THE SCIENTIFIC MIRACLES OF THE QUR'AN
The Separate Seas
The Dark Depths of the Seas and
The Region Responsible for Our
Hearts Find Peace in the Remembrance
Forgiveness According to the
Morals of Islam and Its Benefits on Health
How Prayer Accelerates the Treatment
of the Sick
Stress and Depression: The Results
of Not Abiding by the Religion
THE SEPARATES SEAS
One of the properties of seas that has only recently been discovered
is related in a verse of the Qur'an as follows:
He has let loose the two seas, converging together,
with a barrier between them they do not break through. (Qur'an, 55:19-20)
There are large waves, strong currents, and tides in the
Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Mediterranean
Sea water enters the Atlantic by Gibraltar. But their temperature,
salinity, and densities do not change, because of the barrier
that separates them.
This property of the seas, that is, that they meet and yet do not intermix,
has only very recently been discovered by oceanographers. Because of
the physical force called "surface tension," the waters of neighbouring
seas do not mix. Caused by the difference in the density of their waters,
surface tension prevents them from mingling with one another, just as
if a thin wall were between them.64
It is interesting that, during a period when there was little knowledge
of physics, and of surface tension, or oceanography, this truth was revealed
in the Qur'an.
THE DARK DEPTHS OF THE SEAS AND INTERNAL WAVES
Or [the unbelievers' state] are like the darkness of a fathomless sea which is covered by waves above which are waves above which are clouds, layers of darkness, one upon the other. If he puts out his hand, he can scarcely see it. Those Allah gives no light to, they have no light. (Qur'an, 24:40)
In deep seas and oceans, the darkness is found at a depth of 200 meters (660 feet) and deeper. At this depth, there is almost no light, and below a depth of 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) there is no light at all.65
Today, we know about the general formation of the sea, the characteristics of the living things in it, its salinity, as well as the amount of water it contains, and its surface area and depth. Submarines and special equipment, developed with modern technology, have enabled scientists to obtain such information.
Human beings are not able to dive to a depth of more than 70 meters (230 feet) without the aid of special equipment. They cannot survive unaided in the dark depths of the oceans, such as at a depth of 200 meters (660 feet). For these reasons, scientists have only recently been able to discover detailed information about the seas. However, that the depth of the sea is dark was revealed in the Qur'an 1,400 years ago. It is certainly one of the miracles of the Qur'an that such information was given at a time where no equipment to enable man to dive into the depths of the oceans was available.
In addition, the statement in Surat an-Nur 40 "...like the darkness of a fathomless sea which is covered by waves above which are waves above which are clouds..." draws our attention to another miracle of the Qur'an.
Scientists have only recently discovered that there are sub-surface waves, which "occur on density interfaces between layers of different densities." These internal waves cover the deep waters of seas and oceans because deep water has a higher density than the water above it. Internal waves act like surface waves. They can break, just like surface waves. Internal waves cannot be discerned by the human eye, but they can be detected by studying temperature or salinity changes at a given location.66
The statements in the Qur'an run parallel precisely the above explanation. Certainly, this fact, which scientists has discovered very recently, shows once again that the Qur'an is the word of Allah.
THE REGION RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR MOVEMENTS
No indeed! If he does not stop, We will grab him by the forelock, a lying, sinful forelock. (Qur'an, 96:15-16)
Measurements made with today's technology have revealed that between
3 and 30 percent of the sunlight is reflected at the surface of the
sea. Then, almost all of the seven colours of the light spectrum
are absorbed, one after another, in the first 200 metres, except
for blue light (picture at left). Below a depth of 1,000 metres,
there is no light at all (above picture). This scientific fact was
pointed out in Sura Nur 40 in the Qur'an 1,400 years ago.
The expression "the lying, sinful forelock" in the above verse is most interesting. Research carried out in recent years has revealed that the prefrontal area, which is responsible for the management of particular functions of the brain, lies in the frontal part of the skull. Scientists only discovered the functions of this area, which the Qur'an pointed out 1,400 years ago, in the last 60 years. If we look inside to the brain at the front of the head, we will find the frontal area of the cerebrum. A book entitled Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology, which includes the results of the latest research on the functions of this area, says:
The motivation and the foresight to plan and initiate movements occur in the anterior portion of the frontal lobes, the prefrontal area. This is a region of association cortex... 67
The book also says:
In relation to its involvement in motivation, the prefrontal area is also thought to be the functional center for aggression...68
So, this area of the cerebrum is responsible for planning, motivation, and initiating good and sinful behaviour, and is responsible for telling lies and the truth.
