Ayat of the Day
As for those who believe and do right actions, We will erase their bad actions from them, and recompense them for the best of what they did.
(Surat al-‘Ankabut: 7)
Hadith of the Day:
“Love Allah, because he nourishes and sustains you. Love me, because Allah loves me.” (At-Tirmidhi)
Miracles of the Qur’an:
BIOMIMETICS: DRAWING INSPIRATION FROM THE DESIGN IN LIVING THINGS
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.
(Surat an-Nahl: 66)
And there is certainly a lesson for you in your livestock. We give you to drink from what is in their bellies and there are many ways in which you benefit from them, and some of them you eat; and you are conveyed on them and on ships as well.
(Surat al-Muminun: 21-22)
The architect of the Eiffel tower was inspired by the femur, the lightest and strongest bone of the human body.
Before scientists and research and development experts embark on new projects, they usually look for models in living things and imitate their systems and designs. In other words, they see and study the designs created in nature by Allah and, inspired by these, go on to develop their own new technologies.
This approach has given birth to biometrics, a new branch of science that seeks to imitate living things. In recent times, this branch of science has come to be widely applied in the world of technology. The use of the word "ibrah," (to learn from, advice, importance, important thing, or model) in the above verses is most wise in this regard.
Biomimetics refers to all of the substances, equipment, mechanisms, and systems that people produce in order to imitate the systems present in nature. The scientific community currently feels a great need for the use of such equipment, particularly in the fields of nanotechnology, robot technology, artificial intelligence, medicine, and the military.
Biomimicry was first put forward by Janine M. Benyus, a writer and scientific observer from Montana. This concept was later analysed by many other people and began to find applications. Some of the comments made regarding biomimicry are as follows:
The theme of "biomimicry" is that we have much to learn from the natural world, as model, measure, and mentor. What these researchers have in common is a reverence for natural designs, and the inspiration to use them to solve human problems.
David Oakey, product strategist for Interface Inc., a company that uses nature to increasing product quality and productivity, says:
Nature is my mentor for business and design, a model for the way of life. Nature's system has worked for millions of years … Biomimicry is a way of learning from nature.
Scientists who began to favor this rapidly spreading idea accelerated their studies by using nature's incomparable and flawless designs as models. These designs represent models for technological research, for they provide the maximum productivity for the least amount of materials and energy, and are self-maintaining, environmentally friendly, silent, aesthetically attractive, resistant, and long-lasting.
Janine M. Benyus, who believed that models in nature should be imitated, gave the following examples in her book, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature (Perennial: 2002)
- Hummingbirds cross the Gulf of Mexico on less than 3 grams (one tenth of an ounce) of fuel,
- Dragonflies outmanoeuvre our best helicopters,
- Heating and air-conditioning systems in termite mounds are superior in terms of equipment and energy consumption to those made by human beings,
- A bat's high-frequency transmitter is more efficient and sensitive than our own radar systems,
- Light-emitting algae combine various chemicals to illuminate their bodies,
- Arctic fish and frogs freeze solid and then spring to life, having protected their organs from ice damage,
- Chameleons and cuttlefish change the pattern of their skin to blend instantly with their surroundings,
- Bees, turtles, and birds navigate without maps, and
- Whales and penguins dive without scuba gear.
These astonishing mechanisms and designs in nature, of which we have cited only a few, have the potential to enrich technology in a wide range of fields. This potential is becoming ever more obvious as our accumulated knowledge and technological means increase.
All animals possess many features that amaze human beings. Some have the ideal hydrodynamic shape that allows them to move through water, and others employ senses that appear very foreign to us. Most of these are features that researchers have encountered for the first time, or, rather, that they have only recently discovered. On occasion, it is necessary to bring together prominent scientists from such fields as computer technology, mechanical engineering, electronics, mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology in order to imitate just one feature of a living thing.
Scientists are amazed when confronted with the incomparable structures and systems they are discovering with every passing day, and use that amazement to inspire themselves to produce new technologies for humanity's benefit. Realizing that the existing perfect systems and extraordinary techniques applied in nature are far superior to their own knowledge and intellect, they became aware of these matchless solutions to existing problems and are now resorting to the designs in nature to resolve problems that have eluded them for years. As a result, they will perhaps achieve success in a very short time. Moreover, by imitating nature, scientists are making very important gains with regard to time and labor and also to the targeted use of material resources.
