Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Muslim Slifkin

I was forwarded this article under the title, "The Muslim Slifkin." The parallels are interesting - including how, 800 years ago, Muslims would definitely not have been so traditionalist!

Egyptian Medical Doctor Criticizes the Phenomenon of Accepting Unscientific Islamic Beliefs, like the Notion that a Woman's Pregnancy Can Last Up to Four Years

In an article on the liberal website Elaph, Dr. Khaled Montasser, a liberal Egyptian physician, criticizes the phenomenon of endorsing traditional ideas that have been disproven by science, such as the Muslim belief that a woman can be pregnant for up to four years. He points out that this notion is believed even by some Muslim doctors, and is acknowledged in the laws of some Arab countries, including those that are not theocracies. He calls on the Muslims not to accept outdated and unscientific ideas just because they were proposed by important clerics, stressing that contesting the opinions of religious scholars is not tantamount to attacking or disparaging the religion itself.

Following are excerpts from his article... (click here for more)


  1. 17 months and 11 days -- the longest pregnancy I've found so far:

    Or 18 years, but this one requires an asterisk:

    "Calcified abdominal pregnancy with eighteen years of evolution"

  2. Fascinating. Especially apropos is this: Debating and criticizing the opinions of religious scholars does not mean criticizing or disparaging religion. We mustn't be too sensitive to discuss a scientific issue that was misunderstood by the religious scholars of the past.

  3. I don't know about women being pregnant for 4 years, but I do know that there was a man who was pregnant for 4 decades!


  4. Awesome story, Anonymous! I was kind of hoping that someone would "top" my story, and you did! This leads to a question:

    What if there was just one case in Muslim history in which a woman had a "birth" a la that Indian man after four years? Would this one-in-a-half-billion case be good enough to qualify as a decent source for their belief?

  5. "one-in-a-half-billion case"

    I meant to write "one-in-a-half-billion to one odds case."

    (You can edit my previous post if you like, to reflect this.)


  6. 800 years ago, Muslims would definitely not have been so traditionalist!

    I've seen some statements lately (in connection with Obama's flattering of the Muslim world) that the medieval Arab intellectuals were not particularly 'frum', and many were not even Arabs or Muslims, but rather Zoroastrian Persians, etc.


  7. I don't know about women being pregnant for 4 years, but I do know that there was a man who was pregnant for 4 decades!

    Amazing! But why didn't they do an X-ray? Is that how medicine works in India, they just start cutting?

  8. Sounds like a case for Dr.Babich of the Derech Hatevah Journal.
    see page 11-13

  9. Phil, I'm not sure if you realize it, but the first link is clearly a joke.

  10. I think you're right about the hoax. I guess the following is the best I can find for a live birth:
    375 days
    (I didn't check with any Muslim authorities as to whether the 4 year figure applies only to live births.)

  11. I don't find that very convincing. It sounds exactly like that woman had an early miscarriage and conceived again immediately afterward.

  12. This post is misleading. This pregnancy belief has nothing to do with "Islamic" beliefs but with egyptian culture. Egypt has a long long long history long before Islam came along.

    ephraim while many western academics like indeed to claim just that, that it was all zorastrian. If you dig deeper you will see that frankly it was a hadith "seek knowledge even if you have to go to China" that influenced the great muslim crusade for knowledge. So it indeed was very much a "frum" thing for them!!

  13. Readers, be sure to see:


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