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Article: Quran and Semen Production

The following text needs to be re-evaluated and additional references may be needed to support claims.

Yusuf Ali

A man's seed is the quintessence of his body. It is therefore said metaphorically to proceed from his loins, i.e., from his back between the hipbones and his ribs. His backbone is the source and symbol of his strength and personality. In his spinal cord and in the brain is the directive energy of the central nervous system, and this directs all action, organic and psychic. The spinal cord is continuous with the Medulla Oblongata in the brain.

Firstly, Yusuf Ali does not explain what he means by seed: Sperm, semen, ovum or zygote. This should have been clarified because the verse is generally taken to be referring to a male fluid but a human is not created without the female ovum. If "seed" refers to one sex, it is biased and incorrect; but if it refers to both sexes, the interpretation of backbone and ribs must be valid for both.

If the backbone is so crucial for man to exist, it is hard to comprehend why the similarly crucial seed (or drop) would flow near the backbone instead of both being the same thing metaphorically. A man's backbone can often be symbolic but in no way is it related to his offspring.

There is no reason for even mentioning medulla oblongata here.


The functioning of two spinal cord centers located between vertebrae and ribs connecting spinal cord and sex organs, and of the nerves controlling valves around urethra, causes ejaculation.

This claim is erroneous since it twists the meaning of the verse to say that the force for ejaculation comes from between the backbone and the ribs. The actual verse mentions a "liquid flowing" and not its cause.

A line drawn from the tip of the coccyx to the upper portion of either seminal vesicle and extended forward touches the ribcage. The seminal vesicles from which the semen spurts out, lie between the ribs and the coccyx (lower back, loin, backbone).

The ribs are above the seminal vesicles which are above the tip of the coccyx when a standing person's anatomy is viewed. Since only the top of the seminal vesicles falls between the bottom of the coccyx and the bottom of the rib-cage on the above mentioned line, the vesicle is not really between the loins and ribs.[1] This argument also ignores the prostate glands (source of 25-30% of semen), testes (2-5%) and bulbourethral glands (up to 1%).

The word tara’ib refers to the woman’s uterus, since the rib cage surrounds it during pregnancy.

Though the ribcage is roughly cylindrical, the uterus is never inside it. Further, the embryo is already "created" much before pregnancy since the verse refers to fertilisation. The liquid being discussed here never flows anywhere close to a woman's ribs.

The verse refers to humans emerging from between the backbone and ribs, so it is about a baby and not sperm.

This is partly similar to the claim of tara'ib meaning uterus; a baby has nothing to do with its mother's ribs. If one were to describe the emergence of a baby by referring to external organs, one would have better said "between backbone and abdomen", not ribs. In all major translations, verse 86:7 (Coming from between the backbone and the ribs) is an incomplete sentence which continues from 86:6 ("He is created from a gushing fluid"), hence it is only a fluid that is said to emerge.

The germ cells which become sperms are formed near the backbone.

This is not true. The entire process of spermatogenesis from a spermatogonium to a sperm occurs in various regions of the testicles.[2]

  1. For a visual reference, see this medical diagram. Taken from: "Reproductive Health Module (SECTION I: Reproductive Anatomy and Physiology)", Columbia University: Mailman School of Public Health, accessed March 22, 2014 (archived), 
  2. Spermatogenesis