Ramses 2 Mummy in Cairo Museum studied by Professor Maurice Bucaille
No other subjects have caused so much turmoil throughout history than
that of life and death. Philosophers and scientists approached life and
death with so many concepts and assumptions. Any discussions on life
and death without considering the Creator in this process are just a waste
of time. This is like a group of laymen gathering around an engineer to
discuss his invention and their conclusion is that they understand the
invention more than the inventor himself. This is the kind of scientific
joke that some scientists and their followers are publicizing in the name
of fighting superstitions. But death is unseen; no one ever died for a long
period of time and returned back to tell the world what happens after
death. And since death is unseen, then any discussion about it is pure
guesswork. Consequently death is subject to imagination and guesswork
because no one can prove otherwise. This subject of guesswork is stated
in the Quran as follows:
“I called them not to witness the creation of the heavens and earth,
not (even) their creation, nor is it for me to take as helpers such as
Lead (men) astray.”
(Surah 18, Ayah 51)
So, Allah tells us that people will come and present ideas and
hypotheses about the creation of the universe and life and those people
were not helping God in His Grand Design. Their arrogant ideas served
the purpose of confusing the average person. The above Ayah is one of
the prophecies of the Quran and we can see the result of this prophecy
very vividly in our present time. The theory of evolution and the self
behaving universe are mere human guesswork and assumptions that
cannot be proved.
It is a known fact that a living human body consists of water, many
chemicals and a soul. But what is the soul? Is it in the brain that thinks? Is
it in the heart that pulses? Is it in the hands or feet? Where is it and what
is it? What does it look like? Scientists attempted to weigh a body before
and after death to know if the soul has weight. They found a minute
decrease in the weight. Who knows if the scale is exact enough? Who
knows if some chemical phenomena happen at the moment of death and
reduced the weight?
No one knows about the soul except its Creator. Maybe this is just
one of the eternal divine challenges a human will never face. And if we
don′t know about something inside our bodies, how then can we claim we
know all the secrets of this entire universe? We are supposed to search,
study, examine and observe; but if we come to a limit or a wall then we
have to realize that there are many things beyond our comprehension and
in the end we are limited creatures. The human brain is limited but it has
a very serious function. Its main purpose is supplying us with a choice to
select alternatives and to differentiate between the good and evil. But this
brain is designed to acknowledge the unseen, which only can be told to
us by God. Thus if we want to know the unseen, then our only choice is
to learn from the Creator of the unseen. This is our only way to know any
unseen matter whether it is the soul, the Angels, or life and death.
Water and Origin of life
Water and Origin of life
The Quran refers to the origin of life in a very concrete statement as
“Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and earth were joined
together (as one unit of creation) before We clove them asunder? And
We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?.”
(Surah 21, Ayah 30)
The Quran states that every living thing is made of water (as its
essential component) or that every living thing originated in water. These
two possible meanings are strictly according to our present knowledge.
About 70 percent of the surface of earth is still covered with water. This
shows the predominance of water on our globe. Apart from the fact
that protoplasm, the building block of living matter, is a liquid or semiliquid,
there is the fact that man and animals show, in their embryological
development, organs indicating the watery origin of their original habitat.
The protoplasm consists of about 80 to 85 percent water. Also chemical
compounds necessary for life such as protein, fat and DNA consist of 25
There is no life without water. We look for water on other planets as
a tool in determining the possibility of life. We now know that earth is the
only planet in our known solar system that has water. This is due to its
appropriate distance from the sun that allows water to exist as a liquid. If
we were closer to the sun, water would evaporate and if we were further
away from the sun, water would turn into ice. It is also known that water
vapor originated from volcanic action in the early history of the earth.
That water vapor condensed into huge clouds that surrounded the earth
and then caused huge amounts of rain to fall. This in turn caused flooding
engulfing the earth for millions of years yielding huge pits that became
The Vegetable Kingdom
There are many Ayat in the Quran that refer to the rain that makes
vegetation grow. Fruits and vegetables are mentioned in the Quran as a
sign of creation for the believers:
“It is He Who sendeth down rain from the skies: with it We produce
vegetation of all kinds: from some We produce green (crops), out of
which We produce grain, heaped up (at harvest); out of the datepalm
and its sheaths (or spathes) (come) clusters of dates hanging
low and near: and (then there are) gardens of grapes, and olives,
and pomegranates, each similar (in kind) yet different (in variety):
when they begin to bear fruit, feast your eyes with the fruit and the
ripeness thereof. Behold! in these things there are signs for people
(Surah 6, Ayah 99)
Each fruit - whether it is grape, olive or pomegranate - varies in
flavor, shape and size. Believing in God implies both understanding and
spiritual feeling. Understanding is a higher faculty than knowledge and
believing is a higher faculty than understanding. Allah asks us to look at
the fruits, as they are signs for the believers. Unbelievers eat fruit without
thinking, while the believers eat the same fruit and praise God for His
favors and thank Him for His bounty. Our Creator will ask everyone on
the Day of Judgment whether we gave thanks for the many glorious gifts
He bestowed upon us throughout our lives.
The Quran also details the reproduction in the vegetable kingdom
that can be either sexual or asexual. Only the former can be termed
“reproduction”, because this defines a biological process that results in a
new individual identical to the one that gave it birth. Asexual reproduction
is quite simply a multiplication process. It is the result of the fragmentation
of an organism that has separated from the main plant and developed in
such a way as to resemble the parent plant. A simple example of this is a
cutting taken away from a plant and placed in suitably watered soil can be
regenerated by growing new roots.
Sexual reproduction in the vegetable kingdom is carried out by the
unifying of male and female parts on a same plant or one located on
another plant. This is the form that is mentioned in the Quran:
“..and (God) has sent down water from the sky.” With it have We
produced diverse pairs of plants each separate from the others.”
(Surah 20, Ayah 53)
“Glory to Allah, Who created in pairs all things that the earth
produces, as well as their own (human) kind and (other) things of
which they have no knowledge.”
(Surah 36, Ayah 36)
“And of every thing We have created pairs, that ye may reflect.”
(Surah 51, Ayah 49)
The pairs or couples mentioned in the above Ayat and many others,
mean two accompanying each other like married couples. Fruit is the
end product of the reproduction process of superior plants that have the
most highly developed and complex organization. The stage preceding
the fruit is the flower, which has male and female organs (stamens and
ovules). Fruits therefore imply the existence of male and female organs.
This emphasizes the meaning of the above Ayat in the Quran.
These Ayat and many others, emphasize the importance of the
concept of pairs through all creation - in man, in animals, in plants and
also in things not yet discovered.
The Animal Kingdom
Many Ayat describe the creation of certain species of the animal kingdom
with the purpose of making man reflect upon the divine Beneficence
extended to him. These Ayat are quoted basically to provide an example
of the way in which the Quran describes the harmonious adaptation of
creation to man′s needs; it relates in particular to the case of people who
live in rural and desert areas.
Save the Animals
The reference in the Quran to the reproduction in the animal kingdom is
given as a general statement:
“That He did create the pairs, - male and female, From a spermdrop
when lodged (in its place).”
(Surah 53, Ayah 45-46)
The “pair” in the above Ayah is the same as that expressed above in
the Ayat that deal with reproduction in the vegetable kingdom. Here the
sexes are given. The detail that is absolutely remarkable is the precision
with which it is stated that a small quantity of liquid is required for
reproduction. The word itself signifying “sperm” is used for man, which
will be presented when discussing embryology.
Allah states that animals and birds exist in communities like human
“There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that
flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing
have we omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to
their Lord in the end.”
(Surah 6, Ayah 38)
The above Ayah states that animals and birds form communities
like those of the human beings. They also will be resurrected in the Day
of Judgment. The Justice of Allah will prevail over all living creatures
including animals and birds. The animals will be judged and then turned
to ashes again. There are no statements in the Quran about the extent of
judgment of animals in the Hereafter. Why? That is God′s business.
Animal behavior has been closely investigated in recent decades with
the result that genuine animal and bird communities have been shown to
exist. It has only been recently shown that the mechanisms that preside
over this kind of organization have been discovered for certain species.
The most studied and best-known case is undoubtedly that of bees.
When neurological biologists wish to provide striking examples of
the extraordinary organization directing animal behavior, the most likely
referred to animals are the bees and the birds (especially migratory birds).
Whatever the case, there is no doubt that these groups constitute a model
of highly evolved organization. In the Quran, bees are the subjects of long
“And thy Lord taught the Bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and
in (men′s) habitations; Then to eat of all the produce (of the earth),
and find with skill the spacious paths of its Lord: there issues from
within their bodies a drink of varying colors, wherein is healing for
men: verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought.”
(Surah 16, Ayah 68-69)
Allah refers to the bees as following His way in humility, like all
other creation, such as the stars, the earth, the trees, etc. All His creations
follow His way with the exception of those consumed by excessive
arrogance, as is the case with some humans and jinn.
The bee′s instinct is due to Allah′s teaching. Bees have remarkable
nervous organization that supports their behavior. It is known that the
pattern of the bee′s dance is a means of communication with other bees;
in this way, bees are able to convey to their own species the direction and
the distance of flowers from which nectar is to be gathered.
