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الخميس، 9 مايو، 2013

Creation of man from Clots

الخميس, مايو 09, 2013

Creation of man from Clots

"Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists). He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood). " 
(Surat Al-'Alaq (The Clot):1-2).

Those two ayahs appear at the beginning of Surat Al-'Alaq (the Clot).  It consists of 19 ayahs and was revealed in Makkah.  The surah has one recitation prostration, which is the last recitation prostration in the Ever-Glorious Qur'an. 

This surah was named Al-Alaq because it points to one of the stages of the human creation, in which the embryo resembles the leech worm, that is called in Arabic al 'alaq worm, in appearance and its way of feeding.

The principal axis, which this surah revolves around, is the period from the beginning of revelation to the Seal of the Prophets and Messengers (SAWS); and what accompanied that, from stressing the belief in Allah (SWT) Who is the Creator and Possessor of all things.  He (The Exalted) created man from a piece of thick coagulated blood that is called in Arabic al 'alaq and commanded him to acquire knowledge and sciences.  He (SWT) also praised reading and the pen. 

The surah stresses the fact that Allah (SWT) is the source of every useful science and correct knowledge because it is He Who taught man what he did not know; Allah (SWT) says, He has taught man that which knew not.” (Surat Al-'Alaq (The Clot):5).  That is one of the reasons why man must worship Allah, obey His orders and avoid doing all the deeds that Allah has forbidden.  However, man is usually predominated by wealth, glory, fame, vanity and power; he forgets that all these are just gifts from Allah which He bestows on His slaves.  Man is overpowered by those gifts and forgets to prostrate to Allah in worship to thank Him.  Man forgets that he will return one day to Allah no matter how long he lives.  Therefore, the noble surah assures the certainty of the hereafter including: resurrection, judgment, punishment and reward.

Tenets of Faith in Surat Al-Alaq


(1)The absolute belief that Allah (SWT) is The Creator of everything.  Thus, He is, alone, The One Who deserves to be subjected and submitted to through worship with no partner, resemblance, competitor, companion, or child.

(2)Submitting to the fact that Allah (SWT) creates man in a number of successive phases that start with the 'alaqah phase.  Those phases are extremely minute in size.  Thus, someone of such origin should never transgress all boundaries with Allah (SWT) through committing sins and evil deeds, nor should he become a tyrant and oppress the creatures of Allah (SWT). 

(3)The belief that Allah (The Creator) is the Provider, the Supreme Power, and the Everlasting Sovereign.  He is the Most Generous and, accordingly, He is The Only One to Whom we should turn for refuge, seek His aid and ask for our needs.  

(4)The ascertaining that science is bestowed by Allah, the All-Knowing and the Ever-Wise, on His worshippers.  He cultivated knowledge in their father Adam (AS) the moment he was created and Adam in turn passed it on to the succeeding generation.

(5)The submission to the fact that Allah (SWT) taught man what he did not know. 

(6)The belief in the hereafter including: resurrection, the gathering (or banishment), returning to Allah (SWT), the judgment, and the reward and punishment.

(7)The certainty and belief that Allah (SWT) is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, and the All-Knowing Who sees everything and hears every whisper.

Signs of Creation in Surat Al-Alaq

1.     Emphasizing the issue of creation and that Allah, the Creator, the Maker and the Fashioner, is the One Who created everything and is the God and the Possessor of everything.

2.     Pointing to the fact that man is created in a phase, which exactly resembles the leech worm, al 'alaq, in its shape and means of nutrition.

3.     Assuring that Allah (SWT) is the source of every useful science and correct knowledge; and that He (SWT) is the one Who has taught (the writing) by the pen and taught man that which he knew not.

4.     Pointing out that one of the human characteristics is the inclination towards despotism when one feels self-sufficient and rich.

5.     Assuring the certainty of resurrection and the return to Allah (SWT).

6.     Indicating that the forelock is the place where decisions are made.

7.     Hinting to the value of kneeling in prostration in the relationship between Allah (SWT) and his slave (man).

Each one of those issues needs individual explanation. However, I will restrict myarticle here to the second point in the above list, namely, the subject of the second ayah of Surat al-Alaq. 

The Linguistic Implications in This Sacred Ayah

The terms (Aalaqah and Alaq) in the Ever-Glorious Qur'an
The two ayahs that we are discussing both came in Surat al-Alaq in which Allah (SWT) says in its beginning what can be translated as, "Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists). He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood)." (Surat Al-'Alaq (The Clot):1-2).
This is the only time that the term 'alaq is mentioned in its plural form in the Ever-Glorious Qur'an, while 'alaqah, which is the singular form, was mentioned five times in the Qur'an and as follows:

  1. “O mankind! If you are in doubt about the Resurrection, then verily We have created you (i.e. Adam) from dust, then from a Nutfah (mixed drops of male and female sexual discharge i.e. the offspring of Adam), then from a clot, (a piece of thick coagulated blood)…” (Surat Al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage):5).

  1. “Then We made the Nutfah into a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood), then We made the clot into a little lump of flesh…” (Surat Al-Mu'minûn (The Believers):14).

  1. “It is He, Who has created you (Adam) from dust, then from a Nutfah (mixed semen drops of male and female sexual discharge (i.e. Adam's offspring)), then from a clot (piece of coagulated blood); …” (Surat Ghâfîr (The Forgiver):67).

  1. “Was he not a Nutfah (mixed male and female sexual discharge) of semen emitted (poured forth)? (37) Then he became an 'Alaqah (a clot); then (Allah) shaped and fashioned (him) in due proportion. (38) And made of him two sexes, male and female. (39)” (Surat Al-Qiyâmah: 37-39).

