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Oct 23, 2007

The quranic miracles allegers play with words - the development of embryo

The original Arabic text could be found at The Network of Non-religious Arabs

The Author of the original Arabic text is: Yusuf Saqr

Quranic verse translation is adopted from Yousef Ali's Quran meanings with comments from the translators understanding of Arabic language as a mother tongue

Translated By: Atheeriraqi

The quranic miracles allegers play with words, the development of embryo as a Sample
The Language is a set of sounds, it is actually codes like any other codes, it expresses our ideas and feelings. The definition of the Language is “Sounds by which each group of people describe their intentions”, said Ibn Jinni. This definition doesn’t describe the whole meaning of the word “Language”, however, it is the closest definition to the context of our subject.



The language consists of indicators – phonetic and written- which refer to “things in our actual surrounding” so when I spell or write the word “Bab باب”(“Door” in Arabic language), the sounds which I make is an indicator or a code which refers to something already existing in the actual life, that is, “Bab”(Door), the pronounced or written word has no indication by its own.

And in order that the language can achieve its goal, the communicating parties through the language should agree on the indication of each indicator and its meaning, because there is no relation between “Bab”(Door) as a word and the actual “Bab”(Door) except our agreement that these sounds refer to that actual entity, that is to say, if the Arabs have agreed, for instance, that “the thing that we pass thought it (i.e. the door)” may be called “Handabees(which is not a word in Arabic at all)”, then the proposed word “Handabees” would have remembered an Arab with the actual door instead of the Arabic word used today “Bab”.
As an example, when you watch a movie in a language that you haven’t learnt, or when a group of people speak with each other in a different language of yours, then the sounds that they pronounce will not achieve its aim to you, and the same applies when you speak your own language which they haven’t learnt,
Starting from this introduction we say:
The qur’anic words which some (Muslim) theologists consider to be a miracle, those words exist already among Arabs and are aware of their meanings, so, if the Arabs have not been familiar with the meaning of such words, the text could not be understood, exactly as if you listen to a foreign language which you have not learnt. So, when Muhammad has mentioned in the Qur’an the word “Mudghaمضغة” as a stage of the development of the embryo, Quran said:
[23:13] Then We placed him as (a drop of) sperm in a place of rest, firmly fixed;
[23:14] Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a (foetus) lump; then we made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh…etc
there should be already a meaning for this word known to the Arabs at that time, it is of course true that the Quran included words which had no meaning in the actual life of Arabs like “Sakar سقر”, however, the meaning of those words have been explained by Quran itself or “Hadith”(speech of Muhammad), e.g. “Sakar” is “wadi in Jahannam” (a valley in the hill) and the Arabs already knew what the words “wadi” and “Jahannam” mean, so they could have an idea about the meaning of the word “Sakar”, but the case is different when we deal with the word “Mudgha” as its meaning was already known to the Arabs at the time of Muhammad.
But how could these words enter the Arabic language at that time? That is, how could the Arabs before Muhammad know those things (e.g. “Mudgha”) and coined words which describe them? This is easy to answer, it is simply known after the abortion, Yes, because abortion can happen at any stage of pregnancy, for instance, there are some pathological cases which the woman may miscarry many times in different months, and the miscarried fetus take every time a different shape, so it was necessary to coin words to describe each stage of the abortion. So they coined the words “Mudgha المضغة” and “Alaqa(1) العلقة ” ….etc
And because the Arabic language –and I think all Semitic- depends on deriving new words from a certain root of a word – for instance the arabic word “Mahmoolمحمول ” that we use nowadays to describe the “Mobile phone”, it is derived from the root “Hamlحَمل = to carry”, therefore, the word “Mahmool” refers to that we carry the mobile with us wherever we go - , it is easy to predict that Arabs have derived words for each stage that we mentioned, it is not difficult to understand that each word of those which Quran mentioned has been derived from a root which resembles the state of the embryo at the relevant stage. “Mudgha“ for instance, has been derived from the root „Madhaga مَضَغَ = to chew“, i.e. the stage when the embryo resembles the chewed lump of flesh” and so on… all these likening are just a simile which helps to understand the meaning, but do not describe the reality of the object, in the relevant stage the embryo is not a chewed lump of flesh, but something alike, and there is no scientific miracle here but an expression which shows shortage and ignorance of the coiners of the word not from Muhammad who has merely used it as he has heard and known.
There is a very important point, not only concerning the Quranic text of the development of embryo but relating to all the verses of Quran which the quranic miracles allegers use, this point is:
