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Did Prophet Muhammad say that the human body is made up of 360 joints?

The sections of this article are:

1-  Prophet Muhammad's Saying (Hadith).

      (a)-  Only a handful of joints are noticeable in the body.

2-  Medical evidence about the 360 joints.
3-  The Glorious Quran confirms that the 360 number may not be literal.
4-  Conclusion.

  

  

  

1-  Prophet Muhammad's Saying (Hadith):

The following is the Hadith in Arabic and my English translation to it:

حدثنا ‏ ‏حسن بن علي الحلواني ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏أبو توبة الربيع بن نافع ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏معاوية يعني ابن سلام ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏زيد ‏ ‏أنه سمع ‏ ‏أبا سلام ‏ ‏يقول حدثني ‏ ‏عبد الله بن فروخ ‏ ‏أنه سمع ‏ ‏عائشة ‏ ‏تقول ‏
‏إن رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏قال إنه ‏ ‏
خلق كل إنسان من بني ‏ ‏آدم ‏ ‏على ستين وثلاث مائة ‏ ‏مفصل ‏ ‏فمن كبر الله وحمد الله وهلل الله وسبح الله واستغفر الله وعزل حجرا عن طريق الناس أو شوكة أو عظما عن طريق الناس وأمر بمعروف أو نهى عن منكر عدد تلك الستين والثلاث مائة ‏ ‏السلامى ‏ ‏فإنه يمشي يومئذ وقد زحزح نفسه عن النار ‏

(http://hadith.al-islam.com/Display/Display.asp?Doc=1&Rec=2196&Tags=&Index=&Search=0&desc=-1&SID=-1&pos=&CurRecPos=&dsd=&ST=&Tag=&SP= )

Hasan bin Al-Hilwani narrated to us that Abu Tawbah Al-Rabie bin Nafi'a narrated that Muaawiyah Yaani ibn Salam narrated that Zaid narrated that he heard Abu Salam said that Abdallah bin Farookh narrated that he heard Aisha (the wife of the Prophet) say that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said that every man from the people of Adam (i.e., mankind) was created UNTO/UPON/ON 60 and 300 MIFSAL.  So whoever glorifies Allah, praises Allah, calls people to Allah, makes supplications to Allah, seeks forgiveness from Allah, removes a stone, needle or bone from the people's path (i.e., removes obstacles from people's paths), and enjoins what is just and forbid what is wrong in the number of those 60 and 300 ALSALAMA, he will then on that day remove himself from Hell Fire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Hadith (Saying of Prophet Muhammad) is a Mutawatir (genuine....among the very well known ones) one.  This can be verified in this link (see Hadith #395 on the list).  Now reading the Arabic and English texts above, we clearly see the key words UNTO, UPON or ON for the Arabic word "ala" (على)

  

(a)-  Only a handful of joints are noticeable in the body:

The Prophet of Islam, peace be upon him, might have:

 
1-  Made an actual Scientific claim about the human body having 360 joints in it.

2-  Made a metaphoric claim, since the joints that are visible to us are only a handful (knees, elbows, knuckles, etc...), and medical technology back then did not exist.

In either case, we will clearly see that the Prophet's claims are in harmony with Science.  

  

  

2-  Medical evidence about the 360 joints:

The following medical websites confirm that the human body does have 360 joints in it:

  

Article #1:

Dr. Douglas A. Becker of Minneapolis Orthopaedics claims that the human body has 360 joints:


(Click on image to enlarge)

  

Article #2:

Raymond D. Mutter, M.D., who is a specialist in internal medicine, also claims that the human body has 360 joints:


(Click on images to enlarge)

  

Article #3:

Dr. Tracey Allison Planinz, PhD claims that the human body has 360 joints:


(Click on image to enlarge)

  

Article #4:

By Dr. Zaghloul Al-Naggar:
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

'A'ishah (A.S.) narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said:

"Everyone has been created with three hundred and sixty Joints. Whoever mentions Allah's greatness (says Allahu Akbar), praises Allah, extols Allah, and seeks forgiveness from Allah and removes stones from the path of the people, enjoins what is good and forbids the evil to the amount of those three hundred and sixty joints (sulama), he walks on that Day (of Judgment) having distanced himself from the Hell fire."

Abu Dharr (A.S.) narrated "the Prophet said (PBUH):

"In every morning there is a charitable act on the joints of any of you. Every tasbihah (to say: subhanallah, i.e. Glory be to Allah) is a charitable act; every tahmidah (to say: al-hamdu lillah, i.e. Praise be to Allah) is a charitable act, every tahlilah (to say: la ilaha illallah, i.e. There is none worthy of worship but Allah) is a charitable act; every takbirah (to say: Allahu akbar, i.e. Allah is the Greatest) is a charitable act; enjoining the right is a charitable act; forbidding the evil is a charitable act. However, to fulfill that charity, it is sufficient to pray two rak'at of Duha."

The word "Sulama" in Arabic refers to the joint. It can be also used for all the body bones and the joints between them. Most of the body bones are movable, but some are fixed as those of the skull.

The Explanation of the Hadith

The hadith clearly directs Muslims to be grateful to Allah, the Almighty, Who dignifies and honors man, over all other creatures, by giving him a straight upright skeleton. It has been created of a huge number of big and small bones and cartilage. Between every two bones, there is a joint to enable the bones and to protect the body's soft parts. These joints enable the person to stand up, sit down, lie on his side, bend, stretch, etc. Every Muslim who worships Allah, Glorified be He, must be grateful to Allah for every one of these joints, and offer a charitable act, in way of gratitude to His Creator, for this great blessing, without which life would have been impossible.

