“Among men there are some who wrangle about Allah without knowledge and follow every rebellious devil, although it is decreed about him that he shall lead into error whosoever takes him for a friend, and will direct him to the torment of the Fire. O men! If you have any doubt concerning Resurrection, then know that it is surely We Who created you from dust, then from a drop of sperm, then from a clot of blood, then from a little lump of flesh, some of it shapely and other shapeless.”
(Al-Qur’an – 22:3-5)
It is clear that the issue under debate was not whether God actually existed or not. The real issue of contention was: what are the rights of God against His creatures, what is the extent of God’s authority, and what is the attitude that one should adopt to His directives and commands? The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) sought to persuade people to accept that there is no God except the One True God, and that the Hereafter is bound to come to pass. It was on these matters that people questioned the Prophet (peace be upon him). The debate ultimately led to the question of what lies in God’s power and what lies beyond it? Is the universe governed by the One True God or do any other beings share His Divinity with Him?
The expression “it is surely We Who created you from dust, then from a drop of sperm” means either that each man was created from materials all of which are derived from the earth and that the actual process starts with creating the sperm. Or else it means that the human species began its existence with the Prophet Adam (peace be upon him), who was directly created from clay, whereafter all generations were created from sperm, as stated elsewhere in the Qur’an: “He began the creation of man with clay, and made his progeny from the quintessence of a despised fluid” (32:7-8).
Here the verse refers to the different stages of gestation through which the foetus passes in the mother’s womb. The stages of gestation known today with the help of powerful microscopes, and through them alone, are not mentioned in the Qur’an. Instead, only those major changes are mentioned with which even the illiterate bedouin of that time were familiar.