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20 October 2011

The Quran & Hydrologic Cycle / Water Cycle

Scientists have found that there is a system in water movement…. The Holy Quran refers to this system in many verses….

"In the Seventh century B.C., Thales of Miletus held the theory whereby the waters of the oceans, under the effect of winds, were thrust towards the interior of the continents; so the water fell upon the earth and penetrated into the soil. Plato shared these views and thought that the return of the waters to the oceans was via a great abyss, the 'Tartarus'. This theory had many supporters until the Eighteenth century, one of whom was Descartes. Aristotle imagined that the water vapour from the soil condensed in cool mountain caverns and formed underground lakes that fed springs. He was followed by Seneca (1st Century A.D.) and many others, until 1877, among them O. Volger . . . The first clear formulation of the water cycle must be attributed to Bernard Palissy in 1580. he claimed that underground water came from rainwater infiltrating into the soil. This theory was confirmed by E. Mariotte and P. Perrault in the Seventeenth century."

In the following passages from the Qur'an, there is no trace of the mistaken ideas that were current at the time of Muhammad:

Quran 50:9-11
"We [ Whenever the pronoun 'We' appears in the verses of the text quoted here, it refers to God.] sent down from the sky blessed water whereby We caused to grow gardens, grains for harvest, tall palm-trees with their spathes, piled one above the other-sustenance for (Our) servants. Therewith We gave (new) life to a dead land. So will be the emergence (from the tombs)." 

Quran 23:18 -19
"We sent down water from the sky in measure and lodged it in the ground. And We certainly are able to withdraw it. Therewith for you We gave rise to gardens of palm-trees and vineyards where for you are abundant fruits and of them you eat." 

Quran 15:22
"We sent forth the winds that fecundate. We cause the water to descend from the sky. We provide you with the water-you (could) not be the guardians of its reserves." 

There are two possible interpretations of this last verse. The fecundating winds may be taken to be the fertilizers of plants because they carry pollen. This may, however, be a figurative expression referring by analogy to the role the wind plays in the process whereby a non-raincarrying cloud is turned into one that produces a shower of rain. This role is often referred to, as in the following verses:

Quran 35:9
"God is the One Who sends forth the winds which raised up the clouds. We drive them to a dead land. Therewith We revive the ground after its death. So will be the Resurrection." 

The Hydrologic Processes
Many different process lead to movements and phase changes in water

Condensed water vapor that falls to the Earth's surface . Most precipitation occurs as rain, but also includes snow, hail, fog drip, graupel, and sleet. Approximately 505,000 km^3 (121,000 cu mi) of water falls as precipitation each year, 398,000 km^3 (95,000 cu mi) of it over the oceans.

Canopy interception
The precipitation that is intercepted by plant foliage and eventually evaporates back to the atmosphere rather than falling to the ground.

The runoff produced by melting snow.

The variety of ways by which water moves across the land. This includes both surface runoff and channel runoff. As it flows, the water may seep into the ground, evaporate into the air, become stored in lakes or reservoirs, or be extracted for agricultural or other human uses.

The flow of water from the ground surface into the ground. Once infiltrated, the water becomes soil moisture or groundwater.

Subsurface flow
The flow of water underground, in the vadose zone and aquifers. Subsurface water may return to the surface (e.g. as a spring or by being pumped) or eventually seep into the oceans. Water returns to the land surface at lower elevation than where it infiltrated, under the force of gravity or gravity induced pressures. Groundwater tends to move slowly, and is replenished slowly, so it can remain in aquifers for thousands of years.

The transformation of water from liquid to gas phases as it moves from the ground or bodies of water into the overlying atmosphere. The source of energy for evaporation is primarily solar radiation. Evaporation often implicitly includes transpiration from plants, though together they are specifically referred to as evapotranspiration. Total annual evapotranspiration amounts to approximately 505,000 km^3 (121,000 cu mi) of water, 434,000 km^3 (104,000 cu mi) of which evaporates from the oceans.

The state change directly from solid water (snow or ice) to water vapor.

The movement of water — in solid, liquid, or vapor states — through the atmosphere. Without advection, water that evaporated over the oceans could not precipitate over land.

The transformation of water vapor to liquid water droplets in the air, creating clouds and fog.

The release of water vapor from plants and soil into the air. Water vapor is a gas that cannot be seen.


Precipitation either evaporates into the atmosphere, gets taken up by plants, flows into streams, or infiltrates the ground and recharges aquifers. Groundwater flows from inland locations to lakes, streams, or coastal waters. On the seaward side, denser salt water enters sediments and establishes equilibrium with fresh groundwater. Tides and mixing along the freshwater-saltwater interface results in seawater circulation through the sediments.

The Holy Quran mentions the Hydrologic Cycle system in the verse: 

"And We send down from the sky water in measure, and We give it lodging in the earth, and lo! We are able to withdraw It" [Quran 23:18]
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