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Darwinism and Atheism
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Please read Part 1 to see some higher level generalized observations about how and where Usamah is "positioning" himself.
Usamah Hasan believes that neo-Darwinian Evolution is compatible with the Qur'an, and in reality all he is doing is aspiring to be a Kenneth Miller for the Muslims, and its likely, and Allaah knowst best, that his entire orientation is taken from people like Miller who is staunchly against the fundamentalist Christian creationists. However, Usamah is wrong in thinking that those who do not accept his viewpoint must be like those fundamentalist Christian creationists. In this article we will look at the evolutionary forces that are said to be behind the process of Evolution.
In order to explain what drives the process of Evolution, four evolutionary forces are presented and they are natural selection, random mutations, genetic flow and genetic drift. The first two are the most significant and upon which the entire theory depends, and further, random mutations are the linchpin of everything, they are what hold everything together in the theory. You have the main idea, life forms evolve over time and split into new species, that is just a theory. You have to now explain how that is able to happen, and this is where "evolutionary forces" come as an explanation and as proof. So all the research to prove the correctness of evolutionary theory is focused on demonstrating and proving these evolutionary forces are true and real. Atheists treat evolutionary forces to be behind all life with Evolution being an undirected process. Theists believe a creator created all life through deliberate design, co-ordination and direction. Usamah Hasan wants to merge the two, and our contention is that from both reason and revelation, this is not possible. So let us look at these "evolutionary forces."
Natural Selection: What this means is that species or individuals that are better suited to the environment, will survive and reproduce at a rate higher than others. This means that they are "naturally selected" (by environmental forces and factors) to remain, propagate and increase. And thus, there are certain traits that they pass on to their offspring which provide that better suitability and survivability. An example often given of natural selection is anti-biotic resistance in bacteria. Certain bacteria develop resistance and are able to survive, and this ability is passed on. Now the concept of "natural selection" is inherently atheistic, as it is aiming to replace design, intent, and purpose with an explanation through what is purely materialistic, random and undirected and attributed to "nature".
Mutations: This refers to alterations in genetic material, in the genes. These are said to occur entirely at random and can be beneficial, neutral, or harmful to an organism. There are two types of mutation. Those occurring in non-reproductive cells (somatic cells) and those occurring in reproductive cells (germinal cells). The only types of mutations that matter in Evolution are the ones occurring in germinal cells, because it is only through this route that mutations, changes, transformations etc. are passed on to the next generation. Mutations in non-reproductive cells (as in most of the cells of the body) don't really matter. Mutations are the most important underlying element of evolutionary theory. Everything else depends upon them, including the other three evolutionary forces. It is what ties everything together, and it is through such mutations that speciation, meaning, entirely new species are brought about, where cumulative mutations become significant enough to allow the the characterization of a species as being different its ancestor from many generations prior.
Genetic Drift: This refers to changes that occur in the gene pool of a population due to random events. Things like natural disasters can cause loss of population, or displacement of population (such as in insects, birds, mammals, humans) as a result of which the genetic make up or variation in a population is affected. This is referred to as "drift" and this said to be an evolutionary force that contribues to the evolutionary process.
Gene Flow: This is also referred to as migration. It refers to the movement of genes from one population to another. This is when people move from one city or country to another and reproduce with the other population, and in the process they will be introducing genes into that population that may not already be there.
Now, the proof for Evolution is demonstrating that these forces are real and can be measured leading to the claim that they are behind speciation. Of these forces, genetic drift and gene flow (migration) are really insignifant, and they are not given as much importance as mutation and natural selection. And of them all, random mutation is the key. Without that, you don't have any Darwinian Evolution, so it really does tie everything together.
So the picture we get then is that the Evolution that led to man is purely an undirected, uncontrolled process, there is no intelligent agent behind it at all, and it does away with needing an intelligent being to explain the origin of life, and this is because random mutations, and built upon them, natural selection, are able to explain everything, the origin of all species.
Searching For Usamah's "Missing Link"
This now brings us to discuss Usamah's Missing Link.
He wants to merge between neo-Darwinisim and belief in Allaah, and essentially say that Allaah created all life through randomized mutations (the key to it all), so Allaah is behind these small mutations in germinal cells, and that Allaah chose to create Adam this way, over millions of years, starting from dust and water, amino acids to proteins, genetic material, through to cells, then primitive organisms, then higher forms, until we come to apes, monkeys and then arrive at humans. However, because we have brought a creator into the equation, it is not really "random mutation" any more, it is now deliberate design, through this particular route. meaning that "evolutionary forces" are directed by Allaah. Hence, it is not chance any more, but it is a directed process. With this, we are essentially moving away from "science" and into the realm of religious proof, because now the science does not really matter. We have already explained that we do not deny, in principle, the phenomena labelled and designated through the four "evolutionary forces," although we would exercise caution about the use of the term "natural selection" since it is an atheistic term and used for that particular purpose [nature creates by necessity], but what it describes and points at as an observable phenomenon (environment affecting traits and characteristics and their propagation through generations) is something that is not denied. Having said this, it no longer is a scientific dispute any more, it has moved into religious claim. This is because we have accepted that these are processes which are clearly observable. So the dispute now comes to religious proof. The question then is can the neo-Darwinian theory be supported by revealed texts? This is Usamah's Missing Link. And this is what we are going to evaluate.
