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Title: refuting that muhammad stole greek embryology
Post by: H. on July 28, 2017, 06:36:34 PM
asalamu alaikum,

here is my refutation

firstly were the info available to muhammad saws:
1. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ could not have acquired knowledge of Hellenic embryology via written works.
The first major translations of Hellenic embryology into Arabic began at least 150 years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. As Roy Porter in his book, The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present, writes:

“Only in the early ninth century did Arab-Islamic learned medicine take shape. The first phase of this revival lay in a major translation movement, arising during the reign of Harun al-Rashid (r. 786-809) and gaining impetus in the caliphate of his son, al-Ma’mun r.813-33). It was stimulated by a socioeconomic atmosphere favourable to the pursuit of scholarship, a perceived need among both Muslims and Christians for access in Arabic to ancient medicine, and the ready availability for the relevant arts.[17]
“Crucial in this ‘age of translations’ was the establishment in Baghdad, capital of the Islamic empire under the Abbasid caliphs, of the Bayt al-Hikma (832), a centre where scholars assembled texts and translated into Arabic a broad range of non-Islamic works. The initial translation work was dominated by Christians, thanks to their skills in Greek and Syriac. The main figure was Hunayn ibn Ishaq (d. 873), later known in the West asJohannitius, a Nestorian Christian from the southern Iraqi town of al-Hira…With his pupils, he translated 129 works of Galen into Arabic (and others into Syriac), providing the Arabic world with more Galenic texts than survive today in Greek.”[18]
According to the historian of medicine Donald Campbell, the earliest possible translation of Greek medicine was done at least 50 years after the death of the Prophet ﷺ  by the Syrian Jew Maserjawaihi:

“John the Grammarian and Aaron the Presbyter, who was also an Alexandrian, lived at the time of Mohamet (c. 622). Aaron compiled thirty books in Syriac, the material for which was derived chiefly from the Greek; these books were called the Pandects of Aaron and were said to have been translated into Arabic c. 683 by the Syrian Jew Maserjawaihi; this is of interest as it is the first definite attempt at the transmutation of the medicine of the Greeks into that of the Arabians.”[19]

A Note on the 6th Century Syriac and Latin Translations
Other possible means of knowledge transfer would include non-Arabic texts, such as the Syriac and Latin translations of Galen’s books. However, the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ did not know Syriac or Latin, therefore this is option is implausible. Also, the Prophet ﷺ could have not been taught Hellenic embryology via some who had learned via these translations, as there is no evidence that he came into direct contact with anyone who had studied Greek medicine, as highlighted in the above discussion on al-Harith bin Kalada.
Significantly, historians maintain that there is no evidence of any acquisition of Hellenic medical knowledge before the beginning of the eighth century, and that it was only through double-translation, from Greek into Syriac, and from Syriac into Arabic, that the Arabs first became acquainted with the works of the Greeks. The historian John Meyendorff, in his paper Byzantine Views of Islam, highlights the points raised above:
“Until the end of the Umayyad period, these Syrian or Coptic Christians were the chief, and practically the only, spokesmen for the Christian faith in the Caliphate. And it was through the intermediary of these communities – and often by means of a double translation, from Greek into Syriac, and from Syriac into Arabic – that the Arabs first became acquainted with the works of Aristotle, Plato, Galien, Hippocrates, and Plotinus.”[20]
Since the first Arabic translations of Hellenic medicine appeared at least 50 years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the view that he somehow had access to the Syriac translations is unfounded, because it was through these double translations that the Arabs first became acquainted with Hellenic medicine.
Further separating the Prophet ﷺ and the Syriac and Latin translations is the lack of any positive or cogent answers to the following questions:
a. If the knowledge contained in these translations informed common knowledge then why are there no oral or written reports concerning knowledge of Hellenic embryology? (See The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ could not have acquired Hellenic embryology from 7th century Arabian common knowledge.) 
b. Why are the quranic verses that elaborate on the developing human dissimilar to Hellenic embryology? (see Are Hellenic and quranic views on embryology similar?)
c. The historical evidence strongly suggests that Hellenic embryology was not known in early 7th century Arabic speaking society. In this context, the contention assumes the Prophet ﷺ was the only person who came into contact with the Syriac or Latin translations. This inevitable conclusion is irrational and conspiratorial, especially in a 7th century Arabian context, because many people would travel to regions where Syriac and Latin was spoken. Therefore, to claim the Prophet ﷺ was the only one who somehow gained knowledge via these translations, even though Hellenic embryology was not common knowledge (see point 3 below The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ could not have acquired Hellenic embryology from 7th century Arabian common knowledge below), raises far more problems than it solves.

