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Is Islam A Friend Of The Theory Of Evolution?

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Assalamu alaikum, my brothers and sisters, in humanity, if not in faith,

 

Perhaps you may wish to move this thread. It is my first here, outside of my introduction, and it did not seem to fit elsewhere, though this may be no more than my own inexperience in navigating IF.

 

I am troubled that so many muslims here are disturbed by the theory of evolution. Never, in my reading of the Qur'an and hadiths, have I found any reason to believe that the theory of evolution runs counter to Islam. It is not my practice to challenge another's faith when I have gone seeking an understanding of that faith. On the other hand, it is my practice to challenge falsehoods, as gently as I am able. Hence my query.

 

If the sacred texts of Islam truly reject the theory of evolution, I will, out of respect, cease my attempts to correct what I see as falsehoods. But lacking evidence to the contrary, how should I assume that Islam stands against such a fundamental theory of the science of biology?

 

I thank you for your consideration, and for the attention given my concerns.

 

As ever, in peace, Jesse

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PropellerAds
Assalamu alaikum, my brothers and sisters, in humanity, if not in faith,

 

Perhaps you may wish to move this thread. It is my first here, outside of my introduction, and it did not seem to fit elsewhere, though this may be no more than my own inexperience in navigating IF.

 

I am troubled that so many muslims here are disturbed by the theory of evolution. Never, in my reading of the Qur'an and hadiths, have I found any reason to believe that the theory of evolution runs counter to Islam. It is not my practice to challenge another's faith when I have gone seeking an understanding of that faith. On the other hand, it is my practice to challenge falsehoods, as gently as I am able. Hence my query.

 

If the sacred texts of Islam truly reject the theory of evolution, I will, out of respect, cease my attempts to correct what I see as falsehoods. But lacking evidence to the contrary, how should I assume that Islam stands against such a fundamental theory of the science of biology?

 

I thank you for your consideration, and for the attention given my concerns.

 

As ever, in peace, Jesse

 

Wa Aliakuum Salaam,

 

Evolution is an interesting theory, but it is a theory non the less. I beleive in the Quran and the Quran teaches us to seek knowledge, indeed for centuries, Islam has been at the forefront of science because the Quran teaches us that the proofs of God are all around us. I think we are entitled to seek knowledge and science about what is around us, and we do that with out dogma.

 

But what ever we find, we always beleive that nothing happens without Gods will.

 

For example, I know that I came from my mothers womb, we can go through all the biological processes that lead to my birth, but in the face of all the science, I still beleive I was created by God. (without disagreeing with the science)

 

Evolution is a theory, a theory that I do not have faith in. If you speak to people at the forefront of micro-biology I think you will find that many will dismiss evolution. It simply doesnt explain the formation of even the simplest cell, never mind complex organs, DNA or the eye. Tell me, how does evolution explain the eye. If there is one thing we can learn from history it is that we will never learn from history. Yes, if we can prove something scientificaly, then fine, but evolution has not been proven - Darwin himself held reservations over the theory.

 

So I ask you, how can you say evolution is so fundamental?

 

PS I'm not being dogmatic here, there may be some truth in the notion of evolution (the Quran tells us that all life comes from water), but to put your faith in it is unjustified.

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I remember my father telling me he had a discussion with someone about the nature of our planet and how somewhere in the Quran it mentions that the earth is revolving around something. The man argued with him a told him how the earth revolves around the son. My father told him that he beleived the Quran and nothing would change his mind. Now of course we are begining to comprehend that the Universe is enormous and that the earth may indeed revolve, in galaxys (perhaps around black holes).

 

Incedenlty can some scientist tell me how everything was created from something infinatly small?

 

I think the Quran does mention something that resembles the big bang (starting from something small then expanding out)

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Peace brother

 

Islam has no problem whatsoever with any established facts of science. But it might or might not disagree with theories as theories are but theories. I know this much, but don't know about evolution to be honest. I know that we are DEFINETLY NOT evolved from monkeys, but don'r know about other areas.

