The Qur'an on Human Embryonic Phases

Allah says regarding the stages the fetus goes through: And indeed We created man out of an extract of clay. Thereafter We made him as mixed drops (of the male and female sexual discharge) and lodged it in a safe lodging. Then We made the mixed drops of fluid into a clot, then We made the clot into a little lump of flesh, then We made out of that lump of flesh bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, and then We brought it forth as another creation. So blessed be Allah, the Best of creators. After that, surely, you will die. Then [again], surely, you will be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection. (23:12-14)

The stages a human passes through are:

  • Extract of Clay: Adam, the father of human-kind, was created from clay. This indicates that humans are a distinct creation. Humankind did not evolve from other species.

  • Mixed sperm: In this stage, male and female discharge mix in the womb, the result of which the egg may become fertilized or die by the will of Allah. If the egg becomes fertilized, the first stages of creation would commence.
    Allah says:
    Indeed, we created man from a fluid mixture that We may try him, and We made him hearing and seeing (76:2)

If the sperm fails to fertilize the ovum, it is cast out of the womb along with it. But if it fertilizes the egg and creates a zygote, it clings to the side of the womb in the form of a blastula. If Allah wills that it clings to the womb, it moves onto the Alaqah stage (i.e. a leech like, suspending thing).

Allah says:
O people, if you should be in doubt about the Resurrection, then [consider that] indeed, We created you from dust, then from mixed drops of fluid, then from a clinging clot, and then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed – that We may show you. And We settle in the wombs whom We will for a specified term, then We bring you out as a child, and then [We develop you] that you may reach your [time of] maturity. And among you is he who is taken in [early] death, and among you is he who is returned to the most decrepit [old] age so that he knows, after [once having] knowledge, nothing. And you see the earth barren, but when We send down upon it rain, it quivers and swells and grows [something] of every beautiful kind. (22:5)

  • Clot/Clinging Thing: It is described as such, since it clings to the womb, in a manner similar to a leech which feeds off the blood of other creatures.

  • Chewed substance: In this stage, male and female discharge mix in the womb, the result of which the egg may become fertilized or die by the will of Allah. If the egg becomes fertilized, the first stages of creation would commence.

  • Formation of bones.

  • Covering of bones with flesh.

  • Development of the embryo into a different form, wherein the proportioning of the body takes place and life is breathed into it.

The human embryo goes through a number of stages within three layers of darkness, as Allah says:
He created you from one soul. Then He made from it its mate, and He produced for you from the grazing livestock eight pairs. He creates you in the wombs of your mothers, creation after creation, within three darknesses. That is Allah, your Lord; to Him belongs dominion. There is no deity except Him, so how are you averted? (39:6)

This verse states that the embryo is covered in three coverings or layers, referred to as “darknesses” in this verse. Water, air, light and heat cannot penetrate these coverings. Nor can they be seen with the naked eye.

Dr. Maurice Bucaille (1) said: Modern interpreters of the Qur’an see in this verse the three anatomical layers that protect the infant during gestation: the abdominal wall, the uterus itself, and the surroundings of the fetus (placenta, embryonic membranes, amniotic fluid). (2)

The embryo is also placed in a safe place. Allah says:
Did We not create you from a liquid disdained? And We placed it in a firm lodging for a known extent. And We determined it, and excellent are We to determine. (77:20-23)

Dr. Gary Miller (3) tells us, A reporter asked Professor Keith Moore: (4) ‘Don’t you think that maybe the Arabs might have known about these things - the description of the embryo, its appearance and how it changes and grows? Maybe they were not scientists, but maybe they did some crude dissections on their own - carved up people and examined these things.’ The professor immediately pointed out to him that he (the reporter) had missed a very important point. All of the slides of the embryo that had been shown and had been projected in the film had come from pictures taken through a microscope. He said, ‘It does not matter if someone had tried to discover embryology fourteen centuries ago, they could not have seen it!’

All of the descriptions in the Qur’an of the appearance of the embryo are of the organism when it is still too small to see with the naked eye. Therefore, one needs a microscope to see it. Since such a device had only been around for little more than two hundred years. Dr. Moore taunted, “Maybe fourteen centuries ago someone secretly had a microscope and did this research, making no mistakes anywhere. Then he somehow taught Muhammad and convinced him to put this information in his book. Then he destroyed his equipment and kept it a secret forever. Do you believe that? You really should not unless you bring some proof because it is such a ridiculous theory.” When he was asked, “How do you explain this information in the Qur’an?” Dr. Moore’s reply was, “It could only have been divinely revealed!”

Dr. Gerald C. Goeringer (5) said: This description antedates by many centuries the recording of the various stages of human embryonic and fetal development recorded in the traditional scientific literature.