What kind of evidence is found in the statement “in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind and in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth”?

The Details of the Question

- According to verse 164 of the chapter of al-Baqara, what kind of evidence is found “in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind and in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth”?

- The following is also stated in the verse: “…in the rain which Allah Sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead...” Is giving life not valid for the dead anyway; why it is emphasized again that it is dead? Can such a question be asked?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

a) The full meaning of verse 164 of the chapter of al-Baqara is as follows:

“Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the night and the day; in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which Allah Sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the change of the winds, and the clouds which they Trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth;- (Here) indeed are Signs for a people that are wise.”

The evidences of “ikhtira” (creation) and “grace” (purpose) used by the Quran in principle for the existence and unity of Allah are included in the verse. Its summary is as follows:

- The creation of the heavens and earth is an obvious fact. Every created being has a creator. Even a needle cannot come into being without a master. Therefore, the heavens and the earth also have a Creator. The creation of the heavens and the earth as wonderful works of art shows that the Creator has not only infinite knowledge, power and wisdom but also too much dignity to have partners.

- The existence of the day and the night: On the one hand, the subtle relations between the sun and the earth are pointed out and on the other hand, it is pointed out that this solar system was designed in a way to produce the day and the night. The creation of such a programmed, planned and purposeful work of art is an indication that it cannot be the plaything of blind chance, the work of lifeless-unconscious atoms and elements. It is the proof of the existence of Allah, who has infinite knowledge, power and wisdom.

- There is also evidence in the ships’ being able to float on the sea because the construction of the first ship in a way to float on water cannot have been a product of the human mind. It is stated in the Quran that the Prophet Nuh (Noah) built the ship (ark) based on revelation. In addition;

The fact that the sea / water has buoyancy, that it is designed to carry ships like huge mountains, and that those ships provide great benefits as a means of trade and transportation for people in their operation show the existence of Allah because no cause other than Allah, no atom, no molecule of water, knows man. How can they serve man? How can they be shaped in a way to bring about that result since they have no mind? How can they manage such fine and sophisticated affairs since they have no power to do them?

- Rainfall is also a result of the purpose of benefiting people. The sun, the atmosphere, the seas, the winds and the clouds must exist for the rain to fall. It means that for the creation of a single food item for humans, the creation of the universe and the existence of a Creator with infinite knowledge, wisdom and might are virtually necessary.

So, it is emphasized in the verse that the sun, seas and other mechanisms must exist for the creation of a single loaf of bread. The issue can be viewed in a more detailed way from this viewpoint.

b) The mentioning of “dead soil” in the statement “the rain which Allah Sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead” aims to draw attention to the fact that people will be resurrected after they die. A visible resurrection event is strong evidence that people will be resurrected, which is an invisible event.

It is also pointed out how the earth dies in the spring and winter seasons, and how this law of death depends on a wonderful creation because resurrection of plants in spring is as wonderful as their death in autumn and winter. Why do some trees remain green in winter while others lose their leaves?

- How is it that the grains and seeds of those dead plants can produce the same products as in the previous spring without any confusion the next spring?

To sum up, when “death” and “resurrection” come together, they generate great strength. As it is stated in the chapter of al-Mulk, death, like life, is something created by Allah because the event of death takes place depending on only Allah’s knowledge, power and eternal predestination program.

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