Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(O mankind!) i.e. O people of Mecca (if ye are in doubt concerning the Resurrection) after death, then reflect upon your initial creation, for bringing you back to life is not more difficult than your initial creation, (then lo! We have created you from dust) We have created you from Adam and Adam is from dust, (then) We created you after that (from a drop of seed, then from a clot) of blood after the drop of semen, (then from a little lump of flesh) after the clot of blood (shapely) in a perfect shape (and shapeless) when miscarriage takes place, (that We may make (it) clean for you) in the Qur'an after you are created. (And We cause what We will) of unborn children (to remain in the wombs) preventing it from miscarriage; and it is also said that this means: We leave it in the wombs (for an appointed time) for a certain number of months, (and afterward We bring you forth) from the wombs (as infants, then (give you growth) that ye attain your full strength) from the age of 18 to the age of 30 years old. (And among you there is he who dieth (young)) before the age of puberty, (and among you there is he who is brought back to the most abject time of life) is brought back to his initial state after he reaches abject age, (so that, after knowledge) after his first initial knowledge, (he knoweth naught) such that he becomes undiscerning. (And thou (Muhammad) seest the earth barren) dead and cracked, (but when We send down water thereon, it doth thrill) with vegetation; it is also said that this means: it vibrates and cheers up (and swell) for the vegetation (and put forth) by means of water (ever lovely kind (of growth)) of every comely kind of plants.
O people, if you are in doubt about the Uprising, surely We created you of dust, then of a sperm drop, then of a blood clot, then of a lump of flesh, fully created and not fully created, that We might make clear to you.
The composition of the Adamic body in the first creation is a clear argument against the deniers of the Uprising. He is saying, “I am the Lord who created a body and figure with such comeliness, a stature and form with such beauty, from that feeble sperm drop in that firm settledness. He says, “Did We not create you of feeble water, then put it in a firm settledness?” [77:20-21].
If you ponder this body, you will find an exemplar of all the created and newly arrived things in the celestial and terrestrial worlds. Just as He arranged the seven spheres in heaven, so also He composed seven parts in this body-water and dust, and then flesh, skin, veins, sinews, and bones. Just as He divided the spheres into twelve constellations, so also He made twelve holes in this structure in the likeness of the twelve constellations: two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, two breasts, the two well-known roads, the mouth, and the navel. Just as the angels travel in the layers of the heavens, so also the faculties of the soul travel in this Adamic composition. Just as some of the constellations in heaven are southern and some northern, some of these holes in the body are toward the right and some toward the left. Just as there are seven stars in the spheres of heaven called planets and, in the view of some, misfortune and felicity are tied to their forelocks, so also in your body there are seven faculties to which the wholesomeness of the body is tied: the faculty of eyesight, the faculty of hearing, and the faculties of taste, smell, touch, speech, and intellect. The root of these branches is in the heart, and to this the Prophet alluded with his words, “Surely in the body of Adam's child there is a lump of flesh. When it is wholesome, the rest of the body is also wholesome, and surely it is the heart.” This then is taking into account the celestial world.
As for how the body takes into account the terrestrial world, it is that the body is just like the earth, the bones are like the mountains, marrow is like the minerals, the belly like the ocean, the viscera and veins are like rivers, flesh is like the dust, hair is like plants, the front is like the inhabited parts, the back like the uninhabited parts, before the front is like the east, behind the back is like the west, the right is like the south, the left is like the north, breath is like wind, speech like thunder, sounds like thunderbolts, laughter like light, sorrow and grief like darkness, weeping like rain, the days of childhood like the days of spring, the days of youth like the days of summer, the days of maturity like the days of autumn, and the days of old age like the days of winter.
In sum, you should know that there is no animal or plant, nothing silent or speaking, whose characteristic you will not find in this dust-dwelling speck. This is why the great ones of the religion have said that you will find everything in the Adamite, but you will not find the Adamite in anything. This body whose attributes you have heard is like a throne upon which is sitting a king who is called the “heart.” He has no kinship with this dense dust and is like a prisoner who has no rest and settledness in the dreadfulness of the prison. Night and day he is thinking about when he will be delivered from the prison and return to the world of the gentleness of Return to thy Lord! [89:27]. He is like a bird in a cage, always looking up from the doorway of the soul:
O mankind, in other words, [O] people of Mecca, if you are in doubt about the Resurrection, then lo! [consider that] We have created you, that is, [We have created] your origin — Adam — from dust then, We created his progeny, from a drop, a sperm-drop, then from a clot, congealed blood, then from a [little] lump of flesh (mudgha), a piece of flesh, the size of what one would [be able to] chew (mā yumdagh), partly formed, shaped, complete in form, and partly unformed, that is, uncomplete in form, that We may make clear to you, the perfect nature of Our power, that you might [then] infer from this initial act of creation, the [reality of its future] restoration. And We establish (nuqirru, marks a new [grammatically independent] sentence) in the wombs whatever We will for a specified time, that is, until the time for it to come out, then We bring you forth, from the bellies of your mothers, as infants, and then, We extend your life, that you may come of age (ashuddakum), that is to say, [your] prime and strength, which is [that age] between thirty and forty years. And there are some of you who are taken away, by death, before coming of age, and there are some of you who are relegated to the most abject time of life, its most despicable [state] of decrepitude and senility, so that after [having had] some knowledge, he no longer knows anything — ‘Ikrima said, ‘Whoever recites the Qur’ān, such a state will not befall him’. And you see the earth torpid, barren, yet when We send down water upon it, it stirs, it moves, and swells, it rises and grows, and grows [plants of] (anbatat min, min is extra) every delightful, fair, kind, species.
