Responses to "It is Truth"

Chapter 2

Islam and Science

Western thought today is in the midst of a raging battle between religion and science. It is almost impossible for a western thinker today to accept the fact that there may be a meeting ground between religion and science.

This statement is more opinion than science.

The Bible, in which the Christians believe, states that the tree from which the Prophet Adam (`alaihi salaam) was forbidden to eat was the tree of knowledge. Thus, after he ate from it, he gained certain knowledge that he had not had before.

This is completely wrong! Man was forbidden to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:9 : And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground - trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:17 : but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."

The Church ruled that the pursuit of such scientific knowledge was the cause for the original sin. The bishops drew their evidence from the Old Testament, where it is mentioned that when Adam ate of the tree and gained some knowledge, Allah was displeased with him and denied him mercy.

Can you provide back up this statement with any reference where a pope or Christian leader has said that scientific knowledge was the cause of original sin?

Scientific knowledge was therefore rejected entirely by the Church as a taboo.

If that really were the case, why then are there thousands of scientific treatises in the Vatican Library?

Finally, when the free thinkers and scientists of the West were able to overcome the power of the Church, they took revenge by going in the opposite direction and suppressing any power of the religion. They went to all possible extremes in order to overcome the power of the Church and reduce its influence into a narrow and a confined corner.

Please do not confuse the political institution called the "church" with the teachings of Christ. Please also do not overlook the fact that many of the finest scientists and doctors who have lived over the past few centuries have been Christians. They would all admit that their scientific contributions meant nothing to them in comparison to their faith in Jesus Christ.

It is known from the Qur'an that Adam (`alaihi salaam) was favored over the angels by virtue of the knowledge given to him by Allah. The Qur'anic story contradicts that of the Bible which Muslims hold to have been distorted.

It is worrying that a web-site such as It-is-truth which claims to be honest and scientific should make such a bold assertion as to maintain that the Bible has been distorted then not provide a shred of evidence to support this claim. Interestingly note that it is "Muslims" who hold the Bible to have been distorted. Very many non-Muslim scholars would disagree totally with this.

Incidentally, the Bible has a very high view of man, being created in the image of God. But admittedly does not go as far as the Qur'an, which claims that God actually told the angels to bow down and worship Adam! (see suras 2:34 and 7:11). Would God really be likely to order such a command?


The "Science" of the Qur'an and Hadith

Among those who were taken by surprise is Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson, Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics.... We proved to him that the Qur'an informs us that the hereditary and the chromosomal make-up of the new being take place only after a successful union between the sperm and the ovum.

This is an extraordinary statement to come from what is presumably an organisation of scientists. There is not a single passage in the Qur'an which mentions the ovum or chromosomes. The Qur'an ONLY mentions semen.

Second, Dr. Simpson says in an article in the Wall Street Journal (by Daniel Golden, January 23rd, 2002):

Dr. Simpson now says he made some comments that sound "silly and embarrassing" taken out of context, but no matter: Mideast television shows, Muslim books and Web sites still quote him as saying the Quran must have been "derived from God," because it foresaw modern discoveries in embryology and genetics.

... Prof. Simpson -- who attended conferences in Saudi Arabia, Cairo and Islamabad -- recalls being asked to analyze an anecdote from the Sunnah, an Islamic holy book recording the acts and words of the prophet, in view of modern genetics.

In this passage -- apparently intended to discourage unjustified accusations of adultery -- a Bedouin complained to Muhammad that his wife had given birth to a black child. Muhammed inquired about the nomad's camels, and was told that some were tinged with red, but one was dusky in color. The prophet then likened the child to the dusky camel, saying both could have inherited their hues from ancestors.

At the urging of conference organizers, Prof. Simpson attested that this passage was consistent with the way recessive genes pass on traits not obvious in parents. But he says that the parallels -- while striking -- aren't necessarily evidence of divine inspiration.

"It is the Truth" continues:

Hence, many of the details in the human being's make-up are determined in his chromosomes. These chromosomes begin to form during the early nutfah stage of embryonic development

Ah, so the Qur'an doesn't actually talk about the hereditary makeup of the embryo, it merely mentions semen (nutfah) which we now know to contain hereditary material.

From what stuff has He created him? From a sperm-drop (nutfah): He has created him, and then molded him in due proportion. (Qur'an 80:18-19)

This is scientifically incomplete - we are formed when a sperm and egg unite! Why does male semen get all of the credit in the Qur'an? After all, we can see semen, but we cannot see the ovum. Since the Qur'an tells us about semen (or the "sperm drop"), which we can see, but knows nothing of the egg, we might conclude that this is a simple human observation, and certainly not a scientific miracle.

During the first 40 days of gestation, all the body parts and organs are completely, though consecutively formed. We can notice in Figure 2.1 that the organs begin to be formed, assembled, and the fetus appears twisted. The Prophet Muhammad, (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam), has informed us in a hadeeth that: In every one of you, all components of your creation are gathered together in your mothers' womb by 40 days. (Narrated in Saheeh Muslim and Al-Bukhaari).

