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The Clot a Lump

 

“…then We made the clot into a little lump of flesh,”

 (Surat Al-Mu'minūn (The Believers): 14)

                           

                                           By: Dr. / Zaghloul El-Naggar

 

These miraculous words appear at the beginning of Surat Al-Mu'minun.  This Surah was revealed in Makkah and has a total of 118 ayahs excluding the basmallah (invocation of the name of Allah (SWT)).  The Surah was named as such due to the fact that it refers to the believers and describes some of their characteristics, which Allah (SWT) approves of and asks from His servants.

 

Tenets of faith in the Surah:

 

  1. Faith in Allah (SWT), His angels, books, Messengers, the day of judgement and in jannah (paradise) and hell.  Moreover, one should believe that only the believers, whom the Surah describes, will enter jannah.
  2. Complete belief and certainty that Allah (SWT) created man from soil.  He has prearranged the consecutive stages of development through which the embryo goes through inside the womb until it reaches its final and complete form.  The Surah also describes how believers firmly believe that life will be followed by death, after which one will be resurrected to be judged and rewarded with either eternal life in jannah or hellfire.  This is all because man was not created without purpose and will surely return to the Creator.
  3. Belief that Allah (SWT) is the Creator of the seven heavens, seven earths and all that is in or on them.  He (SWT) is the one who sends rain from the sky and has allowed us to live on this earth.  He (SWT) is able to take it all away if He so wishes.  Furthermore, Allah is the Creator of all the plants and living beings, and is the All-Knowing.
  4. Surrendering to the oneness of the message received from the heavens.  This involves believing in the brotherhood between the Prophets and Messengers who were all involved in the same da’wa (missionary activity) that called for people to believe in the Oneness of the Creator (SWT), i.e. that He has no partner, child nor competitor.  Allah (SWT) also distinguishes in the Surah between His attributes and those of His creation, and emphasizes that He (SWT) is Incomparable.  ž
  5. The firm belief that Allah (SWT) knows all that is seen and unseen, is the Best of Providers, is the One who blesses us with life and takes it away from us, and is the Lord of the throne.  Associating partners with Allah (SWT) is disbelieving, and disbelievers eventually will loose.
  6. Belief that, once dead, there is no returning until the Day of Judgment.  During this period, those who have died are in a state of barzakh (a state that acts a barrier between death and resurrection) where they await the blowing of the trumpet.  After the first blow, all those on earth will die, and after the second, all the dead will be brought back to life.
  7. Firm belief that the successful ones are those whose scales will be heavy on the Day of Judgment (with good deeds), and that those whose scales are light will be sent to eternal hellfire.

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Signs of creation in Surat Al-Mu’minun:

 

  1. Reference to the creation of man from soil (an extract of clay).
  2. A thorough description of the stages of development of the fetus, starting from a nutfah (mixed drops of the male and female sexual discharge), to an ‘alaqa (clot of blood), to a mudgha (lump of flesh) and finally, to bones encompassed by flesh.  The end result is another human being.  This was revealed at a time when it was thought that a new-born started its development as a miniature version of itself as a result of either a drop of maternal menstrual blood or paternal semen.  It was believed that size was the only difference between the first day of the fetus’ existence and the day of birth.  We now know that the change in the length of the fetus that occurs from one stage to another is of only a few millimeters, and sometimes of even a fraction of a millimeter.  The fact that the Holy Qur’an accurately describes these stages of development, without the availability of modern technology or any form of imaging devices at the time of revelation, is a clear sign of the miraculous nature of the Qur’an.
  3. The mentioning of the seven heavens.  This is an unseen fact that modern science cannot establish due to the vastness of the universe, its seemingly infinite dimensions, and its ongoing expansion to which only Allah (SWT) knows the end.
  4. A reference to the sending of rain from the sky, as decreed by Allah (SWT), to be stored inside the earth.  This was the first indication that rain is the origin of the water found in the earth’s crust; a fact discovered by scientist at the end of the 18th century, more than eleven centuries after the revelation of the Holy Qur’an.  It is evident that these conclusions were based on the Islamic heritage that was translated into Latin and Greek.
  5. An established link between the sending of rain from the sky and the growth of plants from the soil, the formation of gardens of date palms and vines, as well as the growth of other fruitful trees and harvests.
  6. A description of the olive tree and its production of oil and seasoning for us to eat, especially the olive trees grow on Mount At-Tour (in Sinai Peninsula). ž
  7. A reference to the creation of cattle and its importance, which only could be noticed by those who contemplate.  Cattle are of great use to us.  Along with several other things, cattle produce milk, provide us with meat and provide us with a means of terrestrial transportation, just like boats provide us with a means of transportation on water.
  8. The precedence of hearing senses over those of sight and intellect or comprehension.  Recent observations in newborns have shown that, in fact, hearing precedes any of the other senses.
  9. Reference to the changes in the day and night indicate the assertion of the spherical shape of the earth, its rotation around its axis and its orbit around the sun.
  10. Mentioning a number of Prophets and Messengers and giving an accurate account of the fate of their people.  Historical and archeological studies of some of these peoples have confirmed what was mentioned in the Qur’an.  Among these Prophets are Nuh (Noah), Musa (Moses), Harun (Aaron) and Isa (Jesus) the son of Maryam (Mary).

    Each of these ten points needs to be separately addressed in detail; therefore, I will choose one of these points to discuss.  I will elaborate on the second point, which is that concerning the clot mentioned in the ayah that can be translated as,

“Then We made the Nutfah into a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood), then We made the clot into a little lump of flesh,” (Surat Al-Mu'minūn (The Believers): 14).

 

Linguistic evidence in the Glorious Qur’an

 

The word mudgha was mentioned three times in the Qur’an; once in the fifth ayah of Surat Al-Hajj, and twice in the 14th ayah of Surat Al-Mu’minun.  The word in Arabic means a lump of incompletely developed flesh of a size big enough to be chewed. This is why Allah (SWT) named the stage following the clotting of the blood as such. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “...then We made the clot into a little lump of flesh, then We made out of that little lump of flesh bones,” (Surat Al-Mu'minūn (The Believers): 14).

 

Allah (SWT) also said what can be translated as, “O mankind! If you are in doubt about the Resurrection, then verily We have created you (i.e. Adam) from dust, then from a Nutfah (mixed drops of male and female sexual discharge i.e. the offspring of Adam), then from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood) then from a little lump of flesh - some formed and some unformed (as in the case of miscarriage)” (Surat Al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage):5).


The Arabic word mudgha and its derivatives provide a great deal of detail about that specific stage of development. The derived word mudagha is what remains in the mouth after chewing, whereas the word madighan refers to the mandible (jawbones) needed for the mastication of food or for aiding the process. Additionally, the word mudgha also means what has been chewed, refers to something that teeth have chewed and left visible marks on; marks that change in the process of chewing due to the repetitive act.

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