Saturday, September 29, 2012

Objection 2 to Embryology in the Quran: Much Ado about Nothing

For a longer list of objections and replies to Embryology in the Quran: Much Ado about Nothing, see the following page,

2. Objection: Nabeel al-Khalidy (hereby LQA) who runs the popular youtube channel LearnQuranicArabic has made the following video response attacking the veracity of one of the claims made in the paper.

LQA asserts that the grammar behind the Arabic term "نُطْفَة" (nutfah) indicates that the word does mean "a singular entity from a bigger group point" which was rejected as being baseless in the paper. He also asserts that sura 75:37 suggests that "نُطْفَة" (nutfah) indicates a substance other than sperm. (09/28/2012)

Reply: LQA’s video can be broken down to specific claims;

(1) The grammar behind the term "نُطْفَة" (nutfah) indicates the definition of “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind”.
(2) Sura 75:37 indicates that "نُطْفَة" (nutfah) indicates a substance other than sperm.

Starting with (2), the claim made is that verse 75:37 which states “Was he not a nutfahof/from semen (maniyy) ejaculated?” indicates that "نُطْفَة" (nutfah) is a separate substance from “semen” since the word appears separately from the word for “semen”.

It is disappointing to watch Muslim critics merely repeat arguments already addressed and refuted in the paper. This exact claim was made by Hamza Tzortzis.[i] Therefore, this argument was discussed and was found to be baseless.[ii]

The basic summary of the findings in the paper was that the verse 75:37, when analyzed under the proper literary, linguistic and historical context provided by classical dictionaries such as Lisan al-Arab, reveals its meaning to be the following; “Was he not a small amount (“nutfah”) of/from semen (“maniyyin”) ejaculated?[iii]

For an elaborate discussion of the above point, please refer to points 1 and 3 under section “Nutfah” in the paper, Embryology in the Qur'an: Much Ado about Nothing.[iv]

Now for LQA’s main contention (1). Once again, his contention can be found in the following video uploaded on his youtube channel.

First and foremost, some background information needs to be cleared up.

1) LQA is not responding to the paper per se but the short introductory video that was uploaded to the youtube channel of Captaindisguise which only consists of a few points taken from the larger paper.[v]
2) Out of the few points mentioned in Captaindisguise’s video, LQA only attacks one partially, but pretends to have addressed the entire video when he does not. Thus, LQA’s response could be seen as attacking a strawman. Ironically, LQA agrees with the only point from Captaindisguise that he attacked by admitting that Lisan al-Arab does not say something that Hamza claimed it said.
3) LQA has deleted as well as refused to approve the comments left on his video. LQA has also decided to censor his comment section which reveals a lack of confidence in his work plus an intentional attempt to mislead his viewers by making it appear to them that no one objects to his rather poor video.
4) LQA has also refused to link his audience to Captaindisguise’s original video or paper and thus depriving them of understanding the actual claims made. Such actions by LQA can only be reasonably assigned to his intellectual cowardice.

Getting that out of the way, it is once again disappointing to see Muslim critics repeating arguments already addressed and refuted in the paper. A homologous argument was made by Hamza Tzortzis in his paper.[vi] The argument has thus been discussed and was subsequently found to be ludicrous.[vii]

Thus, LQA’s argument below has been addressed in the paper even before he made it. Nevertheless, his specific contention will be discussed below for the purpose of clarity and for the benefit of those who may be misled by LQA’s video due to their inability or reluctance to think critically.

LQA states the following (at timestamp 02:02);

“Just because a person knows Arabic, modern Arabic and has access to a dictionary does not mean he is an authority on the Qur'an”

This is a rather shallow representation of LQA’s opponents with the clear intention of using the tactic of “poisoning the well” or “moving the goalposts”  Certainly one does not need to be an authority of any field in order to check the accuracy of someone claiming a particular source states such and such. Captaindisguise and Martin Taverille have merely done this. For example, it was Hamza’s claim that the classical lexicon Lisan al-Arab defines or suggests the definition of “nutfah” as “a singular entity from a bigger group its kind.” Upon investigation, it was revealed that Lisan al-Arab does not contain such a definition and ironically, LQA admits to this being the case.

