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Anas b. Malik reported that Umm Sulaim narrated it that she asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) about a woman who sees in a dream what a man sees (sexual dream). The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: In case a woman sees that, she must take a bath. Umm Sulaim said: I was bashful on account of that and said: Does it happen? Upon this the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Yes (it does happen), otherwise how can (a child) resemble her? Man's discharge (i. e. sperm) is thick and white and the discharge of woman is thin and yellow; so the resemblance comes from the one whose genes prevail or dominate.

I'm not questioning the part about it dominating which is clearly correct, nor the existence of a yellow fluid that influences fertilization. The only issue, which is coincidentally the only one that could be verified empirically is discharges being yellow. Women's nocturnal emissions are nearly always white, and nocturnal emissions aren't the same yellow fluid that's needed in fertilization which is follicular fluid. Thus the discharge mentioned in this very case has no role in fertilization at all let alone in determining the resemblance of a child to one of the parents. Could it be that this was just an assumption from the Prophet's part and that it is totally acceptable for him to be wrong in this case in particular? I'm confident there's a minority opinion that concerning issues not pertaining religion he is liable to making mistakes, especially in science according to Ibn Khaldun, Shah Waliullah and even Qadi Ayyad. I'd argue that the only part that constitutes a religious ruling is the part where he says that if she sees a dream and sees a fluid, this requires ghusl. This part is unequivocally free of error since the Prophet could never make a mistake in religious Ijtihad, just like the information he received through Jibreel cannot in any way be considered false. As for the revelation that he got from Jibreel (AS) after being questioned by Abdullah bin Salam, it only concerned fluid domination determining resemblance to a parent according to the ahadith I've seen (correct me if I'm wrong). Even Dr. Al Barr makes the distinction between the two types of fluid, namely the white sticky one that has no role in making children, and the yellowish one secreted into the fallopian tubes, but he does not mention this apparent contradiction in the hadith. JazakAllah khayr

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It seems to me the Messenger of Allah sallahualayhiwasalam is merely explaining why a womans climaxing even during a wet dream is going to require ghusl. The fact is she contributes a part to the child's creation, this is done during the sex act where, hopefully she does climax (although even back then they probably realized this wasn't necessary for reproduction like the male climax is.)

This may be why the question is even asked. In other words, we know oh Messenger of Allah that a man needs to do ghusl after climaxing, after all there is no doubt he needs to if he wants to have a child. But is a woman's climax actually the same? And he response yes because in the end her sexual response is technically supposed to be part of the reproductive act where, just like the male, she contributes a portion. Even though that isn't technically required as she can get pregnant without climaxing.

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Sorry for the late reply.

The child resemblance report corpus itself is very convoluted. In the case of the nocturnal emission report, then there are three categories of reports [broadly speaking].

Category 1: Those that only narrate the fiqhi ruling

Category 2: Those that narrate resemblance is due to it [her sexual fluid]

Category 3: Those that narrate resemblance is due to two fluids [one thick and white and one yellow and thin and whichever one overpowers causes resemblance]

It would seem that category 1 and 2 are redactions of category 3 which is the full report.

Keep in mind all reports here are about resemblance and not about gender determination

The fluids are simply carriers of the seed, they are the transportation vessels for the creative substance. Whichever one dominates [in its effect] will cause resemblance. This isn't that different from the notion of dominant and recessive traits, due to the influence of one side more than the other.

As for your question about the prophet making empirical misjudgements, then reports do establish such as possible [refer to pollination hadith]. It may be possible that when Gabriel stated "yellow and thin" he was referring to the fluids inside her body [which cannot be observed with the eye], this would avoid anachronism; but one would have to say then that the prophet from his own ijtihad made this claim about the fluid and that it was incorrect.

Also the report does not mean that nocturnal emissions are the sexual reproductive fluid, many women do not have nocturnal emissions, yet they have children. Umm Salamah [or Aisha in some reports: Ibn Majah 600] ask "Does such really happen?" indicates that its not common.

There is another subtle point involved here:

Why does Umm Salamah [Or Aisha] ask:

"Do women have wet dreams?" despite the fact that she knew they have them?

Does this not seem redundant?

This is because she asks the question in analogy to men. Just like men have wet dreams, and have a reproductive fluid, do women also have wet dreams..[and reproductive fluid?]?

There is an implicit ellipsis here.

Clearly, there is nothing for her to be amazed about if she was discussing literal wet dreams, especially since she had experienced them before asking the question.Some reports indicate she was asking on behalf of other women [this makes it odd for her to be surprised]. The only way this makes sense is if she was actually inquiring about the reproductive fluid, and that she found such information astonishing [that women have a reproductive fluid like men].

The point of the hadith [the full report/category 3] was to simply convey that the woman also have a sexual fluid which has some role in developmental process.

If you have any further questions please make sure to ask.

Asalamualikum.

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    Note that the questioner was a different woman, not the same one who asked whether women can have wet dreams.
    – The Z
    Feb 2 at 15:23
  • @TheZ If you look at the various reports then you will notice discrepancies. Either way the questioner in the report knew of wet dreams as something normative, so her being surprised is very odd. Feb 2 at 17:32
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Anas b. Malik reported that Umm Sulaim narrated it that she asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) about a woman who sees in a dream what a man sees (sexual dream). The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: In case a woman sees that, she must take a bath. Umm Sulaim said: I was bashful on account of that and said: Does it happen? Upon this the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Yes (it does happen), otherwise how can (a child) resemble her? Man's discharge (i. e. sperm) is thick and white and the discharge of woman is thin and yellow; so the resemblance comes from the one whose genes prevail or dominate.

Apparently this is copied from here https://sunnah.com/muslim:311 You can see they are trying to give it a scientific justification by blatantly mistranslating the last line using the word "gene". There is no "gene" in the Arabic, it's still talking about discharge.

So no, there's no way to reconcile this with modern biology. There are no genetic information in female discharge, it's in egg. So even inserting "gene" to make it scientific does not save the narration.

There is a similar narration here - https://sunnah.com/bukhari:4480

....And if a man's discharge proceeded that of the woman, then the child resembles the father, and if the woman's discharge proceeded that of the man, then the child resembles the mother....

Another one - https://sunnah.com/muslim:315a

....The reproductive substance of man is white and that of woman (i. e. ovum central portion) yellow, and when they have sexual intercourse and the male's substance (chromosomes and genes) prevails upon the female's substance (chromosomes and genes), it is the male child that is created by Allah's Decree, and when the substance of the female prevails upon the substance contributed by the male, a female child is formed by the Decree of Allah....

You can again see the deception of Sunnah.com in translating discharge as "substance (chromosomes and genes)" to make it sound scientific. Again, this does not save the narration because female chromosome has no role determining gender, it is solely determined by male chromosome (i.e. presence of Y chromosome).

Anyone who tries to explain these narrations in a scientific way have to do considerable mental gymnastics.

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