1) The Qur’an mentions the term banan (بَنَانَ)
2) The term banan (بَنَانَ) means “fingerprint”
3) Fingerprints are individually unique
4) Premise 3 was unknown in Antiquity
Therefore, the Qur’an mentions that each fingerprint is distinct (before anyone knew)
Source for Argument
The Identity in the Fingerprint
بَلَىٰ قَٰدِرِينَ عَلَىٰٓ أَن نُّسَوِّىَ بَنَانَهُ
75:04 - Yea, verily. We are Able to restore his very fingers!
75:04 - Bala qadireena AAala an nusawwiya bananahu
For other translations, visit http://quranx.com/75.4
For word-by-word analysis, visit http://quranx.com/Analysis/75.4
1. The argument is logically invalid - Non-Sequitur Conclusion
2. banan (بَنَانَ) does not mean fingerprint
3. Uniqueness of fingerprints may have been recognized in Ancient time
1. The argument is logically invalid – Non-Sequitur Conclusion
The goal of the present dawahganda argument is to claim that the Qur’an foretold the uniqueness of every individual fingerprint. Yet this conclusion is derived entirely based on a translation of a single word, banan (بَنَانَ), as “fingerprint”. There exists no references or inferences to the uniqueness of banan (بَنَانَ) (translated as “fingerprint”).
The mere mentioning of “fingerprint” does not, in and of itself, entail any other information related to it. Thus, this argument contains a blatantly non-sequitur conclusion. Therefore, this dawahganda argument is logically invalid.
The rather disheartening act here is that the dawahganadists do not even make an attempt to explain away the obvious non-sequitur conclusion.[i] Such examples of pretense call into question the integrity and sincerity of these dawahgandists.
2. banan (بَنَانَ) does not mean fingerprint
On top of the logical invalidity of the present dawahganda argument lies the fact that it also relies on a mistranslation. The term banan (بَنَانَ) has been translated as “fingerprint” yet neither classical nor modern dictionaries of the Arabic language express such a meaning.
Lane’s lexicon, a lexicon of Classical Arabic, defines banan (بَنَانَ) in the following way[ii];
The definition given is that of fingers or the ends of fingers. Similarly, the Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic defines banan (بَنَانَ) in the following way;
Additionally, the same term banan (بَنَانَ) appears in another verse, Sura 8:12, where it is used in the phrase “smite of them each finger (banan (بَنَانَ))”. Given the context of the verse, it is more sensible to say “smite every finger/fingertip” rather than “smite off every fingerprint”.
The dawahgandists who push this argument have not provided any sources to believe that the term banan (بَنَانَ) means “fingerprint”. Therefore, this premise can be rejected due to lack of evidence as well as the positive evidence pointing to its meaning as “finger” or “fingertip”.
Nevertheless, it should be remembered that even if it was the case that banan (بَنَانَ) meant “fingerprint”, the dawahganda argument is still logically invalid as demonstrated in Objection 1.
3. Uniqueness of fingerprints may have been recognized in Ancient times
Lastly, there is some evidence to suggest that the alleged scientific knowledge of the uniqueness of individual fingerprints may have been recognized in some cultures of Antiquity. For example, Criminologist Prof. Simon Cole states the following on the history of fingerprinting;
"It is impossible to pinpoint exactly when the idea of authenticating personal identity through papillary ridges first emerged. Fingerprints appear on ancient pottery and cave painting in Asia, Europe, and
North America, where they may have denoted authorship or
identity. Archaeological evidence from seventh-century China shows
fingerprints embossed in clay seals which were used to sign documents, and the
practice may have been as old as the Former Hand dynasty [202 BCE - 220 CE].
From China the practice
spread to Japan, Tibet and India, where fingerprints were used
as signatures or seals. The use of fingerprints as signatures suggests that
fingerprint patters where believed to be unique. In 1303, the Persian
historian Rashi-eddin, reporting the use of fingerprints as signatures in China,
declared: "Experience shows that no two individuals have fingers precisely
Given that this point is tentative, it cannot be conclusively used to claim that this information was known in antiquity or that Muhammad knew about it. It can only be taken as probable evidence.
[i]. For example, this site, http://miraclesofthequran.com/scientific_66.html, begins by stating that the Qur’an mentioned “fingerprints”, then moves on to separately discuss the uniqueness of fingerprints, and incoherently concludes, without any intermediary argument or reason, that the Qur’an foretold uniqueness of fingerprints.
[ii]. Lane, Edward William; "An Arabic-English Lexicon"; Librairie Du Liban, 1968. Vol. 1, page 258 http://www.studyquran.org/LaneLexicon/Volume1/00000295.pdf
[iii]. Cole, A.S. Suspect Identities: A History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification.
Press, 2009. Page 60 (Accessed via Google Books. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=3CYqtVk6oI8C) Harvard University