Quranic Miracle: The Forelock


Miraculous Verses:

Allah, Most High, says:

“Nay! If he (Abu Jahl) ceases not, We will catch him by the forelock, A lying, sinful forelock!” [Surah al-‘Alaq, 96:15-16]

Allah also says:

“I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving (living) creature but He has grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the Straight Path (the truth).” [Surah Hud, 11:56]

And He says:

“The Mujrimun (polytheists, criminals, sinners, etc.) will be known by their marks (black faces), and they will be seized by their forelocks and their feet.” [Surah ar-Rahman, 55:41]

Miraculous Hadith:

Imam Ahmad recorded in his Musnad that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“If a person is afflicted with sorrow or anxiety and he supplicates: ‘O Allah, I am Your servant, son of Your servant, son of Your maidservant, my forelock is in Your hand (i.e. You have total mastery over me), Your command over me is forever executed and Your decree over me is just. I ask You by every Name belonging to You which You named Yourself with, or revealed in Your Book, or You taught to any of Your creation, or You have preserved in the knowledge of the Unseen with You, that You make the Quran the life of my heart and the light of my breast, and a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety’, Allah will remove his sorrow and anxiety and replaces them with relief.”

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was asked: “Shall we not learn it?” He said: “Yes, those who heard it should learn it.”

Scholar’s comments:

Al-Alusi said, in his commentary on the Verse of Surah Al-‘Alaq (96:15-16):

“The forelock is described as such, although it is only an attribute of man, in order to underline how extremely important the matter is.  It indicates man’s penchant for lying and error, and that due to this, every part of him lies and makes error.”

He also wrote:

“Perhaps, exclusive mention of forelock was due to the fact that the accursed — Abu Lahab — was particular about its care or due to the fact that burning of the forelock was regarded the most extreme degree of humiliation among the Arabs.”

Scientific facts:

The human brain contains major lobes which are: frontal lobe, occipital lobe, temporal lobe and parietal lobe.

forelock_islamEach lobe has an exclusive role and at the same time, performs complementary roles with other organs of the body.

After dissecting the upper part of the forehead, it was discovered that the frontal lobe of the brain is the hidden organ, and that it is different from its animal counterpart in the sense that the regions responsible for behavior and speech are advanced and prominent as far as anatomy and functions are concerned.

The frontal lobe is a big lobe located in front of the central furrow. It consists of five nerve centers that are different from one another in terms of location and function. These centers are:

1. Primary Motor Area: It causes the mobility of involuntary muscles to the left side of the body.

2. Secondary Motor Area: It causes the mobility of involuntary muscles to the left side of the body.

3. Frontal Eye Field: It causes corresponding mobility of the two eyes to the opposite side.

4. Motor Speech Area of Broca: It coordinates mobility among the organs that participate in the speech process such as larynx, tongue and face.

5. Frontal Cortex: It is directly located behind the forehead and represents the largest part of the frontal lobe of the brain. Its function is connected to the composition Of the individual’s personality. It also affects a person’s initiative and judgment.

6. Though the frontal cortex located directly behind the forehead, it is hidden in the hollowness of the forelock. Hence, it directs man’s actions and behaviors that are connected to his personality, such as truthfulness, lying, appropriateness and error. It is responsible for distinguishing between these traits. 

7. Studies conducted with EEG (electro-encephalographs) show that patients and animals that are exposed to damage of frontal lobe hemispheres suffer from mental deficiency. It was also discovered that any defect affecting the frontal lobe changes the natural behavior of the affected person. In some cases, this could lead to criminal behavior and a drastic fall In moral standards, memory, and ability to solve intellectual problems.

8. The frontal lobe hemispheres are regarded as the center for the lying impulse. Intellectual activities relating to lying take place there; its instructions are then carried out by corresponding parts through the actual act of lying. Likewise, evil acts are planned in the frontal lobe hemispheres before they are conveyed to the parts that implement those actions.

9. The frontal cortex that is hidden in the hollowness of the forelock is responsible for mistakes because it is the center of instruction and control for human actions and conduct.

Scientific interpretation:

Allah says in His Book:

“Nay! If he (Abu Jahl) ceases not, We will catch him by the forelock, A lying, sinful forelock!” [Surah al-‘Alaq, 96:15-16]

In their comment on these Verses, the scholars mentioned that the meaning is: We will seize Abu Jahl by his forelock and drag him into the Hell on the Day of Resurrection.

