Carbon is one of the most abundant elements in the universe and it is present in all forms of carbon-based life. In the human body carbon is the second most abundant element, almost a fifth of the body mass. Carbon also forms soft graphite as used in pencils and diamonds, one of the hardest substances in the world. The abundance of carbon, together with the unique diversity of organic compounds and their unusual polymer-forming property at the temperatures commonly encountered on Earth, make this element the chemical basis of all known life. Carbon also forms many different kinds of bonds and essential compounds. The carbon cycle shows how carbon moves through the living and non-living parts of the environment.


In verses 36:78-80 of the Quran a question of some significance is asked: “Who can resurrect our bones after they have decomposed?” This rhetorical question is answered by God and He says: “The One who initiated them in the first place will resurrect them.” Then the example to illustrate this also comes from God: “He is the One who creates for you from the green trees, fuel which you burn for light.”  Further in verses 17:49-52 it is said: They questioned, “After we turn into bones and fragments, we get resurrected anew?” Say: “Yes. Even if you turn into rocks or iron.”


Someone who has little or no knowledge of this important element of life, carbon, might think that the example of bones has no link with that of trees, rocks or iron. But, the link is easily established and science shows that the link is carbon.


A carbon atom that today exists in a rock may once have formed part of a bone or a leaf, and in the future, may once again find its way into living matter. The carbon atom is stable even if that bone or leaf is reduced to burnt down ash.


Is life after death possible? Science tells us that nothing is destroyed, but changes from one form or another; this also applies to energy, not just matter. This is why the human Self does not die but continues to live after death in a weaker or stronger state – depending on the development undertaken through the challenges of life. Some carbon compounds even act as data banks and one – DNA, the master databank itself – passes on information from one generation to the next. That discovery takes us to the last two verses 75:3-4. “Does the human being think that We are unable to reconstruct his bones?”


According to God He can assemble man’s ‘ba-neneh’. This word has often been translated as ‘fingertips’, but, ‘genetic print’ is a much more accurate translation of ba-neneh, a unique word in the Quran that appears only once. It is interesting that ba-neneh is used only one time in the Quran, perhaps to demonstrate the uniqueness of each individual Self.