Monday, October 1, 2012

Objection 3 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,

3. Objection:"Nutfah" does mean "a singular entity from a bigger group of it kind" because Lisan al-Arab says “الواحدة من كل ذلك نَطَفة ونُطَفة” (The singular of all that is natafah and nutafah). (Other similar arguments also addressed).

Reply: Hamza Tzortzis in his original version of his paper had stated that the classical Arabic lexicon named Lisan al-Arab defined a word used in the Qur'an called “nutfah” as “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind”.[i] This was subsequently found to be baseless which forced Hamza to say that the above definition is only “suggested” by the actual words in Lisan al-Arab, which are “a small amount of water.”[ii] The dishonesty involved in the argument has been documented in detail in the paper Embryology in the Qur'an: Much Ado about Nothing.[iii]

While this may be irrelevant it is worth pointing to the fact that this definition of “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind” does not originate in any credible source but it comes from an apologetic website[iv] owned by a very unintelligent man.[v]

Nevertheless, despite the fact that such a definition does not exist in Lisan al-Arab and despite the fact that Lisan al-Arab specifically defines “nutfah” as “a small amount of water”, “the fluid of the man” and “semen due to it’s small amount”,iii many individuals and followers of Hamza Tzortzis have been making attempts to salvage Hamza’s credibility by imposing the very convenient definition into whatever pinhole forced into Lisan al-Arab.

The attempts to stuff the elephant of a definition of “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind” into the needle-eyes of Lisan al-Arab seems to be in the following 2 ways;

1) Certain phrases in Lisan al-Arab suggest the definition of “a singular entity” therefore “nutfah” means “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind.”
2) “Nutfah” is a singular term. Many singular “nutfah” can add up to become a bigger group of “nutfah” (or “nutaf (.pl)). Therefore, “nutfah” is a “singular entity from a bigger group of its kind”.

Before analyzing the above contentions, a more important factor needs to be addressed. There seems to be a particular misunderstanding among the critics of the paper who are trying to situate the definition of “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind” into the classical lexicon. Perhaps this is a result of their ignorance of the English language as well a reluctance to consider the logical implications of their arguments.

The important point to note is that when Hamza used the definition of “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind”; there is a very specific image that he wanted to portray; that of humans being’s created out of “a single sperm that fertilizes the egg which comes from a group of millions of sperm cells”. Even though, this very inference in itself is weak and unjustified, this is what is being attempted.

It is for that very reason that Hamza’s mistakes cannot be justified or given credence to by merely pointing out that whatever substance is signified by “nutfah” has the property of being part of a bigger group consisting of that substance. This would be arguing from an irrelevant tautology because any physical (or logically possible) object, substance etc can have the property of being part of a bigger group consisting of that object or substance.

For example, a single “God” can be a part of a bigger group consisting of many “Gods”. A single “car” can be part of a bigger group consisting of thousands of “cars”. A single “heap of sand” can be part of a bigger group consisting of a million “heaps of sand”. A single “group of people” can be part of a bigger group consisting of many “groups of people”. A single “amount of semen” can be part of a bigger group consisting of more “amounts of semen”. Thus, any physical or logically possible object, substance (including collective nouns such as heap, group, amount) has the property of potentially being a part of a bigger group. This is merely a general characteristic of any “thing”.[vi]

Therefore, presenting such a general property applicable to any object or substance and then attempting to conflate it with specific definition presented by Hamza Tzortzis is not only fallacious but also factually incorrect. Even if objects and substances like “God” or “car” can be described as “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind”, the same is not true of collective nouns like heap, group or amount. For example “a heap of salt” is not equivalent to “a singular entity of salt”. Such an application is rendered even more meaningless when associated with words like “amount”. For example, “a small amount of water” is not only non-equivalent to “a singular entity of water” but also it is rather meaningless in terms of practical reality to even utter a phrase like “a singular entity of water”. Thus, the second contention listed above is baseless.

Tragically for the intellectual well-being of many Muslims, the above illogical reasoning is what has been presented in order to save Hamza’s credibility. The following is a more specific discussion of the type of bad argumentation that certain Muslims have been engaging in.

Some Muslim apologists assert that Hamza’s version of “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind” is found in Lisan al-Arab even when Hamza himself admits that this is merely an inference (a bad one at that!iii).

