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Claim CJ533:

The Qur'an, in the seventh century C.E., described human embryology with astonishing accuracy. It says humans are created from "mingled fluid", that is, sperm and eggs (e.g., 86:6-7). Suras 22:5 and 23:13-14 describe embryological development in stages.


Moore, Keith L., 1992. The Developing Human, 3rd edition with Islamic Additions. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Yahya, Harun, n.d. Miracles of the Qur'an,


  1. The embryology expressed by the Qur'an follows the Greek knowledge of embryology prevalent at the time. The Qur'an refers to nutfah, which translates as "semen" and does not refer to both sperm and eggs as Moore proposes. Sura 86:6 says that the fluid issues from between the loins and ribs, not, as we know today, from the testicles. This reflects a mistaken view of Hippocrates, common in the 5th century, that semen comes from all the fluid of the body and passes through the kidneys on the way to the penis. Sura 23:12-14 says God created man from "wet earth, then placed him as (a drop of) sperm (nutfah) in a safe lodging; then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood (alaqa); then out of that clot We made a (foetus) lump (mudghah), then We made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then We developed out of it another creature." This account directly follows the four stages described by the Greek physician Galen, writing around 150 AD. The accuracies and inaccuracies both reflect Greek ideas of the time.

    One of Mohammed's companions was the doctor Harith Ibn Kalada, who studied at the school of Jundishapur in Persia. He would have been well acquainted with the teachings of Aristotle, Hippocrates, and Galen.

  2. The Qur'an also describes humans as coming from earth (11:61), clay (15:26), mud (23:12), dust (30:20), water (25:54), and nothing (19:67). Anyone looking for a passage to rationalize to a particular view has no shortage of options.


Dr. Lactantius, 1996, 1999. Embryology in the Qur'an.

Needham, Yusuf and Butrus Needbeer, 2003. Qur'anic embryology.
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created 2003-12-1