Wednesday, January 18, 2012

8. Planet Earth – Human Robot Testing Laboratory

The divine purpose of creating this temporary universe is to provide infrastructure facility for testing human robots. The universe is nothing more than that.  The earth, human habitat, is the test laboratory. The universe must be treated, studied, understood and taught as a system from this divine perspective. Incorporation of divine purpose into our understanding of the universe can alone help correct our present erroneous view about the universe. Scientific evaluation of the ground realities also reveals close correspondence with the divine objective stated in the Quran. This matching of the universal system with God’s purpose of creation provides another undeniable scientific proof of the divinity of the Quran and existence of creator God.  The subject has also been discussed elsewhere [1].

Design of Earth vis-à-vis divine objective

To describe Earth in all its splendour is an impossible proposition. What is intended here is to draw attention to the Quranic revelation of divine purpose with Earth and to bring to focus how Earth is designed to achieve it. The universe is referred to in the Quran as “skies and the earth” (Q. 11:7). It may be noted that more importance is attached to Earth than any other region in the cosmos as it forms the venue of human robot testing, which is central to the divine mission. A lot of information is now available on various aspects of Earth that will help study the planet from the standpoint of divine mission [2, 3, 4]. NASA website also gives extensive information.

Studies in astronomy picked up momentum only during the last century. For centuries, astronomers believed that our galaxy, the Milky Way, made up the entire universe. In 1924, the American astronomer, Edwin Hubble, demonstrated that ours was not the only galaxy; there were billions of galaxies spaced far between. A galaxy is a huge collection of millions of stars, dust and gas. The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy consisting of more than 100 billion stars. It is supposed to have come into existence ten to fifteen billion years ago. The earth is part of the solar system belonging to the Milky Way (Figure 1). Solar system is situated on the outer edge of the Milky Way about 28000 light years from the galactic centre. It takes 225 million years to complete one revolution around the Milky Way. Our sun, located centrally in the solar system, is a medium-sized yellow star. It makes up 99.8 per cent of the mass of the solar system. Its diameter is 1,390,000 km. Following the recent de-recognition of the planet Pluto, there are now eight planets belonging to the solar system. These are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Besides it also has at least three dwarf planets (Pluto is now treated as a dwarf planet), more than 130 planetary satellites, a large number of asteroids (rocky objects in space ranging from a few meters wide to several hundred kilometres) and comets, and the interplanetary medium. 

Figure 1. The position of the earth in our galaxy, the Milky Way                             
Image: NASA, Galaxy M83, similar size and shape to the Milky Way.

The temperature at sun’s surface is around 5800 K while at the core it may reach as high as 15,600,000 K. The sun is presently composed of 70% hydrogen and 28% helium and the rest 2% is made up of mainly metals. The nuclear fusion going on in the core converts hydrogen into helium and therefore, with time the composition of the sun changes with the depletion of hydrogen. This nuclear reaction generates immense energy. The sun’s energy output is 386 billion billion megawatts per second for which 700,000,000 tons of hydrogen are converted to about 695,000,000 tons of helium. The energy is produced as gamma radiation which while travelling from the core towards the surface gets continuously absorbed and re-emitted in longer wavelength region so that by the time it reaches the surface it will be primarily visible light.  This is how Allah created the sun to serve as the primary source of energy to sustaining life on the earth, the human robot testing centre.

Earth is the fifth largest planet in the solar system which is situated third from the sun. Earth is supposed to have come into existence 4.5 to 4.6 billion years ago. The earth weighs 5.972 x 1021 metric tons and orbits around the sun at an average distance of 93.1 million miles at a speed of 67000 miles per hour (18.4 miles per second). It takes 365.2422 days to orbit the sun. This duration forms the basis for reckoning a year. While orbiting the sun it also rotates with a tilt of 23.5o on its axis at a speed of 1070 miles per hour (at the equator). It takes 24 hours to complete one full rotation (360o). This duration is reckoned as a day. The earth pulls every object towards its centre. This gravitational force prevents every object from being thrown out into the space by its spin. Earth has a satellite, the Moon. The moon is at a distance of 384,000 km from the earth. A characteristic feature of the components of the universe be it a satellite, planet, star or galaxy, is their constant motion in their prescribed orbits. This is highlighted in the Quran at several places. “It is He Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon; all (the celestial bodies) swim along, each in its rounded course.” (Q. 21:33). It is the orbital motion that creates day and night, seasons, tides etc. All these have been designed so by the Creator for the benefit of man. “And He has made subject to you the sun and the moon, both diligently pursuing their courses; and the night and the day has he (also) made subject to you.” (Q. 14:33). “He has made subject to you the night and the day; the sun and the moon; and the stars are in subjection by His Command: verily in this are Signs for men who are wise.” (Q. 16:12). “It is Allah Who made the night for you, that you may rest therein, and the days as that which helps (you) to see. Verily Allah is full of Grace and Bounty to men: yet most men give no thanks.” (Q. 40:61). “We have made the night and the day as two (of Our) Signs: the Sign of the Night have We obscured, while the Sign of the Day We have made to enlighten you; that you may seek bounty from your Lord, and that you may know the number and count of the years: all things have We explained in detail.” (Q. 17:12). Through these verses Allah describes the purposes of the components of the universe (Table 1).

