Is it possible to see signs related to the existence of Allah by looking at the universe?
It is interesting that Allah calls both His sentences (verses) in the Quran and His works in the book of the universe as "ayahs" (signs). In the Quran, one of the most frequently mentioned signs of the universe is the sky. Allah often attracts attention to the sky that everybody sees all the time and usually admires:
“Do they not look at the sky above them?― How We have made it and adorned?...” (Qaf, 50/6)
The following is stated in another verse:
“And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors: verily in that are Signs for those who know.” (ar-Rum, 30/22)
The first verse orders us to look at the universe and to meditate. The second verse states that those who obtain knowledge on the creation of the skies and the earth and who meditate by using this knowledge will see evidences regarding the existence of Allah. These verses were sent down more than fourteen centuries ago. There has been a great progress regarding man's knowledge on space since then. A new branch called astronomy has developed. We cannot give all this information here. We will try to understand how to read the signs of Allah by using the new information we have obtained about space through one example.
Evidences from Space for the Existence of Allah
When we look at the sky, it looks like a magnificent dome; it is like the gilded dome of this world palace. From another viewpoint, it looks like a space sea in which millions of spaceships travel very fast. From yet another viewpoint, it looks like a magnificent fleet of planes that are billions of times bigger than man-made planes and that are much faster than them.
Have you ever thought how many stars there are in the sky? There have been many attempts to answer this question but no one has been able to find a definite answer. In 2003, a group of researchers from Australia National University made an estimation using the latest technological devices. The figure they found was 70.000.000.000.000.000.000.000 (seventy sextillion).(1)
According to the same scientists, the number of the stars in the sky is ten times more than the number of the grains of sand on earth. When we think of it on the scale of space, the fight of domination in the world is like the fight of children for one grain of sand. In the end, even if we dominate the whole world, what we will own is not even one tenth of a sand grain on the scale of space.
What do so many stars and planets whose number we do not know tell us? Allah wants us to think about how they came into being and how they move within a magnificent system by directing our attention to them. We can place this innumerable number of stars into a perspective under the light of the talents, knowledge and experience we have. We can understand how these celestial bodies came into being by comparing them with something made by humans.
Man has not been able to make a star yet; however, all countries are trying to make a miniature planet called International Space Station by combining their forces. Then, we can understand, to a certain extent, how stars and planets came into being by looking at the man-made miniature planet. When I use the word miniature, do not think that I despise one of the magnificent works of man. Frankly, I feel honored in the name of humanity by this masterpiece, which I will not be able to understand even if I spend all my life. I want to say that it is "miniature" when it is compared to the world and the other planets. If people here try to make another space station, they will not be able to do it because we do not have hundreds, thousands of scientists and engineers necessary to do it. We do not have factories to produce the necessary equipment. That is, it is necessary to have advanced knowledge in many branches of science like physics, engineering, biology and mathematics in order to make the miniature planet. Muscular power and machinery are also necessary in order to apply this knowledge. In short, the miniature planet is a work of high level of knowledge and a great power. Then, trillions of stars and planets, which are much bigger and more magnificent than the International Space Station, is the work of a Being who has endless knowledge and power.(2)
A person who looks at the sky carefully sees that it shows Allah in a brighter way than the Arabic phrase “Lailahaillallah” (There is no god but Allah). For, if the world is likened to a palace, the moon is our night lamp, the sun is our stove and very bright lamp, and the other stars are gilded and decorated small lamps. Then, who created these stars, the sun and the moon? The Quran answers this question as follows:
“He has created the heavens and the earth for just ends: far is He above having the partners they ascribe to Him” (an-Nahl, 16/3).
“He has made subject to you the Night and the Day; the Sun and the Moon; and the Stars are in subjection by His Command: verily in this are Signs for men who are wise.” (an-Nahl, 16/12).
“It is not permitted to the Sun to catch up the Moon, nor can the Night outstrip the Day: each (just) swims along in (its own) orbit (according to Law).” (Yasin, 36/40).
“And the Sun runs his course for a period determined for him: that is the decree of (Him) the Exalted in Might, the All-Knowing.” (Yasin, 36/38).
The last two verses indicate the rotation of the sun. The science of astronomy discovered that the sun was rotating only in the 20th century but the fact that Hz. Muhammad (pbuh), who could not read or write, informed us about it fourteen centuries ago is an evidence for his prophethood.
According to modern astronomy, the sun moves 225 km per second, 13.500 km per hour and 810.000 km per hour. If we think how fast the fastest planes move, we can understand that the sun moves hundreds of times faster than the fastest plane.
