The Holy Quran – Concept of evolution

“This is a perfect Book; there is no doubt in it; it is a guidance for the righteous.” Ch 2, V 3.

Being Ahmadi Muslims, each and every one of us is blessed beyond our own comprehension that not only are we among those who have recognized and been shielded under the cloak of truthfulness and spirituality which is otherwise void among many in the world, we have also been taught the answer to endless conundrums that exist in the minds of scientists and academics. From the creation of the Universe to the evolution of man himself, Allah Ta’ala has given us the solution to every enigma a thousand years earlier than everyone else. While an average child may begin learning about existential (factual) matters in depth at high school, aged at least 11, we Ahmadi Muslims read the words of the Holy Qur’an from when we begin to talk, acquiring knowledge from the words of the Creator himself.

The modern accepted theory of evolution is Darwin’s theory of ‘natural selection’, in which he argues in his book, ‘On the origin of species’ (1959), that disadvantageous genes and traits are slowly discontinued when they are not passed on from parent to offspring until they reach extinction. However, in each theory there is a significant gap in the understanding of why and how evolution came about. Surely the human race has not been hurtling forwards all by itself with no input at all from a higher source of knowledge or driving force. How have the perfect conditions for our survival and evolvement been set? How did the first human come to be to even allow for a larger human race to exist in the future? By a mere shred of luck? This would be an irrational position to hold.

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (ra) explains:

“If man looks down from the dizzy heights he occupies on the ladder of life, at the innumerable steps below him in the chain of evolution, seldom will he realize that for him to have survived the hazards he faced at each of these steps, was no less than a grand miracle. We owe gratitude to the many generations of dedicated biologists who with their hard work have helped us to understand, to some degree, the inexhaustible mysteries of life! But alas, few among those who themselves unravel the mysteries ever realize how much they owe to the infinite mercy of God and His limitless creative Wisdom.” Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Truth

The Holy Qur’an rejects the proposition of a ‘blind’ chain of natural selection, which claims that apes are the ancestors of humans- as humans have enormous potential for mental acuity (sharpness), and spiritual dexterity, which is absent from the animals Darwin believed we arose from. Rather, our creation is the direct result of Allah Ta’ala’s intention.

“only that we say it to ‘Be’! and it is”. Ch 16, V 41

The Holy Qur’an expresses the ease in the way our Lord controls and creates all matter, using the word ‘kun’, which translates to ‘be’. It is using this divinely omnipotent (Almighty) expression that Allah’s will is commanded into every stage of the evolutionary chain.

“What is the matter with you that you expect not wisdom and staidness from Allah? And he has created you in different forms and different conditions”. Ch 7, V14-15

So, although these verses show that humans have taken a journey of stages or conditions, the Qur’an disregards the idea that anything at all in our development is coincidental. Rather, we are a selected species. We are not the result of being in the right space of the universe at the right time, but have been created with intention and objective to become cognizant (conscious) enough to recognise our Creator. This is in stark contrast to the random evolutionary accidents and mutations Darwin refers to, resulting in a surviving species with no specific purpose and who arose from apes. This is illustrated when we see that the Holy Qur’an continuously refers to the ‘creation of man’ even when describing very early conditions of the universe.

It is not only the stages of evolution the Qur’an describes; but even details of the materials used as the building blocks of life are mentioned. In line with modern science, the Holy Qur’an mentions that man was created from clay:
“When the Lord said to the angels, ‘I am about to create man from clay…” Ch 38, V 77

What a wondrous fact it is that in circa (around) 600 CE, in a desert of land, among people who knew little about the intricacies of chemistry and biology, such a massive truth about their own creation was revealed, especially as contemporary science only recently came to explain the role of clay as a material for the origins of human life. Such developments in the understanding of synthesis (blending) in organic compounds demonstrate the changes that occurred to clay to make it a sustainable source for life.

Clay, water, soul. Just a few of the extensive materials mentioned in the Holy Qur’an in relation to man. The depth of knowledge in the Qur’an is too large for its explanations to not fill chapters, which is why it is of paramount importance for every person to drink from this fountain of wisdom. It is indeed a fortunate position we hold, waiting for contemporary science to attempt catching up with timeless revelations.

“If the ocean became ink for the words of my Lord, surely, the ocean would be exhausted before the words of my Lord came to an end”
Ch 18, V 110