EMBRYOLOGYThere are many references to various scientific pieces of knowledge in the Quran which were not known by the people at the time of the Prophet Muhammad or even prior. It should be remembered that the Quran is not a book of science per se but rather a book of guidance, revealed by Allah to Muhammad, for those who seek to guard against erring spiritually.
In the 7th Century, like most branches of medicine, embryology was in its infancy.
The most advanced embryological knowledge of the day belonged to the Greek Doctor Galen, who held incorrect notions about the origin of semen and the development of the embryo. In contrast, the Quranic account is more accurate and verified by our modern observations.
وَ لَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا الۡاِنۡسَانَ مِنۡ سُلٰلَةٍ مِّنۡ طِیۡنٍ ﴿ۚ۱۳﴾ ثُمَّ جَعَلۡنٰهُ نُطۡفَةً فِیۡ قَرَارٍ مَّکِیۡنٍ ﴿۪۱۴﴾ ثُمَّ خَلَقۡنَا النُّطۡفَةَ عَلَقَةً فَخَلَقۡنَا الۡعَلَقَةَ مُضۡغَةً فَخَلَقۡنَا الۡمُضۡغَةَ عِظٰمًا فَکَسَوۡنَا الۡعِظٰمَ لَحۡمًا ٭ ثُمَّ اَنۡشَاۡنٰهُ خَلۡقًا اٰخَرَ ؕ فَتَبٰرَکَ اللهُ اَحۡسَنُ الۡخٰلِقِیۡنَ ﴿ؕ۱۵
“Verily, We created man from an extract of clay; Then We placed him as a drop of sperm in a safe depository. Then we fashioned the sperm into a clot; then We fashioned the clot into a shapeless lump; then We fashioned bones out of this shapeless lump; then We clothed the bones with flesh; then We developed it into another creation. So blessed be Allah, the Best of creators.”
Holy Qur’an, 23:13-15
The Arabic used in this verse accurately depicts the detail and sequence of how we develop in the womb. The Quran describes how the conceptus is produced from a mixture of elements, how the early embryo clings onto the uterine wall, how it then develops into a differentially formed lump, before developing bony structures clothed with flesh. Finally, it describes the birth of the soul within the physical framework of the body.
The sequence and depth of this description cannot be rivalled by any understanding available at the time of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Given the verse’s startling accuracy, Maurice Bucaille, a French doctor who studied this verse, remarked:
“More than a thousand years before our time, at a period when whimsical doctrines still prevailed, men had… the Qur’an. The statements it contains express in simple terms truths of primordial importance which man has taken centuries to discover.”
The Bible, the Qur’an and Science, pg. 220