The Established Residence
The growth of the fetus continues in a safe place (the womb), for a known period (determined by gestation). All this time it is swimming in an aqueous fluid that has the sugars, proteins, and inorganic minerals necessary for the fetus. A strong membranous sac, the amnion, protects this fluid. The enclosed amniotic fluid takes its nourishment from the mother through a second layer, namely, the placental membranous sac (this initially was the wall of the fertilized ovum that adhered to the uterine lining and grew along with the embryo). The placental membranous sac selectively takes nutrients and oxygen from the uterine lining to the amniotic fluid and it excretes the secretions of the embryo, such as the urine and carbon dioxide. As for the third layer, it lines the internal uterine lining, and is called the chorion. This gets bigger and turns into a spongy membrane full of blood in order to carry out vital functions for the fetus. The settling of a fetus in the womb of a woman that moves, toils, and faces the different incidents of life throughout the nine months, is one of the inimitable acts of Allah’s creation. The truthfulness of Allah, the All-Knowing, is verified in the following Qur’anic expression ‘in an established residence’ (English meaning of Surah Al-Mu’minun – Verse No. 13). The early interpreters of the Holy Qur’an did not grasp the meaning of ‘established residence the safe lodging’. With the progress of science, it has been clarified that this safe lodging is a masterpiece of design and wise creation. The womb is located inside the pelvis and it is fastened to the walls of the pelvis by muscles (which allow for the increasing growth of the fetus). It is also supported by the muscles of the pelvis and the perineum (the connective tissue from the cervix with the bladder on one side, and the rectum on the other) in addition to the three membranous sacs mentioned above. The amniotic fluid in which the fetus swims also ensures that it is not affected by the movement of the mother and it prevents the membranous sacs from adhering to the embryo during birth. Being a pocket of water, the amniotic fluid can widen the cervix in order for the birth to take place safely.
The Three ‘Veils of Darkness’
Allah, the Exalted and the Glorified, has spoken the truth in the following verse:
:start-ico يَخْلُقُكُمْ فِي بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ خَلْقًا مِنْ بَعْدِ خَلْقٍ فِي ظُلُمَاتٍ ثَلاَثً
Meaning: He creates you in the wombs of your mothers, creation after creation in three veils of darkness. (Surah Az-Zumar – Verse No. 6)
Scholars and Qur’anic interpreters differed concerning the meaning of these three veils of darkness. The nearest to the truth was that which agreed with the stages of man’s creation, and the significance of the darkness is the following:
1. The ovary that stores the female ova.
2. The fallopian tube in which fertilization takes place, by Allah’s leave, and accordingly allows pregnancy to occur.
3. The womb in which the embryo grows until the moment of birth.
Some of the interpreters of the Holy Qur’an thought that the three veils of darkness mentioned in the Holy Qur’an referred to the amniotic sac, the placental membranous sac, and the chorion; but the word darkness is not applicable to these three sacs. Other scholars thought that the three veils were the wall of the abdomen, the womb, and the placenta; but those suggested above are more related to the fetus and its development creation after creation till the moment of birth