The special structure of a mother-of-pearl

mother-pearlIn the development of materials to be used in the production of strong impellers in jet engines, the mother-of-pearl’s structure is imitated. 95% of the mother-of-pearl on the inner layer of many shellfish’s shells is chalk, but mother-of-pearl is 3,000 times stronger than chalk- thanks to its composite structure. When this structure is examined, it is seen that microscopic tablets, only eight microns (1 micron=10–6 meters) in width, and one half of a micron in depth, are arranged as layers. These tablets are a dense, shiny crystalline form of calcium carbonate. But, the combination of these tablets is only possible with a silk-like sticky protein.

This combination ensures a two-way hardness. First, the breaks that form when a heavy load is placed on the mother-of-pearl, naturally moves along the thinnest layers,; yet they change direction when they try to pass the protein layers. This distributes the applied force, and thus, a complete break-up is prevented. A second strengthening factor is that the protein layers tighten along the cracks when a crack is formed. By means of this tension, the energy that will resume the break is dispersed.

This special damage decreasing structure of the mother-of-pearl has become a subject of research for many scientists. The fact that matter in nature has gained resistance with such intelligent methods points to the existence of the Owner of a superior intelligence. As can be seen from this example, Allah (swt) shows us His existence and the evidences of the superior strength and mightiness in His Creation with His infinite knowledge and intelligence. Therefore, the praise for the order here is for Allah (swt), as it is in all things. In one verse, Allah (swt) reveals as such,

“To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth. And verily, Allah He is Rich (Free of all wants), Worthy of all praise.” (Al-Hajj 22:64)

The superior creation in Bats teaches us how to be safer in our cars

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have conducted studies on a robot, which has “smart ears” to find its way via eco-location (using the sound waves emitted by some creatures to detect things such as the distance or size of an object) just like a bat. Jose Carmena, from the informatics faculty of the university, and his co-workers have named this robot as “RoBat.” A sound source that acts like a mouth and two fixed sound detectors were placed on RoBat. Then the robot’s mouth was arranged to spread sound waves (echos) just like in bats.

In the design of RoBat, other characteristics of bats were also considered to utilize the echos in the best way possible. Bats move their ears to determine the frequency intervals of sound waves, and in this way, they easily overcome the obstacles in front of them and find their prey and catch it. RoBat was also equipped with such ultrasonic detectors to have a perfect mechanism like that seen in bats.

By means of such sound detectors, designed by inspiration from nature, it is thought that roads and highways will become safer one day.

However, the leading car manufacturers of the world are using ultrasonic detectors that are activated when the vehicle is put into reverse gear. The driver is, therefore, able to recognize how close he is to another car or object standing behind him, thanks to these detectors.

These superior beings, of which we can give a few examples, and which serve as an inspiration to the technological advances of the 21st century are only some of the works of Allah (swt), Who creates all things without prior example and in a perfect manner. In the Quran, Allah’s (swt) name “Al-Badi (One Who creates without example)” is revealed as follows,

“He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth.…” (Al-An‘am 6:101)

Miracle of Allah: Tolerance of our body’s defense system

photogallery-human-body-11-fullThe elements of the defense system fight against the enemies that will harm the body just like ordered and disciplined soldiers. First, the soldiers that render the enemies ineffective by swallowing them (known as phagocytes) come to the battlefield. Sometimes however, the battlefield conditions overwhelm the abilities of these soldiers; then other soldiers (known as macrophages) step in. This causes a “situation alert” to occur in the target area and an army of soldiers (called helper T cells) is called to the battlefield.

However, during this struggle, a miracle takes place. Even though the body is always on the alert to fight against the organisms that can cause it harm, it allows millions of other types of bacteria to live in some organs. For example, it is known that 80-eighty species of microorganisms live in the mouth, throat and the tonsils. According to research, there are 200-two hundred organism species which keep our bodies constantly healthy. The reason that our defense system does not attack these organisms is that these are vital for tolerance of the defense system.

