A Sperm’s Journey and Embryology in Quran

8:21

1 Mar 2018

Embryology, Miracles / I'jaz

Clare Forestier

This video is one of a series using the Qurʾān to demonstrate science, a form of iʿjāz ʿilmii, “scientific miracles”.  In this video, host Clare Forestier discusses human embryology, and presents verses in the Qurʾān that she asserts demonstrate the same material.

The video includes several animated sequences portraying the sperm’s journey.  (Actual biology is not all about the sperm, however.)  The video mentions several scholars here without providing adequate references to sources.

The Qurʾānic material presented is familiar to those who have looked at this topic before.  The host reads non-standard translations from verses 96.1-2, 22.5, and 123.1-4.  Interestingly, the material does not follow that seen by those following the research of Moore and Zindani, but produces original uses of terms such as “that which attaches” and “chewed matter”.

There is an abundance of scientific jargon used throughout the video, such as phagocytosis

Embryology has been put forward in the iʿjāz genre many times.  The present video has shifted some of the scientific basis for the material, but most of the critiques are still valid.  Use the Detailed Search option above to search for “embryology critique” to find some.

Production

No information has been found about the group “There Is No Clash”, which organized this series.

The video includes credits at the end.  It was directed by Waleed Bedour.  The content was prepared by a Dr. Tarek Mustafa.  Other roles:

  • Art Director:  Ibrahim Hemdan & Rana Atrebi
  • Music & Mix:  Hisham Billal & Tareq Altonsi
  • Director of Photography:  Hossam Alden Mohammed
  • Editing: Kamal EL Mallakh & Nancy Fares
  • Script:  Sumaiya Beshir

Evaluation:

Islam:  Much of the iʿjāz ʿilmii material on embryology has been critiqued multiple times. (Use the Detailed Search option above to search for “embryology critique” to find some.)  Although this material uses many of the same verses, in most instances the interpretation is quite different in terms of what part of embryological development the interpreters want to argue the Qurʾān is presenting.  That the Qurʾānic material needs to be “analogized” into something other than what it says on its face suggests that the interpretation provided is far from the classical understandings of the text.  That a variety of interpreters are presenting disparate understandings of both the text and the underlying science the text is supposed to be “incredibly accurately” articulating suggests that these interpretations are highly problematic.

Science:  The science here should not be used without checking it in other sources.  The references to scholarly work are all incomplete and cannot be used as given.  The scientists named all seem to be real people, but there is no way to verify the representations of their scholarship from the information given.

In addition, the presentation here seem to suggest that the woman is merely a receptacle.  None of the scientific articles examined has such a one-sided view, which the video presumably draws from its interpretation of the Qurʾān.

The “bones before flesh” assertion has been made and debunked by embryologists many times over.  It is surprising that a video made in 2018 would even try.  The material the video cites as evidence is not; the individuals named as authors are in fact editors, and the articles in the book that mention limb generation (by other authors) are not suggesting that bones are formed first and then clothed in muscles, as the Qurʾān states.

History:  There are many inaccuracies in the historical material.  For instance, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek is not from the 15th century, but the 17-18th; he died in 1723.  The Qurʾān was not revealed in the 6th century, as given at the end of the video, but in the 7th:  the first revelations are understood to have begun in 610 CE.