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The Quran Does NOT Say that Sperm is Created from between the Backbone and Ribs
A Christian man named David Wood is claiming that the Quran says that semen is created from between the male’s backbone and his ribs. Modern science, however, tells us that semen comes from the testicles. David Wood is claiming that this proves that Prophet Muhammad was a false prophet. He, along with others, are making fun of the Prophet for not knowing where semen comes from.
The verse that David Wood cites is as follows:
Now let man but think From what he is created! He is created from A drop emitted—Proceedings from between the backbone (sulb) and the ribs (tara’ib). (Quran, 86:5-7)
Can you please clarify this issue?
Answer by Dr. Ibn al-Hashimi:
In the Name of Allah, the Most Glorious, the Most Beneficent.
I was asked by brother Bassam Zawadi to answer your question. He hoped that due to my medical background, I would be able to properly address your concern. However, the truth of the matter is that I did not even need a medical education to answer your question; rather, all that I needed was a bit of common sense. Insha-Allah, I will address your question in full detail, leaving no doubt in the matter.
Before I begin, I’d like to thank brother Bassam, and give a quick plug for his website, www.call-to-monotheism.com. It’s an excellent website and a great resource for the English-speaking Muslims of the world. May God reward the tireless efforts of brother Bassam, who day in and day out combats the rising tide of Islamaphobia, which threatens peace and stability on this earth.
I’d also like to thank Shaykh Salman al-Oudah of www.IslamToday.com, one of the greatest scholars of our time. This reply would not have been possible without him. May God reward him.
The translation used by Mr. David Wood is horribly inaccurate. The correct translation of ‘sulb’ is not backbone, nor does the word ‘tara’ib’ indicate the man’s ribs. Let us review the verse in question:
So let man consider from what he is created. He is created from an emitted fluid that issued from between the sulb and the tara’ib. (86:5-7)
Mr. Wood has understood the verse to mean that both ‘sulb’ and ‘tara’ib’ refer to the male. In other words, the fluid emitted refers to the semen, and it comes out from in between the sulb and the tara’ib. However, the truth of the matter is that the word ‘tarai’b’—according to the Arabic—is actually referring to a female body part. Much like the English word ‘penis’ can only be ascribed to a male, the word ‘tara’ib’ can only be applied to a female.
This is not apologetic modernism or revisionism; the classical works of Quranic commentary throughout the last 1400 years confirm this view categorically. In other words, the sulb belongs to the male, and the tara’ib belongs to the female. This is the view of the Muslims since the last fourteen hundred years, and there is consensus (ijma) on this matter, since the time of the Sahabah (the Prophet’s disciples) until today.
Shaykh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî of IslamToday.com writes:
The phrase “mâ’ dâfiq” (emitted fluid) is not restricted in meaning to sperm but is used in Arabic for both the sperm and the egg. Ibn Kathîr, in his commentary on this verse, writes: “It emanates from the man and the woman, and with Allah’s permission, the child comes forth as a product of both.”
…The words translated as “backbone” (sulb) and “ribs” (tarâ’ib) are not understood in Arabic to belong to the same person. Arabs understand the “sulb” to refer to a part of the male body and the “tarâ’ib” to a part of the female. Ibn Kathîr states: “It refers to the ‘sulb’ of the man and the ‘tarâ’ib’ of the woman…” He then quotes this interpretation on the authority of the Prophet’s companion Ibn `Abbâs. This same understanding is given in all the major classical works of Qur’anic commentary.
Many non-Arabs misinterpret this verse because they think that sulb and tara’ib refer to different body parts of the male. In reality, tara’ib is feminine, and refers to the female’s body part. For fourteen hundred years, all of the scholars have held this belief, and not a single classical scholar has ever differed on this point. The reason is that the Arabic makes it clear that tara’ib refers to a feminine body part, and not a male one.
Lane’s Lexicon says:
Tara’ib: … most of the authors on strange words affirm decidedly that it (tara’ib) is peculiar to women. (Lane’s Lexicon, p.301)
All of the major commentaries of the Quran confirm that the tara’ib is peculiar to women. Ibn Katheer writes in his tafseer (commentary) of the Quran:
It (fluid) emanates from the man and the woman, and with Allah’s permission, the child comes forth as a product of both. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer)
Tafseer al-Jalalayn says:
Issuing from between the sulb, of the man, and the tara’ib, of the woman. (Tafseer Al-Jalalayn)
Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafseer Ibn Abbas says:
That issued from between the sulb of the man and the tara’ib of a woman.
(Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafseer Ibn Abbas)
Do Women Have Semen?
Mr. David Wood says:
Muhammad adds in the Hadith that women have a discharge analogous to the semen in men (though women have no discharge similar to male semen):
….Muhammad’s view of reproduction, as we have seen, is terribly flawed. Muhammad believed that semen is produced between the ribs and the backbone, that women produce a similar substance
This is completely false; it seems like Prophet Muhammad who lived 1400 years ago knows more about human reproduction than Mr. Woods does. A man contributes sperm; this sperm cannot reach the female by itself. Rather, it has to be mixed in with semen, a viscous fluid that aids in transportation. Similarly, a woman contributes an egg, but this egg cannot travel through the fallopian tube and uterus without it being mixed in fluid. Of course, this fluid is not sperm, but it is like sperm in that it helps the follicle to travel. In fact, during ovulation, a great deal of fluid is released by the female from a variety of sources inside her body.
Ovulation is assumed to take place on the day a woman has the most amount of wet fluid.
A medical website, OncologyChannel.com, says:
When a woman is fertile, each month a Graafian follicle travels to the surface of the ovary, bursts, and releases an egg and its fluid contents into a fallopian tube.
The cilia in the fallopian tube push the fluid and the egg forward towards the uterus. It is the fluid which is the main force that causes the cilia to beat and thereby push the egg to its destination. Without the fluid, the egg will most likely not make it. One can read this medical article on the topic:
The Effect of Ovarian Follicular Fluid and Peritoneal Fluid on Fallopian Tube Ciliary Beat Frequency
BACKGROUND: …At ovulation, follicular fluid is released into the peritoneal cavity and enters the Fallopian tube. We hypothesized that this fluid may provide the stimulus for the increase in CBF (Ciliary Beat Frequency) detected after ovulation.
…CONCLUSIONS: The increase in CBF detected after ovulation may aid ovum pick-up and transport along the Fallopian tube. Factor(s) within human follicular fluid and secretory phase peritoneal fluid may be responsible for this increase in CBF.
Reproduction-Online.org confirms this:
Formation of Fallopian tubal fluid:
Fluid produced and secreted by the Fallopian tube provides the environment in which gamete transport and maturation, fertilization and early embryo development occur.
We could cite many more authoritative sources to prove that the egg must travel in fluid, which is secreted from a variety of sources inside the female body. And it should be clear that neither the Quran nor the hadeeths claim that the woman has sperm; rather, they simply say that she has sexual fluid, which is a fact, despite Mr. Woods overwhelming ignorance.
