What means “breathing dawn?”
“And by the dawn as it breathes.” (Qur’an, at-Takwir 81:18).
When plants undergo photosynthesis, they take in carbon dioxide from the air, and give off oxygen instead. Oxygen, which we breathe and which is our basic source of life, is the main product of photosynthesis. Some 30% of the oxygen in the atmosphere is produced by plants on land, the remaining 70% being produced by plants and single-celled living things in the seas and oceans.
Light is one of the most essential elements in the produtcion of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis varies in proportion to the intensity and duration of the light source. With the reception of the Sun’s rays in the morning, photosynthesis— in other words, the production of oxygen begins.
The productivity of photosynthesis is measured by the level of oxygen output. The greatest point is in the morning, when the Sun’s rays are most concentrated. At dawn, the leaves begin to sweat, and photosynthesis increases accordingly. In the afternoon, however, the opposite applies; in other words photosynthesis slows down, and respiration increases because as the temperature rises perspiration also increases. At night, as the temperature falls, perspiration declines and the plant rests.
The term “as it breathes” in Surat at-Takwir, in reference to the morning hours, is a metaphorical reference to breathing, respiration, or breathing deeply. This term particularly emphasises the way that the production of oxygen begins in the morning, and that the greatest levels of oxygen, essential for respiration, are given off at that time. The importance of the phenomena is also emphasised by the way that Allah swears upon it. The way that Allah indicates the action of photosynthesis, among the most important discoveries of the 20th century, in this verse, is another of the scientific miracles of the Qur’an.