Humanity’s exploration of space was accelerated with the Soviet satellite Sputnik on 4 October 1957, which carried aloft the first man to ever leave Earth’s atmosphere: Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. On 20 July 1969, the American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human being ever to set foot on the Moon.In fact, the Qur’an revealed that such developments and achievements would one day be realised. For instance, Allah draws our attention to this in the following verse:
O company of jinn and human beings. If you are able to pierce through the confines of the heavens and Earth, pierce through them. You will not pierce through, except with a clear authority. (Qur’an, 55:33)
The Arabic word sultan, translated here as “a clear authority,” has other meanings as well: force, power, sovereignty, dominion, law, path, permission, give leave, justify, and proof.
Careful examination reveals that the above verse emphasizes that humanity will be able to move into the depths of Earth and sky, but only with a superior power. In all likelihood, this superior power is the superior technology employed in the twentieth century, for it enabled scientists to achieve this great feat.
Allah has confirmed His Messenger’s vision with truth: You will enter the Masjid al-Haram [Sacred Mosque] in safety, Allah willing, shaving your heads and cutting your hair without any fear. He knew what you did not know and ordained, in place of this, an imminent victory. (Qur’an, 48:27)
One night in Madinah, the Prophet (saas) dreamed that the believers would enter the Sacred Mosque and walk around the Ka`bah. After he awoke, he gave this good news to the believers, for those who had migrated from Makkah to Madinah with him had not been able to return since.
In Surat al-Fath 27, Allah revealed to the Prophet (saas) that He would help and support him, that the dream was true, and that the believers would enter Makkah. A short while later, with the Treaty of Hudaybiyah and the conquest of Makkah, the believers entered the Sacred Mosque in complete safety, just as the dream had foretold. That was how Allah showed that it had been His will that the Prophet’s (saas) dream be fulfilled.
On closer consideration, this verse can be seen to announce yet another victory that will take place before Makkah’s capture: the capture of the Khyber Fortress, which was under the control of the Jews, before they entered Makkah.183
Other verses that give the glad tidings of Makkah’s conquest are given below:
He held their hands back from you, and your hands from them in the valley of Makkah, after giving you the upper hand over them. Allah sees what you do. (Qur’an, 48:24)
Truly We have granted you a clear victory, so that Allah may forgive you your earlier errors and any later ones, complete His blessing upon you, and guide you on a Straight Path. And so that Allah may help you with a mighty help. (Qur’an, 48:1-3)
Surat al-Isra’ 76 states that the unbelievers cannot stay in Makkah:
They were very near to scaring you from the land with the object of expelling you from it. But had they done so, they would only have remained there a short time after you. (Qur’an, 17:76)
The Prophet (saas) entered Makkah and conquered it in 8 ah (630). Two years later, all of the unbelievers left Makkah, just as Allah had said that they would. Another point that should be noted here is that when the Prophet (saas) gave that good news to the believers, it looked totally out of the question. In fact, the situation pointed in quite the opposite direction, and the polytheists appeared quite determined never to let the believers enter Makkah. As a result, those who had doubts in their hearts began to doubt the Prophet’s (saas) words. Yet, the Prophet (saas) trusted in Allah, paid no attention to the doubters’ words, and told people what Allah had revealed to him. The Qur’an confirmed his words, and the prediction was fulfilled shortly afterwards.
An astonishing prediction is found in the first verses of Surat ar-Rum, which refers to the Byzantine Empire, the eastern part of the later Roman Empire: The Byzantine Empire, which had met with a great defeat, would soon gain victory.