When we survey Usamah's writings we find that what he is actually doing is to find generalized verses, and mostly obscure minority (shaadh) opinions, and the statements of those alluded to earlier (al-Jaahiz, Ibn Miskawayh, al-Rumi etc.), patched it all together, and to then claim it is possible to reconcile this theory with the Qur'an. This is not true objective research, it is more from the angle of maneuvering and picking and choosing in order to enable an opinion (his opinion) to appear legitimate, and this is driven by personal and psychological reasons, and has little do with revelation (naql) and reason (aql). Further, this conniving scoundrel actually admits (if you read his writings very carefully) that some of these citations he is bringing (from those Mu'tazilah, Ismaa'eelee Baatiniyyah, Ittihadee Sufis and Ibn Khaldun and others) are not strictly talking about Darwinian Evolution. Then this mulabbis (deceiver) does not explain exactly what they are referring to, and the reason is that he is citing their words through second hand sources and not upon an actual study of their works and what they were really saying. We will address this in more detail in a separate article inshaa'Allaah where we take Usamah for a brisk walk in London Zoo and feed some bananas to Mjukuu.
The Qur'an and Adam's Creation
To see if Usamah's Missing Link has any existence, we need to look in the Qur'an to see its narrative regarding creation of the heavens, earth, and humanity, this is done with the following quick survey on the subject from what Allaah has chosen to reveal to us. One should note that we have not been given comprehensive information about the affairs of the unseen and what we have been given is enough for the particular purpose and wisdom Allaah intended.
Prior to the creation of the heavens and earth, there were created entities already in existence, such as the Throne and water. Allaah decreed (and wrote down) the measure of all things 50,000 years before creating the heavens and earth. [Note: There is a created measurement of time besides that provided by the sun and moon in our creation, and there are days and years other than our days and years, see Ibn Taymiyyah Dar' al-Ta'aarud (8/289)]. The heaven and earth were formed from previously created materials and were both initially joined, and cleaved from each other (21:30). The earth was created first and the sevens heavens were separated out and created thereafter (2:29) from dukhaan (41:11), gaseous material. The earth was created in four days [each day a thousand years of our reckoning], with two days for its initial creation (2:9) and four days (which overlap with the first two) for placement of mountains, means of subsistence and other things (41:10). He split the earth into seven earths (65:12), meaning layers and spread it out, making it vast, expansive, outstretched (88:20, 51:48, 15:19, 13:3, 79:30) as in rounded. Thereafter He formed the seven heavens (from the existing dukhaan) in two days (41:12). The heaven He split and made into seven heavens (2:29, 23:17, 41:12, 65:12, 71:15) one on top of another as layers. He put stars (burooj) in the lowest heaven (15:16, 25:61, 41:12, 85:1), adorned it with stars (kawaakib) (37:6), and He placed a sun (25:61, 72:16) and a moon (25:61, 72:16) and made night and day, all having their orbits (36:39-40, 21:33)
The Jinn were created before man from smokeless fire (15:27, 55:15). [The classical Mufassireen explain that the Jinn were upon the earth first for a period of time and they would commit mischief and shed blood. Hosts of Angels were sent to restrain them, punish them and fight them. So the Jinn were defeated and retreated into isolated places]. Then Allaah announced to the Angels that he will create man (15:28, 38:71), and place him upon the earth as a khalifah (2:30), and the Angels questioned this saying that will you place on the earth one who will shed blood and commit mischief (2:30). So Allaah informed them that He knows what they know not (2:30). So then He created Aadam, and He created him from a collection of the dusts of the earth (22:5, 20:55) and water, and formed and fashioned him out of altered black smooth mud (dusts of the earth plus water), from sounding clay (15:26, 55:14) as in his form and appearance, and Allaah created Him with His own Two Hands (38:75), and he was sixty cubits in height. Then He breathed into him of His spirit (another created entity) which brought him to life. Allah created Aadam in the best form (ahsani taqweem) (95:4). Allah also extracted all the souls from the offspring of Aadam and made them testify that He is their Lord (7:172). Allaah taught Adam the names of things, and then asked the Angels to name those things. They acknowledged that they did not know (2:31). Then Allaah ordered Adam to inform the Angels of those names, which he did (2:33). Allaah ordered the Angels to prostrate (and Iblis along with them), and they all prostrated except Iblis (2:34, 38:74, 20:116), who became arrogant and claimed he was made of superior material (7:12, 38:76).
