Gullibility or Intention?

Osama Abdallah — Champion of Hoaxes in the Name of Islam

The confidence in the truth of Islam, for many Muslims, appears to be based for a good part on the conviction that modern science confirms the Qur'an. They believe, and want to make us believe, that the Qur'an and even the sayings of Muhammad contain much scientific information which was only discovered recently and which could not have been known in Muhammad's time. This is claimed to be conclusive evidence that Muhammad and the Qur'an were divinely inspired to make these statements, and those statements serve as the divine authentication of Islam as true revelation. The issue — whether or not science confirms Islam — is discussed in some detail in the section Qur'an & Science.

One feature in many of the claims put forward by Osama Abdallah is that they contain an appeal to some contemporary scientific authority, usually a non-Muslim person or publication, which supposedly confirms the teachings of Islam from a scientific viewpoint. However, it turns out that this alleged confirmation is all too often fabricated, a hoax. In this article, I want to point out three such hoaxes found on Abdallah's website,


There are a number of sayings of Muhammad in which he claims that the human body contains 360 joints. O. Abdallah has published a webpage, titled "Islam's claim about the 360 joints in the human body was proven to be true!", seeking to provide scientific evidence to support this claim. The arguments on that page are discussed in detail in this rebuttal. For the present paper, I am only interested in one of the statements made by Abdallah to support his case:

Prior to 1995 it was thought that there are 340 joints in the human body. In 1995 a scientific institute proved that the internal ear consists of 10 joints each. Thus 20 joints were added and the discovery was made that the human body consists of 360 joints. Please refer to any medical encyclopedia on this.

This paragraph makes several claims:

Thus, the reader can have every confidence in this claim, and will accept it without checking whether or not it is actually true.

However, ...

The above quoted statement is a hoax, created to make people believe in Islam based on alleged scientific evidence. The irony is that some Muslims made the effort to compose this deliberate lie in order to convince people that Islam is the truth. Abdallah's page does not give the reader any indication whether he created this hoax himself, or he simply found this claim somewhere and spread it without checking its veracity.

Six months ago, on 12 December 2003, we published a detailed examination of whether or not "Islam's claim about the 360 joints in the human body was proven to be true", and showed that every single ‘scientific’ evidence Abdallah listed in support of Muhammad's statement was wrong. Until that time, Abdallah may have been merely gullible to publish such nonsense without making any effort to verify it. Today, however, on 19 May 2004 he has still not changed his page. He knows that the above statement is wrong, but he continues to spread this hoax. He has seemingly no problem to use proven lies, statements which he knows to be wrong, in order to attract people to Islam. He may still believe that the human body has 360 joints, simply because Muhammad said so, but he knows for sure that (a) the medical community did not teach prior to 1995 that the human body had 340 joints, (b) there was no scientific institute which proved in 1995 that the internal ear consists of 10 joints each, and (c) consulting current medical encyclopedias does not yield the desired statement that the human body has 360 joints.

Abdallah claims to be doing further research into the issue (see these postings on his discussion forum: *, *). This is fair enough, since no definite number of joints has been established so far. Nevertheless, it is a matter of intellectual integrity to remove from the article those statements which are already known to be false. I appreciate that we are all busy people, and I had not expected that he remove these statements within a day. However, in the meantime, Abdallah has published several dozens of new articles which took certainly more than 100 hours of writing and formatting. There is no excuse that he did not have time to remove those couple of sentences from that particular article by this point in time. Abdallah knows these things to be wrong and even acknowledged this on his discussion forum, but nevertheless continues to propagate this hoax. This is no longer excusable six months after the hoax was exposed. This is intentional. The average reader of his site would not come across his admission of error on the discussion forum, but would only see the article containing these false claims.

This behavior is even more cause for concern since the issue of intellectual integrity was raised nearly ten weeks ago, on 12 March 2004, in my second rebuttal to Abdallah regarding an article in his "science proves Islam" section. Abdallah's only response so far was a message on his discussion board bearing the title "I will shove your arrogance right down your throat Jochen Katz".


