Tag Archive | islam

Aisha’s Office: Photosynthesis in the Qur’an

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Essential in the production of not only light, but also hydrogen and oxygen, the sun plays a primary role in sustaining all of creation across the globe. Swearing, “by the dawn when it breathes“ (“itha tanaffasa”), Allah reveals in the Qur’an the life-sustaining production of oxygen, which is performed only during daylight. Ceasing production as the night “closes in,” oxygen production once again resumes as the horizon approaches the dawn.

So I swear by the retreating stars –
Those that run [their courses] and disappear –
And by the night as it closes in
And by the dawn when it breathes
[That] indeed, the Qur’an is a word
[conveyed by] a noble messenger

{Surah Al-Takwir 81:15-19}

Earth’s Oxygen Production Resumes Daily at Dawn

Making up 21% of the air we breathe, oxygen is produced only during photosynthesis – a process used by plants to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) and water into sugar. The resulting sugar, glucose, becomes the nutritional fuel supplying plants with energy needed for growth.

Harun Yahya, in A Scientific Miracle of the Quran: The Dawn that Breathes, states, “While 30% of the oxygen in the atmosphere is produced by plants on land, the remaining 70% is produced by plants and unicellular organisms in the seas and oceans – which are capable of performing photosynthesis.”

Yahya points out that “itha tanaffasa”(“when it breathes”), in Surah Al-Takwir, “metaphorically means to breathe deeply or respire.” He notes, “The phrase emphasized in the verse is remarkable in the sense that morning is the time when oxygen production starts, as well as being the time when the oxygen is produced most. In addition, the importance of this fact is emphasized in the verse with the oath being made upon this fact.”

Only with solar energy can Earth’s plants perform photosynthesis, a respiration cycle of inhaling carbon dioxide and exhaling oxygen in the chemical production of glucose. Thus, the oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere could not be produced without the daily dawning of the sun.

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Just as the daily dawning of the sun is critical for the process of photosynthesis, so too is the nightly approach of darkness. As the Qur’an reveals in the above verse, the two phenomena are paired in a joint relationship: As the darkness “closes in,” the absence of light halts the cycle of glucose production, and reverses the cycle of respiration. At nights, plants, just like humans and animals, inhale oxygen and exhale CO2.

The Complex Process of Photosynthesis

As discussed by the scientific research team at Istanbul Quran Research Association (IQRA), in Respiration and Photosynthesis, identification of the scientific process now known as photosynthesis is fairly recent. A research team led by American Chemical Engineer Melvin Calvin was awarded the 1961 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for work on photosynthesis.

“At the time of the descent of the Quran,” IQRA notes, “people knew nothing about photosynthesis or transformation of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, or again, about the role played by the sun’s rays in the realization of this process.”

When oxygen is released during photosynthesis, energy in the molecules of nutriments stored in the plant’s cells is chemically released. “So the act of respiration must not be considered exclusively as an exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, but as a more complex process that forms the basic energy source of plants and animals.”

Photosynthesis and the Carbon Cycle

Holli Riebeek, Education and Public Outreach Specialist of NASA Earth Observatory, writes in The Carbon Cycle, “Carbon is both the foundation of all life on Earth, and the source of the majority of energy consumed by human civilization.”

Carbon cycles through Earth’s atmosphere geologically and biologically. The geological, or Slow Carbon Cycle primarily involves carbon compounds expelled by volcanoes, eroding from land into the ocean, sinking to Earth’s mantle and once again expelled by volcanoes.

The biological, or Fast Carbon Cycle, primarily involves photosynthesis. Riebeek reports the two most significant components of the fast carbon cycle are respiration of land-based plants and microscopic organisms in the ocean, called phytoplankton.

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Photosynthesis impacts the Fast Carbon Cycle so significantly that monthly CO2 fluctuations associated with plant-growing seasons are measurable. Riebeek reports, “In the Northern Hemisphere winter, when few land plants are growing and many are decaying, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations climb. During the spring, when plants begin growing again, concentrations drop.” She continues, “It is as if the Earth is breathing.”

