Housefly Miracle in the Quran

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The Quran supposedly says that houseflies use enzymes to break down food.

"Miracle"

Houseflies cannot carry food away and they can only feed on liquids. They secret enzymes to break down solids and then suck it as a liquid.

Houseflies play an important ecological role in breaking down and recycling organic matter. Adults are mainly carnivorous; their primary food is animal matter, carrion, and faeces, but they also consume milk, sugary substances, and rotting fruit and vegetables. Solid foods are softened with saliva before being sucked up.
Wikipedia, Housefly, 2020

Solid foods are broken down by enzymes before being sucked. So whatever a housefly takes is already digested. This was known recently, however this was portrayed in the Quran 1400 years before it was discovered.

[Quran 22:73] O people! A parable is presented, so listen to it: Those you invoke besides Allah will never create a housefly, even if they banded together for that purpose. And if the housefly steals anything from them, they cannot recover it from it. Weak are the pursuer and the pursued.

"Weak are the pursuer and the pursued" The pursuer is weak because he is missing what the housefly stole. But is also says that the perused, that is whatever the housefly took, is also weak. Today we know why it is weak, because it is already digested.

How could an illiterate man who lived 1400 years ago have known that whatever a housefly takes is already weakened?


The verse

The verse says nothing about food being broken down by enzymes, it doesn't even specify that the stolen thing is food:

O people! A parable is presented, so listen to it: Those you invoke besides Allah will never create a housefly, even if they banded together for that purpose. And if the housefly steals anything from them, they cannot recover it from it. Weak are the pursuer and the pursued.


Quran 22:73

And last word "the pursued" (or "the sought") has two classical interpretations, either it's the fly or the idols:

﴿ضَعُفَ الطَّالِبُ وَالْمَطْلُوبُ﴾

(So weak are the seeker and the sought.) Ibn `Abbas said, "The seeker is the idol and the sought is the fly. This was the view favored by Ibn Jarir, and it is what is apparent from the context. As-Suddi and others said, "The seeker is the worshipper, and the sought is the idol.


Ibn Kathir on 22:73

It would be a far-fetched interpretation to claim that "the pursued" is the stolen thing and that the stolen thing is food specifically and that the word "weak" means "broken-down". And it would be strange to end the parable with "weak are the idol-worshipers and the stolen food, while in the case of stolen food it means broken-down by enzymes".

See also