   Table 1. Divine purpose of creation from Islamic perspective

Allah has also provided sustenance and other resources on the earth for His test subjects enough to last the entire period of the test. Whatever there is on the earth, it is for us humans. “…On the earth will be your dwelling place and your means of livelihood for a term.” (Q. 7:24). “It is He Who has made the earth manageable for you, so traverse you through its tracts and enjoy of the sustenance which He furnishes: but to Him is the Resurrection.” (Q. 67:15). “It is He Who created for you all things that are on the earth….”  (Q. 2:29). “It is We Who placed you with authority on the earth, and provided you therein with means for the fulfillment of your life: small are the thanks that you give.” (Q. 7:10). “The (material) things which you are given are but the conveniences of this life and the glitter thereof; but that which is with Allah is better and more enduring: will you not then be wise?” (Q. 28:60).

The earth provides both renewable (e.g., water, solar energy, plants, animals, etc.) and non-renewable (e.g., minerals, petroleum, etc.) resources for human consumption. The earth is a giant storehouse of a wide variety of human requirements. The availability of natural resources as per the Quranic message (Q. 7:24) is guaranteed till the test is over; that is when the universe will end. It is also quite obvious that the availability of each resource is commensurate with the relative needs of humanity. This is discernible from the relative availabilities of resources that are required by human beings in huge amounts (e.g., water) and that required in small quantities (e.g., platinum, gold, etc.). Several mechanisms are also in operation to ensure their availabilities in sufficient quantities. Renewal through recycling and regeneration is adopted by the Creator to replenish the supply of high-demand resources. Water, plants, animals, etc. come under this category. Besides the sun, Allah has also provided other energy sources to suit our other purposes. Petroleum, coal and nuclear sources for energy generation, belong to this list. Studies of the relative availability of the resources vis a vis human needs will bring out clearly the natural scenario of the supply-demand equation. The outcome of such studies will certainly make people think and understand the purpose of Allah’s creations in the light of the Quran. It will also enable us to discover the truth about the universe and redefine our priorities in our life.

The Quran speaks at length about the facilities, amenities and infrastructure provided in the test centre – the planet earth.

Physical resources

Several verses highlight the physical resources provided on Earth. “(It is He) Who has made the earth your couch, and the heavens your canopy; and sent down rain from the heavens; and brought forth therewith fruits for your sustenance; then set not up rivals to Allah when you know (the truth).” (Q. 2:22). “And He has set up on the earth mountains standing firm, lest it should shake with you; and rivers and roads; that you may guide yourselves And marks and sign-posts; and by the stars (men) guide themselves.” (Q. 16:15-16). “And the earth We have spread out (like a carpet); set thereon mountains firm and immovable; and produced therein all kinds of things in due balance. And We have provided therein means of subsistence,- for you and for those for whose sustenance you are not responsible. And there is not a thing but its (sources and) treasures (inexhaustible) are with Us; but We only send down thereof in due and ascertainable measures.” (Q. 15:19-21). “And We send the fecundating winds, then cause the rain to descend from the sky, therewith providing you with water (in abundance), though you are not the guardians of its stores.” (Q. 15:22). “He set on the (earth), mountains standing firm, high above it, and bestowed blessings on the earth, and measure therein all things to give them nourishment in due proportion, in four Days, in accordance with (the needs of) those who seek (Sustenance).” (Q. 41:10). “See you not that Allah has made subject to you all that is on the earth, and the ships that sail through the sea by His Command? He withholds the sky (rain) from failing on the earth except by His leave: for Allah is Most Kind and Most Merciful to man.” (Q. 22:65). “It is Allah Who made out of the things He created, some things to give you shade; of the hills He made some for your shelter; He made you garments to protect you from heat, and coats of mail to protect you from your (mutual) violence. Thus does He complete His favours on you, that you may bow to His Will (in Islam).” (Q. 16:81). “It is Allah Who has subjected the sea to you, that ships may sail through it by His command, that you may seek of his Bounty, and that you may be grateful.” (Q. 45:12). “It is Allah Who has created the heavens and the earth and sends down rain from the skies, and with it brings out fruits wherewith to feed you; it is He Who has made the ships subject to you, that they may sail through the sea by His command; and the rivers (also) hath He made subject to you.” (Q. 14:32). “We have honoured the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favours, above a great part of our creation.” (Q. 17:70).