Every Dawn Breathes New Life Into Earth’s Atmosphere

Providing an excellent fuel source for growing plants, the bonds of carbon molecules are highly-energized. However, without the catalyst provided by sunlight, and the resulting oxygen generation during photosynthesis, the chemical energy to sustain life can never be released.

In Miracles from Quran and the World of Plants, Dr.Nazmy Kaleel abu al Ata states, “Photosynthesis is the basic source of almost all energies on earth and food substances.” Dr. Nazmy, a Biology Specialist at Ain Shams University in Egypt, continues, “and if it hadn’t been for light this process wouldn’t exist and all means of life would vanish.”

Regarding Allah’s oath, “And by the dawn when it breathes,” Harun Yahya points out, “this single feature is enough to prove that the Earth and the whole universe is certainly not an idle place that accidentally came into being. The universe, the Earth we live in all the systems that sustains life on Earth, animals and men, are all created by the Almighty Allah, in all their intricate detail.”

Every morning brings a fresh, new start to the cycle of photosynthesis. Every dawn brings a new day, literally breathing new life into Earth’s atmosphere, a blessing from Allah for all of His creation. We may be reminded by this to recite the following du’a upon waking every morning:

Alhamdulillaahil-lathee ‘aafaanee fee jasadee,
wa radda ‘alayya roohee,
wa ‘athina lee bithikrihi.

“Praise is to Allah
Who gave strength to my body
and returned my soul to me
and permitted me to remember Him.”
(–The Prophet Muhammad, recorded by At-Tirmithi 5/473)

Sunrise from the International space station

Sunrise from the International space station

 

(This is an article I wrote for onislam.net, but their website disappeared, unfortunately, and it was never published. Insha’ Allah, I hope you found it interesting!)

;^)

Egyptian Culture, Part 7: Eid al Adha Celebration

Butchering a Cow for Eid al Adha in Egypt by Aisha Abdelhamid

In Egypt, Eid celebrations mark the start of national week-long vacations. Most work grinds to a halt, many stores are shuttered, streets have far less traffic, and fireworks sporadically light up the night skies. More weddings are scheduled for the festive time of eid than any other time of the year, as well.

Every year during Eid al Adha in Egypt and all over the world, Muslims practice “Qurbani.” This is the ritual sacrifice of animals, in commemoration of Prophet Abraham’s willingness to obey God’s command. To non-muslims, it may seem strange to learn that this ritual is a rich and beautiful expression of God’s mercy. Can the ritual sacrifice of animals in the streets generate an environment of peace? Yet, this is exactly the case during the Muslim Eid al Adha. Whole communities become visibly enveloped in a unified outpouring of celebration and generosity.

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The Donkey: Egypt’s Green Machine

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Donkey Pulling Cart Loaded With People, Aga, Egypt


(This is my first article published on Edenkeeper.org:)

Possibly the “greenest” animal on Earth, the humble donkey has enjoyed a very long residence in Egypt, where it is believed that donkeys were first domesticated around 3,000 BCE. A five thousand year history of supporting humans in their daily endeavors is strong testimony to their sustainability, as well as the sustainability practices of Egyptians.

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Mosaic From The Coptic Museum, Cairo, Egypt

Donkeys figure frequently in Jewish, Christian and Islamic Scriptures. Perhaps the more famous scriptural account of a donkey in Egypt is the flight of Mary holding the baby Jesus (God’s Peace be upon him), as Joseph leads them out of Nazareth and into Egypt. They also depart Egypt in the same way, a few years later.

