Prof. Durga Rao is an expert in the field of Marine Geology and was a
professor at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He was asked to
comment on the following verse: “Or (the Unbelievers’ state) Is like the
depths of darkness In a vast deep ocean, Overwhelmed with billow
Topped by billow, Topped by (dark) clouds: Depths of darkness, one
Above another: if a man Stretches out his hand, He can hardly see it! For
any to whom Allah Giveth not light, there is no light!” [Al-Qur’aan 24:40]
Prof. Rao said that scientists have only now been able to confirm, with the
help of modern equipment that there is darkness in the depths of the ocean.
Humans are unable to dive unaided underwater for more than 20 to 30 meters,
and cannot survive in the deep oceanic regions at a depth of more than 200
meters. This verse does not refer to all seas because not every sea can be


8 Oceanography, Gross, p. 242. Also see Introductory Oceanography, Thurman,
pp. 300-301.
9 Oceanography, Gross, p. 244 and Introductory Oceanography, Thurman, pp.


described as having accumulated darkness layered one over another. It refers

especially to a deep sea or deep ocean, as the Qur’aan says, “darkness in a
vast deep ocean”. This layered darkness in a deep ocean is the result of two


A light ray is composed of seven colours. These seven colours are Violet,
Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red (VIBGYOR). The light ray
undergoes refraction when it hits water. The upper 10 to 15 metres of
water absorb the red colour. Therefore if a diver is 25 metres under water and
gets wounded, he would not be able to see the red colour of his blood,
because the red colour does not reach this depth. Similarly orange rays are
absorbed at 30 to 50 metres, yellow at 50 to 100 metres, green at 100 to 200
metres, and finally, blue beyond 200 metres and violet and indigo above 200
metres. Due to successive disappearance of colour, one layer after another,
the ocean progressively becomes darker, i.e. darkness takes place in layers of
light. Below a depth of 1000 meters there is complete darkness. 10



. The sun’s rays are absorbed by clouds, which in turn scatter light rays
thus causing a layer of darkness under the clouds. This is the first layer
of darkness. When light rays reach the surface of the ocean they are
reflected by the wave surface giving it a shiny appearance. Therefore it is the
waves which reflect light and cause darkness. The unreflected light penetrates
into the depths of the ocean. Therefore the ocean has two parts. The surface
characterized by light and warmth and the depth characterized by darkness.
The surface is further separated from the deep part of the ocean by waves.
The internal waves cover the deep waters of seas and oceans because the deep
waters have a higher density than the waters above them. The darkness begins
below the internal waves. Even the fish in the depths of the ocean cannot see;
their only source of light is from their own bodies.
The Qur’aan rightly mentions: “Darkness in a vast deep ocean
overwhelmed with waves topped by waves”.