"Such as remember Allah, standing, sitting, and reclining, and consider the creation of the heavens and the earth, (and say): Our Lord! Thou createst not this in vain. Glory be to Thee! Preserve us from the doom of Fire."
Rain is indeed one of the most important factors for life on the earth. Rain is a prerequisite for the permanence of life in a region. Rain, which carries great importance for all living things including human beings, is mentioned in various verses of the Qur'an where substantial information is given about the formation of rain, its proportion and effects. The fact that it was not possible for any of this information to have been discovered at the time of the revelation of the Qur'an shows us that the Qur'an is the word of Allah. Now, let us examine the information given in the Qur'an about rain.
The Proportion of Rain
In the eleventh verse of Surah Az-Zukhruf, rain is defined as water sent down in due measure. The verse is as follows:
"And He who sends down (from time to time) water from the sky in due measure, and We raise to life therewith a land that is dead. Even so will you be raised (from the dead)."
This "measure" mentioned in the verse has to do with a couple of characteristics of rain. First of all, the amount of rain that falls on the earth is always the same. It is estimated that in one second, 16 million tones of water evaporates from the earth. This number is equal to the amount of water that drops on the earth in one second. This means that water continuously circulates in a balanced cycle according to a "measure".
Another measure related with rain is about its falling speed. The minimum altitude of rain clouds is 1,200 meters. When dropped from this height, an object having the same weight and size as a rain drop, would continuously accelerate and fall on the ground with a speed of 558 km/h. Certainly, any object that hits the ground with that speed would cause big damage. If rain happened to fall in the same way, all harvested lands would be destroyed, residential areas, houses, and cars would be damaged, people would not be able to walk around without taking necessary precautions. What is more, these calculations are made just for clouds of 1,200 meters high, whereas there are also rain clouds at an altitude of 10,000 meters. A rain drop falling from such a height could normally reach a very destructive speed. But this is not how it works; no matter from how high they fall, average speed of rain drops is only 8-10 km/h when they reach the ground. The reason for this is the special form they take. This special form increases the friction effect of the atmosphere and prevents acceleration when the rain drops reach a certain speed "limit". (Today parachutes are designed by using this technique.)
This is not all about the "measures" of rain. For instance, in the atmospheric layers where it starts to rain, the temperature may fall so low as 400C degrees. Despite this, rain drops never turn into ice particles. (This would certainly mean a fatal threat for the living things on the earth). The reason is that the water in the atmosphere is pure water. As known, pure water hardly freezes even in very low temperatures.
The Formation of Rain
How rain forms remained a great mystery for people for a long time. Only after air radars were discovered, could it have been possible to learn by which stages rain formed. The formation of rain takes place in three stages: First, the "raw material" of rain rises up in the air. Later, clouds are formed and lastly, rain drops appear. These stages are clearly defined in the Qur'an in which precise information was given about the formation of rain centuries in advance;
"It is Allah Who sends the Winds, and they raise the Clouds: then does He spread them in the sky as He wills, and break them into fragments, until you see rain-drops issue from the midst thereof: then when He has made them reach such of his servants as He wills behold, they do rejoice!"
Now, let us look at the three stages mentioned in the verse:
- 1st Stage: "It is Allah Who sends the winds ... " Countless air bubbles formed by the foaming in the oceans continuously burst and cause water particles to be ejected towards the sky. These particles which are rich in salt, are then carried away by winds and move upwards in the atmosphere.These particles which are called aerosols form clouds by collecting around themselves the water vapor -that again ascends from the seas - as tiny drops, by a mechanism called "water trap".
- 2nd Stage : " ... and they raise the Clouds: then does He spread them in the sky as He wills, and break them into fragments ... The clouds form from the water vapor that condenses around the salt crystals or the dust particles in the air. Because the water drops in these are very small (with a diameter between 0.01 and 0.02mm), the clouds are suspended in the air and they spread in the sky. Thus the sky is covered with clouds.
- 3rd Stage : " ... until you see rain-drops issue from the midst thereof." Water particles that surround salt crystals and dust particles thicken and form rain drops. So, the drops which become heavier than air depart from the clouds, and start to fall on the ground as rain.
The conclusion to be arrived here is that; Every stage in the formation of rain is told in the verses of the Qur'an. Furthermore, these stages are explained in the order they take place ... Just like in many other natural phenomena in the world, it is again the Qur'an that provides the most correct explanation about this phenomena as well, and more, that has announced these facts to people centuries before they were discovered by science.
Life Given to a Dead Land
In the Qur'an, a lot of verses call our attention to a particular function of rain, which is "giving life to a dead land". It is stated in a verse as:
"We send down pure water from the sky. That with it We may give life to a dead land, and slake the thirst of things We have created, cattle and men in great numbers."
In addition to furnishing the earth with water, rain also has a fertilization effect. Rain drops that reach the clouds after being evaporated from the seas, contain certain substances "that will give life" to a dead land. These "life-giving" drops are called "surface tension drops". Surface tension drops form on the top level of the sea surface which is called the micro layer by biologists. In this layer, which is thinner than one tenth of a millimeter, there are many organic leftovers caused from the pollution of microscopic algaes and zooplanktons. Some of these leftovers select and collect within themselves some elements which are very rare in sea water such as phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and some heavy metals like copper, zinc, cobalt and lead. These "fertilizer" laden drops are lifted up into the sky by the winds and after a while they drop on the ground inside the rain drops. Seeds and plants on the earth find numerous metallic salts and elements essential for their growth here in these rain drops. This event is informed in another verse of the Qur'an as follows:
"And We send down from the sky rain chartered with blessing, and We produce therewith gardens and grain for harvests."
Salts that fall with rain are small examples of some fertilizers (calcium, magnesium, potassium etc.) used for increasing fertility. The heavy metals found in these types of aerosols, on the other hand, are other elements that increase fertility in the development and production of plants. Forests also develop and are fed with the help of these sea-originated aerosols. In this way, 150 million tons of fertilizer falls on the total surface of lands every year. If there was not a natural fertilization like this, there would be very little vegetation on the earth, and the ecological balance would be damaged. What is more interesting is that this truth, which could only be discovered by modern science, was informed by Allah in the Qur'an centuries ago.