Here Allaah cursed Iblees and expelled him and cast him out (7:13, 7:18, 38:77-78), and Iblis made his promise to misguide mankind (7:16-17, 38:82). Then Allaah created (khalaqa) Hawaa (4:1) from Adam (4:1, 7:189, 39:6) and made (ja'ala) as a spouse for Aadam (7:189, 39:6) and informed Adam and his wife to reside in Paradise (7:19, 2:35). Aadam accepted the trust (amaanah, to obey Allaah) which had been offered previously to the heavens, earth and mountains, which had refused, but man took upon the responsibility (33:72-73). Then Allaah informed Aadam to beware of Iblis, their enemy (20:117). So whilst Aadam was in Paradise, Iblis tempted them to disobey Allaah by eating of the forbidden tree, after he swore that he is their sincere advisor (7:21) and he promised them immortality, becoming like angels, the tree of eternity and an everlasting kingdom (7:20, 20:120). So Adam disobeyed, and he acquired words of repentance from Allaah (2:37) so Allaah accepted His repentance (20:122) and then Allaah sent them all down to the earth, making some as enemies to others and stating that earth is their habitation for a while (2:36, 2:38, 7:24, 20:123).
Then when Adam and Eve were sent down upon the earth, Allaah brought forth mankind through them (4:1, 49:13) in the manner that He decreed, which is:
And so Allaah made them into nations and tribes (49:13). And Adam was the first Prophet and he was a prophet to his offspring. Allaah addressed all of Banee Aadam that they should not be put to trial by Shaytan who expelled their two parents from Paradise (7:27) to earth.
This is what is apparent in all the verses that are found in the Qur'an. So we need to see how is Usamah Hasan intending to merge this with Darwinian Evolution and how is this possible for him and this answers the crucial question: Has he found his missing link and is it genuine or is it just another Piltdown amongst the multitudes of "Piltdowns" of Ahl al-Bida' wal-Ahwaa?
Analysing Usamah's Merger and His Missing Link
First, let us just bring a few statements of Usamah Hasan for the record, this is only a selection, purely for illustration and for the record.
On his blog post (04/01/2011): "I plan to write a detailed paper later insha'Allah on how I believe Darwinism is compatible with the Qur'an." The Guardian article (11/09/2008): "Creation or evolution? Many believers in God have no problem with an obvious solution: that God created man via Evolution. Here is some explanation of this view from a Muslim perspective." Radio 4's Thought for the Day (07/01/2009): "However, as a scientist and an imam, I argue that it is very easy to harmonise Darwin with the Koranic account, drawing upon both tradition and scientific reason," and also "And doesn't Evolution theory merely expound one half of the very traditional Koranic teaching that we are partly animal, partly angelic? Darwin showed us how our animal forms were created: we need to remind ourselves of our angelic qualities: to forgive, to show mercy and, above all, to love our neighbours and to love God." The Cheltenham Science Festival (04/04/2009): "Narrow-minded, literalist and fundamentalist interpretations of scripture currently dominate the world of Islam and stifle proper debate and clear scientific thinking..."
Next, the following observations are made (based upon what has preceded of the outline of neo-Darwinian Evolution and the Qur'anic account of Aadam's creation). You should note that these points are actually all interconnected and tie in together, so you have to try to see things cumulatively and interconnectedly, and from that you will realize that it is very hard to merge Darwinian evolution's explanation of how man came to be with the Qur'anic narrative.
One: Considering the saying of Allaah, the Exalted, "(Remember) when your Lord said to the angels: "Truly, I am going to create man from clay. So when I have fashioned him and breathed into him (his) soul created by Me, then you fall down prostrate to him"." (38:71-72), and also, "And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: "I am going to create a man (Adam) from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud. So, when I have fashioned him completely and breathed into him (Adam) the soul which I created for him, then fall (you) down prostrating yourselves unto him"." (Al-Hijr 15:29).
Now, to Usamah Hasan, Allaah only gave a children's madrasah level understanding to the whole of mankind about their origin, which is summarized in the above two passages. We are very sorry Usamah that Allaah's Book was not sophisticated enough for you, and whilst it is fine and suitable for the rest of us dumb commoners, elite scientists like you with so many secular ijazahs have obviously been privileged with the real truth that never came through revelation.
