Islam and Evolution

The topic of Evolution is one of the most discussed topics among people. This made us to write in detail and cover every single aspect germane to it. Our article consists of two parts. In first part we have established that both science and religion belong to two completely different domains . Therefore, they must be envisaged without any one of it being mixed with the other. In second part , we have tried to establish that Evolution is no more a theory rather due to overwhelming evidence it should now be acknowledged as a fact and it in no way contradicts any core value of Islam. Those who agree with the first part can skip to second part.

PART  ONE

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Advancement in scientific fields is unceasingly accelerating. With this advancement, it is incumbent upon the people to accept the utmost significance of science. No country with scientific obscurantism can thrive in these latter-days. Contemplation over the examples of Japan and China is enough to act as an eye-opener i.e. looking at them before and after the arrival of scientific revolution in these countries. Despite of the undeniable significance of science there exists a hamartia in Pakistan.  Some  intellectuals and perspicacious people have highlighted this hamartia but among them the most prominent personality who have raised this point  frequently is none other than honorable sir Pervaiz Hoodbhoy and we encourage people  to read his latest article {Promoting Anti-science via textbooks}.  

Understanding This Hamartia

 

 

This fatal flaw is that majority of the people here commingle religion with science. Trying to establish compatibility between the two has aggrandized the appalling state of education in Pakistan. The fact is, religion and science belong to two completely different domains. As far as religion is concerned, its role is the nourishment of our soul. It purifies our nafs and gives us inner satisfaction. It gives us the purpose of life. Ism corpus guides people how to serve Supreme Lord (in Hinduism Santana Dharma) while the nature of science is entirely different. Science deals with the matter and laws of nature. It helps us to understand matter and it explains laws of nature and whatever exists in nature. It doesn’t tell us why something exists, it only tells us what and how. It doesn’t purvey any model for morality and spirituality. At this moment we would like to cite a hypothetical dialogue from “God Arises” by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan in order to substantiate our case further.

 

‘Why is blood red in color?’ If you were to ask a doctor the reason, he would answer, ‘Because your blood contains millions of little red discs (5 millions to each cubic centimeter), each some seven thousandths of an inch in diameter, called the red corpuscles.

‘Yes, but why are these discs red?’

‘Because they contain a substance called haemoglobin, which, when it absorbs oxygen from the lungs, becomes bright red. That is why the blood in the arteries is scarlet. As it flows through the body, the blood gives up its oxygen to the organs of the body and the haemoglobin becomes brownish—this is the dark blood of the veins.’

 

 ‘Yes. But where do the red corpuscles with their haemoglobin come from?’

‘They are made in the spleen.’

‘That’s marvellous, Doctor. But tell me, how is it that the blood, the red corpuscles, the spleen, and the thousand other things are so organized into one coherent whole, work together so perfectly that I can breathe, run, speak, live?’

‘Ah! That is nature.’

‘Nature!’

‘When I say ‘‘nature”, I mean the interplay of blind physical and chemical forces.’

‘But, Doctor, why do these blind forces always act as if they were pursuing a definite end? How do they manage to coordinate their activities so as to produce a bird which flies, a fish which swims, and me…. who ask questions?’.


‘My dear friend, I a scientist, can tell you how these things happen. Do not ask me why they are like that.’

 

god-arises

PART  TWO

 

Islam and Evolution

 

Owing to the prevailing fatal flaw in our society aforementioned in the article, our educational institutes failed to do justice with the scientific subject of supreme importance which is “Darwinian Evolution” or known as “Darwin theory of Evolution”. People like Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss have also mocked the institutes of science in Muslim societies where students are kept aloof from the topic of evolution. The reason why Darwinian Evolution is not taught to students or why students are made to believe that Darwinian Evolution is baseless is because of the misconception that Darwin Theory of Evolution contradicts Islam. Why such misconception arises? It arises due to the grave mistake of mixing science with religion. To this reason we have initially established that both science and religion belong to different spheres with each performing its role in accordance with its nature for the benefit of mankind. We in this article will also establish that there is no contradiction between Islam and Evolution (Darwinian). We will primarily rely on the arguments adduced by Doctor Rana Dajani in her lecture “ Islam and Evolution, is there a controversy?”(the lecture is available on Youtube and link is provided in the Reference section at the end of the article).

 

Understanding Darwinian Evolution

 

Darwin theory of evolution is the sum of following points.

  • All the species/organisms (existing and had existed) have one common ancestor.
  • Species change over time.
  • Earth and life are very old.
  • Natural selection is non random but it is not progressive and there is no higher or lower organism , each one is fit to its environment , natural selection adapts to the conditions that prevailed in the past not in future.

Was Darwin the only one to come up with Evolution?

 

The answer is No! What interesting and flabbergasting is the fact that it was a Muslim scientist who came up with the concept of Evolution six hundred years before Darwin but majority of the people are not cognizant of this fact.  Let us now introduce readers to the Darwin of 13th Century !

