The Rabbit in Bible and Quran

By: Prof.dr. Ibrahim Khalil

The Bible says that the Rabbit is a ruminant animal while the sciences say that the Rabbit is not a ruminant animal.

The Quran does not mention the Rabbit by name but it gives an Arabic word of four characters that can be applicable for man, animals, birds, plants and microbes.

The Rabbit in the Bible:

RABBITS ERRONEOUSLY CALLED RUMINANTS IN THE BIBLE

The rabbits are mentioned in the Old Testament in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. The rabbit does not mentioned in the New Testament.

The quotes herein are from the New International Version.

Leviticus 11:3-6:

'Whatever divides the hoof, and is cloven-footed, chewing the cud, among the animals, that you shall eat.

'Only, you shall not eat these of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: the camel, for he chews the cud but does not divide the hoof; he is unclean to you.

And the rock badger, because he chews the cud, but does not divide the hoof; he is unclean to you.

'And the hare, because he chews the cud but does not divide the hoof; he is unclean to you.'

Deuteronomy 14:6-8:

You may eat any animal that has a split hoof divided in two and that chews the cud.

However, of those that chew the cud or that have a split hoof completely divided you may not eat the camel, the rabbit or the Coney. Although they chew the cud, they do not have a split hoof; they are ceremonially unclean for you.

The pig is also unclean; although it has a split hoof, it does not chew the cud. You are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses.

These verses made the digestive process of the rabbit an object of a hot theological discussion?



In Hebrew "arnebeth" means rabbit

Also, in Arabic "arnab" means a male rabbit and "arnabat" means a female rabbit.

The Hebrew words are: 'ALEH GERAH, lit,

These Hebrew words mean 'Gerah the cud' and translated to 'chew the cud'

The exact or the true translation should be: "raising up what has been swallowed")? Or may be translated to 'bring up the cud'

Rabbits do not bring up anything; they let it go all the way through, and then eat it again. The description given in Leviticus is inaccurate. Rabbits do eat their own dung; they do not bring anything up and chew on it.

The Bible says that the hare chews the cud, but the scientists claim that the Bible is in error on this point.

Furthermore, some skeptics claim that since the Bible contains this error, it is not the Word of God and cannot be taken seriously on any other points either.



Animals that 'chew the cud' are called ruminants. They hardly chew their food when first eaten, but swallow it into a special stomach where the food is partially digested. Then it is regurgitated, chewed again, and swallowed into a different stomach. Animals which do this include cows, sheep and goats, and they all have four stomachs. Coneys and rabbits are not ruminants.

Animals which do this include cows, sheep, goats, deer, and giraffes; they all have four stomachs and chewing a cud consisting of regurgitated, partially digested food." Coneys and rabbits are not ruminants.

The rabbit does not fit this definition, and trying to classify it as a ruminant is not accepted.

Biblical scholars refuse to see this statement as a biological error that incorrectly classifies the rabbit as a ruminant or cud-chewer.

When defining the rabbit, most of the Bible Dictionaries say that the habit of the rabbit is to grind its teeth and move its jaw as if it actually chewed the cud. But, like the Coney, it is not a ruminant with four stomachs, but a rodent like the squirrel, rat, etc. Moses speaks of it according to appearance. It is interdicted because, though apparently chewing the cud, it did not divide the hoof."

Examples of what is said about the rabbit in some Bible Dictionaries

Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, page 525:

"The assertion that the hare is a ruminant is contrary to fact. Some movements of the mouth and jaws have been erroneously interpreted as cud-chewing."

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, page 616:

"This animal is mentioned only in the lists of unclean animals in Leviticus and Deuteronomy...The hare and the Coney are not ruminants, but might be supposed to be from their habit of almost continuously moving their jaws."

Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, 2000 edition, page 552:

"Because it "chews the cud" but "does not have divided hoofs," the hare is classified as an unclean animal (Lev. 11:6; Deut. 14:7). Actually, it is not a ruminant but may have appeared as such to ancient observers because of its constant chewing movements."



A Biblical scholar said:

"I don't believe the rabbit chews the cud in the modern technical sense. It simply makes a chewing motion that from an observational point of view can be associated with other animals that do chew the cud in the technical sense."

Another intellectual claims that "the Hebrew "arnebeth" means an unidentified animal which is rendered hare or rabbit, perhaps incorrectly". His opinion is far beyond the reality!

Other Biblical academic said:

"Does the rabbit ruminate? True ruminants normally have four stomachs, and that which has been worked over in these stomachs is regurgitated into the mouth when it is ready to be chewed again. In this technical sense neither the rabbit nor the hare can be called ruminants, but they do give the appearance of chewing their cud in the same way ruminants do."

Herein the conclusion of what the Biblical researchers say:

ï‚?The Rabbits do give the appearance of chewing their cud in the same way ruminants do.

ï‚?The Rabbits are not ruminants, but might be supposed to be from their habit of almost continuously moving their jaws.

ï‚?The Rabbits are not ruminants but may have appeared as such to ancient observers because of their constant chewing movements.

Now the question is: what is the relation between the Word of God and the ancient observers who assumed that the Rabbits are cud-chewing due to its habit of continuously moving its jaws? And who wrote the Bible those observers or the God?

The Rabbit in the Quran:

The rabbit by name is not mentioned in the Quran.

However, the Quran gives an Arabic word of four characters that can be applicable for man, animals, birds, plants and microbes.

You will read about this comprehensive word very soon.

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