Alif, Lam, Mim. The Romans have been defeated in the lowest land, but after their defeat they will be victorious within three to nine years. The affair is Allah’s from beginning to end. On that day, the believers will rejoice. (Qur’an, 30:1-4)
These verses were revealed around 620, almost 7 years after the idolatrous Persians had severely defeated Christian Byzantium in 613-14. In fact, Byzantium had suffered such heavy losses that it seemed impossible for it even to survive, let alone be victorious again. Following their defeat of the Byzantines at Antioch in 613, the Persians seized control of Damascus, Cilicia, Tarsus, Armenia, and Jerusalem. The loss of Jerusalem in 614 was particularly traumatic for the Byzantines, for the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was destroyed and the Persians seized the “True Cross,” the symbol of Christianity.174 In addition, the Avars, Slavs, and Lombards also were posing serious threats to the Byzantine Empire. The Avars had reached as far as the walls of Constantinople. Emperor Heraclius ordered the gold and silver in churches to be melted and turned into money in order to meet the army’s expenses. When this proved insufficient, bronze statues were melted down in order to mint more money. Many governors had revolted against Heraclius, and Byzantium was on the point of collapse.175 Mesopotamia, Cilicia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Armenia, which had earlier belonged to Byzantium, were invaded by the idolatrous Persians.176
The Dead Sea basin where Byzantium was defeated by Persians. Above is a satellite photograph of the region. The Lake of Lut region, which is the lowest region of the world, is 395 meter below the sea level.
In short, everyone was expecting Byzantium to be destroyed. But during this time, the first verses of Surat ar-Rum were revealed, announcing that Byzantium would triumph in 3 to 9 years. This predicted victory seemed so impossible that the Arab polytheists thought it would never come true.
On top a satellite photograph of the Dead Sea basin. The altitude of the Dead Sea could only be determined with modern measurement techniques. These measurements led to the discovery that this region is the “lowest region on the Earth.”
Like all the other predictions in the Qur’an, however, this one also came true. In 622, Heraclius gained a number of victories over the Persians and conquered Armenia.177 In December 627, the two empires fought a decisive battle at Nineveh, some 50 kilometres east of the Tigris river, near Baghdad. This time too, the Byzantine army defeated the Persians. A few months later, the Persians had to sue for peace with Byzantium, which obliged them to return the territories they had taken from it.178
The Byzantine victory was completed when Emperor Heraclius defeated the Persian ruler Khosrow II in 630, recaptured Jerusalem, and regained the “True Cross” for the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.179 In the end, “the victory of the Romans” proclaimed by Allah in the Qur’an miraculously came true within the verses’ stated “three to nine years” time frame.
Another miracle revealed in these verses is the announcement of a geographical fact that could not have been known by anyone at that time: that the Romans had been defeated in the lowest region of Earth. This Arabic expression adna al-Ard is interpreted as “a nearby place” in many translations. However, this is not the literal meaning, but rather a figurative interpretation. The word adna, derived from the word dani (low), means “the lowest”. The word ard means “the world.” Therefore, adna al-ard means “the lowest place on Earth.”
Some interpreters of the Qur’an, considering the closeness of the region in question to the Arabs, prefer the “closest” meaning of the word. However, the actual meaning indicates a very important geological fact: The Dead Sea, one of the regions in which the Byzantines were defeated in 613-14, is the lowest region on Earth.180
As stated earlier, for Christian Byzantium, the loss of the True Cross was the heaviest blow in that defeat in Jerusalem, located near the shores of the Dead Sea.
The Byzantines and the Persians actually fought at the Dead Sea basin, which is situated at the intersection point of the lands belonging to Syria, Palestine, and Jordan. At 399 meters below sea level, the Dead Sea is the “lowest” place on Earth’s surface.181
However, as only modern measuring methods and equipment can prove this fact, it would have been impossible for anyone living at that time to realise this truth. Yet, the Qur’an states clearly that this region was the “lowest land” on Earth and thereby provides further evidence that it is the Word of Allah.
175. Warren Treadgold, A History of the Byzantine State and Society (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press: 1997), 287-99.
178. Treadgold, A History, 287-99.
179. http://web.genie.it/utenti/i/inanna/livello2-i/mediterraneo-1-i.htm; http://impearls.blogspot.com/2003_12_07_impearls_archive.html; and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heraclius.
