[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].

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Orientation: Right or Left

Regarding the Day of Judgement and the Hereafter, the Quran provides vivid details in terms of left and right orientations. There are many teachings attributed to Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w. (may Allah’s blessings be upon him)) regarding the preferred usage of right or left hand  or foot. 

Preferences for right and left orientation are also found in nature. We can attempt to contemplate upon the guidance with concepts of Chirality found across all sciences.

Noor is another term used in connection with the right-oriented. Luminescence, and particularly bioluminescence found in several organisms helps comprehend this concept. 

Though we may still not comprehend it fully, let alone draw any conclusions, however it opens our minds to possibilities beyond the ordinary, and helps us to appreciate the wisdom of the teachings, and more readily accept guidance on faith. 

Full Text
The Quran and the Sunnah both contain many references to right and left orientation 

Regarding the Day of Judgement and the Hereafter, the Quran provides vivid details in terms of left and right orientations: 

  • records being given either in the right hand (17:71, 69:19, 84:7) or in the left hand (69:25) or behind the back (84:10) 
  • the Companions of the Right (56:8, 74:39) and the Companions of the Left (56:9); 
  • the Noor (light) of the believers will proceed in front of them and on their right (57:12, 66:8) while the hypocrites seeking ‘noor’ will be told to seek it behind their back (57:13); 

There are many teachings attributed to Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w. (may Allah’s blessings be upon him)) regarding which hand to use for what, or which foot to step with first, or which side to sleep upon. 

Limited by our knowledge and understanding, we either take the verses about the unseen on faith, or do not take them seriously. We can attempt to contemplate upon these verses with the concepts of chirality and luminescence. Preferences for right and left orientation are also found in nature, and even in the DNA. Many creatures can emit light from their bodies.  Though we may still not comprehend it fully, however it opens our minds to possibilities beyond the ordinary, and helps us to appreciate the wisdom of the teachings, and more readily accept guidance on faith.  

Quranic Verses: Results in right or left hand
[Al-Qur’an, translator: Sahih International]
[17:71] [Mention, O Muhammad], the Day We will call forth every people with their record [of deeds]. Then whoever is given his record in his right hand - those will read their records, and injustice will not be done to them, [even] as much as a thread [inside the date seed].
[69:19] So as for he who is given his record in his right hand, he will say, "Here, read my record! 
[69:25] But as for he who is given his record in his left hand, he will say, "Oh, I wish I had not been given my record 
[84:7-8] Then as for he who is given his record in his right hand, He will be judged with an easy account
[84:10-11] But as for he who is given his record behind his back, He will cry out for destruction 

Quranic Verses: Companions of the Right vs Companions of the Left 
[Al-Qur’an, translator: Sahih International]
56:1 When the Occurrence occurs, 
56:7 And you become [of] three kinds: 
56:8 Then the companions of the right - what are the companions of the right
56:9 And the companions of the left - what are the companions of the left
56:10 And the forerunners, the forerunners - 

DNA Orientation
At least three DNA conformations are believed to be found in nature, A-DNA, B-DNA, and Z-DNA. The B form ... is believed to predominate in cells ... The double helix makes one complete turn about its axis every 10.4-10.5 base pairs in solution. This frequency of twist (termed the helical pitch) depends largely on stacking forces that each base exerts on its neighbours in the chain. The absolute configuration of the bases determines the direction of the helical curve for a given conformation.
Structural features of the three major forms of DNA[31][32][33]
Geometry attributeA-DNAB-DNAZ-DNA
Helix senseright-handedright-handedleft-handed

Chirality is a property of asymmetry important in several branches of science. The word chirality is derived from the Greek, χειρ (kheir), "hand", a familiar chiral object.

An object or a system is chiral if it is distinguishable from its mirror image; that is, it cannot be superposed onto it. Conversely, a mirror image of an achiral object, such as a sphere, cannot be distinguished from the object. A chiral object and its mirror image are called enantiomorphs (Greek opposite forms) or, when referring to molecules, enantiomers. A non-chiral object is called achiral (sometimes also amphichiral) and can be superposed on its mirror image. 

Human hands are perhaps the most universally recognized example of chirality: The left hand is a non-superimposable mirror image of the right hand; no matter how the two hands are oriented, it is impossible for all the major features of both hands to coincide. This difference in symmetry becomes obvious if someone attempts to shake the right hand of a person using his left hand, or if a left-handed glove is placed on a right hand. In mathematics chirality is the property of a figure that is not identical to its mirror image.

In mathematics, a figure is chiral (and said to have chirality) if it cannot be mapped to its mirror image by rotations and translations alone. For example, a right shoe is different from a left shoe, and clockwise is different from anti-clockwise.

In physics, chirality may be found in the spin of a particle, which may be used to define a handedness (aka chirality) for that particle. 

Electromagnetic wave propagation as handedness is wave polarization and described in terms of helicity (occurs as a helix). Polarization of an electromagnetic wave, is the property that describes the orientation, i.e., the time-varying, direction (vector), and amplitude of the electric field vector. 

