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Quran on Embryology
Historical background
The Sperm
Alalaqa (Leech - like-clot)
AlMudgha (Chewed- like lump of flesh)
The stage of bones
The stage of Muscles
The stage of Nash'ah
The stage of Labour
By: Dr. Sharif Al-Ghazal

The Stage of bones

Scientific facts:

During the 6th week, the cartilaginous skeleton starts to spread in the body (Figure 1).  Yet, we do not see the human image features except at the beginning of the 7th week (Figure 2), where the shape of the embryo takes the look of the skeleton.

Transformation from the mudgha form  to the beginning of the skeleton form occurs in a very short period of time at the end of the 6th week and the beginning of the 7th week.  This stage is characterized with the appearance of the skeleton which gives the embryo the human image.

Fig1. embryo day 42
Fig2. embryo day 44

Reflection on Quran and Sunnah

The term of “izam” (bones), coined by Quran, accurately expresses this stage in the life of the embryo, which includes the external appearance and is considered the most important change in the internal structure, with its associated new relations among body organs and regularity of embryo shape.  This stage is clearly distinguished from the preceding stage of mudgha (chewed-like lump of flesh).  Allah says;

( فَخَلَقْنَا الْمُضْغَةَ عِظَامًا فَكَسَوْنَا الْعِظَامَ لَحْمًا ثُمَّ أَنشَأْنَاهُ خَلْقًا آخَرَ فَتَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ) (المؤمنون: 14)

then We made out of that mudgha (chewed-like lump of flesh) bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then We developed out of it another creature. So blessed be Allah, the best to create.” (Quran 23: 14).

Bone formation is a notable process in this stage, as embryo is transformed from the image of mudgha which has no features of human image to the beginning of the skeleton image in a very short period of no more than few days at the end of the 6th week ; therefore, the quranic verse uses the Arabic conjunctive article (fa) instead of (thumma)  to indicate quick sequence of events.

This skeleton gives the embryo the image of a human being after being clothed with lahm (muscles).  The two eyes and the two lips then appear, and the head is differentiated from the trunk and the limbs.  This is in accordance with the Prophet’s (PBUH) saying in "Sahih Muslim";  “When 42 nights have passed over the conception , Allah sends an angel to it, who shapes it (into human form) and makes its ears, eyes, skin, muscles and bones.  Then he says; ` O Lord, is it male or female?`, and your Lord decides what He wishes and the angel records it.”

After 42 nights (6 weeks), the embryo begins to take the human image with the appearance of cartilaginous skeleton, then the external genitals begin to appear later on (the 10th week).  In the 7th week (Figure 13) the human image gets clearer with the start of the spread of skeleton.  This week represents (between 40 and 45 days) the demarcation line between mudgha and human image.

So, it is well proved that the Quran's words are very well contrived and scientifically accurate, as they are composed by Allah Who has perfected everything.


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