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Shadows, Laws of Nature and Scientific Miracles in the Quraan – The Right Approach

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Recognizing the scientific miracles and delving into them in detail should not be one’s main purpose in studying the Quraan. Indeed, recognizing the scientific miracles of the Quraan is not necessary for attaining the proper guidance of the Quraan. This is why the Companions of he Prophet (peace be upon him), who were known for implementing the Quraan in the proper way, did not give much consideration to this miraculous aspect of the Quraan yet, at the same time, they understood  the Quraan and knew how it is to be applied.

Beyond that, there can be a danger in emphasizing such scientific miracles for the reader who is preoccupied with noticing those aspects. This is because he may be missing the true message of the verse that he is reading. He for his guidance while missing the bigger picture of what the verse is decribing.

Note the following verse as an example,



Have you not considered your Lord – how He extends the shadow, and if He willed, He could have made it stationary? Then We made the sun for it an indication. Then We hold it in hand for a brief grasp.

[Surat’l Furqaan, 25:45-46]

At this point one could begin to scrutinize the words of this verse and one could begin to scrutinize the words of this verse and attempt to relate them to some scientific theories as to the nature of shadows and their relationship with the sun and so forth. However, Muhammad Qutb has a revealing discussion of what the main purpose of verses of this nature seem to be.

Qutb writes that there is nothing necessarily new or fascinating with respect to scientifici knowledge in the words of this verse. However, after reading this verse, one’s perspective on the shadows that he sees should change. Everyday a person witnesses shadows and how they become larger or smaller throughout the day. Usually, not much thought is given to the shadows and one is only really concerned with them when he needs a place to cool off on a hot day. But the two verses above should put everything in a different perspective.

These verses make it clear that the shadows are not moving on their own. Similarly it is not simply what they call nowadays, “the laws of nature.” Instead, it is Allah who is moving them everyday, as the verse says, “Have you not seen how you r Lord spread the shadow?” Allah is making them move and change on a daily basis and if He wills, He could bring an end to all of that motion and change. If Allah willed to do that, there would be no power or force who could ever bring them back to the way they were.

What happens to many humans, including believers, is that they become complacent with respect to these signs of Allah around them. They begin to think about them as “the laws of nature” that Allah has made for this creation. They therefore begin to lose sight of what is really occurring – that these verses clearly bring to light. Even though these signs are all around them, their hearts still can become dead because they are not perceiving these signs in the right manner.

The fact is that it is not simply a matter of Allah creating these “laws” that are at work around the humans. The Quraan presents the matter in an even more moving fashion: it is Allah who is moving them and controlling all the affairs. Hence, the person should be taken from seeing these signs around him to remembering Allah whose acts of creation and wisdom are present around him at all times. When he sees these signs, he is reminded of Allah. And since these signs are always around him, day in and day out, they always serves as a reminder to him of his Creator and Lord.


In addition to the feeling of “Allah’s presence and working” in the nature around oneself, one aslo develop a feeling for Allah’s greatness and Allah’s supreme knowledge.


This process of witnessing nature and realizing Allah’s greatness  and wisdom with its obvious and necessary conclusion is captured in the following verses






Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding.Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.Our Lord, indeed whoever You admit to the Fire – You have disgraced him, and for the wrongdoers there are no helpers.Our Lord, indeed we have heard a caller calling to faith, [saying], ‘Believe in your Lord,’ and we have believed. Our Lord, so forgive us our sins and remove from us our misdeeds and cause us to die with the righteous.Our Lord, and grant us what You promised us through Your messengers and do not disgrace us on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed, You do not fail in [Your] promise.”

[Surat Ale Imraan, 3:190-194]

Elsewhere in the same chapter:

This feelong also leads to another very important feeling: Allah who created all of this could nor would creare it without purpose and a reason.

This world is not made up of a set of scientifc laws that were the result of nothing or chance explosions of energy, with one purpose or goal to them. Instead, it is the working of a willing Lord who created mankind for a very imoportant purpose; furthermore, if He willed He could bring an end to all of man’s efforts that are based on the laws of this creation. One should be very thankful to Allah whenever Allah blesses him though the owrkings of this universe and He does not, instead, turn man’s efforts into vain ones. One should never become arrogant as one should realize that all of his efforts would be for naught if Allah did not allow them to be successful.

Concluding the chapter:

The important point once again is if someone spends most of his time studying the Quraan in trying to discover its scientific miracles in detail and not noticing the greater picture and guidances that the Quraan is offering, he would have missed the essential teachings and purpose of the Quraan. The Quraan will not have that kind of effect on him that it did have, for example, upon the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who were not aware of many of the “scientific miracles” recently discovered but who understood what these verses concerning nature and science implied for their lives.


[Jamal al-Din M. Zarabozo, “Studying the Quran to Recgnize its ‘Sceintific Miracles’ ”  in  How to Approach and Understand the Quran, pp. 73-78]


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