The alleged error is that the quran refers to that semen creates the embryo but it is the sperm cells and not the semen itself,

1 sperm cell + ovum = embryo not semen+ovum sense semen is a lot of spermcells

How can this be explained ?

The author of the Qur'an describes the formation of a human embryo from fluids emanating from the man (and possibly also of the woman). This reflects the contemporary, but incorrect, view that the embryo is initially formed out of semen stored in the womb. In fact, semen is the vehicle for the sperm cells, one of which fuses with a woman's ovum in her fallopian tube, and the resulting cell divides and travels back into the womb for implantation. While English translations mention a "drop of seed", or "drop of sperm", the Arabic word in question literally means a small amount of liquid, a euphemism for semen.

  • Right, it is the trees that burn "forest-fire" is a euphemism!
    – user549
    Oct 19 '15 at 22:31
  • What ? @Shoaib... Oct 19 '15 at 22:39
  • On a serious note, if Nutfa literally means a small amount of liquid and this claim itself has any substance in it, then expressions like "He drank Nutfa," "Nutfa came out of her eye," should be found somewhere in classical Arabic literature.
    – user549
    Oct 19 '15 at 22:42
  • hmm btw are you an atheist or a muslim ? Oct 19 '15 at 22:48
  • And keep in mind this is the claim, I'm sure "a small amount" could be reconciled with a single sperm what do you think ? Oct 19 '15 at 22:49

The whole basis of the quoted polemics (and its source) is the argument that Nutfah as used in the Quran is semen and not sperm, which is anachronistic because of the attempt to compare it with modern embryology on a literal basis.

Quran is not describing embryology using terminology of the 21st century. The relation between Nutfah and sperm, even today, is that of the whole and the parts, abstraction and the concrete. The analogy is to a forest on fire, if you put it under a scope you'll say that the trees actually burn, or the wood in the trees, or that the cellulose decomposes into char and smoke which react with oxygen and produces fire - all of these are alternate and viable descriptions of the same reality.

In general, Quranic terminologies are often allegorical or just abstractions. As an example, it may use the word Burooj (castles) to refer to gas giants. For some, this would be laughable because

  1. Burooj was not known as gas-giants by the Arabs!
  2. A castle is solid and not gas (another reason Quran is absurd)!

For others it would be near miraculous for it to speak of more than two components of the outer solar-system that are castles in nature because they gravitationally clear the inner solar system of asteroids and comets.


Nutfah means a small amount of liquid. For example there is a pre-Islamic poem where it is used to mean “the small quantity of wine that remained in a wineskin”:

Irfan Shahid, “Byzantium and the Arabs in the sixth century. Volume 2, Part 2”, p.145, Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 2009


The Lisan Al Arab classical dictionary has the following definitions (translated from Arabic):

A little water; a little water remaining in a waterskin; a little water remaining in a bucket; pure water, a little or a lot; the water of the man; semen is called nutfah for its small amount


  • If you linked a book or information it would be good if the information was available. At least to me the book of Irfan Shahid ends on page 40.
    – Medi1Saif
    Oct 30 '18 at 14:38

nutfah is what made after zygosis.

it is said "مِن مَنیٍّ یُمنی" which means from semen or part of semen and clearly a sperm is a part of semen!

  • This hardly answers the question!
    – Medi1Saif
    Nov 7 '18 at 7:05

There,is no new discovery in that statement .it is in fact a wrong statement nutffa means only semen semen does not move towards uterus and then to fallopian tube but millions of sperms move towards the eggs that is settled in fallopian tube but only one sperm is needed to fuse with egg to fertile Allah did not know this fact

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