The meaning of thumma

Al-Mu'jam Al-Waseet [The Dictionary]
Volume One
Page 105


(Thumma [Then]): A letter of Atf [an Arabic grammatical classification] indicating sequence [in order] with a pause in time [between the two things in the sequence], like in the Most Exalted's [Allah's] saying: {He began the creation of man with (nothing more than) clay. And *Thumma* made his progeny from a quintessence of the nature of a fluid despised: But *Thumma* He fashioned him in due proportion and breathed into him something of His spirit} [Yusuf Ali, in reference to Quran verses 32:7-9].

Phrases between normal () parentheses are in the original text, while the ones between square [] brackets are mine.

As you see, Thumma (then) definitely means a sequence in order.

I just realized something, it's kind of funny actually how I'm trying to prove that Thumma must indicate sequence and order using a dictionary. It is just like trying to prove in English that "then" indicates sequence and order. You know, if you come up to an Arab and ask him if thumma may not indicate sequence or order he'll just laugh.

Actually, there are Muslim authors who appeal to this specific meaning of "thumma" in their attempt to read the Qur'an scientifically. Here is one such statement:

In my attempt to address the subject of the scientific miracles of the Quran, I tried to use the existing English translations. In many places, I found difficulty in using these translations. The following are some examples:

  1. Stars are translated as planets, and planets are translated as stars.
  2. The basic rules of the conjunctions in the Arabic language are not translated correctly. For example, existing translations do not address the difference between Arabic conjunctions "fa" and "thumma" The first implies immediate succession, while the second implies succession after a delay in time, and this can make a big difference in some branches of science such as cosmology and embryology. ... (Adel M. Elsaie, History of Truth, The Truth about God and Religions, 9. The Scientific Miracle; source; underline emphasis mine)

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