And certainly did We create man from an extract of clay.
Then We placed him as a sperm-drop in a firm lodging.
Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, and We made the clot into a lump [of flesh], and We made [from] the lump, bones, and We covered the bones with flesh; then We developed him into another creation. So blessed is Allah , the best of creators.
Chapter 23 Al-Mu΄minūn : Verses 12-14
The Sign of Allah in the progressive creation of Man from Clay then from Nutfah and thereafter
Allah tells us how He initially created man from an extract of Tin. This was Adam, peace be upon him, whom Allah created from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud. Ibn Jarir said, “Adam was called Tin because he was created from it.” Qatadah said, “Adam was created from Tin.” This is the more apparent meaning and is closer to the context, for Adam, upon him be peace, was created from a sticky Tin, which is a sounding clay of altered black smooth mud, and that is created from dust, as Allah says:
(And among His signs is this that He created you (Adam) from dust, and then — behold you are human beings scattered!) ﴿30:20﴾ Imam Ahmad recorded from Abu Musa that the Prophet said:
(Allah created Adam from a handful which He picked up from throughout the earth, so the sons of Adam came forth accordingly, red and white and black and in between, evil and good and in between.) Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi recorded something similar. At-Tirmidhi said, “It is Sahih Hasan. ”
(Thereafter We made him a Nutfah.) Here the pronoun refers back to humankind, as in another Ayah:
(and He began the creation of man from clay. Then He made his offspring from semen of despised water.) (32:7,8) meaning, weak, as He says:
(Did We not create you from a despised water Then We placed it in a place of safety.) (77:20-21) meaning the womb, which is prepared and readily equipped for that,
(For a known period. So We did measure; and We are the Best to measure) (77:22-23) meaning, for a known period of time, until it is established and moves from one stage to the next. Allah says here,
(Then We made the Nutfah into a clot,) meaning, `then We made the Nutfah, which is the water gushing forth that comes from the loins of man, i.e., his back, and the ribs of woman, i.e., the bones of her chest, between the clavicle and the breast. Then it becomes a red clot, like an elongated clot.’ `Ikrimah said, “This is blood.”
(then We made the clot into a little lump of flesh,) which is like a piece of flesh with no shape or features.
(then We made out of that little lump of flesh bones,) meaning, `We gave it shape, with a head, two arms and two legs, with its bones, nerves and veins.’
(then We clothed the bones with flesh,) meaning, `We gave it something to cover it and strengthen it.’
(and then We brought it forth as another creation.) means, `then We breathed the soul into it, and it moved and became a new creature, one that could hear, see, understand and move.
(So Blessed is Allah, the Best of creators.)
(and then We brought it forth as another creation. ) Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said, “We change it from one stage to another until it emerges as an infant, then it grows up through the stages of being a child, adolescent, youth, mature man, old man and senile man.” Imam Ahmad recorded in his Musnad that `Abdullah — Ibn Mas`ud — said, “The Messenger of Allah , the Truthful One, told us:
(The creation of anyone of you is gathered for forty days in his mother’s stomach as a Nutfah, then he becomes a clot for a similar period of time, then he becomes a little lump of flesh for a similar length of time. Then the angel is sent to him and he breathes the soul into it, and four things are decreed: his provision, his life-span, his deeds, and whether he will be wretched or blessed. By the One besides Whom there is no other god, one of you may do the deeds of the people of Paradise until there is no more than a forearm’s length between him and it, then the decree will overtake him and he will do the deeds of the people of Hell and thus enter Hell. And a man may do the deeds of the people of Hell until there is no more than a forearm’s length between him and it, then the decree will overtake him and he will do finally the deeds of the people of Paradise and thus enter Paradise.) This was recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.
(So Blessed is Allah, the Best of creators.) means, when Allah mentions His ability and subtlety in creating this Nutfah and taking it from stage to stage until it takes the shape of a perfectly formed human being, He says,
(So Blessed is Allah, the Best of creators.)