Transformation of sinners into apes and swine and its significance for the theory of evolution.
27 Aug 2011 10:58 GMT
Al-Salam-`alaikum. Allah says: "When they were too arrogant to [desist from] what they had been forbidden, We said to them, 'Be you apes, humiliated'" [7:166]. In a hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) says: "There shall be groups of people from my community who shall consider fornication, silk, wine, and musical instruments to be lawful: groups shall camp beside a high mountain, whom a shepherd returning to in the evening with one of their herds shall approach for something he needs, and they shall tell him, 'Come back tomorrow.' Allah shall destroy them in the night, bringing down the mountain upon them, and transforming others into apes and swine until the Day of Judgement." [Sahih al-Bukhari]. Do we take these texts literally? If we do, would this count as evidence to support the theory of biological evolution, since there is a possibility of living things being transformed into other living things?

Answered by

Sheikh Nâsir al-Mâjid, professor at al-Imâm University in Riyadh

All praise is due to Allah, and may peace be upon His Messenger.

It is recorded in the Qur'ân and in the Sunnah that Allah transformed nations who came before us into apes and swine. Allah says: “So when they exceeded the limits of what they were prohibited, We said to them: ‘Be you apes, despised and rejected.’” [7:166]. Allah also says: “Say: ‘Shall I inform you of something worse than that, regarding the recompense from Allah: those who incurred the Curse of Allah and His Wrath, and those of whom He transformed into apes and swine and those who worshipped false deities?’” [5:60].

Also, it has been recorded in the hadîth that such a transformation will occur in the Muslim nation. Abu Mâlik al-Ash’arî reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There will be (some) of my nation who make permissible adultery, silk, alcohol and musical instruments, and others will come near a flag which flies high on a post, and the poor will ask them, and they will say: ‘Come back tomorrow.’ Allah will cast down their flag and turn others into apes and swine until the Day of Judgment.”

These texts and others should be understood literally. One should not explain them through metaphors, thinking such things impossible. Allah has the power to accomplish all things. This, however is not related to the theory of evolution in any way. There are two major differences:

1- The theory of evolution deals with the biology of life in general and is not exceptional for certain species. Evolutionary theory is proposed as a model applicable to all biological lineages. What is recorded in the Qur’ân and the Sunnah is that some nations and people were afflicted by transformation due to their disobedience. This is a serious difference between the theory of evolution and what is being discussed in the Qur’ân and Sunnah.

2- The theory of evolution is based on the idea that populations – not individual creatures – evolve gradually with the passing of generations until, for certain reasons, those populations may become distinct species. What is recorded in the Qur’ân and Sunnah is not the evolution of lineages over time, but a radical and instantaneous transformation of individuals, as is recorded by Ibn Abbâs.

And Allah knows best.

Source: Islam Today

-- Al Arabiya Digital