In one his writings1, Mr. Katz has pointed out a scientific contradiction in the Qur’an. Mr. Katz writes:
In Sura 27:18-19 Solomon overhears a conversation of ants. Fact is that ants do not use sound but smell to communicate.
Al-Nam’l 27: 18 – 19 read as follows:
حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَتَوْا عَلَىٰ وَادِ النَّمْلِ قَالَتْ نَمْلَةٌ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّمْلُ ادْخُلُوا مَسَاكِنَكُمْ لَا يَحْطِمَنَّكُمْ سُلَيْمَانُ وَجُنُودُهُ وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ ﴿١٨﴾ فَتَبَسَّمَ ضَاحِكًا مِّن قَوْلِهَا وَقَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ وَأَدْخِلْنِي بِرَحْمَتِكَ فِي عِبَادِكَ الصَّالِحِينَ ﴿١٩﴾
Till when they came to a valley of ants, one of the ants said: “Ants, get into your habitations or Solomon and his armies may trample you without [even] knowing it.” He smiled, at what she said. And he said: “My Lord, support me to be grateful for the blessings that You have bestowed upon me and my parents, and grant me to do the pious deeds, which please You; and admit me, with Your abounding Grace, to the ranks of Your righteous people.”
It should be noted that Mr. Katz’s criticism is primarily based on the two instances of the usage of the word ‘said’ in the above translation2. However, as I have evidenced in one of my earlier responses3, the Arabic word “قاَلَ“, like its English counterpart ‘said’ does not necessarily imply verbal communication or communication through spoken words. On the contrary, both these words, in their respective languages may sometimes be used for communication of ideas, feelings and thoughts, through any mode of communication.
It may further be noted that the Qur’an has not used any such words like ‘listen’, ‘hear’ or ‘overhear’ for Solomon’s comprehension and understanding of what the ant ‘said’. The Qur’an, on the contrary, has only implied that Solomon (pbuh) understood and comprehended what the ant ‘said’.
It should be quite clear from the foregoing stipulations that there is nothing in the words of the Qur’an, on the basis of which, Mr. Katz’s stated criticism would hold any grounds. The Qur’an does not ‘say’ that ants communicate through speech, on the contrary, it only ‘says’ that whatever the mode of communication in ants, Solomon (pbuh) comprehended and understood their communication, as a part of the special favors that he was granted by the Almighty.
© Copyright April 2001. All Rights Reserved with the Author