It is clear that the statement "the lying, sinful forelock" corresponds completely to the above explanations. Again, this fact which scientists have only discovered in the last 60 years, was stated by Allah in the Qur'an centuries ago.
HEARTS FIND PEACE IN THE REMEMBRANCE OF ALLAH
According to research by David B. Larson, of the American National Health Research Center, and his team, comparisons of devout and non-religious Americans have given very surprising results. For instance, religious people suffer 60% less heart disease than those with little or no religious belief, the suicide rate among them is 100% lower, they suffer far lower levels of high blood pressure, and this ratio is 7:1 among smokers.69
It was reported in one study published in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, an important scientific source in the world of medicine, that people who describe themselves as having no religious beliefs become ill more frequently and have shorter life spans. According to the results of the research, those with no beliefs are twice as likely to suffer stomach-intestine diseases than believers, and their mortality rate from respiratory diseases is 66% times higher than that of believers.
Secular psychologists tend to refer to similar figures as "psychological effects." This means that belief raises peoples' spirits, and this contributes to health. This explanation may indeed be reasonable, but a more striking conclusion emerges when the subject is examined. Belief in Allah is much stronger than any other psychological influence. The wide-ranging research into the connection between religious belief and physical health carried out by Dr. Herbert Benson of the Harvard Medical Faculty has produced surprising conclusions in this area. Despite not being a believer himself, Dr. Benson has concluded that worship and belief in Allah have a more positive effect on human health than that observed in anything else. Benson states that he has concluded that no belief provides as much mental peace as belief in Allah.70
What is the reason for this connection between belief and the human soul and body? The conclusion reached by the secular researcher Benson is, in his own words, that the human body and mind are regulated to believe in Allah.71
This fact, which the world of medicine has slowly begun to appreciate, is a secret revealed in the Qur'an in these words: "... Only in the remembrance of Allah can the heart find peace." (Qur'an, 13:28) The reason why those who believe in Allah, who pray to and trust in Him, are psychologically and physically healthier is that they behave in accordance with the purpose of their creation. Philosophies and systems which contradict human creation always lead to pain and unhappiness.
Modern medicine is now tending towards the realization of this truth. As Patrick Glynn put it: "[S]cientific research in psychology over the past twenty-five years has demonstrated that,... religious belief is one of the most consistent correlates of overall mental health and happiness."72
FORGIVENESS ACCORDING TO THE MORALS OF ISLAM AND ITS BENEFITS ON HEALTH
One of the moral traits recommended in the Qur'an is forgiveness:
Hold to forgiveness, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant. (Qur'an, 7: 199)
In another verse Allah commands: "... They should rather pardon and overlook. Wouldn't you love Allah to forgive you? Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Qur'an,
Those who do not abide by the moral values of the Qur'an find it very difficult to forgive others. Because, they are easily angered by any error committed. However, Allah has advised the faithful that forgiveness is more proper:
The repayment of a bad action is one equivalent to it. But if someone pardons and puts things right, his reward is with Allah... (Qur'an, 42:40)
.... But if you pardon and exonerate and forgive, Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Qur'an, 64: 14)
It has also been revealed in the Qur'an that forgiveness
is a superior moral trait: "But if someone is steadfast and forgives, that is the most resolute course to follow." (Qur'an, 42:43) For that reason, believers are forgiving, compassionate and tolerant people who, as revealed in the Qur'an, "control their rage and pardon other people." (Qur'an,
Believers' notion of forgiveness is very different to that of those who do not live by the morals of the Qur'an. Even though many people may say they have forgiven someone who has offended them, it nevertheless takes a long time to free themselves of the hatred and anger in their hearts. Their behaviour tends to betray that anger. On the other hand, the forgiveness of believers is sincere. Because believers know that human beings are tried in this world, and learn by their mistakes, they are tolerant and compassionate. Moreover, believers are also capable of forgiveness even when they are in the right, and the other in the wrong. When forgiving, they make no distinction between large errors and small ones. Someone may cause severe losses to them by mistake. However, believers know that everything takes place under the command of Allah, and according to a specific destiny, and therefore, they surrender themselves to these developments, never acquiescing to anger.