LQA then states the following (at timestamp 02:12),

“[Captaindisguise] is saying because of the fact that Lisan al-Arab does not mention that al-nutfah is “a singular entity”, it means that it is not a singular entity"

This is already a very dishonest representation of the points raised in Captaindisguise’s video and perhaps an attempt to keep his audience away from the facts that definitively weaken LQA’s argument. The non-existence of such a definition in Lisan al-Arab was not the only reason for why the conclusion that “nutfah” does not mean “a singular entity” was reached.

There were 4 points mentioned in Captaindisguise’s video and they are;

1) Lisan al-Arab does not define “nutfah” as “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind” as was suggested by Hamza Tzortzis.

2) Lisan al-Arab specifically defines “nutfah” as “the little/small amount of water remaining in the bucket.” (LQA himself states "nutfah" is a "small amount of water").

3) Also, Lisan al-Arab specifically states that “semen (maniyyin) was called “nutfah” because of its small amount.”[viii] and thus "nutfah" was clearly used to refer to semen synonymously.

4) A hadith from the collection of Hadith Qudsi was mentioned due to it containing a narrative in which Muhammad, the founder of Islam, stating that human beings exist in the form of “nutfah” in the mother’s womb for a period of 40 days;[ix] such a view is erroneous whether “nutfah” means sperm or semen.

None of these points were even acknowledged by LQA and it certainly reveals his “nutfah” of cowardice.

Nevertheless, LQA then spells out his main objections (at timestamp 02:23)

“Now little does [Captaindisguise] know that actually the word "نُطْفَة" (nutfah) is on a specific pattern which is on the pattern of “فُعْلَة” (fua’la). So this pattern that  "نُطْفَة" (nutfah) is upon is actually associated with the individual parts produced by the associated verb.”

On a side note, Lisan al-Arab actually states that “there is no verb for nutfah”. However, for the purpose of argumentation, this statement from Lisan al-Arab is ignored and the following discussion will presume that there is a verb associated with "نُطْفَة" (nutfah). LQA continues (at timestamp 02:43);

“So let me just explain this. So we have the verb, for example, “قَطَعَ” (qataa’a) which means “he cut”, doesn’t matter what he cut but he cut something. If you take the 3 letter root, the “ق” (Qaf), the “ط” (Ta’a), the “ع” (Ayn) and you put it on the pattern of “فُعْلَة” (fua’la), you get “قُطْعَة” (quta’ah). So “قُطْعَة” (quta’ah) is actually a noun that denotes an individual part that is cut. So a person could cut something into a number of pieces. One of these pieces is called “قُطْعَة” (quta’ah). This pattern, “فُعْلَة” (fua’la), is also used for singular parts of the body. So for example, “جُذْمَة” (juzmah) means one part of the body. We have the noun “مُضْغَة” (mudghah). “مُضْغَة” (mudghah) means one lump of flesh or one chewed up lump of flesh and similarly we have "نُطْفَة" (nutfah) which is one part of seminal fluid.”

The above quote from LQA is his justification for his claim that “nutfah” can be defined as “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind”. Specifically his claim is that “nutfah” means “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind” because “nutfah” is in the pattern of “فُعْلَة” (fua’la).

The amazing irony of this claim is that while it seems to rely on the specifics of Arabic grammar, one does not need any knowledge of the Arabic language in order to understand the logical fallaciousness of LQA’s argument.

This is because LQA’s premise boils down to the following statement;

“There is a pattern (“فُعْلَة” (fua’la)) in Arabic and any word written in that pattern refers to a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind.”

LQA cannot make his argument valid without accepting the above premise. Quite clearly, the above premise is false which can be easily determined from the examples provide by LQA in his video alone. The examples given by LQA are;

1) “قُطْعَة” (quta’ah) is a piece of wood.
2) “جُذْمَة” (juzmah) is a part of the body.
3) “مُضْغَة” (mudghah) is a lump of flesh.

