Question: An atheist youngster says, “It is said in the Qur’ân: ‘We have created the human in the best form, free from defects.’ The Qur’ân is telling a falsehood because there are children who are born disabled.” How is the correct translation of this âyah (verse)?
Allah’s creating is of two kinds:
1. He says “Be!” and that thing exists right away.
2. He creates through causes.
The atheist, undoubtedly, cannot know the difference between these two. Though both are created by Allahu ta’âlâ, they are different things. He has made parents a cause for His creating a child. But He created Hadrat ‘Îsâ without a father and Hadrat Âdam without a father and a mother; He suspends His law of causation when creating miracles and wonders. Allahu ta’âlâ creates many things through causes. For example, He gives sustenance, but He has made working a means. A person who waits for sustenance to come without working for it may die of hunger. It is Allah alone who gives healing from diseases, but He has made doctors and medicines means for removing diseases. For this reason, an ill person who does not go to a doctor and who refuses medicines and treatment may die from illness. Similarly, a baby may be born disabled for such reasons as alcohol or harmful medicine intake, exposure to X-rays, marriage between closely related individuals, or undernourishment. It is His habit, law to create through causes.
After this introductory information, let us get back to our answer to the above-mentioned question. This atheist youngster is reading the verse in a biased, faithless way and from wrong translations; as a result, he misunderstands it. Then he blames the Qur’ân. Before elucidating this verse, let us have a look at its rendition:
(We have created the human in ahsan-i taqwim [in the best form, that is, in such a shape that they are tall and well developed, that they are beautiful in appearance, that their organs’ places and number provide the best bodily functions, that they gather within themselves all of the properties of the universe].) [Sûrat-ut-Tîn:4, Bawdâwî]
What does ahsan-i taqwim (the best form) mean?
It is written in Tafsir-i Qurtubî:
Whatever Allahu ta’âlâ has created in the macrocosm, He has created its representation, likeness in the human, who is a microcosm. This verse indicates this fact.
The meaning of a Qur’anic verse is as follows:
(For those who believe in the facts, on earth [on mountains, in seas, in trees, in plants, in metals, in animals are signs of Allah’s absolute power, will, and compassion] and in your own bodies [in the creation of you from beginning to end and in the astounding mechanisms of organs and glands] is many a sign of Allah’s existence. Do you not see them? [Seeing them, do you not understand that there is a Creator of them?]) [Sûrat-udh-Dhâriyât:20, 21]
Humans’ sense organs are like planets that give off light. Ears and eyes represent the sun and the moon in sensing the perceivable things. When the bodies of human beings decompose, they turn into soil. Blood and moisture represent water. The soul and breath represent the air. Bile represents fire. Blood vessels bear a resemblance to rivers. The liver, the source of these rivers, is like a spring because blood vessels are fed by the liver. At the same time, it is like the sea because all of the blood vessels in the body are dependent on it, like rivers flowing into the sea. Bones are like mountains; mountains are the pillars of the earth. Limbs are like trees. Just as trees have leaves and fruit, so each limb has a function and a deed. The hairs on the body represent the grass that covers the ground. A human being can produce the sounds of all animals and other creatures. As it is seen, the representation, the likeness of everything in this stupendous macrocosm has been created in the humankind, who is called a microcosm. (Qurtubî, 4/95)
This means to say that the human, a microcosm, resembles the beings in the universe. In this regard, it is stated that the human has been created in the best form. It is not stated that the human is born physically healthy. There are people who are born with such abnormalities as to be described freaks. This, again, shows the omnipotence of Allahu ta’âlâ.