God allows an entire human being to form from a tiny drop inside the safe and cozy environment of a woman’s body. In all honesty, I can hardly wrap my head around the concept—to think that is how every single one of us started out!
The Quran makes mention of the mother’s womb at numerous places within its chapters. One of the words in Arabic used for womb comes from the root rahm—the same root from which one of God’s most mentioned names, Ar-Rahman, is derived. This particular attribute of God is often defined as The Most Merciful. However, Ar-Rahman is much more than merciful to His servants. He loves them more than a mother cares for her own child.
His rahma upon people is unconditional, as He provides us with eloquent speech, fruits, water, earth and much more that is mentioned in a chapter of the Quran also named Ar-Rahman. These blessings are ones human beings cannot live without and ones that we did nothing to earn. Simply through His rahma on us, God provided. Similarly, a baby in the womb has all it needs for survival and nourishment without any doing of its own.
The development of child is a miraculous undertaking the woman’s body experiences, and it is all controlled by God. He knows every intricate detail of the process, and He is the one who put it into place and sustained it. Below are four verses from the Quran mentioning the mother’s womb:
“Allah—surely nothing is hidden from Him in the earth or in the heaven. He it is who shapes you in the wombs as He likes; there is no god but He, the Mighty, the Wise.” (Q. 3:5-6)
The pair of verses above emphasizes God’s all-encompassing knowledge and His direct involvement in shaping a baby in the womb. I find it interesting how even as the mother of a child, the woman does not know what her baby will look like before it is born. She does not know the exact color of his hair, the size of his ears, or the shape of his toes. She can guess, of course, but she will not truly know her own child’s features prior to his birth—but Allah knows, as nothing is hidden from Him.
“Allah knows what every female carries and what the wombs lose [prematurely] or exceed. And everything with Him is by due measure.” (Q. 13:8)
Here again the idea of God’s supreme knowledge is referenced. He knows if a baby will survive to full term in the womb, and every detail is under His control. For a person who suffers a miscarriage, this can bring a great sense of comfort—for whatever happens is in God’s hands and only occurs according to His divine will.
“And Allah has extracted you from the wombs of your mothers not knowing a thing, and He made for you hearing and vision and intellect that perhaps you would be grateful.” (Q. 16:78)
It is easy for us as human beings to forget that we too were once little babies who knew nothing. When a little baby is born into this world, it needs to learn how to drink milk, how to sleep, how to communicate what it needs to its parents. My friend described it once as a hard transition into this world, and I never thought of it that way. I always thought the new parents go through a tough transition, but in reality, so does the child. As the baby grows, its hearing, vision, and intellect become fine-tuned all thanks to God, as is mentioned in the verse above. We are quick to credit ourselves for raising our kids and teaching them, when in reality, God enabled them with the needed skills to develop and mature.
“O People, if you should be in doubt about the Resurrection, then [consider that] indeed, We created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then from a clinging clot, and then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed—that We may show you. And We settle in the wombs whom We will for a specified term, then We bring you out as a child, and then [We develop you] that you may reach your [time of] maturity. And among you is he who is taken in [early] death, and among you is he who is returned to the most decrepit [old] age so that he knows, after [once having] knowledge, nothing. And you see the earth barren, but when We send down upon it rain, it quivers and swells and grows [something] of every beautiful kind.” (Q. 22:5)
In this longer verse of the Quran, Allah reminds mankind about the life after death, using the entire life cycle of a human being as a sign. He is the one who created man from dust and eventually settled him in the womb of his mother, and later caused him to be born, and then finally caused him to die. Every step of the way, in whatever fashion He willed for any given person, God was involved. Realizing our very minor involvement in this process is humbling and if reflected upon adequately, should create an immense feeling of gratitude toward God.