Opinion, September 2003, www.aljazeerah.info
Islamic Attitude to the Theory of Evolution and Creation
Arab News, 9/22/03
Q. Could you please explain the Islamic attitude to the theory of evolution in the light of the Qurían.
A.Y. Bashoels, Jeddah
A. The theory of evolution was started in the 19th Century by Charles Darwin, a British biologist. Darwin was a Christian, married to a very religious lady. When he came out with his book on the Origin of Species, he did not think that he was putting up a theory that would undermine Christianity. He thought that his theory could be accepted in a Christian context. However, scientists who shared his scientific views, but not his religious background, carried the theory further and promoted it in an atheistic framework. Darwin himself modified his views and toward the end of his life, after his wifeís death, he acknowledged that his theory was incompatible with the views of the Church.
The theory itself is based on two main principles, namely, natural selection and the survival of the fittest. Natural selection means that species modify their abilities to suit the environment in which they live. This accounts for the fact that different animals have special abilities or tools that are most suitable for their environment. Not only so, but the same species may have different abilities in different environment.
If the theory of evolution remained confined to the realm of science, trying to account for the different characteristics and abilities of plants and animals, there would be no problem with it. However, to use this theory as a basis to deny God, creation and manís special position on earth is basically wrong. The theory does not provide any solid alternative that can be proven.
In fact, Darwin was not the first to note the fine gradation of species in both plant and animal kingdoms. Muslim biologists noted this many centuries before the birth of Charles Darwin and his fellow scientists. They observed the great variety of plants and the fact that there is a clear hierarchy reaching up to a level that approaches, but does not reach, the animal level. Again, there is a graded hierarchy in the animal kingdom, going from one-celled creatures up to the chimpanzee. And then we have man. There is a huge gap between the highest animal and man, as also between the highest plant and the lowest animal.
Muslim scientists attributed this fine system to its originator, God the Creator of all. It is God who gave all these creatures their basic quality of adapting to their environment.
Thus, a plant or an animal develops over a period of time a new quality to adjust to the changes of its environment. Both natural selection and the survival of the fittest are part of Godís grand design of creation.
This means that when we look at the world around us and study its features, we should recognize Godís hand and will in all what we see.
When we do that, we feel stronger in our faith and we are rewarded by God for complying with His instructions to look and reflect. On the other hand, if we do like the atheist evolutionists, who deny God because they discovered certain aspects of His creation, we sink into the abyss of atheism like they have done.
Fasting on the Day of Arafat
Q.1. In some countries, the day of the Eid is one or two days later than it is in Saudi Arabia. If one wants to fast on the Day of Arafat, does he follow Saudi calendar or his own countryís calendar?
Q.2. Can a woman drink Zamzam water during her period?
A.1. The day we are recommended to fast is the day of Arafat, not any day preceding the Eid of Sacrifice. Thus, if the Eid is determined to be later in a particular country, which should not be the case, the day to fast is still the day when the pilgrims attend at Arafat.
A.2. Yes, this is perfectly permissible. There is nothing that restricts the drinking of Zamzam to any group of people. All may drink of it, regardless of their condition or state.
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