White Hair Miracle in the Quran

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The Talmud mentioned whitening of hair in the 1st century. The Quran repeated it in the 7th century.

Miracle claim

1400 years ago people thought that white hair comes from old age only. Today we know that this is false. Other factors cause change of color at any age.

Can your hair turn white as a result of shock?

Theoretically, any sudden severe shock, accident, illness or change in metabolism could make hair change colour, but it won't be visible right away.
According to Dr John O'Connor, head of the School of Physical Science and Mathematics at the University of Newcastle in Australia, "once your hair has grown out of its follicle, any emotional or physical trauma will not affect it. This hair is basically dead, like your nails. Yet severe adverse events could cause new hair that grows out a few weeks later to be white."

The Register, Can your hair turn white as a result of shock?, 2006

Shock is one of the factors that could turn hair color to white. However this was portrayed in the Quran:

[Quran 73:17] So how will you, if you persist in unbelief, save yourself from a Day which will turn the children white-haired?

Resurrection Day can cause the hair of children to turn white. Children means the cause is not old age. Today we know that the shock can turn the hair white even for children.

How could an illiterate man who lived 1400 years ago have known that shock can turn your hair white?

The Talmud

The first documented case of sudden hair whitening was in the Talmud (83 AD), a Jewish historical record (Figure 1).1 A scholar was appointed chief of the main Israeli Talmudic academy at the age of 17 years. His wife was concerned that he looked too young for the job and on that day, he developed 18 rows of white hair. Maimonides, a medieval Jewish rabbi, postulated that this was a consequence of strenuous studying.

Sudden whitening of the hair: an historical fiction? (Vilna Edition of the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Berachot, folio 2a)

If the mention of hair turning white is a scientific miracle, then it is a miracle of the Talmud, because the Talmud mentioned it before the Quran.

The science

If stress could cause hair to get white, it would have been observable in the time of Muhammad and therefore it wouldn't be a scientific miracle. But is it true that hair can become white? The miracle claim itself quotes Dr John O'Connor, who said that "once your hair has grown out of its follicle, any emotional or physical trauma will not affect it". The only thing that can happen is growing new white hair after a shock. But turning the already existing hair to white due to shock, is scientifically not possible, so it's rather a scientific error in the Quran.

See also