What kind of miracle is the atmosphere? What does the Qur’an say about the atmosphere? The atmosphere, which is one of the most beautiful proofs of the existence of a magnificent creator, that is, Allah, and its features that make you contemplate…
The air that envelops the Earth holds many secrets and is underlain with numerous wisdoms. The clouds that suddenly appear in the sky, the wind that breezes through the air, sometimes light sometimes in a burst, lightings that emit a tremendous sound, the pelting rain, the falling snow; each is a fabulous manifestation that occurs in line with a magnificent measure.
The Holy Quran summons man to contemplate such manifestations rampant between the Earth and the sky and to behold the proofs that verify the Power of the Almighty, stating:
“Most surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day, and the ships that run in the sea with that which profits men, and the water that Allah sends down from the cloud, then gives life with it to the earth after its death and spreads in it all (kinds of) animals, and the changing of the winds and the clouds made subservient between the heaven and the earth, there are signs for a people who understand.” (al-Baqara, 164)
The atmosphere, which compassionately embraces our Earth, is one of the most splendid orders of the Almighty in alluding to His boundless mercy for human beings. It is made up of 77% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% of a combination of carbon dioxide, argon and other gases. So easily flammable is oxygen that it is estimated that each increase of a hundredth of oxygen in excess of the 21% spoken of, would increase the probability of a lighting strike induced bushfire by around 70%. An oxygen ratio in excess of 25%, on the other hand, would be more than enough to turn an overwhelming majority of the vegetables we consume to ash.
On another note, despite the constant use of oxygen and carbon dioxide, their ratios in the air are maintained. If it only were humans and animals that inhabited the Earth, they would have used up all the oxygen in the air and turned it into carbon dioxide, and in swift time, they would have been poisoned through inhaling carbon dioxide, which would have increased in an inverse proportion to the decreasing oxygen. But the Power who created the universe also created vegetation. And by giving it an ability to process carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen, He has endowed the universe with a magnificent balance and a life that never ceases.
The Earth’s crust has been set with such a delicate measure that had it been just a little thicker, it would have absorbed all carbon dioxide and oxygen, leading to the end of all vegetation.
Oxygen is a vital need for the biochemical functions our bodies constantly perform at every moment. We ceaselessly inhale air through our lungs and then exhale the very same air. That an appropriate density of oxygen in the atmosphere is needed to accommodate this process of inhaling-exhaling shows that coincidence can not play a hand in maintaining this delicate ratio. Allah, glory unto Him, who has created our bodies in a way that requires a constant need for oxygen, has abundantly blessed us with our most vital, primary need. Not only has He made oxygen easily accessible, He has also placed it in the air in the most perfect ratio. Each simple breath we take is in fact a complex and meaningful exercise and an enormous Divine gift.
When aboard a state-of-the-art airplane, we hear an announcement right before it takes flight, advising us to “Wear the oxygen masks that will automatically deploy in case of a drop in pressure in high altitude.”
But in everyday life, none of us carry the slightest apprehension that, the amount of oxygen in the air will rise to, say, 25% or plummet to 18% by tomorrow and anxiously rush to buy an oxygen mask. A believer or not, every single person leads a life of utmost dependence on the Divine Order. Life would have been unbearable if one was aware of each and every life threatening factor surrounding him.
The air is also like a mirror enlightening our surroundings. Light cannot radiate forth without making contact with matter. A light that crashes into a particle spreads itself around, like a firecracker, in the forms of heat and light. As there are no particles like molecules or atoms in the void of space outside of the atmosphere, they remain in darkness, despite them receiving the light of the Sun just the same.
The Moon, for instance, deprived of an atmosphere, has no layer of gas that can disperse the incoming light of the Sun and enlighten its surroundings. For that reason, whereas the surface of the Moon is bright, the surface above always remains in the dark despite it being inundated by a rain of light.
These wonderful manifestations are clear proofs that the Earth has been created in a way to accommodate human life and according to an all-important purpose. Together with being a grand blessing of the Almighty to His servants, this delicate balance which makes life possible is at the same time a proof of His existence and endless power. That each being in the universe moves in accordance with a set Divine program and that everything we encounter discloses an inner plan, measure and order necessitates the existence of a Power who plans, orders and measures this tremendous balance.
This makes the atheist claim that life and the universe for that matter have come to be and exist through sheer coincidence, a ridiculous nonsense.
İsmail Fennî Ertuğrul (1855-1946) illustrates this fact by way of the following analogy:
“Stumbling upon a measure and order at any given place, reason necessarily infers the existence of an ordering and measuring power.
Suppose you have a garden. You had the gardener consecutively plant many saplings around it. You turn up there one day to see that some of the saplings have been knocked down here and there, haphazardly. You ask the gardener for an explanation and he tells you that they were knocked down by a sudden storm. You will accept that answer. But you turn up there another day and this time see that the saplings have been knocked down in a pattern; you see, for instance, the fifth sapling in each line knocked to the ground while the previous four have been left in tact and you observe this pattern all around the garden. You, again, ask for an explanation and the gardener tells you, once again, that the storm is to blame. Will you believe that? Certainly, you will not. You will instead blame it on someone’s malicious intent. Even though the first case could be explained through coincidence, the second can not; for this time both measure and calculation have come into the picture.”
No person of their right mind could dispute the fact that the universe maintains its existence through meticulous calculation and a most delicate balance.
 See, İlim-Ahlâk-Îman, prepared by: M. Rahmi Balaban, p. 187.
 Îman Hakîkatleri Etrafında Suallere Cevaplar, p. 21-22, Sebil Publishing, Istanbul, 1978.
Source: Osman Nuri Topbaş, Contemplation in Islam, Erkam Public.