Science is like magic, and scientists like magicians because science makes possible what seems impossible, and scientists have the knowledge that makes things possible. Today we live in the most scientifically advanced era of human history. If 100 years back someone spoke of the inventions we experience today they would sound unbelievable and magical.
The other day while scrolling through Instagram posts I came across a video of Ectolife, an Artificial Womb Facility, a futuristic project that aims to provide an alternative to traditional birth and pregnancy. Also called Synthetic Womb, is basically an imitation of a natural womb, which aims to one day gestate the baby from the embryonic stage till the baby is born. Al-Ghaili, who shared the video concept of this extraordinary facility says “It’s a perfect solution for women who [have] had their uterus surgically removed due to cancer or other complications. It could also help solve issues that stem from low sperm count,” Al-Ghaili said enthusiastically, adding that the EctoLife concept (or technologies like it) “could ultimately make miscarriage a thing of the past.”
But that’s not it!
This artificial womb technology would also offer parents the ability to “genetically engineer the[ir] embryo before implanting it into the artificial womb” through the use of the CRISPR-Cas 9 gene editing tool. This would create the opportunity to “fix any inherited genetic diseases that are part of your family history so that your baby and their offspring will live a healthy, comfortable life free of genetic diseases.” Gene editing to cure genetic diseases sound like an amazing solution but this also raises other safety and ethical concerns. As one article reads “with genetic technology advances, we may be on the verge of a slippery slope. Many scientists, ethicists, and legislators fear a future in which babies are genetically designed for features that have little to do with preventing deadly medical disorders, such as athletic prowess, eye color, and I.Q.” Scientists like Dr. Carlo Bulletti, even think that a fully functioning artificial womb could be realized within the next 10 years!
With more advancement in artificial intelligence, we can possibly expect an increased amount of interest in research and funding for this project especially due to many nations facing issues like increase in infertility, decline in population, rise in LGBTQ and same-sex marriages, women suffering from removal of uteruses, or those choosing not to become pregnant yet desire to have a child through adoption or surrogacy. Considering that this technology does appear in the next decade and is able to successfully gestate the first batch of embryos in a complete artificial setting, the biggest question should be whether an artificial womb will generate a natural being or an artificial being?
Doctors observe mental development, physical abilities, and the strength of the immune system in a newborn. But there are other factors that modern science does not pay attention to. Such as internal developmental factors related to a child’s intellectual, moral and spiritual upbringing that are equally important. Then comes factors that are tied to every humans life but science cannot answer them such as, will the child destined to become good or bad, fortunate or unfortunate, how long will the child live and what will be the time of death? Therefore we have no choice but to turn to religion to gain insight to better understand the greater implications of such technology for humanity.
All religions teach that a human being is born with a conscious life called soul which comes to be placed in a mother’s womb through a divine decree. Modern psychology uses the term psyche for this human consciousness. Islam sheds light on how and when that conscious life is placed in a fetus. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:
“(The matter of the Creation of) a human being is put together in the womb of the mother in forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar period. Then Allah sends an angel who is ordered to write four things. He is ordered to write down his (i.e. the new creature's) deeds, his livelihood, his (date of) death, and whether he will be blessed or wretched (in religion). Then the soul is breathed into him..." - An embryo that grows in an artificial womb instead of a female’s womb will have a soul or no should be the greatest concern of the pioneers of this technology especially if they are Muslims. I believe that if this technology is able to successfully generate a child, the child will not possess a soul and in fact would be a jasad. Any corporeal figure that has no soul is referred to as a jasad جسد in Arabic which means 'a soulless body' or a 'body without a soul'. This body would be similar in appearance to an actual human baby but will not be the human species we are, it will not carry consciousness and desires. There are strong reasons to believe that this creation will just be body that will be breathing, will be alive but without an intellect and other higher mental faculties required for natural progression. It would simply be an Artificial Being.
What is a Jasad?
