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IslamWeb.com write:

Asalamu 'aleykum.

There is a Hadith about the day of resurrection which states, that humans will be resurrected from the end part of their coccyx bone.

This Hadeeth is presented in Saheeh Al-Bukhaari and Saheeh Muslim on the authority of Abu Hurayrah may Allaah be pleased with him: The Prophet, said: "The whole (body) of the son of Aadam (Adam) will be consumed by the earth except for the tailbone, from which he was created and from which he will be created anew."

Another version of the Hadeeth was reported on the authority of Abu Sa'eed may Allaah be pleased with him: he asked: "What is it like, O Messenger of Allaah?” He said: "Like a grain of mustard." [Ahmad and Ibn Hibbaan] ...

Moreover, another Hadeeth reads: 'It is the first to be created and the last to decompose.' ...

That this tiny part of the coccyx bone which is usually mixed with dust and soil in the grave is rather intangible. According to the apparent indication of the Hadeeth and its versions, this tiny part of the human body, the tailbone, which is as small as a grain of mustard, does not decay at all.

(sunnah.com reference for the first hadith)

My question is: How is it possible?

What if the body was cremated? That extreme heat will kill any living organism.

I really need an answer this has been bothering me for some time. The first part of the hadith is correct where it says that the coccyx bone is where creation starts, but the decaying is what is bothering me.

  • All biological material decays. – G. Bach Oct 8 '16 at 23:32
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    The answer is actually at the IslamWeb site: "In brief, the apparent indication of the Hadeeth is that a tiny part of the tailbone does not decay. The fact that people do not find that part in the graves does not prove otherwise because it is a very tiny part. The believer is enjoined to believe in the Ahaadeeth of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and to disregard whatever contradicts them". Is there a problem with this answer? – Rebecca J. Stones Oct 9 '16 at 1:53
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    @RebeccaJ.Stones I suppose the conflict arises between the evident observations made in nature that every bone decays, and the stated claim of the hadith that one bone does not decay. The question with regard to "what if a body is cremated?" indicates that the question is how the coccyx is exempt from the physical process. The link even mentions that the coccyx not decaying "is contrary to the tangible reality" (strikingly, it also says "The tangible reality should be ignored in this case." - that's the problem with the answer). I can only see a non-literal answer being possible here. – G. Bach Oct 9 '16 at 10:34
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    @RebeccaJ.Stones this answer isn't that good i have seen it but it doesn't answer it as it basically says to ignore the reality and have faith i don't know how to answer it and its not just cremation what about acid and other dissolving materials some said the cells of the coccyx or what it contains but i don't know – luay Oct 9 '16 at 16:50
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The folly here is to take the Hadith as a lesson in modern natural sciences rather than one in religion.

The Prophet was sent in 600 C.E., he had to work with the vocabulary and knowledge of the people of his time. If he had started talking about atoms and the laws of conservation of matter and energy then no one would have had a clue what he was talking about ----> It wasn't his job to provide a manual for how nature works. The point the hadith makes is that God, the All-Powerful will resurrect the dead, even though their bodies lose all semblance of life.

Quran 36:78-83

And he presents for Us an example and forgets his [own] creation. He says, "Who will give life to bones while they are disintegrated?"

Say, "He will give them life who produced them the first time; and He is, of all creation, Knowing."

[It is] He who made for you from the green tree, fire, and then from it you ignite.

Is not He who created the heavens and the earth Able to create the likes of them? Yes, [it is so]; and He is the Knowing Creator.

His command is only when He intends a thing that He says to it, "Be," and it is.

So exalted is He in whose hand is the realm of all things, and to Him you will be returned.

Furthermore its a fruitless exercise to try to attach literal scientific meaning to Hadith, not the least because teaching science wasn't the Prophet's purpose. Unlike the Quran, Hadith were not written down and widely circulated until much later. Unlike the Quran much fewer people had memorized Hadith. Unlike the Quran, lessons were given importance and not exact wordings. Although a lot of effort was made to authenticate Hadith by respected scholars like Bukhari and Muslim, it was in the end a Human endeavor (unlike the Quran) ... it wasn't always perfect and if you actually read the Sahih collections there are quite a few cases of contradictory reports mentioned right next to each other because they both passed the authentication criterion.

  • This answer doesn't really address the question; why mention the coccyx at all, why highlight it as being indestructible, why say the rest of the body decays, why talk about its size, if the only point is "that God, the All-Powerful will resurrect the dead, even though their bodies lose all semblance of life"? Scholars have commented on it explicitly saying that empirical evidence that the hadith's content as taken in a literal reading is false should be ignored. – G. Bach Mar 30 '17 at 9:04
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The claim that every part of the body decomposes except for the coccyx is demonstrably false. You could try to interpret it in a number of ways, all of which are clear deviations from the unambiguous wording. You could make up things like:

  • the coccyx decomposes the slowest (contradicts the clear wording that it doesn't decay at all; although I could not find any sources about the comparative speeds at which bones decay, I would expect that smaller bones decay faster than bigger bones, and if that's true then the coccyx does not decay slowest since it is tiny)
  • some invisible parts of it remain, such as DNA strands (pretty imaginative rationalization; if true it would also apply to all other bones, so why single out the coccyx)

If you take the clear and unambiguous claim that the coccyx does not decompose, then that is simply false.

Also, the claim that the son of Adam, i.e. every living person, is created from his or her coccyx is false as well. We know that the beginning of a human life starts with the fusion of sperm and ovum, and bones do not appear until quite a few weeks into the process - and even then, the other bones aren't offspring of the coccyx in any sense. I tried to look up what embryology has to say about the coccyx, and it appears to be the only thing worth mentioning about it as compared to other bones is that in the womb, human embryos develop tails of 10-12 vertebrae, and while the ones that form the coccyx fuse, the other ones die off and are reabsorbed. I could not find any indication about the coccyx being special in any textbooks, and the muslim apologist websites making that claim give no traceable references.

Finally, the coccyx is around 2 inches on average, and even the smallest of the vertebrae that are fused into the coccyx is about a quarter of an inch, which makes it about 3-4 times larger than a grain of mustard.


Maybe somewhat related, Jewish tradition talks about the bone luz and claims the same things about it: it does not decay, and from it people will be resurrected. A slight difference to the hadith: the Jewish tradition is not clear whether "luz" is the bone at the very top or the very bottom of the spinal column.

  • but i heard that cremation destroys anything biological even dna strands – luay Oct 9 '16 at 19:38
  • @luay Of course cremation destroys DNA, those explanations are all just poor rationalizations. But the hadith is talking about the bone itself anyway, not the DNA in the bone. – G. Bach Oct 9 '16 at 19:42
  • Could the downvoter let me know what's wrong with this answer? – G. Bach Nov 21 '16 at 9:39
  • I think this hadith is relevant to the other hadiths mentioned: sunnah.com/qudsi40/32 which doesn't talk about any tailbone whatsoever – Kilise Feb 2 '17 at 21:44
  • @Kilise I don't see how; do you mean to say the ahadith contradict each other? – G. Bach Feb 2 '17 at 21:48
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Simply put, the Hadith does not say at all that coccyx (the tailbone) does not get decayed or crushed. The Hadith says that the tailbone keeps its structure and comprises the basic information that causes the formation of the human being.

In the Hadith itself, one of the riff-raff brought a tailbone of an animal and decayed it in front of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), telling him: "Do you claim that beings will be resurrected from this bone?". The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) replied: "Yes".

So, Hadith does not deny the fact that tailbone can be cremated. The Qur'an and Sunnah basically assert that the basic code is found in the end of the backbone, and, despite decay of human body, this basic information never vanishes.

That work of Hans Spemann (a Nobel Laureate) complies with the scientific miracle.

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Al Salam alaykom brothers and sister I'm not a cleric or a sheikh in anyway And believe that some ahadeeth even in Muslim and Bukhary weren't said by the Prophet (PBUH) because it's either contradict logic or contradict the good behavior of the prophet who Allah exalted said to in the book ( و انك لعلي خلق عظيم ) so even that the hadeeth is right and said by the prophet and if cremation demolish the coccyx it doesn't contradict that God almighty who have the power to resurrect human from their coccyx have the same power to resurrect them from ash or from A Diamond formed from the ash or from what ever

