Islam, Creationism, and the Theory of Evolution
03 Sep 2011 04:43 GMT
Like fundamentalist Christians, the Muslim world also has its share of fundamentalist religious scholars that reject the Theory of Evolution and scientific theories like the Big Bang or the Big Crunch that attempt to explain the origins of the universe. While most progressive Muslims are wholly in support of scientific advancement, many fundamentalist Muslims have been influenced by the American creationist movement and proponents of Intelligent Design, also proposing creationists theories that fit the framework of Islam. Paradoxically, in this regard fundamentalist Muslims have much more in common with those that regard them as a mutual enemy than with most reasonable, progressive Muslims that comprise the majority of the world's Muslim population.

Like the Old Testament, the Qur'an also states that the creation of the Universe lasted “six days.” However, in Islam each of these days is metaphorical, representing a period of time. Because of this, there are practically no Muslims that believe that the world is only six thousand years old, or that Man interacted with the dinosaurs. The ambiguity present in this specific section of the Qur'an leaves only the reasonable explanation on the Earth's actual age. Most Muslims consider that the Bible in its original for was a text revealed by God through His prophets and messengers. However, Muslims believe that the current Bible has been corrupted and contains a large number of errors. This has allowed Muslims to largely ignore the debates on the Theory of Evolution and Creationism that have become characteristic of fundamentalist Christians in the United States (that do consider the Bible the literal word of God.)

A fundamentalist school of Muslims has started to put forth ideas that have much in common with Christian Bible literalists. However, most progressive Muslims consider that these views are not based on knowledge, but on clinging to outdated ideas that have no basis on Islam. The Qur'an directly contradicts many of the points made in the Bible that are the basis for Young Earth Creationism and the rejection of the Theory of Evolution. Islam has its own views of Evolution and, regardless of the objections of some fundamentalist Muslims, there is no question that Qur'an clearly states that investigating Nature and the pursuit of scientific knowledge are a path to God. In fact, one famous Islamic scholar of the 18th century, Ibrahim Hakki of Erzurum, declared that between animals and humans there is monkey.

Among the most important passages of the Qur'an that support modern scientific views of the origin of the Universe include:

"Do not the Unbelievers see that the skies (space) and the earth were joined together, then We clove them asunder and We created every living thing out of the water. Will they not then believe?"

"Then turned He to the sky (space) when it was smoke, and said unto it and unto the earth: Come both of you, willingly or loth. They said: We come, obedient."

"With power and skill did We construct the Firmament: for it is We Who create the vastness of space."

"On the day when We will roll up the sky (space) like the rolling up of the scroll for writings, as We originated the first creation, (so) We shall reproduce it; a promise (binding on Us); surely We will bring it about."

-- Al Arabiya Digital