The life of plant in the light of Qur'an and Sunnah and Modern Science


Professor Doctor : KamalAl-DeenAl-Batanony

Professor in Plants section,  And a former Procurator in scientific academy, University of Cairo

The germination, emergence from earth and flowering of plants, had the privilege of being mentioned in several verses of the Holy Qur’an.

And It’s an eye-catching that the mentioning of the emergence of the plant from earth came mostly in Holy Makkahverses. This mentioning of the plants was not merely for the sake of counting Allah's blesses, it came in verses related to the process of creation revival resurrection and raising from the dead, as well as in verses that urge people on insight meditation prudence and consideration. It also came in verses that annul what disbelievers deny from Allah's ability to revive and create the living from the dead and the dead from the living and raise people from their tombs after their death and destruction.

The phenomenon that is an eye-catching and requires consideration and contemplation is the conjugation between creation and resurrection of man with the creation of plants in several verses.

Many of the verses of Qur’anassert the unity between origins of life on this earth and that the process of plant germination and growth is a model of resurrection after death and destruction, Allah Almighty says:"And among His Signs, that you seethe earth barren and desolate; but when We send down waterthereon, it is stirred and swelled. He Who gives itlife , surely, is  able to give life to the dead. Indeed! He is Able to do all things." [Fussilat: Verse39]

The Holy Qur’anis rich by verses that are related to this issue of emergence in the sense of resurrection and revival and they are more than thirty verses in twenty three Chapters.

First: Where the word "akhraja" (brought forth or raising out) with its derivatives carrying this meaning are mentioned.

Most of these verses relate the emergence and growth of plant to the resurrection and raising, asserting that the emergence of the living from the dead is interconnected with plants and human-beings.

In this study we display the Holy verses in which the word "akhraja" (bring forth) or its derivatives were mentioned in relation to plants, and the verses that deal with the revival of earth as well as these that connect between the emergence, resurrection and revival of the plant, and between the emergence of the dead from the living and the living from the dead.

Then we will try to relate this to what we know of the sciences of plants and environment.

In this aspect we should clarify that we are not one of those who try to hold themselves witnesses on the validity of Allah's (the blessed and the almighty) words through our knowledge which is vulnerable to breach and error. However, our insight through Allah's signs, triggered us to reflect upon them, and His creations in this vast universe and to consider the issue of the connection between the emergence of the plant from earth, the revival of earth and between resurrection and raising of the dead as established by Qur’an. It is a matter worth meditation and studying for all the inimitability that surround it which  we can not apprehend.

We perform this study believing that what science achieves and what scientists reach from knowledge is merely compliance to Allah's order of reflection on His creations; believing that no matter how much knowledge we reach about several phenomena, we are by all means incapable of revealing their secrets that only Allah knows.

First: verses in which the word "akhraja" (brought forth) or its derivatives in relation to plants are mentioned:

We will study the Holy verses that are related to the emergence of plants and the inimitability associating it. This came in ten locations in Holy Qur’anas following:

“Allah is He Who created the heavens and the earth and sent down water from the sky, thereby brought forth fruits as a sustenance for you; and He made the ships subservient to you, that they may sail through the sea by His Command; and He made the rivers  subservient to you." [Ibrahim: Verse32]

Who has made the earth a resting place for you, and the sky as a canopy, and sent down water from the sky and brought forth therewith of the fruits as a sustenance for you. Then do not set up rivals unto Allah (in worship) while you know (the truth).” [Al-Baqara: Verse22]

"Do you not see that Allah sends down water from the sky, With it We then bring out produce of various colours. and among the mountains are streaks white and red, of various shades of colour, and (others) intensely black?" [Fatir: Verse 27]

"And We send down from the rainy clouds water pouring forth abundantly, Thereby to bring forth grain and plant, And luxury dense gardens." [Al-Naba’:Verses14-16]

" Do you not see,that Allah sends down water from the sky, then makes it go along in the earth in springs, afterward thereby produces crops of different colours, then it withers and then you see them turn yellow, then He makes them dry and broken pieces. Verily, in this, is a Reminder for men of understanding." [Az-Zumar:Verse21]

"Have they not seen how We drive water (rain clouds) to the barren land, and therewith bring forth crops which their cattle and themselves eat, Will they not then see? * And They say: "When will this victory be ( between us and you ), if you are truthful" [As-Sajdah:Verses27-28]

"And the earth after that He spread it * He brought forth therefromits waterand its pasturage;" [Al-Nazi’at: Verses30-31]

"And Who broughtforth the pasturage* And then makesit darkstubble" [Al-Ala:Verses4-5]

" Who has made the earth for you like a carpet spread out; and made for you therein paths; and has sent down water (rain) from the sky. then we have brought forth with it pairs of various plants * Eat and pasture your cattle; verily in this there are signs for those endowed with minds."[Ta-ha : Verse  53-54]

"It is He Who sends down water from the sky, then we have brought forth with it plants of all kinds, and out of it We brought forth green crops, from which We bring forth thick clustered grain. And out of the date­palm and its sheaths come forth clusters of dates hanging low and near, and gardens of grapes, olives and pomegranates, each similar (in kind) yet different (in variety and taste). Look at their fruits when they begin to bear, and the ripeness thereof. Verily! In these things there are signs for people who believe." [Al-An’am:Verse 99]

These Holy verses link between the descent of water from the sky and the bringing out of the plant from earth.

It is a phenomenon that takes place every day and is known by all humans. But the role that water plays in the emergence of the plant, its growth and its biological and physiological operation is something that science discovered only recently.

In this introduction we are not about to discuss this role as we can’t cover all of its aspect fairly without drifting from the thesis of our current study. However, it is without doubt a theme worth studying and meditation.

In the previously mentioned verses, The Creator (Greatis He) speaks about His ability in bringing out the plant from earth which is nothing but a revival of this earth. Allah says: "A Sign for them is the dead land : We do revive it, and we brought forth from it grains , so that from it they eat." [Ya-Seen: Verse  33]

Second: the verses in which brought forth came with the meaning of resurrection and revival:

brought forth - i.e. resurrection raising and revival- came in seven locations in the Holy Qur’an. Allah the Most High says:

"And among His Signs is that thesky and theearth stand by His Command: then afterwardswhen He calls you, by a single call, behold, you will come out from the earth"[Al-Rom:Verse 25]

"And those who disbelieved say: "if we were dust, and our fathers, shall we certainly be brought forth?" [Al- Naml:Verse 67]

" Does he promise youthat when you dieand have become dust and bones, you shall brought forth? " [Al-Mu'minun: Verse 35]

" He said: "Therein shall youlive, and therein shall you die; and from it shall you be brought forth." [Al-A’raf:Verse 25]

" Thereof  We created you, and into it We shall return you, and from it We shall bring you forth once again.." [Ta-ha:Verse 55]

We see that the last verse came after the one in which Allah mentions that: ". then we have brought forth with it pairs of various plants"

And Allah the Most High says: 

"And Allah has made you grow out of the earth as a growth, "then He returns you into it, and bring you forth a (new) bringing forth?" [Noah: Verses 17-18]

Third:verses that link between the plant, resurrection and revival:

These verses came in three Chaptersof the Holy Qur’an and they link between bringing forth plants, resurrection and revival, asserting this resemblance clearly. Allah, Great is His affair, says:

"And It is He Who sends  the winds as heralds of glad tidings, before His mercy Till when they have carried a heavy-laden cloud, We drive them to a land that is dead, then We cause waterto descend thereon. Then We bring forth with it every kind of fruit. Similarly We shall bring forth the dead , so you may remember." [Al-A’raf: Verse 57]

"And Who sends down water from the sky in due measure. Then We revive a dead land therewith, even so you will be brought forth"  [Az-Zukhruf:Verse 11]

The resemblance between plant germination and brought forth is clarified in the following Holy verses:

