|Evolution in the Light of the Quran|
by Dr. Iqbal Ahmedv
Ever since man evolved into a conscious being, he had constantly wondered about his origin. In his intellectual childhood, the question was answered by biblical teachings. In the west, uptil 19th century, Christian theology formed the basis of Theory of Creationism which states:
(1) that the World is of short duration, at the most 5757 years old.
(2) that the World is fixed and not changing.
(3) that the created species are constant, and do not evolve into other species.
(4) that the Perfect world is explicable only by omnipotent and beneficent creator.
(5) that the creation of man was special and apart from other created things.
This was the view held in the west till 1859 when the modern theory of evolution was introduced by Charles Darwin, in his work, titled On The Origin Of Species. There are two basic points to this theory i.e. (a) evolution is taking place on earth (b) and it is driven by natural selection.
How did he arrive at these two components of evolution? is interesting to know. From 1835-36, Darwin went on a voyage in south Atlantic and Pacific, which provided ample opportunity for him, to observe various species on land. He was struck by variety within each specie at a particular geographical area. This gave him the idea of lack of fixity of species; rather species are changing into one another. Then he observed humans cross breeding various animals selectively to improve species. He understood that in environment, controlled by man, selection is provided my man; but who provides the selection process, in the natural environment of species?
In 1838, Darwin was influenced by the essay on the Principle of population, anonymously published by Malthus, in which he stated the poor’s law; Only those able to produce, deserve to survive, those who lived of rich and produced nothing, all assistance to them must stop. This gave Darwin the idea of selection of the fittest by Nature, or survival of the fittest. This evolutionary work shocked people, who so far knew only the Creationism. Darwin was joined by Ernest Heckle and T. H. Huxley, in his atheist theory and in declared that man must have evolved from ape like ancestor, thus putting man in the phyllogenetic tree of animal kingdom. This was the end of anthropocentrism of bible and rise of atheism in England. Prior to this Germany and France had already rejected religion. Later on Karl Marx also used Darwin’s work, to promote communism and Lenin created scientific museum on Darwinism, to completely eliminate Christianity from People’s life.
Further work by Paleontologists, Molecular Biologists and Geneticists lead us to believe that every aspect of Phenotype is controlled by Genotype. At the cellular level the genes control every metabolic activity. The biochemical basis of the gene is Deoxyribonucleic Acid, in short DNA, which is confined in the nucleus and convey its orders through messenger RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) to the site of protein synthesis. Hundreds of biochemical reaction are taking place simultaneously, in the cytoplasm promoted by hundreds of enzymes in the same cytoplasm, and the beauty of the system is that one metabolic reaction does not interfere with other, all under control of DNA. There is a perfect order maintained by DNA, which is just four amino acids chain, arranged in a special sequence. Scientists pondered for years, as to where did these four Amino Acids come from for the first time? In an attempt to answer this question, Dr. Miller in 1955 did an experiment in his lab. He took a mixture of methane, hydrogen, ammonia, steam and water, and passed the electric spark through this mixture and was able to demonstrate the formation of amino acids in the water. He postulates that in the primitive atmosphere of earth, these gases were present and when atmospheric gases were charged with thunderbolt, basic amino acids were produced in water, which by chance got arranged in sequence of DNA and 1st genetic code was born, and life started in the form of unicellular structure. Over billions of years, the unicellular structure changed into multi-cellular structures, plant kingdom, then animal kingdom evolved into invertebrates, vertebrates, insects, fishes, reptiles, birds, mammals and finally man.
As you can see, there are some serious flaws and gaps, in this theory of evolution. First of all no body for sure knows if those gases were present in the atmosphere. Secondly, how could mere chance and accident, initiate such intricate, complex, sophisticated process of life, with perfect order in function and structure of the cell? Nay it can not be, in the words of Maurice Bucaille, “It tantamount to saying that the spontaneously forming steel particles from Iron ore and coal at high temperature, could have lead to the construction of Eiffel Tower, through a series of happy coincidences, that assembled the material in proper order.” Further, no body has ever demonstrated the conversion of one species into the other; and what is the proof that man is the descendant of big apes? It is purely a conjecture and theorization based on anatomical and physiological similarities between species. This is purely an attempt to humanize the animals and animalize the humans. Look at the order of evolution, first plants, why? Because every living being consumes Oxygen and releases CO2 and plants do the opposite, therefore Allah, according to His plan, first made arrangement for O2 by creating plant kingdom first.
Transformation of Man:
According to Science Mankind has undergone four transformation as listed below.
- Australopithecus: These are the earliest ancestors who resembles today’s human beings, 1.5 meter in size, smaller than today’s average man. Cranial capacity is about 500 cubic centimeters, capable of thought and using tolls designed by himself, the quality that is not seen in apes. Time wise about 3.5 million years ago. Subsequently replaced by;
- Pithecanthropines: This is the second wave of hominids, estimated to have lived about 500,000 years ago, survived for about 350,000 years. Their size had grown between 1.58 cm to 1.78 meter. Cranial capacity had grown to 900 Cu. Cm. And intellectual power had grown, invention, creation, and reasoning have developed. Again replaced by;
- Neanderthals (Paleanthropians): is third wave of hominids appeared about 100,000 years ago and lived for 60,000 years. They were medium sized, perfectly bipedal, low forehead, rudimentary chin, cranial capacity reached 1300 cc. Lived in caves. They used to bury their dead with horns antlers and tools indicating some spirituality, replaced by;
- Homo Sapiens: is today’s man; started about 40,000 years ago. Height increased to 1.80 cms, cranial capacity reached 1350 cc, skull became more spherical, ridge above the orbits disappeared, psychic activity much superior than predecessor.