 

Also, go to this website and click on Quran And Modern Science Conflict Or Reconciliation?:

(www.)"http://aswatalislam/DisplayFilesP.aspx?TitleID=50027&TitleName=Zakir_Naik"]aswatalislam/DisplayFilesP....Name=Zakir_Na

k[/url]

 

Hope that helped :D

 

Peace

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I remember my father telling me he had a discussion with someone about the nature of our planet and how somewhere in the Quran it mentions that the earth is revolving around something. The man argued with him a told him how the earth revolves around the son. My father told him that he beleived the Quran and nothing would change his mind. Now of course we are begining to comprehend that the Universe is enormous and that the earth may indeed revolve, in galaxys (perhaps around black holes).

 

Incedenlty can some scientist tell me how everything was created from something infinatly small?

 

I think the Quran does mention something that resembles the big bang (starting from something small then expanding out)

 

Sorry I read that post again, the man said the sun was revolving around a point, not the earth.

And of course we no that our solar system probably does rotate around a point.

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Is Islam A Friend Of The Theory Of Evolution?

In short, no.

 

I think the Quran does mention something that resembles the big bang (starting from something small then expanding out)

 

(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.harunyahya(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/miracles_of_the_quran_p1_02.ph"]Subhan'Allah.[/url]

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Hi Taoist,

 

People, both Muslims and non-Muslims have the misconception of thinking that evolution is referring to humans having evolved from chimps. However, the theory says nothing of such thing; rather what it proposes is that both humans and chimps have a common ancestor which scientists have not yet placed a being to and their understanding of it is just as ambiguous as ours.

 

The reason you find that Islam does not back up evolution is because the Qur’an states that Adam was the first creation. Animals and humans are not created from the same thing such as the theory proposes. Allahu’Alim.

 

“Science works on theories, nothing can be proven in this subject like maths†I quote from my biology teacher.

 

The Qur’an says: And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels:

"Verily, I am going to place on earth

generations after generations (of humans)."

They said: "Will You place therein

those who will make mischief and shed blood,

- while we glorify You with praises and thanks

and sanctify You?" He said:

"I know that which you do not know." (2:30)

 

Allahu’Alim (God knows best)

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Assalamu alaikum

 

to Syntax,

Wa Aliakuum Salaam,

 

Evolution is an interesting theory, but it is a theory non the less.

but surely a "theory" means "a hypothesis supported by scientific evidence". likewise, the particle model of physics is a "theory", but physics as a whole is based around it. Our understanding of materials, radioactivity, even electricity, is based around it.

 

 

It simply doesnt explain the formation of even the simplest cell, never mind complex organs, DNA or the eye. Tell me, how does evolution explain the eye

 

i would say it does, since looking at more and more primitive living vertebrates (as well as fossil forms) it can be seen that eyes are less and less complex. This is also true with arthropods, annelids and molluscs - look at the eye of a leech. Isnt it primitive? and the calcite eyes of trilobites? but the fossil record (and living organisms) do show a slow progression, paralleled in all the major phyla.

 

 

 

 

Darwin himself held reservations over the theory.

 

True, this was after the first guesses of the earth's age were developed - Lord Kelvin came to the conclusion that the earth had taken 20 million years to cool from a molten state, so the earth was 20 million years old. Near the end of his life, Darwin saw that this was nowhere near long enough for evolution to occur, so he began to doubt his theory. But since then, the discovery of radioactivity and the pioneering of numerous dating methods based on the principle have lengthened the timescale drastically.

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Thank you, syntax,

 

Please do not believe that I am putting you off, but it is necessary before I respond, in order to hold true to my own faith, that I assure myself that my response is not itself an attack against the Islam I registered here to investigate. There are many times many places on the web I can answer your questions about the theory of evolution. It may well be I will have to answer them elsewhere. But this is not my house, and I have an obligation to my hosts I must consider.

 

First, I must have an answer to my OP question, and then, I may be free to answer yours, here. Surely you see the reasons for my concern. Are you saying that the Qur'an, as I believe, does not deny the theory of evolution? I see you agree that it does encourage the search for knowledge. I must have an answer.

 

In peace, Jesse

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Forgive me, friends, I did not know that posts would be held before they appeared, and so, inadvertently, I seem to have ignored many responses that did not appear when I first responded to syntax. Give me a bit of time and I will respond to all.

