One fact about the universe revealed in the verses of the Qur'an is that the sky is made up of seven layers: It is He Who created everything on the Earth for you and then directed His attention up to heaven and arranged it into seven regular heavens. He has knowledge of all things. (Qur'an, 2:29) Then He turned to heaven when it was smoke. In two days He determined them as seven heavens and revealed, in every heaven, its own mandate. (Qur'an, 41:11-12) The word "heavens," which appears in many verses in the Qur'an, is used to refer to the sky above the Earth, as well as the entire universe. Given this meaning of the word, it is seen that the Earth's sky, or the atmosphere, is made up of seven layers. Today, it is known that the world's atmosphere consists of different layers that lie on top of each other. Based on the criteria of chemical contents or air temperature, the definitions made have determined the atmosphere of the Earth as seven layers.21 According to the "Limited Fine Mesh Model (LFMMII)," a model of atmosphere used to estimate weather conditions for 48 hours, the atmosphere has also 7 layers. According to the modern geological definitions the seven layers of atmosphere are as follows: 1. Troposphere2. Stratosphere3. Mesosphere4. Thermosphere5. Exosphere6. Ionosphere7. Magnetosphere The Qur'an says, "[He] revealed, in every heaven, its own mandate," in Surah Fussilat 12. In other words, Allah is stating that He assigned each heaven its own duty. Truly, as will be seen in following chapters, each one of these layers has vital duties for the benefit of human kind and all other living things on the Earth. Each layer has a particular function, ranging from forming rain to preventing harmful rays, from reflecting radio waves to averting the harmful effects of meteors. The verses below inform us about the appearance of the seven layers of the atmosphere: Do you not see how He created seven heavens in layers? (Qur'an, 71:15)He Who created the seven heavens in layers... (Qur'an, 67:3) The Arabic word "tibaaq" in these verses, translated into English as "layer" means "layer, the appropriate cover or covering for something," and thus stresses how the top layer is well suited to the lower. The word is also used in the plural here: "layers." The sky, described in the verse as being in layers, is without doubt the most perfect expression of the atmosphere. It is a great miracle that these facts, which could not possibly be discovered without the technology of the 20th century, were explicitly stated by the Qur'an 1,400 years ago.
THE WELL-GUARDED SKY
In the Qur'an, Allah calls our attention to a very important attribute of the sky: We made the sky a preserved and protected roof yet still they turn away from Our signs. (Qur'an, 21:32) This attribute of the sky has been proved by scientific research carried out in the 20th century: The atmosphere surrounding the Earth serves crucial functions for the continuity of life. While destroying many meteors-big and small-as they approach the Earth, it prevents them from falling to Earth and harming living things.In addition, the atmosphere filters the light rays coming from space that are harmful to living things. The most striking feature of this function of the atmosphere is that it lets only harmless and useful rays-visible light, near ultraviolet light and radio waves pass through. All of this radiation is vital for life. Near ultraviolet rays, which are only partially let in by the atmosphere, are very important for the photosynthesis of plants and for the survival of all living things. The majority of the intense ultraviolet rays emitted from the Sun are filtered out by the ozone layer of the atmosphere. Only a limited and essential part of the ultraviolet spectrum reaches the Earth.The protective function of the atmosphere does not end here. The atmosphere also protects the Earth from the freezing cold of the space, which is approximately -270oC (-454oF).It is not only the atmosphere that protects the Earth from harmful effects. In addition to the atmosphere, the Van Allen Belt-the layer caused by the magnetic field of the Earth-also serves as a shield against the harmful radiation that threatens our planet. This radiation, which is constantly emitted by the Sun and other stars, is deadly to living things. If the Van Allen belt did not exist, the massive outbursts of energy called solar flares that frequently occur in the Sun would destroy all life on Earth.On the importance of the Van Allen Belt, Dr. Hugh Ross says: In fact, the Earth has the highest density of any of the planets in our Solar System. This large nickel-iron core is responsible for our large magnetic field. This magnetic field produces the Van-Allen radiation shield, which protects the Earth from radiation bombardment. If this shield were not present, life would not be possible on the Earth. The only other rocky planet to have any magnetic field is Mercury-but its field strength is 100 times less than the Earth's. Even Venus, our sister planet, has no magnetic field. The Van-Allen radiation shield is a design unique to the Earth.22The energy transmitted in just one of these bursts detected in recent years was calculated to be equivalent to 100 billion atomic bombs, each akin to one dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II. Fifty-eight hours after the burst, it was observed that the magnetic needles of compasses displayed unusual movement and 250 kilometres (155 miles) above the Earth's atmosphere, the temperature suddenly increased to 2,500oC (4,532oF).In short, a perfect system is at work high above the Earth. It surrounds our world and protects it against external threats. Centuries ago, Allah informed us in the Qur'an of the world's atmosphere functioning as a protective shield.