(O mankind! If you are in doubt about the Resurrection,) which means the time when souls and bodies will be raised up on the Day of Resurrection,
فَإِنَّا خَلَقْنَـكُمْ مِّن تُرَابٍ
(then verily, We have created you from dust,) meaning, `you were originally created from dust', which is what Adam, peace be upon him, was created from.
ثُمَّ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ
(then from a Nutfah,) 32:8 meaning, then He made his offspring from semen of despised water.
The Development of the Nutfah and Embryo in the Womb
ثُمَّ مِنْ عَلَقَةٍ ثُمَّ مِن مُّضْغَةٍ
(then from a clot then from a little lump of flesh) if the Nutfah establishes itself in the woman's womb, it stays like that for forty days, then more material is added to it and it changes into a red clot, by the leave of Allah, and it remains like that for forty days. Then it changes and becomes a lump of flesh, like a piece of meat with no form or shape. Then it starts to take on a form and shape, developing a head, arms, chest, stomach, thighs, legs, feet and all its members. Sometimes a woman miscarries before the fetus is formed and sometimes she miscarries after it has formed. As Allah says:
(that We may make (it) clear to you. And We cause whom We will to remain in the wombs for an appointed term,) meaning that sometimes the fetus remains in the womb and is not miscarried.
مُّخَلَّقَةٍ وَغَيْرِ مُخَلَّقَةٍ
(some formed and some unformed, ) Mujahid said, "This means the miscarried fetus, formed or unformed. When forty days have passed of it being a lump of flesh, then Allah sends an angel to it who breathes the soul into it and forms it as Allah wills, handsome or ugly, male or female. He then writes its provision, its allotted length of life and whether it is to be one of the blessed or the wretched.'' It was recorded in the Two Sahihs that Ibn Mas`ud said, "The Messenger of Allah, who is the true and truly inspired one, told us:
(Every one of you is collected in the womb of his mother for the first forty days, and then he becomes a clot for another forty days, and then a lump of flesh for another forty days. Then Allah sends an angel to write four words: He writes his provision, his deeds, his life span, and whether he will be blessed or wretched. Then he blows the soul into him.)''
Man's Development from Infancy to Old Age His saying;
ثُمَّ نُخْرِجُكُمْ طِفْلاً
(then We bring you out as infants,) means, weak in his body, hearing, sight, senses, stamina and mind. Then Allah gives him strength, gradually and causes his parents to treat him with tender kindness night and day. Allah says:
ثُمَّ لِتَـبْلُغُواْ أَشُدَّكُـمْ
(then (give you growth) that you may reach your age of full strength.) meaning, his strength increases until he reaches the vitality and handsomeness of youth.
وَمِنكُمْ مَّن يُتَوَفَّى
(And among you there is he who dies,) means, when he is young and strong.
وَمِنكُم مَّن يُرَدُّ إِلَى أَرْذَلِ الْعُمُرِ
(and among you there is he who is brought back to the miserable old age,) meaning advanced old age with its weakness in mind and body, in steady decline in comprehension, and disability to grasp. As Allah says:
(Allah is He Who created you in (a state of) weakness, then gave you strength after weakness, then after strength gave (you) weakness and grey hair. He creates what He wills. And it is He Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Powerful.) 30:54
Another Parable of the Resurrection from Plants
وَتَرَى الاٌّرْضَ هَامِدَةً
(And you see the earth Hamidatan,) This is another sign of the power of Allah to bring the dead back to life, just as He brings the dead, barren earth back to life, the lifeless earth in which nothing grows. Qatadah said, "(This means) the eroded, dusty earth.'' As-Suddi said, "Dead.''
(but when We send down water on it, it is stirred (to life), and it swells and puts forth every lovely kind (of growth).) When Allah sends the rain upon it, it is stirred to life, that is, vegetation begins to grow and it comes alive after it was dead. Then it rises after the soil had settled, then it puts forth its different kinds of fruit and crops with all their varied colours, tastes, fragrances, shapes and benefits. Allah says:
وَأَنبَتَتْ مِن كُلِّ زَوْجٍ بَهِيجٍ
(and puts forth every lovely kind (of growth).) meaning, beautiful in appearance and with delightful fragrances.
ذلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْحَقُّ
(That is because Allah: He is the Truth,) means, the Creator, the Controller, the One Who does as He wills.
