3- Not even an atom’s weight in the heavens and the earth,
or something smaller or greater than it is hidden from
Him, but all are in a clear record.
The atom is the smallest particle of matter. Allah drew attention to the
existence of the atom, laying emphasis on the importance of its knowledge. A naked eye looking at a table, a carpet, a wall or a stone cannot
fully grasp the importance of the atom and the knowledge it contains.
While the Quran stresses the importance of the atom, it emphasizes also
the subatomic particles, “Or something smaller or greater than.” In
the expression “greater than” is comprised the knowledge of the greater
compositions like molecules, the entirety of which is within God’s ken.
. The Quran asserts the omniscience of
Allah. Drawing attention to the existence of the atom and the subatomic particles is relevant to the present day information that physics has discovered. The knowledge obtained today by means of cosmological
physics studying the science of the origin and structure of the universe
are interrelated with the data of atomic physics. Another miraculous sign
of the Quran is its referring to the weight (miskale in Arabic) of the atom
wherever the word “zerre” (atom) is mentioned.
FROM VAST TO SMALLEST MAGNITUDES
Imagine you are eating a pizza with great relish. What are its ingredients? Sausage, cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes and flour. What are the
constituents of these sausages, cheeses, mushrooms and tomatoes and
what are the constituents of the constituents? This series of questions
leads us to molecules. The molecules themselves are made up of atoms
such as oxygen, hydrogen and carbon. Then come protons and electrons, together forming eventually the nucleus of the atom…
The entire universe is made of matter or energy. From the trunk of a
tree to its leaves, from the hands of a human being to his eyes, from golden ornaments to cotton dresses, everything is matter. The atom is the
individual structure that constitutes the basic unit of any chemical element. The proton is an elementary particle that is the positively charged
constituent of ordinary matter, and, like the neutron, is the building stone
of atomic nuclei. The electron is an elementary particle that is the negatively charged constituent of ordinary matter. These are the recent discoveries of science that led us to the discovery of the television, computer, Internet, etc. Take, for instance, a grain of sand in the palm, which is
assumed to be the simplest matter, and think of the quadrillion of atoms
it contains; quadrillions of atoms you could not finish counting throughout the span of your lifetime. Imagine that each of these atoms has its
electrons moving around the nuclei, like the planets making their rounds
around the sun. A quadrillion solar systems contained within a grain of
sand or piece of rock in your palm. An intelligent mind will readily conceive that there is nothing simple in the universe. Be it a pizza or a rock,
suppose that you fancy recomposing them. To embark on such a huge
project, you must go back to the very beginning, to the primeval explosion, and repeat the process. In this odyssey, you will run into atoms, cornerstones of the universe, entailing the existence of protons, electrons and
neutrons; then you will be faced by the gaseous substance made of hydrogen and helium; these will be followed by stars and atoms produced in
these stars which will one day be transformed into the mushrooms, cheese
and tomatoes of our pizza. In order to really make a pizza, we need to
create the entire universe with all the stages it had.
The more you delve into the study of the atom the greater
becomes your wonder. Suppose a penny on the table is the nucleus of
an atom. The orbit that the electron would trace around it would be
at a distance of 2-3 km. What is in between? The distance between the two, i.e., the nucleus and the electrons, is a vacuum. In other words,
a piece of rock held in our hand contains in it quadrillions of solar systems, but 99.99% of it is a vacuum. Interesting, isn’t it?
While we observed the fact that the universe was replete with orbits
as described in the verse (51-The Dispersing, 7), we witnessed the
infinitude of Allah power and magnitude. This divine power is demonstrated through more than one hundred million galaxies, more than a
hundred million stars contained in each, countless planets and satellites
and their quadrillions of devised orbits. A grain of sand, then, contains
quadrillions of miniature replicas of the solar system where electrons
dance around the nuclei of quadrillions of atoms. What should one
deduce from this? To begin with, the incommensurable magnitude of
our Creator’s power is also observed in the depth of matter. Endless
vastness has been created from these particles. The motion of the atom
is the same movement around the canter of limitless magnitudes. The
system in any given galaxy and the one forming a particle of dust is the
same system. The Author of that speck of dust is also the Author of the
universe. All these phenomena point to the immensity of His power and
to the order reigning in the universe, as well as to the fact that nothing
is casual in His creation. The creation of the smallest and of the biggest
is equal for Him. The creation of a point containing trillions of atoms
and of immense space is equal for Him and difficulty is a notion not
applicable for Him. There is no limit to His wisdom and power.
27- And if all the trees on earth were made into pens, and
the ocean supplied the ink, augmented by seven more
oceans, the words of God would not run out. God is indeed
Almighty and Wise.
INFINITESIMAL CONTENTS OF ATOMS
The nucleus of the atom contains protons charged with positive electricity. These positive charges repel each other. The miracle of creation occurs when protons adhere to each other forming a single
point. The power that confines the protons repelling each other and
the neutrons within a single point is immense; it is called strong
nuclear force. The elementary particles containing this force are referred to with the French epithet “gluons” meaning “sticky” (The
immense destructive energy of the atomic bomb was obtained by the
use of this force). God, who devised everything in the universe with
mathematical precision, has also conceived this immense force with
mathematical exactitude. This force adheres the mutually repelling
protons to each other; had the power been weaker or stronger, the
protons could disintegrate or it could cause the intrusion of protons
and neutrons into each other.
The atomic bomb demonstrated tragically the immense power of
the atom. It also showed that one of the factors that contributed to
our worldly existence is its intrinsic balance. Thanks to the well adjusted order reigning in this field, matter does not disintegrate all
of a sudden, giving rise to noxious effects of radiation. Another
important factor that contributes to the stability of the atom is the
weak force inherent in it. This force is particularly important in establishing the balance of the nuclei that comprise an excessive number of
neutrons and protons.
Electromagnetic force is another factor contributing to the existence of atom. It is this force that brings about the attraction of oppositely charged particles and the repulsion of particles having like electric charges. This has made possible the coming together of the protons and electrons. However, this coming together has its limits.
Electrons do not stick to the protons while they move at a breath-taking speed around the nucleus in their orbits. The repulsion of negatively charged electrons turning in succession, and the attraction of
the electrons by the protons changes nothing. In this way, the electron does not stick to the proton that attracts it, nor is it moved away.
The Creator of this system, of these electrons, deprived of consciousness, is undoubtedly the Creator of matter, atoms, electrons, etc. Let
us make an experiment as conscious human beings. Imagine tying a
rope around the waists of three or four people while others stand in
the middle of the circle. Let those in the middle try to pull the tied
people towards themselves while the outside people are circumnavigating the centre, and let the people making the circle push each other
and those in the canter as well, resembling the movement within the
nucleus of an atom. We certainly do not expect them to make thousands of rotations per second like an electron. Can reasonable human
beings continue to imitate the motion of an atom for the length of
one minute? And imagine for an instant that we venture to imitate the model of an atom with 3 or 4 orbits and that there are three or four
rotations around the symbolic nucleus. In addition to this, suppose
that sumo wrestlers representing the gluons with adhesive properties
within the nucleus try to keep those pulling the rope while pushing
each other at their places. What an awkward experience this would be!
How have the protons and electrons been performing this feast over
and over again endlessly for eons and eons with the quadrillions of
atoms contained in a small rock?
These atoms existing in the universe and in our bodies were produced long ago in supernovas. The calcium in our teeth, the carbon
that our pizza contains, and the iron atoms in our body are products
of stars of high temperatures. These raw materials of the universe are
prepared in the laboratory of these stars before being transformed into
pizzas, water, blood, flesh, teeth and eyes.
This is not a story of an adventure taking place far away from us.
Our hands, hair, eyes, our very food and the chair we sit on, everything is performing this process indiscriminately. Our Creator is perpetuating this process incessantly with His omnipotence and omniscience. All these movements of the atom and the energy inherent in it
are what perpetuate our existence.
2- To Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the
earth. No son has He begotten, nor has He a partner in His
dominion. It is He who created all things, and ordered
them in exact measure.
25- Al-Furqan The Distinguisher, 2
It is estimated that there are some 1080 particles in the universe. Add
80 zeros after 1 to have an idea of this magnitude. These particles
function thanks to complex, ingeniously devised and balanced forces.
So do the comets, supernovas and planets, a consequence of the harmonious interaction of these particles. What else must one bring forth
to give an idea of the power and design lying behind all these?
In this chapter, I tried to outline the structure of an atom and
emphasize that it was extremely complex, perfect and ingeniously
devised. Were we to push our exploration further, our wonder would be much greater. The emergence of elementary particles in the wake
of the Big Bang is the result of an intelligent design. The heat at every
instant during the explosion, the number of atomic particles, the
forces involved in every stage and their intensities have been carefully
planned. Any change in these values would be the end of existence, of
galaxies and atoms, and would end up in chaos. The consequence of
this primeval explosion was not chaos as might be expected, but a perfect harmony, the work of the Creator, governed by physical laws, a
perfect order reigning among galaxies and atoms.
Tiny units of split seconds had their function to perform in the creation of the universe. Had the particles and anti-particles been created in equal number, all of them would be destroyed when the temperature fell below one billion degrees, leaving behind nothing but
radiation. The very fact of our existence is evidence to the contrary.
The number of electrons had to be somewhat more than the number
of positrons and the number of protons should exceed the number of
anti-protons and the figure representing the neutrons should be superior to the number of anti-neutrons.
Every particle had to come into being at a predetermined velocity,
temperature and time sequence. The primeval explosion was designed
in such a way that it was followed by an evolution that reflected the
Creator’s ingenious artistry. We have touched on the structure of the
atom and the formation of atomic particles after the primeval explosion. The more one delves into the mystery of creation the more one’s
wonder and amazement increase. The actual magnificence of the
atom, the creation of particles of the atom by an intelligent design and
the transformation of the particles into atoms are beyond the grasp of
the intellect. If 1080 particles, with mutually attracting and repulsing
electricity charges, had not been transformed into atoms in a finely
balanced manner, neither the human ego, nor the book we read, nor
the earth we inhabit would exist.
Whether we ascend to the heavens or descend to the microscopic
depths, we encounter the same perfection and immensity of Allah
work and design.
120- To God do belong the dominion of the heavens and
the earth, and all that there is therein, and it is He who has
power over all things.
5-Al-Maidah The Feast, 120