Is it possible to broaden the meaning of the word more than it really refers to? Namely to say that this “word” refers to that “thing” without any prior agreement ? (of the Arabs at the time of Muhammad). In order that my speech will be clear, is it possible that somebody says to me “Iftah Al-Babافتح الباب = open the door” and I understand it „open your heart” because the heart is the door to our friendship. Actually this is possible but within limits and regulations, otherwise there would be no meaning of our speech. One of these regulations is those of figuration (simile, metonymy and metaphor ..etc) as when I say: “Tirtu min al-farah طرت من الفرح = I flied because of happiness” I do not mean flying literally but just to describe my state of happiness, but “Al-Majaz المجاز = the figuration" as the Arab rhetorical specialists say e.g. Abdul-Qahir Al-Jurjani is “passing from the actual meaning to another one because a relation between the actual meaning and the new meaning exists”, that is, the relation between flying and the happiness, this rule should not be ignored, however, the subject of the regulation of figuration is a big issue and I do not think that the miracles allegers mean it, there is no relation to it in our point of discussion, add to that the differences among Muslims as some of them refuse that Quran includes figuration.
Therefore, there is no reason for broadening the meaning of Quranic verses but “Al-Ta’weel التأويل” which means that one (i.e. a miracles alleger) takes words and understand them in a way deviating it from the actual meaning, and this is our point of discussion in this article. As one says to his wife –when they are guests- “what time is it?” and his wife understands that they have been late and they should leave but he is embarrassed to say that in front of the hosts.
That is exactly what the miracle allegers do, they read in Quran the word “Mudhga مضغة = a chewed lump of flesh" and say : “This what we call nowadays ……….(they put a modern scientific term in the blank)” this is exactly what they do.
A good example of that, when the people thought that the planets around the earth are seven planets, the quranic miracles allegers have interpreted the seven firmaments mentioned in Quran as those seven planets, so they have given the word firmament a different meaning “i.e. planet”, but when the scientists of astronomy have discovered that there are nine planets (moving round the sun at the time of the writer and since 2006 they are considered to be eight according to IAU: the translator), After that discovery, they have changed their mind about the interpretation of “the seven firmaments”, And I have heard that there are some researches which expect that two other planets are going to be discovered, so they will be eleven and the miracle allegers have said that the Quran has mentioned the eleven planets in a verse in “Sura = Chapter of Quran” called “Yusuf = Joseph“, here it is: “[12:4] Behold! Joseph said to his father: "O my father! I did see eleven stars and the sun and the moon: I saw them prostrate themselves to me!".
I have read this – news with its interpretation in an Islamic magazine. “the miracles allegers added other two planets (Pseudo Science), so the planets have been eleven at the time when they were considered to be nine and continued with this allegation till the IAU stated at their conference in 2006 that the planets are eight after expelling Pluto: the translator”
The question is : Can’t I give any word you say any other meaning I want then I say “oh, what you said is a miracle?, of course I can, here is an example:
There is a verse of Al-Mutanabby “An Arab poet expected to claim being a prophet at his time, lived 915-965 AD: the translator”, he described fever “Humma in Arabic” as follows:
“My visitor seems as if it were shy
it does not visit me but in the darkness”
Can’t I search in the scientific researches to find something to allege that the fever would be more acute at the darkness of the night and the microbe never reaches the highest activity but at a “specified hour” at the night. And this is what is meant by the poet “Al-Mutanabby”.
He has also another verse which means that the disk(of the sun) has never appeared one day, and the people (the people who believed him) thought that the sun will never shine again.
Isn’t it possible that one alleges that this poet has meant that the sun never shines because he has known that the rotation of the earth around the sun and around itself is the reason of seeing the sun not the sun itself is moving and ………(and allege what you want)!!
(the last paragraph has been edited slightly by the translator)
The examples are so many.
We can only speak about “miracles” when Quran refers to “scientific facts” very clearly and obviously, then and only then we shall start speaking about it.
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the word “Alaqa” can have different meanings, the one that has been considered almost always till the twentieth century in the “Tafseer” (interpretations of the Quran) was “congealed blood” as Yusuf Ali translated it, which is actually a scientific mistake because blood can grow into nothing, However, another meaning is possible which Quran miracles allegers use nowadays, that is “the thing which clings” as Maurice Bucaille alleged to be a scientific fact”.
The truth is that Arabs already used the verb “Alaqa” (to cling) to describe a woman to become pregnant, so when Muhammad has said it, he added nothing from his side, the miracle should accordingly belong to paganism as Arabs were pagan at that time.
Here are some quotations from Arabic lexicons:
Lisan Alarab لسان العرب: under the word “Alaq”
وعلِقت المرأَة بالولد وكل أنثى عُلُوقًا حبلت
A woman „alaqa“ t with the child, and any female is „Ulooq“ = to become pregnant
Taj Al-Uroos تاج العروس:
وعلِقَت المرْأةُ علَقاً، أي: حبِلَتْ
The woman „alaqa“ t alaqan = to become pregnant
t : is used in Arabic for the verb whose subject is feminine
alaqan: is an assertion to the verb “alaqa”
the sources in the lexicons (in Arabic)
So my opinion is that Muhammad has formed the noun "Alaqa علقة" to describe the first stage of pregnancy as the verb "alaqat" means “(for a female) to become pregnant”, the stage before the "Alaqa" is the “Nutfa” which is a drop of sperm (it exists without causing pregnancy necessarily).
The translator

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