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When Life Begins and a False Hadith

Slay not your children, fearing a fall to poverty, We shall provide for them and for you. Lo! the slaying of them is great sin. (Koran 17:31, Pickthall)

One of the tragedies of human society since ancient times is the horrible practice of abortion. The mainstream media often talks about abortion rights, but never mentions fetal rights. This callous, cold view of human life in its earliest stages of existence is not new. In the ninth century, a false hadith was recorded by al-Bukhari to justify first trimester abortions. It was written down between 810 and 870 — over two hundred years after Muhammad died in 632. The Koran and the Bible, which the Koran confirms, clearly teaches that life begins at conception.

Here is the false hadith.

Narrated `Abdullah: Allah’s Messenger, the truthful and truly-inspired, said, “Each one of you collected in the womb of his mother for forty days, and then turns into a clot for an equal period (of forty days) and turns into a piece of flesh for a similar period (of forty days) and then Allah sends an angel and orders him to write four things, i.e., his provision, his age, and whether he will be of the wretched or the blessed (in the Hereafter). Then the soul is breathed into him. And by Allah, a person among you (or a man) may do deeds of the people of the Fire till there is only a cubit or an arm-breadth distance between him and the Fire, but then that writing (which Allah has ordered the angel to write) precedes, and he does the deeds of the people of Paradise and enters it; and a man may do the deeds of the people of Paradise till there is only a cubit or two between him and Paradise, and then that writing precedes and he does the deeds of the people of the Fire and enters it.” (Sahih al-Bukhari: 6594).

The teachings of the Bible clearly contradict the teachings of this false hadith. Here is a passage from the Book of Judges — a book in the Bible accepted by both Jews and Christians.

2 And there was a man of Saraa, of the family of the kindred of Dan, and his name was Manoe, and his wife was barren, and bore not. 3 And an angel of the Lord appeared to the woman, and said to her, Behold, thou art barren and hast not born; yet thou shalt conceive a son. 4 And now be very cautious, and drink no wine nor strong drink, and eat no unclean thing; 5 for behold, thou art with child, and shalt bring forth a son; and there shall come no razor upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Phylistines. (Judges 13:2-5, LXX)

Notice that in verse 3 of this passage the angel tells Manoe’s wife that she shall conceive a son. In verse 5 after she has already conceived her son, the angel tells her, “Behold, thou art with child.” This passage from the Bible clearly teaches that life begins at conception. The angel called the one-cell zygote in the woman’s Fallopian tube a “child.” God creates a human soul for an individual when he is first conceived by his mother.

Another passage in the Bible that teaches that life begins at conception is in the Book of Jeremiah.

And the Word of the Lord came to him, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth from the womb, I sanctified thee; I appointed thee a prophet to the nations. (Jeremiah 1:4,5, LXX)

Here the Word of Allah is saying that He knew Jeremiah before He formed him in the belly, that is, the womb. We know that, according to modern science, the sperm unites with the egg in the Fallopian tube and not in the womb. About 11 days later, the embryo becomes implanted in the womb. So, while Jeremiah was in his mother’s Fallopian tube, Allah knew him. Jeremiah was a person with a soul.

One might think that this passage from the Book of Jeremiah could be teaching the pre-existence of the soul. However, that is not true. In the Koran, God tells Muhammad to ask the people who had read the Scriptures before him if he has any doubt about the meaning of a revelation.

So if you are in doubt, [O Muhammad], about that which We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you. The truth has certainly come to you from your Lord, so never be among the doubters. (Koran 10:94, Sahih International)

Well, Orthodox Christians whom the Koran calls “believers” (Koran 30:2-5), rejected the doctrine of the pre-existence of souls as heresy at the Fifth Ecumenical Council of the Church in 553.

If anyone asserts the fabulous pre-existence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it: let him be anathema. (First Anathema against Origen, Second Council of Constantinople, 553)

The Koran confirms the Bible.

And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. (Koran 5:48, Pickthall)

Muhammad was not an innovator. He simply taught what had already been taught by other messengers of Allah before him.

Nothing is said to you, [O Muhammad], except what was already said to the messengers before you. Indeed, your Lord is a possessor of forgiveness and a possessor of painful penalty. (Koran 41:43, Sahih International)

Say: “I am not an innovation among the Messengers, and I know not what shall be done with me or with you. I only follow what is revealed to me; I am only a clear warner.” (Koran 46:9, Arberry)

Muhammad taught what the angel in Judges 13 taught and what the Holy Prophet Jeremiah taught.

Furthermore, Muhammad accepted the Bible of the Orthodox Christians.

And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” (Koran 29:46, Sahih International)

Therefore call thou, and go straight as thou hast been commanded; do not follow their caprices. And say: “I believe in whatever Book God has sent down; I have been commanded to be just between you. God is our Lord and your Lord. We have our deeds, and you have your deeds; there is no argument between us and you; God shall bring us together, and unto Him is the homecoming.” (Koran 42:15, Arberry)

Therefore, the Koran, like the Bible, teaches that life begins at conception. It does not teach the heretical doctrine of the pre-existence of souls.

Here are some verses from the Koran which teach that man was created from a sperm-drop. In other words, when a sperm from a drop of semen unites with a woman’s egg, a new person begins to exist. Allah has at that point in time created a soul for that person.

He has created man from a sperm-drop; and behold this same (man) becomes an open disputer! (Koran 16:4, Yusuf Ali)

His companion said to him, in the course of the argument with him: “Dost thou deny Him Who created thee out of dust, then out of a sperm-drop, then fashioned thee into a man? (Koran 18:37, Yusuf Ali)

And Allah created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop; then He made you mates. And no female conceives nor does she give birth except with His knowledge. And no aged person is granted [additional] life nor is his lifespan lessened but that it is in a register. Indeed, that for Allah is easy. (Koran 35:11, Sahih International)

Doth not man see that it is We Who created him from sperm? yet behold! he (stands forth) as an open adversary! (Koran 36:77, Yusuf Ali)

And that He creates the two mates – the male and female – from a sperm-drop when it is emitted. (Koran 53:45,46, Sahih International)

Was he not a drop of sperm emitted (in lowly form)? (Koran 75:37, Yusuf Ali)

Indeed, We created man from a sperm-drop mixture that We may try him; and We made him hearing and seeing. (Koran 76:2, Sahih International)

From a sperm-drop: He hath created him, and then mouldeth him in due proportions.(Koran 80:19, Yusuf Ali)

In these verses from the Koran, the stages of human development are mentioned.

O mankind! if ye have a doubt about the Resurrection, (consider) that We created you out of dust, then out of sperm, then out of a leech-like clot, then out of a morsel of flesh, partly formed and partly unformed, in order that We may manifest (our power) to you; and We cause whom We will to rest in the wombs for an appointed term, then do We bring you out as babes, then (foster you) that ye may reach your age of full strength; and some of you are called to die, and some are sent back to the feeblest old age, so that they know nothing after having known (much), and (further), thou seest the earth barren and lifeless, but when We pour down rain on it, it is stirred (to life), it swells, and it puts forth every kind of beautiful growth (in pairs). (Koran 22:5, Yusuf Ali)

Then We placed him as (a drop of) sperm in a place of rest, firmly fixed; then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a (foetus) lump; then we made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then we developed out of it another creature. So blessed be Allah, the best to create! (Koran 23:13,14, Yusuf Ali)

It is He Who has created you from dust then from a sperm-drop, then from a leech-like clot; then does he get you out (into the light) as a child: then lets you (grow and) reach your age of full strength; then lets you become old, — though of you there are some who die before; — and lets you reach a Term appointed; in order that ye may learn wisdom. (Koran 40:67, Yusuf Ali)

The creation of man from dust in these Koran verses is referring to the creation of Adam in the Book of Genesis. (Genesis 2:7) Since all of us are descendants of Adam, we all  have our origin in the dust.

What is so tragic is that that false hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari has emboldened so many Muslim women to have first trimester abortions. Jesus said about Satan:

He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. (John 8:44, NKJV)

Satan has used a false hadith to deceive people into murdering their own children before they are born. However, fortunately, Allah is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy. (Koran 7:151; 12:92) Repentance is the first step to finding forgiveness from God. Any woman who has had an abortion at any stage during her pregnancy needs to start seeking God’s forgiveness.

Those false hadiths have caused so much mischief in the world and so much bloodshed. It is really better to ignore them altogether. One should never assume that they contain the actual teachings of the Islamic prophet just because some ninth century scholar says they do.

A guess can never take the place of the truth. (Koran 53:28, Pickthall)

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