Reflections on the Medical Miracles of the Holy Quran
Introduction and significant points
Fourteen centuries ago, Allah (SWT) sent down the Quran to mankind as a book of guidance. He called upon people to be guided to the truth by adhering to this book. From the day of its revelation to the day of judgement, this last divine book , the Holy Quran, will remain the sole guide, faith and a methodology of life for humanity.
Allah (SWT) says in Quran :
“Surely this Quran guides to the way that is straightest and gives good tidings to the believers who do deeds of righteousness, that theirs shall be a great wage.” (18:9)
إِنَّ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ يَهْدِي لِلَّتِي هِيَ أَقْوَمُ وَيُبَشِّرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ الَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ أَجْرًا كَبِيرًا [ سورة الإسراء 9]..
The matchless style of the Quran and its superior wisdom are definite evidence that it is the word of God. In addition, the Quran has many miraculous attributes proving that it is a revelation from God. One of these attributes is the fact that a number of scientific truths that we have only been able to uncover by the technology of the 20th century were stated in the Quran 1,400 years ago.
Of course the Quran is not a book of science. However, many scientific facts that are expressed in an extremely concise and profound manner in its verses have only been discovered with the technology of the 20th century. These facts could not have been known at the time of the Quran’s revelation, and this is still more proof that the Quran is the word of God.
In order to understand the scientific miracle of the Quran, we must first take a look at the level of science at the time when this holy book was revealed.
In the 7th century, when the Quran was revealed, Arab society had many superstitious and groundless beliefs where scientific issues were concerned. Lacking the technology to examine the universe and nature, these early Arabs believed in legends inherited from past generations. They supposed, for example, that mountains supported the sky above. They believed that the earth was flat and that there were high mountains at its both ends. It was thought that these mountains were pillars that kept the vault of heaven high above.
However all these superstitious beliefs of Arab society were eliminated with the Quran. In Surat Al Ra’ed (Chapter 13) , verse 2, it was said: “Allah is He who raised up the heavens without any pillars, that you can see ” (The Quran, 13:2).
(اللّهُ الَّذِي رَفَعَ السَّمَاوَاتِ بِغَيْرِ عَمَدٍ تَرَوْنَهَا) سورة الرعد : 13
This verse invalidated the belief that the sky remains above because of the mountains. In many other subjects, important facts were revealed at a time when no one could have known them.
Few points need to be highlighted :
- Quran’s principal objective is to form a righteous man and establish a virtuous community …
- Quran is not a book of astrology, or medicine.
- Quran’s words need not reflect the norms of the present time, or have connotation to recent theories and knowledge…
- Quran’s words are very well-contrived and accurate, as they are composed by Allah, Who has perfected everything.
- Quran’s purposes of medical and scientific references, and miracles are numerous, of which the most significant are:
- Reinforcing and strengthening the faith in Moslems through motivation of admonition, deliberation and meditation.
- Giving non-Moslems conclusive evidences of the genuineness of Islam, as Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was not to get acquainted with such scientific issues, which were not revealed except in the recent decades, unless told of by Allah the Almighty. “Soon will We show them our signs in the furthest horizons, and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth…” (41: 53)
سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الْآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ ۗ أَوَلَمْ يَكْفِ بِرَبِّكَ أَنَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ [ سورة فصلت 53].
Let’s take for example this verse “O mankind! If ye have a doubt about Recreation ,” (22:5)
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِن كُنتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِّنَ الْبَعْثِ ( الحج :5)
here is the evidence: “surely We created you out of dust, then of a sperm-drop, then of a leech-like clot, then out of a lump of flesh, formed and unformed, that We may make clearer (Our signs) to you; and We establish in the wombs what We will, till a stated term, then We deliver you as infants, then that you may come of age; and some of you die, and some of you are kept back unto the vilest state of life, that after knowing, they may know nothing…” (22: 5)
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِن كُنتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِّنَ الْبَعْثِ فَإِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ عَلَقَةٍ ثُمَّ مِن مُّضْغَةٍ مُّخَلَّقَةٍ وَغَيْرِ مُخَلَّقَةٍ لِّنُبَيِّنَ لَكُمْ وَنُقِرُّ فِي الْأَرْحَامِ مَا نَشَاء إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ثُمَّ نُخْرِجُكُمْ طِفْلاً ثُمَّ لِتَبْلُغُوا أَشُدَّكُمْ وَمِنكُم مَّن يُتَوَفَّى وَمِنكُم مَّن يُرَدُّ إِلَى أَرْذَلِ الْعُمُرِ لِكَيْلَا يَعْلَمَ مِن بَعْدِ عِلْمٍ شَيْئاً [ سورة الحج 5]..