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Peace brother

 

Islam has no problem whatsoever with any established facts of science. But it might or might not disagree with theories as theories are but theories. I know this much, but don't know about evolution to be honest. I know that we are DEFINETLY NOT evolved from monkeys, but don'r know about other areas.

 

Also, go to this website and click on Quran And Modern Science Conflict Or Reconciliation?:

(www.)"http://aswatalislam/DisplayFilesP.aspx?TitleID=50027&TitleName=Zakir_Naik"]aswatalislam/DisplayFilesP....Name=Zakir_Na

k[/url]

 

Hope that helped :D

 

Peace

Wa alaikum assalam, nafisa,

 

I am not sure why, but your link opens up a copy of this thread, and so is not as useful as you might have intended. Thank you for your attempt at a reply. I hope we will be able to continue this conversation.

 

As ever, Jesse

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What follows are all of the posts visible to me as I begin this response to which i have not already given a response. The way these posts are appearing like magic in between other responses is somewhat confusing, but I understand it is because these posts are being reviewed by the moderating team. I thank the moderators for their time. If I may, I would ask them to encourage responders to address the OP.

 

In short, no.

 

(www.)"http://harunyahya/miracles_of_the_quran_p1_02.ph"]Subhan'Allah.[/url]

Ah, strider, it is not the short answer I am seeking, but the reasoning behind this answer. One will say yes, and another will say no, and how am I to judge such short words?

 

I do understand from your post that you do not consider yourself a friend of the theory of evolution. I do not infer from this that Islam is not such a friend. Such inferrence must follow examination of the sacred texts, as I understand usul al-fiqh.

 

In peace, Jesse

 

 

Hi Taoist,

 

<snip>

 

The reason you find that Islam does not back up evolution is because the Qur’an states that Adam was the first creation. Animals and humans are not created from the same thing such as the theory proposes. Allahu’Alim.

 

Hi Crystal Eyes,

 

My reading of the Qur'an assures me that there is no conflict with the theory of evolution. What I observe is a conflict among muslims not based on any verse found in the Qur'an, nor by any tradition related in the hadiths. Do not be misled by my arabic greetings. I am not muslim. My screen name is my faith.

 

<snip>

 

Allahu’Alim (God knows best)

 

If there is a conflict among muslims based on the Qur'an or hadiths, I will not feel free to discuss the theory of evolution here. But if is based only on some modern interpretation of the sacred texts of Islam, my position will be changed.

 

If there is a god who knows best, then he knows that the intention of this thread is to ascertain which of these is the case. The intention is not to launch a discussion of the theory of evolution. The intention is to discover whether the sacred texts of Islam specifically deny the theory of evolution.

 

In peace, Jesse

 

Assalamu alaikum

 

to Syntax,

 

<snip>

Wa alaikum assalam,

 

The question I pose in the OP is important to me, as I am new here, and must determine to what extent I can faithfully participate in discussions here by the lights of my own religious path.

 

Thank you for your words.

 

In peace, Jesse

 

(My apologies to those whose posts I've <snip>ped, but I am operating under post length limits which forced me to go back and delete characters before my response would post. No disrespect to your efforts was intended. Be assured that I have read and considered the entirety of your posts.)

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Hi Taoist,

 

Regarding your question whether the Qur'anic account of creation is incompatible with man having evolved; if evolution entails, as Darwin believed, that "probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from one primordial form, into which life was first breathed" (The Origin of Species, 455), I apprehend that this is incompatible with the Qur'anic account of creation. Our first ancestor was the prophet Adam (upon whom be peace), who was created by Allah in janna, or "paradise" and not on earth, but also created in a particular way that He describes to us:

"And [mention] when your Lord said to the angels, 'Truly, I will create a man from clay. So when I have completed him, and breathed into him of My spirit, then fall down prostrate to him.' And the angels prostrated, one and all. Save for Satan, who was too proud to, and disbelieved. He said to him, 'O Satan, what prevented you from prostrating to what I have created with My two hands? Are you arrogant, or too exalted?' He said,'I am better than he; You created me from fire and created him from clay'" (Qur'an 38:71-76).

