Friday, October 28, 2011

Embryology in the Qur'an - a challenge to Hamza Tzortzis, iERA and Islam Papers

So let man observe from what he has been created. He was created from a fluid, ejected, emerging from between the backbone and the ribs 

Following the recent correspondence between this blog and the dawah site, Islam Papers, and the suggestion by IP that I put my points relating to the above verse in the Qur'an to Hamza Tzortzis of iERA (Islamic Education and Research Association) I thought it might be enlightening for my readers to see what the iERA said when I did exactly that via the kind offices of a Muslim friend a few months back. Here is the reply he got. Notice that there is NO MENTION of the various translations Hamza is so keen to highlight in his latest article quoted in IP and reproduced at the end of this post.

  The statement “sperm produced from between ribs and backbone?” is inaccurate. The most correct interpretation and translation (see Abdel Haleem’s translation of the Qur’an)  states that it is not the sperm that is produced from the ribs and the backbone but rather that the baby comes from there (in other words the womb). This is the view of the classical scholar al-Razi in his al-Tafsir al-Kabir. The pronoun refers back to man and not to the gushing fluid:
86. THE NIGHT-COMER 5) Man should reflect on what he was created from.6) He is created from spurting fluid, 7) then he * emerges from between the backbone and breastbone **
*= The Pronoun here is taken to refer to the person rather than the fluid.**=Of the mother, where she carries the baby.

and here is Hamza's latest article in full:

The above verses have been condemned by various critics and commentators as being scientifically inaccurate, and any attempt to salvage an accurate meaning from them has been suggested to be tantamount to textual acrobatics. This evaluation arises from an analysis of the words sulb andtara’ib which have been translated to mean ‘backbone’ and ‘ribs’. Those who maintain the scientific inaccuracy of the Qur’an claim the above translation for the words sulb and tara’ib cannot be reconciled with modern developments in physiology. However, after a lexical analysis of these words it will be seen that these words do in fact concur with modern physiology.The word sulb carries various meanings including hard, firm, solid, stiff and rigid. It also means any portion of the backbone, particularly the lumbar portion and the loins. It is specific to males.[2][3] The word tara’ib means breastbone, the ribs[4] or the pelvic arch,[5] and this word according to most authors refers specifically to women.
With such examinations of the interpretations offered by the Arabic language, it can be inferred that the Qur’an complies with modern physiology as it is well known that the sperm and semen come from an area referred to as the loins, and the ovum comes from the pelvic arch area. Both of which are required for the creation of man, that is to say, the human being. 

So my question to all Muslim miracle seekers, the iERA, Hamza Tzortzis and Islamic Papers is this: Can you please make up your minds what your holy book actually says, because at the moment it looks horribly like you can't tell your sulb from your elbow...

1 comment:

  1. Only just found this nugget - you ought to re-publish this one.