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SEPTEMBER • OCTOBER 2010

ISSUE 77

A MAGAZINE OF SCIENTIFIC AND SPIRITUAL THOUGHT

Everybody else’s relation with the home is temporary, limited and relative. But a woman, whether she has other jobs or not, always stands up straight in the heart of her home and nourishes our feelings with affection, mercy, and love.

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Reflourishing Thoughts

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The Spread of Islam

Career and Kids: Can I Have Both?

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EDITORIAL
A MAGAZINE OF SCIENTIFIC AND SPIRITUAL THOUGHT

WOMEN
ale-domination is a matter of dispute in every sphere of life as much as it is in language; the transition from “man” to “human” is still an ongoing process in the usage of the English. The issue ranges from lexicography to politics, from “who is the head of home” to competition in employment. But perhaps the most severe battle continues in the business world, where statistics still reveal a dramatic gap between male vs. female ratios, favoring the former, and there seems to be no exceptional cases in the world for this discrepancy. Gender roles assigned by culture still define what men and women are thought to have the capacity to undertake. How far can or should this extension and intermixing of roles go? Is motherhood one of such gender roles imposed by the dominant cultural values? Can working conditions be adjusted so that mothers do not have to lose their jobs? Is “equality” the right term to use, and is it the ultimate goal in our efforts to elevate the status of women, which is otherwise not on a par with men? In “Career and Kids: Can I Have Both?” Safiye Arslan shows how great a challenge working women face when they become mothers. Read her own account when a mother with a PhD learns she is pregnant with her second child, how her boss and husband react, and what she believes the true path should be. With a similar theme, Mirkena Ozer portrays how pivotal a mother is in a family. In a touching poem, Ozer outlines a typical mother with “eight arms,” mother as the pediatrician at home, and mother with paradise lying under her feet. It has always been a forged image of Islam that it spread across the world with sword and bloodshed and nothing else. Paul Kearns’ piece “The Spread of Islam” in this issue provides a detailed analysis with a fair approach of the motivations in Muslims’ mobilization from the early seventh through the late seventeenth centuries. This mobilization was so powerful that “in less than one century after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632, Muslim rule covered more of the earth than had the Roman Empire at its peak.” Could this only be done with a sharp blade? Kearns notes that “the spread of a religious or ideological ideal can only be truly successful if those whom it is trying to gain submission from are disillusioned or unhappy with their own contemporary world. … We find that a great number gladly adhered to the conquering Islamic rulers and Quranic law as they found protection and benefits that had not been attained under Byzantine rule.” The lead article in this issue touches on the rise and fall of nations, perhaps expounding on Kearns’ analysis of Islam’s spread from a cosmic sense. In addition to “successive turns of prosperity and hard times,” leaders of nations play a significant role as they sway back and forth, sometimes with “religious devotion and piety, yet at other unfortunate times captured in the web of materialism with no righteousness, morality, or character.” www.fountainmagazine.com

SEPTEMBER•OCTOBER 2010 ISSUE 77

M

Lead Article

Environment

LEAD ARTICLE

M. Fethullah Gülen

Arts & Culture

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Environment Belief and Our Treatment of the Environment
Nisa Nur Terzi

4 14 37 46

Lead Artıcle Reflourishing Thoughts
M. Fethullah Gülen

19

A Moment for Reflection Forgiving Dad
Mary Lahaj

30 Perspectives and Unconditional Love True Altruism
Zainab Cassim Akdemirci

38 Philosophy Critical Thinking
Ertan Salik

History The Spread of Islam
Paul Kearns

49 Memoirs Spirit: A Legacy of Learning and Living Brittany’s
April Bollig

22 Computer Science Footprint Our Unique Digital
Halil I. Demir

Scıence

Poem Portrait of a Mother
Mirkena Ozer

26 Physics the Nano and Macro Worlds: Shadowing and Reemission Bridging
Murat Yuksel, Tansel Karabacak, and Hasan Guclu

43 Biology Up Yourself and Know It’s a Miracle Straighten
Omer Arifagaoglu

54 See-Think-Believe Nervous System It’s Me Peter, Your
Irfan Yilmaz

Square 62 Science the “fit” tests survive • How

Women Career and Kids: Can I Have Both?
Safiye Arslan

• Our scents make us targets • Genomes of microbes living with us • Seeing with the sound

Belıef
Hills of the 34 Emerald (Tawadu) Heart Humility

60 Q&A Management Time

at a different time bewitched by the SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 4 . and volition.LEAD ARTICLE M. The former depends upon a regular. repetitive. we see them swaying backward and forward with transformations and alterations. Fethullah Gülen We have every confidence in the belief that the chaos and dismay of today will be followed by the same heavenly victories and will experience a revival. the rising and regression of nations have always occurred in successive turns of prosperity and hard times. depending on how one uses one’s freewill. once in love with religious devotion and piety. I say it comes about “with just a little variation” as one aspect of the sequence of events happens compulsorily and favorably as a small portion of the universal macro plan which is beyond the human will while the other happens as a result of apparent reason. Just like the alternation of the day and the night with the succession of the light after darkness in every twenty-four hours. n the course of history. and time-based pattern whereas the latter is dependent on the human will. As for the leading figures of these nations. preference. the sequence of events periodically recurs—just like the day alternates with the night—over and over again but with just a little variation.

morality. We are astounded by the moribund communities and nations. which. and yet at other unfortunate times captured in the web of materialism with no righteousness. the atom was accepted as an unquestionable 5 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . Since the notion of energy was not fully comprehended.After seeing everything in an astonishing harmony. the springs have embosomed it so intimately with sparkling colors that everything else is discolored and all deceptive colors fade away one by one. then we will testify that the world has turned green and blossomed. As a matter of fact. stem. make great efforts with avidity. They gush out suddenly and unexpectedly. like the leaves caught in an abrupt gale or the ivy whose branches are torn off and yet cling to or twine about any support so as not to topple down. however. get back to their previous track. composed of teensy weensy constituents mixing up quietly and fascinatingly—seeing all these resuscitating in an unexpected manner and with an unanticipated liveliness. or character. finds itself on the path of expansion and the ramp of ascension. Following their creation. as if in an undeveloped shoot of plants. as making consistent progress on a single plan and seeing it all religiously-oriented and heavenlydriven with regard to their rule and influence. composed of teensy weensy constituents mixing up quietly and fascinatingly—seeing all these resuscitating in an unexpected manner and with an unanticipated liveliness. has revived and stood back on its feet as many times as it has stumbled and fallen over. how can one as- cribe this captivating vitality that looks like stillness and this unity that gives the impression of disorderliness to the true and eternal death and departure? Besides. and everything that grows is bound to die sooner or later! To the extent of our interconnectedness with the cosmos and events. within the most indistinct and tiniest hollow on the stem. even if this is temporarily so. every winter is followed by the spring and every night by the day. “the atom is the essence of everything”. it was nothing but such empty words heard at the beginning of the twentieth century: “Religion has been defeated by positivism” (as was formed in the mind of those with deviant thinking). Who knows how many times the roots. taking root everywhere. As we peruse the existence and events around us. After seeing everything in an astonishing harmony. has tidied up and gathered strength. “the existence of all is dependent on material things”—it was such codswallop in the ears. they run to grow by clinging to the points of support like ivy plants and try very hard to have springtime just once more. only those upon whom fate smiles grow and flourish. everything enters into the process of growth. and speed towards their time of greatest power and authority. we can observe and witness all this phenomena unfolding before us every day. if we can direct our thoughts and imagination towards historical occurrences as the consecutive projections of each other or as the overlapping pile-ups on top of each other. how can one ascribe this captivating vitality that looks like stillness and this unity that gives the impression of disorderliness to the true and eternal death and departure? things of this life. looking forward to rebirth. rooted in the past with the strength for growth after their decline. “the spirit is down and out in the face of materialism”. From the point of recurring occurrences in history. and the branches of the society have been shaken with tempests! Who knows how many times it turned pale from the ice-cold and became ash gray under the heat of sun! Who knows how many times it has risen again in various spheres and grown rife! If the falls have taken away some part of its life and vigor. it would be quite wrong to conceive of any state or nation that is on the rise.

Even if energy was not known in all its complexity at the time. This was experienced before when we felt the universal truth in our pure conscience and had welcomed a glorious period of eight hundred years after being long exposed to such kind of chaos and disturbances a thousand years ago. chasms. We have every confidence in the belief that the chaos and dismay of today will be followed by the same heavenly victories and will experience a revival. it started to show its teeth. Thanks to faith that our society moved from the mundane to the spiritual life. the refinement and grace it had lost long. If the atom is a power compressed and placed in a micro body and has the capability of not yielding to force and if all existence and incidents are created within this fountain of power and are endowed with their latent energy to full growth. According to the reality of the time. and its qualities. and hardships. and its interpreting power of things and beings. and its unity into power. its particular way of life. The coming of energy into prominence occurred at the same time as the materialist philosophy entered into the sphere of the unknowns. however. matter—something regarded as the proof for materialism—actually testified against materialism. science considered energy as the capability of the matter or a physical system to carry out work. It struggled with and got defeated by the perception of its inherent power (energy). and financial loss and all those years of life spent in vain. its general features. its social and economic structure. and from reasoning to insight and inspiration and thus stepped up and elevated itself. After all that bloodshed. now we are once again ushering in the proSEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 6 fundity of faith and spiritual thinking with the perception transcending matter and all existence. it embraced and adopted faith most sincerely and had a life in a manner appropriate to heaven. It found out the secrets of eternal subsistence all the way through feeling and thought. It is beyond doubt that the most influential power in the establishment of such a glory surpassing everything else belonged to faith. we have witnessed the defeat of the forged system based on materialism—a deceiving system with its formation of the family and the society. At the time. Thanks to faith that it found the way from emotion to soundness and sensibility. It was at this time that matter was believed to have the capability of turning into energy. its talk into prayer. The science of physics had no knowledge of the real nature of this capacity. from chaos to the order. from narrowness of mind to the immenseness far beyond this world and the other world and became aware of the depth and extensiveness of their scope. Everybody knows the rest of the story. It rediscovered its true worth and merit. It had such a pious life turning its deeds into worship. becoming more cognizable through the effects of its work. from logic to heart. from emptiness to the ideal. those who discovered this immense power whose magnitude is accepted as not measurable in numbers and who burned down Hiroshima and Nagasaki did indeed not only put materialism to death but also trumpet forth its historic death while they were enunciating its enchanting efficacy only upon that occasion. and esthetic delights. Before the turn of the second half of the twentieth century. materialism was shaken with the first surprising blow from within the circle of their own. casualties.whole in those days. We believe wholeheartedly that we will acquire once more what we have lost by means of the coming people of the heart who will find remedies for our wretch- . arts. its appearance into gracefulness and mercy. physics was aware of only its doings and not of energy itself. its understanding of arts and esthetics. journeying in the same realms with the spirits. culture.

The dynamics and potentials available in all the spheres of the society. elevate our souls to the profundity of their own. We can even call it our renaissance if this labeling will not be considered a fantasy. and worldview and who blend all these with a faithful culture that has been acquired over hundreds and hundreds of years. and direct them from there to the real Source of everything. and discipline as well as by those luminous scholars and intellectu- als who believe in justice and have a sound character. mind.edness and sufferings. soul. will be fulfilled not by cumbrous institutions that are retired into themselves and consoled only by distinctive titles and designations. intellect. Aware of the fact that we are now at such a turn in the recurring events of history. who act not just simply to save the day. spirit. and who seek ways to strive for their cause rather than trying hard for the satisfaction of the desires and pleasures of their own. but by the integrated institutions founded upon the concord of heart. with no exception of those in education. It undoubtedly is necessary to prepare the way for this rebirth. that think of nothing else except for their share of the appropriation. 7 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . will be utilized for this purpose. and the army. mentality. religion. elevate our souls to the profundity of their own. however. we reexamine our conscience and smile at our fate with confidence in our auspiciousness. It will be realized both by educational institutions that are represented by the lovers of knowledge and wisdom who are united with the truth in body. We believe wholeheartedly that we will acquire once more what we have lost by means of the coming people of the heart who will find remedies for our wretchedness and sufferings. All this preparation. and direct them from there to the real Source of everything. and zeal and by the people of truth with a sound character who get to work with the consciousness of duty.

ENVIRONMENT Nisa Nur Terzi I see… Everywhere I look. communities mistreating and nations exploiting the earth. as if it was theirs. What they fail to remember is that this earth is the same earth the first man and woman called home. I watch them as they misuse and abuse this sacred place. saints. What have we left to offer the future generations? What have we done? What have we become? SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 JULY / AUGUST 2010 8 . I see citizens polluting. called home. It is the same earth my Ottoman ancestors called home. But I could almost see this earth diminish before my eyes. and scholars called home. It is the same earth my country’s natives. the Aboriginal people. My heart aches with uncertainty of what lies ahead. It is the same earth countless prophets.

this guesthouse remains totally pure and clean. With varieties of beauty spread in a myriad of colors and forms. nothing exists without having any benefit or purpose. for He is the Most Powerful and All Wise. which we have made unfavorable to any life. how deplorably and awkwardly we have treated air and water. thus preventing the spread of many contagious diseases. preserving them from waste and uselessness. He was an “environmental pioneer” who lived with the philosophy that there is a fundamental link and interdependency between 9 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . only then will they be able to live a healthier and happier lifestyle. Through this verse it becomes evident that humans have a special place in God’s scheme. which we have changed into deserts and heaps of ruin. thousands of animal and plant species would have been suffocated on the face of the earth. They are more than friends of the Earth. So it cannot be He who is responsible for the world’s current state of affairs. So it is when humans improve the condition of this world whose order they have destroyed and polluted. How deplorably and gracelessly we have treated seas and rivers. God’s orderliness is everywhere the eye reaches. In the Quran God declares. Despite this constant entry and exit.Divine cleanliness Everything God created in this world and beyond has perfect order and balance. preventing the sea from becoming polluted. which God has bestowed upon humans to observe and study free of charge. Truly. Flies clean away poisonous substances and microbes which breed diseases that are invisible to the naked human eye. contain instructions to assist humanity in preserving its environment. by changing this Paradise-like world to a hell. and fields. “And do good as God has done good to you. Indeed. forests. This earth is like a hotel. they are its guardians. it is so splendid that imaginations are pushed to the limit when trying to imagine anything more beautiful. is no longer given any more care than is given to a heap of junk.” (Quran 28:77) The Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad. and restore it to its prior balance and beauty. Again. His command is obeyed everywhere by everything. There is nothing unnecessary. Prophet Muhammad. God does not like corruptors. Ants collect the corpses of tiny creatures and small particles and fragments of bounty. If it was not for this remarkable cleaning. in a short amount of time. “It is He who has appointed you viceroys (guardians) in the earth” (6:165). It is such a pity that this wonderful world. there is magnificence and harmony in every creation in every corner of the world. from eyelids cleaning the eye and flies brushing their wings. Guardians of the Earth The origins of global environmental problems lie in humankind’s deliberate rejection of the physical laws governing environmental management and a persistent disobedience to God’s revealed laws. a guesthouse which is continually filled and emptied by the living and dead. lived up to this verse best as a guardian of the earth. how deplorably and awkwardly we have treated ourselves!”2 In our eagerness to “progress” and “develop. Carnivorous animal species clean the seas by gathering up the corpses of other sea-creatures that die every day by the millions. peace be upon him. which we have polluted.” we have lost sight of the finite and delicate nature of our world and of humanity’s place in it.1 Therefore. And desire not corruption in the land. and gardens. and not a random piece is put out of place. peace be upon him. “How deplorably and awkwardly we have treated plains and residential places.

This meant that there was zero tolerance towards any misuse of the environment. “And there is no creature on or within the earth or a bird that flies with its wings except that they are nations (communities) like you. around 1. they are to treat them. and 3 nurses. such that had legally enforceable consequences. the conqueror of Istanbul. donate 136 shops which I personally and rightfully own in Taşlık suburb of Istanbul with the following conditions: I have assigned two persons for every street in Istanbul to be paid from the profit earned from these shops. They are to conceal any spit found on the streets with these powders and be paid 20 akçe (Ottoman currency) per day. the Prophet pointed out the many benefits in planting trees which he said will last until the Day of Judgment. The Ottomans: Sultans of sympathy The Ottoman era was a period during which an extreme emphasis was placed on the regulation and protection of the environment. the natural world as a whole will suffer the direct consequences. then he should do so and he will be rewarded for that action. If this is not possible at the time. Additionally. 6 These are massive amounts of waste and destruction that humans have brought upon themselves. The Quran also emphasizes not harming other living creatures on earth. SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 10 It is possible to see the value. The will reads: “I. importance.” (6:38) Recent statistics show that over 60. those who are not able to personally come and eat there or collect their food will be provided with alternative service. He said. knock on each and every door and find out whether there are any sick people in that household. 10 doctors. However. humble servant Fatih Sultan Mehmet.8 billion liters of water are used up.000 animal species have gone extinct. Their food is to be sent to their homes in concealed containers after sunset without it being seen by others. The environmental devastation encapsulating this planet is thus a direct result of these physical laws being broken. Furthermore. over 4 million hectares of forests are lost.”7 . and respect given to the environment by the Islamic world during fifteenth century through the will of the great Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II. they are to be transferred to Darülaceze (nursing homes/hospitals) and be treated there. If there are. the families of the soldiers who are fallen martyrs and the poor people of Istanbul are to be fed in the soup kitchen which I have built. For instance. Fatih the Conqueror. I have assigned 10 surgeons.”3 Furthermore. and around 10 million tons of toxic chemicals are released into our environment by industries each year. They are to walk through the streets of Istanbul on certain days of each month. God declares. “If the Hour is imminent and anyone of you has a palm shoot to plant in his hand and is able to plant it before the Hour strikes. He also emphasized that there should be no spitting on roads and places of worship. These statistics illustrate the results of our law-breaking catching up with us.4 and objects that could injure people should be removed from the roads and put to one side.all natural elements and that if humans abuse one element.5 All of these principles are essential for every person to implement in ensuring a healthy environment and in respect to protecting and keeping the environment clean. These persons are to walk along these streets at specific times of the day with a bucket in their hands which contains limestone and coal powder. the Prophet recommended and warned that shaded spots where people could rest and spaces under fruit trees should not be dirtied.