On a Greek plane in 2005, two pilots died of cold because the cool air system got out of order and the plane crashed a mountain in a few minutes. Then, how can the trillions of planes of the sky (stars and planets) that are billions of times bigger and thousands of times faster than our planes move without colliding and falling though they have no pilots? When we compare stars and planets with man-made planes and spaceships, we will see that the Being with endless knowledge, power and wisdom created the stars and that He constantly maintains and controls them. That is why the following is stated in the Quran:
“It is Allah Who sustains the heavens and the earth, lest they cease (to function): and if they should fail, there is none not one can sustain them thereafter.” (Fatir, 35/41)
Although we developed a defense system against man-made missiles, we can do nothing but watch the "heavenly missiles" that can fall on us from the sky.
Evidences for the Existence of Allah from the Plant Kingdom
Not only the stars but also everything we see around us inform us about our Lord through different tongues. The most magnificent signs that that tell us about Allah in the blue planet we live in are plants, animals and humans. "Life", which is the common divine seal in all of them, shows us Allah in every aspect. It is Allah, who is al-Hayy (the Ever Living One) and al-Qayyum (the Self-Subsisting), who gives life and maintains it. The Quran explains this fact as follows:
“With it (water) He produces for you corn, olives, date-palms, grapes, and every kind of fruit: verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought” (an-Nahl, 16/11).
This verse clearly states that plants were created out of water by Allah and that there are great lessons in it for those who meditate. Science agrees that the origin of life today is water but it has not been able to understand fully what life is. However, there are living animals and plants in every inch of our planet.
As of 2004, the botanists determined about 350 thousand plant species. All of these plants are similar and different. Since they are all made of similar atoms, elements, molecules and cells, they are similar; since they have different shapes and relatively different DNA codes, they are different.
Do not underrate plants. No man can do what a plant does. If we are to name according to what a green leaf does, it will be appropriate to call each green leaf "a factory of oxygen and food". Man learned a bit of what a green leaf has been doing for millions of years only in the middle of the last century. Dr. Calvin received a Nobel Prize because he explained one of the skills of a green leaf. (3) In other words, after making efforts for centuries, only some intelligent humans have found out a bit of what green plants have been doing. However, no scientist can do what a plant does. Therefore, when we say to a person you are like grass, we actually compliment that person and insult grass. Maybe, it is more appropriate to call a person who is so intelligent as to get a Nobel Prize grass.
The plants that we despise by calling grass are our servants, which sacrifice themselves for us. They produce oxygen, which is our vital need, by working constantly and producing the necessary vitamins and proteins for our body; they sacrifice their lives for the continuation of our lives. Humans use more than forty thousand species of plants and animals as food. Trees work like tremendous factories and prepare food for us. We do not appreciate fully the service the plants render to us because we do not think about it. Due to the veil of causes, we attribute fruits to trees and vegetables to gardens; we do not appreciate their real value. If we tried to produce a fruit in a factory, we could not buy one fruit for a million dollars. The abundance of food does not show that they are worthless; it shows the abundance of mercy. As a matter of fact, oxygen, which is the most valuable nutrition for us, is free but it is not worthless. (4)
Every plant, every fruit and every vegetable is an extraordinary divine grant and a magnificent present from Lord. Suppose that a company produced biscuits having seeds and when you sowed the seeds of the biscuits, you obtained biscuit trees; you would be astonished. It would hit the headlines and all televisions would mention this tree. In fact, it is necessary to be astonished by the person who is astonished by biscuits having seeds but regards thousands of fruits and vegetables having seeds as ordinary.
Secular science and irreligious philosophy hide divine works that are miracles from all aspects behind the veil of nature and causes, making them seem ordinary. They make the works of human beings who transform existing things into different forms seem extraordinary. In his latest book He sent to us, Allah asks us thirty-one times:
“Then which of the favors of your Lord will ye deny?”(ar-Rahman, 55/13,..) If we come to our senses and appreciate the value of each bounty, we cannot deny any of them. However, if we attribute these bounties to nature and coincidence, we deny all of them. Hundreds of thousands of species that contain the vitamins and proteins that animals and humans need, and that are suitable for their taste, mouth, teeth and stomach are the most explicit evidences of Allah’s mercy. A sane person can find his Lord even through a single apple. The extraordinary structure of an apple, which was built nanotechnologically (5) at the level of atoms, molecules and cells, shows the endless knowledge, power and wisdom of its owner; its relationship and agreement with man's eye, tooth, taste and stomach shows His endless mercy, compassion and help.