The question here (from the abovementioned verses) is that between the point that Allaah made this statement to the Angels ("I am going to create a man from clay") to the point when Aadam was actually created (through the process of Darwinian Evolution) and the point at which the Angels ought to have prostrated, were there billions and billions of years (of our reckoning)? This is what Usamah is ascribing to Allaah, the Exalted, through his claimed merger, in that the Angels were waiting for billions of years (of our reckoning) until Allaah fashioned Aadam through the route of "evolutionary forces". Meanwhile, we see Allaah is able to ceate a human from a mere sperm drop in a mere nine months (see this point addressed further below).
Two: Both the Angels and Iblis affirm that Aadam is the first human, created by Allaah, and Iblis objected that because Aadam was created from clay he is inferior. Humankind was not therefore known previously to the Angels or to Iblis. Further, Allaah affirmed that the mother and father of all of mankind (Banee Aadam) are Aadam and Eve who were expelled from Paradise (to Earth) - "O Children of Adam! Let not Satan deceive you, as he got your parents [Adam and Hawwa (Eve)] out of Paradise." (7:27), just as we know that all men and women were brought forth from a single soul and its spouse (4:1). How does this reconcile with Darwinian Evolution which requires that Aadam himself had parents (thus, it being incorrect that Aadam and Eve are in reality the parents of all of mankind), since if they had parents, then the lineage must be ascribed to those before them (see further below about issue of Eve's creation).
Three: Likewise, when the Angels said, "Are you going to place therein one who will commit mischief and shed blood?" (2:30), had there already been humans on earth, the Angels would not have said this, and the Angels only speak with whatever knowledge they are bestowed with, and they knew that the genus of man will commit mischief and shed blood. However, Allaah said He knows what they do not know, and Allaah wished to place mankind on earth because He created them for a purpose, for worship, such that He would send the Prophets and Messengers, in order that His word would become uppermost and in order that He may enter into Paradise those for whom it was written and enter into Hellfire those for whom it was written (refer to Ibn al-Qayyim, Miftaah Dar al-Sa'aadah). This is because Allaah never created men and jinn out of mere jest and play and without purpose. So the Angels never knew of any man prior to Aadam, and had there already been man on earth, the Angels would not have made this statement. How does this reconcile with the theory of Darwinian Evolution which requires a lineage and parentage for Aadam and the prior inhabitation of earth by man?
Four: Regarding the saying of Allaah,
وَعَلَّمَ آدَمَ الأَسْمَاء كُلَّهَا
And He taught Aadam all the names (of everything). (2:31)
There is a connected matter here. The orthodox Sunni scholars of Islam discuss an issue relating to language (lughah) and state that whilst it is claimed that language is what is set up through people's convention, as in a large number of people come together to decide what labels are attached to entities and meanings, this is not really a strong view. How can a large number of people come together and decide for example that the words for food, rain, and a cow and everything else for that matter will be whatever they specified them to be, when this is impossible to achieve practically speaking. Language did not really come about like that. Language is taught. The Scholars say that language was taught to Aadam (alayhis salaam) and from that point all language was inherited and passed on, generation after generation, and of course language diversified and varied, as the offspring spread into the earth and developed their own varations, until there were numerous languages. Further, there are established commonalities between many languages pointing to a common origin [take for example the number "two" or "three" being very similar in many languages and "father" and "mother" being very similar in many languages just by way of example, indicating that essentially, languages go back to a common origin]. Coming to our point now, as Allaah has stated that Aadam was taught the names of all things, then how does Usamah reconcile between this and between the assertion that Aadam was created through the evolutionary forces of Darwinism (through Allaah's direction, according to Usamah). At which point did language develop? And did Aadam's parents and ancestors [as per Darwinian evolution] have properly structured language, knowing the names of things, and were they intelligent beings? From what is apparent in the Qur'an, the names of all things were taught to Aadam (alayhis salaam) after he was created as the first human (representing mankind as a species) and he was sent down to earth possessing complete language and expression and eloquence, being the first Prophet, such that he communicated to his offspring their obligation to worship Allaah alone. The Angels admitted their inferiority to Aadam in that they did not know the names of things, and had their been (through Darwinian evolution) humans already in existence which had souls, structured language and knowledge of the things around them and so on, then it would make that discussion between Allaah and the Angels to be meaningless. The Angels clearly acknowledged that Aadam is the first man, endowed with will, knowledge, reason, speech, and that he has the capacity for good and to be noble and honourable, and that Allaah certainly knew better than they do, and that they erred in what they said in raising an objection about Allaah's desire to create man and place him on earth.
Five: It is clear from the Qur'an that Allaah made Eve from Aadam, in that he made the first soul (Adam) and from it made its partner (Eve). How does Usamah explain where Eve came from through Darwinian Evolution and how does he reconcile that with the Qur'anic statements (4:1, 7:189, 39:6). The Qur'an clearly uses the word khalaqa minhaa (created from self of Aadam), so how did Eve "evolve" from Aadam? And how does Darwinian Evolution account for this?