According to recent research, American scientists established that those capable of forgiveness are healthier in both mind and body. Dr. Frederic Luskin, who holds a Ph.D. in Counselling and Health Psychology from Stanford University, and his team, studied 259 people living in the city of San Francisco. The scientists invited the subjects to attend six one-and-a-half-hour sessions, and aimed to instruct the subjects in forgiveness during their conversations.
The subjects of the experiments stated that they suffered less after forgiving people who had wronged them. The research showed that people who learned to forgive feel much better, not only emotionally but also physically. For example, it was established that after the experiment psychological and physical symptoms such as stress-related backache, insomnia and stomachaches were significantly reduced in these individuals.
In his book, Forgive for Good, Dr. Frederic Luskin describes forgiveness as a proven recipe for health and happiness. The book describes how forgiveness promotes such positive states of mind as hope, patience and self-confidence by reducing anger, suffering, depression and stress. According to Dr. Luskin, harboured anger causes observable physical effects in the individual. He goes on to say that:
The thing about long-term or unresolved anger, is we've seen it resets the internal thermostat. When you get used to a low level of anger all the time, you don't recognize what's normal. It creates a kind of adrenaline rush that people get used to. It burns out the body and makes it difficult to think clearly-making the situation worse.73
In addition, Dr. Luskin says, when the body releases certain enzymes during anger and stress, cholesterol and blood pressure levels go up-not a good long-term disposition to maintain the body in.74
An article called "Forgiveness," published in the September-October 1996 edition of Healing Currents Magazine, stated that anger towards an individual or an event led to negative emotions in people, and harmed their emotional balance and even their physical health.75 The article also states that people realise after a while that the anger is a nuisance to them, and wish to repair the damage to the relationship. So, they take steps to forgive. It is also stated that, despite all they endure, people do not want to waste the precious moments of their life in anger and anxiety, and prefer to forgive themselves and others.76
In another study involving 1,500 people depression, stress and mental illness were observed to be less frequent in religious people. Dr. Herbert Benson, who conducted the research, linked this to the way religions encourage "forgiveness," and went on to say:
There's a physiology of forgiveness... When you do not forgive, it will chew you up.77
According to an article titled, "Anger Is Hostile to Your Heart," published in the Harvard Gazette, anger is extremely harmful to the heart. Ichiro Kawachi, an assistant professor of medicine, and his team scientifically demonstrated this with various tests and measurements. As a result of their research, they established that grumpy old men had three times the risk of heart disease than their more tempered peers. "The tripling of risk," Kawachi says, "involves high levels of anger, explosive anger that includes smashing things and wanting to hurt someone in a fight."78
Researchers believe that release of stress hormones, increased oxygen demand by the heart's muscle cells, and added stickiness of blood platelets, which leads to clots explain how anger increases the chance of a heart attack.79 Furthermore, at times of anger, the pulse rises above its normal level, and leads to increased blood pressure in the arteries, and thus to a greater risk of heart attack.
According to researchers, anger and hostility can also trigger the production of proteins linked to inflammation in the blood. The journal Psychosomatic Medicine suggested that the emotion triggers the production of inflammatory proteins, which may in turn be causing the hardening of the arteries, causing heart disease and stroke.80 According to Associate Professor Edward Suarez of the Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina, the protein interleukin 6 (or IL-6) is much higher in men who are angry and depressed. High blood levels of IL-6 lead to atherosclerosis, the build-up of fatty deposits in the lining of the walls of arteries.81 According to Suarez, as well as factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol, heart disease is also linked to psychological states such as depression, anger and hostility.82
Another article, titled "Anger Raises Risk of Heart Attack," published in The Times, stated that a short temper might be a short cut to a heart attack, and that young men who reacted to stress by becoming angry were three times more likely to develop premature heart disease, and were five times more likely to have an early heart attack.83 Scientists at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, found that quick-tempered men are at risk of heart attack even if there is no family history of heart disease.84
All the available research shows that anger is a state of mind that seriously damages human health. Forgiveness, on the other hand, even if it comes hard to people, is pleasing, an aspect of superior morals, that eliminates all the harmful effects of anger, and helps the individual to enjoy a healthy life, both psychologically and physically. Forgiveness, of course, is one of a form of behaviour by which a person can stay healthy, and a positive virtue everyone should live by. However, the true aim of forgiveness-as in all else-must be to please Allah. The fact that the features of this sort of morality, and that the benefits of which have been scientifically identified, have been revealed in many verses of the Qur'an, is just one of the many sources of wisdom it contains.