 

Now, the God of Islam is transcendently above any suggestion of anthropomorphism, and Qur'anic exegetes like Fakhr al-Din al-Razi explain the above words created with My two hands as a figurative expression of Allah's special concern for this particular creation, the first human, since a sovereign of immense majesty does not undertake any work "with his two hands" unless it is of the greatest importance (Tafsir al-Fakhr al-Razi. 32 vols. Beirut 1401/1981. Reprint (32 vols. in 16). Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1405/1985, 26.231-32). I say "the first human," because the Arabic term bashar used in the verse "Truly, I will create a man from clay" means precisely a human being and has no other lexical significance.

 

The same interpretive considerations (of Allah's transcendance above the attributes of created things) apply to the words and breathed into him of My spirit. Because the Qur'an unequivocally establishes that Allah is Ahad or "One," not an entity divisible into parts, exegetes say this "spirit" was a created one, and that its attribution to Allah ("My spirit") is what is called in Arabic idafat al-tashrif "an attribution of honor," showing that the ruh or "spirit" within this first human being and his descendants was "a sacred, exalted, and noble substance" (ibid., 228)--not that there was a "part of Allah" such as could enter into Adam's body, which is unbelief. Similar attributions are not infrequent in Arabic, just as the Kaaba is called bayt Allah, or "the House of Allah," meaning "Allah's honored house," not that it is His address; or such as the she-camel sent to the people of Thamud, which was called naqat Allah, or "the she-camel of Allah," meaning "Allah's honored she-camel," signifying its inviolability in the shari'a of the time, not that He rode it; and so on.

 

 

 

 

continue.....

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All of which shows that, according to the Qur'an, human beings are intrinsically--by their celestial provenance in janna, by their specially created nature, and by the ruh or soul within them--at a quite different level in Allah's eyes than other terrestrial life, whether or not their bodies have certain physiological affinities with it, which are the prerogative of their Maker to create. Darwin says:

 

"I believe that animals have descended from at most only four or five progenitors, and plants from an equal or lesser number. Analogy would lead me one step further, namely, to the belief that all animals and plants have descended from some one prototype. But analogy may be a deceitful guide" (The Origin of Species, 454-55).

 

Indeed it may. It is the nature of the place in which Allah has created us, this world (dunya), that the possibility exists to deny the existence of Allah, His angels, His Books, His messengers, the Last Day, and destiny, its good and evil. If these things were not hidden by a veil, there would be no point in Allah's making us responsible for believing them. Belief would be involuntary, like the belief, say, that France is in Europe.

 

But what He has made us responsible for is precisely belief in the unseen. Why? In order that the divine names--such as al-Rafi' or "He Who Raises," al-Khafidh "He Who Abases," al-Mu'ti "He Who Gives," al-Mani' "He Who Withholds," al-Rahim "the Merciful," al-Muntaqim "the Avenger," al-Latif "the Subtlely Kind," and so on--may be manifest.

 

continue...

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How are they manifest? Only through the levels of human felicity and perdition, of salvation and damnation, by the disparity of human spiritual attainment in all its degrees: from the profound certitude of the prophets (upon whom be peace), to the faith of the ordinary believer, to the doubts of the waverer or hypocrite, to the denials of the damned. Also, the veil for its part has a seamless quality. To some, it is a seamless veil of light manifesting the Divine through the perfection of creation; while to others, it is a seamless veil of darkness, a perfect nexus of interpenetrating causal relations in which there is no place for anything that is not material. Allah says,

 

"Exalted in Grace is He in whose hand is dominion, and He has power over everything. Who created death and life to try you, as to which of you is better in works, and He is the All-powerful, the Oft-forgiving. And who created the seven heavens in layers; you see no disparity in the creation of the All-merciful. Return your glance: do you see any fissures?" (Qur'an 67:1-3).

