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Action and Coincidence
Sep 1, 2009

It is not easy for people living today to believe that every object, every law and every incident in the universe is planned in a very detailed way. However, it is a fact that there is a seen and unseen algebraic reality to everything moving in the universe. This situation amazes the distinguished scholars roaming on the lace of science.

Physicists study on the biggest and smallest physical measures, on the strongest and weakest forces, and they have calculated the ratio between some of them and attained results close to 1040 several times. For example, it has been proven that “strong nuclear force,” which keeps protons and neutrons in the atomic nucleus together, is 1040 times stronger than the force of gravity. Although some consider this situation a result of coincidence, there are also some people who have shown the courage to question the accuracy of this result and open it to discussion. Since then, obtaining the same number several times has inevitably led to the belief that the number was determined and calculated before. This situation resembles the situation of a chess player who hears somebody telling him the opponent’s next move, or the situation of a composer who hears a melody from upstairs that perfectly fits his lyrics while he is trying to write the melody for his lyrics. Is it not amazing when somebody says what is going to be especially at a time when you least expect such a vision? Questions emerge: Have all actions and incidents in the universe and the values corresponding to them been determined in advance? Is there a certain logic behind the behavior of materials without intellect or consciousness?

Perhaps when Comte de Buffon (1707–1788) started to do research into probability calculations concerning falling matches and needles three centuries ago, he did not think that he would make such an astonishing discovery. According to his calculations, the probability of dropped needles hitting a pair of parallel lines that are drawn a certain distance apart is proportional to the number pi (π) (Figure 1–2). When the distance between the parallel lines are drawn the length of a match, this probability becomes exactly 2/π. This was a theoretical result that was calculated on paper, but trying it out would raise interesting results. In other words, when a certain number of tests were conducted, it could be expected that a number of matches equal to the number that was found through the theoretical calculations would hit the lines; and, indeed, that was what happened. In addition, mathematicians found another way to calculate pi by using this method since the ratio of the number of matches or needles that hits the lines to the total number of matches or needles should give a pi-proportioned number. In 1901, Mario Lazzarini threw one needle 3,408 times and, as a result, got the ratio 355/133 or 3.1415929; the difference between this value and the real value is only 0.0000003.

The experimental proof of this fact is not difficult. When the experiment, which has been conducted thousands of times up to today, was first tried by a group of mathematicians dropping 3,000 needles, the number of the needles that touched the lines was close to 1,900, which was the desired result, and the result was amazingly found to be proportionate to pi.


Although the real relation is like the equation given in Figure 3, when the length of the needles and the distance between the lines are equalized, the desired ratio becomes 2/π. What does this mean? Does the number pi, which was created with the universe and which we meet in different fields, play a role in showing the manifestation of the Majestic Will about where an object will fall-through having a result that can not be explained by coincidence? Is falling not an ordinary incident?

While this reality makes even falling an extraordinary incident, it opens a perspective on understanding the reality behind the verse: “…it was not you (O Messenger) who threw but God threw,” which was revealed about the Battle of Badr in the Qur’an. Actually, it is impossible even for a leaf to fall without the knowledge and the calculation of Our Lord, who is closer to us than our jugular vein.

Let us think about a group of creatures that lives with different physical laws in a different universe. Assume that they live on a flat, circular world (Figure 4) and their steps get longer when they come close to the center. For this kind of creature, the shortest distance between two points is not a straight line as it is for us (A–B). Since their steps get longer as they get closer to the center, they travel close to the center. Yet, since they make the way a little longer in this way, the shortest distance would be an oblique line that takes these two variables into account and that passes by partially approaching the center. So, what would we think if we saw these creatures walking in this way all the time? Or if we knew that the creatures acting in this way were inanimate beings? In these circumstances, we might wonder whether these beings are very intelligent or whether One who knows and sees everything, and is present in every place at every time, directs them.

For a soccer forward to find the best time to attack when he is facing the goal keeper or for a tennis player to choose the best timing and position to hit the ball requires a fine calculation. In tennis, the player sometimes approaches very close to the net to meet the ball. In this way, the player gains great advantage since, by his or her positioning, the player reduces the area into which the ball can fall to the minimum, and increases his or her own chances of returning the ball (Figure 5). Nevertheless, since the ball reaches the player faster and harder, there is also a raised probability of the player’s failing to return the ball. Therefore, advancing right up to the net may not always be advantageous. Thus, the best position for the player may lie at any point between the net and the baseline when area and speed variables are considered. Similarly, the most advantageous point for the goal keeper lies between the attacking forward and the goal line, at a point which depends upon the variables of the speed of the ball and the area.

Naturally, we do not find tennis and soccer players’ positionings as described above strange since we expect them, as reasonable people, to play in this way. Yet, how would we interpret and explain it if we saw inanimate things acting in the same way? There is a phenomenon that applies this logic consciously but itself does not have consciousness. A phenomenon that astonishes people: light.

Let us think of a rectangular racetrack with points A, B, C, D. While the shortest distance for a horse that will run from one end of this racetrack to the other is the AC diagonal when the ground is homogenous, there will be a reroute if the ground is not homogenous. Assume the length of the racetrack is 80 meters and its width is 60 meters. Half of it is grass and the other half is sand (Figure 6). Also, assume the horse’s speed on the sand is half of its speed on the grass (it runs 10 meters in 1 unit of time on the grass). Under these circumstances, the horse will run the AC diagonal in 15 units of time while it will run AEC route in 14.5 units of time. The ABC route is much longer. Thus, any route which passes between these two routes will be shorter than these two. The point O, which the shortest route (AOC) passes, will be between the points M and E. When we look carefully, we understand that this is the route light follows as it enters environments of different densities; for example, the route it follows when passing from air to water (see a spoon’s broken image in a water-filled glass). As you see, light finds that specific mysterious point and follows that particular path. In other words, while entering different environments of varying densities, it finds the shortest way and follows it in an amazing way.

All these detailed calculations and functioning with great wisdom show that even inanimate beings and atoms are in the hands of a Majestic Will.

Every atom contains two truthful testimonies to the Necessarily Existent Being’s Existence and Unity. Despite being powerless and insentient, it bears decisive witness to the Necessarily Existent Being’s Existence by carrying out important duties and functions as though it were conscious. It also testifies to the Unity of the same Being, Who owns all material and immaterial dominions, by conforming to the universal order in general, and to the rules of each place it enters in particular. It settles in every place as if it were its homeland. All of this shows that the One Who owns the atom owns all the places it enters. By carrying out very heavy duties incompatible with its size and weakness, the atom shows that it acts at the command and in the name of One with absolute power. (The Thirtieth Word, Second Point, Risale-i Nur Collection)


  1. See Al-Anfal 8:17.
  2. “… And He knows whatever is on land and in the sea; and not a leaf falls but He knows it” (Al-An’am 6:59).