ELECTRIC LIGHT BULB, ELECTRICITY, RAPID TRANSMISSION OF MATERIAL AND NEW MEANS OF COMMUNICATION
35- God is the light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His light is that of a niche in which is a lamp. The lamp is enclosed in glass. The glass is like a pear-like planet. Lit with the oil of a blessed tree, the olive, neither of the east, nor the west, whose oil appears to light up even though fire touches it not. Light upon light. God guides to His light whomever He wills. God sets forth parables for the people. God knows all things. 24-The Light, 35 [024 SURE AN-NOOR, V 35]
We believe that there are implications in the Quran indicating certain important inventions that were to take place in the future for mankind. At the time of the Prophet, when these inventions were beyond human imagination, people could not have imagined them. How could it be possible to explain to these people what electricity and the electric light bulb were?
The verse above seems to hint at electricity and the light bulb. However, I am not claiming that this is its only significance. It is certain that the scope of it must be larger than that. While the verse points to a fundamental issue in referring to light, it also seems to have the connotation of an electric bulb and electricity.
Light (“noor” in Arabic) is described enclosed in a glass. The fuel of this light within the glass comes neither from the east nor from the west, as the fuel consumed at the time was olive oil, but the expression here seems to point to a source of energy other than olive oil. The expression east and west means the entire world. An energy whose origin is neither the east nor the west must be an unknown energy. When this fact is seen within the framework of the expression, “to light up even though fire touches it not,” one generated by an energy without fire suggests electricity.
This verse certainly has other connotations. But it is impossible not to think of electricity. At the end of the verse, mention is made of parables. Recourse to parables is a method used by the Quran to convey information to the public who may not be in a position to understand what is communicated.
The imaginative scene that this verse generates in our mind is the following: the electric bulb that is lit in a dark room without having recourse to a flame illuminates the entire medium. Likewise when we look at the universe around us without our being aware of God’s existence, deprived of all faith, everything will look dark, void and suggestive of despair. Once we take cognizance of God’s existence and are enlightened by religion, our world will be illuminated just as the dark room is lit up. An aimless life will become meaningful, despair will yield itself to hope, and the feeling of being in a void will be replaced by a sense of existence. That is, the dark will be turned into light.
RAPID TRANSFER OF THINGS
40- The one who had knowledge of the Book said, “I can bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye.” When he saw it settled in front of him, he said, “This is a blessing from my Lord; He tests me whether I am grateful or ungrateful. Yet if one is grateful, he is grateful for himself, and if one is ungrateful, truly my Lord is Rich, Honorable.” 27-The Ant, 40 [027 SURE AN-NAMAL, 40V]
The Prophet King Solomon wanted the throne of the Queen of Sheba brought to him as soon as possible. Someone came forth telling Solomon that he would bring it before the King could stand up. Upon this, the person “who was given knowledge of the Book” promised that he would bring it within the twinkling of an eye, and granted Solomon’s wish.
Emphasis is made here to the knowledge of the person who performs this feat. It is not said that this so-called miracle was the doing of the Prophet or due to the jugglery of a jinn. What is of particular importance here is the fact that if one has the true knowledge of something, it is possible to convey it at a very high speed.
Thanks to the state-of-the-art science and technology in our age, the sound and image of a material in any part of the world can be transmitted at a speed almost equal to the one expressed in the verse. This is not the transportation of the matter itself, though. Could the transfer of matter itself be possible one day?
As a matter of fact, scientists have made some progress. For example, in 1993, researchers from Innsbruck University in Austria were able to transfer photons from one spot to another. They dreamed of conducting the transmission of atoms and molecules using the same method. In the future, even the teleportation of the human body is speculated.
The attitude of Solomon in the verse quoted must set an example for all scientists. What he saw led Solomon to realize that he was being tried as to whether he was ungrateful or grateful, and thus he decided to turn toward God, in thanks. A scientist should take cognizance of the fact that whatever he discovers or invents is due to the brain, eyes and hands given to him by God, within the laws He has laid down, and give thanks to Him. NEW MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION
8- And the horses, the mules and the donkeys for you to ride and for splendor. Additionally, He creates what you do not know. 16-The Honeybee, 8 [016 SURE AN-NAHAL, V8]
While enumerating the means of transportation of the past, God predicts that man will use other means in the future. We, who know how comfortable it is to travel by airplanes, trains, cars, etc., can easily understand the reason for the drawing of our attention to means of transportation unknown at the time.
When the universe was created, all scientific discoveries existed potentially. All the natural laws, materials used in the manufacture of a car, the possible shapes and designs and configurations of the materials in question, as well as the energy needed, like petroleum, to run the car were already there. The Creator of the world had arranged everything beforehand. Therefore it is incumbent upon us to give thanks to Him and not to be ungrateful.
6- Truly man is to his Lord ungrateful. 100-The Gallopers, 6 [100 SURE AL-AADIYAT, 6V]