The Formation of Petrol087.001► سَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الأعْلَى
087.002► الَّذِي خَلَقَ فَسَوَّى
087.003► وَالَّذِي قَدَّرَ فَهَدَى
087.004► وَالَّذِي أَخْرَجَ الْمَرْعَى
087.005► فَجَعَلَهُ غُثَاءً أَحْوَى
Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High: He Who created and moulded; He Who determined and guided; He Who brings forth green pasture, then makes it blackened stubble. (Qur’an, Al-Ala- 87:1-5)
As we know, petrol forms from the remains of plants and animals in the sea. Once these have decayed on the sea bed after millions of years, all that is left are oily substances. These, under layers of mud and rock, then turn into petrol and gas. Movements in the Earth’s crust sometimes lead to the sea petrifying and to the rocks containing petrol being buried thousands of metres deep. The petrol that forms sometimes leaks through the pores in the rock layers from several kilometres down, and rises to the surface, where it vaporises (turns into gas), leaving a mass of bitumen behind.
The three elements identified in the first four verses of Surat al-A’la parallel the formation of petroleum. It is quite likely that the term “mar`aa,” meaning “pasture or meadow,” refers to the organically-based substances in the formation of petroleum. The second word of note in the verse is “ahwaa,” used to describe blackish-green, greenish-black, dark or sooty colours. This word can be thought of as describing the waste plant matter accumulated underground gradually turning black, since these words are supported by a third word, “ghuthaa’.” The word “ghuthaa’” translated as “stubble,” can also mean “flood-water plants, plants brought together by waste matter being collected and dispersed around valleys, rubbish, leaves or foam.” In addition to the connotation of “vomiting out” implied in the word, it may also be translated as “to flood forth vomited matter,” and describes the way that the earth “vomits” forth petroleum. In fact, in the light of the formation of petroleum, the way it emerges, its foam-like appearance and its colour, one can better see with what wisdom were employed the words in the verses.
As has been discussed, the plant in the verse turning into a dark and viscous liquid bears a strong resemblance to the formation of petroleum. The description of such a formation over many years, at a time when the formation of petroleum was unknown, is without doubt another proof that the Qur’an is the revelation of Allah.