Z O mankind! If you are in doubt concerning the
Resurrection, [remember] We created you from dust, then from a drop, then from a blood clot, then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed, that We may make clear for you. And We cause what We will to remain in the wombs for a term appointed. Then We bring you forth as an infant, then that you may reach maturity. And some are taken in death, and some are consigned to the most abject life, so that after having known they may know nothing. And thou seest the earth desiccated, but when We send down water upon it, it stirs and swells and produces every delightful kind.
j That is because God is the Truth, and because He gives life to the dead, and because He is Powerful over all things,
5-6 That human beings are created from dust is an idea found in 3:59; 18:37; 30:20; 35:11 (which also mentions the drop); and 40:67 (which also mentions the drop, the blood clot, and the effects of growing old). Commentators see this verse as a reference not only to the fact that Adam, the progenitor of all human beings, was created from dust, but also to the fact that the animals that people eat and whose milk they drink are nourished by plants, which are themselves nourished by dust, and in this sense human beings are, in their physical bodies, made from dust (R). The drop is often understood to refer to semen (R), also mentioned in 32:8: Then He made his seed from a draught of base fluid.
The lump of flesh, formed and unformed is generally thought to mean that, after the blood clot settles in the womb, some pregnancies come to term, while others miscarry before producing fully formed human beings (R, Ṭ). This fact is thought to be indicated by cause what We will to remain in the wombs for a term appointed. With regard to these descriptions and a term appointed, some commentators mention a ḥadīth that states, “Your creation is such that you are brought together in your mother’s belly for forty nights, then you are a blood clot for the same duration, then a lump of flesh for the same duration. Then God sends an angel who is given commands regarding four things, and thus he writes down one’s provision, one’s deeds, one’s life span, and whether one will be wretched or joyous.”
Some are taken in death refers to those who die before old age, while the most abject life refers to the weakness and loss of faculties one experiences in old age (IK). This verse is similar in theme to 30:54: God is He Who created you from weakness, then ordained strength after weakness, then ordained weakness and old age after strength; 36:68: And whomsoever We give long life, We cause him to regress in creation; and 16:70: And among you are those who are brought back to the weakest of ages, such that they know nothing after having had knowledge. Some commentators argue that people can be spared the infirmities and weaknesses of old age in accordance with the strength of their faith (Aj, R).
God is the Truth (al-Ḥaqq; cf. 22:62; 24:25; 31:30) could also be rendered, “God is the Real/Reality.” The growth of vegetation from dry earth is a common symbol in the Quran for the resurrection of the dead, as in 35:9: And God is He Who sends the winds; then they cause clouds to rise. Then We drive them to a land that is dead, and thereby revive the earth after its death. Thus shall be the Resurrection! See also 16:65; 25:48-49; 30:19, 50; 35:9; 36:33; 43:11; 45:5; 50:9-11.