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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES 04

0210-HUMAN CREATION vs THEORY OF EVOLUTION

Paper presented at a seminar organized by Saba Islamic Media at Kuching on 19th October 2002 by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. MB ChB (MUK), MPH, DrPH (Harvard), Deputy Dean for Research and Postgraduate Affairs, Kulliyah of Medicine, International Islamic University, Kuantan Malaysia EM: omarkasule@yahoo.com. Web site http://omarkasule.tripod.com/

1.0 CREATION OF THE HUMAN BEING, khalq al insan

Allah, the creator, khaliq, is different from humans, the created, makhluq[1]. The physical human is created from water[2], and clay, twiin[3]. Humans eventually return to the earth[4]. A human is of dual creation, consisting of matter and the ruh[5]. Humans were created de novo as humans and did not evolve. All humans have a common biological origin[6]. The human is created in the best of moulds, an optimal anatomical and physiological design. The beauty of human creation manifests as order, harmony, organization, and precision. Scientists study the signs of Allah in the human body. Humans are the best creation of Allah[7], are the most dignified and honored, are the most sophisticated creation, have a ruh that animals lack, carry the trust, amanat, and khilafat, and all other creations are at their service, taskhir. Human creation was a deliberate and not a random or accidental event. It was revolutionary and not evolutionary. The theory of evolution contradicts the Qur’anic teaching about creation. According to the Qur’an two humans were created in a different way: Adam (PBUH) was created without a father or a mother[8]. Isa (PBUH) was created only from a mother and no father[9]. Parity found in human creation[10] is part of the general phenomenon of parity found in other creations of Allah.

 

2.0 NATURE OF THE HUMAN, tabi'at al insaan

Allah created humans in the state of fitra that is the best state both biologically, morally, socially, and psychologically. The essence of the human is the nafs. The words qalb and ruh are also used to mean nafs. The exact nature of the nafs, ruh, or qalb is in Allah’s knowledge. The nafs has three levels: prone to evil, nafs ammara[11]; self-reproaching, nafs lawamat[12]; and perfect, nafs kaamilat. The nafs kaamilat is the highest level of perfection and has 3 manifestations: satisfied, nafs mutmainnat[13]; pleased, nafs raadhiyat[14]; and pleasing, nafs mardhiyat[15]. The nafs has positive attributes (iman, taqwa, and sabr) and negative attributes (hasad, dhulm, ’ujb, fitnat, and fujuur). The nafs can change by hidayat, tazkiyat, and taubat. The qalb has been associated with iman, emotions, sensation, intellect, responsibility, and guidance. Diseases of the heart include lack of seriousness, neglect, anger, pride, and hypocrisy. During embryological development, Allah inspires the ruh into the fetus[16]. Human behavior reflects the duality of the physical body and the ruh. The ruh is the essence, the source of identity, and has overriding control. The body is temporary but the ruh is permanent. The human lives and functions in the empirical world of the seen, aalam al shahadat. Humans can know about the world of the unseen, ‘aalam al ghaib, through the revelations in the Qur’an. Humans cannot initiate interaction with angels and jinns that are in the world of the unseen. Angels on the orders of Allah do interfere in many human affairs. The jinn may also have limited interference in human affairs. Prophets could interact with angels and jinns with Allah’s permission. Astrologers and all those who pretend to know the unseen future are liars. Scientific future predictions or reconstructions of the past may not be perfect but are not an intrusion into the unseen because they are based on empirical data. Humans have positive attributes (gratitude and iman) and negative attributes (pride[17], injustice[18], hastiness[19], miserliness[20], foolhardiness[21],  neglect[22], evil-doing[23], spread of evil[24], denying the truth[25], polytheism, hypocrisy, niggardliness[26]; argumentativeness[27], perfidy[28], adversarial behavior[29], despair[30], impatience[31], fretfulness[32], and transgression[33], ingratitude[34], denying favors[35], and love of passions. The most important attribute of humans is intelligence. Humans have a more developed intellect than other creations. The human brain has the biggest surface area in relation to weight, is more sophisticated and more specialized, and is capable of abstract thinking and problem solving. Human understanding is at 4 levels in descending order of importance: qalb,  fuad, lubb[36], and instinct, jibilla[37]. Humans are characterized by aggression. The human whatever strengths he may have to realize that he has limits beyond which he cannot perform. The limitations can be absolute or relative. Absolute limitations are in knowledge and understanding. Relative limitations are in sensory perception and physical action.

