First: Regarding his saying "Knowledge regained", then the knowledge which is praised in the Qur'an and which is beneficial from every single aspect, in other words is inherently beneficial, in and of itself, is the knowledge of Allaah's Names, attributes, actions, the pillars of worship, the obligations, the prohibitions, the morals, the manners and so on. It is the knowledge of the deen. This is the explanation of the Companions and the Taabi'een. But this meaning of knowledge is not Usamah Hasan's intent through this title. He has something else in mind. The secular, worldly knowledge is not inherently praiseworthy, and is not inherently beneficial. It's benefit, praiseworthiness or worth is connected to the objectives and goals behind it, and it can be classified as beneficial or harmful depending on its content and what it is used for. And we, as orthodox Muslims, put this knowledge in its proper place and every worldly knowledge which can be harnessed to bring about tangible benefit, religious or worldly, then the Muslims are encouraged to investigate it, but we do not make this an individual obligation and nor do we base any religious call, reformative, or otherwise around it. This is because within an Islamic world view, we have a different understanding and explanation of the rise, progress, success and fall of nations and civilizations, and thus there are elements which comprise this world view that would be absent in a secular world view. Nations and civilizations have come and gone, raised and lowered, honoured and humiliated, destroyed and annihilated, alongside what they possessed of the greatest of sciences of the day. So the priorities as it relates to worldly knowledge are different in the two views. Again, this does not mean that from the point of view of a nation, as a whole, that we do not actively seek benefit through worldly types of knowledge, rather, this is something desired and sought. However, Usamah Hasan has made this knowledge [and in particular Darwinian evolutionary theory] as a basis for scorning and ridiculing the Muslims, looking down upon them and treating them as backwards.
Further, from this type of [secular, worldly] knowledge is that which if a person knew, would not really benefit him in anything and would have no real impact on his life and hereafter, and nor upon his intelligence. Thus to know exactly how Adam came to be, meaning, with scientific detail, then besides this being pure speculation, [and beyond what we have been specifically informed of in the Qur'an and Sunnah], it is of no inherent benefit, and had there been any benefit in this, then Allaah would have given us additional knowledge regarding it, above and beyond what He has already informed us of. Thus to criticize the Muslims as having a "childlike" view of science in relation to Evolution - [in light of what we have just said regarding the Islamic ruling on this worldly knowledge in the first place] - indicates that this individual has much more up his sleeve than meets the eye. He has broader designs, perhaps like those Ismaa'eelee Baatiniyyah a thousand years ago who wanted to merge the Sharee'ah with the sociology, philosophy and science of the day. You must understand the point we are making here, which is that Allaah has already informed us of what is sufficient for us to know about our humble beginnings [dust in its origin for Aadam and a lowly-despised liquid in subsequent transmission and proliferation of his offspring, see 32:7-8], and what is beyond that is superfluous. And thus, to scorn Muslims for not going beyond that and entering in the realm of what is speculation shows that the use of this paltry and insignificant issue [of Darwinian Evolution] to scorn Muslims and ridicule them for not being "scientific" indicates a much greater perversion lurking in the background. Further, as we shall demonstrate in due course inshaa'Allaah, what Usamah Hasan is actually calling to is falsafah (philosophy) and has little to do with science in reality.
Second: Regarding his saying,
Professor richard dawkins recently said that most Muslims were creationists, and their children are taught that the theory of Evolution is wrong. He's largely correct [i.e. Dawkins], and the Muslim world desperately needs to debate the matter properly without fear.
Every child is born with an innate belief in a creator as it is born upon the fitrah. Allaah created mankind upon the fitrah (natural, innate disposition) (see 7:172, 30:30) and then He sent Messengers whose call was directed at the fitrah primarily (14:10) - in other words the Messengers appealed to the fitrah first and foremost in calling to belief in Allaah. The fitrah recognizes and knows that every muhdath (originated thing) must have an originator (muhdith), and each soul was drawn out and made to testify itself that it has a lord and originator (7:172). Thus when the Messengers were sent, the fitrah of the people recognized the truth of their call, with the exception of those who fitrah was corrupted or in whom arrogance and the likes prevented submission, in knowledge and deed, to Allah's right to be worshipped alone. In addition, the Messengers also brought rational evidences, the purpose of which was not merely to demonstrate the existence of a creator (which is already known and deeply-rooted in the fitrah) but proving the truth of worshipping none but Allaah alone. Where fitrah has been corrupted, then reason is used, but otherwise, fitrah is the asl (foundation) in the call of the Messengers. As such, all Muslims with sound uncorrupted fitrah know, instinctively, that Darwinian Evolution is falsehood, since it denies the most obvious and plain truth there is, known through both fitrah and reason, that every muhdath (originated thing) has a muhdith (originator). Darwinian Evolution states that all life emerged through small improvements amongst oceans of errors, and unfavoured species perished whilst the strongest survived, and through this process speciation occurred, and all of this occurred without a creator. Thus, for Usamah Hasan to call for a "debate" on this issue and to agree with the sentiments of an atheist (or agnostic) [whose alternative to theism is Darwinism] is a call to debate and corrupt the very fitrah upon which Allaah created mankind [for the reasons to be outlined in this series of articles]. Yet Allaah said, "Let there be no change in Allaah's creation" (30:30) which the early classical orthodox Sunni exegetes explain to mean "Let there be no change in the deen", which means change in the monotheism, the upright religion (Haneefiyyah) upon which mankind was created, and for which their constitution (in terms of knowledge, feeling and inclination) was crafted, and to which it is naturally inclined, and all of that is founded upon the innate knowledge (in the fitrah) that every soul has a Lord that brought it into existence.
Third: So when Usamah Hasan says, citing and agreeing with Dawkins:
...their children are taught that the theory of Evolution is wrong, which causes a huge problem in schools. He's largely correct [i.e. Dawkins], and the Muslim world desperately needs to debate the matter properly without fear, since science can neither prove nor disprove God.
Then this is a call to what Allaah prohibited, and it is a call to the corruption of the fitrah, and it is a call to changing the deen of Allaah. This is only a matter of debate for those whose hearts have been poisoned with doubt (shakk) about what Allaah revealed in regard to Aadam (alayhis salaam). So to draw the Muslims and their children into debating "Darwinism" in such a broad manner, is inviting them to subject their fitrah to potential corruption, consider the statement of Dawkins (29th September 2008):
Before Darwin came along, it was pretty difficult to be an atheist, at least to be an atheist free of nagging doubts. Darwin triumphantly made it EASY to be an intellectually fulfilled and satisfied atheist. That doesn't mean that understanding Darwin drives you inevitably to atheism. But it certainly constitutes a giant step in that direction.
Again, we should make it clear that Usamah Hasan is not affirming the atheistic element of Darwinism, but he is opening a door for which there is absolutely no need for it to be opened (in light of the first point above and what is to follow). At the same time we should point out that the caution being advised here is not because Muslims are "scared" of "losing their faith" or anything like that, by Allaah never! It is through pure conviction, in fitrah, aql, naql and nadhar, that Darwinian Evolution is a scientific con whose "evolutionary forces" presuppose the presence of complex genetic material, and it is driven more by psychological needs [it is the only alternative that atheists can present to challenge the fitrah] than it is by sound reason. Darwinists need to explain or prove how complex genetic information appeared from the interaction of dust, gas, water and electricity, and what are the chances of this occurring and how long it would take statistically for such genetic material to come about which contains structured information and to have inherent meaning within itself. When you look in to current research in this area (called abiogenesis), it is all speculation, doubt, conjecture, and it is really a type of bending over backwards to fill this gap of knowledge. As for the Evolution that is commonly spoken of (i.e. Darwinian), that is a different subject area, and it actually rests and relies upon abiogenesis (life arising from pure matter). In reality, its like an elephant being supported by a matchstick. But they don't want you to know or see that a matchstick is all they have to try to hold it up. Thus, they focus your attention just on the elephant alone.
Now Usamah Hasan's thing is - after believing in the validity of neo-Darwinism - he puts the creator into the equation and says "this is how Allaah did it", and he has no proof for that, neither from revelation nor from reason. Usamah Hasan feels embarassed that Muslims are sceptical of or reject Darwinian Evolution and he feels this is making Islam look backward in the eyes of a scientifically advanced non-Muslim audience. In reality it is nothing but an inferiority complex that "Muslim intellectuals" like Usamah Hasan develop because of the intellectual environment they are operating in. This is not a "science" thing, its actually more of a personal, psychological thing, which Usamah Hasan is "externalizing" on to the Muslims. Further, if he is calling to debate, then much debate has already taken place and there are Muslims and their scholars - [as well as hundreds of credible non-Muslim scientists, both religious and non-religious] - who have spoken from both reason and science in this matter. It is for this very reason, that Muslims are not convinced and do not want their children being subject to inherently atheistic theories.
The matter of causality in creation and environmental effects upon plants and mammals (as in microevolution) is one matter and the claim that Allaah created Aadam (alayhis salaam) upon Darwinian Evolution [Usamah's claim] then that is a separate matter, and Usamah has no evidence for this, neither from revealed text, nor fitrah, nor reason (as will be clear inshaa'Allaah), and we will see in his attempts to draw upon verses of the Qur'an and the scraps he has managed to scavenge from the Mu'tazilah, the Ismaa'eelee Baatiniyyah and others.
Fourth: Regarding his saying:
...and the Muslim world desperately needs to debate the matter properly without fear, since science can neither prove nor disprove God.
