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How was the creation of man according to the Qur’an? (Part 1)

the holy qur’an

The Qur’an has explained the creation of man and his origin using different words and phrases. Some verses say that the initial material man comes from is clay. Other verses say it is water, while a third group say it is sperm. Meanwhile a fourth group says it was both clay and sperm together.

Nevertheless, what can be deduced from all of these verses is that man was dirt in the beginning[i], then the dirt was mixed with water making it clay[ii], then the clay became foul-smelling[iii], after that it became sticky[iv], then turned into dry clay[v] and finally life was breathed into it.

Meanwhile, scientists have two theories regarding the creation of creatures, both plants and animals:

a) The theory of evolution or transformism

b) Fixism

The theory of evolution says that all forms of organisms weren’t created from the start, but certain organisms gradually evolved into ones we see today. The most complete and developed form of those early organisms is man. This theory is referred to as “Transformism”‌. As for the other theory referred to as “Fixism”‌, it says that all forms of life and organisms were created separately, denying any link and development between various forms.

Although the Qur’an doesn’t explain the creation of man in detail, not saying anything about the two theories mentioned above, yet what some verses slightly suggest is that the Qur’an’s standpoint regarding this issue is that different forms of animals and plants (especially man) were created separately, although no verse directly mentions such a matter.

[i] Hajj:5.

[ii] An’am:2.

[iii] Hijr:28.

[iv] Saffat:11.

[v] Rahman:14.

Detailed Answer

The Qur’an has explained the creation of man and his origin in different ways; this signifies that the creation of man consisted of various steps.

a) Some verses introduce “clay”‌ as the initial material for the creation of man. [1]

b) Some verses say that man was created from “water”‌. [2]

c) Other verses only name “sperm”‌ as what man has been created from. [3]

d) In other verses, “Dirt and Sperm”‌ together have been considered the origins of man. [4]

There are two ways of explaining these verses:

1- To say that they are unveiling the way all people are created separately. For instance, when a verse says that man was created from dirt, it means that dirt turns into food and minerals, food and minerals turn into sperm cells and sperm turns into a fetus; meaning that dirt is our “far”‌ origin, while sperm is nearer to us and our creation.

2- To say that each of the four groups of verses are speaking of specific people and individuals. For instance, since Prophet Adam (PBUH) was the first person to be created, he was made from dirt and clay, and since all people today are descendants of Adam (PBUH) and trace back to him, and he was made from clay, it is correct to say clay is our origin as well.

Therefore, although it may seem at first sight that some Qur’anic verses aren't in harmony with others on this issue, yet with a little focus one will be able to tell that there is no contradiction between them, because the truth of the matter is that some of these verses are only speaking of the creation of the first person created, Prophet Adam (PBUH). Clearly, the origin of the first person to ever be created is also considered the origin of those who were created from him; if his origin was clay, it is correct to say that all people were created from clay. This is from one perspective.

To be continued ...

For further information, refer to:

1- Allamah Tabatabai, Al-Mizan, vol. 4 and 17

2- Tafsir Nemouneh, vol. 11, pg. 82 and on and vol. 23

3- Muhammad Taqi Mesbah, Rahnama Shenasi

4- Muhammad Ali Rezai, Pajooheshi dar I’jaze Elmiye Qur’an, vol. 2, pp. 429-564.

5- Yadollah Sobhai, Khelqate Ensan.

6- Saduq, Ilalul-Sharaye’, vol. 15, chapter 11.


[1]An’am:1; Sajdah: 7; Saffat:18

[2] Furqan: 54; Tariq: 6.

[3] Nahl: 4; Yasin: 77; Dahr:2; Abas:19; and other verses.

[4] Hajj: 5; Ghafir: 67; Fatir:11; Kahf:37.

Source: shafaqna.com

Other links:

The Qur’an and the Nature of Life


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