Thunder glorifies His praise

Updated 09 April 2015

Thunder glorifies His praise

Three billion thunders a year… a source of energy that moves at a speed of 96,000 km per hour and releases 30,000 degrees of heat.
Have you ever thought how thunder, one of the most magnificent atmospheric incidents that Allah creates, is formed and how it is capable of releasing such a high amount of energy?
During rainfall, thunder and lightning that are made up of bright lights forming in the course of atmospheric discharge of electricity are in fact energy resources producing more electricity than thousands of power plants; besides being a climatic phenomenon. The answer to the questions of how these natural energy sources are formed and how powerful they give out light and heat is a wonder of creation revealing the Ever-Lasting Might and Glory of Our Lord.

A magnificence forming in a split second
• The energy released by a single lightning bolt is greater than the energy produced in all power plants across the entire America.
• One lightning can light a 100 watt bulb for more than 3 months.
• At the contact point of a lightning to the ground, weather is warmed up to 25.000oC. The speed of a lightning bolt is 150.000 km per second and its average thickness is 2.5-5 cm.
• An average lightning possesses 20.000 ampere of electric power. A welder uses only 250-400 ampere to weld steel.
• Lightning moves at a speed of 150.000 km per second, that is almost at half of the speed of light and it is 100.000 times faster than sound.
Light released by one lightning is greater than that of 10 million 100-watt light bulbs. That is to say; if every house in Istanbul had a light a bulb on, illumination from a single lightning bolt would be greater. Allah announces this glamorous flash of lightning as: “…The brightness of His lightning almost blinds the sight.” (Qur’an, 24:43)
How is lightning formed? Air, warmed by the sunlight rises carrying along the water evaporating inside it. When this risen air reaches 2-3 km, it comes into contact with the layers of cold air.
Ice crystals that are formed inside the clouds at the time of air rising, release static electric energy formed due to friction. This electrical energy is loaded positive (+) on top layers of the clouds and negative (-) on low layers. When the cloud is loaded enough to ionize the air; lightning is formed.
Why does it thunder? Lightning heats the air nearby up to 30.000 degrees Celsius in one millionth of a second. The air warmed up dilates. And it propagates sound waves much faster than the speed of sound; with a pressure 100 times greater than the normal atmospheric pressure. Similar to the airplanes crossing the speed of sound, this causes an explosion sound in the air. And this is named as thunder.
Why doesn’t light and sound reach the earth simultaneously? This is because the sound of thunder reaches us at the speed of sound (340 m/seconds in air); whereas the visual aspect of the lightning reaches us at the speed of light (299.793 km/seconds). This causes a time difference between the two incidents and thus results in the bolt reaching the earth before the thunder.

Difference between lightning
and thunderbolt
When the difference in electric charge becomes greater between the earth and the cloud, it becomes easier for air to be pierced and from earth to the cloud; electrical discharge starts through the conductor duct formed by the pierced air. The electrical discharge from the clouds is called lightning and the electrical discharge from the earth back to the cloud is called thunderbolt or return stroke.

Lightning facts in
the Holy Qur’an
Surah Ar-Ra’d is one of the chapters in the Qur’an and it means “The Thunder.” Allah announces that the thunder formed by the lightning repeats His praises: “The thunder glorifies His praise, as do the angels, out of fear of Him. …” (Qur’an, 13:13)

Lightning reminds of death
Experiences of those who survived a strike of lightning that causes the death of hundreds of people every year, remind us of death as well as revealing the helplessness of man in the Presence of Allah.
The possibility of getting struck by lightning is one in 700,000; yet one should not underestimate this possibility as well as the effects of the lightning. According to the statements made by those who have been struck by lightning, the electrical current can explode the buttons and zippers on the clothes and people can faint and fall down. Due to brain damage, people who have been treated for 1-2 months at the intensive care divisions of hospitals are having to re-learning how to walk, how to swallow, or in other words how to live again. These people have described how they felt, and say it is as if they “lived death and then were resurrected.”
In the Holy Qur’an, a very similar incident occurred in a strike of lightning Allah showed to the people of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). With a disgraceful and false courage, the Israelites demanded that the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) enable them to see Allah with their own eyes and while demanding this, they were shown the similar effect of a lightning. The following statements in the verse “So the thunder-bolt struck you dead” and “Then We brought you back to life after your death,” may be a sign for the fact that they felt resurrected after their heart stop related to the shock as well as the loss of consciousness and loss of memory they experienced. (Allah knows the best).
Here are the related verses in the Qur’an: “And when you said, ‘Moses, we will not believe in you until we see Allah with our own eyes.’ So the thunderbolt struck you dead while you were looking. Then We brought you back to life after your death, so that perhaps you would show thanks.” (Qur’an, 55-56)

The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science.

The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016

The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.