Darwinism in the eye of the mind

I have received many requests for writing something about Darwinism since starting Sunnianswers. I never felt I should need to do that, because it should not be that difficult. I always felt no threat from a theory that is so weak that, in my view, it can be ignored from the outset. I did feel, however, that a lot of what is written, from occasional browsing on the internet, misses the point. This is not strange, perhaps, because most of what is there is written by anthropomorphists, that is, the so called creationists, and they cannot go to a level where they will be shooting themselves in the foot. It is just one kaafir arguing with another kaafir about what kind of kufr they should be doing.

The following is a brief synopsis of why Darwinism does not deserve a Muslim’s second look. It is not the usual yada yada about bones in strange places in Africa and who it belonged to, or when, or if when. It is about the approach to evidences and how to get to the truth. It is not new either, it is just the answer that the scholars of Islam would have answered, the Sunnis, if they were still around in significant numbers.

Subĥaana Aļļaah, the closest I have seen to what I am about to do was the last Mufti of the Ottoman empire, Sħaykħ Al-Islam, Muşţafaa Şabriyy. A brilliant scholar, as he had to be to get to where he was, he saw through Muhammad Abduh, and the wahabi movements, and their attacks on kalaam science. They were nothing but, knowingly or unknowingly, servants of imperialist interests. They were there to crush the fortresses of Islam: the Asħˆariyy/ Maaturiidiyy school, and the four schools of Islamic Law that kept Sunnism on top, and the Muslims gathered. A very well studied plan based on decades of orientalist studies for the age old strategy of split and rule. Reason was replaced by idiotic anthropomorphism, literalism and nationalism. This is why we have today all sects raising their banners, and an enormous mess on our hands, not to mention ignorance about basics of Islam itself in Muslim communities, but this is what Aļļaah has willed. This is all, as they say, history, and every man is responsible for himself alone in the end. No use crying over spilled milk.

To begin with I want to make it abundantly clear that the idea of one species developing into another is not problematic in Islam. This has nothing to do with religion. There is only one point that is problematic: the idea that human kind descends from other species, in the Darwinist case, from apes. This is the only issue I am addressing. I don’t care what they said about other species. I will also not raise the issue of atheism in this article, in order to keep things focused.

Empiricism

Empiricism, the idea that one learns general principles, or universals, from scrupulous study of particulars, is a brilliant idea. It is so brilliant and so simple, that one wonders, why did I not think of that, or rather, why did it take so long for anyone to realize its power. There had been scholarship and philosophy and medicine for centuries, and it is not like they had no idea about it. In medicine they did use case studies and they were systematic, but they just did not develop and stick to the methodology in a highly systematic manner.

Then comes Francis Bacon (1561–1626), who was one of the leading figures to develop the philosophy of modern scientific methodology. Bacon gives preference to Democritus’ natural philosophy in contrast to the scholastic. He attacks Aristotle’s treatment of the syllogism[1] and says that there is “no finding without proof and no proof without finding.” This is modern science, and it is exactly what the Sunni scholars meant by their term “ordinary judgment.” That is, “ordinary judgment” is achieved by studying the relations between things in nature, and judging according to repetition, the relation assumed.

Bacon speaks of four idols that are productions of the human imagination that are nothing more than “untested generalities” (Malherbe, 1996, 80). The tribal are imaginary concepts about different perceived phenomena, such as the stars. Those of the cave are doctrines cherished without proof. Those of the market place are errors in communication due to lack of attention to the true meaning of those words, such as a word like “proof.” Those of the theater are those of dogmatic ideas and methodology defended by leaders and scholars and accepted without question.

Regarding his position on cosmology, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says:

In De Principiis atque Originibus,…. (Bacon says:) “the force implanted by God in these first particles (i.e. the smallest), form the multiplication thereof of all the variety of things proceeds and is made up” (Bacon, V [1889], 463). Similarly, in De Sapientia Veterum he attributes to this force (implanted by God in the atom as) an “appetite or instinct of primal matter; or to speak more plainly, the natural motion of the atom; which is indeed the original and unique force that constitutes and fashions all things out of matter” (Bacon, VI [1890], 729).[2]

Here Bacon loses his grip and accepts as an axiom what is just another of his idols. He makes this mistake, because he does not know the difference between necessary existence, possible existence and the impossible. It is strange that after 400 years the Darwinists are still making this very same mistake. This mistake was rejected by the Muslims, because they understood the difference between these three rational judgments. It is worthy of note that it was their religion that made the Muslims more open minded than these worldly philosophers of science.

Bacon fell in his own trap so to speak and worshiped the Idols of his own “Cave” by cherishing this doctrine, without possessing any evidence of its truth. Yet this mistake has no practical worldly consequence, and perhaps this is why he did not pay attention to it. For him it was perhaps like an overall working hypothesis. Wa laa quwwata illaa billaah.

Evidence in empiricism

Evidence is of different kinds. It can be of the kind that provides certain knowledge, such as the evidence that the world must have beginning and therefore a Creator. At the next level we have those that provide likelihood to the extent that you have no doubt, such as a famous ĥadiitħ that is widely known and accepted throughout history by the scholars, that has no anomalies in meaning or chain of narration. In science one deals, at the very best of times, at this level. That is why Hawkins states in his book “A brief History of Time”:

Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis: you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory. As philosopher of science Karl Popper has emphasized, a good theory is characterized by the fact that it makes a number of predictions that could in principle be disproved or falsified by observation. Each time new experiments are observed to agree with the predictions the theory survives, and our confidence in it is increased; but if ever a new observation is found to disagree, we have to abandon or modify the theory. At least that is what is supposed to happen, but you can always question the competence of the person who carried out the observation. In practice, what often happens is that a new theory is devised that is really an extension of the previous theory. For example, very accurate observations of the planet Mercury revealed a small difference between its motion and the predictions of Newton’s theory of gravity. Einstein’s general theory of relativity predicted a slightly different motion from Newton’s theory. The fact that Einstein’s predictions matched what was seen, while Newton’s did not, was one of the crucial confirmations of the new theory. However, we still use Newton’s theory for all practical purposes because the difference between its predictions and those of general relativity is very small in the situations that we normally deal with. (Stephen Hawking, 1988, P. 8)

In general, the harder the science, the stronger the proofs can be, and the hardest of all is physics, followed by chemistry. At the other end of the bargain, we have areas of study that are merely trying to be sciences, in my opinion, such as economics.

These proofs study causal relations and the propositions they prove are causal, such as, “the heavier the object, the harder it falls.” The reason why the proofs are best in physics, is the fact that it is easier to repeat experiments in an identical and controlled manner to test a theory in physics. So by dropping objects of different weights over and over, we can verify that indeed, “the heavier it is, the harder it falls,” to the point at which we no longer doubt what to expect about the hardness of the fall of a particular object.

The weakness that is always present, however, is that this methodology, the methodology of the experimental sciences, is essentially fallacious. Why? Because it assumes that the future will be like the past, or the other item of a group of similar things will necessarily behave in the same manner. There are a lot of maybes left in that, such as, maybe we are missing something, maybe what we are observing is affected by something we are not observing, how can we assume that objects will behave according to the same rules tomorrow? …. and so on.

This problem is less in physics, because the objects studied are highly specified and isolated. In economics, on the other hand, it is hard to be specific or isolate anything at all, and one underlying factor is the notorious unpredictability of human behavior. Another not-so-scientific science is psychology, where one tries to study human behavior, but the results are meager, as any reasonable psychologist will admit – despite the efforts of B.F. Skinner. A human is far too complex to be observed in a satisfactory manner. For example, the human mind itself is completely unobservable, and yet it is a major factor of our behavior, perhaps the most important. Any experiment will lack in observability, isolatability and repeatability for testing a theory. Not the least because humans differ so much from person to person, to the extent that they react very differently even to chemicals they consume as medicine, let alone their social and natural environment. If it is something we can know, it is probably pointless, such as: fire on hand → ouch.

Proof and evidence in Islaam

Certitude: The proofs of pure rational judgment

Let us take a more complete look at what evidence is. We mentioned earlier that proofs provide different levels of certainty. The Islamic scholars already observed this long ago. As-Sanuusiyy said: “Know that the judgments of the intellect are limited to 3 categories:

1. what absolutely must be true,

2. what absolutely cannot be true, and

3. what may be true.}”

That is, if we propose something to be true, then our minds will judge that this is either absolutely necessary, absolutely impossible, or possibly true. For example, if someone said, “ˆUmar exists,” a listener would immediately consider this proposition as possible, without knowing more about this ˆUmar.

The judgment of the mind may be immediately obvious, or it may require some thinking. Note that these categories refer to purely intellectual judgments, regardless of any physical evidences or other information. These intellectual judgments are not the only sources of certitude of knowledge. There are two other related ways.

Certitude: The proofs of sensory observation and true information

First, we may gain certainty of knowledge through sound sensory organs by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or touching. For example, we become certain of our own existence and that of our families through our senses. In the case of the proposition “ˆUmar exists,” if we see this ˆUmar, he will be sure that indeed, ˆUmar exists.

Second, we may gain certitude about a fact by hearing about something from other people in a way that precludes the possibility of a mistake. For example, we are certain about the historical occurrence of World War II and the existence of Hitler, because we have received consistent information from masses of people about these facts. The way we received this information eliminates the possibility that they could all be mistaken, or have conspired to lie.

In short, the causes of certain knowledge for creations are three: sound senses, true information and the mind.

Likelihood: Normal possibility, impossibility and necessity

Now, science does not deal with certainties. It deals with what could possibly be true. Scientists do not care about whether ˆUmar exists. They are not interested in merely observing something obvious with their senses, which’s denial would be madness. They are interested in knowing what is not obvious. Perception is one thing, the conception of it is another, then the understanding of how it relates to other perceived and conventionalized phenomena is again quite another. For this reason, they study how different things correlate with one another, such as heaviness and hardness of fall.

If the correlation is 100% in many experiments, then we have the best scientific proof we could ever hope for, and yet, as Hawkins said, “No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory.” This is the meaning of likelihood.

The scholars of Islam, such as Al-Bayđaawiyy[3] (died 685 AH/ 1286 AD), recognized the weakness of correlation as a proof, and said:

“والدوران ضعيف” “correlation is weak (as a proof)[4].”

The reason is, as mentioned above, it is essentially fallacious as an argument, and therefore useless in belief related issues. Correlation then, is only used for practical matters from an Islamic viewpoint. For example, if the Prophet was observed doing or saying something in several similar situations, we would consider this as evidence for what we should do, but it is not a matter of belief.