Two examples have been  provided by such apologists. The first example which has been quoted from Lisan al-Arab states the following;

 Interestingly, this specific example originates from the aforementioned apologetic websiteiv run by a very unintelligent man.v

Nevertheless, the most striking feature of this example from Lisan al-Arab is that it does not even refer to the same word used in the Qur'an. Qur'an uses “نُطْفَة” (nu-t-fah) while the entry above is describing the word “نُطَفَة” (nu-ta-fah).

Secondly, the above entry starts by saying the word “nataf” and “nutaf” (pl.) means “pearls” especially “small pearls” and also that it can mean “earrings”. Then the dictionary continues by stating that “the singular of all that is natafah and nutafah

At first look, one is left in serious doubt as to how this entry has any relevance at all to a discussion about the Qur’an’s use of the word “nutfah” to mean “semen” or Hamza’s claim that “nutfah” means “a singular entity from a bigger group of it’s kind”.

Then in time when one spots what Muslim apologist’s claim is, one is left in serious doubt as to whether they are being serious. This is because the claim made here is that since the phrase, “الواحدة من كل ذلك نَطَفة ونُطَفة” (the singular of all that is Natafah and Nutafah) exists in Lisan al-Arab, “nutfah” can mean “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind”.

The Muslim’s reasoning seems to be of the following, “the word ‘singular” and a word that sounds like “nutfah” exists in the same sentence. It is said that the “singular” is the word that sounds like “nutfah”. Therefore, “nutfah” means “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind”.

Ignoring the fact that this is not even referring to the same word used in the Qur'an, it is appalling to witness arguments already addressed and refuted in the paper, Embryology in the Qur'an: Much Ado about Nothing, being repeated again and again. Hamza too made an attempt to validate his invented definition by pointing out that the grammatical number of the term “nutfah” is one i.e. it is singular and that it follows from the grammatical number of “nutfah” that it means “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind”. Quite clearly, this is an invalid argument. The grammatical number of a word has no relevance as to the meaning of the word. For counterexamples, consider the words  “heap” and “amount”. They are both in the singular form yet it does not follow that “a heap of salt” is equivalent to “a grain of salt” or that “an amount of liquid” is equal to “a singular entity of liquid” (i.e. if such a phrase makes sense at all).

(NOTE: For the purpose of argumentation in the following discussion, the word “نُطَفَة” (nu-ta-fah) used above to mean “pearl” will be replaced with the word used in the Qur'an i.e. “نُطْفَة” (nu-t-fah))

The above contention raised by Muslims is the same as Hamza’s horrendous argument. It does not logically follow from the phrase “singular of all that (i.e nutaf) is nutfah” that “nutfah” means “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind”. “Nutfah” meaning “a single pearl” does not entail that it cannot mean “a small amount of liquid”, “the fluid of man”, “semen due to its small amount” (all of which are the actual definition for “nutfah” in Lisan al-Arab). More importantly, “nutfah” signifying a “a single pearl” does not entail that it means “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind” in the sense that Hamza has portrayed it.

For a more detailed counterexample, consider the word “mints” in English. In the 21st century, the word “mints” can signify “plants of the genus Mentha” or “pieces of candy” etc. The singular of all that is “mint”. Interestingly, there is another meaning for the word “mint” that seems to have fallen out of use. In the middle ages however, the word “mint” was used to mean “a vast quantity or amount” especially in relation to money.[vii] The Oxford English Dictionary provides the following usage of the word from the 16th century;

However, is there anyone who would argue that such an academically documented usage of the word is false? Would it be considered credible if a person said that the word “mint” cannot signify the meaning of “a vast amount” merely due to the fact that “mint” can also mean “a single piece of candy”?

Such an objection does not even seem warranted or relevant yet it is such weak and false ways of thinking that Muslims are forced to adopt in order ignore the clearly and academically documented usage of نُطْفَة” (nu-t-fah) to signify seminal fluid.

The second example provided by Muslim apologists[viii] is another entry from Lisan al-Arab which states the following,

أَراد بالنطفتين بحر الروم وبحر الصين لأَن كل نطفة غير الأُخرى
Transliteration: Arada bil-nutfatyn bahr ar-room wa bahr as-seen li’anna kul nutfah ghayr al-ukhra
Translation: He meant by “nutfatayn” (dual of nutfah) are the Roman sea and the Chinese sea because each “nutfah” is different from the others.