LQA’s reasoning can be applied to a vast many words in Arabic i.e. if “nutfah” is allowed to be defined as “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind” merely due to it having a specific morphological pattern (“فُعْلَة” (fua’la)) then it follows inescapably that any word having that specific morphological pattern (“فُعْلَة” (fua’la)) can also mean “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind.” Any attempts to exclude other words would be special pleading which, without strong reasons, is one of the worst ad hoc fallacies in argumentation.

Thus, LQA’s logic would lead one to conclude that “قُطْعَة” (quta’ah), “جُذْمَة” (juzmah), “مُضْغَة” (mudghah) and any other word of that form can be defined as “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind.” Interestingly, “مُضْغَة” (mudghah) is a word used in the Qur'an to describe the embryo as a lump of flesh. Would LQA argue that due to the word “مُضْغَة” (mudghah), the embryo is part of a bigger group of embryos?

LQA's notion is also falsified by the words of Muhammad himself. Muhammad can be seen referring to the heart as well as the penis using the word “مُضْغَة” (mudghah) (in &  & This further debilitates the notion that any word that follows the pattern of “فُعْلَة” (fua’la) has to mean "a singular entity from a bigger group of it's kind". A much more consistent explanation for “فُعْلَة” (fua’la) is that it refers to a "small amount of a substance". Thus, it would be coherent for “مُضْغَة” (mudghah) to mean "a small amount of flesh" while referring to the heart or the penis. Likewise, it would be more coherent and consistent with the all the usages of "نُطْفَة" (nutfah) in Lisan al-Arab if it meant "a small amount of liquid" such as semen.

Worsening the tragedy, if one were to mix LQA’s reasoning with Hamza’s logic, one would be arguing that “قُطْعَة” (quta’ah), “جُذْمَة” (juzmah), “مُضْغَة” (mudghah) and any other word of that form are referring to sperm cells as Hamza had concluded that "نُطْفَة" (nutfah) refers to sperm because it was defined as "a singular entity from a bigger group of it's kind." Such an absurd mess is what LQA’s argument inevitably leads to.

Perhaps, the chaos LQA brings is a product of his ignorance of the English language. Perhaps, he does not understand that “a piece of wood” is different from saying “a singular entity of wood”. Likewise, “a small amount of water/liquid” is not equivalent to “a singular entity of water/liquid”. Colloquially speaking, it does not even make much sense to say something like “a singular entity of wood” or “a singular entity of water.” If any meaning can be given to the phrase, “a singular entity of water”, it would have to refer to a single water molecule (which is smaller than the nanoscale). Quite clearly, the phrase “a small amount of water” which would have to refer to a macroscopic amount of water cannot refer to a single molecule of water or a singular entity of water. The same can said of “a piece of wood” or “a part of the body” or “a lump of flesh”. Words such as “amount”, “piece”, “part” etc are not referring to a discrete amount of something. Thus, LQA is flawed in his equivocation of the two very distant concepts. LQA’s flawed thinking is similar to a person claiming that “a small heap of sand” is equal to “a single grain of sand”.

On the other hand, the grand irony of LQA’s video is that it ultimately supports the claims made by Captaindisguise. For example, he defined “nutfah” as “a part of the seminal fluid”. However, this is no different from saying “a small amount of semen” which is the definition or understanding provided by Captaindisguise in his paper, Embryology in the Qur'an: Much Ado about Nothing.[x] More importantly, his definition does not lend any support for any of Hamza’s claims neither does LQA even attempt to demonstrate how his arguments either refute Captaindisguise’s point or support Hamza’s points.

Having made an absolute mess of the Arabic language using his self-employed authority and having failed to refute any of Captaindisguise’s point, LQA continues to state the following ridiculously erroneous or incoherent statements; (at timestamp 04:06)

“This is why the Lisan al-Arab, actually one of the meanings found in Lisan al-arab is “الماء القليل”, a small amount of water. Because we know that seminal fluid is made up of a large number of sperm cells. These sperm cells actually are surrounded by water and this is what actually the sperm cells use to travel to the egg. Without this water, they will not be able to travel. So it amazing that Allah (SWT) actually chose the word nutfah which has the meaning of fluid which is like water that is used by the sperm cell.”

