Thursday, 13 December 2012

Evolution and Islam - They go hand in hand

Assalam alikom,

First of all, please bear in mind that Islam encourages healthy debate and difference of opinion on various subjects. So please refrain from insulting me or calling me a kafir (disbeliever) for having a different opinion to yours.

I do not understand how a lot of people can fully disregard the theory of evolution without even having proper knowledge of it. There is a clear link between all organisms. I think it's foolish to ignore all the evidence in front of our eyes.

Read on and I will show you how Islam and Evolution are compatible.


Allah tells us to learn and observe how the world works through empirical means:
"Travel through the land and observe how He began creation." (Qur'an 29:20)
Ibn Al-Qayyem, a Qur'an commentator and a Scientist, analyses this verse:

"The universe with all that it contains of signs, indications and evidence, God created none of it as deception, nor constituted anything in its midst frivolously."

If the world around us were such that its observation and study led to falsehood and error in matters of religious relevance, then the messenger of God; Muhammad (PBUH), would warn us against seeking such empirical knowledge and he would definitely not have indicated it as means for believers to strengthen their faiths.

I will begin by saying that Evolution does NOT state that humans evolved from apes. This is a common misconception held by many people. The theory states that apes and humans have a common ancestor in the tree of life. Humans are on a completely separate branch.

From what I have read, Islam is neutral to Evolution. The scriptures neither condemn it, nor condone it. So we must rely on scientific knowledge to educate ourselves; the Qur'an instructs us to do so.

What do we know already?

The Qur'an describes Adam as the forefather of humankind. Adam & Eve were created directly by Allah and directly put on Earth. Hence, they are described in the Qur'an as "special", which could signify that they were more advanced in physiology, psychology and anatomy.


The mutation of a gene that will benefit a species will cause that species to increase in number, and pass on its 'beneficial' genes - this is natural selection, and over millions of years this is the process of Evolution. The concept of a species changing to adapt to its environment is perfectly logical and does not contradict with Islamic belief.

The Death of Weak Individuals

In his book, Harun Yahya, seems to have a problem with extinction and thinks this process is 'immoral', but it's a natural process in life; Allah says:
"We have decreed Death to be your common lot... from changing your forms and creating you (again) in (forms) that you know not." (Qur'an 56:60-1) 
Since when does nature justify people's actions? Harun Yahya's views in this regard are ridiculous, death is very normal. It is natural for weak animals/people to die and for a stronger species to thrive as much as it is natural for a volcano to erupt, where is the problem? (I'm still studying this verse, however all I see in the tafsir (commentary) books is that it means transformation in the after life for a group of people, or it could be hinting at evolution? I'm open to suggestions/corrections). Evolution is not immoral! I respect Harun Yahya's work, but I don't agree with his anti-Evolution arguments.


This is the process of classifying species into groups. Genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used to classify living things. In this "classification tree." As a species begins to have similar characteristics to another species, they are grouped into the same category.

We are Homo-Sapiens

Homo is the Genus that includes modern human beings (Homo-Sapiens) and other species that were genetically related to them. (If you don't understand then just wikipedia it, but it's not essential information here).

It is perfectly acceptable for Muslims to believe that the theory of evolution applies to other various species of the Genus Homo, but not necessarily to Homo-Sapiens. This does not contradict the belief of the direct creation of the Homo-Sapiens Adam & Eve, by Allah.

Species in this category include Homo-Erectus, and Homo-Neanderthalis etc. These species were less advanced than Homo-Sapiens. For example, they were less intelligent and less creative, they couldn't talk like we can, they were not able to cope in a variety of climates like we can, etc. So these Homo genus became extinct. Therefore, it is acceptable for a Muslim to agree that the other Homo Species (pay attention this says, species not sapiens) are the ones that evolved, and had common ancestors to apes. However, we, the Homo-Sapiens, are the ones who were created by "the hands of Allah," and we are still here.

Did All the Homo Species Mingle Together?

The figure below is a hypothetical tree of evolution of the Hominid species which I drew in paint to give a general idea of what I'm explaining, this is based on Islamic beliefs.

As you can see, Adam & Eve are not linked to the tree, that's because they were directly created by Allah and put on Earth in the midst of other creatures that were already present on Earth, so Adam and Eve didn't evolve. The unnamed branches are other less well-known homo species (pay attention this says, species not sapiens). We do not know when Adam and Eve were put on Earth, but we do know that animals, plants and other living things had been there before them, according to the Qur'an. So we can assume that evolution had taken its course through the millions of years before Adam and Eve were put on Earth. Therefore, Evolution resulted in the creation of more complex and intelligent species (Homo species) that lived on earth before and during Adam and Eve's existence.
This also raises the question; did Adam's children marry each other, or did they reproduce with other HOMO species that were already present on Earth? 

There are quite a few assumptions that we can make using scientific evidence that can still comply with Islamic scriptures. Here are some possibilities:

As you can see there's quite a variation here, many theories exist on whether Homo-Neaderthalis evolved from Homo-Sapiens or not (figure A). Or whether Homo-Neaderthalis existed at the same time as Homo-Sapeins (firgure B). Or whether Homo-Erectus and Homo-Neaderthalis and Homo-Sapiens all existed at the same time (firgure C), the theories are endless... Nevertheless, all the other Genus Homo died out after the arrival of Homo-Sapiens.

This is pure speculation and there is no empirical evidence to directly prove this happened, however it does provide an alternative to how evolution and the Islamic idea of creation could be related.

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