1700) said how impressed he was by the respect and value the Ottoman people had given animals and the importance they had shown towards their nutrition and protection. In some cities buildings were made for cats. to create firebreaks for later in the dry season. Some important points to note in this document include: “All homes. for instance. the sultans did not just stop at providing food for animals. Aboriginal tribes of Australia moved around their land for tracking shifts in the availability of important resources. shops. onto the streets. Ottoman sultans implemented legal measures on the protection and the treatment of animals. Similarly. They actively managed their land through prescribed burning regimes handed down from their ancestors. the leaders took necessary precautions and showed sensitivity towards the implementation of the matters regarding the protection of spiritual and physical wellbeing of the people and the cleanliness of public places. Their respect for the native flora and fauna meant using techniques to ensure their survival. they also made sure that if these animals fell ill. Used water containing detergent and soap are not to be thrown out onto the streets. or foundations. and their surroundings are to be kept clean or to get cleaned. or waste. Animal rights are a contemporary issue that came to public attention only quite recently. They left no rubbish.”9 Aboriginals: the key to land management Until quite recently the human race. to promote new grass. the forest and natural environment just grew over them. to clear their land of spiritual pollution left after a death. and for a variety of other reasons whose sole aim was to “bring the land alive again. functioned instinctively within natural. Unfortunately. When these old civilizations died. let alone dealing with animal rights. Those who refuse to comply with this rule are to be punished publicly. many governments are still struggling with human rights issues. “There were not only people. In doing so. and expenses were paid for the allocation of servants to meet the needs of these animals. pollutants. Those in charge should identify citizens who litter and get those who are responsible to clean their own litter. Ricaut. Aboriginal people burnt to hunt. They are to collect and dispose of the dung from their animals to appropriate places outside of the city. in today’s society. So until then. etc. they would slaughter a kangaroo to eat only if the total number of kangaroos in a specific area had reached a certain amount. a British clerk who worked at the British embassy in Istanbul during the Ottoman period (d. 11 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . The Ottoman Empire was known for its vakıf. to make their land easier to travel through. unwritten boundaries. No individual has the right to prevent these rules from being implemented and will closely be monitored by law enforcement agencies. Owners of oxcarts should not disturb local residents by leaving their animals near houses or courtyards. foundations were established for their nutrition.”10 They also had such deep respect for the animals on their land that. These foundations were places where generous people would donate certain amounts of money to bakeries and butchers so that they could provide bread and meat for street animals.Another royal document regarding environmental care comes from sixteenth century Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent titled Nişan-ı Hümayun. such that had legally enforceable consequences. they could not touch the kangaroos even if it meant staying hungry and finding something else to eat. The most interesting of these vakıf were those dedicated to animals. Their overall respect for the plants and animals of their The Ottoman era was a period during which an extreme emphasis was placed on the regulation and protection of the environment. whether in small self-governing native communities or vast empires. sheep. the care and proper treatment of animals were bound by legal measures and are not left to the individuals’ own judgment. but also cats and dogs that ate from the soup kitchens. which were first set up to meet the needs of certain groups of people within society but later became an integral part of the Ottoman lifestyle. People are to be prevented from throwing the carcasses of horses. there were specialized hospitals for them to be treated in and looked after.”8 It is clearly evident that in royal documents like those mentioned above. Moreover.

“World Statistics updated in real time. H. Despite having the upper hand in areas such as science and technology. http://www. Only then can there be true health. and today with all the technological breakthroughs. 2. Ibrahim. Number 406. Accessed 1 June 2009. 2008. Bukhari Volume 1. NJ: Tughra Books. Book 8. Worldometers. 5. 7. and healing. 10.html.” http://www. Fethullah. Accessed 1 June 2009. regardless of faith or background. man has much more to offer the world. Notes 1. when compared to the past. to look into the Prophet’s teachings and address the current environmental crisis wisely. 10. 3. the harmony that the Prophet promoted between man and his environment has been lost. “Land Management”http://www. 1996. ibrahimozdemir. Çiçek. Nursi.land is one that was extremely sacred. visual pollution caused by rubbish dumping. SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 12 . Melbourne. 6. Bediuzzaman Said. Güzel and K. 4. 15. Number 1126. Northern Land Council: Caring for the country. one they felt liable to take care of and pass on in good condition to the generations to come. 429. Muslim Book 004.pdf. The Gleams. Özdemir. intellectually and technologically.au/html/care_fire.info/.C. 8. 9. Conclusion Today. however. c. clans. As we face the effects of chemical pollution caused by industrial wastes. “The Nature We Have Destroyed. The fundamental solution to these crises lies in humankind respecting the physical laws and embracing the revealed laws designed by God. the environment is still struggling and suffering. Who has control over whom? Why is it that tribes. Gülen. people are still struggling? Sadly. edt. it is perhaps time for the world community as a whole. Accessed 21 May 2009. worldometers. happiness. Ibid. noise pollution caused by unnecessary sounds.com/Makaleler/Osmanl%C4%B1ToplumundaCevre. “Osmanlı Toplumunda Çevre Anlayışı” Türkler. and thought pollution caused by pointless and disorganized overflow of information. p. No. Ibid.nlc.” The Fountain. Nisa Nur Terzi is a student of journalism and law at LaTrobe University. and empires in the past with little advancements had more control over the environment. Hadith Musnad.org. Ankara: Yeni Turkiye Yayınları.

For once he has entered. God doubtless comes to His home. (La Makani Husain Efendi) 13 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 .Clean the fountain of your soul until it becomes perfectly pure. Withdraw yourself and submit to its Owner His home. it is very difficult to throw him out. Fix your eyes on your heart until your heart becomes an eye. Never let the devil-robber enter the home of your heart. Give up doubts and put the pitcher of your heart to that fountain. When that pitcher is filled with the water which gives delight. When you leave it.

or dynasty was in power.1 However. Muhammad. who was able to win support for his spiritual and political status within Arabia in the early seventh century. Islam The Spread T here are several historical reasons for the astounding spread of Islam throughout Arabia and abroad after Muhammad’s death in 632. Consequent persecutions caused the early Muslims to flee to Yathrib. SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 14 . which would be necessary for later conquests and expansion. general internal stabilization followed in the new Islamic world. empire. These factors differed in degree depending on which Islamic leader. not all of his contemporaries were convinced of the genuineness of his message. I will also be emphasizing how Islamic leaders and empires regularly referred back to the religious principles established by the Prophet and the early Caliphs. I will be arguing that due to the ingenuity of those in power. some reflection of the Muslim theological past was needed – and I would argue was vital – to internally stabilize the Islamic world. This was especially true of the pagan rulers of his Quraysh tribe in Mecca. Muhammad slowly acquired a small following and eventually some seventy families had converted to Islam. The spread of Islam would obviously not have occurred without its Prophet. which allowed successful Islamic military conquests to begin. Although the religious sincerity and zeal of the Islamic powers varied greatly.HISTORY Paul Kearns of The spread of a religious or ideological ideal can only be truly successful if those whom it is trying to gain submission from are disillusioned or unhappy with their own contemporary world. After having claimed to receive divine revelations. and Islam soon became a more likely entity to spread during the period of 630–1683. which justified their claims to power and fueled a desire to expand realms.

A series of conflicts between the Quraysh and Muslims climaxed in 630 when the Quraysh broke an earlier peace treaty that had been established. in Uthman’s reign (644–50). had the difficult job of uniting all of the tribes that had forsaken their allegiance to the ummah after Muhammad’s death. Abu Bakr was able to completely unify Arabia before his death in 634. as Karen Armstrong explains. this was not the end of this remarkable series of events. soldiers. This initial spread of Islam was so rapid that. what appeared to be a backward move for the early believers actually benefited them and their religion as the tribes around Yathrib were enthralled by Muhammad’s spiritual vision and pledged allegiance to the ummah (community). the early Caliphs were able to consolidate Muslim rule in Arabia and prepare a launching pad for further conquests. The third explanation of the rapid spread of Islam throughout Arabia and beyond was – most importantly – the religious zeal of the leaders. as H. Yet through political. and it was around these practices and core values that the early Muslim community was built. and general Arab population. and established Islamic rule in Iran. This was the case for the many thousands of people under Byzantine rule. controlled Iraq. U. “in less than one century after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632.6 The above two methods of internal unification and successful conquest led to the establishment of the Islamic world during the seventh century. Yet.4 Secondly. The first Caliph. Muslims conquered Cyprus. Abu Bakr. Afghanistan. conquest. Muslim rule covered more of the earth than had the Roman Empire at its peak.7 Francesco Gabrieli supports Sonn and places a heavy emphasis on religion as the principal factor underlying and motivating the Arab conquests. and the speed in which it accomplished this announced to the world that Islam was here – and here to stay. and Egypt. From 634–44. Tamara Sonn explains that the basic tenets of Islamic faith captivated the people and structured Islamic life in Medina. and Ali – which characterizes the bloody period that ensued. for the Mongols of the thirteenth century it was a brutal ideological reason. without being fuelled with a sense that God was on their side.000 men and take the city without bloodshed.which was located 250 miles north of Mecca. theological. whilst for the Muslims it was the feeling that they were being divinely guided. the Caliphs. With the combination of three important factors: unification. and the Sind region.5 Furthermore. Rahman explains. Tripoli in North Africa. Uthman. Palestine. Syria. Nevertheless the spread of a religious or ideological ideal can only be truly successful if those whom it is trying to gain submission from are disillusioned or unhappy with their own contemporary world. and at times military coercion. He then destroyed the idols around the Kabah and rededicated it to God. Plainly put. and defeated the Persian Empire. and religious zeal. “almost all the tribes of Arabia had joined the ummah as Confederates or as converted Muslims. By the time of Muhammad’s death in 632. This saw Muhammad march upon Mecca with 10. For unification of Arabia would not cease at the death of the founder of Islam but would rather dramatically gain momentum through his successors. the spread of Islam continued to gain momentum as successful military campaigns were carried out abroad.”2 As history will show. the Caliphate of Umar had conquered Jerusalem.”3 This unification did not however happen overnight. despite the assassinations of the next three caliphs – Umar. We find that a great number gladly adhered to the conquering Islamic rulers and Quranic law as they found protec- 15 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 .8 Indeed. the Muslim conquests would have fallen far short of their eventual reality. it is hard to imagine any group achieving geographical expansion without a clear goal and purpose. and it must be emphasized that Islamic rulers always had much division to contend with.

according to Armstrong. this brutal act did not slow the continual geographical or economical gains of Islam. conquest was able to be successfully waged during al-Walid I’s reign between 705–715 where the Umayyad dynasty reached its peak and the Muslim armies continued the conquest of North Africa. The Islamic world needed a leader who could unite as many of these factions together as possible. This was perhaps a catalyst for Umayyad leaders having a more political conception of Islam than did previous rulers. Paul Lunde explains that the pacification of the central lands under early Umayyad rulers enabled them to focus primarily on conquest so that the spread of Islam could continue. which is a prerequisite for any group wanting to expand its geographic borders. However unpopular this move was. Muawiyyah I was simply “a religious man and a devout Muslim. as internal friction had finally reached unmanageability.12 This spiri- tual construction shows that Islamic rulers could not go forward unless they acknowledged the close relationship between conquest and the Muslim religion. averted. even though the Umayyad Dynasty had expanded its Islamic borders throughout the Arab world. However. the unity and prosperity of the new Islamic Empire became threatened. Many minorities had become increasingly dissatisfied with the Byzantine regime due to their insecurities of being persecuted and instead came to favor the secure Islamic rulership who allowed autonomy for minority groups if their taxes were paid. discontent remained within the Islamic world with several extremist groups emerging regularly in Islamic culture. we find that the Muslims were fraught with political struggles for power.”11 Furthermore. Stephen Humphreys explains that Muawiyyah I saved the Muslim Empire from disintegration as he was. According to Karen Armstrong. which was completed at Jerusalem in 691 under Caliph Abd al-Malik.13 Although the discontentment of factions within the Islamic world.9 The preference of many of the conquered peoples to favor Islamic rule enabled the Islamic Empire to remain politically stable.14 Furthermore. at the height of Abbasid power in 800 (who had moved the Islamic capital to Baghdad in 762) only SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 16 . the Umayyad rulers did not forget its founding religion. its power soon declined. and established a kingdom in Spain. “the only man with the political and military resources available to restore unity within the realm of Islam. a statement of Islam’s superiority to past religions was symbolically made through the establishment of the Dome of the Rock. R.tion and benefits that had not been attained under Byzantine rule. such as the Shias. and this was done most emphatically with the construction of this monument. With factions developing within the Islamic world following Ali’s assassination (the fourth Caliph) in 661. Turning back the clock to the infant stages of Islam. transferring it to Damascus. which had the potential to dismantle Islamic hopes for expansion.15 However. Despite geographical consolidations made by the early Umayyad Caliphs. internal stability generally emerged at the commencement of the Umayyad Dynasty. it was the way that the Muslims were efficiently able to get back on their feet and consolidate unity that saw these power struggles. could not be eradicated. and this stability came with the establishment of the Umayyad Dynasty through Muawiyyah I. He ruled from 661–80 and was the first Caliph to move his capital away from Medina. Even though the overthrow of the Umayyad family by the Abbasids was horrific and angered many. Then. the Umayyads – somewhat inevitably – succumbed to the overwhelming power of the Abbasids in 750. In fact.”10 Although the Umayyad period is typically characterized by political and military success.

Arabs were quite content with their passive non-Muslim subjects known as dhimmis (those who were secondclass citizens under Islamic law. many felt that Islam was the path for the future. philosophy. and Abu Nasr Al Farabi (870–950) incorporated logic and politics into philosophy. the strength of Muslims at the zenith of Abbasid power in the ninth century was represented through a great cultural renaissance which took place in literary criticism. the capital of the great T’ang China. Islam appealed to many contemporaries’ needs and with the lure of further expansion. it is important to reflect on several other specific reasons why Islam spread so rapidly throughout Arabia and to the whole world. the traditional theory of the conquests being characterized merely by Bedouin neophytes of Islam rushing from their desert birthplace to convert other nations with the sword has been completely dismissed by modern historiography. which asserted itself not only through military conquests but through cultural and scientific discovery. empty theological discussions with concrete observation and fundamental analysis. However. With this understanding in mind. “replaced complexity of religious doctrines with simplicity. Islamic cities became desolate and the spread of Islam was curtailed for the first time in centuries as attention was turned to internal frontiers. from 935 onwards.Constantinople and Xian. the extent and rapidity of the success of Islamic military conquests had Muslims feeling that there was something divine aiding their cause. despite the Abbasid period reaching new heights in regards to its geographical expansion. According to Abul-Fazl Ezzati. One of the early Sultans. and made it the Ottoman capital.”24 Moreover. whilst Islam appealed to individuals by offering unparalleled simplicity through its core principles. who had conquered Constantinople. it had clearly slowed by the fourteenth century. poetry. Murad I (1360–1389). we can finally return to the last great Islamic Empire of the ancient world through looking at the Ottoman Empire. such was the grandeur of this era that the Muslim scholars made more scientific discoveries during this time than in the whole previously recorded history put together.25 This hope was fueled by geographical gains made through military expansion by several Ottoman Sultans. there was seldom force or coercion used from Islamic forces once a military campaign was successful. Before the success of one final Islamic Empire is discussed. changed its name to Istanbul. who asserted Ottoman power against Hungary and the West and by 1453 his successor. further comparisons between Byzantine Christianity and Islam highlight how many became turned off by Christendom but enthusiastic and inquisitive about Islam. had become the most powerful of the western Muslim rulers and this led to the name of the Ottomans symbolizing hope for a reunified Islamic empire. a final thrust of Islamic expansion would occur through the Ottoman Empire. rivaled Baghdad’s wealth. First. such as Murad I (1421–1451). Finally. This marked the beginnings of “Muslim genius” as individuals such as Abu Bakr Al Razi (864–925) studied medicine and uncovered unique contraceptive methods. which began in 1220. Real power now resided with the local rulers. the Ottomans had recommenced Muslim expansion and would look to achieve something past Islamic Empires could not – to successfully challenge Western Europe. when compared to Christian orthodoxy.19 Second. Mehmed II. these examples symbolize the prestige of the superpower Abbasid Empire of the old world. Three of these deserve particular mention.23 Hence. Christianity had become heavily clericized by the seventh century and appeared to be exclusive. trinity with unity.16 Although military might was the predominant vehicle of Islamic power. and by the late fourteenth century had begun to threaten Europe. “the caliphs no longer (wielded) temporal power but merely (retained) a symbolic authority. As Armstrong explains.17 As Armstrong explains. the five pillars of Islam. Ottoman expansion continued 17 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . with the addition of the Mongol raids. and science. yet protected under this status) and no real effort was made to convert them. and it was not uncommon for non-Islamic officials to be used in high places within a conquered society. Zealous Muslims and their missionary activities always went hand in hand with the success of Islam and this sense of mission motivated Muslims to assist the expansion efforts in whatever way they could. However.”22 Moreover.21 This hands-off approach actually led to an increase in Islamic converts regularly throughout the Islamic Empire as individuals were pleased to make their own decision about religion.18 Hence. who slowly consolidated its own power in Anatolia.20 In fact. who established dynasties in various parts of the empire. erful group of Muslims in the centuries to follow: the Turks. Accordingly. it too slowly declined in prestige from about 935 and would soon be unable to hold off a young and pow- The traditional theory of the conquests being characterized merely by Bedouin neophytes of Islam rushing from their desert birthplace to convert other nations with the sword has been completely dismissed by modern historiography. which is something that had not been afforded them under Byzantine rule. As Francesco Gabrieli explains. the Caliphs and Muslim rulers were willing to use existing administrative structures to enforce laws. Although Islam had by no means died out in terms of its expansion after Abbasid rule.

