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"And indeed We created man (Adam) out of an extract of clay (water and earth)."
"And indeed We created man (Adam) out of an extract of clay (water and earth)."
(Surat Al-Mu'minun (The Believers): 12)
By: Dr. / Zaghloul El-Naggar
This holy ayah appears in the second tenth of Surat Al-Mu'minun, which is a Makkan Surah. This Surah contains 118 ayahs. It is named in praise of the Mu'minun (Believers), demonstrating some of their merits. The main theme of this holy Surah is faith in Allah (SWT) as One and Only God who is the Self-Sufficient Master that all creatures depend on, and the One who is comparable to none; no one shares His Rule, or claims His Power. It also glorifies Allah and eliminates any description that does not befit His Glory.
1. The creation of man from an extract of clay.
2. The extremely accurate description of the successive stages of embryonic development, and the description of the womb as "a safe lodging" (Surat Al-Mu'minun (The Believers): 13)
3. The creation of the seven skies and the levels in between.
4. The rain and how it is sent down as needed then stored under the surface of the earth, which proves that the origin of the subterranean reserves of water is rain.
5. The stress on the strong link between sending down rain from the sky and bringing forth plants from the earth along with creating the orchards of palms, grapes, and other fruit trees, in addition to different cropping plants like grain, greens, leaves, stalks and roots.
6. The description of olive trees as a source of oil and a relish to the eaters, with emphasis on the olive trees that grow in Mount Sinai in particular.
7. The description of the cattle as an example for contemplators, especially getting the milk out of their bellies, their edible meat, and using them for transportation and carrying luggage the same way we use ships; yet with more benefits.
8. Mentioning the creation of the sense of hearing before the rest of the senses like eyesight or hearts (comprehending); a fact that has been proved lately by anatomical studies.
9. Using the “alternation of night and day” as a slightly implicit signal to the fact that the Earth travels around the sun.
To scientifically explain each one of these issues we need a special session for each of them. Consequently, I will only discuss the first point in the list, which is the creation of man from “an extract of clay” as it appears in the twelfth ayah of the Surah. But, before proceeding I have to survey the views of scholars and their interpretations of the implications of this ayah.
"And indeed We created man (Adam) out of an extract of clay (water and earth)."
(Surat Al-Mu'minun (The Beleivers): 12).
· Ibn-Kathir (RA) mentioned what can be summarized as: Allah describes the beginning of creation with Adam who was made from extracts of clay of altered black smooth mud. Ibn-Jarir also said that Adam’s name was derived from the word “mud” because he was created from it. Moreover, Qatada said that Adam came out of mud, hence, he is a creature of the soil. In addition, the Prophet (PBUH) said, "Allah has created Adam from a handful from all earth, so the sons of Adam came similar to earth, some of them are red, white, black and in between; evil, good and in between".
· “Safwat At-Tafasir” (The Essence of Interpretations), (may Allah reward its writer) includes an interpretation that the ayah that can be translated as, “And indeed We created man (Adam) out of an extract of clay (water and earth).", is an answer to an implicit oath in the ayah as if it were to be said as “By Allah, We have created man from an essence and extract taken from mud." Referring to the word “man” in the ayah, Ibn - Abbas said, "He is Adam because he came out of mud".
· Other interpretations present a similar view, so I will not mention them to avoid repetition.
Clay (Teen): It is soil mixed with water. It is mentioned in some of the Qur’anic ayahs like: *"and He began the creation of man from clay."* (As-Sajda: 7),* "He it is Who has created you from clay:* (Al-An'am: 2), *"Shall I prostrate myself to one whom You created from clay?"* (Al- Isra': 61), *"And indeed We created man (Adam) out of an extract of clay (water and earth)."* (Al-Mu'minun: 12), *"O Haman, to bake (bricks out of) clay"* (Surat Al-Qasas (The Narration): 38) (The Arabic verb is Taan: Motayan or Tayana: Tatyeenan, which some linguists may disagree with, and the noun Teena: means natural disposition.)
Extract (Solalah): Means the extract that is taken out in secret; it is what can be drawn out or separated from something else. While Ensal-la and Tasl-lala are two verbs that mean to withdraw from a group in secret, Sal-la or Asal-la (verbs) mean to take something out from its place. Saleel (noun) means the male descendant, and its feminine noun is Saleelah.
Toraab (Soil): It is a solid and tough substance formed from micro particles (very fine grains) in the size of those of clay and silt (1/16 of a millimeter of the grain's diameter, or 00.062 – of a millimeter). Because of their very small size, these particles can be carried by wind for long distances and for long periods, especially in whirlwinds. When the wind slows down, these particles drop to the earth.