Correlation can tell us something about likelihood, such as the likelihood of something heavier will fall harder than something lighter. The likelihood is a function of the correlation found in the causal relation studied, of the observability of the phenomena studied, and the isolatability and controllability of the phenomena under study from potentially influencing variables not being observed or measured. On top of that we need to be able to repeat identical experiments to verify further, and have a conviction that it is reasonable to look at the correlation being driven by a causal relation, and not something else. This involves subjective judgment of the scientist, and we will not get into the notion of “cause” in this article in any significant detail. In fact, observability, isolatability, controllability and repeatability all involve subjective judgment.

The strongest scientific proofs would be those that show normal impossibility, or normal necessity. Between those we have proofs for theories that make them range between likely true, maybe true, and not likely true. Pigs flying would be normally impossible, because it contradicts with the norms of gravity and aerodynamics. Likewise, fire normally necessitates heat. However, they are not impossible or necessary in the mind’s eye, because there is no logical contradiction in the idea of pigs flying or fire not giving heat. We just don’t expect anything else, because this is always, time and time again the norm. That is why Hawkins said what he said. As-Sanuusiyy (died 895 AH/1490 AD) stated with regard to what is normally necessary or normally impossible:

حقيقة الحكم العادي: هو إثبات الربط بين أمر وأمر، وجوداً وعدماً، بواسطة التكرر، مع صحة التخلف، وعدم تأثير أحدهما في الأمر ألبته[5].

“The meaning of ordinary judgment (as opposed the judgment of the mind’s eye alone): is to affirm true a link between something and something else in terms of existence and non-existence (such as if this then that, or if this then not that, and vice versa, e.g. if the weight is heavier then if falls harder) by means of repetition, with the remaining cognitive possibility of anomaly (i.e. deviance from that normal link), and without one of them affecting the other in actual reality.”[6]

His last statement, “without one of them affecting the other in actual reality” is a reference to the Muslim belief that nothing occurs other than by having been specified and created by Aļļaah. Arguably this statement does not need to be part of the definition, since it already said, “with the possibility of anomaly,” but As-Sanuusiyy mentioned it to protect people from misunderstanding him. This judgment differs from that of the mind in that it involves judgments on objects we observe, and from religious judgment, which involves those concerning prohibitions, obligations and the like, based on religious texts narrated to us.

Darwinist ape to human proposition in light of the judgment of the mind’s eye

Now, the science part of the theory of Darwinists that Islam has a problem with is their idea that Adam was a descendent from apes. Let us first take a look at how this idea fits into the judgment of the mind. Clearly, one cannot say it is impossible in the mind’s eye alone, the way 2+2=5 is impossible. One cannot say either that it must be true, and that there is no other alternative in the mind’s eye, like 2+2=4. Rather, without looking at religious evidences, one cannot but admit other than that it is rationally possible that humans descended from apes, that descended again from other species, and so on.

Darwinist ape to human proposition in light of the judgment of what is normal

We are dealing then, with a proposition that is possible, and is neither a necessity, nor an impossibility in the mind’s eye. This is verified by the fact that Aļļaah created monkeys out of some humans, which tells us that He certainly has the power to create humans from monkeys as well:

وَجَعَلَ مِنْهُمُ الْقِرَدَةَ وَالْخَنَازِيرَ [المائدة : 60]

Meaning: “and He made from them (a cursed group of people) apes and pigs.”

Again, this possibility is only without considering religious evidences. Indeed, the religious sources tell us that mankind was not created from apes, as we shall show later in this article.

Now, we have stated earlier that there are two other ways than pure reason to provide certainty of something being true or not. The first is sensory observation. The second is mass narration. Darwinists do not have sensory observation for how humans descended in history, nor do they have a mass narration from observers.

This means that they do not have, nor will they ever have proof for the theory that provides certainty of knowledge for their theory being true.

What they are left with is scientific proof. We have already observed that such proof is strongest in the hardest sciences, which achieve a high level of correlation, observability, isolatability, controllability and repeatability. The best of these proofs tell us that something is normally necessary, such as Gravity on Earth, or normally impossible, such as flying pigs. Yet, as we have repeatedly stated, the best of such proofs do no more than provide a high level of likelihood, and this is when there is extremely high correlation, and there was extremely high observability (i.e measurability), isolatability, controllability and repeatability, to bring reliable and valid results.

There is no hope for proving the ape proposition from a scientific viewpoint

Even at this level, in the ability to provide this sort of high quality scientific evidence, the Darwinist monkey hypothesis fails miserably. They always will. Why? Because if we were to use our imagination, then the best evidence they could ever hope to provide it to have a monkey give birth to a human in a lab.

I do not think anyone believes this will ever happen, but IF they did, they would have themselves a field day and probably consider it case closed. The problem, however, that this high-imagination lab result does not in fact prove their theory. Namely, that humans actually and historically descended from apes. Why? Because all it would show is that a human could possibly, according to the norms of the universe, or as they say: “scientific law,” descend from a monkey, not that human kind, as is, actually descended from apes. This is a matter of what actually happened in history, not what could have happened in history, and we already knew about this possibility in the mind’s eye already, so what would we have gained?

In short, the Darwinist theory is impossible to actually prove scientifically in the sense that medicine and engineering related sciences prove their theories.

Now, Darwinists are far away from even showing a possibility in light of the norms of the universe – how things normally correlate. The evidences they provide are circumstantial findings of dated ape and human bones, and we have all watched enough court case movies to know what the status of circumstantial evidence is as a proof: it does not even remove reasonable doubt. That is why there are still scientists around that do not buy into it. It is more a matter of group psychological dynamics and fashion that makes people buy into it than anything else. Scientific theories are in fashion, and religious explanations are out, driven by the remarkable success of science in engineering and medicine. Due to its success, everybody wants to be called a scientist, even economists and psychologists. Few are willing to sit back and take a hard look at what is a proof, what does it tell us and what makes science successful and why, and what are the requirements?

The problem is of course, that the success of science in technology is the success of experimental science, not of everything called science. So by merely being labeled a science, or scientific, does not mean it should be looked at with the level of respect that we have for physics and chemistry, or biochemistry. Darwinists are an example of even historians making a claim to the title of “scientist”, in an attempt to be associated with the modern understanding of the word – namely that of experimental science. That just does not work at all. I am being kind when I say that.

A look at the evidences that Darwinists show will lack severely in terms of high observability (i.e measurability), isolatability, controllability and repeatability. E.g. you will find sample size=1, repeatability=0, controllability =0, repeatability = 0.

An Islamic look at the ape proposition

So why do we as Muslims reject the possibility of Darwinists being right about humans descending from apes? The proof is complex, and comes back to proving correct the Muslim belief in Aļļaah, the belief in prophethood, the prophethood of Muĥammad (صل الله عليه وسلم) in particular, and the belief in the Qur’aan as an unperverted and revealed book[7], and that it is impossible that Aļļaah should lie, i.e. what He tells us must be true[8]. Why? Because our rejection of this part of Darwinism is based on the Quranic rejection, and the Qur’aan must be shown as a source of true information. As mentioned earlier, one of the sources of certain knowledge is true information, so we need to verify the Qur’aan as a source of true information, and that depends on all these premises. This, however, is beyond the scope of this article, but there are references in footnote 7 and 8 for those interested..

With regard to the Quranic rejection of the monkey theory, Aļļaah said:

فَإِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ نُطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ عَلَقَةٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ مُضْغَةٍ [الحج : 5]

Meaning: “For verily I created you (O Humans) from soil, then from a drop (of semen), then a blodcloth, then a lump of flesh.” This tells us that human kind is created from soil. Further to this, Aļļaah also said:

إِنَّ مَثَلَ عِيسَى عِنْدَ اللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ آدَمَ خَلَقَهُ مِنْ تُرَابٍ [آل عمران : 59]

Meaning: “Verily the case of Jesus, to Aļļaah, is like that of Adam. He created him from soil.” This further verifies that humans are from soil, not apes, because Adam is the first human and the father of mankind, and it is stated that he was created from soil, not an ape. Aļļaah also said, removing all chances for any figurative interpretation:

إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاهُمْ مِنْ طِينٍ لَازِبٍ [الصافات : 11]

Meaning: “Verily I created you from firm[9] clay.”[10] Clearly, no one can reasonably claim that what is meant by firm clay is a monkey.

Further to this, as mentioned earlier, Aļļaah did make some humans into monkeys after their transgression against His orders:

وَجَعَلَ مِنْهُمُ الْقِرَدَةَ وَالْخَنَازِيرَ [المائدة : 60]

Meaning: “and He made from them (a cursed group of people) apes and pigs.”

Being related to pigs and monkeys then, is a curse and a humiliation. This also tells us that Adam is not a descendant of an ape, because Aļļaah said:

وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ وَحَمَلْنَاهُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَرَزَقْنَاهُمْ مِنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَفَضَّلْنَاهُمْ عَلَى كَثِيرٍ مِمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِيلًا [الإسراء : 70]

Meaning: “I have honored the sons of Adam (i.e human kind); provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favors above a great part of creation.”

Then we have the ĥadiitħ of the Prophet, narrated by Abuu Dawuud and At-Tirmidħiyy:

الناس كلُّهم بنو آدَمَ، وآدمُ خُلِقَ من تراب[11]

“All people are the children of Adam, and Adam was created from soil.”[12]

The Islamic textual sources are verily clear on the origin of humans then, and that it is not apes, and this proof is much, much stronger than the circumstantial evidences claimed by Darwinists to show otherwise.


[1]An argument the conclusion of which is supported by two premises, of which one (major premise) contains the term (major term) that is the predicate of the conclusion, and the other (minor premise) contains the term (minor term) that is the subject of the conclusion; common to both premises is a term (middle term) that is excluded from the conclusion. A typical form is “All A is C; all B is A; therefore all B is C.” (Random House, Inc. 2009.)

[2]“Francis Bacon (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy),” http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/francis-bacon/.

[3]Az-Zirikliyy, Al-‘Aˆlaam (2002) (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar El-Ilm Lil-Malayeen, 1423), 4/110.

[4]ˆAliyy ibn ˆAbdulKaafii As-Subkiyy (1404 AH/ 1355 AD), Al-Ibhaaj Fii Sħarĥi-l-Minhaaj (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Kotob Al-ilmiyah, 1404), 1/146.

[5]قال السنوسيّ :حقيقة الحكم العادي: هو إثبات الربط بين أمر وأمر، وجوداً وعدماً، بواسطة التكرر، مع صحة التخلف، وعدم تأثير أحدهما في الأمر ألبته.( شرح المقدمات للسنوسيّ, مكتبة المعارف, 2009, ص. 68)

[6]Muĥammad ibn Yuusuf As-Sanuusiyy (896 AH), Sħarĥu-l-Muqaddimaat, 1st ed. (Maktabatu-l-Maˆaarif, 1420), 68.

