Biological Puzzles

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By Hira Hasan
Shapes fascinated me since my childhood. My mother would get me books where we joined dots to see some animals emerging out of the pages. Then there were books where things were jumbled up and it took a while for us to make some sense out of them and get to the solution. I simply loved those books. As I grew older, mathematics became my favorite subject. It was not long before I realized that even within this. it were geometry, properties of triangles, circles and other shapes that amused me.
I got into a medical school. I encountered Anatomy in my first year. I was told the subject was quite demanding. It began to cast a spell on me. The charm lay in perfection of the shapes of bones. The way they moved our joints was simply astounding. The shoulder and arm, connected by a ‘ball and socket’ joint, enabled movements in all directions viz, up, down, sideways, back and forth. The shoulder bone, ‘scapula’, really did have a socket and the upper arm bone, the ‘humerus’, did have a rounded, ball like head. Sutures of the skull appeared like a jigsaw puzzle with projections neatly fitting into grooves. ‘Foramens’ or small opening in bones would provide passages for conduits taking nutrients, blood vessels etc through the skeletons.
Looking at the bones alone made me wonder about the majestic craftsmanship of Allah. Once I got myself a set of artificial bones, made of Plaster of Paris. They were neither accurate nor sophisticated. For the sake of study, those bones would have definitely done me well; but if I were to erect a complete human on the framework of those artificial bones, I could only imagine a very distorted and lopsided replica of a human skeleton.
Biological structures are, of course, very minute one. Allah’s grandeur manifests as much from grand structures like mountains, skies, astronomical bodies, trees, rivers, forests as his fine craftsmanship for miniscule organisms. Just see how honey bee or fruit-fly are perfect in themselves. These biological puzzles must set us thinking. It is where the Quran calls the men of understanding to contemplate in beings created by Allah.
Then to Allah belongs all praise ““ Lord of the heavens and the Lord of the earth, Lord of the worlds. And to Him belongs all grandeur within the heavens and the earth, and He is The Exalted in Might, The Wise. [Al Jathiya:36,37]