Getting to Know Allah
Allah and the Beginnings of Life
6:98 And it is He Who created you from a single living soul; then [gave you] a resting place and a repository. Indeed, We have made plain Our signs for a people who understand.
13:8 Allah knows what every female bears and what the wombs carry for a shorter or a longer term; and everything with Him is by measure.
13:9 [He is] the Knower of the Unseen and the Seen, the Great, the Most High.
40:65 He is the Living One; there is no god but He. So call on Him professing sincerely the religion unto Him. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.
40:66 Say: “I have been forbidden to worship those you call upon, apart from Allah; since the clear proofs have come to me from my Lord and I have been commanded to submit to the Lord of the Worlds.”
40:67 It is He who created you from dust, then from a sperm, then from a clot. Then He brings you out as infants; then allows you to come of age, then become old men. Some of you will pass away before that, but you will attain a fixed term, that perchance you might understand.
40:68 It is He Who brings life and causes to die. Then, if He decrees a certain matter, He only says: “Be”, and it comes to be.
A Fluid Beginning
Water, or some kind of fluid, is most often the base material from which Allah creates a human being in the womb with its two senses, a heart and no brain, as the heart was understood at the time of the Prophet to do much of what we know today to be the exclusive domain of the brain.
16:78 And Allah brought you of your mothers’ bellies knowing nothing; and gave you hearing, sight and hearts, that perchance you may give thanks.
25:54 And it is He who created from water a human being; then he made him a kin by blood or marriage. Your Lord is All-Powerful.
77:20 Have we not created them from base water?
77:21 That We laid in a secure place;
77:22 Until an appointed term.
77:23 We determined, and what excellent determiners were We!
77:24 Woe, on that Day, betide those who denounce.
Yes, science tells us that life originated in the oceans and that without water life as we know it would not exist, but I do not believe that it is the insight offered by Allah. What is more likely is that Allah is referring to the water released from the rupture of the amniotic sac at the onset of labour.
Of course, the “flowing water” in verse 86:6 was the medium in which the embryo developed after conception; the baby was actually created from the fusion of sperm and egg*.
86:1 By the heavens and the night-visitor.
86:2 If only you knew what is the night visitor,
86:3 The piecing star.
86:4 Every soul has a watcher;
86:5 So let man consider what he was created from.
86:6 He was created from flowing water;
Snakes “crawls on their bellies” and are hatched from eggs, as are chickens which walk “on two feet”. The list is quite extensive, as you probably know. If for Allah, the egg white in which the yolk is suspended is water, or some type of water-like liquid, then revelation 24:45 has some validity.
24:45 Allah created every beast from water. Some of them crawl on their bellies, some walk on two feet and others walk on four. Allah creates whatever He pleases. Allah, indeed, has power over everything.
Allah, as He tends to do when explaining internal human anatomy is somewhat vague as to the location of the amniotic sac and the source of the liquid it contains.
86:7 Emanating from what lies between the loins and the breast-bones.
An example from the animal kingdom as to the Creator's difficulties in describing the inner workings of what He has created.
16:66 And there is, surely, a lesson for you in the cattle. We give you to drink of what is in their bellies, between the bowels and blood, pure milk which is palatable to the drinkers.
In another series of verses Allah provides a bit more information as to conception and what comes after.
75:36 Does man think that he shall be left unattended?
75:37 Was he not a drop of sperm released?
75:38 Then, he was a leech; then He created and fashioned (him);
75:39 Making of him a couple, male and female.
75:40 Is not that One Able to quicken the dead?
The previous three verses bare a remote resemblance to what actually happens, if you ignore the role of a woman’s egg and the fact that the sex of an individual is decided at conception.
* Moududi writes that “mixed sperm” in revelation 76:2 is actually “the intermingling of the male sperm with the female ovum”. This could indicate that Allah knew about the female contribution to conception although He never mentions it explicitly.
76:1 Has there come upon man a period of time when he was not a noteworthy thing?
76:2 We have indeed created man from a mixed sperm to test him; and so We made him capable of hearing and sight.
76:3 We have guided him upon the path, either as thankful or thankless.
Bones Then Flesh
Allah's understanding of what happens after conception becomes even more suspect in a verse, revelation 23:14, where He reveals the process by which He creates the baby that will eventually emerge from the birth canal. First He creates flesh which becomes bone which He then covers with flesh.
23:12 We have created man from an extract of clay;
23:13 Then we placed him as a sperm in a secure place;
23:14 Then we created out of the sperm a clot; then made from the clot a lump of flesh, then made the lump of flesh into bones; and then covered the bones with flesh; then fashioned him into another creation. So Blessed be Allah, the Best of Creators.
23:15 Then after that you will surely die.
23:16 Then on the Day of Resurrection you will surely be raised from the dead.
There is no such stage when bones are formed first and coated with flesh. Remember, Islam is a product of the Dark Ages when much of the scientific discoveries of the Greek and Roman civilizations were temporally lost, including medical knowledge related to conception and gestation, and replaced by superstitions and half-truths.