T cells are the fighter white blood cells of our body. They fight against everything harmful to the body, and they eliminate hazardous bacteria and molecules out of our body. However, during the clean up they do not harm the body’s healthy tissues and bacteria beneficial to the body.

Every cell has an identification system to introduce itself, that we call receptors. Fighter T cells can make this distinction by recognizing the receptors in all other cells, and they ignore the cells the body needs. This quality of the defense system is called “tolerance.”

This situation is actually a great miracle because the defense system is able to distinguish thousands of different proteins from one another.

 This situation is actually a great miracle because the defense system is able to distinguish thousands of different proteins from one another.

The incredible cell drill

So, how did cells acquire a system that allows them to distinguish such different structures from one another?

It is, of course, impossible for coincidences to account for the ability to choose, which requires characteristics such as knowledge, consciousness and intelligence. There is no doubt that the defense system acts with the inspiration of Almighty Allah (swt) as revealed in the verse, “hearkening to its Lord as it is bound to do!” (Al-Inshiqaq, 2)

The defense system that we have been speaking of causes another very miraculous event. The pancreas is sheltered from the rest of the body. Therefore, the white blood cells do not directly work together with pancreatic cells. Instead, some intermediary cells interface with white blood cells and introduce the pancreas. In order to do this, these cells put on a mask that displays the antigens of their normal neighbours, thus suppress the immune system and keep it in a quiet and calm state. These are called “dendritic cells.”

T cells recognize these antigens, and learn not to become alarmed by the pancreatic cells and attack this organ.

As it is clear from this example  that qualities like developing new methods to recognize one another, agreeing with one another, making plans and moving with a perfect organization according to these plans cannot be expected from defense cells and a mere organ. There is no doubt that even a community of human beings couldn’t move in such a flawless synchronicity, and accomplish what needs to be done without failing, forgetting, making a mistake or causing confusion.

There is only one definite truth that must be accepted here and that is- all cells, just like everything else in nature, are created specially by Allah (swt), Who is the Owner of an infinite power, knowledge and intelligence.

“… He created all things and He is the All-Knower of everything” (Al-An’am 6:101)

Another organ, which the defense system tolerates, is the intestines. Even though, our general body is covered with very detailed defensive weapons, millions of bacteria nonetheless continue to survive in our intestines because the food we eat and the fluids we drink are digested by the bacteria in our small intestines. In addition, these bacteria provide a natural method of protection as they prevent the reproduction of other bacteria that could harm the body; hence, defense cells cooperate with these bacteria that prove beneficial for the body. Even though, there is the possibility of activating an immune system response, and starting a war in the intestines- T cells, somehow, ignore the bacteria in the small intestine and prevent this.

So, how do defense cells tolerate these bacteria?

Cells’ training- that is amazing!

In a research paper published in Nature Immunology journal, investigators led by Shannon Turley of Harvard Medical School have found that the defense system has a tolerance mechanism that was previously unknown. According to this, the lymph nodes are like strategic encampments that surround the whole body. The white blood cells pull the antigens to the lymph nodes and fight them.

However, the lymph nodes found in the intestines are like a training center more than a strategic encampment. The basic cells found there train the T cells, which are the soldiers of our defense system, about behaving in an appropriate and tolerant manner toward these uninvited, yet friendly guests. It cannot be explained away that such a system in this part of the body could have come into existence by coincidences. Shannon Turley states her excitement as such: “It’s obvious that T cells must be able to ignore — or become ‘tolerized’ to — normal intestinal tissue. … But it has been unclear how dendritic cells, which are extremely sensitive to microbial agents such as bacteria, teach T cells to resist attacking healthy intestinal cells.” Unconscious cells do not have the intelligence, consciousness and ability to make it possible to “teach” a biological process to one another. There is no doubt that a system, which even the most intelligent researchers and scientists cannot comprehend, being placed inside a cell with no ability to think and consider things for itself has a very special meaning.

Allah (swt) created the defense system with impeccable equipment

With the invention of the microscope some 250 years ago, scientists revealed that we live side by side with numerous tiny organisms invisible to the naked eye. Moreover, these organisms were everywhere, from the air we breathe to the water we drink; from everything we touch to the surface of our own bodies. In addition, these organisms frequently enter inside the body. The presence of this enemy was detected 250 years ago. However, many of the secrets of the “defense system” that fights that enemy so effectively are still not completely understood today.

