Water Supply: The Unique Divine Arrangement
In verse 22, from: وَأَرْسَلْنَا الرِّيَاحَ (And We send forth winds ...) to: مَا أَنتُمْ لَهُ بِخَازِنِينَ (and you are not able to store it), a hint has been given to this wise arrangement through which a formidable system has been established to provide water for all human beings, animals, cattle, birds and beasts who live on this earth as and when they need it. Under this arrangement, everyone gets water everywhere, under all conditions, as needed, for drinking or bathing or washing or for irrigating farms and trees. This is water at no cost. As for those who would spend to dig a well or put water pipes to receive the supply of water, they only pay for the means and facilities. No one can pay for even a drop of water, nor has anyone been asked to pay for it.
Mentioned first in the verse was how Divine power has set in motion its unique system of delivering water from the sea all over the earth by creating vapours in the sea which generated the substance of rains (the monsoons) and on top of it fanned the winds which would transform it into clouds making them as if they were mountain-like planes laden with water. Then, comes the task of having these giant planes carrying their cargo of water reach every nook and corner of the world where it must reach. And then this mission is accomplished directly under Divine command whereby these gigantic auto planes would rain down a specific quantity of water over a specific area of the earth, as commanded.
In this manner, water from the sea is home-delivered to all inhabitants of the earth, human beings, and animals, wherever they may be. Then, this system takes care of seeing that an equally unique change is made in the taste and properties of the water being delivered. We know that Allah Ta’ ala has, in His wisdom, made sea water so salty and brackish that tons and tons of salt is extracted and used from it. The element of wisdom behind it is that this great sea sphere which is home to mil-lions and billions of life forms, and their burial place too where they die and disintegrate. Then, foul water from all over the earth (despite much publicized ecological concerns voiced by the polluters themselves) ulti-mately gets delivered in it. Had this been sweet water, it would have gone bad within a day, and its stench would have been so severe that it would have become a health hazard for the dwellers on land. Therefore, nature made it so acidly brackish that it would just burn up the filth which keeps reaching it from all over the world. So, it was based on this wise consideration that the sea water was made salty, rather brackish, which cannot be drunk or used to quench thirst. Certainly great is the Divine system which not only made water planes designed as clouds to carry the priceless treasures of water, but did much more when it activated its own desalination without the help of huge mechanized plants used for this purpose in our time. It only took the period of time from the rising of the monsoons until the rains fell down on the earth that salt from sea water separated and sweet water was what we got. A reference to this appears in Surah Al-Mursalat (77:27) where it is said: وَأَسْقَيْنَاكُم مَّاءً فُرَاتًا : It means: We gave you water to drink which quenches thirst. The word: فُرَات (furat) used here signifies thirst-quenching sweet water. In other words, the sense is that Allah has made the salty water of the sea go through His own desalination plant in the clouds and has arranged for you to have sweet drinking water out of water which was brackish.
The same subject occurs in Surah Al-Waqi` ah (56:68-70) where it is said:
أَفَرَأَيْتُمُ الْمَاءَ الَّذِي تَشْرَبُونَ أَأَنتُمْ أَنزَلْتُمُوهُ مِنَ الْمُزْنِ أَمْ نَحْنُ الْمُنزِلُونَ لَوْ نَشَاءُ جَعَلْنَاهُ أُجَاجًا فَلَوْلَا تَشْكُرُونَ
You see the water you drink? Is it you who bring it down from the cloud, or are We the senders? If We had willed, We would have made it bitter. Why, then, would you not be grateful?
Upto this point, we have seen the spectacular manifestation of Divine power as to how it has picked up water from the sea, changed it into sweet water, and delivered it through clouds all over the world with such efficiency of management that it reached not only the human beings of every region but was also passed on to animals and wildlife which are not within the range of human inquiry. Water was, so to say, home-delivered to them - and free of cost too, in fact, they had to have it.
But, this arrangement does not solve the problem faced by human beings and animals because they need water every day, rather every moment. Therefore, one method of fulfilling their daily demand was to have rains come every day, twelve months a year. But, under this arrangement, their elemental need for water would have been taken care of to a certain degree, however, the disturbance they would have faced in other economic activities is not difficult to foresee, at least for those who have the experience. Constant rain, every day of the year, would have affected health and caused gridlocks in transportation, hazards in movement and sluggishness in business.
Also possible was a second method that there be enough rain in particular months of the year so that the water from it becomes sufficient for the rest of the months. But, this method would have required that everyone be assigned a quota of water which may be entrusted to each such person with the ground rule that they would keep the quota and share of water thus received under their personal custody.
Now, just imagine. If this was done, how could every human being have managed to assemble enough water containers of suitable sizes and capacities in which water needed for a period of three to six months could be stored? Even if, this could somehow be done, it goes without saying that this water would have gone bad within a few days drinking which, in fact, using which for some other purpose would have been out of the question. Therefore, Divine power introduced yet another unique system to preserve it and make it become available as and when and where needed. We see that some portion of the water rained down is immediately put to use when it helps farms and trees to bloom and human beings and animals to quench their thirst. Part of it gets deposited and preserved in open ponds and lakes. Then a greater portion of it is trans-formed into ice - a frozen sea - which is so conveniently put atop mountain peaks. Neither dust, nor filth can touch it. Had this water remained in the liquid form, there would have been the danger of its being contaminated with dust or filth brought by the winds. May be birds and animals would have fallen into it, and died, which would have spoiled this water. But, what Divine power did was to take this treasure of water, turn it into a virtual sea of ice, and put it on top of the mountains from where it keeps seeping into the pores of the mountains and then becomes what streams are and thus it reaches everywhere. Places where there are no streams either, water keeps flowing under the earth surface like human veins in every region of the world. Dig a well, it would come out.
To sum up, this Divine system of water supply holds thousands of blessings in its fold. First of all, the creation of water is in itself a great blessing. Then, making it reach all regions of the earth is the second blessing. Then, making it potable is the third blessing. Then, giving human beings the opportunity to drink it is the fourth blessing. Then, the formidable system of collecting and preserving water according to its need is the fifth blessing. And then, giving men and women of this world the ability to benefit by it is the sixth blessing - because, despite water being available, there may be unwelcome circumstances or natural and man-made calamities due to which one may not remain capable enough to drink water. In the present verse of the Holy Qur’ an: فَأَسْقَيْنَاكُمُوهُ وَمَا أَنتُمْ لَهُ بِخَازِنِينَ (and gave it to you to drink, and you are not able to store it - 22), a clear hint has been given to these blessings, and also a warning (to those who refuse to see truth as it is):
فَتَبَارَكَ اللَّـهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ
Blessed is Allah, the best of creators.