Creation of the Human Being

The difference between human beings and other creatures has its roots in the creation of the human being. Human beings, like other material beings, have a physical dimension, and, like other living beings in nature, have biological life. The Qur’ān explicitly mentions the origin of human natural life and stages of development from the embryo to death: “If you are in doubt about the resurrection, (consider that) We indeed created you from dust, then from a drop of [seminal] fluid, then from a clinging mass, then from a fleshy tissue… then We bring you forth as an infant …” (22/5) In chapter 23 says: “Certainly We created man from an extract of clay. Then We made him a drop of [seminal] fluid…Then We created the drop of fluid as a clinging mass. Then We created the clinging mass as a fleshy tissue. Then We created the fleshy tissue as bones. Then We clothed the bones with flesh” (23/12-14).

But according to the Qur’ān, human life is not restricted to its natural biological life as at the end of the previous verse the Qur’ān says: “Then We produced him as [yet] another creature. So blessed is Allah, the best of creators!” (23/14) It says that after its corporeal and biological creation God bestowed on him another creation. Thus, besides its physical nature, the human being has a nature of a different and higher kind which is its immaterial nature. In another verse the Qur’ān elaborates it more explicitly: “When your Lord said to the angels, ‘Indeed I am going to create a human out of a dry clay [drawn] from an aging mud. So when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My Spirit, then fall down in prostration before him’” (15/28-29).

The human being has a substance that makes him different from others and makes him closer to God. He enjoys a divine soul. A famous hadith says that God created man in His own image.[^7] Although there are some controversial discussions about the authenticity and the interpretation of this hadith, many mystics agree that the hadith means that God created man in His own image. This is in accord with the overall mystical view of the status of human being as the best manifestation of God and His vicegerent. Some verses of the Qur’ān also support this idea. For example, God says that He gave the human being the best form: “He created the heavens and the earth with the truth, and He formed you and perfected your forms, and toward Him is the destination” (64/3). Also: “We certainly created man in the best of forms” (95/4).