Talk­ing Ants in the Qur’an ?

Basi­cal­ly, the gist of the mis­sion­ary claim is :

    Why does the Qur’an say that ants talk (27:18 – 19)? Every­one knows that ants com­mu­ni­cate by chem­i­cals detect­ed by scent and nev­er sound ! Is this not a sci­en­tif­ic error in the Qur’an ? 


This style of argu­ment is quite sopho­moric in that it is entire­ly based on some­one who does not even have a rudi­men­ta­ry lev­el under­stand­ing of zool­o­gy or ento­mol­o­gy (I believe this is cov­ered in 9th-Grade Biol­o­gy in the USA). Its sad­ly typ­i­cal of this genre of anti-Islam­ic qua­si-polemi­cists. You seri­ous­ly could­n’t go to the library or even do a web search for infor­ma­tion on acoustic com­mu­ni­ca­tion by ants ? What does this say about your cred­i­bil­i­ty as a genre collectively ?

The crit­ic fal­la­cious­ly relied upon an Eng­lish trans­la­tion of the Qur’an which no Mus­lim relies upon. Unlike the Chris­tians’ New Tes­ta­ment which has no Syr­i­ac or Ara­ma­ic orig­i­nal, nor even a Greek codex from the 1st cen­tu­ry CE, the Qur’an has always been in Ara­bic as it is today and this is the stan­dard through­out the world. Crit­ics and sup­port­ers alike agree that the Qur’an was always Ara­bic (ignor­ing any neo­phytes who base­less­ly claim it was Syr­i­ac). Even ori­en­tal­ists with half a brain quote from the Ara­bic text.

First­ly, have you ever heard of some­thing called a mir­a­cle” asso­ci­at­ed with some­one called a prophet”? If Moses can part the Red Sea, Solomon hear­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tion of ants is nothing.

So the ques­tion is : Do ants com­mu­ni­cate acoustically ?

Here is the verse :

Talking Ants in the Qur'an? 1

Talking Ants in the Qur'an? 2

(18) Ḥat­tā idhā ataw ʿalā wādī an-naml, qālat nam­latun : Yā ayyuhā an-nam­lu, udkhulū masāk­i­nakum lā yaḥ­tu­man­nakum Sulaymānu wa junū­duhu wa hum lā yashʿurūn.
(19) Fa-tabaṣṣa­ma ḍāḥikan min qawli­hā wa qāla : Rab­bi awz­iʿnī an ashku­ra niʿ­mata­ka allatī anʿam­ta ʿalayya wa ʿalā wāl­i­dayya wa an aʿmala ṣāliḥan tarḍāhu wa-adkhilnī biraḥ­mati­ka fī ʿibādi­ka aṣ-ṣāliḥīn.” 

This is the translation :

(18) Until when they reached a val­ley of naml — one of the namlat(un) con­veyed : O you com­pa­ny of naml, into your dwellings lest Solomon and his armies crush you unbe­knownst to them.
(19) So he smiled, amused by her mes­sage, and said : O my Lord ! Order me that I may be grate­ful for Your favours which you have bestowed on me and on my par­ents, and that I may work right­eous­ness that will please You. And admit me, by Your Grace, to the ranks of Your right­eous servants.” 

First of all we have the word naml” in Ara­bic which is a word for ants as well as ter­mites in the Ara­bic lan­guage. Ants are usu­al­ly called in Ara­bic an-Naml al-Abyad” mean­ing the white ant”.

The antagonist(s) typ­i­cal­ly make the fal­la­cious assump­tion that ants do not com­mu­ni­cate by sound. Not only do ants com­mu­ni­cate by sound, but ter­mites are specif­i­cal­ly known to com­mu­ni­cate by sound. Regard­ing ants, their acoustic com­mu­ni­ca­tion has been thor­ough­ly researched and doc­u­ment­ed in a study from Robert Hick­ling, Nation­al Cen­ter for Phys­i­cal Acoustics Uni­ver­si­ty of Mis­sis­sip­pi and Richard L. Brown, Depart­ment of Ento­mol­o­gy and Plant Pathol­o­gy, Mis­sis­sip­pi State Uni­ver­si­ty enti­tled Nearfield acoustic com­mu­ni­ca­tion by ants”.

