[Al-Quran 50:6-8] Have they not looked at the heaven above them - how We structured it and adorned it and how it has no rifts? And the earth - We spread it out and cast therein firmly set mountains and made grow therein [something] of every beautiful kind, Giving insight and a reminder for every servant who turns [to Allah].

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Fuel of Hell: Humans and Stones

The Quran verse 2:24, describes humans and stones as fuel of The Fire prepared for the disbelievers. The Quran also mentions that though those in The Fire will wish death or escape, yet they will have no choice but to endure the punishment continuously. In this Concept, occurrences in nature of stones and creatures under high temperature and pressure, and other unusual circumstances, has been explored, as an attempt to imagine the possibility of humans enduring The Fire while being a renewable fuel source.   

Full Text
The Quran repeatedly warns of the Fire, informing us in various way that our performance in the life of Earth will be a determining factor in our fate in the Hereafter. In verse 2:24, humans and stones are described as fuel of The Fire prepared for the disbelievers. A pertinent example of burning stones is to be found in the volcanic eruptions and the asthenosphere below the Earth’s crust. Some life-forms are known to appear/survive in extremely hot temperatures (up to 120 degrees centigrade), as found in cooling down lava. Though life on Earth is carbon-based, scientists are also theorising about silicon-based and/or other lifeforms elsewhere in the cosmos. Diatoms and other sources of biogenic silica are an important pointer in this direction. Verses 56:60-62 speak of an unknown life-form in the new creation. Theory about the last stages of stellar evolution and the role of silicon vis-a-vis verses 56:75-76 also merits consideration. Furthermore, chirality of carbon-based compounds in our body and references to right and left segregation in the Hereafter may have some pointers to help understand the concepts of the Hereafter. 

فَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلُوا وَلَن تَفْعَلُوا فَاتَّقُوا النَّارَ الَّتِي وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ ۖ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْكَافِرِينَ

[Al-Qur’an 2:24, translator: Sahih International] But if you do not - and you will never be able to - then fear the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers.

[Al-Qur’an 2:24, translator: Pickthal]  And if ye do it not - and ye can never do it - then guard yourselves against the Fire prepared for disbelievers, whose fuel is of men and stones.

Renewable Fuel
A key word used in verse 2:24 is fuel. Fuel, used as a noun, is defined as something that is burned to produce heat or power, and as a verb as which causes something to burn more intensely. In several places in the Quran, the life of the Hereafter is termed immortal. This implies that the human-sourced fuel will be renewable, as informed by the following verse:
[Al-Qur’an 4:56, translator: Sahih International] Indeed, those who disbelieve in Our verses - We will drive them into a Fire. Every time their skins are roasted through We will replace them with other skins so they may taste the punishment. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted in Might and Wise.   

This prayer employs the word ‘gharaman’ (غَرَامًا) to convey the concept of continuous process of relentless burning: 
[Al-Qur’an 25:65, translation: Literal (Word by Word)] And those who say, "Our Lord! Avert from us the punishment (of) Hell. Indeed, its punishment is inseparable,

Burning Stones 
A pertinent example of burning stones is to be found in the volcanic eruptions and the asthenosphere below the Earth’s crust. 

Volcanic eruptions, known as lava, are molten (melted) rock. A volcano is a vent or hole in the Earth’s surface through which the lava escapes from underground. There are speculation whether this molten rock comes from the core of the Earth or the Asthenosphere, which is relatively closer to the surface of the Earth. 

Though scientists have not yet been able to directly study the interior of the Earth, based on the available data, scientists infer that below the Earth’s crust, at a depth of about 60 miles, is a hot, plastic-like layer known as the asthenosphere. ‘This property is caused by the interaction of temperature and pressure on asthenospheric materials. Any rock will melt if its temperature is raised to a high enough temperature. However, the melting point of any rock is also a function of the pressure exerted on the rock. In general, as the pressure is increased on a material, its melting point increases… The fragile melting point pressure balance in the asthenosphere is reflected in the estimate made by some geologists that up to 10% of the asthenospheric material may actually be molten. The rest is so close to being molten that relatively modest changes in pressure or temperature may cause further melting… The asthenosphere is heated by contact with hot materials that make up the mesosphere beneath it.’   

Seven Gates
لَهَا سَبْعَةُ أَبْوَابٍ لِّكُلِّ بَابٍ مِّنْهُمْ جُزْءٌ مَّقْسُومٌ

[Al-Qur’an 15:44, translator: Sahih International] It has seven gates; for every gate is of them a portion designated."

A video footage, published on Feb 20, 2015, of Ambrym’s crater, Marum, located along the Ring of Fire in the Vanuatu Archipelago, home to one of only seven permanent lava lakes in the world: http://adventureblog.nationalgeographic.com/2015/02/20/video-adventurer-and-drones-go-into-the-volcano-for-science 

[Al-Qur’an 7:40, translator: Shakir] Surely (as for) those who reject Our communications and turn away from them haughtily, the doors of heaven shall not be opened for them, nor shall they enter the garden until the camel pass through the eye of the needle; and thus do We reward the guilty. 

Creatures that can survive in extremely hot temperatures 
Scientists have discovered creatures that can survive extreme environments, be it temperature, radiation level, scarcity of oxygen, water and food, to the vacuum of outer space. What is more astounding is that there are some creatures that not only survive, but also thrive in extreme environments. Completely new species have been found to emerge near an active volcano and are nourished by it.  The following are some excerpts from the internet. 
‘A hyperthermophile is an organism that thrives in extremely hot environments— from 60 °C (140 °F) upwards. An optimal temperature for the existence of hyperthermophiles is above 80 °C (176 °F). Hyperthermophiles are a subset of extremophiles, micro-organisms within the domain Archaea, although some bacteria are able to tolerate temperatures of around 100 °C (212 °F), as well. Some bacteria can live at temperatures higher than 100 °C at large depths in sea where water does not boil because of high pressure. Many hyperthermophiles are also able to withstand other environmental extremes such as high acidity or radiation levels… An extraordinary heat-tolerant hyperthermophile is the recently discovered Strain 121 which has been able to double its population during 24 hours in an autoclave at 121 °C (hence its name); the current record growth temperature is 122 °C, for Methanopyrus kandleri. Although no hyperthermophile has yet been discovered living at temperatures above 122 °C, their existence is very possible (Strain 121 survived being heated to 130 °C for two hours, but was not able to reproduce until it had been transferred into a fresh growth medium, at a relatively cooler 103 °C)… The protein molecules in the hyperthermophiles exhibit hyperthermostability—that is, they can maintain structural stability (and therefore function) at high temperatures.’
‘Tardigrades can survive in extreme environments. For example, they can withstand temperatures from just above absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water (100°C), pressures about six times greater than those found in the deepest ocean trenches, ionizing radiation at doses hundreds of times higher than the lethal dose for a human, and the vacuum of outer space. They can go without food or water for more than 10 years, drying out to the point where they are 3% or less water, only to rehydrate, forage, and reproduce.’ 
‘Outer space – tardigrades are the first known animal to survive in space. On September 2007, dehydrated tardigrades were taken into low Earth orbit on the FOTON-M3 mission carrying the BIOPAN astrobiology payload. For 10 days, groups of tardigrades were exposed to the hard vacuum of outer space, or vacuum and solar UV radiation. After being rehydrated back on Earth, over 68% of the subjects protected from high-energy UV radiation revived within 30 minutes following rehydration, but subsequent mortality was high; many of these produced viable embryos. In contrast, dehydrated samples exposed to the combined effect of vacuum and full solar UV radiation had significantly reduced survival, with only three subjects of Milnesium tardigradum surviving. In May 2011, Italian scientists sent tardigrades on board the International Space Station along with other extremophiles on STS-134, the final flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour. Their conclusion was that microgravity and cosmic radiation "did not significantly affect survival of tardigrades in flight, confirming that tardigrades represent a useful animal for space research.” In November 2011, they were among the organisms to be sent by the US-based Planetary Society on the Russian Fobos-Grunt mission's Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment to Phobos; however, the launch failed. It remains unclear whether tardigrade specimens survived the failed launch.’
‘An active underwater volcano near Guam has become a hotspot for a booming population of ocean critters, despite continuous eruptions at the site. The volcano is so active that it has recently built a new cone that reaches 131 feet high and extends to 984 feet wide, said scientists who started making observations there in 2004 and 2006. "That's as tall as a 12-story building and as wide as a full city block," said Bill Chadwick, a volcanologist at Oregon State University. "As the cone has grown, we've seen a significant increase in the population of animals that lives atop the volcano.” … International researchers want to figure out if there's a direct connection between the growing volcano activity and the increase in marine life there, such as shrimp, crab, limpets and barnacles. Some of those creatures represent completely new species, the scientists say. "They're specially adapted to their environment and are thriving in harsh chemical conditions that would be toxic to normal marine life," Chadwick noted. "Life here is actually nourished by the erupting volcano.” The hydrothermal venting from the volcano allows bacterial filaments to coat the rocks and provides a growing food source for many of the nearby creatures, said Verena Tunnicliffe, a biologist from the University of Victoria in Canada.’  

There is not one of you but shall approach it! 
[Quran 19:65-74, Translator: Pickthall] Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them! Therefor, worship thou Him and be thou steadfast in His service. Knowest thou one that can be named along with Him? And man saith: When I am dead, shall I forsooth be brought forth alive? Doth not man remember that We created him before, when he was naught? And, by thy Lord, verily We shall assemble them and the devils, then We shall bring them, crouching, around hell. Then We shall pluck out from every sect whichever of them was most stubborn in rebellion to the Beneficent. And surely We are Best Aware of those most worthy to be burned therein. There is not one of you but shall approach it. That is a fixed ordinance of thy Lord. Then We shall rescue those who kept from evil, and leave the evil-doers crouching there. And when Our clear revelations are recited unto them, those who disbelieve say unto those who believe: Which of the two parties (yours or ours) is better in position, and more imposing as an army? How many a generation have We destroyed before them, who were more imposing in respect of gear and outward seeming!



Earth: Volcanoes, Asthenosphere & Plate Tectonics 

Creatures living in Extreme Environments

Last updated on: March 20, 2016

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