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Human Reproduction and Development

Man We did create from a wet earth; Then We placed him as (a drop of) seed in a place of rest, firmly fixed; 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! (Quran 23: 12-14)
The word ‘sulala’ in arabic means lineage, evolution from the earth. Quran supports the concept of gradual evolution. Then Quran says the drop of seed is placed in a secure place, which is the womb. Then the word ‘alaqah’ is usually translated as the clot of blood, but actually in arabic, ‘alaqah’ means something that hangs. The tiny zygote hangs from the lining of the uterus. Zygote then develops into various stages.
The word ‘mutqah’ is usually translated as lump but literally it means something which has been chewed. It refers to the chewed up appearance of somite embryo which then becomes bones and muscles (flesh).
Up to four weeks, there is no difference between a fish embryo and human embryo. In fact, the human embryo has gills during initial stages. During 6-8 weeks, the embryo becomes clearly human embryo. Thus Quran says, “then we developed it to a different being”.
This is inconceivable for a Prophet (PBUH) who lived in the middle of nomadic Arabic and did not even know how to read and write could have made this description on embryology.
Keith L Moore wrote in the introduction of his text book, “Quran has an amazing depiction of embryology that can’t be a product of lie or fabrication.”

Excerpts from the "Quran & Science" sunday lecture addressed by Dr. Gasser Hathout at the Islamic Center of Southern California, Los Angeles on July 17, 2005.