[7]See “Foundations of the Religion” for this discussion at https://sunnianswers.wordpress.com/2008/05/19/the-foundations-of-the-religion/ or https://sunnianswers.wordpress.com/2009/08/02/foundations-of-the-religion-pdf/ and https://sunnianswers.wordpress.com/2008/05/24/is-there-a-flaw-in-the-proof-for-the-existence-of-Allah/

[8]See https://sunnianswers.wordpress.com/2008/07/15/refuting-the-accusation-that-asharis-consider-it-rationally-possible-for-allah-to-lie/ and https://sunnianswers.wordpress.com/2008/07/19/it-is-intrinsically-impossible-that-allaah-has-obligations-and-it-is-intrinsically-impossible-that-he-could-lie/ and https://sunnianswers.wordpress.com/2008/07/19/it-is-intrinsically-impossible-that-allaah-has-obligations-and-it-is-intrinsically-impossible-that-he-could-lie/

[9]مفردات ألفاظ القرآن ـ نسخة محققة – (2 / 337): اللازب: الثابت الشديد الثبوت. قال تعالى: {من طين لازب} [الصافات/ 11]

[10]Ar-Raagħib Al-‘Aşfahaaniyy, Mufradaatu-l-Qur’aan (Damascus, Syria: Daar Al-Qalam), 2/337.

[11]جامع الأصول – دار الفكر الخ – (10 / 617): 8215 – ( ت د ) أبو هريرة – رضي الله عنه – : أنَّ رسولَ الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قال : «لَيَنْتَهِيَنَّ أقّوَام يفتخرون بآبائهم الذين ماتوا ، إنما هم فَحْمُ جهنم ، أو لَيَكُونُنَّ أَهّوَنَ على الله من الجِعْلان الذي يُدَهِدِهُ الخراءَ بأنفه ، إن الله تعالى قد أذَهب عنكم عُبيَّةَ الجاهلية ، وفخرها بالآباء ، إنما هُوَ مؤمِن تقي ، أو فاجِر شقي ، الناس كلُّهم بنو آدَمَ، وآدمُ خُلِقَ من تراب». أخرجه الترمذي ، وهو آخر حديث في كتابه ، وأخرجه أيضا مختصرا : أنَّ رسولَ الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قال : «قد أذهب الله عنكم عُبيَّةَ الجاهلية ، وفخرها بالآباء ، مؤمن تقي وفاجر شقي الناس بنو آدمَ ، وآدمُ خُلِقَ من تراب».-[618]- وفي رواية أبي داود : «إنَّ الله قد أذهب عنكم عُبيَّةَ الجاهلية»… وذكر الرواية الأولى إلى قوله : «من تراب» ثم قال : «ليَدَعنَّ رجال فَخّرهم بأقوام»… وذكره ، وقال في آخره : «من الجعلان التي تدفع بأنفها النَّتَنَ».

[12]Ibn ‘Atħiir (606 AH), Jaamiˆi-l-‘Uşuul, ed. ˆAbdulQaadir Al-Arna’uuţ (Vol. 1-11) and Basħiir ˆUyuun (Vol. 12), 1st ed. (Beirut, Lebanon: Daar Al-Fikr, Maktabah Al-Hulawaaniyy, Maţbaˆah Al-Mallaaĥ, Maktabah Daar Al-Bayaan, 1969), 10/617.

47 Responses to Darwinism in the eye of the mind

  1. faqir says:

    A little girl asked her mother, “How did the human race appear?” The mother answered, “God made Adam and Eve and they had children, and so was all mankind made.”

    Two days later the girl asked her father the same question.. The father answered, “Many years ago there were monkeys from which the human race evolved.”

    The confused girl returned to her mother and said, “Mom, how is it possible that you told me the human race was created by God, and Dad said they developed from monkeys?”

    The mother answered, “Well, dear, it is very simple. I told you about my side of the family and your father told you about his.”

  2. 'Abd ul-Ghafûr says:

    As-salamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatuLlah,

    For a couple of days now I have been searching for a run down on the theory of evolution from an Islamic perspective–and Allah Ta’ala led me to your blog, sidi. AlhamduliLlah! I have not read it yet, but given the usual high standard here, it will be a great read. I just wanted to express my gratitude, so to speak, right away.

    JazakaLlah khayran!

  3. Ibn Ashir says:

    As Salam Alikum

    Brilliant article shaykh, I’m studying evolutionary biology and the theory of evolution to be very honest is a joke. When you study it, you can see so many holes within it.

    Even my Professors have said;

    “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence should be encouraged.”

  4. Abdullah says:

    @ Ibn Ashir,

    brother, where are you studying … uni?

  5. Ibn Ashir says:

    I’m at the University of Toronto

  6. 'Abd ul-Ghafûr says:

    BarakaLlah fik!

    Indeed, a brilliant article!

  7. Mutakallim says:

    Shaykh Abu Adam says “…It is not new either, it is just the answer that the scholars of Islam would have answered, the Sunnis, if they were still around in significant numbers…” This statement is truly heart breaking for indeed it is the reality of our situation nowadays.

  8. Yahya says:

    As salam alaykum,

    Please, shayk Abu Adam, write about the history of sciences in the islamic Ummah and the contribution of the muslims for natural sciences.

  9. Salam Alaykum,

    An issue similar to the “Evolution Theory” is that of the movement or lack thereof of the Earth.

    I have read in a number of places that there were and are ‘Ulama from the Ahl us Sunnah who held that certain verses of the Qur’an and certain Ahadeeth absolutely proved that the Earth is stationary and does not move, and that it is the Sun and other bodies which move around the Earth.

    How would Islam deal with this issue, taking into account the weight it gives to observational proof versus revealed proof?

    • I think this entire issue is a bit problematic from a logical standpoint. To determine what is moving and what is stationary is a relative issue. If you have two objects which are changing in position relative to each other, then you cannot tell if both or one of them are moving without a 3rd reference point. Then you have to decide which one is stationary, and only after that will you be able to say which of the two is moving. However, deciding the reference point, and determining it as being stationary is arbitrary, or dependent on another arbitrary reference point. The only way to decide what is moving and what is not then, is by reference to a 3rd reference point, arbitrarily determined as being “stationary.” In other words, when you say that the sun is moving, and not the Earth, what is the reference point, and how do you determine it without arbitrary choice? Now, clearly modern scientists make these conclusions based on what is known about physics, and their belief that the was a big bang somewhere in the middle of cosmos perhaps (which is, like Darwinism, only a theory). Basically, as I understand it, they consider larger objects as more stationary than smaller objects that move in relation to them. This is not completely arbitrary, but it is also not something we can say is the unequivocal truth, and known with certainty. Alternatively, if the objects at the outer surface of creation has no changing position relative to one another, then we can consider everything inside in relation to it. This is because the movement of creation as a whole is impossible, because it has no relative position to something else outside of it. So in this sense, the creation as a whole is not moving, relative to something else. However, this outer surface is not observable to us. For this reason, I see not reason for why both cannot be correct at the same time, as they are based on different assumptions of what is to be considered relatively stationary. It has an element of comparing apples with oranges in it in other words, so there is no need to exaggerate and make this issue very big.

      • Abu Abdillah says:

        Assalâmu ‘Alaykum wa Rahmatullâh dear Shaykh,

        Mashâ Allâh, just to ensure that I understand it correctly, if for example in hadîth it states that the Sun moves then this doesn’t necessarily mean that Prophet (صلى الله تعالى عليه واله وسلم) lacked knowledge of this like some Orientalists claim about some ahâdîth, rather it is from the reference point on earth. So this doesn’t contradict nowadays science but rather it uses another reference point which is the earth, did I understood it correctly Shaykh?

        I thought about this matter sometimes and I found that nothing was wrong even if in the Qur’ân for example the apparent meaning of some verses makes it seem to some that the ‘Earth is flat’, because it is flat from our reference point. You can’t disprove that the Earth isn’t flat from our reference point here on Earth. Is this wrong or right Shaykh?

        JazakAllâhu khayra

      • Abu Abdillah, waˆalaykumussalaam,

        Yes, this is all plausible. However, I am not aware of any aayah’s that are understood as meaning that the Earth is flat. In fact, many earlier scholars stated that it is spherical. Ar-Raaziyy is one of them.

  10. Muhammad Ahamd says:

    The Earth is fixed without a doubt. Jump and you land back to the same spot. Plains land on fixed earth runways. Those who claim the earth spins, their words hold no weight whatsoever. Just one more thing, why do we see the moon/stars in the same spot when we go out to veiw them? If the world was spinning the speed they claim, we would not be able to see what we see in the upper direction.

  11. Someone wrote the following comment. I decided to keep it anonymous to avoid embarrassing anyone. The comments was: “The Earth is fixed without a doubt. Jump and you land back to the same spot. Plains land on fixed earth runways. Those who claim the earth spins, their words hold no weight whatsoever. Just one more thing, why do we see the moon/stars in the same spot when we go out to view them? If the world was spinning the speed they claim, we would not be able to see what we see in the upper direction.”

    My comment on this is as follows: “My brother, it is not that simple. Try to read what I wrote and understand the issue well. I think you will find that this entire issue is a bit ambiguous, and there is no need to be very bombastic. As for the arguments you presented, take a second look. These are merely rhetorical, you are making assumptions about physics and astronomy without sufficient proof. This is exactly why modern science is successful, it does not accept such assumptions, i.e. about the existence and relations of possible things, without testing them by meticulous study and experiments. What makes it impossible that someone that jumps should land in the same spot if the earth was moving? And what is moving anyway? Take a look at the discussion I presented. It is merely relative change of positions, so what prevents the jump to be in the same relative position before and after the jump, or that the change in position is so small that it cannot be noticed? Moreover, what they say is that the Earth moves relative to the sun, not that you are stationary and the earth is spinning under you. You are drawing analogy to e.g. jumping off a car, but is this analogy correct, and how do you know?

    When we go public with an opinion that is based on premises taken (rightly or by misunderstanding) from the religion, we must be check our proofs and assumptions carefully, especially if the opinion is going to be looked at as ridiculous by 99% of mankind. Even after checking your bases you should carefully consider not telling, because even if you are right and have strong proofs, you are not going to succeed in convincing anybody, because most people are MUCH more concerned about not being ridiculed than being right.

    In this particular case you have not even presented proofs that will convince anyone. This is not your field of expertise, how can you accept the idea that you can easily show wrong the entire community of thousands and thousands of physicists and astronomers, in their fields of expertise, after decades and billions of dollars in research, with a slight of hand argument like this? Do you really think that this has not entered their mind? I do not think that is reasonable, and you should at least have made an effort to find out what their answers would be before expressing such an opinion. It is not only your own reputation that is at stake here, as a Muslim you are by default looked at as a representative of Islam. I suggest you take a careful look at my previous comment on this issue above.”

