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“See you not that Allah sends down water (rain) from the sky, and We produce therewith fruits of various colors”
(Surat Fatir (The Originator): 27)
By: Dr. / Zaghloul El-Naggar
This ayah appears in the second half of Surat Fatir, which was revealed in Makkah. The Surah gets its name, Fatir (Originator), from the opening ayahs which praise Allah (SWT), the Originator of the heavens and the earth who made the angels His Messengers, as He is Able to do all things. He is most Gracious in the heavens and the earth; He is the most Merciful, the All-mighty and the All-Wise.
In Surat Fatir Allah mentions many signs of creation, including the following. The ayahs can be translated as:
- *And it is Allah Who sends the winds, so that they raise up the clouds, and We drive them to a dead land, and revive therewith the earth after its death. As such (will be) the Resurrection!*
(Surat Fatir (The Originator): 9).
- *And Allah did create you (Adam) from dust, then from Nutfah (male and female discharge semen drops i.e. Adam’s offspring), then He made you pairs (male and female). And no female conceives or gives birth but with His Knowledge. And no aged man is granted a length of life nor is a part cut off from his life (or another man’s life), but is in a Book (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfûz) Surely, that is easy for Allah. And the two seas (kinds of water) are not alike: this is palatable, sweet and pleasant to drink, and that is salt and bitter. And from them both you eat fresh tender meat (fish), and derive the ornaments that you wear. And you see the ships cleaving (the sea-water as they sail through it), that you may seek of His Bounty, and that you may give thanks. He merges the night into the day (i.e. the decrease in the hours of the night is added to the hours of the day), and He merges the day into the night (i.e. the decrease in the hours of the day is added to the hours of the night). And He has subjected the sun and the moon: each runs its course for a term appointed. Such is Allâh, your Lord; His is the kingdom. And those, whom you invoke or call upon instead of Him, own not even a Qitmîr (the thin membrane over the date-stone).*
(Surat Fatir (The Originator):11-13).
- *See you not that Allah sends down water (rain) from the sky, and We produce therewith fruits of various colors, and among the mountains are streaks white and red, of varying colors and (others) very black. And likewise of men and Ad-Dawâbb [moving (living) animals, beasts], and cattle, are of various colors. It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Mighty, Oft-Forgiving.*
(Surat Fatir (The Originator): 27, 28).
- *Verily! Allah grasps the heavens and the earth lest they should move away from their places, and if they were to move away from their places, there is not one that could grasp them after Him. Truly, He is Ever Most Forbearing, Oft-Forgiving.*
(Surat Fatir(The Originator): 41).
Each of the signs mentioned in these ayahs need to be contemplated and considered separately, thus I will limit this discussion to the first part of ayah 27 of this chapter.
I shall start with a brief review of the comments made by a number of scholars commenting on this ayah* “See you not that Allah sends down water (rain) from the sky, and We produce therewith fruits of various colors.”*
(Surat Fatir (The Originator): 27).
Fi Zilal Al-Qur’an (In the Shade of the Qur’an) states, “This is only one of the spectacular implications about creation proving the divine origin of this scripture. This particular implication takes in the whole of the earth, including its colors and hues, whether they are found in fruits, mountains, people or animals. It basically encompasses everything on earth and overwhelms the heart with this divine infusion of colors; from the rainfall to the harvest of fruits of different colors. As Allah says what can be translated as, *“We produce therewith fruits of various colors”.*
The color of fruit covers a wide range of shades that no artist could ever create. There is no such thing as a fruit species of identical color, nor do two pieces of fruit from the same tree have exactly the same color. On closer inspection, we would see there is a slight difference in the color of the two”.
The fruit of flowering plants is the fully developed ovary which carries the seeds. It is not affected by changes in the environment around it.
