By: Zia Mahmood Minhas
|-The Mother Earth
The Mother Earth
The planet Earth is sometimes called ‘the blue planet’ as it looks from space due to hue given by presence of oceans. It is the abode of Human race along with myriad species of animals and plants. Human cultures have many views of the planet including its personification as deity, its shape being flat and its position as centre of the universe.
Earth is third planet in our solar system. It was created in a separation process from an initial constituent that in the beginning was the primary nebula of our solar system. This was a simultaneous process in which the Sun, Planets including Earth and satellites were formed about 5 billion years ago.
THE Earth has mean radius of 6371 kilometers and has a distinct outer and inner core. The outer layer of the Earth is chemically distinct silicate solid crust, the thickness of which varies from 6 kilometers under oceans and 30-35 kilometers on continents. The inner core is highly viscous solid mantle. The planet’s interior remains active with a thick solid mantle liquid outer core that generates magnetic field and a solid iron inner core. The Earth’s crust is divided into several rigid segments called tectonic plates that migrate across the surface over period of many million years. Seventy one % of the Earth’s surface is covered by salt water oceans and remainder consisting of continents and islands. Oceans and other water sources like rivers, lakes etc form hydrosphere. The presence of water is unique to Earth and a major factor in supporting life on it.
The Earth’s atmosphere extends from 7 kilometers at equator to 17 kilometers at poles. It contains nitrogen and oxygen as major constituents with traces of water vapor, carbon dioxide and other gases.
Qur’an Explains Why Earth is Unique in Existence of Life
The Earth is unique in the solar system by having environments supportive to sustenance of life. Scientists have put forward hypotheses that primitive life appeared on Earth by chance and then progressed to higher forms through evolution due to favorable environmental conditions.
But Allah says in Qur’an that life was created by design and environment to sustain life were enforced by His decree. The following verses refer to this reality:
(ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ وَهِيَ دُخَانٌ فَقَالَ لَهَا وَلِلْأَرْضِ ائْتِيَا طَوْعًا أَوْ كَرْهًا قَالَتَا أَتَيْنَا طَائِعِينَ ﴿١١
Then He ascended to heaven while yet smoke and said to it and to the earth, come forth willing or unwilling. And both responded we come willingly.
( Soorah Fussilat 41:11 )
الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ فِرَاشًا وَالسَّمَاءَ بِنَاءً وَأَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِ
(مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ رِزْقًا لَّكُمْ ۖ فَلَا تَجْعَلُوا لِلَّـهِ أَندَادًا وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ ﴿٢٢
Allah is the One Who made the earth a bed for you, the sky a canopy; that causes the water to descend from the sky with which He brings forth fruits as sustenance for you. Do not , therefore ,set up any equals to Allah when you know better.
( Soorah Al- Baqarah 2:22 )
(وَالْأَرْضَ مَدَدْنَاهَا وَأَلْقَيْنَا فِيهَا رَوَاسِيَ وَأَنبَتْنَا فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ مَّوْزُونٍ ﴿١٩
(وَجَعَلْنَا لَكُمْ فِيهَا مَعَايِشَ وَمَن لَّسْتُمْ لَهُ بِرَازِقِينَ ﴿٢٠
(وَإِن مِّن شَيْءٍ إِلَّا عِندَنَا خَزَائِنُهُ وَمَا نُنَزِّلُهُ إِلَّا بِقَدَرٍ مَّعْلُومٍ ﴿٢١
We spread out the earth and cast upon it the mountains firmly anchored, and caused vegetation to grow therein, balanced in all kinds. In it we created livelihood for you, and also for whom you do not provide. There is not anything but we have it with us, and we send it down only in appointed measure.
( Soorah Al- Hijr 15: 19-21 )
(هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ ذَلُولًا فَامْشُوا فِي مَنَاكِبِهَا وَكُلُوا مِن رِّزْقِهِ ۖ وَإِلَيْهِ النُّشُورُ ﴿١٥
Allah is the One who made the earth docile to you. So roam its byways and eat of his provisions; to Him is the resurgence.
