Did Prophet Muhammad say that the human body is made up of 360 joints?
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
The sections of this article are:
1- Prophet Muhammad’s Saying (Hadith) & and the Miracle. Different types mentioned in the Hadiths and Science.
(a)- Ample scientific definitions for mifsal and alsulama (alsalama).
2- Medical evidence about the 360 joints.
1- Prophet Muhammad’s Saying (Hadith) & and the Miracle:
The following is the Hadith in Arabic and my English translation to it:
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 on 60 and 300 joints MIFSAL مفصل.
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 joints ALSULAMA السلامى, he will then on that day remove himself from Hell Fire.
Only a handful of joints are noticeable in the body. The Prophet of Islam, peace be upon him, said that there are 360 joints (MIFSAL مفصل, ALSALAMA السلامى) in the human body. Prophet Muhammad used two words to describe them.
Only a handful are visible to the naked eye (knees, elbows, knuckles, etc…). Yet, it’s been scientifically proven that the human body indeed has 360 joints, and in different types. So, the Prophet’s use of different words to describe “joints” is also supported scientifically.
(a)- Ample scientific definitions for mifsal مفصل and alsulama السلامى:
Both mifsal and alsalama have broad meanings. Some infidels tried to limit their meanings to only “chains”. That is completely incorrect. The following are some of the meanings of the words:
1- Mifsal مفصل.
والمَفْصِل واحد مَفاصِل الأَعضاء
The mifsal is one joint from the body’s joints.
والمَفْصِل كل ملتقى عظمين من الجسد
The mifsal is where two bones join in the body.
وقيل: ماء المَفاصِل هنا شيء يسيل من بين المَفْصِلين
And it is said: The water of mafasil (plural of mifsal) means it flows from between two mifsalyn (dual plural of mifsal).
المَفْصِل مَفْرق ما بين الجبل والسَّهْل
The mifsal is cracked or opened path between the mountain and the valley.
من الجَسَدِ: مَوْضِعُ المَفْصِلِ، وبين كُلِّ مَفْصِلَيْنِ وَصْلٌ
In the body, the location of the mifsal, and between two mifsalyn (dual plural of mifsal) is a link.
وعِقْدٌ مُفَصَّلٌ، أي جُعِلَ بين كلِّ لؤلؤتين خَرَزَةٌ
A chain of mifsal is linking pierced pearls with a thread.
وقوله عز وجل: هذا يوم الفَصْل؛ أَي هذا يوم يفصَل فيه بين المحسن والمسيء ويجازي كل بعمله
Allah Almighty Said: “This is the Day of Fasl”, which means the day when good and evil people are separated, and each will be judged based on their accomplishments.
So basically, any two entities or things joined together are joined through a mifsal. Mifsal not just limited to linking two straight bones.
There are different types of joints in the human body. See main section #2 below.
2- Alsulama السُلامى.
Alsulm is a pitcher or container.
والسُّلَّمُ: واحد السَلاليمِ التي يُرْتَقى عليها، وربّما سمّي الغَرْزُ بذلك
And Alsullam (ladder or stepladder) is one from alsalaalim that one would step on.
السُلامى في الأصل عظمٌ
Alsulama is essentially bones.
The eye and its container (bone sulama).
So basically, alsulama is a broad word that means a bone-container, a pitcher or container, or a step from a chain of stepladder.
Again, only a handful of joints are noticeable in the body. The Prophet of Islam, peace be upon him, said that there are 360 joints (MIFSAL مفصل, ALSALAMA السلامى) in the human body. Prophet Muhammad used two words to describe them. Only a handful are visible to the naked eye (knees, elbows, knuckles, etc…).
Yet, it’s been scientifically proven that the human body indeed has 360 joints, and in different types. So, the Prophet’s use of different words to describe “joints” is also supported scientifically.
We also know that the Glorious Quran is stunningly Miraculous:
2- Medical evidence about the 360 joints:
The following medical websites confirm that the human body does have 360 joints in it:
Technically, arthritis is inflammation of a joint. However, the term is used much more generally to describe any pain producing damage to the joint. Given the large number of joints in the human body (213 bones with about 360 joints), the number of arthritic problems encountered is large.
More than 150 forms of arthritis are already recognised in the literature. The term ‘musculoskeletal conditions’ includes all disorders associated with bones, muscles and connective tissues of the body, including arthritis. Monitoring this vast array of conditions is a formidable task.”