 

 Nasir ad-Din Tusi

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We will encourage readers to read the full article about Al-Tusi available here :

http://azer.com/aiweb/categories/magazine/92_folder/92_articles/92_tusi.html

 

At present we will only extract some excerpts from the article as those excerpts will suffice our need to substantiate our point.

 

Nasiraddin Tusi (also known as Nasir ad-Din Tusi) was born in 1201 in Tus, Khorasan, in what is now Iran. As a scientist and all-around genius, he is known for many things: founding an observatory in Maragha (the ancient cultural center situated in Maragha which is east of Tabriz in present-day Iran), interpreting and developing the mathematics of Euclid, predicting the existence of land west of the Atlantic Ocean as well as writing more than 80 influential books in Arabic and Persian about astronomy, geometry, geography, physics, law, history, medicine, philosophy, logic and ethics. Today he is highly revered and honored in Azerbaijan, and several education institutions are named after him, including the Tusi Pedagogical Institute in Baku.

What few people know, however, is that Tusi also developed a basic theory of evolution – more than 600 years before Charles Darwin.

This theory appears in Tusi’s popular work “Akhlag Nasiri” (Nasirean Ethics), a treatise on ethics in the Greek tradition built upon the 11th century “Tahdhib al-Akhlag of Ibn Miskawayh”, which Tusi drafted in prison while being held by the Assassins, a religious terrorist group. He later revised it for his Mongol master (the Mongolian occupation led to his release from prison). “Nasirean Ethics” was translated into English by G.M. Wickens and published by George Allen & Unwin in 1964.

“Akhlag Nasiri” is about the perfection of humans. Tusi divides this perfection into two parts – material and spiritual perfection. He uses the term “takamul”, which means “perfection” in Arabic. In modern Azeri, this same term now means “evolution”.

 

Other Scientists to come up with the concept Evolution

  • Al Jaheth
  • Ibn Miskawayh
  • Ikwan-as-Safa
  • Ibn Khaldun

Evidence To Support Evolution

1

With the advancement of biology and genetics we have evidence to prove that evolution is a fact. This evidence is actually inherent in the DNA that makes up all living organism. So for a simple organism such as bacteria to a complex organism like human, DNA is made from a single fundamental molecule  i.e. four nucleotides C,T,G,A . These sequences of nucleotides contain inside them all the information that is needed to create any organism that exist or has existed in the past. The evidence shows that all organisms in their extreme diversity have come from one origin. When we compare the similarity and sequence of a particular protein in different organisms for example we can take a protein like Cytochrome C  in human and compare it that to a primate or compare it into a mouse or even in bacteria we find that the similarity is very much  and there are certain areas that are very conserved along the species and hence it proves that we all originated from one simple origin and each line of organism developed according to the environment around it so that it can survive , the future generation can survive better in this new environment . Human beings are just another species among these different organisms that are , have existed or existing today so we cannot as a scientist exclude the humans from the nature of creation that God made and human beings are part of this creation , they are part of the process and are product of the evolution . We should be humbled to accept the single origin rather than being arrogant.

Quran  16:23

“Assuredly, Allah knows what they conceal and what they declare. Indeed, He does not like the arrogant.”

 

2

Now we will use deductive reasoning in order to prove that every organism must have originated from a single ancestor and there is no other possibility. Consider the following example of an organism say Cat.

conditionedreality

 

So the structure of Quarks is the smallest unit known and smaller unit say X is unknown. The point of this deductive reasoning is that there has to be a single common point from which all organisms have originated and there is no other possibility within the rational perimeter.

 

OBJECTION ONE

 If humans descended from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?”

 

OUR RESPONSE

This objections depicts height of ignorance. No where Darwin in “The Origin of the Species” has said that humans evolved from Monkeys. What the theme of Darwinian evolution is that each and every organism has a single ancestor. It means both organisms Monkey and Human have evolved from a single ancestor. It does not say that humans have evolved from monkeys or vice versa . The burden of proof lies on those who adduce this argument to show where Darwin has said that humans have evolved from monkeys. The entire argument of missing links is in shamble.

 

OBJECTION  TWO

“Concept of Evolution is tantamount to Godliness. It promotes and strengthens the argument of Atheists.”

 

OUR RESPONSE

This objection also has no solid basis. Evolution doesn’t deal with the existence of God rather it deals with the laws that are responsible for diversity in universe . Darwin nowhere in “ The Origin Of the species” has said that evolution is Godliness rather in some editions there is a passage at the end where Darwin said that evolution is caused by the Creator. At this instant we would also like to quote the viewpoint of Nasiruddin Al Tusi :

 

“ Tusi’s theory is based on philosophy and Islam. He believed that God created the world, and that after creation occurred, the world developed on its own, while God supervises and guides this process.”

 

So the burden of proof lies upon the opponents to demonstrate how evolution promotes Godliness it rather we firmly believe that it strengthens the arguments of those who believe in God.

 

CONCLUSION

1- Blend of religion and science will always be a harbinger of scientific obscurantism.

2- Evolution is no more a theory . It should now be acknowledged as fact!

 

REFERENCES

 

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