Sulb Means “Loins”
As for the proper definition of sulb in the context of this verse, it is ‘loins’ and NOT backbone. Shaykh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî of IslamToday.com writes:
The word “sulb” should not necessarily be translated as “backbone”. This word has many possible meanings and backbone is only one of them. It is also quite commonly used to mean the loins of a man. This is how it is used elsewhere in the Qur’ân. Allah says: “Prohibited to you (for marriage) are…wives of your sons proceeding from your loins (aslâb, the plural of sulb).” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 23] There can be no problem with sperm coming out from the area of a man’s loins.
Pickathal, a translator of the Quran, similarly translates the word ‘sulb’ as ‘loins’.
At this point in time, I think it would be appropriate to define the word ‘loins’, since many people nowadays have weak vocabularies. The word ‘loins’ refers to the genital and pubic area, or the genitalia. So if the Quran says that sperm comes from the genitalia (and it does!), then how is this a scientific error?
I have seen some silly arguments made by some Islamaphobic net warriors, who most likely cannot speak a lick of Arabic. An ignoramus who goes by the user name ‘benalissa284632’ argues:
…Loins in english has two meaning backbone and ribs, alsulbi only has the first meaning loins (back bone) not the second meaning which is gentials areas, so it would be better to translate it to backbone becuz loins is deceiving it’s a stretch of the imagination to for alsulbi to take on the second definition of loins it only means the first which is backbone. nice try though yes islam has been disproven hell yeah
Basically, what this person is saying is that the word ‘sulb’ has only one meaning in Arabic, which is ‘backbone’, whereas the English language has two meanings for the word ‘loins’, one of which is ‘genital area’ and another of which is ‘backbone’. So, ‘benalissa’ is claiming that Muslims are playing a trick by translating it as ‘loins’ when in fact they are taking the second definition of the word ‘loins’—namely ‘backbone’.
I’ve seen this argument being made by various Islamaphobes all over the internet. Too bad (for them) that this argument is patently false, and easily proven so! The Arabic word ‘sulb’ has two meanings, one of which is backbone and one of which is genital area (i.e. loins). To categorically prove this is a very easy matter, since all we have to do is refer to some English-Arabic dictionaries.
Arabic-English Dictionaries and Journal Articles
We refer the reader to p.226 of The Concise Oxford English Arabic Dictionary. The English word ‘loins’ is translated as ‘sulb’. (source: http://www.amazon.com/Concise-Oxford…/dp/0198643217 )
We refer the reader to p.231 of Hippocrene Standard Dictionary Arabic-English English-Arabic by John Wortabet, in which once again, the only definition of the word loins is ‘sulb’. (source: http://www.amazon.com/Hippocrene-Dic…6200382&sr=1-1)
It is a simple matter of driving down to Barnes and Noble or another bookstore to verify these definitions. But if the reader is too lazy to do that, here is an online reference. On p.146 of An English and Arabic Dictionary by Joseph Catafago, notice that the only definition given for the word ‘salbi’ is ‘proceeding from the loins’. (click here to view: http://books.google.com/books?id=42o…um=5&ct=result)
Here is another online reference: on p.791 of A Comprehensive Persian English Dictionary: Including the Arabic Words, we see that the first definition of the word ‘sulbi’ is ‘proceeding from the loins’. (click here: http://books.google.com/books?id=knA…um=4&ct=result)
Still not convinced? Here is another online reference, this time from the YemenTimes.com, which translates the word ‘sulb’ as ‘loins’. It should be noted that this article has nothing to do with the verse in question, so the issue of bias cannot be brought up! (It’s a Bohra website, and Bohras are not considered Muslims by us.) We read:
He was succeeded by his brother Imam Husayn (SA), Sayyid al-Shuhada, (Lord of the Martyrs) through whose sulb (loins) the tasalsul to the Imamat has continued and will continue, until the Day of Judgment.
Cambridge University Press published a journal article in which the word ‘sulb’ was similarly translated as ‘loins’:
It is suggested that the Chelebi is derived from the Arabic salb or sulb, “loins,” and that it originally denoted “true born” or “lawful heir”…
The University of California Press published a book, written by Carol Lowery Delaney, in which the word ‘sulb’ was translated as ‘loins’:
The father’s side can be called sulb tarafi (sulb means loins, descendants, seed; spinal column, hard, rigid, firm)….
(The Seed and the Soil: Gender and Cosmology in Turkish Village Society, p.158, http://books.google.com/books?id=GjE…um=5&ct=result)
In the Persian Translator’s Introduction to Adab al-Suluk, the word ‘sulb’ is defined as ‘loins’. (‘Sulb’ is one of the many Arabic words used in the Persian and Hindu languages.) We read:
…The starting point is the father’s loins (sulb); the second stage is the mother’s womb; the third stage is the physical world; and the fourth stage is that of the grave…
In A Dictionary, Hindustani & English, by Duncan Forbes, we read on p.514:
Sulb: the loins, offspring
(A Dictionary, Hindustani & English, p.514, http://books.google.com/books?id=jLo…m=10&ct=result)
Proof from the Quran and Hadeeths
Perhaps the greatest proof is from the Quran itself. The word ‘sulb’ is used in another verse:
Prohibited to you (for marriage) are…wives of your sons proceeding from your loins (aslaab, the plural of sulb). (Surah an-Nisa, 23)
It is also used in the Prophetic sayings (hadeeths). For example, the Prophet [s] was alleged to have said:
…From the loins (sulb) of this (man) will come a man who will fill the earth with fairness and justice…
Proof from the Bible
The Bible uses the word ‘loins’ in the exact same way, in numerous verses. For example:
And kings shall come out of your loins. (Genesis 35:11.)
You shall not build the house (the Temple); but your son that shall come forth out of your loins, he shall build the house unto my Name. (I Kings 8:19.)
And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: and Joseph was in Egypt already. (Exodus, 1:5)
Perhaps the most damning piece of evidence against the Christian Islamaphobes is that the Christians translated the Bible into Arabic, and they translated the word ‘loins’ as ‘sulb’! Exodus 1:5 reads:
Exodus 1:5: And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: and Joseph was in Egypt already. (American Standard Version)
The word ‘loins’ in this verse is rendered as ‘sulb’ by the Christian translators at ArabicBible.com:
5وَكَانَتْ جَمِيعُ نُفُوسِ الْخَارِجِينَ مِنْ صُلْبِ يَعْقُوبَ سَبْعِينَ نَفْسًا. وَلكِنْ يُوسُفُ كَانَ فِي مِصْرَ
For those who can’t read Arabic, the underlined word is “sulb”!
This indeed exposes the hypocrisy and two-faced nature of the Christian Islamaphobes. For some reason it is OK for the Christians to say that Jacob’s offspring came from his sulb, but when the Quran says that a human is created from a father’s sulb, suddenly they accuse the Quran of being inaccurate. Fairness dictates that if the Christians are going to mock the Quran for saying that semen comes from the male’s sulb, then they must also mock their Bible which similarly uses the word.
Tara’ib Refers to the Female’s Body Part
The Authorized King James Version (AKJV) of the Bible uses old English. As such, the average reader may have a hard time understanding some of the words used therein, many of which have become antiquated or obscure words in contemporary English. One Christian website declares:
…Antiquated words, used in the AKJV, may be rather difficult for you to understand. This is because some of the words which were used in Elizabethan English in years gone by, at the time that the KJV Bible was translated, do not have the same meaning as they do today, if they are even still in use at all.