Soil is the result of disintegration of rocks via erosion factors, especially chemical weathering of minerals and rocks. It can also be the outcome of volcanic eruptions, drizzles of sea salt, pollen, bacteria, smoke, and ash particles. Soil may merge with some other cosmic particles that come from outside the sphere like meteoric dust and cosmic dust.
First: the chemical structure of the human body confirms the relation between man and clay. The human body consists mainly of water (54% to 70% or more) in addition to protein (11% to 17%), fat (14% to 26%), and other several substances and inorganic components (5% to 6%). According to the chemical analysis of the basic substances of the human body, we can see that it is composed of the following elements:
· Oxygen 65%.
· Carbon 18%.
· Hydrogen 10%.
· Nitrogen 3%.
· Calcium 1.4%.
· Phosphorous 7%.
In addition, there are some less abundant substances like iodine, fluorine, bromine, iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, chrome, cobalt, nickel, molybdenum, tin, vanadium, silicon, and aluminum. However, despite their rarity, the shortage of any of these substances may cause an imbalance in the functions of the human body.
The components of the human body correspond in general with the chemical composition of soil when combined with water, i.e. clay. Generally, soil is made of a number of clay minerals that depend in their structure on hydrated aluminum silica, and exceed ten in number. They differ according to the degree of hydration, the percentage of both aluminum and silicon, or through the addition of other substances like magnesium, potassium, etc.
Moreover, clay minerals are combined (mixed) with different proportions of sand grains (quartz), feldspars, mica, iron oxides, and some heavy minerals, in addition to a small percentage of volcanic ashes, sea lime (calcareous) and salt particles, and ash particles that result from various combustive operations. Soil is also mixed with pollen and other plant remnants, bacteria and the remnants of other microorganisms, some remnants of cosmic and meteoritic dust, in addition to several other organic substances from the waste of various living creatures. This combination makes the chemical composition of soil and water very similar to that of the human body.
Soil is fragmented fine-grained sediment. Its granular diameter (clay) does not exceed 1/257 of a millimeter, even if mixed with some granules of silt (the diameter of its granule is 1/16 mm, 1/256 mm) and sand (1/4 – 1/16 mm.)
The proportion of porosity is as high as 70% to 80% in recently formed clay sediments. On the other hand, this proportion decreases to only 13% in old clay (mudstone) rocks, especially in shale. This high proportion of porosity in newly formed clay sediments increases after denudation (weathering) and transformation into soil. Soil pores fill with different ions of other substances, in addition to water, air and micro – wastes of living creatures. If the proportion of water increases, clay transforms into mud. The extraction from which man was created is the substances and compounds dissolving in the water held between the grains of clay metals and cracks that form clay.
Second: Man depends on plants as his main food resource and this confirms the link between humans and clay: The roots of plants absorb the substances and compounds dissolved in the water, which is stored between soil particles. Plants grow and produce different crops that man and several animals (herbivores) eat. Even creatures that eat both meat and plants (like humans), or those that eat meat only (carnivores), live, thrive, and grow depending on this blend absorbed by plants from the space between clay particles, and which turn into clay, and then into mud by watering. That is why Allah (SWT) created plants before animals and humans, because plants are the only means to transform ground substances into food chains, which are necessary for human and animal survival. Indeed, Allah says the truth in His wisely revealed Book more than fourteen centuries ago; He says what can be translated as:
- *"And indeed We created man (Adam) out of an extract of clay"* (Surat Al-Mu'minun (The Believers): 12).
- *"Who made everything He has created good, and He began the creation of man from clay"* (Surat As-Sajdah (The Prostration): 7).
- *"And Allah has brought you forth from the (dust of) earth. Afterwards He will return you into it (the earth), and bring you forth" (again on the Day of Resurrection)? *(Surat Nuh: 17, 18).
- Also His words said by His slave and Messenger Saleh (AS) when he spoke to his people:* "O my people! Worship Allah: you have no other Ilah (God) but Him. He brought you forth from the earth and settled you therein"* (Surat Hud: 61)
So said the Prophet, the seal of all Prophets and Messengers, peace be upon them all, that the elements from which man is created gather in a bone at the end of the vertebral column (the coccyx), which he (PBUH) called the “tail-tip of the spinal chord”. According to the Prophet, this bone is in the magnitude of a mustard grain, and does not decay or gets consumed by earth after death. Scientific research has proved the authenticity of this statement: (Hans Spemann, 1935).
The Prophet (PBUH) added that on the Day of Judgment, Allah (SWT) will cause water to descend from the sky and people will sprout from their coccyx, like plants from their seeds.
