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Answering Common Misconceptions

45. All in Pairs: Glory of the Creation 

Question:

As-salamu `alaykum. I am currently enrolling in a university, and my friends (both Christians and Muslims) and I sometimes get into friendly arguments about religion. There are a couple of questions about Islam that we would like to make sure of

1- I think it is stated somewhere in the Qur'an that God created two sexual categories for all living things, that is males and females. If that were to be true, then what about the living microorganisms like bacteria that reproduce asexually?

2- Can you kindly provide us, if possible, with trustworthy websites that we can relate to about the scientific facts and discoveries of the Qur'an including the ones which are recently discovered.

Thank you in advance.

Answer:

 You are referring to a verse in the Qur’an (Adh-Dhariyat 51: 49), that says (English meaning): And of everything We have created pairs, that you may remember (the Grace of Allah).  

 This Qur’anic verse outlines the fact that all creatures, whether living beings or solid matter, are created in pairs. This means that this phenomenon does not only apply to animals and plants. Also, the verse does not refer exclusively to pairs of sexes or to sexual reproduction alone; rather, it is much more general. It refers to EVERYTHING that was created. Amazingly, the outstanding truth and generality of this and similar verses came to be gradually realized, and more so recently, during 14 centuries since the Qur’an was first revealed in a primitive world. It is now even suggested that celestial bodies dispersed in the infinite cosmos have their invisible counterpart termed ‘Black Holes.’ These Black Holes are thought to be the negative form of matter in universe.

 Millions of animal species discovered, classified and investigated only during the last two centuries, were found to be invariably in “pairs”, male and female. Electron microscopy have clarified that all living creatures, however minute, are in pairs. The smallest microbes, viruses, and bacteria have their counterpart antibodies.

 It is not just the animal world that is in pairs, the botanical world is in pairs too. The Arabs at the time of the revelation of the Holy Qur’an did not know that the plants were in pairs, apart from those of the palm tree. It was only after the discovery of microscopes that human beings knew that plants have male organs (stamens) and female organs (ovaries): and that the wind, together with other factors, carries the pollens from one type to the opposite one, so that reproduction can take place. This is referred to also in the following verse (English meaning):

And it is He (The One) Who extended the earth, and made therein anchorages (mountains) and rivers; and of all (plant) products He made therein two in pairs (Ar-Ra`d 13: 3)

Thus, the accuracy of the Holy Qur’an, in affirming that all living creatures are in pairs, is verified.  

The wide variety of creatures including live species, solid matter, liquids and gases are marvelous combinations of the same list of building blocks, atoms. These basic units,  were long known each to consist of a “pair” of  a positively charged nucleus surrounded by negative electrons. The nucleus consists of protons that carry the positive charge, together with neutrons. Even the neutral neutrons have their counterpart, the antineutrons. Later advances in nuclear physics has demonstrated that each of these particles is, in effect, a complex structure of much smaller nuclear particles. Over 200such elementary particles are now known, such as sets of quarks composing a proton, gluons binding quarks together in a proton … etc. Every type of particles is now believed to have its companion antiparticle, having the same mass but opposite in some other characteristic such as charge, spin or otherwise.

Back to the atomic level, atoms can, literally, ionize i.e. either lose or gain electrons to form positive cations or negative anions. “Pairs” of cations/anions combine to produce the wide variety of chemical (inorganic) compounds. Ionization phenomena provide the basis for electrochemical processes, e.g. electrochemical technology and corrosion.

All life systems, plant, animal and human consist of different types of cells. A cell consists of a nucleus surrounded with cytoplasm enclosed, usually in a cell wall. The cell nucleus, carries the chromosomes that control all the cell functions. All cells of a particular organism have exactly the same number of chromosomes; the number varies widely between different species. A chromosome consists of different types of protein tightly with a single DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) molecule chain. The DNA is a large long (up to 1 meter long) chain amino acid. It consists of a “pair” of spiral strands, connected with steps. Each step consists of a “pair” of chemical components, so-called nucleotides. There are four different nucleotides, i.e. Adenine (A), Cytosine (C), Guanine (G), and Thymine (T). A and T “pair” together, while C and G “pair” together, to alternatively form the steps of the DNA. The sequence, composition and orientation of these “pairs” of nucleotides control the genetic information  carried by the DNA.

Proteins are formed from various combinations of amino acids. Specifically, twenty types of amino are used in different combinations to form more than a million type of proteins, present in a human being. Every type of amino acids can exist in either of a pair of structures (Right-handed isomer, or Left-handed isomer), with opposite polarized light rotation direction. The same applies to the proteins formed thereof.

Every animal species of the wide animal kingdom reproduce sexually. Sexual reproduction results from the combination of a female ovum and a male sperm. The formation of this zygote “pair” is the starting point in the reproduction cycle.  The sperms, in turn are of “two” kinds, the first carries the hereditary male characteristics, while the other carries the female.

Flowering plants, more than 250,000 discovered so far, also reproduce sexually. They have both female (Ovaries containing eggs) and male (Stamens carrying pollens); either combined in the same flower or in different flowers. In the latter case, fertilization occurs when pollens are transferred by wind or insects to an adjacent flower. Non-flowering plants, on the other hand, amounting to 150,000 species, reproduce in a double-stage cycle of sexual and asexual reproduction. Yet, the asexual reproduction stage is essentially a process of breaking up of the DNA “pair” of strands into two;  followed by each of which re-forming its complementary strand. Thus, a new “pair” of identical DNA molecules results in the cell, just before it divides into a “pair” of identical cells.

The same applies to the asexual reproduction of bacteria. Each bacterium consists of a single cell, the smallest biological unit able to function independently. A single bacterium reproduces the same way explained above, i.e. by splitting into a pair of identical cells. As we have seen, cell division occurs through the process of DNA replication, in which the two strands of the DNA molecules are separated; and each strand re-synthesizes a complementary strand to itself. So, “asexual” reproduction of bacteria involves the DNA “pair” of strands splitting and reformation into a new “pair” of cells.

We end this tour by wondering how impressive is such a wide manifestation of the “existence in pairs” phenomenon, verifying what the Glorious Qur’an categorically stated. The truth and precision of this verse of the Qur’an is but a single example of scores of other verses, whose precise truthful references to scientific facts was proved by modern science.

The following links can give you more detailed, trustworthy, and hopefully interesting information of the wide-range and close harmony between Islam and science.

Suggested links:

The miracle of the DNA

Science proves Islam

An Invitation to Truth

A Brief Illustrated guide to Understanding Islam

IslamiCity: Islam and Science

Science leads to Islam