mentioned.

1- Rocks from which rivers gush forth

The Ayat refers to rocks from which springs spontaneously appear. Sometimes in small trickles, sometimes in big volumes.

2- Rocks which split asunder send forth water

There are rocks, which have to be split or dug into or blown up with dynamite, and underneath we find abundant water as in wells beneath rocky soil.

3- Rocks which fall down by the fear of Allah

The first two of these states are a matter of everyday observation, but the third may be subject to doubt, for the ability to feel fear requires sensibility, and the rocks, as one supposes, do not possess this faculty. Rocks are insentient. Those who have been possessed by this doubt should consider the following points.

Point no 1

The منها (from them) mentioned in the end might be referring to the hearts (قلوب) rather than the stones. Imam Qurtabi has collected the views of various scholars on the issue. Some people were of the view that: " وإن منها " راجع إلى القلوب لا إلى الحجارة (‘indeed from them’ points to the hearts and not the rocks). Imam Qurtabi agrees that the composition of the words leave a certain probability for both the meanings: كل ما قيل يحتمله اللفظ, though he personally goes with the opinion that ‘from them’ refers to the rocks.

Point no 2

Sensibility is necessary to have fear, and stone as one supposes do not posses this faculty. Mufti Muhammad Shafi says in his commentary on the AyatBut there is no rational argument which should deny sensibility to minerals. For sensibility depends on life, and the minerals may possibly possess a kind of subtle life which man may not be aware of. In fact, scientists have recently discovered the signs of life and sensibility in minerals too. Anyhow, an explicit statement in the Holy Qur'an carries a validity and an authority which no physical science or rational argument can dispute.” (M’ariful Quran, commentary on 2:74)

Point no 3

Fear of Allah is not the only cause which makes a stone fall down. For, the Ayat itself says that this cause operates only in the case of some stones. So, there may be different causes which make stones fall down; some of these causes may be purely physical, while one of them may be the fear of Allah.

Point no 4

The similes given were not altogether unfamiliar to the Israelites, for when they needed water they had seen it gush forth from one solid rock, in twelve springs (Surah Al Baqarah 2:60). They had witnessed how a mountain crashed down when Allah revealed His glory there (Surah Al A’araf 7:143). Their hearts, however, remained rigid and inflexible, totally devoid of faith and fear of Allah, harsh, barren and unbending. But they are warned that “Allah is not at all heedless of what you do”. Hence, the similes mentioned were easy for them to understand. Today, we with our handicapped and rational mind start questioning every thing that goes against the science of ‘our times’. We fail to realize that science is taking turns and discovering new facts every day. It was only in 1848, that for the first time the notion was recorded that plants have feelings too. Dr. Gustav Theodor Fechner, a German professor, suggested the idea in his book ‘Nanna’. Experiments are continuing to-date to verify the theory. Many scientists accept this as a reality. New Scientist published an article by the name “Stressed Plants Cry for help” in 1997. So, a thing which would have been impossible to imagine few centuries back is accepted as a reality today by many: plants are sentient, they experience pain, pleasure, or emotions such as fear and affection, and that they have the ability to communicate with humans and other forms of life in a recognizable manner.

Point no 5

Qur’an has presented the sense of worship and feelings in ‘inanimate’ objects in many places. Qur’an vividly mentions that everything that exists realizes the existence of Allah SWT and is praising him and obeying him. So what we call as ‘non-living things’, realize their creator and they are performing their respective duties assigned to them by their Lord. An interesting scientific breakthrough in this field is the ‘memory of sub-atomic particles’. The theory that sub-atomic particles have memory was presented in 1935 and proved in 1982 by the experiments performed by Alain Aspect in Paris University.

Aspect and his team discovered that under certain circumstances subatomic particles such as electrons are able to instantaneously communicate with each other regardless of the distance separating them. It doesn't matter whether they are 10 feet or 10 billion miles apart. Somehow each particle always seems to know what the other is doing. The problem with this feat is that it violates Einstein's long-held tenet that no communication can travel faster than the speed of light. Since traveling faster than the speed of light is tantamount to breaking the time barrier, this daunting prospect has caused some physicists to try to come up with elaborate ways to explain away Aspect's findings.

(Michael Talbot, ‘The Holographic Universe’)

These experiments gave rise to the Holographic model of the universe. This led scientists to believe that at some deeper level of reality such particles are not individual entities, but are actually extensions of the same fundamental something. If the apparent separateness of subatomic particles is illusory, it means that at a deeper level of reality all things in the universe are infinitely interconnected.

Michael Talbot says, “Western science has labored under the bias that the best way to understand a physical phenomenon, whether a frog or an atom, is to dissect it and study its respective parts. A hologram teaches us that some things in the universe may not lend themselves to this approach. If we try to take apart something constructed holographically, we will not get the pieces of which it is made, we will only get smaller wholes.” Hence, a bigger reality has to be understood before understanding these smaller things. And the bigger reality as the Quran tells us in many difference places is that everything praises Allah and his obeying his commands.

The topic has a lot of details which can be read in Michael Talbot’s book ‘The Holographic Universe’

Ayaat of Quran on sentient nature of inanimate objects

Surah Al Baqarah 2:74, Surah Ale Imran 3:83, Surah Ar R’ad 13:13, Surah Ar R’ad 13:15, Surah An Nahl 16:49, Surah Al Israa 17:44, Surah Maryam 19:90, Surah An Nur 24:41, Surah Al Ahzaab 33:72, Surah Fussilat 41:11, Surah Al Hadeed 57:1, Surah Ar Rahman 55:6, Surah Al Hashr 59:1, Surah Al Hashr 59:21, Surah Al Hashr 59:24, Surah As Saff 61:1, Surah Al Jumuah 62:1, Surah At Taghabun 64:1.


See the complete list of Scientific Miracles in Surah Baqarah here


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1 comments:

ehtesham said...

Stones are living creatures that breathe and move

http://english.pravda.ru/science/earth/12-07-2006/83225-stones-0

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