The Miracle Of Human Creation

The Creation of a Human Being from a cell

The Transformation Begins: The Three Stages of the Baby in the Womb

As is obvious from what has been said so far, in the period of time between the formation of the sperm and the egg and their meeting, every event that occurs is a miracle. The changes that occur after these two cells unite, and the all-encompassing preparations made in the woman's body will show us other wondrous occurrences.

They do not render to God the homage due to Him. Yet God is Powerful and Almighty.
(Qur'an, 22: 74)

Even within hours of the time when it is fertilised by the sperm, the egg divides and grows very quickly. Today we know that the baby undergoes three stages of embryonic development while it is in the mother's womb. But this information, which it has taken long years of research to attain with the help of modern technology, was made known in the Qur'an 1400 years ago. These scientific facts are revealed in this verse:

... He creates you stage by stage in your mothers' wombs in a threefold darkness. That is God, your Lord. Sovereignty is His. There is no god but Him. So what has made you turn away from Him? (Qur'an, 39: 6)

It will be noticed that this verse shows that three distinct stages occur in the development of a human being while it is in the mother's womb. Indeed, modern biology has established that the baby in the mother's womb does go through three different stages of development, just as is stated in this verse. This is a matter of basic information in all the books on embryology required to be read as textbooks today in medical faculties. For example, Basic Human Embryology, a standard basic work of reference on embryology, makes the following statement:

The life in the uterus has three stages: (i) pre-embryonic: first two and a half weeks; (ii) embryonic: until the end of the eighth week, and (iii) fetal: from the eighth week to labour.20

These stages comprise the various developmental phases of the baby. The salient features of these three stages can be summarized as follows:

- Pre-embryonic stage: In this first stage the zygote (the newly fertilised cell) multiplies. Within the first three weeks, after it has become a cluster of cells, it embeds itself in the wall of the uterus. As the cells continue to multiply, they form three layers.

- The embryonic stage: The second stage lasts a total of five and a half weeks, during which the baby is called the embryo. In this stage the basic organs and systems of the body take shape from the cell layers.

- The foetal stage: Entering the third stage of pregnancy, the embryo is now called the foetus. This stage begins from the eighth week of pregnancy and continues to birth. In this stage, as distinct from the earlier ones, the face, hands and feet of the foetus become distinguishable and it takes the external appearance of a human being. At the beginning of this stage, all the organs of the 3 cm. foetus are in place. This stage lasts for thirty weeks and development continues until the week of birth.

The stages that we have briefly outlined here and the wondrous developments that happen in each stage will be explained in more detail in the pages that follow.

20. Williams P., Basic Human Embryology, 3rd ed., 1984, p. 64