The defense system recognizes and distinguishes viruses and bacteria that are harmful to it from friendly organisms. The way that defense cells- with no mind or brain- can accomplish this, is a reflection of the matchless Creation of Allah (swt), the Lord of infinite knowledge, seen in a small cell. It is revealed that Allah’s (swt) infinite knowledge encompasses all.

“…And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills. His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.” (Al-Baqarah 2:255)

Transformation of cells into organs – a miracle

3d human cellChromosomes coming from the parents exist in an egg cell newly fertilized in the mother’s womb. This cell starts dividing rapidly, and the newly formed cells differentiate as they continue to divide. They start to assume different tasks, and reach the parts of the body where they belong. That is to say, rather than remaining as lumps of meat made up of similar cells, some of them become- for instance, eye cells, or others heart cells; and go to their respective places. Alternatively, if it is a skin cell, it covers the body.

During this stage of division, cells work and cooperate very closely and meticulously like a very good working team. Each one of the cells is aware of the entire plan, and work in cooperation and communication.

How does an advanced level of order and coordination come true?

The answer to this question is very explicit: Living beings are created flawlessly; and the artistry and might in their creation belongs to the Almighty Allah (swt). In one verse of the Quran, Allah (swt) states,

“He has created the heavens and the earth with truth, and He shaped you and made good your shapes, and to Him is the final Return.”(At-Taghabun 64:3)

  • How do the cells know where they will go, which organ they will be a part of and what will they accomplish there?
  • How do they interact with other cells in such harmony?

Proteins produced in various forms for different cells

While an embryo develops in the woman’s womb, the DNA that would make up the eyes of that embryo produce only the proteins related to the eye. Similarly, the DNA strands that make up the brain of the embryo only produce the proteins related with the brain.

The important point here is the following: The DNA of any cell in the body –whether it may be a bone cell, liver cell or a kidney cell – contains all the information that make up all the organs of the human being. However in all this information, only the related proteins are produced. In other words, in every cell there exists the information related to all organs in the body, but not all the proteins are produced. Only that protein of the related organ is produced. For this end, histone, a special protein, packages the DNA in order to prevent the production of unnecessary proteins. Today, one of the greatest secrets that baffle scientists is how histones in the cells know which genes to suppress, and which ones are allowed to continue operating. Proteins are also molecules that are made up of non-living atoms. It is evident that unconscious and unintelligent atoms can not bring such a tremendous creation into being.

Coordination during restructuring of the cells

DNA itself is neither a biochemist nor a super computer capable of accomplishing trillions of calculations per second. DNA is simply a molecule made up of carbon, phosphate, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen.

Now let’s think- each and every cell that multiplies by division contains all the genetic information in a human being. That is to say, every cell actually has the capability to make up the heart muscle, a red blood cell or any other tissue of the body. Although, every cell has DNA, at different stages of development; only some genes become active in different organs. For instance, kidney formation and its functioning codes exist in each cell; but during development only the related genes become active in this organ at some particular times.

  • Who gives the order to divide and of being specialized in different tasks following the division?
  • How do the cells have the sense of obeying these orders?
  • How do they work in such discipline and organization?

It is obvious that none of these are random systems that come into existence by chance. They all come into existence by the might of our Lord.

He arranges (every) affair from the heavens to the earth, then it (affair) will go up to Him, in one Day, the space whereof is a thousand years of your reckoning (i.e. reckoning of our present world’s time).”(As-Sajdah 32:5)

Perfection in man’s creation is not limited to cells

Cells must also exist at the right stage of life in accurate amounts. Some “maintenance” genes work in all cells at almost all times. Other genes function only for a couple of hours and then remain in standby mode until the next task. For instance, during nursing milk production is accelerated by genes. Available information is activated at the right time, in the right amount and at the appropriate location. It is impossible to explain away such planned, conscious, calculated and rational use of billions of information existing in the DNA as “chance.” Attributing the extraordinarily planned and organized incidents taking place on the microscopic level to chance is an account without rhyme or reason. Scientists acknowledge that they are still quite unable to give an account for this differentiation of cells and the flawless distribution of tasks in the cells. The Turkish microbiologist Ali Demirsoy admits this fact as follows:

