Published on 27th
Quran on Clouds
Acknowledgments to Al-Islam.org and Jafary Forum
have studied cloud types and have realized that rain clouds are
formed and shaped according to definite systems and certain steps
connected with certain types of wind and clouds. One kind of rain cloud is the cumulonimbus cloud.
Meteorologists have studied how cumulonimbus clouds are formed and
how they produce rain, hail and lightning. They have found that cumulonimbus clouds go through
the following steps to produce rain:
The clouds are pushed by the
Cumulonimbus clouds begin to form when wind pushes some small
pieces of clouds (cumulus clouds) to an area where these clouds
converge (see figures 17 and 18).
Figure 17: Satellite photo showing
the clouds moving towards the convergence areas B, C,
and D. The arrows indicate the directions of the
wind. (The Use of Satellite Pictures in Weather Analysis
and Forecasting, Anderson and others, p. 188.)
Figure 18: Small pieces of clouds
(cumulus clouds) moving towards a convergence zone near
the horizon, where we can see a large cumulonimbus
cloud. (Clouds and Storms, Ludlam, plate 7.4.)
Joining: Then the small clouds join
together forming a larger cloud 1
(see figures 18 and 19).
Figure 19: (A) Isolated small
pieces of clouds (cumulus clouds). (B) When
the small clouds join together, updrafts within the
larger cloud increase, so the cloud is stacked up.
Water drops are indicated by 7. (The Atmosphere, Anthes
and others, p. 269.)
Stacking: When the small clouds join
together, updrafts within the larger cloud increase. The
updrafts near the centre of the cloud are stronger than those near
These updrafts cause the cloud body to grow vertically, so the
cloud is stacked up (see figures 19 (B), 20, and 21). This
vertical growth causes the cloud body to stretch into cooler
regions of the atmosphere, where drops of water and hail formulate
and begin to grow larger and larger. When these drops of
water and hail become too heavy for the updrafts to support them,
they begin to fall from the cloud as rain, hail, etc.3
Figure 20: A cumulonimbus cloud.
After the cloud is stacked up, rain comes out of it.
(Weather and Climate, Bodin, p.123.)
Figure 21: A cumulonimbus cloud. (A
Colour Guide to Clouds, Scorer and Wexler, p. 23.)
has said in the Quran:
"Have you not seen how God makes the clouds
then joins them together, then makes them into a
and then you see the rain come out of it.... "
Meteorologists have only recently come to know
these details of cloud formation, structure, and function by using
advanced equipment like planes, satellites, computers, balloons,
and other equipment, to study wind and its direction, to measure
humidity and its variations, and to determine the levels and
variations of atmospheric pressure.4
The preceding verse, after mentioning clouds and
rain, speaks about hail and lightning:
"....And He sends down hail from mountains
(clouds) in the sky,
and He strikes with it whomever He wills, and
turns it from whomever He wills.
The vivid flash of its lightning
nearly blinds the sight."
Meteorologists have found that these cumulonimbus
clouds that shower hail, reach a height of 25,000 to 30,000 ft
(4.7 to 5.7 miles) ,5
like mountains as the Quran said:
"...And He sends down
hail from mountains (clouds) in the sky..." (see figure
This verse may raise a question. Why does the
verse say 'its lightning' in a reference to the hail? Does
this mean that hail is the major factor in producing lightning?
Let us see what the book entitled Meteorology Today says about
this. It says that a cloud becomes electrified as hail falls
through a region in the cloud of supercooled droplets and ice
liquid droplets collide with a hailstone, they freeze on contact
and release latent heat. This keeps the surface of the
hailstone warmer than that of the surrounding ice crystals.
When the hailstone comes in contact with an ice crystal, an
important phenomenon occurs: electrons flow from the colder object
toward the warmer object. Hence, the hailstone becomes
negatively charged. The same effect occurs when supercooled
droplets come in contact with a hailstone and tiny splinters of
positively charged ice break off. These lighter positively
charged particles are then carried to the upper part of the cloud
by updrafts. The hail, left with a negative charge, falls
towards the bottom of the cloud, thus the lower part of the cloud
becomes negatively charged. These negative charges are then
discharged as lightning.6
We conclude from this that hail is the major factor in producing
This information on lightning was discovered
recently. Until 1600 AD, Aristotle's ideas on meteorology
were dominant. For example, he said that the atmosphere
contains two kinds of exhalation, moist and dry. He also
said that thunder is the sound of the collision of the dry
exhalation with the neighbouring clouds and lightning is the
inflaming and burning of the dry exhalation with a thin and faint
These are some of the ideas on meteorology that were dominant at
the time of the Quran's revelation, fourteen centuries ago.
Atmosphere, Anthes and others, pp. 268-269, and Elements of
Meteorology, Miller and Thompson, p. 141.
The updrafts near the center are
stronger, because they are protected from the cooling effects by
the outer portion of the cloud.
See The Atmosphere, Anthes and
others, p. 269, and Elements of Meteorology, Miller and Thompson,
See Eejaz al-Quran al-Kareem
fee Wasf Anwa al-Riyah, al-Sohob, al-Matar, Makky and others,
Elements of Meteorology, Miller
and Thompson, p. 141.
Meteorology Today, Ahrens, p. 437.
The Works of Aristotle Translated
into English: Meteorologica, vol. 3, Ross and others, pp.
Thanks to bint Isma'il
Courtesy of Jafary Forum