  12. Ahmad-Qadri says:

    Salam Alaikum

    To the best of my knowledge, I do not know if any Muslim scholars of the past have interpreted the earth as being flat. In some languages, however, the immediate literal translation of the verse:

    وَالْأَرْضَ فَرَشْنَاهَا فَنِعْمَ الْمَاهِدُونَ 51:48

    *might* HINT towards flatness to hardcore literalists who do not understand the idiom “to lay out” or “to spread out” because of the use of “farashnaahaa”.

  13. Muhammad Ahamd says:

    They say the world spins on an axis. Now with the observation (i.e. our senses) and the intellectual logic we are blessed with. I have flown in jet aircraft and the world from up there is fixed in my eyes and others.

  14. Muhammad Ahamd says:

    When you said: “Even after checking your bases you should carefully consider not telling, because even if you are right and have strong proofs, you are not going to succeed in convincing anybody, because most people are MUCH more concerned about not being ridiculed than being right.” The Reality and truth of matters does not alter, even though pride plays a role with certain people.

    • Of course, but no one has claimed otherwise. I do not see what your comment has to do with what you quoted. That being said, it is not only pride. Fear, lack of confidence and other factors also play a role at different degrees in different situations.

  15. naveed says:

    It appears to me that Darwinism is a form of shirk
    The neo darwinists assert that certain combinations of chemicals of themselves give rise to higher order combinations , and these secondary ones cannot be reductively analytically reduced to the first.
    Within nature itself , they assert a type of order emerges, and some refer to this as emergentism.

    This appears to me to be shirk , as what they are asserting is that the qualities of God such as creating, ordering etc have been attributing to chemicals.

    Darwinism is a rather complex subject and few muslims seem to understand it.
    Even in the west , the whole issue of life and quantum physics is poorly understood
    How many westerners for example have read Schrodinger’s what is life?
    And also westerners , many of them now, believe that consciousness seems to transcend material explanations, and we would then ask how can a material process account for such an entity?

    • Ayman says:

      Assalamulaikum,

      As far as I have studied in science, it is maintained that energy can be neither created nor destroyed (excluding God from this statement), and that the total matter and energy in the universe (a closed system) is conserved. Thus, the changes we perceive (and interpret as “creation” or “coming into existence”) is really the conversion of energy that already exists. This is not independent of Allah’s Will.

      • Energy only exists in the amount it exists because Allaah created it. The amount of energy that exists at any point in time is by Allaah’s Will and Power. Energy is intrinsically possible existence, so it must be created and have a beginning. It cannot exist for a moment of time without Allaah having specified that for it. Has Allaah willed for something or someone to have an action correlated with the destruction of energy, i.e. a created cause of energy destruction? Allaah knows best, but this is purely a scientific question and has not implication for belief science. It is a question about the normally possible, as opposed to intrinsically possible. The claim that it cannot normally be destroyed or is a fixed amount- this is no more than a scientific hypothesis.

        Not all coming into existence can be said to be conversion of energy. This is because energy is a creation itself, so when the world came into existence, energy came into existence.

  16. naveed says:

    The other issue i suppose is that many seem to want to say God created the big bang and set up the initial conditions and then thats it.

    However what we as muslims believe is that God creates each instant.
    And this means that what the kuffar are monitoring in their laboratories are just the result of the sunnan of Allah in his creation(i.e emergence of certain patterns of order), which leads to conscious human life.

  17. naveed says:

    In fact Several quantum physicists seem to think that human consciousness is at the core of our whole universe.E.g Henry Strapp

    In his latest book the mindful universe he says…
    he logical process of materialism is the same of idolatry; in fact, the idolater thinks that the object (idol) under certain circumstances has a psychical life, regardless of the fact that it is made with ordinary material; this is exactly what the materialist thinks, because he thinks that the object (brain) has a psychical life under certain circumstances, regardless of the fact that it is made with ordinary material (electrons, electromagnetic fields, etc.)

    A last typical contradiction in materialism is the claim that the electric impulse in the brain generate consciousness, sensations, emotions, etc. Such a claim is incompatible with the laws of physics which establish that electric impulses in our brain are equivalent to all the other electric impulses out of our brain (electric impulses are formed uniquely by some moving electrons), and that all electric impulses generate only electromagnetic fields. You must change the laws of physics if you want to claim that electric impulses generate something else beyond electromagnetic fields. Actually, materialists simply take some key words from the language of physics, such as “electric impulse”, “energy”, etc. and then attribute to these words new properties incompatible with the laws of physics; this is a clear abuse of scientific language”

  18. Abu Turab says:

    As-salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

    This is a nice site and I’ve liked many of the articles.

    I really object, though, to Muslims without formal training in evolutionary biology (including myself; forgive me if I am mistaken about you) making sweeping comments about the scientific validity of the theory of evolution. The contrast with physics was a poor one, for example. Repeated empirical experimentation is not the only basis for scientifically informed understanding. Would you consider archaeology, then, as totally invalid?

    I think the heart of the matter is: according to the Qur’an, is the theory of biological evolution ‘forbidden’/contradicted? This is really all we need concern ourselves with, at least when debating with others on the ‘permissibility’ of such a theory within the Islamic worldview.

    Another problem that arises is the extremely literal interpretation of the verses pertaining to God’s creation. This is not a hermeneutic that holds up if we apply it to similar verses about God’s ‘actions’. I was surprised to see this type of interpretation used, when there appears to be a whole section warning against it on this site.

    Another issue is the definition of evolution. For one thing, the theory of biological evolution is not the same as “Darwinism”, and its formulation did not end with Darwin.

    As seems to be the usual, the discussion here on evolution was heavy on philosophical speculation (arguing about empiricism, what constitutes a ‘theory’, etc.) but only held up in the end by a small handful of Qur’anic verses, all interpreted literally. I don’t think this is satisfactory as a ‘Muslim’ response. If the same analysis and careful thought was applied to the Qur’an itself, then the argument would be much stronger.

    Just my thoughts.

    Peace

    • Abu Turab said: I really object, though, to Muslims without formal training in evolutionary biology (including myself; forgive me if I am mistaken about you) making sweeping comments about the scientific validity of the theory of evolution. The contrast with physics was a poor one, for example. Repeated empirical experimentation is not the only basis for scientifically informed understanding. Would you consider archeology, then, as totally invalid?

      Comment: It seems to me that you have either not read the article in full. You certainly haven’t understood it. Where did I make sweeping comments about the scientific validity of the the theory of evolution? What was it? What about its “scientific validity”? Where did I say that repeated empirical is the only basis for “scientifically informed understanding”? Where did I say, or imply, that archeology is totally invalid? More than that, where did I say that the theory of evolution is in total invalid? Moreover, where did I say something that would require “formal training in evolutionary biology?” I believe this is what the logicians label as the “fallacy of appeal to expertise” – unless you can show why it would be necessary.

      For the record, I do not consider scientific activity that is hampered by the inability to perform repeated experiments. In fact, a sample of n=1 is sometimes all you have and better than nothing. In fact, I use them myself and chart them for various activities. The important thing here is that n=1 is going to provide relatively weak for support for any generalization made. This is an inescapable fact. We have to look at it for what it is, and not make the mistake of thinking that it is scientific evidence in the same sense as experiments of physics or chemistry. Moreover, the ape proposition does not only suffer from lack of repeatability. It has not even been observed at all, not even once. Bone evidences cannot be more than speculative and circumstantial.

      Abu Turab said: I think the heart of the matter is: according to the Qur’an, is the theory of biological evolution ‘forbidden’/contradicted? This is really all we need concern ourselves with, at least when debating with others on the ‘permissibility’ of such a theory within the Islamic worldview.

      Comment: And this is what I did, and I pointed out, if you would bother yourself to read what I wrote, that the only issues with it are 1) atheism 2) their claim that Adam is descends from a monkey. If you take those two out then it is just a model for understanding biology, and it is none of my business.

      Abu Turab said: Another problem that arises is the extremely literal interpretation of the verses pertaining to God’s creation. This is not a hermeneutic that holds up if we apply it to similar verses about God’s ‘actions’. I was surprised to see this type of interpretation used, when there appears to be a whole section warning against it on this site.

      Comment: What? Where is your argument? Where is the “extremely literal” interpretation? How does it not hold up? You seem to have the habit of presenting conclusions without an argument.

      Abu Turab said: Another issue is the definition of evolution. For one thing, the theory of biological evolution is not the same as “Darwinism”, and its formulation did not end with Darwin.

      Comment: Where did I say it was? I made it explicitly clear what I had a problem with, and did not attack the theory in all of its aspect.

      Abu Turab said: As seems to be the usual, the discussion here on evolution was heavy on philosophical speculation (arguing about empiricism, what constitutes a ‘theory’, etc.)(…snip)

      Comment: More talk without proof or argument. I did not merely present philosophical speculation, but classified the Darwinist ape argument, and its proposed evidences in light of evidences in general and what they provide in terms of likelihood or certainty, and I do not think there was anything there that a sound minded person can reject. I said that in of itself, everything else equal, and not looking at religious evidences, the Darwinist argument regarding the origin of humans is no more than possible. Whatever the case might be, you haven’t presented a single piece of evidence for why my argument would be wrong.

      Abu Turab said: (…) but only held up in the end by a small handful of Qur’anic verses, all interpreted literally. I don’t think this is satisfactory as a ‘Muslim’ response. If the same analysis and careful thought was applied to the Qur’an itself, then the argument would be much stronger.

      Comment: You said in the beginning that one needs to be an expert in evolutionary biology to present the argument I did. Now you turn around and speak about Quranic interpretation, yet you have no knowledge of of the methodology of tafsiir or fiqh, or what the Arabic language allows, or I dare say, any other Islamic science, least of all logic or kalaam, and yet you have no problem with expressing strong opinions about it. This, I believe, is what is called “double standards.” Tell me what is worse, if you consider yourself a Muslim, speaking about biology without a background in it, or making claims about what Aļļaah said without qualifications? It is very easy to tell from what you stated that you have no qualifications in this field, because if you did, you would know very well why I said what I said regarding the versus. Quranic interpretation has rules, it is not a matter of twisting meanings to suit your fancy. It has to comply with the classical understanding of Arabic for one, including its rhetorical principles. It also has to agree with other verses as well as what is relevant of ĥadiitħs.

      Finally, unless you can present something that looks like a real argument, quoting me in what I said, and then showing why you think it is wrong, I will not let any more of this sort of baseless rhetoric through.

  19. Abu Turab says:

    About my position:

    1. The Qur’an contains both literal and allegorical verses (cf. 3:7)

    2. Because God is unfathomable and indescribable (cf. 6:103, 13:9, also 36:11, 42:11, 112:4), any descriptions of God’s nature or action (or anything else comprised in “al-ghayb”) must necessarily use (at least some) allegorical language (e.g. “hand”, “throne”, “face” etc.).