This is true for any book that was written hundreds and hundreds of years ago. For example, many of the words used in Shakespeare’s books are now antiquated and obscure.
The word ‘tara’ib’, used by the Quran, is one such word; it is now considered an obscure word. It is not normally used in modern Arabic. Whereas I had no problems finding the word ‘sulb’ in The Concise Oxford English Arabic Dictionary, Hippocrene Standard Dictionary Arabic-English English-Arabic, An English and Arabic Dictionary, A Comprehensive Persian English Dictionary: Including the Arabic Words, etc., I could not find the word ‘tara’ib’ in any one of them! This shows how truly obscure the word is!
I finally found the word ‘tara’ib’ in Lane’s Lexicon, which actually refers to tara’ib as one of the ‘strange words’ [i.e. rare, obscure, etc.]. In fact, it is such an obscure word that the Prophet’s Companions and early Muslims disagreed as to what it referred to. However, the one thing they agreed on was that it referred to a body part of the female.
Shaykh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî of IslamToday.com writes:
…When we look at the word being translated as “ribs” (tarâ’ib, the plural of tarîbah) we find that it is used linguistically for the general are of the chest and the abdomen. In al-Qâmûs, the famous classical dictionary of al-Fayrûzabâdî it is defined as a number of things: “the bones of the chest or what comes after the two collarbones or what comes between the collarbones and the chest or the four ribs to the right of the chest or the four ribs to the left of the chest or the hands, eyes and feet or the collarbones.” Some Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and some Successors had also provided many possible meanings, like the lower ribs and al-Dahhâk’s statement that it is the area between the breasts and feet…
This word clearly has a very broad and diverse definition. It is so ambiguous a word that the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) could not give it a precise definition. Scholars of Qur’ânic commentary have consistently admitted to there being at least three different possible meanings for this word as it is used in the verse. This is an admission that they do not know for certain what the tarâ’ib are, except that they generally agree it refers to an area of the woman’s body. It can apply to any region nearing the ribcage. Therefore, the area of the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, or the uterus can easily fit into the general area that is being indicated by these verses.
From a linguistic standpoint, the term ‘tara’ib’ means ‘an arch of bones.’ Because of this, some of the early Muslims thought that it could refer to the woman’s rib cage, which encases the uterus. During normal pregnancies, the uterus actually grows underneath and into the rib cage. Dr. William D. McIntosh (M.D.) says to one woman:
…Your uterus is still under your ribs, but the movement is frequently more intense on the right side due to the prescence [sic] of the liver.
(Dr. William D. McIntosh,
The American Pregnancy Association (APA) writes:
As your baby continues to grow, he/she takes up a larger portion of your uterus. You may not feel that your body can handle your growing baby, but it will compensate by allowing your uterus to extend underneath your rib cage.
The ribcage expands enormously during pregnancy to help make room for the expanding uterus and to maintain adequate lung capacity. Many pregnant women experience rib discomfort from this expansion, as well as the occasional little foot or knee that might habitually press against the ribs.
In other words, the word tara’ib could simply be referring to the woman’s uterus, since the rib cage surrounds it.
Another possible meaning for tara’ib could simply be ‘pelvic arch’, where the ovaries are located. Again, tara’ib literally means ‘an arch of bones’. The ribs form an arch of bones and this is why some of the early Muslims considered the tara’ib to be, but the pelvis certainly looks like an arch of bones as well. This is how Muhammad Asad translated the verse:
(7) issuing from between the loins [of man] and the pelvic arch [of woman].*
* The plural noun tarai’b, 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)
Shaykh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî confirmed this, saying:
It can apply to any region nearing the ribcage. Therefore, the area of the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, or the uterus can easily fit into the general area that is being indicated by these verses.
The truth is that tara’ib is a very obscure word. Just open up Lane’s Lexicon to see this! We read:
The part of the breast which is the place of the collar, or necklace : (T, M, K:) so by the common consent of the lexicologists : (T:) or the bones of the breast: (M, A, K:) or the bones of the breast that are between the collar-bone and the pap: (8:) or the part of the breast, or chest, that is next to the two collar-bones : or the part that is between the two breasts and the collar bones :or four ribs of the right side of the chest and four of the left therefore : (M, K:) or the two arms and two legs and two eyes: (T, M, K:) ….
(Lane’s Lexicon, p.301)
And the definition goes on! It seems that the word ‘tara’ib’ can refer to quite a few parts on the female body.
Why Would God Use an Obscure Word?
The Quran is a literary masterpiece. The English reader may not be able to appreciate that, but Arabic speakers agree that it is the most awe-inspiring recitation ever. In fact, the enemies of Islam during the time of the Prophet [s] instructed their followers to put their fingers in their ears so as not to get “seduced” by the beauty of the Quran. One of the pagans said to the Prophet [s] after hearing a few Quranic verses: “I swear by God, I have never heard such beautiful words before.” The Quran was so deeply eloquent that one man even fell off his horse because he was so entranced by it.
In English, perhaps the most revered literary piece is that of Shakespeare. Yet, if we read Shakespeare, we find that he used many obscure words. In fact, here is one book which is entitled New Light on Some Obscure Words and Phrases in the Works of Shakespeare and His Contemporaries (by Charles Mackay):
Indeed, Shakespeare even invented his own words! This was part of his literary genius for which he is credited for. About.com says:
Q: Did Shakespeare invent words we use today?
A: The English language owes a great debt to Shakespeare. He invented over 1700 of our common words, including birthplace, bump, torture, olympian, and mountaineer.
Shakespeare did not use mundane words; rather he beautified his works by using words that only he could conceive of.
The Quran is very much superior to any manmade book. The analogy barely suffices, since the work of man cannot be compared to the Word of God. Nonetheless, fairness dictates that the same principle apply here. If the Westerners will give credit to Shakespeare for using new words, then surely the same should apply to the Quran. In fact, the Quran revolutionized the Arabic language, using words in a way that was never ever seen before. The Quran’s beauty stunned both friend and foe alike.
The Quran could have merely used mundane language and said ‘testes’ instead of sulb, or ‘ovaries’ instead of tara’ib…yet this would have altered the literary flow and epic beauty of the Quranic recitation. We urge the reader to listen to the Quranic verses in Arabic, and see why we say this! Click here to listen to the verse of the Quran that uses the word ‘sulb’ and ‘tara’ib’:
Of course, the non-Arabic speaker cannot fully appreciate the eloquence and power of the Quranic recitation. Nonetheless, one can see that it transcends any manmade literature. The Quran had a profound and lasting impact on the Arabic language. There has never been a more beautifully written book, in Arabic or any other language.
Going back to the Shakespeare analogy, we see what effect he had on the English language. About.com says:
The English language owes a great debt to Shakespeare. He invented over 1700 of our common words by changing nouns into verbs, changing verbs into adjectives, connecting words never before used together, adding prefixes and suffixes, and devising words wholly original.
… Shakespeare also invented many of the most-used expressions in our language.
Likewise, the Quran invented many words, and used common words in ways that they had never been used before, changing their usage from the mundane to the magnificent.
Why is there a need to invent words? The reason is that the language is not grandiose enough for the writer. Shakespeare invented words because he excelled above the capacity of the English language. He coined many phrases, such as the famous “star-crossed lovers”. The word “star-crossed” had never been used before Shakespeare. Yet, now it is—thanks to Shakespeare—engraved into the English repertoire as one of the most poetic of words. Surely the same effect would not have been conveyed had he simply used the word ‘unlucky lovers’ as opposed to ‘star-crossed lovers.’