Plant resources

“It is He Who has spread out the earth for (His) creatures: Therein is fruit and date-palms, producing spathes (enclosing dates); Also corn, with (its) leaves and stalk for fodder, and sweet-smelling plants. Then which of the favours of your Lord will you deny?” (Q. 55:10-12). “It is He who sends down rain from the sky: from it you drink, and out of it (grows) the vegetation on which you feed your cattle. With it He produces for you corn, olives, date-palms, grapes and every kind of fruit: verily in this is a sign for those who give thought.” (Q. 16:10-11). “Then let man look at his food, (and how We provide it): For that We pour forth water in abundance, and We split the earth in fragments, and produce therein corn, and Grapes and nutritious plants, and Olives and Dates, and enclosed Gardens, dense with lofty trees, and fruits and fodder,- for use and convenience to you and your cattle.” (Q. 80:24-32).

Animal resources

“See they not that it is We Who have created for them - among the things which Our hands have fashioned - cattle, which are under their dominion?- And that We have subjected them to their (use)? Of them some do carry them and some they eat: And they have (other) profits from them (besides), and they get (milk) to drink. Will they not then be grateful?” (Q. 36:71-73). “It is Allah Who made your habitations homes of rest and quiet for you; and made for you, out of the skins of animals, (tents for) dwellings, which you find so light (and handy) when you travel and when you stop (in your travels); and out of their wool, and their soft fibres (between wool and hair), and their hair, rich stuff and articles of convenience (to serve you) for a time.” (Q. 16:80). “It is Allah Who made cattle for you, that you may use some for riding and some for food; And there are (other) advantages in them for you (besides); that you may through them attain to any need (there may be) in your hearts; and on them and on ships you are carried.” (Q. 40:79-80). “And cattle He has created for you (men): from them you derive warmth, and numerous benefits, and of their (meat) you eat.”          (Q. 16:5). “And (He has created) horses, mules, and donkeys, for you to ride and use for show; and He has created (other) things of which you have no knowledge.” (Q. 16:8).

Marine resources

“It is He Who has made the sea subject, that you may eat thereof flesh that is fresh and tender, and that you may extract there from ornaments to wear; and you see the ships therein that plough the waves, that you may seek (thus) of the bounty of Allah and that you may be grateful.”          (Q. 16:14).

Through these and many other verses, the Quran enumerates so many kinds of resources and natural mechanisms (e.g., rain, wind, sailing of ships, etc.) that are provided for the benefit of man during the test period on the earth. It is significant to note that although there are millions of other species inhabiting the earth, the Quran does not mention about them as beneficiaries of the natural resources because they also form resources created for man. These organic beings are renewable resources sustained by Allah.

The Quranic revelation that everything on the earth is created for man may be called into question on the ground that other species are also utilizing the resources. It is to be realized that these other species are also created as resources for man. Their presence on Earth should be seen that way. Consequently, we find they require and consume only non-renewable resources for their sustenance. This can be explained as follows. Over two million biological species are catalogued and several million others are supposed to inhabit this planet. Of these, man alone has the natural tendency to exploit the non-renewable resources; the rest of the bioworld require only the renewable resources. This propensity is an instinct, a built-in character, i.e., biosoftware-determined. Every other organism has been programmed to utilize only renewable resources. If we examine the requirements of other organisms, it will be evident that they do not use any non-renewable resource for any purpose. For instance, their food, material for nest building, and every other requirement is met from the renewable resources. They do not therefore deplete any non-renewable resources. Only man needs them and only man depletes them. Since they are created by Allah for the exclusive use of man, their nature, distribution and availability must correspond to the human needs and requirements. And we find this is true. The following discussion will clarify this point.