In the nineteenth century, nature was imitated only in aesthetic terms. Artists and architects of that time were influenced by nature and used examples of the structures' external appearances in their works. Yet the realization of nature's extraordinary designs and that these could be used to benefit human beings only began in the twentieth century with the study of natural mechanisms at the molecular level. Scientists today are learning from living things, as revealed in the Qur'an 1,400 years ago. (See Harun Yahya, Biomimetics: Technology Imitates Nature)
Wonders of Creation:
The Hero of An Unusual Birth Story: The Kangaroo
The reproductive system of kangaroos is quite different from that of other mammals. The kangaroo embryo goes through some stages outside the womb, which normally occur in the womb.
Soon after fertilization, the blind kangaroo offspring, which is approximately a centimeter, comes into the world. Usually, only one is born at a time. At this stage, it is called "neonate." While all mammals go through this stage in the mother’s womb, the kangaroo offspring comes into the world when it is only one centimeter long. It has still not developed: its fore feet are indefinite and its hind feet are comprised of small projections.
No doubt, the offspring cannot leave its mother in such a state. Coming out of the womb, the neonate starts to move up in its mother's fur with its fore legs and reaches to its mother’s pouch after a three-minute journey. To the little kangaroo, the pouch means the same as the womb means to other mammals. Yet, there is an important difference. While others come into the world as babies, the kangaroo is merely an embryo when it comes out of the womb. Its feet, face and many other organs have not yet taken their final shapes.
The offspring reaching the mother’s pouch attaches itself to one of the four nipples there, and starts to suckle.
At this stage, the mother goes through another ovulation period and a new egg forms in its womb. The female copulates once more and the new egg is fertilized.
This time the egg does not start to develop immediately. If drought rages in Middle Australia, as is often the case, the fertilized egg in the womb remains undeveloped until the drought is over. If, however, heavy rains fall and if there are rich pastures available, then the development of the egg restarts.
At this stage, we are faced with the question: who makes this calculation; who arranges the development of the egg according to the conditions outside? The egg cannot by any means make this arrangement itself; it is not a complete living being, it has no consciousness, and it is totally unaware of the weather conditions outside. The mother cannot make this arrangement, because, like all other living things, it has no control over the developments taking place in its body. Allah, Who has created both the egg and the mother, definitely controls this extraordinary event.
When weather conditions are convenient, thirty-three days after fertilization, the new neonate, only as big as a bean, creeps up from the mouth of the womb and reaches the pouch just like its sibling did.
In the meantime, the first neonate in the pouch has grown considerably. It leads its life without doing any harm to its sibling, which is only one centimeter long. When it is 190 days old, it has grown mature enough to make its first journey outside the pouch. From then on, it starts to spend most of its time outside the pouch and leaves the pouch for good on the 235th day after its birth.
Soon after the birth of its second offspring, the female copulates again. Consequently, the female has three offspring all dependent on her. The first can feed on grass but occasionally comes back to its mother to suckle; the second younger offspring is still developing by suckling; the third is the neonate, which is the youngest.
What is more astonishing than that all three offspring, each in a different stage of development, are dependent on the mother, is that all three offspring are fed by different types of milk according to their sizes.
While the milk the offspring suckles as soon as it reaches the nipple in the pouch is transparent and colorless, it increasingly turns whiter and starts to look like real milk. The amount of fat and other ingredients in the milk increases in parallel with the development of the baby.
As this young one keeps on suckling the milk prepared for its own needs, a more easily digestible milk issues from the nipple that the second baby reaches. Thus, the body of the mother simultaneously produces two types of milk with different ingredients. When the third is born, the number of milk types produced with different ingredients becomes three: highly nutritious milk for the older, and relatively less fatty and nutritious types of milk for the younger. Another point to note here is that each offspring finds the nipple specially prepared for itself. Otherwise, it would suckle milk with an ingredient likely to be harmful to its body, and the milk it suckles would harm it.
This feeding system is very remarkable and it is obviously a special product of creation. The mother cannot, by any means, arrange all these consciously. How can an animal specify the ingredients of milk needed by its young of different sizes? Even if it did, how could it produce it in its own body? How could it distribute these through three different channels?
