Quran on Embryology Historical background
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
The stage of Labour
After the passing of 9 lunar months (38 weeks), the foetus completes growth in the uterus. It is time now to go out after the end of this specified period. Allah says;
(وَنُقِرُّ فِي الْأَرْحَامِ مَا نَشَاء إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى) ( الحج :5)
“And We cause whom We will to rest in the wombs for an appointed term” (Quran 22:5). So the term is appointed and determined;
( فَجَعَلْنَاهُ فِي قَرَارٍ مَّكِينٍ . إِلَى قَدَرٍ مَّعْلُومٍ . فَقَدَرْنَا فَنِعْمَ الْقَادِرُونَ ) (المرسلات :21-23)
“The which (foetus) We placed in a place of rest, firmly fixed, for a period (of gestation), determined. For We do determine, for We are the best to determine (things). (Quran 77: 21-23)
Before elaborating the stages of labour, it is noteworthy to mention the Quranic reference to the benefits of dates for the woman in labour, in which the status of the Lady Mary (mother of prophet Issa "PBUH") is described in the following verses as ;
(فَأَجَاءَهَا الْمَخَاضُ إِلَى جِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ قَالَتْ يَا لَيْتَنِي مِتُّ قَبْلَ هَذَا وَكُنْتُ نَسْيًا منسيّا . فَنَادَاهَا مِنْ تَحْتِهَا أَلَّا تَحْزَنِي قَدْ جَعَلَ رَبُّكِ تَحْتَكِ سَرِيًّا . وَهُزِّي إِلَيْكِ بِجِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ تُسَاقِطْ عَلَيْكِ رُطَبًا جَنِيًّا . فَكُلِي وَاشْرَبِـي وَقَرِّي عَيْنًا ) (مريم 23-26)
“And the birth pains surprised her by the trunk of the palm tree: she said; ‘Ah! Would I had died before this! And become a thing forgotten.’ But (a voice) cried to her from beneath: ‘Grieve not! Your Lord has set below you a rivulet. Shake to you the palm-trunk , and there shall come falling upon you dates fresh and ripe. So eat , and drink, and be comforted …” (Quran 19: 23-26).
It has been scientifically proved that dates have several benefits. Of these benefits, for the woman in labour:
· Dates are rich in fibers which help avoid constipation, as it is a natural laxative, and helps a smooth delivery.
· Dates contain more than 70% glucose, which is easily absorbed and assimilated, thus ensuring the provision of necessary energy during labour.
· Dates is also rich in minerals, particularly magnesium which is necessary for cells physiology, and potassium which is necessary for the muscles, and iron which is necessary to treat anemia.
· Dates contain a substance that helps alert the muscles of uterus to contract and increase contraction during delivery (this substance resembles Oxytocin hormone excreted by pituitary glands). This is in addition to many other benefits (no room to mention here). Praise be to Allah, the High and the Able.
Labour, which ends with delivery, is comprised of 4 stages:
1- Stage of dilatation of cervix and contraction of uterus muscle. This stage takes about 7-12 hours (Figure 1) and occurs as a result of several factors: mechanic and hormonal. A set of hormones is excreted to help facilitate the stage of labour. Of these hormones are: Prostaglandin, Corticotropin Releasing Hormone, Adreno Cortico Tropin, Corticol, Oxytocin, Estrogin.
Fig. 1 : Stage of Labour
2- Stage of delivering the foetus. This stage takes about 30-50 minutes, and starts after enough dilatation of cervix. As a result of consequent uterus contractions, foetus head starts to emerge first . It is striking that the diameter of foetus head may exceed 12 cm., i.e., normally triple the diameter of vaginal canal. Having considered this fact, and the role of self hormonal factors, in addition to the expansion of pelvis ligatures and muscles, that all facilitate the delivery of the foetus, we realize the wisdom underlying Allah’s saying;
(ثُمَّ السَّبِيلَ يَسَّرَهُ) (عبس: 20)
“Then He makes his path smooth for him.” (Quran 80: 20). So blessed be Allah, the Most Wise of all disposers.
3- Stage of placenta emergence and the formation of blood clot behind the placenta (Figure 1). This stage lasts about 15 minutes.
