Crow Funeral Miracle in the Quran

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The author of the Quran supposedly "knew" that crows hold funerals for their dead.

Miracle claim

1400 years ago people thought that only humans hold funerals for their dead. However today we know that this is false. Crows hold funerals for their dead:

Someone is dead. There's a body, attended by a number of concerned and watchful figures, all in black.
The lifeless corpse belongs to a crow, and the dark-garbed group congregating nearby is a gathering of its fellow crows, sometimes referred to as a "murder." That name is particularly apt in this case, as murder is what holds their attention. Their vigilance over a dead crow serves a purpose - one that's a matter of life and death, according to a new study in the journal Animal Behavior. By sticking close to a crow that was killed, other crows may improve their chances of learning about predators they need to avoid.
LiveScience, Why Crows Hold Funerals, 2016.

Today we know that crows hold funerals for their dead. However this was portrayed in the Quran 1400 years before it was discovered.

[Quran 5:31] Then Allah sent a crow digging the ground, to show him how to cover his brother's corpse. He said, "Woe to me! I was unable to be like this crow, and bury my brother's corpse." So he became full of regrets.

How could an illiterate man who lived 1400 years ago have known that crows hold funerals for their dead?


Science

Apologists didn't understand that the first part of the scientific article they quoted is a joke:

Someone is dead. There's a body, attended by a number of concerned and watchful figures, all in black.


LiveScience, Why Crows Hold Funerals, 2016

When crows find a dead crow they don't gather to say goodbye to their fellow crow, they gather to inform each other of danger, which is explained later in the article:

Their vigilance over a dead crow serves a purpose - one that's a matter of life and death, according to a new study in the journal Animal Behavior. By sticking close to a crow that was killed, other crows may improve their chances of learning about predators they need to avoid.

..And for birds in particular, a growing body of evidence suggests that their interactions with dead members of their own species serve a critical purpose — "to assess danger and trigger anti-predator behaviors," the scientists said in the study.


LiveScience, Why Crows Hold Funerals, 2016

The verse

The verse doesn't say that crows hold funerals for their dead:

Then Allah sent a crow digging the ground, to show him how to cover his brother's corpse. He said, "Woe to me! I was unable to be like this crow, and bury my brother's corpse." So he became full of regrets.


Quran 5:31

It's a part of a story about the two sons of Adam:

5:27 And recite to them the story of Adam's two sons, in truth, when they both offered a sacrifice [to Allah ], and it was accepted from one of them but was not accepted from the other. Said [the latter], "I will surely kill you." Said [the former], "Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous [who fear Him].

5:28 If you should raise your hand against me to kill me - I shall not raise my hand against you to kill you. Indeed, I fear Allah, Lord of the worlds.

5:29 Indeed I want you to obtain [thereby] my sin and your sin so you will be among the companions of the Fire. And that is the recompense of wrongdoers."

5:30 And his soul permitted to him the murder of his brother, so he killed him and became among the losers.

5:31 Then Allah sent a crow searching (يبحث) in the ground to show him how to hide the disgrace of his brother. He said, "O woe to me! Have I failed to be like this crow and hide the body of my brother?" And he became of the regretful.


Quran 5:27-31, Sahih International
  • It's about Cain and Abel. The dead body is not of a crow.
  • There's only one crow. Is this a funeral with only one attendee?
  • It's actually not a funeral. The purpose of the crow is to show Cain where to bury his brother. The crow is accomplice in the murder.
  • The crow was sent by Allah, therefore it's not a description of what happens in nature, it's Allah's supernatural action.
  • The story indicates that it happened once, not that it happens regularly.
  • ِThe verse literally says that the crow was "searching", not "digging".

And even if the Quran said that "crow digged the ground" and that the dead body is a crow, then it would be a scientific error, because crows don't dig the ground in their "funeral", they don't put the dead crow into the ground like humans do.

See also