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“He brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living. And He revives the earth after its death. And thus shall you be brought out (resurrected).”
(Surat Ar-Rűm (The Romans):19)
This blessed ayah appears in the first third of Surat Ar-Rum which is a Makkan Surah consisting of 60 ayahs, excluding the Basmalah.
Some of the Signs of Creation Mentioned in Surat Ar-Rűmţ:
Several signs of creation are mentioned in Surat Ar-Rum; they can be summarized as follows:
1. Description of the battleground in which the Persians defeated the Romans (the Byzantine state). The term used to describe its location is adna, which denotes the lowest or nearest part of the earth. It is now known that the battle took place in the low land of the Valley of Araba (wadi Araba), the Dead Sea and the Valley of Jordan (wadi al-Urdun). Modern scientific evidence proves that the lowest point of earth is this very place. In addition, it is the closest place to the Arabian Peninsula.
2. Prediction that the Romans would defeat the Persians a few years after their being defeated by them. Historically, the Persian armies defeated the Romans in 614/615 A.D, while the Romans defeated them in the year 624 A.D. The word used in Arabic, bid’ sineen, literally means ‘a few years’ which indicates a number of years between three and nine.
3. Establishing the truth that the creation of the heavens and the earth took place in a stated term, which is one of the signs of Allah (SWT) that proves His absolute powers.
4. Allah (SWT) is the One who originated creation, the One who will bring life back, and to Him we will all be returned.
5. Reference to the fact that Allah (SWT) brings out the living from the dead and the dead from the living, revives the earth after its death, and in such a way creatures will be resurrected.
6. Allah (SWT) created man from dust.
7. The creation of human beings (as well as other creatures) is in pairs. The ayahs state that by such a system, every couple establishes a mutual feeling of content, tranquillity, accord and mercy.
8. Reference to the diverse languages and colours of the different peoples despite their descent from one father.
9. Allah (SWT) makes night for people to rest and sleep, and creates day for them to earn their living. In spite of this, Allah (SWT) gives man the ability to sleep during the day, as He created animals that sleep all night and others sleep all night.
10. Reference to the lightning phenomenon, its relationship to the rainfall and the revival of the earth after its death.
11. Confirming the relation between the earth and the heavens, which stands by His command. The ayahs also refer to the fact that all the people will be resurrected from the earth on the Day of Judgment.
12. Stating the fact that all the creations in the heavens and the earth belong to Allah (SWT) alone; all submit to His will. Although some may disobey Him, every single cell in one's body submits completely to Allah (SWT).
13. Allah (SWT) is the One Who begins creation; thereafter He brings it back again, and it is most simple for Him. And He has the Most Exalted similitude in the heavens and the earth.
14. There is no replacement for Allah’s creation.
15. Reference to the materialistic and psychological corruption in the land and the sea for what mankind's hands have earned that He may make them taste, Allah (SWT) makes them taste some (part) of that which they have done, that possibly they would return in repentance.
16. Reference to the winds, as good tidings symbolizing Allah's mercy, and their relation to sailing according to Allah's Commands.
17. Accurate description and precision of how clouds are formed in layers from which rain falls.
18. Comparison between the revival of the earth after its death and the resurrection of the dead on the Day of Judgment.
19. Reference to the sequential stages of the life cycle of human beings, from weakness to strength and then from strength to weakness in old age.
Each of the points mentioned above requires discerning detailed insight into its meanings. Since this cannot be done all at once, I will discuss the fifth point. It tackles a very important issue – that of bringing out the living from the dead and the dead from the living. Before examining this in detail, we must first have a quick review of old and contemporary interpretations of this ayah.
Interpretation of This Ayah by Scholars:
“He brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living. And He revives the earth after its death. And thus shall you be brought out (resurrected).” (Surat Ar-Rűm (The Romans):19)
According to Tafseer Al-Jalalein, “He brings out the living from the dead…” (Surat Ar-Rűm (The Romans):19) such as human beings from a nutfah (sperm-drop) and a bird from an egg. Nonetheless, “…and brings out the dead …” (Surat Ar-Rűm (The Romans):19) denotes the example of the existence of the nutfah and the egg in living beings. “…And He revives the earth after its death.…” (Surat Ar-Rűm (The Romans):19). Giving life to the earth occurs by the growing of plants in barren lands.
Bringing Out the Living from the Dead and the Dead from the Living in the Noble Qur’an:
1. “You make the night to enter into the day, and You make the day to enter into the night (i.e. increase and decrease in the hours of the night and the day during winter and summer), You bring the living out of the dead, and You bring the dead out of the living. And You give wealth and sustenance to whom You will, without limit (measure or account).” (Surat Âl-'Imran (The Family of Imran):27).
2. “Verily! It is Allâh Who causes the seed-grain and the fruit-stone (like date-stone) to split and sprout. He brings forth the living from the dead, and it is He Who brings forth the dead from the living. Such is Allâh, then how are you deluded away from the truth?” (Surat Al-An'âm (The Cattle):95).