In much similar fashion to the previous example produced by Muslims, one is left in serious doubt as to how this entry in Lisan al-Arab is relevant at al in discussing Hamza’ s idea of “nutfah” being a “singular entity from  a bigger group of its kind”. Ironically, this entry is very much in line with the content of the paper, Embryology in the Qur'an: Much Ado about Nothing. In the paper, it was stated that Lisan al-Arab defined “nutfah” in the following manner;

Lisan al-Arab states that the Arabs called a small amount of water as well as a large amount of water “nutfah”. Thus, “nutfah” being used to refer to a sea reinforces the fact the term is generically used to denote any “amount of liquid”. Lisan also states that its more common usage is in order to denote “a small amount of liquid”. Thus, this second example produced by Muslim apologists supports the conclusions of Embryology in the Qur'an: Much Ado about Nothing.

Nevertheless, the underlying argument from the Muslims is the same as the one used in the previous examples regarding “pearls”. In this case, they claim because “nutfah” can mean “a single sea” it can therefore mean “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind”.

This is unfortunately a repetition of all the bad arguments and misunderstanding discussed in this article so far. There is the initial conflation of Hamza’s idea of what “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind” with the generalized argument from an irrelevant tautology discussed above.

This is also a repetition of the fallaciously false argument produced in regards to the example about “pearls”. “Nutfah” meaning “a single sea” does not entail that it cannot mean “a small amount of liquid”, “the fluid of man”, “semen due to its small amount” (all of which are the actual definition for “nutfah” in Lisan al-Arab). More importantly, “nutfah” signifying “a single sea” does not entail that it means “a singular entity from a bigger group of its kind” in the sense that Hamza has portrayed it.

Thus, after examining the two examples provided by the Muslim apologists, it is clear that the entries from Lisan al-Arab are irrelevant to the discussion and that the corresponding arguments are fallacious as well as false.

Most importantly, it is worth remembering that the very Lisan al-Arab that the apologists are trying to find needle-eyes in for the purpose of passing elephants through it, specifically and unambiguously defines “nutfah” as “the small amount of water”, “the fluid of the man” and “semen due to it’s small amount.”

[i]. Tzortzis, Hamza 2011. Embryology in the Quran: A Scientific-Linguistic Analysis of Chapter 23. Version 1.1. page 12  and page 55
[ii].Tzortzis, Hamza 2012. Embryology in the Quran: A Scientific-Linguistic Analysis of Chapter 23. Version 2.1. page 14 
[iii]. Captaindisguise & Taverille, M 2012.  Embryology in the Qur'an: Much Ado about Nothing. Page 16-20 and also can be accessed at the following address;
[iv]. Abdallah, Osama 2008. Detailed meanings of the Scientific Words in the Scientific Verses in the Holy Qur'an.  
[v]. Captaindisguise 2011. Osama Abdallah, Sperm & the Qur'an.  
[vi]. Radden, G & Dirven, R  2007. Cognitive English Grammar. Volume 2 of Cognitive Linguistics in Practice. John Benjamins Publishing. Pages 63-78.
[vii]. “Mint”, n1. The Oxford English Dictionary. 3rd edition, 2006; online version
Sept. 2012.
[viii].  Al-Khalidy, Nabeel 2012. Rebuttal of an atheist regarding a point in embryology and the Qur'an.


  1. @CaptainDisguise,
    Excellent paper. I have linked my own blog ( it. Thank you

  2. Nicely done Captain, and thankyou for sharing the paper Varma :)

    From every example in Lisan ul-Arab, we can see that the nutfah is a distinct volume of fluid. Now where does this leave Hamza et al.? They wishfully infer the Qur'anic nutfah to be a miniscule portion of the semen, containing a single sperm, but quite evidentally, nutfah is not used for some arbitrary division within a body of water. You would not hold a test tube of water and say the top 5th is a nutfah. A nutfah is a physically distinct quantity of fluid.

    Herein lies a conclusive problem for them because the egg is not fertilized by a sperm cell in its own distinct globule of semen. It is within a continuous body of fluid, along with a large number of other sperms.

    At most, they may infer that the Qur'an describes a distinct, macroscopic globule of semen, which hardly helps its credibility as a supposed work by the creator of all things.

  3. You didn't address the point on grammar.

    What about فْعلة pattern? Is there a specific reason you didn't talk about that? Is it because you don't even know basic arabic? Let alone understand the basic framework used to apply lexical analysis upon words in the quran.

    Instead you went into a state of "English, english, english..."

    Who are you trying to fool with the waffle?

