The Qur’an disclosing some facts about iron unknown in the 7th century said: “And We sent down iron, in which is mighty power, as well as many benefits for mankind.” (Qur’an, 57:25) Literal translation. Arabic ‘Anzala’ means to send down. (Al-Mawrid, A. Yusuf Ali)
It is said that iron is extracted from the depths of the earth then how is it that the Qur’an mentions it as having been ‘sent down.’
The answer is as the Qur’an says that ‘the heaven and earth were joined together as one united piece, then We parted them.’ (Qur’an, 2l:30). In other verse the Qur’an said: “Then He rose over towards the heaven when it was smoke and said to it and to the earth: come both of you willingly or unwillingly. (Qur’an, 41:ll).
However, this Qur’anic statement was confirmed only in 19th century The scholars admitted that the earth was a gaseous mass, and had in it burning hot magma, after its separation it cooled down and condensed till it was enveloped in a hard layer of 10 to 15 miles of solid crust.
The original gaseous mass had in it all types of metals, like iron, gold, silver, copper and lead etc. Therefore, when the Qur’an spoke of Allah sending down the iron, it referred to the original nebula that contained all the materials.
When the earth cooled and condensed, these metals took their specific shapes along with other matters present in the gaseous mass. That is why these metals can be turned into liquid magma. The earth still contains in it burning hot liquid magma which comes out in an eruption of a volcano. The iron is most important among the metals. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said in an anthentic Hadith “Verily Allah has sent down four blessings from the sky: the iron, the fire, the water and the salt.”
No doubt, all these things were the part of the gaseous mass when the heaven and the earth were joined together. Later, after its separation the earth with all its treasures came down, hence all these matters descended from the sky.
The Qur’an speaks of the benefits the man derives from the iron. Use of iron has all along been an inseparable part of our life. In houses, buildings, industrial machinery and in governing a country we use weapons made of iron. Only one thing remained undefined of which the Qur’an spoke: “We sent down iron in which is mighty or violent power.”
During the period of the revelation of the Qur’an in the 7th century, weapons mainly consisted of swords, spears, arrows and armors. The people in those times could not comprehend the violent power of iron. In the 12th century when the cannon was invented the people became aware of its mighty power. But after the development of blast furnaces in the 19th century the use of iron shot up many fold. Machines, automobiles, ships, trains, rails, engines, industrial plants, pistols, revolvers, rifles, guns, cannons of very long range, armored cars, tanks, bombs, missiles, rockets and atomic reactors – all the dangerous weapons did prove the violent power of iron.
No doubt the Qur’an is the Book of Allah, which contains His Omniscient Knowledge. Whatever development the world may achieve, it shall never go beyond the Qur’anic knowledge as Allah said: “And We have sent down to you the Book (the Qur’an) as an exposition of everything.” (Qur’an, 16:89)