Many diverse subjects are mentioned in the Quran in the course of inviting people to believe. Sometimes the heavens, sometimes animals, and sometimes plants are shown as evidence to man by Allah. In many of the verses, people are called upon to turn their attention to their own creation. They are often reminded how man came into the world, which stages he has passed through, and what his essence is: "It is We Who have created you. Why, then, do you not accept the truth? Have you ever considered that (seed) which you emit? Is it you who create it? Or are We the Creator?" (The Quran, 56:57-59)
The creation of man, and the miraculous aspect of this, is stressed in many other verses. Some items of information within these verses are so detailed that it is impossible for anyone living in the 7th century to have known them. Some of these are as follows:
Man is not created from the entire semen, but only a very small portion of it (sperm).
It is the male that determines the sex of the baby.
The human embryo adheres to the mother's uterus like a leech.
The embryo develops in three dark regions in the uterus.
People living when the Quran was revealed, to be sure, knew that the basic substance of birth was related to the semen of the male emitted during sexual intercourse. And the fact that the baby was born after a nine-month period was obviously an observable event not calling for any further investigation. However, the items of information just quoted were far above the level of learning of the people living at that time. These were verified by 20th century science.
Now, let us go over them…
The Clot Clinging to the Uterus
If we keep on examining the facts announced to us in the Quran about the formation of human beings, we again encounter some very important scientific miracles. When the sperm of the male unites with the ovum of the female, the essence of the baby to be born is formed. This single cell, known as a "zygote" in biology, will instantly start to reproduce by dividing, and eventually become a "piece of flesh" called an embryo. This of course can only be seen by human beings with the aid of a microscope.
The embryo, however, does not spend its developmental period in a void. It clings to the uterus just like roots that are firmly fixed to the earth by their tendrils. Through this bond, the embryo can obtain the substances essential to its development from the mother's body. (16) Here, at this point, a very significant miracle of the Quran is revealed. While referring to the embryo developing in the mother's womb, Allah uses the word "alaq" in the Quran: "Recite: In the name of your Lord Who created man from alaq. Recite: And your Lord is the Most Generous." (The Quran, 96:1-3)
The meaning of the word "alaq" in Arabic is "a thing that clings to some place". The word is literally used to describe leeches that cling to a body to suck blood. Certainly, the use of such an appropriate word for the embryo developing in the mother's womb proves once again that the Quran is a revelation from Allah, the Lord of all the Worlds.
The wrapping of muscles over the bones
Another important aspect of the information given in the verses of the Quran is the developmental stages of a human being in the mother's womb. It is stated in the verses that in the mother's womb, the bones develop first, and then the muscles form which wrap around them. "(We) then formed the drop into a clot and formed the clot into a lump and formed the lump into bones and clothed the bones in flesh; and then brought him into being as another creature. Blessed be Allah, the Best of Creators!" (Quran, 23:14)
Embryology is the branch of science that studies the development of the embryo in the mother's womb. Until very recently, embryologists assumed that the bones and muscles in an embryo developed at the same time. For this reason, for a long time, some people claimed that these verses conflicted with science. Yet, advanced microscopic research conducted by virtue of new technological developments has revealed that the revelation of the Quran is word for word correct.
These observations at the microscopic level showed that the development inside the mother's womb takes place in just the way it is described in the verses. First, the cartilage tissue of the embryo ossifies. Then muscular cells that are selected from amongst the tissue around the bones come together and wrap around the bones.
This event is described in a scientific publication titled Developing Human in the following words: During the seventh week, the skeleton begins to spread throughout the body and the bones take their familiar shapes. At the end of the seventh week and during the eighth week the muscles take their positions around the bone forms. (17) In short, man's developmental stages as described in the Quran are in perfect harmony with the findings of modern embryology.