The total area of the earth is 510.072 million km2 of which land is 148.94 million km2 (29.2%) and water 361.132 million km2 (70.8%) [5]. Natural resources may be either biotic (living) or abiotic (non-living) in origin. They are materials essential or useful to man. These include land, air, water, plants, animals, fish, birds, microorganisms, forests, wildlife, minerals, natural gas, petroleum, coal, etc. The list is so long. Natural resources are classified under renewable, flow, and non-renewable groups. Renewable resources are water, plants, animals, etc. Wind, solar radiation, etc., are treated as flow renewable resources as they do not require regeneration. Non-renewable resources are finite and their supply is limited. Coal, petroleum, mineral deposits come under this category. The finite nature of the resources is well highlighted by the Quran (Q. 7:24 given above). We know it is a fact. For instance, the reserve of natural gas at the end of 2005 is estimated to be around 179,831,967 million m3 [6], that of oil is 1200700 million barrels [7] and that of coal is 909,064 million tons [8]. There are over 450 kinds of minerals provided by Allah on the earth. Millions of biological species are also available. All the biological organisms are not used directly by us. Many are required to sustain the habitability of the environment and resourcefulness of the human robot testing planet. Apart from being our food, the bioresources cater to our needs ranging from ornament to experimental material. Statistics show world’s annual wood production (timber-equivalent) is 3.4 billion m3, meat production is 220 million tons, and marine fish catch is 90 million tons [9] to mention only a few. All the resources are provided and maintained as per the requirements of Homo sapiens. The natural mechanisms Allah devised for that are awe-inspiring. For example, take the case of water and how its supply is maintained.

The mechanisms involved in worldwide circulation and distribution of water through hydrologic cycle indicates how intricate the divine program is on a global scale. “And We send the fecundating winds, then cause the rain to descend from the sky, therewith providing you with water, though you are not the guardians of its stores.”          (Q. 15:22). “It is Allah Who sends forth the winds, so that they raise up the clouds and We drive them to a land that is dead, and revive the earth therewith after its death…” (Q. 35:9). About 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water although we can see only a very small portion of it in circulation. The oceans store 97.5% of the earth’s water, land contains 2.4% and the atmosphere holds less than 0.001% as water vapour. Of all the water that is present on the earth, only 2.5% is fresh water; the rest is salty. (In all these proportions, we can see Allah’s planning and strategy). Most of the fresh water remains frozen in icecaps, present as soil moisture or inaccessible in deep underground aquifers, leaving less than 1% accessible for use. The annual precipitation (Table 2) for the earth is more than 30 times the atmosphere’s total capacity to hold water indicating rapid recycling of water between the earth’s surface and atmosphere [10].

                                                Table 2. Earth’s water budget

The process of hydrologic cycle (Figure 2) is responsible for circulation and conservation of the earth’s water [11, 12, 13]. The hydrologic cycle begins with the evaporation of water from the surface of the ocean. As moist air is lifted it cools and water vapour condenses to form clouds. One would certainly have expected that water would remain as vapour as it goes up and it would continue to go higher and higher in the sky. But nature has the mechanism to prevent it from going up beyond certain altitudes by transforming it into clouds. These clouds literally serve as the mobile overhead reservoirs of water that can be dispatched to any point on the earth through the control of the wind. Such a controlling mechanism has been indicated in the Quranic verses (Q. 15:22; 35:9) given above. This is indeed a wonderful natural phenomenon when we consider the quantum of water involved in the global transport and circulation. Once the water reaches the ground as rain, two processes occur: a) some of the water may evaporate back into the atmosphere and b) some of the water may penetrate the surface and become groundwater. Groundwater either seeps its way into oceans, rivers, and streams, or is released back into the atmosphere through transpiration (via plants). The remaining quantity of water on the earth’s surface is the runoff, which empties into lakes, rivers and streams and is carried back to the oceans, where the cycle begins again. The total quantity of water that is transported to the atmosphere annually is about 423 x 109 km3; the same quantity of water is returned to the earth through precipitation, thus conserving the total water content of the planet [14, 15].

Figure 2.  Global water cycle involving precipitation, evaporation, evapotranspiration and runoff
Based on [ Original source given: Shiklomanov, I.A., State Hydrological Institute, St. Petersburg, and UNESCO, Paris, 1999; Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, 1994; Freeze, Allen, John, Cherry. Groundwater, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 1979.].
Note: The width of the arrows indicating processes is approximately proportional to the volume of transported water.

An important thing that we can infer from the hydrologic cycle is that not a single molecule of water on our planet is broken down to its constituent atoms (hydrogen and oxygen) or lost irreversibly. Water being the universal solvent and an essential component of life its total quantity is always conserved through recycling. Although water participates in almost every chemical reaction that is taking place on the earth and combines with a large number of compounds in a variety of ways, none of these reactions leads to its destruction or its irreversible loss. The molecule is recoverable from whatever substance or compound in which it exists. Without this unique characteristic of the water molecule, it would not have been possible to sustain life on this planet. It takes God to create it.

