The Word “Nutfah” and its Actual Meaning

Some words in Quran have been used to force meanings into them. One of these words is “nutfah” , it is said that this word has been forced to mean “sperm” to promote “scientific accuracies” in the Quran. The word has been translated in many way by scholars.

Multiple meanings of the word resulted in some quarters saying that the intended meaning is different as to what is claimed. For example some say that the word “nutfah” means something that is ejaculated and not sperm itself.

If the translation is indeed ejaculation this would mean the Quran actually copied part of the Hellenic (Greek) embryology. Modifying parts of the previous understandings and making it better by removing its flaws.

Quran mentions the word “nutfah” in a few places, let us see some of the translations for this word from Quran 53:46

From a sperm-drop when it is emitted – Sahih International

From a drop (of seed) when it is poured forth – Pickthall

From Nutfah (drops of semen male and female discharges) when it is emitted – Muhsin Khan

From a seed when lodged (in its place) – Yusuf Ali

From the small seed when it is adapted – Shakir

From a sperm drop when it is ejaculated – Dr. Ghali

Now the word “nutfah” has been translated into many words such as sperm, a drop of seed, a seed when lodged and small seed. Basically we can narrow down the translations to two words, sperm and seed. In the reference to the context sperm is basically a male seed.

The reference has to be contextual as well as literal, so let us look into the literal meaning from an Arab – English Lexicon.

Nutfah means the sperm of a man and of a woman[1].

Nutfah is basically a seed either from the man or from the woman, in the case of the man it refers to the sperm and for the female it refers to the ovum. Since in this verse it mentions emission or ejaculation and ovum is neither emitted nor ejaculated this verse clearly refers to sperm.

Maaning of Nutfah in Arabic

Meaning of “Nutfah” in Arabic

Further Readings
The Truth About Embryology in Quran
Quranic Emryology: Fantasy or Reality
Quran and hadith Copied Hellenic Embryology

[1]Edward William Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon, Librarie du Liban, 1968, Volume 8, pg. 3034