Similarly, the Quran invented many words, and used words in a way that Arabs had never used before, thereby transcending the Arabic language and revolutionizing it. Nobody could use language the way God did when he gave us the Quran. If we look at the verse in question (i.e. verse 86:7), it is extremely eloquent and moving in its Arabic language; the words sulb and tara’ib convey a grandiosity that no other words could. The Quran is quite literally the epitome of beauty.
Does an Obscure Word Muddle the Meaning?
The Quran was not sent down as a book of science. If God had wanted, He could have bestowed upon us a whole set of scientific encyclopedias. But He didn’t. Instead, God gave us a book of spiritual guidance. Therefore, the purpose of the Quran is not to figure out scientific facts, but rather to be rightly guided. If one reads verse 86:7 with the intention of garnering scientific facts, then we agree with you that the results would not be rewarding! However, if one reads the verse with the intention of benefiting spiritually, then there is a great benefit to be obtained by the truth-seeker. The spiritual meaning and purpose of the verse is not at all muddled; rather, it is clear as daylight. It does not matter if tara’ib refers to the ovaries or the pelvis or the rib cage. All that the reader needs to know is that it belongs to the female, something which all the early Muslims were sure of.
Some lay Muslims have tried to imply that the purpose of this verse is to show the scientific secrets of embryology in order that the people believe in the Quran. This is not true, or at least there is no evidence for us to say this. This Quranic verse was not intended to tell us where semen or eggs come from! Rather, the purpose of the verse was to convey to man that he is created from a meager beginning so he should humble himself to the Greatness of God. Furthermore, God created man in this way, so man should not think that He (God) cannot raise him up from the dead. (The pagans used to believe that there was no life after death, so God is establishing a proof that He can create life out of anything He wishes, even a drop of fluid; ipso facto, creating life from dead bones should not be an issue for God.)
Let us read Ibn Katheer’s Tafseer (Commentary) of these verses:
How Man is created is a Proof of God’s Ability to Return Him to Him
(So, let man see from what he is created!) This is alerting man to the weakness of his origin from which he was created. The intent of it is to guide man to accept (the reality of) the Hereafter, because whoever is able to begin the creation then He is also able to repeat it in the same way… This means that He is able to return this man that is created from fluid gushed forth. In other words, He is able to repeat his creation and resurrect him to the final abode. This is clearly possible, because whoever is able to begin the creation then he surely is able to repeat it. Indeed God has mentioned this proof in more than one place in the Qur’an.
(Tafseer Ibn Katheer, http://tafsir.com/default.asp?sid=86&tid=57841)
So the truth-seeker could derive this spiritual benefit from the verses without needing to know where exactly the tara’ib is! It doesn’t matter if it’s the uterus, legs, pelvis, ectoderm, endoderm, mesoderm, or whatever! It doesn’t matter if what comes out of it is made of carbon, or sugar, or alcohol, or whatever. What matters it that God created man from such a meager nothingness, and so He can resurrect us after we die. That is the point, and it is clear to those who wish to attain guidance!
In fact, asking useless questions is the path to misguidance. When Prophet Moses instructed his followers to slaughter a calf, they kept asking him useless questions. We read in the Quran:
And when Moses said unto his people: “Lo! God commands you that you sacrifice a heifer,” they said: “Do you mock us?”
He (Moses) answered: “God forbid that I should be among the foolish!” They (the Children of Israel) said: “Ask your Lord to describe the kind of cow He wants us to slaughter.”
Moses explained, “It must be neither too old nor too young, thus do whatever you are commanded to do.” Moses then told them to do as they were ordered. They said: “Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what color the cow must be.”
Moses said: “The Lord says that the cow must be yellow, a beautiful yellow.” They said, “We are confused about the cow, for to us all cows look alike. Ask your Lord to tell us exactly what the cow looks like, so that God willing, we shall have the right description.”
Moses said, “The Lord says that it must not have even tilled the soil nor irrigated the fields and it must be free of blemishes and flaws.” They said, “Now you have given us the right description.”
So they sacrificed her, though almost they did not.
Prophet Muhammad said in reference to the Children of Israel:
Do not ask me about matters which I leave unspoken, for behold, there were people before you (the Children of Israel) who went to their doom because they had put too many [useless] questions to their prophets and thereupon disagreed.
The Prophet’s disciple, Ibn Abbas, said the following about the matter:
If [in the first instance] they had sacrificed any cow chosen by themselves, they would have fulfilled their duty; but they made it complicated for themselves, and so God made it complicated to them.
Leopold Weiss, a Jewish convert to Islam and translator of the Quran, wrote:
…Their obstinate desire to obtain closer and closer definitions of the simple commandment revealed to them through Moses had made it almost impossible for them to fulfill it.
Going back to the verse about sulb and tara’ib, the purpose of the verse was not to delve into what the embryological origin is from a scientific level. Rather, the purpose of the verse was to convey the message that God creates man from a lowly fluid and that He (God) can similarly raise people from the dead. If you got that much from the verse, then you gained a lot of spiritual guidance, but if you focused on where anatomically is the tara’ib exactly, etc, then you have failed to approach the verses in the proper way. A simple analogy is if someone says to you “life is a box of chocolates”, and then instead of reflecting on this, you ask “what is the box made out of?” This is a useless question that distracts from the purpose of the advice. In no way will it change anyone’s life if they know exactly where tara’ib is on the body, just as it won’t affect a person if he knows what the box is made out of!
I close with God’s own warning about how to approach the Quran:
God disdains not to use the parable of things, lowest as well as highest. Those who believe know that is truth form their Lord; but those who reject faith say “What is it that God means by this parable?” (Quran, 2:26)
The Prophet Knew Where Semen Comes From
Mr. David Wood exclaims:
Muhammad believed that semen is produced between the ribs and the backbone [as opposed to the testes]
A bold-faced lie if there ever was one. Never did the Prophet [s] say such a thing. Mr. Wood wrongfully thinks that ‘tara’ib’ refers to a part on the male, yet ‘tara’ib’ is distinctly feminine. If we were reading an English sentence with the word ‘penis’ in it, would you assume that it is a part of the male or the female? Of course, we would say that it is distinctly peculiar to the male. Likewise, ‘tara’ib’ can only refer to the female. As such, any claim that the Prophet [s] thought that semen comes from between the ribs and the backbone is patently false.
To give definitive proof of this, we can point to numerous hadeeths in which the Prophet [s] and the Companions clearly know that the semen comes from the testes. They ask the Prophet [s] if they should get castrated so as not to ejaculate whilst they are unmarried. We read from the authentic hadeeth:
Abdullah reported: “We were on an expedition with God’s Messenger and we had no women with us. We said: ‘Should we not have ourselves castrated?’ He (the Holy Prophet) forbade us to do so.’” (Sahih Muslim, 3243)
And there are many more hadeeths like this, which prove that Arabs (and the Prophet) very well knew that semen comes from the testes, and that removal of the testes would lead to azoospermia. So this entire drama created by e-Islamaphobes is unjustified.