Currently in Egypt there is believed to be around 1.2 million working donkeys, horses and mules. The wild ancestor of the domesticated donkey is E. africanus, the African wild ass. Both the wild and the domesticated donkey are members of the horse family, Equidae. Mules are non-reproducing animals, the product of breeding female horses with male donkeys. Donkeys, as well as horses and mules, and even cattle and water buffalo, are hard working animals, created by God specifically to please and assist their human owners, capable of performing long hours of heavy labor to ease our efforts. In the Quran, the Holy Scriptures of Islam, we are enlightened about this in Book 16, verses 5-8:

And the cattle He has created for you
From them you have warm clothing
And uses and whereof you eat
And wherein is beauty for you
When you bring them home
And when you take them out to pasture
And they carry your loads unto a land you could not reach
Except with souls distressed
Behold! Your Lord is indeed Most Kind Most Merciful
And (He has created) horses and mules and donkeys
That you may ride them and for ornament
And He creates that which you know not
(Qur’an 16:5-8)

Especially in the countryside, where the agricultural way of life is more common, it often seems there are more donkeys in Egypt than cars. There is a very special relationship between a farmer’s family and their donkey. Donkeys are able to find their way into the fields, going where no car or truck can go. They feed themselves politely from the field while the farmer is loading up their backs with bundles. They are the most patient of companions, traveling daily back and forth from home to field and from field to market, and finally from market back to home. They obediently carry whatever is required, patiently pulling a cart or a piece of farm equipment, and the sound of their clip clopping hooves on the street as they pass is very quaint and charming.

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Donkey Pulling Cart Laden With Tomatoes, El Mahala, Egypt

Sustaining the environment, however, hinges upon sustaining the people and animals within it. Appreciating the importance of our dependence on work animals in the adoption of a more green lifestyle is critical. Labor performed without gas guzzling machinery, and transportation provided by sustainable energy will always require an ingenious mix of new technologies, like wind and solar power, and age old traditions, like donkeys and other working animals.

To support the health and welfare of Egypt’s working donkeys and horses, there is an incredibly helpful organization operating here. The Brooke Hospital for Animals, founded by Dorothy Brooke, has been in operation since 1934, and currently serves seven regions: Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, Edfu, Alexandria, Mersa Matruh and the Nile Delta, reaching approximately 200 communities. In 2010/11 they helped 167,000 working horses, donkeys and mules in the country. According to the Brooke Organization website, they report:

“We run mobile veterinary clinics in the Nile Delta, treating working animals and educating their owners in animal welfare, parasitic infestation, grooming and hoof care, feeding and wound management. We provide quality vet services through Brooke clinics and support local health providers to increase their responsibility for treatment and prevention. We train paravets and farriers in the communities where we work. We improve animal welfare practices by providing training sessions, community meetings and best donkey and horse competitions. We conduct regional welfare assessments to provide evidence of improvements in the welfare of high-risk animals. We conduct animal-friendly research for example into eye-abnormalities, body lesions and de-worming.”

Best Donkey and Horse Competitions sound very interesting. You can be sure I’ll be reporting on those events, God Willing! In the meantime, please be sure to visit the website of The Brooke Organization, at: https://www.thebrooke.org/our-work/our-countries2/egypt

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White Donkey Grazing Peacefully, Aga, Egypt

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Poem: “Life Journey,” a Collaboration with Zara

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My Seagull Soul by Aisha Abdelhamid ©

Life Journey

No baggage allowed; no extra weight permitted
No provisions required by the soul embarking on that journey
How shall I survive, what shall I sacrifice?
I suddenly feel so heavy!

Come empty handed! Heavenly gifts await you beloved 
Throw away needs of body; seduce the heart to submission
A miraculous strength of truth unveils her presence
How lovers welcome your arrival! Adorned with intentions of righteousness

I am shy as a child in the light of truth’s lightness
Tremulously stepping forward in search of submission
Hands outstretched to cast off bad habits
My toes disappear with the release of each burden!

Sink into His Ocean of love; drown away each sorrow
Swim deeper for what tears hearts is its distance from home
A child fears of not such a journey my friend
Ignite the wings of love and return to His Court once again

© 2014 by Zara Hussain & Aisha Abdelhamid

What a pleasure to collaborate on a poem with my new blogging sister, Zara! If you already know her, you will surely not mind me expressing my deep appreciation for Zara’s incredible poetic eloquence, because I’m sure you feel it too!

