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Stacmon
27-09-07, 08:06 PM
Hello everyone. From time to time, when thinking about Islam, I repeatedly come back to the "Ribs and Backbone" verse. The following is Yusuf Ali's translation:

Yusuf Ali:
[086:006] He is created from a drop emitted-
[086:007] Proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs

A few other translations:

Sher Ali:
[086:006] He is created of a gushing fluid,
[086:007] Which issues forth from between the loins and the breastbones.
Shakir:
[086:006] He is created of water pouring forth,
[086:007] Coming from between the back and the ribs.

Now, we are offered the challenge to find an error or discrepancy in the Qur'an as that would serve to invalidate it. There are generally two arguments offered by those trying to convince people that Islam is false, they involve the verse quoted above and the tale of "the sun setting in a puddle of mud." The latter isn't much of a concern to me and doesn't seem to be a very strong argument. It is fairly easy to dismiss and isn't the focus of this post.

However, the other verse, about the origin of man, does cause me some concern. Most of us are well aware where sperm originates, which is definitely not between the ribs and the backbone. If however we consider the liquid through which sperm flows, the vast majority of it is produced in the prostate (25-30%) and seminal vesicle (65-75%). These are found just under the bladder and visible in this image (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Male_anatomy.png)

Unfortunately, even having considered this, it still doesn't really seem to meet the "between ribs and backbone" requirement (without some imagination).

So my question to all of you is, have you found compelling arguments that explain this? If so, can you please post links/expand on them for my personal benefit and the benefit of all others that have wondered about this?

Thanks!

Mr ®hizomati©
27-09-07, 08:28 PM
Again and again people misunderstand this.

He is created from a spurting fluid, then he emerges from between the backbone and the breastbone.

The second section refers to the PERSON, not the fluid and obviously denotes the positioning of the fœtus in the mother’s womb (between back and breastbone).

The rest of the verse goes on to describe how, just as he emerges from the womb, man will emerge from the grave on Allah’s command.

Abu 'Abdullaah
27-09-07, 08:36 PM
Astaghfirullaah!

Stacmon, I noticed in your profile it says you are a Muslim. How then, do you dare refer to an ayah of the Qur'aan, which is the speech of Allaah as, ''that dreaded verse''???

Please have a little more respect.

Stacmon
27-09-07, 08:42 PM
Astaghfirullaah!

Stacmon, I noticed in your profile it says you are a Muslim. How then, do you dare refer to an ayah of the Qur'aan, which is the speech of Allaah as, ''that dreaded verse''???

Please have a little more respect.

We probably have different understandings of the word "dreaded," but I can assure you that I meant no disrespect with that comment.

I used the word to stress that this is a common concern raised over and over and that it is one of the few "legitimate" arguments that people can make.

I appreciate your comments and devotion though, and in the future, I'll avoid using the word.

Having said that, can anyone confirm Mr ®hizomati©'s point?

This actually makes a great deal of sense to me, but without being able to read and evaluate the verse myself, I don't know if it is grammatically possible. Can anyone else comment on what he said?

Thanks a great deal Mr ®hizomati©, that's probably the most useful explanation I've seen so far. Hopefully others can confirm your understanding of the verse! :up:

Mace
27-09-07, 08:57 PM
The second section refers to the PERSON, not the fluid and obviously denotes the positioning of the fœtus in the mother’s womb (between back and breastbone).

But would you say that the uterus is between the spine and the sternum?

hammerofthehuns
27-09-07, 08:59 PM
the womb isnt the uterus is it

Mace
27-09-07, 09:00 PM
the womb isnt the uterus is it

It is, actually.

hammerofthehuns
27-09-07, 09:01 PM
i dont think so Mace

Mace
27-09-07, 09:01 PM
i dont think so Mace

Really? What do you think the womb is then?

hammerofthehuns
27-09-07, 09:06 PM
the womb is in the mothers tummy somewhere, dont u know anything, oh my gosh.:)

Sabr&Shukr
27-09-07, 09:06 PM
The womb is the uterus - same thing.

hammerofthehuns
27-09-07, 09:06 PM
:o 'taxi!'

Sabr&Shukr
27-09-07, 09:07 PM
lol...ok s'allright.

hammerofthehuns
27-09-07, 09:10 PM
i thought the womb was like up in the belly somwhere:D

*asiya*
27-09-07, 09:10 PM
Hello everyone. From time to time, when thinking about Islam, I repeatedly come back to the "Ribs and Backbone" verse. The following is Yusuf Ali's translation:

Yusuf Ali:
[086:006] He is created from a drop emitted-
[086:007] Proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs

A few other translations:

Sher Ali:
[086:006] He is created of a gushing fluid,
[086:007] Which issues forth from between the loins and the breastbones.
Shakir:
[086:006] He is created of water pouring forth,
[086:007] Coming from between the back and the ribs.

