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Letter to the International Journal of Cardiology

By Avijit Roy

The Editor of International Journal of Cardiology,

Sir,

I am an engineer by profession (having a PhD in biomedical engineering) and maintain a Bengali freethinker's site named mukto-mona. I am also the author of several Bengali best -seller books on science and philosophy. I recently came across a very controversial paper named, The heart and cardiovascular system in the Qur'an and Hadeeth (authored by Marios Loukas, Yousuf Saad, R. Shane Tubbs and Mohamadali M. Shojawhich) claimed to be peer reviewed and accepted for publication by the Editorial Board of your journal.

I am disappointed to see a reputed journal publishing, or even accepting a cleverly crafted religious propaganda. Careful study of Qur'an, Hadeeth and other Islamic resources for years, I know that like other ancient books, these scriptures also contain lot of errors and weird misconceptions in embryology, biology and medicine. For example, in one verse of Qur'an it clearly declares that sperm originates between the back and the ribs (sura At-Tariq 86:6-7) i.e, it comes from the kidneys! Note that, Greek physician Hippocrates theorized this wrong idea long before Muhammad that sperm passed through the kidneys into the penis. For centuries this was an accepted (and incorrect) belief of the origins of sperm. Aristotle though correctly described the function of the umbilical cord, also amusingly believed that sperm testicles functioned as weights to keep the seminal passages open during sexual intercourse. Not only this, Qur'an, as a whole, has a whole lot of ambiguity and meaningless statements. For example, occasionally it tells that we are created from earth (11:61), sometimes it claims from dry clay (15:26,28,33, 17:61, 32:7), sometimes "from nothing" (19:67), sometimes "NOT from nothing" (52:35), sometimes from wet earth (23:12), or from mire (38:71), sometimes from water (25:54, 21:30, 24:45), sometimes from dust ( 3:59, 30:20, 35:11) or even sometimes from dead (30:19, 39:6) etc.. So which one is true? Those contradictory ambiguous statements actually do not reveal any scientific facts regarding either how we created or what exactly we are made of. If we go forward we will see - according to Qur'an and Hadeeth, Allah’s Angels 'take charge' while sperm enters a woman’s womb (see Sahih Bukhari 1.6.315, 4.54.430, Sahih Bukhari, 8.73.17, 18, Sahih Muslim, 33.6392 etc.), Human limbs can 'carry Islamic Sins' (Sunaan Nasai, 1.149), or Human organs can even talk like a human being (41:20, 41:21, 36:65, 24:24 etc). These are becoming simply meaningless and entirely laughable if we consider the knowledge of today's context.

Of course, the authors did not mention the above funny verses from Qur'an and Hadeeth while submitting their 'scholarly' paper. Nevertheless, they did not forget to mention that honey as the good medicine referred by Qur'an, or it mentions some 'miraculous spiritual power' (?) of Zam Zam water etc. Well, Honey is not at all any good medicine in today's standard, however, was used by ancient people as medicine and food for tens of thousands of years. Physicians of Pharaoh King used to prescribe Honey for diseases. In pre-Islamic Arab, pagans used to use honey widely as medicine. In India, Ayurbedic medicine widely used honey as the ingredients of medicine thousands of years before the arrival of Qur'an. Honey was known as "Grandma's Medicine" throughout the ancient world for thousands of years. What is so miracle or even important to mention in a cutting edge journal? Lest we speak about the 'miraculous spiritual power' of a simple well the better for us. There are many well documented technical details about the well is available even in the Internet.

Lastly, the paper was not written following standard method of proper scientific enquiry. The frequent attribution of "God" (e.g. " The entire Qur'an is believed to be the direct word of God", " the Qur'an and Hadeeth recognize the pursuit of knowledge as being an act of worship to God", "God created disease and God also created a treatment for every disease", " remedy is made apparent, the disease is cured by the permission of God", "... as God removes “rage form their hearts", " scripture and remembrance of God is supposed to heal the hidden ailments of people", " Mohammad states that while praising God is half of faith", "moustache are all acts that benefit the body and thus bring one closer to God", "invoked the name of other than God", "The relationship between God and man is illustrated" etc.), and the use of non-scientific words such 'spiritual' (e.g. 'treatment can be found—spiritual healing and physical healing' , 'Although spiritual healing is most mentioned in the Qur'an ', 'heart that are described are the extensively described spiritual heart ' etc.) or 'miracle' shows the authors were trying to express a specific brand of belief, not doing proper scientific investigation or research. Our scientific knowledge has moved beyond childhood. A scientific journal should not depend on imaginary fairy-tales or a 'God in gaps' to provide for our explanations or needs. Science proposes explanations about the natural world and then puts those hypothesis for repeated testing using experiments, observations and a creative and diverse array of other methods and strategies. The paper like 'The heart and cardiovascular system in the Qur'an and Hadeeth' , on the other hand, discourage skepticism or critical examination of cherished precepts.

It is simply laughable that a reputable science journal of twentieth century would publish such a poorly argued paper - 'The heart and cardiovascular system in the Qur'an and Hadeeth'! I sincerely believe, if you publish the article in your journal, you will loose all the credibility. I hope that your consciousness will return and your editorial board will realize that this paper is not worthy at all for publication.

Dr. Avijit Roy
email: charbak_bd@yahoo.com