It is amazing that the Prophet (PBUH) mentioned the number of the body joints so precisely, at a time when nobody had any idea about human anatomy. Even now in the 21st century, many people still do not know the number of joints in their bodies, including many professors of orthopedics. I asked many of them, and their answer was between 200 and 300 bones, and around 100-300 joints.

Likewise, many international encyclopedias avoid giving an exact number of bones and joints of the human skeleton by classifying them into major groups or subdivision. The Encyclopedia Britannica classified them into three subdivisions:

1- The Axial Skeleton: which consists of the bones of the vertebral column and the majority of the skull bones.

2- The Visceral Skeleton: which consists of the thorax (the ribs and the breastbones), the lower jaw and some parts of the upper jaw.

3- The Appendicular Skeleton: which consists of the bones of the pelvic girdles, shoulders and limbs.

The Hatchinson Encyclopedia, published in 1995, mentioned that the number of bones in a human skeleton is only 206 bones.

In his book titled, "The Journey of Faith inside the Human Body", Dr.Hamid Ahmed Hamid mentioned that the total number of the human body joints is exactly 360, as the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) stated 1400 years ago. According to Dr. Hamid, the details of these bones are as follows:

Joints in the human body

 

First: 147 joints in the vertebral column

25 joints between the vertebrae.

72 joints between the vertebrae and the ribs.

Second: 24 joints in the thorax

2 joints between the bones of the sternum and the thoracic cage.

18 joints between the sternum and the ribs.

2 joints between the clavicle and the scapulae (shoulder blade).

2 joints between the scapulae and the thorax.

Third: 86 joints in the upper extremity

2 joints between the scapular bones.

6 joints between the elbows.

8 joints between the wrists.

70 joints between the hand bones.

Fourth: 92 joints in the lower extremity

2 hip joints.

6 joints between the knee bones.

6 joints between the ankles.

74 joints between the feet bones.

Fifth: 11 joints in the Pelvis

4 joints between the coccyx vertebrae.

6 joints between the bones acetabulm.

1 joint of the pubic sumphysis.

Total number of joints: 360

Those joints, mentioned in the hadith, are the movable joints in the human body, which give the ability to the vertebral column and hence the whole body to move freely. The immovable joints, as those joining the skull bones, are not counted here. The movable ones are also known as "The Synovial joints", for they contain a fluid known as the "Synonvial fluid". This fluid allows friction-free movement of the bones by reducing direct contact. For example, the hip joint, composed of a ball-like head of the femur that fits into a socket-like depression of the pelvis bone, makes the hip and the whole leg movements easy and flexible. Another example is the Hinge joint, which enables man to easily bend his leg.

Another type of joints is called "The Gliding joints" as that of the radiocarpal (wrist) joint. In this joint, the facing bone surfaces are in most cases flat, allowing the bones to glide freely in several directions. The joint between the two upper vertebrae has a special structure. It allows the side movement of the head, through the rotation of the ball-like head of one vertebra into the socket-like depression of the other vertebra.

Were it not for the joints created by Allah the Almighty, man would not have been able to move one bone in his body. The defect in one joint causes a lot of pain and problems.

Sunnah & Science

  

Article #5:

Some Scientists today, Muslims and Westerners, were able to demonstrate and prove that the human body does have 360 joints in it:

  • Scientific article at eajaz.org: [1, 1] [2, 2]
  • More Doctors claiming that humans have 360 joints:

  • http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-bone-and-joint-center-of-seattle-seattle [3]
  • Other websites:

  • http://www.jlquiropractico.com/arthritis/
  • http://www.fioricetblog.com/2012/01/joint-pain-treatment-and-tips/
  • http://www.sooperarticles.com/health-fitness-articles/joint-pain-treatment-672067.html
  • http://www.blurtit.com/q822970.html
  •   

      

    3-  The Glorious Quran confirms that the 360 number may not be literal:

    Allah Almighty in the Glorious Quran made some numerical references that He, the Almighty, clearly stated that they were not literal:

    1-  The Lunar Calendar is the most accurate calendar - mentioned in the Noble Quran and confirmed by Science.  Also the precise calculation of difference between the Gregorian and Lunar calendars is demonstrated in the Noble Quran.

  • Read about the people of the cave's Scientific Miracle and the other Numerical Miracles about the years and math as well, in the article.
  • 2-  http://www.answering-christianity.com/scienceinquran_com_chapter2.pdf.

    So with these examples from the Glorious Quran, we can now all agree that Prophet Muhammad's statement about the 360 joints in the human body, if it was intended to be literally about actual joints, was an estimation and not necessarily an actual and exact calculated figure.  In other words, the statement could also mean that man roughly has around 360 joints (give or take some).

      

      

    4-  Conclusion:

    Whether the Prophet, peace be upon him, meant to make an actual Scientific claim or not, we clearly don't have any problem in either way.  If the Prophet claimed that mankind has around 360 joints, then this is in harmony with Science today.  And if the Prophet spoke in symbolic terms and that mankind is so complex, that he was perhaps Designed by Allah Almighty in 360 stages, then we also wouldn't have a problem with Science.

      

      

      

      

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