Now, we are offered the challenge to find an error or discrepancy in the Qur'an as that would serve to invalidate it. There are generally two arguments offered by those trying to convince people that Islam is false, they involve the verse quoted above and the tale of "the sun setting in a puddle of mud." The latter isn't much of a concern to me and doesn't seem to be a very strong argument. It is fairly easy to dismiss and isn't the focus of this post.

However, the other verse, about the origin of man, does cause me some concern. Most of us are well aware where sperm originates, which is definitely not between the ribs and the backbone. If however we consider the liquid through which sperm flows, the vast majority of it is produced in the prostate (25-30%) and seminal vesicle (65-75%). These are found just under the bladder and visible in this image (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Male_anatomy.png)

Unfortunately, even having considered this, it still doesn't really seem to meet the "between ribs and backbone" requirement (without some imagination).

So my question to all of you is, have you found compelling arguments that explain this? If so, can you please post links/expand on them for my personal benefit and the benefit of all others that have wondered about this?

Thanks!


Allahu alam, but if Allah ta ala said so then khalass it is true. one thing i have learnt is that Islam is perfect, if we find anything that doesnt make sense to us, then the only problem is our lack of understanding of the matter. Insha Allah someone can bring u the tafseer, any connected hadith, statements of the companions and the taybiyeen and the explanations based on the daleel from the ulema insha Allah.

Mace
27-09-07, 09:10 PM
:o 'taxi!'

:) No worries, honest mistake.

But, please, don't try to perform any caesarean sections by yourself yet! You might be in for a surprise. :rubeyes:

:D

dhak1yya
27-09-07, 09:15 PM
I looked this verse up recently. The classical Arabic word for ribs can also apply to the pelvic girdle. Thefore between the pelvic girdle and spine is an adequate description of the position of the ovaries. The bit about the drop - the egg bursts from the ovary within a drop of fluid - the egg follicle is a fluid filled sac containing the egg. on roughly day 14 or a woman's cycle the egg is released as the follicle bursts. This bursting can be felt by a few women. Also the same source commented that many scholars said the same as Mr Rhizomatic says above.

hammerofthehuns
27-09-07, 09:17 PM
in all seriousness tho Mace, it doesnt really matter, its like when Allah Said about the heavens and earth being joined 2gether, some ppl couldnt get their heads round it so disbelieved, its the same principle here, like what sis Asiya said, its our understanding and knowledge thats lacking.

Ibn Sina
27-09-07, 09:19 PM
يَخْرُجُ مِن بَيْنِ الصُّلْبِ وَالتَّرَائِبِ ...
... issuing from between the loins [of man] and the pelvic arch [of woman]. [3] (at-Tariq:7)

A good explanation by M. Asad:




Note 3 (Quran Ref: 86:7 )The plural noun tara'ib, rendered by me as "pelvic arch", has also the meaning of "ribs" or "arch of bones"; according to most of the authorities who have specialized in the etymology of rare Quranic expressions this term relates specifically to female anatomy (Taj al-'Arus).(Quran Ref: 86:7 )

dhak1yya
27-09-07, 09:20 PM
in all seriousness tho Mace, it doesnt really matter, its like when Allah Said about the heavens and earth being joined 2gether, some ppl couldnt get their heads round it so disbelieved, its the same principle here, like what sis Asiya said, its our understanding and knowledge thats lacking.

this indeed is very true mashaAllah.

cosmicdancer
27-09-07, 09:29 PM
Hello everyone. From time to time, when thinking about Islam, I repeatedly come back to the "Ribs and Backbone" verse. The following is Yusuf Ali's translation:

Yusuf Ali:
[086:006] He is created from a drop emitted-
[086:007] Proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs

A few other translations:

Sher Ali:
[086:006] He is created of a gushing fluid,
[086:007] Which issues forth from between the loins and the breastbones.
Shakir:
[086:006] He is created of water pouring forth,
[086:007] Coming from between the back and the ribs.

Now, we are offered the challenge to find an error or discrepancy in the Qur'an as that would serve to invalidate it. There are generally two arguments offered by those trying to convince people that Islam is false, they involve the verse quoted above and the tale of "the sun setting in a puddle of mud." The latter isn't much of a concern to me and doesn't seem to be a very strong argument. It is fairly easy to dismiss and isn't the focus of this post.

