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Article appeared Friday, April 19th, 2019 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (567) yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD

Do we ponder over what we observe in our environment and in ourselves? Do any
questions come to our minds? For example, have we ever studied plants and trees?
What makes them increase in size? How many types and varieties of plants and trees
are there. How does a particular plant or tree know what shape its leaves and flowers
should be? As the leaves and flowers grow, they fit into a particular shape that is
characteristic of the type of plant or tree. How does a plant or tree know its own
characteristic design? Does it know how to grow into this shape? As a particular cell of a
new leaf or flower grows, i.e., multiplies, how does it know which direction it should
move? Should a leaf or flower need guidance or specific instructions for growing into the
specific design pattern? Who, then, gives the needed instructions?

It is from the specific shape and other design characteristics that the science of Botany
{1} identifies the family or species a particular plant or tree belongs to.
“The study of botany is the study of patterns in plants. Related plants have
similar characteristics, and botanists have placed them in groups according to
these patterns of similarity. In essence, botanists have created a filing system
where all plants with one pattern are placed in one file folder, all the plants with
another pattern are placed in another folder, and so forth. The better you can
recognize these patterns, the better you will be able to identify plants.” {1}

Why are plants and trees organized into particular patterns and why do we need to know
the particular family or species? There are plants we eat; there are trees that give a
particular kind of fruit; there are plants that are good for their medicinal properties, etc.
We need to identify each for its particular use/purpose. Without a deliberate plan and
subsequent design could the integrated purpose/benefit be realized? Those designed for
consumption have to match the human constitution. Those designed as medicine have
to match the medicinal properties needed. Who has planned, designed and created the
intricate systems required for the plants and trees to grow and provide the benefit
derived? And now, who is it that constantly guides each plant and tree to maintain the
each system?

Should we study such systems and credit the Almighty Creator who has so beautifully
and thoughtfully planned, designed and created each system? Should we document and
publicize the beauty of these systems? After deriving the designed benefit should we
turn to Him in gratitude for looking after us so purposefully? What does the Holy
Scripture Al-Qur’an say about developing this awareness about God and responding to
Him? As examples, let us study the following Verses from the Al-Qur’an.

24.41 “Do you not see that God is exalted by whatever is within the
heavens and the earth and (by) the birds with wings spread (in flight)?
Each one knows its own (mode of) prayer and praise. And Allah knows well
all that they do.”
Just like a painting speaks of the qualities of its painter, every creation in the heavens
and the earth speaks of the majestic qualities and greatness of our thoughtful Creator.
Each carries out the duties and role designed by Him and is grateful in its own way for
existence. Given that it is only human beings that can study what is in the heavens and
the earth, what could be our purpose? Should we study the beauty in the designs and
bear witness to the greatness of the Creator, our Benefactor? For example, have we
ever studied how the birds fly? Birds have many design features {2} that enable them to
fly and soar through the air. So what kind of questions can be asked? How are different
types of birds designed to fly? How do birds know how to takeoff for flying, how to soar
and how to glide? How do they know where they are going and how to get there?

24.42 “To God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth; and to
God is the final goal (or destination of all).”
What has final goal to do with God? Could it be that, like everything else in creation, He
has also created humans for a specific purpose or objective? Could the purpose have
anything to do with the special abilities He has given humans? For example, why has
God given us an individual life with intelligence to process knowledge? God has lavished
us with umpteen benefits – why? The following Verse gives the answer to this question.
“It is He Who brought you out from the wombs of your mothers when you knew
nothing; and He gave you hearing and sight and intelligence and affections: that
you would be grateful.” [16.78]

We have to find reasons to be grateful by using our hearing and sight as inputs and
workout the reality of the Creator is using our intelligence. Then turn to Him with a heart
full of piety and gratitude using our affections (emotions). The following Verse gives
examples of what we should study and how we should set our minds to contemplate on
the systems designed by Him.

24.43 “Do you not see that God makes the clouds move gently then He
joins them together; then He makes them into a mass? Then you see the
rain emerge from their midst. And He sends down from the sky mountains
(of clouds) within which is hail and He strikes with it whom He pleases and
turns it away from whom He pleases. The vivid flash of its lightning almost
blinds the sight.”
The Verse is encouraging us to study the clouds and the water cycle through which
evaporating water is returned to the earth. A study of the clouds and the water cycle {3}
should prove fascinating. Why do clouds move in particular directions and bring the
benefits of rain [43.11] to revive parched areas?

24.44 “It is God Who alternates the night and the day. Indeed, verily it is in
these things an instructive lesson for those who have vision!”
Why does the earth rotate? What benefits does mankind derive from the alternation of
the day and night {4}? Does the day and night help to regulate the passage of time? A
study of the systems on earth would speak volumes about God, the one who has
designed all things in the universe. It would help us acknowledge and approach Him with
gratitude, piety and adoration. The purpose of the Al-Qur’an is to guide mankind to the
purpose for which God has created him/her.
“We have indeed sent down distinct Verses that make things manifest: and God
guides whom He wills to a straight path.” [24.46]