In all of these five cases the terms 'alaqah and 'alaq refer to a specific phase in the phases of the human embryo development.  It is when the embryo or the blastocystþ takes the form of the 'alaq worm (leech) in that it is attached to the walls of the uterus just as the worm is attached to the host it will feed on.  The embryo in this stage is fed on the mother’s blood just as the worm is fed on its host.

The Ever-Glorious Qur'an described the phases of the embryo development 14 centuries ago in an amazing and extraordinary precise manner.  The embryo in these phases is extremely minute in size, so to describe them at that time when there was no means of magnification, imaging or medical examination, is considered one of the scientific miracles of Allah’s Book, especially that the acquired sciences reached these facts in only the late decades of the 20th century. Scientists were able to describe those stages according to their time span in days and weeks; however, they are still unable to give a full and complete description.

The length of the al'aqah ranges from 0.7 to 3.5 mm.  It is difficult to detect it with the naked eye in the miscarried fetus, as it is usually immersed in blood and the remnant tissues.  

Thus, the Ever-Glorious Qur'anic references to these phases, in such a precise description of the human embryo's successive phases, is  proof that the Ever-Glorious Qur’an is the word of Allah, the Creator, and that Muhammad Ibn-Abdullah (SAWS) is the Seal of His Prophets and Messengers.  Moreover, it is evidence for the link of the Prophet (SAWS) to the Revelation and to the teachings of Allah (SWT), the Creator of the heavens and earth.

That is why no sane person could ever imagine that the source of this elevated, precise and accurate science, at that remote and distant time, could ever be from anyone other than Allah (SWT), the Creator, whose Knowledge encompasses everything.
The Scientific Implications of the Sacred Ayah

The two sacred ayahs chosen for this article point to the creation of man (i.e. all Adam’s descendents) from a specific embryonic stage, which Allah (SWT) named al-Alaq.  The 'alaq (leech) is of the class Annelida or what is called Class Hirudinia that usually lives in fresh water, a few of them live in salty water or even on earth in the tropical and semi-tropical moist forests.  This worm lives as a parasite on many vertebral hosts to suck blood.  It might also live as a parasite on the non-vertebral seashells. 

Allah (SWT) has provided these blood-sucking worms with certain chemical compounds that prevent blood from clotting to enable them to suck the blood required for their needs.  These compounds are known as Hirudin, from which the title Class Hirudinia is derived.

It was a wonder that the embryologists in the 20th century discovered that during the first two weeks of the embryo’s life, the blastocyst becomes attached to the wall of the uterus through the primary placenta, which is converted later on to theumbilical cord.

Throughout the growing process, the cells multiply, and the different systems start to take their primary form such as the nervous system represented by the spinal cord, and the circulatory system represented by the heart, the veins and arteries. The embryo elongates from the onset of the third week (from the 21st to the 25thday) taking the shape of the 'alaq worm (leech). 

The embryo not only resembles this worm's attachment to the host's body, by attaching to the uterus walls, but also it feeds on the mother’s blood the just as the worm feeds on the host’s blood.

Thus the Qur'anic description of this phase of the embryo’s development, by saying what can be translated as, “He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood).” (Surat Al-'Alaq (The Clot):2) is a real miracle.  This ayah was revealed in an era which lacked means of magnification, medical examination or imaging to know about such a clot that ranges from 0.7 to 3.5 in length.

This stage is known as 'The Attachment and Implantation Stage'.  The blastula gets nearer to the mucous membrane lining the uterus until it becomes stuck to the upper part after six to seven days from the day of fertilization.  The outer cells of the blastula then start to bite into the uterus walls and become embedded in it by a number of minute tissues immersed in blood.  Thus, a direct connection is formed between the embryo and the mother’s blood.  The 'alaqah is fed on that blood in addition to the uterine milk secreted by thousands of the uterine glands.  

On about the 12th or 13th day after fertilization, the opening, through which the blastula reached the uterus membrane, is closed by a number of lymphatic and blood cells.  Then some coating cells that constitute the inner membrane of the uterus cover it.

After this first stage, at which the embryo is attached to the uterus wall and implanted in it, the chorion starts forming from the outer blastula cells as well as a pluck to connect the embryo and chorion in which the blood vessels are formed to feed the embryo and to ensure its strong suspension to the womb's wall.

This 'alaqa phase lasts approximately from the 15th to the 24th or 25th day after the fertilization process. Although in this phase the embryo is minute in size, the embryologists have noticed the rapid multiplication of the cells and its active role in the formation of the body’s systems, the beginning of the appearance of a deep nervous split at the end of the back part of the embryo, and the formation of a small number of lobes.  The head fold also becomes clear and the embryo then moves to the second phase, which is called the modghah which we will discuss in an upcoming article if Allah wills.

From this presentation, it becomes clear to us that the Qur'anic description of the phases of the human embryo is more precise, more comprehensive and more perfect than any description that modern sciences have reached.  This description, which was revealed 14 centuries ago at a time when there was no means for magnification or examination, is considered one of the greatest scientific miracles in Allah’s Book.

It is a miracle that proves that this cherished Ever-Glorious Book can never be a human product, but rather the words of Allah (SWT), the Creator, which He has revealed by His knowledge that encompasses everything, to His Seal of Prophets and Messengers (SAWS).  Allah (SWT) has protected His Book for the past 14 centuries and will continue to do so until He inherits the earth with all that is on it by the oath He took upon Himself in the same language of the revelation, the Arabic language.

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