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Allah's Forgotten Creatures

Allah's Forgotten Creatures

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Published by Rahul Raj

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Published by: Rahul Raj on Nov 09, 2011
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Allah's Forgotten CreaturesA Qur'an and Science Issue
While working on the article about a contradiction between S. 15:27 and 21:30(*), I found another a verse that is a close parallel to S. 21:30.Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them, andwe made EVERY living thing of water?
 
Will they not then believe? 21:30 PickthallHowever, this related verse contains an additional problematic statement thatwill be the topic of this article.Allah has created EVERY moving (living) creature from water.
Of them there
 
are some that creep on their bellies, some that walk on two legs, and some
 
that walk on four.
Allah creates what He wills. Verily! Allah is Able to do allthings. S. 24:45 Al-Hilali & KhanAndAllah has created from water EVERY living creature:
so of them is that
 
which walks upon its belly, and of them is that which walks upon two feet,
 
and of them is that which walks upon four
; Allah creates what He pleases;surely Allah has power over all things. S. 24:45 Shakir Aren't there a lot of creatures missing in the "divine categorization" of livingcreatures that is given in S. 24:45? The author starts with making acomprehensive, all-inclusive statement. He speaks about "
every
livingcreature". First he refers to their common origin, i.e. that all of them werecreated from water, and then he categorizes them according to whatdistinguishes them, their characteristic property. He gives three categories inwhich those creatures exist:
‘walking’ with no legs [e.g. snakes and snails]
walking with two legs [human beings (?), birds (?), jinn (?), see thediscussion inthe appendix]
 
walking with four legs [e.g. most mammals (sheep, cows, dogs, horses,camels, etc.) and most reptiles (frogs, crocodiles, most lizards, etc.)]However, as intuitive as these three categories may appear at first sight, theauthor of S. 24:45 forgot a huge number of species when he made thisstatement. Even the Qur'an mentions several creatures that are not covered bythis categorization: the gnat (2:26), the bee (16:68), the fly (22:73), and moths
 
(101:4) which are all insects and walk on six legs, the spider (29:41) that walkson eight legs,and all kinds of fish (5:96, 18:61, 37:142) which have no legs andare not walking (or creeping) at all.
[1]
Moreover, apart from those variouscreatures mentioned in the Qur'an, there are the octopus ("eight foot", actually,there are about 300 species of octopus,source) and other cephalopods, various
 
crabs that have ten legs (1,2), caterpillars,centipedesandmillipedes, all of 
 
which are not mentioned in the Qur'an.In fact, for anyone concerned about the "scientific miracle of the Qur'an" theomission of the six-legged insects must be devastating since science teachesthat there are vastly more insects than there are animals with no legs, two or four legs taken together. The Wikipedia entry on
 Insects
starts with thesewords:
Insects
(Class
Insecta
) are the biggest class of arthropods and the only oneswith wings.They are the most diverse group of animals on the planet. They are
 
most diverse at the equator and their diversity declines toward the poles. Withover a million described species —more than half of all known living
 
organisms
[2][3]
 —with estimates of undescribed species as high as 30
 
million,thus potentially representing over 90% of the differing life forms on
 
the planet.
[4]
(Source, accessed on 25 March 2009; underline emphasis mine)
 
Add to that almost 40,000 living species of spiders (source), about 3,000described species of centipedes (and an estimated number of 8,000species,source), and around 10,000 species of millipeds (source), and 6,793 known species of crabs (source), and almost 28,000 known extant species of fish (source), it should be glaringly obvious that Allah forgot to mention thevast majority of his creatures —and that in a verse talking explicitly about"every living creature", and then categorizing these creatures. Again, Allahforgot to include the vast majority of creatures existing on this planet in hiscategorization of living creatures!Moreover, for those Muslims who believe in the miraculous scientific accuracyof the Qur'an we need to point out that these quranic categories sort thecreatures in wrong ways, grouping together those that do not belong together,and separating those that should be grouped together. Just a few examples:scientifically, mammals are one family, but the Qur'an separates two-leggedmammals (human beings and perhaps some kinds of apes) from the four-leggedmammals. It joins (most) mammals with (most) reptiles on the superficialcharacteristic that they have four legs, but separates the reptiles, and even thelizards from each other, since most lizards have four legs but the slowworm(blindworm) is a lizard without legs (1,2,3).
 
But the list in S. 24:45 was not intended to be comprehensive!
Muslims who want to rescue the Qur'an from such an error, a statementcontrary to established scientific facts, have little choice but to argue that S.24:45 only gives some examples of different kinds of creatures but that thisstatement was not supposed to cover all creatures, appearance to the contrary.The statement should not be taken ina literal way, but it only illustrates the power of Allah by alluding to several different kinds of animals.Is there any solid evidence that would support such an interpretation? Anything beyond mere assertion? In the following, I will present the reasons that appear to support of a literal reading. [Furthermore, see my observations on the tafsir of al-Qurtubi ( below) which also does not support the interpretation that thisverse only gives some examples.]First, a mere statement that there exist animals that walk on four legs, othersthat walk on two legs and yet others that glide over the ground without any legsis an utter triviality. That is an observation that can be made by a four-year oldchild. We do not need divine revelation for that. But either it is an utter triviality, or it is indeed intended as a categorization of every living being, butthen it is not only incomplete but wrong by all scientific standards.How does the author of the Qur'an deal with numbers? Let's examine somestatements from the Qur'an involving numbers, specificially verses in which astatement goes
beyond 
a certain stated number (or amount):Allah chargeth you concerning (the provision for) your children: to the male theequivalent of the portion of two females, and if there be women
more thantwo
, then theirs is two-thirds of the inheritance, and if there be one (only) thenthe half. And to each of his parents a sixth of the inheritance, if he have a son;and if he have no son and his parents are his heirs, then to his mother appertaineth the third; and if he have brethren, then to his mother appertaineththe sixth, after any legacy he may have bequeathed, or debt (hath beenpaid).Your parents and your children: Ye know not which of them is nearer unto youin usefulness. It is an injunction from Allah. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise. S.4:11 PickthallAnd We sent him to a hundred thousand (folk)
or more
[2]
S. 37:147 PickthallHast thou not seen that Allah knoweth all that is in the heavens and all that is inthe earth? There is no secret conference of three but He is their fourth, nor of five but He is their sixth,
nor of less than that or more
 but He is with them

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