The Qur’an and Human Embryonic Development

In the Holy Quran, God talks about the stages of man’s embryonic development, 1400 years before today’s scientists “discovered” important information about man’s creation and development:

“We created the man out of a clay extract. So We did it like a drop in a resting place, firmly fixed. So We make the drop into alaqah (leech, suspended thing, and blood clot), so We turn the alaqah into mudghah (chewed substance)… ”[Holy Quran 23: 12-14]

Literally, the Arabic word alaqah has 3 meanings:

  • leech
  • suspended thing
  • blood clot

Comparison of a Leech with the Human Embryo

“When comparing a leech with the alaqah stage embryo, we find a similarity between the two.” [The Developing Human p.8]

“In addition, the embryo like this stage obtains nutrition from the mother’s blood, similar to the leech that feeds on the blood of others”. [Human Development as Described in Quran and Sunnah p.36]

Suspended Substance

The second meaning of the word alaqah is “suspended thing”. The suspension of the embryo, during the alaqah stage, in the maternal uterus fits this description perfectly.

Blood Clot

The third meaning of the word alaqah is “blood clot”. We think that the external appearance of the embryo and its sacs during the alaqah stage is similar to that of a blood clot. This is due to the presence of relatively large amounts of blood present in the embryo during this phase. Also during this stage, blood in the embryo does not circulate until the end of the third week. So, the embryo at this stage is like a blood clot.

When examining a diagram of the primitive cardiovascular system in an embryo during the alaqah stage, we would notice the external appearance of the embryo and that its sacs are similar to those of a blood clot due to the presence of relatively large amounts of blood present in the embryo. [The Developing Human, p. 65]

Thus, the three meanings of the word alaqah accurately correspond to the descriptions of the embryo in the alaqah stage.

The Mudghah Stage in Human Embryonic Development

The next stage mentioned in the verse is the Mudghah stage. The Arabic word mudghah means “bitten substance”. If someone were to take a piece of gum and chew it in their mouth and then compare it to the embryo in the mudghah stage, we would conclude that they would be almost identical because of the somites in the back of the embryo that ‘a little bit resemble teeth marks on a chewed substance.

How could Muhammad (May peace and blessings be upon him) possibly know this 1,400 years ago, when scientists recently discovered this using advanced equipment and powerful microscopes that did not exist at that time?

Hamm and Leeuwenhoek were the first scientists to observe human sperm cells using an improved microscope in 1677 AD (more than 1,000 years after Muhammad ﷺ). They mistakenly thought that the sperm contained a preformed miniature human being that grew when it was deposited in the female genital tract. [The Developing Human, p.9]

What Professor Moore said about Human Embryonic Development in the Quran

Professor Keith Moore is one of the world’s leading scientists in the fields of anatomy and embryology and is the author of the book entitled “Developing Human”, which has been translated into eight languages. This book is considered a scientific reference work and was chosen by a special committee in the United States as the best book ever written by a person. Dr. Keith Moore is a professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. In 1984, he received the most distinguished award presented in the field of anatomy in Canada, the Canadian Association of Anatomists’ JCB Grant Award. He has directed many international associations, such as the Canadian and American Association of Anatomists and the Union Council on Biological Sciences.

In 1981, during the Seventh Medical Conference in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Professor Moore said;

“It was a great pleasure for me to help clarify the statements in the Holy Quran about human development. It is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad of God, or Allah, because almost all of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later. This proves to me that Muhammad must have been the messenger of God, or Allah ”.

Consequently, Professor Moore was asked the following question: “Does this mean that you believe that the Holy Quran is the Word of God?” He replied; “I find it easy to accept that.”

During a conference, Professor Moore stated:

“… Because the stage of human embryos is complex, due to the continuous process of change during development, it is proposed that a new classification system can be developed using the terms mentioned in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah (evidence from Muhammad ). The proposed system is simple, comprehensive and is in line with present embryological knowledge. Intensive studies on the Holy Quran and Hadith (Sayings) (reliable facts and accounts of the Prophet Muhammad ) he, in the last four years have revealed a system of classification of human embryos that is surprising, since it was registered in the century 7 AD Although Aristotle, founder of the science of embryology, realized that chick embryos developed in stages from his studies of chicken eggs in the fourth century BC, he did not give details about these stages. As he is known for the history of embryology, little was known about the stage in a classification of human embryos until the 20th century. For this reason, descriptions of the human embryo in the Holy Qur’an cannot be based on scientific knowledge in the 7th century AD. The only reasonable conclusion is that these descriptions were revealed to Muhammad from God. He could not have known about these details because he was an illiterate with absolutely no scientific training. 


by Abdullah Sam
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