"And We send down blessed water from the sky, then We cause to grow thereby gardens and grains that are reaped.* And tall (and stately) date-palms, with ranged clusters; * A sustenance for (Allah's) slaves. And We give life therewith to a dead land. Thus will be the bringing forth." [Qaf:Verses 9-11]

Fourth:verses in which the bringing forth the living out of the dead and the dead out of the living is mentioned:

In theses verses the ability of the Creator, the Evolver and the Fashioner (Great and sublime is His affair) materialize in His raising of life from death and in placing His secret in inanimate non-living elements to form components that pulse with life. Allah great is His affair says:

"He brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living. And He revives the earth after its death. And even so shall you be brought forth (resurrected)." [Ar-Rum: Verse 19]

In the context about creation and revival follows this verse in which Allah the Most High says:"And among His signs is this, that He created you from dust, and then - behold you human beings, ranging widely!" [Al-Room:Verse 20]

This Quranic verse from SurrahAl-An’amassociates plant germination, growth and emergence with the emergence of the living from the dead and the dead from the living. Here Allah, Great is His affair and supreme is His ability, says:

"It is Allah Who causes the seed­grain and the date­stone to split and sprout. He brings forth the living from the dead, and it is He Who brings forth the dead from the living. Such is Allah, then how are you deluded away from the truth?" [Al-Anaam: Verse 95]

Studying the processes in which the living components inside a plant's body are built up from non-living simple elements, as well as studying the decomposition of the plants - all plants - to its initial form/state as non-living elements, that will help us to meditate these Holy verses.

If scientists manage to know the chemical, biological and physiological courses in which a mergence of non-living elements to form living components takes place, they are still and will always be unable to understand the Godly secret in raising life in these components.

Fifth:Germination, plant emergence, death and decomposition in the light of modern science.

In brief and in a style as much as possible voided of technical terminologies, we will try to display this processes in the light of what science reached. This should help us sense and feel the Godly inimitability before which all human sciences stand handcuffed amazed  surrounded to Allah the One and Subdue.

In our discussion of germination we should present a short briefing about the structure of the seed. and The most important component of the seed the Embryo, which consists of the epicotylwhich constitutes the plant's shoot system, and the radical, which usually forms the root system of a plant, and a cotyledon or two mostly, that may contain stored nutritional substances, These nutritional substances may be stored outside it in what is known as the Endoplasm.

These stored substances may be carbohydrates or proteins or fats or a combination of all in different proportions that vary according to the plant's type.

The seed is wrapped by a coat known as the Testa,which has a hole called Hilusand which represents the entrance which water accesses the seed.

The size of the seed can be big or so tiny. This seed contains a viable embryo, at which the chemical and biological and physiological processes reach their lowest rate due to the decrease of its water content.

The seed remains in this state for periods that differ according to the plant's type till the germination conditions are available, the most importance of which is the presence of water.

planetThere is a big resemblance between human life cycle and that of plant life cycle since Allah the Most Sublime creates inside the plant's body organic elements from non-organic ones during photosynthesis. These non-organic substances, absorbed from the soil by the plant, maybe the remains of a decomposed plant or animal. In the same way, Allah the Most High is capable of re-creating man after his decomposition like he created him in his initial state with his organs and members.

After this, the process of germination begins. This is represented through a sequence of steps that starts with the absorption of water, that will lead to the swelling of the seed and rupture of its coat. The presence of water allows a chain of interrelated chemical reactions such as the dissolving of enzymes and its stirring to perform its function in breaking down stored materials to dissolved elements on which the embryo feeds to continue its cell division and elongation. This leads to the emergence of the radical and the epicotyls.

If we leave this germinating seed in darkness, it will germinate to a certain level depending on the quantity of the stored nutritional elements. In this case, the epicotyls and whatever leaflets they produce will be pale yellow. Then germination will stop as the stored nutritional substances will be consumed as a result of the respiration process.

Despite providing it on constant basis with water with all the containing of dissolved non-organic materials, the fate of such a plant will be death by all means. In this case, germination will not be successful as it does not satisfy its main aim - the formation of a full grown plant that blossom and give a fruits - unless it is exposed to light, and its epicotyls emerge to earth's surface.