يَوْمَ نَطْوِي السَّمَاءَ كَطَيِّ السِّجِلِّ لِلْكُتُبِ ۚ كَمَا بَدَأْنَا أَوَّلَ خَلْقٍ نُّعِيدُهُ ۚ وَعْدًا عَلَيْنَا ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا فَاعِلِينَ I doesn't say how and it really doesn't matter The real question is if one believe Is God all capable all powerful

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    Answers should be elaborate and focused on addressing the question. Typically answers that do not address the question, and make claims without supporting them by evidence get deleted. Please visit our tour in the help center, and refer to How to Answer. – III-AK-III Mar 24 '18 at 12:39
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The Qur'an says man was created form a clinging substance (attachment of sperm to egg), interestingly men may have to up 4 wives provided they are treated equally and the man can handle the responsibilities and spermatogonium after undergoing mitosis and meiosis produces exactly 4 sperm. So the meaning of the son of Adam (pbuh) growing from the coccyx does not literally mean that's how men started off. If this was the case, why does the Qur'an mention sperm? Continuing, the miracle is clear.

From German scientist confirms a miracle of Islam":

When a sperm enters an egg cell the development of the embryo starts. The ovule starts to divide: One cell becomes two, two become four, etc. Cell division and growth continue and the "embryonic disc" is formed, which consists of two layers:

1) The outer epiblast:

It contains the cytotrophoblast, which fixes the embryo at the uterus wall, so that the embryo can receive nutrition out of the mother`s blood.

2) The inner hypoblast

From this the embryo is formed by the power of Allah, the Almighty God. On the 15th day a first string is becoming visible, the so-called primitive streak. This string has a sharp end. And the first knot, called primitive node.

The side on which the primitive streak appears is known as the back of the embryonic disc. From primitive streak and primitive node all organs and tissue are formed as follows:

  • The ectoderm forming skin and central nervous system

  • The mesoderm forming soft muscles in the intestinal tract, the heart, the blood circulation, the bones, the sexual organs and uretic system, deeper tissue, lymph system and the milt.

  • The endoderm forming stomach mucous membrane, respiratory system, organs of the intestinal tract, bladder, thyroid and the auditory canal.

Finally the primitive streak and node are torn away and form the tailbone. Conclusion: the tailbone contains the primitive streak and node and those are able to grow and can form three layers, from which the fetus is formed:

Ectoderm, mesoderm, endoderm.

An indication of the importance of the primitive streak in the embryonic development is that the British committee WARNEK (responsible for human fertilization and genetics) prohibits scientists to conduct experiments on fertilized embryos in which the primitive streak has already been formed.

...

Dr. Othman Al Djilani and Sheik Abd Majid Azzandani did some experiments on the tailbone in 2003/Ramadan1424 in the Sheik Abd Majid Azzanidanis house in Sana'a (Yemen). One of the two vertebras of the five tailbones was burned on a gas flame for 10 minutes until they were burned completely. (They had glowed red and then turned black).

They put the burned pieces into sterile boxes and brought them to a analysis laboratory in Sana'a (Al Olaki Laborytory) Dr. Saleh al Olaki, Professor for histology and pathology of the university of Sana'a analyzed the pieces and found out that the cells of the bone tissue of the tailbone ware not affected and had survived the flames (only muscles, fat and bone marrow were burned, while the cells of the tailbone were not affected).

  • Welcome to Islam.SE. On this site, it's possible to edit your answer, and include this quoted material. (Perhaps I can help with this one.) – Rebecca J. Stones Feb 5 '17 at 2:38
  • If you present this on Medical Sciences, they will tell you exactly how much of a distortion this is - apart from the fact that this outright shows that the coccyx is not some sort of original piece from which the human is formed. – G. Bach Feb 5 '17 at 22:21
  • Incorrect. You have to take into consideration the context. The human is formed from the coccyx in the sense the fetus is formed from it as a point of origin. "From which he was created" in the hadith doesnt literally mean men were just coccyx bones and then they developed because in the Qur'an, there is a verse that say man is created from a clinging substance (sperm clings to the egg) so your just contradicting the two without using context. Its like writing a dot on a paper and then extending a line from it. The whole line originated from the dot but the whole thing came pencil and paper – Sharifayn Feb 8 '17 at 19:38
  • The fetus isn't formed from the coccyx in any sense. – G. Bach Feb 11 '17 at 21:10

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