In the name of GOD, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
There is no other god beside GOD

Water – part of God's Perfect Design


Scientists looking for life elsewhere, first look for the presence of water. In Quran, God tells us He made all living things from water (21:30). Humans have long known that water makes up about two-thirds of their bodies. So why else is water important? Every day as we go about our lives, we use water in a number of ways. We drink it (16:10), cook food with it (the food itself often consists of significant amounts of water), use it to perform ablution (5:6) before we pray, water plants, clean our dishes, and use it in many more activities. Water sustains our life directly and indirectly. And God is the One who placed it on our planet as part of His perfect design. Praise be to God.

God ALONE Worthy of Worship

[27:60] Who is the One who created the heavens and the earth? Who is the One who sends down to you from the sky water, whereby we produce gardens full of beauty?you could not possibly manufacture its trees? Is it another god with GOD? Indeed, they are people who have deviated.

[27:61] Who is the One who made the earth habitable, caused rivers to run through it, placed on it mountains, and created a barrier between the two waters? Is it another god with GOD? Indeed, most of them do not know.

Water, Key to Life

So why is liquid water essential to life as we know it? "Liquid" water may sound redundant, but planetary scientists insist on using the qualifier, for solid or vaporous water won't do. The biochemical reactions that sustain life need a fluid in order to operate. In a liquid, molecules can dissolve and chemical reactions occur. And because a liquid is always in flux, it effectively conveys vital substances like metabolites and nutrients from one place to another, whether it's around a cell, an organism, an ecosystem, or a planet. Getting molecules where they need to go is difficult within a solid and all too easy within a gas—vapor-based life would go all to pieces.

[21:30] Do the unbelievers not realize that the heaven and the earth used to be one solid mass that we exploded into existence? And from water we made all living things. Would they believe?

And why is water the best liquid to do the job? For one thing, it dissolves just about anything. "Water is probably the best solvent in the universe," says Jeffrey Bada, a planetary scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif. "Everything is soluble in water to some degree." Even gold is somewhat soluble in seawater.

Water plays another key role in the biochemistry of life: bending enzymes. Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions, making them occur much faster than they otherwise would. To do their handiwork, enzymes must take on a specific three-dimensional shape. It is water molecules that facilitate this. Whether it's animals or plants, water allows the growth and development of life on the planet.

[41:39] Among His proofs is that you see the land still, then, as soon as we shower it with water, it vibrates with life. Surely, the One who revived it can revive the dead. He is Omnipotent.

Water: an anomaly compared to other Liquids on Earth

Water's ability to so successfully further the processes of life has a lot to do with just how unusual a fluid it is. Not long ago, if we had to guess, we would have said that water is about as normal a liquid as they come. In fact, despite its ubiquity and molecular simplicity, H2O is highly unusual. For starters, while other substances form liquids, precious few do so under the conditions of temperature and pressure that prevail on our planet's surface. In fact, next to mercury and liquid ammonia, water is our only naturally occurring inorganic liquid. It is also the only chemical compound that occurs naturally on Earth's surface in all three physical states: solid, liquid, and gas.

[24:43] Do you not realize that GOD drives the clouds, then gathers them together, then piles them on each other, then you see the rain coming out of them? He sends down from the sky loads of snow to cover whomever He wills, while diverting it from whomever He wills. The brightness of the snow almost blinds the eyes.

Without this design, the water cycle that most living things rely on to ferry water from the oceans to the land and back again would not exist. As science journalist Philip Ball writes in his informative book Life's Matrix: A Biography of Water, "This cycle of evaporation and condensation has come to seem so perfectly natural that we never think to remark on why no other substances display such transformations." In the Quran, God tells us about this water cycle in 24:43, 25:53 and similar verses. But for the evaporation and condensation, we would not be left with fresh water to drink.

[25:53] He is the One who merges the two seas; one is fresh and palatable, while the other is salty and undrinkable. And He separated them with a formidable, inviolable barrier (evaporation).

[30:48 - 50] GOD is the One who sends the winds, to stir up clouds, to be spread throughout the sky in accordance with His will. He then piles the clouds up, then you see the rain coming down therefrom. When it falls on whomever He chooses from among His servants, they rejoice. Before it fell on them, they had resorted to despair. You shall appreciate GOD's continuous mercy, and how He revives the land that has been dead. He will just as certainly resurrect the dead. He is Omnipotent.