“That many cell groups with different structures and functions come into existence from a fertilized egg could not be satisfactorily explained so far.” (Ali Demirsoy, Heritage and Evolution, Meteksan Publishing, Ankara, 1984, p.158)

It is obvious that all these extraordinary incidents could not have been the work of chance or the cell itself. Then to Whom does the Might and Intelligence that administers all these incidents, and creates them for a particular purpose belong? There is one single answer to this: Our Lord, with His infinite mercy, created man in his current flawless form and incessantly endows him with endless blessings. In one verse of the Quran Allah (swt) relates thus,

“And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them. Verily! Man is indeed an extreme wrong-doer, – a disbeliever (an extreme ingrate, denies Allah’s Blessings by disbelief, and by worshipping others besides Allah, and by disobeying Allah and His Prophet Muhammad (sa)).”  (Ibrahim 14:34)

Face it or Fake it

face it or fake it

People don’t fret too much about the amount of fabric covering their bodies. But they do worry sick about the make-up that conceals their face.

The billion dollar industry of cosmetics and dermatology products rests on the self-consciousness of women in particular but men are fast catching up as well. What are the common tag lines?

  • “Enhance your beauty.” (If I am beautiful, why do I need to enhance it?)
  • “Look naturally beautiful.” (So you mean to say I am ugly otherwise?)
  • “Feel confident.” (My confidence is wired to your shampoo and lipstick? Heaven help me!)

But the problem is that the standards of the world keep changing. Light is in, dark is out. Ultra-thin is in, normal thin is out. Wavy is in, straight is out. Phew! It’s impossible to catch up, let alone enjoy the moment.

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Free Grunge Textures - / Foter / CC BY

Free Grunge Textures – / Foter / CC BY

Yet another serious heart-break,
yet another unexpected blow.
Yet another discrete proof of,
people’s fake and outward show!

Ready to help us all the time,
support they’re willing to offer.
But when the time comes to help,
their words and actions differ!

Expectations are built and broken,
it happens again, and yet again.
One feels dejected and ditched;
friendships are lost without gain!

Words of hope echo in your mind,
their false claims give you tears.
But you, O human, do not stop,
to turn to the “Only” who’s near!

Nothing to lose when you love Allah (swt),
His pleasure wins you all gain.
Benefits in this world and the next,
happiness and rewards, no pain!

Yet we humans fail to be believers,
we find it difficult to rely on Him.
Shaytan wins the battle with us,
chances of not being doomed are slim!

We know all this yet from people,
our needs of love, we associate.
We get hurt but we keep trying,
to fool ourselves till we dissipate.

Then we gather our shattered self,
we bow down to Him in depression.
We renew our faith, and we pledge,
We’ll only yearn for His attention.

A few days pass by until we stick,
to the new promise and resolve.
However, Shaytan doesn’t cease,
we give in to his tricks, we absolve!

Our mind tries to hold us back but,
our heart craves for love and care.
Self-deceived and misguided again,
we turn to the creation in despair!

Knowingly we treat ourselves unkind;
we get involved in people again.
Expecting from others rather than Him,
Utterly dismayed, we shout in pain…..

“Yet another serious heart-break,
yet another unexpected blow.
Yet another discrete proof of,
people’s fake and outward show!”

Serving the Creation

serving humanityAn Urdu term Khidmat-e-Khalq is widely understood in English as social service, social work or service to humanity. Ustadh Khurram Murad, may Allah grant him Jannat-ul-Firdaws, in a pamphlet titled “Khidmat-e-Khalq”, elaborates on the purpose of Islam and the wide-ranging meaning of serving Allah’s creation.