 

The last time I checked, the university scene was an atheistic subculture, of professors and students actively or passively convinced that God was created by man. In bastions of liberalism like the University of California at Berkeley, for example, which still forbids the establishment of a Religions Department, only this attitude will do; anything else is immature, is primitivism. The reduction of human behavior to evolutionary biology is a major journalistic missionary outreach of this movement. I am pleased with this, in as much as Allah has created it to try us, to distinguish the good from the bad, the bad from the worse. But I don't see why Muslims should accept it as an explanation of the origin of man, especially when it contradicts what we know from the Creator of Man. [/i]

 

Hopefully the above posts have shed some light as to why Islam does not counterside with Evolution.

 

Regards,

 

Crystal Eyes

 

(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.masud.co.uk/Islam/nuh/evolve.htm"]Source[/url]

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What's up with the ~500 word limit on posts? This is ... frustrating. I would point out to the board administrators that an expansion of this limit does not adversely affect performance, but seriously limits the depth to which we can consider our replies. And it does so without limiting the abilities of others to continue to create short postings.

 

As the software assigns memory dynamically, the difference in storage space is negligible. Sorry, had to vent!

 

Give me a moment while I consider your careful reply, Crystal Eyes. Obviously, I won't be able to quote it, except for the briefest of extracts. Please trust me that I am considering more than the extracts I quote. I'm sure it's clear that I dislike the need to point this out. Forgive me my little rant.

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Peace!!

 

Sorry, forgot that I wasnt a ful member, thats why I couldn post it. I am now, I'll give it one more chance, eh? :D

 

Quran And Modern Science Conflict Or Reconciliation 1of3:

 

 

(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.aswatalislam(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/DisplayFilesP.aspx?TitleID=50027&TitleName=Zakir_Naik"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.aswatalislam(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/DisplayFilesP....Name=Zakir_Na

k[/url]

 

:D it will work, otherwise, I tried(I'm not brilliant with computers) :D

 

Peace, and may you find all the answers that you are searching for in life.

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Greetings, Crystal Eyes,

 

I could not have asked for a more thoughtful reply. My thanks.

 

"... if evolution entails, as Darwin believed ..."

 

You are quite correct to imply that I should be specific in what constitutes evolution and the theory which attempts to explain it. The word, as used by biologists, belongs to them, and so I defer to their usage. While "evolution" has been reformulated many times as our ability to examine it has grown, the most widely accepted definition used today would not be recognizable to Darwin himself.

 

Evolution is "variation in the frequency of alleles."

 

Darwin was not aware of even the existence of alleles, let alone the processes by which their frequency changes. At best, he could have only understood an equivalent formulation more current before our discovery of DNA and its effect on our biology.

 

Evolution is "descent with modification."

 

The theory of evolution is the set of natural mechanisms by which this variation or modification occurs and the consequences of this variation, as formulated in hypotheses, tested by experiment and prediction, and inductively extended into additional hypotheses.

 

I might add that any useful definition of the theory of evolution must specify what the theory is not. In particular, it is not an examination of the primal origins of these natural mechanisms, though other fields of science may be concerned with these origins to the extent they are naturally observable.

 

An extensional consequence of this theory is the proposition of common descent, Darwin's formulation of which is given by your citation, that "probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from one primordial form, into which life was first breathed." This "primordial form" is now more usually referenced as a "self-replicator," but in essence this is one of the longest standing and most thoroughly examined propositions of the theory of evolution. The formulation by Darwin of "first breathed" is clearly a sop to religious sensitivities, as it does not occur in the original manuscripts.

 

<break, part 1 of 3>

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But I will add that the theory of evolution refers only to natural bodies, not to any spiritual essence unique to humans created in a figuratively described janna, formed of figurative clay by the figurative hands of Allah and inspired with a higher aspect of life by his figurative breath.

 

This is the basis for my claim that Islam should be and may well be a friend of the theory of evolution, as the investigation of that which is natural leads in turn to the elimination of those natural aspects of this world wrongly associated with the supernatural. Insofar as it is orthodox in Islam to believe that Allah created the clouds, it is unorthodox to believe that he is the clouds themselves, or so I understand it. Insofar as it is believed that Allah is the cause of gravity, it is unorthodox to believe that he is the gravity itself.

 

When ignorance is eliminated, only the truth remains. And as much as Islam is a friend of truth, I believe it must also be a friend of every attempt to eliminate ignorance.

