How can we refute the claims that the hadith about the determination of the sex of the child was copied from Hippocrates?

The Details of the Question

- How can we refute the claims of the atheists that the Prophet copied this hadith from Hippocrates?

According to another hadith:

“If the man’s semen overrides that of the woman during the union of these two, a boy will be born by the command of Allah. If the woman’s semen overrides that of the man, a girl will be born by Allah’s command.”

This hadith does not mention dominant traits (dominant character) and recessive genes; although some Muslims claim it, what is described in this hadith simply repeats the false view of Hippocrates. Hippocrates mistakenly thought that men and women produced both male and female sperm, and that the sex of the born child is determined by dominant fluid in terms of quantity and strength among the two:

“… Male and female couples equally contain both male and female sperm (the male stronger than the female must come from a strong sperm). Another point is this:

a) if both couples produce strong sperm, the child will be a boy, whereas

b) if both couples produce weak sperm, the child will be a girl. However,

c) if each of the couples produces different sperm (one strong and one weak), the child gets gender according to dominant sperm in terms of quantity.

Suppose the weaker sperm is more in quantity than the stronger sperm; then the stronger sperm will lose and mix with the weaker sperm, in which case the child will be a girl. If the opposite happens, that is, if the stronger sperm dominates the weaker sperm in quantity, the weak sperm will lose and as a result, the child will be a boy.”

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is proved by the Quran that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was an illiterate person who could not read and write throughout his life. Although the Quran openly declared this issue, the enemies of that day did not and could not object to it.

As people who have read thousands of books fifteen centuries later, we must admit that we do not know the views of Hippocrates regarding the issue; it is only an imaginary idea worse than some irrational antiquity of the Middle Ages to think that the Prophet read the books of Hippocrates and was inspired by him in that time of ignorance.

According to a narration of Muslim from Thawban, the Prophet said:

“The man’s water is white. The woman’s water is yellow. When the two are combined, if the man’s semen overrides that of the woman during the union of these two, a boy will be born with the permission of Allah.” (Muslim, Hayd, 33, 34)

What a conscious believer understands from this hadith is as follows:

If the X-bearing sperm fertilizes the egg during fertilization, the baby will be a girl because in that case the X carried by the woman and the X carried by the man are combined; so, the water of the woman is dominant over the Y chromosome that remains in the man. If the Y-bearing sperm fertilizes the egg, the baby will be a boy because the Y chromosome in the male is dominant over the X chromosome carried by the female. Just like the woman has an X, the man also has an X. However, the extra Y chromosome’s being active means it is dominant.

It is a scientific fact that the child is formed when the man and woman meet on a common ground. The fetus is the combination of a man’s sperm and a woman’s egg.

However, it is very clearly stated in the verses of the Quran that the real seed of the fetus is in the sperm of the man. For example, verses 5-7 of the chapter of at-Tariq are very clear regarding the issue:

“Now let man but think from what he is created! He is created from a drop emitted - Proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs.” (at-Tariq, 86/5-7)

The expression of this verse clearly shows that the material of creation of man is the sperm of the man and the egg of the woman.

Accordingly, the X and Y chromosomes, which exist in the water of the man and which are the scientific symbols used today, play a role in the baby’s being a boy or a girl. However, one of the X and Y chromosomes present in the sperm of the male must be combined with the X chromosome, which is permanently present in the female.

“Verily We created Man from a drop of mingled sperm, in order to try him: So We gave him (the gifts), of Hearing and Sight.” (al-Insan, 76/2)

In the verse above, it is pointed out that the sperm of the man and the egg of the woman must unite for the formation of a fetus.

Despite these and similar clear statements of the Quran, it is not possible for the Prophet to evaluate the issue from a point of view contrary to this.

The information revealed by today’s scientific research is as follows:

The sex of the baby is determined when the sperm of the man and the egg of the woman unite in the tubes. Chromosomes that carry all human body information are 46 in total. Of these 46 chromosomes, 23 come from the mother via eggs and 23 from the father via sperm. Of the 46 chromosomes, 2 are sex-determining chromosomes, while the other 44 carry information about other characteristics of the body.

While these chromosomes are the same in all human cells, only the sex cells contain 23 chromosomes, that is, half the number of other cells. Of these 23 chromosomes, 1 is the sex chromosome. The sex chromosomes are denoted by the letters X and Y.

While the egg cells of the woman always carry the X chromosome, some of the sperm of the man carry the X and some the Y chromosome. During fertilization, if the X-bearing sperm fertilizes the egg, the baby will be a girl, if the Y-bearing sperm fertilize the egg, the baby will be a boy.

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