We usually ascribe meaning to a term in accordance with our experiences, observations and imitations of the way it has been implemented. Hence, when we say “Khidmat-e-Khalq” or “service of humanity”, we are overwhelmed by  images of ambulances, camps, NGOs, medicine and funeral rites aid, charity functions, orphanages, institutes for the education of poor and disabled and all forms of aids. In the real sense of the word, service has an intensive meaning according to Quran and Sunnah. What we in the modern times understand as social welfare, social service or service to humanity is a limited interpretation of “Khidmat-e-Khalq”.

welfare of the creations does not necessarily have to be a profession or an association to it rather, it is a lifestyle.

Khalq involves all the creations of Allah (swt), including animals, birds, plants and human beings. Rasoolullah (sa) demonstrated the perfect attitude we need to have while serving all types of creation.  If we analyze, after Iman, Allah (swt) always talks about some form of service to the creation in the Holy Quran when He Az Wajjal orders us to spend for His pleasure from our favorite worldly possessions. Serving the creation, in one form or the other, always comes second in the preference list of a Mumin.

“Whose hearts are filled with fear when Allah is mentioned; who patiently bear whatever may befall them (of calamities); and who perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and who spend (in Allah’s Cause) out of what We have provided them.” (Al-Hajj 22:35)

At many other places in the Quran, Allah (swt) guides people to feed the need or the ways to feed them. In Surah Baqarah, Allah (swt) asks his slaves to spend from their Rizq (provisions). Each and everything that Allah (swt) has provided us with is Rizq. Our money, food, wealth, property, time, health, age, heart, mind and body, all of these are part of our Rizq. Allah (swt) is Ar-Razzaaq, the Supreme Provider! It is mentioned in the Holy Quran: “Say: “Truly, my Lord enlarges the provision for whom He wills of His slaves, and (also) restricts (it) for him, and whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah’s Cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of providers.”” (Saba 34:39)

Hence, serving the creation of Allah, Al-Wadud, the Most Loving, is in the basic tenets of Islam. When this perfect religion was in its initial stages, the basic teachings that were given to the non-Muslims were based on this concept of service. One has to see how Hazrat Ja’far ibn Abi Talib (rta) explained the basics of Islam to king Negus.

He said, “O King! We were ignorant people and we lived like wild animals. The strong among us lived by preying upon the weak. We obeyed no law and we acknowledged no authority save that of brute force. We worshipped idols made of stone or wood, and we knew nothing of human dignity. And then God, in His Mercy, sent to us His Messenger who was himself one of us. We knew about his truthfulness and his integrity. His character was exemplary, and he was the most well-born of the Arabs. He invited us toward the worship of One God, and he forbade us to worship idols. He exhorted us to tell the truth, and to protect the weak, the poor, the humble, the widows and the orphans. He ordered us to show respect to women, and never to slander them. We obeyed him and followed his teachings…..”

We have to see the awe-inspiring way Islam has been introduced at the international level. Would it be wrong to say that service of Allah’s creation (Khidmat-e-Khalq) is thus, the main aim of Islam? If we keep Akhirah in our permanent perspective, we will understand that the best and foremost way to serve the creation means to save the creation from the fire of Jahanum, the wrath and the displeasure of Allah (swt).

the best and foremost way to serve the creation means to save the creation from the fire of Jahanum, the wrath and the displeasure of Allah (swt).

As Surah Al-Maun and Surah Mudassir teach us, welfare of the creations does not necessarily have to be a profession or an association to it rather, it is a lifestyle. Our lifestyle should depict it; serving the all the creation of Allah Az Wajjal, with our body, mind and soul.

If Islam means being Allah’s (swt) slave 24/7, which it does undoubtedly, then 90 to 95 percent of our life period revolves around humanity, animals, plants and every other marvelous creation.  The most primary but excellent form of service one can render to the creation is saving it from being hurt by one’s actions.

Abu Musa said, “I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, whose Islam is best?’ He said, ‘The one from whose tongue and hands the Muslims are safe.'” (Agreed upon : Riyadh-us-Saaliheen)

Adapted by Mariam Saeed from Khurram Murad’s “Khidmat-e-Khalq”