The term jasad (Arabic جسد) – is defined as a material body that is devoid of a soul. It can be described as “a mere body” or a “lifeless body”. Lexically "jasad is that which has neither intellect nor the ability to discern (la ya'qil la yumayyiz), indeed the meaning of jasad is simply the body (juththa)" This term can be applied towards an artificial being, whether animal or human. There are 3 types of jasads in the Quran depending on the context they are mentioned:
When Prophet Musa (a.s) saved the Israelis from Pharaohs army and crossed the Red Sea into Sinai, an Egyptian magician named As-Samiri was among them. After Prophet Musa (a.s) withdrew from the Israelis for 40 days to receive the revelation, As-Samiri in his absence created a calf using magical arts and convinced the Israelis to worship it: “Then he moulded for them jasad (a mere body) of a calf that made a lowing sound. They said, “This is your god and the god of Moses, but Moses forgot where it was!” Did they not see that it did not respond to them, nor could it protect or benefit them?” (Al Quran 20:88) Allah ﷻ refers to this calf as a jasad, which means it was similar in its outward form to a natural born calf but was not responsive because it did not possessed the abilities of a natural born. But because As-Samiri was able to produce an extraordinary feat the Israelis in their ignorance believed him and worshiped the calf. Magic was at its greatest during Prophet Musa’s era. But the origin of magic was not Egypt, it was ancient Mesopotamia (Iraq), the Babylonian region, from whom all nations such as the Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Indians, have learned these arts.
Ibn Wahshiyya, a 10th century Iraqi agronomist who lived during Abbasid era, gained access to literature belonging to ancient inhabitants of Mesopotamia whom he called the Nabateans. Presumably these were 20,000-year-old manuscripts! Please note that these Nabateans are not to be confused with those of Petra in Jordan. Nabateans of ancient Iraq are the Chaldeans or Babylonians. The Nabatean corpus was in ancient Syriac language and translated into Arabic by Ibn Wahshiyya, and collected into a book named Al Filaha Al Nabatiyya (The Nabateans Agriculture). The book is primarily concerned with agriculture and how movement of the celestial bodies, stars, and planets, impacts agriculture. Some part of the book is also concerned with spontaneous generation and magic. In the following excerpt taken from the English translation of the book, Ibn Wahshiyyah is quoted as saying:
“They (i.e., the ancients) generated animals in the same way as plants. The magician (as-sahir) Ankabutha even generated (kawwana) a man (insan) and he described in his book on generation how he generated him and what he did so that he could complete the being of that man. He did admit, though, that what he generated was not a complete example of the species of man and that it did not speak nor understand. It had a complete outer form in all its limbs, yet it was like a perplexed and dazed (man) who neither spoke nor understood. This is because the generation of animals and especially human beings from among animals is much more difficult than the generation of plants, because the one who generates them (i.e., animals or men) must exert himself in an action which we only partially grasp and the major part of which we do not understand. This is why we (usually) are not able to generate animals and especially human beings and we are not able to do with them what we can do with plants. Ankabutha also mentioned that he had generated a sheep which had emerged totally white, and which was like the generated man: it could neither bleat nor eat, although it did open and close its eyes. After him Sabyatha desired to generate a man so that he could make use of the special property in him but the king prevented him from doing this because this artificial man and other artificial animals had been used for deeds that had baffled and confused people. Perhaps that had even caused disturbances (fitna) among them. This was why the king contrived to prevent Sabyatha from doing this.”
This artificial man or the animal who neither spoke nor understood is a reference to jasads i.e., soulless or consciousless bodies that contain basic life and nothing more. The footnotes of the English translation also mentions the legend of a Jewish Rabbi of Prague that created a similar artificial man called Golem, a Jewish term for such artificial beings. The Jews have spent a considerable part of their history in Babylonia and are known to have learned magical science during that era. And so, the process of generating artificial beings using artificial intelligence is reminiscent of the magical science that ancient have used to generate animals and even humans. But they could not generate those beings with a purpose, like those born naturally who serve their individual purposes. Just like all creation, humans are created for a specific purpose and the fulfillment of that purpose lies in the soul that is blown at the fetal level.
In another instance Allah ﷻ uses the term jasad to address the concern of the disbelievers who questioned His wisdom of choosing a human prophet to deliver His message and not an angel from the heavens or some supernatural being that lives without food and water: “And We did not send before you messengers except men whom We inspired with revelation. So, ask the people (having the knowledge) of the Message, if you do not know. And We did not give them (those messengers) such jasadan (pl. of jasad - bodies) that ate no food, nor were they immortal.” (Al Quran 21:08)
Another depiction of a jasad are modern day humanoid robots who can sustain without food and water. Humanoid robots called Androids are human lookalike models of robots that behave much like human beings. Some examples of these artificial beings are the Maria Bot in the US that works as a teacher’s assistance. She uses AI to process and synthesize information to make her own decisions on how to talk and engage. She even collects data through conversations, books, or articles, and through internet sources. Even though Maria amazes minds, she is still far from extraordinary ones like Sophia, the most advanced human looking robot ever built! Just quick view of a short film called Sophia World will show how much she looks and acts genuinely alive. Sophia is a proof how advanced artificial intelligence is. She is the world’s first robot citizen and the first robot Innovation Ambassador for the UN Development Programme.
The third instance of jasad in the Quran is an incident related to Prophet Suleiman (a.s) when Allah ﷻ placed one on his throne: “And indeed, We did try Suleiman (Solomon) and We placed on his throne Jasad (a body devoid of soul, so he lost his kingdom for a while) and he did return (to Allah with obedience and in repentance, and to his throne and kingdom by the Grace of Allah).” (Al Quran 38:34) – Many classical mufassireen say Prophet Suleiman (alaihi salaam) was put through a trial in which a jinn impersonating him placed himself on the throne and the wording “placed upon his throne a Jasad ”, is a reference to that very jinn. But the question is how he did it? It is no coincidence that Prophet Suleiman (a.s) has been falsely accused of being magician in the Judaic history. The Quran however refutes this allegation against him and clarifies that magic originated in Babylon and it was the evil jinn who instead practiced and taught the jews such occult arts: “And they followed what the devils used to recite in the reign of Solomon -- it was not Solomon who became a disbeliever, but the devils did become disbelievers, teaching people magic, and what had been sent down to the two angels, Harut هَارُوتَ and Marut مَارُوتَ , in Babylon. And these two did not teach anyone without having said, "We are nothing but a trial, so do not disbelief." Then, they used to learn from them that with which they could separate man from his wife. But they were not to bring harm through it to anyone, without the will of Allah.” (Al Quran 101-102) We can suspect that the jinn must have generated an artificial being in resemblance of Prophet Suleiman (a.s) using Babylonian magic science and then brought it to life by entering that body through possession. By achieving this the evil jinn must've been able to place himself on the Israeli throne. That is what I've understood, and Allah ﷻ knows best. Today the magical art of generating artificial beings has become possible once again through the magic of modern science. As artificial wombs are being planned to replace natural wombs we may also see an increasing "separation of a man from his wife" because the natural womb joins family ties which possibly cannot be sustained through something artificial.
The Invisible Risks of DNA Modification
An even greater concern about the artificial womb project should be the proposal to changes in DNA. The artificial womb project plans to employ CRISPR gene editing technology to achieve this. One risk of this gene editing technology is that it can introduce accidental or “off target” mutations. Such accidental changes could become a permanent part of the human genetic blueprint. If scientists were to make any mistakes in this regard, they could introduce a new disease or a new DNA modification that could be passed down to future generations and possibly modify human species.
Human genome-editing is largely forbidden by laws or guidelines even in countries permissive to human embryonic stem cell research. Many countries have banned human genome-editing. Early embryo genome-editing for fertility purposes violates the ethical principles provided in the “Declaration of Helsinki, which has been widely accepted by the international community. Recently a Chinese Scientist named He Jiankui, secretly evading the international guidelines, used the CRISPR technology and modified the DNA of the embryo before implanting into HIV positive couple to help produce children that could naturally fight off HIV. He attempted to remove a gene called CCR5 that HIV virus uses to penetrate our immune system so a HIV permanently resistant generation could come in to being. But the experiment went wrong because the newborn babies did not become HIV resistant. In fact, scientists say he might have inadvertently caused mutations in other parts of the genome, which could have unpredictable health consequences. The human body carries CCR5 gene that can naturally fight off diseases such as West Nile virus. It is found to be missing from the newborns! These children are now the only individuals on this planet with edited genes that scientists have no clue what they could result in. At least officially speaking they are the only individuals on this planet.
