Responses to "It is Truth"

Chapter 8

On the Sensory Characteristic of the Skin

Dr. Tagata Tejasen, a Buddhist convert to Islam, is our next "expert".

When Professor Tejasen studied this article he also was greatly astonished. We asked him several questions in his field of specialization. One of the questions pertained to modern discoveries in dermatology about the sensory characteristics of the skin. Dr. Tejasen responded: Yes if the burn is deep.

What was the question?

It was stated to Dr. Tejasen: You will be interested to know that in this book, the Holy Book - the Qur'an, there was a reference 1400 years ago which pertains to the moment of punishment of the unbelievers by the fire of Hell and it states that when their skin is destroyed, Allah makes another skin for them so that they perceive the punishment by a fire, indicating knowledge about the nerve endings in the skin, and the verse is as follows:

Those who reject our signs, We shall soon cast into the fire. As often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the chastisement. Truly Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. (Qur'an 4:56).

Sura 4:56

Yusuf Ali: Those who reject our Signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire: as often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.

Pickthall: Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment. Lo! Allah is ever Mighty, Wise.

Shakir: (As for) those who disbelieve in Our communications, We shall make them enter fire; so oft as their skins are thoroughly burned, We will change them for other skins, that they may taste the chastisement; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.

We asked: So do you agree that this is a reference to the importance of the nerve endings in the skin in sensation, 1400 years ago? Dr. Tejasen responded: Yes I agree.

Where is the "reference to the importance of the nerve endings"? I do not see this in the text of the Qur'an. Humans, as well as animals, have always know that the skin feels pain when it is burned! Did you need a "divine revelation" to know this?

This knowledge about sensation had been known long before, because it says that if somebody does something wrong, then he will be punished by burning his skin and then Allah puts a new skin on him, covers him, to make him know that the test is painful again. That means they knew many years ago that the receptor of pain sensation must be on the skin, so they put a new skin on.

Huh? If we knew that skin felt pain "long before", then where is the scientific "miracle"? The thought that God will regenerate the skin of those that He has burned, only to burn them again, sounds pretty cruel and vindictive. If a human experiences a deep burn it will destroy their pain sensors, making the skin which regrows without sensation. That's a pretty demonstrable medical fact - any subsequent skin may not feel as much pain. This experience is the same today as it would have been 1400 years ago. Certainly some people of the past had the experience of deep burns and made the discovery that their regrown skin (scar tissue) was less sensitive. So all the author of the Qur'an is doing when he writes this sura is to demonstrate that he knows that since ordinarily a human won't feel pain in the regenerated skin after a severe burn, but God makes sure that he does by giving a special kind of skin that allows God's torment to be perpetuated.

The skin is the center of sensitivity to burns.

What is this supposed to mean? The skin is the outermost portion of the human body so it stands to reason that it would be the first organ (yes, skin is an organ) to sense the pain of being burned. But surely the "center of sensitivities to burns" should be the thalamus (within the brain), since that is where the person actually perceives burning pains.

We asked him the following question: `Is it possible that these verses came to the Prophet Muhammad, (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam), from a human source?' Professor Tejasen conceded that they could have never come from any human source. But he still asked about the source of that knowledge and from where could Muhammad have possibly received it?

So Muhammad was the first human to discover that burns are painful? Do our Muslim friends - whether otherwise distinguished scientists or just ordinary believers - really want to claim that "sensitivity of the skin to burns" is something discovered only by modern science? Did humans 1400 years ago not feel the same pain when their skin was burned? The Qur'an again mentions the obvious. It does not mention anything unobservable at the time. It does not mention HOW this new skin may enable you to experience pain again. It does not speak about specific "nerve cells" in the skin functioning as "pain receptors" which are indeed insights of modern science. But experiencing pain when your skin is burned (and scar tissue not being as sensitive as true skin) is hardly an experience restricted to modern times.

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