Thursday, August 27, 2009

Surah An Nisa (4:56) – Pain Receptors in Skin, The Ayat that showed Prof. Tegatat Tejasen the Right Path



إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ بِآيَاتِنَا سَوْفَ نُصْلِيهِمْ نَارًا كُلَّمَا نَضِجَتْ جُلُودُهُمْ بَدَّلْنَاهُمْ جُلُودًا غَيْرَهَا لِيَذُوقُواْ الْعَذَابَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا

(As for) those who disbelieve in Our communications, We shall make them enter fire; so oft as their skins are thoroughly burned, We will change them for other skins, that they may taste the chastisement; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise. [4-56]

M Shakir's Quran Translation

Those who reject our Signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire: as often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.

Yusuf Ali's Quran Translation

Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment. Lo! Allah is ever Mighty, Wise

Pickthall's Quran Translation

Surely those who disbelieve in Our signs -- We shall certainly roast them at a Fire; as often as their skins are wholly burned, We shall give them in exchange other skins, that they may taste the chastisement. Surely God is All-mighty, All-wise.

Arberry's Quran Translation


Pain receptors in skin

This verse indicates that there is something in the skin which makes us feel pain. This is exactly what modern science tells us i.e. pain receptors are responsible for feeling pain. It was thought that the sense of feeling and pain was dependent only on the brain. Recent discoveries however prove that there are pain receptors present in the skin, without which a person would not be able to feel pain. When a doctor examines a patient suffering from burn injuries, he verifies the degree of burns by a pinprick. If the patient feels pain, the doctor is happy, because it indicates that the burns are superficial and the pain receptors are intact. On the other hand, if the patient does not feel any pain, it indicates that it is a deep burn and the pain receptors have been destroyed.

Prof. Tegatat Tejasen, Chairman of the Department of Anatomy at Chiang Mai University in Thailand, has spent a great amount of time on research of pain receptors. Initially he could not believe that the Qur'an mentioned this scientific fact 1,400 years ago. He later verified the translation of this particular Qur'anic verse. Prof. Tegatat Tejasen was so impressed by the scientific accuracy of the Quranic verse, that at the 8th Saudi Medical Conference held in Riyadh on the Scientific Signs of Qur'an and Sunnah, he proudly proclaimed in public: "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him) is His Messenger."


The sensation of pain results from communication between nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, and elsewhere in the body. When a person experiences an injury, such as a stubbed toe, specialized cells called nociceptors (another name for pain receptors) sense potential tissue damage (1) and send an electric signal, called an impulse, to the spinal cord via a sensory nerve (2). A specialized region of the spinal cord known as the dorsal horn (3) processes the pain signal, immediately sending another impulse back down the leg via a motor nerve (4). This causes the muscles in the leg to contract and pull the toe away from the source of injury (6). At the same time, the dorsal horn sends another impulse up the spinal cord to the brain. During this trip, the impulse travels between nerve cells. When the impulse reaches a nerve ending (7), the nerve releases chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters, which carry the message to the adjacent nerve. When the impulse reaches the brain (8), it is analyzed and processed as an unpleasant physical and emotional sensation.

Types of burns

The Ayat under discussion mentions the burning of the skin. The severity of a burn depends on its depth, its extent, and the age of the victim. Burns are classified by depth as first, second, and third degree. First-degree burns cause redness and pain (e.g., sunburn). Second-degree burns are marked by blisters (e.g., scald by hot liquid). In third-degree burns, both the epidermis and dermis (external and internal parts of the skin) are destroyed, and underlying tissue may also be damaged. Further burn in the skin would damage the pain receptors and hence the person would not feel pain.

Word Analysis:

Quran rightly mentions this 'extreme' stage for the change of skin. The Arabic word used is نضجت which indicates the burning to the extreme stage. Ibn e Faris says that its basic meaning includes burning something to the last stage.

Hence, not only the Quran told humans that sensation is due to the pain receptors of the skin, Quran also describes accurately the type of burn that kills the pain receptors.




See the complete list of Scientific Miracles in Surah An Nisa here


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costa200 said...

This is one of the most idiotic pages i've seen in a while. So it took a divine revelation for people to get that "there is something in our sking that allows us to feel pain"?!!!

And, pain receptors are in no way limited to the skin although, for obvious reasons, that's where they are in greater number, so how does that leave the interpretation that 4:56 refers to "pain receptors"?

Isn't it more logically sound to expect that a torturer's practice would have told them that pain can be inflicted through burns only until a certain point? Because that is exactly what those passages are, torture passages! Promises of eternal torture. And that has absolutely nothing to do with scientific breakthroughs.

