Preparation of the human being to be the rightful inheritors of the earth, and to carry the responsibility inherent in the Creator’s Trust, took place in several stages.
Three Stages of the New Human Creation
The first stage in preparation for each new human being is the testimony to the ‘Primordial Covenant,’ regarding his recognition of the Lordship of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). The covenant was confirmed between Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and the souls of all future human beings, entered upon possibly some thousands of years before the physical creation of mankind:
When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam – from their loins – their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves (saying): “Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)?” They said: “Yea! We do testify!” (This,) lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: “Of this we were never mindful…” [Surah Al-A’râf, 7:172]
Thus, man knows in his/her inner self that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is the Creator and Sustainer of the creations; ignoring, denying or preaching otherwise is sheer arrogance and rebellion.
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The second stage is the creation of the spiritual human being in conjunction with the development of the physical mold:
“…He makes you in the womb of your mothers in stages, one after another, in three veils of darkness…” [Surah Al-Zamar, 39: 6]
The creation of the basic units of life, needed for pregnancy to continue, must take place in a very short period of time after conception. This process is similar in all gestational species. In the case of the human being, this vital phase, called the embryonic period, lasts for the first eight weeks,.
From the scientific point of view, at the beginning of the ninth week, the embryo enters the fetal stage. At this stage, the differential development per the human genomic constitution takes place, and the fetus becomes recognizable as a human fetus. This human fetus is a unique creation, biologically different from all other creations. The following verse shows the convergence of scientific and Qur’anic concepts of human creation:
“Then, We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a lump; then we made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then we developed out of it another creature, [Arabic: khalqan âkhar]. So blessed be Allah, the best to create!” [Surah Al-Mu’minûn, 23:14]
From the spiritual point of view, as the fetus continues to grow in size and weight, and reaches the end of the fourth month of gestation, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) sends an angel to blow His Rûh [His breath of life] into it. With the entry of the Rûh, the fetus acquires its spiritual potential. Now it is fundamentally different from all other creations, in terms of both physical and spiritual attributes. In Qur’anic language the human creation is termed the khalqan âkhar, “an entirely different [kind of] creation“:
RasulAllah (ﷺ) said: “A human being is put together in the womb of the mother during forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar period. Then Allah sends an angel who is ordered to write four things. He is ordered to write down his (i.e. the new creature’s) deeds, his livelihood, his (date of) death, and whether he will be blessed or wretched (in religion). Then the Rûh is breathed into him and Allah’s Qaḍa about him is written…” (Bukhari, Vol. 4, #549)
This Qaḍa includes his or her gender, longevity, sustenance, personality (happy or miserable), time and place of death.[Note: From the Fiqh point of view, the entry of Rûh [Allah’s breath of life] and creation of khalqan âkhar is a crucial event that draws the line between the permissibility and prohibition of willful abortion.]
The third stage is giving the khalifah a nature (fitrah) that is consistent with his role and responsibilities. The components of human nature are structured on the blueprint of Tawhîd. Tawhîd (monotheism) is part and parcel of the essence of Allah’s Religion. Mankind is designed and ordered to strictly follow the Religion of Allah as a monotheist (hanîfa):
“So direct your face toward the [true] Religion, inclining to truth (hanîfa): [Adhere to] the Fitrah of Allah, upon which He has created [all] people]. No change is there to be in the creation (khalq) of Allah. That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know.” [Surah Al-Rûm, 30:30]
Man’s divinely structured nature (Fitrah) is an abstract entity, the code of which is ingrained in the DNA of his creation. Accordingly, man is monotheistic by nature, and he is a believer by birth. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“No child is born except in a state of Fitrah… Just as each animal produces a perfect animal like itself, do you see any among them that are born mutilated?” (Narrated by Abu Hurayrah)
Human nature is further reinforced with the virtues of justice, a sense of good and evil, compassion, rationality, and a free will:
“Verily, Allah enjoins Al-‘Adl (justice), Al-Ihsan (excellent deeds), giving to kith and kin, and forbids Al-Fahsha (shameful deeds), Al–Munkar (what is prohibited by Islamic law) and Al-Baghy (oppression)…” [Surah Al-Nahl, 16:90]
Beware of Corrupting Allah’s Blueprint –
The human being, the creation (khalq) of Allah, is comprised of both physical and spiritual attributes, and DNA is at the center of these natural propensities. Any purported change in any of these predispositions would have to be based on a manipulation of DNA; further, any such manipulation would change the Blueprint, and therefore his nature (Fitrah). Put another way, any such manipulation would change the default settings established by Allah.
From a scientific point of view, any artificial manipulation of an otherwise normal human gene can lead to physical abnormalities, which could be harmful. Man is thus informed and warned about the consequence of DNA-tampering. The Holy Qur’an equates any such attempt with an act of Shaytan:
“[Satan said to God]: Verily, I will mislead them, and surely, I will arouse in them false desires; and certainly, I will order them to split the ears of cattle, and indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allah. And whoever takes Shaytan as a Wali…” [Surah Al-Nisa, 4:119]
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said in a Hadith al-Qudsi that Allah said:
“I created my servants hunafa’ (that is, monotheistic), then the Shaytan misled them from their religion.” (Muslim 4:2197)
It is natural for human beings to search for their Creator, and the best way to find Him is to believe in His Signs in creation and to contemplate on them (Surah Ṣââd, 38: 29). Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is known by His Signs. The attributes of His Beautiful Names are manifested in all spheres of creation; it may be in the microsphere of the atom or the macro-sphere of the sky and whatever is in between. The human being is a special creation, in and of itself a miniature universe! Thus, the realm of creation is an open book for contemplation and for knowing the Creator.
In his contemplation, when man turns his spiritual eye to the environment around him, he finds proof of Allah’s handiwork and its significance, and the proof of His Creative Power; he marvels at the beauty, discipline, harmony and unity that prevail in nature.
And, when he turns his eye inward, he finds his lowly origin: that he has been made of dust and that he will return to dust. He realizes that there is someone who has put the dust together and given life to it (which no one else can do), and that there is someone who envelops him with his mercy and provides for him. Thus, he comes on his own terms to belief in Allah and submits himself in reverence to the Omnipotence and Omniscience of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). This is the nature of creation, the Khalq-Allah. This is the true Belief!
Any tampering with creation (khalq-Allah) or with Allah’s Religion (Tawhîd), or both, can lead only to corruption of both the physical and spiritual molds in which man is made. Therefore, the warning, “Let there be no change in Allah’s creation.”
In summary, the article has reviewed the creation of the universe and the creation of the human being, and it has testified to the Creative Power of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). It has addressed the creation of Adam and his progeny and highlighted his role as khalifah and his status as ‘khalqan akhar.’ It has characterized his status as having been supplied with a distinct nature (fitrah). Man and his normative belief are Allah’s creation, and these are dealt with in the Qur’an as the khalq-Allah. It has emphasized the consequence of wishful manipulation of DNA and warned against the corrupting consequences.
Finally, the author seeks Divine Guidance, and beseeches Allah’s forgiveness. Ameen!