THE MOTHER’S WOMB WITH ITS SECURE PROTECTION
Did We not create you from a base fluid, then place it in a secure repository for a recognised term? It is We Who determine. What an excellent Determiner! (Surat al-Mursalat, 20-23)
We created man from the purest kind of clay; then made him a drop in a secure receptacle; then formed the drop into a clot and formed the clot into a lump and formed the lump into bones and clothed the bones in flesh; and then brought him into being as another creature. Blessed be Allah, the Best of Creators! (Surat al-Muminun, 12-14)
The above verses about the creation of human beings contain fundamental information from the field of embryology. The description of the womb as ‘a secure receptacle” indicates an important feature that has been better understood through modern science. (Allah knows the truth.) The process that begins with the zygote, produced by the sperm and egg cells coming together and continues until the emergence of a complete human being, made up of trillions of cells all working in harmony, takes place in the mother’s womb. This place, where the embryo completes its 9 months of development is, as the verse tells us, ‘a secure receptacle.’
The word "mekiynin," translated as ‘secure’ above, also suggests such meanings as ‘unshakeable, sound, resolute, powerful, fixed and safely put in place.’ The word "kararin" also means ‘location, stability, permanence and place of settlement.’ These words very wisely describe the womb as a sound and safe location.
The mother’s womb provides insulation against external agents, light and sound, and particularly protects the baby against shock and pressure. Located in the pelvic cavity, the womb is well protected by the thick and strong bones that surround’endometrium’ on the inside, helping bear the weight of the embryo until the end of pregnancy. This structure made up of powerful muscles is ideally constructed for the baby’s growth and development. During pregnancy, the ligaments attaching the bones in the region together become thicker and longer. These ligaments that attach the top of the womb to the strong pelvic bones make the womb strong and stable.
The ligaments that tightly bind the bones together in the pelvic region can be seen.
The embryo also has a source of the heat, water, oxygen and nutrients it needs during the course of its development. The mother’s womb undergoes many changes that enhance its strength during pregnancy. Together with the muscles, ligaments and elastic tissues it contains, there is also an increase in the number of blood vessels and nerves. The womb is thus able to increase 20 times in weight and 1,000 times in capacity without coming to any harm.1 The fallopian tubes that support the womb, the ovaries and other connective tissues all expand and become more elastic.2 The constant changes in the womb continue even after the embryo has grown into a healthy baby many hundreds of times larger than its initial state. The womb now changes in such a way as to permit the baby to exit in a healthy manner.
During pregnancy, another most miraculous state of affairs regarding the protection of the baby comes about. The baby is also protected against internal threats. When a foreign body enters the body, such as during an organ or bone marrow transplant, the host’s defense system begins reacting, and this can sometimes lead to fatal consequences.3 But that never happens to the fetus, and the mother’s immune system does not regard it as a foreign body. It is extraordinary how the mother’s immune system tolerates foreign genes from the father; because the baby is 50% foreign body. Marianne van den Heuvel, a scientist from Guelph University, describes this as ‘fascinating’ and continues: ‘That was always a puzzle from an immunology standpoint because the fetus is actually foreign. It’s part of the mother and also part of the father. It should be rejected by the body.’4
One would expect the defense system, which identifies viruses and tumors as foreign bodies and kills them, also to declare war on the fetus’s cells. But, by the will of Allah, no such thing happens, and the womb remains a very safe and secure place.
All the information about embryology provided in the Qur’an is in full agreement with modern medicine. This information, which has emerged through advanced technology, is one of the clearest proofs that the Qur’an is the revelation of our Lord, the Creator of all. It is also revealed in the Qur’an, which is full of information from hundreds of years ago that sheds light on the scientific world of today, that:
And in your creation and all the creatures He has spread about there are Signs for people with certainty. (Surat al-Jathiyya, 4)
4 http://www.uoguelph.ca/mediarel/archives/002054.html; Marianne van de Heuvel, "Biomedical Scientist Explores Role of Immune System in Pregnancy", Communications and Public Affairs, 20 November 2002.