Following the development of the atomic theory of the Greek philosopher
Democritus, people used to believe that matter consisted of minute,
indivisible and indestructible particles known as atoms. However,
advances in the study of atoms have refuted this notion. At the
present time, modern science has revealed that the atom, previously
regarded as the smallest particle, can actually be split. This fact
only emerged in the last century, but was revealed in the Qur'an
1,400 years ago:
He is the Knower of the Unseen, Whom not an
atom's weight eludes, either in the heavens or in the earth; nor
is there anything smaller or larger than that which is not in
a Clear Book. (Qur'an, 34:3)
Not even an atom's weight eludes your Lord,
either on earth or in heaven. Nor is there anything smaller than
that, or larger, which is not in a Clear Book. (Qur'an, 10:61)
This verse refers to "atom" and smaller particles still.
1. Ordinary matter consists of atoms bound together by electromagnetic
force to form molecules. These molecules come together to
form solids, liquids and gasses.
2. Atoms consist of a dense nucleus surrounded
by a cloud of electrons. Electromagnetic force holds the nucleus
and electrons together.
3. The nucleus consists of protons and neutrons
held together by a powerful nuclear force.
4.Protons and neutrons consist of three quarks
each and are held together by powerful nuclear force.
Up until 20 years ago, it was believed that the
smallest particles were the protons and neutrons which comprise
the atom. Very recently, however, even smaller particles of which
these themselves consist were discovered. A specialised branch of
physics, called "particle physics," emerged to study these "sub-particles"
and their particular behaviour. Particle physics research has revealed
that the protons and neutrons which comprise the atoms actually
consist of sub-particles known as quarks. The size of these quarks,
the basic components of protons, whose small size is beyond human
conception, is astonishing: 10-18 (0.000000000000000001
of a metre).49
Another point worthy of note is that these verses draw particular
attention to the weight of the atom. The word "mithqal," in the
expression "mithqali tharratin" (an atom's weight) in the
above verses, means weight. In fact, it has been discovered that
the protons, neutrons and electrons which form the atom are also
compounds which give the atom its weight. Therefore, it is yet another
scientific miracle of the Qur'an that attention is drawn instead
to the weight of the atom and not its size or any other feature.
49. L.M. Ledermann, and D.N. Schramm,
“Demonstration: Die Bausteine der Materie,” 1989, http://i115srv.vu-wien.ac.at/physik/ws95/w9560dir/w9561d10.htm.