 

3.0 SUPERIORITY OF HUMANS, afdhaliyyat al insaan

The human is superior to every other living and non-living thing that Allah created. Allah honored the human above all other creation, karamat al insan, tafdhil al insan[38]. Human history started with Allah honoring Adam by ordering angels to bow before him[39]. All other creations whether living or non-living were placed at the service of humans and were made subservient to humans, taskhirr. Human superiority is not based on body size, physical strength, special anatomical or physiological function because there are many animals that are superior to humans in smelling, seeing, running, resistance to diseases. Human superiority is not a right. It is a potential that can be developed or can be neglected. Not every single human individual can claim this superiority. It is only those who fulfill specific criteria that can claim superiority. The individual's position can change with time depending on behavior. Good and responsible behavior leads to the higher levels of superiority while bad behavior leads to inferiority. The single criterion of human superiority is taqwa. Taqwah is a final common pathway for the 4 criteria of human superiority a superior intellect, ‘aql; a free will, iraadat; responsibility, amaanat; and moral guidance, hidayat.

 

4.0 MISSION OF HUMANS ON EARTH, risalat al insan fi al ardh

The mission of the human is therefore to undertake ‘ibadat. The concept of ‘ibadat includes virtually all human endeavor and all human activities. Whatever humans do in sincerity and without disobeying any of Allah’s commands is a form of ‘ibadat. ‘Ibadat is the practical expression of taqwa. The human mission covers the present and the future but does not include the past. It can be individual, fardh ‘ain, or collective, fardh kifayat. Humans may forget or neglect their mission and need reminders. Falah is success of humans in their mission[40]. It is achieved by iman[41], tazkiyat[42], taqwat[43], ta’at[44], dhikr Allah[45], avoiding shaitan[46], amal sali[47], amr bi ma'aruf & nahy 'an al munkar[48], infaq[49], tawbat[50], and jihad[51]. Falah includes material success on earth and spiritual success in the hereafter. Both types of success depend on human effort on earth. Failure of the human mission is failure of ‘ibadat and failure to uphold the Law of Allah. It manifests as dhulm[52], kadhb[53], kufr[54], crime[55], and disappointment, khaibat[56]. Failure of the humam mission may be due to internal promptings to evil or external influence by shaitan.

 

5.0 DIVERSITY OF HUMANS

All humans were created from one single origin[57]. Humans started as one family that of Adam. They were at one time one community or nation[58] and became several groups[59]. Biological similarities among humans are based on the same cellular structure and function, same chemical composition and function, common genetic control based on DNA, and the ability to inter-breed. Biological differences among humans (skin color, anatomy, physiology, and external physiognomy) are used in a rather vague way to define three basic racial types: Caucasian, mongoloid, and Negroid. Allah deliberately created differences in color as one of His signs[60]. Language differences are among Allah’s signs[61]. Gender differences (biological, psychological, and emotional) do not indicate superiority or inferiority but are part of Allah’s scheme for a balanced society. There is no pure race since humans have interbred a lot. It is better to classify humans on the basis of ethnicity and not race. Race is difficult to define and operationalize but ethnicity is easy to define as both hereditary and social characteristics. Allah created tribes and nations for the purpose of knowing one another[62]. Love of Allah comes before love for the family or tribe[63]. Each individual has a unique biological and spiritual identity. Not all people will be the same even when given equal opportunities. Some individuals will achieve distinction because of: intelligence, special aptitudes, motivation, personality, and travel. These differences do not by themselves confer any superiority. The only true criterion of human excellence is taqwa and only Allah (SAW) can determine an individual’s level of taqwa. People also differ in social status and personality.

 

6.0 CREATION AND NOT EVOLUTION, khalq wa laisa tatwiir

Creation de novo: The Qur’an teaches that Adam was created de novo as a human. Human history therefore starts from Adam the fully formed human being. All human beings have the same biological origin, asl al insan wahid. Human creation was a deliberate and not a random or accidental event. It was revolutionary and not evolutionary.

