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Offline Amin

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Human Evolution and Quranic teachings
« on: April 27, 2019, 05:13:38 PM »
Salam alaykum,

It’s been a year now that I’ve been following your online articles, facebook posts and Q&As and alhamdulillah God has made pretty much all your articles appeal to senses except for one or two:

Article on the theory of human evolution: I do agree and see no conflict between evolution and Quran for the most part as you stated (http://quransmessage.com/articles/evolution%20FM3.htm), however when it comes to human evolution, I am not convinced by your explanation of ‘sounding clay’ and ‘black mud altered’ in Quran 15:26.
•   Firstly because I highly doubt the Arabs at the time of revelation could ever have understood it in such a way - this is something you’ve always said to consider when interpreting the Quran in your other articles.
•   Secondly, critics of Islam would argue that the idea of mankind being made from clay isn’t only found in Islamic ideology and the idea that breathing life into something inanimate to make it living is known to be a myth from many ancient communities so it is not surprising it’s mentioned in the Quran thus, would be difficult to interpret Quran 15:26 in the way you have.
•   Finally, I thought whether or not the all the Quranic ayah about mankind being created form clay (which is of course in conflict with evolution) should be interpreted literally or not. Support for this question stems from Quran 03:07.

I would really appreciate it if my questions are answered. Thank you

May Allah reward you for your good work and increase us in faith and knowledge

Offline Mohammed

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Re: Human Evolution and Quranic teachings
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2019, 08:42:30 AM »
peace,

Quote from the article,
"It is quite possible from the above verses that an 'insaan' is only complete once the spirit of God is blown into him. This is what would separate Adam (as a man and 'insaan') from his state as a 'bashar' or any physiological state that resembles a 'bashar'."

but,
18:110 says prophet Muhammad as bashar
19:17-18 angel took the shape of bashar seems Maryam was also bashar (or female pair of bashar), which confirms in 19:20
In 23:23-24 Qur’an mentions prophet Nooh as bashar
-my current understanding. Verify for yourself-17:36.
O you who believe! Enter perfectly in islam/ Surrender yourselves wholly unto God [2:208], [3:19-20,85 2:132]

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Human Evolution and Quranic teachings
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2019, 05:36:52 PM »
Dear Amin,

Wa alaikum assalam

With a view to answer your overarching point of disagreement, I have responded to what I feel are your core contentions (in brown italics) on which your source of disagreement appears to rest on.

Firstly because I highly doubt the Arabs at the time of revelation could ever have understood it in such a way - this is something you’ve always said to consider when interpreting the Quran in your other articles.

You are correct; it is my general approach whilst interpreting the Quran that the Quran focuses foremost on the sensibilities and worldviews of the primary audience of the Quran. However, I also appreciate that we will never really know (or could possibly fathom) the full extent of their beliefs / understanding.

Thus in the main, we can only seek an interpretation that appears consistent with the overarching guidance / narratives of the Quran and one which remains 'internally coherent'.

For example, one could contend with the notion that the Arab communities or other bygone communities of antiquity were ever aware of the intricacies of human foetal development. But if one consults the Quranic narratives, this appears to be the case. With regards the latter, verse 10:37 further supports this. There is also the possibility that the Quran may have been presenting information in a manner that could be better appreciated by future generations of sufficient advancements.

Hence, it is also my belief that the Quran also presented its narratives in a manner to further cater for a secondary audience (wider communities) with a view to meet the needs of future (possibly far more advanced) diverse communities.

Secondly, critics of Islam would argue that the idea of mankind being made from clay isn’t only found in Islamic ideology and the idea that breathing life into something inanimate to make it living is known to be a myth from many ancient communities so it is not surprising it’s mentioned in the Quran thus, would be difficult to interpret Quran 15:26 in the way you have.

Just because the Quran provides vestiges of knowledge that may have been known to other communities in antiquity, doesn't imply that the information has been 'plagiarised' or 'adopted'.  I find this to be a lazy contention by the critic. Critics from previous scriptures have made similar claims. When the Quran agrees with narratives from the Bible, it is seen to be ‘plagiarising’ and when it disagrees, it is seen as being ‘errant’.

If the Quran solely relied on new information unknown to the primary audience, it would have arguably been rejected instantly as outlandish. The Quran arguably, had to appeal to the audience's worldviews if it was to remain comprehensible whilst retaining any semblance of credibility. Furthermore, the critic must answer the question, why is the Quran only criticised when it agrees with a well-established understanding and not when it departs from the views of the same community? Clearly the Quran is 'discerning' in its approach.

Finally, I thought whether or not the all the Quranic ayah about mankind being created form clay (which is of course in conflict with evolution) should be interpreted literally or not. Support for this question stems from Quran 03:07.

My focus in the article was not the earthly components from which mankind was created but rather the process of evolution. As to what 'sounding clay of altered black mud' (salsalin min hama-in masunin) may refer to ‘literally’ in detail, is possibly a discussion for another article or thread.

Suffice to say, I do not believe that the development of human form across time from earlier life forms and ‘earthly components’ is in conflict with the general views of evolution.

I hope this helps, God willing.

Regards,
Joseph

'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Human Evolution and Quranic teachings
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2019, 05:53:22 PM »
peace,

Quote from the article,
"It is quite possible from the above verses that an 'insaan' is only complete once the spirit of God is blown into him. This is what would separate Adam (as a man and 'insaan') from his state as a 'bashar' or any physiological state that resembles a 'bashar'."

but,
18:110 says prophet Muhammad as bashar
19:17-18 angel took the shape of bashar seems Maryam was also bashar (or female pair of bashar), which confirms in 19:20
In 23:23-24 Qur’an mentions prophet Nooh as bashar

Dear Mohammed,

Peace,

I also stated:

"There is clearly a difference between a 'bashar' and 'insaan' and the terms refer to different aspects of a human being."

"This word is formed from the root 'Ba-Shiin-Ra' and refers to the more physical, physiological attributes of a human being. It refers to the skin, complexion, beauty, elegance of form, physical intimate relationships, contact of the skin etc. It also takes meanings such as rejoicing and good tidings."

Thus an 'insaan' can quite correctly be referred to as a 'bashar' when he has become an 'insaan'. However, from an evolutionary perspective, before the spirit of God (and human volition) is entered into the human form, it can arguably only be referred to as a 'bashar'.

Your appeal to verse 19:17 in particular, actually supports this point. The messenger that met Mary was not an 'insaan' but only took human form, hence was only referred to as a 'bashar' (19:17). When Mary spoke about no 'bashar' (mortal) touching her (19:20), she was referring to the physiological aspect of a man that would necessitate the act of procreation. As expected, the Quran remained very precise with the use of terms.

I hope this helps, God willing.

Regards,
Joseph

'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell