FINGERPRINTS

While it is stated in the Qur'an that it is easy for Allah to bring man back to life after death, Allah draws attention in particular to peoples' fingertips:

Does man imagine We will not reassemble his bones?

Yes, We are able to put together in perfect order the very tips of his fingers. (Surat al- Qiyama: 3-4)

Bringing an utterly decayed human body back to life is very easy for Allah. Now, examine your fingertips. Everyone's fingerprints are unique to himself. If you had a twin, his/her fingerprints would also be different. Every person who is alive or who has ever lived in this world has a unique set of fingerprints. That is why they are almost as unique as the identity of a person.

Allah the Almighty can re-create us, down to all these fine details. Meanwhile, we need to keep in mind that the significance of fingerprints and that the fact that every person has a set of fingerprints peculiar to himself was only discovered in the nineteenth century. But Allah drew attention to the tips of the fingers 1,400 years ago in the Qur'an.

There are several other issues miraculously indicated by the Qur'an. We have only discussed a few of them here. These alone suffice to make clear that the Qur'an is the Speech of Allah. (For further information, you can refer to the book, Miracles of the Qur'an by Harun Yahya.)

Allah informs us the following about the Qur'an:

Will they not ponder the Qur'an? If it had been from other than Allah, they would have found many inconsistencies in it. (Surat an- Nisa: 82)

As is also evident from the verse above, the Qur'an provides accurate information. With advances in science, more of the miracles mentioned in the Qur'an are being revealed. These miraculous attributes of the Qur'an prove that it is a revelation from Allah. At this point, it is our job to learn and practice the commands of the Qur'an meticulously.


THREE STAGES OF THE BABY IN THE WOMB

In the Qur'an, it is related that man is crated in a three-stage process in the mother's womb:

"... He creates you stage by stage in your mothers' wombs in a three- fold darkness. That is Allah, your Lord. Sovereignty is His. There is no god but Him. So what has made you deviate?" (Surat az-Zumar, 6)

As will be understood, it is pointed out in this verse that a human being is created in the mother's womb in three distinct stages. Indeed, modern biology has revealed that the baby's embryological development takes place in three distinct regions in the mother's womb. Today, in all the embryology textbooks studied in faculties of medicine, this subject is taken as an element of basic knowledge. For instance in Basic Human Embryology, a fundamental reference text in the field of embryology, this fact is stated as follows: "The life in the uterus has three stages: pre-embryonic; first two and a half weeks, embryonic; until the end of the eight week, and fetal; from the eight week to labor."

These phases refer to the different developmental stages of a baby. In brief, the main characteristics of these developmental stages are as follows:

- Pre-embryonic stage

In this first phase, the zygote grows by division, and when it becomes a cell cluster, it buries itself in the wall of the uterus. While they continue growing, the cells organize themselves in three layers.

- Embryonic stage

The second phase lasts for five and a half weeks, during which the baby is called an "embryo". In this stage, the basic organs and systems of the body start to appear from the cell layers.

- Fetal stage

From this stage on, the embryo is called a "foetus". This phase begins at the eighth week of gestation and lasts until the moment of birth. The distinctive characteristic of this stage is that the foetus looks just like a human being, with its face, hands and feet.

Although it is only 3 cm. long initially, all of its organs have become apparent.

This phase lasts for about 30 weeks, and development continues until the week of delivery.

Information on the development in the mother's womb became available only after observations with modern devices. Yet, just like many other scientific facts, these pieces of information are imparted in the verses of the Qur'an in a miraculous way. The fact that such detailed and accurate information was given in the Qur'an at a time when people had scarce information on medical matters is clear evidence that the Qur'an is not the word of man, but the word of Allah.

In the verse 6 of Surat az-Zumar, it is pointed out that man is created in the mother's womb in three distinct stages. Indeed, modern embryology has revealed that the baby's embryological development takes place in three distinct regions in the mother's womb.


MOTHER'S MILK

Mother's milk is an unmatched mixture that is created by Allah as both an excellent food-source for the newborn baby, and a substance that increases its resistance to diseases. Even artificial baby food produced by today's technology cannot substitute for this miraculous source of nutrition.

Every day, a new benefit of mother's milk to the baby is discovered. One of the facts that science has discovered about mother's milk is that suckling up to two years after birth is very beneficial. Allah gives us this important information, which was discovered by science only very recently, with the verse "… his weaning was in two years..." 14 centuries ago.

"And We have enjoined upon man goodness towards his parents: his mother bore him by bearing strain upon strain, and his weaning was in two years: (hence, O man,) be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the eventual coming." (Surah Luqman, 14)


THE WORLD OF ANIMALS

THE GECKO'S FEET SUCTION CUPS

The gecko is a type of lizard that lives in hot climates. Its most amazing feature is its ability to walk on vertical flat surfaces with ease. The geckos can easily climb even on glass with the help of the suction cups on the tips of their toes. In addition, they have hidden claws in their toes. When they reach uneven surfaces, they let out these claws just like a cat and continue their walk.


THE POLAR BEAR

The polar bear can run very fast on ice with his levelled, hairy claws and non-slippery soles. Polar bears, with their thick furs, have a very important protector in such cold polar weather. A 10 cm (4 inch) thick layer of fat prevents the cold from affecting them. This is why they can swim in icy cold waters with speeds of 10-11 km/hour (7 miles/hour), for distances of about 2000 km. (1250 miles). Allah has created polar bears, like penguins, so that they can survive in such cold habitats, and He has positioned them in the coldest parts of earth, at the poles, the polar bear at the North Pole and the penguin at the South Pole.

Allah has also given polar bears a very strong sense of smell. Their sense of smell is so acute that they can easily pick up the smell of a seal hiding beneath 1,5 metres (1,6 yards) of snow.

In addition, it has an extra eyelid that is like a membrane. This membrane acts as "a pair of sunglasses" and protects them against snow-blindness.


DUCKS

Ducks can fly with speeds of up to 50 km. (30 miles) per hour. In addition, they keep on changing direction to protect themselves from predators. When they need to dive into water, they do it so fast that it becomes extremely difficult for hunters to hunt them down.


ELEPHANT'S LONG TRUNKS

The trunks of elephants contain 50,000 muscles. When needed, these muscles contract, making it possible for the elephant to push even the heaviest of loads. The trunk, at the same time, can perform such delicate tasks as collecting pea seeds and cracking them open in the elephant's mouth. The trunk, which is practical in so many ways, can also be used as a long finger, a trumpet or a loudspeaker. The trunk can hold about 4 litres (7 pints) of water for drinking or showering the body.

You may have heard these special features of the creatures we have mentioned for the first time. They all have very awesome features, don't they? These are only a few of the awesome creatures on earth. There are thousands of animals on earth like these that you might not have seen or heard of yet. Well, could all these animals have achieved such interesting features by chance? Of course not! Allah is the One Who has created them with all these features and unique qualities.


THE INTERESTING METHOD OF GAZELLES

Some creatures use the method of leaving scents to border their territories. For example, the gazelle uses long thin twigs and plants, as well as a substance, which smells like tar, secreted by glands directly under its eyes to mark its territory. This scent lets other gazelles know that this territory already has an owner. Reindeer, on the other hand, have scent glands on the tips of their rear feet. The substance secreted by these glands makes it possible for them to mark their territories. Rabbits mark their territory with a substance secreted by glands on their chins.


THE BASILISK THAT RUNS ON WATER

What would you think if you saw a lizard running on water? You could say, "I'm probably dreaming." This is not a dream; it is reality! The lizard, named the basilisk, can run on water and it can do this extremely fast. Flaps at the back of its feet allow it to splash the water. These flaps curl up when it walks on land. If it comes across any danger, it quickly gets into water and starts to run fast. Meanwhile, the flaps on the back of its feet open and provide it the width that will allow it to run on water.


STARS

Stars and planets come into existence through the compression of the masses of gases and dust in space called "nebulae". For this reason, nebulae, the sources of celestial bodies, have a major role in the universe. Nebulae do not have any light of their own as is in the case of stars. Therefore, it is hard to see them. They become visible only when their inner gas gives off light or if they reflect the light coming from stars. We can also see them when they pass by a source of light.

Stars give off heat, light and energy. Apart from tiny stars, there are also very large stars. Surprisingly the Sun is not a major star as we believe to be; There are many stars much bigger than it.

Well, did you know that stars also have life spans? Stars are not living beings, but just like them, they are born, lead a life and die.

A huge star's life often ends in an immense explosion, the material that makes it up being scattered in every direction. From these scattered pieces, there emerge the elements that contribute to the construction of relatively smaller stars and planets. The Sun and planets within the Solar System and our Earth have come into being following the explosion of a huge star in the past.

All these, again, illustrate an obvious fact. Allah, the Possessor of Infinite Power and Omnipotence, has created the universe, stars, planets, mountains and seas in perfection, and given life to people and all living things.


Fascinating Creatures

PENGUINS

The penguin displays great devotion towards its eggs and babies. Unlike other creatures, it is not the female penguin that incubates the eggs but the male. The female penguin lays only one egg and then leaves it to the male. The male penguin incubates the egg for exactly four months. The penguin carries the egg in between his feet and during these four months, he never once leaves it on the ground. If he were to do so, the egg would freeze and die within a matter of minutes.

When the weather becomes unbearably cold, all the male penguins get together even if they are carrying eggs between their feet. They come close to each other, forming a circle, and in this way, they warm each other up. They continuously switch positions so that the ones left outside the circle can also become warm.

Penguins live at the polar region of our planet. The unique feature of the pole is its amazing coldness and that it is always covered with snow and ice. The weather is so cold that it forms glaciers above the sea. The penguins live in a place where the temperature falls to 40°C (104°F) below zero.


OMAR AND tHE HONEYBEE

You all know about honeybees. Many of you have probably seen them in cartoons on TV, or even in real life, buzzing around. But I bet there are still many things you do not know about them...

Not long ago, mom and dad and I went to the woods to go jogging. I had a great time there. But what pleased me most was a new friend I made there while we were having a rest. It was quite tiny, but it meant a lot to me. I will never forget this little friend of mine.

You are probably wondering who it was, aren't you? Well, it was a lovely honeybee. It came up to me and flew around for a while. At first, I was afraid of being stung because it came very close... I screamed: "Don't! Please don't sting me. I don't want to be hurt!" And just then, something very strange happened, for the honeybee started talking to me.

The Honeybee: I don't want to sting you. I just want to be friends with you.

Omar: Really? I am very pleased to hear it!

The Honeybee: Let me introduce myself. I am a worker bee. I live in the trunk of that tree, together with thousands of my friends.

Omar: Wow! You have so many friends! How do you and your friends spend your days?

The Honeybee: We clean our hive, collect food and carry it to the hive, produce royal jelly, keep the hive warm and guard it...

Omar: Don't you get tired doing all that?

The Honeybee: No. We worker bees split the jobs in the hive up amongst ourselves. That is why we never get tired. For example, these days I am building combs to store honey...

Omar: There is one thing I have always wondered about bees; how are you born?

The Honeybee: You have probably heard that there is a queen in every honeybee colony. The queen bee is the biggest of all the female bees. She lays eggs at certain times. But we do not hatch from the eggs straight away. What hatch from these eggs are white grubs, called larvae, with no eyes, wings or legs, and which do not look like us at all. For a while, they remain wrapped in a cocoon. In the meantime, they are fully fed and then emerge from the cocoon looking exactly like me.

Omar: That is amazing! I am still curious about one more thing though! Being so crowded, isn't there any disorder in your hive?

The Honeybee: Never. On the contrary, it's really well ordered. Thousands of bees live together in great harmony while we do all our jobs.

Omar: That is really very interesting! I still can't understand how you can manage to keep order although there are so many of you! My dad is the manager of our building, and he really has a hard time keeping order there. But you say you have no such problem!

The Honeybee: You are right to be surprised. I know that scientists are amazed by this too, and look for answers to the questions of how order is kept, how each honeybee knows what its job is supposed to be, and how such a large number of bees can act together so well! I can tell you the answer quite quickly: We all have certain tasks; we work hard and carry them out as best as we can and try not to disturb the order in the hive.

While listening to the worker bee in wonder, I heard my mom calling, "Omar! Omar! Where are you?" It was time for me to leave.

Omar: My mom is calling me. I think I have to go now. I am so pleased to meet you. Thanks for everything you told me!

The Honeybee: I also enjoyed your company. Maybe, we can meet again! How about meeting here again next week? If you like, I can take you to our hive and show you the combs.

Omar: That would be great! But only if my parents agree to come here again, of course.

The Honeybee: O.K., hope to see you next week!

As soon as I got home, I took out the encyclopedia of animals my dad had given me as a birthday present. I quickly turned the pages and found the section on honeybees. The first thing that struck my eye was a little picture of a honeybee. I felt that I was already missing my little friend…

I read the book with wonder. I was so amazed by the things I read that I did not notice how much time had passed. My mom wondered what I was doing in my room for so long and came to look for me. I excitedly started to tell her all about bees.

Omar: Mom, did you know that honeybees are really fascinating? For instance, let me tell you the last thing I read here; you have probably heard that female honeybees do the cleaning in the cells. They throw out all the particles left behind by the bees hatching from their cocoons, bees that have died in the hive and many other things that don't belong in the hive. Do you know what they do when they come across something too big for them to carry out of the hive? They embalm it with a material called "propolis" to prevent it from producing bacteria and harming the health of the other bees in the hive. It is hard to believe, but propolis is an anti-bacterial material, that is, it stops bacteria growing... Do you know where they find this substance, mom? How do these tiny beings know so much about chemistry? That is as far as I have read. Maybe I can tell you how they make this substance later.

Mother: Bees are tiny yet extremely intelligent animals... However, it would be wrong to think that this intelligence belongs to them. There is a Creator Who teaches them everything they do. When I was your age, I also read a book about honeybees which impressed me very much, just like you. If you like, you can keep on reading. I would love to hear more about honeybees whenever you want to share what you've learnt with me.