Differing Muslim Explanations
I wanted to comment on the various arguments offered by fellow Muslim laypersons on the internet. In the hastiness to build a counter defense, we have created mass confusion. So many Muslim laypersons are claiming that the sulb and tara’ib both refer to the male. This is horrendously incorrect; the word ‘tara’ib’ definitely belongs to a woman, just like the word ‘penis’ in English definitely belongs to a male.
What has happened is that a bunch of non-scholars have (with good intentions) spread ‘creative’ arguments, only with the purpose of winning debates. This is not the proper methodology. Rather, we should simply have asked qualified scholars about this issue. And when I say a scholar, I do not mean a dawah-carrier (i.e. speaker), but a qualified shaykh (i.e. scholar) who graduated from a respectable Islamic university, madressa, etc. If you notice on the internet, there are dozens of Islamic websites that offer plausible explanations of the verse, but only one has a clear, crisp, and convincing argument; that is Shaykh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî’s response on Shaykh Salman al-Oudah’s website, IslamToday.com.
I kindly ask my fellow Muslims to remove any article which claims that tara’ib refers to the male. This is not correct, and it defies hundreds of years of Muslim scholarship. There is absolute ijma (consensus) on this issue. Guessing and doubtful conjecturing about God’s Words can only lead to severe misguidance and even down the path of kufr (disbelief), as it is placing a meaning that God did not intend.
Some of the Muslim responses that need to be removed from the internet include those given by Dr. Zakir Naik and Moiz Amjad. As for Dr. Zakir Naik, we love and respect him; he has done a great deal for the Muslim dawah. However, as he says himself, he is not a scholar. He is a medical doctor by profession. As such, we kindly disregard his interpretation, which goes against the consensus of the Muslim scholarship for the last 1400 years. (Once again, we love Dr. Zakir Naik, and ask God to raise him to the highest ranks in Paradise.)
As for Mr. Moiz Amjad, we reject him altogether; he is not a scholar, nor is he on the proper aqeedah or methodology. He follows a dangerously heretical scholar, Javed Ghamidi. Muslims should reject his explanation, which differs from the Muslim scholarship, much like most of his views do.
An Islamaphobic site says of Moiz Amjad’s explanation:
Amjad’s hilarious attempt to show this by drawing lines on pictures of a human skeleton is unworthy of formal refutation due to its patent absurdity. Any line can enclose any human organ if that line is drawn on the surface of the body.
I’ve seen the diagram myself, and I must actually concur that it is ridiculous. This is what happens when you rely on excessive defeatism! We do not need such ‘creative’ explanations. Rather, we should simply ask the qualified scholars as to what is meant by these verses, and remain quiet until then. I direct this advice first and foremost to myself, because I was also one of those who jumped the gun and spoke about these verses in the wrong way. I was corrected when I saw what the scholars said, from the Prophet’s time to today.
We cannot change our religion just to win debates. This is a scorched earth policy, basically destroying our religion to protect it from destruction. The explanation given by the scholars is more honest, simple to understand, and correct. The proliferation of various possible ‘explanations’ by Muslim laypersons only muddles the field and gives a very bad impression to Non-Muslims. It makes us look silly how we are offering so many multiple and contradictory explanations. Again, I myself have been guilty of this, and I seek forgiveness for that.
One more advice that I would like to give to my fellow Muslims is that we should not exaggerate about the Quran nor stretch the meaning thereof. Sometimes some laypersons feel the need to prove the ‘scientific miracles’ in the Quran. I question this methodology; the Quran was not sent as a book of science. Rather, it was sent as a book of spiritual guidance. It is more likely that the people will convert to Islam due to the beauty of its spiritual message, as opposed to any scientific trivia found within its pages. The true miracle of the Quran lies in its eloquence, power, and depth of spiritual meaning. I am not saying that there are not scientific miracles in the Quran; rather, I am saying that we should not find the need to stretch to find them, nor should this be our main methodology of calling the people to Islam. The Prophet’s Sunnah was to call the people with religious and spiritual arguments, not scientific ones. Furthermore, when we approach the Quran in this ‘science trivia’ manner, we run the risk of giving the wrong meanings to certain verses, especially since we are relying on English translations.
I have learned a lot from this issue, and here I wish to summarize what we can take away from this issue:
1. When we see Islam being attacked with some creative polemic, we should not panic. More often than not, the argument is heavily flawed. In this case, the very basis of the argument was that the Prophet [s] thought that sperm comes from between the backbone and the ribs, even though this was not at all what the Quran means!
2. Many times the problem arises from using English translations. Muslims should strive to learn Arabic and become fluent in it.
3. We should refer to the classic and contemporary scholars when we need to seek the meaning of something, instead of guessing as to what possible explanations could be. Doing the latter can be counterproductive (by flooding the internet with contradictory arguments) and even blasphemous (by changing the meaning of the Quran). Again, this applies first and foremost to myself, as I have been guilty of this as well.
The very basis of the Islamaphobic argument falls apart. Nowhere was the Quran trying to explain where semen comes from. So all these creative titles on the internet such as “Mohammad’s Faulty Science”, “Where Muhammad thinks Sperm comes from”, etc., are all ludicrous. The Quran was not trying to show some random scientific trivia; the fact that semen comes from the loins—and that it mixes with the female’s egg in her body—is just common knowledge. It was used to build a spiritual—and not scientific—argument.
The word ‘sulb’ most definitely means ‘loins’, and we have provided definite proof of that, from multiple dictionaries, as well as from the Bible itself! As for the word ‘tara’ib’, then this is an obscure word. At most, the Islamaphobes can hope to criticize the Quran for ambiguity, but they cannot at all pinpoint any specific scientific error. The matter is not black-and-white as the Islamaphobes tried to make it out to be. However, I already explained how the ambiguity in one term does not at all distract from the meaning and purpose of the beautiful verses of the Quran. Rather, going into the nitty gritty scientific detail would in fact distract from the real purpose of the verses. As a creedal point, Muslims believe that there are words in the Quran that we can never know the meaning of. For example, the famous words Alif Lam Meem have an unknown meaning, and we say that nobody can grasp the power of their meaning!
A Comical Aside
I have seen some Islamaphobic websites further the argument that verse 86:7 is actually in reference to Jesus Christ and His Resurrection from the dead; the Christian Islamaphobes use this as a proof that the Quran prophesizes about Jesus. WikiIslam, a fervently Islamapahobic website, claims that the proper translation of the verse is:
The inner man originated from water pouring forth. He emerges from amidst the Cross and the grave.
Keep in mind that this is the same website which claimed that Prophet Muhammad did not know where sperm comes from, using this same verse as a proof for it! So which is it, O Islamaphobes? Is the verse about sperm or about Jesus!? If the verse should really translate in the manner you rendered it, then why are you using it as a proof that Prophet Muhammad didn’t know where sperm comes from!? Truly paradoxical!
Furthermore, the entire premise of the argument was that the Quran is a false book written by Prophet Muhammad himself. Why would Prophet Muhammad place a Christian belief—one that he vehemently rejected—into the book he supposedly wrote himself? If the Quran is being used by the Christians as a proof for their prophetic beliefs, then surely this means that they consider it a true book of God! Yet, the Islamaphobes claim that Prophet Muhammad wrote the Quran; if that is the case, then why is Prophet Muhammad—a supposedly false prophet—prophesizing about Jesus, who he (Prophet Muhammad) himself said did not raise up from the dead? Surely this is nonsensical, and shows the desperation of the Christian Islamaphobes.