A person who uses his mind properly can find his Lord by acting upon a single apple. Yes, a person who can understand only one apple can also understand the existence of His Lord. As I have mentioned earlier, do not underrate an apple. It is necessary to set up a factory as big as the world and plant a tree that contains live cells in it in order to produce an apple. A person that cannot produce a single cell cannot produce a tree containing billions of cells by any means. Supposing he did it, he could not have influence on the sun and could not arrange its heat to ripen the apple. We can list thousands of conditions like this one necessary to produce an apple.
Badiuzzaman Said Nursi expresses concisely what we mean above as follows:
“The one who creates an apple must of a certainty be able to create all the apples in the world and to bring the vast spring into being. Conversely, the one who cannot create a spring cannot create a single apple either, for the apple is made at the same workbench. But the one who makes an apple can make the spring. Each apple is an example in miniature of a tree, even of a garden or a cosmos. The apple seed that carries within itself the life-story of the huge tree is, from the point of view of artistry, such a miracle that the one who creates it thus is incapable of nothing.”(6)
Therefore, the Quran wants us to eat by thinking how the food we eat forms instead of eating with the purpose of filling our stomachs only:
“Then let man look at his Food, (and how We provide it): For that We pour forth water in abundance, And We split the earth in fragments, And produce therein Corn, And Grapes and nutritious Plants, And Olives and Dates, And enclosed Gardens, dense with lofty trees, And Fruits and Fodder― For use and convenience to you and your cattle.” (Abasa, 80/24-32).
Evidences for the Existence of Allah from the Animal Kingdom
When we look at animals by using our mind and knowledge, we can say that each one is a "machine" or "walking factory". Man has made great progress in producing technological devices since the industrial revolution. Devices that could not be imagined a century ago like televisions, mobile phones and computers have become a part of our daily life. We are living in the age of "technological wonders" and see new ones every day. Even secular science regards man's ability to produce complicated devices in order to meet his needs and desires as the basic element distinguishing him from animals. Planes, cars, fast trains, skyscrapers are the fruits of this ability. Everybody knows from his own experience that even the simplest tool made by man is the work of science and power. As tools get more complicated, more knowledge and science become necessary. For instance, a child who has a little knowledge and power can make a wooden car. However, even if thousands of children come together, they cannot produce a simple motor car. Then, compare animals with the "technological wonders" that are our works.
It may be easier for us to find our Lord by meditating on the creation and skills of animals that we always see in our lives, zoos and television documentaries. The Quran informs us through the following verse that there are exemplary signs in animals:
“Verily in the heavens and the earth, are Signs for those who believe. And in the creation of yourselves and the fact that animals are scattered (through the earth), are Signs for those of assured Faith.” (al-Jathiya, 45/3-4).
In fact, it is not at all difficult to see the exemplary signs in animals that tell us about Allah by looking at them carefully. The Quran describes those who do not believe as blind and states that they will not be able to see these signs unless they believe and open their eyes to see the truth. Let us try to read some signs in animals by using our mind.
The scientists that searched animals have determined about 2 million different species of animals so far. According to estimations, this figure is only 20 percent of all of the animals. It is estimated that there are about 10 million different species of animals.(7)
According to what the scientists that search animals tell us, even a very small animal is more wonderful than our greatest technological product in terms of its operation. In other words, when we compare "man-made technological devices" with "divine technological devices", we see big differences between them. In the book that He sent down, Allah challenges man, who feels proud of his "high technology devices", as follows:
“O men! Here is a parable set forth! Listen to it! Those on whom besides Allah, ye call cannot create (even) a fly, if they all meet together for the purpose! And if the fly should snatch away anything from them, they would have no power to release it from the fly: feeble are those who petition and those whom they petition!” (al-Hajj, 22/73)
Let alone producing a fly, it has not been possible to produce even a small cell of a fly up to now. Then, let us ask with the expression of the Quran:
“Were they created of nothing, or were they themselves the creators?” (at-Tur, 52/35).
The wonderful body system of animals indicate the existence of Allah as many times as the number of their species and maybe the number of all animals; the benefits and effects of animals witness the wisdom and mercy of Allah . The Quran expresses this fact as follows:
“And verily in cattle (too) will ye find an instructive Sign. From what is within their bodies, between excretions and blood, We produce for your drink, milk, pure and agreeable to those who drink it.” (an-Nahl, 16/66).
That is, we should not underrate animals. We should not call the people we are angry with "animals" and despise animals. It is more appropriate to give animals names according to what they do as follows: "milk and meat factory" for cows, sheep and goats, "egg and white meat factory" for chickens, "silk factory" for silkworms and "bee factory" for bees. In fact, when we think of the other benefits of these animals, even such names will be insufficient.