 

It is indeed the creation account which I had in mind as most likely to form a basis of any Qur'anic objection, though I suspected there might be other passages I had missed. My own reading, and forgive my temerity in saying so, is that any honest and kind and thorough interpretation of this passage must acknowledge each of the figurative natures related in this passage.

 

I am pleased that you point out the exegesis involving "hands" in the account. It is, I believe, a great heresy in Islam to read these hands as being other than figurative. (I have seen the salafists denigrated by attributing this heresy to them, and their fervent denials.)

 

Similarly with the breath of Allah, as you seem to agree.

 

To which I would add the figurative nature of clay. Certainly, it is not saying we are composed of oxides of aluminum and silicon. To say so is to say the Qur'an is untrue. More, it implies a knowledge of the chemical nature of clay which did not exist in those who first heard these words at the time the Qur'an was written. I do not understand why this is not considered just as great a heresy as the anthropomorphic heresy of reading into this passage physical hands and breath.

 

No, I feel that the author's reference to "hands" and "breath" speaks of a personal interest by Allah, not to his physical hands, and the reference to the "clay" from which we are formed speaks of clay's malleable nature, not to a literal combination of two parts water, two parts silicon dioxide and one part dialuminum trioxide. Considering the setting of this creation account, I see no reason to infer any physical substance at all.

 

<break, part 2 of 3>

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But in any case, the "clay" of this Qur'anic account cannot be the "clay" of the potter. Nor are my own religioius beliefs relevant to this assertion.

 

I believe this must be the case whether the words came from Allah, from Gabriel, from Muhammad, from some group of 7th century Arabs, or from later adhererents constructing a sacred text to formalize their beliefs and lend them credibility. I specify these various hypotheses only to point out how they are irrelevant to the following simple truth: It is not possible that even those without a knowledge of modern chemistry could be so confused as to mistake the differing natures of clay and human flesh and bones, having even once held clay in their hands of human flesh and bones. Having done so myself, I feel this truth is self-evident.

 

I strongly deny the implied counter-suggestion that any author of the Qur'an, whether inspired by gods or pride or greed, could expect to fool those who first heard the Qur'an into believing clay was the same substance as flesh and bones. I strongly suspect that muslims today are not so easily fooled either.

 

As to your final comments, certainly, the proportion of atheists is higher in a university than among the uneducated masses in the heart of America's bible belt or sub-Saharan Africa, both of which I've had the opportunity to visit for extended periods of time. This has been measured and is not reasonably deniable. But theists still contribute to scientific pursuit in every branch of knowledge. To the extent that atheists consider theistic beliefs primitive, the rejection by theists of the evidence of evolution and the observable and testable methods by which it naturally occurs only lends to this belief.

 

From my reading and investigation, I agree that the core of Islam expects faith in the existence of things unseen. I have no evidence that it requires faith in the nonexistence of things that are seen. So, in the end, I must decide whether the Islamic creation account is at odds with the theory of evolution for myself, as was probably true in the beginning as well. As such, I will, provisionally, reject the assumption that Islam must reject evolution as it is observed, or the evidences for the theory of evolution as they have been discovered, while continuing to remain open to the possibility that the philosophy of investigation of the origins of our physical selves may remain philosophically unacceptable to muslims in general.

 

May each of our paths lead us to truth.

 

In peace, Jesse

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Peace, Jesse

 

Is Islam a friend of the theory of evolution?

 

I'm afraid Islam and evolution do not get along so well.

 

I shall attempt to convince you that the Qur'an is not in agreement with Darwinism. Countless Muslims deceived by Darwinian myths have desperately tried to harmonize the theory with the Word of G-d, seeking nothing but discord.

 

The holy Qur'an is clear on the issue of the origin of man, as has been revealed in the following passage:

 

He (Allah) created man from sounding clay like unto pottery. (Ar-Rahman: 14)

 

The Prophet Muhammad (upon him be peace & blessings) interpreted and preached the above verse in a literal sense, and he received no admonition from on high as a result. Furthermore, he gave his Companions the exact details of the process of man's creation. It is narrated in an authentic Hadith that in the beginning, Arch-Angel Gabriel was commanded to gather mud of various hues which was mixed with water in preperation for the creation of Adam (a.s). The Hadith also serves as an explanation for the differences in race and colour in mankind.

