Last week, I had a brief Twitter exchange with a gentleman who politely defended the right to practice faith, but said faith to him was “simply a nice name”. In his view, proving something to be true is more challenging than having faith in something you cannot see. He mentioned how pharmaceutical companies produce verified, replicable data which prove drugs do what they claim. People, by contrast, place faith in beliefs even though they do not have the same type of proof. In most cases, they believe, according to him, only because even if they turn out to be wrong in the end, it would not matter after death.

I agree that one should not blindly accept any ideology and we are, all too often, complacent about our beliefs. To be honest, I did not know how to respond other than to say that faith appeals to my rationality as well as my spirituality. My Islam (submission to God) came after a process of questioning, reading, thinking and discovering the truth.

While I did not respond adequately to this man’s curiosity and queries, his comments brought two things to mind. My three-and-a-half year old nephew Kareem sparked the first thought. Kareem adores documentaries about insects, his favourite topic in the world at the moment. When I was visiting Kareem in December, he had borrowed two documentaries from the library, one about bees and the other on ants. They were constantly playing on the family room television.

I became engrossed in watching these videos with my nephew and marvelled at the importance of females in colonies of ants and hives of bees. The primary function of male ants and bees involves mating, whereas the females run the show. I wasn’t aware that worker ants and bees – responsible for building and guarding the home, and collecting food – are female. Maybe it was something I had learned as a child and had since forgotten, but I was enthralled at this miracle of nature.
Photo from Alex Wild Photography
It happened that the same week, as I was reading the Holy Quran for the third time, I came to the verse entitled “The Ants” (Surah 27). It spoke of how Prophet Soloman was getting together his army and at one point in the verse an ant saw the army approaching. Prophet Soloman heard this ant warn other ants: “O ye ants, get into your habitations, lest Solomon and his hosts crush you (under foot) without knowing it.” (27:018)
In the following line the Quran, referring to Soloman and the ant, reads, “So he smiled, amused at her speech,” and carries on from there. I was amazed that ants were referred to as feminine; the sex of worker ants was scientifically proven in the 17th-18th centuries from what I can gather from a bit of research. I had not noticed this on my first two readings of the Holy Book. Intrigued, I then went back to Surah 16 entitled “The Bees”, which I had read a week or so earlier, and realised the feminine verb form is also used to describe bees.
The Quran, which translates from Arabic as “The Recitation”, revealed by God to humankind 1,400 years ago, includes layer upon layer of truth and fact that one must uncover to understand. I believe God appeals to our rationality if we are willing to explore and listen to His messages and signs. In the Quran, it describes how God “has created every animal from water” (24:45); as well as how the Almighty formed “two bodies of flowing water, one sweet and palatable, and the other salty and bitter. And He has made between them a barrier and a forbidding partition.” (25:53)
Pacific Ocean meets Tasman Sea, courtesy Picasa web albums
God reveals that he created the night and the day, the sun and the moon, “all (celestial bodies) swim along, each in its rounded course”. (21:33) So many realities and facts, even foetal development, are outlined in the Quran’s pages, many times in extraordinary detail:
“And certainly we did create humans from an extract of clay. Then we placed him as a drop of sperm in a place of rest, firmly fixed. Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood.  Then out of that clot, We made a foetus lump. Then We made out of that lump bones, and clothed the bones with flesh.  Then We developed out of it another creature.  So blessed be Allah (God), the best to create!” (23:12-14)

This brings me to the second thought that came to mind: a video that my sister, a PhD-holding scientist who conducts research on stem cell trafficking, had sent me a number of months ago. It is a short speech by a scientist who, after 35 years of being an atheist, came to the realisation through his scientific research that everything in science and the universe is so perfectly formed that there must be a God – and only one God.

He superbly describes in the video below how, in the process of reading the Holy Quran, he discovered a scientific fact that he knew had only been discovered in the 20th century, and he realised that Prophet Muhammad was a messenger chosen by God to bring His message to the world. God appealed to this individual through science – through proven facts – which opened his mind to the possibilities in belief.

There are many references to the scientific miracles of the Quran, including on this website. In one example here, the Quranic verse about Iron is analysed to show how it contains information about many of the chemical elements that make up the Periodic Table.

I don’t think God leaves us without clues to how we can uncover the truth, but we must look for them and we have to, very importantly, have an open mind to the certainty of His existence to be able to begin to grasp these truths. The pharmaceutical-company-type seal of approval in favour of belief in God is something I now witness every day in everything, and I often find myself saying “Subhan’Allah/
سبحان الله, an Arabic phrase that roughly means “Glorious is God”. 

It is counter-intuitive for me to see the miracles of the world around us in animals, vegetation, weather patterns, human diversity, etc, and assume that they simply exist without being created by an Almighty force.
 
“Those who possess no knowledge say, ‘If only God could speak to us, or some miracle could come to us!’ Others before them have uttered similar utterances; their minds are similar. We do manifest the miracles for those who have attained certainty” (Quran, 2:118)
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