Quran miracle debunked: Embryology


28 Sep 2011

Embryology, Miracles / Ijaz

Zakir Naik

P.Z. Myers

This comedic video blog (vlog) by ExmuslimNFree (originally uploaded 22 Aug 2011) shows Muslims arguing with non-Muslims about whether the information in the Qurʾān commonly presented as miraculous details about embryology are A) miraculous and B) correct understandings of embryology.

Much of the original material here is framed with two side-by-side televisions and s space under them that’s used for commentary or images.  This use of space is very effective in allowing ExmuslimNFree to both summarize and comment on the material the speakers present.

Speakers:  Zakir Naik, Adnan Rashid (sometimes off camera), P.Z. Myers (who references Aristotle), and Klingschor (whose own vlog includes various references from Aristotle, as well as a letter from Keith Moore’s publisher indicating that his words had been taken out of context).

For comparison, the longest versions of the discussion with P.Z. Myers we have been able to find are here and here. The clip of Zakir Naik is taken from a 2008 talk titled ” The Qur’an and Modern Science: Compatible or Incompatible?” held at Anna Salai Chennai, India.


Although this is fairly heavy-handed parody of Zakir Naik’s use of “great detail”, the video generally avoids parodying Muslims as a group.

The history of science information about Aristotle is largely correct, although other critics of the iʿjāz representation of embryology from the Qurʾān usually focus on Galen, who is a bit later, and lived in Alexandria.

About Zakir Naik

Dr. Zakir Naik is a Muslim preacher and international orator from India. He was born in Mumbai on October 18th, 1965 and studied medicine at Topiwala National Medical College and the University of Mumbai. He has a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS). In 1991 he turned away from practicing medicine to found the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), a non-profit charitable trust in Mumbai, whose operations were closed down by the Indian government in November 2016.  The IRF serves to promote dawah, or the proselytization of Islam. He has additionally founded the Islamic International School, which is managed by the IRF, and is the founder and president of the Islamic educational television network Peace TV.

As a speaker Naik has achieved recognition and awards within India as well as internationally. He was honored with the 2013 Islamic Personality of the Year Award presented in Dubai. He has additionally been recognized twice by Indian news publication Indian Express as one of the “100 Most Influential People in India” and four times by George Washington University’s “500 Most Influential Muslims in the World,” most recently in 2014.

Naik’s subject matter, style and platform have all contributed to his prominence as a fairly well-known and fairly controversial preacher. Naik promotes a strict, literalist version of Islam, and is famous as a preacher for extensively quoting from the Qurʾān. He has been called an exponent of the Salafi ideology, although he himself does not use this label as he rejects any form of  Islamic sectarianism. He has maintained that the only absolute authority is the Qurʾān itself, and has made a name for himself with his Qurʾānic knowledge and memory.

Naik also holds the dubious distinction of being the speaker on science and Islam most commonly spoofed.  One may occasionally find videos using his name in the title in an effort to draw viewers, even if he does not appear in the video.

In July 2016, Naik was linked to bombers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and the Indian government began investigating him.  The IRF in India has closed (including its web sites), and Naik has remained out of the country to avoid arrest.  It has been reported that Naik has taken citizenship in Saudi Arabia.  He continues to give lectures outside of India.

For a longer discussion of Naik, click here.

Select bibliography:

“Dr. Zakir Naik.” Islamic Research Foundation. Islamic Research Foundation, n.d. Accessed 18 Nov. 2014.

“King Salman grants Dr. Zakir Naik Saudi citizenship.”  The Siasat Daily, 19 May 2017.  Accessed 4 July 2017.

“Zakir Naik.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Nov. 2014. Accessed 18 Nov. 2014.

Biswas, Shreya. “Who Is Zakir Naik? Were the Dhaka Attack Terrorists ‘Inspired by Him’?” India Today, 6 July 2016.  Accessed 13 Sep. 2016.

Hassan, Rashid. “Ban on Peace TV Will Be Lifted Soon: Zakir Naik.” Arab News. Arab News, 6 July 2014. Accessed 18 Nov. 2014.