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Quran and Science on Water 

 by Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph. D. 
Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc.
7102 W. Shefford Lane
Louisville, KY 40242-6462, USA



                            " We made from water every living thing"

                                                       ...The Noble   Qur'an, Surah, Al-Anbiya, 21: 30 

    The Nobel Prize winner and discoverer of vitamin C, Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgi said, "There is no life without water.  Water is part and parcel of the living machinery. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Three fourth of planet earth is covered with water and water is the most abundant substance on earth.  If one analyzes the human body one finds that a normal adult has about 70 percent water.  The water of this planet, specifically the algae in them, supplies some 90 percent of the oxygen we breathe.  Others estimate that by themselves the microscopic phytoplankton of the oceans provide up to a third of the planet's oxygen.  The oceans also moderate the globe's temperature, support an incredibly rich variety of life, and play a crucial role in global climate and rain cycles.  In short, the oceans are a key to life on this Planet. 

Water is essential for the survival of man. Water is used to generate Electricity. Agricultural crops are grown using water. Ancient civilizations flourished by manipulating water resources. Simple irrigation canals permitted greater crop production and longer growing seasons in dry areas. They maintained elaborate systems for water supply and drainage. During the 19th and 20th centuries due to population explosion, the demand for water rose dramatically. Monumental engineering projects were launched to control floods, protect clean water supplies and provide water for irrigation and hydropower.  This resulted in great benefits to billions of people living on this planet earth. Water related diseases such as cholera and typhoid have largely been conquered in the more industrial nations. Vast cities have bloomed in the desert with water brought from hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away. However despite our progress, more than half of the world's population suffers from lack of access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation services. 



The water content of our food is considerable; it varies depending on the type of food.  For example, meat contains about 50 % to 75% water, whereas green vegetables may contain as much as 95% water. 

Water abundance in a newborn baby is more than that of an adult (74 percent) and in the human embryo the water content is more than 80 percent.  After air, water is most essential for our survival.  Why is it on planet earth water remains in the liquid form, except at the polar caps?  The answer to this question is given elsewhere by the author.  If water is not in liquid form we will not survive.  This is one of the signs of God.  One can live without food for a couple months, but without water no one can survive for more than a few days 



Water is responsible for our survival as it prevents us from dying by poisons produced in our bodies.  The metabolism in the human body results in the production of toxins and waste products, which are removed by the kidneys. In order for the kidneys to remove the wastes such as uric acid, urea and lactic acid, these wastes must be dissolved in water.  Kidneys will be damaged if the wastes are not removed due to lack of water.  Water helps in digestion and n metabolism.  It acts as a medium for several chemical and enzymatic reactions that take place in the human body.  Nutrients such as glucose, elemental ions, oxygen, etc.  are carried to the living cells in organs by water through the blood.  Our body temperature is regulated through perspiration by water.  Perspiration removes excess heat and cools the body.  The water we drink lubricates the joints.  Those suffering from arthritis, or are athletically active or have chronic muskuloskeletal problems should drink enough water. 

    Even for breathing, water is required.  In order to facilitate the intake of oxygen and excretion of carbon dioxide, our lungs must be moistened by water. When we exhale, we lose about one pint (1/2 liter) of liquid each day!  Another 400 ml (about 1/2 liter) is lost in the form of perspiration. 

If enough water does not enter our body by drinking then it results in the impairment of every aspect of our body's physiological function due to lack of "fluid balance."  The more one exercises the more water one needs to keep one's body in "fluid balance."   Dr. Howard Flaks, a specialist in treating obesity, in Beverly Hills, California says, " As a result of not drinking enough water, many people encounter such problems as excess body fat, poor muscle tone and size, decreased digestive efficiency and organ function, increased toxicity in the body, joint and muscle soreness (particularly after exercise) and water retention."  If one doesn't drink enough water, the body starts retaining water to compensate for the shortage.  In other words, to eliminate fluid retention, one should drink more water, not less. 