pp. 1989. p. this point marks the end of Ottoman expansion – and indeed Islamic expansion – and the beginning of its slow decline. 11. 16. 19. 4. 8. The powerful Islamic dynasties and empires finally came to an end with the demise of the Ottoman Empire. p. This empire fatally climaxed when the Ottomans looked to secure further lands in Europe. 25. Ibid. Despite religious zeal fluctuating from time to time. p.26 It is important to note here that Suleiman saw the consolidation of Islamic values as the key to his military successes. An Introduction to the History of the Spread of Islam. Through future Islamic rulers regularly reminding their adherents of their Prophet and of his message. Sonn. the sultans began looking too far outwardly and neglecting inner spirituality. pp. Stephen Humphreys. 2002. Sonn. p. p. Akbar S. 1968. A Chronology of Islamic History: 570-1000 ce. Their efforts fell horribly short. Gerald R. p. the historical reality shows us that enough of the Muslim population was willing to forget past disagreements and get on with a common cause of conquering peoples and gaining territory. 21. 3. 187. p. “oversaw the most detailed codification of sultanic and Quranic law that had ever been known in an Islamic state. Ibid. Jason Goodwin. p. 23.”28 We see once again here. 20. The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire. p. p. p. Tamara Sonn. Notes 1. 2002. p. 44. Sonn. 54. London. New York. p. pp. 2000. When they were forced to humiliatingly sign the Treaty of Carlowicz in 1699. which gave them a sense of purpose for their conquests and expansions. Armstrong. London. 2000. p. 52. 22. Armstrong. 1986. Armstrong. London. U. 23. As Jason Goodwin explains. Patrick Kinross. 2004. 22. London. 13. 105. 6. Oxford. p. xix. Islamic faith would always seem to be reinvigorated which led to grand Empires being established and Islamic history being created. 3. p. 78. 44-5. Ibid. 56. and the Seljuks. Discovering Islam: Making Sense of Muslim History and Society. p. London. Lunde. 10. 27.”27 Hence. 2006. 27. 1979. The First Dynasty of Islam: The Umayyad Caliphate AD 661-750. 9. 84. 106. one in the line of Islamic empires that had included the Umayyads. xxvi. 56. which was the first major Ottoman reversal. Lords of the Horizon: A History of the Ottoman Empire. it is clear that great Sultans such as Suleiman did not forget the founder of their religion as they saw themselves as a genuine continuation of early Islamic history. although the Ottoman Empire did not represent all Muslims. Justin McCarthy. 29. p. p. which deadened the degree of support that Muslims would give it. 17. Abul-Fazl Ezzati. Ahmed. R. during the latter stages of Ottoman rule. Religion was intimately bound up with the ideology and legitimacy of the government … Their Empire was always styled a Muslim empire. Armstrong. 43. H. p. Oxford. 28. London. It is important to understand that this was not always done smoothly. Paul Lunde. xiv. The spread of Islam was orchestrated through the close connection of most Muslims and their leaders to an Islamic way of life.29 Although the Empire did not crumble overnight. 1968. 12. the overthrows of Islamic Empires did not always happen peacefully and blood was often internally shed in order to propel a fresher and stronger willed Islamic group forward. 115. Justin McCarthy puts it clearly for us – “the base of the Ottoman Empire was Islam. London. 42. and they lost a vital battle to the coalition of the Holy League in 1683 at Vienna. 25. 34. Although much internal strife was a common characteristic of the Islamic Empires. Yet the key to all of this success was surely the religious foundation of the Prophet and the early Caliphs. 2. p. 23. Muhammad and the Conquests of Islam. Armstrong. 18. that legitimacy and support of a great Islamic Empire went hand in hand with a reflection on the spiritual past of the Muslim tradition. Mu‘awiya ibn Abi Sufyan: From Arabia to Empire. 1978. 15. p. 5. p. 24. New York. the Abbasids. Yet the legacy that both it SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 18 and previous rulerships had left behind was remarkable geographical expansion. Suleiman. p. 50. had become the greatest power in Eastern Europe. 2. 7. 83. The Ottoman Turks: An Introductory History to 1923. 14. 2004. Ibid. Islam. 2000. 26. which had emanated from a small tribe in Arabia. Karen Armstrong. Ibid. Paul Kearns has a major in history and English from Monash University.with Suleiman the Magnificent (1520–66) whose Empire. 2002. 12. Islam: A Short History. 2000. 2000. Nevertheless. they had to yield Ottoman Hungary to Austria. Francesco Gabrieli. A Brief History of Islam. vii. Gabrieli. after conquering Hungary in 1526. Rahman. 2000. 1997. 2000. Ibid. . 29. 2000. Hawting. 1998. p. 104. Melbourne. New York. the Muslims felt as if they were part of something greater than themselves. this time under the rule of the Ottomans. Armstrong. 2000.

as the battle raged below over the gambled money—whether won or lost. It caused Zainab’s family to be dysfunctional and had a disastrous effect on her mother. Zainab believed. Zainab had been struggling to understand the true meaning of forgiveness.A MOMENT FOR REFLECTION Mary Lahaj F Many a night Zainab would hide at the top of the stairs silently cowering and listening. the loving Creator. and her father did what many people do: rationalize the wrong he was doing when. But. Zainab’s father was afflicted by an addiction: gambling. 19 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 JULY / AUGUST 2010 . She was especially distressed whenever she thought about her father who had died in 1973. This unhappiness rained down from the mother onto her children. Gambling was one of the most destructive among them. He was someone she loved more than anyone in the world. that Allah. or many years. in fact. So Zainab could not reconcile her father’s beloved status with the abominable act he was committing. prohibited certain actions to Muslims because those actions had the potential for the most harm. the wrong he committed affected everyone in his life. according to her religion Islam. But sadly. it was life.

and she heard herself whisper effortlessly. Many a night Zainab would hide at the top of the stairs silently cowering and listening. as Zainab was making a supplication. With the arising of a loud hum of excitement. In Zainab’s home. as the battle raged below over the gambled money— whether won or lost. Her home was a scary place that she forever associated with emotional turmoil. but she didn’t shed a single tear. but he never said a word as he made his way through the crowd. the humiliation. one night. Earlier in the day.And though Zainab’s parents tried their best to hide their shame and to protect their children from this wrong. there was a room full of people crowding around the bottom of a long staircase. hugging tightly. Zainab was 25. Five years after Zainab’s father died. At the time of his death. Zainab experienced forgiveness as both an act of giving and a gift from Allah. from the confusion. She tried to push him away. she finally dreamt of him. About six months before he died. The next thing she knew. He was pale and sickly looking. she felt the warmth of God’s love gripping her heart. The desperation of the greeting alarmed her. and she had already succeeded in getting as far away from home as possible. She could never understand why because she had loved her father so deeply. went through all the motions. . and the pain. He came directly to Zainab and took her in strong arms. “I forgive you. they fought constantly in the house. she looked up to see her father slowly descending the stairs. Dad. the rights that were given to the children by their religion were violated each time she and her siblings were exposed to the wrong and the undeniable harm it caused. He was delayed upstairs for some reason. Her one thought was to grow up and get away from that house. anticipating her dad’s arrival. her father had some sort of convulsion and he vomited all over the front of her dress. She came back for her father’s funeral.” In that overwhelming moment. In her dream. Zainab had agonized over what to wear—just as she always did in real life—but she finally borrowed the perfect dress from her friend for this special occasion of seeing her dad after so many years of being apart. her father quit gambling. thinking foolishly only of the SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 20 Then.

But in this case. These words strengthened Zainab’s belief in the Most Forgiving (AlGhafur). Responding. It comforted her to know that one of the 99 names of Allah is the Most Forgiving (Al-Ghafur). This revelation was really a shock to her. her own religion Islam placed a great emphasis on seeking forgiveness from other people for the harms one might have caused them. She wanted to forgive her dad… if only she could. she wondered about the meaning of that dream. Dad. Zainab sought the advice of a Christian friend who directed her to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. so we must also forgive one another. she was squeezing her wet pillow and sobbing hard. and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me. in which he encouraged his readers to understand that as God has forgiven us. she felt the warmth of God’s love gripping her heart. She wanted to forgive her dad… if only she could.” In that overwhelming moment. trying in vain to get out of the embrace. but forgiving another had never been easy for Zainab and granting forgiveness felt so much heavier than asking for it. Then. as she did as a child. Zainab could easily understand why he needed to free himself of this burden. It was interesting to learn that they must also ask for forgiveness from anyone they might have harmed. In fact.Forgiving another had never been easy for Zainab and granting forgiveness felt so much heavier than asking for it. but he held her and pulled her closer. She dared to think that even she might be forgiven for her sins. forgiveness was being asked of her. For Zainab. Thinking of the harm she had suffered as a child. making sure he didn’t fall. She wanted to feel her heart whole (not divided) again. one night. A hadith qudsi (those words of Allah on the tongue of his prophet that are not part of the revelation of the Quran) reads as follows: “Oh son of Adam. Zainab finally gave in. described forgiveness as a gift from God. an all girls’ undergraduate Liberal Arts College. she had held anger and resentment rightfully against her dad. were your sins so great as to reach the clouds of the sky. Ignoring the ruination of her dress. Hadith). I would forgive you” (Al-Tirmidhi. Zainab began her journey toward forgiveness by realizing how important it is to ask for forgiveness from Allah. She wanted to feel her heart whole (not divided) again. Zainab suddenly realized the meaning of her dream: her dad had come to ask for her forgiveness. But in this case. borrowed dress. When she awoke. she wanted reconciliation more than anything. like the hadith qudsi. Mary Lahaj has a master’s degree from the Hartford Seminary in Islamic Studies and Christian/Muslim Relations. as she did as a child. she wanted reconciliation more than anything. For over thirty years to come. and she heard herself whisper effortlessly. Yet now. Then one day she was reading how practicing Jews fasted on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and asked God to forgive them their sins of the past year. He seemed to be weakening and leaning on her for support. and it brought her the peace and reconciliation that she had desired. the greatest favor she had sought from Allah was forgiveness. For so many years. 21 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . she held his weakened body. “I forgive you. Zainab experienced forgiveness as both an act of giving and a gift from Allah. So putting herself in her father’s shoes. But then her dad had another convulsion. as Zainab was making a supplication. Zainab straightened her arms. Paul’s words. She is currently the first Muslim woman chaplain at Simmons College in Boston. Then she pondered: doesn’t everyone want their sins forgiven? Still struggling to free herself from anger and resentment.

whereas a passive trace (digital shadow) is left when personal data SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 22 . money. Our influence on the earth and environment in a general sense is not limited to the consumption of goods. than a person in Tanzania in a lifetime. This consumption includes natural resources.COMPUTER SCIENCE Halil I. our impact on the environment tells a lot about us and can be as unique as our fingerprints. Thus. what we are responsible for. This significant difference is certainly related to the average lifespan. culture. It is the culmination of our environmental impact through consumption in our short lifetime. energy. humans have influenced 83% of the earth’s surface. There are active or passive traces left in a digital environment by personal activity. it is imperative that we understand and acknowledge exactly what we have inherited. and most precious of all. and what we will leave to future generations. our given lifetime and youth. One of the findings of the study shows that an average American is responsible for more carbon emissions in one year. T he term “footprint” refers in general to traces left or caused by human beings through the consumption of resources while guests in this physical world. time. and lights. According to a study by researchers of the Human Footprint Project [1]. One of the most influential yet less-visible traces is the footprint we leave in the digital environment. An active trace is left when personal information is released by a person himself. and leaving an unsustainable environment for future generations? To answer these questions. Demir Our influence on the earth and environment in a general sense is not limited to the consumption of goods. land use. income. do any of us have the rights to disturb the environment more than others? Are we consuming something that doesn’t belong to us. and climate. travel routes. One of the most influential yet lessvisible traces is the footprint we leave in the digital environment. The study is based on four factors: population. However. There are active or passive traces left in a digital environment by personal activity.

or posting a photo or message to a friend’s website. bank accounts. How about passive digital traces we leave behind by credit card purchases. phone records. It consumes storage and network resources on the server that increase the costs. and instant messages. photos. general backup data. and eventually our carbon footprint. web searches. These traces.8 billion terabytes for 2011 [2]. surveillance cameras. sending a blog post. and so on? There are more passive traces collected than our active digital traces. As of 2006.is collected during personal activity. Our digital traces affect the environment in many ways. there were over 1 billion Visa credit cards worldwide 23 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . Have you ever wondered “how often a person leaves digital traces behind every day?” or “how much of our privacy are we sharing with others?” A recent study reveals some figures about the size of the digital universe as 281 billion gigabytes (GB) for 2008 and 1. We need to seek a balance in our use of digital media in order to utilize the benefits efficiently and to minimize our consumption of time and other resources. Every trace takes our time to generate it and for others to read it. or the total greenhouse gas emissions. which provide more personal information. medical and hospital records. VOIP calls. power usage. This includes private information such as emails. One can leave digital traces by simply visiting a website. also known as digital footprints. The digital trace generated by the average person on a daily basis was about 45 GB in 2008. can spread very quickly and may reach to millions in a very short time.

and even our physical location from the IP address. which has 87 million visitors. who want to share and learn interests and activities of others. We can easily learn a lot about our social life just by analyzing one of our credit card statements. meetings. videos. We can build our friend list and share photos. I had known about this process for some time. books we read. it gets easier to be accepted as friend by his/ her friends. Search engines even know how fast we type or process information. traffic lights. since we have mutual friends. such as travel. or other information. and warn us about traffic problems. which can be stored for later use or tracked by third parties. With the rise of the micro-blogging trend. stores. Normally these websites provide privacy settings to limit who can access our friend list. photos. prescriptions we take. our exact location. A recent market research [5] estimates that the mobile location technology market that crosses the US will be $75 billion by 2013 with growing usage of GPS capabilities in automobiles and consumer electronics. provide turn-by-turn instructions from one location to another. and even closed-circuit TV (CCTV) surveillance cameras in some cities. there are cameras all around the city that can help capture one’s location. Since most of the people don’t refuse friend requests. These connections increase our friend list exponentially. Credit cards give a lot of private information about a person: stores we prefer. and personal updates. 113 billion web searches were conducted in July 2009. The number of smart phones increased 13. health related issues. sharing videos on these websites lies at the center of important privacy concerns.000 CCTV cameras is solved in a year [6]. Web searches provide more insightful information about a person. users spent an average of 4 hours and 39 minutes during June on one of the most famous social networking sites. Today many cars have GPS (Global Positioning System) capabilities and smart phones have GPS sensors. music. There are websites to share videos. They contain information about our future plans. Considering that there are thousands of video sharing websites like YouTube. how smart we search. and updates about our life. compared to 2007. Beside all the benefits. photos. a 41 percent increase compared to 2008 [4]. It might contain a lot of details we want to keep private. location. web searches may show things we have not actually done. We can see cameras inside and outside of the banks. movies we watch. Facebook. mainly our lifestyle is hidden in our credit card statements. Once we get accepted by a person as a friend. Many websites provide tools to build online communities of people. rent and utility fees we pay. blog posts. and reached 139 million in 2008 [7]. Besides all the information we leave with our credit card.and counting [3]. it is very easy to be added as a friend and get access to all the private information of people we do not even know.9 percent worldwide. According to Nielsen Online’s report on Internet usage in June 2009 [8]. our typos. GPS devices can show our exact location anywhere in the world. job search. Social networking is a new way of communication. This allows us to track every minute of a person’s life.2 million. languages we speak. Websites can provide smarter search results and personalized advertisements according to our search habits. Many smart phones have real-time video streaming capabilities and are widely used. places we travel. so I wanted to confirm it myself by setting up an account . one crime per 1. The total number of CCTV cameras SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 24 in England is 4. GPS devices leave an important digital trace behind. and education. we can see real-time updates about a person on websites like Twitter. or one for every 14 people according to an estimate. According to Scotland Yard. Even if a person doesn’t have a GPS sensor with him. Users upload hundreds of thousands of videos per day to YouTube about themselves or people around them. provide a list of nearby stores.

It is the responsibility of websites to protect user’s data. Entertainment businesses can provide appropriate suggestions by using location services. our information is accessible by website managers. erasing our digital traces is difficult or even impossible in some cases. Acknowledgment: This article is produced either in part or a whole at MERGEOUS [9]. 7. I visited some group pages on Facebook and joined them. I had around a hundred friends in my list that I don’t know personally. with fake information and identity on Facebook in 2008. Visa USA Internal Statistics.” 2008. I started to make random friend requests to many users on these lists. digital traces are one of the most influential and yet less known by-products of consumption. Wildlife Conservation Society [http:// www. RNCOS Market Research Report. 8. 9. I have access to all information they share with others.wcs. 4. “The Diverse and Exploding Digital Universe. it will be a good start to be aware as users of our traces on the digital universe and to share personal information carefully. especially in the digital world where boundaries are unlimited. PhD. To protect our privacy and identity. Most of the users are using default settings and are not aware of privacy issues. smarter search results. It is an important responsibility for us to decide how we affect our environment. Nielsen Online’s Report. is an internet entrepreneur and freelance writer. Digital traces left by users are valuable commercial assets for companies. August 31. There is a positive side of these digital traces. 2. how we spend our time.mergeous. 3. 2009. I selected a college and input random personal information to my profile.” April 2009. and personal news. However. digital traces are one of the most influential and yet less known by-products of consumption. Worldwide Smartphone Sales. Then Facebook started to offer possible friend lists that have common interests with me. Even if we are careful about all these settings and our privacy. June 2009. we need to learn to make meaningful contributions and carry more responsibility for our actions. With various effects on our natural and social environment. Q4 2006. 6. Mart 2009. targeted advertisements. and what we are going to leave to future generations.org/humanfootprint] EMC Report.With various effects on our natural and social environment. With all the unique values given to humans. Gartner Press Release. As a friend on their list. products. “World GPS Market Forecast to 2013.com] 25 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . Mergeous [http://www. Demir. Halil I. References 1. an online article and project development service for authors and publishers dedicated to the advancement of technologies in the merging realm of science and religion. it is essential that we are aware of places our personal information is stored. and services. Websites provide better recommendation of products and services. Telegraph. ComScore Press Release. However. In one day. and most of them share or sell this information to third party companies which provide online advertisements. 24 Aug 2009. 5.

SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 26 . they certainly exist in unphysical structures such as societies. Though these effects are mainly studied in physical structures. and both play important roles in shaping formations or structures. and Hasan Guclu The interesting observation we would like the reader to recognize here is that shadowing and reemission effects take place at nano as well as at macro levels.PHYSICS Murat Yuksel. Sharing both physical wealth and knowledge is strongly advised for a strong community that lives in harmony. Tansel Karabacak.

it will have to go through a sequence of reemissions. particle B in Figure 1). it may stick or bounce depending on several factors. Scientists have been explaining the final formations of physical structures by means of the main factor(s) of the dynamics. For example. Let’s say that a particle’s reemission probability (i. some shadowy areas do not receive it due to an elevated structure nearby. The ultimate surface morphology depends heavily on the strength of the shadowing effect. SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . In systems where the input is some kind of material falling on the surface. In this very approximate model. In this essay.. residual of the sticking coefficient) is p during a hit onto the surface.. Reemission effect: the game of reflections When things bounce. they follow certain physical rules.g. When you throw something. By 27 simple math. Falling particles will most often hit the hills first due to the shadowing effect. if k reemissions are needed in order for a particle to settle in a valley point. which are usually shorter and smaller than the plants in the sunny areas. Figure 1: Surface of a growing thin film (growth front) under shadowing and reemission effects. then the particle reemits. we take a brief look at the two dynamic effects believed to drive the final shapes of various physical structures from nano to macro scales: shadowing effect and reemission effect. In order for a particle to settle in a valley (e. The game here is that the taller ones grab more input than the shorter ones. though the idea is not just equivalent angle reflection or equivalent reaction force bouncing. when the light falls onto a surface. ocean streams via temperature gradient. This causes the shadowy areas to have a different set of plants. and atomic/electron interactions. then the probability of this valley point grabbing a particle is (1—p)pk-1 while it is (1—p) for a hilltop under no shadow. Hills of snow following a heavy snow fall and forests with trees of various heights are examples of the shadowing effect.e. Reemission is another name for bouncing or reflection in physics. and tree shapes and galaxies via gravity. wind patterns via pressure gradient. the most important outcome of the shadowing effect is slowly-rising columnar structures. some of it penetrates the surface and gets absorbed while the rest gets reflected. Shadowing effect: the game of who is taller When sunlight falls on Earth. the shadowing effect is the input (here sunlight) reception behavior caused by height differences across a surface. molecular relationships. If the hill cannot grab the particle on the first hit. and it becomes possible for the par- ticle to fall into a valley. In brief. The characteristics of the dynamics are critical as they are responsible for the final shape of the physical structures. [1] Figure 1 illustrates the shadowing and reemission effects on a sample surface with hills. molecular structures are explained via chemical bonds. For instance. k will be larger for a deeper valley point. These dynamics can be driven by many different factors such as gravity.U nderstanding the dynamics involved in the formation and development of physical structures on both atomic and galactic scales has been a key topic for the scientific investigation since the beginning of scientific inquiry.

Figure 2 shows this phenomenon on the macro scale for Tibetan forest growth under the shadowing effect.thereby further reducing the grab probability. Similarly. and 9%. and 6. and Figure 3 shows it on the nano scale (1 nanometer corresponds to 1 billionth of a meter or about hundred thousand times smaller than the diameter of a human hair) for growth of nanostructures like nanorods (i. These social trends exist for valuable goods (i.e.5%.. 8. Facebook) [3]. Higher p means more reemissions and a larger grab probability for valley points. the grab probability is 10% for a hilltop. wealthier people are more likely to receive a larger share of the aggregate social revenue. silicon. SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 28 . and 3 respectively. Intuitively.g. and microchip production [6]. and 3 respectively. The final outcome of the nanostructures depends on other factors as well.9 (which means the material reemits 90% of the time). One typical tendency is that well-connected and well-known people or institutions are more likely to grab attention of newcomers to a society or a network. Similarly.e. and (iv) the initial pattern of the substrate as in Figure 3(b). To get a quick sense of it. A well-known phrase to describe this is “the rich get richer. or nanoballs as in Fig. By using a combination of these techniques. “attention” in the former example and “money” in the latter) which have a high “sticking coefficient” and less reemission probability. (ii) energy of the particles. By changing the material characteristics (which affects the reemission probability) or the angle at which the atoms arrive at the surface (which affects shadowing). for p=0. the final surface will be smooth with evenly distributed growth. for p=0. Scientists have been using these effects to control the growth of the surface. engineering of light propagation [5]. The final surface will not be smooth but rough. (iii) movement of the underlying substrate. This phenomenon has been regularly observed in the growth of online social networks (e. and 7. When the reemission effect is dominant.25% for valley points with k=1. 12.” which Figure 3(a) clearly reveals. These nanostructures attracted the interest of researchers for various applications such as biosensors [4]. the hills will grow larger and maybe merge with each other while sites at the valleys will remain short.. especially recently for nanostructure growth. one can expect that the hills will get eliminated as the valleys will quickly grab the reemitted particles. when the shadowing effect is dominant. 2. such as (i) temperature of the substrate surface.1%. the scientist can control the dominance of the shadowing or reemission effects [3].3% for k=1. 2. the parameter p represents the importance the of reemission effect in the growth of the surface. That is. which yields a highly skewed wealth distribution. 3(b).5. sticks at nanometer lengths).. 3(c). the grab probability is 50% for a hilltop and 25%. showing nanorod growth with a highly sticky material. In this case. A social perspective It is not hard to see the role of shadowing and reemission effects on people and social growth as well. designers have been able to grow interesting structures such as nanosprings as shown in Fig.

education. M. Dr.S. On the other hand. Again. T.” Proceedings of the 12th ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining. Figure 2: Slanted forest growth in Tibet due to the shadowing effect on sunlight. 40. they certainly exist in unphysical structures such as societies. G. Phys. J. Phys.” J. 29 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . when the shadowing effect is dominant. Yang. D.. and T. and Solid State Lett. A 22. when reemission is poor and the shadowing effect is dominant. 2004. H138-H141. 2009. Water. Marburg 135. Novak. pp.”. and Y.Y. T. 2008. Lu. Dr. Dr. J. Zhao.rich hills poor valleys Figure 3: Cross-sectional scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images of some Si nanostructures obtained through the oblique angle deposition method [3]. pp. Sci.Z. Lee. and health are examples of such commodities that people “reemit” in many societies. Selbstverlag der Marburger Geographischen Gesellschaft. D: Appl. J. S. R. Karabacak is an Assistant Professor at the Applied Science Department of the University of Arkansas at Litte Rock. “Low temperature wafer bonding by copper nanorod array.-Q. S.” J.” In: G. Karabacak. 16784–1679. Sharing both physical wealth and knowledge is strongly advised for a strong community that lives in harmony. A. Philadelphia. L. Lin. An analogy between reemissions and charity (or helping others) is plausible. 201–227. Lu. pp. Ye. C 112. Collins. the social tendency has been to equally share (or reemit) items that are mostly commodity. Guclu. 2. S. R. T. Electrochem. C. 4. Zhang. “Structure and evolution of online social networks. 1778. in which reemission leads to smoother and denser films with structural integrity. August 2006.-C.P. though even the water is not reemitted in some societies. Fu. May 2009. M. Reno. 1. 79(19). pp. H. pp. Yuksel. 5. Frey. [2] Intuitively. “Network Behavior in Thin Film Growth Dynamics. A.-P.. Conclusions The interesting observation we would like the reader to recognize here is that shadowing and reemission effects take place at nano as well as at macro levels.-I. “Experimental realization of a well-controlled 3D silicon spiral photonic crystal.-X. pp. Parker. electricity. the hills will grow larger and maybe merge with each other while sites at the valleys will remain short. and A. Vac. Guclu is an Assistant Professor at the Biostatistics Department of the University of Pittsburgh. PA. 3.Bur. Tomkins. Cang. 2000. 7. Lu.-P. 611-617. “Physical self-assembly and the nucleation of 3D nanostructures by oblique angle deposition. Wang. Z. Though these effects are mainly studied in physical structures. 6. T. T. This is similar to the reemission effect during the growth of materials on the nano scale. 12. Editors. H.-X. P. D. Kumar.-M.” J. D. John.” Physical Review B. Yuksel is an Assistant Professor at the Computer Science and Engineering Department of the University of Nevada. “Equal sharing” in societies is certainly achievable through a more dominant reemission effect. Lu. “The optical properties and biosensor application of ultra thin Silver films prepared by oblique angle deposition. Technol. “Patterns of forest distribution and the impact of fire and pastoralism in the forest region of Tibet. and M. Environmental Changes in High Asia. Chem. Phys. and both play important roles in shaping formations or structures. T. Wang.-M. References 1. H. Karabacak. Karabacak. Winkler. Miehe and Y.-M. and T. J. Wang. it leads to isolated structures that look nicer but are structurally fragile (See Figure 3). 2007.

SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 30 .PERSPECTIVES Zainab Cassim Akdemirci Having love and compassion is something that needs to be nurtured and cultivated through spiritual education and practice. All religions preach love of humanity. and they aim to teach the faithful how one can attain the state of true love and compassion.

A person cannot be said to love unconditionally without being altruistic. Stephen Post of Stony Brook University says. no matter how beautiful they may be. By his definition. this is love—loving someone. and Mahatma Gandhi. trees and plants. and will also examine their situation in the world today and in the past. it is evident that simply loving one’s fellow beings is insufficient. Nelson Mandela. Adnan Aslan. giving things up for those one loves. “all of nature.A ltruism and love . Altruism is an exalted human feeling. “unconditional love is an unlimited way of being. so much so that his/her happiness means more than one’s own. “When the happiness and security of another person means as much to me. According to Dr. Istanbul. 31 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . Becker. All religions preach love of humanity. These words are losing their true meaning and value in the eyes of some people who see false value in other aspects of life such as power.” True love requires the making of sacrifices. and they aim to teach the faithful how one can attain the state of true love and compassion. and is frequently used to describe love between family members. true love encompasses love of animals and birds. Researcher at ISAM Foundation. said. Unconditional love is a concept comparable to true love. Having love and compassion is something that needs to be nurtured and cultivated through spiritual education and practice. Their lives show us that people of love do not always have to be nice—such people of love are the first to speak when there is injustice.these are two words that are fast losing meaning in today’s world of violence. everything that exists. The most direct way to the hearts of people is the way of love. or more than my own happiness and security. comrades in arms and between others in highly committed relationships. nor can a person be altruistic without loving unconditionally. the way of the proph- It is true that many speak words of love. and its source is love (Gülen 2004). If words are not put into practice. status and wealth. beautiful and pleasant words. Love is the most powerful emotion in the world. Dr. So. Such examples can be seen in the lives of our Holy Prophets (peace be upon them) and those of compassionate people such as Mother Theresa. hate or indifference. selfishness and avarice. what exactly do these words mean? This essay will explore these two facets in relation to human lives. I love that person. they are doomed to fail. It is the most powerful and most elusive phenomenon in our world. but what is important is putting such words into action. but when really pursued and sought after.” The most compassionate man is he who is able to love all living things. Altruistic people continue to live on in the hearts of people even after they are dead. Harold W. Florence Nightingale. true love is the love of all— all human beings and all of nature. it is simple and accessible to all. author and founder of The Love Foundation Inc. Altruism and love go hand in hand. It will also touch upon the relation between science and love as well as the different kinds of love. Their exemplary lives of selflessness shine like beacons of hope for those who despair at the state of the world. even more powerful than its opposite.” Put very simply. they are the proverbial “straws” that “drowning men” clutch at. Rather.

All of them stood up for their people and even for people of other cultures. does not count. in honor preferring one another” (Romans 12:10). But how exactly is this love portrayed? The writing of flowery verses. even when faced by great opposition. One of his constant cautions to his companions was “He is not of us who sleeps while his neighbor goes hungry.” It is also quoted in the New Testament. In today’s world. and Jesus. power and technology has been followed by conflicts among cultures and civilizations. and stoned by the people of Ta’if. The globalization of knowledge. when he was laughed and mocked. He also loved his people so much that his constant prayer was for the forgiveness and salvation of his followers. if. If words are not put into practice. and when the Qurayshis dumped faeces and entrails of animals on his head as he prayed. turn the other cheek. racism and various different kinds of evil. may peace be upon him. All the prophets practiced unconditional love during their times. Noah. but what is important is putting such words into action. Yet there are individuals and organizations trying to do something . “If someone hits you. These blessed people were able to root out feelings of hatred and rancour in themselves against others. temples and mosques. Daily news items contain horrifying stories of destruction of churches. and helped them with such compassion and love. Loving kindness has the capacity to bring happiness to others without demanding anything in return” and Jesus. People – including little children – are being maimed like flies during war. Only hearts that are filled with love for God and for people are able to tolerate such unjust and merciless treatments. social acceptance and so on.ets and all other great religious leaders such as Lord Buddha. are two other such examples. lives of Mother Theresa. may peace be upon him. practice loving kindness to overcome anger. Their love for all life was in direct relation to their ultimate goal in life. In more recent times. even at the risk of their own lives. It is true that many speak words of love. corruption. who advised his son. Nelson Mandela. beautiful and pleasant words. “Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love. “Rahula.” Love and affection are among the most important principles of being true human. eternal war. such as the Prophet Muhammad. practiced what he preached. the support received during childhood and adulthood. romance novels. The world is devastated by endless killings. as said before. All the prophets we learn from religions had among their dominant traits. The Prophet Muhammad. love is not put into practice. and Mahatma Gandhi can be referenced. the horror stories never end. who said. who was made to suffer by his own people whom he loved. the SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 32 An individual’s behavior with and towards other humans is at least partially dependent upon how he is brought up. love and compassion. the making of romantic movies and so on. the pleasure of God. no matter how beautiful they may be. who bore the ridicule of his own people as he built the great ark at the command of his Lord. they are doomed to fail. his family’s background. love is a word we constantly stumble over.

