Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
According to the Pew Research Center, many Muslims around the world believe in evolution. In 13 of the 22 countries where the question was asked, at least half say humans and other living things have evolved over time. By contrast, in just four countries do at least half say that humans have remained in their present form since the beginning of time.
A large majority of the Muslims, like most humans live in a black and white reality. Take the example of President Trump’s supporters in USA, if they like his racist agenda, then they think they are for a great divine plan against abortions and homosexuality. They deny, ignore or refuse to see the gross moral short comings of Trump and fail to see the thousands upon thousands of lies that he has told in his public life. No wonder 70% of white males without college education support him. In a similar fashion the Muslims who believe the creation story of the holy Quran in literal terms or are blindly following a religious leader of their choosing, refuse to see the evidence of evolution, no matter how overwhelming it may be.
In Southern and Eastern Europe, a majority of Muslims in Albania (62%) and Russia (58%) believe in evolution. But Muslims are divided in Bosnia-Herzegovina (50% believe humans have evolved, while 45% take the opposite view) and Kosovo (34% vs. 40%).
In four of the Central Asian countries surveyed, more than half of Muslims say they believe in evolution, including nearly eight-in-ten in Kazakhstan (79%). In Tajikistan and Turkey, by contrast, the predominant view is that humans have remained in their present form since the beginning of time (55% and 49%, respectively).
At least six-in-ten Muslims in Lebanon (78%), the Palestinian territories (67%) and Morocco (63%) think humans and other living things have evolved over time, but Jordanian and Tunisian Muslims are more divided on the issue. About half in Jordan (52%) believe in evolution, while 47% say humans have always existed in their present form. And in Tunisia, 45% say humans have evolved, 36% say they have always existed in their present form, and 19% are unsure. Iraq is the only country surveyed in the Middle East-North Africa region where a majority rejects the theory of evolution (67%).
Muslims’ views on evolution vary in South Asia and Southeast Asia. Muslims in Thailand (55%) and Bangladesh (54%) tend to accept that humans have evolved over time. But Muslims in Malaysia and Pakistan are divided: roughly four-in-ten Malaysian Muslims (37%) believe in evolution, while 45% say humans have always existed in their present form. In Pakistan, 30% think humans have evolved, while 38% disagree and 32% say that they do not know. In Afghanistan and Indonesia, the prevailing view is that humans and living things have remained in their present form since the beginning of time (62% and 55%, respectively).
In countries surveyed in Southern and Eastern Europe, more religiously observant Muslims are less likely to believe in evolution. In Russia, for example, 41% of Muslims who pray several times a day believe in evolution, compared with 66% of those who pray less frequently. Significant gaps also appear between more and less devout Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina (-19 percentage points) and Kosovo (-14). Views on evolution do not differ significantly by religious commitment in the other regions surveyed.
In a different post, Pew Research Center states, while the Quran teaches that Allah created human beings as they appear today, Islamic scholars and followers are divided on the theory of evolution. Theologically conservative Muslims who ascribe to literal interpretations of the Quran generally denounce the evolutionary argument for natural selection, whereas many theologically liberal Muslims believe that while man is divinely created, evolution is not necessarily incompatible with Islamic principles.
- Masud.co.uk, “Islam and Evolution: A Letter to Suleman Ali”
- The Sunday Telegraph, “Science: Islam’s Forgotten Geniuses”
- Albalagh.net, “Did God Use Evolution To Create the Universe?”
- Public Radio International, The World, “Evolution and Islam”
In my experience a large majority of all Muslims of all sects deny one or the other aspect of very established facts of evolution as they bank on human authorities or literal interpretation of the Quran, rather than examining for themselves the scientific evidence.
I for one accept the scientific evidence on its own merit and it is overwhelming in favor of evolution, as regards the DNA and other biochemical evidence.
I do believe in revelations from the All Knowing and Merciful God. The prophetic revelations in their nature but not in their accuracy, are akin to our nightly dreams and as such I believe that some aspects of the first human language must have been revealed, just like many parts of the Bible and the Quran are revealed.
In short I believe in guided evolution. This I find the most rational way of keeping our science as well as my religion of Islam, an Abrahamic faith, as I understand it.
My main suggestion to the open minded readers is to read on and in the words of Sir Francis Bacon, “Read not to contradict … but to weigh and consider.”
Join me in further exploration of the truth and reality rather than fairy tales of your choosing:
Presenting the strong evidence for biological evolution or how the first human language developed are not parts of this post. The purpose here is to propose the broad outline of the issues at hand.