And if you don’t yet know Zara, please allow me to introduce you to someone whose poetry will light your heart with a very special glow. In my quest to learn more about Rumi, I came across Zara’s website and fell in love, perhaps enchanted is an equally appropriate word, with her soul and with her poetry. I swear she writes with the Pen of Rumi, I am so impressed with her loving eloquence! You can imagine my great pleasure when Zara asked me to collaborate on a poem with her, what a deep honor! I am totally out of my league just standing beside her, barely able to untie my tongue, let alone compose a poem on her level. So, admitting this truth and asking her to guide me was the best approach I could imagine for our collaboration, and this forms the basis for our poem. Her guidance is brilliant, pointing me to the Brightest Star, in search of the Greatest Truth, by following the Best Way.

Please take a few extra moments to visit Zara and allow her poetic expression to caress you lovingly, her poetry is a virtual spa for the soul!


Life Journey (2014)

(via http://zar4h.wordpress.com)

No baggage allowed; no extra weight permitted
No provisions required by the soul embarking on that journey
How shall I survive, what shall I sacrifice?
I suddenly feel so heavy!

Come empty-handed! Heavenly gifts await you beloved
Throw away needs of body; seduce the heart to submission…

Please click here to read more of this poem on Zara’s website!

;^)

Photo Quote: The Nest In Rumi’s Rose Garden

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While researching topics for interesting articles I’d like to write for EdenKeeper.org, I fell in love with a 13th century poet named “Rumi.” Spend an hour with this incredible gentleman, and I guarantee you will understand completely. One hour was enough to change my life – that warm glow of love entered my heart like a warm embrace from a very compassionate soul who understands my deepest feelings! I had to know more – who is this man with only one name, “Rumi?” Why is he able to speak so clearly to my soul, crossing continents and cultures and centuries as if they don’t exist? Rumi jumped to the top of my list, becoming my highest priority, and my newest love. Further down the page, I’ll share with you all my latest article for EdenKeeper.

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Reblog from “A Broad’s View:” 7 Lies We Need to Stop Telling About Women Who Wear Hijabs Via Mic

My great thanks to Christina for posting this on her excellent blog, and my deep appreciation to Laila for bringing her eloquent voice and excellent message to our attention! Please read and enjoy the truth! ♥♥♥ ;^)

A Broad's View

7 Lies We Need to Stop Telling About Women Who Wear Hijabs – Mic.

By Laila Alawa via Identities.mic

7, lies, we, need, to, stop, telling, about, women, who, wear, hijabs,
7 Lies We Need to Stop Telling About Women Who Wear Hijabs
Image Credit: Getty

Imagine a Muslim woman and you’ll most likely picture a hijab, the head covering worn by some Muslim women across the globe.

The hijab is not the most important part of being a Muslim woman, but it is certainly the most visible. In a time when Islamophobia only seems to be on the rise in the West, a practice that is so personal and diverse has become a warped and misunderstood part of a flat and monolithic picture of Muslim women.

As Islam becomes more and more wrapped up in public debates about foreign policy, integration and immigration, the hijab has quickly become shorthand for a set of stereotypes that neither represent nor capture the experience of being…

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EdenKeeper Article: Egypt Illuminates Ancient Alleyways With Solar Light

Dark alley in crowded city

Dark alleys are very common in over crowded cities. El Mahala, Egypt

I’d love to share with you this great new technology that Egyptian researchers have designed to brighten up dimly lit streets and alleyways blocked from the sun by overcrowded conditions in high rise urban centers. My latest article published on EdenKeeper.org can’t be posted entirely here on my blog, but it can be “reposted” with a synopsis, and I think you’ll find it interesting! I’m also throwing an Award Party down below, so I hope you’ll stay for the free food and fun!

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