HOW PRAYER ACCELERATES THE TREATMENT OF THE SICK
Your Lord says, "Call on Me and I will answer you. Those who are too proud to worship Me will enter Hell abject." (Qur'an,
According to the Qur'an, prayer, meaning "calling, giving expression, requesting, seeking help," is a person's turning sincerely to Allah, and seeking help from Him, the Almighty, the Compassionate and Merciful, in the knowledge that he is a dependent being. Illness is one of those instances when a person feels this dependence most and draws closer to Allah. Furthermore, sickness is a test, devised in His Wisdom, that takes place by His will, and is a warning to remind people of the transience and imperfection of this life, and is also a source of recompense in the Hereafter for the patient and submissive.
Those without faith, on the other hand, imagine that the way to recovery is through doctors, medicines or the advanced technological capabilities of modern science. They never pause to think that it is Allah Who causes their physical system to function when they are in good health, or Who creates the healing medicines and doctors when they are ill. Many turn only to Allah when they arrive at the opinion that doctors and medicines are inadequate. People in such situations seek help only from Allah, realising that only He can free them from their difficulty. Allah has revealed this mindset in a verse:
When harm touches man, he calls on Us, lying on his side or sitting down or standing up. Then when We remove the harm from him he carries on as if he had never called on Us when the harm first touched him. In that way We make what they have done appear good to the profligate. (Qur'an, 10:12)
The fact is, however, that even in good health, or without tribulations or other difficulties, a person must pray and give thanks to Allah for the comforts, good health and all the other blessings He has imparted.
One very important aspect of prayer is this: In addition to praying out loud, it is also important for a person to make every effort to pray through his or her deeds. Prayer by action means doing everything possible to attain a certain wish. For example, in addition to praying, a sick person may also have to visit an expert doctor, use medicines that will be of benefit, and receive hospital treatment if necessary, or some other form of special care. Because, Allah has linked everything that happens in this world to specific causes. Everything in the world and in the universe happens in accordance with these causes. Therefore, the individual must take the requisite measures in accordance with these causes, and yet await the outcome from Allah, with humility, submission and patience, in the knowledge that it is He Who brings about their results.
The positive effect of faith and prayer on the sick and the way these accelerate treatment is a matter that has attracted the attention of and is recommended by doctors. Under the heading "God and Health: Is Religion Good Medicine? Why Science Is Starting to Believe," the 10 November, 2003, edition of the famous magazine Newsweek took the curative effect of religion as its cover story. It reported that faith in Allah raised people's morale and helped them recover more easily, and that science had also begun to believe that people with religious faith recover more easily and quickly. According to a Newsweek survey, 72% of Americans say they believe that praying can cure someone and that prayer facilitates recovery. Research in Great Britain and the USA has also concluded that prayer reduces patients' symptoms and accelerates the recovery process.
According to research conducted at Michigan University, depression and stress are observed to lesser extent in the devout. And, according to findings at Rush University in Chicago, the early death rate among people who worship and pray regularly is some 25% lower than in those with no religious convictions. Another study conducted at Duke University on 750 people, who underwent angiocardiography, proved scientifically the "curative power of prayer." It was established that the death rate among heart patients who prayed decreased by 30% within a year after their operations.