3. “Say (O Muhammad )pbuh)): "Who provides for you from the sky and the earth? Or who owns hearing and sight? And who brings out the living from the dead and brings out the dead from the living? And who disposes the affairs?" They will say: "Allâh." Say: "Will you not then be afraid of Allâh’s punishment (for setting up rivals in worship with Allâh)?" (Surat Yűnus (Jonah):31).
4. “He brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living. And He revives the earth after its death. And thus shall you be brought out (resurrected).” (Surat Ar-Rűm (The Romans):19)
Scientific Implications of this Blessed Ayah:
This ayah refers to the Omnipotence of Allah (SWT) to create living things from preliminary substances made available after His creation of the universe. Such substances are dead ones with no spirit nor life. Likewise, after extracting the spirit from a living thing, the body returns to its preliminary state from which it was created. Therefore, it is Allah (SWT) alone who has the powers to bring out the living from the dead and the dead from the living. This applies to the creation of life when there was none, as well as the resurrection of the dead on the Day of Judgment. In between the creation of life and the resurrection of the dead are the birth, growth, reproduction, and death, all are natural processes controlled by fixed and ceaseless Divine laws. Such laws of nature were discovered by human acquired sciences only in the late decades of the twentieth Century. The fact that these are already mentioned in the book of Allah (SWT) 1400 years earlier is an evidence that this Qur'an is not manmade, but rather the words of Allah (SWT) the Creator. It is further a proof of the Prophethood of Muhammad (SAWS), the accuracy and truth of his message, which was taught to him by the Creator of the heavens and the earth.
Before we explain the scientific implication of this blessed ayah, we must first define and differentiate between the words al-hayy (the living) and al-mayyit (the dead).
The Dead in Our Universe:
Seventy-four percent of the identified universe consists of hydrogen, the simplest and lightest gas. Due to its gaseous composition, it is non-living. The next largest gas constituent of the universe is helium, which forms 24 percent of the universe’s substances. Helium is produced inside the sun by the fusion of four hydrogen nuclei, which release energy in the process. This means that the other known chemical elements, whose number exceeds 100, form less than two percent (2%) of the universe.
All of these gases are non-living and are produced by the nuclear fusion of hydrogen nuclei. This process takes place deep inside the stars, which are considered as ‘atomic furnaces’ that produce different gases via a stepwise process. It begins with the lightest gas “hydrogen”, and produces iron at the end, which can only be produced in massive stars – more specifically ‘red giant’ stars. Once the core of these stars is converted to iron, all of its energy will be consumed and it will therefore explode (supernova), scattering its remnants. Some of these remnants will enter the gravitational fields of other stars by Allah’s decree in the form of comets and meteors. Some of the iron’s nuclei scattered across the universe are able to trap large numbers of particles by Allah’s decree to form heavier and more complex elements. The atomic elements are formed by the combination of the nuclei with electrons. Then the atoms combine to form molecules. Those molecules interact with each other to produce compounds.
When our earth was separated from the sun (or from the nebula from which the sun was formed), it contained nothing but ashes; with no elements of higher mass than that of silicon. It was then hit by a large number of comets and meteors which were formed by iron and it contained other elements of even higher masses than iron. These elements of large masses were pushed through the primitive earth deep into its core (which initially consisted of ash), separating the internal structure of the earth into seven zones: an internal solid core consisting mainly of iron and nickel, followed by a zone of liquid iron and nickel, then four zones in which the percentage of iron lessens from inside to outside, afterwards is the rocky crust of the earth crust, which contains 5.6% of iron. During this stage of differentiation, the mineral compounds were formed. Such compounds form the preliminary (igneous) rocks from which the rocky cycle begins. The igneous rocks are considered the original source of other rocks, such as sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. With the formation of igneous rocks by volcanic eruptions, Allah (SWT) brought out from inside the earth its water and gas. These three components: rocks (lithosphere), water (hydrosphere) and gas (atmosphere) are all dead substances, with no spirit or life.
The age of the earth is estimated to be approximately 4600 million years. Since the oldest trace of living on earth is estimated to be 3800 million years old, it can be concluded that it took at least 800 million years to prepare the earth to accept life on it. Certainly, Allah (SWT) is capable of commanding the earth to exist by merely saying the word ‘be', but this stepwise development of the earth is meant for humans to understand Allah’s creation. It is also meant for human beings to understand the sending of vicegerent to earth and that every person should abide by his duties.
The Living Beings on our Earth:
There are billions of living beings on this earth, on its land, in its waters and in its air, which form about two million species. They are classified under six different kingdoms: monera, protista, fungi, plants, animals and humans. These are, in turn, divided into many: classes, orders, families, genera, species and varieties.ţ
Using the total number of species discovered until today, scientists estimate that the total number of living things that have lived on this earth, including those which became extinct, may reach up to five million, each represents billions of individuals. It is estimated that the main living age of each species ranges from 500,000 to five million years.
Allah (SWT) gave each of these living species the ability to carry out the activities expected of them, including feeding, carrying out metabolic activity, excretion, breathing, growth, reproduction, adaptability, movement (with the exception of plants), and sense. These abilities, in addition to other factors, differentiate the living from dead things.