Tongue and sermon word count in the Qur'an
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This article analyzes the claim that the words "tongue" and "sermon" both appear 25 times in the Qur'an.
The word "tongue" (لِسَانِ, lisaan) is derived from the root لسن (l-s-n). The Qur'an speaks quite a lot about tongues, because it often describes "speaking" as "moving with the tongue". From the same root there are also other words derived besides "tongue". This is the list of all occurrences of words from the root بسن in the Qur'an:
|Count||Verse||Word in Arabic||Translation||Number|
|1||3:78||أَلْسِنَتَهُم||their tongues||plural 1|
|2||4:46||بِأَلْسِنَتِهِمْ||with their tongues||plural 2|
|4||14:4||بِلِسَانِ||with the language [of his people]||singular 2|
|5||16:62||أَلْسِنَتُهُمُ||their tongues||plural 3|
|7||16:103||لِسَانٌ||[Arabic] language||singular 4|
|8||16:116||أَلْسِنَتُكُمُ||your tongues||plural 4|
|9||19:50||لِسَانَ||a mention||singular 5|
|10||19:97||بِلِسَانِكَ||in your tongue / language||singular 6|
|11||20:27||لِّسَانِى||my tongue||singular 7|
|12||24:15||بِأَلْسِنَتِكُمْ||with your tongues||plural 5|
|13||24:24||أَلْسِنَتُهُمْ||their tongues||plural 6|
|14||26:13||لِسَانِى||my tongue||singular 8|
|15||26:84||لِسَانَ||a mention||singular 9|
|16||26:195||بِلِسَانٍ||in [Arabic] language||singular 10|
|18||30:22||أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ||your languages||plural 7|
|19||33:19||بِأَلْسِنَةٍ||with tongues||plural 8|
|20||44:58||بِلِسَانِكَ||in your tongue / language||singular 12|
|21||46:12||لِّسَانًا||[Arabic] language||singular 13|
|22||48:11||بِأَلْسِنَتِهِم||with their tongues||plural 9|
|23||60:2||وَأَلْسِنَتَهُم||and their tongues||plural 10|
|24||75:16||لِسَانَكَ||your tongue||singular 14|
|25||90:9||وَلِسَانًا||and a tongue||singular 15|
In some verses it can be both "tongue" and "language". Let's see the verse 44:58:
- Muhsin Khan: "Certainly, We have made this (Quran) easy in your tongue, in order that they may remember."
- Pickthall: "And We have made (this Scripture) easy in thy language only that they may heed."
As we can see, this word count is problematic. This word has many meanings. Also there are 25 words derived from the root لسن, so if we exclude any of the words, then the claim that this word occurs 25 times is refuted. And excluding words from this list is very logical. Obviously all the cases where it means something else than "tongue" should be excluded. But also in other apologetic word counts, apologists often excluded words with suffixed possessive pronouns like "their" or "my", so if we exclude these cases, then we get even less occurrences. Also they often counted only singular forms, so in this case we would start with the number 15. And the word count would still be questionable, because there are cases, where the word could be translated as both "tongue" and "language".
The Arabic word for "sermon" is خطبة (khutbah). When you search for the word "sermon" in the English translations, you will find exactly 0 occurrences. And when you search through the Arabic Qur'an it doesn't get any better. The word is derived from the root خطب (kh-t-b). When we search for all words derived from this root, we get this list:
|Count||Verse||Word in Arabic||Translation|
|8||28:23||خَطْبُكُمَا||matter of you|
There are nouns and verbs together and only two cases which are close to the meaning of "sermon". These are the verses 38:20 and 38:23, but in the context, they are not talking about a sermon. And even if we counted all the words from this root we would get max 12 occurrences.
If you want to know the Arabic word for this miracle, you will probably have to search through Arabic websites for word repetition miracles in the Qur'an and you will find that the two words are "tongue" and "admonishment" (not "sermon"). The Arabic word for "admonition" is مَوْعِظَة (maw'ithah) and it is derived from the root وعظ (wa-'a-th).
This is the list of all words derived from the root وعظ in the Qur'an:
|Count||Verse||Word in Arabic||Translation||Word class|
|1||2:66||وَمَوْعِظَةً||and an admonition 1||noun|
|2||2:231||يَعِظُكُم||(he) instructs you||verb|
|4||2:275||مَوْعِظَةٌ||an admonition 2||noun|
|5||3:138||وَمَوْعِظَةٌ||and an admonition 3||noun|
|6||4:34||فَعِظُوهُنَّ||then admonish them||verb|
|7||4:58||يَعِظُكُم||(he) admonishes you||verb|
|8||4:63||وَعِظْهُمْ||and admonish them||verb|
|9||4:66||يُوعَظُونَ||they were admonished||verb|
|10||5:46||وَمَوْعِظَةً||and an admonition 4||noun|
|11||7:145||مَّوْعِظَةً||an admonition 5||noun|
|13||10:57||مَّوْعِظَةٌ||an admonition 6||noun|
|14||11:46||أَعِظُكَ||(I) admonish you||verb|
|15||11:120||وَمَوْعِظَةٌ||and an admonition 7||noun|
|16||16:90||يَعِظُكُمْ||(he) admonishes you||verb|
|17||16:125||وَٱلْمَوْعِظَةِ||and an instruction 8||noun|
|18||24:17||يَعِظُكُمُ||(he) admonishes you||verb|
|19||24:34||وَمَوْعِظَةً||and an admonition 9||noun|
|20||26:136||أَوَعَظْتَ||whether you admonish||verb|
|22||31:13||يَعِظُهُۥ||(he) admonished him||verb|
|23||34:46||أَعِظُكُم||(I) advise you||verb|
|24||58:3||تُوعَظُونَ||you are admonished||verb|
This word count is easier than the word count for "tongue". The word is sometimes translated a little differently but the meanings are very similar. The word admonition occurs 9 times when we count all forms. When we exclude the words with prefixes, we get only 3 occurrences.
Apologists got number 25 by counting words with different meanings together. They count the word "admonishers" in the verse 26:136 which refers to "people who admonish". They also mix nouns and verbs together.
- Neither the word "tongue" nor the word "sermon" occur 25 times in the Qur'an.
- The word "tongue" cannot be counted properly. Sometimes the word has a different meaning and sometimes it can mean both "tongue" and "language". There are also many forms, which might or might not be excluded.
- The plural forms and forms with suffixed possessive pronouns were excluded in many other apologetic word counts.
- The word "sermon" appears exactly 0 times in the Qur'an. Apologists mistranslated the word "admonition" as "sermon". Maybe because sermon is usually oral, while admonition might be textual. Since admonition can be textual, the connection with the word "tongue" would be lost and this word count equality would be meaningless. And it is.
- The word "admonition" occurs 9 times when counting all the forms and only 3 times when counting only the "basic form". Apologists used an absurd counting method of counting all words derived from the root وعظ regardless of word class and meaning.
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- "اللسان تكررت 25 مره والموعظه تكررت 25 مره"
- "The "tongue" (اللسان) is repeated 25 times and the "admonition" (الموعظه) is repeated 25 times."