This is in no way proof of divine revelation. This only means some people scour the quran in search of passages that somehow relate to modern findings, even if the real meaning there has got nothing to do with it.

Muhammad Awais Tahir said...

Quote me a reference from 6th, 7th century AC that people new, that burning a skin to a particular extent can take away its ability to feel pain ?

You, sitting in the 21st century, need to transform yourself to the completely illiterate Arabia 14 centuries ago. The only thing they were good as was 'verbal speech' and thats all. Yo me, and to Prof. Tegatat Tejasen it was striking that such a thing was mentioned in a 14 centuries earlier book with so much accuracy.

Its impossible to realize the correct beauty after translating into English but still read it again :

'(As for) those who disbelieve in Our communications, We shall make them enter fire; so often as their skins are thoroughly burnt, We will change them for other skins, that they may taste the punishment; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.'

Why is Qur'an mentioning 'thoroughly burnt'?
Why is Qur'an mentioning that replacement of skin is necessary for them to feel pain?

Qur'an is clearly saying that there is a degree of burning after which the skin looses its ability to feel pain, bring me any references from the arabian knowledge of that time, that they knew such a thing? And specially a man who never read any book in his life, how could he come up with such a thing?

costa200 said...

"Quote me a reference from 6th, 7th century AC that people new, that burning a skin to a particular extent can take away its ability to feel pain ?"

People that were in the trade of knowing this were not writing authors... And the quran also doesn't say that. If you read those again you'll see that the renewing of skin was necessary for the torture to be continuously.

In fact this is very similar to the greek mythology account of Prometheus and the eagle. His liver was eaten and it grew every day.

And modern science actually describes the liver as one of the fastest regenerating internal organ we have!!! Should we now bask in the glory of Zeus?

Instead of the whole story, that has a teaching value for the religious, being taken as is, you're basically trying to superimpose an ulterior meaning. If Allah wanted to let humans know about pain receptors through the quran he would probably be much clearer. He was quite clear on so many other things! why would he bury such an important revelation (as all scientific facts are) in a story of eternal torture?

"Why is Qur'an mentioning that replacement of skin is necessary for them to feel pain?"

It clearly doesn't, the renewal of skin serves as a reset because otherwise the subject of torture would simply be consumed by fire...

"Why is Qur'an mentioning 'thoroughly burnt'?"

To increase the horror in the mind of the reader, of course. What would you expect it to say? "only half burned"?

If you were to analyze every other holy writings in such way you'd find similar things, just like the example of Prometheus i mentioned.

They are not signs of divine revelation, they are just the result of a 21st century mind revisiting a context that is not its own.

Muhammad Awais Tahir said...

There are few points that you are missing here:

[1] Qur'an not only mentions striking facts of modern science (including this one), it doesn't contain any scientific error. If any book contains a single statement that is against the facts, or contains contradictions, or prophecies that were unfulfilled that's enough to prove that its not the word of God.

[2] Qur'an is not a book of science, but there is a saying of Allah's Messsenger Muhamamad (Peace be upon him) which says " Its marvels will never cease" and a scholar of the past said " Time will be the best commentator of Qur'an". So, there are layered meanings in Qur'an. One Ayah of Qur'an can mean various things. One Word of Qur'an can imply various things. Qur'anic revelation began with Iqra' which had a different meaning for the Prophet, and a different meaning for the other followers. Qur'an is not a book of science, but whenever it speaks on science, it mentions facts, and not the common mistakes found in that time.

[3] The Ayah under discussion is mentioning a some-what 'irrelevant' thing, and this is the 'replacement of the skin after its completely burnt', and it also says that is 'because they taste the pain again'. It is clearly stating that they'd suffer burning to an extent that they'd skin will loose the characteristic of feeling pain, and indicating that skin if burnt to a certain extent will loose the characteristic of feeling pain. If you would rather assume yourself back in that time, and the rather seemingly 'irrelevant' mentioning of skin-changing, you'd know what I'm trying to say.

[4] If you still disagree, don't extend this discussion further, because there's no doubt on the obvious meaning of the Ayah, and there's no doubt that it did lead a scientific person to Islam, who stated that himself.

costa200 said...

"The Ayah under discussion is mentioning a some-what 'irrelevant' thing, and this is the 'replacement of the skin after its completely burnt', and it also says that is 'because they taste the pain again'. "

Exactly like the Prometheus story.

"If you still disagree, don't extend this discussion further, because there's no doubt on the obvious meaning of the Ayah,"

Of course there is no doubt, it roughly means "believe what i'm saying or you'll be burned again and again"...