    3. God “has the power to will anything” (cf. 2:20, 2:106, 2:109, 2:148, 2:284, 3:26, 3:29, 3:165, 3:189, 5:17, 5:19, 5:40, etc. etc. etc.)

    4. All things/forces in the heavens and on earth are God’s (cf. 48:4, 48:7, 2:116, 84:1-5, 30:26, 41:11, 3:83, 13:15, 16:49, 16:50, 22:18 etc.). This is a critical point because it means for us that the idea of “nature” as independent from God’s will does not exist. God can do anything, and also act *through* anything.

    5. God carries out His will (whether creative or destructive) routinely through “natural” events/processes including human action (2:251, 22:40, 59:2), floods (7:133, 34:16, 69:11, 71:25), storms (33:9, 41:16, 69:6-7), droughts (7:130), earthquakes (7:78, 69:5, 7:91) etc.

    Qur’anic accounts of God’s will being enacted can often differ dramatically, even when describing the same event or phenomenon.

    5.1 One example is the death of Pharaoh. We read in 51:40: “So We took him and his forces, and threw them into the sea; and his was the blame.” This seems straightforward enough (see also 43:55), but in 20:78 the same event is described quite differently: “Then Pharaoh pursued them with his forces, but the waters completely overwhelmed them and covered them up.” Thus we see that statements about God acting directly and with full intention do not exclude the execution of His will through ‘explainable’ events. We in fact see a spectrum of Qur’anic descriptions about how Pharaoh entered the water, ranging from “then Pharaoh pursued them with his forces” (20:78) and “We took the Children of Israel across the sea: Pharaoh and his hosts followed them in insolence and spite” (10:90) to “And We made the other party approach thither” (26:64) to “So We took him and his forces, and threw them into the sea” (51:40).

    5.2 Another example, this time of creative will, is the creation of plants. The Qur’an includes descriptions of plant life growing:

    ‘directly’ because of God (6:141, 13:3, 15:19, 31:10, 36:33, 55:10-13, 79:31 and 87:1-5)

    because of rain which is “sent”, “poured” etc. directly by God (2:21-22, 2:164, 6:99, 14:32, 16:10-11, 16:65, 20:53, 23:18-20, 27:60, 30:24, 31:10, 32:27, 35:27-28, 50:9-10 and 80:24-32)

    because of rain which falls from clouds moved by God via the wind (7:57 and 35:9)

    because of rain mixing with fertile ground (2:265, in part of a parable)

    because of rain (57:20, in part of a parable)

    because of natural springs supplied by rain sent directly by God (39:21)

    from seeds opened by God (6:95)

    from seeds (48:29)

    from wind-facilitated fertilization (15:22)

    “produced” by the earth, then duplicated (made opposites) by God (36:36)

    Thus we see when the Qur’an describes God creating plants, it does not preclude the use of an intermediate process (e.g. rain). And if God “sends down” our “pours” that rain Himself, it does not preclude the use of yet another intermediate process/actor (e.g. clouds); if God is said to move the clouds Himself, there is nothing to say that another process may be involved (e.g. the wind).

    There is much more to be said, for instance about the relativity of time and the lack of correlation between our experience of time and God’s (cf. 10:45, 17:51-52 & esp. 22:47) and thus our inability to assume that verses describing creation as a matter of God “saying” “Kun!” imply that creation is instantaneous by our standards, and so on.

    In light of these Qur’anic principles, it seems clear that if God is said to create man from “dust” (turab) by “saying” “Be!”, then such statements *according to Qur’anic norms* cannot be said to 1) be exclusive of intermediary processes/events or 2) preclude the possibility of the passage of (what for us appears) long amounts of time.

    The problem I see with your analysis is that you appear to assume that a statement “God creates A from B” means “God creates A *directly and literally* from B *and absolutely nothing else*. This is what I was referring to when characterizing your interpretation as “very literal.” You assume that “clay” (tin) or “dust” cannot be a metaphor for man’s organic origins, and the elements our bodies share with the earth. It certainly does not *need* to be so (although considering the allegorical nature of such verses – e.g. God “saying” “Be!” etc. – it seems perfectly appropriate), but you appear to dismiss even the possibility of that interpretation.

    Can you defend the interpretation you use with evidence from the Qur’an?

    That is all I truly care to know.

    Salaam

    • Abu Turab says: The Qur’an contains both literal and allegorical verses (cf. 3:7)

      Comment: That is fine, but so what?

      Abu Turab says: Because God is unfathomable and indescribable (cf. 6:103, 13:9, also 36:11, 42:11, 112:4), any descriptions of God’s nature or action (or anything else comprised in “al-ghayb”) must necessarily use (at least some) allegorical language (e.g. “hand”, “throne”, “face” etc.).

      Comment: This is of course true, but beside the point.

      Abu Turab says: God “has the power to will anything” (cf. 2:20, 2:106, 2:109, 2:148, 2:284, 3:26, 3:29, 3:165, 3:189, 5:17, 5:19, 5:40, etc. etc. etc.)
      Comment: This is a terrible translation. His will is not subject to power, because it is not a creation, but an eternal and necessary attribute of His. The wahabis believe that His will is created bit by bit, but not Muslims.

      Abu Turab says: All things/forces in the heavens and on earth are God’s (cf. 48:4, 48:7, 2:116, 84:1-5, 30:26, 41:11, 3:83, 13:15, 16:49, 16:50, 22:18 etc.). This is a critical point because it means for us that the idea of “nature” as independent from God’s will does not exist.

      Comment: Everything you said here is true.

      Abu Turab says: God can do anything, and also act *through* anything.

      Comment: Your statement “act through anything” is problematic, and in apparent contradiction with your previous, “the idea of “nature” as independent from God’s will does not exist.” The belief of Ahlu-s-Sunnah is as As-Sanuusiyy states:
      {It also follows from the statement that Aļļaah does not have needs,….}{…. that nothing} other than Aļļaah {creates or has any real influence on anything at all, otherwise the influenced thing would not need Aļļaah} for it to occur. {This cannot be since He is the one that everything other than Him needs in general and in all situations} absolutely. In fact, nothing else has the ability to create or influence anything, nor is it possible for it to be given that ability. Nonetheless, it is permissible to say for example, “fire burns.” But it is not meant literally, as fire does not create the effect of burning. Rather, Aļļaah creates both the fire and the effect of burning that is conventionally attributed to the fire. Knowing this is the strongest means for tawakkul, or reliance on Aļļaah.

      This is if you figure that some existing thing influences by its inherent nature. If you figure instead that something has influence by a power created in it by Aļļaah, as many ignorant people claim, then} beware that {this is impossible as well.} This is {because He would in this case need an intermediary to create some actions. This is } judged by sound reason as {a fallacious claim based on what you know about Him being necessarily without need for something other than Him.}

      Abu Turab says: God carries out His will (whether creative or destructive) routinely through “natural” events/processes including human action (2:251, 22:40, 59:2), floods (7:133, 34:16, 69:11, 71:25), storms (33:9, 41:16, 69:6-7), droughts (7:130), earthquakes (7:78, 69:5, 7:91) etc.
      Comment: This is what is called “normal correlation” or created correlation, and it does no mean that these phenomena has any actual influence, neither created (as the Muˆtazilites say) nor “natural” as the philosophers say. It only appears that way because Aļļaah normally creates certain types of events after their occurrence, such as drought → thirst, fire → heat, etc.

      Abu Turab says: Qur’anic accounts of God’s will being enacted can often differ dramatically, even when describing the same event or phenomenon. One example is the death of Pharaoh. We read in 51:40: “So We took him and his forces, and threw them into the sea; and his was the blame.” This seems straightforward enough (see also 43:55), but in 20:78 the same event is described quite differently: “Then Pharaoh pursued them with his forces, but the waters completely overwhelmed them and covered them up.” Thus we see that statements about God acting directly and with full intention do not exclude the execution of His will through ‘explainable’ events. We in fact see a spectrum of Qur’anic descriptions about how Pharaoh entered the water, ranging from “then Pharaoh pursued them with his forces” (20:78) and “We took the Children of Israel across the sea: Pharaoh and his hosts followed them in insolence and spite” (10:90) to “And We made the other party approach thither” (26:64) to “So We took him and his forces, and threw them into the sea” (51:40).

      Comment: “threw,” i.e. put, i.e. Aļļaah created their state of being indulged by the sea. This is a kinaayah, i.e. using an indirect expression to convey the meaning. What is important, however, is that we only know this to be a kinaayah, because of “but the waters completely overwhelmed them and covered them up,” and the like. That is, to claim that a statement is an allegory needs a proofs, which exists in this case. It is a common means of expression in Arabic to speak of cause, but intending the normal consequence. For example, one says in Arabic about water found: “this is dates,” meaning that it is a normal prerequisite of it.

      Abu Turab says: Another example, this time of creative will, is the creation of plants. The Qur’an includes descriptions of plant life growing:
      ‘directly’ because of God (6:141, 13:3, 15:19, 31:10, 36:33, 55:10-13, 79:31 and 87:1-5)
      because of rain which is “sent”, “poured” etc. directly by God (2:21-22, 2:164, 6:99, 14:32, 16:10-11, 16:65, 20:53, 23:18-20, 27:60, 30:24, 31:10, 32:27, 35:27-28, 50:9-10 and 80:24-32)
      because of rain which falls from clouds moved by God via the wind (7:57 and 35:9)
      because of rain mixing with fertile ground (2:265, in part of a parable)
      because of rain (57:20, in part of a parable)
      because of natural springs supplied by rain sent directly by God (39:21)
      from seeds opened by God (6:95)
      from seeds (48:29)
      from wind-facilitated fertilization (15:22)
      “produced” by the earth, then duplicated (made opposites) by God (36:36)

      Comment: All of these point to normal correlation, or created cause. Aļļaah could have made plants grow without seed, water, or fertilization.

      Abu Turab says: Thus we see when the Qur’an describes God creating plants, it does not preclude the use of an intermediate process (e.g. rain). And if God “sends down” our “pours” that rain Himself, it does not preclude the use of yet another intermediate process/actor (e.g. clouds); if God is said to move the clouds Himself, there is nothing to say that another process may be involved (e.g. the wind).

      Comment: Actually, as stated above, it is only Aļļaah that creates the conclusion of all of these processes, and the preceding processes are are in reality just preceding and completely impotent events. The perceived influence is created correlation, or normal correlation.

      Abu Turab says: There is much more to be said, for instance about the relativity of time and the lack of correlation between our experience of time and God’s (cf. 10:45, 17:51-52 & esp. 22:47) and thus our inability to assume that verses describing creation as a matter of God “saying” “Kun!” imply that creation is instantaneous by our standards, and so on.

      Comment: Aļļaah is not attributed with “experience of time”, see:
      https://sunnianswers.wordpress.com/2009/05/23/Allaah-is-not-in-time/

      Abu Turab says: In light of these Qur’anic principles, it seems clear that if God is said to create man from “dust” (turab) by “saying” “Be!”, then such statements *according to Qur’anic norms* cannot be said to 1) be exclusive of intermediary processes/events or 2) preclude the possibility of the passage of (what for us appears) long amounts of time.

      Comment: Your statement, “Saying be!” is another topic, but briefly, this is an allegory expressing that nothing is difficult for Aļļaah. There are various proofs for this, and we must have a proof to make the claim of allegory, among them that the apparent meaning is making the sequential sounds k-u-n, and sounds can only be a creation, because they must have a beginning, and because sounds in themselves, being a creation, do not have actual influence. But this is a sidetrack.

      Your statement: “according to Quranic norm…” Actually the norm in the Arabic language in general, in the Quran, or otherwise, is to speak literally. That is, the meaning meant is the first one that comes to mind. Accordingly, as all the scholars of Ahlu-s-Sunnah said, as well as the muˆtazilah and the mujassimah, any Quranic statement must be taken literally unless otherwise can be proven. The possible occurrence of allegory has no bearing unless it has a significant proof, and is not even considered as a possibility in the Ĥanafi school, unless there is a proof. To illustrate this, they said, “because someone running away from a wall in fear of it falling is insane, if there is nothing wrong with the wall.” So just like it is insane to fear a soundly built wall, it is nonsensical to claim allegory without a proof.

      Abu Turab says: The problem I see with your analysis is that you appear to assume that a statement “God creates A from B” means “God creates A *directly and literally* from B *and absolutely nothing else*. This is what I was referring to when characterizing your interpretation as “very literal.”

      Comment: I am not assuming anything, I am giving the literal meaning, which is to take a statement to mean what it says, and this does not involve any hidden assumptions because it is the ground rule. It is you that is assuming without a proof. It states that Adam is created from soil, and there is no reason to assume soil to be an allegory for monkey, or soil then monkey then Adam.

      Abu Turab says: You assume that “clay” (tin) or “dust” cannot be a metaphor for man’s organic origins, and the elements our bodies share with the earth. It certainly does not *need* to be so (although considering the allegorical nature of such verses – e.g. God “saying” “Be!” etc. – it seems perfectly appropriate), but you appear to dismiss even the possibility of that interpretation. Can you defend the interpretation you use with evidence from the Qur’an?

      Comment: I am not assuming anything, and it perplexes me that you simply ignored the proofs that I mentioned. I am following the rules for interpretation, which is not to deviate from apparent meaning without proof. It is you who need to defend yourself, something you have not done. Your claim of metaphor needs a proof, and you do not have one.

      Moreover, in this case the claim of metaphor is weakened beyond non-existence so to speak, because the apparent meaning is strengthened by the known tools of Arabic, as well as principles of belief, as I indicated in the article. The first tool is ‘repeated statements of the same,’ such as, “from soil, then from a drop (of semen), then a blodcloth, then a lump of flesh.” This repeats the word “soil”. Moreover, it shows the sequence of occurrence for the becoming of a human, and all of “drop,” “blodcloth,” and “lump of flesh” are literal in meaning, even in modern science. Claiming that soil is metaphorical would make that statement extremely awkward.

      There is also, “Verily the case of Jesus, to Aļļaah, is like that of Adam. He created him from soil.” The latter statement strengthens the apparent meaning by repeating “soil,” as in many other texts, some of which are mentioned above. It also strengthens it in another way, which is to say that Jesus is like Adam, but not like other humans, in that he does not have a father, but was created without an intermediary correlation or created cause. If soil was a metaphor for intermediaries, as you claim, then this Quranic statement would be pointless, because soil as an allegory applies to all humans, and the correct statement would have been, “Jesus is like all other humans,” and not specifically like Adam.
      Moreover, “created you from firm clay” precludes the metaphorical interpretation, because it strengthen the literal sense of “soil”by describing it as “firm.” All of these Aayahs were mentioned in the article. Finally, from the viewpoint of belief, as mentioned in the article, human kind is a noble creature honored by Aļļaah, which precludes having a monkey ancestors.

      Now, there is something I did not speak of in the article, and is very important. First, all of the commentators of the Qur’aan agreed on the literal meaning of “soil.” This tells us that “form soil” is agreed upon as literal by scholarly consensus, which is one of the most specific and strongest proofs there are in scripture interpretation.

      Moreover, this aayah emphasizes the literal meaning of “from soil” very much, as detailed by the Qur’aan commentators:
      “مَا مَنَعَكَ أَنْ تَسْجُدَ لِمَا خَلَقْتُ بِيَدَيَّ [ص : 75]”
      (If someone translated it literally they would say: “what prevented you (O Ibliis) from prostrating to what I created with my two hands?!”

      The Muˆtazilah said that the literal “my two hands” is an allegory referring to Aļļaah’s attribute of power. Sunnis in general rejected this interpretation, because all created things are created by Power, so by saying this, the idea of what is special about Adam is lost. Then those who spoke in detail about this said that this expression emphasizes that Aļļaah created Adam without correlated events, such as Angels shaping the clay. Why? Because the expression is like saying in English, “I did it with my own two hands,”meaning, I did it myself directly, without involvement of others. Of course, as we said above, in reality every single event is a separate creation created by Aļļaah, without influence of partnership of any kind. Thus the meaning here is that there were no correlated events of normal created cause, such as Angels shaping the form of the human with their limbs, let alone a long series of almost uncountable stages of development from soil, as Darwinists claim.

      I haven’t even mentioned many other texts repeating the word “soil,” and those that speak of Adam having been created from soil and left as a form for some time, before Aļļaah created in him a soul, because the above is enough for the open minded.

      Finally, I want you to realize something. The Darwinist ape theory is only considered so strong by its proponents, because if one believes there is no creator, it is the only alternative. It is this that makes them imagine circumstantial evidences as strong scientific evidence. Think about it. If you believe in the Creator, however, who needs no intermediary, then this so called evidence becomes highly circumstantial and a number of other explanations can be thought of, especially in light of the fact that there are no laws of nature in reality, only norms of correlation created by Aļļaah.

      • Abu Turab says:

        I will have to write a full reply later, but I want to clarify for now that my position is not that the theory of revolution is true or false; my contention is that there is not strong enough evidence from the Qur’an to say that the theory is absolutely precluded.

        There are a lot of evolutionists who have successfully ingrained the idea that their theory precludes divine action; I do not agree with them, nor can I say that the theory of evolution is supported by Qur’anic text. But again, there are not strong grounds (from the Qur’an) to absolutely dismiss it out of hand a priori.

        Salaam

      • How, with all that I have mentioned, do you find it in yourself to imply that the Darwinist monkey theory has been dismissed a priori. It is now clear that you are the literalist, you would not give up arguing unless it stated, “soil, and not a monkey.” Without an explicit, “not a monkey” you would never give up. You are like a painter told to paint a house red while owner is on vacation, then does not paint it after all, and when asked why you’d answer, “because you did not tell me not to mix the paint with white, so I thought maybe you wanted it pink, and I wanted to make sure. After all red is the origin of pink, so maybe you meant ‘of red origin’ and that is why I did not paint it at your request.” Wa laa quaata illaa billaah. Oh, and here is another text that invalidates the monkey theory as being allowed by the Qur’aan:

        The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:
        خَلَقَ الله آدَمَ وَطُولُهُ سِتُّونَ ذِرَاعًا
        “Aļļaah created Adam (عليه السلام) forearm lengths tall.” Then he said:
        فَكُلُّ من يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ على صُورَةِ آدَمَ
        “So all those that enter Paradise has the appearance of Adam (عليه السلام).” (Bukħaariyy No. 3148) In other words, they have Adam’s (عليه السلام) incredible beauty and height.

      • Abu Turab says:

        As-salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

        Why the condescension, brother? My first comment was somewhat antagonistic, but my second and third were not at all. I am trying to have a dialogue here and possibly learn something.

        You said:

        “How, with all that I have mentioned, do you find it in yourself to imply that the Darwinist monkey theory has been dismissed a priori.”

        What I meant was that you seemed to be saying that the theory of biological evolution was not possible a priori within the Muslim worldview because of its absolute refutation by the Qur’an. Is this not your position?

        You said:

        “It is now clear that you are the literalist, you would not give up arguing unless it stated, “soil, and not a monkey.”‘

        I provided a thoroughly cited argument, not a ridiculous proposition like that.

        I’m not sure where all the animosity came from but like I said, I haven’t even replied to your answer yet; I just restated my basic position.

        We can agree or disagree, but let’s be patient and pleasant with each other. Internet commenting can really degenerate quickly into ad hominem attacks and other nonsense. Just look at the comments under basically any youtube video haha.

        Get back to you soon, insha’Allah

        Peace, brother.

      • There is a difference between saying “a priori” and “because of the absolute refutation by the Qur’aan.”

        You said: “I provided a thoroughly cited argument, not a ridiculous proposition like that.”

        Comment: Actually you did not, and you did. You made citations, but almost all of it irrelevant to the issue at hand. You venture to show that the Qur’aan has allegories in its description of events, which is undisputed and therefore irrelevant. Then you did not address the issue in a logical way but instead dismissed RELEVANT arguments without even bothering to show why. In short, you did not present an argument of your own that was relevant, and you did not discuss my argument in any way, so my description of you as a sophist literalist fits very well.

        Several reasons why allegory is dismissed for “soil” was presented in the original article and you keep pretending that they do not exist, even after several posts. All of the proofs I cited are known and accepted ways of the scholars of Islam to refute the possibility of allegory, not the least of them ijmaaˆ, and you keep insisting. This tells me that you are stubborn. You are also a deviant, because you have clearly implied that you have no problem with saying that Adam, a prophet and messenger of Allaah, to have ancestors that are monkeys, and for that you deserve animosity. This animosity is important, because I have a responsibility to show that your opinion is wrong in a bad way. I cannot handle this issue as an issue like whether to raise the hands when standing up from rukuuˆ.

  20. Abu Turab says:

    As-salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. – I really mean that, brother.

    I didn’t explain myself well before; thanks for pointing that out. This is complex topic and it’s very easy to state things imprecisely when discussing it. My view on man being created “min turabin” (which is only one of about 10 or so substances that the Qur’an ascribes to the material origin of mankind) is not that it is a “metaphor” in the sense that the “soil/dust/clay/etc.” being referred to doesn’t constitute a real, concrete substance; my concern is actually with what it means in the Qur’an for God to say He “created” (khalaqa) something.

