بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلاَفِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لآيَاتٍ لِّأُوْلِي الألْبَابِ
الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىَ جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَذا بَاطِلاً سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
“Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding.
Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.”
[Al-Qur’an - Surat 'Āli `Imrān (Family of Imran): 190-191]
What does the word “Signs” indicate?
In the Noble Qur’an, wherever the word ‘Sign(s)’ is used it reveals that something is going to be known for the guidance of those who contemplate over the mysteries of the contents of that verse. That is why along with the word ‘sign’, people of understanding, people who contemplate, and people of knowledge most often are also mentioned throughout. It is none but, Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) our Creator and Sustainer, who calls upon us to do this type of reflection.
Therefore, whenever we come across such ayahs, we should take a moment and reflect upon the signs mentioned in the ayah.
Facts on Days and Nights:
- Days and Nights are caused due to the rotation of the earth on its own axis.
- It takes about 23 hours 56 minutes and 54 seconds for the earth to complete a rotation once.
- During the rotation, the part of the earth which faces the sun is in daytime and the part away from the sun has night.
- At the North and South Poles, days and night are 6 months long: Sunrise at the South Pole is around the 21st of September every year. Sunset is around the 22nd of March the following year. The reverse is the case at the North Pole. So, a polar day is about 6 months and a polar night is also about 6 months.
- On the 21st of March and 23rd of September days and night are equal throughout the world as the sun rays are directly on the equator.
- Areas around the equator always have equal days and equal nights.
- The length of the day and night varies in each season. For instance, the daylight is longer in summer and the night is shorter. In winter, the nights are longer and the days are short. It is the length of the day and night that determine the temperature of the seasons and not the revolution of the Earth.
- When it is daylight on the half of the Earth facing towards the Sun, it is night on the half of the Earth facing away from it. As the Earth rotates, so the day and night halves shift gradually around the world.
- When the Earth turns eastwards it means that the Sun comes up in the east as our part of the world spins round to face it.
- As the Earth turns, the stars come back to the same place in the night sky every 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.09 seconds. This is called a sidereal day (star day).
- It takes 24 hours for the Sun to come back to the same place in the daytime sky. This is the solar day, and it is slightly longer than the star day because the Earth moves one degree further round the Sun each day.
- On the other planets, the length of day and night varies according to how fast each planet rotates.
- One day on Mercury lasts 59 Earth days, because Mercury takes almost two months to spin around.
- A day on Jupiter lasts less than 10 hours because Jupiter spins so fast.
- A day on Mars is 24.6 hours — much the same as ours.
- A day on the Moon lasts one Earth month.
If we reflect on a single 24-hour day we come to find a vast variation within a single day and night period:
- The day is bright and the weather slight warmer than the night.
- A variation in the hours of the night and day: Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) makes the days shorter in winters and longer in summers.
- Variation in the number of hours of days and night within cities in the same country
- Variation in seasons because of which we get different fruits.
- Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) has created the day bright for the convenience of man’s work and has created the night dark so that man can rest peacefully in it.
Night is the time when human beings rest. The hormone melatonin, secreted at night, prepares the body for sleep by slowing down peoples’ physical movements, making them sleepy and tired, and functioning as a natural tranquillizer that eases their minds. During sleep, heartbeat and respiration rhythms slow down and blood pressure falls. In the morning, the production of the hormones stops and the body is stimulated to awaken.
In ayahs 190 and 191 of Surah Al e Imran, Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) calls the attention of mankind to the alteration of day and night and all the changes it brings along as signs for a mindful soul in understanding Allah (سبحانه وتعالى). The insight on the alteration of day and night might count on numerous fields of science together if taken into account. In the field of Biology and Botany for instance, this phenomenon of light and dark period is explained in terms of ‘Photoperiod’ or ‘Photoperiodism’ and explain the biological response of organisms around the world to the level of dark and light periods for initiation of growth, egg production and flowering. Many flowering plants use a photoreceptor protein, such as phytochrome or cryptochrome, as signals for these seasonal changes in the length of day and night to initiate flowering. For example, when the days are getting longer, the tree might start to produce buds and blooms, since it would sense that spring is on the way. As days shorten, the plant would start to become dormant, producing seeds for next year and taking steps to ensure that it would be ready for winter. This knowledge of photoperiodism in plants has allowed botanists to trick plants grown in greenhouse by manipulating light levels for bloom and seed production at higher prices. It is this alteration of day and night (light: dark) periods, we have various foods available during different season and different areas of the world. Thus the great sign in the alteration of day and night as Qur’an revealed has enabled our sustenance as a ‘Sign” for knowing Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) .