2.The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ could not have been influenced by popular medical practice with a supposedly Hellenic flavour.
There is no direct historical evidence indicating that Hellenic medical practices were utilised or known in early 7th century Arabic speaking society, as Roy Porter highlights, “only in the early ninth century did Arab-Islamic learned medicine take shape.” Supporting this view, Donald Campbell explains that Arab physicians were brought into high repute by the early part of the 8th century as a result of studying Greek medicine.[21]
Further distancing Hellenic medical practice from early 7th century Arabic speaking society, Ibn Khaldun classifies popularised medicine during the 7th century as Arab folk medicine:

“Civilized Bedouins have a kind of medicine which is mainly based upon individual experience. They inherit its use from the shaykhs and old women of the tribe. Some of it may occasionally be correct. However, that kind of medicine is not based upon any   natural norm or upon any conformity (of the treatment) to temper the humors. Much of this sort of medicine existed among the Arabs. They had well-known physicians, such as al-Harith b. Kaladah and others. The medicine mentioned in religious tradition is of the (Bedouin) type.”[22]

Supporting Ibn Khaldun’s views, the  historian of medicine, Plinio Prioreschi, confirms that 7th century Arabian popularised medicine, did not reflect Hellenistic medicine:

“From the pre-Islamic to the early Islamic period, there were no significant changes in the practice of medicine…In these documents we find that such medicine continued   to be practiced for some time, Camel urine and milk were common remedies, various vegetable products (e.g. henna, olive oil) and other animal products (e.g. sheep fat, honey) were also considered effective.[23]

The historian Vivian Nutton in her essay, The Rise of Medicine, explains how the Arabs had their own distinct medicine which further supports the claim that the Arabs did not utilise or adopt Hellenic medicine until after the death of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
“The Arab conquests of the seventh century crafted a new political order onto a basically Christian, Syriac-speaking society. Although the Arabs had their own medicine, based on herbs and chants, they were not numerous enough to impose it on their new subjects.”[24]
A contention against this position maintains that early 7th century Arabs had practices of cupping, which was a Hellenic practice, and therefore Hellenic medical practices were transferred from the Greeks to the Arabs. There is no direct evidence to justify this claim, just because some medical practices were similar, it doesn’t imply that they exchanged this practice. One can argue that it could have been the Chinese, as they also practiced cupping. Even if some of these practices were as a result of direct cultural exchanges, it doesn’t logically follow that Hellenic views on embryology were also transferred. Knowledge of Hellenic embryology and emulating medical practice are not the same. Where medical practices may be adopted, as they are not complicated, details about the development of a human embryo would require education, usually at an academic institution. This is proved by the fact that by 531 CE, in Alexandria, Hellenic texts “formed the basis for the Alexandrian medical curriculum”.[25] In light of this, there is no substantial historical evidence that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ interacted with anyone who learned Hellenic embryology from a medical academic institution.

3. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ could not have acquired Hellenic embryology from 7th century Arabian common knowledge.
An interesting view adopted by various commentators includes highlighting the difference between practice and knowledge. For instance, a culture X may have knowledge of medical practices Y yet continue to practice their own medicine. Modern African cultures are good examples to substantiate this view. For instance, there are some cultures in Africa that are aware of germ theory and the use of anti-biotics, but still persist on the practice of witch craft and magic.In similar light, society in early 7th century Arabia could have had knowledge of Hellenic embryology but practiced its own distinct Bedouin medicine. However, there is a striking difference between the two situations. There is evidence to show that African cultures have knowledge of germ theory and western medicine, but there is no evidence to show that early 7th century Arabian society had knowledge of Hellenic embryology, and to assert such a view would be to argue from ignorance. Even if the assertion is taken seriously, more questions arise that undermine the argument. For example, why is there no evidence to show that there was knowledge of Hellenic embryology, and why are there no pre-Islamic traditions that indicate an early 7th century knowledge of the science?
Continuing with the above questions, an understanding of the Arab’s well developed oral traditions serve as a means to dismantle the assertion that Hellenic medicine was known, popularised, adopted and utilised during the life of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. The Arabs had made poetry and the transmissions of oral traditions as the means to transfer knowledge, such as stories of the famous pre-Islamic wars, ethics and current affairs. In light of this, there is no evidence of any oral tradition elaborating or even briefly mentioning Hellenic views on embryology, Muhammad Salim Khan in his book, Islamic Medicine, explains this significant point:
“The pre-Islamic Arabs were familiar with the working of the major internal organs, although only in general. Surgical knowledge and practices were limited to cauterisation, branding and cupping. The care of the sick was the responsibility of the women. There is no evidence of any oral or written treatise on any aspect of medicine. There was use of folk medicine, which has interesting connections with magic. It is also interesting to note that pre-Islamic Arabia had contacts with ancient Egypt, Greece, Persia and India, where medicine was highly developed, but there is no material to suggest that is was adopted or utilised by ancient Arabs. This is particularly surprising in view of the fact that the ancient Arabs were well developed in their poetry.[27]

The quran 23:14 has already been dealt with and as i dont have time to type now, why not assist you with those that have answered this claim already inshaAllah.

14 pages:

firstly aristotle believed that the sperm mixes with menstraul blood and that is how a baby comes this is wrong and not found in the quran

“…the female, though it does not contribute any semen to generation… contributes something, viz., the substance constituting the menstrual fluid… f the male is the active partner, the one which originates the movement, and the female qua female is the passive one, surely what the female contributes to the semen of the male will be not semen but material. And this is in fact what we find happening; for the natural substance of the menstrual fluid is to be classed as prime matter.”[51] Aristotle. Generation of Animals.English trans. A. L. Peck, Heinemann. 1942 edition, page 111, 729a.

 quote from aristotle: " embryo rose from menstraul blood after activation by sperm "

 one of the main things of aristotle is this belief and without this his whole belief of embryology technically crumbles, and this belief is scientifically wrong and not found in the quran whatsoever.

 aristotle also had a very funny mistaken belief that if the embryo was on the left it would become a man and if it was on the right it would become a woman, mistake and not found in the quran. he also believed that women had fewer teeth for some reason which is again a mistake to do with anatomy.

Thirdly, Aristotle held the belief that the upper body is formed before the lower body: Now the upper portion of the body is the first to be marked off in the course of the embryo’s formation; the lower portion receives its growth as time goes on.[56] Aristotle. Generation of Animals. Translated by A. L. Peck. Heinemann. 1942 edition. aristotle alos said:

aristotle says that the first Part to be formed in the embryo is the heart, this is mistaken. If he would have said first organ he would be correct, but he said first part therefore he is mistaken again, because the baby already has"Chorionic Cavity Late Secretory, Blastocyst (free floating) Musculoskeletal somitogenesis, first somites form and continue to be added in sequence caudally.

aristotle said page 191 generation of animals: the action of the semen of the male in "setting" the female's secretion in the uterus is similar to that rennet upon milk. Rennet is milk which contains vital heat, as semen does, and this integrated the homogenous substance and makes it "set" as nature of milk and the menstrual fluid is one and the same, the action of the semen upon the menstrual fluid is the same as that of rennet upon milk. Thus when the setting is effected, i.e when the bulky portion "sets" the fluid portion comes off; and as the earthy portion solidifies membranes form all round its outerr surface

this is wrong in multiple ways, firstly again he mentions the menstraul fluid again, he says that the semen has an action upon the menstrual fluid, and that whe the semen mixes with it and sets it solidifies. This is wrong inm multiple ways because the semen does not mix nor set in menstrual blood or r fluid, and when it does mix it does not solidify, because menstrual flood and semen do not make children.