Six: Allah stated:
لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ
We have indeed created man of the best stature (mould) (95:4).
As it relates to Aadam this refers to Allaah's taswiyah (arranging, putting in order, forming, fashioning) and blowing into him the spirit (15:29, 38:72). And as it relates to the creation it refers to the Evolution of the embryo in the womb for 120 days when the soul is breathed in. The classical interpreters are agreed that ahsani taqweem means "ahsanu khalq" (in the best creation) and "ahsanu soorah" (in the best form). Which means created with perfection at the outset [and not evolving into perfection following degrees of imperfection as per Darwinian evolution]. The other explanation from the classical interpreters is that man evolves (through his life) and matures into a youth reaching the best stature (i.e. reaches his prime in terms of appearance, strength) at which he is in the best of statures and forms. What has preceded (in this point) applies first and foremost to Aadam (alayhis salaam) who was created in his unique way (55:14,15:29, 38:72) and thereafter to his offspring who were brought about through reproduction (with the soul being breathed in to the body after 120 days), and after a term of nine months are born in the best of statures (upon the first explanation) or reach the best of statures when they reach their prime of youth (upon the second explanation). So upon this, the best of forms, the best of statures is ascribed to mankind (insaan) at the actual point of creation (be that Aadam from clay-like material in whatever time that took or Aadam's offspring in the womb in just a matter of months).
Seven: Allaah distinguished between the creation of Aadam and the creation of His offspring. Allaah said
الَّذِي أَحْسَنَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقَهُ وَبَدَأَ خَلْقَ الْإِنسَانِ مِن طِينٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلَ نَسْلَهُ مِن سُلَالَةٍ مِّن مَّاء مَّهِينٍ
He It is Who created all things in the best way and began the creation of man from clay, and made his progeny from an extract of despised fluid. (32:7-8)
This is a clear reference to the creation of Aadam (from clay, fashioned and formed) being unique in that no parents were required, and then Allaah made his offspring to arise through an extract of an emitted fluid. And as for Jesus (alayhis salaam), then Allaah resembles his creation to Aadam's in the sense that Adam was born of no parents, and Jesus was born of no father (in nine months) and both were created from dust, meaning Aadam in his very essence is created from dust, and Jesus likewise originating from dust because he is from the generality of mankind (whose asl, as in Aadam, is from dust). So here Usamah would need to explain that if Allaah is able to create an individual in a mere nine months through the agency of parents (with male and female fluids) through the particular kawnee asbaab that he has created and specified for that purpose, and likewise, create Jesus without the agency of a father in nine months, then why did He not choose to or why was He not able to create Adam without the agency of a father and mother in a like or similar relative period (as opposed to the billions of years proposed by Darwinian Evolution - from dust to human). Indeed, this is an affront to Allaah's qudrah in that humankind are created from nothing but a single drop of emitted despised fluid in just a matter of nine months, and yet Aadam could not be created, or was chosen not to be created except over a period of billions of years and the Angels were kept waiting (before receiving their response from Allaah) whilst Aadam was being fashioned (from dust to organic material to genetic material to cells, to primitive beings, then baboons, apes and then man). This point should be connected to a previous point where the question was raised that when Allaah said to the Angels that He is about to create a man from clay and that the Angels should prostrate to him, did Allaah choose to keep them waiting for around 4.5 billion years (of our reckoning) before they ought to have prostrated? And likewise was there a wait of 4.5 billion years before Allaah responded to the Angels' statement "Will you place therein one who creates mischief and sheds blood?" which was made at the point that Allaah announced to the Angels that He is about to create a man? So was their a wait of 4.5 billion years before Allaah taught Adam the names of all things and through that corrected the Angels to inform them that He knows what they know not?
Eight: Following on from the above, to address a doubt of Usamah Hasan, in his Cheltenham Science Festival presentation, concerning the verse (إِنَّ مَثَلَ عِيسَى عِندَ اللّهِ كَمَثَلِ آدَمَ خَلَقَهُ مِن تُرَابٍ ثِمَّ قَالَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ), "Verily, the likeness of Jesus before Allah is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: "Be!" - and he was." (3:59), he said:
The Koran affirms a gradual, natural process for the (virgin) birth of Christ, so why not a natural process for Adam?
And also in his BBC Radio 4's Thought For the Day:
For example, a famous verse of the Koran justifies the Virgin Birth of Jesus by comparing Christ's origin to that of Adam: they were both created from earth, then God said, "Be!" - and they were! Now, every Muslim accepts that Mary had a full-term pregnancy, so Christ's creation by the Divine Word happened via a natural process, and the same should apply to Adam.
