Sunday, February 19, 2012

Embryology in the Qur’an: The ‘Alaqah (العلقة) Stage

Human embryo around the 4th week.
Human embryo around the 4th week.
Alaqah is a stage in the development of the embryo. The Qur’an mentions that human development passes through a number of distinct stages. These stages are descriptive of the embryo’s external appearance and have been assigned the names:
 nutfah (a drop), alaqah (clinging form), mudghah (chewed-like form), izam (skeleton, bones), lahm (muscles, flesh)  and nash’ah (growth, development, initiation).
The terminology used to describe human development in the Qur’an is characterized by descriptiveness, accuracy and ease of comprehension. Until recently these statements were not fully appreciated, since they referred to details in human development which were scientifically unknown in earlier times.
This essay by Elias Kareem focuses on the term ‘alaqah with an emphasis on the outer appearance of the embryo and its internal structures. This essay is an updated version of an unpublished essay from September 2000. Please return to this page for future updates.


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