Not only did they doc­u­ment ant sounds — and here’s the dev­as­tat­ing blow to this mis­sion­ary non­sense — they record­ed the sounds you can hear on the web.

Here are the actu­al .wav files you can lis­ten to :

Stridu­la­tion Sounds of Black Fire Ants (Solenop­sis rich­teri) in Dif­fer­ent Situations

Now that absolute­ly ends the argu­ment right there. But to take it even a step fur­ther, schol­ars of Qur’?c hermeneu­tics have stat­ed that due to the vers­es pre­ced­ing 18 – 19 it can be strong­ly adduced that these are winged ants or pos­si­ble winged termites.

In verse 27:16 which is 2 vers­es before the top­ic of this dis­cus­sion, Solomon states : “ ullim­nā manṭiq aṭ-ṭayr.” mean­ing, we have been taught the mode of com­mu­ni­ca­tion for those things which fly (birds, etc)”. The word tayr” lit­er­al­ly means to fly as the words for bird” and air­plane” also derive from the same root of tayr” in the Ara­bic lan­guage. This is the opin­ion of Ash-Shu’bi as relat­ed in Al-Qur­tubi’s tafsir, Vol­ume 13, who states : These nam­lah’ had two wings, thus they were cat­e­go­rized as tayr…”

I use the word naml” instead of ant” and things that fly” instead of bird”, since the Eng­lish trans­la­tions have failed to cap­ture these lin­guis­tic nuances which must be explained. It is well known that ter­mites com­mu­ni­cate by sound and this does not require any post­ing of a research paper. Even the Orkin pest con­trol guy knows that they do.

What is inter­est­ing to note is that wings in ants is a sign of unmat­ed males and females, as they are called winged repro­duc­tives” or swarm­ers”. This is because they leave their mounds en masse to mate. Hence, the verse men­tion­ing that these ants are not in their mounds but out in the open. This verse uses the fem­i­nine verb qālat” in regards to the ant that warned the oth­ers. Thus, it was per­haps a winged, unmat­ed queen.

Now do crit­ics of a Judeo-Chris­t­ian back­ground have any­thing to stand upon when they make this criticism ?

No. The words used in vers­es 18 – 19 for com­mu­ni­ca­tion are inflec­tions of the word qāla’ (قَالَ). This word does not only mean to speak, but also to con­vey some­thing or to make a sound. The cog­nate for this word in pre­vi­ous scrip­tures is qāl’ (ܩܐܠ) in Ara­ma­ic and is found in the Book of Daniel in the fol­low­ing manner :

Talking Ants in the Qur'an? 3
ḥāzeh hāwah min-qōl mil­lîn rab­bāyin dī-’imallēl qarnā.”
I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake…” (Daniel 7:11)

A talk­ing horn ? The notion of an inan­i­mate horn talk­ing is even more absurd than an ant talk­ing ! You will often find that the Chris­t­ian mis­sion­ar­ies like to cast stones from glass hous­es. The fact is that these are mir­a­cles and you aren’t sup­posed to try and sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly explain” them any­ways. How­ev­er, even when we answer the mis­sion­ar­ies’ chal­lenges by doing so, they end up falling flat on their faces.

So in con­clu­sion, how does the Qur’an doc­u­ment such detail which would have lit­er­al­ly been unknow­able in the 7th cen­tu­ry C.E.? Accord­ing to those who say the Prophet Muham­mad (P) invent­ed the Qur’an one would have to con­clude that he was a Bib­li­cal Schol­ar, a Semit­ic Ety­mol­o­gist with prowess in Hebrew, Syr­i­ac and Greek on a schol­ar­ly lev­el, an OB-Gyn, a Chemist, a Meterol­o­gist, a Geol­o­gist, a Zool­o­gist, a Chemist, etc., and now an Ento­mol­o­gist ! Maybe he had a time machine, eh ? Dis­miss­ing the Qur’an as the Prophet’s (P) inven­tion cre­ates more prob­lems than it addresses.

