The elements of the defense system fight against the enemies that will harm the body just like ordered and disciplined soldiers. First the soldiers that render the enemies ineffective by swallowing them (known as phagocytes) come to the battlefield. Sometimes however, the battlefield conditions overwhelm the abilities of these soldiers; then other soldiers (known as macrophages) step in. This causes a “situation alert” to occur in the target area and an army of soldiers (called helper T cells) is called to the battlefield.
However, during this struggle, a miracle takes place. Even though the body is always on the alert to fight against the organisms that can cause it harm, it allows millions of other types of bacteria to live in some organs. For example, it is known that 80 species of microorganisms live in the mouth, throat and the tonsils. According to research, there are 200 organism species which keep our bodies constantly healthy. The reason that our defense system does not attack these organisms is that these are vital for tolerance of the defense system.
T cells are the fighter white blood cells of our body. They fight against everything harmful to the body and they eliminate hazardous bacteria and molecules out of our body. However, during the clean up they do not harm the body’s healthy tissues and bacteria beneficial to the body.
Every cell has an identification system to introduce itself that we call receptors. Fighter T cells can make this distinction by recognizing the receptors in all other cells, and they ignore the cells the body needs. This quality of the defense system is called “tolerance.”
This situation is actually a great miracle because the defense system is able to distinguish thousands of different proteins from one another.
So how did cells acquire a system that allows them to distinguish such different structures from one another?
It is of course impossible for coincidences to account for the ability to choose, which requires characteristics such as knowledge, consciousness and intelligence. There is no doubt that the defense system acts with the inspiration of Almighty Allah as revealed in the verse “hearkening to its Lord as it is bound to do!” (Surat Al-Inshiqaq, 2)
The defense system that we have been speaking of causes another very miraculous event. The pancreas is sheltered from the rest of the body. Therefore, the white blood cells do not directly work together with pancreatic cells. Instead, some intermediary cells interface with white blood cells and introduce the pancreas. In order to do this, these cells put on a mask that displays the antigens of their normal neighbors, thus suppress the immune system and keep it in a quiet and calm state. These are called “dendritic cells.”
T cells recognize these antigens and learn not to become alarmed by the pancreatic cells and attack this organ.
As it can be seen from this example, it is clear that qualities like developing new methods to recognize one another, agreeing with one another, making plans and moving with a perfect organization according to these plans cannot be expected from defense cells and a mere organ. There is no doubt that even a community of human beings couldn’t move in such a flawless synchronicity and accomplish what needs to be done without failing, forgetting, making a mistake or causing confusion.
There is only one definite truth that must be accepted here and that is all cells, just like everything else in nature, are created specially by Allah, Who is the Owner of an infinite power, knowledge and intelligence:
“... He created all things and He has knowledge of all things.” (Surat Al-An’am, 101)
Another organ, which the defense system tolerates is the intestines. Even though our general body is covered with very detailed defensive weapons, millions of bacteria nonetheless continue to survive in our intestines because the food we eat and the fluids we drink are digested by the bacteria in our small intestines. In addition, these bacteria provide a natural method of protection as they prevent the reproduction of other bacteria that could harm the body so defense cells cooperate with these bacteria that prove beneficial for the body. Even though there is the possibility of activating an immune system response and starting a war in the intestines, T cells somehow ignore the bacteria in the small intestine and prevent this. So, how do defense cells tolerate these bacteria?
Cells’ training that is amazing
In a research paper published in Nature Immunology journal, investigators led by Shannon Turley of Harvard Medical School have found that the defense system has a tolerance mechanism that was previously unknown. According to this, the lymph nodes are like strategic encampments that surround the whole body. The white blood cells pull the antigens to the lymph nodes and fight them
However, the lymph nodes found in the intestines are like a training center more than a strategic encampment. The basic cells found there train the T cells, which are the soldiers of our defense system, about behaving in an appropriate and tolerant manner toward these uninvited, yet friendly guests. It cannot be explained away that such a system in this part of the body could have come into existence by coincidences. Shannon Turley states her excitement as such: “It’s obvious that T cells must be able to ignore — or become ‘tolerized’ to — normal intestinal tissue. ... But it has been unclear how dendritic cells, which are extremely sensitive to microbial agents such as bacteria, teach T cells to resist attacking healthy intestinal cells.” Unconscious cells do not have the intelligence, consciousness and ability to make it possible to “teach” a biological process to one another. There is no doubt that a system, which even the most intelligent researchers and scientists cannot comprehend, being placed inside a cell with no ability to think and consider things for itself has a very special meaning.
Allah created the defense system with impeccable equipment
With the invention of the microscope some 250 years ago, scientists revealed that we live side by side with numerous tiny organisms invisible to the naked eye. Moreover, these organisms were everywhere, from the air we breathe to the water we drink, from everything we touch to the surface of our own bodies. In addition, these organisms frequently enter inside the body. The presence of this enemy was detected 250 years ago. However, many of the secrets of the “defense system” that fights that enemy so effectively are still not completely understood today.
The defense system recognizes and distinguishes viruses and bacteria that are harmful to it from friendly organisms. The way that defense cells with no mind or brain can accomplish this is a reflection of the matchless Creation of Allah, the Lord of infinite knowledge, seen in a small cell. It is revealed that Allah’s infinite knowledge encompasses all: “... They cannot grasp any of His knowledge save what He wills. His kursi encompasses the heavens and the earth and their preservation does not tire Him. He is the Most High, the Magnificent.” (Surat Al-Baqara, 255)