There are different classifications of flowering plants, depending on their fruit structures: some plants have only either male or female reproductive organs and others have both male and female reproductive organs. When the flower is fertilized, the male part merges with the female one. Once they have successfully merged, a plant embryo forms inside the seeds where it is surrounded by the nourishment it requires to grow and is enclosed by a protective shell. Once the fertilized ovum, the seeds or the individual seed it holds inside are fully grown, the tissues of the ovary start to expand. Sometimes other tissues in the flower expand as well, resulting in fruit formation. In order to form the fruit skin, which appears right after the flower petals start to fall, the ovary wall may thicken, harden or remain delicate.
In most flowering plants, after the flower is fertilized and the fruit is formed, other organs start to wither. There are, however, a few exceptions.
The main function of the fruit is to protect the plant’s embryos inside the seeds, providing them with the nourishment they require to grow, enabling these seeds to spread after the fruit ripens or is consumed by people or animals who then discard them on the ground where they start to grow again. Unconsumed fruit may rot or spontaneously open in order to release the seeds which are then carried by the wind, water, man or animals to distant places in order to propagate the plant species.
Commenting on Allah’s words that can be translated as,* (We produce therewith fruits of various colors)*, Az-Zamakhshari said: “this difference in colors includes differences in types and shapes”. The different types of fruits are too numerous to count, although we may categorize them hierarchically as follows:
i. Simple fruits
These are fruits that develop essentially from a single ovary in a single flower, either from one carpel or from many carpels. Each of these simple fruits contains the embryo of the plant which is surrounded by the nourishment that will suffice it until it is ripe. The remainder is saved for future germinations. The embryo is often surrounded by a number of protective membranes. The embryo, the nourishment surrounding it and the protective coverings are collectively known as the seed or the stone. These embryos stored inside the seeds, pits or stones of plants exist by the will of Allah.
Simple fruits are of two types: fleshy and dry. In the former, the embryo is surrounded by three layers: from the inside out they are, a ligneous covering surrounding the seed (or the stone) called the endocarp, a mesocarp, the fleshy covering of the endocarp; this covering is the edible part of the fruit and finally, a delicate outer skin covering the whole fruit which can become thick and waxy when the fruit has fully ripened. These sorts of fruits, such as apricots, peaches, plums, cherry olives, etc., are often called ‘drupes’.
Some simple fleshy fruits are known as ‘pepos’. In this type of fruit, the three layers protecting the embryo maintain their softness even after the fruit is ripe, such as the cucumber, whereas in grapes and tomatoes, the seed coverings are hard. Pepo fruits are of a sebaceous nature; they have numerous seeds inserted within the endocarp substance of the fruit, such as melons, watermelons, oranges and the likes.
Sometimes, organs other than the ovary, such as the receptacle, calyx, the stem or carpels assist in forming the fruit. These fruits can be simple like apples, pears or quinces. In these plants, the receptacle tissue develops and becomes the edible part of the fruit. These are simple accessory fruits because the edible part is the developed receptacle of the flower. These fruits can also be complex as will be mentioned later.
As for the simple dry fruits, the membranes surrounding the embryo are all dry, and the fruits are either dehiscent (they split open when mature) or indehiscent. The castor-oil plant has dehiscent fruit. There is also the primulaceae fruit, which opens in the form of a lid covering a capsule or in the form of pores that penetrate the fruit wall such as the poppy seed, carnation fruit which opens in the form of a capsule with intertwined teeth, cotton fruit with two or more carpels and violets which have sharp, cutting edges. Some of them open on one side lengthwise (brambles) and some of them open on both sides, like vegetables, which is more common. Some take the shape of the mustard family fruits, like watercress and gillyflowers.
As for indehiscent fruits or simple dry fruits, the excerpt of the fruit remains closed and the seeds cannot be exposed unless the wall of the fruit splits or decays. The wall could be of wood, such as hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, and pecans. Sometime the wall of the fruit is attached to the seed, as one finds in wheat. The outer layer is sometimes leathery and is not joined with the seed as is the case of roses.