The verse goes on; “and you see the earth barren, but when We send down water upon it, it quivers, and swells, and puts forth of every delightful pairs.” (22: 5),
وَتَرَى الْأَرْضَ هَامِدَةً فَإِذَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْهَا الْمَاء اهْتَزَّتْ وَرَبَتْ وَأَنبَتَتْ مِن كُلِّ زَوْجٍ بَهِيجٍ [ سورة الحج 5].
Quran encourages all that helps reveal the secret of the universe and existence, and strengthens faith to Allah .
“Say; ‘Journey in the land, and see how Allah did originate creation; so will Allah produce a later creation: for Allah has power over all things.’” (29: 20)
( قُلْ سِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَانظُرُوا كَيْفَ بَدَأَ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ اللَّهُ يُنشِئُ النَّشْأَةَ الْآخِرَةَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ) العنكبوت (20)
The sensation of skin pain
It was commonly believed, for several centuries, that the body is all sensitive to pain. It was not clear then that there were specialized nerves in the body responsible for transporting all kinds of pain and other sensations, until recently when anatomy has discovered the role of specialized nerve endings in transporting all different kinds of pain.
The most significant nerve sensations in the human body are:
- The sensation of touch: the corpuscles responsible for such sensation are called Meissners and Merkels corpuscles.
- The sensation of pain: this is transported by the nerve endings in the skin.
- The sensation of heat: this is the responsibility of Ruffini cylinders corpuscles.
Taking skin burns as a distinct cause for the skin sensation of pain, burns can be divided into 3 types:
- Burns of first degree (sun burns): these affect the epidermis causing swelling and moderate pain. The phenomena of redness, swelling and pain usually disappear within two to three days. (Figure 1).
- Burns of second degree: epidermis and dermis are injured. In such a case, a detachment occurs between epidermis and dermis, causing the collection of secretions between these two layers (Figure 2). The injured person suffers from severe pain, and excessive increase of pain sensation, due to irritation of exposed nerve ending particularly after the outburst of blisters. The skin starts to heal within 14 days as a result of the process of renovation and inversion under the skin.
- Burns of third degree: the whole skin thickness is burned and perhaps the injury may reach the muscles or the bone. The skin loses elasticity and becomes rough and dry. In this case, the injured person do not feel much pain, as nerve endings have been damaged almost completely due to burning (Figure 3).
The Quran states ; “Those who reject our signs, We shall cast into the fire; as often as their skins are roasted through. We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the punishment; for Allah is Exalted in power; Wise.” ( 4:56)
(إنَّ الذٌينّ كّفّرٍوا بٌآيّاتٌنّا سّوًفّ نصليهم نّارْا كٍلَّمّا نّضٌجّتً جلودهم بدلناهم جلوداَ غيرها ليذوقوا العّذّابّ إنَّ اللَّهّ كّانّ عّزٌيزْا حّكٌيمْا) (النساء56).
Allah did not say “as often as their skins are burned”, as burning could be partial, but He rather said: “as often as their skins are roasted through”, i.e., totally burned with all nerves of sensation and pain. So, He the Almighty associated between the sensation of pain and the skin when roasted and burned totally, thus losing its structure and function. When sensation of pain is lost, a new fully composed and functional skin is replaced, where the nerve ending responsible for the painful sensation of heat and burn perform and function to make the unbeliever taste the punishment of being burned with fire over and over again.
