in what follows we shall review in pictures the development that the embryo undergoes when it passes 42 days in the womb and how the noble hadith conforms to the scientific facts.
the sceptics had objected time and time again to the hadith of allah's messenger (pbuh) saying: "if a drop of semen spent in the womb forty two nights, allah (the almighty) sends an angel to it who depicts it and creates its ears, eyes, skin, flesh and bones." (narrated by muslim). they said that this hadith does not conform to modern science nor to the phases of the fetus development.
science is really developing and revealing new facts and if we examine the recent researches in embryology and study the phase that allah's messenger (pbuh) had mentioned, when the embryo is 42 days old, what do we find? why did the messenger specify such age, 42 days, and what does it mean as regards the development of the fetus in his mother's womb? in what follows we exhibit a number of photos along with their explanation to show you how the embryo develops especially during the fifth, sixth and seventh week. later we will get back to discover the perfect matching between the prophet's hadith and the sayings of the contemporary scientists.
these are the stages by which the embryo passes starting by being a drop of semen all the way up until the end of the sixth week (42 days). we notice that the fetus does not take its human form except when it has completed 42 nights in the womb, such fact was confirmed by allah's messenger (pbuh) in the noble hadith. take a note here of the shape of the drop of semen which does not resemble man, then it changes to a clot of blood which does not inspire any human shape, then it changes to a lump of flesh which again does not resemble man and when it is 42 days old the human shape appears clearly and it goes on until the end of pregnancy. subhan allah (glorified be allah).
a real photo of a fetus five weeks old, in which we find no features of a human being. scientists say that most of the animals take this form at such age, thus the embryo did not yet take its human form and we can see no ears, eyes, skin or bones.
a real photo for a 47 days old embryo, we notice that it has taken the human form and it is obvious that the ears, eyes and skin were being formed. all such features started to form by the end of the sixth week and they became obvious completely by the seventh week. the heart of the embryo starts beating clearly the sixth week.
to listen to the embryo's heart beat, click here
a photo comparing between a 5 week old embryo and another which is 8 weeks. notice how the features, volume and shape have changed and how the humane form of the fetus became clear. scientists say that as of the end of the sixth week, which is when the embryo is 42 days old; it starts to differentiate between the different voices and reacts to them. scientists confirm that the age 42 days and what follows is a definitive border between the stage where the fetus is un-characteristic and that stage where that fetus takes its human form. that's why we find it mentioned on one of the sites that takes interest in the development of the fetus saying: - quoted word for word-
" during the sixth week after fertilization the unborn child can respond to local tactile stimulation by reflex movements. at the end of the sixth week, the unborn child is clearly recognizable as a human being by gross morphological observation. "
during the sixth week after fertilization the embryo starts responding to the outer effects by means of the reflexive movements. by the end of the sixth week we can easily, through observation, mark the embryo in the form of a human being. on another website we read their statement:
"the brainwaves have been noted at 43 days. dr. stiff has noted that electroencephalographic waves have been obtained in forty-three to forty-five day old fetuses, and so conscious experience is possible after this date".
meaning, that the encephalic waves start when the fetus is 43 days old. dr. stiff noticed that the waves emitted from the brain can be measured at the age from 43-45 days, and in the same way the voluntary expressions can be observed after that age.
a photo of a six weeks old embryo, such age at which the fetus takes its human form and its brain starts emitting waves that can be measured by means of special apparatus. this is an indication that the brain cells had started their activity and this might also mean that his spirit had entered the body, allah (the almighty) knows best. observe how the eyes are beginning to formulate. scientists assure that the eyes opening starts to formulate at the age of six weeks and this goes in perfect harmony with allah's messenger (pbuh) saying "he gives it its shape and creates its hearing and seeing."
the eyes appear clearly at the 42nd day according to keith moore, the famous embryologist, who says: "the eye is obvious, about day 42 after fertilization "(moore, p99).
after that 42 days have been fully completed the eyes and ears start developing rapidly:
" the eyes are developing rapidly, the ears are developing rapidly, 7th week after conception (rugh, p 52). http://www.sfuhl.org/k_appendix_1_sixth_week.htm.
the ears and eyes develop rapidly during the seventh week (after the drop of semen had passed 42 days in the womb). this means that the fetus takes its human form by the end of the sixth week, such fact is stated accurately & clearly in the prophetic hadith:" if a drop of semen remained in the womb for forty two nights allah (the almighty) sends an angel to it who depicts it and creates its ears, eyes, skin, flesh and bones."
let us study these two photos: one of them is when the fetus is 41 days old and until this moment we can't distinguish its human form but after the 42nd day, which is the second photo, his human form is seen clearly. that's why in the left photo we observe the features of a human embryo with apparent ears and eyes and also the feet, hands and fingers, glorified be allah (the almighty). after witnessing a horrific number of abortions in the non islamic countries, there are many campaigns against such abortions today. scientists and researchers are embarking on a study to designate the age after which abortion is to be prohibited. they found out that the brain of fetus at the end of sixth and the beginning of the seventh week (meaning when the fetus is 42 days old), starts emitting waves which proves the start of life, so they suggest that the embryo cannot be killed after that age.
here i recollect with you the instance in which some of our legists had made use of such hadith of our greatest prophet muhammad (pbuh) and deduced that it is impermissible to abort a child who is 42 nights old, even though an abortion can be performed before this age if there was a medical necessity that calls for that.
this is such a wonderful prophetic hint that the spirit is instilled in the embryo at this specific age. at such age (42 days) waves released from the brain were measured and also heart beats were recorded, all of this suggests that there is a relation between the spirit and the operation of the brain and heart. allah (the almighty) knows best.
a fetus in real size of 42 days old of age which has started to take its human form, observe here how small it is, even though he is considered a fully developed human being as far as the shape is concerned. thus some scientists say that abortion is impermissible of that fetus because it is considered a full human being.
a fetus training itself to suck its finger for the preparation of getting out to the world and starting to suck its mother's breast, so all praise is due to allah who had taught this child that which it does not know, who said: " and allah brought you out of your mothers' bellies not knowing anything, and he has made for you hearing and be holdings (i.e. eyesight) and heart-sights, (i.e., perception "s") that possibly you would thank (him)."
the question is what does all that mean?
it means that there are radical changes that occur immediately after the fetus is 42 days old. on the 43rd day the brain starts emitting waves and the embryo begins reacting with its surrounding environment and starts feeling. it means that the spirit had started its activity in the body of the embryo. it also means that the greatest prophet (pbuh) had preceded the western scientists in telling us about such a specific issue which no man could have ever predicted fourteen centuries ago. this means that no one can provide such data about this stage unless he is a specialized doctor who had all the necessary equipment. was allah's messenger (pbuh) a doctor who had such devices? here we have to stop again and ask those sceptics: how did the greatest prophet (pbuh) know that exactly after 42 days the drop of semen will turn into a human being who has ears, eyes, skin and bones??!