Embryology in the Qur'an: Refutation of Christian Missionary Writings


Assalaamu 'Alaikum. On his web site (http://answering-islam.org/) pages:


Jochen Katz tries to  say that the Qur'an could have described an embryo like a "thing which clings" because any human knew that all muscles and other things cling to each other. While in the second one, a missionary,  after his research regarding the embryology in the Qur'an, says that the Qur'an is copying ancient Greek Literature.

Well, the truth is not as on the above  pages. I have divided my article into 3 parts:

(a) An embryo clings (in response to answering-islam.org/Science/clings.html)

(b) The Qur'an copies ancient Greek literature? (in response to answering-islam.org/Science/embryo.html)
 (1) Mistakes made by the Missionary
 (2) Meaning of the word "alaq"
 (3) Meaning of the word "nut'fah"
 (4) Out of lions and ribs?
 (5) The Prophet Muhammad made scientific errors?
 (6) Final comparison
 (7) Conclusions

(c) Final Conclusions

(d) References

(a) An embryo clings

Yes,  an embryo clings. The statement which you are looking for can be found in the Qur'an. For example, the following:

--sura 75, verse 37:
"Was (man) not a small quantity of sperm which has been poured out?"

The article at answering-islam.org/Science/clings.html is a very fruitless one.

(b) The Qur'an copies ancient Greek literature?

Well, the truth is, no. As you will see in the following section, that the missionary who has written answering-islam.org/Science/embryo.html has made dozens of  mistakes!

Part 1: Mistakes  made by the missionary

The missionary conveyed to the readers the *wrong* meanings of the words, "Nut'fah, "'Alaq" and a wrong translation of a Qur'anic verse.

I have no right to call such mistakes "deception" because only Allah knows the missionary's intentions.

Part 2: Meaning of the word "'alaq"

According to  the missionary, " 'alaq " means "a clot of  blood." Well, this is the most common meaning of the word, of course there are four meanings for it:

(a) A leech like structure
(b) Something which clings
(c) A clot of blood
(d) Suspended thing

It took me a lot of time to find the meanings of these  words. All  of these meanings are belonging to the word " 'alaq." I researched from  the book It is the Truth (www.it-is-truth.org), Dr. Bucaille's book, "The Bible, the Qur'an and Science," and a few Qur'an translations.

Part 3: Meaning of the word "Nut'fah"

To find this word's meaning was the most difficult part. It is 99% wrongly translated as "sperm." According to the missionary, the Qur'an states that we are formed out of sperm whereas we are formed from sperm and the egg unite.

Well, the missionary was ok when saying this. But look at what Osama Abdallah (www.answering-christianity.com) has to say  regarding the meanings of the word "nut'fah" (written in dark blue below):

It is quite unfortunate that the English translations of the Arabic Qur'an was done by many people who don't speak good Arabic.  Minister Abdallah Yusuf Ali is a Muslim Minister (Sheikh) from Pakistan and he played a big role in translating the Noble Qur'an from Arabic to English.

The author of this claim presented this Noble Verse from the Noble Qur'an, 23:14 "Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a (foetus) lump; then we made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then we developed out of it another creature. So blessed be Allah, the best to create!"  It appears from the English translation that the scientific fact of this verse is false, because the male sperm alone does not and can not form a fetus in a woman's womb.

Let us examine the word "sperm" in Noble Verses 23:13, 23:14, 16:4, 18:37, 22:5, 35:11, 36:77, 40:67, 75:37, 76:2 and 80:19 from the Noble Qur'an. I looked very carefully at each Noble Verse, and I found out that all of them use the Arabic word "Nut'fah" which was wrongly translated as sperm.  The Arabic word for sperm is is "Haywan-Manawee."  The Arabic word "Nut'fah" means the actual combination of multiples of "Haywan-Manawee."

So in other words, One "Nut'fah" = One "Haywan-Manawee" + Another "Haywan-Manawee" and so on ....

Now, the word "Haywan-Manawee" in Arabic means either a male sperm or a female egg.  It is unfortunate and confusing that the Arabic language unites both the male and the female sperm and egg with one word.

So when the Noble Qur'an used the word "Nut'fah" in the several Noble Verses above, it didn't just mean the male sperm alone.  It meant both the male and the female sperm and egg respectively.

Traditionally in the Middle East, when the word "Haywan-Manawee" is used in a conversation, it is usually meant for the male sperm.  The sound of it in Arabic makes its meaning gear more toward the male.  However, it may not always be the case that a person is talking about the male sperm alone.  That is why Minister Abdallah Yusuf Ali mistranslated the Arabic word "Nut'fah" to "sperm".

A similar case exists in English.  Take the word "guys" for instance.   When a person says "you guys are nice", it doesn't necessarily mean that the person is talking about males only.  In English, I could tell a group of females "you guys are nice."  I could also tell a group of males and females mixed "you guys are nice."  Traditionally in English, the word "guys" usually means males only.  But the actual word could include both males and females.


Thanks Osama  for your response.

Part 4: Out of lions and ribs?

According to the missionary, the Qur'an describes humans formed out of lions and ribs. Yes, there are a few statements like this. But they are wrongly  translated. I took the following from Dr. Bucaille's book, "The Bible The Qur'an And Science" (written in dark blue below):

I have pondered for a long time on the translation of such verses, and am indebted to Doctor A. K. Giraud, Former Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, Beirut, for the following:

--sura 86, verse 6 and 7:

"(Man) was fashioned from a liquid poured out. It issued (as a result) of the conjunction of the sexual area of the man and the sexual area of the woman." The sexual area of the man is indicated in the text of the Qur'an by the world sulb (singular). The sexual areas of the woman are designated in the Qur'an by the word tara'ib (plural).