On 12 March 2004, I gave ample proof that another one of his articles, "The Jewish Scientists confirm Islam's claims about Adam was 90 feet tall", is also a a hoax. This time it does not only contain one statement which is false, but the complete article is an obvious hoax; see "Muhammad and the ‘90 feet tall’ Adam" for details. The main issue is that the article refers to an alleged scientific journal that reports the results of Dr. Shlomi Lesser's research. Apart from the scientific nonsense which this article contains, the problem is that in reality neither this journal exists nor does Dr. Lesser. For Abdallah, our evidence was no reason at all to correct his article. At first, this webpage merely provided further evidence of Abdallah's deplorable gullibility, accepting everything as true as long as it seems to support Islam. However, until today he has not changed anything on this particular webpage. This fact can hardly be viewed in any other way than that he propagates this hoax now intentionally. In addition, on 30 April 2004, the author of the hoax published his story about the reason why he created it, thus removing the last bit of doubt about its alleged authenticity. Abdallah knows about my rebuttal as well as the admission to the hoax by the author. Nevertheless, his page is still unchanged.

What is even worse than not correcting known errors is that Abdallah continues to recommend these articles as evidence for the truth of Islam! He included links to both of them, i.e. to the article on the 360 joints and to the article about the 90 feet tall Adam, in one of his latest articles, My rebuttal to Brian G. Bloedel's article "Islam, The Koran (Noble Quran) and the Torah", published on 7 May 2004. He writes:

The Noble Quran was sent to Mankind and not just to the Arabs. The Miracle of the Noble Quran is within it. While the Biblical Prophets performed Miracles that proved their Truthfulness and Prophethoods, but their miracles had died when they died. Today, we don't see people curing blinds and raising dead and making bird from clay, etc... The Miracle of the Noble Quran is internal and Everlasting until the Day of Judgement. The following are a small sample of the Islamic Miracles: ...

Sex determination and human creation in Islam. Allah Almighty and Prophet Muhammad both claimed that the human gender is determined by the male's ejaculated semen.

Islam's claim about the 360 joints in the human body was proven to be true!

The Jewish Scientists confirm Islam's claims about Adam was 90 feet tall.

Were human cloning and gender alteration prophesied in Islam?   (bold emphasis mine)

Abdallah knows that the statements in these articles are more than questionable. Apparently he still wants people to believe them as being true and to become Muslims based on these lies.

Mr. Abdallah: Is truth in any way a priority for you? Do you believe that Allah will reward you if somebody becomes a Muslim because he was impressed by one of your hoaxes?


The third hoax in Abdallah's ‘Science’ section is found in the article "The Noble Quran and Astronomers both claim that the Universe is 18 billion years old". The argument proceeds in three steps.

First, the article explains how some scientists try to calculate the age of the universe from the age of chemical elements and arrive at the conclusion that the universe is between 11.5 and 18 billion years old. The explanation of this method seems to be reasonably standard.

Second, a highly imaginative interpretation of some verses of the Qur'an is presented, and a calculation is performed based on that interpretation, which concludes with the claim that according to the Qur'an "the age of the Universe is around 18, 1/4 Billions years". This calculation is very similar to another one which claims that the speed of light is revealed in the Qur'an. This part of the argument is simply ridiculous. I may respond to it in detail at a later time. However, the scientific part at the beginning of the article claimed that the age of the universe is estimated to be between 11.5 and 18 billion years. Should the real age of the universe be 12 billion, and the Qur'an says it is 18 billion, that would be a huge error. Thus, the author added a third step and concluded the article with this statement:

After more than 14 centuries, Science and particularly Professor Jean-Claude Batelere of the "College de France" states that it is now a certitude that the Universe is 18 billions years old. (bold emphasis mine)

Voilà, science and the Qur'an agree exactly. Another miracle shows the divine origin of the Qur'an!