The answer has pretty much already preceded in that contrary to what Usamah is asserting, this verse is a proof against him and not for him. The meaning of this verse in the view of the Scholars of Islaam is that since Aadam was created without a father and mother and that is no reason for him to be taken as an object of worship besides Allaah, then that Jesus is created without a father, does not make him any more worthier than Aadam of being taken as an object of worship, rather there is less reason for doing so (see al-Sa'dee's tafsir of this verse). This verse was revealed regarding the Christians [of Najraan] with whom the Messenger was discussing and debating the matter. The likeness here then is being made for Jesus through the example of Adam, and Jesus was created in a mere nine months of our reckoning, without any male intervention, just as Aadam was created without male intervention. Further, if Jesus was created in nine months, and formed and fashioned in the womb of his mother, then Adam's creation was relatively likewise. We do not mean nine month's but we mean a relatively short time as opposed to the billions of years Usamah is claiming. Aadam's creation started from pure dust, water, clay (without the need for a mother or father), with fashioning and forming, then the spirit breathed into him, and then language taught to him just as Jesus became a living, breathing and speaking human (if we leave aside his miraculous speech as a baby) in just a matter of a few years, and he came to be without male intervention, then likewise Aadam came to be without male (and female) intervention, and he became a fully formed, perfect, living, breathing, speaking being, out of Allaah's unfathomable creative power, in a relatively short period of time [whatever that was, and Allaah knows best]. This is clearly the import of the verses of the Qur'an. So Jesus's creation through the divine word was through a process that Allaah designated to be from the kawnee asbaab (created ways and means, in the womb of females), and from His creative power He specified that as a mere nine months. If this is Allaah's creative power, then there is no place for Usamah to start speaking of a "natural process" for Aadam's creation that lasted billions of years by analogising with the "natural process" of Jesus's birth which is just nine months. There is nothing in this verse for Usamah at all, since the reason for its revelation is a matter connected to Tawhid al-Uloohiyyah, and in any case, it indicates the opposite of what Usamah is claiming since the unfathomable creative power of Allaah necessitates other what Usamah is claiming. Having said this, we emphasize again that we do not deny the kawnee asbaab, that Allaah has indeed placed inherent qualities and capacities in things, but we do not believe there is any evidence (through aql or naql) to make grandiose claims like those of Usamah Hasan.
Nine: Al-Tirmidhee, Imam Ahmad in the Musnad, Ibn Maajah and Ibn Hibbaan narrate the hadeeth of Abu Sa'eed al-Khudree (radiallaahu anhu) that the Messenger (alayhis salaam) said:
الْمُؤْمِنُ إِذَا اشْتَهَى الْوَلَدَ فِي الْجَنَّةِ كَانَ حَمْلُهُ وَوَضْعُهُ وَسِنُّهُ فِي سَاعَةٍ وَاحدة، كَمَا يَشْتَهِي
The believer, when he desires a child in Paradise, its pregancy, birth and coming of age will be in a single hour, as he desires.
Coming of age here refers to the age of the people of Paradise which is thirty-three years. Now this hadeeth is declared Saheeh by al-Albaanee in Sahih al-Jaami (no. 6649) and many of the Scholars hold this view upon this hadeeth, and there is another view that there is no offspring in Paradise, and they bring their textual evidences. However scholars have reconciled between them by saying that should a person in Paradise desire a child (even though he won't) then its gestation, birth and coming of age would be like that, and others say that should he desire this, then it would occur for him, as he desired. So either way, we see from this acceptable textual evidence that a grown human is produced - by Allaah's awesome creative power - in a single hour. When the affair is like this then what, pray tell, is there of veneration of Allaah's might and power in the claim that Aadam was created over 4.5 billion years?
Ten: It is appropriate to mention here the explanation of the verse:
قَالَ رَبُّنَا الَّذِي أَعْطَى كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلْقَهُ ثُمَّ هَدَى
He (Moses) said: Our Lord is He Who gave to each thing its [created] form and nature, then guided it aright. (Ta-Ha 20:50)
Ibn Jareer al-Tabaree states:
Meaning, the equivalent of its own creation in terms of form, shape, such as the males from Banee Aadam, He gave them the equivalent of their own creation of females as spouses. And likewise, the males from the animals, He gave them the equivalent of their own creation, in their form and shape, of females as spouses. So he did not give mankind what is different to his own creation, such that he gives him a female from the animals as a spouse, and nor females from mankind for the animals (as spouses). Then He guided them to the approach through which offspring and growth is attained, and to all of the various benefits of food and drink and other than that.