Examples of the prayers mentioned in the Qur'an are:
And Ayyub when he called out to his Lord, "Great harm has afflicted me and You are the Most Merciful of the merciful," We
responded to him and removed from him the harm which was afflicting him and
restored his family to him, and the same again with them, as a mercy direct
from Us and a Reminder to all worshippers. (Qur'an, 21:83-84)
And Dhu'n-Nun [Yunus] when he left in anger and thought
We would not punish him. He called out in the pitch darkness: "There is no deity but You! Glory be to You! Truly I have been one of the wrongdoers." We
responded to him and rescued him from his grief. That is how We rescue the
believers. (Qur'an, 21:87-88)
And Zakariyya when he called out to his Lord, "My Lord, do not leave me on my own, though You are the Best of Inheritors." We
responded to him and gave him Yahya, restoring for him his wife's fertility.
They outdid one another in good actions, calling out to Us in yearning and
in awe, and humbling themselves to Us. (Qur'an, 21:89-90)
Nuh called out to Us and what an excellent Responder We are! (Qur'an, 37:75)
As has already been stated, prayer must not only be for alleviation of sickness, or other mundane problems. A sincere believer must always pray to Allah and accept whatever comes from Him. The fact that the benefits of prayer revealed in many verses of the Qur'an are now being recognised scientifically, once again reveals the miraculous nature of the Qur'an.
If My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I answer the call of the caller when he calls on Me. They should therefore respond to Me and believe in Me so that hopefully they will be rightly guided. (Qur'an, 2:186)
STRESS AND DEPRESSION THE RESULTS OF NOT ABIDING BY THE RELIGION
"But if anyone turns away from My reminder, his life will be a dark and narrow one..." (Qur'an,
When Allah desires to guide someone, He expands his breast to Islam. When He desires to misguide someone, He makes his breast narrow and constricted as if he were climbing up into the sky. That is how Allah defiles those who have no faith. (Qur'an, 6:125)
The failure of irreligious people in submitting themselves to Allah causes them to be in a constant state of ill-ease, anxiety and stress. As a consequence, they are afflicted by various psychological illnesses which reveal themselves in their physical selves. Their bodies wear down more quickly, and they age rapidly and degenerate.
However, since believers are psychologically healthy, they do not fall prey to stress, or despondence, and their bodies are ever fit and healthy. The positive effects of their submitting to Allah, their trust in Him and fortitude, looking for the good in all things, and accepting what happens with the hope of His promise, are reflected in their physical selves. This, of course, applies only to those who live by the moral values of the Qur'an, and who truly comprehend the religion. Of course, they may fall ill and eventually grow old, but this natural process does not involve the psychological breakdown it does in others.
Stress and depression, regarded as the diseases of our time, not only cause psychological harm, but also manifests themselves in various physical defects. The common stress and depression-related problems are some forms of mental illness, drug addiction, insomnia, skin, stomach and blood pressure disorders, colds, migraines, a number of bone diseases, kidney imbalances, respiratory difficulties, allergies, heart attacks, and brain swelling. Of course, stress and depression are not the only causes of these, but it has been scientifically proven that the origins of problems such as these are usually psychological.
Stress, which afflicts so many, is a state of mental anxiety caused by such feelings as fear, insecurity, overexcitement, worry and other pressures, that damages the body's equilibrium. When people become victims of stress, their bodies react and sound the alarm, and various biochemical reactions in the body are initiated: The level of adrenaline in the bloodstream rises; energy consumption and bodily reactions reach their maximum levels; sugar, cholesterol and fatty acids are deposited into the bloodstream; blood pressure rises and the pulse accelerates. When glucose is sent to the brain, cholesterol levels rise, and that all spells trouble for the body.
Because chronic stress, in particular, alters the normal functions of the body, it can cause serious harm. Due to stress, adrenalin and cortisol levels in the body rise to abnormal levels. Long-term increases in cortisol levels lead to the premature appearance of disorders such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, ulcers, respiratory diseases, eczema and psoriasis. The effects of high cortisol levels may even include the killing off of brain cells. The disorders caused by stress are described as follows in one source:
There is an important relationship between stress and the tension and pain it gives rise to. The tension caused by stress leads to narrowing of the arteries, disruption of the flow of blood to certain regions of the head and a reduction in the amount of blood flowing to that region. If a tissue is deprived of blood this leads directly to pain, because a tense tissue on one side probably requiring greater amounts of blood and on the other side already having insufficient blood supply stimulates special pain receptors. At the same time substances such as adrenaline and norepinephrine, which affect the nervous system during stress, are secreted. These directly or indirectly increase and accelerate the tension in the muscles. Thus pain leads to tension, tension to anxiety, and anxiety intensifies pain.85
As a result of physical or psychological stress, the individual’s
adrenal gland (the gland above each kidney) secretes large amounts of
glucocorticoid hormones. These hormones increase the energy level of
muscles, and temporarily halt such activities as growth—which are
inessential at that moment. In cases of extreme physical and chronic
psychological stress these hormones, which are otherwise of vital importance,
can give rise to stress related disorders, such as high blood pressure,
obesity, bone erosion and stomach ulcers.
However, one of the most detrimental effects of stress is heart attacks. Research shows that aggressive, nervous, anxious, impatient, competitive, hostile and irritable people have a much higher incidence of heart attacks than people less inclined to these traits.86
The reason for this is that extreme stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, initiated by the hypothalamus, also causes excessive secretion of insulin, and therefore the accumulation of insulin in the blood. This is a matter of vital importance. Because, none of the conditions that lead to coronary heart disease play such a definitive and harmful role as excess insulin in the blood.87
Scientists have recognized that the higher the level of stress, the more the positive effects of the red cells in the blood are weakened. According to an experiment developed by Linda Naylor, head of the Oxford University's technology transfer company, the negative effect of stress levels on the immune system can now be measured.
There is a close relationship between stress and the immune system. Physiological stress has an important effect on the immune system and results in its deterioration. When under stress, the brain increases production of the cortisol hormone in the body, which weakens the immune system. To put it another way, there is a direct relationship between the brain, the immune system and hormones. Experts in the field state:
Studies on psychological or physical stress have revealed that at times of intense stress there is a fall in immunity response linked to the hormonal balance. It is known that the emergence and strength of many illnesses including cancer is linked to stress.88
In short, stress harms a human being's natural equilibrium. Constant exposure to this abnormal condition impairs the body's health, and leads to a wide variety of disorders. Experts classify the negative effects of stress on the human body under the following basic categories:
Anxiety and Panic: A feeling that events are spiralling out of control
Constantly increasing perspiration
Voice changes: Stammering, trembling speech
Hyperactivity: Sudden explosions of energy, weak diabetic control
Sleeping difficulty: Nightmares
Skin diseases: Spots, acne, fever, psoriasis and eczema
Gastrointestinal indications: Indigestion, nausea, ulcers
Muscular tension: Grinding or locking teeth, aches in the jaw, back, neck and shoulders
Low intensity infections: Colds etc.
Palpitations, chest pain, high blood pressure
Kidney imbalances, holding water
Respiratory disorders, shortness of breath
Dry mouth and throat
Weakening of the immune system
Shrinkage in the brain region
Feelings of guilt and lack of self-confidence
Confusion, inability to analyse correctly, poor thinking ability, weak memory
Extreme pessimism, believing that everything is going badly
Difficulty in moving or staying still, constant rhythm beating
Inability to concentrate or difficulty in so doing
Irritability, extreme sensitivity
Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
Loss of or increased appetite
The fact that those who fail to abide by religious moral values experience "stress" is revealed by Allah in the Qur'an:
"But if anyone turns away from My reminder, his life will be a dark and narrow one..." (Qur'an,
In another verse, Allah has revealed that "... the Earth became narrow for them, for all its great breadth, and their own selves became constricted for them and they realised that there was no refuge from Allah except in Him..." (Qur'an,
This "dark and narrow" life, or stress, to give it the current name, is the outcome of non-believers' failure to abide by the moral values imparted by faith. Today, doctors maintain that a calm and self-assured composure are essential for protection from the effects of stress. A calm and peaceful disposition is only possible by living according to the Qur'an. Indeed, it has been revealed in many verses of the Qur'an that Allah imparts "serenity" upon the believers. (Qur'an, 2:248, 9:26, 40, 48:4, 18) Our Lord's promise to the faithful has been revealed as follows:
Anyone who acts rightly, male or female, being a believer, We will give them a good life and We will recompense them according to the best of what they did. (Qur'an, 16:97)