Allah states that Prophet Solomon, son of Prophet David, has been
taught the language of birds and ants.
“At length, when they came to a (lowly) valley of ants, one of the
ants said: “O ye ants, get into your habitations, lest Solomon and
his hosts crush you (under foot) without knowing it.” So he smiled,
amused at her speech; and he said: “O my Lord! so order me that I
may be grateful for Thy favors, which thou hast bestowed on me and
on my parents, and that I may work the righteousness that will please
Thee: And admit me, by Thy Grace, to the ranks of Thy righteous
(Surah 27, Ayah 18-19)
In the grand scheme of the world, the ant may be neglected or even
crushed by people who mean no harm. Yet, by its wisdom it carries on its
own life within its own atmosphere and makes its own contributions in
the balance of life on earth. So there is room for the humblest people to
contribute in the spiritual world.
Birds are frequently mentioned in the Quran. They appear in the
life′s story of Abraham, Joseph, David, Solomon and Jesus. Two other
Ayat highlight the bird′s strict submission to the Will of Allah:
“Do they not look at the birds, held poised in the midst of (the air
and) the sky? Nothing holds them up but (the power of) Allah.”
(Surah 16, Ayah 79)
“Do they not observe the birds above them, spreading their wings
and folding them in? None can uphold them except (Allah) Most
(Surah 67, Ayah 19)
The above Ayat stress the extremely close dependence of the bird′s
behavior on the Divine Will of God. The degree of perfection attained
by certain species of birds with regard to coordinating their movements
is mind-boggling. The curvature of the bird′s wing provides the upward
lift required to overcome the downward pull of gravity. The design of
airplane wings has benefited over the years from studying of the wings
There is no explanation of instinct in many birds and animals. How
is it possible for such complicated instinctive knowledge to develop and
be passed from one generation to the others? Their intelligence comes
from the Utmost Intelligence and their wisdom came from the Utmost
Wisdom of Allah.
There is one Ayah in the Quran that addresses the source and the
constituents of cattle milk.
“And verily in the cattle (too) will you find an instructive sign.
From what is within their bodies, between excretions and blood, We
produce, for your drink, milk, pure and agreeable to those who drink
(Surah 16, Ayah 66)
Milk is a secretion (making and giving off useful chemical compounds)
in the female body, like other secretions but more specialized. Is it not
wonderful that the same food, eaten by males and females, produces in
the latter the wholesome and complete food called milk? Then, when
cattle are tamed and specially bred for milk, the supply of milk is vastly
greater than the need of their young and lasts for a longer time than
during the period of breast-feeding. Cattle milk is also a wholesome and
agreeable diet for man. Yet it is a secretion like other secretions, between
the excretions (removal of waste) that the body rejects and the precious
blood stream that circulates within the body.
The way this Ayah has been translated and interpreted is personal,
because even modern translation or Arabic interpretation does not reflect
the true scientific miracle of this Ayah. It is well known fact however,
that a translator, however expert, is liable to make human mistakes in the
translation of a highly specialized scientific Ayah, unless he happens to be
a specialist in the discipline in question.
A literal translation to the above Ayah may be as follows:
“And verily in the cattle there is a lesson for you. We give you to
drink of what is inside their bellies, coming from a conjunction
between the contents of the intestine and the blood, a milk pure and
pleasant for those who drink it.”
(Surah 16, Ayah 66)
This translation is very close to the one given in the Muntakhab,
1973, edited by the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, Cairo, which
relies on its support on modern physiology. From a scientific point of
view, physiological notions must be called upon to grasp the meaning of
The substances that ensure the general nutrition of the body come
from chemical transformations that occur along the length of the digestive
tract. These substances come from the contents of the intestine. Most
digestion takes place in the small intestine. Once digestion is complete,
the process of absorption begins. The digested food leaves the small
intestine and enters the bloodstream to reach each cell in the body. The
small intestine is a very long coiled tube that takes up very little space. Its
inner lining has many tiny folds. Both the length and the folds increase
the surface area of the small intestine. Thus there are more places where
the digested food can be absorbed. The constituents of milk are secreted
by the mammary glands. The products of food digestion, carried by the
blood stream, nourish the mammary glands. Blood therefore plays the
role of collector and conductor of what has been extracted from food and
it brings nutrition to the mammary glands, the producers of milk, as it
does to any other organ.
Here the initial process, which sets everything else in motion, is the
bringing together of the contents of the intestine and the blood at the
level of the intestinal wall itself. This very precise concept is the result of
discovery made in the chemistry and physiology of the digestive system.
