The creation of a child according to the Quran
In several verses of the Noble Quran, Allah (swt) has mentioned the creation and stages of transformation of the child. It is by observing this miracle that one inevitably desires to thank and revere Him, the best of Creators. In Surat al-Mu`minun, He states:
“Certainly We created the human being from an extract of clay. Then We made him a drop of (seminal) fluid (lodged) in a secure abode. Then We created the drop of fluid as a clinging mass. Then We created the clinging mass as a fleshy tissue. Then We created the fleshy tissue as bones. Them We clothed the bones with flesh. Then We produced him as (yet) another creature. So blessed is Allah (swt), the best of creators!”
In the verses above, Allah (swt) mentions 7 stages of creation:
- Stage 1: The human being initially starts off as clay; in other words, the inorganic constituents of the earth are absorbed into living matter by way of food.
- Stage 2: Living matter reproduces itself by means of sperm; thus the human is then made into a seed (the seminal fluid), and placed in a firm resting place (the ovum of a mother).
- Stage 3: The first change in the fertilised ovum is the conversion into a sort of clot of thickly congealed blood, or clinging mass.
- Stage 4: The zygote cells grow by segmentation; then the mass gradually assumes the shape of its growth as a foetus (a lump of fleshy tissue).
- Stage 5: From this develops bones.
- Stage 6: Flesh now grows on the bones, as do organs and a nervous system.
- Stage 7: So far the development of an infant human is like that of an animal. However, a major step is now taken and the foetus becomes a complete human. This is the breathing of Allah (swt)’s spirit into him. (This may not be at a specific time; rather it may be parallel to that of physical growth).
On the subject of the creation of the foetus, it is narrated by the Prophet (peace be upon him):
[Tafsir Gazar: Vol. 6, Pg. 235]
“The seed in the womb of the mother (takes) 40 days to become a clot, then after 40 days it becomes a lump of flesh (foetus); when the child is 4 months old, by the command of Allah (swt), 2 Angels give the foetus a spirit (ruh) and specify the sustenance (rizq), period of living, deeds (a’maal), prosperity and adversity of the child.”
Responsibilities during pregnancy and the role of the mother
The thoughts and actions of the mother have an impact on the Akhlaq, actions and faith of the unborn child, as the child is like an organ of the mother and obtains all the necessary factors of development from her. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) has stated that the prosperity and adversity of a child is determined in the mother’s stomach. In another tradition, Ali ibn Abi Talib says that in terms of Akhlaq, nature and religiousness, a child is made by the mother and obtains his/her disposition from her Akhlaq. Thus it is the responsibility of the mother that she creates the best possible environment for the first home of the child.
The constant care and attention of the mother that all thoughts and actions are in accordance with the teachings of Islam is necessary and highly emphasized. This is especially important because the child is not only a member of the family but a member of the society and can be a source of blessings and benefit. For it is in this manner that the esteemed and noble Saints and scholars have come into this world and made an impact not only in their societies but also in the history of the world.
The role of the father
The father plays an important role in helping the mother maintain a healthy spirit and development, by supporting her and helping her in every way. By being informed and understanding about the changes the mother will undergo, as well as her physical, emotional and mental needs, he can help create the warm and loving atmosphere at home that is essential for the positive development of the child. The following incident clearly highlights the importance of the actions of the mother and father during the period of pregnancy:
When Allamah Majlisi (the compiler of Bihar al-Anwar) was a child, he went with his father to a mosque in Isfahan. While his father went to pray, he remained in the courtyard, playing. When his father came out, he saw that his son had poked a needle into a waterskin full of water that belonged to the mosque, and all the water had spilt out. The father was very upset and when he reached home, he narrated the incident to his wife and said that this act must be a consequence of something we did. He continued saying that however much he thought of his actions before conception, during conception, halal intake and all other possibilities, he could not think of a possible cause, and asked his wife to think on it as well. After doing this, the wife replied that I can’t think of anything thing except one incident; one day while I was pregnant with him, I went to a neighbour’s house and saw a pomegranate tree. I made a prick in one of the pomegranates and sucked a little bit of juice. It was this one small act that led to the later incident that took place with her son.
May Allah (swt) grant all parents the tawfiq (divine opportunity) to be able to carry out their responsibilities to the best of their abilities.
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