Then the most amazing process on earth takes place: the formation of chlorophyll and green plastids- i.e. the beginning of photosynthesis. The green plastids are citoplasmatictiny organs that have sophisticated geometrical structure, and unto which Allah endowed the ability to benefit from light energy, represented by the sun as its main source, and to convert this energy to chemical energy.

Exposing the green plant to sunlight for a fraction of a second makes these plastids and what it contains from chlorophyll to initiate their functions.

Without getting into scientific details, it would be hard for a human to imagine the existence or establishment of a life without this absorption of radial energy and its conversion into chemical energy.

This is because the capturing of such energy and the processes that follow lead to the conversion of carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates, that form a main source of energy in the cells, and form row materials to establish proteins fats and other plant structures.

In addition to the carbon dioxide the plant takes from water or air, and the water it absorbs from its environment, plants absorb some non-organic substances and structures that are dissolved in water. This means that the majority of what the plant takes from its environment is non-organic elements and components.

In spite of this fact, these substances and structures mix with the carbohydrates produced by photosynthesis, during a number of complicated processes to form the living units inside the plant's body.

All these plants which we see or do not see by the bare eye are nothing but clusters of living substances - i.e. protoplasm and its components - The creation of this living material from non-organic substances takes place continuously in plant with every blink of an eye. The growth of the plant in size or weight stands as a solid evidence on this, as these additions are made up by the formation of the living substance in the plant's body established from non-living substances.

Though we can see the aspects of this process of creation and revival and though we may know some of its courses; yet the spring of life in these components remains a Godly secret that we can not realize.

If modern science managed to manufacture and establish some organic structures from non-organic ones, it remains incapable of reviving these substances or bringing life unto them.

Man has no hand in the courses of the decent of water and the germination, growth and blossoming of plants. He can only see and feel them. He can smooth the earth for the seedlings, water and nurture them. However, these courses of interaction, the formation of substances and the building up of living clusters inside the plant, are all issues that only the Capable Creator can handle.

Perhaps this bond between plants and resurrection springs from the special nature Allah endowed upon plants, for they are the only creatures to which Allah gave the ability to form their living bodies from not only inanimate but also non-organic constituents.

This is what modern science identifies as auto-nutrition. The nutrition in all other creatures that do not contain enzymes is mostly depending on others to supply them with ready-made food.

Every plant and human being shall taste death by all means. The reasons of death may vary but the result is one. The decomposition process initiates in the organic bodies of these creatures when they die, through many different types of micro-organisms which Allah gives the ability to excrete quantities of different types of enzymes despite their tiny size. Such enzymes work on breaking down the substances of complex structures of carbohydrates or fats or proteins.

The products of the decomposition processes in any creature include carbon dioxide that returns to air, and water that returns to its initial state, as well as the ashes that is made up of non-organic structures originally absorbed by the plant from the soil and was transferred from a plant to an animal or to a man that eats it.

In this way, substances circulate from the surrounding environment to the plant then to the environment again. The cycle may be prolonged as a body of an animal or more, or that of a man joins the process, till the cycle ends with the environment again.      

This clarifies the cycles of substances like carbon, dioxide, nitrogen, phosphor, sulphur etc.. , as the living decompose non-living substances are produced.

Thus, we can feel the miracle of the Holy Qur’anthat, more than fourteen centuries ago, presented new criteria human had no knowledge of and which human shall remain ignorant of many of its aspects.

For instance, this connection between the process of revival with bringing forth and resurrection is one of the issues that secular science did not notice, despite its frequent mentioning in the Holy verses that assert such a bond and that differentiates between the establishment of the plant and the resurrection of man.

In the end we faithfully pray that our meditate of these subjects would turn out to be an enlightenment and reminder to all Allah's repentant slave.

By Professor Doctor: KamalAl-DeenAl-Batanony

This Article published in cooperation with the institute of scientific miracles on Quran And Sunnah

Translated By :Kamellia Hussein