Yet, in one short statement in the above Ayah, a precise description
of the source and constituents of milk is presented. No one can dare to
think that this knowledge was available to an unlettered Arab in the desert
in the seventh century. So, again, how did he know that? Who told him
that? The only logical answer is the Creator of the milk and the digestive
system. All the Praise and Glory be to Allah.
Life before Adam
The Quran refers to life forms before Adam′s creation in a fascinating
discussion between Allah and His Angel, as follow:
“Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: “I will create a vicegerent
on earth.” They said: “Wilt Thou place therein one who will make
mischief and shed blood? Whilst we celebrate Thy praise and glorify
Thy holy (name)?” He said: “I know what you know not.”
(Surah 2, Ayah 30)
Allah informed the Angels that He will create man on earth. They
wondered and referred to a previous creation that had shed blood. This
was not an objection to God′s Will. It was a surprise that Allah would
create man with free will, which may ultimately lead to mischief on earth.
It would seem that the Angels, though holy and pure and endued with
power from Allah, represented only one side of the purpose of Creation.
We may imagine them without passion or emotion. If man was to be
endued with emotions, these emotions could elate him or destroy him.
The power of will or choosing is dominated by emotions, such that man
may steer his own course. We may assume the Angels had no independent
will of their own. Their perfection, in other words, reflected Allah′s
perfection, but could not elevate them to the dignity of vicegerency. The
utmost vicegerent is he who has the power of initiative himself, but whose
independent action always reflects precisely the will of God.
The Angels in their one-sidedness saw only the consequence of
mischief and blood shedding by this new creation. In humility and true
devotion to Allah, they were surprised. One must not imagine the least
trace of jealousy, as they are without emotions. We know that the Angels
have no way of foreseeing the future, which only belongs to God. So the
question arises: How were they able to reference the acts of mischief
and bloodshed? It must be from their previous or present knowledge,
but not from knowledge of the future. Their statement could only mean
one thing. They were referring to animals or other creatures on earth that
existed before Adam that were killing each other. Their reference to these
creatures before the creation of man coincides with our knowledge of the
fossil record. And God knows the Best.
Philosophers and scientists have many concepts of life and death. A vast
amount of superstition as well as imaginative and psychological literature
has grown about life and death. But the simplest and the truest religious
concept are stated here in few words. And, there is only one fact about
death that is stated in the Quran as follows:
“He Who created death and life, that He may try which of you is best
(Surah 67, Ayah 2)
Death and life are both creations of God as a means of testing human
deeds. Death is put before life and is, therefore, not merely a negative
state to life. Death, then, is the state before true life begins and is the state
in which life as we know it ceases to exist. Creation of death and life,
like any other creation, is not without purpose with respect to man. We
can barely understand the states before or after our present life. But our
present life is clearly given to enable us to strive by good deeds to reach
a more noble state.
As one studies the Quran, one feels that Allah gives answers to many
questions that linger in one′s mind. He gives examples to make a difficult
concept of the unseen closer to human grasp. For example, resurrection is
made analogous to a land that seems dead in the winter and as rain falls in
the spring, it is brought back to life:
“And We send down from the sky rain charged with blessing, and
We produce therewith gardens and grain for harvest. And the tall
(and stately) Palm-trees, with shoots of fruit-stalks, piled one over
another. As sustenance for (Allah′s) servants; And We give (new) life
therewith to land that is dead: thus will be the resurrection.”
(Surah 50, Ayah 9-11)
This similarity between the resurrection and the process of bringing
life out of dead land is repeated in many other verses. But how many
people notice the tiny plants when they are returned to life and start
turning green? How many people relate this process to the resurrection
and the Day of Judgment? How many people watch this resurrection of
the plants with humility and reflection? Humans see resurrection at least
once every year and most are idle to this miraculous process.
Death is also treated in the same fashion. Some people claim that
there are no facts in this life except what we can see when we are awake.
Yet, these same people die and return to life every day. They move from
one state, with its governing laws, to a different state, with completely
different laws each day without knowing or thinking about it. Allah Says:
“It is Allah that takes the soul (of men) at death; And those that die
not (He takes) during their sleep: those on whom He has passed the
decree of death, He keeps back (from returning to life), but the rest
He sends (to their bodies) for a term appointed. Verily in this are
signs for those who reflect.”
(Surah 39, Ayah 42)
The similarity between death and sleep is made obvious in this Ayah.
When man is awake, he sees physical things in our space and time. But
when he sleeps, he moves to another world not subject to any known
laws. He moves beyond space, time and gravity. He does not feel the
passing of time. He may sleep in the dark and see the sunlight, or sleep
during the day and see the dark night in his dream. He does not even
know the duration of time that he slept.
