Islam, The reality of the modernists and the theory that human beings evolved

Shaqur Rehman
One of the difficulties that face the Muslim nation today is the pressure to conform to the dominant discourse and popular culture. The battle for hearts and minds is constant – it is waged through 24 hour media (otherwise known as the 24 hour propaganda machine), through the educational establishments that teach our children truth mixed with falsehood, and by the hypocrites in our own ranks: people who appear to be from us, yet their hearts incline towards evil, slowly drip feeding their pernicious falsehood to fit their agenda of reforming and modernising Islam. Their desire is to make Islam more palatable to the philosophy of liberal secularism because they themselves have an affiliation to it. The modernists suffer a crisis of sophistication that infests their hearts with doubts leading to a chronic inferiority complex. Their longing to be accepted by those whose approval they crave and their want for an epitaph of Islamic reformer and thinker leads them to stoop ever lower, perhaps even selling their hereafter for a miserable price.

Taught in classrooms throughout the western world is Darwin’s theory of evolution. It is taught as fact that human beings evolved from other species and is often used erroneously by atheists as a basis for their disbelief in God. Evolution theory has undergone significant amendments since Darwin posited his theory. Those amendments which gave rise to what we can now term ‘neo-darwinism’ can best be described as a ‘science of gaps’. In other words there are certain things you observe, you cannot really explain them scientifically and you do not want to resort to explaining them spiritually because you have a basic philosophical pre-supposition that nothing exists except matter. So rather than leave any gaps through which you fear a God may slip through you fill the cracks with hypothesis and certify it as scientific knowledge so that it becomes a theory of everything. To put it simply, the conclusion is arrived at because of the assumption. Anti-religious philosophy gave birth to the science instead of the science giving rise to its atheistic connotations.

The theory that man evolved is in clear contradistinction to the account given in the Qur’an and Sunnah of the creation of man. From time to time the modernists unambiguously expose their chameleon reality by imposing their distorted unislamic beliefs upon the wider Muslim body who they believe to be mere credulous laypeople. Recently an attempt was made to reconcile the texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah with the theory of evolution of man using lurid and patently absurd interpretation. However, the scriptural evidences are so copious in number and so clear cut that these are considered issues of Muslim belief wherein attempts to make ta’wil (allegorical inference) are considered disbelief of the revelation and thus disbelief in Islam.

The Qur’an clearly states that Adam was created by Allah, by His own hands, “He said, “Your Lord said to the angels, ‘I am going to create a human being out of clay.’” (38:71) ‘Iblis, what prevented you prostrating to what I created with My own two hands?” (38:75) Abdullah ibn Umar said, “Allah created four things with His hand: the Throne, the Pen, the Garden of Eden and Adam. To the rest of His creation He said, ‘Be!’ and it was.” (Lalika’i #729-730, authenticated by Albani in Mukhtasar al-Uluw) This narration clearly shows that the Companions believed that these four things, Adam included, were created in a way different to other animals and creatures. The authentic hadith furnish further detail that leave no doubt whatsoever that this was an actual act performed by Allah, for example the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said that on the Last Day, mankind would go from Prophet to Prophet requesting intercession, they would go to Adam and say, “You are the father of mankind, Allah created you with His hand, had the angels prostrate to you, and taught you the names of all things.” (Bukhari and Muslim, a mutawatir hadith) “Allah created Adam from a handful of earth which He took from the whole earth. Hence the sons of Adam come like the earth, some are white, red, black and in between. Some are vile and some are pure. Some are easy and some are difficult with others in between.” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi who said it was hasan sahih, Abu Dawud, and authenticated by Albani)

Allah has explained the stages involved in Adam’s creation. Imam Ahmad states in his book, The refutation of the Heretics and the Jahmites, vol. 1 pp. 9-10: ‘As for His saying, the Mighty and Majestic, “He created you from dust” (35:11) then He said: “From sticky clay” (37:11), then “extract of clay” (23:12), then “altered black smooth mud” (15:26) and then “sounding clay” (55:14). They complained about the Quran and said that it was confusing; part of it contradicting other parts. We say these verses describe the beginning of Adam’s creation: He created him in the first instance from dust, then red, black and white mud; good mud and salty and swampy mud. His progeny are like this as well: good and bad, black, red and white. Then that mud dried and became clay and that is His saying: “from clay”. When the clay stuck together, it became sticky clay. Then He said: “extract of clay,” which is said when it is squeezed and it slips through the fingers. Then it began to decompose and became moulded black smooth mud, so he was created from black mud. When he dried as dry clay like pottery, He says he had a ringing like the ringing of clattering clay that has a noise like the noise of dry clay.’

It is very important to note the great detail that has been mentioned here concerning the creation of Adam. Also of note is that Imam Ahmad mentions all of this in a book of theology where he is responding to the heretical views of the open hypocrites (zanadiqah) and the Jahmites.

