Design, in brief, means a harmonious assembling of various parts in an orderly form designed for a common goal. All creatures in nature, including us, are of a design. This, in turn, shows the existence of a Creator, Who designs all creatures at will, sustains the entire creation and holds absolute power and wisdom. This Creator is Allah (swt), Who is the Lord of the heavens and the earth:
He is Allah—the Creator, the Maker, the Giver of Form. To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Everything in the heavens and earth glorifies Him. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. (Surat al-Hashr: 24)
In a hadith, The Prophet Muhammed (saas) also draws attention to the unique creative power of Allah (swt) and how He mentions this in His book, the Qur’an:
When Allah created the Creation, He wrote in His Book—and He wrote (that) about Himself, and it is placed with Him on the Throne. (Al-Bukhari)
Let us consider birds as an example: A close examination of birds reveals that they are designed specifically for flying. The body has been created with air-sacs and hollow bones in order to reduce body mass and overall weight. Wings are formed aerodynamically, and the metabolism is in tune with the bird’s need for high levels of energy. It is obvious that the bird is a product of a certain design.
Allah (swt) has created birds without flaw just as He has the rest of the creation. This fact is manifest in every detail, as we will examine below:
The Skeleton: The strength of a bird’s skeleton is more than adequate even though the bones are hollow. Better “organised” than mammals, the shoulder, hip and chest bones of birds are fused together. This design improves the strength of the bird’s structure. Another feature of the skeleton of birds is that it is lighter than in all other mammals. For instance, the skeleton of the dove weighs only about 4.4% of its total body weight.
Respiratory System: The respiratory system of mammals and birds operate on completely different principles, primarily because birds need oxygen in much greater quantities than do land-dwelling animals. In land-dwelling animals, airflow is bidirectional: air travels through a network of channels, and stops at the small air sacs. Oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange takes place here. Used air follows a reverse course in leaving the lung and is discharged through the windpipe. On contrary, in birds, air flow is unidirectional. New air comes in one end, and the used air goes out the other end. This provides an uninterrupted supply of oxygen for birds, which satisfies their need for high levels of energy.
The System of Balance: The bodies of birds have been created to a special design that removes any possible imbalance in flight. The bird’s head has been deliberately created light in weight so that the animal does not lean forward during flight: on average, a bird’s head weight is about 1% of its body weight.
The aerodynamic structure of the feathers is another property of the system of balance in birds. The feathers, especially in the wing and tail, provide a very effective system of balance for the bird.
The Power and Energy Problem: Migrating birds have to store enough energy to take them through their trip. On the other hand, another necessity in flight is being as light as possible. In the meantime, the fuel has also to be as efficient as possible. In other words, while the weight of fuel has to be at a minimum, the energy output from it has to be at a maximum. But all of these problems have been solved for birds: The birds do not fly haphazardly but in a flock. They follow a certain order and form a “V” shape in the air. Every bird takes advantage of the slipstream set up by the one in front of it. This V formation also reduces the air resistance that they encounter and help them to save a considerable amount of energy.
Digestion System: Due to their need for a lot of energy, birds also have a body that digests the food they eat in an optimum fashion. Birds’ digestive systems enable them to make the best use of the food they eat. The circulatory system of birds has also been created in harmony with their high energy requirements. While a human’s heart beats 78 times a minute, this rate is 460 for a sparrow and 615 for a humming bird. Similarly, blood circulation in birds is very fast. The oxygen that supplies all of these fast working systems is provided by special avian lungs.
All of these facts take us to one result: it is simply impossible to explain the origin of birds through a theory of evolution. Thousands of different species of birds have been created with all their current physical features in “a moment”. In other words, Allah (swt) has created them individually. In the Qur’an, Allah (swt) invites humans to ponder this:
Have they not looked at the birds above them, with wings outspread and folded back? Nothing holds them up but the All-Merciful. He sees all things. (Surat al-Mulk: 19)
Everyone who ponders the signs of creation of the universe, as in the example of the bird described above, and considers and investigates what he sees around him, will come to know Allah’s superior wisdom, knowledge, and eternal power. Therefore, each person needs to ponder the purpose of creation, first as it concerns him himself, and then as it pertains to everything he sees in the universe. Each subject on which we reflect helps us to further understand and appreciate the omnipotence, wisdom, knowledge, art and other attributes of Allah (swt). In the Qur’an, Allah (swt) says:
And in your creation and all the creatures He has scattered about there are signs for people with certainty. (Surat al-Jathiyah: 4)
Only those who reflect on the purpose of the creation around them, who have a clear faculty of discernment, who apply their minds and use their conscience, can recognize the truth that which these signs imply. They are those who believe. Believers, who are capable of exercising their minds, unencumbered by false motives, come to recognize Allah’s artistry and power through His creation, and thus have a full appreciation of His greatness and glory. A person so disposed recognizes the signs of Allah’s existence everywhere he looks, perceiving Him for His true might. Believers keep their minds continually occupied with remembrance of Allah, while the majority of humanity spend their lives without a thought to these facts. The following distinction Allah’s Messenger, The Prophet Muhammad (saas) drew between those who remember Allah (swt) and those who do not also show the importance of this subject in the life of a believer:
The example of the one who celebrates the Praises of his Lord (Allah) in comparison to the one who does not celebrate the Praises of his Lord, is that of a living creature compared to a dead one. (Al-Bukhari)