How Many Joints in the Human Body?
Before we proceed towards the various types of joints in the body, let’s start with how many joints there are in total. There are about 230 and more joints in an average human body! There may be some difference in this number if compared between a fetus and an adult. You see, a fetus has 300 bones initially but most of them fuse together by the time of birth. An average adult has about 206 bones in total. Coming back to the number of joints, the count can be broken up as follows: –
Distribution of Human Body Joints
Part of the Body Number of Joints
Throat and Neck 6
Spine and Pelvis 76
Hands, Arms and Fingers 64
Legs, Feet and Toes 62
(86+6+66+76+64+62 = 360)
Types of Joints in the Human Body
Joints can be classified in accordance with various bases such as type of movement imparted, functions, structure, etc. Let’s take a look at these various types of joints and their different classifications.
Classification According to Movement Imparted
Ball and Socket Joints (shoulders and hips)
Hinge Joints (knees and ulna of the elbows)
Condyloid Joints (jaw and fingers)
Gliding Joints (spine, wrists and ankles)
Pivot Joints (neck and radius of elbows)
Saddle Joints (thumbs)
Classification According to Structure
Fibrous Joints (sutures, syndesmoses and gomphosis)
Cartilaginous Joints (synchondroses and symphyses)
Synovial Joints (wrist carpals, acromioclavicular joint, elbow area between humerus and ulna, Atlanto-axial joint, proximal radio-ulnar joint, distal radio-ulnar joint, wrist joint, carpometacarpal thumb joint, Glenohumeral shoulder joint, hip joint, sternoclavicular joint, knee-joint)
Classification According to Function
Synarthrosis (allow very limited or no mobility such as gomphosis, synostoses and synchondrosis; mostly fibrous joints.)
Amphiarthrosis (Allow somewhat limited mobility such as symphysis, syndesmosis and interosseous membrane; mostly cartilaginous joints)
Diarthrosis (enables a wide variety of movements and all synovial joints come under this classification)
Classification According to Anatomical Location
Articulation Joints of the Hands
Axillary Shoulder Joints (Glenohumeral and acromioclavicular joints)
Vertebral Articulatory Joints
Sacroiliac Joint of the pelvis
Temporomandibular Joint of the jaw
Articulation Joints of the Feet
The anatomical classification of joints can be further sub-classified under simple, compound and complicated joints, based upon the number of bones involved in each joint and their individual biomechanical properties. For instance, the lesser bones involved, the simpler the joint is and the more bones involved, the more complex it becomes.
Some Scientists today, Muslims and Westerners, were able to demonstrate and prove that the human body does have 360 joints in it:
More Doctors claiming that humans have 360 joints:
There are 206 bones and 360 joints in the human body. At The Bone and Joint Center of Seattle, we’re trained in all of them, but we chose to become experts in a select few – because we believe specialized care is exceptional care. The Bone and Joint Center is comprised solely of fellowship trained orthopaedic surgeons
Established in 2009.
TBJC of Seattle was started by Dr. Kevin L. Smith MD, in October of 2009. Dr. Smith specializes in disorders of the shoulder and elbow. Recently, the group expanded in August 2010 by adding Dr. Justin Klimisch and Dr. Thomas Tanous who specialize in disorders of the hip and knee.”
Dr. Douglas A. Becker of Minneapolis Orthopedics claims that the human body has 360 joints:
See attached photo
Raymond D. Mutter, M.D., who is a specialist in internal medicine, also claims that the human body has 360 joints:
See attached photo
Dr. Tracey Allison Planinz, PhD claims that the human body has 360 joints:
See attached photo
By Dr. Zaghloul Al-Naggar:
Every Man has 360 Joint Bones
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
By: Dr. Zaghloul El-Naggar
I find it interesting that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, used different words to describe the human body’s 360 joints. Science has shown us that the human body is made of different types of joints. And we’ve seen above how many scientists today claim that the human body is made of 360 joints.
Indeed, all Praise and Glory are due to Allah Almighty Alone for making the Noble Quran be the Perfect and Everlasting Miracle, for us humans, out of all of His Divine Miracles! And may Allah Almighty send His Peace, Mercy and Blessings upon our Beloved and Blessed Prophet, Teacher and Role Model, Muhammad. Ameen.
Allah knows Best.
Almighty Allah is the highest and most knowledgeable, and the attribution of knowledge to him is the safest.
Right from Almighty Allah and wrong from me and Satan
Prepared by Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
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