Water: The Essence of Life

From time immemorial the question of creation has always lingered around and led many on a wild-goose chase trying to understand the puzzle of our existence. However, after countless hours of research by thousands of scholars over many centuries, the equation is yet to be completed.

Though we may not have figured out the complete recipe of life, we have excelled enough to confidently recognise its key ingredients. Among them, the most prominent component which essentially kick-started life as we know it is water. It is an undeniable fact that without water we can forget even the slightest possibility of survival. The story of water with man is a very long one; it starts with a sperm cell that swims in water. Then a foetus is in its mother’s womb. All the necessities of life reach it from the mother, transported via water. Then, the first nourishment that the child receives through breastfeeding is easily drinkable milk based on water from his mother’s breast. In fact, water is with a person even in his pains and sorrows when he sheds tears. It is no wonder that a person can endure hunger for many days but cannot endure thirst for even a day or two usually not more than four.

Human beings are so dependent on it, that man can survive three weeks without food, but would hardly be able to cope for three days without water. According to H.H. Mitchell, it is scientifically proven that water forms 83% of the lungs, 79% of muscles and kidneys, 73% of the brain and the heart, 64% of the skin and 31% of even the bones.

These facts prove that water is vital in sustaining life. However, this is nothing new as it was common knowledge even for the most oblivious of cavemen. The human instinct for thirst has always allowed us to understand this. But what recent studies have been able to shed light on is that water not only sustains life, it became the initial building block for creation itself. What researchers have recently discovered regarding the true importance of water and its varied involvement in many vital systems was actually disclosed by Allah the Almighty 1400 years ago. The Qur’an tackles this from various eye-opening angles, which are mentioned below.

The building block of living things

The very first aspect I would like to introduce to the table possibly holds the most weight; that is the idea that our existence today was heavily dependent on the presence of water in the most preliminary stages of Earth’s existence. We believe that life began as a result of water.

Allah the Almighty states:

وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ الْمَاءِ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ حَيٍّ أَفَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ

“And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?”

The Holy Quran (21:31)

This verse leaves one stunned at how much truth and bearing this small sentence holds regarding our creation. If one takes a glance at the abundance of ideologies upheld by world religions regarding the world’s creation, we realise that Islam was the only one to bring such a concept into play. Namely, that life itself is a product of water. This idea is directly in line with the scientific ideology of how life began.

Scientists believe that Earth’s original blend of gases produced a broth of organic molecules when exposed to light and heat, eventually forming the building blocks of life in amino acids. It was necessary that this concoction of substances were in the water to allow those molecules to become the first biological cells. This theory has been dubbed the ‘Primordial Soup Theory and is the most concrete and cohesive concept scientists have been able to come up with.

This was first proposed by Alexander Oparin in 1924, and John Burdon Sanderson Haldane in 1929. It is amazing how scientists discovered this less than a century ago whilst Muslims have known this for the past 1400 years. Spiritually speaking, the words: “And We made from water every living thing” precisely hint toward the period of the cessation of revelation which has been called (Fatra) in the Qur’an.

يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولُنَا يُبَيِّنُ لَكُمْ عَلَى فَتْرَةٍ مِنَ الرُّسُلِ

“O People of the Book! There has come to you Our Messenger, after a break in the series of Messengers”

The Holy Quran (5:20)

We have always understood that God sends a Messenger, who by means of Divine revelation, brings about a complete moral revolution among his people and gives, as it were, new life to spiritually dead people.

Alluding to the physical phenomenon, the words would mean that when, on account of a long period of drought, the earth becomes parched and dry, God the Almighty sends down fresh rain from the heavens and the earth begins to bloom; blossoming and vibrating with new life and thus revitalising the earth.

Thus, the verse briefly signifies that just as no physical life can exist without water, no spiritual life is able to survive without the water of Divine revelation.

Rain as a provision

Allah the Almighty often repeats that rain is a mercy and a provision to mankind. He emphasises that it is He who makes the rain fall which then allows the barren land to become fertile and as a result brings forth food, without which it would not be possible.

Allah the Almighty states:

“And it is He Who sends down water from the cloud; and We bring forth therewith every kind of growth; then We bring forth with that green foliage wherefrom We produce clustered grain. And from the date-palm, out of its sheaths, come forth bunches hanging low. And We produce therewith gardens of grapes, and the olive and the pomegranate—similar and dissimilar. Look at the fruit thereof when it bears fruit, and the ripening thereof. Surely, in this are Signs for a people who believe.”

The Holy Qur’an (6:100)

Water is bound to a cycle of precipitation, evaporation and condensation. Let us say, for instance, one day it stopped raining altogether. The water content on earth would deplete to 0% in a very short span of time, greenery would cease to exist and if that somehow failed to destroy life as we know it, global temperatures would also increase, causing accelerated global warming; speeding up the slow death mankind is already heading towards.

Allah the Almighty has always urged us to contemplate the world around us and through the impossibilities of those creations, recognise the majesty of the Creator. In this instance, we will analyse how Allah the Almighty uses water to restore life which once may have disappeared. We see such examples in the African savannah where droughts appear in great quantity. As a result, the land is left parched and the dry spells lead to the extinction of crops for the period of the spells. But rainfall returns the beauty of the wilderness as crops, vegetation and greenery lavishly sprout across the land and animals of all kinds scavenge around their watering holes quenching their long-lasting thirst. Allah the Almighty commands us to really deliberate over this amazing phenomenon and understand this as a beautiful sign from God.