 

'A'isha reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: The Angels were born out of light and the Jinns (i.e demons)) were born out of the spark of fire and Adam was born as he has been defined (in the Qur'an) for you (i. e. he is fashioned out of clay). (Book #042, Hadith #7134)

 

Although the idea that humankind was designed from a mixture of water and clay may sound a tad superstitious to the modern atheist, Muslims believe that G-d is Omnipotent, all-powerful. I understand that Taoists profess their beliefs in many supernatural deities, but I remain unsure if there even exists a story on creation in Taoist scriptures, like the Zhuangzi or the Dao De Jing, hence your firm conviction in evolution.

 

[Cont'd]

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[Cont'd from previous post]

 

Behold thy Lord said to the Angels: "I am about to create man from clay. When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My Spirit fall ye down in obeisance unto him." (Qur'an, 38: 71-72)

 

The holy passage as quoted above is also interpreted literally by the Alims (scholars), however the 'breathing' of Divine spirit into man should not and cannot be envisioned, since it is beyond our level of comprehension. Even the 'Speech' of Al-lah exists beyond sound waves, a reality inconceivable by the human mind. I believe it is crucial to point out that the verse does not suggest human beings are Divine, rather their attributes are merely a reflection of the Lord's.

 

The question is, is there any scientific evidence to support the Muslim doctrine of man's origin? When the human body is examined today, it may be discovered that many elements present on the Earth are also to be found in the body. Living tissues contain 95% carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur, with a total of 26 different elements. In another verse of the Glorious Qur'an, we are told:

 

We (God) created man from an extract of clay. (23: 12)

 

The Arabic word "sulala," translated as "extract" in the verse, means "representative example, essence." As we have seen, the information revealed in the Quran 1,400 years ago confirms what modern science tells us-the fact that the same elements are employed in human creation as those found in the soil. Below is a link to a page showing the distribution of the elements in a 70-kilo human being.

 

(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_web2.airmail(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/uthman/elements_of_body.html"]Elemental Composition of the Human Body[/url]

 

The Truth is from thy Lord; so be not at all in doubt. (Al-Imran :60)

 

Regards,

 

Joseph

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(This 500 word limit thing is really getting in the way.)

 

And peace to you, Joseph,

 

(I believe you meant to say "seeding nothing but discord" rather than "seeking"? It is a minor matter perhaps, but it is notable that I do not "seek to seed" discord, merely to resolve whether I can faithfully discuss evolution on this board or if this is a subject I should not discuss here.)

 

You say that "It is narrated in an authentic Hadith that in the beginning, Arch-Angel Gabriel was commanded to gather mud of various hues which was mixed with water in preperation for the creation of Adam (a.s). The Hadith also serves as an explanation for the differences in race and colour in mankind."

 

But the tradition you cite, and forgive me the sharpness of my response, says no such thing. It speaks of angels born of light, jinns born of the spark of fire and humans created from clay. There is no reference to Gabriel, no reference to gathering mud of various hues and no reference to any preparatory process at all.

 

I have taken advantage of the USC searchable database and examined every verse tradition which speaks of clay, examining all 19 matches. I have searched for Gabriel and (mud or muds). If there is an authentic hadith which speaks of such things, it is not in the Sahih Muslim, in the Sahih Bukhari, in what is entered of the Sunan Abu Dawud or in Malik's Muwatta as far as I can discover. I found exactly two references to clay and the creation of Adam, both in the Sahih Muslim, one of which you have cited.

 

(www.)"http://usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/042.smt.html#042.7134"]usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/h...t.html#042.7134[/url]

 

In addition I have found the following tradition.

 

(www.)"http://usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/039.smt.html#039.6707"]usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/h...t.html#039.6707[/url]

 

Book 039, Number 6707: Abu Haraira reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) took hold of my hands and said: Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, created the clay on Saturday and He created the mountains on Sunday and He created the trees on Monday and He created the things entailing labour on Tuesday and created light on Wednesday and lie caused the animals to spread on Thursday and created Adam (peace be upon him) after 'Asr on Friday; the last creation at the last hour of the hours of Friday, i. e. between afternoon and night.