4- Stage of uterus contraction. This is to alleviate the bleeding after delivery process, and continues for about two hours.
After delivery, and cutting the umbilical cord (Figure 2), which the foetus has depended upon for acquiring food from his mother during pregnancy, the baby then starts another stage in a new station in his life.
Fig. 2 : New born baby after cutting the umbilical cord
The miracle of human creation in the holy Quran is one of many other medical miracles. Having reviewed previous detailed statements of Quranic verses and scientific analysis of the embryonal stages, it is evident that these Quranic verses give an accurate description of the main stages the embryo encounters during creation and formation until delivery. It is noticed that these changes coincide with the remarks of modern embryology, and truly expresses the external phenomena of changes that result from the internal changes. The Quranic descriptions contain expressions comprehensible to people of different backgrounds, whereas the current expressions in embryology used for the description of these stages do not identify the distinguished characteristics of the embryo in each stage, as numerical coding is used without reference to any description. This proves the wonderful miraculous nature of the Quran, which cannot be revealed except from the comprehensive knowledge of the Omniscient. These facts were confirmed by the embryologist Professor Keith Moore and also other non Moslem scientists.
In the age where Quran was revealed, with the description of human creation expressed in very accurate terms that fit with the modern rules of science, and with the confirmation that the creation and development of embryo are fulfilled on stages, as Allah says;
( مَّا لَكُمْ لَا تَرْجُونَ لِلَّهِ وَقَارًا .وَقَدْ خَلَقَكُمْ أَطْوَارًا) (نوح)
“What is the matter with you, that ye are not conscious of Allah’s majesty,- Seeing that it is He that has created you in diverse stages" (Quran 71: 13-14)
Non- Moslem scientists at that time believed that man was created from menstrual blood. In so far as the 17th century, they believed that the embryo was fully created from man’s sperm, and then it grew after entering the uterus. Thus they perceived man as a seed reduced wholly in that small drop of sperm. The idea remained as such until the 18th century when microscopes proved that sperm and ovum are both necessary for pregnancy. This was discovered so many centuries after it had been revealed by the Holy Quran. This shows that the Quran is the word of a Will that knows the creation of man down to its slightest detail. This Will is Allah, the creator of man, Who says;
( وَقُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ سَيُرِيكُمْ آيَاتِهِ فَتَعْرِفُونَهَا) (النمل: 93)
“And say: ‘Praise be to Allah, Who will soon show you His signs, so that ye shall know them’ " (Quran 27: 93), and Who also says;
( سنريهم آياتنا في الآفاق و في أنفسهم حتى يتبين لهم أنه الحق ) ( فصلت 53)
“Soon will We show them our signs in the furthest horizons, and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth” (Quran 41: 53). Verily says the Almighty Allah.
1- The Holy Quran.
2- The Developing Human ( Prof. Keith Moor & Prof. T. Persaud) Edition 6 – 1998
3- Clinical Anatomy . By Richard Snell ( 3ed edition) published in 1986 - Little, Brown
4- A Scientist's Interpretation of References to Embryology in the Quran (Prof. Keith Moor) Journal of the Islamic Medical Association, 1986: vol.18, Page 15-16
5- Human Development as Described in the Qur'an and Sunnah, By : Keith L. Moore ; E. Marshall Johnson ; T.V.N Persaud, ; Gerald C. Goeringer ;
Abdul-Majeed Zindani, ; and Mustafa A Ahmed , 1992, ISBN 0-9627236-1-4. Collection of papers that were originally presented in the First International
Conference on Scientific Signs of the Qur'an and Sunnah, held in Islamabad, Pakistan, 1987.
6- Islamic Medicine On-Line ( Dr.Sharif Kaf Al-Ghazal) http://www.islamicmedicine.org
7- Video presentations of :
Professor Emeritus Keith Moore, Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology and the former Associate Dean of Basic Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine
at the University of Toronto, Canada. Clip 1 Clip 2
Prof. E. Marshall Johnson, Chairman of the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, and Director of the Daniel Baugh Institute,
Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Clip 1
Dr. G.C. Goeringer, Course Director and Associate Professor of Medical Embryology at the Department of Cell Biology, School of Medicine,
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C, USA. Clip 1
Dr. T.V.N. Persaud, Professor of Anatomy and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Clip 1
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