However, this part is yet another hoax. Just as in the second hoax, this alleged professor does not even exist, let alone holding a position at the prestigous "College de France". Thankfully, the "College de France" also has a website, and they make this issue easy for us by publishing an alphabetically sorted list of their professors. Here is the relevant part:

Spyros Artavanis-Tsakonas             Biologie et génétique du développement
Edouard BardÉvolution du climat et de l'océan
Théodor BerchemChaire européenne
Alain BerthozPhysiologie de la perception et de l'action
...(accessed on 19 May 2004)

The name "Jean-Claude Batelere" is not among them. What is even worse, this name seems to be unknown on the whole of the internet! Anyone who is offered a position as professor at this academic institution needs to have a considerable amount of research and publications to his name. This also means that their name is in many documents, including internet pages. Searching for the two names found just before and after the location where "Batelere" should have been listed according to alphabetical order yields plenty of results. Google knows 389 pages mentioning "Edouard Bard" and 2,230 pages containing the name "Théodor Berchem" (search result on 18 May 2004, 20:15 GMT).

The only pages containing the name "Jean-Claude Batelere" are copies of the Muslim article that is displayed on Abdallah's site, and a number of other Muslim websites as well. This is 99.9% proof that this person is fictitious.

Actually, the existence or non-existence of this professor has absolutely no consequence for the veracity of the claim that the Qur'an puts the age of the universe at 18 billion years. It is irrelevant. Thinking that it does is simply the logical fallacy of appeal to authority. The fact, however, that the Muslim author of this article felt the need to invent some professor who agrees with him in order to give his argument additional credibility does not inspire much confidence in the quality of the article as a whole. Nor does it do much to raise the confidence in the quality of Abdallah's research.

Conclusion: Without wanting to generalize this to all Muslims, it is obvious that some Muslims don't seem to see a problem with inventing and/or propagating lies in order to make people believe that Islam is the truth of God. Readers beware!

Jochen Katz, 19 May 2004

P.S. That the Allah of Islam condones lying in certain situations is documented in the Index entry on LYING, so that some of these Muslims may actually be convinced that Allah is pleased by their use of deliberate deception to spread Islam.

The Sad Story Continues ...

On 27 May 2004, after the pressure was building and he had basically become the laughing-stock of Muslims and non-Muslims alike, Osama Abdallah finally removed from his site two of the above-exposed articles (Hoax 1 and Hoax 2). See his announcement on the Answering Christianity message board.

However, he simply replaced the pages that contained those articles by another lie. The "360 joints" hoax he replaced by this statement:

I have decided to remove this article because I could not:

1-  Verify the authenticity of the Hadiths (Sayings of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him), because many hadiths are weak/doubtful.  The hadiths I provided were unfortunately isolated (each narrated only once).  Generally, the hadiths narrated by many people have stronger validity than isolated ones.  Please visit: What parts of the Bible and Hadiths do Muslims believe are closest to the Truth, and why?

2-  Prove scientifically that the human body has 360 joints in it.

I apologize for the inconvenience.   (Source:, accessed 24 October 2004)

Abdallah apologizes "for the inconvenience" of the visitor, i.e. that the reader is no longer able to access the article at this page. Wow, we are impressed! Apparently he does not feel the necessity to apologize for having misled his readership for years, nor does he regret having lied for the cause of Islam — at least for those nearly seven months after the stories had already been exposed as hoaxes, in which he continued to spread and defend them, and did not even as much as add a statement of caution to those articles that there are reasons to believe that they may be wrong.

He acknowledges absolutely no fault on his side, that he carelessly and gullibly spread stories for which he made absolutely no effort to verify their truth, which would have been his responsibility as the owner and editor of that website.

Abdallah has published dozens of articles that strongly propagate the claim that Islam is true because of the many scientific miracles found in the Qur'an and in the sayings of Muhammad. In fact, this is his main foundation of confidence in Islam (cf. Appendix 2 of the 360 joints rebuttal). His website is one of the largest on this issue of alleged scientific miracles, so that some people may get the impression that he is an established expert in this field. IF, therefore, somebody had put the question to him whether or not the sayings of Muhammad which state that the human body consists of 360 joints constitute another such miracle, THEN the above response would have been a responsible answer.

