The Qur’an on Human Embryonic Development


In the Holy Qur’an, God speaks about the stages of man’s embryonic development:

We created man from an extract of clay. Then We made him as a drop in a place of settlement, firmly fixed. Then We made the drop into an alaqah (leech, suspended thing, and blood clot), then We made the alaqah into a mudghah (chewed substance…”

(Qur’an 23:12-14)

Literally, the Arabic word alaqah has three meanings: (1) leech, (2) suspended thing, and (3) blood clot.

In comparing a leech to an embryo in the alaqah stage, we find similarity between the two, as we can see in figure 1. Also, the embryo at this stage obtains nourishment from the blood of the mother, similar to the leech, which feeds on the blood of others. The second meaning of the word alaqah is “suspended thing.” This is what we can see in figures 2 and 3, the suspension of the embryo, during the alaqah stage, in the womb of the mother.

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The third meaning of the word alaqah is “blood clot.” We find 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 stage (see figure 4). Also during this stage, the blood in the embryo does not circulate until the end of the third week. Thus, the embryo at this stage is like a clot of blood.

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So the three meanings of the word alaqah correspond accurately to the descriptions of the embryo at the alaqah stage. The next stage mentioned in the verse is the mudghah stage.

The Arabic word mudghah means “chewed substance.” If one were to take a piece of gum and chew it in his or her mouth and then compare it with an embryo at the mudghah stage, we would conclude that the embryo at the mudghah stage is similar in appearance to a chewed substance. This is because of the somites at the back of the embryo that “somewhat resemble teethmarks in a chewed substance.” (see figures 5 and 6).

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How could Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) have possibly known all this about fourteen hundred years ago, when scientists have only recently discovered this using advanced equipment and powerful microscopes which did not exist at that time? Hamm and Leeuwenhoek were the first scientists to observe human sperm cells (spermatozoa) using an improved microscope in 1677 (more than 1000 years after Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)). They mistakenly thought that the sperm cell contained a miniature preformed human being that grew when it was deposited in the female genital tract.

Professor Emeritus Keith L. Moore was one of the world’s most prominent scientists in the fields of anatomy and embryology and is the author of the book entitled The Developing Human, which has been translated into eight languages. This book is a scientific reference work and was chosen by a special committee in the United States as the best book authored by one person. Dr. Keith Moore is Professor Emeritus of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. There, he was Associate Dean of Basic Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine and for 8 years was the Chairman of the Department of Anatomy. In 1984, he received the most distinguished award presented in the field of anatomy in Canada, the J.C.B. Grant Award from the Canadian Association of Anatomists. He has directed many international associations, such as the Canadian and American Association of Anatomists and the Council of the Union of Biological Sciences.

In 1981, during the Seventh Medical Conference in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Professor Moore said: “It has been a great pleasure for me to help clarify statements in the Qur’an about human development. It is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) from God, because almost all of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later. This proves to me that Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) must have been a messenger of God.”

Consequently, Professor Moore was asked the following question: “Does this mean that you believe that the Qur’an is the word of God?” He replied: “I find no difficulty in accepting this.”

During one conference, Professor Moore stated: “….Because the staging of human embryos is complex, owing to the continuous process of change during development, it is proposed that a new system of classification could be developed using the terms mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah (what Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, did, or approved of). The proposed system is simple, comprehensive, and conforms with present embryological knowledge. The intensive studies of the Qur’an and hadeeth (reliably transmitted reports by Prophet Muhammad’s (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) companions of what he said, did, or approved of) in the last four years have revealed a system for classifying human embryos that is amazing since it was recorded in the seventh century A.D. Although Aristotle, the founder of the science of embryology, realized that chick embryos developed in stages from his studies of hen’s eggs in the fourth century B.C., he did not give any details about these stages. As far as it is known from the history of embryology, little was known about the staging and classification of human embryos until the twentieth century. For this reason, the descriptions of the human embryo in the Qur’an cannot be based on scientific knowledge in the seventh century. The only reasonable conclusion is: these descriptions were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) from God. He could not have known such details because he was an illiterate man with absolutely no scientific training.”


Scientific Miracles in the Holy Quran

The Qur’an is the literal word of God, which He revealed to His Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) through the Angel Gabriel. It was memorized by Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) , who then dictated it to his Companions. They, in turn, memorized it, wrote it down, and reviewed it with the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) . Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) reviewed the Qur’an with the Angel Gabriel once each year and twice in the last year of his life. From the time the Qur’an was revealed, until this day, there has always been a huge number of Muslims who have memorized all of the Qur’an, letter by letter. Some of them have even been able to memorize all of the Qur’an by the age of ten.

Not one letter of the Qur’an has been changed over the centuries. The Qur’an, which was revealed fourteen centuries ago, mentioned facts only recently discovered or proven by scientists. This proves without doubt that the Qur’an must be the literal word of God, revealed by Him to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) , and that the Qur’an was not authored by Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) or by any other human being. This also proves that Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is truly a prophet sent by God. It is beyond reason that anyone fourteen hundred years ago would have known these facts discovered or proven only recently with advanced equipment and sophisticated scientific methods.

Some examples follow (click to discover more details):

The Qur’an on Human Embryonic Development

The Qur’an on Mountains

The Qur’an on the Origin of the Universe

The Qur’an on the Cerebrum

The Qur’an on Seas and Rivers

The Qur’an on Deep Seas and Internal Waves

The Qur’an on Clouds

Scientists’ Comments on the Scientific Miracles in the Holy Qur’an



A Brief Illustrated Guide To Understanding Islam, 2nd Edition. I.A Ibrahim

Belief in Allah

Muslims believe in Tawheed. ’Tawheed’ means believing in Allaah alone as God and Lord and attributing to Him alone all the attributes of Lordship and divinity.

Allah is the Most Powerful and Most Wise. He Created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. Muslims believe that only He (Allah) deserves to be worshipped alone without any partner.

In the Quran, Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

1. “Say (O Muhammad): He is Allaah, (the) One [Ahad].

2. Allaah‑us‑Samad [Allaah — the Self‑Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, (He neither eats nor drinks)].

3. He begets not, nor was He begotten.

4. And there is none co‑equal or comparable unto Him”

[Quran 112:1-3]

Every Nation was Sent a Prophet

Prophets in islam

Muslims believe that thousands of prophets were sent periodically by God, at least one to every nation, as a mercy to mankind for their guidance. Some of the Prophets sent include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them).

In certain circumstances, the message of the Prophets was lost, corrupted, forgotten, neglected, or denied by the people. These were some of the reasons why a new Prophet would be sent to re-convey Allah’s message.

Muslims believe in and respect every Prophet sent by God. Muslims also believe in all of the divine books which were revealed to the Prophets, mindful of the fact that none of these books exist today in their original form, aside from the Quran.

“It is He (Allah) Who has sent down the Book (the Quran) to you (Muhammad) with truth, confirming what came before it. And He sent down the Torah and the Gospel.” Quran 3:3

Characteristics of Prophets

All Prophets have common characteristics which make them exceptional human beings.

The main difference between an ordinary human being and a Prophet is that a Prophet receives revelation from God (Allah).

Prophets never sought personal benefits such as wealth, high status or power – rather, they only sought the approval of God.

Prophets were the best examples amongst their people in character and righteousness. They lived in obedience to God, with excellent morals and were always truthful in speech and conduct. For this reason, Muslims reject totally the false attribution of major sins to the Prophets, as appears in some scriptures of other religions.

Prophets are not divine

While Prophets are chosen by Allah Almighty, they are in no way divine and should not be worshipped. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was commanded to say:

“I am only a man like you. It has been revealed to me that your God is One God.” Quran 18:110

It is clear even from the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, that the Prophets were not divine, and would worship and prostrate to the One True God.

“And he [Jesus] went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed…” Matthew 26:39

“And they [Moses and Aaron] fell upon their faces…” Numbers 16:22

“And Abram [i.e. Abraham] fell on his face: and God talked with him…” Genesis 17:3

The Message of the Prophets

Since all Prophets were sent by the One True God, they all conveyed the same message and had the same mission – to remind and educate their people of the purpose of life.

“And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allâh (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Tâghût (all false deities, etc. i.e. do not worship Tâghût besides Allâh).””  Quran 16:36

The main focus of all the Prophets was to clarify the concept of God: that He has no partners or equals, and that all worship should be directed exclusively toward Him. In the Quran, there are numerous examples of Prophets proclaiming this message:

Noah (peace be upon him) said [Quran 7:59],

“O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other gods besides Him.”

Abraham (peace be upon him) said [Quran 21:66],

“Do you worship besides Allah, things that can neither bring you benefit nor cause you harm?”

Moses (peace be upon him) said [Quran 7:140],

“What! Shall I seek for you a god other than Allah even though He has made you excel (all) created things?”

Jesus (peace be upon him) said [Quran 3:51],

“Indeed Allah is my Lord and your Lord: so worship Him (alone): this is the Straight Way.”

Muhammad (peace be upon him) said [Quran 18:110],

“It has been revealed to me that your God is One God. So whoever expects to meet his Lord then let him do good deeds and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.”

This message was consistent throughout the generations, and highlights the importance of having the correct belief in God.

The Final Prophet

As mentioned earlier, Muslims believe that thousands of Prophets were sent periodically by Allah to specific groups of people.

“And for every nation there is a messenger.” Quran 10:47

Over time, the messages with which the Prophets came were lost or corrupted.

However, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was not sent to a specific people, but to mankind as a whole, and his message has been preserved both in the form of the Quran and the Sunnah. Since the Quran and Sunnah are preserved and easily accessible, there is no need for another Prophet.

“Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but he is the Messenger of God and the last of the prophets.” Quran 33:40

The Quran is the spoken word of Allah, and is free of any corruption, errors or contradictions. It is a book of “guidance for mankind… and the distinction (between right and wrong).” Quran 2:185

God has guaranteed the Quran’s protection from any corruption or distortion. Allah says in the Quran,

“Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur’an) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).” Quran 15:9

The Sunnah is a collection of the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as recorded by his companions and their students. The fact that there are thousands of these recorded and rigorously authenticated makes it very easy for anyone to follow Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) correctly.

The message of Prophet Muhammad is in complete harmony with the teachings of the previous Prophets, and reaffirms their message.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the final Prophet for all mankind from his time up until the end of time, including current and future generations. He was a perfect example of an honest, just, merciful, compassionate, truthful and brave human being. He, like other Prophets before him, did not have any evil characteristics and strove solely for the sake of Allah.


  • “Prophethood in Islam” Pamphlet by
  • A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam, I.A Ibrahim, Second Edition, Darussalam