The Glorious Quran describes the forelock of Abu Jahl as lying and sinful. It is because of this that it deserves burning in Hell.

Now the question that attracts one attention is: Why did the Quran not describe any other part of Abu Jahl’s body as lying and sinful? If the forelock of Abu Jahl could be described as lying and sinful, then the forelocks of those who are not like him could be described as truthful and righteous. This clearly indicates that the forelock which is the upper part of the forehead is responsible for traits such as truthfulness and lying, and sinfulness and righteousness.

The Noble Quran also mentioned the forelock in Surah Hud where Allah says:

“I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving (living) creature but He has grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the Straight Path (the truth).” [Surah Hud, 11:56]

Ibn Katheer commented on the meaning of the clause, “He has grasp of its forelock”, that the forelock is under the power of Allah. At-Tabari said: “There is nothing that moves on the earth that is not under the control of Allah which He directs and disposes as He wills.”

Therefore, Allah mentions that He directs His creation as He likes and that this occurs through controlling the forelocks of all the creation. What could be inferred from this Verse is that the forelock is the exact area of the body that controls all the activities of humans and animals.

The Hadith that Imam Ahmad recorded also bears this meaning. For, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to say in his supplication, “‘O Allah, I am Your servant, son of Your servant, son of Your maidservant, my forelock is in Your hand (i.e. You have total control over it), Your command over me is forever  executed, and Your decree over me is just.'”

This Hadith explains that man’s fate is in Allah’s Hands as his forelock is under His control, Therefore, it could be inferred from the Verses of Surah Al-‘Alaq (96:15-16) that the forelock plays a major role in directing and controlling human behavior.

In the light of the above, the Glorious Quran and the noble Sunnah established that holding of the forelock means complete and absolute control over all living creatures on the earth. This also indicates that this absolute and complete control necessitates complete obedience and perfect submission.

Now, what is the thing that is inherent in this forelock? What is that part that is hiding behind the upper part of the forehead? It is the part responsible for determining the personality of each individual and controlling all his behavior and activities such as lying and truthfulness, and sinfulness and righteousness. By controlling that part, it is possible to have full control over the person. This is according to the book, Tashreeh Al-Maddah Ar-Ramadiyyah, by Warrick and William.

While studying the anatomical composition of the upper forehead region, anatomists discovered that it consists of a frontal bone and that this bone protects one of the four cerebral lobes known as the frontal or forehead lobe. By this, it can be concluded that the cerebral frontal lobe is the part that is hidden behind the upper part of the forehead.

What happens to a person, if the frontal cortex is removed by surgical operation or if it is damaged as a result of a tumor?

It was discovered that this can lead to loss of initiative and judgment, emotional disturbances and general apathy with regard to social appearances.

Furthermore, anatomists discovered that any defect affecting the frontal cortex can lead to changes in a person’s behavior whereby he becomes careless and loses his sense of responsibility and is unable to control his own behavior. This is mentioned by Charies in his work, Human Nervous System.

After arriving at these scientific facts, we can now understand the reason for the noble Quran’s allusion to the role of the forehead (or frontal hemispheres) in the decision-making process. But this knowledge that is now at our disposal was far from the imagination of the earlier generations.

It also reveals to us the extent of difficulty faced by the scholars of Tafseer of the past in understanding the literal meanings of the Verses, though some of them like Al-Alusi and Ibn Katheer did allude to the fact that lying and sinfulness are connected to the forelock, which was not known by the physicians at that time. The functions of the forelock were not known until after deep studies of the functions were made with the help of comparative anatomy.

Scientific references:

The British Encyclopedia mentions the following facts:

  • forelockThe substance from the cerebral cortex is divided into four lobes that form the four major lobes. Sometimes, the limbic system or limbic lobe is regarded the fifth.
  • The frontal lobe consists of control centers responsible for mobile activities and speech. The parietal lobe is responsible for body sensations such as touching or spatial location; the temporal lobe is responsible for aural reception and memory and the rear lobe at the back of the brain is responsible for carrying the major optical reception center.
  • The frontal lobe takes care of most of the components of intelligence, (such as vision, planning and understanding); and of mood and mobile activity on the other side of the body through speech.
  • Any damage in the frontal lobe affects people in a number of ways with implications that range between mild and very serious. On one side, the patients find it difficult to initiate their own actions and conduct, and in extreme conditions of illness, they are practically unable to move or talk. Sometimes, the affected patients are unable to stop their own actions after starting them. Some people are affected only to the extent that find it difficult to plan ahead and solve problems, and are not able to be creative and think.
  • Fickleness and indecisiveness are frequently noticed after damage to the frontal lobe.