Doubtless, the kangaroo is not capable of doing any of these. It is not even aware that the milk delivered by its body is of three different types. This wonderful process is unquestionably an outcome of Allah's superior creation.
Lives of the Prophets:
Prophet Muhammad’s (saas) Manner of Communicating the Message of Allah
As the verse: "So call and go straight as you have been ordered to…"
(Surat ash-Shura: 15) makes clear, the Prophet Muhammad (saas) was the last prophet charged with warning mankind. Like all the other messengers, the Prophet (saas) called people to the true path, to have faith in Allah, to live for the Hereafter and to exercise good morality. The methods he employed, the way he explained things, and the style he used must remain examples for all Muslims, and when a Muslim invites people to the religion he must speak and behave in the manner of the Prophet (saas).
This is how the Qur'an reveals that the Prophet (saas) was commanded to say that he had come to warn mankind:
Say: "This is my way. I call to Allah with inner sight, I and all who follow me. Glory be to Allah! I am not one of the idolaters!" (Surah Yusuf: 108)
Prophet Muhammad (saas) did all that he could and more to warn people, and extended great effort to address as many people as he could. One verse reveals:
Say: "What thing is greatest as a witness?" Say: "Allah. He is Witness between me and you. This Qur'an has been revealed to me so that I may warn you by it, and anyone else it reaches. Do you then bear witness that there are other deities together with Allah?" Say: "I do not bear witness." Say: "He is only One Allah, and I am free of all you associate with Him." (Surat al-An‘am: 19)
By communicating the message of the Qur'an, the Prophet (saas) completely abolished the corrupt religions that the polytheists had inherited from their ancestors, for which reason he met with much resistance. Yet, he abided by Allah's command and took no notice of their oppression and animosity. Allah commands the Prophet (saas) thus in one verse:
Proclaim what you have been ordered to and turn away from the idolaters. We are enough for you against the mockers. (Surat al-Hijr: 94-95)
Muslims in our own time too must explain the morality of the Qur'an to people, ignoring any lack of approval and whatever anyone might say to oppose them. They must not fear "the blame of any blamer," as the Prophet (saas) did. That is a sign of morality and godliness that will be rewarded with Paradise. Prophet Muhammad (saas) commanded Muslims to abide by that Sunnah in these words, "Convey my teaching to the people even if it were a single sentence."
The Genetic and Embryological Impasse of Homology
Anyone who studies the different living species in the world may observe that there are some similar organs and features among these species. The first person to draw materialistic conclusions from this fact, which has attracted scientists' attention since the eighteenth century, was Charles Darwin.
Darwin thought that creatures with similar (homologous) organs had an evolutionary relationship with each other, and that these organs must have been inherited from a common ancestor. However, this is a tautological argument, advanced on the basis of no other evidence than an apparent physical resemblance.
The discovery which really overthrew homology is that organs accepted as "homologous" are almost all controlled by very different genetic codes. As we know, the theory of evolution proposes that living things developed through small, chance changes in their genes, in other words, mutations. For this reason, the genetic structures of living things which are seen as close evolutionary relatives should resemble each other. And, in particular, similar organs should be controlled by similar genetic structures. However, in point of fact, genetic researchers have made discoveries which conflict totally with this evolutionary thesis.
Similar organs are usually governed by very different genetic (DNA) codes. Furthermore, similar genetic codes in the DNA of different creatures are often associated with completely different organs. The chapter titled "The Failure of Homology" in Michael Denton's book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, gives several examples of this, and sums the subject up in this way:
Homologous structures are often specified by non-homologous genetic systems and the concept of homology can seldom be extended back into embryology.1
This genetic question has also been raised by the well-known evolutionary biologist Gavin de Beer. In his book Homology: An Unsolved Problem, published in 1971, de Beer put forward a very wide-ranging analysis of this subject. He sums up why homology is a problem for the theory of evolution as follows:
What mechanism can it be that results in the production of homologous organs, the same 'patterns', in spite of their not being controlled by the same genes? I asked this question in 1938, and it has not been answered.2
Although some 30 years have passed since de Beer wrote those words, they have still received no answer.