( Soorah Al – Mulk 67:15 )
Let us have in-sight how Allah’s decree has been enforced to make planet Earth a habitable abode for all living creatures including human race.
a) Location of Earth: The Sun is the source all energy required for sustenance of life on Earth. The Sun is located in a relatively quiet region of the universe. It has not too many neighbors that are producing high intensity sterilizing radiation. The distance of Earth is optimum at 150 million kilometers. The planets orbiting closer to Sun receive too much radiation that makes life impossible. Those planets orbiting next to Earth do not receive enough radiation to maintain life, thus precluding existence of life as is the case of icy dwarfs like Pluto. Scientists have sufficient evidence to conclude that only Earth hosts life in our solar system. Earth’s temperature ranges between 0 to 100°C. Temperatures below 0 C° would freeze all water. If it exceeds 100 C° for extended period all oceans would evaporate.
b) Gravitation/Electromagnetism: Gravitation/Electromagnetism in our Earth is embodied in controlling various forces such as gravity and sizing the rest mass of various particles i.e. electrons, protons and neutrons. The electromagnetism has been fine tuned in relation to Sun, its radiation and gravitational pull. This is key to all parameters to sustain life on Earth
c) The Moon: Moon is Earth’s only natural satellite. The moon’s gravitational interactions with Earth stimulate ocean tides, stabilize the axis tilt and gradually slow the rotation of planet.
d) Tectonic plates: The mechanically rigid outer layer of Earth, the lithosphere is broken into pieces called tectonic plates. The movement of these plates results in mountain building, earthquakes volcanic activity and oceanic trench building, Tectonic plates of Earth act as supportive factor for sustenance of life. These have produced landmass without which Earth would have been all water around. Tectonic plates absorb carbon dioxide by reaction with silicates to form calcium carbonate (CaCO3).This reaction takes place in shallow waters adjacent to oceans and results in lowering of carbon dioxide concentration. The lowering concentration of carbon dioxide has maintained optimum temperature of Earth despite increasing radiation from the Sun which has increased by 40% in the last many million years. In the absence such reaction life would have vanished from the planet.
f) Water: Water is universal solvent in which the chemistry of life occurs and chemical reactions essential for existence of life take place. The total water required has been provided by Allah, it changes its forms (Liquid, Solid, Gas) with no change in its overall quantity. The total water available on Earth by weight is 0.5% which is just optimum to support life on Earth. While looking for extra-terrestrial life, scientists look for presence of water since life is not possible without it.
g) Earth’s atmosphere and protective role of Jupiter: Earth’s atmosphere acts as a stabilizing factor to keep the temperature within an optimum range. It efficiently traps the Sun’s radiation. Carbon dioxide though only 0.03% constituent of atmosphere it acts as a blanket to maintains optimum temperature range on Earth. The atmosphere has been designed to block harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun due to Ozone layer. The atmosphere also wards off the Earth from falling meteorites which burn and dissipates due to extreme heat generated by friction. The planet Jupiter is huge in size as compared to Earth and saves it from falling meteorites by attracting them due to greater force of gravitation. The ratio of Nitrogen and Oxygen also acts as a stabilizer because of Oxygen being reactive and Nitrogen being relatively inert in reactions.
I) Ample mineral and products of biosphere that are utilized to support global population have been provided by Allah. Without these resources the life on Earth would have been jeopardized.
J) Food chain has been created with symbiotic relationship between animal and plant kingdoms. Plants exhale oxygen by the process of photosynthesis which is necessary for the respiration of animals. Plants use atmospheric carbon dioxide and carbon dioxide produced from other sources like respiration of animals, combustion and chemical reactions to manufacture their food. Enough food has been provided for every species of plant and animal kingdom, and nature keeps delicate balance between population of various species and food availability.
There are numerous other factors necessary for continuation of life on Earth and description of all of them is beyond scope of this article. A minor deviation will lead to catastrophic consequences and result in termination of life. The complete harmony and coherence of all these factors is very delicately balanced and intelligently designed by Allah. Looking from aesthetic angle, the Earth is a beautiful planet. The sight of sky at night, towering mountain peaks, waterfalls, and colorful flowers, the patterns on butterfly wings, wonderful colors and designs on plumage of birds is sufficient to convince the men of wisdom that all this cannot emerge by chance.
