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Conception in Qur'an and Science

Conception and the stages of  creation in the womb are explained perfectly in the Quran.

These verses were given to scientist Professor Keith Moore who then supported them in his book “The Developing Human”.


What follows will be the stages of development in the womb according to Quran and Hadith (sayings/actions of the Prophet Muhammad may peace and blessings be upon him).

“O mankind! If you are in doubt about the Resurrection, then verily! We have created you (i.e. Adam) from dust, then from a Nutfah (mixed drops of male and female sexual discharge), then from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood) then from a little lump of flesh, some formed and some unformed (miscarriage), that We may make (it) clear to you (i.e. to show you Our Power and Ability to do what We will). And We cause whom We will to remain in the wombs for an appointed term, then We bring you out as infants, then (give you growth) that you may reach your age of full strength. And among you there is he who dies (young), and among you there is he who is brought back to the miserable old age, so that he knows nothing after having known. And you see the earth barren, but when We send down water (rain) on it, it is stirred (to life), it swells and puts forth every lovely kind (of growth).” (Quran 22:5)

Narrated by Abdullah (r.a), Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him ) said:-


“(As regards to your creation), every one of you is collected in the womb of his mother for the first 40 days, and then he becomes a clot for another 40 days, and then a piece of flesh for another 40 days. Then Allah (s.w.t) sends an angel to write 4 words: He writes his deeds, time of his death, means of his livelihood, and whether he will be wretched or blessed (in the Hereafter). Then the soul is breathed into his body."

“He makes you in the wombs of your mothers in stages, one after another, in three veils of darkness.”

(Quran 39:6)


“The three veils of darkness” may refer to: (l) the anterior abdominal wall; (2) the uterine wall; and (3) the amniochorionic membrane. Although there are other interpretations of this statement, the one presented here seems the most logical from an embryological point of view. (Professor Keith Moore)

“Then We placed him as a drop in a place of rest.”

Quran (23:13)


The drop or nutfah has been interpreted as the sperm or spermatozoon, but a more meaningful interpretation would be the zygote which divides to form a blastocyst which is implanted in the uterus (“a place of rest”). This interpretation is supported by another verse in the Qur’an which states that “a human being is created from a mixed drop (Quran 22:5).” The zygote forms by the union of a mixture of the sperm and the ovum (“The mixed drop”). (Professor Keith Moore)

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“Then We made the drop into a leech-like structure.”

(Quran 23:14)


The word “alaqah” refers to a leech or bloodsucker. This is an appropriate description of the human embryo from days 7-24 when it clings to the endometrium of the uterus, in the same way that a leech clings to the skin. Just as the leech derives blood from the host, the human embryo derives blood from the decidua or pregnant endometrium. It is remarkable how much the embryo of 23-24 days resembles a leech. As there were no microscopes or lenses available in the 7th century, doctors would not have known that the human embryo had this leech-like appearance. In the early part of the fourth week, the embryo is just visible to the unaided eye because it is smaller than a kernel of wheat. (Professor Keith Moore)

“Then of that leech-like structure, We made a chewed lump.”

(Quran 23:14)


The Arabic word “mudghah” means “chewed substance or chewed lump.” Toward the end of the fourth week, the human embryo looks somewhat like a chewed lump of flesh. The chewed appearance results from the somites which resemble teeth marks. The somites represent the beginnings or primordia of the vertebrae. (Professor Keith Moore)

“Then We made out of the chewed lump, bones, and clothed the bones in flesh.”

(Quran 23:14)


This indicates that out of the chewed lump stage, bones and muscles form. This is in accordance with embryological development. First the bones form as cartilage models and then the muscles (flesh) develop around them from the somatic mesoderm. (Professor Keith Moore)

“Then out of a piece of chewed flesh, partly formed and partly unformed.”

(Quran 22:5)


This verse seems to indicate that the embryo is composed of both differentiated and undifferentiated tissues. For example, when the cartilage bones are differentiated, the embryonic connective tissue or mesenchyme around them is undifferentiated. It later differentiates into the muscles and ligaments attached to the bones.

(Professor Keith Moore)

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“And He gave you hearing and sight and feeling and understanding.”

(Quran 32:9)


This indicates that the special senses of hearing, seeing, and feeling develop in this order, which is true. The primordia of the internal ears appear before the beginning of the eyes, and the brain (the site of understanding) differentiates last.

(Professor Keith Moore)

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“Then We developed out of it another creature.”

(Quran 23:14)


This implies that the bones and muscles result in the formation of another creature. This may refer to the human-like embryo that forms by the end of the eighth week. At this stage it has distinctive human characteristics and possesses the primordia of all the internal and external organs and parts. After the eighth week, the human embryo is called a fetus. This may be the new creature to which the verse refers. (Professor Keith Moore)

“And We cause whom We will to rest in the wombs for an appointed term.”

(Quran 22:5)


This same verse seems to imply that God determines which embryos will remain in the uterus until full term. It is well known that many embryos abort during the first month of development, and that only about 30% of zygotes that form, develop into fetuses that survive until birth. This verse has also been interpreted to mean that God determines whether the embryo will develop into a boy or girl. (Professor Keith Moore)

The interpretation of the verses in the Qur’an referring to human development would not have been possible in the 7th century A.D., or even a hundred years ago. We can interpret them now because the science of modern Embryology affords us new understanding. Undoubtedly there are other verses in the Qur’an related to human development that will be understood in the future as our knowledge increases. (Professor Keith Moore)


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