Interpretation of Sura Cow - Verse 164
164. " Surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and day, and (in) the ships that sail on the sea with what profits mankind, and (in) the water which Allah sends down from heaven and enlivens therewith the earth after its death, and spreads in it all kinds of animal, and in the change of the winds and the clouds controlled (for service) between the sky and the earth; surely there are signs for a people having understanding."
The previous verse spoke about the Oneness of the Lord. Then, here in this verse, there is the reason and evidence to prove the existence of the Providence and that there is only One God, the Glorious. He, the Almighty, is the cause of all causes and the source of knowledge, power, order, and regularity.
Primarily, we attract attention to the fact that uniformity and order, in general, are signs for the existence of intelligence and knowledge, where harmony is a reason for the being of unity. Based on this principle, the explanation of which has been stated in the books of theism, when we deal with the various aspects of ' order ' in the world of existence, we come to the harmony and the unity of action in the regular working of the universe, on one side, and on the other side, we encounter with a single source of knowledge and power that all these glorious effects originate from.
So, the native uniformity and the perfect and the never disturbed harmony in the working of the universe, loudly and most eloquently suggests and clearly manifests the Unity of the Creator and the unchallengeable or unquestionable supremacy of its Single Master or Lord. Man is exhorted to reflect over the creation and realize the divine unity in the midst of the diversity and the manifoldness of the innumerable objects in the heavens and the earth and in the forces of nature and the perfectly harmonious working of the natural phenomena. The uniformity and the harmony in the objects and the working of the universe is constantly referred to in the Holy Qur'an as a sign of the Unity of the Maker.
Taking this short introductory explanation into consideration, we continue explaining the commentary of the verse again.
In this verse, there are six aspects of the indication of regularity in the world of existence, each of which is a symbol for the unity of that Infinite Essence or an indication to the Eternal One, the pure Essence, the Supreme Being.
1. The first symbol, which refers to the Unity of the Creator, is the creation of the heavens and the earth:
" Surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth..."
Yes, this glorious universe with all its stars and planets, including millions and millions of illuminating suns, some of which meaningfully twinkle at us when we look at the sky at night or show themselves far from behind some great telescopes, all in all are the signs and means of reflection of His Power, Knowledge,and Unity.
It is surprising that the more the knowledge of the human race increases, the clearer the greatness and vastness of this universe is recognized, and it is not evident that how large and up to when this scientifical expansion of the recognition of the still secrets of the universe will continue.
Today, scientists and astronomers infrom us that there are thousands and thousands of galaxies in the universe where our solar system is only a part of one of them. In our galaxy alone, there are hundreds million suns and bright stars among which, according to the scientists' data, there can be found some millions of inhabitable planets. What a Splendour! What a Power. In addition to the tradition narrated from the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) 15 and Ahlul-Bayt (a.s.) about some of the verses of the Qur'an confirming the existence of the living creatures in the Heaven and other planets (earths) besides our dwelling earth, there have been written many scientific books on this subject by a lot of Islamic and non-Islamic scholars that the followings are a few examples out of hundreds of similar examples:
a) The Earth, the Sky and the Stars from the View of the Qur'an; by Dr. Muhammad Sadiqi.
b) The Qur'an and the Modern Science; by: 'Abdul-Qani- Al-Khat¤ib; translated by: Dr. Asadullah Mubashshiri.
c) Jahan 'Afarin; by: Husayn Nuri, one of the esteemed scholars in the Religious Teaching Center of Qum.
d) The Earth and the Sky; by: A. Welkuf; translated by: Ali Dukhaniyati.
e) Galaxies and Quasars; by: William J. Kaufmann, Ié (Department of Physics, Sandiego, State University) .
It should be noted that the life found on other planets may be, of course, rather in a different form from what exists on our globe. Therefore, in investigations of the matter, we must not consider only the kind of the life on the earth as a standard, because those globes have their own life-conditions for themselves which are certainly different from the circumstances of the life on the earth, so that, in a great deal of cases such as temperature, water, air and light, they are incomparable with that of the earth.
2. The second indication is seen in the constant change of the day and the night, where it says: "...and the alternation of night and day,..."
Yes, the constant change of night and day, the absence of darkness and the presence of light, with that regularity that they have, and, that one ceaselessly becomes shorter and the other one becomes longer, that as a result of which the four seasons come into being, when trees, plants, and animals obtain their evolutions under these gradual changes, are totally the signs of His Exalted Essence and Attributes. If these gradual changes were not, or they happened without order, or they were always either day or night alone, there would be no life throughout the world at all.
3. Then, it points to the ships which move on the water of the seas for the benefit of Man: "... and (in) the ships that sail on the sea with what profits mankind,..."
Man travels long voyages over the seas and oceans by small and large ships towards different points of the world to perform his purposes. This kind of transportation over sea-water can be afforded by employing some factors, particularly when it is done by a sailor. The first factor is the regular winds that blow from the surface of the seas towards the land and vice versa, including the ceaseless winds blowing from the North Pole and South Pole called ' Arctic winds and Antarctic winds ', or the regional winds which blows in their own proper times and let the ships utilize this natural force gratuitously setting forth to their destinations.
Another factor is the natural property of wood against the special pressure of water which causes that it floats over water.
Again, there is the two invariable magnetic poles of the earth which fix the hands of a compass. The arrangement of the stars in the sky, which lead people to their destinations, is also counted a factor.
Yes, it is with the combination of all these arrangements that the application of ships, with their abundant benefits alongside the help of men, can be made possible. Thus, all these processes are indications of His Pure Essence. Concerning the sailing ships, it is surprising that today, with the invention of the force of powerful engines used in the ships, not only this meaning has not lost its importance but it has also gotten a higher position in this respect, because the great gigantic ships are still among the best means of transportation and communication between people of different spots. Some kinds of modern ships are as large as a town, having arenas, pleasure centers, playgrounds, and even a market-place for shopping. Or, in some particular ships, there are airports where several aeroplanes can land on or take off from.
4. Now, the rain, the life-giving water which is sent down from the sky to the earth, is pointed out. It says: "...and (in) the water which Allah sends down from heaven and enlivens therewith the earth after its death, and spreads in it all kinds of animal,..." Yes, wherever the pure life-giving drops of rain fall down, thereby, life, freshness, blessing, abundancy, and movement may appear therein. This lifeless but splendid water, which falls down with special order, and waters all those plants and living creatures continually, is the harbinger of His Power and Grandeur.
5. Then, for the useful currents and regular and irregular blowing of the winds, it says: "...and in the change of the winds..."
The winds blow not only over the seas and oceans and cause ships to move about, but also over the surface of lands, mountains, valleys, and plains. They sometimes take the male pollen from stamens and pollinate the pistil and help their pollination in order to yield us fruits. They also scatter seeds in different spots of the land to grow. They, at a time, frequently move the waves of the seas to stir them and make the conditions conducive for the living creatures.
With transferring the hot weather of the warm regions to the cold regions, and transferring the cold weather of the cold regions to the warm regions, the winds are effective in making the climate of the globe moderate. Sometimes, the winds push the polluted and poisonous air of the cities, which has not enough oxygen, out into the deserts and forests and cause the fresh air, full of oxygen, to come unto the reach of human beings and other living creatures.
Yes, the wind, that blows and gifts man with benefits and blessings, is another sign of His Infinite Grace and Wisdom.
6. The last indication, mentioned in this verse, is clouds which, as servants, in spite of the gravity, are suspending between the sky and the earth to be moved here and there, carrying millions of tons of water easily with them without posing the least danger for anybody. Hence, they are counted as a sign of the Greatness of the Creator, where He says: "...and the clouds controlled (for service) between the sky and the earth;..."
However, if there were not the management of the irrigation of the clouds, there would not be any water throughout the world for man to drink, nor any spring or stream for plants to grow and, everywhere, the lands would be dry and dead. Therefore, this is also another trace of the Knowledge and Might of Allah. "... surely there are signs for a people having understanding."
Yes, all of the above mentioned indications are the evidence of the existence of that Pure Essence, but for the people who understand and contemplate, not for the unaware ones and the people of little wisdom who have eyes but have not eyesight, or have ears but are deaf.
15. Bihar-ul-Anwar, vol. 58, p. 102,106
Adapted from the book: "The Light of The Quran - Interpretation of Sura Al-Baqarah (The Cow)" by: "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and A Group of Muslim Scholars"
Share this article