next see what word aristotle keeps on using SEMEN, SEMEN, SEMEN, have you seen the word sperm? no, he even says that the semen reacts to the menstrual fluid and not the sperm which is wrong, the quran and ahadith use nutfah meaning sperm and not maniyan meaning semen.

also i went online to find people saying muhammad copied aristotle and i couldnt find much, and i looked at aristotle works and i couldjnt really find many similarities except this: Round about the bones, and attached to them by thin fibrous brands, grow fleshy parts, for the sake of which the bones exist.[57]

This seems to correlate with the quranic statement, “then we clothed the bones with flesh”.

In response to this, an interesting and significant perspective can be taken considering the similarities between both statements. Rather than negate the authenticity of the Qur’an, it serves to dismantle the claims that the Prophet ﷺ copied Aristotle. What is primarily brought to mind is the question of how, if the Prophet ﷺ is supposed to have taken from Aristotle’s work, is it the Qur’an only contains the correct information and refused to include Aristotle’s incorrect information?

In exploring the above questions, further problems with the plagiarism thesis are brought to light, which inevitably prove the credibility and authenticity of the Qur’an. For instance, how could the Prophet ﷺ take the correct information from Aristotle, and at the same time, reject the incorrect information? Also, how could the Prophet ﷺ include other aspects of the developing human embryo, which are not mentioned in Aristotelian literature, but yet correspond with modern embryology? The only rational answer to this question is to assert that the Qur’an is a book that affirms the reality of human development, even though it is a 7th century text. To oppose this would be tantamount of claiming that the Prophet ﷺ knew what was correct, understood what was incorrect and had knowledge that transcended the early 7th century understanding of human development.

i read his book online for about 50 minutes to find similiarities and i challenge you bring them to me and ill respond

i can show more mistakes but since i didnt even find similaraties nor people really trying to point out similarities between quran and aristotlte unless you do have, i have pointed out multiple mistakes which clearly prove muhammad didnt copy him, for example: he believes semen makes man, and not sperm, he believes SEMEN mixes with menstrual blood, he believes menstrual blood + semen makes an embryo, he believes if the embryo is on the left it will be a man and on the right a woman

galen uses the word: spermados, spermados in the 2nd century when galen lived meant the fluid or semen. So galen believed semen made humans, this is obviously faulty and mistaken therefor he is wrong, rather the quran uses nutfah which means sperm so itis correct, why didnt muhammad saws copy him?

galen says: that sperm comes from blood, sperm coming from blood is mistaken and not mentioned in the quran

galen says that the semen of the man and the human mix, and they together will mix with menstrual blood (yes again menstrual blood so both aristotle and galen believed this, but muhammad saws didnt mention this)

In his book, On Semen, Galen states:

“But let us take the account back again to the first conformation of the animal, and in order to make our account orderly and clear, let us divide the creation of the foetus   overall into four periods of time. The first is that in which. as is seen both in abortions and in dissection, the form of the semen prevails. At this time, Hippocrates too, the all-marvellous, does not yet call the conformation of the animal a foetus; as we heard just now in the case of semen voided in the sixth day, he still calls it semen.”[58]

Galen clearly states that his views are as a result of dissections and abortions, and then goes on to explain that the first stage of human development is in the “form of σπέρματος”. The word σπέρματος in the Greek language means sperm[59], however this understanding of the word was only realised in the 17th century[60]. In the 2nd century, which was the period of Galen’s writings, the word σπέρματος meant semen. So from a Galenic perspective this stage is merely describing what can be seen with the naked eye, which is a semen like substance. This raises a significant contention; if the Qur’an was a summary of Galenic views on embryology then the Arabic word that should have been used to represent this understanding is mani or maniyyan. As previously discussed, the reason for this is that in the Prophetic traditions, when describing semen in context of its appearance and form, the words mani and maniyyan are used. These words are consistently used throughout the Prophetic traditions.