First and foremost, seminal fluid is not made up of “sperm cells” Semen is distinct from sperm. If anything, it is this fact that differentiates modern ideas about reproduction from the ancient ideas. Semen is considered to be a vehicle for the sperm cells.[xi] For example, defects in the testicles could prevent the production of “sperm” yet this would not impact the production of semen which is a separate liquid that exists with or without sperm cells. Thus, LQA is in error when he makes the statement, “seminal fluid is made up of a large number of sperm cells.”

Secondly, LQA’s words are inconsistent with his endeavor. LQA states “nutfah” refers to “the fluid” that is surrounding the sperm cells which in reality is SEMEN. With such a statement, LQA’s video seems like an exercise in vain. If at the end of all the miserable argumentation, if he ultimately concludes that “nutfah” refers to the semen or the fluind surrounding and used by the sperm cells, then everything he has said is in perfect harmony with the points made by CaptainDisguise in his paper. Not to mention the implications of error as it wrong to claim humans are created from semen or the fluid surround the sperm cells when in fact humans are created from the sperm itself.

Overall, a deeper look at LQA’s claims reveal that 1) he is merely repeating arguments already addressed and refuted in the paper; 2) his argument is fallacious, non-specific and inevitably leads to a mess of absurdities; and 3) the bigger picture of LQA’s claims reveals that his points are ironically consistent with all the points made by Captaindisguise and Martin Taverille in their paper, Embryology in the Qur'an: Much Ado about Nothing and more importantly, his arguments do not provide any support for Hamza’s refuted claims and hopes.

[i]. Tzortzis, Hamza 2012. Embryology in the Quran: A Scientific-Linguistic Analysis of Chapter 23. Version 2.1. page 15 
[ii]. Captaindisguise & Taverille, M 2012.  Embryology in the Qur'an: Much Ado about Nothing. Page 35.
[iii]. “نطفة (Nutfah)”. Lisan-al-Arab.  
[iv].  Captaindisguise & Taverille, M 2012.  Embryology in the Qur'an: Much Ado about Nothing. Page 16 and 35 and also can be accessed at the following address;
[v]. Captaindisguise 2012. Embryology in the Qur'an: Much Ado about Nothing – Hamza Tzortzis refuted. 
[vi]. Tzortzis, Hamza 2012. Embryology in the Quran: A Scientific-Linguistic Analysis of Chapter 23. Version 2.1. page 16
[vii]. Captaindisguise & Taverille, M 2012.  Embryology in the Qur'an: Much Ado about Nothing. Page 16 and 35 and also can be accessed at the following address;
[viii]. Ibid., page 16 - 20
[ix]. Hadith Qudsi (or Sacred Hadith). Hadith 4.
[x]. Captaindisguise & Taverille, M 2012.  Embryology in the Qur'an: Much Ado about Nothing. Page 35
[xi]. Stoppard, Miriam 2008. Conception, Pregnancy & Birth: The Childbirth Bible for Today's Parents. Penguin publications. Page 30.


  1. i think his argument can be summed up as follows:

    "Even though Tzortzis was lying when he claimed that lisan al arab defines nutfah as a single entity from a group of its kind, it is still true that nutfah refers to a single sperm cell because it can refer to a small amount of fluid which surrounds the sperm cells."

  2. Even if nutfah refers to a component of semen, then why necessarily the sperm cell?. What about;

    amino acids?
    acid phosphatase?
    citric acid?
    prostate specific antigen?
    proteolytic enzymes?

  3. Facepalm alert: The fool has added the video by LQA on his facebook page (HamzaAndreasTzortzis). Does this man have any comprehension or logical ability? At least some of his followers will want to find out what it's all about.

