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Conception and its growth in the womb

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4 months of Hajj, and Surah Al-Fajr.
July 12, 2021, 05:44:36 am Heba E. Husseyn: As we enter the month of Dhul Hijjah 1442, please read what the Great Quran says about Hajj.  Also visit the related links at the end of the same post to learn more.
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TEAM MV Founder
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« on: April 16, 2009, 08:42:57 pm »



"Allah knows that which every female bears and that which the wombs absorb and that which they grow. And everything with Him is measured."  (13:8)  Surah Ar-Ra'd  

There are several verses in the Quran that describe the development of the embryo.  And verse 13:8 portrays the same concept in a slightly different style that sounds very casual and simple.  A quick and inattentive reader of the Quran will perhaps pass over this verse without stopping to think.  But a more perceptive person, after concentrating on the above words for a while, will realize the depth of the meaning hidden within this amazing and simple Verse. 
While to a casual reader this Verse may sound a general one, its contents are neither casual nor general.  The Verse describes conception, followed by the development of the fetus in the uterus.  The details of human development in the fetus were unknown till the late 19th or early 20th centuries, and much less or nothing in the 7th century.  Even the most literate ones in the Arabian peninsula of this era had no idea even of the basic facts of conception nor its connection / development with and within the uterus.  This phenomenon is very simply, briefly and articulately stated in Verse 13:8 -- how, when a baby is conceived, it settles in the uterus which holds this fetus like a container or a bag, allowing it to grow within it.  Subhan'Allah.
It's the most perfect summary of the modern scientific confirmation of the development of the embryo in the uterus. 
Praise be to Allah (The Greatest). 
And ..
Some more astonishing descriptions of the development of the embryo as stated in the Glorious Quran - from the womb to the cradle to the grave - can be read in the following remarkable verses.
"O mankind! if you are in doubt concerning the Resurrection, then indeed! We have created you from dust, then from a drop of seed, then from a clot, then from a little lump of flesh shapely and shapeless, that We may make (it) clear for you. And We cause what We will to remain in the wombs for an appointed time, and afterward We bring you forth as infants, then (give you growth) that you attain your full strength. And among you there is he who dies (young), and among you there is he who is brought back to the most abject time of life, so that, after knowledge, he knows naught. And you (Muhammad) see the earth barren, but when We send down water thereon, it does thrill and swell and put forth every lovely kind (of growth)."  (22:5)  Surah Al-Hajj
"Verily We created man from a product of wet earth;
Then placed him as a drop (of seed) in a safe lodging;
Then fashioned We the drop a clot, then fashioned We the clot a little lump, then fashioned We the little lump bones, then clothed the bones with flesh, and then produced it as another creation. So blessed be Allah, the Best of creators!
Then indeed! after that you surely die.
Then indeed! on the Day of Resurrection you are raised (again)." 
(23:12-16)   Surah Al-Muminum

"He created you from one being, then from that (being) He made its mate; and He has provided for you of cattle eight kinds. He created you in the wombs of your mothers, creation after creation, in a threefold gloom. Such is Allah, your Rab. His is the Sovereignty. There is no God save Him. How then are you turned away ?"  (39:6)  Surah Az-Zumar

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Heba E. Husseyn
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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2009, 12:39:26 am »

Subhan'Allah, a reader can only benefit from this information.

I came across a website called Milli Gazette which gave a full scientific analysis of how the Noble Qur'an mentions the growth of the embryo in the womb.  I quote the article as follows.

A scientist's interpretations of reference to embryology in the Qur'an

Reference to embryology in the Qur'an
By Keith L. Moore, Ph.D., F.I.A.C.

Statements referring to human reproduction and development are scattered throughout the Qur'ân. It is only recently that the scientific meaning of some of these verses has been appreciated fully. The long delay in interpreting these verses correctly resulted mainly from inaccurate translations and commentaries and from a lack of awareness of scientific knowledge.

Interest in explanations of the verses of the Qur'ân is not new. People used to ask the prophet Muhammad all sorts of questions about the meaning of verses referring to human reproduction. The Apostle's answers form the basis of the Ahaadeeth literature.

The translations(*) of the verses from the Qur'ân which are interpreted in this paper were provided by Sheik Abdul Majid Zendani, a Professor of Islamic Studies in King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

"He makes you in the wombs of your mothers in stages, one after another, in three veils of darkness."

This statement is from Surah. We do not know when it was realized that human beings underwent development in the uterus (womb), but the first known illustration of a fetus in the uterus was drawn by Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th century. In the 2nd century A. D., Galen described the placenta and fetal membranes in his book "On The Formation of the Fetus." Consequently, doctors in the 7th century A. D. likely knew that the human embryo developed in the uterus. It is unlikely that they knew that it developed in stages, even though Aristotle had described the stages of development of the chick embryo in the 4th century B. C. The realization that the human embryo develops in stages was not discussed and illustrated until the 15th century.