Further widening the gap between Galenic and quranic terminology is the use of the word maniyyan elsewhere in the Qur’an. The Qur’an mentions the word maniyyin (the genitive case of maniyyan) in the context of the physical form and appearance of an emitted substance. Also, this word is used in conjunction with the word nutfah which clearly shows how the two words are not referring to the same context, because the nutfah, according to the Qur’an, comes from the maniyyin (semen):

Had he not been a sperm (nutfah) from a semen (maniyyin) emitted? quran 75:37

It is worth noting that Galen adopted the view that the semen came from blood. Galen writes:

“An artery and a vein are observed to go to each of the testicles, not in a straight path, as they do all other parts, but twisting first in many shapes, like grape tendrils or ivy…   And in these many twists that they make before reaching the testicles you can see the blood gradually growing white. And finally, when the vessel has now reached the testicle, the substance of the semen is clearly visible in it…but they generated it from blood, which spent a great deal of time in them; for this is the use of the twisting. And as they altered the quality of the blood they changed it to semen.”[63]   Corpus Medicorum Graecorum: Galeni de Semine (Galen: On Semen) pages, 107 – 109.

Galen also asserts that the semen from both the male and female mix with menstrual blood. In his book On Semen, he dedicates a whole section on disagreeing with Aristotle’s position that the male semen mixes with the female menstrual blood, and articulates a case for the mother contributing semen as well as the menstrual blood to form the fetus  Ibid, pages 162 – 167.

Galen concludes that the formation of the fetus arises from the mixing of the two semens, from the mother and the father, plus menstrual blood.Ibid, page 50.

These concepts are not mentioned in the Qur’an, which further widens the gap between Galen and the Divine book

In light of the above, if chapter 23 of the Qur’an was just a summary of Galenic embryology why did it not use the Arabic word for semen (maniyyan) to refer to σπέρματος, since this Greek word was also used in the context of the physical form and appearance of the fluid? Significantly, why does the Qur’an refer to the nutfah as being a special part or extract of semen (maniyyan), which clearly indicates that they are not the same thing or referring to the same context? The use of the two words clearly shows that there are two different meanings being portrayed. The different choice of words to describe sexual emissions, fluids and cells in varying contexts further highlights that the Qur’an, and by extension the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, did not plagiarise Galenic embryology, because if they did, then maniyyan and nutfah would be referring to the same substance. Also, why did the Qur’an not mention that the nutfah came from blood, like the Galenic view? Why did the Qur’an not mention that the nutfah combined with menstrual blood to create the next stage? These questions clearly distance the Qur’an and the Prophet ﷺ from the accusation that they borrowed Galenic views on embryology. Therefore, once the original context and language of the source-texts in question are analysed, it can be concluded that they are not identical or even suspiciously similar.

2nd Stage

“But when it has been filled with blood, and heart, brain and liver are still unarticulated and unshaped yet have by now a certain solidarity and considerable size, this is the second period; the substance of the foetus has the form of flesh and no longer the form of semen. Accordingly you would find that Hippocrates too no longer calls such a form semen but, as was said, foetus…”[67]

Another significant contention concerns Galen’s second stage that refers to the embryo as being filled with blood. The key Greek words used are πληρωθη which means filled[68] and αίματος meaning blood[69]. If the Qur’an borrowed Galenic views on the developing human embryo, the words that should have been used are ملأت (mal-at) which means the manner in which something is filled[70], and دم (dam) which means blood[71]. However, the word ᶜalaqah is used in the Qur’an (see A clinging form: ᶜalaqah). This word in the context of blood can mean blood in a general sense, and a clot of blood due to its sticking together.[72] Conversely, the word ᶜalaqah alone would not represent the Galenic stage here, because its meanings do not encapsulate the word “filled” and its use to mean blood clot would be misplaced as the word for blood clot in Greek is not αίματος rather it is θρόμβος.[73] Even if commentators assert that the use of the word ᶜalaqah as a blood clot, in this context, is satisfactory, an explanation is required to reconcile the fact that it only means blood clot in the sense that it clings. This is made clear in Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon as it explains that the word ᶜalaqah is a blood clot “because of its clinging together”[74], rather than its physical appearance. Therefore, using the Arabic words ملأت and دم would have been more appropriate, because Galen specifically refers to “filled with blood” and not just blood. This whole discussion has to be understood in the context of the primary meaning for the word ᶜalaqah, which is not blood or blood clot but rather to hang or to be suspended. For that reason, the claim that the Qur’an reflects Galenic embryology is weak and unsubstantiated.