it is out of love for their children that parents correct and punish them when they do something wrong. unless tampered with. graceful. NJ: Tughra Books. Such people do so because of their closeness to God. M. social acceptance and so on. However. the support received during childhood and adulthood. Fethullah. and such qualities were also witnessed in the lives of great people of more recent times. Scientific research concludes that humans are indeed born with the need and ability to love. with blood shot eyes. Gülen. 2. There are several kinds of love. Whichever feeling is fed will be the one that is victorious. 1991. Mothers who are drug addicts may not respond to the needs of their children as the drugs they use make them lose their ability to love in a normal and healthy way. CA: Parallax Press.to preserve peace and the love of humanity in the world. Interview with Dr. 3. An individual’s behavior with and towards other humans is at least partially dependent upon how he is brought up. it is ever present and ready to be cultivated if only people take enough time and interest to do so. the ability to love requires a healthy functioning brain. Instead. It is interesting to see what Science has to say about love. In conclusion it can be said that true altruism and unconditional love in human beings is definitely possible. People of love busy themselves with fighting their own mistakes and misdemeanors rather than complaining about the misdeeds of others. hurt. The two opposing feelings of love and hate can be likened unto two wolves inside a person. which remains with us. It is a mother’s love for her child that turns her blood into milk when her baby cries. they set a good example for people to follow.” Ebru TV. his family’s background. Though love does not always show itself in the world as it is hidden by other violent forces. It is also further proved by the fact that altruism and unconditional love were the daily practice in the lives of our great and noble prophets and religious leaders. such as maternal love. friends love each other. this is not always visible in our environment because. Thich Nhat Hahn. Stephen Post. 2004. devotion to a spiritual life and determination to stay away from all material dirt and evil. The part of the human brain called the pre-frontal cortex enables us to think into the future. According to Dr. Lovers love each other. as explained previously. Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha. envy. beautiful. platonic love and so on. Therefore. children of drug addicts are oftentimes neglected. husband and wife love each other. the world today is filled with negative feelings— anger. marital love. and the other fierce and ugly. a person with a healthy brain is predisposed to think about a future in which there are connections to others. 33 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . References 1. and when we think of a future we gain security when we see a future of connectedness and attachment. one sleek. “Matter and Beyond. Zainab Cassim Akdemirci has a degree in English and language teaching from Open University of Sri Lanka. romantic love. Fricchione. greed. since we have been given the innate capacity to love. It is our love for one another that makes us overlook each other’s faults and shortcomings. soft eyed. Toward a Global Civilization of Love and Tolerance. Gregory Fricchione of the Harvard Medical School. According to Dr. familial love.

as did Muhammad Lutfi Effendi: Everybody else is good but I am bad. In a narration attributed to the truthful. and as letting that realization guide one’s conduct toward God and with people. one of the foremost in nearness to God. and if one can sincerely confess. a pebble in a stream or chaff in a field. O Caliph of God’s Messenger? ‘Umar.BELIEF M. T awadu (modesty and humility) is the opposite of arrogance. God exalts him. just as one’s true smallness is inversely proportional to behaving as if one were small. God humiliates him. Those who have done this are humble and balanced in their relations with others. and Ibn ‘Abbas. Fethullah Gülen HUMILITY True humility means that people must know the full extent of their worth before God’s infinite Grandeur. individual part of creation. the last definition relates to those made sincere by God Himself and who are near to Him. carrying water in a pitcher on his shoulder. a mat spread on a floor or a pavement stone. Zayd ibn Thabit kissed Ibn ‘Abbas’ hand. everybody else is wheat but I am chaff. pride. I felt some conceit in my heart and wanted to suppress it.3 When he was the chief judge in Madina. treating others humbly and respectfully. the grandson of the Prophet. confirmed one. Humility has been defined in many ways: seeing oneself as devoid of all virtues essentially originating in oneself. Abu Hurayra carried wood while he was the deputy governor of Madina. sat with some children who were eating bread crumbs and ate with them. It can also be interpreted as one’s awareness of one’s real position before God. the inhabitants of the heavens will kiss him or her on the head. may God be pleased with him. and kept silent when people questioned and criticized his action. upon him be peace and blessings. Once Abu Dharr offended Bilal al-Habashi and. whoever is haughty. put his head on the ground and declared: If the blessed feet of Bilal do not tread on this sinful head. and haughtiness. one’s true greatness is inversely proportional to behaving as if one were great. a threshold of a door. essential part of their nature.1 Thus. However.2 Once he accused himself while giving a sermon from the pulpit. to obtain his forgiveness. If one sees oneself as an ordinary. helped Zayd get on his horse. answered: Some envoys have come from other countries. and then make this fully realized potential an ingrained.4 Hasan. He asked him: What are you doing. ‘Umar used to carry flour on his back. known as the Interpreter of the Quran and the Scholar of the Umma. All of these events and many similar ones are instances of humility. and being alert to any stirring of the ego and immediately suppressing it. upon him be peace and blessings. seeing oneself as the worst of humanity (unless being honored by a special Divine treatment). it will not rise from the ground. Each definition expresses a dimension of humility. it is said: Whoever is humble. A Companion saw Caliph ‘Umar. SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 34 .

God exalts one who is humble. to Caliph ‘Umar and the Umayyad Caliph ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-’Aziz and from him to numerous saints. and the Divine statements extremely humble toward believers (5:54) and merciful among themselves.12 He mended his shoes and clothes. Those 35 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . looked after widows and orphans. and then make this fully realized potential an ingrained. the glory of humanity. purified and perfected scholars. upon him be peace and blessings.16 The beloved servants of God. and mild and easy to get along with6. he worked with them. and answered the call of slaves in his community.13 He sat at the table with his servant.15 visited the ill. milked sheep.8 The glory of humanity. while the signs of smallness in the small are arrogance and vanity. and played with them.9 If someone held him by the hand and wanted to lead him somewhere. The Quranic verse: The servants of the All-Merciful are those who walk on the earth in modesty. and that no one must boast to another5.14 He always welcomed the poor warmly. upon him be peace and blessings. followed funeral processions. declared: God has told me that you must be humble. and O God. essential part of their nature. That one sees himself as small while he is truly great in the sight of people7. he never objected. greeted them. lived as the most humble of people. upon him be peace and blessings.11 When people were working.Both God Almighty and His Messenger emphasized humility so much that one who knows of it does not doubt that servanthood consists of humility. and if the impudent offend them. True humility means that people must know the full extent of their worth before God’s infinite Grandeur. and those honored with nearness to God. from God’s Messenger. Concerning humility. and fed animals. Based on this understanding. they sought to show men and women how to become perfect. make me see myself as small.10 He helped his wives with the housework. you find them bowing down and falling prostrate (48:29) are expressions of praise for the ingrained humility reflected in their conduct. Shall I inform you of one whom Hellfire will not touch? Hellfire will not touch one who is near to God and amiable with people. He stopped at the places where children were gathered. they continue their way saying: “Peace” (25:63) praises humility. have held that the signs of greatness in the great are humility and modesty.

A believer is nearest to God when prostrating before Him. that reason or what is rational must be preferred. the fault lies in their defective understanding. Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya. they view other people’s love for them as the reason for doing good deeds. Ibn Hanbal. Muslim. Those who have achieved humility are completely convinced of the truth of whatever the Prophet said or did. 6. They are convinced that what is contained in the Quran and the authentic Traditions of the Prophet. 7. Muslim.” 78. They are certain that one cannot prosper in the Hereafter by following ways opposed to the Quran and the Sunna. “Nafaqat. 7:129. 17. Ibn Hanbal. (Beirut: Dar al Fikr. 11. Their further assertion that judgments based on reasoning and analogy must be given priority over revealed principles is also mistaken. Al-Sira al-Nabawiya.” 25. Al-Shifa’ al-Sharif. 5. (Beirut: Maktabat al-Ma‘arif. n. However. so also are they equal in that they are all created.” 41. 8:113. 1970). and seek to practice it in their lives. 9 vols. Muslim. “Talaq. it is nonsense for those without humility and modesty to assert. the Quran refers to him as God’s servant. 4:165. Notes 1. they accuse themselves of being unable to discern the incomparable superiority of the revealed truths and expressions. The wonders worked and spiritual pleasures felt by following ways not followed by the Prophet. “Sifat al-Qiyama.” 1.). Abu al-Fida Qadi ‘Iyad.” 15.” 55.” 45. While recounting the Prophet’s Ascension (to the heavens). Shama’il. Abu Nu‘aym. one who worships God never adores anyone else. such people seek to learn the truth of the matter. and one who serves others cannot be a true servant of God. They obey the commandments of religion. 4. In reality. 15. so also are they equal in that they are all created.” 15. “At’ima. Al-Bukhari. for they have no objection to the revealed truths of religion. Muslim. Usd al-Ghaba fi Ma‘rifat al Sahaba. “Janna. Those who are truly humble do not attribute the fruits of their work and efforts to themselves. “Adab. Those who have realized their nothingness before God Almighty are balanced in both their religious lives and their relations with people. Do not boast of yourself in a way to see yourself as greater than others. If something else. Abu Dawud. 1:131. 4 vols.” 45. In short. 14. Munafiqin. “Zuhd. Abu al-Fida’ Isma‘il Ibn Kathir. and so on). Musnad. Al-Bukhari. SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 36 . 2:383. Al-Haythami. “Zuhd. If there is an apparent contradiction between these two sources and human reason or established rational or scientific facts. 9.” 40. They regard their being loved by others as a test of their sincerity. is God’s way of leading people to perdition. 42. characterized with the qualities of God (such as generosity. Muslim. (Beirut: Dar al-Ihya’ al-Turath al-‘Arabi. 8 vols.” who have done this are humble and balanced in their relations with others. As creatures are equal in being distant from being worshipped. 3. Muhammad Ibn Hisham. upon him be peace and blessings.” 64. 10. 1966). 12. They find the greatest source of power in servanthood to God. helpful. (Cairo. Majma‘ al-Zawa’id. forgiving. 2:141. saying: There are many people who find fault with the words having no defects. “Isti’dhan. Do not boast of yourself in a way to see yourself as greater than others.“Do not see anything or anybody else other than God as so much greater than you as to deserve adoration or servanthood. In other words. 10:325 ‘Izz al-Din Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al-Jazari Ibn al-Athir. not as a way of asserting their superiority over others. appears to them as more beautiful or acceptable. Tafsir Sura 9.” 8. just as humility is the portal to good conduct or being 13. “Nafaqat. Al-Bukhari. Al-Isaba fi Tamyiz al-Sahaba. 8.17 and do not exploit God’s favors to them by boasting to others about them. Al-Bukhari. Roses grow on the earth. is true. upon him be peace and blessings. nor do they regard their successes or efforts in the way of God as making them superior to others. nor do they criticize its method of addressing or relating to human reason. (Beirut: 1238 ah / 1910 ce). and humanity was created on the earth and not in the heavens. as a sign of his humility and utmost modesty. “Sifat al-Qiyama. it is also the first and foremost means of being near to both the created and the Creator. They do not care how other people regard them. 3. Al-Tirmidhi. and do not demand a return for their services in the way of God.” 42. 2:332. Al-Tirmidhi. 14 vols. 12. 2 vols.” 14. Therefore. merciful. Al-Tirmidhi. Musnad. 16. 1988). 6:256. when confronted with an apparent contradiction between reason or rational premises and the revealed and narrated principles of religion.d. for “success” in such endeavors leads to sin. Al-Bukhari. 2. As creatures are equal in being distant from being worshipped. They never doubt it. How apt are the following words of Bediuzzaman: Do not see anything or anybody else other than God as so much greater than you as to deserve adoration or servanthood. such as a wise saying or a great accomplishment. Muslim. “Ayman. Hilyat al-Awliya’. Ibn Hajar al Asqalani. “Salam.

POEM Mirkena Ozer I am a mother. I am a mother. There is always some stain on my clothes that detergent won’t remove. the singer selfless like the rain. I am a mother. the earth. the nurse. the sun. multiplication table adorns my kitchen wall. like little notes that say “luv mom” or sketched portrait with ugly teeth and fuzzy hair. I lose my keys every other day. I am a mother. Mirkena Ozer pursues MA in women studies at the University of Georgia. paradise lies under my feet. every line reflecting admiration and care. I am a mother and a pediatrician though I never went to medical school. Atlanta. I am a mother. small things make me cry for joy. the teacher. I have 8 arms like an octopus reaching in every direction. Nobody can worry as much as I do. the driver. instead of a picture. I play the cook. Me and my cell phone fall apart too often. my notebook has dinosaurs drawn on it the wall of my bedroom a little artist’s exhibition. my heart deep and vast like an ocean. 37 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 .

bei hin an to t um lity all ry h abi kes nity Eve n the hat ma huma ink give t is w ess of we th maTha progr When infor d on the sible. ss the base w pos proce eceive y kno we we r alread make an tion at we sually ody c wh we u s.is ng k. Nob mans ss and gment all hu proce y. jud y that h this ry da den throug es eve go ny tim ma SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 PHILOSOPHY Ertan Salik 38 .

39 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . evaluation and inference as well as explanation of the evidential. if learning the truth is his goal. In his response. is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads. so that he may avoid falling into either prejudice or leniency. That is what makes all the progress of humanity possible. faculty members in the US almost unanimously agree that “teaching critical thinking” is the principal aim for undergraduate education. according to Derek Bok. He should also suspect himself as he performs his critical examination of it. there is no universal definition for it. and applying his mind to the core and margins of its content. Prof. self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation. The American Philosophical Association gives the following definition: “Purposeful. we can be wrong in our judgments. Zewail’s statements resonate very well with what famous scholar Ibn-al Haytham said 10 centuries ago: “The seeker after truth is not one who studies the writings of the ancients and. the one who submits to argument and demonstration. Nobody can deny that all humans go through this process many times every day. puts his trust in them. do not accept it without question. the former president of Harvard University. First. Today. In this article we aim to clarify what critical thinking is. Zewail promoted critical thinking greatly and emphasized that critical thinking is an essential ingredient for progress. our judgments. following his natural disposition. In fact. that is. attack it from every side. and this is where “critical” thinking might help.T he Fountain Magazine recently published an interview with Nobel Laurate Ahmad Zewail. how an individual can practice it.3 Although many have great conviction that critical thinking is very important. But we can question the outcome of our thinking process. Many times.”2 Every human being is given the ability to think. and not the sayings of a human being whose nature is fraught with all kinds of imperfection and deficiency. but rather the one who suspects his faith in them and questions what he gathers from them. we can identify the following points about critical thinking: 1) When you read or hear a statement.1 in which he answered a question about critical thinking. particularly during university education. we should emphasize that Prof. and what benefits critical thinking will bring to a person and the society. most people learn how to think systematically at schools. analysis. When we think we process the information we receive based on what we already know and we usually make judgments. Thus the job of the man who investigates the writings of scientists. conceptual and methodological considerations on which a judgment is based.”4 Based on this definition and what we quoted from Ibnal Haytham.

however. and some points of view have more support than others. As we further grow in our intellectual development. We can retain what we learn more easily. everyone should ask questions. Besides. We also read our textbooks. Typical student tendency might be to just accept what they hear and what they read. Although we must strive to teach critical thinking.2) Try to find other information that can support or disprove the statement. we might need to find alternative modes of teaching and move away from conventional method of active teacher – passive students. and test the statement. numerous possibilities of making mistakes in your judgments. In the real world. and it is just a matter of finding the authority who can give that answer. Therefore. and not everyone is in the same phase at a given time. however. 3) As you perform your critical examination. In middle and high school. news reporting is so much commercialized that news editors and reporters also think about how to attract readers. In addition. though this may depend on the student’s intellectual development and the culture of the society. then you can sometimes be manipulated or fooled. An increased number of critical thinkers will help create a healthy debate about controversial issues. In some complex cases. we should always make some decisions. At schools. or supports some political positions. we realize that sometimes many authoritative figures may disagree. or prejudices you can assume without knowing. By performing critical thinking we can filter out less reliable information. Therefore. If we perform critical thinking in the classroom and while reading textbooks. we usually notice that although people disagree on certain topics. As we grow up. and need to fight their own biases before reaching conclusions whenever they encounter a media report. we might start thinking that depending on who you ask the answer varies. This observation may make one a relativist. and come to better conclusions. Elementary school children are most likely to think that there is a correct answer to every question. we might realize that there is no single correct judgment. ideologies. we should also recognize the fact that there are roughly three distinct phases in our lives with respect to thinking. our teachers deliver new information every day. many students will realize that there may be different answers to the same question SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 40 . Typically. we can safely claim that on the average you expect the ability to think critically improve. and most of the time you cannot readily find an authoritative figure or a manual to consult. and it is all relative. In order to encourage students to perform more critical thinking in the classroom. if we develop the habit of performing it. In an ideal world we can assume that objective presentation of news is possible. We all know that in real life problems are never well defined. clarify certain interpretations. We can expand this critical approach with respect to news media to our formal education experiences. can help us every day. Consider your own biases. however. 4) Be aware of the method you use for evaluating a claim. the purpose of schools and universities is to prepare us for life. and might use catchy words deliberately. be aware of your own deficiencies as a human. it is imperative that we teach students to question what they hear and what they read. and circumstances might lead us down different paths. those who transfer news bits to the population are also humans who are prone to similar biases. you read a newspaper or watch news on TV. Many times a newspaper or a TV station represents certain values. that is. Consider how you receive information in the twenty-first century. In the context of these three different phases. however. we can grow intellectually much more than otherwise. If you just accept what you hear and see. When we are young we usually think that every question has a certain answer. Critical thinking. as we get older. try to come up with ways to demonstrate validity or falsehood of the statement. and think about both its strengths and weaknesses.

we typically find that there is no basis for this claim. This straightforward observation suggests that most people cannot be critical thinkers even if they want to be. there is disagreement about whether it is caused by our technological conveniences. and s/ he is prone to become a repeater of someone else’s ideas. it is very hard for him to critically examine any work on urban planning. though very significant for a healthy society. then it becomes a myth. Or you can ask about what kind of evidence he is using. there is a controversial topic and someone makes some crucial statements about it. Although knowledge of a topic makes us better thinkers in a field. you can ask whether the speaker is an expert on the topic or not. Instead. if rote memorization is more valued than critical evaluation. In science. Some questions to ask are as follows: 1) What does it mean to use 10% of the brain? 2) Who provides this information? Is s/he a neuroscientist? 3) How do people measure brain usage? 4) Einstein lived long time ago. Did they measure his brain activity the same way as the control group to conclude that he used more of his brain? When we search for answers to these questions. That is. or whether it is just a result of natural temperature fluctuations in geological time scales (hundreds of thousands of years). the reviewers submit a report to the editors of the journal. Critical thinking is extremely crucial to separate the truth from myth. have an obligation to be extremely critical of others’ work. By doing a simple web search on global warming you can find articles both supporting and denying human-caused global warming. for example. at minimum. Let us remember that Ahmad Zewail and Ibn-al Haytham are both scientists. to which they may respond.depending on whom you ask. Indeed. some jobs require critical thinking more than others. there are always some minimal questions one can ask. which might be true. Scientists. It does not mean much. who then make a decision. highly depends on our teaching strategies. It is clear that if someone knows nothing about urban planning. Does the evidence presented come from a reliable source? Why may this person take this side of the argument. This final outcome. Even if you don’t know about the topic. But which point of view should you believe? Although there is consensus that global warming is happening. A well known example is about our brains. we can safely state that a scientist must be a critical thinker. Any contribution submitted to a scientific journal is tested for correctness and originality. or otherwise s/he cannot perform his or her research duties. By the time of their graduation we expect university students to learn how to critically evaluate information. Maybe the statement originally meant that many do not use their brain’s full potential. At the end of the critical review. A great case in which many feel lost is the global warming debate. for example. While everyone and every profession benefits from critical thinking. then university graduates might stay as naïve relativists or even worse. From what we explained so far. but not other alternatives? Are there any other alternative approaches to the same issue? That is. Any research carried out becomes scientific knowledge after it is submitted to the critical reviews of other scientists in the field. and geniuses like Einstein are able to use more of their brains.” which is extremely useful. Fortunately. this conclusion is only partially true because critical thinking is not a single discrete outcome but rather a continuum. when the statement is compared to what we know about brain science. perhaps we should ask why people 41 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . In many societies. it is probably obvious that we need some background knowledge about a subject in order to become a real critical thinker. and may go awry at times. the answers to these questions can help us develop sound judgment. there is a process called “peer review. the question “which point of view should you believe?” may not be the correct question. In short. For example. Many times the authors of the article are asked questions or are asked to make modifications. But. it is said that people typically use about 10% of their brain.

