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Offline Reader Questions

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What Does it Mean by Man Created from 'Clay'?
« on: May 15, 2012, 08:21:44 AM »
Salaam alaikum brother,

God mentions in the Quran that He made us out of clay:

6:2 He it is Who hath created you from clay, and hath decreed a term for you. A term is fixed with Him. Yet still ye doubt!
15:26 Verily We created man of potter's clay of black mud altered,
15:28 And (remember) when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am creating a mortal out of potter's clay of black mud altered,
15:33 He said: I am not one to prostrate myself unto a mortal whom Thou hast created out of potter's clay of black mud altered!
17:61 And when We said unto the angels: Fall down prostrate before Adam and they fell prostrate all save Iblis, he said: Shall I fall prostrate before that which Thou hast created of clay?
32:7 Who made all things good which He created, and He began the creation of man from clay;
Surah As-Saaffat
Just ask their opinion: are they the more difficult to create, or the (other) beings We have created? Them have We created out of a sticky clay! (11)

...and there are a few more verses.

What does it mean to be created from clay or why does God have to mention we are created from clay? is it point out to us we are very delicate/fragile creations?


Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: What Does it Mean by Man Created from 'Clay'?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2012, 08:25:25 AM »
Salamun Alaikum sister,

Of course as you no doubt will appreciate, the English 'clay' is only a best rendition of the particular Arabic words used to describe man's initial creation which can imply shades of meaning.

The 'tiin’in' in Arabic implies earth, soil, earthy, mud or earthly composition. Depending on the different layers of the earth's strata, the composition can vary.

In some verses, there are different Arabic words to describe the initial composition of man through his evolutionary cycle .

"We created humankind from sounding clay (Arabic: salsalin) from black mud (Arabic: ham-in) altered (Arabic: masnun)"

Note the Arabic word used for altered as 'Masnun'.

Masnun is formed from the same root word (Siin-Nun-Nun) which forms other words such as 'sunnah'.

The root word means to follow a path, a line of conduct or mode of life, to establish the law, to form, to mould into shape, to polish. Therefore, a gradual altering seems to have been implied by the use of the word 'masnun'

The Quran is best making use of words to describe man's earthly composition and possible gradual development.

On a side note however, and not intended to provide ‘support’ for the above, it is not unusual to find discussions of ‘clay’ in scientific communities when debating the origins of life.

I hope this helps,
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell