Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:164)
By: Mohammad Sobhanie
Signs of His Existence
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَالْفُلْكِ الَّتِي تَجْرِي فِي الْبَحْرِ بِمَا يَنفَعُ النَّاسَ وَمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّـهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مِن مَّاءٍ فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا وَبَثَّ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ دَابَّةٍ وَتَصْرِيفِ الرِّيَاحِ وَالسَّحَابِ الْمُسَخَّرِ بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ ﴿١٦٤﴾
2:164 Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and earth, and the alternation of the night and the day, and the [great] ships which sail through the sea with that which benefits people, and what Allah has sent down from the heavens of rain, giving life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and dispersing therein every [kind of] moving creature, and [His] directing of the winds and the clouds controlled between the heaven and the earth are signs for a people who use reason.
Commentary: The universe is believed to be at least 10 billion light years in diameter and contains a vast number of galaxies. Each galaxy contains masses of stars with possible planets orbiting them. There is dazzling science in the creation of universe and splendid harmony and order within it.
An instance which is referred in the aforementioned verse is the planet Earth. Earth, together with as many as 100-400 billion stars and 100 billion planets, forms the Milky Way galaxy. All these planets and stars are held together without collapsing into each other; each star illuminates in space and each plant travels on its orbits.
Earth spins along its axis once approximately every 24 hours. This, in turn, alternates days and nights on Earth once every 24 hours. If Earth stops spinning, part of Earth would be either permanently day or night. Earth’s temperature in the latter part would drop substantially and that region would become inhabitable. The Quran, in chapter Al-Qasas 28:71, states this fact and said:
… إِن جَعَلَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْكُمُ اللَّيْلَ سَرْمَدًا إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ مَنْ إِلَـٰهٌ غَيْرُ اللَّـهِ يَأْتِيكُم بِضِيَاءٍ … ﴿٧١﴾
28:81 … “if Allah should make for you the night continuous until the Day of Resurrection, what deity other than Allah could bring you light?”
Earth also orbits the sun on an elliptical trajectory once a year, with the sun being nearer to one end of the ellipse. The northern hemisphere, as Earth orbits, is oriented towards the sun for the half of the year and away from it for the other half. Consequently, the spring and summer seasons in the northern hemisphere happens when it is tilted towards the sun. The fall and winter seasons follows the summer as the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun. Seasons in the southern hemisphere occur at opposite times of the year from those in the northern hemisphere.
In the spring, Earth’s temperature rises and the seasonal rain saturates the soil. As a result, vegetations sprout, colorful flowers bloom, and varieties of fruit trees blossom. In the summer, fruits and vegetables become ready to harvest. In the fall, the Earth temperature’s drops, leaves change their green color to a yellow color and finally, they would drop from trees to the earth. In the winter, the Earth temperature grows even colder and there is neither vegetation on the ground nor fruits on the trees, as if the Earth is lifeless. There would not be all four seasons if Earth stopped from tilting towards the sun.
The aforementioned verse underscores some of the wonders of the universe as signs [(لَآيَاتٍ)] for intellectual people [(لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ)]. The verse reads as follows:
1- In the creation of Earth and the heavens [(إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ)],
2- and in the alternation of the night and the day every 24 hours [(وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ)],
3- and in the ships that float through the bouncy forces of the sea and sails for the benefit of people [(وَالْفُلْكِ الَّتِي تَجْرِي فِي الْبَحْرِ بِمَا يَنفَعُ النَّاسَ)],
4- and in the rain that Allah (SWT) sends down from the sky and revives the earth thereby with it [(وَمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّـهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مِن مَّاءٍ فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا)], and scatters therein all kinds of creatures [(وَبَثَّ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ دَابَّةٍ)],
5- and in the veering of winds [(وَتَصْرِيفِ الرِّيَاحِ)],
6- and in the clouds which are held between the heaven and the earth [(وَالسَّحَابِ الْمُسَخَّرِ بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ)]
are indeed signs for a people who use reason [(لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ)].