Q u r ' a a n   &   M o d e r n  S c i e n c e

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 Embryology

 MAN IS CREATED FROM ALAQ : A LEECH-LIKE SUBSTANCE

(A) Human Embryo (B) Leech A few years ago a group of Arabs collected all information concerning embryology from the Qur’aan, and followed the instruction of the Qur’aan:

 If ye realise this not, ask Of those who possess the Message.” [Al-Qur’aan 16:43 & 21:7]

 All the information from the Qur’aan so gathered, was translated into English and presented to Prof. (Dr.) Keith Moore, who was the Professor of Embryology and Chairman of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Toronto, in Canada. At present he is one of the highest authorities in the field of Embryology. He was asked to give his opinion regarding the information present in the Qur’aan concerning the field of embryology. After carefully examining the translation of the Qur’aanic verses presented to him, Dr. Moore said that most of the information concerning embryology mentioned in the Qur’aan is in perfect conformity with modern discoveries in the field of embryology and does not conflict with them in any way. He added that there were however a few verses, on whose scientific accuracy he could not comment. He could not say whether the statements were true or false, since he himself was not aware of the information contained therein. There was also no mention of this information in modern writings and studies on embryology. One such verse is:

 Proclaim! (or Read!) In the name Of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created – Created man, out of A (mere) clot Of congealed blood.” [Al-Qur’aan 96:1-2]

 The word alaq besides meaning a congealed clot of blood also means something that clings, a leech-like substance. Dr. Keith Moore had no knowledge whether an embryo in the initial stages appears like a leech. To check this out he studied the initial stage of the embryo under a very powerful microscope in his laboratory and compared what he observed with a diagram of a leech and he was astonished at the striking resemblance between the two!

 In the same manner, he acquired more information on embryology that was hitherto not known to him, from the Qur’aan. Dr. Keith Moore answered about eighty questions dealing with embryological data mentioned in the Qur’aan and Hadith. Noting that the information contained in the Qur’aan and Hadith was in full agreement with the latest discoveries in the field of embryology, Prof. Moore said, “If I was asked these questions thirty years ago, I would not have been able to answer half of them for lack of scientific information

 Dr. Keith Moore had earlier authored the book, ‘The Developing Human’. After acquiring new knowledge from the Qur’aan, he wrote, in 1982, the 3rd edition of the same book, ‘The Developing Human’. The book was the recipient of an award for the best medical book written by a single author. This book has been translated into several major languages of the world and is used as a textbook of embryology in the first year of medical studies. In 1981, during the Seventh Medical Conference in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Dr. Moore said, “It has been a great pleasure for me to help clarify statements in the Qur’aan about human development. It is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad from 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 a messenger of God or Allah.” 12

 Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson, Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, U.S.A., proclaims: “...these Hadiths, sayings of Muhammad (pbuh) could not have been obtained on the basis of the scientific knowledge that was available at the time of the writer (7 th century). It follows that not only is there no conflict between genetics and religion (Islam) but in fact religion (Islam) may guide science by adding revelation to some of the traditional scientific approaches… there exist statements in the Qur’aan shown centuries later to be valid which support knowledge in the Qur’aan having been derived from God.

(The reference for this statement is the video tape titled ‘This is the Truth’. For a copy of this video tape contact the Islamic Research Foundation.)

 MAN CREATED FROM A DROP EMITTED FROM BETWEEN THE BACK BONE AND THE RIBS

 Now let man but think From what he is created! He is created from A drop emitted – Proceeding from between The back bone and the ribs.” [Al-Qur’aan 86:5-7]

 In embryonic stages, the reproductive organs of the male and female, i.e. the testicles and the ovaries, begin their development near the kidney between the spinal column and the eleventh and twelfth ribs. Later they descend; the female gonads (ovaries) stop in the pelvis while the male gonads (testicles) continue their descent before birth to reach the scrotum through the inguinal canal. Even in the adult after the descent of the reproductive organ, these organs receive their nerve supply and blood supply from the Abdominal Aorta, which is in the area between the backbone (spinal column) and the ribs. Even the lymphatic drainage and the venous return goes to the same area.

 HUMAN BEINGS CREATED FROM NUTFAH (Minute Quantity of Liquid)

 The Glorious Qur’aan mentions no less than eleven times that the human being is created from nutfah, which means a minute quantity of liquid or a trickle of liquid which remains after emptying a cup. This is mentioned in several verses of the Qur’aan including 22:5 and 23:13. 13 Science has confirmed in recent times that only one out of an average of three million sperms is required for fertilising the ovum. This means that only a 1/three millionth part or 0.00003% of the quantity of sperms that are emitted is required for fertilisation.