Genetic modifications whether done artificially or happens naturally can potentially cause unnecessary or irregular mutations such as the case of cancer in our DNA. The cancer gene can occur when cells are multiplying in our bodies. Nobody knows the exact cause of the viruses like cancer, but doctors mention several possibilities like inherited from family or unhealthy lifestyle, or what they call “random copying error” in the cells as they mutate. But what essentially causes such copying errors to happen is still unclear and unknown. Again, when science goes blank then religion might have something more to reveal. These “random copying errors” could be the act of some invisible forces that aim to modify human DNA to cause some harm like spread virus or achieve some other objective.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said “Ta’un (plague) is the piercing of your enemies from among the jinn. And for you it is martyrdom.” The idea of illness, possession, and madness as coming from demons was widespread in all ancient societies like Greeks, Persians, Indians, pre-Islamic Arabs. They all believed in magic, spirits, and healing. Greek scholars like Democritus (d. 370 bce), Pythagoras of Samos (b. 569 bce) were even known to have learned these sciences from Babylon and practiced. Throughout the Islamic history possessions or illnesses caused by jinn were accepted by scientists as well as religious scholars. The 15th century Islamic chief justice, hadith expert and Scholar, Imam Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani stressed jinn as the primary mode of transmission of disease and even authored a book on it called Badhlu al-Ma’un fi Fadhli al Ta’uun "Struggling for those who suffer in plague”. The Quran teaches that satan has been permitted to test humans by tempting to misguide them in their wealth, through use of music and even share children with them: “and share with them in their wealth and their children and make promises to them” - and Satan promises them nothing but delusion.” (Al Quran 17:64) The Quran commentators explain the term “sharing with them in their children” by referring to the prophet’s ahadith which explain various ways in which the jinn can influence the human genes.
Once Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was asked “‘What do the maghribun (the strangers) mean?’ He replied: ‘They are those in whom is a strain of the jinn’.” Al Hakim Tirmidhi, the author of Nawadir Al Usul is said to have commented on maghribun and said it means “crossed with jinn”, a possible reference to jinn influences on conception process. Imam As Suyuti in his Laqt Al Marjan quotes Ibn al-Athir who explains they are called maghribun because there is a strange and weird element (lineage) involved in them which makes them of a distant ancestry. This weird element may be influence of the jinn on the human genome due to a possible interference done in the past on the conception among generations gone by. Another instance of devils influencing the human genome is a statement from the prophet’s famous companion Abdullah ibn Abbas (r.a) that “hermaphroditic people are the children of devil (Shaytan). When someone asked him how this was possible, he replied, "Allah has prohibited his Holy Prophet ﷺ from cohabiting when a woman is menstruating. Therefore, when a person has intercourse with his menstruating wife, the children born of this communion are hermaphrodites." The hadith indicates an abnormal birth. At a genetic level, sex in humans is primarily correlated with sex chromosomes – XX in “typical” females, XY in “typical” males – but a third category called intersex may have abnormal number or mix of both chromosomes such as XXY. Or they may have some cells that are XY and some cells that are XX. The hermaphrodites fall under intersex category, who have both male and female organs or other abnormal sexual characteristics. The hadith teaches how devils can manipulate the gene makeup during intercourse and menstruation. This does not mean that intersex children are devils.
In another instance narrated from Ibn Abbas (r.a) the Prophet ﷺ taught us how to protect the conception process from the devils: "If anyone of you, on having sexual relation with his wife, says: 'O Allah! Protect me from Satan and prevent Satan from approaching the offspring you are going to give me,' and if it happens that the lady conceives a child, Satan will neither harm it nor be given power over it." The Prophet ﷺ also warned: “The end of time will not come until the children of jinn multiply among you.” The Islamic scholars interpret this as children of adultery, or it could also mean the children produced of illicit relations between jinn and humans. Yet another meaning could be the manipulation of the jinn at the cellular level to change the genetic makeup of future generations, and Allah ﷻ knows best.