Allah the Almighty states in the Qur’an:

قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَصْبَحَ مَاؤُكُمْ غَوْرًا فَمَنْ يَأْتِيكُمْ بِمَاءٍ مَعِينٍ

“Say, ‘Tell me, if all your water were to disappear in the depths of the earth, who then will bring you pure flowing water?”

The Holy Qur’an (67:31)

The reality of the situation is that all life, whether physical or spiritual, depends on water, the former on rainwater and the latter on the water of Divine revelation. We have expanded on the idea of how the physical land is hugely reliant on water. In terms of the spiritual aspect, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib MA raabbreviation for "May Allah be pleased with him/her/them" beautifully puts this in the following words whilst describing the spiritually corrupt state of man before the advent of the Holy Prophet saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him":

Water as a sign

“This was not the state of Arabia alone, rather, this time period was an era of darkness for the entire world and all religions had moved away from their original precepts. The mantle of misguidance had been spread in every direction.” The following Qur’anic verse alludes to this very fact:

ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ

“Corruption has appeared on land and sea”

The Holy Qur’an (30:42)

In other words, religions based on the revelation of God have also been corrupted as well as those whose foundation is not laid upon revelation. Now, perceive the fact that when the world is overcast by darkness, the sun rises and when the land begins to singe, it naturally attracts rain. Then was it not appropriate for a spiritual sun to rise after a state of spiritual darkness? Should not a spiritual land scorching of heat have drawn in rain? God the Almighty states:

يُقَلِّبُ اللَّهُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ

“Allah alternates the night and the day”

The Holy Qur’an (24:45)

Moreover, Allah the Almighty states:

اعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يُحْيِي الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا

“Know that Allah is now quickening the earth after its death.”

The Holy Qur’an (57:18)

Thus, a sun suddenly rose in this era of darkness, which illuminated the corners of the earth with its rays.

During this time of extreme heat, a cloud unexpectedly ascended and showered its rain of mercy upon the land which was subdued in thirst. Rivers and streams, which had dried, gushed forth with water. Which horizon did this sun rise from? How did it reach its zenith? Which mountain did this cloud come forth from? How did it encompass the entire world?

The answer was given 1400 years ago in the barren, uncultivable lands of Arabia; a place where water was more scarce than food. It would be amiss to not mention a prominent comparison of the vitality of water in life, all of which is laid out in the Holy Qur’an.

The formation of plants, which is dependent on water, is alluded to in the verse:

فَأَخْرَجْنَا بِهِ أَزْوَاجًا مِنْ نَبَاتٍ شَتَّى

“And Who sends down rain from the sky, and thereby We bring forth various kinds of vegetation”

The Holy Qur’an (20:54)

Further, this is expounded upon to include animals:

وَاللَّهُ خَلَقَ كُلَّ دَابَّةٍ مِنْ مَاءٍ

“And Allah has created every animal from water.”

The Holy Qur’an (24:46)

Ultimately, the purpose of creation is brought together by a verse that uses the quality of water as an argument for the truthfulness of Islam:

وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ الْمَاءِ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ حَيٍّ أَفَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ

“And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?

The Holy Qur’an (21:31)

In essence, the state and properties of water hold lessons for us all to reflect and ponder over, as they contain the verities of the majesty of Allah.

The Promised Messiah (as) has made a striking comparison to the state and properties of water proving the Oneness of Allah the Almighty. He states: “The instinctive nature of man and all the elements of the universe have no relation whatsoever to the concept of Trinity. Even if one observes a droplet of water, it emerges round in shape and does not fall in the form of a triangle. This also clearly establishes that the Unity of God is etched into every aspect of nature. One ought to reflect closely that a droplet of water is round. Spherical form bears the hallmark of oneness because it is free from the confines of orientation. A three-sided figure however is bound by relative direction. Similarly, observe fire and you will find that it is cone-shaped and possesses a round abstract figure. Even fire radiates with the light of God’s Oneness. If one were to take the earth for example and inquire of the Europeans as to its figure, they would say it is round.”

From the brief overview in this article of how the Holy Qur’an presented the significance of water, it is clear that life as we know it is encapsulated in various water-based systems. If we were to remove these systems, we would essentially be subtracting life from the equation. The universe would just be a collection of oddly shaped rocks.

This idea presented by the Holy Qur’an single-handedly is enough to prove the truthfulness of Islam and the existence of God.

At a time when man was yet to discover much of the basics of what we know today, such as the spherical nature of the Earth, magnetism and the invention of some of the most essential objects for human usage, such as paper, how can we fathom that an illiterate orphan living in the heart of the Arabian desert in a time when ignorance was rife, would know such specific details of our creation?

If this is insufficient proof, then nothing will suffice.

References

https://islamonline.net/en/the-origin-of-life-an-islamicperspective/

https://www.islamichelp.org.uk/media-centre/news/theimportance-of-water-in-islam

Miracles of the Quran: Water – The Muslim Vibe

Disclaimer

This article was originally published in the Annual Printed Edition of Majallatul Jamia

Muttaher Mubashar Iffat

Muttaher Mubashar Iffat

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