This is the translation which appears to be most satisfactory. It is different from the one that is often given by English and French translators, i.e. " (Man) has been created by a liquid poured out which issues from between the vertebral column and the bones of the breast." This would seem more to be an interpretation than a translation. It is hardly comprehensible.


Thanks to Dr. Maurice Bucaille.

Part 5: The Prophet made scientific errors?

The missionary  quotes narrations (hadith) from the Prophet  regarding embryology. Well, he quotes them to  disprove the Divine Origin of the Qur'an.

One thing completely ignored by the missionary is that he doesn't look into other statements of the Prophet. I took the following from Dr. Bucaille's book, "The Bible The Qur'an and Science," it was present in the books end notes (written in dark blue below):

The truth of the hadiths, from a religious point of view, is beyond question. When they deal, however, with earthly affairs there is no difference between the Prophet and other humans. One hadith gives an account of an utterance of the Prophet: "Whenever I command you to do something related to Religion do obey, and if I command you something according to my own opinion (do remember this) I am a human being".

Al Saraksi in his 'Principles' (Al Usul) transmitted this statement as follows: "If I bring something to you on your religion, do act according to it, and if I bring you something related to this world, then you have a better knowledge of your own earthly affairs".


So thanks to Dr. Bucaille again for giving us the above statement of the Prophet. The Prophet's statement is a rebuttal to those who  quote hadith  to disprove the Divine Origin Qur'an.

Part 6: Final Comparisons

With the above true meanings of the words " 'alaq", "nut'fah" and the statement of "lions and ribs," we make a final comparison between Galen's text and the true meanings of the Qur'an.

Galen states (I copied and pasted the following text from the Christian Missionaries' own article, and yes, it is written in red below):

But let us take the account back again to the first conformation of the animal, and in order to make our account orderly and clear, let us divide the creation of the foetus overall into four periods of time. The first is that in which. as is seen both in abortions and in dissection, the form of the semen prevails (Arabic nut'fah). At this time, Hippocrates too, the all-marvelous, does not yet call the conformation of the animal a foetus; as we heard just now in the case of semen voided in the sixth day, he still calls it semen. But when it has been filled with blood (Arabic Alaq), and heart, brain and liver are still unarticulated and unshaped yet have by now a certain solidarity and considerable size, this is the second period; the substance of the foetus has the form of flesh and no longer the form of semen. Accordingly you would find that Hippocrates too no longer calls such a form semen but, as was said, foetus. The third period follows on this, when, as was said, it is possible to see the three ruling parts clearly and a kind of outline, a silhouette, as it were, of all the other parts (Arabic mudghah). You will see the conformation of the three ruling parts more clearly, that of the parts of the stomach more dimly, and much more still, that of the limbs. Later on they form "twigs", as Hippocrates expressed it, indicating by the term their similarity to branches. The fourth and final period is at the stage when all the parts in the limbs have been differentiated; and at this part Hippocrates the marvelous no longer calls the foetus an embryo only, but already a child, too when he says that it jerks and moves as an animal now fully formed (Arabic `a new creation')....

....The time has come for nature to articulate the organs precisely and to bring all the parts to completion. Thus it caused flesh to grow on and around all the bones, and at the same time....it made at the ends of the bones ligaments that bind them to each other, and along their entire length it placed around them on all sides thin membranes, called periosteal, on which it caused flesh to grow [19].


Then the missionary compares Galen's text with Sura 23, verse 14 with the *wrong meanings*.

However with the true meanings of the verse, the Qur'an states:

-sura 23, verse 14

"We fashioned the thing which clings into a chewed lump of flesh and We fashioned the chewed lump of flesh into bones and We clothed the bones with intact flesh."

(This translation has been taken from The Bible, The Qur'an and Science by Dr. Maurice Bucaille)

A more detailed translation of the verse can be (by me):

Man we did create from a quintessence (of clay); Then we placed as nut'fah (sperm and then the sperm+egg) in a place firmly fixed; Then we made the Nut'fah into ‘Alaq (leech like structure, suspended thing, something which clings); Then of that 'alaq we made a (fetus) lump (mugdah, chewed like substance); then we made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then we developed out of it another creature.

Part 7: Conclusions

The missionary has brought up childish points.

(c) Final Conclusions

After this short study, a fact stands out very clear. The truth is very different from what the men who don't know attach to it. The missionaries' have brought up very fruitless points to bring up for a debate.

(d) References (Even though they are given with in the document)

1. Dr. Maurice Bucaille's book, "The Bible, the Qur'an and Science."
2. Osama Abdallah's responses to the difficulties in the Qur'an (they can be found at www.answering-christianity.com).
3. It is the Truth! (www.it-is-truth.org)
4. Yusuf Ali's Qur'an translation.
5. "Interpretation of the Meanings of the Noble Qur'an" by Dr. Muhsin Khan

Any thing bad in this document is from  me or the devil, and anything good in this document is from Allah, the Lord of the Universe.

Abdullah ibn Adam.

This above response is answered on this page by the author of the the original detailed article (Embryology and the Qur'an).