    What is apparent, first of all from the context I provided above (think about it as context; maybe you might then find some relevance in it) is that as a general rule, God’s (potential) will is not separable from anything in the universe, including what we might call “nature.” And as is shown in my post above, God often describes simple or complex events/series of events in different ways, including “I did X”, and then also a more “explainable” way. This general feature of the Qur’an is consistent with the usage of “khalaqa”. In the most fascinating example of this, we read in 36:41-42:

    “And an Ayâh for them is that We bore their offspring in the laden ship. And We have created [wakhalaqna] for them of the like thereunto, so on them they ride.”

    Here we have Allah describing our ships as something He “created.” Ibn Kathir writes:

    “Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Do you know what the Ayah: (And We have created for them of the like thereunto, on which they ride.) refers to” We said, “No.” He said, “This refers to the ships which were made after the ship of Nuh, peace be upon him, which was similar to it.”‘

    Ibn Kathir adds:

    “This was also the view of Abu Malik, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Abu Salih and As-Suddi, that the Ayah (And We have created for them of the like thereunto, on which they ride.) refers to ships.”

    Simply imagine all the centuries of technological innovation in navigation and craftsmanship that come together in the form a newly built ship – not to mention that this would be something built “directly” with human hands.. Yet Allah has no qualms using “khalaqna” to describe it. Allahu Akbar…

    Also, about hands. You cited the “with My own two hands” verse describing God’s creation of Adam (as) as proof that Adam/humankind is so privileged that God would not have used any “indirect” way of creation. This is not consistent with the Qur’an, however.

    1) What is special and unique about al-insaan is not our physical make. There is no special vocabulary in the Qur’an to describe God’s creation of man as distinct from anything else: “Khalaqa” and “sawwa” are used both for man and everything in the universe generally (e.g. 2:29, 13:16, 79:27, 87:2, etc.). What is special about is our ruh. It was at this point – when God breathed into Adam of His spirit (“min ruhi”); it was at this point when the angels were instructed to bow to Adam (15:29) This order is also connected with God’s teaching Adam “the names of all things” in 2:31-34. So the second unique thing about mankind is our knowledge and intellect (represented by “the names of all things”).

    2) To repeat, I’m not arguing for or against the theory of evolution itself. Now, if having a physical frame related to other primates is “disrespect” for Adam (as) and this thus impossible, I would just remind you that one of the descriptions of man’s origins is “a despised fluid” or a “despicable fluid” (32:8, 77:20). Our origin from “clay commingled with water” is spoken of derisively in 37:11, after God rhetorically asks if [those who refuse to believe] were more difficult to create than the other wonders of the universe. Humans are asked in 79:27, “Are you more difficult to create than the heaven which He has built?” and so on.

    3) Most critically, it seems that a certain ayah has been forgotten:

    “See they not that it is We Who have created for them – among the things which Our hands [aydina] have fashioned – cattle, which are under their dominion?”

    Being created by God’s “hands” is not a distinction to humans.

    You said:

    “you have clearly implied that you have no problem with saying that Adam, a prophet and messenger of Allaah, to have ancestors that are monkeys,”

    1) I have repeatedly stressed that I’m not arguing one thing or another about the theory of evolution.

    2) Even if I were, having “ancestors” “that are monkeys” is your own very subjective assessment of a certain position. Someone might be just as insulted by the idea that Adam was created from “soil”. But in fact is not not mankind’s physical origin that is of importance. Iblis made the most classic mistake of fixating upon man’s physicality as an indicator of worth and honor. Audhubillahi minna shaitani rajim!!!

    You said “You are also a deviant”

    That is a strong label to give someone based on a few exchanges over the internet. Just an unfortunate statement overall.

    You said:

    “and for that you deserve animosity. This animosity is important, because I have a responsibility to show that your opinion is wrong in a bad way.”

    Animosity has nothing to do with the power of ones argument. I’d be perfectly happy (in fact privileged) to pray alongside you or sit down to talk and learn things from you, even though I strongly disagree on some things. Why can’t you do the same? We are brothers in Islam, regardless whether you think I am misguided. This “deserved animosity” talk has nothing to do with Islam.

    AND TELL My servants that they should speak in the most kindly manner [unto those who do not share their beliefs]: verily, Satan is always ready to stir up discord between men – for, verily, Satan is man’s open foe! (17:53)

    • Abu Turab says:

      As-salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. – I really mean that, brother.

      I didn’t explain myself well before; thanks for pointing that out. This is complex topic and it’s very easy to state things imprecisely when discussing it. My view on man being created “min turabin” (which is only one of about 10 or so substances that the Qur’an ascribes to the material origin of mankind) is not that it is a “metaphor” in the sense that the “soil/dust/clay/etc.” being referred to doesn’t constitute a real, concrete substance; my concern is actually with what it means in the Qur’an for God to say He “created” (khalaqa) something.

      What is apparent, first of all from the context I provided above (think about it as context; maybe you might then find some relevance in it) is that as a general rule, God’s (potential) will is not separable from anything in the universe, including what we might call “nature.” And as is shown in my post above, God often describes simple or complex events/series of events in different ways, including “I did X”, and then also a more “explainable” way. This general feature of the Qur’an is consistent with the usage of “khalaqa”. In the most fascinating example of this, we read in 36:41-42:

      “And an Ayâh for them is that We bore their offspring in the laden ship. And We have created [wakhalaqna] for them of the like thereunto, so on them they ride.”

      Here we have Allah describing our ships as something He “created.” Ibn Kathir writes:

      “Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Do you know what the Ayah: (And We have created for them of the like thereunto, on which they ride.) refers to” We said, “No.” He said, “This refers to the ships which were made after the ship of Nuh, peace be upon him, which was similar to it.”‘

      Ibn Kathir adds: “This was also the view of Abu Malik, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Abu Salih and As-Suddi, that the Ayah (And We have created for them of the like thereunto, on which they ride.) refers to ships.”

      Simply imagine all the centuries of technological innovation in navigation and craftsmanship that come together in the form a newly built ship – not to mention that this would be something built “directly” with human hands.. Yet Allah has no qualms using “khalaqna” to describe it. Allahu Akbar…

      Comment: All of the above is irrelevant to the issue at hand, because there is no disagreement. For the record, however, it is not as strange as you think. Allaah said that He creates what we do and that He creates everything that exists, i.e. including our thoughts and actions, along with all matter. You are acting for the second time as if I disagree with any of this, and I have stated explicitly that I don’t, so what is the meaning of all this? I provided you with quotes from As-Sanuusiyy and explained the Sunni position. Why are you repeating this talk?

      Yes, the apparent process of something coming into existence, through as sequence of events and created causes, is not necessarily described in detail in the Qur’aan, but In the case of Adam it states that Adam was created from soil. That he was formed in soil and given an soul. The point is that we cannot say that this means anything other than what it says. In other words, you cannot say, “no, actually, the soil became cells, and then whatever and eventually monkeys and then humans,” without a proof, because this is in contradiction with the apparent meaning of the Qur’aan. And no, you cannot even say “maybe” without a proof either, for the reason I mentioned earlier.

      Abu Turab wrote: Also, about hands. You cited the “with My own two hands” verse describing God’s creation of Adam (as) as proof that Adam/humankind is so privileged that God would not have used any “indirect” way of creation. This is not consistent with the Qur’an, however.

      1) What is special and unique about al-insaan is not our physical make. There is no special vocabulary in the Qur’an to describe God’s creation of man as distinct from anything else: “Khalaqa” and “sawwa” are used both for man and everything in the universe generally (e.g. 2:29, 13:16, 79:27, 87:2, etc.). What is special about is our ruh. It was at this point – when God breathed into Adam of His spirit (“min ruhi”); it was at this point when the angels were instructed to bow to Adam (15:29) This order is also connected with God’s teaching Adam “the names of all things” in 2:31-34. So the second unique thing about mankind is our knowledge and intellect (represented by “the names of all things”).

      Comment: Not like that, and this is all beside the point. The meaning of the aayah is revealed in the context of Ibliis’ claim that he is special, because he was created from fire, and Allaah told him:
      “مَا مَنَعَكَ أَنْ تَسْجُدَ لِمَا خَلَقْتُ بِيَدَيَّ [ص : 75]”
      (If someone translated it literally they would say: “what prevented you (O Ibliis) from prostrating to what I created with my two hands?!”)

      What is the meaning of the literal expression “my two hands” in Arabic? It is not a reference to a limb or a bodypart. Rather it means that He created Adam from soil, without angels shaping the soil that Adam was created from. This is mentioned by the scholars who interpreted the aayah. This is just one of the aayah that affirm the parent meaning of Adam being created from soil, and my argument does not depend on it. It is supporting evidence. Why am I repeating myself? Why do you not address my complete argument?

      Abu Turab wrote: 2) To repeat, I’m not arguing for or against the theory of evolution itself. Now, if having a physical frame related to other primates is “disrespect” for Adam (as) and this thus impossible, I would just remind you that one of the descriptions of man’s origins is “a despised fluid” or a “despicable fluid” (32:8, 77:20). Our origin from “clay commingled with water” is spoken of derisively in 37:11, after God rhetorically asks if [those who refuse to believe] were more difficult to create than the other wonders of the universe. Humans are asked in 79:27, “Are you more difficult to create than the heaven which He has built?” and so on.

      Comment: This is not the same, because you are insulting a prophet in terms of his ancestry without a proof. When you are saying his ancestors are monkeys, or could be, then you are saying he is of their kind, which is very different. Especially without a proof. There is a big difference between saying, “your mother is an ape,”and “you were created from helpless liquid.” The second is simply to emphasize the powelessness of humankind and its need for the Creator. Basically you are saying that Adam could have had a mother that was a monkey, or that he was not the first human being, and you insist on this possibility even though I have shown you many scriptures that tells otherwise, and how one cannot assume meanings other than what is apparent from the scriptures without a proof. In this case we even have several texts that affirm the apparent meaning, such as the likening between Adam and Jesus.

      Abu Turab wrote: 3) Most critically, it seems that a certain ayah has been forgotten: “See they not that it is We Who have created for them – among the things which Our hands [aydina] have fashioned – cattle, which are under their dominion?” Being created by God’s “hands” is not a distinction to humans.

      Comment: This does not change anything, because our debate is not about this. It is about whether Adam was created directly from soil or not.

      You said:

      1) I have repeatedly stressed that I’m not arguing one thing or another about the theory of evolution.
      2) Even if I were, having “ancestors” “that are monkeys” is your own very subjective assessment of a certain position. Someone might be just as insulted by the idea that Adam was created from “soil”. But in fact is not not mankind’s physical origin that is of importance. Iblis made the most classic mistake of fixating upon man’s physicality as an indicator of worth and honor. Audhubillahi minna shaitani rajim!!!