If they can come up with such ludicrous translations, then this really destroys all their credibility. That is why we tell them again and again that they shouldn’t criticize the Quran if they can’t read Arabic. This is exactly way! (Of course, this ‘creative’ translation is so ludicrous that I don’t need to deal with it seriously; however, if one were to believe it, it would invalidate any claims that Prophet Muhammad [s] thought that sperm came from between the backbone and ribs!)
Parting WordsAll Praise is due to Allah, Lord of all the Worlds. Peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger, Muhammad, and peace and blessings of Allah be upon all of the Prophets that came before him, including Prophet Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, among many others. We love and respect them all, and whosoever rejects one of them, rejects them all.
The Quran is the literal Word of God, and it is free from error or corruption. It is a guidance for mankind, and whoever holds onto it, holds onto a firm handhold that will never break. Peace be unto the one who seeks righteous guidance.
Second ArticleIntroductionIn recent years there has been questions surrounding the scientific understanding of the following Quranic verse:
فَلْيَنظُرِ الْإِنسَانُ مِمَّ خُلِقَ
Falyanthuri al-insanumimma khuliq
So let man observe from what he was created.
خُلِقَ مِن مَّاءٍ دَافِقٍ
Khuliqa min ma-in dafiq
He was created from a fluid, ejected,
يَخْرُجُ مِن بَيْنِ الصُّلْبِ وَالتَّرَائِبِ
Yakhruju min bayni assulbi wattara-ib
Emerging from between the loins and the ribs. 
In this short article we will conduct a lexical analysis of the words used in these verses and analyse if they correlate with modern findings in physiology.
In this short article we will conduct a lexical analysis of the words used in these verses and analyse if they correlate with modern findings in physiology.
The two words that are in question are sulb  and tara’ib . The word sulb means any portion of the backbone, particularly the lumbar portion and the loins and it is specific to males.   The word tara’ib means breastbone or the ribs  and it is specific to males . In Usool At-Tafseer – the science of explaining the Quran – there is a principle that one should do tafseer of the Quran with the Quran . This can help us understand the meaning of words contained in the Quran.
Sulb appears in the Quran in two places. Surah 86:7 and Surah 4:23. The verse in Surah 4 is discussing those with whom marriage is prohibited to, it reads:
حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمْ أُمَّهَاتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُكُمْ وَأَخَوَاتُكُمْ وَعَمَّاتُكُمْ وَخَالَاتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُ الْأَخِ وَبَنَاتُ الْأُخْتِ وَأُمَّهَاتُكُمُ اللَّاتِي أَرْضَعْنَكُمْ وَأَخَوَاتُكُم مِّنَ الرَّضَاعَةِ وَأُمَّهَاتُ نِسَائِكُمْ وَرَبَائِبُكُمُ اللَّاتِي فِي حُجُورِكُم مِّن نِّسَائِكُمُ اللَّاتِي دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَإِن لَّمْ تَكُونُوا دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَحَلَائِلُ أَبْنَائِكُمُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ أَصْلَابِكُمْ وَأَن تَجْمَعُوا بَيْنَ الْأُخْتَيْنِ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا
Hurrimat AAalaykum ommahatukumwabanatukum waakhawatukum waAAammatukum wakhalatukumwabanatu al-akhi wabanatu al-okhti waommahatukumuallatee ardaAAnakum waakhawatukum mina arradaAAatiwaommahatu nisa-ikum waraba-ibukumu allateefee hujoorikum min nisa-ikumu allateedakhaltum bihinna fa-in lam takoonoo dakhaltum bihinna falajunaha AAalaykum wahala-ilu abna-ikumuallatheena min aslabikum waan tajmaAAoobayna al-okhtayni illa ma qad salafa inna Allahakana ghafooran raheema
Prohibited to you [for marriage] are your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your father’s sisters, your mother’s sisters, your brother’s daughters, your sister’s daughters, your [milk] mothers who nursed you, your sisters through nursing, your wives’ mothers, and your step-daughters under your guardianship [born] of your wives unto whom you have gone in. But if you have not gone in unto them, there is no sin upon you. And [also prohibited are] the wives of your sons who are from your [own] loins, and that you take [in marriage] two sisters simultaneously, except for what has already occurred. Indeed, Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful. The point of highlight here is:وَحَلَائِلُ أَبْنَائِكُمُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ أَصْلَابِكُمْ
wahala-ilu abna-ikumuallatheena min aslabikum
And [also prohibited are] the wives of your sons who are from your [own] loins
This verse here is telling us that it is forbidden to marry the wives of your sons. The verse says – min aslabkium – from your sulb (plural). If one was to translate sulb here to mean backbone or spine – the verse would make no sense. The correct understanding of the word sulb is loins – due to it discussing reproduction.
If we turn our attention back to verse 86:7, that is discussing reproduction, it is a fair assumption to understand that the correct understanding of sulb would be that it means loins, rather than backbone. This is due to the fact that the word carries this meaning and its usage elsewhere in the Quran only carries the meaning of loins.If we turn to Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ we find sulb carrying the same meaning:إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَلَقَ لِلْجَنَّةِ أَهْلاً خَلَقَهُمْ لَهَا وَهُمْ فِي أَصْلاَبِ آبَائِهِمْ وَخَلَقَ لِلنَّارِ أَهْلاً خَلَقَهُمْ لَهَا وَهُمْ فِي أَصْلاَبِ آبَائِهِمْ
Inna Allaha khalaqa liljannati ahlaan khalaqahum lahaa wa hum fi aslaabi aabaanihim wa khalaqa lilnnaar ahlaan khalaqahum lahaa wa hum fi aslaabi abaanihim
Allah created for Paradise those who are fit for it while they were yet in their father’s loins (aslaab) and created for Hell those who are to go to Hell. He created them for Hell while they were yet in their father’s loins (aslaab). This leaves us with the correct rendering of the verse being:<span “font-size:27.0pt;font-family:”traditional=”” arabic”,serif;=”” mso-fareast-font-family:”times=”” roman”;color:black;mso-fareast-language:=”” en-gb”=””>يَخْرُجُ مِن بَيْنِ الصُّلْبِ وَالتَّرَائِبِ<span “font-size:27.0pt;font-family:”traditional=”” arabic”,serif;mso-fareast-font-family:=”” “times=”” roman”;color:black;mso-fareast-language:en-gb”=””>
<span “font-size:13.5pt;font-family:”georgia”,serif;mso-fareast-font-family:=”” “times=”” roman”;mso-bidi-font-family:”times=”” roman”;color:black;=”” mso-fareast-language:en-gb”=””>Yakhruju min bayni assulbi wattara-ib
<span “font-size:13.5pt;font-family:”georgia”,serif;mso-fareast-font-family:=”” “times=”” roman”;mso-bidi-font-family:”times=”” roman”;color:black;=”” mso-fareast-language:en-gb”=””>Emerging from between the loins and the ribs.Semen Production
Modern physiology states that semen is made up various fluids. For instance, semen is made up of sperm which comes from the testes and makes up 2-5% its content. Fluid from the seminal vesicles make up 65-75% of semen, and fluid from the prostrate makes up 25-30% of the male sexual fluid. Also, semen is made up of fluid from the bulbourethral glands which makes up less than 1% of the semen. According to modern physiology all these organs are between the loins and the ribs as is detailed in the pictures below:Notice how the semincal vesicle and other organs are between the loins and the ribs.Conclusion
What the above article has intended to do was to clarify a doubt regarding the accuracy of a specific Quranic verse detailing how the description given in the Quran does in fact match with modern physiology.And Allah Knows Best
Appendix 1: Hippocrates And Semen Production
Some critics have not stopped at claiming an error in the Quran, some have gone as far to claim that the Quranic description is actually copied from the Greek physician Hippocrates. In order to see if there claims are true let us analyse what Hippocrates taught on semen production.
