Difference between revisions of "Fluorescence Miracle in the Quran"
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Some Islamic apologists try to interpret the verse of light (24:35) literally, although their own translation of the verse contains information that the verse is an allegory.
The miracle claim
Plants emit light invisible to the naked eye. NASA is studying the emissions of plants from space.
Scientists from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., have produced groundbreaking global maps of land plant fluorescence, a difficult-to-detect reddish glow that leaves emit as a byproduct of photosynthesis. While researchers have previously mapped how ocean-dwelling phytoplankton fluoresce, the new maps are the first to focus on land vegetation and to cover the entire globe... Chlorophyll fluorescence offers a more direct window into the inner workings of the photosynthetic machinery of plants from space. NASA, First-of-its-Kind Fluorescence Map Offers a New View of the World's Land Plants, 2011
Emissions studied by NASA are namely emissions of chlorophyll.
For NASA Chlorophyll is the name of the game.
However 1400 years ago the Quran described olive oil emitting light without fire.
[Quran 24.35] Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The allegory of His light is that of a pillar on which is a lamp. The lamp is within a glass. The glass is like a brilliant planet, fueled by a blessed tree, an olive tree, neither eastern nor western. Its oil would almost illuminate, even if no fire has touched it. Light upon Light. Allah guides to His light whomever He wills. Allah thus cites the parables for the people. Allah is cognizant of everything.
In chapter "The Light" olive oil emits light without fire, this is what is known as fluorescence. "Light upon light" today we know that we can only see a small part of the spectrum. The rest of the spectrum we cannot see but it is all light.
How could an illiterate man who lived 1400 years ago have known about fluorescence?
But to learn why the Quran mentioned olive oil in particular we looked into the emissions of pure olive oil called "extra virgin olive oil". It turned out to be the most fluorescent of all oils.
Fluorescence spectra of some common vegetable oils, including olive oil, olive residue oil, refined olive oil, corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, and cotton oil, were examined in their natural state, with a wavelength of 360 nm used as excitation radiation. All oils studied, except extra virgin olive oil, exhibited a strong fluorescence band at 430-450 nm. Extra virgin olive oil gave a different but interesting fluorescence spectrum, composed of 3 bands: one low intensity doublet at 440 and 455 nm, one strong at 525 nm, and one of medium intensity at 681 nm. The band at 681 nm was identified as the chlorophyll band. The band at 525 nm was at least partly derived from vitamin E. The low intensity doublet at 440 and 455 nm correlated with the absorption intensity at 232 and 270 nm of olive oil. US Public Library for Medicine, Fluorescence spectra measurement of olive oil and other vegetable oils, 2000
In extra virgin olive oil, out of the three bands only one is attributed to Chlorophyll. This means that its fluorescence is not limited to Chlorophyll. But its Chlorophyll footprint at 681 nm turned out to be the highest of all oils.
How could an illiterate man who lived 1400 years ago have known what is the most fluorescent oil?
Islamic scholars came with many interpretations of the verse, but they agree that it is an allegory. The verse itself, even in the apologetic translation, says that it's an allegory:
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The allegory of His light is that of a pillar on which is a lamp. The lamp is within a glass. The glass is like a brilliant planet, fueled by a blessed tree, an olive tree, neither eastern nor western. Its oil would almost illuminate, even if no fire has touched it. Light upon Light. Allah guides to His light whomever He wills. Allah thus cites the parables for the people. Allah is cognizant of everything.
There are so many signs that the verse is not meant literally. It's not describing nature.
- "Allah is the light" - are photons Allah?
- The verse says in the beginning that it's an allegory
- "..is like.." indicates that it's not meant literally
- "neither eastern nor western" indicates that it is not a tree of this world
- Or it could be interpreted literally to mean that the tree is in between the east and the west. In that case the verse is an scientific error, because that would mean that the world is flat and there is eastern and western part.
But most importantly:
- the oil "almost illuminates", so it doesn't actually illuminate. The verse is about a lamp in which is an oil, and before the oil in the lamp is ignited, it "almost illuminates". It has that potential, but it doesn't illuminate yet.
The verse also ends confirming that it's one of parables. It's not a description of what actually happens in nature. Apologists took the words "oil" and "illuminate" literally and out of context and ignored all the indications that the verse is an allegory. This is a mis-interpretation of the Quran.