My mom went out of the room to prepare supper. That question was still on my mind; where do honeybees find the material called "propolis" and where do they learn how to use it? I kept on reading with wonder.

The book also mentioned how honeybees produce propolis. They first collect a material called resin from the sticky buds of some trees with the help of their lower jaws. They then produce propolis by adding their saliva to the resin, and carry it to the hive in the special sacs on their feet.

Honeybees wrap up anything they cannot carry out of the hive in this substance they store in the sacs on their feet. This way, that material cannot house any bacteria and becomes harmless. This is an operation similar to mummifying.

But who taught honeybees to do this? How do they know that a dead creature or waste material could harm the bees in the hive? Even I have only just learned this now. This is not something an insect could know! I was growing more and more curious. Could it be that honeybees were as conscious as human beings?

I could not help but read more. I thought to myself: "Now I understand that up until now I knew nothing about bees!" I still had many questions in my mind which I could not answer. But I was sure that sooner or later I would find the answers.


HOW MUST WE CONDUCT OURSELVES
TOWARDS OTHER PEOPLE?

Allah prohibits people from being arrogant, lying, mocking others and being proud. Being honest and modest are traits with which Allah is pleased.

People often live under the influence of people around them. If they have wicked friends, they may be negatively influenced by them. But a person who believes in Allah and acknowledges that He constantly sees him never swerves from right action, no matter how compelling the conditions may be. He becomes a good example to those who are dishonest and prone to mischief.

Allah loves steadfast people. The term "steadfastness" in the Qur'an is not limited to being steadfast in the face of ordeals, but means being steadfast at every moment of one's life. The steadfastness of a person who has faith does not change according to people or events. For instance, a person with little fear of Allah may be good to someone from whom he expects to derive benefit, but fail to demonstrate this praiseworthy attitude consistently. Once he feels his interests are at stake, he may abruptly change. A person of faith, however, meticulously avoids misconduct. He responds to everyone with excellent manners and is committed to keep doing so, no matter what the conditions are or what people's attitudes may be. Even though he is enraged, he manages to control himself and shows steadfastness.

In one verse, Allah commands people to compete in being steadfast:

You who believe, be steadfast; be supreme in steadfastness; and remain stationed; and have fear of Allah; so that hopefully you will be successful. (Surat Al 'Imran: 200)

Allah, on the contrary, does not love arrogant people who show off. Not all people enjoy the same material benefits in this world. Some have beautiful houses and cars while others may possess nothing, but what matters is that one conducts oneself correctly. For instance, assuming that one is superior to one's friends because one has better clothes is an attitude that displeases Allah. That is because Allah commands us to value people according to their faith, not their appearances.

For Allah, the measure of superiority is not wealth or might, beauty or strength. Allah values people according to their taqwa (awe of Allah), the love they feel for Him, their loyalty and their commitment to living by the values of the Qur'an. These are the criteria for assessing superiority in Allah's sight.

Allah tells us to conduct ourselves correctly in the course of our daily lives. Life is an opportunity granted by our Lord to follow His right path. Today, the majority of people are unaware of this. Instead of complying with Allah's commands and advice, they seek other guides. Being influenced by the films they watch or the songs to which they listen, they adopt erroneous values. For instance, young people who watch a merciless and cruel hero in a movie often start to imitate him right after they leave the theatre.

A wise and sincere person, however, always displays the character traits with which Allah is pleased. The prophets are the people in whose footsteps we must follow. The character traits we must have are those values with which Allah is pleased. These include being merciful, forgiving, modest, humble, steadfast and obedient to Allah and His Messenger.

One can only display these character traits praised in the Qur'an when one lives by Islam.

Disbelieving people can hardly be committed to embodying these noble values. You must avoid being like these people.


GREYLAG GEESE

Greylag geese can fly at high altitudes of about 8,000 metres (5 miles). This is in fact quite a difficult task since many creatures cannot breathe at such altitudes because of the deficiency in the amount of oxygen available at high altitudes. This deficiency makes respiration difficult. That is the reason why we can hardly breathe when we climb up a high mountain. Flying at an altitude that has a rarefied atmosphere, the bird needs to flap its wings faster. In order to move its wings more, the bird will expend more oxygen, which makes the situation even more difficult for it. However, these birds do not experience any difficulty even while they are flying at altitudes of thousands of meters. That is thanks to the special creation of their lungs, which make the most of the rare oxygen at high altitudes.

Functioning in a different way than those of other creatures, these birds' lungs enable them to obtain more energy from the rarefied atmosphere. And this is one of the signs of Allah's perfect creation.