    1. You must be faro0485. The ignorance of the actual arguments while displaying a sense of total confusion was a giveaway. Even that being the case, I am glad there is progress as you seem to be raising somewhat of a specific contention instead of your usual spamming.

      Now to answer you, LQA's assertions regarding the "فعْلة pattern" was not discussed here because it WAS addressed and refuted in Objection 2.

      I show that LQA's argument has to be false using two techniques i.e. reductio ad absurdum and counter-examples i.e. I use logic, something independent of language and more comprehensive than tedious grammar lessons, to demonstrate that LQA's argument is unsound.

      Obj 2 is a direct response to the contents of LQA's video.

      Obj 3 is responding to other comments LQA made separately. For some reason, I feel like you should have figured this on your own.

      Anyways, I hope you keep up with raising specific contentions. You mush know deep down that when you throw out your red herring and attack strawman that you are revealing your own weakness.

    2. Maybe I skipped Obj 2 because perhaps it wasn't written by you.
      But it seems like the individual who did write it, did not want to check up the grammar reference given.

      There was some contention there about 'single entity' being unrelated to 'piece', 'part', 'lump' etc. But what was not realized is that one is replaced with the other in their context (living, dead etc).

      You say that you show the grammar point at least to be absurd. It was claimed that the mudghah termed for heart would be absurd, but what you don't know is that the heart is separate from the body as it has it's own brain.

      You also claimed that it would be absurd for the mudghah fetus, but what you don't know is that the fetus separates from flesh the mother.

      You also claimed that nutfah means just water, what you don't know is that in that mention of ablution, when the person asked for water, he was given a vessel of water from a larger source of water.

      You also said semen is nutfah, but what you don't know is that semen is from a larger source, the man that separates from him to go into a 'bucket' (as those advocating population reduction demand).

      Ultimately what you totally ignore, is that when we refer to nutfah meaning sperm or what not, we look at the entire usage of the root of نطف. And this goes for all of the other words, with the application of the grammar. We collate those meanings to understand what the word means.

      Why? Because of the hadith:

      SAHIH BUKHARI, Volume 9, BOOK 87: Interpretation of Dreams, Number 141:

      Narrated Abu Huraira:

      I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "I have been sent with Jawami al-Kalim (i.e., the shortest expression carrying the widest meanings), and I was made victorious with awe (caste into the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the earth were brought to me and were put in my hand." Muhammad said, Jawami'-al-Kalim means that Allah expresses in one or two statements or thereabouts the numerous matters that used to be written in the books revealed before (the coming of) the Prophet.

      But you contend that nutafah means pearl. ...

      Tell me, what's the arabic term for pearl?

      (And for extra points, tell me how many times it's used in the quran.)

      You I also found it annoying that you would quote an Ocean Mineralogist on matters of biochemistry. Why don't you ask a biochemist about Smectite clay? Heck why don't you speak to people who eat clay?

      Why? Should they be dead?

    3. Ummer Faro0485, for a second you had me thinking that you have decided to grow up and act like an adult. Disappointingly, you are back with your strawman, lies and red herrings! If you keep this up, I will have no problem casually ignoring you much similar to how I treated your trolling on youtube.

      Nevertheless, you comment demonstrates that you have not made any attempts to understand anything I have said. It is certainly quite foolish of you to skip Objection 2 (regardless of whether you thought someone else authored it) and then ask me to address what I have already addressed. On that note, I did write it.

      I gave a logical argument which necessitates that LQA's assertion is false. I also provide counter-examples from LQA's own video which further debilitate his argument. For ex: there are hadith from Muhammad where he uses the word “مُضْغَة” (mudghah) to refer to the heart as well as the PENIS. Certainly, it is then false to state “مُضْغَة” (mudghah) that mudghah has some relation to "a singular entity" produced as a result of the root verb (which is this case means "to chew"). The more sensible understanding of the pattern of “فُعْلَة” (fua’la) is that it refers to "a small amount of a substance" and this definition is consistent with terms like "part", "piece" etc used by LQA unlike the forced definition of "a singular entity".

      From what is stated above, the notion of "a singular entity" as Hamza has painted it is factually wrong. I suspect this is a result of LQA's lack of knowledge with English that made him think that "part OF something" = "singular entity IN something".

      Thus, it would have been redundant to check up LQA's grammar reference when his underlying argument is demonstrably false (BUT, one of the Arabic speaking contributors from Saudi who was also a student of classical Arabic is collaborating with me on addressing the specific grammar despite the fact that LQA's assertion has been shown to be wrong).