The plagiarism thesis is further dismantled if a more contextual understanding of Galenic embryology is taken into consideration. At this second stage, Galen uses the word σαρκοειδής, meaning fleshy,[75] to refer to the appearance of the embryo. This undermines the claim that the quranic stages are similar to Galen, because words that can mean fleshy in Arabic, such as mudhgah and lahm, are used to describe later stages. However, Galen mentions this stage as a fleshy substance filled with blood. The word in the Qur’an to describe this stage doesn’t encompass such a meaning, because ᶜalaqah, if we assume it to mean blood or blood clot, does not encompass a fleshy substance filled with blood. To illustrate this further, imagine someone had to summarise the following statement into Arabic: a blood filled substance that is fleshy – what words must they use to best represent the meaning of the statement? An array of words from the Arabic classical language would be used like the words mentioned above, but ᶜalaqah would not be one of them.

3rd Stage

The third period follows on this, when, as was said, it is possible to see the three ruling parts clearly and a kind of outline, a silhouette, as it were, of all the other parts. You will see the conformation of the three ruling parts more clearly, that of the parts of the stomach more dimly, and much more still, that of the limbs. Later on they form ‘twigs’, as Hippocrates expressed it, indicating by the term their similarity to branches.[76]

As explored, the Qur’an mentions mudghah as a chewed-like substance and a small piece of flesh (see A lump of flesh: mudghah). In contrast, Galen discusses the “conformation” of “the three ruling parts”, “silhouettes” and “twigs”, which is most likely in reference to limb bone formation. He details these three ruling parts as being more visible than the stomach and the limbs. However, the Qur’an makes no mention of this, and its mention of limb formation comes at the next stage. It is both implausible and impractical, therefore, to suggest the Qur’an copied the works of Galen as the it does not include any of the descriptions provided by Galen at this stage. Also, the word mudghah would have been appropriately used as a summary of the ancient Greek word  ἐμβρύειον[77], which means the flesh of an embryo, however Galen did not use this word. The following hypothetical scenario highlights the absurdity of asserting similarity between the quranic and Galenic descriptions of this stage: if someone had become acquainted with Galenic embryology and had to summarise his third stage, would the word mudghah accurately encompass the meaning of “the three ruling parts”, “silhouettes” and “limbs”? The answer is no. This conclusion is also supported by the fact that there is no mention of flesh, a small piece of meat or something that has been bitten in the original Greek of Galen’s writings describing this stage. A conservative approach to the above question would at least conclude that there was a serious misreading or misunderstanding of the text. Even if that were the case, it would still highlight that Galenic and quranic terms are dissimilar, and it would raise the need for evidence to establish a misreading or misunderstanding. In light of the evidence provided in this section, it is extremely unlikely that there was any common knowledge of Hellenic embryology, written or oral, in early 7th century Arabia.

since i dont have time to answer more hippocrates and galen and more are refuted here:

so to conclude as i dont have time to answer more aristotle, galen and hippocrates all had some very weird ideas, hippocrates thought the embryo did things with fire, yeah dont ask me, aristotle and galen believed semen made men and not sperm, they believed it mixed with menstrual blood, they mistook the order of creation, what created us, how we started etc. etc. also i couldnt really find that many similiraties could u point them out for me..
Title: Re: refuting that muhammad stole greek embryology
Post by: Dr Tazeen on July 29, 2017, 09:14:40 PM

Nothing wrong in the embryology of the Holy Quran, but many basic errors in the greek means,

Quran is revealed by Allah, who is all knowing,AND there is no so called borrowing of "ideas" because how could one borrow substracting only the "wrong" concepts....?