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As far as I know, there is no clear and unambiguous piece from Quran or Hadith that says that evolution is not compatible with Islam. Regarding the question that have been tagged, my comment on this is that even if we were to say that evolution is not compatible Islam, it would something based on interpretation. Verses or hadith related to the creation of Adam AS does neither clearly say that Adam AS created instantly nor on a lapse of time.

So far, what I have seen is that text from Quran and Hadith sources are used, interpreted and then its the interpretation that is used to falsify the concept of evolution.

I have two questions:

  1. If prohibition of evolution is not explicitly said & mentioned in the text clearly, can we say its haraam and classify it as such, is it not a sort of bidaa ?
  2. What if evolution is true, if it is the case, then we would be saying that the way Allah wished to create mankind is false ?

closed as off-topic by Rebecca J. Stones, III-AK-III, Medi1Saif Apr 19 '18 at 14:47

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Q1: If prohibition of evolution is not explicitly said & mentioned in the text clearly, can we say its haraam and classify it as such, is it not a sort of bidaa?

No. The conditions of an innovation (bid'ah, Arabic: بدعه) in the religion are:

  1. An act that is intended to get one closer to Allah (Arabic: عمل أريد به التقرب إلى الله),
  2. which the Prophet ﷺ and his rightly-guided caliphs did not do (Arabic: لم يفعله الرسول ولا الخلفاء الراشدين المهديين),
  3. while requirements existed (Arabic: مع وجود المقتضى), and
  4. there were no obstacles (Arabic: وعدم وجود مانع).

The prohibition (or any discussion of the validity) of evolution is not an act intended to get one closer to Allah; therefore, whether evolution is explicitly mentioned or alluded to in Islamic text is irrelevant. Evolution has nothing to do with innovations in religion.

Q2: What if evolution is true, if it is the case, then we would be saying that the way Allah wished to create mankind is false?

No. As Muslims, we do not entertain what-if scenarios in the presence of textual evidence. The process of creation is part of the unseen:

مَّا أَشْهَدتُّهُمْ خَلْقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَلَا خَلْقَ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَمَا كُنتُ مُتَّخِذَ الْمُضِلِّينَ عَضُدًا

I did not make them witness to the creation of the heavens and the earth or to the creation of themselves, and I would not have taken the misguiders as assistants.

— Surat Al-Kahf 18:51

From an Islamic view, any discussion of a matter that is unseen is based on induction or deduction. Either way, hypothesizing will always involve a set of assumptions that may or may not be valid. Science itself evolves, and what was a fact a few years ago (e.g., Pluto is the ninth planet in our solar system) may no longer be so today (e.g., Pluto is no longer a planet). Nonetheless, from an Islamic view, assumptions in religious matters do not lead to indisputable proof:

وَمَا لَهُم بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ ۖ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ ۖ وَإِنَّ الظَّنَّ لَا يُغْنِي مِنَ الْحَقِّ شَيْئًا

And they have thereof no knowledge. They follow not except assumption, and indeed, assumption avails not against the truth at all.

— Surat An-Najm 53:28

There is no textual evidence to affirm or deny that a change in heritable characteristics occurs over time. Hence, one can argue that Islam does not oppose the theory of evolution. However, once you scratch the surface, all sorts of differences emerge. Muslim scholars, for example, argue that similarities in morphology do not indicate homology; rather, a common creator.

In the end, we as Muslims believe that humans originated from a creation out of clay:

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ مِن صَلْصَالٍ مِّنْ حَمَإٍ مَّسْنُونٍ

And We did certainly create man out of clay from an altered black mud.

— Surat Al-Hijr 15:26

We also believe that humans were created in the current form and shape we are in and that changes in our heritable characteristics (e.g., height) did occur over time, but we were created as humans:

حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ رَافِعٍ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّزَّاقِ، أَخْبَرَنَا مَعْمَرٌ، عَنْ هَمَّامِ بْنِ مُنَبِّهٍ، قَالَ هَذَا مَا حَدَّثَنَا بِهِ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏.‏ فَذَكَرَ أَحَادِيثَ مِنْهَا وَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: خَلَقَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ آدَمَ عَلَى صُورَتِهِ طُولُهُ سِتُّونَ ذِرَاعًا فَلَمَّا خَلَقَهُ قَالَ اذْهَبْ فَسَلِّمْ عَلَى أُولَئِكَ النَّفَرِ وَهُمْ نَفَرٌ مِنَ الْمَلاَئِكَةِ جُلُوسٌ فَاسْتَمِعْ مَا يُجِيبُونَكَ فَإِنَّهَا تَحِيَّتُكَ وَتَحِيَّةُ ذُرِّيَّتِكَ قَالَ فَذَهَبَ فَقَالَ السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ فَقَالُوا السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ وَرَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ - قَالَ - فَزَادُوهُ وَرَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ - قَالَ - فَكُلُّ مَنْ يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ عَلَى صُورَةِ آدَمَ وَطُولُهُ سِتُّونَ ذِرَاعًا فَلَمْ يَزَلِ الْخَلْقُ يَنْقُصُ بَعْدَهُ حَتَّى الآنَ

