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
3 5:78 لِسَانِ tongue singular 1
4 14:4 بِلِسَانِ with the language [of his people] singular 2
5 16:62 أَلْسِنَتُهُمُ their tongues plural 3
6 16:103 لِّسَانُ language singular 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
17 28:34 لِسَانًا speech singular 11
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).[1] When you search for the word "sermon" in the English translations, you will find exactly 0 occurrences.[2] 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
1 2:235 خِطْبَةِ marriage proposal
2 11:37 تُخَٰطِبْنِى address me
3 12:51 خَطْبُكُنَّ your affair
4 15:57 خَطْبُكُمْ your business
5 20:95 خَطْبُكَ your case
6 23:27 تُخَٰطِبْنِى address me
7 25:63 خَاطَبَهُمُ address them
8 28:23 خَطْبُكُمَا matter of you
9 38:20 ٱلْخِطَابِ the speech
10 38:23 ٱلْخِطَابِ the speech
11 51:31 خَطْبُكُمْ your mission
12 78:37 خِطَابًا addressing

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"[3] (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
3 2:232 يُوعَظُ is admonished 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
12 7:164 تَعِظُونَ you admonish verb
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
21 26:136 ٱلْوَٰعِظِينَ the admonishers noun
22 31:13 يَعِظُهُۥ (he) admonished him verb
23 34:46 أَعِظُكُم (I) advise you verb
24 58:3 تُوعَظُونَ you are admonished verb
25 65:2 يُوعَظُ is 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.

See Also


    • "اللسان تكررت 25 مره والموعظه تكررت 25 مره"
    • "The "tongue" (اللسان) is repeated 25 times and the "admonition" (الموعظه) is repeated 25 times."