These are the four stages of human evolutions, where one group of people were replaced by subsequent group with progressive increase in the size of brain and increase in the intellectual capacity. The size of the brain of man 40, 000 year ago was as large as it is today, while mankind was primitive and did not even need that sized brain. Think about, why? Robert Ornstein raises this question in his book “Evolution of consciousness”. There is some purpose behind it, it is not created in vain. Why do we have a highly evolved visual system? Why creator gave us sophisticated hearing mechanism? Does nature have a future plan for us?
Quran and Evolution:
Origin of Life:
Science tells us now that the life on earth originated from water. Even today while we are exploring the galaxies and actively searching for life on other planets, the 1st question we ask; is there any water on that planet to sustain life, because without water life is impossible. Quran 1400 years ago, before the discovery of science, said the same thing in 21/30:
“Do not the unbeliever see that the heaven and the earth were joined together, then we set them asunder and we got every living thing out of water. Will they then not believe?”
First living thing was algae in plant kingdom then animal kingdom started. Quran makes reference to plant kingdom in verse 20/53
“(God is the one who) sent down the water from the sky and thereby brought forth pairs of plants, each separate from the other.”
The Aya also points out the sexual reproduction in plant kingdom, much before science discovered it. In 13/3 male and female fruit plants are described.
Similarly reference is made to the water origin of animals in verse 24/45.
“(God) created every animal from water.”
The mythology of creationism, about the origin of life, that circulated at the time of revelation of Quran, is not mentioned in Quran.
Creation of Man:
You just read Aya, that every living thing came out of water as a matter of fact 60% of human’s body is water. There are number of verses in Quran that refer to the earthly origin of man, which the Science found later. Let us go through verses.
“He caused you to
grow from earth” 11/61
“He caused you to grow from earth” 11/61
“We fashioned you
from soil.” 22/5
“We fashioned you from soil.” 22/5
“God is the one who fashioned you from clay.” 6/2
“God began the creation of
man from clay.” 32/7
“We fashioned them from sticky clay.” 37/11
“(God) fashioned man from a clay, like pottery.” 55/14
“We fashioned man
from the quintessence of clay” 23/12
“We fashioned man from the quintessence of clay” 23/12
Quintessence means gist or extract of some thing. All the chemical components of human body can also be found in earth as well, that is what the aya implies. So, long before the science discovered earthly origin of man, Quran said it before.
Transformation of Man:
We have seen four waves of humans, transformed over a period of time, accepted in Science. Is there any thing in Quran about these transformations. Following verses refer to that:
“We created you and thereupon We gave you from; thereupon We told the angles; bow down to Adam” 7/11
“God is the one who created you, then fashioned you harmoniously and in due proportion; into whatsoever from He willed.” 82/7-8
“We fashioned man according to the best organizational plan” 95/4
The word taqwiym means to organize something in planned way, implying therefore an order of progress that has been strictly defined in advance. Evolutionists use exactly the same expression while describing the transformation of man in evolution. Further evidence of transformation comes from 71/14
“(God) fashioned you in stages or phases”
Verse 76/28, Allah refers to men as a group, and how groups of people were replaced.
“Verily, We created them and strengthened them, and when we willed, We replaced them completely by people who were not of the same kind.”
Same thing is repeated in verse 6/133, about the groups of men.
“If (God) wills He destroys you and in your place appoints whom He wills, as your successor, just as He brought your forth, from the descendants of other people.”
These two aya talk about the disappearance of certain comminutes and their replacement with others, according to the plan of Allah. Today’s human could very well be the result of these phenomena and events.
Have you ever wondered why so many verses are in Quran about origin of life in general and man is particular, while it is not even a book of Science? The reason for that is, the Quran had condemned the existing wrong opinion, at the time of its revelation, and then dictates the right opinion. Bible also had the description of origin of life and man, which is not only rejected by Science but also rejected by the second Vatican council in 1960s:
“Saying that there are many things in bible which are proved wrong by the Science”
I will end this paper with the statement, that Quran is the word of God and creation around us, is the work of God. If the source of both is same, then there can not be any discrepancy in the two, one has to confirm the other. One is theory and other is the practical, therefore nothing in Science is against Quran. As we have seen today science actually confirms what Quran had already said. Scientists are only discovering the laws of the creator, because everything in nature is caused, by secondary causes, regulated by the primary cause, the creator. To serve best his creator, man must study His (Allah’s) laws and their working. It is regretable that the task that was asigned to the Muslims that is being done by non Muslims, why Muslims are not on the fore-front, while they have the guidance of Quran in their hand. Earlier Muslims made scientific discoveries, as a matter of fact they are the pioneers of today’s Science. Karen Armstrong, the author of “Holy War”, says, “This fact has never been acknowledged in the west that all the scientific and technological development that we have today, we owe it to the Arabs and Muslims”. Therefore let the Muslim youth today, persevere to regain the lost position, and work for the betterment of mankind, which is the greatest Ibadat.