Religion of Friday, 11 July 2014

Source: Hussein BabalWaiz

Qur'anic Commentary & Analysis through the Lens of Modern Science [8]

"I was astonished by the accuracy of the statements that were recorded[ in the Qur'an] in the 7th century AD, before the science of embryology was established…It is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad from God, or Allah, because most of this knowledge was not discovered until centuries later…"
--- Professor Keith Moore, in his book, "The Developing Human", he was formerly an anatomist at the University of Toronto Canada
Origin of man

"Was he (man) not a mere sperm drop which is emitted(in the mother's womb)?"
--- Q-75:37

Analysis: Scientists for centuries believed that menstrual blood was the source of human life. This concept prevailed among many scientists even after the discovery of the microscope. They believed that menstrual blood contained the fully formed human embryo and that the male fluid had no effect on the creation of a child, except that it helped to coagulate the menstrual blood. The Qur'an, in this verse, contradicts this belief of the earlier scientists. At the same time it provides the correct information regarding the origin of man from a sperm drop.

Role of male and female in pregnancy
"O mankind! We (Allah) created you from a single (pair) of a male and female."
--- Q-53:45-46

Analysis: A group of early scientists believe that the male secretion and not the menstrual blood contributed to the formation of a new child. They held that a fully formed human being was present in the male secretion, and that human development was not more than an increase in the size of a single basic form, which enlarged during the various stages of pregnancy. Others, as noted previously, believed that the female alone contributed to the formation of a new child, and that the male secretion played no part in its development. Leuwenhock in 1673 A.D. invented the simple microscope. Spallanzani in 1775 A.D. showed that sperm from the man and ovum from the woman equally contributed to the formation of a new individual. Astonishingly enough the Qur'an mentioned this fact centuries ago.
Stages in human embryo
"What is the matter with you that you are not mindful of Allah's majesty; knowing that it is He who has created you in diverse stages?" --- Q- 71:13-14
"He (Allah) makes you in the womb of your mother in stages one after another."
--- Q-39:6
Analysis: Once it was known that human being develops from fertilization of male sperm and female ovum, the question arose regarding the growth of a single zygote cell into a multi-cellular, multi-organ, and multi-system human being. Though the earlier scientists differed concerning the origin of the new individual, they held the common belief that a fully formed human being was present in either the male secretion or the female ovum. Additionally, they also held the common belief that the growth of human embryo was just a non discrete process of increase in the size of a basic form. This concept prevailed among many scientists even after the invention of microscope in 1673 AD. The Qur'an, on the contrary, categorically rejects this concept and states that the human embryo grows in successive stages, a fact now fully established by embryologists. It should be noted that the idea of embryonic development in successive stages was first suggested by Wolf in 1759 AD. The specific stages of human embryo development, however, were not proposed until 1940 A.D. This is only recently that the embryologists have established the various stages of embryonic development. It is an evident miracle that this information was present in the Qur'an centuries before the embryologists could even conceive it.
Covering of embryo by three veils

"He(Allah) created you in the wombs of your mothers, in stages one after the other, in three veils of darkness; Such is Allah, your Lord and Cherisher." --- Q-39:6
Analysis: The three veils of darkness were explained by the early commentaries of the Qur'an to be the abdominal wall, the wall of uterus, and the membrane surrounding the embryo. Recent advancements in embryology have shown that each of these three layers in turn consists of three separate layers. The abdominal wall is made of three layers: the external oblique sheet of muscles, the internal oblique sheet of muscles, and the transverse muscles. Similarly, the uterine wall is made of three layers: The epimetrium, the myometrium and the endometrium. The myometrium in turn is also made of three layers of muscles: a longitudinal layer, followed by an interwoven layer which is then followed by a circular layer of muscles. Furthermore, the sac which surrounds the embryo is also made of three layers or membranes: the amnion, the chorion and the decidion.
A few books of embryology described that the embryo is surrounded by four membranes. They consider the yolk cell membrane as the fourth layer of the embryo. The yolk cell membrane, however, has no nutritional function and eventually dissolves, leaving three membranes around the embryo. Who besides Allah, the Creator and the Sustainer of life, could have the knowledge of such intricate details of the membranes around the human embryo?

Hussseini Yushau BabalWaiz, is the Research & Outreach Coordinator at the Center for Media & Peace Initiatives Inc. New York, Author of three books, including "Not good without God" & Tutor in Arabic & Islamic Studies in New York,
Further reading: 160 Mysteries & Miracles of the Qur'an, by Dr. Mazhar Kazi
The Developing Human, by Keith .L Moor