One of the great blessings that human beings cannot manufacture, despite having all the raw materials available, is water. This, the greatest requirement for life, is provided ready-made for us by Allah (swt). We cannot watch water forming in a laboratory nor produce it ourselves. Water came into being one time only during the creation of the Earth; the same water has been allowing living things to survive ever since.
It is impossible for life to exist without water.
Water is a substance specially created by Allah (swt) as the basis for life, and with all its physical and chemical properties created in such a way as to support life. Millions of different life forms on Earth survive by means of water, and all the balances necessary for life are maintained by means of its presence.
Water is a molecule that results from two hydrogen atoms bonding to one oxygen atom. Oxygen and hydrogen atoms are abundant in nature, but they don’t just bind together to form water; these atoms need to collide in order to produce water. The bonds that form the hydrogen and oxygen atoms weaken and these atoms come together to produce a new molecule – water – during such collisions. This collision essential for the formation of water is only possible at a very high temperature and at a very high level of energy. The high temperatures needed to produce water are not currently present on Earth. It is therefore impossible for new water molecules to form. The water on Earth which we drink and use, and that constitutes the seas and oceans, is the water that formed as the result of the high temperatures during the creation of the Earth. However, that is by no means the end of the miraculous properties of water.
The importance of reflecting on the existence of water
There is no water, the precondition for life, on any of the other 63 celestial bodies in the Solar System. Yet a large part of the Earth is covered in water; indeed, the seas and oceans represent three quarters of the surface of the Earth. There are also countless lakes and rivers on the land. The glaciers on the peaks of mountains are the frozen form of water and a significant amount of the Earth’s water is also in the sky. A cloud contains tens of thousands and sometimes even millions of tons of water. Part of that water sometimes descends in the form of droplets, rain. There is also a certain amount of water vapor in the air you are breathing now.
Rains, seas, rivers, streams, oceans, the drinkable water that appears when you open the faucet: most people are so familiar with the idea of water that they may never think of the importance of much of the world being covered with it. Yet, water is a very rare compound in space. The fact that of all the known celestial bodies only the Earth has water – and the fact that this water is drinkable – is a most miraculous state of affairs.
Although human beings can survive for one or two weeks without food, they cannot go any more than three or four days without water. The body consists of 55-75% water, and can lose up to two to three liters of water per day through activities such as perspiration and respiration. The water lost is made up by the water drunk in the wake of feelings of thirst.
The hypothalamus: the water detective in the body
The human body possesses systems that detect the slightest change in the amount of the water that is so essential for it. The most important of these is the region known as the hypothalamus, no larger than a pea, in the brain. The hypothalamus immediately senses if the level of water in the blood has gone down. In response to this, the gland known as the pituitary, just one centimeter in size, releases a hormone called “ADH.”
This hormone sets out on a long journey through the blood stream and eventually reaches the kidneys. The kidneys contain special receptors for this hormone, just like a key fitting a lock. When the hormones reach these receptors, water conservation is immediately initiated in the kidneys, and water expulsion is reduced to a very low level.
Were it not for the pituitary hormone and the kidney cells that understand and act on the command to “reduce water consumption” carried by this hormone, we would need to drink 15 to 20 liters of water a day, in order not to die of thirst.
Water is the most essential source of life for humans and all living things. It is involved in almost all bodily functions, such as the regulation of body temperature, transportation of nutrients and oxygen, the removal of waste products from the cells and facilitating digestion. It also facilitates the protection of organs and tissues; for example, when we lose just 2% of the water surrounding our cells we suffer a 20% energy loss and begin feeling fatigued. That alone is enough to show how important water is for human life.