Sep 28, 2012

Rebuttal of an atheist regarding a point in embryology and the Quran

Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Raheem

Asalamu alaykum,

It has been brought to my attention that an atheist by the name of  captaindisguise has produced a video and article claiming that Hamza Tzortzis was mistaken in stating that a Nutfah is:

“a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind”

This is a very poor attempt at trying to discredit the Quran Miracle and what is unfortunate is that some Muslims are starting to believe what he is saying. For any person who has not studied the Arabic language, the arguments presented sound very convincing, however a more deeper analysis of the claim reveals a big flaw in his arguments based on a lack of understanding of the Arabic language.

To begin my rebuttal I wanted to discuss an aspect of the Arabic language that some Muslims might not be familiar with. This concept is related to noun patterns in the Arabic language.
We have a 3 letter root ق ط ع  and words that possess these letters have the meaning that is associated with the act of cutting.
For example we have the verb قَطَعَ  which means "he cut"; that which is cut is called مَقْطُوع
If you take a 3 letter root and put it on  the pattern of فُعْلَةٌ  d   (  ف denoting the first letter of the root, ع denoting the second letter of the root and ل denoting the third letter of the root) the noun that one forms is used very frequently with respect the individual parts produced by the associated verb.

therefore قُطْعَةٌ    ( which is on the same pattern as Nutfah) is a singular piece that is cut, such as a piece of wood that is cut with an axe or an individual  piece of bread that is cut from a larger piece.

This pattern is also commonly used for single parts of a body e.g

جُذْمَة   one part of the body
مُضْغَة   one lump of flesh
نُطْفَة    one part of seminal fluid

Question: someone might ask is why doesn't it say this in lisanularab in more specific terms?

A: This is basic knowledge of the Arabic language which the author assumes one knows. Lisanularab is a dictionary and not a grammar and morphology book. 

However what is interesting is that lisanualarb does mention the following entry to support the argument that I am making. It says:

أَراد بالنطفتين بحر الروم وبحر الصين لأَن كل نطفة غير الأُخرى

"The meaning he intended with Al-nufatayn ( The 2 nuftahs i.e the dual of nutfah) is with the roman sea and the Chinese sea because each nutfah (sea) is different from the other."
Therefore a nutfah refers to one sea entity of body that differs from the other in terms of size, location etc. 


In short the word nutfah does refer to a single entity from a group of the same kind based on it's structure as well as the classical dictionaries.

In the Quran we have the words such as مَاء and مَّنِيّ which is used for seminal fluid and we have one part/division of this fluid i.e a sperm and fluid which surrounds called نُطْفَة   

The Quran actually differentiates between seminal fluid and sperm + its associated fluid in the following verse in Surat Al Qiyamah

أَلَمْ يَكُ نُطْفَةً مِّن مَّنِيٍّ يُمْنَىٰ

Had he not been a sperm from semen emitted?

and Allah knows best

Nabeel Alkhalidy

Arabic teacher at the sibaway institute.

Reference : Sharh Al raddi Ala Alshafiya Volume 1 page 161,  Lisanularab

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