Contribution in Physics
One of the laws worked out by him is about opacity and transparency of materials. He said that materials which are solid and absorbent are opaque, and materials which are solid and repellent are more or less transparent. When he was asked about the thing which is absorbed by an opaque material, he replied “Heat”….today this theory is one of the Laws of Physics….
Composition of the Human Body:
The Imam said that while all human beings were made from the earth, which was a known fact, he also said that whatever is in the earth is also in the human body, but all elements are not in the same proportion. Four elements are in very large quantity, eight elements in small quantities and eight elements in minute quantities. This theory was proved to be correct as late as the 18th century with the dissection of the human body. Results of these analysis show that the ratio of the major elements in human bodies is the same throughout the world as Imam Jafar as-Sadiq had said. The four elements which are in large quantities in the human body are: Oxygen, Carbon, Hydrogen and Nitrogen. The eight elements which are in small quantities are : Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Phosphorus, Sulphur, Iron, and Chlorine. The other eight elements which are in very minute quantities are : Molybdenum, Cobalt, Manganese, Copper, Zinc, Fluorine, Silicon and Iodine.
Discovery of Hydrogen…
. According to the Western world, the greatest miracle of the Imam was his revelation of the presence of oxygen in the air… Imam Baqar had said about the presence of hydrogen in water and that water can be turned into fire, as hydrogen was a highly inflammable gas. The discovery of these two gases depended upon their separation from air and water….. Pure oxygen is available in the air, but pure hydrogen is not available anywhere. Hence hydrogen could not be obtained till sufficient power was developed and water was hydrolysed. The world amazes as to how both our Imams could reveal the presence of hydrogen in air which was a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas and does not exist freely in nature. They could not have identified this gas and found out its properties without separating it from water through the process of hydrolysis, which was impossible without a strong current of electricity….The first person who was able to separate hydrogen from water in modern times was the English scientist Henry Cavendish, who died in 1810. …He was also able to confirm that hydrogen gas was highly inflammable as a result of a freakish accident that he had while doing his experiments, which resulted in his house catching fire. It was eventually Lavoisier, the French chemist, who gave the name of hydrogen to this gas…
Theory of Light:
Another great contribution to science of Imam Jafar as-Sadiq was his Theory of Light. He said that light reflected by different objects comes to us, but only a part of the rays enter our eyes. That is the reason why we do not see distant objects clearly.If all the rays of light which come from them entered our eyes, objects would appear near to us. If we make a device through which all the rays of light coming from the camels grazing at a distance of 3000 zirah (one zirah is 40 inches) entered our eyes we would see them grazing at a distance of only 60 zirah ie. All these objects would look 50 times nearer to us.It was this theory, which helped Lippershey of Flanders to make his first binoculars in 1608. Galileo made use of this and invented his telescope in 1610….. When Galileo was asked why his telescope made heavenly bodies look so near that they could see the mountains of the moon, he repeated the words of Imam Jafar as-Sadiq and said : “This telescope collects all the rays of light coming from the heavenly bodies. When all the rays of light coming from the heavenly bodies are concentrated, the objects which are at a distance of 3,000 feet away appear to us as if they were at a distance of only 60 feet.”
Before the time of the Imam, it was believed that light from our eyes falls upon different objects so that they could be seen. He was the first to have said that ” the rays of the light from different objects come to our eyes and enable us to see them. The rays of light from our eyes do not go out and fall on other objects, otherwise we would be able to see them in the darkness also.” The Imam also put forward a very interesting theory about the speed of light. He has said that light is a kind of motion which is very fast. This is in harmony to the modern theory of light.The Imam had once said during the course of his lectures that a powerful beam of light could move heavy objects. The light which Moses saw at Mount Sinai was of that kind. It could have moved the mountain if God had so desired. It can be said that by making this statement, he laid the foundation of the theory of the laser.
Theory of Matter and Anti-Matter
… One of the unique theories of Imam Jafar as-Sadiq is that everything except Allah has its opposites, but this does not result in a conflict, otherwise the whole universe would be destroyed. This is the theory of matter and anti-matter. The difference between matter and anti-matter is that in matter the electrons are negatively charged and protons are positively charged. But in anti-matter, the electrons are positively charged and protons are negatively charged. Scientists have concluded that if one kilogram of matter collides with one kilogram of anti-matter, so much energy will be released that the whole world will be destroyed…..
Theory of the Light of the Stars
…..< Imam Jafar as-Sadiq has said that among the clusters of stars which we see at night, some are so bright that our sun, in comparison, is quite insignificant.Because of man’s limited knowledge, many people during the Imam’s time and centuries after him, considered this theory to be illogical, irrational and unacceptable. They could not believe that these small specks of light which are called stars, can have more light than the light of our big bright sun. About twelve and a half centuries later, it was proved that what he said was quite correct. It has been discovered that there are stars in the universe, which are billions of times brighter than the sun. They are called quasars. The light of quasars is about quadrillion times (ten thousand billion times) the light of our sun. Some of them are at a distance of about 9000 million light years from the earth. The first such quasar was discovered in 1927.Another important theory was that there are many worlds other than our own, that we cannot even count them. Their number is only in the knowledge of Allah (swt). Just as we have living beings on this planet, there are living beings on many other planets in the universe where conditions are suitable…..
Pollution of Environment
…… Imam Jafar as-Sadiq has said that we should not pollute our environment otherwise it would become impossible to live on this planet. Definitely he had our times in mind when he made those remarks. Pollution was not a problem in his time. There was not a single factory in existence and metals were smelted in small furnaces by burning wood. This was not a theory but a scientific fact which cannot be refuted. It is estimated that if air pollution increases at the present rate for 50 years more, 50% of plankton will die and the quantity of oxygen in the air would be reduced by the same proportion….