EMBRYONIC STAGES
“Man We did create From a quintessence (of clay); Then We placed him
As (a drop of) sperm In a place of rest, firmly fixed; Then We made the
sperm Into a clot of congealed blood; Then of that clot We made A
(foetus) lump; then We Made out of that lump Bones and clothed the
bones With flesh; then We developed Out of it another creature. So
blessed be Allah, The Best to create!” [Al-Qur’aan 23:12-14]
In this verse Allah states that man is created from a small quantity of liquid
which is placed in a place of rest, firmly fixed (well established or lodged) for
which the Arabic word qarârin makîn is used.
The uterus is well protected from the posterior by the spinal column
supported firmly by the back muscles. The embryo is further protected by the
amniotic sac containing the amniotic fluid. Thus the foetus has a well
protected dwelling place. This small quantity of fluid is made into alaqah,
meaning something which clings. It also means a leech-like substance. Both
descriptions are scientifically acceptable as in the very early stages the foetus
clings to the wall and also appears to resemble the leech in shape. It also
behaves like a
leech (blood sucker) and acquires its blood supply from the mother through
the placenta. The third meaning of the word alaqah is a blood clot. During

this alaqah stage, which spans the third and fourth week of pregnancy, the
blood clots within closed vessels. Hence the embryo acquires the appearance
of a blood clot in addition to acquiring the appearance of a leech. In 1677,
Hamm and Leeuwenhoek were the first scientists to observe human sperm
cells (spermatozoa) using a microscope. They thought that a sperm cell
contained a miniature human being which grew in the uterus to form a
newborn. This was known as the perforation theory. When scientists
discovered that the ovum was bigger than the sperm, it was thought by De
Graf and others that the foetus existed in a miniature form in the ovum. Later,
in the 18th century Maupertuis propagated the theory of biparental
inheritance. The alaqah is transformed into mudghah which means
‘something that is chewed (having teeth marks)’ and also something that is
tacky and small which can be put in the mouth like gum. Both these
explanations are scientifically correct. Prof. Keith Moore took a piece of
plaster seal and made it into the size and shape of the early stage of foetus and
chewed it between the teeth to make it into a ‘Mudgha’. He compared this
with the photographs of the early stage of foetus. The teeth marks resembled
the ‘somites’ which is the early formation of the spinal column.
This mudghah is transformed into bones (izâm). The bones are clothed with
intact flesh or muscles (lahm). Then Allah makes it into another creature.
Prof. Marshall Johnson is one of the leading scientists in US, and is the head
of the Department of Anatomy and Director of the Daniel Institute at the
Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia in US. He was asked to
comment on the verses of the Qur’aan dealing with embryology. He said that
the verses of the Qur’aan describing the embryological stages cannot be a
coincidence. He said it was probable that Muhammad (pbuh) had a powerful
microscope. On being reminded that the Qur’aan was revealed 1400 years
ago, and microscopes were invented centuries after the time of Prophet
Muhammad (pbuh), Prof. Johnson laughed and admitted that the first
microscope invented could not magnify more than 10 times and could not
show a clear picture. Later he said: “I see nothing here in conflict with the
concept that Divine intervention was involved when Muhammad (pbuh)
recited the Qur’aan.”

According to Dr. Keith Moore, the modern classification of embryonic
development stages which is adopted throughout the world, is not easily
comprehensible, since it identifies stages on a numerical basis i.e. stage I,
stage II, etc. The divisions revealed in the Qur’aan are based on distinct and
easily identifiable forms or shapes, which the embryo passes through. These
are based on different phases of prenatal development and provide elegant
scientific descriptions that are comprehensible and practical.
Similar embryological stages of human development have been described in
the following verses: “Was he not a drop Of sperm emitted (In lowly
form)? Then did he become a clinging clot; Then did (Allah) make and
fashion (him) In due proportion. And of him He made Two sexes, male
and female.” [Al-Qur’aan 75:37-39]
“Him Who created thee, fashioned thee in due proportion, And gave thee
a just bias; In whatever Form He wills, Does He put thee together.” [Al-
Qur’aan 82:7-8]

 

 

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