(The same is also mentioned in the Qur'aan in 16:4, 18:37, 35:11, 36:77, 40:67, 53:46, 75:37, 76:2 and 80:19.)

 HUMAN BEINGS CREATED FROM SULALAH (Quintessence of liquid)

 And made his progeny From a quintessence Of the nature of A fluid despised.” [Al-Qur’aan 32:8]

 The Arabic word sulâlah means quintessence or the best part of a whole. We have come to know now that only one single spermatozoon that penetrates the ovum is required for fertilization, out of the several millions produced by man. That one spermatozoon out of several millions, is referred to in the Qur’aan as sulâlah. Sulâlah also means gentle extraction from a fluid. The fluid refers to both male and female germinal fluids containing gametes. Both ovum and sperm are gently extracted from their environments in the process of fertilization.

 MAN CREATED FROM NUTFATUN AMSHAAJ (Mingled liquids)

 Consider the following Qur’aanic verse:Verily We created Man from a drop Of mingled sperm.” [Al-Qur’aan 76:2]

 The Arabic word nutfatin amshaajin means mingled liquids. According to some commentators of the Qur’aan, mingled liquids refers to the male or female agents or liquids. After mixture of male and female gamete, the zygote still remains nutfah. Mingled liquids can also refer to spermatic fluid that is formed of various secretions that come from various glands. Therefore nutfatin amsaj, i.e. a minute quantity of mingled fluids refers to the male and female gametes (germinal fluids or cells) and part of the surrounding fluids.

 SEX DETERMINATION

 The sex of a fetus is determined by the nature of the sperm and not the ovum. The sex of the child, whether female or male, depends on whether the 23rd pair of chromosomes is XX or XY respectively. Primarily sex determination occurs at fertilization and depends upon the type of sex chromosome in the sperm that fertilizes an ovum. If it is an ‘X’ bearing sperm that fertilizes the ovum, the fetus is a female and if it is a ‘Y’ bearing sperm then the fetus is a male.

 That He did create In pairs – male and female, From a seed when lodged (In its place).” [Al-Qur’aan 53:45-46]

 The Arabic word nutfah means a minute quantity of liquid and tumnâ means ejaculated or planted. Therefore nutfah specifically refers to sperm because it is ejaculated. The Qur’aan says:

 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]

 Here again it is mentioned that a small quantity (drop) of sperm (indicated by the word nutfatan min maniyyin) which comes from the man is responsible for the sex of the fetus.

 Mothers-in-law in the Indian subcontinent, by and large prefer having male grandchildren and often blame their daughters-in-law if the child is not of the desired sex. If only they knew that the determining factor is the nature of the male sperm and not the female ovum! If they were to blame anybody, they should blame their sons and not their daughters-in-law since both the Qur’aan and Science hold that it is the male fluid that is responsible for the sex of the child!

 FOETUS PROTECTED BY THREE VEILS OF DARKNESS

 He makes you, In the wombs of your mothers, In stages, one after another, In three veils of darkness.” [Al-Qur’aan 39:6]

 According to Prof. Keith Moore these three veils of darkness in the Qur’aan refer to:

  1. anterior abdominal wall of the mother

  2. the uterine wall

  3. the amnio-chorionic membrane.

 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.

 Uterus

 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.  Embryo 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.  Chewed Substance 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]

 EMBRYO PARTLY FORMED AND PARTLY UNFORMED

 At the mugdhah stage, if an incision is made in the embryo and the internal organ is dissected, it will be seen that most of them are formed while the others are not yet completely formed.

 According to Prof. Johnson, if we describe the embryo as a complete creation, then we are only describing that part which is already created. If we describe it as an incomplete creation, then we are only describing that part which is not yet created. So, is it a complete creation or an incomplete creation? There is no better description of this stage of embryo genesis than the Qur’aanic description, “partly formed and partly unformed”, as in the following verse:

 We created you Out of dust, then out of Sperm, then out of a leech-like Clot, then out of a morsel Of flesh, partly formed And partly unformed.” [Al-Qur’aan 22:5]

 Scientifically we know that at this early stage of development there are some cells which are differentiated and there are some cells that are undifferentiated – some organs are formed and yet others unformed.

 SENSE OF HEARING AND SIGHT

 Embryo  The first sense to develop in a developing human embryo is hearing. The foetus can hear sounds after the 24th week. Subsequently, the sense of sight is developed and by the 28th week, the retina becomes sensitive to light. Consider the following Qur’aanic verses related to the development of the senses in the embryo:

 And He gave You (the faculties of) hearing and sight and feeling (And understanding).” [Al-Qur’aan 32:9]

 Verily We created Man from a drop Of mingled sperm, In order to try him: So We gave him (the gifts), Of Hearing and Sight.” [Al-Qur’aan 76:2]

 It is He Who has created For you (the faculties of) Hearing, sight, feeling And understanding: little thanks It is ye give!” [Al-Qur’aan 23:78]

In all these verses the sense of hearing is mentioned before that of sight. Thus the Qur’aanic description matches with the discoveries in modern embryology.