What about intestines ..?
Anatomy has discovered that small intestines are the longest part in the digestive system, of about 5 meters long. The walls of intestines consist of 3 layers:
- The external stratum (serum stratum): its membrane is soft and wet due to the secretion of a serum liquid.
- The medium stratum (muscular stratum).
- The internal stratum (mucosa stratum): it consists of a mucosa plate and circular or ring folds full of villi, and contains intestinal glands and lymphatic vesicular.
It has been found out that the abdominal cavity is lined with the peritoneum which is fed through the wall nerves feeding the skin, and the muscles of chest and abdomen. These nerves are affected by touch and heat. The viscera have no nerves for pain or sensation. Therefore, when the abdominal wall is anesthetized locally, and the abdomen is open, no sensation of pain or disturbance is felt in the intestines if held, cut or even burned. But when the intestines are cut or perforated for any reason, its contents come out into the cavity surrounding the viscera, and which is rich in sensitive nerves, the pain is then very severe and the abdomen of the patient is in a state called Board Like Rigidity. It is an emergency surgical state that requires an immediate operation.
In Quran, Allah the Almighty says about the torment of hell fire; “such are given to drink boiling water, that tears their bowels asunder.” (47: 15)
وَسُقُوا مَاء حَمِيمًا فَقَطَّعَ أَمْعَاءَهُمْ [ سورة محمد 15].
The Holy Quran threatens the unbelievers of hot water that tears their bowels. The reasoning underlying this threat has recently become evident. It has been discovered that intestines are not affected with heat. But if they are cut, hot water therein comes out into the peritoneum which is fed through the wall nerves feeding the skin, and the muscles of chest and abdomen. These nerves are affected with touch or heat, so the hot water, after intestines are cut, causes the highest degrees of pain.
So the outer torment felt in the skin, is different from that felt in the inner intestines, due to the difference in the nature of skin structure. The feeling of former torment cannot be maintained unless the roasted skin is exchanged with a new layer, while in the case of intestines, torment is felt only by cutting the intestines with hot water. Torment is yet continuous: “As for the unbelievers, theirs shall be the fire of Gehannam (hellfire); they shall neither be done with and die, nor shall its chastisement be lightened for them, even so We recompense every ungrateful one.” (35:36)
وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَهُمْ نَارُ جَهَنَّمَ لَا يُقْضَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ فَيَمُوتُوا وَلَا يُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُم مِّنْ عَذَابِهَا كَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي كُلَّ كَفُورٍ [ سورة فاطر 36].
Thus the Quranic scientific miracles are crystallized. Feeling of pain as perceived in medical facts are very much compatible with the statements of the Holy Quran.
What is the reason behind advancing hearing over sight in the Holy Quran?
Allah the Almighty says; “And pursue not that you have no knowledge of; surely the hearing, the sight, the heart- all of those shall be questioned of.” (17:36),
وَلاَ تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْؤُولاً [(36) سورة الإسراء]
and; “Not so did you cover yourselves, lest your hearing, your eyes and your skins should bear witness against you; but you thought that Allah would never know much of the things that you were working.” (41: 22),
( وَمَا كُنتُمْ تَسْتَتِرُونَ أَنْ يَشْهَدَ عَلَيْكُمْ سَمْعُكُمْ وَلَا أَبْصَارُكُمْ وَلَا جُلُودُكُمْ وَلَكِن ظَنَنتُمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَعْلَمُ كَثِيراً مِّمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ ). (22- فصلت)
and: “Say; ‘Think you, if Allah took away your hearing and your sight, and sealed up you hearts, who – a god other than Allah – could restore them to you?’” (6:46)
قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ سَمْعَكُمْ وَأَبْصَارَكُمْ وَخَتَمَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِكُمْ مَنْ إِلَٰهٌ غَيْرُ اللَّهِ يَأْتِيكُمْ بِهِ ۗ [ سورة الأنعام 46].