Then he brings various statements:
Ibn Abbaas: He created a spouse for everything, and then guided it to (its particular form of) marriage (cohabitation), food, drink, abode and birth." Al-Sudiyy: He gave every beast He created a spouse, then guided it to (its form of) marriage (i.e. cohabitation). Mujaahid: He gave everything its form (soorah), then guided everything to its own mode of life. Mujaahid: He fashioned the created (form) of every creature, then guided it to whatever is beneficial to it, and taught it that (i.e. inspired it). Mujaahid: He fashioned the created (form) of every creature, then guided it to whatever is beneficial to it, and taught it that (i.e. inspired it) and He did not put (the creation of) mankind into the creation of beasts and nor the creation of beasts into the creation of mankind, however He created everything and gave it its own particular taqdeer (determination).
And Ibn Katheer says regarding this verse:
He gave every created thing whatever is beneficial (appropriate) to it with respect to its own creation and He did not make mankind from the creation of the beast, and nor the beast from the creation of the dog, and nor the dog, from the creation of a sheep. He gave everything whatever is appropriate to it of cohabitation (nikaah), and He arranged everything upon that, and nothing from it resembles another in its actions in terms of its creation (how it is created), its sustenance and cohabitation (nikaah).
From these quotes we can say: That Allaah, the Exalted, gave everything its own particular creation, its form and shape, and then he gave to every creation a partner that was created upon the same form, shape. Then He gave each one (i.e. species) guidance as to its mode of living, cohabitation, food, drink and so on. And it would be possible for us here to say that indeed we find in the genetic information in each type of species (in every creature) that which ensures it remains as it is and which ensures that all of its limbs, tissues, organs etc. develop the way they do, and that Allaah did not put the creation of a species into another, or merge one into the other. However, when He created each species, He put within it the capacity for change, adaptation and influence which explain the changes that take place amongst species. So whilst each species is unique and different in its form, shape etc. and was created separately there is underlying similarity in the (genetic and biological and biochemical) mechanisms that are associated with its food, reproduction, the passing on of traits and features and so on. [This underlying similarity also allows certain species to mate with others (be that naturally or artificially) such as a mule produced from a male donkey and female horse, even if Allaah originally created the parents with their own form and determination]. So what is apparent from this verse and the related commentary is that Allaah created everything, gave it is own particular form, and never mixed or merged the creation of different species or their cohabitation, and gave each its own unique "programming" that is appropriate to itself in terms of its mating, food, subsistence and form. Thereafter, within all created things there are capacities (for change, adaptation, modification of traits and characteristics etc.) because of how Allaah created them from the very beginning, at the very outset, and we are able to reconcile perfectly between this and what we see of mating between species (plants or mammals) to produce other species (i.e. such as a mule), and all the variation and diversity produced from the initial creation. Note that this is very different to what "Darwinian evolution" theorizes which starts from simple life forms leading to man through mutations and natural selection. What we are saying is that Allaah created every creature, every species and gave it its form, shape, guidance and mode, and put within all things capacities (in their genetic information, genotypes, phenotypes etc.). Thereafter, we see great diversity and richness in Allah's creation, and "Allaah increases in His creation as He wills" (35:1) and al-Tabari says, "...likewise that is in all of His creation, He increases whatever He wills in creating whatever He wills from it and He decreases whatever He wills from creation whatever He wills (to decrease), to Him belongs the creation and the command." So alhamdulillaah, we are not in need of Darwinian evolutionary theory in any form or fashion, and scandalous it is that apes like Usamah are wanting to merge it with the Qur'an.
Now these are just some observations and others can be mentioned, and within them we see that what is being claimed by the likes of Usamah Hasan is a type of rebuke and criticism and belittlement of Allaah's iraadah and qudrah and hikmah. The issue here is that Usamah is not really able to reconcile the verses of the Qur'an that we have cited above which give a certain narrative with the theory of neo-Darwinism. Rather, the most he has done is to attempt a merger at a very vague, generalized level by using the most generalized of verses (see examples below). This is not the way of a scientist, its the way of a con-man. Because if you claim to be a scientist with scientific thinking (and you have all those secular ijaazahs you are boasting about in your blog post), then that same level of scientific thinking and sophistication must also be demonstrated in your extraction of proof in the religious side of it as well. So when you do not show that, but show the opposite of it, a shallow, amateurish type of buffoonery, representing a children's madrasah type of extraction of religious proof, then it is clear that you are following hawaa.
So there are two things here for Usamah. Either reject the narrative of the Qur'an (which he clearly is not able to reconcile with neo-Darwinism) except with revilement and belittlement of Allaah's iraadah, qudrah and hikmah, or to affirm the verses that make up this narrative of Aadam's creation but to claim a particular intepretation of these specific verses and the more general verses (as indicated above), and this requires proof for which Usamah has none. All he has are scraps from Ittihaadee Sufis, Ismaa'eelee Baatinees, the Mu'tazilah and others. And in any case, this is not "religious proof" in the proper sense of the word.
Evolution Quiz: Spot Usamah Hasan
Usamah Hasan believes he is the descendent of apes ("each to his own aspiration") and he is lamenting that the Muslims are not granting him that. So in the picture above we present 10 stages of Darwinian Evolution. Based upon what you have read in this article and the previous one, see if you can identify which one is Usamah Hasan (in terms of fitrah, aql and attitude towards the naql), with a low mark of 1 at the ape end and a high mark of 10 at the human end. We won't object if you notch up the rating by a stage or two because of Usamah's impressive secular ijaazahs. To deny chimps can be intelligent would be an oppressive judgement, just take a look at Dr. Cornelius for example:
In 1968's Planet of the Apes, Cornelius is introduced as the fiance of Dr. Zira, an animal psychologist and veterinarian (who specializes in working with humans), both of whom are on the scientific staff of Dr. Zaius. While supporting the status quo, Cornelius has begun to question the infallibility of the Sacred Scrolls, which give the traditional history of the ape society, and is considering the validity of Evolution (specifically, from human to ape) to explain the scientific gaps in the scrolls.
We have a smart and learned chimp whose doctorate and scientific knowledge led him on a quest to explain scientific gaps in
the Qur'an (sorry, its getting a little confusing here), the Sacred Scrolls...
Summary and Closing Notes
Usamah is trying to combine between neo-Darwinian Evolution [a theory which grew out of purely materialistic considerations of life] and the Qur'anic account of the creation of Aadam. Whilst very generalized verses are used by Usamah Hasan, when it comes to the nitty-gritty and looking in detail at the verses that pertain to Aadam's creation (and other related texts) we find that explaining them through Darwinian Evolution implies a revilement upon Allaah's qudrah and hikmah, and this is besides the fact that the Qur'anic narrative cannot be reconciled with the Darwinian theory for explaining Aadam (alayhis salaam), except either by rejecting those verses or affirming them and trying to interpret them in which case the issue comes down to proof for that interpretation as this is now in the realm of religious evidence, and Usamah has none, except that he has brought statements (from the Mu'tazilah, Ismaa'eelee Baatiniyyah, Ittihaaadee Sufis and others) which he thinks are in support of him, but these citations do not constitute "religious proof". What Usamah is doing is the same as Ahl al-Kalaam who put aql (reason) ahead of naql (revelation), except that it is corrupt aql and not sound aql. Then he is trying to make the naql (revealed text) fit into (his) aql.
Indeed, we had Hafs al-Fard about whom al-Haafidh Abu Tahir al-Silafi said "an ape that fabricates lies" and al-Ja'd and al-Jahm about whom al-Silafi said "asses (donkeys)", and we had that fat ox from Aamid of contemptible worth, and then we had that dog Abu Hudaydah and those other dogs of al-Kharaj, and there was also that Raafidee donkey called Ali bin al-Mutahhar and today we are plagued by the hounding dog (al-kalb al-aawee) whom Shaykh Muqbil (rahimahullaah) once made iskaat of, and likewise, a self-acknowledged descendant of apes calling to the interpretation of the Qur'an through neo-Darwinism and he has many counterparts in the Arabic lands calling to the very same. Who knows, this could get ugly and may well turn into a battle for the planet of the apes if we don't put a lid on this quickly...
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- Usamah Hasan, Darwinism, Evolutionary Forces and the Creation of Man - Part 8: Recommended Letter of Tawbah
- Usamah Hasan, Darwinism, Evolutionary Forces and the Creation of Man - Part 7: Fitrah, Aql, Naql, Science and the Origin of the Universe and Man
- Usamah Hasan, Darwinism, Evolutionary Forces and the Creation of Man - Part 6: Usamah's Lecture 'Islam and the Theory of Evolution'
- Usamah Hasan, Darwinism, Evolutionary Forces and the Creation of Man - Part 5: Takdheeb of Allah and His Messenger Can be Excused Through the Angle of Ta'weel and Ijtihaad?
- Usamah Hasan, Darwinism, Evolutionary Forces and the Creation of Man - Part 4: Scholars Verdicts on Belief in Darwinism
- Usamah Hasan, Darwinism, Evolutionary Forces and the Creation of Man - Part 3: Looking at Usamah's Citations of Evidence
- Usamah Hasan, Darwinism, Evolutionary Forces and the Creation of Man - Part 2: Analyzing the Merger Between Darwinism and the Qur'an
- Usamah Hasan, Darwinism, Evolutionary Forces and the Creation of Man - Part 1: General Observations
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