However, the other verse, about the origin of man, does cause me some concern. Most of us are well aware where sperm originates, which is definitely not between the ribs and the backbone. If however we consider the liquid through which sperm flows, the vast majority of it is produced in the prostate (25-30%) and seminal vesicle (65-75%). These are found just under the bladder and visible in this image (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Male_anatomy.png)

Unfortunately, even having considered this, it still doesn't really seem to meet the "between ribs and backbone" requirement (without some imagination).

So my question to all of you is, have you found compelling arguments that explain this? If so, can you please post links/expand on them for my personal benefit and the benefit of all others that have wondered about this?

Thanks!

I was never one of those sorts of Muslims that believed in the Qur'an because of supposed scientific miracles so arguments aimed at destroying such 'miracles' never impressed me.

The Qur'an was never meant to be an encyclopedia of scientific facts - that is a later obsession of Muslims as the importance of science grew.

Poetry was the obsession of the pre-Islamic Arabs.

One has to understand classical Arabic and literature of the time to appreciate how such descriptions affected it's immediate audience.

My issues with the Qur'an are entirely different.

Mace
27-09-07, 09:48 PM
in all seriousness tho Mace, it doesnt really matter, its like when Allah Said about the heavens and earth being joined 2gether, some ppl couldnt get their heads round it so disbelieved, its the same principle here, like what sis Asiya said, its our understanding and knowledge thats lacking.

Maybe so. I think there is so little contemporaneous literature from the time period, that any speculation about exactly what this word means or that word means end up being highly circular. I think a lot of people fail to realize this.

So in my opinion you cannot disprove or prove the Qur'an based on these kinds of things. If someone thinks that the Qur'an is not the word of God because of verses like this, I find that foolish. For me, theology and anatomy are two different things.

Stacmon
27-09-07, 11:46 PM
Thanks to everyone who has provided comments and insight thus far. I've been provided with a great deal of relevant and very useful information, thanks!


Maybe so. I think there is so little contemporaneous literature from the time period, that any speculation about exactly what this word means or that word means end up being highly circular. I think a lot of people fail to realize this.

We seem to completely agree on this point. A people's understanding of a given word today does not necessarily mean that the same word had the same meaning long ago. What seemed to have little significance then (ie: the anatomy of birthing), would likely not have received much attention and it's foreseeable that the true meaning (or at least the relevant shade of it) could have been lost.

My mountain sized concerns about this verse have been weathered to the size of a pebble. Thanks again to everyone and feel free to keep the conversation on it going if you have additional comments!

cosmicdancer
28-09-07, 07:04 AM
you cannot disprove or prove the Qur'an based on these kinds of things. If someone thinks that the Qur'an is not the word of God because of verses like this, I find that foolish. For me, theology and anatomy are two different things.

Excatly!

Well said.

:)

Stacmon
28-09-07, 11:04 AM
So in my opinion you cannot disprove or prove the Qur'an based on these kinds of things. If someone thinks that the Qur'an is not the word of God because of verses like this, I find that foolish. For me, theology and anatomy are two different things.

Well, to be honest, I don't really agree with this statement.

Muslims don't have the luxury of saying "the message is correct, though not every detail might be," like Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. because of our belief that the Qur'an is the perfectly preserved word of Allah.

Since that is the case, everything in it must be accurate and we can't claim that any errors/inaccuracies, must be the work of corruption. Therefore, although the Qur'an shouldn't be a guidebook to medicine or surgery, when it does reference things of a scientific nature, it should make no error.

We can't claim that the error free and preserved nature of the Qur'an is a sign or miracle on the one hand, only to later claim that possible errors shouldn't have an impact on one's faith.

hammerofthehuns
28-09-07, 11:16 AM
'We believe in it;the whole of it(clear and unclear verses) are from our lord'
Aal Imraan 3:7

cosmicdancer
28-09-07, 11:26 AM
We can't claim that the error free and preserved nature of the Qur'an is a sign or miracle on the one hand, only to later claim that possible errors shouldn't have an impact on one's faith.

Being error free and preserved as Muhammad transmitted it are quite different issues as to whether the Qur'an was presenting it's audience with scientific facts that were unknown at the time.

I studied pre-Islamic poetry at university and there are often references to the desert environmentand and observations of the natural world around them.

They were poetic descriptions aimed at showing off the poet's skills and amazing the audience with his artistry. They were not scientific facts.

It is only modern Muslims who have started to proclaim such descriptions in the Qur'an as being scientifically accurate.