In the verse above, Allah states that there are lessons in domestic animals including the cow. A separate branch of science called veterinary medicine was established in order to understand those wisdoms. Thousands of scientists have been trying to understand them but they have not been able to finish yet.
For instance, Dr. Virtanen, who had been trying to understand how a cow produces milk, could not produce milk but he discovered how to get more milk from the cow. He was given a Nobel Prize because of it. (8) Now, I am asking you this question: If a Nobel Prize is given to a person who understood what the cow did to some extent but who could not produce milk, what kind of prize should we give the cow?
I think everybody who understands what cows do to a certain extent needs to show respect to them. In fact, I can understand why Hindus worship cows though what they do is unbelief. I think to deem a cow as an ordinary being is as much surprising as to worship a cow.
The following concise statement of Badiuzzaman Said Nursi summarizes what we have mentioned so far:
“To place in the nipples of cows, camels, goats and sheep, as well as human mothers, in the midst of blood and excrement but without being polluted by them, a substance the exact opposite, pure, clean, pleasant, nutritive and white milk, and to inspire in their hearts tenderness toward their young that is still more pleasant, sweeter and more valuable than milk — this requires such a degree of mercy, wisdom, knowledge, power, will and care that it cannot in any way be the work of turbulent chance, of the tangled elements, or of blind forces.”(9)
Evidences for the Existence of Allah from “Man”
Another evidence, maybe the most important one, for the existence of Allah takes place in our inner world. Everybody can find his Lord by thinking about his own creation and the bounties he is given every day. The evidences that man sees in everything in the universe are called "objective", that is, "external" evidences and the evidences that he sees and feels in him are called "subjective", that is, "internal" evidences. It is easier to understand internal evidences because they are based on personal experience. Unfortunately, many people have difficulty in seeing those evidences because they do not think about their own bodies. However, the Quran attracts our attention to the lessons in the creation of man:
“And in the creation of yourselves and the fact that animals are scattered (through the earth), are Signs for those of assured Faith.” (al-Jathiya, 45/4).
In a period when there was no technology at all, the creation of man is described in the Quran as if it was observed through "divine ultrasound":
“Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a (foetus) lump; then We made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then We developed out of it another creature: so blessed be Allah, the Best to create.” (al-Muminun, 23/14).
The scientist who observed the creation of man from a drop of water in the human uterus for the first time, he described what he saw as a "miracle". Interestingly enough, even the documentaries prepared with a secular understanding had to call it a "miracle of life". (10)
Most people forget this miracle, which they experience in their journey of life, and live heedlessly and ungratefully as if they were sent down from the sky. The following verse of the Quran urge sane people to wake up from heedlessness and to see their miracle of creation:
“Doth not man see that it is We Who created Him from sperm? Yet behold! He (stands forth) as an open adversary?” (Yasin, 36/77).
The creation of man out of a drop of water can only be the work of a being that has endless knowledge, power and wisdom. If anyone claims the opposite, he can prove his claim by making a human or only one cell of a human out of a drop of water. The Quran has challenged unbelievers regarding the issue for fourteen centuries. (11) Nobody has been able to answer this challenge up to now; nobody says that they can despite latest technology. This proves that the Quran is a divine book and the Allah is the creator of all living beings.
The creation of man is a miracle; similarly, the treat of breast milk from his mother is a different "miracle of mercy". Most of us see it as an ordinary incident. Suppose that orange juice instead of milk came out of the breasts of our mothers; what would we do? We would be astonished and would tell about it to everybody. It would definitely be the first news item on television. However, "orange juice" coming out of the breasts of our mothers instead of "milk" is something that is one thousand times more astonishing and that needs to be wondered more. Scientists advise women to breastfeed their babies since they have not been able to find something to replace breast milk fully. As it is seen in the example of breast milk, everything is extraordinary and miraculous but they seem ordinary to us because we always see them. Those who open the "eye of the mind" carefully can see the miraculous deeds and their doer behind the "veil of ordinariness".
I want to give another example related to inner evidences. When a person thinks of his own body, he can see the signs indicating his Lord. Every organ of our body, their magnificent arrangement and operation, their order and innumerable wisdoms and benefits show us the Being that has endless knowledge, wisdom, mercy and power. I want to tell you about something that I have recently experienced and make it clear what I want to mean. I have man-made teeth and natural teeth in my mouth. I did not get an ordinary man to make my teeth. I went to a very experienced dentist who had graduated from the faculty of dentistry. Why did I go to a dentist but not an ordinary man? The answer is simple: Because it is not something very easy to find the best material for the teeth, to mold them harmoniously with my other teeth and to place them in my mouth. Not everybody can do it. A person who does not have sufficient knowledge in dentistry and who does not have the necessary tools cannot do it.
