Human Anatomy in the Quran

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Taken as a whole, the verses of the Qur'an can be understood to evince a peculiar understanding of the human body, in line with the thought of the ancient Mediterranean world in the 7th century in which Jewish and Greek thought was in circulation.

In keeping with Biblical and Mesopotamian tradition, the Qur'an states that the first man was created from clay, from whom all subsequent humans are descended. The Qur'an then teaches that the first step in the creation of the human body is the nutfah (small amount of semen) gathered in the womb where it undergoes subsquent stages of transformation (a popular greek theory at the time). In the second stage the nutfah becomes alaqah (clotted blood). At the third stage the alaqah becomes a bite sized morsel of flesh (mudghah). This mudghah becomes bones (itham) in the fourth stage, and is then clothed with flesh (lahm). Finally, Allah is said to bring forth the child as a new creation. For details and critical discussion of this process as described in the Quran see Embryology in the Quran. The list below sets out the verses pertaining to the creation of Adam and the fetal gestation and development of the human body in the Quran.

Qur'an Surahs

The Qur'an is a document which was put down to paper in the 7th century, with material that may be as old as the 6th century AD. As such it evinces an understanding of science and human biology grounded in the thought of the time, which was a combination of received knowledge and the psuedo-scientific findings of Greek philosophy/science, with some practitioners of this being more empirical in their investigations. The Qur'an thus buys into the Greek four-element model of nature as well as various Greek theories of biology which were not arrived at through the scientific method and vigorous empirical investigation.


  • Verily, the likeness of 'Īsā (Jesus) before Allâh is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: "Be!" - and he was. (59)


  • He it is who created you from clay, and then decreed a stated term (for you). And there is in His presence another determined term; yet ye doubt within yourselves!. (2)


  • It is We who created you and gave you shape; then We bade the angels prostrate to Adam, and they prostrated, not so Iblis; he refused to be of those who bow down. (11)
  • (Allah) said: "what prevented thee from bowing down when I commanded thee?" He said: "I am better than he: thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay." (12)


  • And indeed, We created man from dried (sounding) clay of altered mud. (26)
  • And the jinn, We created aforetime from the smokeless flame of fire. (27)
  • And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: "I am going to create a man (Adam) from dried (sounding) clay of altered mud. (28)
  • "So, when I have fashioned him completely and breathed into him (Adam) the soul which I created for him, then fall (you) down prostrating yourselves unto him." (29)
  • So, the angels prostrated themselves, all of them together. (30)
  • Except Iblîs (Satan), - he refused to be among the prostrators. (31)




  • O mankind! if ye are in doubt concerning the Resurrection, then lo! We have created you from dust [turabin تُرَابٍ], then from a drop of seed [nutfatin نُّطْفَةٍ], then from a clot [alaqatin عَلَقَةٍ], then from a little lump of flesh [mudghatin مُّضْغَةٍ] shapely and shapeless [mukhallaqatin waghayri mukhallaqatin مُّخَلَّقَةٍ وَغَيْرِ مُخَلَّقَةٍ], that We may make (it) clear for you. And We cause what We will to remain in the wombs for an appointed time, and afterward We bring you forth as infants, then (give you growth) that ye attain your full strength. And among you there is he who dieth (young), and among you there is he who is brought back to the most abject time of life, so that, after knowledge, he knoweth naught. And thou (Muhammad) seest the earth barren, but when We send down water thereon, it doth thrill and swell and put forth every lovely kind (of growth).


  • Verily We created man from a product of wet earth [sulalatin min teenin سُلَٰلَةٍ مِّن طِينٍ]; (12)
  • Then placed him as a drop (of seed) [nutfatan نُطْفَةً] in a safe lodging [qararin makeenin قَرَارٍ مَّكِينٍ]; (13)
  • Then fashioned We the drop a clot ['alaqatan عَلَقَةً], then fashioned We the clot a little lump [mudghatan مُضْغَةً], then fashioned We the little lump bones ['ithaman عِظَٰمًا], then clothed [kasawna كَسَوْنَا] the bones with flesh [lahman لَحْمًا], and then produced it as another creation. So blessed be Allah, the Best of creators! (14)


  • And among His Signs is this, that He created you (Adam) from dust, and then [Hawwa' (Eve) from Adam's rib, and then his offspring from the semen, and], - behold you are human beings scattered! (20)
  • And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect. (21)


  • Who made everything He has created good, and He began the creation of man from clay. (7)
  • Then He made his offspring from semen of dispised water (male and female sexual discharge). (8)
  • Then He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him the soul (created by Allâh for that person), and He gave you hearing (ears), sight (eyes) and hearts. Little is the thanks you give! (9)


  • And Allah did create you from dust; then from a sperm-drop; then He made you in pairs. And no female conceives, or lays down (her load), but with His knowledge. Nor is a man long-lived granted length of days, nor is a part cut off from his life, but is in a Decree (ordained). All this is easy for Allah. (11)


  • Does not man see that We have created him from Nutfah (mixed male and female discharge — semen drops). Yet behold! he (stands forth) as an open opponent. (77)
  • And he puts forth for Us a parable, and forgets his own creation. He says: "Who will give life to these bones after they are rotten and have become dust?" (78)
  • Say: (O Muhammad SAW) "He will give life to them Who created them for the first time! And He is the All-Knower of every creation!" (79)


  • Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I am about to create man from clay: (71)
  • "When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him." (72) So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them together; (73)
  • Not so Iblis: he was haughty, and became one of those who reject Faith. (74)
  • (Allah) said: "O Iblis! what prevents thee from prostrating thyself to one whom I have created with My hands? Art thou haughty? Or art thou one of the high (and mighty) ones?" (75)
  • (Iblis) said: "I am better than he: Thou createdst me from fire, and him Thou createdst from clay." (76)


  • He it is Who created you from dust [turabin تُرَابٍ], then from a drop (of seed) [nutfatin نُّطْفَةٍ] then from a clot [alaqatin عَلَقَةٍ], then bringeth you forth as a child, then (ordaineth) that ye attain full strength and afterward that ye become old men - though some among you die before - and that ye reach an appointed term, that haply ye may understand.



  • Verily, We have created man from Nutfah (drops) of mixed semen (sexual discharge of man and woman), in order to try him, so We made him hearer and seer. (2)


  • So let man observe from what he was created. (5)
  • He was created from a fluid, ejected, (6)
  • Emerging from between the backbone and the ribs. (7)