Beware of the Clot
Islamic scholars often point to the word "clot" as proof that Allah knew more about conception then was known at the time of the Prophet (although not unknown to the Greeks of antiquity); that Allah was aware that babies developed from a fertilized egg, a zygote. They interpret “clot” to mean zygote.
THE CLOT 96
In the Name of Allah,
the Compassionate, the Merciful
96:1 Read, in the Name of your Lord, Who created;
96:2 He created man from a clot.
To back up their argument they also point to verse 22:5:
22:5 O people, if you are in doubt regarding the resurrection, We have indeed created you from dust, then from a sperm, then from a clot, then from a little lump of flesh, partly formed and partly unformed, in order to show you. We deposit in the wombs whatever We please, for an appointed term; then we bring you out as infants, till you attain full strength. Some of you are made to die, and some are returned to the vilest age, so that they may not know, after having acquired some knowledge, anything. And you see the earth barren, but when We send down water upon it, it stirs and swells and produces vegetation of every pleasing variety.
22:6 That is because Allah is the Truth, and He brings the dead to life and He has power over everything.
Allah's "clot" appears to be a mutation of a man's sperm, which He has implanted in a woman's uterus (the "secure place" in verse 23:13), and from which He will fashion a fetus; bones first, sex later.
It's All About the Sperm
Sperm deposited in the water contained in the amniotic sack is all you need to create an embryo, and that is an immutable fact, as are all Allah's revealed truths.
16:3 He created the heavens and the earth in truth; may He be exalted above what they associate [with Him].
16:4 He created man from a sperm-drop and, behold, he is a professed disputant.
56:57 We have created you, if only you would believe!
56:58 Have you seen the semen you emit?
56:59 Do you create it, or are We the Creators?
80:17 May man perish! How thankless he is!
80:18 Of what did He create him?
80:19 Of a sperm, He created him and determined him.
80:20 Then He smoothed his path;
80:21 Then He caused him to die and entombed him;
80:22 Then, if He wishes He will raise him from the dead.
80:23 No indeed; he did not fulfil what He commanded him.
Early on in the Koran, in the second surah, The Cow, Allah reveals that He brought humans back to life and it wasn’t Judgement Day.
2:28 How can you disbelieve in Allah. You were dead (being a life-germ i.e. not living yet) and He brought you back to life (as a child), then He will cause you ; to die and bring you back to life again then unto Him you will return.
“Life-germ” is used by M. Shakir in his translation instead of sperm:
35:11 And Allah created you of dust, then of the life-germ, then He made you pairs; and no female bears, nor does she bring forth, except with His knowledge; and no one whose life is lengthened has his life lengthened, nor is aught diminished of one's life, but it is all in a book; surely this is easy to Allah.
Fakhry's translation of 35:11:
35:11 Allah created you from dust, then from a sperm, then made you into couples. No female bears or gives birth, save with His knowledge, and no man advances in years or his life-span is diminished, except as ordained in the Book. That indeed is an easy matter for Allah.
The sperm, or life-germ, is a living thing not a dead thing as implied by Fakhry’s attempted explanation of Allah’s confounding revelation that He brings people back to life twice: when they are born and on Judgement Day.
Things Which Don’t Come in Pairs
13:3 And it is He Who spread out the earth and placed therein firm mountains and rivers; and of each kind of fruit He created two pairs (males and females). He causes the night to cover the day. Surely in that are signs for people who reflect.
36:36 Glory be to Him Who created all the pairs of what the earth brings forth, of their own kinds and of what they know not.
78:8 And created you in pairs?
What about single-cell organisms that reproduce asexually i.e. no partners? What about asexual reproduction where there is no transfer of reproductive material from a male donor to a female “receptacle”?
What about animals higher up the evolutionary ladder, such as the female whiptail lizard and other species who reproduce through pathogenesis (no males required).
Science may have to revisit this entire asexual reproduction thing. And, as for living organisms that don't come in pairs, it has to be a mistake. And as to self-pollinating fruit trees, the less said the better.
Allah as Proof that Imperfection Is Pervasive
For Allah a menstruating woman is impure; the impurity being the discharge of her unfertilized eggs. If the Prophet had been aware of the role a woman’s eggs and menstruation play in the reproductive cycle, would Allah have considered her contaminated during her menses thereby admitting that the reproduction cycle of which He is so proud and which He closely controls is flawed because it not only leads to the creation of new life but to impurities (the bloody discharge of unfertilized eggs) of which He is responsible, the God “Who fashioned well everything He created”.
32:7 Who fashioned well everything He created, and originated the creation of man from clay.
32:8 Then He fashioned his progeny from an extract of fluid.
32:9 Then He shaped him well and breathed into him of His Spirit. He gave you hearing, sight and hearts. How little do you give thanks!
If genetics do influence the type of person one grows up to be, and that person turns out to be a disappointment to his or her parents, and to God, it may not be all their fault if the DNA is all from the sperm.
36:77 Does not man see that We created him from a sperm; and behold he is a manifest trouble-maker?