180. “The Lowest Part on the Face of the Earth,”www.beconvinced.com/science/QURANLOWEST.htm.
181. “Dead Sea,” World Book Encyclopedia, 2003, Contributor: Bernard Reich, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University
[I swear] by the fig and the olive. (Qur’an, 95:1)
The reference to the fig in the first verse of Surat at-Tin is a most wise one in terms of the benefits imparted by this fruit.
The Benefits of the Fig for Human Beings
Figs have a higher fibre level than any other fruit or vegetable. One single dried fig provides two grams of fibre: 20% of the daily recommended intake. Research over the last fifteen years or so has revealed that the fibre in plant foods is very important for the regular functioning of the digestive system. It is known that fibre in foods assists the digestive system and also helps reduce the risk of some forms of cancer. Nutritionists describe eating figs, which are rich in fibre, as an ideal way of increasing one’s fibre intake.
Fibrous foodstuffs are divided into two types: soluble and insoluble. Foods rich in insoluble fibre facilitate the passage of substances to be expelled from the body through the intestine by adding water to them. They thus accelerate the digestive system and ensure its regular functioning. It has also been established that foods containing insoluble fibre have a protective effect against colon cancer. Foods rich in soluble fibre, on the other hand, have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood by more than 20%. These are therefore of the greatest importance in reducing the risk of heart attack. Excessive levels of cholesterol in the blood collect in the arteries, hardening and narrowing them. Depending on which organ’s blood vessels the cholesterol accumulates in, disorders connected to that organ arise. For example, if cholesterol accumulates in the arteries that feed the heart, problems such as heart attacks result. Accumulations of cholesterol in the kidney veins can lead to high blood pressure and kidney deficiency. Furthermore, the intake of soluble fibre is important in terms of regulating blood sugar by emptying the stomach because sudden changes in blood sugar can lead to life-threatening disorders. Indeed, societies with fibre-rich diets have been shown to have far lower incidences of illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.117
It is also another major health advantage for soluble and insoluble fibres to be present at one and the same time. It has been shown that when both forms are present together, they are much more effective in preventing cancer than when they are on their own. The presence of both forms of fibre, soluble and insoluble, in the fig makes it a most important foodstuff in this regard.118
Dr. Oliver Alabaster, Director of the Institute for Disease Prevention at the George Washington University Medical Centre, refers to figs in these terms:
… [H]ere is an opportunity to add a really healthy, high fiber food to your diet. Choosing figs and other high fiber foods more frequently means that you’ll naturally choose potentially harmful foods less frequently-and this is great for your lifelong health.119
According to the California Fig Advisory Board, it is believed that the antioxidants in fruit and vegetables protect against a number of diseases. Antioxidants neutralise harmful substances (free radicals) that arise as a result of chemical reactions in the body or else are taken in from the outside and thus prevent the destruction of cells. In one study performed by the University of Scranton, it was determined that dried figs had a much higher level of the phenol makeup, which is rich in antioxidants, than other fruits. Phenol is used as an antiseptic to kill micro-organisms. The level of phenol in figs is much higher than that in other fruits and vegetables.120
Another study, by Rutgers University in New Jersey, revealed that due to the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 and phytosterol contained in dried figs, they can play a considerable part in reducing cholesterol.121 It is known that omega-3 and omega-6 cannot be manufactured in the body and need to be absorbed with food. Furthermore, these fatty acids are indispensable to the proper functioning of the heart, brain and nervous system. Phytosterol permits the cholesterol in animal products, which has the potential to harden the heart’s arteries, to be expelled from the body without entering the blood stream.
Despite being one of the oldest fruits known to man, the fig-described as “nature’s most nearly perfect fruit” by the California Fig Advisory Board 122-has been rediscovered by food producers. The nutritional value of this fruit and its health benefits have led to its acquiring a whole new importance.