In anatomy, chirality is found in the imperfect mirror-image symmetry of many kinds of animal bodies. Organisms such as gastropods exhibit chirality in their coiled shells, resulting in an asymmetrical appearance. Over 90% of gastropod species have dextral (right-handed) shells in their coiling, but a small minority of species and genera are virtually always sinistral (left-handed). A very few species (for example Amphidromus perversus) show an equal mixture of dextral and sinistral individuals.

In humans, chirality (also referred to as handedness or laterality) is an attribute of humans defined by their unequal distribution of fine motor skill between the left and right hands. An individual who is more dexterous with the right hand is called right-handed, and one who is more skilled with the left is said to be left-handed. Chirality is also seen in the study of facial asymmetry.

In flatfish, the Summer flounder or fluke are left-eyed, while halibut are right-eyed. 

In chemistry, chirality usually refers to molecules. Two mirror images of a chiral molecule are called enantiomers or optical isomers. Pairs of enantiomers are often designated as "right-" and “left-handed." Molecular chirality is of interest because of its application to stereochemistry in inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, biochemistry, and supramolecular chemistry. 

Chirality is an important property of life-supporting carbon compounds. Only right-handed carbohydrates and left-handed amino acids are metabolically active in Earth's organisms. Enzymes, which regulate a variety of biological processes, have the ability to recognize the desired chirality of a substrate. This enhances the versitality of carbon, though chrality is not limited to carbon compounds and occurs in most macromolecules. 

Depicting lateral movement 
‘…Inspection of the availability of italic fonts in Hebrew indicates an additional artistic convention for conveying motion, based on a fundamental bias, yet to be confirmed, for people to expect to see, or prefer to see, lateral movement (real or implied) in a left to right direction, rather than a right to left direction. Evidence for such a bias is found in photographs of a range of animate and inanimate items archived on Google Images. Whereas a rightward bias is found for photographs of animate and inanimate items in motion (the more so, the faster the motion being conveyed), either no bias or a leftward bias is found for the same items in static pose.’ 

Quranic Verses: Noor (light)
[Al-Qur’an 57:12-13, translator: Sahih International] On the Day you see the believing men and believing women, their light proceeding before them and on their right, [it will be said], "Your good tidings today are [of] gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein you will abide eternally." That is what is the great attainment. On the [same] Day the hypocrite men and hypocrite women will say to those who believed, "Wait for us that we may acquire some of your light." It will be said, "Go back behind you and seek light." And a wall will be placed between them with a door, its interior containing mercy, but on the outside of it is torment. 

[Al-Qur’an 66:8, translator: Sahih International] O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord will remove from you your misdeeds and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow [on] the Day when Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will proceed before them and on their right; they will say, "Our Lord, perfect for us our light and forgive us. Indeed, You are over all things competent."

Luminescence is emission of light by a substance not resulting from heat; it is thus a form of cold body radiation. It can be caused by chemical reactions, electrical energy, subatomic motions, or stress on a crystal. This distinguishes luminescence from incandescence, which is light emitted by a substance as a result of heating. 
Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. It is a form of chemiluminescence. Bioluminescence occurs widely in marine vertebrates and invertebrates, as well as in some fungi, microorganisms including some bioluminescent bacteria and terrestrial invertebrates such as fireflies. In some animals, the light is produced by symbiotic organisms such as Vibrio bacteria. 
Bioluminescence has several functions in different taxa… It is much easier for researchers to detect that a species is able to produce light than to analyse the chemical mechanisms or to prove what function the light serves. In some cases the function is unknown, as with species in three families of earthworm (Oligochaeta), such as Diplocardia longa where the coelomic fluid produces light when the animal moves.
The human body literally glimmers. The intensity of the light emitted by the body is 1000 times lower than the sensitivity of our naked eyes. Ultraweak photon emission is known as the energy released as light through the changes in energy metabolism. 

Related Quranic Verses: 

[Al-Qur’an, translator: Sahih International]
56:60-62 We have decreed death among you, and We are not to be outdone In that We will change your likenesses and produce you in that [form] which you do not know. And you have already known the first creation, so will you not remember?

Our Record
[Al-Qur’an 17:12-15, translator: Sahih International] And We have made the night and day two signs, and We erased the sign of the night and made the sign of the day visible that you may seek bounty from your Lord and may know the number of years and the account [of time]. And everything We have set out in detail. And [for] every person We have imposed his fate upon his neck, and We will produce for him on the Day of Resurrection a record which he will encounter spread open.  [It will be said], "Read your record. Sufficient is yourself against you this Day as accountant.” Whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul. And whoever errs only errs against it. And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And never would We punish until We sent a messenger. 

[Al-Qur’an 56:83, translator: Literal (word by word)] Then why not when it reaches the throat, And you (at) that time look on, And We (are) nearer to him than you but you (do) not see, Then why not, if you are not to be recompensed, Bring it back, if you are truthful. 

Last updated: September 7, 2016

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