As a result they themselves have created the whole polemic surrounding such "facts".

zaman99
28-09-07, 11:53 AM
Salam, First I would like to thank the brother/sister who posted this question. The Qur'an is for people who reflects. Questioning it is a means to gain more knowldge and have stronger faith, it does not mean disrespect. Thos who take it by faith may only kiss the book and keep it clean of dust, but those who keep questioning can only increase in knowldge and faith/ Iman.

concering the verses:

The verse of the rib actually reads as follows in Arabic [ From between Alsulb and Taraaib]. The two words are difficult to comprehend in Arabic let alone to translate accurately.

Sulb generally refers to the hip and strong muscles of the back. While taraaib refers to the ribs as far as I know.

Now, from embryological point of view, the gonads, i.e. testicles in males and ovaries in females differentiate first at the level of the second lumbar vertebra. This is a scientific fact that is not known to most people even today, let alone fourteen centuries ago.

With the development of the embryo, the gonads follow different developmental stages in both sexes. In girls, the ovaries folow shorter journey, descend gently to hang outside the uterus and stay there all life. In boys the testicles follow longer journey, descend gently towards the scrotum, until they get squeezed through the inguinal canal at the bottom of the belly, in oblique manner and rest inside the scrotum just a few days before birth. It is not unusual that the descending of the testicles inside the scrotum get arrested at earlier stage, which predisposes the boy to testicular cancer around puberty.

Now if we put this scientific fact which is only known to doctors, in the context of the above verse, we find that the Qur’an is pointing out to the exact location where both the testicles and ovaries are originally developed in the embryo, the future adult human. It is these two organs that later produce the sperms and ovums that create new human.They develop at the level of the second lumber vertebra which is mid way between the Sulb and Taraaib, even though their later positioning in the adult human gives the wrong impression of their embryological origin. This fact could not have been guessed at the time of the Qur’an.

Concerning the sun tail…its really amusing to read in English translation.

Arabic is quite a poetic language. It is full of parables, metaphorical expressions as sign of beauty of expression. A lot of such expressions becomes dull or even misleading when literally translated. The same problem happened in translating the Bible. The difference is that the original Arabic Qur’an is preserved for review of meanings whenever human knowledge evolves.

In this verse, Zul qarnain is described to have arrived at the location of [sunset]! Such expression in English sounds silly because there is no specific location of sunset on earth! Well, according to the Arabs, the sunset location is the most far point you can reach in the west. For example Morocco in Arabic is called [Almagrib Alaarabi] which literally means: The Arabic sunset! This means that according to the Arabs perception, the land of Morocco is where the sun sets. This does not mean it is a physical sunset, but an artistic one. Also the gulf countries are called collectively [The Arabic sunrise]..meaning most east where the sun rises over the Arabic land first.

Now, going back to the verse, Zulgarnain is described to have arrived at the sunset location, this simply means he travelled to the most far western point according to his perception.

The rest of the description in the verse followed the same artistic description using the sun set and rise as an artistic indicator for certain geographical location. It is beautiful in Arabic, but becomes dull and confusing in literal translation, and difficult to translate literally.
I think if people could not find faults in the Qur’an except those two, then the Qur’an wins the argument of its divine origin.

the_middle_road
28-09-07, 02:04 PM
However, the other verse, about the origin of man, does cause me some concern. Most of us are well aware where sperm originates, which is definitely not between the ribs and the backbone.

The verse does not speak about where sperm originates: the word used is "yakhruju" which doesn't translate as "to originate."

Stacmon
28-09-07, 06:15 PM
To clarify, I wasn't saying that the verse is talking about where sperm originates, I was just saying that we (people in general) know where it comes from (I didn't want to use particular words to describe the place we find sperm, in case people are squeamish or easily offended).

the_middle_road
28-09-07, 08:28 PM
Since that is the case, everything in it must be accurate and we can't claim that any errors/inaccuracies, must be the work of corruption. Therefore, although the Qur'an shouldn't be a guidebook to medicine or surgery, when it does reference things of a scientific nature, it should make no error.

We can't claim that the error free and preserved nature of the Qur'an is a sign or miracle on the one hand, only to later claim that possible errors shouldn't have an impact on one's faith.

The problem with the whole "Quran and science" thing is that science is only man's perception of the world. It is liable to change. So many of the things we regard as scientific fact and which agree with the Quran, were not regarded as facts by our predecessors. Should they then have disbelieved in the Quran, simply because it did not agree with their perception of the world? And what if, in the future, new scientific discoveries are made which clash with the Quran? Will then we abandon it? The reality is that science - man's understanding of the universe - is limited and incomplete. We shouldn't use it as a yardstick by which to measure the divine origin of the Book.

zaman99
01-10-07, 10:13 AM
The problem with the whole "Quran and science" thing is that science is only man's perception of the world. It is liable to change. So many of the things we regard as scientific fact and which agree with the Quran, were not regarded as facts by our predecessors. Should they then have disbelieved in the Quran, simply because it did not agree with their perception of the world? And what if, in the future, new scientific discoveries are made which clash with the Quran? Will then we abandon it? The reality is that science - man's understanding of the universe - is limited and incomplete. We shouldn't use it as a yardstick by which to measure the divine origin of the Book.