Now, let us compare the "man-made teeth" with the "other teeth". Which ones are better? Which ones are sounder? Which ones are perfect? Of course, the other ones. The clearest example of it is that no dentist says let me remove your teeth and implant technologically wonderful teeth instead if your teeth are healthy.
Now, let us think of it carefully: “Man-made” teeth can be produced through high technology and power; then, can the other "teeth", which are much better than man-made teeth in every aspect can form on their own or by coincidence? Can they be the work of natural forces that are deprived of knowledge and consciousness and that are ignorant and mindless? Then, each tooth of us that is not man-made informs us about Allah. Since teeth, which are among the simplest parts of our body, inform us about our Lord like that, I refer it to your intelligence to think about how the other hundreds of organs like the eye, nose and brain tell us about Allah.
We can summarize what we have written so far as follows:
Our Lord has made the universe a magnificent book and informs us about Himself through the words (signs) of the innumerable living and non-living beings He wrote in it. He translated this book through the Quran and taught us how to read that book through Hz.Muhammad (pbuh), who is a great teacher. When we take off the black glasses of coincidence and nature and read the book of the universe through the transparent glasses the Quran gives us, we can see our Lord, observe His activities and meditate on His wisdom in everything that we read. We can know Him through his innumerable perfect works and love Him through His endless bounties.
"11 Eylül’e Rağmen Amerika’da Yükselen İslam (Islam Rising in America despite September 11)" Nesil Yayınları
(1)You can access the article mentioned in the text through the following link: http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/space/07/22/stars.survey/
(2) The following is stated in a verse of the Quran: “If thou ask them who it is that created the heavens and the earth They will certainly say "Allah."” (Luqman, 25) The word “them” is used for unbelievers in this verse. This verse attracts attention to two important points: Firstly, it is more appropriate to start from the creation of the skies and the earth, which are the greatest signs, when you tell unbelievers about Allah. Secondly, even unbelievers cannot explain the magnificent and glorious creation of the skies and the earth; when they think about it thoroughly, they will have to say “Allah”.
(4)In the free market system, prices are determined based on supply and demand, not on the value of the goods and services. The reason why oxygen, which is vital for man, is free does not show that it is worthless but that it is abundant; so, nobody charges money for it. It is a mistake that people evaluate goods and services based on the market price. In fact, many things that are not sold and bought in the market are very valuable.
(5)Examining matter in the atomic or molecular dimension and revealing its new properties.
(6) “You met your needs of food, drinks and clothes in the shop of the earth. If you paid money for these free goods from the divine treasury, you could buy a single pomegranate for a lot of money and by spending a lot of time. For, that pomegranate is related to all things. It is understood from the fine things like embroidery, order, art, aroma, taste and scent that the pomegranate is the work of such a Maker that creates with ease, and does not require physical contact
with it.” (Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, Hubab Risalesi, Mesnevi-i Nuriye).
(7)There are some scientists who estimates that the number of animal species is 100 million: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4013719.stm
(8)Dr. Virtanen received Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1945 for his works related to increasing the milk productivity of cows.
(9)Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, 7. Şua (7th Ray), Ayetü’l-Kübra Risalesi.
(10)The documentary called “the Miracle of Life” produced by NOVA, one of the most prestigious documentary producers, is a distinct example of it.
(11) You can read how Thomas, the atheist, is silenced by the challenge of the Quran in the book called Rabbini Arayan Thomas (Thomas looking for his Lord) by the writer published by Nesil Yayınları (Publications).
- Al-Bari (The Maker, The Producer, The Maker from Nothing)
- What is the difference between making and creating?
- Question 30: How does Allah’s power become manifest through causes?
- Is it possible to know Allah?
- IS LIFE A STRUGGLE?
- What are the responsibilities of man toward Allah regarding the purpose of the creation of man?
- Question 70: There are a lot of errors in the amino acids we have. Millions of fish eggs or sperm are produced but only one of them survives. The orbits of the planets are not constant.
- We find the shape, color and smell of the fruits very suitable for our body. That is why we praise Allah. These arguments may collapse if artificial selection is true, those arguments might fail. Is artificial selection true?
- Question 1: How long is it since the creation of the first man?
- What is Taharah (Cleanliness)?