Human Reproduction in the Qur'an

    In the name of Allah, the Beneficient, the Merciful

    All praise to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds and all the blessings of Allah to the head of the messengers and the last of the Prophets, Muhammad, and on his pure and cleansed progeny.

    The Qur'an is the holy book for Muslims. It was revealed to an illiterate man, Muhammad, 1400 years ago. This is in itself amazing, that an illiterate man began to recite verses of literary genius. What is more amazing and miraculous is that he pronounced truths of a scientific nature that no other human could possibly have developed at that time (1400 years ago) and without making a single error.

    This article will be on a truly exciting, fascinating, and mysterious topic with the fact that this thing happens everyday, every hour, every minute yet every second in all corners of the world and it has been happening since Allah (S.W.T) has created Adam and Eve and it will keep happening until the final hour. This is the story of life, the story of the creation, the creation of the human being.

    The Qur'an has many verses regarding the creation of man and many verses which asks us to look and think at what has been created and the complex mechanisms involved. Allah (S.W.T) says in his book:

    “ Travel through the Earth and see how God did originate creation” (29:20)

    and also:-

    “ Now let man but think from what he is created “ (56:5)

    and in another verse:

    “We will show them our signs in the horizons and in their own souls, until it appears to them that this is the truth”.(41:53)

    The Qur'an did not stop at that, but has described many intricate details regarding the topic of this article and that is the creation of man, human reproduction in man.

    Let us now go through this mysterious story, and see on one hand, what modern science tells us now and, on the other hand, what the Qur'an has been telling us 1400 years ago.

    Human reproduction, as science tells us, happens in many different and unique stages. Did not the Qur'an mention this:-

    “ God created you in stages “ (71:4)

    “(God) creates you inside the bodies of your mothers, in stages, one after another” (39:6)

    The starting point in human reproduction is sexual intercourse. During this act, the male sex organ releases a small quantity of semen into the cervix of the vagina. It has been shown that this semen contains 350,000,000 spermatozoa in one single ejaculation. The spermatozoa is the plural for the word spermatozoon and this is the actual fertilising cell.

    This is the male fertilising agent which is also called sperm but the spermatozoon is scientifically more accurate as it is the fertilising cell. Modern Biology has shown that only one spermatozoon out of the 350,000,000 spermatozoa is all that is needed for fertilisation to occur with the female egg, the ovule. Let us see what the Qur'an says:-

    “ God created man from a sperm “ (16:4)

    and in another verse:-

    “ Was (man) not a sperm which has been poured out?. “ (75:37)

    The semen, or spermatic liquid, which is ejaculated contains more than just spermatozoa. This liquid is formed by secretions from many glands. They are a) the testicles, b) the seminal vesicles, c) the prostate glands and d) the glands annexed to the urinary tract. All these secretions mix and mingle to form the spermatic liquid. Qur'an mentioned this 1400 years ago:-

    “ Verily, We created man from a small quantity of mingled liquids “ (76:2)

    After the ejaculation of the semen into the cervix of the vagina, the sperm travels to the Fallopian tube and fertilisation will occur there with the ovule.

    Once the ovule has been fertilised, it descends into the womb, or the uterus, via the Fallopian tube and it implants itself there by clinging to the wall of the uterus. This is referred to in the Qur'an in the following verses:-

    “ We have created you from...something which cling “ (22:5)

    “ We have created the sperm into something which clings “ (23:14)

    “ Was (man) not a sperm which has been poured out. After that he was something which clings, then (God) fashioned him in due proportion “ (75:37-38)

    The Qur'an calls the fertilised egg “something which clings” because it clings to the wall of the uterus as mentioned earlier.

    It is important to note that the implantation of the fertilised egg has to take place inside the womb for pregnancy to occur. If the implantation takes place somewhere else instead of the womb, e.g. in the Fallopian tube, then pregnancy will not take place. The Qur'an tells us the place where the fertilised egg implants itself and the fact that it has to take place there as science tells us now:

    “ We cause whom We will to rest in the womb for an appointed term” (22:5)

    After the fertilised egg has been implanted in the womb, it begins to evolve into the embryo. The Qur'an describes this evolution by breaking it down into different stages. The description of the Qur'an is brief but very accurate:

    “ We have fashioned the thing which clings into a chewed lump of flesh and We fashioned the chewed lump of flesh into bones then We clothed the bones with intact flesh “ (23:14)

    As already mentioned, the “something which clings” is the fertilised egg which clings to the wall of the womb.

    If you take a piece of meat and chew it once and then take it out of your mouth and look at it, it will look exactly to what the embryo will look like after three weeks of development. This has been shown by a renowned professor of embryology by the name of Keith L.Moore and is shown in his book entitled “The Developing Human” (3rd edition).

    On the sixth week of development, the bone structure begins to develop inside the embryo or the “chewed lump of flesh” as the Qur'an calls it. This is called the mesenchyma. Remember what the Qur'an says:

    “...We fashioned the chewed lump of flesh into bones...”(23:14)

    A week later, the seventh week, the muscles begin to cover the bones which were formed in the previous week:-

    “...We clothed the bones with intact flesh...” (23:14)

    It is known that the embryo passes through a stage where some parts are in proportion and others out of proportion. Maybe this is what is meant by the Qur'an in the following verse:

    “ We created you out of dust, then out of a sperm, then We fashioned you into something which clings into a chewed lump of flesh, partly formed and partly unformed” (22:5)

    After four months have passed, the newly formed organs of the embryo, including the heart, begin to operate and the glands begin to secrete. The embryo becomes “alive”. Imam Jaffar Al-Sadiq (A.S) said:

    “ When the embryo reaches the fourth month, life has begun in it”

    As the embryo develops inside the womb, three layers of protection surround it. These are the maternal anterior abdominal wall, the uterinal wall, and the amnio-chronic membrane. The Qur'an has a verse which may imply to this although the verse may also imply to the distinct embryonic stages. Future discoveries in embryology may be able to shed more light on this particular verse:

    “ (God) creates you inside the bodies of your mothers, in stages, one after another, in three veils of darkness “ (39:6)

    Modern embryology has also shown that the reproductive glands also form during the embryonic stage. They are formed on the upper part of the posterior abdominal below the diaphragm on either side of the vertebral column. Let us go to the Qur'an and see what it says:-

    “ (Man) was fashioned from a liquid poured out, proceeding from between the vertebral column and the lower ribs “ (86:6-7)

    The embryo, through all these stages, receives it's food from it's mother via the umbilical chord. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), in a Hadith, said:

    “ Connected by a chord from his bellybutton, and from this he feeds on the mother's food and drink, until the time for his birth has arrived “

    I want to sidetrack to the topic of genetics now and what has been said about it through Prophetic traditions. A man went to visit the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) one day. The Prophet said “I have received news that you have a new baby”, the man said “that is correct, messenger of Allah, he was born yesterday”. The Prophet replied “this baby who was born yesterday, eho does he look like, who does he resemble, does he resemble you or does he resemble his mother?”. The man said “messenger of Allah, he will resemble one of the two. He will either resemble me or he will resemble his mother. Isn't that the way?. The Prophet said:-

    “ No, do not say that. If the sperm falls into the womb, Allah (S.W.T) brings forth every characteristic between it and between Adam”.(meaning the embryo will inherit characteristics from as far back as Adam (PBUH)).

    What does modern genetics say about this?. It tells us that the gene which transmits these characteristics is able to deliver to you these characteristics from your oldest forefathers even if it was 10 million years ago. (Isn't that what this illiterate man said 1400 years ago).

    Today's firmly established human reproduction concepts are in total agreement with the Qur'an. But if the Qur'anic verses on this subject are compared with the general theories that were held at the time of the Qur'anic revelation, 1400 years ago, they would be like chalk and cheese.

    One of the ridiculous myths that were held at the time of the Qur'anic revelation was regarding vaccination. Whenever we travel anywhere these days, we usually take vaccinations against various types of dangerous diseases before we leave. At the time of the Prophet (PBUH), they also used to have a system of vaccinations but it slightly differed from ours!!!.

    The system they used was that whenever you were about to enter a new city, you would stand at the beginning of this city, and make a noise like a donkey. Whenever you were to eat something in that city, you would make a noise like a donkey and this noise-making is what they thought would prevent them of acquiring disease.

    See the difference, like chalk and cheese. it was only in the 19th century that science began to have some answers to the mysterious world of human reproduction.

    Dear reader. How can you account for the fact that an illiterate man, 1400 years ago, without any scientific background and living in a backward civilisation, predict scientific phenomena which have only now been discovered with the advent of extremely sophisticated and powerful microscopes and with the acquisition of scientific knowledge?. How can you account for all this unless you submit to the fact that Muhammad (PBUH) was a Prophet sent by God, Allah, as a mercy to mankind. There is no compulsion on you to accept the truth, as Allah, says in his book, the Qur'an:-

    “ There is no compulsion in religion “ (2:256)

    But it is certainly a shame upon human intellect when man is not even interested in finding out the truth. In Islam, we are taught that God has given us a mind and the faculty of reason to look at things objectively and systematically for ourselves. To reflect, then to question, to reach the truth. Religion should not be accepted blindly, as some religions seem to do. In those religions, you are regarded blasphemous to question your own religion. Islam invites you to do that.

    It is not right for anybody to force anyone to accept Islam, for Islam teaches that man is given the freedom to choose whatever path he wishes to follow.

    Dear reader. Before you form an opinion of Islam, I want to ask you one question. Is your existing knowledge of Islam thorough enough or have you obtained what you know through television, newspapers and non-Muslim third party sources who do not know anything about the real Islam?.

    How can you form an opinion about anything from just hearsay?. Is that fair?. Similarly, you should, if you want, find out about Islam through reliable sources. You should not only taste Islam, but digest it as well before you can form any opinions about it.

    It is up to you to make the next move. I hope you will eventually find the truth, ISLAM.

    Dear brothers and sisters in Islam, Present what you have just read to your non-Muslim friends. We all have to do the work of dawah, invitation to Islam. It is an order from the creator. Allah (S.W.T) in the Qur'an says:-

    “ And who is better in speech than he who invites men to Allah and does good deeds and says I am one of the Muslims “ (41:33)

    “ Invite (all) to the way of the Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching and reason with them in ways that are best and most gracious “ (16:125)

    All that you have to do is pass what you have read to your friends and let them read it, that is all. Let them know about Islam, because there are so many people who still do not know about this great religion. Allah (S.W.T) says

    We have sent thee (O Muhammad) except as a universal (messenger) to the whole of mankind, as a giver of glad tidings, and as a warner, but still the majority of mankind still do not know” (34:28)

    “ …Mankind still does not know”..

    What? .

    That there is none worthy of worship but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger.

    If there are any questions, thoughts or comments regarding what you have just read, please do not hesitate to contact me at fe95rrj@brunel.ac.uk.

    Alhamdullilah Rabilalamin wa salat wa salam ala Muhammad wa ala alihi altahirin.

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