However, this was not the case. Although he never clarified whether he had composed it himself or he had ‘merely’ passed it on, it was Abdallah who published this hoax, and he clearly never asked the necessary questions until he came under pressure when it finally became publicly exposed. Therefore, the issue is no longer merely whether or not he can verify the hadith. The issue is whether he will acknowledge his responsibility for spreading this hoax, and that he had claimed on his page that there is scientific evidence that this saying of Muhammad is miraculously true. It is no longer only an issue of reliability of these particular hadiths, but is also about his false claims regarding the medical encyclopedias, etc. [Particularly, I have never seen any other Muslim who claimed that a phone number constitutes scientifc proof.] It is not just those sayings of Muhammad that are wrong. Abdallah needs to acknowledge on this page that his claims of scientific proof were were serious mistakes on his part (if he simply passed on what he had found elsewhere) or even lies (if he had made this up himself), and apologize to his readers for those.

Furthermore, the above text is simply an attempt to save face by putting down the same Islamic traditions that he was so proud of before. He wants to avert the blame from his person and claim that it is not his problem (i.e. how he dealt with this), but it is a problem of the Muslim traditions. Whatever he means by the statement that these hadiths were "isolated", it is a weak excuse. Muhammad's statement that the human body consists of 360 joints is found in several hadith collections (Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawud, Musnad Ahmad) and narrated by at least two different companions (Aisha and Buraydah ibn al-Hasib).

On the page that formerly contained the "90 feet tall Adam" hoax, Abdallah placed a nearly identical statement:

I have decided to remove this article because I could not:

1-  Verify the authenticity of the Hadiths (Sayings of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him), because many hadiths are weak/doubtful.  The hadiths I provided were unfortunately isolated (each narrated only once).  Generally, the hadiths narrated by many people have stronger validity than isolated ones.  Please visit: What parts of the Bible and Hadiths do Muslims believe are closest to the Truth, and why?

2-  Prove Scientifically that the first human being was indeed 90 feet tall.

3-  Contact Hebrew University to verify the article, because their web site is in Hebrew and their English section does not give phone numbers.

I apologize for the inconvenience.   (Source:, accessed 24 October 2004)

It is amazing that Abdallah is still in complete denial. He still wants to tell the reader that there is some probability that this was a real and true story, even after the author of the hoax has publically confessed to fabricating it! That Abdallah wasn't able to find a phone number of the Hebrew University is an absolute non-issue, it is irrelevant. The story was fabricated. It is a hoax. Wake up, Abdallah!

Furthermore, has Abdallah now become an expert on evaluating hadith? Muhammad's saying of Adam having been created 90 feet tall is not reported only once but several times in Sahih al-Bukhari (Volume 4, Numbers 543 and 544; Volume 8, Number 246), and several times in Sahih Muslim (Numbers 6795, 6796, and 6809), and narration no. 6796 in Sahih Muslim states explicitly that "this hadith has been transmitted on the authority of Ibn Abi Shaiba with a slight variation of wording", i.e. it is transmitted on the authority of two different narrators, Abu Huraira and Ibn Abi Shaiba. Abdallah's claim that these hadiths were "each narrated only once" is simply another lie.

Usually Muslims argue that if some hadith is found in both collections, Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, then it is certainly reliable and authentic. However, now that Abdallah doesn't like these particular narrations anymore, he simply dismisses them as weak, even though both Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim certified them to be authentic.

On 4 November 2004, Abdallah again changed the pages formerly containing the hoaxes about "360 joints" and the "90 feet tall Adam". They now both contain direct attacks on the hadith, on my person, and plenty of polemics against the Bible, but no amount of attacking the Bible will remove Abdallah's responsibility for having spread those hoaxes for years, and still not admitting that they were indeed hoaxes. Attacking the Bible is Abdallah's usual method of trying to divert the attention away from the problems found at the foundation of his own religion, as well as of his irrational behavior.
On 12 September 2006, Abdallah published an entirely new article on the topic, proposing a spiritual instead of a scientific interpretation of the hadith. His new theory is examined in The 360 Joints Issue Revisited.

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