You are absolutely right, but this adds beauty and magic to the Arabic text of the Qur'an. It creates problem for science, but not the Qur'an. In the above explanation for the original location of the testicles and overies, I did not say: this is what Allah meant, but I only presented a very modern scientific fact that may help us have more sensible understanding of this verse. May be in hundred years time people will have new scientific knowldge,and then they will notice that the composition of the verse itself can accomdate the new knowldge too. The point is that, where the Qur'anic verses are describing natural phenomena [science] the langauge is so complex so that one verse may have too many correct meanings. The verses that dealt with faith, morals, social life, justice etc and all issues that create good sociaty, are clear and have none confusing meanings, but in dealing with nature Allah composed the verses in a langage that provokes us to think and search, as well as they can accomodate too many meanings according to human knowldge at various times. This phenomena is unique to the Qur'an because it creates curiosity, liberate human mind to think and reflect all the time as well as stand as sign of its divine authenticity.

zaman99
01-10-07, 10:23 AM
The verse does not speak about where sperm originates: the word used is "yakhruju" which doesn't translate as "to originate."

The word yakhruj has wider meanings in the dictionary than the slang way we use it in our daily life. It can certainly accomdate the emberiological roots of the meaning 'originate'.

Science itself is still a baby and will remain baby. May be despite the desecnd of the gonads away from the second lumbar vertebra, still an inivisible connection with the root and origin remain a fundamental factor in production [khorooj] of the semen. All what I wanted to say is that, there is strong anatomical connection between the gonads and the location mid way betwen Sulb and Taraib. It is only Allah knows what does He mean, but the wisdom behind such verses is that we keep reflecting on science as well as reflecting on the Qur'an in an endless journey of contemplation and reflection that can only enrich human knowldge and provoke the mind for more discoveries.

*asiya*
01-10-07, 10:52 AM
'We believe in it;the whole of it (clear and unclear verses) are from our lord'
Aal Imraan 3:7

:jkk:

the_middle_road
02-10-07, 03:42 PM
You are absolutely right, but this adds beauty and magic to the Arabic text of the Qur'an. It creates problem for science, but not the Qur'an. In the above explanation for the original location of the testicles and overies, I did not say: this is what Allah meant, but I only presented a very modern scientific fact that may help us have more sensible understanding of this verse. May be in hundred years time people will have new scientific knowldge,and then they will notice that the composition of the verse itself can accomdate the new knowldge too. The point is that, where the Qur'anic verses are describing natural phenomena [science] the langauge is so complex so that one verse may have too many correct meanings. The verses that dealt with faith, morals, social life, justice etc and all issues that create good sociaty, are clear and have none confusing meanings, but in dealing with nature Allah composed the verses in a langage that provokes us to think and search, as well as they can accomodate too many meanings according to human knowldge at various times. This phenomena is unique to the Qur'an because it creates curiosity, liberate human mind to think and reflect all the time as well as stand as sign of its divine authenticity.

I am not opposed to your way of thinking. In fact I find it highly commendable. But it just seems to me that people nowadays are placing too much emphasis on the scientific aspect of the Quran and neglecting other aspects of it. So you find entire websites devoted to this phenomenon and sometimes I just feel that they are trying too hard and end up interpreting the text in a manner that may be a little bit far-fetched, just to show that it agrees with modern science.

The kinds of knowledge contained in the Quran are of different types and the highest and noblest of these is knowledge of Allah (swt). This type of knowledge is further divided into three categories: knowledge of His Af'aal (Actions), Asmaa' (Attributes) and Dhaat (Essence). Now the verses which speak of natural phenomena belong to the category of His Af'aal and thus it is highly praiseworthy to investigate these and reflect and ponder over them. But knowledge of His Attributes and Essence are much more worthy of this as it is a rank above that of the first type. The verses which speak about the previous nations and what happened to them, as well as all the other ayat, also contain lessons for us and we should take time to reflect on them as well.

So all I'm saying is that we shouldn't we become too infatuated with the scientific aspect of the Quran. The Quran was not revealed as a book of science but it was revealed as a guidance for the muttaqoon.

Peace.