Perspiration Miracle in the Quran
Some Islamic apologists claim that the Quranic verses 7:156-7 say that dogs don't sweat and since people didn't know it 1400 years ago, the Quran must be from god. The verses don't say that dogs don't sweat.
The miracle claim
Perspiration, also known as sweating, is the production of fluids secreted by the sweat glands in the skin of mammals.
Two types of sweat glands can be found in humans: eccrine glands and apocrine glands. The eccrine sweat glands are distributed over much of the body.
In humans, sweating is primarily a means of thermoregulation, which is achieved by the water-rich secretion of the eccrine glands. Maximum sweat rates of an adult can be up to 2-4 liters per hour or 10-14 liters per day (10-15 g/min.m2), but is less in children prior to puberty. Evaporation of sweat from the skin surface has a cooling effect due to evaporative cooling. Hence, in hot weather, or when the individual's muscles heat up due to exertion, more sweat is produced. Animals with few sweat glands, such as dogs, accomplish similar temperature regulation results by panting, which evaporates water from the moist lining of the oral cavity and pharynx. Although sweating is found in a wide variety of mammals, relatively few (exceptions include humans and horses) produce large amounts of sweat in order to cool down. Wikipedia, Perspiration, 2019
Sweating and panting (breathing with short, quick breaths) helps humans to cool down. However dogs don't have perspiration glands so they rely on panting.
Thermal imaging shows that dogs use evaporation from their tongues to lose the heat. This was known recently, however this was portrayed in the Quran 1400 years before it was discovered. The Quran says that those Quranic verses are like your skin, if you peal off those verses then you will have to cool off by panting like a dog.
[Quran 7:175-176] And relate to them the story of him to whom We delivered Our verses, but he pealed himself from them, so Satan went after him, and he became one of the perverts. Had We willed, We could have elevated him through them; but he clung to the ground, and followed his desires. His metaphor is that of a dog: if you burden it, it pants; and if you leave it alone, it pants. Such is the metaphor of the people who deny Our signs. So tell the tale, so that they may ponder.
In this verse the Quranic verses are like your skin, if you peal off those verses then you will have to cool off by panting like a dog. Today we know why, because dogs don't perspire from their skin but instead they have to pant.How could an illiterate man who lived 1400 years ago have known that dogs don't sweat?
- The word "peal" is most probably a typo and the word "peel" was meant. The typo will be repaired in the rest of this article.
The "logic" of this "miracle" is very specific. The claim is that the Quran says that Quranic verses are like skin. And if you peel that skin off of you, you won't be able to perspirate and when you're not able to perspirate through the skin, you won't be able to cool yourself down and the only option for you to cool down will be to pant like a dog. And the Quran is smart, because it knows that panting is the only way, if you don't have skin. That's the "logic".
Quranic verses are like skin?
The verse, even in the apologetic translation, doesn't say that Quranic verses are like skin:
And relate to them the story of him to whom We delivered Our verses, but he peeled himself from them, so Satan went after him, and he became one of the perverts.
It only slightly indicates that interpretation by the phrase "but he peeled himself from them" (فانسلخ منها, fa-nsalakha min-haa). In other translations, the word انسلخ (insalakha) is not usually translated as "peeled":
Muhsin Khan: And recite (O Muhammad SAW) to them the story of him to whom We gave Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), but he threw them away (فانسلخ منها), so Shaitan (Satan) followed him up, and he became of those who went astray.
Pickthall: Recite unto them the tale of him to whom We gave Our revelations, but he sloughed them off, so Satan overtook him and he became of those who lead astray.
Yusuf Ali: Relate to them the story of the man to whom We sent Our signs, but he passed them by: so Satan followed him up, and he went astray.
Sahih International: And recite to them, [O Muhammad], the news of him to whom we gave [knowledge of] Our signs, but he detached himself from them; so Satan pursued him, and he became of the deviators.
So the interpretation that the Quranic verses are skin is just one of many interpretations. The word "skin" is not mentioned. And even if it was, there is also no mention of perspiration and reducing body temperature.
The translation of Yusuf Ali "but he passed them by" is supported by the Sword Verse, which also contains the word insalakha:
And when the sacred months have passed (انسلخ, insalakha), then kill the polytheists wherever you find them
After you peel off your skin, you have to start panting
Islamic apologists are actually arguing that the Quran says that if a person peeled of his skin, he would have to pant like a dog to cool himself down. But where exactly is this in the verses?
And relate to them the story of him to whom We delivered Our verses, but he peeled himself from them, so Satan went after him, and he became one of the perverts. Had We willed, We could have elevated him through them; but he clung to the ground, and followed his desires. His metaphor is that of a dog: if you burden it, it pants; and if you leave it alone, it pants. Such is the metaphor of the people who deny Our signs. So tell the tale, so that they may ponder.
- There's no indication that the author of the Quran knew that perspiration is used to cool body down. The verses don't even mention perspiration.
- There's no indication that the author of the Quran knew that dogs pant to cool themselves down. It only say that dogs pant. Which was observable in the 7th century.
- The connection between the peeling and the panting is very vague. It doesn't explicitly say that the peeling leads to panting. And the panting is a part of its own metaphor.
The verse 7:176 mentions "..but he clung to the ground, and followed his desires. His metaphor is that of a dog: if you burden it, it pants; and if you leave it alone, it pants. Such is the metaphor of the people who deny Our signs.". According to tafsir al-Jalalayn, it means "The purpose here is to point out the similarity between the one who follows his whims".  The panting dog is just used as a metaphor for a disbeliever who lives his life according to himself and not according to Muhammad's commands. If Muhammad commands something (or doesn't command it), the disbeliever will ignore it and he will use his own head and make his own decisions, so the disbeliever is like a dog, whatever you do to him, he will pant anyway, because he lives according to himself and not according to you. The metaphor doesn't require the understanding that panting is used for cooling down.
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