Hippocrates details his views on semen production in his two works “On Generation” and “On The Nature Of The Child”. In his treatise “On Generation” he writes:
1. 1) All things are governed by law. The sperm of the human male comes from all the humour in the body: it consists of the most potent part of this fluid, which is secreted from the rest. The evidence that it is the most potent part which is secreted is the fact that even though the actual amount we emit in intercourse is very small, we are weakened by its loss. What happens is this: there are veins and nerves which extend from every part of the body to the penis. When as the result of gentle friction these vessels grow warm and become congested, they experience a kind of irritation, and in consequence, a feeling of pleasure and warmth arises over the whole body. 2) Friction on the penis and the movement of the whole man cause the fluid in the body to grow warm; becoming diffuse and agitated by the movement it produces a foam, in the same way as all other fluids produce foam when they are agitated. But in the case of the human being what is secreted as foam is the most potent and the richest part of the humour. This humour is diffused from the brain into the loins and the whole body, but in particular into the spinal marrow: for passages extend into this from the whole body, which enable the humour to pass to and from the spinal marrow. 3) Once the sperm has entered the spinal marrow it passes in its course through the veins along the kidneys (sometimes if there is a lesion of the kidneys, blood is carried along with the sperm). From the kidneys it passes via the testicles into the penis not however by the urinary tract, since it has a passage of its own which is next to the urinary tract.
Those who have nocturnal emissions have them for the following reason; when the humour in the body becomes diffuse and warmed throughout – whether through fatigue or through some other cause – it produces foam. As this is secreted, the man sees visions as though he were having intercourse, for the fluid is precisely the same as that which is emitted in intercourse. However, erotic dreams and the nature and effects of this whole complaint, and why it is a precursor of insanity, is no part of my present subject. So much then for that.
2. 1) The reason that eunuchs do not have intercourse is that their spermal passage is destroyed. This passage lies through the testicles themselves. Moreover, the testicles are connected to the penis by a mass of slender ligaments, which raise and lower the penis. These are cut off in the operation, and that is why eunuchs are impotent. In the case of those whose testicles are crushed, the spermal passage is blocked, for the testicles are damaged and the ligaments, becoming calloused and insensitive as a result of the damage, are no longer able to tighten and relax. 2) Those on the other hand that have had an incision made by the ear can indeed have intercourse and emit sperm, but the amount is small, weak and sterile. For the greater part of the sperm travels from the head past the ears into the spinal marrow; now when the incision has formed a scar, this passage becomes obstructed. In the case of children, their vessels are narrow and blocked, and therefore prevent the passage of sperm, so that the irritation cannot occur as it does in the adult. Hence the humour in the body cannot be agitated sufficiently to secrete sperm. 3) Girls while they are still young do not menstruate for the same reason. But as both boys and girls grow, the vessels which extend in the boy’s case to the penis and in the girl’s to the womb, open out and become wider in the process of growth; a way is opened up through the narrow passages, and the humour, finding sufficient space, can become agitated. That is why when they reach puberty, sperm can flow in the boy and the menses in the girl. Such is my explanation of these facts.
3. 1) The sperm is, as I say, secreted from the whole body – from the hard parts as well as from the soft, and from the total humour. This humour has four forms: blood, bile, water, and phlegm. All four are innate in man, and they are the origin of disease. (I have already discussed these forms, and why both diseases and their resolutions come from them.) I have now dealt with the subject of sperm: its origin, how and why it originates, and in the case of those who do not have sperm, why this is so; and I have dealt with menstruation in girls.
4. 1)In the case of women, it is my contention that when during intercourse the vagina receives friction and the womb is disturbed, an irritation is set up in the womb which produces pleasure and heat in the rest of the body. A woman also emits something from her body, sometimes into the womb, which then becomes moist, and sometimes externally as well, if the womb is open wider than normal. Once intercourse has begun, she experiences pleasure throughout the whole time, until the man ejaculates. If her desire for intercourse is excited, she emits before the man, and for the remainder of the time she does not feel pleasure to the same extent; but if she is not in a state of excitement, then her pleasure terminates along with that of the man. 2) What happens is this: if into boiling water you pour another quantity of water which is cold, the water stops boiling. In the same way, the man’s sperm arriving in the womb extinguishes both the heat and the pleasure of the woman. Both the pleasure and the heat reach their peak simultaneously with the arrival of the sperm in the womb, and then they cease. If, for example, your pour wine on a flame, first of all the flame flares up and increases for a short period when you pour the wine on, then it dies away. In the same way the woman’s heat flares up in response to the man’s sperm, and then dies away. 
Hippocrates views on semen production can be summarised as follows:
1. The most potent of the fluid distributed all over the body is ejected out as semen.
2. There are vessels from every part of the body which reaches the penis and through which the semen is spilled.
3. The body parts from brain to hip, especially in the marrow of vertebrae, this fluid is scattered about.
4. The semen reaching the spinal cord passes through the vessels across the kidneys.
5. From kidneys, through the testicles, this flows to the penis.
If we compare the regions being described by Hippocrates (the whole body) and the Quran (area between loins and ribs) it becomes clear that the claim that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ plagiarised from Hippocrates is fallacious.Region Described By Hippocrates For Semen ProductionRegion Described By The Quran For Semen ProductionBy analysing what Hippocrates and the Quran actually teach on semen production it becomes rather clear that they are discussing different things – and the claim that the latter plagiarised from the former has no basis.
Appendix 2: Is tara’ib specific to males or females?
There is a difference opinion regarding if tara’ib linguistically refers to males or females. There are some who argue that tara’ib is specific to females. However there are many who detail that tara’ib is specific to males and this is the more correct view.
Those who detail that tara’ib is specific to males include Al-Hasan al-Basri , Ibn Al-Qayyim , Ibn Juziy , Sheikh Ibn ‘Ashoor, Ibn Sa’di, Ibn ‘Uthaymeen  and others. Ibn Al-Qayyim details why this is the more correct view, he writes:
There was a difference of opinion concerning at-taraa’ib. It was said that what is meant is the man’s taraa’ib too, that is the bones of the chest, the area between the collar bone and the breast. And it was said that what is meant is the taraa’ib of the woman.
The former view is more likely to be correct, for the following reasons:
1. Because Allah, may He be glorified, says: “Proceeding from between the loins (as-sulb) and the ribs (at-taraa’ib)”, and He did not say that it proceeds from the loins (as-sulb) and the ribs (at-taraa’ib). So the man’s water must necessarily come from between these two different places, as He said concerning milk: “from between excretions and blood” [an-Nahl 16:66].
