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Published on Jun 26, 2009
Chaos theory, which speculates that the smallest of events can have the hugest of consequences.
Although a butterfly flapping its wings has remained constant in the expression of this concept, the location of the butterfly, the consequences, and the location of the consequences have varied widely.
The phrase refers to the idea that a butterfly's wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that may ultimately alter the path of a tornado or delay, accelerate or even prevent the occurrence of a tornado in a certain location. The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale alterations of events. Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the trajectory of the system might have been vastly different. While the butterfly does not cause the tornado, the flap of its wings is an essential part of the initial conditions resulting in a tornado.
'And (the unbelievers) plotted and planned, and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah.' - [Al-Qur'ān, Chapter 3: Sūrah Āl-i-Imrān (The Family of Imran), Verse 54].