Islam and evolution biology

This video from the USA says about itself:

Two Creationists take home schooled kids on a tour of a natural history museum filling their minds with Young Earth Creationist Bullshit.

25 June 2011.

On a world scale, the most important opposition to evolution biological science comes from Christian creationists; who are influential especially in the economically and militarily most powerful country of the world, the USA. They claim to draw the only correct conclusions from the comparatively long and detailed creation narrative in the Bible book Genesis.

Less importantly, there is opposition to evolution science from within other religions. In Hinduism, eg, the Hare Krishna organization attacks the “materialistic” theories of Charles Darwin and later biologists. This is not that surprising, as the Hare Krishna organization is rather extreme within Hinduism. The organization developed at first not in India, but in the USA, with influences from US American fundamentalist Christianity.

Much less important also, on a world scale, is Jewish creationism. It has some, though certainly no predominant, influence among Jews in Israel and elsewhere.

Jewish creationists have, surprising as that may be to some people, contacts with Islamic creationism. More specifically, with probably the world’s best known Islamic creationist: the Turkish millionaire businessman known as “Harun Yahya” (real name: Adnan Oktar).

“Harun Yahya” may sound somewhat less anti-science than many Christian creationists, as he does not attack scientific evidence that some fossils of animals or plants are hundreds of millions years old; while Christian creationists tend to claim that life on earth is just a few thousand years old. Nevertheless, “Yahya” is as anti-evolution as American fellow creationism. In Saudi Arabia, important ally of the USA, and theocratic dictatorial monarchy, teaching evolution is illegal.

In Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad of 20 March 2010, Dirk Vlasblom and others argue that neither “Harun Yahya” nor the Saudi state represent the mainstream of Islamic thought on evolution since Charles Darwin published his Origin of Species.

Translated from Vlasblom’s article; about late 19th century Muslim scholars Al-Afghani and Hussein Al-Jisr, quoting Mohammed M. Ghaly, a contemporary Islamic scholar:

Al-Jisr was much better informed about evolution theory than Al-Afghani, Ghaly says:

“Al-Afghani said that evolutionists believe that a flea in the course of centuries can transform itself into an elephant. Al-Jisr said that according to this theory, humans, like other animals, have evolved via natural selection and that it is not impossible that humans and apes have a common ancestor. He gave the evolution theory the benefit of the doubt and concluded that it does not conflict with the Qur’an, as long as space remains within the theory for God as the ultimate Creator. The creation story in the Qur’an is quite brief, said Al-Jisr, and is intended to affirm belief in God, not for scientific information.

This religious opinion (fatwa) was taken over by scholars from Turkey, from Syria and throughout the Arabic speaking world.”


Al-Jisr wanted his “approval” of Darwin to show that Islam as a rational religion is the ally of all true science, and that Islamic belief is superior to, in his eyes, dogmatic Christianity. That position was welcomed by the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid

Sultan Abdul Hamid II

who wanted progress for his empire like in other countries. He gave Al-Jisr an important award in 1891.

Al-Afghani changed his mind as well. In his book Khatirat (ideas), he wrote around 1900 that evolution theory is indeed compatible with Islam.

The article says that Al-Jisr’s views are still the mainstream view among Muslims, though conservatives attack them.

Muslim creationists, same as the old creationists: here.

17 thoughts on “Islam and evolution biology

  1. patricia on June 26, 2011 at 7:14 pm said:

    You say filling their heads with Bullshit?….That is your openion, i supose manys, but the believers out number the few non-believers. Islam doesn’t discount evolution because God created all things, he in his divine wisdom set it up so that life of many species will continue through evolution. So tell me then if humans came from apes then why in all these years have not the apes evolved into humans yet? Why are there still apes if this is how humans came to be? There are far to many holes in that story to hold any truth at all. God created all, this includes evolution and science…Science can not give all the answers because God is a mystery. Every Cell in the human body is continuosly reproducing, so why do we age? Science has no answer becuase God created us and only he can answer that question…guess you will never get to ask him the answer becuase he doesn’t hear non-believers.


    • Atypical on June 26, 2011 at 7:34 pm said:

      @ patricia


      You have apparently never read a scientific book. You believe the ‘god is mysterious’ baloney not realizing it works to avoid answering any tough questions. You have never considered reading the refutations of the points you make. You think that the number of people that believe something is tied to the ‘truth’ of the matter. One million, or more CAN be wrong. Two people can be right. You know nothing of how science works and yet claim to ‘know’.

      And finally, you reply with disgust that ‘he doesn’t hear non-believers’. Do you have any idea how utterly stupid that remark is in the face of an ‘all-knowing, all-powerful god who is just?

      You are an example of what a religious ideologue is. Someone who’s brain is not used to think and analyze, only to regurgitate meaningless gibberish.



    • Administrator on June 26, 2011 at 8:25 pm said:

      The word “bullshit”, as the post said, is literally the YouTube text with the video; so not necessarily *my* choice of words. Nevertheless, I agree that Christian fundamentalist creationists in the USA, who believe life on earth is just six thousand years old, harm children by depriving them of scientific education.

