According to the following verse, are there pairs of atoms, bacteria, viruses and snails: “And of everything We have created pairs: that ye may receive instruction”? (adh-Dhariyat, 51/49)

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

“Glory to Allah, Who created in pairs all things that the earth produces as well as their own (human) kind and (other) things of which they have no knowledge.” (Yasin, 36/36)

“And of everything We have created pairs: that ye may receive instruction.” (adh-Dhariyat, 51/49)

The verses above brought about different interpretations.

The word zawj used in the verse means pair but it also means species and part. It states that Allah created the universe with all of its species. This verse states that the concept of pair is valid in plants just like humans with the elements of male and female and that there are elements of pairs in many things that people do not know in various periods. Plus and minus charges in electricity, the force of attraction and repulsion between things, positive and negative electrons in atoms are among the pairs that this verse informs us miraculously.  What is meant by them is to emphasize that Allah, who created the universe with all of its species, is one and He is free and away from having partners.

Indeed, it is known today that matter was created in pairs. When everything that we know, from particles to stars, their atomic particles that form their building blocks and particles smaller than them, are created, they are created in pairs with their anti-matter.

When tafsir scholars explained the meaning of “creating everything in pairs”, they usually mentioned the examples of oppositeness like “day-night, male-female, earth-sky, man-jinn, belief-unbelief, moon-sun”. Tabari holds the view that it will be appropriate to understand it as “Allah Almighty creates a different second thing in terms of purpose and function along with everything that He creates.” According to the explanation of Tabari, the main purpose here is to attract attention to Allah’s attribute of creating. It is necessary not to understand His creation as having one result only like the burning property of fire. He has the power to create anything in any way He wishes. (Tabari, XXVII/8-9)

After summarizing the views regarding the issue, Elmalılı finds the interpretation of Baydawi “that there are two versions of each species” more comprehensive since it includes the previous interpretations. However, taking into consideration that the word “everything” in the verse includes not only species but also individuals, he states that there is an indication of understanding that becomes manifest with the harmonious match-up of the ones in the external realm and their forms in the mind. He states that this duality is inevitable in the event of consciousness that takes place in anything, that nothing can be confirmed without being united in this duality, that nothing can be contemplated and meditated and that the expression “that ye may receive instruction” at the end of the verse supports it. (see Elmalılı Tefsiri, VI/4543-4544)

Besides, the following is stated in verse 36 of the chapter of Yasin:

“Glory to Allah, Who created in pairs all things that the earth produces as well as their own (human) kind and (other) things of which they have no knowledge.”

Thus, it is stated that Allah created all of the pairs that man knows or does not know in the universe and attention is attracted to the created property of these pairs, which have their partners and opposites and that the Being that created them is one. Modern research has found out that many things that humans did not know when the Quran was sent down have the property of being created in pairs, which indicates that many pairs of beings, events and notions will be discovered in future. 

The scientist named Paul Dirac determined that atomic particles were created in pairs, that is, there was positron opposite electron; thus, he discovered “the law of parity”, which enabled him to win the Nobel Prize; this can be evaluated as a development that illuminates the deep meaning in the verse.

As for the issues in the question:

The same thing used to be said about atom but the electrons turned out to have “plus and minus” charges. In the course of time, the wonderfulness of the Quran is understood better. What the Quran states will be understood better in the course of time. Therefore, it is not appropriate to deny the facts that science has not been able to find yet. 

In sexual reproduction, two bacteria of the same kind come together and form a transient cytoplasmic bridge. Through this bridge, the DNA molecule is transferred from one bacterium to the other wholly or partly. This event of gene transferring is called “conjugation”.

Through conjugation, resistant bacteria that have new properties and that adapt themselves to the circumstances of the environment form.

In sexual production, the bacterium that transfers the gene is regarded as male and the one that receives the gene is regarded as female. When the process is completed, the cytoplasmic bridge built between the two bacteria melts.

Viruses do not reproduce by division. It is disputable whether viruses are living or not. When a virus finds a living cell, it clones itself by using its DNA.

The snails have to be in pairs in order to reproduce.

Snails are hermaphrodite creatures. That is, the same animal has both male and female sexual organs. However, they still need to mate. After winter, snails eat fresh sprout all the time in spring. They develop very quickly. Two snails come face to face and fertilize each other through their organs. They might not mate every year. They usually mate in May. One mating enables them to ovulate a few years. Mating takes place twice a year: in May and August. The species of Burgonia ovulates 12-15 days after fertilization; another species ovulates 5-8 days after fertilization.”

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