The fig can constitute a part of just about any special diet. Since figs do not naturally contain fat, sodium or cholesterol but have high levels of fibre, they are an ideal food for those trying to lose weight. At the same time, figs have higher mineral contents than any other known fruit. Forty grams of figs contains 244 mg of potassium (7% of the daily requirement), 53 mg of calcium (6% of the daily requirement) and 1.2 mg of iron (6% of the daily requirement).123 The calcium level in figs is very high: The fig ranks second after the orange in terms of calcium content. A crate of dried figs provides the same level of calcium as a crate of milk.
Figs are also thought of as a medicine which gives strength and energy to long-term patients as they seek to recover. They eliminate physical and mental difficulties and give the body strength and energy. The most important nutritional component of figs is sugar, which comprises 51-74% of all fruits. The sugar level in figs is one of the highest. Figs are also recommended in the treatment of asthma, coughs and chills.
The benefits we have restricted ourselves to mentioning here are an indication of the compassion Allah feels for human beings. Our Lord provides the substances required by human beings in this fruit, which is so pleasant to eat, already packaged and at the ideal levels for human health. The way that this special blessing from Allah is mentioned in the Qur’an may indicate the importance of the fig for human beings. (Allah knows best.) From the point of view of human health, the nutritional value of the fig was only established with the advance of medicine and technology. This is another indication that the Qur’an is indisputably the Word of Allah, the Omniscient.
Fresh Fig Nutritional Value
Dried Fig Nutritional Value
Calories (kcal) 74 Calories (kcal) 249 Fibre (g) 3 Fibre (g) 10 Fat (g) 0 Fat (g) 1 Protein (g) 1 Protein (g) 3 Sugar (g) 16 Sugar (g) 48 Vitamin A (IU) 142 Vitamin A (IU) 10 Vitamin C (mg) 2 Vitamin C (mg) 1.2 Vitamin B1 0.1 Vitamin B1 0.1 Vitamin B2 0.1 Vitamin B2 0.1 Vitamin B6 0.1 Vitamin B6 0.1 Sodium 1 Sodium 10 Potassium 232 Potassium 680 Calcium 35 Calcium 162 Phosphorus 232 Phosphorus 67 Magnesium 17 Magnesium 68 Iron 0.4 Iron 3.07 Manganese 0.1 Manganese 0.8 Copper 0.1 Copper 0.3 Selenium 0.2 Selenium 0.6 Zinc 0.2 Zinc 0.5
There is instruction for you in cattle. From the contents of their bellies, from between the dung and blood, We give you pure milk to drink, easy for drinkers to swallow. (Qur’an, 16:66)
Say: “Who provides for you from the heavens and earth?” Say: “Allah. It is certain that one or the other of us, either we or you, is following guidance or else clearly astray.”
The basic materials which allow the nourishment of the body come about as a result of chemical changes in the digestive system. These digested substances then pass through the wall of the intestine into the blood stream. Due to the circulation of the blood, the nutriments reach the relevant organs.
Like the other bodily tissues, the milk glands are nourished by nutriments brought to them by the blood. The blood therefore plays a most important role in the collection of nutriments from foodstuffs. Milk is secreted by the milk glands after all these stages and its nutritional values are particularly high.
Human beings are unable to directly consume either the half-digested food in an animal’s stomach or an animal’s blood. Furthermore, the direct consumption of these or any of their compounds can lead to severe illness, and even death. Thanks to the exceedingly complex biological systems He has created, Allah provides clean and healthy food for human beings from these fluids.
This is because it forms as a result of digested food being carried by the blood. High-nutrition milk is thus produced from blood, which cannot be consumed directly, and semi-digested food.
The formation of milk is by itself an enormous creation miracle. And it is another miracle altogether that such detailed information about that formation should be contained in the Qur’an.
As we have seen, the information about the biological formation of milk in Surat an-Nahl 66, is in great accordance with the facts established by modern science. It is quite clear that such information, requiring detailed knowledge of mammals’ digestive systems, could not have been known at the time when the Qur’an was revealed.