      Apparently, you are not against the general idea of evolution, but against the specific idea of “evolution of humans from apes”.

      If evolution biologists write that humans evolved from apes, then they do NOT mean that they evolved from present day apes, like chimpanzees or orangutans. They mean that humans and chimpanzees, millions of years ago, had common ancestors; different from both present humans and present apes. And that, a few million years earlier, that common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans had an older common ancestor with orangutans.

      Evolution is not a one way street from, eg, ape to human. The image of a tree of life, branching out in various directions, is more apt.

      More about human evolution is here.


    • We age due to the wearing down of the telomeres at the end of chromosones. Believers do not outnumber unbelievers as most are children and self-styled religious folk haven’t a clue about dogma or science, because like you, they don’t investigate for themselves but leave it to others. Most people labelled as “believers” are just born in countries where a particular religion exists. When children are protected from religious abuse most choose not to follow outdated Bronze Age ideas. This is why I say Keep Religion Out of Schools! When someone is 16 they can check the evidence and make up their own minds.
      God is a myth not a mystery.
      there are no holes in evolutionary theory, just folk that do not understand science. Read and grow Patricia, read and grow x.


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  5. Reblogged this on DOG Sharon and commented:
    Important info from Dear Kitty showing that when it comes to Creationist nonsense the Fundamentalist Christians don’t have all the bullshit – Islam, Hinduism and Judaism want a piece of the action as well…


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  7. Thursday 18 October | LUCIS/MOS Lecture Series Fall 2012 | 3rd lecture by Richard Wittmann

    On Thursday 18 October, Richard Wittmann will give a LUCIS/MOS lecture entitled: ‘Mercy for the Beast? Pre-modern animal protection in the Islamic World’. Location: Matthias de Vrieshof 4/008 A. Time: 15.15-17.00. Open to all!


    The legal protection of animals in the pre-modern Islamic world is a largely understudied topic among students of the Middle East. Idealized depictions of the interaction of humans with animals in the prescriptive religious texts of Orthodox Islam as well as in the writings of Islamic mystics do not allow for an adequate assessment of how animals were treated by people in different realms and periods of Islamic history.

    This paper will offer a glimpse at the legal protection afforded to beasts of burden on the local level in two Ottoman cities on the basis of regional law codes (kanunnames). Two easily overlooked passages in Ottoman law codes from Anatolia at the beginning of the 16th century contain legal stipulations with regard to beasts of burden, which, as will be argued in this paper, present the earliest known codification of animal rights in the Ottoman context. More importantly, while regulating the protection of the rights of animals only for a very specific context, a close look at the legal stipulations reveals a surprisingly modern and “progressive“ sounding justification of the need of animals to receive protection from the abuse by humans. Is it possible that views held by animal rights activists of the 20th century and by a handful of Western philosophers since the 17th century in favor of a pathocentric approach to animal rights were already anticipated in an Ottoman legal code of the 16th century?

    By contrasting the stipulations of the kanunnames to the views on animal rights expressed in Islamic doctrine, Sufi treatises, hisba texts and travelogues from the Ottoman period, this paper will call into question for Ottoman Anatolia of the early 16th century the predominant view on animal protection held for the pre-modern Islamic world (and beyond) from a merely anthropocentric perspective.

    Richard Wittmann

    Richard Wittmann has been a Research Associate at the Orient-Institut Istanbul since July 2008 before his appointment as Associate Director in January 2011. After the study of Law, Islamic Studies and Turcology at the University of Munich and at Freie Universität Berlin he received his doctorate in History and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University in 2008, with the thesis entitled, “Before Qadi and Grand Vizier: Intra-Communal Dispute Resolution among Christians and Jews in the Plural Society of 17th Century Istanbul”; under the supervision of Profs. Cemal Kafadar, Roy Mottahedeh, & Baber Johansen.

    Specializing in Islamic legal history and the social history of the Ottoman Empire, as well as on narrative sources for the study of the Middle East, Dr. Wittmann is currently working on two monographs based on his doctoral dissertation on the application of the shari‘a with regard to non-Muslims as well as on a nineteenth century autobiography of an Ottoman sufi shaykh.


  8. Hoogblonde moslima’s in de strijd tegen Darwin

    Ze zijn blond, rondborstig, moslima en haten Darwin. En elke avond zijn ze op de Turkse tv. De ‘vriendinnen’ van de islamitische prediker Adnan Oktar staan niet alleen. De evolutieleer staat onder druk in Turkije.

    ISTANBUL (DPD) – Veel zeggen de Turkse blondines, met volle boezem, strakke truitjes en dikke lagen make-up -niet. Ze glimlachen en staren – zonder uitzondering – vol bewondering naar hun ‘meester’ Adnan Oktar, die te keer gaat tegen de evolutietheorie van Darwin. Allah heeft de wereld geschapen en de evolutieleer is een grote leugen, luidt de boodschap van goeroe Oktar. De dames – stuk voor stuk vrome moslima ‘s- knikken instemmend. Dat heeft ‘Hoca’ ofwel Meester Adnan weer mooi gezegd.