What are the possible reasons behind advancing “hearing” over “sight” in Quran ?
- Hearing develops before sight in the embryo stage , and it is the first sense that functions in life. The function of hearing starts immediately with the baby after deliver, in contrary to the eye which does not function the time the baby is brought to life. In other words, Allah the Almighty conveys to us that it is hearing that functions at first. If a disturbing sound is produced near the newly born baby, he/ she feels terrified and cries. But if a hand is approached near the same baby, he/ she does not move or sense any sort of danger.
- Ear is preferred over and more superior than the eye, as it does not stop function by sleep. Since the very beginning of life, the ear functions at the first instance after delivery, while some other organs may wait days, or years to function. The eye needs light to see. Rays of light are reflected on things, then enter the eye to see things. If it is dark, the eye cannot function, but the ear can function day and night.
- Ear is the link between man and the world. When Allah the Almighty decreed that the Men of the Cave sleep hundred of years, He said; “Then We smote their ears many years in the Cave.” (18 : 11)
فَضَرَبْنَا عَلَى آذَانِهِمْ فِي الْكَهْفِ سِنِينَ عَدَدا [ سورة الكهف 11].
Hence when ear was out of function, men of the Cave were able to sleep hundred of years without any disturbance. Noisy daylight movements, contrary to night quietness, prevent man to sleep deeply. Yet the ears never sleep or lose attention.
It is noticed that the word hearing advances the word sight in the whole of Quran, except in one verse, which tackles doomsday: “If only you could see when the guilty ones will bend low their heads before their Lord! ‘Our Lord, we have seen and we have heard; now return us, that we may do righteousness, for we do have sure faith.’” (32: 12)
وَلَوْ تَرَى إِذِ الْمُجْرِمُونَ نَاكِسُو رُؤُوسِهِمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ رَبَّنَا أَبْصَرْنَا وَسَمِعْنَا فَارْجِعْنَا نَعْمَلْ صَالِحًا إِنَّا مُوقِنُونَ [ سورة السجدة 12].
In this only verse, Allah forwards the word “see” over that of “hear”, as the horrible scenes of Doomsday (the day of judgment) when overwhelming people, will be seen first before heard of. Allah knows best.
Another interesting point :
It is also noticed that the word ear is always referred to in the singular form while the word eyes in the plural form. Allah says: “Not so did you cover yourselves, lest your hearing, your eyes and your skins should bear witness against you; but you thought that Allah would never know much of the things that you were working.” (41: 22),
( وَمَا كُنتُمْ تَسْتَتِرُونَ أَنْ يَشْهَدَ عَلَيْكُمْ سَمْعُكُمْ وَلَا أَبْصَارُكُمْ وَلَا جُلُودُكُمْ وَلَكِن ظَنَنتُمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَعْلَمُ كَثِيراً مِّمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ ) (22- فصلت)
and: “Say; ‘Think you, if Allah took away your hearing and your eyes, and sealed up your hearts, who – a god other than Allah – could restore them to you?’” (6:46)
قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ سَمْعَكُمْ وَأَبْصَارَكُمْ وَخَتَمَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِكُمْ مَنْ إِلَٰهٌ غَيْرُ اللَّهِ يَأْتِيكُمْ بِهِ ۗ [ سورة الأنعام 46].
Why is it, in the Holy Quran, that the word “ear” is always singular, while the word “eyes” is plural? Why could it not be “ears and eyes”, or “ear and eye”? Allah the Almighty, in such an accurate expression, seeks to reveal to us the precision of the Holy Quran. The sense of sight can be willingly controlled by man, as he is opt whether to see or not. Man can close his eyes for the things he does not like to see, but he cannot do the same with his sense of hearing, as he has no control over ear whether to hear or not. In other words, when someone is in a room where ten people are talking, their voices will reach his ear whether he is willing or not. The sense of sight vary among people; someone sees something while another sees something else due to a different variation of sight, while someone else closes his eyes and sees nothing. For hearing, we all share the same sound, if we are assembled in one place. Hence eyes vary but ears stand single.