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I'm not Muslim, and I know almost nothing about Islam, but in a few days, I'll have to give a talk on my scientific activities in a tunisian school. I am a biologist and I specialize in understanding the first steps of life on earth.

I'm a little bit nervous since I imagine that some of the knowledge and facts I'll be speaking about could be incompatible with the Quran.

My question is what should I answer if a kid or a little girl begins to ask me about these incompatibilities. Is an answer of the type "Quran was written before these discoveries and thus had to be approximtive on this part of the story" acceptable ?

By the way, if someone could provide a brief sketch on how this point is described in the Quran, I'd be happy to learn about it.

Thanks !

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acceptable ?

No.

From an Islamic perspective, why not?

written before these discoveries

The words of whom (Allah) which is written in the Quran, the phenomenon of discovering is incompatible with (15:86 and 40:2). And that is because He is the Creator, the Lord and Cherisher of the Worlds (37:182).

had to be approximtive on this part of the story

The words of Quran are in a generalized form rather then approximative.

Quran was written

This is a whole other topic on Lohe Mahfooz (85:22)

Other than that the question is more on how to give a talk about a topic which the audience could get sensitive/offended/confused about, rather then Islam itself.

And as System Down mentioned the question Is evolution compatible with Islam? would give you the much needed help in your preparation.

  • I do agree with the fact that the question is more about "how to give a talk about a topic which the audience could get sensitive", but I found no better idea than asking here, since the answer to such a question necessarily take into account the said sensitivity to be acute. Thanks for your answer ! – user3739 Dec 6 '13 at 23:37
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Allow me to clarify a little. First of all this is a tricky question as no one was there "in the beginning"(or was there someone ?)

It is He who created the heavens and earth in six days and then established Himself above >the Throne. He knows what penetrates into the earth and what emerges from it and what >descends from the heaven and what ascends therein; and He is with you wherever you are. And >Allah , of what you do, is Seeing. (57:4)

So in Quran it is sayed that all things were created in 6 days by the God. And that Adam ,the first man, was created by Allah, and put in Heaven, then was sent to the earth. The Quran explains aspects of the embryonic development,the diversity of the forms of existence and the "fundamental rules" of life. So Nothing is left to the chance and randomness even in the smallest details.

If you're dealing with schoolers you can first try to make them friendly get rid of their initial background by pushing them to recall/think about some mathematical theories or physical experiences that involve ,for instance,molecular biology in a fun way...

Invite them to share your point of view while you're showing respect to their beliefs, using questions as:

"i know that you believe ... but what if ..." or "let's pretend that..." or even the simple "who knows what happens if we bring such or such thing together..."

(one last thing to say is that tunisians are open minded and joyful...)

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