2. Moreover, Allah has told us that He created man from a nutfah (sperm drop) in more than one place, and the nutfah is the water of the man. This was also stated by the linguists. Al-Jawhari said: The nutfah is pure water, whether it is a small amount or a large amount, and the nutfah is the water of the man…
3. That which is described as gushing forth or being emitted forcefully is the water of the man; the water of the woman is not described in these terms. 
So the correct understanding is that tara’ib is specific to the man.References:
 Surah 86:5-7.
 صلب – coming from the root ص ل ب – Saad Laam Baa.
 تَّرَائِبِ – coming from the root ت ر ب – Ta Ra Ba.
 Hans Wehr, page 521.
 An Arabic-English Lexicon. Librairie Du Liban. 1968. Vol. 4, page 1712.
 Ibid, Vol. 1, page 301.
 As said by Ibn Al-Qayyim in I‘laam al-Muwaqqi‘een, 1/145-146, Al-Hasan Al-Basri ; see Tafseer at-Tabari, 20/4, Imam Ibn Juziy in Tafseer at-Tasheel 785, Shaykh Ibn ‘Ashoor, Ibn Sa‘di and Ibn ‘Uthaymeen ; as it says in Liqa’ al-Baab al-Maftooh, no. 45 & al-Liqa’ ash-Shahri, no. 45. See Appendix 2 for more information.
 See Bilal Philips, Usool At-Tafseer, International Islamic Publishing House (2005), pp.40-41. Sheikh Ibn Taymiyyah & Sheikh Uthaymeen, An Explanation Of Sheikh Al Islam Ibn Taymiyyah’s Introduction To The Principles Of Tafsir, Al-Hidayah, pp.155-168.
 Quran 4:23.
 Saheeh Muslim 2662 c, Sunan Ibn Majah 82, Sunan an-Nasa’i 1947, Sunan Abi Dawud 4713.
 Hippocrates, The Hippocratic Treatises, “On Generation,” “On the Nature of the Child,” “Diseases IV”, Translated by Walter de Cruyter, 1981, pp. 1-2.
 See Tafseer at-Tabari, 20/4
 I‘laam al-Muwaqqi‘een, 1/145-146
 Tafseer at-Tasheel 785
 Liqa’ al-Baab al-Maftooh, no. 45 & al-Liqa’ ash-Shahri, no. 45
 I‘laam al-Muwaqqi‘een, 1/145-146
Quran Got it Right About Semen Production!
Some Christians claim that the Quran has a scientific error in it regarding sperm production
This is incorrect again. The critic focuses on the verses 86:6-7, especially verse 7 as this is where their contention is directed. The critic claims the Quran (86:7) is telling us that semen is produced between the backbone (sulb) and the ribs (tara’ib). The Arabic words mentioned by the Quran are sulb and tara’ib. Tara’ib is thought to mean ribs, though there is some dispute. However, the chief point of interest is the word sulb. Sulb can be translated as ‘loins’ or ‘backbone’ or ‘lower back’. The critic favours the translations which use the word ‘backbone’ as they use it to attack the Quran by claiming the Quran teaches that semen is produced between the backbone (sulb) and the ribs (tara’ib).
However, the critic is very selective in deciding which translation to use as he/she avoids the numerous translations which translate ‘sulb’ as ‘loins’. They avoid these translations as they scupper their critical claims straight away as loins. Here, the word loins refers to:
a. The region of the hips, groin, and lower abdomen.
b. The reproductive organs. (1)
So the critic refrains from using this translation for the word sulb as it is clearly scientifically accurate, ie the semen is produced in the are between the loins and ribs. So, if we translate the Quran (86:7) this way there is no contention. The misleading methodology of the critic is to avoid mention of the numerous translations which translate the word sulb as loins. Not only do they avoid mentioning the numerous translations using the word ‘loins’ they highlight translations which use the word ‘backbone’. This is rather deceptive, especially considering a number of non-Muslim translators, including a Christian translator, translates it as ‘loins’ ( A.J Arberry, George Sale, J.M Rodwell and Henry E Palmer) as well as a number of Muslim translators who also use the word loins (Hamid S Aziz, Muhammad M Ghali, Muhammad M Pickthall and Mohammad Asad) (4). It is unscholarly as well as misleading on the part of the critic not to mention this important fact.
However, the critic does use Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translation which translates it as ‘backbone’, therefore rendering a meaning of between the backbone and ribs. So the critic understands the Quran as teaching us that semen is produced between the backbone and ribs. In the way of intellectual honesty I do not want the reader to believe that only Abdullah Yusuf Ali translates this verse by using the word ‘backbone’, Shakir and Khan/Hilali also do this. The question still remains; which word should be used in the translation?
Well, the critic does not tell you that Dr Edward William Lane’s Lexicon indicates the word sulb’ to mean ‘loins’ and even refers to the verse in question (86:7) as referring to the ‘loins’. So it does seem that the more accurate translation of this would be “between the loins and the ribs” as opposed to “between the backbone and the ribs” (4). Hence the critic uses the weaker translation.
However, even if we assume the critic to be correct and take the translation; “between the backbone and the ribs” we still see no scientific error. The critic assumes that the ejaculate (semen) emanates from the testes, this is incorrect. Sperm is produced in the testes and is then transfered to the seminal vesicles awaiting ejaculation, the=is accounts for 5 % of the ejaculate, the rest of the ejaculate comes from the seminal vesicles (46-80%),with the prostate gland and the bulbourethral and urethral glands producing the rest of the ejaculate (2). At the time of ejaculation, all this (semen, which contains the sperm) is released
From the seminal vesicles which are in fact between the backbone (coccyx, lower back) and the ribs! So if we run with the translation of the critics we see something that people would describe as a scientific miracle and not a scientific error.
Osama Abdallah says the same thing but goes into a little more detail (bracketing is mine):
“If one was to insist upon the literal meaning (the translation favoured by the critics), one would still find that the Quran is 100% correct literally, too. The seminal vesicles are anterior to the sacrum and coccyx (lower back, loin) and the ribs are anterior to the seminal vesicles.
If one was to draw a line from the tip of the coccyx, to the upper portion of the seminal vesicle _ either one of the two_ and extend the line forward it will catch theseminal vesicles from which the semen spurts out during coitus, lies between the ribs and the coccyx (backbone)!” (3)
The irony is that the critics accuse the Quran of making a scientific error yet the error is on their part as they only believe it to be an error as they wrongly believe semen emanates from the testes, while in fact in emanates from the seminal vesicles which are in between the backbone and the ribs! So now we all know the critics are being unfair, unscholarly and misleading when they claim the Quran (86:6-7) tells us that semen is produced in the kidneys etc.
May Allah guide us all to further Truth. Ameen.
This short article lent very heavily on Fotfoundation’s video presentation on this subject. This two part video presentation (in my view) is the best explanation of this subject and most in depth (all praise is due to Allah) so if the reader wishes to study further then please view:
Part 1 by Fotfoundation
Part 2 by Fotfoundation
Other further readings:
4. Part 1 by Fotfoundation:
Part 2 by Fotfoundation