    Who would bet against that he'll stick to his typical clueless and academically dishonest approach, some day rewrite his claim for the nth time along the lines of "nutfah means a single entity which is part of a bigger group of its kind as this is the meaning of the word pattern فُعْلَة"

    Except it isn't. Looking at the comments anyone can see that LQA didn't even try in his video or the comments to explain how "single entity part of a bigger group of its kind" follows from anything he said for the word nutfah or even that word pattern (as you point out here Captain). He was especially evasive about the bigger group of such entities part. Especially after someone mentioned that Hamza copied the phrase from another dawah fool but pretended it was defined in the dictionary.

    Yo Hamza, who cares about rigor and careful research when you can copy paste some bullshit you don't understand and doesn't even make sense from another dawah fool eh? It's all fine in the end so long as it's for the cause right? Good old Allah will be most impressed.

    1. LQA's video was disingenuous. My Arabic speaking friends have also stated that what he is stating is irrelevant to what he is concluding. That is that grammatical patter "fu'ala" does not entail that the term is "a singular entity from a bigger group of it's kind". This can be easily demonstrated by the counter-examples provided.

      Unfortunately, as I state in my video, many Muslims (including Hamza now) simply want to be able to point to something regardless of how false or bad the arguments presented are...

      Other than that, I notice there is an outcry among Hamza and his followers regarding the style of my presentation which apparently "RELIES" on mockery and insults. This of course is not true.

      While I did expect such kinds of knee-jerk copouts, the point that they all have missed is that the paper I have presented as well as the replies to the objections on the blog have been written and presented in a very tasteful manner without resorting to mockery or insults as well as preserving objectivity as best as possible.

      On the other hand, my youtube channel as well as the comment sections are places where I engage freely without adorning any aura of an artificial academic air. In these places, whether it be my video or my comments, one can expect me to act in a way one would expect a normal person to act in real life.

      I follow a policy of "give respect, take respect" when it comes to my videos or the comment section. If the Muslim I engage in is disrespectful or dishonest, I do not then respect them because dishonesty does not deserve respect. On the other hand, those who engage me respectfully are treated in the same way.

      If that is not satisfactory for people, then I could sincerely care less!

  4. @CaptainDisguise,
    It looks the Scribd version of your paper was deleted. I went through a momentary panic attack before I searched for your PDF and blog versions, and linked them with my blog. Do upload your paper on Scribd again.

    1. The paper is still on scribd. I had to re-upload after correcting a few spelling errors. All the links have been correctly linked in

  5. This is a challenge for anyone who doubts that the Quran is the word of Allah. CaptainDisguise can you come up with a better word than Nutfah?

    1. It is once again a bad argument from your part.

      It will be addressed in 'Objection 4". See -

      You make me even more satisfied w/ my paper given that you have to resort to such silly measures to come up with ideas that ultimately don't even get near refuting anything I have argued for.

      I will let you know when "Objection 4" is up. In the mean time, you really ought to catch upon some basic "Formal Logic' and also get familiar with logical fallacies. Your videos and arguments are full of such simple logical errors.

    2. I'll take it that you can't. Also just because you state there is a logical fallacy, that doesn't mean any exist.

      Try raising objections to this if you can:

    3. You can take whatever you wish friend. That video really highlighted the rock-bottom you are at so I don't really mind what you think.

      Anyways, I will let you know when the post is up. I had already drawn the outline of the number of fallacies and mistakes in the video months back but never got around to writing it up formally; mostly because that is such a silly video.

      You see there are objections or counter-arguments that are interesting, stimulating or engaging to deal with. Then there are your videos that make the simplest logical errors and mistakes and addressing it becomes a chore rather than anything intellectual. But anyways, I will show you the courtesy of writing it up soon.


      What exactly is the argument here?

      Here is a challenge for you? Try writing your claims in the form of a "deductive argument". In most cases, that should help you identify your own mistakes.

    5. As promised, here is the refutation of your silliest argument to date

      Objection 4 to Embryology in the Quran: Much Ado about Nothing