The angels were commanded to prostrate to Adam when Allah created him, “(Call to mind) when your Lord said to the angels, ‘I am creating a human being out of dried clay formed from fetid black mud. When I have formed him and breathed My spirit into him, fall down in prostration in front of him!’” (15:28-29) “And (remember) when We said to the angels: "Prostrate yourselves before Adam.". And they prostrated except Iblîs (Satan), he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers. And We said: "O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight of things therein as wherever you will, but come not near this tree or you both will be of the Zâlimûn (wrong-doers)." Then the Shaitân (Satan) made them slip therefrom (the Paradise), and got them out from that in which they were. We said: "Get you down, all, with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment for a time." Then Adam received from his Lord Words . And his Lord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily, He is the One Who forgives (accepts repentance), the Most Merciful. We said: "Get down all of you from this place (the Paradise), then whenever there comes to you Guidance from Me, and whoever follows My Guidance, there shall be no fear on them, nor shall they grieve” (2: 34-38). How does this square with the theory of evolution? Adam was in the heavens when Allah asked the Angels to prostrate to Him. So if we were to believe Allah created Adam upon the Earth via the process of evolution how did this event occur? I guess we would have to further speculate and conjecture that Allah took him up to the heavens after having been on the Earth! We also know that Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden. The Qur’an mentions that eating from the forbidden tree resulted in them being sent down to the Earth, which of course we must remember was a punishment for eating from the tree. If being upon the Earth was a punishment why was Adam initially created upon it when no crime had been committed? What these simple questions demonstrate is that when one follows a path of conjecture they will end up creating seeming contradictions in the revelation “If it were from other than Allah you would find much discrepancy therein” [4: 82]. All manner of twisting the Quranic verses and denial of many prophetic traditions would be required to conform to the original assumption that evolution theory is true.

Anas reports that the Prophet (saw) said: “When Allah shaped Adam in Paradise He left him for however long He wished to leave him, so Iblis began going around him and looking to see what he was. When he found him to be hollow he realised that he was a creature that could not exercise self restraint.” (Muslim). From this hadith it is clearly evident that Adam was an empty form before life was given to him and was left in that state for a period of time. These points clearly contradict the theory of man’s evolution in themselves and clearly lays the creation of Adam in the hands of Allah alone in a completely direct manner. There is a clear denial of Adam being the descendent of any other being or species in the unequivocal establishment of Allah shaping Adam Himself.

Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet (saw) said: “Allah created Adam upon His form, his height being sixty cubits …” [Bukhari and Muslim]. Ibn Hajr commenting on this hadith reminds us and makes it very clear that the Muslims believe that Adam did not go through the normal stages of human life as his children do: birth, infancy, youth and then adulthood as evolution suggests. He states: ‘rather Allah created him a complete and well proportioned man from the moment the soul was blown in to him …’ (Fath al-Bari 6/366). Again, this hadith clearly contradicts the theory of evolution which requires the stages of life from birth to death to be applied throughout the differing species and their descendants.

Allah says, “The likeness of Isa in Allah’s sight is the same as Adam. He created him from earth and then He said to him, ‘Be!’ and he was.” (3:59) This verse was revealed to repudiate the Christian argument that Jesus having no earthly father was a proof that he was divine. The verse states that Adam had no parents whatsoever, being created instead from earth, yet this did not make him divine; the comparison then was between the absence of a father in the case of Jesus and the absence of any parents at all for Adam. Ibn al-Qayyim states that this is an example of analogy by effective cause (i.e. no father in both cases). He says regarding this verse, ‘So how can a person deny the existence of Isa without a father when he affirms the existence of Adam without father or mother and the existence of Hawwa without a mother…’ (I’lam al-Muwaqqi’in 1/150). He also says, ‘As Adam was created without intercourse and the coming together of the two genders so was the body of Isa a creation without intercourse and the coming together of the two genders.’ (Daqa’iq al-Tafsir 1/319). Ibn Taymiyah says: ‘So He (Allah) created Adam without a male or female, He created his wife Hawwa from a man without a woman as He has said: “and created from it its mate” (4: 1) and created the Messiah (Isa) from a woman without a man and created the rest of the creation from male and female …’ (al-Jawab al-Sahih 4/54). In fact, the reputable scholars of tafsir all mention the fact that Adam was created without father and mother or a seed when explaining this verse. (cf. Tabari, Qurtubi, Baghawi, Baydawi, Ibn Abi Hatim, Razi, ibn Kathir etc)

There are mutawatir texts that show that Adam and Hawwa lived as man and wife and that mankind came from these two. Allah says, “O mankind! Be mindful of your Lord who created you from a single soul and created its mate from it and then disseminated many men and women from the two of them.” (4:1), “It is He who created you from a single soul and made from him his spouse so that he might find repose in her.” (7:189) “Mankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other.” (49:13) If mankind had a different origin to mention these statements would not be considered true but rather a distortion of the truth and Allah is exalted above such attribution and is the best in articulating what He intends.