" Qur'an is not a book of science, but whenever it speaks on science, it mentions facts, and not the common mistakes found in that time."

I was about to let all this rest, but, that one was irresistible.

"He [i.e. Zul-qarnain] followed, until he reached the setting of the sun. He found it set in a spring of murky water."

(Surah XVIII ( Kahf) vs. 85-86)


There is no figurative meaning here. This, you should recognize, is the account of the life of Alexander the Great who finds the setting of the sun. Yet, the sun sets in a spring of murky water?

This is EXACTLY the kind of mistakes we should expect from illiterate Arabians of the 6th century.

And how about a bit of internal logic? I ask you this, according to the quran, how many days did it took for Allah to create the world?

And how many years is a day of Allah?

What was created first? Heaven or the Earth?

Because, in the quran itself, answers to those questions appear to be given more than once and in mutually exclusive ways.

Muhammad Awais Tahir said...

[1] I gave you the difference b/w Qur'an and other Scriptures, and why Qur'an's mentioning of such facts is important, and why in others it is unimportant.

[2] You have mentioned something that arose because you are reading a translation and not the exact Arabic text. And this Ayah is very commonly found on polemic sites.

حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغَ مَغْرِبَ الشَّمْسِ وَجَدَهَا تَغْرُبُ فِي عَيْنٍ حَمِئَةٍ

“Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found (wajada) it set in a spring of murky water: “(Qur’an 18:86)

i- Quran uses the Arabic word وجد to explain that ‘it appeared to Zulqarnain’. We know scientifically that there is no sunset and no sunrise. These are just terms based on how things appear to us. Hence Quran has used the words very accurately. Quran is only mentioning what Zulqarnain ‘observed’. It is Zulqarnain who saw the sun setting in murky water not Allah.

ii- Quran says that Zulqarnain reached the place of sunset. The Arabic words used are بلغ مغرب الشمس which are translated as ‘reached the place of sunset’. In Arabic one word can have several meanings. The Arabic word مغرب is used for place as well as time. We Muslims have مغرب prayer at the ‘time’ of sunset. Hence, the Ayat can also be translated as that ‘Zulqarnain reached the time of sunset’.

iii- Sunset and Sunrise are terms used by us humans for our convenience. There is no actual sunset or Sunrise but these terms are widely accepted and are parts our daily discussion, newspapers and books. Those who think that Quran has mentioned something unscientific by mentioning ‘sunset’ have to consider all their discussions and newspapers as unscientific too.

For a detailed reading, see this link :

Albruni said...


Can u please explain if pain receptor are in skin then why we feel pain headaches,Tootpain,Stomac pain or fracture

Pls mail me ur answer


Kim Rara said...

I found your explanations very clear and straightforward.Keep up the good deed!~I'm supporting you.

Mohammed Mubeen said...

my mother having spinal cord dislocation dr. said can't operation because his weight is too much. please send quran surah for quiring his pain or ta'wid. emil id

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Sohan Dsouza said...

Nice job of schooling the apologist, costa200. Hail Zeus! XD

Also, I find it amusing that we have a verse that threatens people with eternal torture by fire merely for not believing ("no compulsion in religion", right?), but this author uses it as an opportunity to make a (rather poor) case for Quranic scientific foreknowledge. Lovely.

Anonymous said...

This is by far the most idiotic attempt at apologetics ever! This is so bad that one is stunned that the human mind can become so warped as to believe that a verse that gleefully elaborates on burning skin and then replacing the skin (so that the torture could continue) is talking about receptors!

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Truth Viva said...

is this true

Anonymous said...

This is getting out of hand! How the hell can you deduce all that scientific knowledge from a verse about burning skin? This is trully idiotic!!

Btw, I'm an ex muslim. And Im glad I left this stupid waste of time religion.

Oolala Mme said...

At least now I know where ISIS gets their inspiration on hideous and new torture techniques. You people are really sick. Just like your pagan deity. But then, living in hell himself, he must know how this goes.

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Ramchander said...

Please do not ascribe any scientific revelation to the speaker of Quran. That is an irrelevant point here. The only relevant issue is: the mercy of the God Almighty. Believe me or I will put you to eternal torture. No choice. If the merciful God could say this, just imagine what could his bigoted soldiers do. Enough with your science and wisdom. What a rahmat and rahm.

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Nell Bell said...

The bible is evil, that I know. Right now we are talking about the Qu'ran. Deflecting to an equally evil book proves nothing other than two evils doesn't make it alright.

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