 

Theory of evolution: The theory of evolution contradicts the Qur’anic teaching about creation. It proposes that life started by chance as simple one-cell organisms that gradually evolved to become more sophisticated. They passed through the stages of fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, apes, and subsequently humans. Alfred Russel Wallace (1821-1913) and Charles Darwin independently developed the theory of natural selection to explain how evolution could have taken place. They published their findings in 1858. The theory of evolution has two main ideas. (a) living things change from generation to generation until new species appear (b) all living things are related. We can observe changes in living things but appearance of a completely new species still has to be proved. Similarity among living things should be interpreted as pointing more to the existence of one creator for all and not all starting from one primordial creature.

 

Arguments against evolution: Our arguments against the theory of evolution are based on the premise that it is a theory that is unproven. There is on the other hand concrete evidence that the observations on which the theory is based are biased. In the 19th century when the theory was first proposed, Europe was at the peak of its industrial, military and economic power. In the absence of knowledge that it is Allah who gives power and takes it away, many Europeans started thinking that they had something special that made them so powerful compared to other people. The theory of evolution, with its assertions about natural selection and survival of the fittest supplied an easy answer by placing them on the pinnacle of the evolutionary tree thus making them superior to all what came before them. The theory of evolution and the concept of survival of the fittest provided intellectual justification for the subjugation and exploitation of the non-European races. Thus social Darwinism gave rise to biological Darwinism and not the other way round as the historical record would suggest. Charles Darwin and other evolutionists had the concepts of social Darwinism at the back of their mind as they started their biological studies. Recent genetic mapping of humans and animals have not supported the theory of evolution. The human genetic structure in relation to apes does not suggest closeness that would support the thesis that humans evolved from apes.



[1] Qur’an 2:116  & 12:3.

[2] Qur’an 25:54 & 86:5-6.

[3] Qur’an 3:49 & 105:4.

[4]  Qur’an 13:5 & 8:40.

[5] Qur’an 4:171 & 97:4.

[6] Qur’an 4:1, 6:98, 7:189.

[7] Qur’an 2:34 & 38:71-72.

[8] Qur’an 15:28-29 & 38:76.

[9] Qur’an 3:45-47 & 19:16-33.

[10] Qur’an 3:36 & 111:1.

[11] Qur’an 12:53.

[12]  Qur’an 75:2.

[13] Qur’an 89:27.

[14]  Qur’an 89:27-28.

[15] Qur’an 89:27-28.

[16] Qur’an 32:9 & 15:29.

[17] Qur’an 11:10

[18] Qur’an 14:34

[19] Qur’an 17:11

[20] Qur’an 3:180

[21] Qur’an 4:5

[22] Qur’an 6:131

[23] Qur’an 58:11

[24] Qur’an 2:30

[25] Qur’an 17:67

[26] Qur’an 17:100

[27] Qur’an 21:37

[28] Qur’an 31:32

[29] Qur’an 36:77

[30] Qur’an 41:49

[31] Qur’an 70:19-21

[32] Qur’an 70:19-21

[33] Qur’an 96:6-7

[34] Qur’an 100:6-8

[35] Qur’an 10:12

[36] Qur’an 2:179.

[37] Qur’an 26:183.

[38] Qur’an 36:27 & 17:70.

[39] Qur’an 2:34 & .38:71-72.

[40] Qur’an 4:73…58:22.

[41] Qur’an 2:3-5 & 31:3-5.

[42] Qur’an 2:189 & 91:9.

[43] Qur’an 2:189 & 5:100.

[44] Qur’an 24:51.

[45] Qur’an 7:69 & 62:10.

[46] Qur’an 5:90.

[47] Qur’an 22:77.

[48] Qur’an 3:104.

[49]  Qur’an 30:38….64:16.

[50] Qur’an 24:31.

[51] Qur’an 5:35.

[52] Qur’an 6:21 & 28:37.

[53] Qur’an 10:69 & .16:116.

[54] Qur’an 23:117 & 28:82.

[55] Qur’an 10:17.

[56] Qur’an 3:127 & 91:10.

[57] Qur’an 4:1 & 39:6.

[58] Qur’an 2:213 & 43:33.

[59] Qur’an 5:48 & 42:8.

[60] Qur’an 30:22.

[61] Qur’an 30:22.

[62] Qur’an 49:13.

[63] Qur’an 9:24.

Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. October 2002