And only God knows best.Endmark


  1. Okay, great, great argu­ments. So lets just agree that it is a mir­a­cle okay, some­thing that can­not be explain log­i­cal­ly. Lets just say that solomon under­stood” what the ants said.
    Still that does­nt make ants can talk”.
    Ants do not have a com­plex brain that allows it to be able to com­mu­ni­cate using lan­guage”. Lan­guage and com­mu­ni­ca­tion is dif­fer­ent. Ani­mals cant com­mu­ni­cate in many ways. But they can­not com­mu­ni­cate using lan­guage. Ani­mals com­mu­ni­cate only just to tell food”, ene­my”, or oth­er sim­ple stuffs. So even if its trans­lat­ed, no way ants can talk like in the quran.
    I sup­posed you already know that one of the require­ment for some­thing to be called lan­guage is grammar.
    In your quran, ants is talk­ing with a com­plex brain and com­plex gram­mar. If that is real­ly real, ants could have lit­er­al­ly tak­en over the world by now, since their brain is so com­plex they can rec­og­nize their ene­my, they can cre­ate plan, and oth­ers human can do.
    So, let’s say the mir­a­cle of solomon is not trans­lat­ing” ants com­mu­ni­ca­tion, but rather to make the ants to be able to have com­plex mind like human that they are able to invent lan­guage, well that would be even more stu­pid. Arab now would have been full of descen­dants of smart ants lol. But yet, those things are not just sil­ly, but also have no evi­dence what­so­ev­er. Stu­pid islam

  2. I feel retard­ed when I read any­thing relat­ed to Islam. But I had to. When I feel stu­pid and use­less I just read Islam­ic texts to feel bet­ter again. Because they make me realise there are way dumb­er peo­ple than me in this world it’s so satisfying

  3. Adam … Any one can write like you did.…… few lines filled with vagaries and with no under­ly­ing facts .…. AND that my dear friend how deceit is defined by you infi­dels among us , the true fol­low­ers of Jesus .…

  4. LOL, you mus­lims are not only try­ing to deceive oth­ers but your­selves n your fam­i­lies. Defend­ing a fake , error rid­den book full of stu­pidi­ties serve no jus­tice to mankind. Stay away from islam

    1. You are going to have to do bet­ter than dis­parag­ing Islam if you want to con­vince us of your lies.

  5. trans­pos­ing acoustic com­mu­ni­ca­tion by ants” (between each oth­er) and stridu­la­tion sounds” into vocal­iza­tion in a human lan­guage is quran­ic word­play at its most inven­tive. But at least you admit that it is not to be tak­en lit­er­al­ly and that an ant talk­ing in a human lan­guage with any human would be yet one more mir­a­cle” on the scale of cred­i­bil­i­ty with the part­ing of the seas in yet anoth­er deeply flawed and moral­ly cor­rupt holy book.” So, here we have one more sci­en­tif­ic” claim for the quran that turns out to be a word game. Ants do not talk with peo­ple. Peo­ple do not talk with ants. 

    As for any claim that the quran has pre-mod­ern knowl­edge of ant com­mu­ni­ca­tion with each oth­er, it has been known even in prim­i­tive cul­tures that pre­date the quran by thou­sands of years that ants (and a high per­cent­age of insects and oth­er crea­tures) pro­duce rub­bing of body parts that makes a sound under­stood by oth­ers of their species in a high­ly lim­it­ed vocab­u­lary” (none of it vocal). Even oth­er crea­tures know” that strid­u­lent sounds they hear may be fast food if they fol­low the sound to its source.

  6. Salam please tell me how did the ant knows solomon personally.

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