     Dr. Donald Robertson, director of the Southwest Bariatric (medical study of obesity) Nutrition Center in Scottsdale, Arizona says,  "Proper water intake is the key to weight loss, if people who are trying to lose weight don't drink enough water, the body cannot metabolize the fat, they retain fluid, which keeps weight up, and the whole procedure that we are trying to set up falls apart." 

Dr. Flaks says, " I would say the minimum amount a healthy person should                                                                

drink is 10 eight-ounce (300 ml) glasses a day.  A healthy 70-kg adult will require 2000 ml (2 liters) of water daily.  And you need to drink more if you are overweight, exercise a lot or live in a hot climate.  Overweight people should drink an extra glass for every 25 pounds they exceed their ideal weight."  He says one should not drink more than four glasses in any given hour. 

One should not substitute pure water for other beverages, such as fruit juices, soft drinks, coffee, tea, or alcoholic drinks.  Because alcohol is a toxic substance which is Haram in Islam and this command of prohibition has come directly from God.  The caffeinated beverages stimulate the adrenal glands, while fruit juices contain a lot of sugar and thereby stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin.  Soda contains sodium.  Hence these drinks tax the body more than they cleanse it.  Another problem with these beverages is that we lose our taste for water.



     Lastly we must keep water pure and safe for drinking as contaminated water supplies kill millions each year in the Third World countries including the Islamic countries. Preventable water-related diseases kill an estimated 10,000 - 20,000 children everyday, and the latest evidence suggests that we are unable to cope up to solve these problems. Massive cholera outbreaks appeared in the mid-1990s in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Millions of people drink water in Bangladesh and India that is contaminated with arsenic. Arsenic occurs naturally in groundwater and sometimes as a residue of mining and other industrial operations.   At high doses arsenic is a poison and at low doses it is linked to cancer, diabetes, and other diseases.  In many countries, big dams and reservoirs were originally considered vital for economic prosperity, agricultural survival and national security.  However dams have destroyed the ecosystems in and around countless rivers, lakes and streams. Tens of millions of people have been forced to move out from their homes, frequently with no warning or compensation-to make way for the reservoirs behind dams.  More than 20 percent of all fresh-water fish species are now threatened or endangered because dams and water withdrawals have destroyed the free-flowing river ecosystems where they thrive.  In 1958 Egypt and Sudan sent troops for water from the Nile. In the 1960s and 1970s Israel, Jordan and Syria clashed over allocation, control and diversion of the Yarmouk and Jordan rivers. In 1990 a pro-apartheid council cut off water to 50,000 black residents of Wesselton Township after protests against wretched sanitation and living conditions. From 1991 to present an estimated 50 people die in violence that continues to erupt between the Indian states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over the allocation of irrigation water from the Cauvery River, which flows from one state to the other. In America Arsenic in ground water occurs in Albuquerque, N.M., Norman, OK and in many towns throughout the Southwest. US National Academy of Sciences Report says as little as 3 ppb (part per billion) arsenic carries a far higher bladder and lung cancer risk than do other substances regulated by EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Sewage discharges and farm runoff can introduce pathogens such as E.Coli bacteria, cryptosporidium, and other harmful microorganisms that cause gastrointestinal illness that could be severe with people who have a weak immune system. New Haven, MI and San Antonio are reported to have this problem. The EPA should be contacted for drinking water limits of perchlorate (interferes with functioning of the thyroid gland), MTBE, a gasoline additive meant to reduce air pollution that proved to be a frighteningly efficient ground-water pollutant, and THMS (trihalomethanes) which is linked to bladder cancer, with some evidence of miscarriage risk.



For all the human beings, water is a God-given gift to mankind. It is indispensable for survival of man and mankind.   Hence water should not be wasted.  Why should communities raise all water to drinkable standards and then use that expense resource for flushing toilets or watering the lawns? Developed countries spend billions of dollars to collect and treat this waste water before dumping it into a river or the ocean.  In poorer countries, this water is often simply returned  untreated to a river or lake where it may pose a threat to human health or the environment.  Rather than trying endlessly to find enough water to meet our future needs, it is time to find a way to meet our present and future needs with the water that is already available, while preserving the ecological cycles that are so integral to human well-being.

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