      Comment: When it comes to insults, subjectivity is important. That is why I referenced an aayah which show that apes and pigs would be insulting as ancestry. Moreover, several hadiths mention the companions using the terms “brothers of monkeys” to cuss the Jews (because some of their ancestors were turned to monkeys when they transgressed.) If we all had monkey ancestry, then this would not be an insult. The same cannot be said about soil or semen.

      Note further that the origin is known from the aayah which states that Allaah created Adam from soil, and the expression, bi-yadayy, which implies no created causes involved. The rest, such as what makes a human special, is irrelevant to the issue at hand. The physical origin is important in the sense that it is stated in the Qur’aan and it is therefore denial of the Qur’aan to deny it.

      Abu Turab wrote:You said “You are also a deviant” That is a strong label to give someone based on a few exchanges over the internet. Just an unfortunate statement overall.

      Comment: One statement is enough to make someone deviant. You have several: one is interpreting figuratively without a proof, another is interpreting without scholarly qualification, yet another is contradicting ‘ijmaaˆ consensus, and finally, claiming that our Master Adam could be a descendant of monkeys. All of this is against Sunnism, and is therefore deviance.

      The basic principle for understanding the ayahs of the Quran and Hadiths of the Prophet is that they be taken at their most absolute, literal and apparent meanings, unless there is a proof why they shouldn’t. Such proofs would be other ayahs, other hadiths, and ijmaa, while mere preference is not acceptable for this. Sorting out these issues is the main purpose of Usul-al-Fiqh, the methodology for knowing commandments from the Quran and the Sunnah. The rational purpose of this rule of requiring a proof, as mentioned, is to avoid people interpreting the scriptures any way they like, while recognizing that not everything in the Quran can be understood literally, because that would lead to one ayah contradicting another in meaning.

      If the rule of requiring proof for saying that an ayah should not be taken literally was not correct, then there would be no purpose in sending a prophet, because his message would have been open to any interpretation desired. For example, one time my non-Muslim friend watched this woman praying as Imam for Jumu`ah prayer in the US. She said, “Well, this is her interpretation,” implying that the woman is free to interpret from the scriptures that a woman can lead Jumu`ah prayer. I told her, “Interpretation has to have rules, if you were allowed to make any interpretation, then what would be the point in sending a prophet?” She could not answer.

      Abu Turab says: Animosity has nothing to do with the power of ones argument.

      Comment: I never said that did, did I? I said that I need to show my animosity towards your way. I have addressed the points of your “arguments” in significant detail. It is you that is beating around the bush and avoid my arguments as if they don’t exist.

      Abu Turab says: I’d be perfectly happy (in fact privileged) to pray alongside you or sit down to talk and learn things from you, even though I strongly disagree on some things. Why can’t you do the same? We are brothers in Islam, regardless whether you think I am misguided.

      Comment: But you are not learning, you are not even bothering to think fairly about what I have said.

      Abu Turab says: This “deserved animosity” talk has nothing to do with Islam.

      Comment: Al-Ghazaaliy said: “The Salaf generation of the nation of Prophet Muhammad’s followers agreed to blame those with deviant ideas, and to abandon them, and to cut relations with them, and to be hard in rebuking them, but to not be hard on different views in details of jurisprudence (Al-Mustasfaa Fii ˆIlmi-l-‘Usuul, P. 350)” The same was stated by ˆAlaa’u-d-Diin Al-Bukhaariy (Kashfu-l-Asraar. V.4/P.25). I think we should leave it up to them what has to do with Islam or not.

      If you do not address all of my arguments in a relevant and logical way, I will need to moderate next time, because I don’t have time for debating for the sake of debating. Your task is to show that it is allowed to interpret an aayah without a proof for why, and to turn away from what is readily understood without a proof. Even further, you need to show that this is not a problem even when there are several supporting evidences that support the apparent understanding, such as Adam’s size of some 30 meters, and there is nothing to the contrary. You also need to show us reliable and authoritative scholars saying that Adam was not created directly from soil. You have some thorn rubbing to do.

  21. Ricardo says:

    Genetics show that humanity is NOT related to a single pair of people (Adam and Eve).

    • You have missed the point of the article, which is about the philosophical problems of Darwinism. In any case, you are assuming that how genes develop had to be exactly the same way at the very beginning of creation. Such an assumption cannot be made if one believes that there is a Creator that controls everything, including every single event in the universe. In fact, it cannot be made reasonably even according to the atheist creed based on coincidences, as should be self evident if one knows what a coincidence is. If coincidences can turn solid matter into intelligent life, then what prevents genetic flukes in history from screwing up genetic data thus hindering accurate inferences about the past? Give me a break.

      Anyway, Adam was created from soil – he did not inherit his genes from soil. How the genes in his children developed in his children need not be any more customary than the creation of Adam himself. These extraordinary events cannot be gotten at by scientific experiments, because they are exceptions from the norm, and science deals with norms. These norms, as I have explained at length, and is a major point of the article, are mere correlations. Each and every instance of genetic development and change is created by Allaah and not “natural laws.”

      Since Allaah created the norm of small gene pools being the source of weakness and diseases, it is quite reasonable to assume that the children of Adam and Eve were given exceptional genes in order to represent a large gene pool. Maybe this is why twin sisters and brothers were not allowed to marry among Adam’s children. Allaah knows best.

  22. Salam Alaykum Shaykh

    What would be your reply to a person who says this quoted below, and what would be the judgment on such a person:

    “Quran and our religion only says that Adam and Eve were created, and that God created everything generally. That does not at all discount evolution in the dunya. Creationists probably have much less science/argument than climate sceptics.”

  23. Case in point:

    “In re­cent years, ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ev­i­dence and skele­tons found in Spain and Chi­na al­so un­der­mined the prop­o­si­tion that mod­ern hu­ma­ns evolved in Af­ri­ca, ac­cord­ing to the re­search­ers. Yet they de­scribed the Qe­sem Cave find­ings as un­prec­e­dent­ed be­cause of their early age.”

    http://www.world-science.net/othernews/101230_sapiens

    As you can see, historical evolution theory is all circumstantial evidences. Nothing testable and nothing sure. In fact, I think it is ridiculous to claim that humans came from Africa or not based on such flaky evidence. All they can say is, “hey, the oldest human bones ever found are estimated to be 400k years old and were found at location so and so.” To go from there to talk about where humans came from is simply pathetic.

  24. Rashid says:

    Assalam u Alaikum,

    Dear Shaykh, there is one thing I want to inquire.

    In this article, you mentioned three sources of knowledge: true knowledge, sensory observation, and the mind.

    Then, you discarded the absolute certainty of theory of evolution in terms of true knowledge and mind. Maybe, I have missed something, but, I think that “sensory observation” has not been dealt with completely, because you proved that currently, at best, it is possible to perform an experiment with controllability, repeatability, and reliability that would show that humans can be born from apes, but that would still not prove that humans actually and historically evolved from apes. But, one can argue that the evidence of sensory observation, which is not experimental, can also provide absolute certain proof. For example, the existence of my grand-grand-grand-mother, though, cannot be proved with experiment on her, but, by experiment on me. I exist, therefore, she existed. Now, if such evidence is found, or proved by experimenting on living human beings, then evidence of absolute certainty can be proved with sensory observation. Or are you saying that this can be true, but the evidences we have are very poor? But, how can we say that “… they do not have, nor will they ever have proof for the theory that provides certainty of knowledge for their theory being true.”

    • Waˆalaykumussalaam,

      Correction: it is not “true knowledge”, but “true information”.

      Your question: I am saying that theoretical knowledge about the workings of this world is based on induction, and induction can never provide definitive proof. Never. This is a problem admitted by just about every philosopher of science since Hume. I don’t think there is any one of them today that would claim otherwise. Add that to the fact that a kafir’s word has no weight at all, not the least when there is a large amount of dogmatic beliefs involved. Yes, scientific theories have lots of dogmatic followers in all fields. This is especially true of Darwinists, because it is seen as the only alternative to a belief in a creator, so they will defend it tooth and nail, and it is by many seen as obviously true. This obviousness of theirs is based on their assumption that there is no other possibility, especially not one that involves the belief in an all-powerful creator. Think about this, because this explains a lot about their position and attitudes.

      An experiment on you to show that your grandmother is so and so, would be based on a a theory, which is induction based, or mere conjecture, so it can never provide certainty. However, it is not this alone which we look at, we also need to consider the scriptural proofs mentioned above. AGAIN, we are not saying that evolution by the will of Allaah is impossible in general, we are only saying that human beings are not descendants from other species.

  25. Abdullah says:

    Dear Shaykh Abu Adam,

    Assalaamualaikum,

    Really interesting article and comments. Some thoughts of my own:

    – it seems that evolutionists believe and seek to portray evolution as a natural “process” (i.e. the “primordial soup”, then basic cells, then the first simple living organisms, then more complex organisms all the way up to human beings) similar to other completely “natural” processes such as rainfall (rising water vapour leading to cloud formation leading to rain etc).

    – this reasoning ignores the fact that even on purely scientific/empirical grounds there is a material difference in the evidence for a repeatedly observed and undisputed physical phenomenon such as rainfall with a theory like evolution, which is based on a chain of essentially unverifable and unrepeatable historical physical phenomena.

    – Moreover, the explanation for this chain of unverifable and unrepeatable physical phenomena is itself disputed!

    – In the minds of the evolutionists, however, in the same way that they have a completely self-enclosed and “natural” (i.e. no need for any reason to invoke God in the process) explanation for the phenomenon of rainfall, they are simply and consistently applying the same “scientific” reasoning to the appearance of life and life-forms on earth.

    – By using the current prestige and authority enjoyed by “Science” and “Scientists”, the lay-public is duped into thinking that there is the same weight of evidence for evolution as there is for the phenomenon of the process of rainfall (or the earth’s orbit around the sun)

    – Opponents to evolution are therefore easy to portray as anti-scientific, irrational folk with a hidden religious agenda.

    – Of course the evolutionists’ own often virulent anti -religious agenda/prejudice is rarely highlighted and if it is it is actually portrayed as a legitimate scientific conclusion! (see Richard Dawkins and his ilk)

    What a strange world we live in!

  26. Abdullah says:

    I would just like to add to my previous post that the-unscientific and anti-Islamic- intellectual foundation of modern science is naturalism (i.e. no Divine role/intervention in any physical phenomenon or process). Evolutionism seems to go a step further as it posits a naturalistic explanation for a phenomenon whose very existence it cannot even establish!

  27. tru_Qur'an says:

    As salamu ‘alaykum

    “It is just one kaafir arguing with another kaafir about what kind of kufr they should be doing.”

    lol

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