Apr 4, 2012

Stages of Child Development in light of the Qur'an

By Farheen Naaz

The birth of a child, unique in face, fingerprints, tongue print, et al, is no less than a miracle considering the number of people who have lived and are living on the face of this earth. Each stage of child development has a unique pattern in itself and develops the child in an artistic manner.

The development of a child is defined by the term pre-natal development which covers the time from conception to birth. The pre-natal period is divided into three stages:

1. Germinal stage
2. Embryonic stage
3. Fetal stage

The Germinal Stage/ Conception: Conception marks the beginning of development. This happens in the first two weeks of pregnancy. Conception occurs when the father’s sperm cell penetrates the mother’s egg and creates a zygote.

The semen drop from the father contains a variety of liquids out of which only the sperm is used to create a new life. This had already been mentioned in the Quran in Surah 32 verses 7 to 8

He it is who created all things in the best way and began the creation of man from clay, and made his progeny from an extract of despised fluid (sulalah). [Sûrah As-Sajdah: Ayah 7-8]

Sulalah in Arabic means an extract of the best part of something. The something in consideration here is the semen and sperm is the best part of it.

Other verses which mention the fact that man was created from the sperm are-

So, let man observe from what he was created. He was created from a fluid, ejected/ gushing water. [Sûrah At-Tariq: Ayah5-6]

Does a man think he will be left neglected? Had he not been a sperm from semen emitted? [SûrahAl-Qiyamah: Ayah 36-37]

The gender of the baby is determined by the type of chromosome in the sperm that will fertilize the egg. In Surah An-Najm, Allah says- That He created the paris, male and female, from a fluid-drop sperm as it is emitted. [Sûrah An-Najm: Ayah45-46]

In the germinal stage, the body prepares itself for the pregnancy. Over the period of two weeks, the zygote becomes multi-celled and the mass of cells moves along the fallopian tube towards the uterus. It implants itself in the uterine lining of the uterus.

In the following verse Allah tells us how it is He who favours the implantation of fertilized egg inside the womb.

Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot . . . . . . . . [SûrahAl-Mu’minun: Ayah14]

Thus, ends the germinal stage.

The Embryonic Stage:
The implantation of cell mass in uterus marks the beginning of the embryonic stage. This stage lasts till the end of eight week and a number of changes take place during this stage.

In the third week of pregnancy the embryo looks like a chewed piece of meat. And by the sixth week, the bones structure starts developing over the chewed piece of meat. This is known as mesenchyma. By the seventh week of development, muscles cover bones formed in the sixth week. (Mentioned in “The Developing Human” by Keith L. Moore)

In Sûrah Al-Mu’minun, Allah says – Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, and We made the clot into a lump [of flesh], and We made [from] the lump, bones, and We covered the bones with flesh; then We developed him into another creation. So blessed is Allah , the best of creators. [Sûrah Al-Mu’minun: Ayah14]

The development in embryonic stage takes place in a systematic manner and at some point of time the embryo is in such a state that some parts are in proportion and some parts out of proportion. This fact is mentioned in Sûrah Al-Haj. 

………… We created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then from a clinging clot, and then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed - that We may show you. And We settle in the wombs whom We will for a specified term, then We bring you out as a child, and then [We develop you] that you may reach your [time of] maturity………  [Sûrah Al-Haj: Ayah5]

During this stage, apart from bones and muscles, reproductive glands are also formed. The glands are formed on the upper part of the posterior abdominal below the diaphragm on either side of vertebral column. This fact is mentioned in the Quran in Surah A-Tariq. 

He was created from a fluid, ejected. Emerging from between the backbone and the ribs. [Sûrah At-Tariq: Ayah6-7]

Three layers of epithelial protection surround the embryo which is mentioned in the Quran in Surah Az - Zumar.

He created you from one soul. Then He made from it its mate, and He produced for you from the grazing livestock eight mates. He creates you in the wombs of your mothers, creation after creation, within three darknesses. That is Allah , your Lord; to Him belongs dominion. There is no deity except Him, so how are you averted? [Sûrah Az-Zumar: Ayah6] 

By the end of eight week, majority of the vital organs and systems of the body start developing. This paves way for the third and final stage, the fetal stage.

The Fetal Stage: From the ninth week onwards starts the fetal stage. The child is referred to as a fetus from this stage onwards. In this stage the fetus develops nails, hair, vocal cords, hardened bones, liver, kidneys and the heart starts pumping more amounts of blood. Eyelids and eyebrows are formed. Lungs prepare themselves for functioning after birth. Brain starts developing at a faster rate. The child can open its eyes and blink. Towards the middle of this stage, the child also becomes sensitive to touch. If the child isn’t in a comfortable position inside the womb, it moves itself till it attains a comfortable position.

According to many researches, by the 24th week hearing ability and subsequently, a sense of light are developed. By the 28th week, retina becomes sensitive to light. It is worthy to be noted that hearing is developed before sight and this is mentioned in the Quran in Surah As-Sajdah and Surah al Mu'minun.

Then He proportioned him and breathed into him from His (created) soul and made for you hearing and vision and hearts; little are you ungrateful. [Sûrah As-Sajdah: Ayah 9]

And it is He who produced for you hearing and vision and hearts; little are you grateful. [Sûrah Al-Mu’minun: Ayah78]

Therefore, the three stages and the nitty-gritty of the development of a child inside the womb are mentioned in the Quran, though not in one chapter as such, the facts mentioned are being proved by contemporary science have already been mentioned by Allah in the Quran long time back. It’s time to open our eyes and look at the wonderful process of child birth as a way of admiration towards our Lord!

· www.quran.com
· http://www.islamicmedicine.org/embryoengtext.htm#conc
· http://www.al-islam.org/about/contributions/humanreproduction.html


As Salamualaikum,
JazakAllah khairan for sharing this very beneficial and enlightening article.
I am a medicine student and we study embryologi, so I have a great interest for this subject and I am, to say the least, touched how everything are well put together from the Qur'an, SubhanAllah. Indeed, Allah is the Creator.
JazakAllah khairan once again. I really liked it.

Assalaamu alaikum. Please visit my http://IslamPapers.com for more articles on Embryology in the Qur'an.

*NEW* Embryology in the Qur’an: The ‘Alaqah Stage

Walekum as salaam wr wb!

Glad you liked the article and benefited from it :) JAK for reading :D 

Assalaamu alaiku,. You may find these new articles and videos useful:(1) Embryology in the Qur’an – Correlation Studies with Modern Embryologyhttp://islampapers.com/2012/03/16/moore/
(2) Embryology in the Qur’an: The ‘Alaqah StageThis is a *NEW* paper with great images:http://islampapers.com/2012/02/09/alaqah/
(3) Video: Embryology in the Qur’an by Dr. Keith Moore
Embryology in the Qur’an – a lecture delivered by Dr. Keith Moore at the University of Illinois, Chicago, USA on the 8th May 1990. It is just over an hour long.http://islampapers.com/2012/03/07/moore1/ 

JazakAllah khair for those lovely words :)

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