In the Holy Quran, God speaks about the stages of man’s embryonic development, 1,400 years before modern day scientists ‘discovered’ important information on creation of man and his development:
We created man from an extract of clay. Then We made him as a drop in a place of settlement, firmly fixed. Then We made the drop into an alaqah (leech, suspended thing, and blood clot), then We made the alaqah into a mudghah (chewed-like substance)… [Noble Quran 23:12-14]
Literally the Arabic word alaqah has 3 meanings:
1. "In comparing a leech to the embryo at the alaqah stage, we find similarity between the two." [The Developing Human p.8].
"Also, the embryo as this stage obtains nourishment from the blood of the mother, similar to the leech which feeds on the blood of others." [Human Development as Described in Quran and Sunnah p.36].
2. The second meaning of the word alaqah is ‘suspended thing’. The suspension of the embryo, during the alaqah stage, in the womb of the mother very appropriately fits this description.
3. The third meaning of the word alaqah is ‘blood clot’. We find that the external appearance of the embryo and its sacs during the alaqah stage is similar to that of a blood clot. This is due to the presence of relatively large amounts of blood present in the embryo during this stage. Also during this stage the blood in the embryo does not circulate until the end of the third week. So the embryo at this stage is like a clot of blood.
By examining a diagram of the primitive cardiovascular system in an embryo during the alaqah stage we would notice the external appearance of the embryo and its sacs is similar to that of a blood clot due to the presence of relatively large amounts of blood present in the embryo [The Developing Human, p. 65]
So the three meanings of the word alaqah correspond accurately to the descriptions of the embryo at the alaqah stage.
The next stage mentioned in the verse is the mudghah stage. The Arabic word mudghah means "chewed-like substance." If one were to take a piece of gum and chew it in his mouth, and then compare it with the embryo at the mudghah stage, we would conclude that they would be almost identical because of the somites at the back of the embryo that ‘somewhat resemble teeth marks in a chewed substance.’
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