      You also seem to be arguing from the "irrelevant tautology" explained above. You certainly do not seem to have grasped any of my argument which is why you fail to understand just how idiotic that is. Therefore, re-read Obj 3 especially the part starting from "Before analyzing the above contentions..."

      You will have to explain what you mean by "...But what was not realized is that one is replaced with the other in their context..." and also provice any actual support for what you claim. From reading you comment at least 3 times already, you seem to be under the impression that your wishful thinking or bad inferences constitute as support when they are worthless. (I could only wonder what would have happend if I took the liberty to make inference like Muslims do and then claim it to be authoritative).


    4. CONTD

      I am going to ignore the religiously driven neo-heart-brain nonsense and the theistic pseudoscience associated with it mostly because it will distract away from the topic. It is still shocking that you would say that the heart is "separate" from the body. You cannot get more desperate even if you tried. This is especially pathetic given that the point you seem to be driving at is absolutely irrelevant to any of my conclusions.

      What is your point? You seem to making a new argument that words that follow the pattern of “فُعْلَة” (fua’la) are "separate" from something else. Ignoring the fact that this is would constitute another tautology like the one explained in the post above, what is your actual point even if what you say is true? So what? One could still say that "semeninal fluid" is separate from other fluids in the body.

      You then proceed to repeat the "irrelevant tautology" mentioned above. Water, semen, you, me, Muhammad can all defined as coming from a "larger group of its kind". As explained above in the post (which I am starting to doubt you actually read), this is does not serve any good to your position.

      I have no idea what you mean by the man and the bucket story and I also don't think it will add anything to anyone's plate.

      How dare you say I am ignoring anything? Do you have any "nutfah" of integrity or honesty in you before you utter such shameless words.

      My side acknowledges "nutfah" in its entirety. It was presented that the word means "little water" or "a lot of water" or "the man's fluid" or "semen due to it small amount". It was also demonstrated that there is not even a remote reference to sperm cells (let alone the ovum or the zygote). This is further strengthened now since Objection 2 has demonstrated LQA's argument ALSO SUPPORT my side.

      On the other hand, YOU and other desperate Muslims BLATANTLY ignore the clear and specific statements in Lisan al-Arab and instead favor weak and false inferences about a supposed "sperm-cell" for which no reference exists. How desperate are you folks?

      You as well as LQA need to take a break from the Arabic and start studying Logic. It will be a lot more useful and you certainly would have realized that Muhammad making blanket generalized statements about "multiple meanings" DOES NOT entail that any biased modern muslims wishful thinking can be claimed to have existed in ancient books. Like, I have been. Logic is where you and LQA seem to fail miserably.

      And now you LIE about me "contending" that "nutafah" means pearl when I have showed that very definition in two blogposts and a video so far? Why do you intentionally choose to be this dishonest? Is it because you have come to realize that your have no room left to make actually valid points.

      Lastly, do not expect me to continue this. I do not particularly enjoy addressing stupidities that ultimately have no relevance to any of my arguments. You yourself said that you skipped objection 2. if you lack the courage to examine opposing views and evidence properly, then please do me a favor and do not waste my time.

      PS - If you would like to raise anything about the "extract of clay" section, I suggest you raise in the appropriate comment section found here;

    5. What do the arabs refer to pearls as?


      Ah... so what's the difference between that and نُطَفة ?

      And... why does modern arabic refer to نُطْفة as sperm? They shouldn't?

      Ah you have no idea what I was mentioning about?

      Think about it.


      Insist? Oh...

      You say you wrote Objection 2, do you actually refer to yourself in the third person? Now that's odd.

    6. And do you have a point to make about the "pearl" business? (After all, I have addressed it in 2 places already). Quite clearly you don't and you can't even if you tried.

      And now you want to bring in "modern Arabic". Every trick in the book eyy! Objection 1 is waiting right there for you buddy!

      Yeah, definitely think about it. Definitely think about how you are unable to produce any contention that affects any of my conclusion and just accept "the pink elephant" in the room that Hamza and Muslims like him are wrong.


      Cry? Troll? Oh...

      PS - Referring to myself in 3rd person: "A positive rhetorical device" ... Perhaps, I should follow Hamza's logic and declare my work "inimitable".

    7. Well Well, it seems Ummer Farooq has lost all of his lobes. Shame since he cared about his lobes a lot.