Pomona. Morgan Reynolds Publishing.5 In short. or that some governments might not use certain political leverage in international relations. and social consequences. Why do people care a lot about various aspects of global warming and atmospheric science research? A little investigation shows that there is a lot at stake. 3.Critical thinking cannot be done instantly. and conclude that no action is needed until all the claims are proven. 2. As well as teaching and conducting physics research Dr. In practice. We leave further investigation on climate change to practice critical thinking to the interested reader. it requires effort and courage to come face-to-face with one’s own errors. Some point to reports prepared with sponsorship from some governments or companies. 2006. Critical Thinking: A Statement of Expert Consensus for Purposes of Educational Assessment and Instruction. and all others are false. As we mention above. Teaching critical thinking is not instant. Critical thinking does not mean that we need to become a skeptic and reject everything. 4. biases. issue 67. It displays a vast variety of colors. critical thinking skills are essential for everybody. interview with Ahmad Zewail by Nuh Gedik. If you agree that man-made global warming can trigger many other events which can eventually make the climate on the Earth fall off-balance. In the final evaluation. causes global warming has many economic. What needs to be emphasized is that the world is not black and white. Further investigation also shows that there are different types of evidence people use. IPCC consensus statements can be downloaded from http://www. May-June 2008. Derek. agendas. Formal and informal education institutions must strive to develop critical thinking skills in students. Dr. it requires effort and courage to come face-to-face with one’s own errors. it is extremely crucial that we take the necessary steps to increase the number of critical thinkers in the world for the benefit of all humankind. sometimes a lot of effort. In this regard. Bradley. In conclusion. either. political. prejudgments. paradigms. issue 63. great events and findings might force us to evaluate certain paradigms we take for granted. paradigms and the information channels we use when we process new information.ch/. This is because atmospheric science is extremely complex. The Fountain magazine. Lazy personalities and those who do not like to engage their mental abilities are less likely to perform critical thinking. Some expand on disagreements among scientists. Steffens. and values. We can give more weight to certain colors than to others. Salik is currently involved in many education programs. there are also scientific articles published in “peer-reviewed” journals. it is a complex issue. and such an endeavor might require modification of our approach to teaching. Accepting that excessive use of energy by humans. such sharp turns do not happen frequently in the life of an individual or society. and the credibility of evidence varies. What we cannot claim is that there is a single color. feverishly debate about this issue. Bok. American Philosophical Association Report. then it follows that many people in the world must change their lifestyles. Teaching critical thinking is not instant. and even with our best computers modeling the changes in the atmosphere it remains a very hard task. Critical thinking requires effort. if one does not have any reference it becomes very hard to move forward in thought. In fact. Jan-Feb 2009. of Physics at California State Polytechnic Univ. Notes 1. However. Rote criticism does not require much effort.ipcc. mere criticism of one another can be a means to create unnecessary enmity among individuals. Critical thinking cannot be done instantly. We can certainly have certain beliefs. descriptions of critical thinking involve paying special attention to certain criteria and standards. Obviously. Ertan Salik is an Assistant Prof. worldviews. While critical thinking is necessary for a healthy society to clarify especially certain controversial topics. We should be aware of our own shortcomings. and this may also mean that some big companies must make changes which may hurt their profits. which leads to increase in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. These may become the basis for some of the criteria and standards against which we evaluate new information. it will not be easy to accept such findings. At times. The Intergovernmental Panel SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 42 on Climate Change (IPCC) puts out consensus statements. too. as well as the sources. scientists on both sides of the aisle. 1990. even if they come from some prominent scientists. critical thinking is also very different from rote criticism. . Also see Book Review in The Fountain Magazine. There are. Ibn-al Haytham: First Scientist. in fact. 5. Our Underachieving Colleges. typically the statements of the person performing the critique do not have a sound basis. either. Princeton Univ Press.

One of my professors. the blood pressure in our arteries is pretty much equal throughout the body. If the pressure decreases. perceives a low or high blood pressure. had died. we learned that due to hypotension he had become dizzy and fainted. the frequency of the signals that are sent to the brain increases and this drops in case of hypotension. When we have been sitting or lying for a long time we can suffer from orthostatic hypotension due to an insufficient operation of the sympathetic nerves.BIOLOGY Omer Arifagaoglu J ust after having started my job at the university. the blood pressure in the arteries balances once again. while decreasing in the brain. These baroreceptors are located in the aorta as it leaves the heart and in the carotid artery as it enters the brain. which could result in a fatal injury. hitting his head against the bathroom sink and suffering cerebral bleeding. informing it about the blood pressure in the body. There are baroreceptors in the walls of main arteries whose tasks are to measure constantly the blood pressure and to send data (electrical signals) to the brain. When we are lying down. This center constantly receives data about blood pressure. when the cause of death was revealed. then we may suffer an increase or decrease in blood pressure. When we stand up. If these changes cannot be naturally controlled. who was only in his fifties. The center of vessel movement in the brain. with regard to the frequency of electrical signals it receives. If we lie down again. the blood pressure is affected by the gravity and increases in the vessels under the heart. the 43 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 JULY / AUGUST 2010 . With the onset of hypertension. this continuously controls the blood pressure and regulates it. In the brain is a vasomotor center. I was shocked by some sad news.

Consequently. As the blood pressure rises. the heart contracts faster and stronger. Thus. the mechanism which is in charge of reducing the pressure via vasomotor center is triggered. the blood pressure falls. by triggering the parasympathetic nerves. As the arteries receive less blood the volume of blood in the system falls off and as the arteries and veins expand. when the heart relaxes and there is a short and sudden decrease in pressure. and thus the blood pressure increases. they can suffer from dizziness and perhaps even faint due to irregular blood pressure. the blood pressure increases further. the blood pressure which has been reduced via the sympathetic system is reduced even further with the parasympathetic system. At this point. when the heart is pumping the blood and there is a short and sudden increase in pressure and in the diastole period. While pressure is applied to the sympa- thetic nerves. which decreases 70 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 44 . Due to the dilatation in the veins.signals of the sympathetic nerve increase. However. it works faster and contributes to the increase in the pressure. the extra blood that is stored inside the veins is pumped into the heart. The arteries and veins also constrict and owing to this constriction in the arteries. The average healthy human heart beats 70 times per minute. operating to increase the hypotension and to decrease the hypertension. Now. it is necessary for there to be a rapid drop in blood pressure. As a result. the signals to the parasympathetic nerves are suppressed. As a result of sympathetic irritability. the volume of blood which is sent to the heart also decreases and as a result the heart pumps less blood and the blood pressure drops. In the meantime. the signals that are sent to the heart increase. as a result of the suppression of parasympathetic nerve signals. When a person whose sympathetic system is not functioning normally suddenly stands up. the rate of systole and the amount of blood which is being pumped decreases. This helps to slow the heart down and ensures that there is less blood pumping through the system. the system is in charge and functioning at every second. Even in the systole period. the signals that are being sent to the heart and vessels decrease. which increases 70 times every minute. the heart begins to beat faster and stronger. as the heart is receiving greater volumes of blood. As a consequence of constriction in the veins. thus pumping much more blood. there are 70 systole and 70 diastole stages every minute. It pumps much more blood in a unit of time. thus a normal balance can be maintained by decreasing the pressure. We cannot control this system and it acts extremely rapidly and with great elegance. which is provided by the simultaneous functioning of different mechanisms. and by increasing the pressure. If the pressure increases.

the continuity of blood going to the brain can be maintained. a small decrease in the blood going to the brain can lead to an increase in acidity and carbondioxide in the brain tissues and to a decrease in oxygen. a system that is so sensitive and vital to our lives. For patients suffering from orthostatic hypotension patients. In addition. this system functions 140 times every minute. In fact. in order to partially compensate for the decrease in the arteries. In addition. By preventing a decrease in the difference of pressure (perfusion pressure) between the two systems. Pause for a minute… What would happen if this miraculous system did not exist? Consider how much time it would take you to merely get out of bed every day! 45 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . The amount of blood going to the brain is related to the maintenance of a difference in blood pressure between the arteries and veins and to the recirculation of blood. and then suddenly fall to the ground. a system that we are not aware of. In connection with hypotension. this is how the body maintains a normal balance. they can suffer from dizziness and perhaps even faint due to irregular blood pressure. when a person whose sympathetic system is not functioning normally suddenly stands up. In such scenes. he will then suddenly spring up and performs different moves. When these systems go into action anyone who is not suffering from orthostatic hypotension will have a stable amount of oxygen consumption in the brain when they stand up. a system the details of which have only recently been understood after centuries of observation could be nothing more than a coincidence? The pressure regulating system mentioned above carries out other important tasks while we are sitting and standing as well. which operates throughout our life. the body is able to maintain a balance. As mentioned at the beginning of the article with reference to an actual sad incident. it is important that they do not stand up rapidly. Is it possible that this system. the blood pressure changes suddenly.times every minute. Should not the person watching these scenes stand in amazement before the divine wisdom and art. the pressure in the veins to the brain decreases. and thus not experience dizziness. scenes from karate movies are wonderful displays of the perfect functioning of this system. the fighter will jump up. Certainly with every movement. this results in the dilatation of the blood vessels in the brain. exercises that encourage the use of leg muscles before standing up will help pump blood towards the brain. In other words. but as a sign of the Creator’s mercy and grace.

He was very rational. I have talked to my boss.WOMEN Safiye Arslan At last. It was not a simple question to answer. He asked me if I could manage doing research and raising two kids because research was never meant to be an 8 am to 5:30 pm job. SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 46 .

who is also overwhelmed at work. and that serving humanity is serving God since it is done for the sake of His love. My boss was nice to me and kept telling me I would do better when my child becomes one year old during all these difficult times. would be a great way to serve humanity. Many years ago. As I studied his teachings more. It was not ethical to delay telling him anymore even if I did not want to quit and knew that when I want to go back to work. By the divine grace of God and with the help of biochemistry. I was very excited to be able to fully pursue my research and to show my boss how dedicated I was. Since then I had been doing better and we made plans for more intense research. It is not good enough to have a PhD degree to set me apart from my competitors on the job market. I had heard about a Turkish Muslim scholar. my boss would need to find somebody who will be able to work significantly more hours than I can work. I could not go to work most of the days of the week. find cures for them. planning. However. Unfortunately. balancing career and family life is a team effort so I need to share parenting duties with my husband. Since I was dehydrated all the time. Instead. It didn’t seem like a right time to have another baby in that point of my life. He asked me if I could manage doing research and raising two kids because research was never meant to be an 8 am to 5:30 pm job. We had planned so many experiments with my boss just a couple of days ago when we had a research planning meeting together. The actual question was if I really want to go through all this trouble. on the other hand. my life will be challenging. reading e-mails or taking lunch breaks at work. I won’t have time for chatting with colleagues. In a few months I would need some time off and he would need some time to find a new person to replace me. To keep both a family and an academic career intact I need discipline. He would not act against the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. In academia. I had morning sickness for five months and I was not even able to keep down water. I am done. I need to constantly be an active and productive researcher. my productivity had been affected due to my first pregnancy. but I did not want to listen to it. Then I thought that doing science. I realized that I can take on many roles besides being a wife and a mother. as a young woman who was trying to find a direction for my life. my perception on the roles of women in society had changed. There were too many things to do. I was pregnant. I knew that with kids. no matter where I am or what job I have. Furthermore. it was not fair not to tell him as soon as possible. He hired me two years ago expecting me to work 60–70 hours per week like all other distinguished researchers in the life sciences. should serve God. every single human being. However. therefore. My conscience was telling me that I need to cherish this baby since every baby is a miracle and a blessing and God does things for a reason. especially studying biochemistry. I will not stress myself out. It was not a simple question to answer. I love them with all my heart and it is so hard to see them crying behind me when I leave them for work. The most difficult part is that I have to deal with the guilt associated with leaving my children to go to work everyday. I will make long to do lists. *** At last. it will not be so easy to find a job. if I slow down and take a couple years off. new responsibilities and commitments to keep. however. things did not get better after I gave birth because my baby was not sleeping at all during the night. Fethullah Gülen. I was also aware of the fact that in scientific research. Therefore. and some help at work and home. I could not talk to him for awhile. Instead I was trying to decide how and when I should talk to my boss about this pregnancy. He was very rational. The saying “publish or perish” is well-known in academia. talking on the phone with friends. which was very problematic.1 According to this amendment women affected by pregnancy or related conditions must be treated in the same manner as other applicants or employees with similar abilities or limitations. I had trouble waking up in the morning and struggled with daytime at work. there is a high risk of getting scooped by a competitor if you delay publishing and that’s why scholars are pressured to publish new work quickly. I am expected to get high-quality publications out to apply for a tenure-track faculty position. But I was pregnant again. I will be happy with the things I have accomplished. because I was worried about disappointing him. I might prevent the spread of diseases. I was aware of the fact that he actually would not be able to lay me off because of my pregnancy. enhance the nutritional value of crops or even improve plant resistance against 47 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . I began to think about my motivation for my academic career. and prioritize each item and if I can not get all of them done. My conclusion from his teachings was that men or women.I was just sitting there hysterically crying and thinking what I would do now. I have talked to my boss.