Allah says, “We have honoured the sons of Adam,” (17:70), yet elsewhere Allah mentions a group of people who were cursed by being turned into apes and pigs (cf. 5:60, 7:166). Being turned in to these creatures caused them to be degraded and humiliated. If evolution asks us to believe that Adams ancestors were apes we then have a clear contradiction. To affirm ones lineage and origin is obligatory in the Shariah so there can be no shame in it, so where is the dishonour in being turned into an ape if it was our origin? Rather, the punishment was for their disobedience to Allah’s commands due to their chasing their desires and lusts over what they had been commanded with. The commands were part of the revelation which is an honour given to man and not given to animals, so when man turned away from it; following and chasing after his desires and thus behaving like an animal, Allah punished him accordingly by turning those people mentioned in the Quran in to apes and pigs. (cf. Sayyid Qutb, In the Shade of the Quran)

Allah and His Messenger (SAW) spoke in great detail about the creation of Adam leaving no confusion or obscurity in the matter. The Muslims all clearly and unanimously understood the verses and Prophetic statements concerning this. The verses and hadith on this topic are unequivocal on the issue, the understanding of the Muslims is also unequivocal. The immediate recipients of the revelation: The Prophet (SAW), the Companions and the early Muslims all understood that this was the case. It is unimaginable that with such detail and clarity, Allah was not able to convey the truth regarding this issue just as it is impossible that Allah lied concerning it. Thus the issue was conveyed clearly and understood as intended. It is also impossible that the Prophet (saw) knew the reality of this issue and hid it or lied about it to his followers. It is also unimaginable that the Prophet (SAW) would have couched the matter in such vague or allegorical language as to give one impression when another was meant since this would mean that he did not convey the message clearly, to think this would mean that he betrayed his mission and did not discharge his duty in explaining the revelation to his followers; something Allah would never leave uncorrected. Therefore, it is unimaginable to think that Allah revealed verses that were incorrectly understood by all of the immediate addressees and leave them upon misguidance. A person who comes along centuries later and decides that a contradictory position can and should be held on this issue is in reality saying that not only does he understand the religion and Allah’s words better than the Prophet and his Companions, but rather that he understands Allah’s words and intent better than Allah himself. To put it in simpler terms: everyone failed to reach the truth or was lying until this person blessed the ummah with his vast intellectual prowess. It also clearly shows that such an individual feels that Muslims require the ever changing non-Muslim theories to understand the realities of their own religion. Indeed, the implication is that non-Muslims are superior and thus one should aspire to become like them and abandon what was taught by the Prophet to his Companions.

It is truly unfortunate to see some Muslims promote the theory of evolution by relying on equivocal, mutashabih, verses of the Qur’an, some of which are clear metonym or kinaya, and leaving the unequivocal, muhkam verses. This is precisely what Allah warns us against: “Those with deviation in their hearts follow what is open to interpretation in it, desiring conflict, seeking its interpretation.” (3:7). It is due to this that anyone who promotes this theory will always look for reasons and avenues to deny the details mentioned in the prophetic traditions and promote an unrestricted interpretation of scripture and the rejection of classical scholarship, obviously dressed up as breaking the shackles holding back the advancement of ‘Muslim’ thought. Such reasoning contradicting the revelation and emanating from speculation without a comprehensive reading of the revelation was exactly the evil that the Companions and the early Muslim scholars denounced and censure. (cf. Ibn al-Qayyim, I’lam al-Muwaqqi’in 2/125-126)

Evolution is a theory, not fact: it has been greatly modified since the days of Darwin, and will likely be modified more in the years to come. Theory cannot override the Qur’an and Sunnah since they are absolute truth which transcend time and place.

In conclusion the mechanism of evolution as forwarded by the evolutionists to explain the emergence of man is at complete odds to the revelation. The theory contradicts and opposes clear and unambiguous verses of the Qur’an and traditions from the Prophet (saw). A person who holds such a view is without doubt rejecting the revelation on this issue. Not only are the textual evidences numerous and clear but also the wealth of detailed explanation from the Prophet (saw) and his Companions leaves no room for interpretation at all, rather such explanations necessitate that opposition to them falls under the saying of Allah: “Whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers' way. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell - what an evil destination” (4:115). Interpretation in this issue is not similar to interpretation in issues in which such detail is not explicit but rather derived, as such, analogy between the two issues and their consequential rulings is merely whimsical and holds no true Islamic credibility.

Shaqur Rehman, edited by Abu Rumaysah

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