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15:28 when your Lord said to the angels, “I will create a human being out of clay from an altered black mud.

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And (remember) when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am creating a mortal out of potter’s clay of black mud altered,

For details on the esoteric meaning of this story, see the following post:

7:11 The Creation of Human Beings – Islamic Web Library

As for the empirical version, it has been described as follows by modern scholars:

According to Mustafa Mahmud:
“Now this is direct statement. It explicitly says that man was not created in the beginning out of clay but rather out of a certain breed developed from clay. There is therefore an intermediate stage between clay and man–a stage of various successive breeds culminating in the superior breed of mankind.” (The Quran: An Attempt at Modern Reading, pg. 72)

Also, under the commentary of the same verse, Dr. Maurice Bucaille writes: “I have used the word ‘quintessence’ to translate the Arabic term sulatat, which means ‘one thing extracted from another thing’. As we shall see later, the word appears in another passage of the Quran in which it is stated that man’s decent derives from that which is extracted from spermatic liquid; (it is known today that the active component of spermatic liquid is a unicellular organism called a ‘spermatozoon’. I imagine that the
‘quintessence of a clay’ must refer to the various chemical components which constitute clay, extracted from water, which in terms of weight is its main element.” (What is the Origin of Man, pg. 174)

“Sulâlah in its root expresses the process of evolution,
starting from the inorganic state to the organic, then from a single cell
to organized cells, then to the state of primitive animals, and, finally, a
human being. The creation of the human being is here traced back to
earth, as the life-germ in sperm is an extract of food that is drawn
from earth in whatever form it may be. The verses show that the
human soul is not implanted into the human body from outside but
grows in the body as it develops.” [Exegesis of The Holy Qur’ân Commentary and Reflections, pg. 742]

See also,

Creation from ‘Clay’ – Islamic Web Library

And Allah The All-Mighty knows best.


  1. Mahmoud, Mostafa (2000). The Quran: An Attempt at a Modern Reading. (p. 72).
  2. Bucaille, Maurice (1983). What is the Origin of Man? The Answers of Science and the Holy Scriptures. p. 174).
  3. NOORUDDÎN ,ALLÂMAH. (2015). Exegesis of The Holy Qur’ân Commentary and Reflections. (p.343, 742).

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