I will face many difficulties. therefore. 2. Sahih al-Muslim. I even started enjoying my pregnancy and being a mother for the second time.”4 This means a lot to me. Read. I am so happy that all the hard work I do as a mother to raise my kids to become good individuals will be awarded hereafter by God. 1999. the Prophet Muhammad. Pub. or study its biology in a book.” I may not prepare dinners like the ones in cooking shows for my kids. MIT Press. When I look at a tiny cell under a microscope. where they are significantly underrepresented. but this time with some “obstacles. Am I ever going to get a tenure-track job and get tenure? Am I going to be my little ones’ unforgettable tune? Simply. Virginia Valian. Who created– Created human from a clot clinging (to the wall of the womb). not a burden. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. First of all. so my research halted for a month. but he can share parenting responsibilities and household chores. however. “Muqaddimah. I am back now. I took a month off after the delivery. for me. For example. peace be upon him: “Heaven lies under the feet of mothers. who is a distinctive professor of psychology at Hunter College. Going through all of this and reading a lot on this subject have helped me realize a few things. 6. Second. 88-352. Who has taught (human) by the pen. if my two little angels greet me with hugs and kisses that will make me happy. Safiye Arslan is a research fellow in the area of biological chemistry and lives in Nevada. motherhood was an opportunity and honor God has given me. Kashf al-hafa. according to a study done by Virginia Valian. but I can still be a mother who provides the most care. the delicate balances in all the cellular pathways.”3 In brief. has said: “Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim (male and female)”2 and “Whoever takes a path for knowledge.3 and $3. Allah will make an easy way for him or her to paradise. They will cheer me up at home so that I will forget all the problems and stress at work. which provide funding for principal investigators with their own research projects. In addition.htm . This highly encourages me to pursue research and helps me know that I am not alone. http://www. or for the inclusion of female researchers. peace be upon him. Furthermore. I told my boss that I would do as much as I can to be a successful scientist and a mother. Why So Slow: The Advancement of Women. Afterwards. are exciting opportunities and show the support of society and the academic community for women and mothers. I need my husband’s help to overcome the challenges of managing a family and an academic career. I ask myself who makes cells from nothing and inspires each one to do all those complex functions. I am so blessed to have these tiny.” After 2 months of thinking. and being.” 17/224.environmental stresses. SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 48 Besides. So. happiness. I would try my best to be a mother like the one in Gracie Harmon’s memorable quote: “My mom is a never ending song in my heart of comfort. and Power. but I sure hope so. I said to myself that as millions of other working women. but this should not prevent me from celebrating every milestone in this pregnancy and afterwards. females are only 13% of all the full professors at universities and 21% at colleges5. knowledge and science are my vehicles that can take me to God and heaven. Ajluni. and compassion for her kids. and your Lord is the All-Munificent. cute and adorable creatures around me. The creation of the little cells. 4. The Civil Rights Act of 1964. I am happy with my choice about being a mother and an academic even though it is tough and stressful. “Iqra” is a command to read the signs the Creator placed in creation.pbn. it will be wonderful and so much fun to explore their world which is so innocent. love. I decided to continue on my journey as a scientific researcher. 1964). I do not know. 7. planning and contemplating. Sunan Ibn Maja. I may not do it all and do it well all the time. Taught human what he did not know. and thus help so many people around the world.com/stories/25262. I need a lot of support and encouragement to maintain my motivation. “Kitab ad-Dhikr. Then. the nutrients and minerals provided to maintain their lives etc. more universities started to promote their female faculty’s research programs in the science and engineering departments to ensure that more women are walking the halls of academia. lovely and full of joy. I found comfort and inspiration from a saying of the Prophet Muhammad. 3.edu/wfmp/cal. Notes 1. I did not deliver my baby who was a beautiful gift from heaven on Friday and go to work on Monday.secfac. 1/335.wisc. I am fascinated by its perfect structure created in such a small size. As a result. 241 (July 2.5 million grants respectively from the National Science Foundation in 2007 to develop the careers of women in science and engineering departments.6 There is also a Women Faculty Mentoring Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison which seeks to support and retain women assistant professors throughout the tenure process. no matter how tired I am after a long and busy day. Furthermore. allow me to better understand God’s eternal wisdom. Third. So. power and mercy.” 11/38. L. the first word revealed in the Quran was “iqra” meaning “read” (96:1) followed by: In and with the name of your Lord. biochemistry is not only the study of the chemical processes that happen in living things but also a way to better understand God’s Mercy.7 These kinds of programs. 5. Brown University and the University of Rhode Island got $3. No. He can’t do anything about 5 months of morning sickness and another full year of nursing and sleep deprivation.html http://www. When I re-thought all the reasons why I got into this field. It is a dilemma whether pregnancy is more reasonable during graduate school even with dissertation writing and teaching than it is when I am on the job market or have a tenure-track job or a postdoctoral research position. there is no convenient time for me to have babies in academia. Wisdom. 78 Stat. This little thing controls so many complicated biological pathways at the same time without messing them up.

As I listened somewhat less attentively than usual to my teacher’s ancient European history discussion. as it normally is in Colorado that time of year. but the blustery weather did not bother me. had found a bone marrow donor in New Jersey. one of the school’s counselors entered the classroom somberly.m. her spirit remains while it has also moved on to its next destination. She asked my teacher if she could take me down to her office and 49 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . a distant east coach angel that would give her the gift of life. I t was a day not unlike any other typical school day. no doubt to find a higher purpose. instead thinking more about visiting Brittany later in the week when the final round of chemotherapy was completed. and was in my second period class. I got up at 5:30 a. who just three months prior had been diagnosed with leukemia.. 2005.MEMOIRS April Bollig She had such an incredibly strong spirit and it was not in any way defined by the body that she so briefly resided in. caught the bus to high school at 6:20 a.m. It was February 17. and it was extremely cold. I was seeing everything through rose colored glasses because my best friend.

What ultimately defines a person’s spiritual being both in life and in the afterlife? Is the earthly body and spirit a completely different entity from the heavenly spirit or does it represent an ongoing continuum? Does a person’s spirit die just as the body dies? SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 50 .

and actions of every person’s life she ever touched. Yet I have realized that we have no choice other than to come to terms with death because it is an integral part of the life process. and alternative treatments that never ended. yet her spirit is endless and inspirational. So what does this say about a teenager who is selfless enough to not want to impose any pain on anyone around her when she was clearly suffering? I often wonder if she thought that she might die. yet you can sense it. touch it. fall in love. or physically feel it. She never wanted to burden anyone. A person’s spirit forever defines their goodness or lack thereof in some circumstances. go to college. but I still see her every day. She had such an incredibly strong spirit and it was not in any way defined by the body that she so briefly resided in. It was a close inner circle. My mom was on the phone when I arrived in the office. Now someone was missing from it. but because she was also the niece of her best friend. but I’ll never know for sure. I see her in the many friends she had who worked so hard to keep her memory alive within a very large high school environment. Brittany had unexpectedly developed a massive infection that could not be controlled. I sometimes wish I had talked to her about death just to know more about her thoughts on the subject. Yet even today I continue to feel Brittany around me. doesn’t the spirit of Adolph Hitler similarly still exist in the families that continue to mourn the atrocities endured by the victims of the Holocaust? A spirit is not limited by life or by death. In life. nor by a moment in time or by eternity. their impact on other people’s lives. After three months of chemotherapy. she embodied so many traits to which the rest of us can only hope to aspire. and the innate individual qualities that make that soul unique. just as I see her in the all people’s lives that she forever touched. She had been doing so well. She lives on in all of us and always will. and I think that we as a society are just on the threshold of understanding life beyond death and the spiritual continuance and connection that lives on in the day to day lives of everyone who knew the deceased. “I have a Dream”? Conversely. I do not consider Brittany to be truly gone. She has obviously left her earthly body. but she didn’t want anyone to know. and certainly she continues to be the same years after her passing. but rather it is all encompassing. What ultimately defines a person’s spiritual being both in life and in the afterlife? Is the earthly body and spirit a completely different entity from the heavenly spirit or does it represent an ongoing continuum? Does a person’s spirit die just as the body dies? I contend that it does not because the spirit is never something you can reach out and touch. I see her in her mother and how she compassionately and gently treats other people. even though she was facing the biggest battle anyone can ultimately face. but it is not palpable. She was always positive and optimistic and tried to keep a smile on her face. is dead and gone after his inspirational. She never complained although she must have often been in excruciating pain. though I doubt I will truly ever understand it. A person’s spirit is not finite by any means. radiation. she never showed any outward signs of fear. and I see her in myself when I try to embrace her passion. I was told that she had passed away in the early morning hours while I was still sound asleep in my warm. Brittany’s path towards recovery had been abruptly cut short. and with a bone marrow transplant on the horizon. Brittany did not have the benefit of growing old and wise. She was only in the 9th grade. even 51 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . although undoubtedly she was terribly frightened. she never even had the opportunity to graduate from high school. I knew she was struggling. even though I know it must have been an incredible challenge. by good or by evil. no doubt to find a higher purpose. It is real. She exemplified a true sense of inner grace that I had never witnessed before in any other person. patience. hear it. I honestly don’t remember what I was thinking as we proceeded towards her office. I see her in her sister and her never ending kindness and understanding. nor will the people who knew her and loved her ever let go of what she represented and the joy she brought to their lives. I just knew something must be terribly wrong. I believe she lives on in so many ways. even though she always said that she was going to be okay. During Brittany’s brief but valiant battle with cancer. As I reflect on that horrific day over four years later. soft bed. You can’t see it. Could anyone truly claim that the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. However. I just don’t think that she ever considered death to be an option. It is the inherent essence of the soul of an individual. and even proclaimed that she planned to run laps around the hospital once she was finally released. At only fifteen years old. taste it. and live a long life. In the most simplistic terms. I’ll never see her smiling face again other than in pictures. She will never truly be gone. Brittany was indeed unique and someone many would consider to be a refreshing and optimistic soul. Certainly. she thought of others more than herself during this very difficult time. raise children. No one ever had a negative thing to say about Brittany. her spirit remains while it has also moved on to its next destination. Throughout her illness. I see Brittany in the spirits. It was. a mere freshman in high school. but that does not mean she is not present in the lives of those who loved and continue to love her. I have finally come to peace with Brittany’s tragic and untimely death. faces. I see her in her aunt and her eternal optimism. and inner peace.we walked the winding hallways side by side in utter silence. even in life. I have come to believe that a person’s spirit and soul are truly separate from their earthly body. whether living or deceased. and no one saw it coming. albeit abbreviated life and his infamous words. She was equally devastated not only because Brittany was my dear friend.

it is who we are in life and thereafter. Kennedy. “April. And when I say “embodied. Further. dating and high school football games. scientific and analytical. You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger. Life is inherently limited. they are as follows: “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder. Even though I never knew her potential donor. but I do know that she is not far away. because it is not the number of lives we are able to touch. I imagine that he must have been excited yet somewhat nervous because the bone marrow extraction from the donor is said to be somewhat uncomfortable. at least by our standards. in my opinion.” (MCA Nashville. I believe that she would instead hope that we look inside of ourselves and take a harder look at what purpose we want to fulfill within our own lifetimes. When I graduated from high school in 2008. it is the life we live while we are here on this earth and legacy we ultimately leave behind. It is what defines us. it obviously makes no sense. I hope you dance. and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance – I hope you dance. Knowing my love of music and dance. 2000) Brittany’s mom. She would always need a challenge and an opportunity to use her amazing brain power. especially to such a kind and innocent young person. She was quiet and introspective. but in the end. Surely her untimely death has left her family devastated and questioning why this happened. As long as a life is lived with a sense of true. it does not matter whether a person is a John F. she’ll probably just say something like. the spirit as we know it can never be extinguished in the minds of those left behind. For those of us who knew and loved her.There is without a doubt a higher plan. a Mother Teresa or a small town high school student. an Albert Einstein. April Bollig is pursuing a degree in Elementary Education at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. I would think that this stranger must have grieved as well. for every relationship we encounter on this earth.” I mean it in a spiritual sense. I knew she was kind. She was generally happier reading a book than going to the latest movie. or at least this is what I want to believe. Brittany and I will see each other again someday. unselfish. But then I wonder how this man felt when the statistically unlikely match failed to come to fruition. receiving her well earned diploma. but I told you I was just fine. I hope you dance!” At that moment. Sometimes I wonder how the potential and very unselfish bone marrow donor in New Jersey felt when he heard that he matched a young high school girl thousands of miles away and could save the life of this anonymous recipient. That’s not at all what Brittany was about. and I have no doubt that she will still have that beautiful. simply wrote the message. In part. SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 52 May you never take one single breath for granted. I missed you. whose daughter should have been in that same procession marching in cap and gown to “Pomp and Circumstance”. Wherever she is today. And when we do meet again. inevitably choreographed by the divine power. another purpose to fulfill. More importantly. and generous. The lyrics are inspirational and timeless. he obviously embodied the same qualities. I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean. Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance. . “Hey there. She was never among what many would consider the “popular” crowd. but the spirit in which we are able to do it. Brittany and I will see each other again someday. inspirational smile on her face. If Brittany had not suffered a massive infection. she hung with members of the Anime Club. But God’s standards may be infinitely different from our own. God must have needed her for a much higher purpose. Having known and loved Brittany. in my opinion. unabashed passion. Brittany’s mother gave me a memorable gift. very sad when it comes to an end prematurely. I envision her working with the angels. rather. April. and in the end. that spirit has found another place in time. That is a person’s true spirit. and I have no doubt that she will still have that beautiful. loving. Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens. a person who had never met her was willing to undergo an invasive procedure in an attempt to save her life. I have done a great deal of soul searching and introspection. and I continue to question. Brittany and this unknown New Jersey resident had more than bone marrow in common. Still I miss her. God forbid love ever leave you empty handed. know that I will someday understand. But I know for a fact that she wouldn’t want sadness or bitterness. not one interested in parties. for every relationship we encounter on this earth. I once again felt Brittany’s eternal presence. There is without a doubt a higher plan.” Since that terrible day in 2005 when I found out that my best friend. who was thought to be on the road to recovery. It is very. she presented me with a CD by Lee Ann Womack with the feature track being “I Hope You Dance”. She certainly wouldn’t be happy sitting idle. suddenly and unexpectedly lost her battle. an individual’s legacy to those left behind on this earth cannot be measured by longevity. inspirational smile on her face. in an often catty high school environment. perhaps on mathematical and scientific innovations that may eventually benefit those of us on earth. We all know that someday it will come to an end for each and every one of us. for reasons yet to be understood by mere mortals.

the good tidings of: Fear not.Peacefulness is such an elevated rank of certainty that a soul traveling through it sees in every station the truth of: I wish to set my heart at rest (2:260) and is rewarded with gifts. life-giving water of: Beware. the breeze of: No fear shall come upon them. Wherever the believer is. in the remembrance of God do hearts find peace and tranquility (13:28) is tasted. nor grieve. neither shall they grieve (2:62) is felt. the sweet. 53 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . and corporeality is defeated. but rejoice in the good news of Paradise that has been promised to you (41:30) is heard.

SEE-THINK-BELIEVE

Irfan Yilmaz

IT’S ME PETER, YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM-1

When you hear the words “nervous system,” what comes to mind is a cluster of cells called neurons. But this is a great mass of cells, and we should always remember that we are referring to the most complex matter in all of creation.

SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010

54

F

Dear Peter! inally, I have come to say goodbye to you. As you probably know, there is a saying “Leave the best till last.” I am the greatest of all the organs and systems that have described themselves to you so far. I am an integrative system that forms a chain between every organ in your body. Just as your veins are spread out to carry nutrients and oxygen to every part of your body, I also embrace your entire system like a network, without leaving the tiniest space; I am informed of everything that goes on inside your body. Even if a tiny insect settles on your arm, you sense it immediately. I make you aware of a tiny drop of sweat on your body. I induce pain in suitable measures to inform you of any illnesses in your inner organs. In fact, I not only inform you, I also warn you to seek help. However, it is hard for me to describe myself. When you hear the words “nervous system,” what comes to mind is a cluster of cells called neurons. But this is a great mass of cells, and we should always remember that we are referring to the most complex matter in all of creation. The very important main nervous systems, which are very close to one another, are the huge masses positioned beneath the skull, the extensions of my system and secondary nervous system; this latter is spread out through various regions of the body. It would take up too much of your time to describe each region and branch of my system individually to you each month, but in this way I could prove what a perfect and incredible duty each of them performs within your body. However, I will try to explain the subject briefly to avoid boring you. Nevertheless, please forgive me if I ramble on too much; we are describing the most excellent organ created by God so it is inevitable that there will be some complicated matters that need clarification. Instead of allowing each of my sections to describe themselves to you individually, I will speak on their behalf as the “brain.” It may be easier for you to understand the system if we divide it into two. One of them is me and the nervous system which I lead; we can briefly describe this as the thalamus, hypothalamus, cerebellum, the medulla, and the spine. The other part is the peripheral nervous system, which emerges from the central nervous system and is distributed, rather like fiber optic telephone cables, throughout the entire body. In addition to me, the brain, and my two large cerebral hemispheres, there is another smaller section,
55 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010

