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V. Tunniclife was quoted in The Fountain, Jan.-Mar. 1996, No 13, p.36:

Startling discovery of modern biology

All life requires energy, nearly all life on earth looks to the sun as the source. But solar energy is not the only kind of energy available on the earth. Consider the energy that drives the movement and eruption of the planet’s crust. When you look at an active volcano, you are witnessing the escape of heat that has been produced by radioactive decay in the earth’s interior and is finally reaching the surface. Why should there not be biological communities associated with the same nuclear energy that moves continents and makes mountains? And why could not whole communities be fuelled by chemical, rather than, solar energy?. . Most of us associate the escape of heat from the interior of the earth with violent events and unstable physical conditions, with extreme high temperatures and the release of toxic gasses-circumstances that are hardly conducive to life.

The notion that biological communities might spring up in a geologically active environment seemed fantastic. And until recently, few organisms were known to survive without a direct or indirect way to tap the sun’s energy. But such communities do exist, and they represent one of the most startling discoveries of 20th-century biology. They live in the deep ocean, under conditions that are both severe and variable.

This ‘startling’ discovery of modern biology contains clues to some other realities, which sciences should consider. The Qur’an declares:

Surely, We have adorned the world’s heaven with lamps, and We have made them missiles for the devils. (al-Mulk, 67.5)

The ‘startling’ discovery of biology suggests that just as the earth does, the heavens should also have inhabitants of their own. Indeed, reality also requires it to be so, for, as Said Nursi writes (The Words 1, Izmir, 1997, pp. 233-42), despite its small size and relative insignificance, the earth being alternately emptied and filled with living and conscious beings suggests-rather, it shows evidently-that the heavens too, which have magnificent constellations and are like decorated palaces, must also be filled with conscious and percipient beings. For the Creator has embellished and ornamented the universe with innumerable decorations, beauties, and inscriptions, and this evidently requires the existence of contemplative and appreciative eyes that will observe and be delighted. Certainly, beauty requires a lover, and food is given to the hungry. Men and jinn are able to perform only a millionth of this boundless duty, this glorious viewing, and this comprehensive worship. This means that countless sorts of angels and spirit beings are necessary to perform these infinite and diverse duties and acts of worship.

The Creator Who continuously creates subtle life and enlightened, percipient beings from dense earth and turbid water, must certainly have created conscious beings from light and even from darkness which are worthier to have a higher life and spirit, and created them in great abundance. In the language of Islam, those inhabitants of various kinds are called angels.

The earth and the heavens are connected to each other like two countries under one government

The earth and the heavens are connected to each other like two countries under one government. There are important relations and transactions between them. Things necessary for the earth like light, heat, blessings, and forms of mercy like rain, come, rather, are being sent, from the sky. Also, as unanimously confirmed by all the heavenly religions, which are founded on Revelation, and as is agreed upon by all the saintly scholars who unveil the secret truths of creation on the basis of what they have witnessed, the angels and spirit beings descend to the earth from the heavens. From this, it may be concluded almost as certainly as if it were directly sensed that for the inhabitants of the earth there is a way to ascend to the heavens.

Indeed, everyone can always travel to the heavens through his mind, vision and imagination. So too, freed from or purified of the gross heaviness of their carnal and material being, the spirits of the Prophets and saints travel there by God’s leave, and the spirits of the ordinary people do so after their death. Since those who are ‘lightened’ and have acquired ‘subtlety’ and spiritual refinement travel there, for sure, certain inhabitants of the earth and the air who are clothed in an ‘ideal’ body or energetic envelope or immaterial form, and are light and subtle like spirits, may go to the heavens. Since there is journeying between the earth and the heavens, and important necessities for the earth are sent from the heavens; and since pure spirits travel to the heavens, for sure, imitating the pure spirits, the evil spirits too will attempt to travel to the heavenly abode. For, physically, they are light and subtle. However, they will certainly be repulsed and repelled, for by nature they are evil and unclean. Again, as the silence and tranquility, the order and serene regularity of the heavens, and their vastness and radiance, show, their inhabitants are not like those of the earth; they are all obedient to God and do whatever He commands them. There is nothing to cause quarrels or disputes among them because they are innocent, their realm is vast, their nature is pure, and their stations are fixed. So, when devils or evil spirit beings attempt to ascend the heavens, the pure inhabitants of the heavens are mobilized to repel them from the heavens.