A third proof which undermines the homology claim is the question of embryological development, which we mentioned at the start. In order for the evolutionary thesis regarding homology to be taken seriously, the periods of similar structures' embryological development—in other words, the stages of development in the egg or the mother's womb—would need to be parallel, whereas, in reality, these embryological periods for similar structures are quite different from each other in every living creature. Pere Alberch, an eminent developmental biologist, noted, it is "the rule rather than the exception" that "homologous structures form from distinctly dissimilar initial states."3
The emergence of similar structures as the result of totally dissimilar processes is frequently seen in the latter stages of the development phase. As we know, many species of animal go through a stage known as "indirect development" (in other words the larva stage), on their way to adulthood. For instance, most frogs begin life as swimming tadpoles and turn into four-legged animals at the last stage of metamorphosis. But alongside this there are several species of frog which skip the larva stage and develop directly. But the adults of most of these species that develop directly are practically indistinguishable from those species which pass through the tadpole stage. The same phenomenon is to be seen in water chestnuts and some other similar species.4
To conclude, we can say that genetic and embryological research has proven that the concept of homology defined by Darwin as "evidence of the evolution of living things from a common ancestor" can by no means be regarded as any evidence at all. The inconsistency of homology, which looks quite convincing on the surface, is clearly revealed when examined more closely.
1. Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Burnett Books, London, 1985, p. 145.
2. Gavin De Beer, Homology: An Unsolved Problem, Oxford University Press, London, 1971, p. 16.
3. Pere Alberch, "Problems with the Interpretation of Developmental Sequences," Systematic Zoology, 1985, vol. 34 (1), pp. 46-58.
4. Raff, Rudolf A., The Shape of Life: Genes, Development, and the Evolution of Animal Form, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1996.
Quick Grasp of Faith:
Is everything I think about known to Allah?
Allah knows about everything, including what one is thinking about because one of the attributes of Allah is "Al Habir" (All-Aware), which means that Allah knows the inside truth and concealed aspects of everything. One can hide one's thoughts from the people who surround one but not from Allah. As stated in the verse, "Allah—Him from Whom nothing is hidden, either on earth or in heaven."
(Surah Al 'Imran: 5) In another verse it is stated as follows:
He is Allah in the heavens and in the Earth. He knows what you keep secret and what you make public and He knows what you earn. (Surat al-An‘am: 3)
Man is dependent on time and space, whereas Allah is exalted above all these deficiencies. It is Allah Who creates time, space, all mankind and all the events that people see occurring. He alone determines the fate of everyone and everything. Therefore, Allah knows man inside out, including all our thoughts. As stated in the Qur'an, "... He knows what the heart contains."
(Surat al-Mulk: 13)
How can the heart and eyes of a person be sealed?
The commands of Allah are clear in the Qur'an and anyone who is aware of them should fulfill these commands. If a person does not behave as he should in spite of being aware of Allah's guidance in the matter, then it means that he does not pay heed to his conscience. Therefore, his heart becomes hardened, his reason and conscience decline and after a while he can no longer see right from wrong. He cannot understand what is described in the Book of Allah and cannot see the truth. He cannot even perceive the end that awaits him.
Allah, in His verses, states that the hearts, ears and eyes of those who prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter, who use fallacious arguments to deny Allah's signs, who fabricate lies against Allah, who only obey their lower selves, who become unbelievers after believing, who prefer to stay behind at the time of battle and who do not want to spend their wealth in the way of Allah although they are rich, will be sealed up and there will be heaviness on them. The Qur'an also states that these people are the people of Hell:
Allah has sealed up their hearts and hearing and over their eyes is a blindfold. They will have a terrible punishment.
(Surat al-Baqara: 7)
Those are the people whose hearts, hearing and sight Allah has sealed up. They are the unaware. There is no doubt that in the Hereafter they will be the losers. (Surat an-Nahl: 108-109)
The Prophet Muhammad (saas)
Muslims who follow in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad (saas) should be a role model for all people, with their excellent character and good manners, and invite everyone to goodness, both verbally and in writing. The purpose of this book is to present the Prophet Muhammad (saas) in all the aspects of his character, show how superior a community made up of individuals who emulate his character will be, and call people to the way of the Prophet Muhammad (saas)...>>
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