After the microscope was discovered in the 17th century by Leeuwenhoek descriptions were made of the early stages of the chick embryo. The staging of human embryos was not described until the 20th century. Streeter (1941) developed the first system of staging which has now been replaced by a more accurate system proposed by O'Rahilly

"The three veils of darkness" may refer to:

the anterior abdominal wall; 

the uterine wall; and 

the amniochorionic membrane 

(Fig. 1). Although there are other interpretations of this statement, the one presented here seems the most logical from an embryological point of view.

The "veils of darkness" are:

the anterior abdominal wall; 

the uterine wall, and 

the amniochorionic membrane.

This statement is from Surah. The drop or Nutfah has been interpreted as the sperm or spermatozoon, but a more meaningful interpretation would be the zygote which divides to form a blastocyst which is implanted in the uterus ("a place of rest"). This interpretation is supported by another verse in the Qur'ân which states that "a human being is created from a mixed drop." The zygote forms by the union of a mixture of the sperm and the ovum ("The mixed drop").

"Then We made the drop into a leech-like structure."
This statement is from Surah. The word "Alaqah" refers to a leech or bloodsucker. This is an appropriate description of the human embryo from days 7-24 when it clings to the endometrium of the uterus, in the same way that a leech clings to the skin. Just as the leech derives blood from the host, the human embryo derives blood from the decidua or pregnant endometrium. It is remarkable how much the embryo of 23-24 days resembles a leech (Fig. 2). As there were no microscopes or lenses available in the 7th century, doctors would not have known that the human embryo had this leech-like appearance. In the early part of the fourth week, the embryo is just visible to the unaided eye because it is smaller than a kernel of wheat.

"Then of that leech-like structure, We made a chewed lump." This statement is also from Surah 23:14. The Arabic word "Mudghah" means "chewed substance or chewed lump." Toward the end of the fourth week, the human embryo looks somewhat like a chewed lump of flesh

The chewed appearance results from the somites which resemble teeth marks. The somites represent the beginnings or primordia of the vertebrae.

"Then We made out of the chewed lump, bones, and clothed the bones in flesh." This continuation of Surah 23:14 indicates that out of the chewed lump stage, bones and muscles form. This is in accordance with embryological development. First the bones form as cartilage models and then the muscles (flesh) develop around them from the somatic mesoderm.

"Then We developed out of it another creature."

This next part of Surah 23:14 implies that the bones and muscles result in the formation of another creature. This may refer to the human-like embryo that forms by the end of the eighth week. At this stage it has distinctive human characteristics and possesses the primordia of all the internal and external organs and parts. After the eighth week, the human embryo is called a fetus. This may be the new creature to which the verse refers.

"And He gave you hearing and sight and feeling and understanding."

This part of Surah 32:9 indicates that the special senses of hearing, seeing, and feeling develop in this order, which is true. The primordia of the internal ears appear before the beginning of the eyes, and the brain (the site of understanding) differentiates last.

"Then out of a piece of chewed flesh, partly formed and partly unformed."

This part of Surah 22:5 seems to indicate that the embryo is composed of both differentiated and undifferentiated tissues. For example, when the cartilage bones are differentiated, the embryonic connective tissue or mesenchyme around them is undifferentiated. It later differentiates into the muscles and ligaments attached to the bones.

"And We cause whom We will to rest in the wombs for an appointed term." This next part of Surah 22:5 seems to imply that God determines which embryos will remain in the uterus until full term. It is well known that many embryos abort during the first month of development, and that only about 30% of zygotes that form, develop into fetuses that survive until birth. This verse has also been interpreted to mean that God determines whether the embryo will develop into a boy or girl.

The interpretation of the verses in the Qur'ân referring to human development would not have been possible in the 7th century A. D., or even a hundred years ago. We can interpret them now because the science of modern Embryology affords us new understanding. Undoubtedly there are other verses in the Qur'ân related to human development that will be understood in the future as our knowledge increases.

(*) Even though the translations of the verses of the Qur'ân in the above paper were provided by Sheik Abdul Majid Zendani, the links to the translations in this page are from Yusuf Ali Qur'ân Translation: http://qibla.msa.upenn .edu/alim_online/yali_trans/ yasurahl.htm presented by the Alim Online since Sheikh Zendani's translation is not available on the internet. (MSA- UTK)

Keith L. Moore is Professor of Anatomy and Associate Dean Basic Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont. M55 IAB, Canada

Source: The Journal of the Islamic Medical Association, Vol. 18, Jan- June 1986, pp. 15-16
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2021, 10:03:04 pm »

Very nice read.  Many thanks Sister Heba.
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