Ant Wings Miracle in the Quran

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According to some Islamic apologists, the author of the Quran "knew" that all wingless ants are females.

Miracle claim

All male ants have wings. All worker ants are females. All ants that don't have wings are definitely females. This was only known recently.

But 1400 years ago the Quran addressed ants who cannot fly in the female mode:

[Quran 27.18] Until, when they came upon the valley of the ants, an ant said (for females قالت), "O ants, enter your homes so that you do not be crushed by Solomon and his soldiers while they do not feel it."

For the word "said": Kala (قال) is for males. Kalat (قالت) is for females. The Quran used Kalat (female).

If this ant had wings it would have flown off however it didn't have this option; instead it's only option was to hide underground. Since it didn't have wings then this was definitely a female ant. Here the Quran correctly addressed this ant in the female mode.

How could an illiterate man who lived 1400 years ago have known that wingless ants are females?


Here's an overview of the ant castes:

Queens: reproductive females that are fully winged in most species but can be short-winged or wingless in other species. According to species, one or several mated queens reproduce in a colony. They have a lifespan of up to 25 years (and even more in the laboratory).

Workers: non-reproductive (sterile) females that are always wingless. They form the bulk of individuals within a colony, and typically live one or a few years. In a proportion of species, virgin workers can lay haploid eggs (destined to be males) in orphaned colonies. Several genera have workers that completely lack ovaries.

Males : fully winged (mostly), short-winged or wingless (in a few species). They are generally present within a colony for only a short time each year and typically live a few weeks, dying very soon after mating.

So the apologist claims that "All male ants have wings" and "All ants that don't have wings are definitely females" is wrong, because in some species males are wingless. And also not every female is wingless - the queen and future queens have wings.

Arabic grammar

Apologists appeal to the word قالت, which they transliterate as kalat, although it starts on the letter ق (qaaf) and not ك (kaaf). We'll transliterate it as qaalat (and قال as qaala).

Apologists claim:

For the word "said": Kala (قال) is for males. Kalat (قالت) is for females.

And that is either deception or ignorance. The word قال (qaala) is grammatically masculine and the word قالت (qaalat) is grammatically feminine. It doesn't necessarily mean having male and female gender. All nouns in Arabic have grammatical gender, even non-living objects which don't have physical gender at all.

For some words, the grammatically masculine form indicates plural (collective), while the grammatically feminine form indicates singular (singulative):

Certain nouns in Arabic, especially those referring to plants, animals and other inanimate objects that often appear in groups, have a special collective declension. For those nouns, the formally singular noun has plural semantics, or refers to the objects as an undistinguished mass. In these nouns, the singular is formed by adding the feminine suffix ـَة (-ah), which forms the so-called singulative (اِسْمُ ٱلْوَحْدَةِ ʼismu l-waḥdah lit. "noun of unity").

And that's exactly the case with the word نملة (namla), meaning "an ant":

نَمْلَة • (namla) f (singulative, collective نَمْل‎ (naml), plural نِمَال‎ (nimāl))

an ant

So it's not that نمل (naml) is male ant and نملة (namla) is female ant, but نمل is ant as a species or plural "ants" (collective), and نملة is "an ant" (singulative).

In the same way we have the word شجر (shajar) which is grammatically masculine and means "trees" or "tree" as a type (collective). And grammatically feminine شجرة (shajara) which means "a tree" (singulative), not "a female tree".

The verse

The verse says nothing about wings:

Until, when they came upon the valley of the ants (نمل), an ant (نملة) said (for females قالت), "O ants (نمل), enter your homes so that you do not be crushed by Solomon and his soldiers while they do not feel it."

Quran 28:18, translation by apologists

As we can see, even in the apologist translation, the word نمل without ة is correctly translated as plural "ants", not as "a male ant". And that is right, because it's not نمل - "male ant" and نملة - "female ant", but it's نمل - "ants" and نملة - "an ant".

And regarding the meaning of the verse, ants don't speak, so "an ant said" is a scientific error.

And even if the apologist manipulated grammar was true, then the verse wouldn't support the miracle. Because the female ant would say "O ants (نمل)" and نمل is masculine [1]. So a female ant calls on male ants and male ants have wings, so there's no reason to warn them, if they can fly away.

See also

The same trick of presenting the singulative form as "for females" was used in other miracles as well: