By Nasir Hussain Peerzadah
Al-Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad. It took about 23 years for the complete revelation. The revelation was gradual and in parts. The message of holy Qur’an has been inspiring and revolutionary. The book has been unique in essence and profound in meaning. Human beings cannot produce even a single ayat like that found in Al-Qur’an.
Many reckless persons exercised their futile efforts to produce the ayats like those found in Al-Qur’an, but they were utterly humiliated. The words of Al-Qur’an are from Almighty Allah who has the ultimate knowledge of realities pertaining to every branch of science.
Every ayat of Qur’an is quite amazing and full of wisdom. Modern scientific research helps us understand the meaning of many verses of Al-Qur’an more clearly. To make the point clearer example of two verses of Al-Qur’an are cited here. In Surah Qiyammah, it is mentioned:
“Does man think that we shall not gather his bones" Yea! We are able to make complete his very finger tips.” (75:3-4)
Before focusing on the meaning of these two ayats it is necessary to know that: every living organism is made up of tiny compartments called cells. These cells are basic structural and functional units of living organisms. Externally these cells are bound by cell membrane. Inside the membrane are present cell organalle each disposing its specific function. The centre of the cell is occupied by nucleus. Nucleus is master organalle of the cell as it guides the cellular function. Inside the nucleus are packed thread-like structures called chromosomes. These chromosomes play a significant role in the transmission of characters from parents to the offspring.
George Mendle, an Austrian biologist (1822-1884) was the first to reveal that chromosomes contained certain mysterious elements responsible for the transmission of characters. These elements were named as factors by Mendle. Modern research in genetics has enabled us to know more about the actual mechanism behind the transmission of character from parents to the offspring. Nowadays it is well established that chromosomes are made of certain chemical substances, which include:
Two types of nucleic acids-DNA and RNA and
Protein. These three substances viz. DNA, RNA, and proteins are thus responsible for storing and utilising the vast amount of genetic information and for transmitting the same from one generation to other:
DNA is the hereditary material exercising the main genetic control.
RNA plays a complementary role in the process leading to protein synthesis and
Proteins act as organic catalysts (enzymes) to bring about the expression of specific traits.
DNA is the primary genetic material, it is confirmed by the following facts, all of which do not hold good for the other chromosome components (RNA and proteins)
The total DNA content is the same in all the diploid (2n) cells of organisms of the same species.
The haploid (n) cells i.e. gamets contain half the amount of DNA present in the somatic cells.
In polyploid cells the DNA complement increases proportionately.
Mitosis brings about an equal distribution of DNA to daughter cells. The amount present in a telophase nucleus is equal to that in a haploid cell; during the interphase this amount increases in double.
Composition of DNA is similar in organisms of the same species; it is different in organisms of different species.
Structure of DNA is in tune with the fact that genes are arranged in a linear fashion in chromosomes.
DNA is capable of self duplication (replication) and that too with utmost accuracy. This is essential for the preservation and transmissions of genetic information from generation to generation.
DNA is capable of controlling and regulating protein synthesis essential for expression of traits.
DNA is known to be the most stable compound in a cell.
Mutations are caused only when there is some alteration in the chemical structure of DNA.
Although relatively stable it is capable of change which enables the organism to evolve to meet new environmental situations.
Genetic information can be introduced onto a cell and hence an organism by means of pure DNA. DNA has three types of chemical substances:
Nitrogenous bases: These are of four types - two types of purines viz adenine and guanine and two types of pyrimidines viz cystosine and thymine. The purines have a double ring of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) atoms. The pyrimidines have a single ring of four C and two N atoms and are thus smaller molecules than purines.
Deoxyribose: It is a pentose or five carbon sugar.
Phosphoric acid: It occurs as a phosphate group in combination with deoxyribose.
Nucleotides: The three types of chemical substances are joined together onto larger sub units called nucleotides. In a nucleotide a sugar molecule has one of the nitrogenous bases attached to it at its number 1 carbon position. Since bases are of four types, it follows that there are four types of nucleotides as follows:
DNA is able to make its exact copies called DNA replication. Functional unit segment of DNA consisting of several sub units (nucleotide pairs) is usually referred to as gene.
The loyalty with which the gene produces its characteristic trait is remarkable. For example the gene responsible for brown eye colour does not produce any other shade. Genes produce their characteristic effects through specific proteins which they synthesise for the purpose.
The enzyme proteins control the entire metabolism of a cell. Since each enzyme catalyses a specific metabolic reaction, it follows that a specific enzyme produces a specific expression or trait. Thus a gene expresses itself through certain enzymes (proteins)
The sequence in which the four bases of DNA, and therefore of mRNA (DNA transcribes a molecule MRNA. The sequence of bases on mRNA is determined by that on the template DNA which transcribes it) are arranged and determine the type of protein to be synthesised. Thus the sequence of the bases functions like a genetic code carrying genetic information which determines the kind of protein to be synthesised.
Genes, though present in each and every cell of the body, express themselves only in some particular region or regions of the body. For instance, the genes for toe nails produce nails only at particular spots on toes and not on the head or palm. Similarly, genes for the formation of eyes are present in all cells of the body, but eyes do not appear on the feet or neck. This is due to the fact that the cytoplasm of a particular cell is sensitive to certain specific genes and not to the entire genome.
Most significantly, no two individuals have the same genetic make up in this universe (exception may be found in monozygotic twins).
Now it should be clear that every individual has his own genetic make up which governs its phenotypic characteristics i.e. external make up and further it is also clear that no two individuals have similar genome, so individuals differ both genetically and phenotypically.
It should also be borne in mind that when a human body dies, it may undergo disintegration under chemical and microbial action within the soil. Elements which make up the body do not get destroyed and under the creative powers of Allah the elements would get assembled again as testified by Al-Qur’an:“We already know how much of them the earth takes away; with us is the record guarding.” (50:2-4) and this reconstruction will follow entirely the structure and contents of the body as it previously existed and would surely be based entirely upon its DNA content. The DNA content would express itself with such a precision and accuracy that it would even determine the structure of very tips of fingers as described by the Qur’an quoted earlier. This is the point which is referred to in Surah Qiyammah, really a scientific miracle of Al-Qur’an described some fourteen hundred years back. All this defies the human intelligence. One can say nothing except that the source of holy Qur’an is Allah and is really a guiding book for everyone.