which is known as the brain stem. The brain and its cerebral hemispheres and the sections of the brain stem which are protected beneath the skull (the cerebellum, medulla, thalamus, and hypothalamus) are very important. The spinal cord, which is also a part of the central nervous system, however is not in the skull, but positioned within the vertebrae that constitute the spine. Due to its connection with the central nervous system, any damage to the spinal cord can endanger life. Although damage to regions of the body where the nerves are distributed from the central nervous system may cause paralysis, or functional disorder for the specific organ, such an incident is not life threatening. If you recall, when the heart and circulation system described themselves they boasted – indeed the veins also seemed to brag a bit when they stated that they measured 75,000 miles (long enough to go around the world almost three times). But the nerves are approximately 477,000 miles, long enough to stretch from the earth to the moon, and back again… the nerves which are distributed throughout the various parts of your body measure 250,000 miles, and the total length of the central nervous system is 228,000 miles. Almost 200,000 signals pass through just one cell at a time, which means that every moment thousands of signals pass through millions of my cells all throughout your body, and flow from the central nervous system to the whole body and then back to the central nervous system. There are about 30 billion cells in my system. 10 billion of these cells are in the cortex, 10 billion in the cerebellum, and the remainder forms the structure of the nerves and other sections. As a comparison, a fly’s brain contains 100 thousand cells, and a rat’s brain has 10 million cells. The total number of connections and contact points (synapses) that my 30 billion cells use to send and receive signals is 100 trillion. The number of combinations that these connections can establish to send signals to one another is greater than the number of atoms in the universe. At the beginning of a thinking process, the number of cells activated is between 10 and 100 million, and according to the depth and intensity of the activity, these figures can increase to astounding numbers. Every second 4 billion signals are exchanged between the left and right hemispheres. When you were an embryo, just a few weeks old, I consisted of 92% water. When you were first born, the ratio of water was 90%. And when you were fully developed, the water ratio remains at 77%. Peter! Can you imagine, a heap of mass consisting of 77% water, the remainder made up of various element. Our Lord, the bearer of eternal power places me in you, in the head of the most honorable creation, and with me you form civilizations; you invent and discover. And even more important, with my mediation you have the ability to contemplate and reach your Creator. What we are learning about here is how with me you are able to recognize the wisdom of the entire universe. The electric signals of the various sense organs, such as the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin, all of which have previously described themselves, are transmitted by the receptive cells on various wavelengths; these are then conveyed to you in the form of sight, noise, smell and taste. In fact I am inducing you to write these words at this very moment. The evaluation of everything you do passes through me, but you are not even aware of it. When you walk, eat, talk, speak or sleep, the
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produces hormones that stimulate secretion in the anterior section. The pyramid shaped medulla oblongata. the left side of the brain controls your right side. I will briefly explain their duties: The cerebellum is the nerve center from which the harmony of balance and muscle movement is controlled. and the posterior lobe behind the pituitary gland (hypophysis). the left hemisphere controls speech. and digestion process. there are many nerve centers which regulate autonomic nervous system activity. performing a function rather like a junction or relay station. such as the heart rate. there is also a role played in consciously identifying sensations such as pain. breathing. There is also a role played in the sensory changes that occur with the perception of senses in our consciousness and awareness. it is impossible to voluntarily change the functions of this region. pleasure. there are some variations in their duties. hunger. thalamus. and the frontal lobe. Although my two hemispheres may look like a reflection of one another. this is a bundle of axon (nerves) called the corpus callosum which connects the two hemispheres. which connects the spinal cord to the midbrain and the pons. This is also the center from which the reflexes are controlled. as well as in the regulation of sleep and paying attention. Each of the sections that I mentioned above has a distinct and important vital function. It also performs the important duty of regulating hormone release. working with the cerebellum also controls movement and coordinates signals received from the nerves of inner organs. Here. Moreover.information I receive from every part of your body is reviewed and responded to in a suitable manner. the body’s inner environment is regulated. The hypothalamus. The pituitary gland. which is the location of a very complex network of nerves coming from the olfactory bulb. one of the most important systems that earlier described itself in the endocrine system. and thirst. and the right controls your left. On the base of the deep grove that separates the two hemispheres of the large brain there is a callus-like body. for example. the latter constitutes the other end of the brainstem through a hole in the back of the skull in the form of the spinal cord and enters into the vertebral column. touch and noise. but the section which controls the perception of location is in the right hemisphere. temperature and other functions of the inner organs. The nerve fibers that enter this center. Because the nerve fibers cross and change direction in the medulla. and this center. Dear Peter! Could a single nucleus of a single one of my cells possibly position itself alone? The Lord has created me so magnificently that you are still only aware of a very few of my mysteries. and conveys these signals to the cortex reflecting the information. is an important center that controls sexual senses. The thalamus lies between the brainstem and the hemispheres of the brain. as well as blood pressure. which is located below the thalamus. reach the autonomic nervous system. This section gathers all the signals sent by the sense receptors. the reticular formation in the stem section. except for those from the olfactory (smell) receptors. as well as the oxytocin and antidiuretic hormones which are stored and released from the posterior pituitary. On their behalf. activities such as excitement and sleep are also controlled here in collaboration with the thalamus. As this section of me has no sense of perception. the sensations of pain. Whilst you use the left hemisphere for 57 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 .

they then lose the ability to segregate. Thanks to this special feature if a severed arm. however. they will begin to function again. there is an increase in the number and growth of connections between the cells and this is how my weight increases. SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 58 . skin. all the things that you learn or see during your youth these connections increase. there is not an increase in the numbers of cells. which is composed of six layers of cells. With ever experience you have. no surgeon could sew the severed nerve fibers. The visible cause of this characteristic is found in the nerves of the arms and legs.379–1. However. Subsequently. so when you reach seventy-five. how does the weight continue to increase until the age of twenty? Well. However. the region where the axons (stems of neurons) are found. such as learning. Then the question arises: As there is no increase in the numbers of cells. When you begin to pass your first youth. the grey-colored mass of folds and grooves that covers the top of my anatomic hemispheres. consisting of thin wires) the severed limb can be replanted. my cells begin to withdraw their connections immediately. My two hemispheres. My cortex region. while also being the center of activities. rather. there would be no communication between the two. is called the white matter. my weight begins to decrease every year by 1 gram. I will weigh approximately 1. Izmir. Even if there is a decrease in my cells. my growth began to slow down after the age of seven. the nerves can repair themselves. the lighter colored matter that lies beneath this. is called the cortex or grey matter. I weighed 1. But as soon as you say that is enough. it is time for a rest. and remembering. When you were first born I weighed 400 grams.434 grams. after you reach the age of twenty. writing and other social activities in old age. If the cells in my central nervous system are injured or damaged. The brain. and in turn this increases my capacity for thought and reasoning. therefore. If you continue to activate your brain by reading. these connections continue to increase.duties that must be performed in a specific order (activities such as adding and subtracting or buttoning a shirt). ligaments and the liver divide. constitute 85% of the whole brain. Even with the greatest of techniques. they cannot repair themselves. When you were four years old. nutrients are added to build and stimulate these connections.” but you would not be able to picture the image of a fish in your mind without the right hemisphere to achieve this. leg or finger can be carefully replaced with microsurgery. but I grew very quickly. with age these connections begin to decrease. regenerate and increase in number. each of the hundreds of fibers found inside grow 1 mm every day. bone. The reason for this decrease in weight is that approximate 50. you are able to continue your usual activities without losing any functions of the brain. and when you reach twenty. So if there is any damage. If the callus substance that connects my two hemispheres did not exist. and the limb will continue its normal functions. the focal point of conscious activity and thought that forms the large brain. However. is the center where the sensory signals are received and analyzed and where voluntary muscle movement is controlled. and by the time you were a year old I weighed 800 grams. you could read the word “fish. Then with guidance from this outer casing. but not in the brain or spine. and in a period of between 1 month and a year. and in time you will certainly see the difference in my capacity. you use the right hemisphere in thinking with images (for example.200 gr. The body cells of the cartilage. reasoning.) Irfan Yilmaz is a professor of biology at Dokuz Eylul University. mapping the route from your home to the market). (We will continue covering the nervous system in the next issue. or cease to function daily. I would have shrunk in comparison to when you were twenty. the region where the main stems of my cells are found.000 neurons die. thanks to the nerve casing that holds these fibers together (like the plastic that covers the electric cable. if the cell bodies of my cells in the peripheral nervous system are not damaged the stems are repairable. is the casing that surrounds this bundle of nerves that transmits signals for the cells to grow. Of course. the nerve cells that are part of me continue to increase until they reach the figure set out for you when you were formed in your mother’s womb. relative functions fail because the cells in that region have died.

Titled Conviction. experiences. consciousness and conscience. The fact that the sun rises above us each day has almost rendered it trivial. If exploring the mysteries of reality. alternative medicine. But how often do we investigate further or stop to ask. Links to your own video reels showing previous on-camera experience are preferred but not required. made up mostly of hydrogen and helium. along with several other planets. to lose the amazement we feel at life’s everyday miracles.I n our monotonous daily lives. creating four distinct seasons. this program dares to explore the difficult questions of the cosmos.tv info@conviction. the series will follow the host on a personal journey to find answers to life’s most intriguing questions. At other times. Sometimes it will emerge from life’s struggles. In each episode. it is easy to lose our sense of wonder. “What does it all mean for me?” The Emmy award-winning producers at Everest Production Corporation are seeking a host for a new reality TV show about the never-ending search for meaning and purpose in our universe. revolves around the sun. or maybe in a documentary we saw that the earth.tv 300 Franklin Square Drive. Each week the host will confront issues such as prayer and healing. How did the world come into being and how is it going to end? Does one really have free will? What causes people to experience déjà vu? How does prayer affect one’s mental health? Is there any truth to horoscopes? Why do we dream? Why do good people experience pain and suffering? Never losing its human touch. Somerset. or it will be proposed by friends who may have to face serious challenges. spirituality. free will vs. destiny. please send in your resume and tell us how your personality. natural curiosity and concerns for the human condition might best serve a television audience. the host of the show will tackle a new profound question that turns up on this journey. and consciousness appeals to you.conviction. NJ 08873 USA Phone: 1 (732) 560 0800 Ext: 330 Fax: 1 (732) 560 0801 59 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . Maybe our school teachers once explained to us that it was a star. with insight from both scientific and spiritual perspectives. déjà-vu and dreams. Mustafa Tabanlı Contact: www. artificial intelligence and more. it will simply be the result of a long-burning fascination.

one month. one week.Q How should a person spend one day. and one year in order to perform services in the path of God? SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 60 .

ipso facto. If they are painfully diligent for service. its contents. people can raise their hands in supplication and turn toward God girded ready for worship. many of us are indifferent to organization of our lives and live in a disorderly way. Almighty God has so many favors over us and the gracious favors of our Lord are like clouds hanging overheard. The same applies to our case. A moment of time lived fully in this way is worth centuries of other time. by inserting precious stretches of time such as prayer times into a day of twenty-four hours. God illuminates the week with Friday which contains in it the propitious moment. they will be equally meticulous about managing their time. If during that sacred and most esteemed moment. God intends to spread the luminosity of these moments to the entire time and make sure that we can feel the passage of time as we live through it. There are sources of light scattered by God over time such as these and one can find them not only within a day or a week or a month. Almighty God illuminates a month with four Fridays. vitality and liveliness to time is what is done within that period or. and a year of 365 days with Ramadan. There are some points that must be discussed in this context. Thus. In doing so. By taking advantage of these small pieces of time. peace be upon him). but also throughout our week. Time only takes on color in relation to what happens then and it becomes a rainbow. nothing can be done or ensured through compulsion. then this means that they really appreciate the importance of time and the points raised in the question are automatically dealt with. keeping their purposes or goals in sight. “If I fail to labor for the sake of my mission for service during any of these time slices. people with common sense have been successful in living their whole lives in light. First. but also within a year or during one’s own life. In addition to their lack of penchant for scheduling their work. then all the time slices of my life will be deemed as wasted. another between the sunset prayer and the night prayer. without this dedication. Therefore. Repetitive acts of servanthood toward God faith becomes a second nature. If we remember the possibility that these twentyfour hours may be the last twentyfour hours of our life and if we schedule this period of time according to our daily prayers and if we try to perform good deeds during every time slice separated by prayers. and leading a well-scheduled life. But. And these will combine to form a luminous month and an illustrious year consisting of these enlightened months. giving real essence and value to time or putting it to good use is directly proportional to what one can do during the passage of that time.M anagement of time and work is one major area where many of us perform very poorly. The thing that gives value. God intends to teach us how to make an efficient time management. from the past to the present. they will witness so many surprises in their lives. Indeed. Secondly. Being hardworking and self-sacrificing is fine and believers should strive to be as such. we hail not a certain age or period of time. Actually. another between the mid-day prayer and the afternoon prayer and the sunset prayer. the idea of doing service to humankind will be visible not only throughout our day. They will make slices out of their day based on the prayer times such that there will be a time slice between the dawn prayer and the mid-day prayer. May God help us succeed in using our free will to manage our time and put our time to good use! 61 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . in other words. When we refer to the Age of Happiness (the time of the Prophet Muhammad. If only our people as a whole knew how to organize time and use it to their advantage! However. but try to make their mission permeate to every fragment of time during a day. time is relative and it has no real body. then we will attain the true value of time and our life will start to flow in a luminous manner and in a way that will fully deserve eternity. If people can put their time to good use in this way. and they will say. they cannot systematize the idea of doing service to humankind as the primary purpose of their lives despite the fact that they already make so many sacrifices. whether we reach out and pick these favors or walk in the shade of them is up to us as we are free to use our will to do so. we have a capital of twenty-four hours. then we will concentrate on it and try to decorate every part of it with the wealth of our spiritual world and we will not allow any flat moment to pass. people will make the idea of doing service to God part of their life if they have sincere faith in it and are prepared to suffer to this end. but for some reason. doing this fully is dependent on their fully believing in our philosophy of service to others. People should refrain from allocating only a small or limited part of their time to the mission of doing services in the path of God. Similarly.” Indeed. but the people who lived during that span of time as well as the deeds they performed therein. When time management becomes a second nature in our consciences.

These molecules may then be used to boost up metabolism or treat diseases. This increase was more prominent in leaner individuals and was maximized in fast marathon runners after exercise. Often we give blood to know levels of different metabolites. It has been long known that obese and less-active individuals had greater ten- dencies to develop Type II diabetes where insulin action is impaired due to decreased sensitivity of the body to this molecule. fit people can get better results following exercise by efficiently SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 62 removing waste materials. SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE 2. Hence.. a compound which modulates insulin sensitivity. such as glucose or cholesterol. Moreover.SCIENCE SQUARE How the “fit” tests survive 1 ORIGINAL ARTICLE: LEWIS. Interestingly. exercise increased the levels of “niacinamide”.D. more fit people had greater increases in the biological markers of fat-burning and had decreased oxidative stress -a state where the balance between oxidants and antioxidants shift towards damaging oxidant side. 33 (2010). Instead of looking at a handful of metabolites. a group of scientists from Harvard Medical School has screened more than 200 metabolites before and after exercise. Until then. ET AL. Following exercise. it is best to exercise and stay fit. V isits to biochemistry labs are frequent in our lives. . The study also showed significant differences between physically more fit and less fit individuals after exercise. Understanding the biochemistry behind the exercise may lead to identification of small molecules mediating its beneficial effects. the levels of 21 of these metabolites changed significantly following exercise. G.

In fact. & STEEN. these types of studies. mainly on their feet or lower legs. A re you avoiding spending time outdoors in summer evenings because most of your time has to be spent chasing away the unwelcomed attention of mosquitoes? If so. then you must be one of those “lucky” people whose perspiration contains a key chemical that makes you irresistible to the six-legged bug. 2010). affecting more than 500 million people and killing more than 3 million every year. Therefore. 63 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 ..J. More importantly. Scientists at Yale University have identified a key chemical compound that is detected by one of the mosquitoes’ 27 smellreceptors in their antenna. These smell-receptors are tuned to detect the key chemicals from hundreds of meters away which make people who secrete large amounts of these key chemicals in their sweat vulnerable to frequent mosquito attacks. M. Depending on the species.Our scents make us targets 2 ORIGINAL ARTICLE: VOGEL. usually only the female mosquitoes bite humans. may in fact lead to a better understanding of those mosquito-borne diseases. far from being trivial. mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. PNAS (PUBLISHED ONLINE BEFORE PRINT ON FEBRUARY 4.H. the majority of deaths occur among children. mosquitoes carry several deadly diseases such as Malaria and WestNile dengue fever. P. Sadly. and hopefully may lead to the production of more effective drugs both for the prevention and the cure of diseases as well as better mosquito repellents and traps. Malaria is one of the deadliest and the most neglected diseases.

gut. 994 (2010). Importantly they have found that bacterial species are different in healthy individuals compared to the individuals with inflammatory bowel disease. They have sequenced more than 3 million bacterial genes. In the second project funded by European Union. As part of Human Microbiome Project. scientists are decoding the DNA sequences of all microbes living in several parts of our body such as skin. NATURE 464. Throughout these projects. scientists sequenced the entire microbial DNA in the gut instead of sequencing them individually. Two independent teams from US and Europe have produced the first results of DNA sequences of microbes living with us. N ew advancements in DNA sequencing technology allow scientists to sequence genomes of microorganism living in their natural habitat. respiratory tract and urogenital tract.. J. Human body contains roughly ten times as many microbes as human cells. The projects have initially focused on bacterial genomes but intent to sequence viral and fungal genomes as well. SCIENCE 328. nearly 150 times more than our own (humans have only ~20 thousand genes). 59 (2010) & THE HUMAN MICROBIOME JUMPSTART REFERENCE STRAINS CONSORTIUM. mouth. ET AL. SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 64 .We are not alone in our body: Genomes of microbes living with us 3 ORIGINAL ARTICLES: QIN. scientists are trying to reveal significant information about the role of different microbial species in health and disease states. The US team has generated a set of 178 bacterial reference genomes and is aiming to generate many more.

. Microsecond differences in the arrival times of echoes are coded by detector neurons and used as a main cue for positioning objects in an environment. Around the sharp edge. Instead. 701 (2010).4 Seeing with the sound ORIGINAL ARTICLE: YOVEL Y ET AL. the researchers showed that if the environment is very noisy. this powerful technique has already been employed by humans in engineering and used in various technological tools such as atomic force microcopy.noise ratio. The study shows that bats do not center the sonar beam on the target. As it turns. 65 SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2010 . B ats. dolphins. bats could bias this critical point to increase amplitude of the echoes. small variations of the target position can be detected as a clear signal change in reflected sound intensity. Whether this strategy is used in general by other echolocating animals remains to be answered. A recent study published in Science reveals one unknown part of this perfect sound processing strategy. they aim to match the maximum slope of the beam to the target in order to increase the signal-to. This phenomenon is known as biosonar. They emit short sonar pulses and listen to the echoes reflecting back from solid objects. SCIENCE 327. shrews and swiftlets use sound waves for navigation and hunting. Furthermore.

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As long as she does not neglect her responsibilities toward her family and observes the rights of her children. a woman can work and serve in an environment where she can live in accordance with her faith. .