 

<break, part 1 of 3>

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This tradition only serves to convince me further that the clay spoken of in the Qur'an cannot be the literal clay used by the potter.

 

The physical "essence" of potter's clay is a combination of minerals, two parts silicon dioxide and one part di-aluminum tri-oxide. Some clays also include smaller proportions of contaminants including the oxides of iron, manganese, magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, and titanium, but in far smaller proportions and are not essential to the structure.

 

Note some glaring omissions in the above list. Clays do not contain carbon. Clays do not contain nitrogen. Of the four principle elements of humans, two do not exist in clays, and hydrogen exists only in the water added to the clay minerals.

 

As you have noted that "'sulala,' translated as 'extract' in the verse, means 'representative example,' 'essence' ", it does not make sense to believe this is a reference to the chemical compositions. From your own reference, the total weight of silicon in a 70 kg human is 1 gram and is not known to have any biological function. However, silicon is a principle constituent of clay, and essential to its character.

 

These oft-cited references to the chemical composition of humans and the relationship to clay are clearly the product of a modern interpretation as they make reference to chemical compositions unknown when the Qur'an was written, and thus unknown to any of the companions hearing those words, and thus impossible to have formed any part of the original interpretation. And they are wrong! Dead wrong! Humans cannot exist without carbon, and clay is not clay if it includes it. Humans have little or no use for silicon, but clay cannot exist without it.

 

Forgive me for belaboring this point, which is actually off topic. (Oh no, I'm derailing my own thread!) But I hope I have made this issue clear. Humans are not made of clay.

 

Honest muslims are left with two possibilities. Either the Qur'an and authentic traditions are wrong, or the interpretations are wrong. The possibility of wrong interpretation shows that modern science need not be fatal to either the Qur'an or the traditions in this matter, merely to these modern interpretations. Because there is another "essence" of clay. It is its malleable nature. Humans do have a malleable nature. There may be other essential aspects of clay that are shared with humanity, but chemical composition is not one of them.

 

As with every other reference I have found in the sacred texts of Islam, these say that Allah created animals and humans but say nothing meaningful about how the animals and the humans were created. They speak of hands which no muslim will acknowledge were human hands, breath which no muslim will acknowledge was human breath, and clay which no scientist will acknowledge is earthly clay.

 

<break, part 2 of 3>

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They do not serve to deny "descent with modifications" or "variation in the frequency of alleles". As such, they do not address evolution. They do not serve to deny natural selection or endogenous retroviral insertions. As such, they do not address the theory of evolution.

 

Joseph, I thank you for your time spent composing your reply, and for the thoughts you have inspired, and for the excuse to examine again your sacred texts, an exercise I thoroughly enjoy. But I must tell you honestly that you have not convinced me.

 

"I understand that Taoists profess their beliefs in many supernatural deities, but I remain unsure if there even exists a story on creation in Taoist scriptures, like the Zhuangzi or the Dao De Jing, hence your firm conviction in evolution."

 

Indeed, the Taoists of China incorporate many deities and festivals, but this is not the Taoism of western practictioners which are inspired principally by the sacred texts you correctly identify and is essentially nontheistic. It is not truly proper to call them scripture, however, as they are authored by humans uninspired by deities, and have been extensively refined from their original forms.

 

As these books are written by humans, these changes over time are considered improvements. I mention this to forestall confusion with theistic scriptures in which alteration is considered corruption. The other great difference is the emphasis on the thoughts themselves, rather than the authors of these thoughts. This emphasis is fundamental to the mystic tradition, and reflected in the anonymity of the authors. Compare this with the tradition of prophets and you will begin to understand the fundamental difference in our faiths, and my own desire to understand the words of the Qur'an without any desire to know its authors.

 

In answer to your question of what is known by mystics of creation, I offer you the words of the Tao Te Ching ...

 

"Nameless indeed is the source of creation,

But things have a mother and she has a name."

 

This speaks to all that can be known of creation. Seek it and you will find it is an event beyond the horizon, nameless, unknowable, and anonymous. But these things we see around us, their origin we can name.

 

In peace, Jesse

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