It is said in Noble Qur'an:

The parable of those who spend their substance in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn: it groweth seven ears, and each ear Hath a hundred grains.

Qur'an 2:261

But I have come to know that a corn plant usually only has 1 or 2 corn ears and the grain is many in number from 600-800 depending on the size.

Is this not a false statement in the Qur'an? I have read Tafsir Ibn Kathir and Jalalayn, but they only explain it to mean how Allah swt multiplies reward for good deeds by 700. But is this not a scientific contradiction about the actual corn plant and its numbers?

  • about the word seven in arabic: الحديث: إِنه لَيُغانُ على قلبي حتى أَستغفر الله في اليوم سبعين مرة، وقد تكرر ذكر السبعة والسبع والسبعين والسبعمائة في القرآن وفي الحديث والعرب تضعها موضع التضعيف والتكثير كقوله تعالى: كمثل حبة أَنبتت سبع سنابل، وكقوله تعالى: إِن تستغفر لهم سبعين مرة فلن يغفر الله لهم، وكقوله: الحسنة بعشر أَمثالها إِلى سبعمائة.
    – Kilise
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 12:57
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    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 8:05

1 Answer 1


"Corn" as you're referring to wasn't actually known in Arabia during the time of the prophet; it is a grain that was developed in North/Central America and wasn't imported into Europe and points east until after Columbus.

The word "corn" however has been used historically to refer to any number of different edible grains, such as wheat, millet and oats, many of which would not be considered "corn" today (at least not in American English).

I don't know exactly which plant was specifically referred to in the Qur'an — the word used in the original Arabic is حبة which literally just means grain — but there's no reason whatsoever to believe that it had any relation to modern corn (aka maize) in either ear count or seed production.

  • I don't see how this answers the question sufficiently; if not the corn from the Americas, then what grain was being referred to?
    – G. Bach
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 11:30
  • 2
    @G.Bach OP never asked about the identity of the grain, which would be a completely different question. This question was asking to explain a contradiction in the Qur'an; this alleged contradiction was based entirely on an ambiguous translation and an anachronism, both of which were clarified in my answer. Without that foundation, the contradiction does not exist: Hence, explained.
    – goldPseudo
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 16:38

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