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Chapter XI

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The Quran & The Botany

The Quran touches some basic facts about the science of the plants. Telling the very basis of life it said:

We made every living thing from water. Will they not then believe? (21/30)

After the development of the biological science, we learnt that the origin of life is aquatic. The basic element in the formation of the cell is water. Without water, every living thing will perish. Water whether that is of rains, wells, rivers or seas forms essential part of plant life as well.

It may be recalled that the studies if the living cell have been made in the 20th century. The 7th century revelation telling a scientific reality as to life has been confirmed by the modern science.

The scientists made some exhaustive studies about the plant life. They found that the mystery of sex runs into them as well. They have mating system. They are unisexual or bisexual. When androecium's and gynoecium's are present in a flower, it is bisexual or hermaphrodite. A flower lacing gynaecium or androecium is termed unisexual. Unisexual flowers may be either staminate (male) or pistillate (female). If male and female flowers develop on the same plant, the plant is described as monoecious. If male and female flowers are born on separate plants, they are termed dioecious. A flower without any functional stamen or carpel is neuter or sterile.

The flowers have the fertilizing powder, which is formed in their anthers. It is called pollen. Pollen is a Latin word meaning 'fine dust, of flour' and was popularized by Carl Linnaeus in 1751. Pollen is usually carried by winds or insects to the stigmas of angiosperms or to the naked ovules of the gymnosperms. A flower is self pollinated, if pollen is transferred to it from any flower of the same plants, and cross-pollinated if the pollen comes from a flower of a different plant.

Only the pollen of the same species usually effects fertilization. Most of these finding date back 18th and 20th century. Now we shall see what did God revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaho alaihi wasallem) on the plant life in the 7th century. And how does it confirms to our modern thoughts on the earth science?

God said:

And He it is Who spread out the earth and placed therein firm mountains and flowing rivers and of all fruits He placed therein two spouses (male and female). He covered the night with the day, Lo! herein verily or signs for people who meditate. (13/3)

How wonderfully our pear shaped earth has been spread out, this I have already discussed, and in-sha-allah (God willing) shall further throw light on this very revelation in the Ch: Bodily ascent of the Prophet. How do the mountains serve the earth, this I have elaborated in the Ch: VIII. The Prophet in the aforesaid revelation discloses every hard and fast rule about the plant life. The rule is, 'AND OF ALL FRUITS HE PLACED THEREIN TWO SPOUSES'. The Arabic word in the revelation is 'Zaujain ithnain'.

Marmaduke Pickthal who is famous for his literal translation of the Quran has translated these words as two spouses (male and female). He has given the correct dictionary meaning. The word 'Zaujain' means the pair with its opposite, like male and female or the pair of pigeons, or the pair of shoes.

As of old, the scholastic genius gave the exegesis of the Holy Book to the best of its talents, but even centuries after the Quranic advent, the Muslim scholars did not know that the plants have their mates and their growth or breeding rests on their mating, so they translated the word 'Zauj' with 'Sinf' kind and said, "of all types there are two kinds." (Ibn Kathir)

They could not determine these two kinds as male and female, though the Arabic version meant the pair with its opposites. It was only our modern findings which held the sexuality in the plants. However, Imam Razi in his book 'Tafsir al Kabir' wrote, "If it is said 'Zaujain' has to be pair, then what is the use of calling the pair (of) two?" Razi replying to the question said, "When God first created this world, created into it the trees (plants). Among all kinds, He created a pair of two only. If He (God) said that a pair had been created, it could not be ascertained whether a kind or a person is intended. But when He said, He created a pair (of) two, we came to know that God created two no more no less. And the outcome among the mankind of the pairs of two is very great now. But the population began from the pair of two Adam and Eve. All the trees and plants are also like this. So it is said for them too."

Imam Razi made it very clear that the progenitors of mankind were Adam and Eve, similarly, the origin of all kinds of plants and trees began with the pairs of two. The element of sex unites the pairs in keeping the progeny. Therefore, every living thing i.e. men, animals, plants and trees all have been blessed with sex to maintain their race. God emphasizing this very fact to Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaho alaihi wasallem) said:

Glory be to Him Who created all things in pairs of that which earth groweth and of their own kind and of (other) things which they know not. (36/36)

The aforesaid revelation brings this things into the lime light that a things that the earth produces along with the men are created in pairs. I have already told that the element of sex unites the pairs. That is why Marmaduke Pickthal has translated saying:

Glory to be Allah, Who created all the sexual pairs, of that the earth groweth, and of themselves...(36/36)

Thus, the sex is inborn quality of every living thing, therefore, The Quran mentioned the pairs in that which the earth grows and in mankind altogether, which established the element of sex results into the production of the population of the living beings and the plants. Our modern knowledge in botany confirms the Quran and held that the plants are unisexual or bisexual.

God in the same revelation mentioned the creation of such things too, which were unknown to the people during the tenure of the Quranic descent. Certainly, in the 7th century and even after about thousand years the people did not know the creation of many creatures. It was only after the invention of microscope that they could learn about the creatures invisible to naked eye. This proved the prophet-hood of Muhammad (Sallallaho alaihi wasallem) and what was revealed to him is the truth.

It may be said as to why all these scientific facts of the worldly life were revealed to Muhammad (Sallallaho alaihi wasallem), while his mission was to propagate the religion Islam. It was not so. Islam is universal religion, which pertains to nature and covers all walks of life. God revealing the Apostle (Sallallaho alaihi wasallem) the very purpose of the Quran said:

Say: O mankind! Now the Truth from your Lord hath come unto you, so whosoever is guided is guided only for (the good) of his soul, and whosoever strayeth, strayeth only against himself. And I am not a warder over you. (10/108)

It is apparent from the above that God revealed the Book to Muhammad (Sallallaho alaihi wasallem) for the benefit of mankind and whatsoever is therein that may be the science or the religion is the truth.

The Muslim scholars after learning the Quran opened a new era of scientific advancement. They directed their finding to the benefit of humanity. Without hesitation, it can be said that they had done the spade work which has now given to the humanity some astonishing results. The Europeans walked into their trails and reached to the goals, which our predecessors had purported. (See Gravitation, the Quran and the Muslim scientists).

It may be recalled that under the caption 'The rains in the Quran' we have see that how do the fertilizing winds (15/22) carry with them the particles of dust, pollen, grain, salt crystals and carbons etc., and finally help in bringing rains. On the other hand, the fertilizing winds cause the pollination. If the pollen is wind borne, it is called anemophilous and if it is insect borne, it is called entomophilous.

However, the Prophet through the aforesaid revelation invited the people to think in the phenomena of living thing and how do they procreate. If they meditated, they would find only God, the Unique is the Creator of them, and only the Creator could tell all these basic science related to the phenomena of life and universe in the days of scientific ignorance. These scientific facts are an open invitation for the non-Muslims to believe in Islam