It is for man and man alone Allah created everything on this planet. It is impossible to estimate Allah’s blessings and bounties given to man on the earth. But still we are ungrateful to Him. To quote the Creator: “If you would count up the favours of Allah, never would you be able to number them: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Q. 16:18). “And He gives you of all that you ask for. But if you count the favours of Allah, never will you be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude.” (Q. 14:34).

Mere availability of the resources is not enough; we should also be given knowledge to exploit and utilize them. “And He has subjected to you, as from Him, all that is in the skies and on the earth; behold, in that are signs indeed for those who reflect”. (Q. 45:13). “Don’t you see that God has made all that is on the earth subject to you (men)…?”  (Q. 22:65). “And He has subjected to you, as from Him, all that is in the heavens and on earth: Behold, in that are Signs indeed for those who reflect.” (Q. 45:13). “Do you not see that Allah has subjected to your (use) all things in the heavens and on earth, and has made his bounties flow to you in exceeding measure, (both) seen and unseen? Yet there are among men those who dispute about Allah, without knowledge and without guidance, and without a Book to enlighten them!” (Q. 31:20).

The Quranic statement that Allah has subjected all things in the skies and on the earth to man implies that they are so designed and created by Allah as to make them useful and amenable to human exploitation. Even taming of animals would have been impossible for us had not Allah designed them so. We develop our likes and dislikes as stipulated in our biosoftware, which in turn determine our needs. Therefore, the kind of resources provided by Allah on the earth would match our needs and are adequate to meet our requirements qualitatively and quantitatively. Thus we find the raw materials (natural resources) provided on the earth are amenable to our exploitation and they yield products appropriate for our use. But to exploit them successfully we need the right kind of knowledge. Allah has also given us that knowledge, which is science and technology (see post 6). If this knowledge were not available, we will not be able to utilize the natural resources. For instance, petroleum reserves on the planet would have remained untapped had Allah not given us the knowledge of its purpose, extraction and utilization. The technological know-how tells us which resource is to be used for what purpose(s). For example, we have been taught by Allah to use petroleum as energy source for our automobiles. Its supply and its technology match this purpose. We cannot think of using petroleum for a purpose not earmarked by Allah or another resource as energy source for automobiles if Allah has not ordained. In this way if we look at the world holistically, it will be self-evident that natural resources are created for human use alone. This reality justifies the view that the conditions on the earth are fine-tuned for sustaining human life. The purpose of all creations ultimately converges to a single objective – human robot testing.

Allah’s designs are all-embracing and comprehensive. He alone knows our ultimate potential, He alone knows the quality and quantity of knowledge we are entitled to get, and He alone knows how far science and technology will take us. Allah decided our physical and mental attributes which in turn decided our needs. Allah decided the kind of raw materials (natural resources) for meeting each of our needs. Allah alone knows how long the human robot testing will continue and the world will last. Allah alone knows the resource requirement of the test period. The purposes of each and every thing available on the earth are determined by Allah.

Allah’s declaration that Earth is the habitat created for man (Q. 7:24) indicates the relative importance of the earth and other universal components in the divine scheme. This means in the whole universe, earth alone can provide and meet the requirements stipulated in the biosoftware of human species. Anthropocentric creation of the earth can be best illustrated by a thought experiment. Let us consider trans-planetary migration of human beings, a subject often linked to space missions. Suppose a large number of people leave Earth for settlement on Mars.  No sooner do they land on it than will they return. The reason is simple. They will find Mars unsuitable for human settlement. It will not provide the necessary resources and facilities in accordance with human requirements. Nor will they find themselves equipped with technological know-how to exploit Martian resources to their requirement. To put it differently, Mars is not created for human habitation. It is the earth created for mankind. So Allah has not provided resources to suit the human needs and requirements on Mars. Further, Allah has not given us knowledge to utilize Martian resources for our purposes. Both ways Mars will prove unsuitable for human settlement. Thus it can be shown in the light of the Quranic revelations that Earth alone was created as habitat for humans. No other region in the cosmos can serve as human habitat. That also validates the Quranic revelation of divine purpose of creation.


1. Wahid, P.A. 2007. An Introduction to Islamic Science. Adam Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi.
2.  Retrieved on January 27, 2007.
3.  Retrieved on March 13, 2007.
6.  Retrieved on March 16, 2007.
7. charts/en_oilres.aspx  Retrieved on March 16, 2007.
8.  Retrieved on March 16, 2007.
11. Original source given: Shiklomanov, I.A., State Hydrological Institute, St. Petersburg, and UNESCO, Paris, 1999.
12. Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, 1994.
13. Freeze, Allen, John, Cherry. Groundwater, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 1979.
15. IAEA 02-01578/FS Series 2/03/E.