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introduction to islam

Can you remember all the pleasant aromas you have ever smelled over the course of your life? A great many will come to mind: those emitted in spring by roses, carnations, lilac, jasmine, lavender, grass and other plants; those wafted abroad by orange, mandarin and lemon trees; the bewitching scents of certain perfumes; the delightful smells of assorted spices; the rich aromas of fresh or fried bread, tomatoes, eggs, olives, tea, coffee or milk when you come to breakfast in the morning and; the smell of meat sizzling on a barbecue, or a bar of fresh, clean soap . . .

In addition, now recall all the delightful tastes you have ever experienced. Those of various foods, desserts, meats, fish, vegetables, soups, salads, cakes, pies, fruits, beverages, jams, ice creams, candies and the like . . . and especially when you were hungry!

Everyone has lasting, permanent memories of tastes and smells. Even thinking about some of them for merely a moment is enough to awaken a sense of excitement. No doubt, each and every one of these delights is an incomparable blessing worth your consideration.

In the Qur'an, God makes the following statement about the blessings He has created:

If you tried to number God's blessings, you could never count them. God is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat an-Nahl: 18)

In addition to these blessings listed here, God has also created the senses of smell and taste within our bodies to let us perceive and take pleasure from them all, and has placed these systems at our service as a manifestation of His boundless compassion. It is only through these systems, of such importance to us, that you can experience the wealth of the worlds of odors and flavors. Were it not for them, such concepts such as sweetness and pungency would have no meaning for you.

To understand their importance, imagine if you could not perceive the smells and tastes of what you eat and drink. You would be unable to enjoy the scent and flavor of a strawberry, for example, and would even be unaware of what a strawberry is really like.

You have been using your senses of smell and taste ever since you first came into the world, and can now perceive tens of thousands of scents and flavors with no difficulty. That is because you possess magnificent systems that make this possible. Your senses of smell and taste work faultlessly and tirelessly on your behalf, throughout your entire lifetime. What is more, you have paid nothing for them, have received no specialized training and make no effort at all in order to make use of them.

Of course, these facts we are discussing call for prolonged reflection. In the light of them, all men and women of reason and good conscience need to ask themselves the following question: How did the smell and taste mechanisms they possess come into being?

Medical and biological textbooks on the subject tell us that we owe our perceptions of smell and taste to our noses, tongues and brains. It is true, of course that we perceive flavors and odors by means of these organs. Yet another point here is ignored, whether consciously or otherwise. The question that's generally overlooked and that really needs to be answered is this: To whom do we owe the existence of our noses, tongues and brains?

Most people think that it is sufficient to know that they smell with their noses and taste with their tongues, and are not concerned with the intricate details. Yet this is a serious mistake to make. Taste and smell are inseparable, essential elements of everyone's life, and it is terribly heedless for anyone aware of that to ignore the significant details that these senses present.

No doubt we owe these wonderful blessings, as we do absolutely everything else, to God, the Lord of the worlds. When we examine the systems of taste and smell, you can see how these flawless mechanisms constitute astonishing proofs of creation. The aim of this book is to set out the proofs of creation in these systems, to help you consider God's limitless might and knowledge, and properly comprehend the innumerable blessings bestowed on us by our Lord. At the same time, we will yet again demonstrate the irrational and illogical nature of the theory of evolution, which maintains that all these marvelous systems are merely the product of chance.

The flawlessness in God's creation is described with these terms in the Qur'an:

He is God—the Creator, the Maker, the Giver of Form. To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Everything in the heavens and earth glorifies Him. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. (Surat al-Hashr: 24)
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