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 GENERAL SCIENCE

 FINGERPRINTS

 Does man think that We Cannot assemble his bones? Nay, We are able to put Together in perfect order The very tips of his fingers.” [Al-Qur’aan 75:3-4]

 Unbelievers argue regarding resurrection taking place after bones of dead people have disintegrated in the earth and how each individual would be identified on the Day of Judgment. Almighty Allah answers that He can not only assemble our bones but can also reconstruct perfectly our very fingertips.

 Why does the Qur’aan, while speaking about determination of the identity of the individual, speak specifically about fingertips? In 1880, fingerprinting became the scientific method of identification, after research done by Sir Francis Golt. No two persons in the world can ever have exactly the same fingerprint pattern. That is the reason why police forces worldwide use fingerprints to identify the criminal. 1400 years ago, who could have known the uniqueness of each human’s fingerprint? Surely it could have been none other than the Creator Himself!

 PAIN RECEPTORS PRESENT IN THE SKIN

 PAIN RECEPTORS PRESENT IN THE SKIN  It was thought that the sense of feeling and pain was only dependent on the brain. Recent discoveries prove that there are pain receptors present in the skin without which a person would not be able to feel pain. When a doctor examines a patient suffering from burn injuries, he verifies the degree of burns by a pinprick. If the patient feels pain, the doctor is happy, because it indicates that the burns are superficial and the pain receptors are intact. On the other hand if the patient does not feel any pain, it indicates that it is a deep burn and the pain receptors have been destroyed. The Qur’aan gives an indication of the existence of pain receptors in the following verse:

 Those who reject Our signs, We shall soon Cast into the Fire; As often as their  skins Are roasted through, We shall change them For fresh skins, That they may taste The Penalty: for Allah Is Exalted in Power, Wise.” [Al-Qur’aan 4:56]

 Prof. Tagatat Tejasen, Chairman of the Department of Anatomy at Chiang Mai University in Thailand, has spent a great amount of time on research of pain receptors. Initially he could not believe that the Qur’aan mentioned this scientific fact 1,400 years ago. He later verified the translation of this particular Qur’aanic verse. Prof. Tejasen was so impressed by the scientific accuracy of the Qur’aanic verse, that at the 8th Saudi Medical Conference held in Riyadh on the Scientific Signs of Qur’aan and Sunnah he proclaimed in public: “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad (pbuh) is His Messenger.

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 CONCLUSION

 The Qur'aan  To attribute the presence of scientific facts in the Qur’aan to coincidence would be against common sense and a true scientific approach. The Qur’aan invites all humans to reflect on the Creation of this universe in the verse:

 Behold! In the creation Of the heavens and the earth, And the alternation Of Night and Day – There are indeed Signs For men of understanding.” [Al-Qur’aan 3:190]

 The scientific evidences of the Qur’aan clearly prove its Divine Origin. No human could have produced a book, fourteen hundred years ago, that would contain profound scientific facts, to be discovered by humankind centuries later. The Qur’aan, however, is not a book of Science but a book of ‘Signs’. These signs invite Man to realize the purpose of his existence on earth, and to live in harmony with Nature. The Qur’aan is truly a message from Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. It contains the same message of the Oneness of God, that was preached by all prophets, right from Adam, Moses, Jesus to Muhammad (peace be upon them).

 Several detailed tomes have been written on the subject of Qur’aan and modern science and further research in this field is on. Inshallah, this research will help mankind to come closer to the Word of the Almighty. This booklet contains only a few of the scientific facts present in the Qur’aan. I cannot claim to have done full justice to the subject. Prof.Tejasen accepted Islam on the strength of just one scientific ‘sign’ mentioned in the Qu’ran. Some people may require ten signs while some may require hundred signs to be convinced about the Divine Origin of the Qur’aan. Some would be unwilling to accept the Truth even after being shown a thousand signs. The Qur’aan condemns such a closed mentality in the verse:

 Deaf, dumb and blind, They will not return (To the path).” [Al-Qur’aan 2:18]

 The Qur’aan contains a complete code of life for the individual and society. Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah), the Qur’aanic way of life is far superior to the ‘isms’ that modern man has invented out of sheer ignorance. Who can give better guidance than the Creator Himself?

 Dr. Zakir Naik

 I pray that this humble effort is accepted by Allah, to whom I pray for mercy and guidance (Aameen).

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