the Scientific Research Committee - IslamToday.net
Dear questioner: Al-Salâm `Alaykum wa Rahmah Allah wa Barakâtuh.
We can learn about the past in two ways:
1. Direct revelation from Allah to His Prophets and Messengers.
2. Studying the evidence left behind from the events of the past.
We know that Allah created Adam directly without the agency of parents. Allah says: “The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be". And he was.” [Sûrah Al `Imrân: 59]
We know from the Qur’ân that Adam and his wife were the father and mother of all human beings living on the Earth today. We know about this by way of direct revelation from Allah. In the Qur’ân, Allah states clearly: “O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 1] Allah also says: “O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is the one who is the most God-fearing.” [Sûrah al-Hujûrât:13]
We also know from revelation that the world was already in existence and populated with living organisms before Adam and Hawwâ’s arrival upon it. The Qur’ân and Sunnah do not tell us much about the flora and fauna present on the Earth at the time of their arrival, nor does it tell us how long ago they arrived. Therefore, these are things we cannot ascertain from the sacred texts.
We know that Allah created everything, including all of the animals. However, the Qur’ân and Sunnah do not tell us in great detail how the creation of these things was carried out and on what timescale. Yes, the Qur’ân tells us that the heavens and the Earth were created in six days, but the scholars of Tafsîr concede that we cannot be sure about the duration of these days.
We can try to learn something about the past history of the Earth by looking at evidence in Creation. This is the job of scientists like astronomers, geologists, biologists, and paleontologists. Likewise, we can learn something about the past history of humanity by looking at human artifacts and documents. This research is carried out by historians and archeologists.
It is a given that we should never accept any conclusions arrived at by scientists and historians that contradict the clear and undisputable texts of the Qur’ân and Sunnah. However, we cannot refute scientific claims based on our own opinions and subjective interpretations of the sacred texts. In the absence of clear textual evidence to the contrary, scientific claims stand or fall on their own merits.
As for dinosaurs, they are not mentioned in the Qur’ân and Sunnah. In fact, most animals, even those living today, are not mentioned in those sources. However, this does not mean that those animals do not exist. The Qur’ân and Sunnah are not source works for scientific enquiry or natural history. The issue of the existence of dinosaurs and other matters of natural history are questions that belong in the domain of science. The fossil evidence is overwhelming that these animals once existed.
The Qur’ân has nothing to say on the matter of dinosaurs one way or the other, except, of course, that everything in Creation past or present, was created by Allah in whatever manner He wished to create it.
Source: Islam Today