There must be a sign or reflection in the visible, material world of whatever takes place in the kingdom of heavens

Without doubt, there must be a sign or reflection in the visible, material world of this important interaction and contest. For the wisdom of the sovereignty of Divine Lordship requires that the Lord should put a sign, an indication, for conscious beings, particularly for man, whose most important duty is observing, witnessing, supervising, and acting as a herald to, His significant disposals in the realm of the Unseen. This is just as He has made rain a sign for men to explain, in physical terms, His countless miracles in spring, and also made apparent (natural) causes the pointers to the wonders of His art, so that He may call the inhabitants of the visible, material world to witness them, indeed to attract the attentive gaze of all the inhabitants of the vast heavens and the earth to that amazing exhibition. That is, He displays the vast heavens as a castle or city arrayed with towers on which sentries are posted, so that those inhabitants of the heavens and earth may reflect on the majesty of His Lordship.

Since wisdom requires the announcement of this elevated contest, there will surely be a sign for it. However, other than some stars being used as ‘missiles’ against the devils, no event among those of the atmosphere and heavens seems to be appropriate to this announcement. For it is evident how suitable for the repulsion of the devils are these stellar events, which resemble missiles and signal rockets fired from the formidable bastions of high castles. Further, unlike other events taking place in the heavens, no other function is known for such stellar events. In addition, this function has been known widely since the time of Adam, and witnessed by those who know the reality of things and events.

Like angels and other creatures, stars also have many different varieties. Some are extremely small, and some are extremely large. Everything that shines in the sky can be called a star. One sort of stars the Majestic Creator, the Gracious Maker, has created as a sort of jewels on the face of the sky or like the shining fruits of a vast tree. He has also made them the places of excursion or mounts or dwelling-places for His angels. He has made one sort of small stars missiles to drive off devils and kill them. Thus, firing these shooting stars to repulse devils may have three meanings:

  • It is a sign that the law of contest is in force also in the most vast sphere of existence.

  • It indicates that in the heavens there are watchful guards and obedient inhabitants, Divine forces, who do not like the earthly evil-doers to mix with and eavesdrop on them.

  • The spying satans, who are the representatives of the foulness and wickedness on the earth, attempt to soil the clean and pure realm of the heavens inhabited by pure beings, and spy on the talk of their inhabitants in the name of evil spirits [unbelieving jinn and their human companions trying to mislead people especially through sorcery, mediumship and soothsaying]. Shooting stars are fired to prevent them and repulse them from the doors of the heavens.

What does the meteor shower signify?

The Perseid meteor shower observed in almost every year suggests that those meteors are shot for certain, important purposes. For they surprise the observers by showing great diversity. The observations made in, for example, 1993, demonstrate the fact that the structure of the shower is yet poorly known.

According to information given by the International Meteor Organization about the events of the 1993 shower (Astronomy, October 1993), the first results posted for the night of 11/12 August came from Japan. Up to 20:30 (all times UT), 11 August, the meteor rates were found to be normal. A zenithal hourly rate (ZHR) of 40 meteors per hour (m/h) was tentatively assigned to the shower at this time.

Preliminary data from European observers indicated that the rates had gradually increased to ZHR of order 100 m/h between 20:00, 11 August and 01:00, 12 August. Observers in France reported a noticeable increase in rates after 00:30, 12 August, with the rate being about twice that of ‘normal’. The rates continued to climb between 01:00 and 03:00. A preliminary ZHR of 200-250 was ascribed to this period. The rates appeared to reach a maximum between 03:00 and 03:30. The ZHR at maximum was estimated to be of the order of 500. Observations from the Canary Islands indicated that the rates began to decline after 04:00.

Higher than normal rates were also reported from many observers in the United States and Japan. As commented by Martin Beech in Astronomy, p.11, the results clearly indicated that the shower did not behave as predicted. Speculation about a possible meteor storm proved incorrect. Another unexpected feature in 1993 was the high number of bright fireballs observed. Observers reported something like five times the normal level of Perseid fireballs on the night of 11/12 August. The Perseid shower once again demonstrated how difficult it is to predict meteor shower activity.

A. Cressy Morrison (Man Does Not Stand Alone, New York, 1945, p.100) mentions, as a typical human characteristic, the reluctance to give up fixed ideas, the stubborn resistance to accepting unfamiliar truths. The early Greeks knew the earth was a sphere, but it took two thousand years to convince men that this fact is true. New ideas encounter opposition, ridicule and abuse, but truth survives and is verified. Neither scientific studies nor developments in science can offer any excuse not to accept God. What we observe in nature and what we obtain from it must encourage us to know Him more closely and see the strong bridge between science and religion, the world and the Hereafter, and between the reason and the spirit.

Recommended Reading:
The styles of the Qur'an and the movement of the sun

Last Updated on October 26, 2000

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