    Elke avond is dit bijzondere gezelschap op de Turkse tv-zender A9 – het kanaal van Oktar – te zien. Adnan Oktar praat en praat. ‘Zijn katjes’, zoals hij ze zelf liefkozend noemt, luisteren. En om de rest van de wereld niet uit te sluiten, is er eigen You Tube kanaal – 39.000 abonnees – waar de programma’s meerdere talen worden vertaald. Zijn sexy vriendinnen doen de kijkcijfers geen kwaad.

    Oktar is Turkije’s bekendste creationist en schrijver van tientallen boeken, waarin hij te keer gaat tegen de evolutietheorie en ‘duivelse darwinsten’. In 2007 trok hij al de aandacht toen hij onderwijsinstellingen in de VS en Europa de ruim 700 pagina’s tellende Altas der Schepping gratis toestuurde, hierin stelt Aktar dat Darwinsten hebben geleid tot 9-11 en de holocaust. Ook Nederlandse universiteiten ontvingen een exemplaar. Aan geld geen gebrek. Volgens de Turkse media heeft hij geldschieters in de Arabische wereld en in de VS, waar de christelijke creationisten hun islamitische kameraad in zijn missie zouden willen steunen.

    Brandschoon is het imago van Oktar niet. In 2008 werd hij tot 3 jaar cel veroordeeld vanwege het oprichten van een criminele organisatie. De ‘vrome’ meester zou jonge volgelingen hebben gechanteerd met sextapes. Oktar ging in hoger beroep en werd vrijgesproken waarna hij in 2011 zijn eigen tv-kanaal begon. Van kritiek houdt ‘de meester’ overigens niet. Hij spande tientallen rechtszaken aan tegen critici. Ook mensen die commentaar leveren op zijn YouTube-filmpjes moeten uitkijken. De advocaten van Aktar dienden de afgelopen drie maanden maar liefst 350 klachten bij justitie in over beledigende reacties op zijn filmpjes.

    Maar de opmerkelijke prediker en zijn vriendinnen staan niet alleen. Er zijn nogal wat Turken die niet veel op hebben met Darwin. Uit een groot onderzoek in 2006 onder 34 landen bleek dat de acceptatie van de evolutieleer in Turkije – met 25 procent – het laagst was. Niet gek, na de coup van de jaren tachtig werd de creationistische ideologie gepromoot in het onderwijs. ,,Leerkrachten werden bekeerd. En met succes – slechts 38 procent van de jonge biologieleerkrachten accepteert de evolutietheorie”, zegt biologie professor Aykut Kence van Middle Eastern Technical Universiteit in Anakra.

    Onder het bewind van de islamitische AKP winnen de creationisten nog meer aan terrein. Vorig jaar werd op de Marmara Universiteit in Istanbul de eerste universitaire conferentie over creationisme , gesteund door de Turkse onderwijsautoriteit, gehouden. De conferentie leidde tot protesten van academici. Onder hen Kerem Cankoçak, assistent professor aan de Istanbul Technische Universiteit. ,,De AKP is vastbesloten om een islamitische samenleving te creëren. Eén vijand is de wetenschap.”

    Ook professor Kence in Ankara maakt zich zorgen: ,, In principe worden evolutietheorie en creatonisme nu beiden behandeld in het onderwijs, maar de lesboeken zijn zo geschreven dat evolutie belachelijk wordt gemaakt.”

    Steeds vaker duiken berichten op van leerkrachten die op het matje worden geroepen omdat ze het in de lessen over Darwin hebben gehad. Een leerkracht in Adana werd berispt, een collega in Ankara moest een dag salaris inleveren nadat hij over de evolutieleer had gesproken. ,,Door deze intimidatie mijden veel leerkrachten het onderwerp. Creationisme is de staatsleer en Turkije is het enige land ter wereld met een seculiere grondwet, waar dat het geval is.”

    Dit alles verklaart de populariteit een figuur als Adnan Oktar. Wetenschapper Cankoçak: ,,Deze vent is een grote grap. In een normaal land zou niemand naar hem luisteren. Maar Turken hebben gemiddeld 4,5 jaar onderwijs achter de rug. Daarom kan een charlatan zoals hij zo populair worden.”

    Bron: 08-02-2013


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  11. Swami Bhaktipada, a former leader of the Hare Krishna movement, died of kidney failure Monday near Mumbai at the age of 74. Bhaktipada founded the largest Hare Krishna community in the country, called New Vrindaban, in 1968. In 1972 he began building a sprawling Palace of Gold near Moundsville, W.Va. But he was excommunicated from Hare Krishna’s governing body in 1987. In 1996, Bhaktipada pled guilty to one count of racketeering, including mail fraud and conspiracy to commit the murders-for-hire of two of his former devotees. After serving eight years he was released in 2004 and moved to India in 2008.


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