The miraculous point:

The miraculous point in the Quranic Verses and the noble Prophetic Hadith is that both indicated in a scientifically accurate manner that the frontal cortex of the forehead hidden in the depth of man’s forelock is his center of decision-making and for controlling his actions such as truthfulness and lying, sinfulness and righteousness, and equilibrium and deviation. This is what modern scientific studies discovered in the second half of the twentieth century.


Shaikh Abdul-Majeed Az-Zindani mentioned that he was reading Allah’s statement:

“Nay! If he (Abu Jahl) ceases not, We will catch him by the forelock, A lying, sinful forelock!” [Surah al-‘Alaq, 96:15-16]

He said: “I asked myself and supplicated to Allah to reveal the meaning of this Verse to me. Why did Allah say: ‘lying, sinful forelock’? I pondered on this for more than ten years trying to find an answer. I then went back to the books of Tafseer and found the answer there. The scholars of Tafseer say that what is meant is not a lying forelock. What is meant is figurative and not real. The forelock is mentioned figuratively. Since the forelock is situated at the frontal part of the head, it is described as lying while it was the lying person that was meant.”

That is what the scholars of Tafseer say. They did not say that the forelock is the source where lies come from. This was my situation regarding this Verse until Allah made this research about the forelock easy.

A Canadian scientist then attended a medical conference held in Cairo. He was one of the most popular experts in cerebral science, anatomy and embryology. This Canadian scientist said in his research:

“It was only fifty years ago that it was confirmed that the brain located directly under the forehead is the part responsible for lying and sinfulness and the place from where these two traits originate. It was also confirmed that this forelock is the place where the decision is taken. If this part of the brain that is situated directly under the ossicle is damaged, the person will mostly not have any independent will. He will not be able to voluntarily sit down, stand up or walk. He will completely lose control of his own self. It is like a situation where someone’s eyes are plucked out thereby depriving him of the ability to see.”

This scientist mentioned that it was only fifty years ago that we knew that this part of the body was the one responsible for decision-making. Then who takes the decision? We know that the soul is the organ that controls the acts of seeing and hearing. The bran is also a part of the body but in the end, the decision-making lies with the forelock. That is why Allah says: “We will catch him by the forelock.”

Subhan Allah! This is a word mentioned in the Book of Allah, the meaning of which was known to people only after many stages of scientific advancement.

The scientists then discovered that the equivalent of this organ in animals is small and weak because the control center of an animal’s movements is also this place. This is what Allah refers to in His saying:

“I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving (living) creature but He has grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the Straight Path (the truth).” [Surah Hud, 11:56]

Therefore, the control center is in the forelock. But who knew that? When did the scientists know this? It was only after they dissected the brain of animals, while the Quran had already mentioned this fact through Allah’s knowledge that encompasses all things.

In the noble Hadith, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, would supplicate: “O Allah, I am Your servant, son of Your servant, son of Your maidservant, my forelock is m Your hand (i.e. You have total control over it).”

The forelock is the control center and it is a manifestation of Allah’s wise law that this forelock is prostrated for Allah. Perhaps, there is a connection between a forelock that prostrates for Allah and upright conduct. For, Allah says:

“Verily, As-Salat (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahsha’ (i.e. great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) and Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed, etc.)” [Surah al-‘Ankabut, 29:45]

Today, in Western countries, the scientists talk about a device put around the forelock of a person whom the state wants to interrogate in order to determine his truthfulness or otherwise of what he says by using signals released by the forelock. Glory be to Allah, the Lord of the Magnificent Throne! [See: Waghada ‘Asr Al-Iman, by Shaikh Abdul-Majeed Zindani]

Source: The Unchallengeable Miracles of the Quran, Darussalam Publications.

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