Indeed, it seems that Hamza can’t quite decide whether bin Kalada’s non-existence is worth pursuing or not, since a few lines on we read this: There are historical reports stating that bin Kalada converted to Islam and was considered a companion of the Prophet. Ah – so he did exist, after all… Hamza then quotes someone called Abubakr Asadullah who, confusingly, seems to think bin Kalada was a physician, and whom he calls a graduate of that non-existent medical school… “According to nearly all traditional sources, the first known Arab physician was al-Harith ibn Kalada, a graduate of Junishapur and a Jewish convert to Islam, a contemporary of Prophet Mohammad.
To confuse matters still further, Hamza then uses the fact that bin Kalada was an “educated physician” and close Companion of the Prophet in his next argument: In light of this, the Prophet copying bin Kalada is highly improbable as it is irrational to assert that an educated physician would convert to Islam […] had he known or suspected the Prophet of copying his work on embryology.
Hamza leaves his best argument ‘til last. He suggests that since Mohammad didn’t come into contact with bin Kalada until after the verses relating to embryology had been revealed, it is impossible that he could have copied from him: Bin Kalada was from al-Ta’if, a town which came into contact with Islam only in the 8th year of the Islamic calendar, and it was during this period that Islamic historical sources first mention the phycisian. Therefore, it would be impossible to suggest the Prophet Muhammad copied Bin Kalada’s views on the developing human because chapter 23 of the Qur’an and its verses referring to embryology had already been revealed by the time Bin Kalada met the Prophet Muhammad. Now this looks convincing until we examine more closely the claim that bin Kalada did not meet the Prophet until after Mohammad had received the ayats relating to embryology. Apart from the fact that the most damning ayat (86:6-7) supposedly comes from the Medinan period (“damning”in that it contains the infamous information about sperm emanating from between the backbone and the ribs – the same mistake the Greeks made) and therefore after bin Kalada supposedly met Mohammad, the dating of surah is notoriously difficult. For example, Theodor Noldeke dated surah 23 to after the Hijra and therefore also from the Medinan and not the Meccan period, and therefore it is quite possible that all the verses relating to embryology come from when after bin Kalada was the physician to the Prophet.
In conclusion, Hamza Tzortzis has failed to dismiss the possibility that the source of the information in the Qur’an on embryology that is so suspiciously similar to ancient Greek theories was his companion and physician, al-Harith bin Kalada.