As artificial intelligence becomes more advance and pervasive in human lives to the point where we are now expecting it intelligent enough to even replace the traditional birth system. But the real matter is that such transformations are taking place without any religious overview, whatsoever. They are being advanced from material perspective only which could have dire unknown consequences. If artificial wombs begin to successfully generate modified DNA embryos then we do not know how this could play in to the hands of the satanic forces. The Prophet ﷺ said that “dajjal will appear when religion will be taken lightly” i.e., spread of godlessness which we are observing in today’s scientific era.
 Exclusive: Concept Unveiled for the World’s First Artificial Womb Facility, BY MARCIA WENDORF, DECEMBER 9, 2022, Science And Stuff - https://scienceandstuff.com/ectolife-artificial-wombs/
 Designer Babies Already Walk Among Us, BY JOSEPH MUNA, OCTOBER 19, 2022, Science And Stuff - https://scienceandstuff.com/designer-babies-already-walk-among-us/
 Exclusive: Concept Unveiled for the World’s First Artificial Womb Facility, Science And Stuff
 Sahih al-Bukhari 3208 – Sunnah.com
 Ma'ani, Az Zajjaj - Body (Badan, Jism, Jasad), Muzaffar Iqbal & Naseer Ahmad, Integrated Encyclopedia of the Quran, IEQ - https://online.iequran.com/articles/B/64
 THE LAST PAGANS OF IRAQ Ibn Wahshiyya and his Nabatean Agriculture BY JAAKKO HÄMEEN-ANTTILA, Text 42 (NA, pp. 1317–1319), pg. 291 - to give an example Ibn Washiyya explains how the ancient created a fish looking creature with 2 wings of bat and 2 hands each with 5 fingers, by burying several plant ingredients underground for 49 days after which the creature was found alive.
 Maria Bot - https://meshconference.com/speakers/maria-bot/
 Founded by David Hanson, Ph.D., the Hanson team has built a worldwide reputation for creating robots that look and act genuinely alive, including renowned robot character Sophia the Robot - https://www.hansonrobotics.com/
 Tafsir al-Jalalayn, trans. Feras Hamza, 2021 Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, Amman, Jordan (http://www.aalalbayt.org). Several famous classical mufassirren of the medieval Islamic era – such as the likes of Imam Qurtubi, Ibn Jawzi, Tabarani, Ibn Attiya, As Suyuti, & many others - have mentioned this story in their tafsir of this ayah while also quoting the same view held by companions such as Ibn Abbas (r.a) and many taba'een. They say a wife of Prophet Suleiman (a.s) used to worship idols in his home without his knowledge due to which he gained Allah’s displeasure. On one occasion needing to relieve himself he took his ring off, in which laid the control of his kingdom. He left it with his servant woman named al-Amina as was his custom; but the jinn came to her and seized it from her – who after acquiring the ring placed himself on the throne. They say his name was Sakhr — an ifreet kind. It's important to note that modern mufassireen of the Quran (such as Maududi, Amin Islahi, Muhammad Assad) have rejected the story of a jinn usurping the throne and have their own interpretation of this incident.
 Liu, S. Legal reflections on the case of genome-edited babies. glob health res policy 5, 24 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41256-020-00153-4
 The CRISPR-baby scandal: what’s next for human gene-editing, David Cyranoski, 26 February 2019, Nature 566, 440-442 (2019), doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-00673-1
 Al Mustadrak Hakim
 Sunan Abi Dawud 5107
Jinnon Ki Dunya Tarjama (Urdu Translation) of Al Luqtul Marjaan Fi Ahkam Ul Jaan (The Gathering of Coral Concerning the Status of the Jinn), Malka Bilqees ke Baap se koi Ek Jinn Thaa, pg. 80.
 Tafsir Anwar ul Bayan, (The Illuminating Discourses of the Noble Quran), by Sheikh Muḥammad ‘Āshiq Ilāhī Bulandshahrī Muhājir Madanī, Surah Al Isra 17:64, V. 5, pg. 290
 Sahih al-Bukhari 3283
 Jinnon Ki Dunya Tarjama (translation) of Al Luqtul Marjaan Fi Ahkam Ul Jaan (The Gathering of Coral Concerning the Status of the Jinn).
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