During sleep, man is completely isolated and separated from the
physical world. He sees with his eyes closed! He walks and runs with
his feet in bed! He falls down from a mountain, yet there is not a single
injury to his body. He cries with tears and laughs without noise during
his dreams. He travels in an airplane, crosses continents and oceans in
few seconds. This movement from a physical state to a spiritual state is a
Mercy from the Merciful. He graced us with the perception that when we
sleep, we move to a spiritual world; and when we wake, He returns our
souls back to our bodies.
Why? For man to understand death; for man to become familiar with
his next state; for man to know that the physical laws are not the only laws
in the world; for man to believe in his Creator. And all that happens every
night. So, we see death every night as we see resurrection every spring.
Yet, there are those who deny these obvious facts.
The real mystery of life and death, sleep and dream is a fascinating
puzzle, but, then again, Allah gave us pieces to this puzzle. His Mercy brings
many abstract religious concepts to human level and comprehension:
♦ Sleeping is a vivid example of death.
♦ Bringing life to the land in the spring is a vivid example of
♦ The best life on earth is a vivid example of heaven.
♦ Earthly fire is a vivid example of hellfire.
What is sleep? As far as human life is concerned, it is the cessation
of the working of the nervous system. Yet, other human functions, such
as digestion, growth and the circulation of blood, continue, possibly
at a different pace. The mental processes are also suspended in sleep
except those that deal with recollections, which are present vividly in our
subconscious. But there are other kinds of dreams in which the dreamer
sees things as they actually happen, backwards or forwards in time, or in
which gifted individuals see spiritual truths otherwise invisible to them.
How can we explain this? It is stated in the above Ayah that our souls go
to a plane of spiritual existence analogous to physical death. In poetic
imagery, “Sleep is the twin brother of Death.”
During sleep or “minideath”, our souls are, for a period of time,
released from the bondage of flesh. Allah reclaims them during this time.
If, as some do, we are to die peacefully in sleep, our souls do not come
back to the physical body that, then, decays and dies. If our time to die has
not yet dawned allowing us to fulfill our lives according to God′s Will,
our souls return to our bodies and we resume our functions in life.
If we are to contemplate these concepts, we can clearly see many
♦ That life and death are not the only elements of our existence.
♦ That in our bodily life, we may be dead in the spiritual world and our
bodily death may be our awakening to the spiritual world.
♦ That death is only a short visit to the grave.
♦ That our nightly sleep, besides performing the function of rest in our
physical life, gives us a foretaste of what we call death, which does
not cease our personality.
♦ That the resurrection is very similar to our daily rising from sleep.
♦ That sleep is analogous to death.
♦ That this life is not the true eternal life. It will end by death.
♦ That death is not an eternal process. It will end by the resurrection.
Allah calls every living human in this world dead, i.e. man is destined
to death. For that, Allah addresses the Prophet by saying:
“Truly thou wilt die (one day), and truly they (too) will die (one
day).” The literal translation of this Aya is “Truly you are dead, and
truly they (too) are dead.”
(Surah 39, Ayah 30)
The above Ayah was intended for the Prophet and his companions,
who were alive during the time of the revelation. So why did Allah refer
to them as dead? He is reminding humanity of their destiny. The above
Ayah is unfathomable to anyone who assumes that he is still alive. When
a human is born, the arrow of death is released simultaneously. This arrow
searches for the human throughout his life. In one instance, the search is
over, the arrow of death finds its companion and the human dies.
Why should death be an important aspect of our life? Because
human life is based, wrongly, on greed, which is the continuous passion
for seeking an increase in wealth, position, the number of followers or
supporters, mass production and mass organization. This greed affects
most people as it affects entire societies or nations. The greed in man′s
nature may be limitless if not controlled; the more we receive, the more
we want. This obsession distracts us from the true purpose of life. People′s
rivalry in such things aggravates the situation. To a certain point, it may be
good and necessary. But when it becomes an obsession and a competition
for the gain of more materialistic things, it leaves no time for higher and
noble planes of existence. And most humans, when they are engulfed in
this piling up process, deny that they have reached a critical state and
always justify their actions. And this ugly case of greed is justified as a
means for achieving a noble purpose for humanity!
The piling up scenario continues until one lays down for a long nap
in the grave, forgetting exactly just what he fought for. The true reality
will then be clear before you. And Who can explain this better than Allah:
“The mutual rivalry for pilling up (the good things of the world)
diverts you (from the more serious business). Until you visit the
(Surah 102, Ayah 1-2)