وَأَنَّهُ يُحْىِ الْمَوْتَى
(and it is He Who gives life to the dead,) means, just as He gives life to the dead earth and brings forth from it all these kinds of vegetation.
(And he puts forth for Us a parable, and forgets his own creation. He says: "Who will give life to these bones after they are rotten and have become dust'' Say: "He will give life to them Who created them for the first time! And He is the All-Knower of every creation!'' He Who produces for you fire out of the green tree, when behold you kindle there- with.) 36:78-80. And there are many similar Ayat.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
They do not indulge in discussions or disputes about the Being or existence of Allah but about His rights and powers and His Revelations, as is evident from the succeeding passage. When the Holy Prophet tried to convince them of Tauhid and Resurrection, inevitably the dispute arose whether there is One Allah, the sole Sovereign or there were other partners as well in His Godhead and whether He has the power to bring about Resurrection, etc.
"created you... sperm-drop": The first man Adam was created directly from clay and after him the process of procreation started by means of sperm-drop. This has been stated in XXXII: 7-8 as well. It may also mean that man is created from sperm-drop but his body is made of those elements which are all available in the earth.
This refers to the different stages of development of the child in the womb of its mother. This description is based on observation and not on scientific research, and there was no need for it for the purpose for which reference to this has been made here.
That is, "In old age man is again reverted to the same condition in which he was in childhood. He loses his senses and knows little or nothing like a child".
The Arabic Text may mean three things:
(1) Allah is telling the Truth and you are wrong in presuming that there is no possibility of life-after-death.
(2) Allah's existence is not merely a supposition but it is a Reality. He is not only the First Cause but has supreme authority, and is conducting every affair in the universe according to His Will, Knowledge and Wisdom.
(3) All His designs and works are based on Truth and are, therefore, serious, meaningful and full of wisdom.
In this passage, different stages of the life of man, the effects of rain on the earth and the growth of vegetation have been cited as pointers to five realities:
(1) "Allah alone is the Truth".
(2) "He brings the dead to life".
(3) "He has power over everything".
(4) "The Day of Resurrection and the end of the world is inevitable".
(5) Most surely Allah will bring back to life all the people who have died", Let us now consider how these signs point to the above five realities:
(1) "Allah is the Truth": In order to prove this, let us first take the case of man. All the stages of his development are a clear proof that Allah has designed them with wisdom. He takes his birth from a sperm-drop which itself is produced in a wonderful manner. The food, which a man takes, turns into hair, flesh, bones and a part of it is turned into semen, which is potentially capable of producing millions of human beings. It is the Wise and True God Who decides which of these millions of seeds from the semen should be utilized to make a woman pregnant by mixing the seed with the egg-cell. This insignificant thing turns into a living child in nine months in the womb of the mother. If we consider the different stages of the child's birth we come to the inevitable conclusion that all these have been designed by the True, Ever Living Designer. For it is He Who decides whether it should be a male or a female, seeing or blind, etc. Then it is He Who decides how long a child is destined to live. All these things are a clear proof that Allah alone is the Truth.
(2) "He brings the dead to life": Even a little thinking on the right lines will convince every sensible and honest man that this process of bringing the dead to life is continuously going on before our eyes. Every human being has been created from a "dead" sperm-drop. Then he gets life from "dead things" like food containing dead matter like coal, iron, lime, salts, gases, which help make him a living human being. Then let us consider our surroundings. Seeds of different things which had been scattered here and there by the wind and birds, and the roots of different kinds of vegetation which lay rotten and dead in the soil, spring up to life as soon as there occurs a sprinkling of rain water. This process of the dead coming to life is observed during every rainy season year after year.
(3) "Allah has power over everything": There are people who believe that no doubt Allah created everything and is governing the universe, but He cannot do anything in the future in addition to or apart from this. This is because they do not observe the phenomena of His powers which have been and are appearing every moment. They do not realize that if man-His creation ran perform wonderful feats of science which could not even be dreamed of in the former ages, why should Allah alone be held as having only limited powers?
(4) "The Day of Resurrection is inevitable" and "Most surely Allah will bring back to life all the people who have died": These two are the rational corollaries of the preceding three premises. Allah is All-Powerful and therefore can bring about Resurrection at any moment He wills. He can also bring back to life all the dead people just as He brought to life human beings out of nothing in the first instance. As He is All-Wise, He has not created human beings without any object and purpose. He will judge their worldly lives in accordance with the object and purpose for which He created them. He will call them to account for everything He entrusted to them. This is very simple: even human beings ask one another to render an account of the property etc. they entrust to others. Likewise, Allah's wisdom requires to call every human being to account for the things entrusted to him. Then human nature also demands that there should be a differentiation between good and bad, and it expects the reward of good works and dreads the punishment of bad deeds. That is why the people have set up judicial courts. Thus man cannot imagine that the Creator will not call him to account for the things, powers and faculties, etc. which He has entrusted to him. Therefore common sense confirms that Allah will hold the Last Judgment so that every one should get his due reward and his due punishment.