Compared to most other liquids, water also has an extremely large liquid range. Pure water freezes at 0°C (32°F) and boils at 100°C (212°F). Add salt and you can lower the freezing temperature; natural brines are known with freezing points below -50°F. Add pressure and you can raise the boiling temperature; deep-sea vent waters can reach over 650°F. Water has the second highest molar specific heat capacity of any known substance, meaning it takes a lot of energy to raise the temperature of water even a few degrees. It also has a high heat of vaporization, both of which are a result of the extensive hydrogen bonding between its molecules. These two unusual properties allow water to moderate Earth's climate by buffering large fluctuations in temperature.

Water's broad liquid range and high heat capacity are good things, too. They mean that temperatures on the Earth's surface, which is more than two-thirds water, can undergo extreme variations—between night and day, say, or between seasons—without its water freezing or boiling away, events that would cause a lot of hardship in life as we know it. By God’s design, the oceans thus serve as a powerful moderating influence on the world's climate.

[51:48] And we made the earth habitable; a perfect design

Liquid water has yet another unusual property that means the difference between life and essentially no life in cold regions of the planet. Unlike most other liquids when they freeze, water expands and becomes less dense. Most other frozen liquids are denser than their melted selves and thus sink. While this may seem a relatively minor point, its consequences (that ice floats) are critical to the evolution of life. If ice were more dense than water and the earth cooled slightly, ice formed on the oceans would sink and push the already cold water from the bottom to the surface, where it too would freeze and sink, repeating the cycle until all water on the planet was frozen. We would thus irreversibly lose marine life in lakes and the sea.

Could life as we don't know it have gotten a start without water? Some planetary scientists have suggested that on certain very cold planetary bodies liquid ammonia might serve in place of water to incubate life. But even though it's the most common non-aqueous solvent, liquid ammonia would seem to have several other things going against it as a medium for life. Its liquid range is small, only about 30 degrees. Also, when it freezes, it sinks, and we know what that would do.

[24:45] And GOD created every living creature from water. Some of them walk on their bellies, some walk on two legs, and some walk on four. GOD creates whatever He wills. GOD is Omnipotent.

Some have suggested that oceans of methane or other hydrocarbons on places like Saturn's moon Titan could also serve the purpose. But, again, we're talking temperatures so low that chemical reactions as we know them could only proceed at a glacial pace. "At minus 150 degrees," says Bada, "most of the reactions that we think about in terms of being important in the origin of life probably wouldn't take place over the entire age of the solar system." Moreover, compounds like amino acids and DNA would not be soluble in these other liquids. "They would just be globs of gunk," Bada says.

[17:66] Your Lord is the One who causes the ships to float on the ocean,* that you may seek His bounties. He is Most Merciful towards you.

*17:66 We now learn from physics and physical chemistry that water possesses unique qualities that render it perfectly suitable for serving our various needs.

Overwhelming Signs of God

[2:164] In the creation of the heavens and the earth, the alternation of night and day, the ships that roam the ocean for the benefit of the people, the water that GOD sends down from the sky to revive dead land and to spread in it all kinds of creatures, the manipulation of the winds, and the clouds that are placed between the sky and the earth, there are sufficient proofs for people who understand.

[15:19 - 23] As for the earth, we constructed it, and placed on it stabilizers (mountains), and we grew on it a perfect balance of everything.We made it habitable for you,* and for creatures you do not provide for. There is nothing that we do not own infinite amounts thereof. But we send it down in precise measure. And we send the winds as pollinators, and cause water to come down from the sky for you to drink. Otherwise, you could not keep it palatable. It is we who control life and death, and we are the ultimate inheritors.

*15:20 When we send astronauts into space, we provide them with precisely measured quantities of food, water, and oxygen. God created the spaceship Earth with billions of astronauts who work and reproduce; He supplied them with a self-supporting system that generates oxygen, fresh water, and a great variety of delicious foods and drinks.


(adapted from "Life's Little Essential", by Peter Tyson, PBS NOVA)


2 . Quran - translated by Rashad Khalifa, Ph.D.

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