Orthodox Sunni Muslims - in opposition to the Ash'arites and their likes - affirm the causality in things, and the inherent strengths or faculties (quwaa) in things, believing that Allaah placed inherent qualities in things through which effects are produced, and this is known through both reason and revelation. Further, orthodox Sunni Muslims do not deny that environmental factors have effects which in turn can bring about generational changes, be that in plants or animals or humans. So the idea of "Evolution" in this sense, as in change and transformation within a species (microevolution) through environmental factors is not denied and this exists for sure. This is not the subject of debate. What is contended is whether the process [outlined in Darwinian evolutionary theory] can account for Aadam (alayhis salaam). Muslims take an approach to this matter that is based upon fitrah (innate disposition), aql (reason), naql (revelation), and nadhar (introspection, science), much to the ignorance (and arrogance) and dismissal of Usamah Hasan. But this discussion is for another place, here we are just putting Usamah Hasan into perspective. In presenting the issue as "Muslims are backward and childlike by denying Darwinism", then Usamah Hasan's intent and desired scope of discussion goes beyond what we have just pointed out. Meaning, he is not happy that Muslims merely accept that Allaah has put causality in things, environmental effects, changes, transformation, and that there is indeed a trend called "microevolution." He wants more than that from them. Putting the Ash'arites and their deviant kalam theology and rejection of causality to one side, Usamah Hasan wants to draw the Muslims into a matter above and beyond what we have just mentioned, and he is scorning them for not believing wholeheartedly in his theory (Allaah created Aadam through Darwinian evolution). He should know that it is precisely fitrah, aql, naql and nadhar that is the basis of the rejection by the Muslims and it is just pure arrogance on his behalf to make it look as if he is some special intellectual whose got it all sussed and the Muslims are just backward and unscientific who "haven't got over Darwinism yet."
Fifth: So what Usamah Hasan wants to do is to move Muslims into another domain, into the realm of speculation, rather plain falsehood, both from a religious and scientific perspective, in claiming that Allah's creation of Adam (alayhis salaam) was the product of [millions, billions, trillions etc.] of iterations until there emerged a complete human endowed with reason, and that in between (the stage of) raw minerals, water and dust to (the stage of) the first simple cell to (the stage of) the complete human (and all lesser life forms such as plants, animals, apes and so on), there was a selection process which favoured certain species who were fit enough to survive, meaning that perfection and completion was a gradual thing involving trillions and trillions of incomplete, inferior or worthless life forms that went to waste, and from which a very small minority had the benefit of being "naturally selected", remained and progressed until perfected forms of things emerged, from which is Aadam (alayhis salaam). He wants Muslims to enter into debates about this explanation of how life emerged and to combine it with Sharee'ah texts and this is his call, and he deems the Muslims' refusal to acknowledge this and to enter into his call as a sign of being scientifically backward. As we have said, both reason and revelation reject this explanation, and this is not the point to start bringing evidences for this, we just want to make general observations, and show what Usamah Hasan is actually calling to and what he wants to open up for debate. In order to present this particular view, deep inside his soul, this scoundrel knows that the revealed texts are not with him either, rather, he is following his own lusts and desires, as we shall see inshaa'Allaah, when we look at his pathetic attempts to adduce arguments through Qur'anic texts.
Sixth: His saying:
...since science can neither prove nor disprove God... No wonder then that the theory is opposed by some religious elements, especially those that are ignorant of science
Is the saying of an ignoramus who has lost his reason (aql). Note that what the first sentence is really saying, when we reduce it to its core, is that science cannot prove God. If you state that science cannot prove God, adding that it can neither disprove God, it does not overturn the first statement, that it can't prove God, since that is an absolute judgement you just made. Upon this, if science cannot prove God whose existence is the most plainest and obvious of truths in fitrah and aql, then how can science prove what is much more obscure than that, which is Aadam (alayhis salaam) being created through Darwinian Evolution [which theorizes that natural selection and mutations explain the origin of all life]? If you dismiss that the tool and instrument of science can actually prove God (which is what his statement above really means and reads), then to call Muslims backwards and child-like for not using this same science [which is not able to prove God] to arrive at the certain conclusion that Aadam (alayhis salaam) was preceded by generations upon generations of the sexual activity of baboons and apes (and that is a lot of baboons and apes), whose germinal (reproductive) cells underwent millions or bilions or trillions of mutations in all that time, which, coupled with environmental factors, led to Aadam (alayhis salaam), a matter which in its obscurity pales into insignificance compared to the manifestness of the issue of Allaah's existence [see next paragraph], then it is clear that this buffoon is not operating upon either reason or scientific enquiry, and his attacks upon Muslims are but the ravings of a lunatic, lost in mind, and he, in his confusion, is similar to that "fat ox from Aamid, of contemptible worth", to borrow the poetry of Ibn al-Qayyim. Then he says later, criticising "religious elements" as being ignorant of science because they oppose this "theory", and he still refers to it as a "theory." He scorns Muslims, reviles them, calls them backward for not using science [which can't even prove God according to him] to accept and believe in what he himself refers to as a "theory." This shows that there is more to this individual than meets the eye, and it is not 'aql but hawaa, and it is not science, but philosophy.
Seven: This next saying of his reveals a lot, and shows that this man is a mulabbiss, kadhhaab:
Snazzy websites, videos and books produced by fundamentalist Muslim "creationists" such as those at www.harunyahya.com, are obscuring clear scientific thinking.
Now, we may not necessarily agree with and condone everything that might come from other Muslims who might be involved in the debate about Darwinian Evolution (as they may have certain doctrinal orientations that may influence the nature of how they refute, and further their approaches may not all be valid and sound), however this statement Usamah Hasan has made, and the language he is using shows a type of treachery. Look at how he refers to Muslims who refute Darwinism because it is essentially an atheistic, secular, materialistic belief, and is the bedrock of contemporary atheism. To Usamah Hasan, they are "fundamentalist Muslim creationists", look at this language, this talbees, this deception in words, and turning of the realities. These are Muslims who are combatting atheism you buffoon and ape! And if you were truly honest and scientific, you would not be making such absolute, generalized, oppressive, slanderous statements like these against Muslims, whilst sharing in the sentiments of atheists [agnostics] like Dawkins against them. You would at least have the honesty to acknowledge why these Muslims have a problem with Darwinism and what is motivating them to debate it and reject it. Further, which is the greater of the two? A Muslim refuting atheism and [upon Usamah Hasan's perception] falling into error as to how Allaah created Adam in the process of refuting this atheism, or an atheist being essentially correct [upon Usamah Hasan's perception] in explaining how man developed through Darwinian Evolution, yet denying a creator. So which of these is more greatly misguided and is more worthy of rebuke. And which of the two is more worthy of support and positive sentiment? You would think from Usamah Hasan's statement above that it is these "fundamentalist Muslim creationists" who are worthy of all rejection and who are not thinking scientifically and are the enemies of scientific enquiry, and that it is the likes of Dawkins who are "largely correct" in lamenting that children are taught the theory of Darwinian Evolution is wrong, whilst noting that the likes of Dawkins rely upon nothing but the very particulars of this theory of Evolution in arguing that God is a "delusion." So look at this treachery and look at the language being used and see where his sympathy lies. Usamah should know that a single Muslim who refutes Darwinism because of its atheistic element has more aql (reason) than a thousand apes like him who claim that the "science" which cannot ultimately prove God's existence is the same "science" that has allowed him and Dawkins to figure out the way man came to be!
Eight: He says a little later:
One problem is that many Muslims retain the simple picture that God created Adam from clay, much as a potter makes a statue, and then breathed into the lifeless statue and lo! it became a living human. This is a children's madrasa-level understanding and Muslims really have to move on as adults and intellectuals, especially given the very serious scientific heritage of the medieval Islamic civilisation.
This is revilement upon the Book of Allaah (and likewise upon the Sunnah), and it is mockery too, and it is a revilement upon the generality of the Muslims who believed in what their Lord revealed to them, and it is feared upon the heart of this mulabbis kadhhaab that it has been sealed and forsaken wal-iyaadhu billaah! That which he calls "one problem" and which he refers to as "a children's madrasa-level understanding" is really directed to the speech of Allaah the Exalted, in that the most that was necessary from Allaah's knowledge to be conveyed to us to achieve the desired objective (behind imparting that information) is that Aadam was made from the dust of the earth, made into clay, or mud, and formed accordingly, and then Allaah breathed into him from His spirit and "lo! a human being came to be!" [Usamah's sarcasm and mockery]. We are likewise informed that the Jinn are made from smokeless fire and the Angels from light, without any further detail. You have to connect this matter to what was stated at the beginning in the first point regarding the types of knowledge, that Allaah has not obliged us to know how, in all its detail, how Adam came to be, and nor is it from the type of knowledge which if one does not know that one becomes backward and illiterate. Indeed, it is from Allah's wisdom to tell us that Adam was made from earth and the Jinn were made from smokeless fire and the Angels from light at the specific level of detail that He did. So the point here is that this nothing short of mockery of the revealed texts in that they offer no more than a children's madrasah level of understanding. Usamah shares the sentiments of atheists like Dawkins who want Muslim children to progress beyond this "madrasah level" of "lo! and it became a human being" and enter into knowledge which aside from being speculation, is neither obligatory, nor recommended and nor is one sinful or disadvantaged in any way for not knowing it.