What do Quorans think of Vietnam

This is supposed to be about the so-called "embryology" in the Koran, which Islam apologists claim contains knowledge that a person in the seventh century could not possibly have had. This knowledge necessarily points to a divine revelation.I doubt that.

Perhaps we should first clarify what is meant by "embryology" in the Koran.

In Sura 23 the Koran contains a list of alleged stages of human development in the womb. There it is:

(1) We originally created humans from a portion of clay. Then We set him as a drop of seed in a safe resting place. Then We formed the drop into a blood clot; then We formed the clot of blood into a clot of flesh; then We made bones out of the lump of meat; then We clothed the bones with flesh; then We evolved it into another creation. So be blessed be Allah, the best Creator. (Quran 23.12)

(2) God created you from dust when He created Adam, then from a drop of seed, then He made you couples (male and female). (Quran 35.11)

(3) Do people think they are left to their own devices? Wasn't he a blast of sperm? Then he became a blood clot; then He formed and perfected it. Then He made a couple out of him, the man and the woman. (Quran 75,36)

(4) We created man from a drop of seed with multiple elements (Quran 76: 2)

And another somewhat strange verse:

(5) That is why people should consider what they are made of! It was created from a gushing liquid that comes out between the loins and the ribs. (Quran 86,5)

These are, in my opinion, all verses in the Koran that have to do with the creation of the human being in the womb. I cannot see any evidence of superhuman knowledge here.

I mean, the creation of the embryo is wrongly described in the Koran. The Koran describes the origin of man in four stages:

1) seminal phase, 2) blood structures, 3) first body made of flesh and bones, 4) body with differentiated organs and limbs.

(The Greek doctor and anatomist Galenus von Pergamon described this exactly 500 years earlier, more on that in the second part!)

The description begins with:

"we put it as a drop of semen in a safe resting place" (the womb)

That is biologically incorrect. The drop of sperm does not become human, nor is the drop of sperm placed in a "safe resting place", the womb.

Rather: A few million sperm swim in the seminal fluid. A single sperm penetrates the egg cell, leaving all cell components behind except for the haploid chromosome set, which is compressed in the sperm head. Fertilization usually takes place in the fallopian tube. There the zygote begins to divide after 24 hours. By the fifth day the zygote has developed into a blastocyst (now about 32 or 64 cells). On the sixth day, the blastocyst implanted in the uterus. Not the drop of sperm (Quran 23:14) but a 32-cell embryo in the blastocyst stage is implanted in the uterus.

This was unknown in ancient times. From a vague idea of ​​embryonic development that feeds on superficial observations (sperm somehow becomes an embryo that sits in the uterus), the authors have crafted a rough explanation. With some flaws, as modern research in embryology has shown.

I cannot see any evidence of superhuman, prophetic knowledge here.

"Then We formed the seed drop into a blood clot"

This is not a correct description of the processes involved in embryonic development.

It is not the drop of sperm that is implanted in the uterus, but the blastocyst on the sixth day of embryonic development. A blood clot does not occur in the entire embryonic development. The blastocyst initially has no blood vessels. Only in the third week of embryonic development does the embryo (more precisely: the trophoblast, the predecessor of the placenta) gain connection to the maternal blood vessels.

The term "blood clot" or "blood phase" (in Hippocrates and Galen) can be understood from the macroscopic point of view of that time. The translucent embryo will gradually be supplied with blood. The "skin" (the ectoderm) still appears transparent. This makes the embryo glow blood red. He looks like a blood clot. This can be seen very well in prematurely pregnant animals for slaughter and in miscarriages. A rough attempt to describe the embryo: "looks like a blood clot".

These rough and superficial impressions correspond exactly to the level of human knowledge of ancient Greece, as they were handed down in the writings of Aristotle and Galen - or were easily recognizable with our own eyes in early medieval Arabia.

I cannot see any evidence of superhuman knowledge.

"Then We made bones out of the lump of meat; then We clothed the bones with meat"

A very strange idea that has nothing to do with actual embryonic development.

The authors were apparently of the opinion that the embryo consisted of bones for a while, which were then covered with "meat". In the Koran commentary Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas this is spelled out:" Then we formed the little lump into bones without meat, then we clad the bones with meat. "

http: //www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp? tMadhNo = 0 ...

That contradicts the biological facts. Bones and muscles are formed around the same time, from around the sixth week of pregnancy. The first structure with detectable bone tissue is the collarbone, then the vertebrae. Histological sections tend to show the opposite: During this time, muscles can already be detected - but not a single bone cell.

Understandable: In ancient times and in the early Middle Ages there was no way to answer such questions correctly.

Under construction

Elsewhere, Muslims claim that the Koran predicted the leech shape of the embryo. No one could have known this at the time, see the assertion here:"Dr. Keith Moore did not know whether an embryo appeared like a leech in its initial stages. To check this, he studied the initial stage of the embryo under a very powerful microscope and compared his observations with a diagram of a leech. He was amazed at that amazing resemblance of the two! "

The above picture was taken without a microscope or the like. With the naked eye you can see: The embryo is a short, thick worm that clings to the wall of the uterus and "sucks" blood from it. If you look closely, it's filled with blood. In ancient times and without any scientific education, I would have called something like a "leech". Because an embryo looks like a leech even later, when it can be seen with the naked eye (e.g. early miscarriages). So here, too, no indication of superhuman knowledge (If "Alaqa" actually meant leeches. Normally it is translated as "blood clots".).

Perhaps more interesting is what the Quran is (if you want to understand it as a scientific work) omits in his description of embryonic development. Almost everything relevant.

The egg cell. The woman is not only a "safe resting place" (23,13), a "field", a "soil for your seeds" (Quran 2,224), an oven in which the male seed is hatched, but participates equally in it Procreation. Each parent contributes half a set of chromosomes.

The fusion of the maternal egg cell and the paternal sperm cell in the fallopian tube. First cell division after 24 hours. Stage of the blastocyst on the fifth day. Implantation in the uterus on the sixth day. Amniotic cavity arises on the 8th day.

The germinal disc folds in the middle on the 20th day to form a neural groove, from which the brain, spinal cord and surrounding structures later develop. How about some divine advice here? "Pregnant women eat a lot of green leafy vegetables, nuts and legumes. The folic acid it contains prevents the" open back "(which was often fatal at the time), i.e. defects in neural tube closure."

A description of the separate cardiovascular tubes that merge in the third week would also be surprising. On the 22nd day the heart starts beating. How do twins arise? How do identical twins arise? Not even something as banal as: "Midwives, wash your hands - preferably with alcohol" is contained in this divine revelation to humanity.

Understandable: A book from the seventh century knows nothing about it. It is limited to gross half-knowledge that was recognizable with the means of knowledge of the time, with the naked eye, in miscarriages and pregnant animals for slaughter.

We come to the second point - the transmission history of these "embryological" verses.

The Koran describes - as has been explained - four stages: 1) seeds, 2) blood structures, 3) first body made of flesh and bones, 4) bodies with differentiated organs and limbs. The Greek doctor and anatomist Galenus von Pergamon described this exactly 500 years earlier (sic!).

Galen's work, which was regarded as a reference work in ancient medicine up to modern times, was known in the Mediterranean and the Middle East for its translations into Syriac. They were taught at Jundishapur Medical University. One of its graduates was al Harith ibn Kalada. This was a companion of Muhammad. It is therefore no coincidence that the sequences described by Galen and Mohammed are practically completely identical. The most impressive thing in common: they both have practically nothing at all to do with the really relevant processes in embryonic development.

Historical-critical Koran research (Corpus Coranicum project of the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences) names Galen's text as the origin of the Koran verses on embryology.


I think nothing heals more effectively from the idea of ​​"divinely revealed embryology" than dealing with actual processes in embryonic development. The relevant information on embryonic development has absolutely nothing to do with what is written in Galen and in the Koran.

A brief insight:


"The Qur'an has all the most important processes."

Sorry, but you can only believe that if you don't know anything about embryology. The really relevant information is not such commonplace observations of semen and blood clots and uterus, but chromosomes, gametogenesis, meiotic divisions, implantation, gastrulation, primitive streaks, somite formation, neurulation, development of the intraembryonic mesoderm, chorion formation, folding, germ layers, branchial arch derivatives, organogenesis, etc.

The words "seminal phase" or "blood clot" or "flesh clot" do not appear at all in an embryology lecture. Galen and the Koran completely ignore the relevant information.

The sequences in Galen and in the Koran are almost identical. It is obvious that a transfer of knowledge has taken place here. And as I said: what is missing is more relevant: everything is important. Everything that is below macroscopic visibility.

Just such a banal statement as: a woman produces one egg cell per cycle - and a man produces 60 million sperm cells per ejaculate - would have been surprising, new and relevant information that goes beyond the knowledge of late antiquity. We look in vain for anything like that in Galen or in the Koran.

Doesn't that make you a little thoughtful? In a "divine revelation" we find nothing else than the prior knowledge of the ancient Greeks?

I come to the end. Personally, I consider it a futile undertaking to try to extract scientific knowledge from the Koran. That always only works as an afterthought. As soon as natural scientists have clarified any phenomenon, apologists start looking for suitable verses from the Koran that can be pressed into the service of a prophecy assertion. And if a scientific finding refutes a sura, they simply reinterpret it, if necessary also in the sense of a new scientific finding.

One should call the method of these Koran exegetes by name: arbitrariness.

And arbitrariness is known to be the exact opposite of reason.

The Hippocratic / Galen phases of embryonic development are mentioned elsewhere in the Koran: "He created you in different phases of development." (71:14)

Modern apologists for Islam try to press this verse into the service of another scientific discovery: evolution. With the "different development phases" the evolutionary phases in the origin of man were meant.


A good example of how the "scientific miracles" get into the KoranThrough subsequent interpretation acrobatics in the sense of current scientific knowledge. This demonstrates arbitrariness and an only loose relationship to the truth.

That's obvious: Those who are determined to recognize prophecy - and who are ready to replace almost every word with a distant synonym, will also find embryological prophecy in the Dr. Oetker baking book.

Modern experts advise against it. Muhammad Assad (Message of the Quran): "It does not make sense to want to make the validity of the Koran dependent on scientific findings that may impressively confirm the Koran today, but can just as easily be refuted tomorrow."

A wise statement (even if in the next sentence he is amazed at the prophecy of the Big Bang in the Koran.)

The adoption of half-true embryology by the Greeks clearly shows that the Koran is a human book with a human origin.

Despite all the importance that the Koran has for believers, I would plead for an honest handling of its genesis. Projects like the "Corpus Coranicum" by Angelika Neuwirth and her team are doing important work here.

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tagPlaceholderTags: Embryology, Koran