Allah has pointed to this fact in the verse:
(أَفَلَمْ يَنظُرُوا إِلَى السَّمَاءِ فَوْقَهُمْ كَيْفَ بَنَيْنَاهَا وَزَيَّنَّاهَا وَمَا لَهَا مِن فُرُوجٍ ﴿٦
Have they not observed that sky above them and how, We have erected it and decorated it, how free of cracks it is? And the earth, how we spread it out and placed in it towering mountains and caused it to sprout forth of every lovely species. An eye- opener is this and a remembrance to every servant turning to Allah in repentance.
(Soorah Qaf 50:6-8)
Allah planned and enforced compatibility of these factors to make Earth hospitable to life. Keeping in view above mentioned facts, creation of universe by chance is completely ruled out.
Shape and Movement of Earth:
|The Earth moves in two ways:-Movement on its own axis-Circulation around the Sun|
The movement of Earth on its axis is completed in approximately 24 hours (86400.0025 seconds). This movement results in emergence day and night in succession and different timings across the Earth surface. At anytime half of Earth facing the Sun receives light and other half is dark experiencing night time.
The movement of Earth around Sun at a distance of 150 million km is completed in 365.2564 days. The movement of Earth on its axis and resulting appearance of day and night has been indicated in the following verses:
(وَتَرَى الْجِبَالَ تَحْسَبُهَا جَامِدَةً وَهِيَ تَمُرُّ مَرَّ السَّحَابِ ۚ صُنْعَ اللَّـهِ الَّذِي أَتْقَنَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ ۚ إِنَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَفْعَلُونَ ﴿٨٨
And you will see the mountains and imagine them standing still as they flit like clouds- Allah’s devising Who does all things to perfection. He is all- experienced with what you do.”
(Soorah An-Namal 27:88)
خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ بِالْحَقِّ ۖيُكَوِّرُ اللَّيْلَ عَلَى النَّهَارِ وَيُكَوِّرُ النَّهَارَ عَلَى اللَّيْلِ
(وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ ۖ كُلٌّ يَجْرِي لِأَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ۗ أَلَا هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفَّارُ ﴿٥
He created the heavens on Earth in truth. He wraps night around day and day around night.
(Soorah Az-Zumar 39:5)
In Soorah 27:88 Qur’an has mentioned that the mountains appear to be static to apparent eye. They however move like clouds. The verse points to the fact that since atmosphere, mountains and everything on Earth’s crust moves along with Earth, it looks static but actually it is moving at the same speed, as the speed with which the Earth moves on its axis and orbit.
Internal Structure of Earth and Seven Earths:
The internal structure of Earth is divided into layers by their physical and chemical properties. Scientists have described the following seven layers.
|Component layer||Depth (km)|
In Qur’an there are several verses pointing to existence of seven Heavens and seven Earths.
اللَّـهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ وَمِنَ الْأَرْضِ مِثْلَهُنَّ يَتَنَزَّلُ الْأَمْرُ بَيْنَهُنَّ لِتَعْلَمُوا
(أَنَّ اللَّـهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ وَأَنَّ اللَّـهَ قَدْ أَحَاطَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عِلْمًا ﴿١٢
Allah it is Who created seven Heavens, and their like on earth: Between them the command descends, That you may know that Allah holds power over all things: that Allah encompasses all things in His knowledge.
(Soorah At-Talaq 65:12)
According to some interpreters this indicates the existence of unspecified number of Earth like planets in other galaxies where intelligent life exists. According others this refers to seven layers of Earth as given above.
According to another interpretation the seven layers of Earth are as given below:
Layer 1: Atmosphere
Layer 2: Hydrosphere
Layer 3: Upper mantle-Silicate Alumininium solid crust
Layer 4: Lower mantle- Sima rich in Silicon and Magnesium
Layer 5: Fluoride core-sima rich in Iron
Layer 6: layer of life rich in Iron and Nickel
Layer 7: The nuclear core
The scientific knowledge about the innermost layers is scant. Qur’an and scientists however are in agreement about existence of seven layers and possibility of Earth like planets in other galaxies having intelligent creatures living on it. We have given possible interpretations and Allah knows the actual status.