There are other Hadiths which contradict this particular one. For example, we read in Sahih Bukhari Volume 9, Book 93, Number 546:

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud:

Allah's Apostle the true and truly inspired, narrated to us, "The creation of everyone of you starts with the process of collecting the material for his body within forty days and forty nights in the womb of his mother. Then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period (40 days) and then he becomes like a piece of flesh for a similar period ..." (Also read 4.430, 8.594, and 4.550)

Error 1: An embryo is not a "clot of thick blood" at any point in human development. Muhammad probably saw a miscarried embryo, and made this incorrect assumption. Incidentally, the clotted blood in a miscarriage is mostly from the mother, not the embryo. Another possible explanation for this error is that Muhammad believed the prevailing Aristotelian common "wisdom" of his day. Aristotle believed that children were conceived from the action of male semen upon female menstrual blood. (Aristotle (English trans. A. L. Peck, Heinemann, 1953), Generation of Animals, 717b)

Error 2: This hadith echoes sura 23:14, which mentions the three stages of embryological development (nutfah, alaqa and mudghah) then says the embryo is "another creation". According to this hadith the human foetus was not completely formed until 120 days of gestation, which contradicts what has just been said above.

In another Hadeeth, Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam) said: When forty-two nights have passed over the drop (nutfah), Allah sends an angel to it, who shapes it and makes its ears, eyes, skin, flesh and bones. Then he says, "O Lord, is it male or female?" and your Lord decides what he wishes. (Muslim).

There are a number of errors in this Hadith.

Error 1: Semen CANNOT remain viable in the womb for forty two days. Under ideal circumstances, a male sperm cell can only survive for approximately 7 days in the female reproductive system.

Error 2: The gender of a child is determined at the moment of conception, not 42 days after conception.

Error 3: Hippocrates taught that it took 30 days for the male genitals to form and 42 for the female embryo. No wonder the angel has to wait for forty-two days before it learns the child's sex. In reality, prior to 7 weeks of gestation the ovaries and testes appear identical and the external genitalia only start to diverge around 9 weeks.

Professor Simpson studied these two hadeeths extensively, noting that the first 40 days constitute a clearly distinguishable stage of embryogenesis. He was particularly impressed by the absolute precision and accuracy of those hadeeths. Then during one of the conferences which he attended he gave the following opinion: So that the two hadeeths that have been noted can provide us with a specific time table for the main embryological development before 40 days.

NO. The Hadith clearly says that "the drop of (semen) remains in the womb for forty or fifty (days) or forty nights." There is absolutely nothing distinguishable about a drop of semen, especially since sperm cells cannot survive, or even remain, in the female reproductive system for that long. The Muslim speakers are desperately trying to prove that the stages of development in the Qur'an were only visible under the microscope and hence unknown to Muhammed. This means that they have to look for events in human development that take place in the first few weeks, otherwise the embryo would be big enough for the naked eye to see. But the Hadith exclude that possibility, for they tell us that Muhammed said the Nutfah stage alone lasted forty days, and clearly a sperm cannot survive inside a woman's reproductive system for that length of time. Isn't it interesting that Simpson tries to telescope the stages of development listed in the Qur'an into forty days, because that suits his premise that the stages could not have been seen by human eye? Muhammed tells us that they took place over 120 days.

Again, the point had been made repeatedly by other speakers this morning that these hadeeths could not have been obtained on the basis of the scientific knowledge that was available at the time of their recording.

Wrong again. The Greek physician Galen (150 AD) believed that the embryo developed in four stages:

  1. Geniture - an unformed white conceptus like semen (similar to nutfah)
  2. A bloody vascularised foetus with brain, liver and heart (similar to alaqa)
  3. Other features were mapped out but unformed (similar to mudghah)
  4. Puer - all the organs were well formed and joints were freely moveable

  5. (Source: A. W. Meyer (Stanford, 1939) The Rise of Embryology, p. 27)

In his book Sex and Society in Islam (Cambridge, 1983, p. 54) Basim Musallam says: "The stages of development which the Qur'an and Hadith established for believers agreed perfectly with Galen's scientific account. ... There is no doubt that medieval thought appreciated this agreement between the Qur'an and Galen, for Arabic science employed the same Qur'anic terms to describe the Galenic stages".

After having realized through examples of scientific miracles in the Qur'aan as well as knowing the related comments of the objective scientists on them, let us ask ourselves these questions:

a) Could it be a coincidence that all this recently discovered scientific information from different fields was mentioned in the Qur'aan which was revealed 14 centuries ago?

Nothing in the Qur'an or Hadith comes close to "recently discovered scientific information" in the fields of embryology and fetology. The Qur'an and Hadith are scientifically wrong.

b) Could this Qur'aan have been authored by Muhammad (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) or by any other human being?

Absolutely! Every single statement in the Qur'an and Hadith which mentions human development is either scientifically incorrect or was common (mostly incorrect) knowledge long before the birth of Muhammad and Islam.

The only possible answer to that is that the Qur'aan must be the literal word of God (Allah) revealed by Him.

That conclusion cannot be reached on the basis of the verses that have been provided.

Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) reviewed the Qur'aan with the Angel Jibreel once every Ramadhan (the month of fasting) and twice in the last year of his life in the same islamic calendar.

This is a statement of faith, not of science. Good science demands independent verificiation and reproducibility for a claim. Were there any witnesses, other than Muhammad, to these events?

Since the Qur'aan was revealed up until this day, there has always been a huge number of Muslims who have memorized all of the Qur'aan, letter by letter. Some of them have been able to memorize all of the Qur'aan by the age of ten.

Does this prove that the Qur'an is from God? We had to memorize the Gettysburg Address at school, does that make it divine?

Thus, it is not surprising to note that not one letter of the Qur'aan has been changed for centuries up to now.

Wrong again!

For more information concerning embryology and the Qur'an please read this excellent article.

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