Third: After death, human bodies start to decompose and transform into clay extracts before they merge with the soil. The relation between the human body and soil with its water content (mud) reasserts by the huge correspondence between their chemical structures. The growth of the human body (from the embryonic stage up to maturity) depends on some ground substances and their dissolved compounds. These substances are stored between the clay particles that form the earth’s soil, which plants transform (by the Mighty power of Allah) into fruits and crops edible for man. They can also be transformed into grass, which is eaten by animals, making food for man. This marvelous food chain, in which plants play an enormous role, originally came out of this clay extract that consists of many substances and compounds absorbed by plant roots. This supports the ayah in which Allah says *"And indeed We created man (Adam) out of an extract of clay"*
(Surat Al-Mu'minun (The Believers): 12).
This truth is also confirmed by the fact that after death and decomposition, the body turns into dust. By reversing this cycle of creation, we will find that it starts with soil combined with water and then turned into mud. The water contained in the mud dissolves the dissolvable substances and compounds of soil. Among the particles of this clay, lies a more special extract (an extract of clay). By vaporizing the solutions that make this extract, its components stay between the particles of clay minerals, so clay stick together and become “sticky clay” (Surat As-Saffat (Those Ranged in Ranks): 11). After leaving this sticky clay to dry gradually, it starts to turn black and rotten *“(sounding) clay of altered black smooth mud”*(Surat Al-Hijr (The Rocky Tract): 28), further dryness causes it to become *"sounding clay like the clay of pottery"* (Surat Ar-Rahman (The Most Gracious): 14). Finally, Allah breathes His soul into it so it becomes a man (Adam, father of humans).
When the soul leaves the body, the latter dries until it reaches the state of stone (clay). However, after burial, it starts gradual decomposition; an operation performed by the bacteria, fungi, algae, and viruses that lived within the body during life, and those living in the soil in which it is buried. Gradually, the color of the body changes; the body starts to have a rotten smell, and it becomes “(sounding) clay of altered black smooth mud.” Then it starts to decay completely and turn into sticky clay. Finally, the body's water content evaporates, and the body becomes part of the soil and merges with it, except for the coccyx that Allah (SWT) preserves with His mighty power until resurrection on the Day of Judgment.
The three arguments above support the reality Allah (SWT) revealed in the Qur’an fourteen centuries ago by saying: “And indeed we created man (Adam) out of an extract of clay.” Those who are taken by the theory of organic evolution argue that this clay is the origin of creation; the origin of the first cell created on earth. The theory also claims that through division and multiplication, this cell gave birth to millions of life forms, where each form is represented by billions of individuals that lived on earth through gradual stages, until they reached the state of humans. Nevertheless, the holy Qur'an confirms that Allah (SWT) is the Creator of all things. Moreover, the genetic code and its complexity prove the necessity of the special creation of each kind.
Furthermore, the division of DNA points to the fact that if we review all the reserved DNA of all the billions of humans who live on earth today, those who died, and those who are yet to come until the Day of Judgment, we will find that they all originate from one genetic code found in the body of our father Adam (AS) the moment he was created.
Moreover, recent studies in molecular biology have proved the possibility of tracing biological races through mitochondrial DNA, which are micro molecules in the cell's liquid. Their mission is to support the living cell with the energy it needs. The DNA does not participate in the meiosis process for blending the genes of the parents, because it is taken from the mother's ovum only. This way, it would be possible to trace female generations back to great-grandmothers, until we come to the first mother Hawaa (Eve); this part of the mother's DNA does not change except by mutations inherited from a generation of mothers to another.
It has been discovered that all humans share one mitochondrial DNA that they have inherited from one grandmother who is the mother of all humanity, whose existence is assumed to have been 200,000 years ago. This scientific fact refutes the “Theory of Evolution” and the superstitions that claim man’s multiple origins; a theory supported by some western anthropologists that shattered humanity in fierce racial struggles based on such devilish ideas.
Indeed, Allah says the truth in His wisely revealed Book more than fourteen centuries ago; He says *"It is He Who has created you from a single person (Adam), and has given you a place of residing (on the earth or in your mother’s wombs) and a place of storage (In the earth (in your graves) or in your father’s loins). Indeed, We have explained in detail Our revelations (the Qur’an) for people who understand." *
(Surat Al-An'am (The Cattle): 98)
This truth was discovered by human sciences only two decades ago, which proves that the source of this miraculous knowledge that came in the Qur'an fourteen centuries ago cannot be human, but only divine. Allah with His divine wisdom has blessed us with the Qur'an, and preserved it in its original form and language for more than fourteen centuries, until the day He inherits earth and all its creatures (the Day of Judgment). All the praises and thanks are to Allah for the grace of the Qur'an, for the grace of Islam, and for the grace of sending us our Master, the Most Noble Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Praise and thanks be to Allah for having assured He will preserve His sacred message until the Day of Judgment, so that it remains a reminder of Allah’s voice and a proof of the delivered message until the Day of Resurrection. Finally, Peace and Blessings be upon our Master, The Most Noble Prophet Muhammad, his family, companions, followers, and the callers for his message. Our last supplication is all the praises and thanks are to Allah, the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists).