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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

Al Mudgha (chewed-like lump of flesh)

Scientific facts:

The embryo is transformed from the stage of alaqa to the beginning of the stage of mudgha on the 24th day to the 26th day, which is a very brief period if compared with the period of the nutfa changing to alaqa.

The stage of mudgha (chewed-like lump of flesh)

This stage starts with the appearance of somites on the 24th or 25th day on top of the embryonic scapula, and then gradually appear at the embryo’s buttock.  On the 28th day the embryo is formed of several bulges, with grooves in between, thus giving the embryo the image of a chewed gum. The embryo turns and rolls in the cavity of the uterus  during this stage which ends by the end of the 6th week.

Embryo on the day 26 Note the resemblance with the image of a chewed gum underneath.

It is noteworthy that the stage of mudgha starts with the growth and increase of cells in a large number. The mudgha looks like a piece of meat which has no distinguished structure, then after a few days, the second stage starts, called the stage of formation (takhaloq), where some organs begin to appear, such as the eyes, tongue and the lips , but human distinguishing features do not appear except at the end of the 8th week.  Limbs bulges (hands and legs) also appear in this stage.

In the 5th week the heart starts beating and the embryo has already developed its placenta and amniotic sac.

The placenta is burrowing into the uterine wall to access oxygen and nutrients from the mother's bloodstream.

The placenta is burrowing into the uterine wall to access oxygen and nutrients from the mother's bloodstream.

Reflections on Quran and Sunnah:

Mudgha in Arabic means the material chewed by teeth.  This gives an accurate description of the embryonic stage as the embryo shape looks like a chewed material which constantly changes, with the appearance of somites bulges.  The differences in these somites look like the “teeth imprints” over bread bite.  The embryo turns and rolls in the cavity of the uterus as a piece of chewed material in the mouth.

The stage  of mudgha comes after the stage of alaqa.  This coincides with the Holy verse:

(فَخَلَقْنَا الْعَلَقَةَ مُضْغَةً) (المؤمنون: 14)

“And of that clot We made a (foetus) lump.” (Quran 23: 14). Of the characteristics of mudgha is that it elongates and changes shape when chewed.  This is exactly what occurs to the embryo in this stage.  As we mentioned before, the mudgha has an early form before the creation and formation of organs and another form following the formation of organs.  The Quranic verse states:

( يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِن كُنتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِّنَ الْبَعْثِ فَإِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ عَلَقَةٍ ثُمَّ مِن مُّضْغَةٍ مُّخَلَّقَةٍ وَغَيْرِ مُخَلَّقَةٍ لِّنُبَيِّنَ لَكُمْ وَنُقِرُّ فِي الْأَرْحَامِ مَا نَشَاء إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى) ( الحج: 5)

“O mankind!  If ye have a doubt about the Recreation (consider) that We created you out of dust, then out of sperm, then out of a leech-like clot, then out of a chewed-like lump of flesh, formed and unformed, in order that We may manifest (Our power) to you; and We cause whom We will to rest in the wombs for an appointed term.” (Quran 22: 5).

Thus, there are two types of mudgha: formed and unformed.  The formed one is the embryo itself which starts forming into different organs with specific functions and the unformed one is the placenta which starts developing in the 5th week (around day 35) of the mudgha stage . And Allah knows best !

The mudgha stage ends at the 6th week (i.e. 40 days).  Imam Muslim narrated in his “Sahih” on the authority of Abdullah Bin Masoud that he said; “Allah's prophet - Mohammad (PBUH) - the truthful and trustworthy, told us;

"The creation of each one of you is  composed in the mother‘s womb in forty days, in that (creation) it turns into such a clot, then in that  turns into such a mudgha and then Allah sends an angel and orders him to write four things, i.e., his provision, his age, and whether he will be of the wretched or the blessed (in the Hereafter). Then the soul is breathed into him. And by Allah, a person among you (or a man) may do deeds of the people of the Fire till there is only a cubit or an arm-breadth distance between him and the Fire, but then that writing (which Allah has ordered the angel to write) precedes, and he does the deeds of the people of Paradise and enters it; and a man may do the deeds of the people of Paradise till there is only a cubit or two between him and Paradise, and then that writing precedes and he does the deeds of the people of the Fire and enters it."

Who told the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) all these facts? Did he have anatomy and measurement tools, or microscopes to tell us the characteristics of an embryo no more than 1cm tall? It is He Allah (Who told him), the Only One, the Subduer.


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