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, created Adam in His image with His length of sixty cubits, and as He created him He told him to greet that group, and that was a party of angels sitting there, and listen to the response that they give him, for it would form his greeting and that of his offspring. He then went away and said: Peace be upon you! They (the angels) said: May there be peace upon you and the Mercy of Allah, and they made an addition of "Mercy of Allah". So he who would get into Paradise would get in the form of Adam, his length being sixty cubits, then the people who followed him continued to diminish in size up to this day.

— Sahih Muslim, Book 53, Hadith 32

This is a belief that we as Muslims will always hold, regardless.

  • Nice answer, it helps !! – Noor Apr 19 '18 at 10:29
  • But is this not also an assumption when you say that "" we as Muslims believe that humans originated from a creation out of clay in the current form and shape we are in and that changes in our heritable characteristics did occur over time, but we were created as humans:"" – Noor Apr 20 '18 at 14:49
  • @Noor, I added a hadith to demonstrate this point. – III-AK-III Apr 20 '18 at 16:34
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The Quran's purpose is not a scientific text or natural history book. It is a book of guidance. All the narrations about creation mentioned in the Quran are allegorical or metaphorical with very important spiritual meanings.

III-AK-III already provided an excellent answer to the first question regarding bidaa and innovation. I will add more perspective to answer the 2nd question on if evolution is true, does it prove the Islamic creation narrative false.

There seems to be a very common misunderstanding and confusion regarding:

Without clarity on these Islamic concepts we will remain in fog, so I shall define below.

I am using Shahadati and Ghaybi as referred in Quran 59:22.

Huwa Allāhu Al-Ladhī Lā 'Ilāha 'Illā Huwa ۖ `Ālimu Al-Ghaybi Wa Ash-Shahādati ۖ Huwa Ar-Raĥmānu Ar-Raĥīm

059.022 God is He, than Whom there is no other god;- Who knows (all things) both secret and open; He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

هُوَ‌ ‌اللَّ‍‍هُ ‌الَّذِي لاَ‌ ‌إِلَهَ ‌إِلاَّ‌ هُوَ‌ ۖ عَالِمُ ‌الْ‍‍غَ‍‍‍يْ‍‍بِ ‌وَ‌ال‍‍شَّهَا‌دَةِ ۖ هُوَ‌ ‌ال‍‍رَّحْمَنُ ‌ال‍‍رَّحِيمُ

Shahadati: open, evident, tangible, the physical universe, that mankind can observe or potentially observe, measure, and witness.

Ghaybi: unseen, secret, intangible, un-observable, not physical

Akil: literally means "to flow" signifies causal knowledge that can be obtained through observation (Shahadat), induction, deduction, cause-effect inference, scientific method, historical evidence, etc. Also, universal morals, ethics and values that can be derived from common human conscious, consensus, and rational inference without necessity for divine revelation or prophet.

Nakil: literally means "transported". Knowledge that is transported from Allah indirectly through a "Nabi" (prophet,messenger) to mankind, without which, said knowledge would have remained unknown to mankind forever. Example: How to perform salah

The very first surah revealed to our prophet, Quran 96, emphasizes that the main purpose of the Quran is Nakil.

096.003 Aqra' Wa Rabbuka Al-'Akramu
Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,-
ا‍‍قْ‍‍‍‍رَ‌أْ‌ ‌وَ‌‍رَبُّكَ ‌الأَكْ‍رَمُ

096.004 Al-Ladhī `Allama Bil-Qalami
He Who taught (the use of) the pen,-
‍الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِ‍الْ‍‍قَ‍‍لَمِ

Allama Al-Insāna Mā Lam Ya`lam
096.005 Taught man that which he knew not.
عَلَّمَ ‌الإِ‌ن‍‍س‍‍َ‍انَ مَا‌ لَمْ يَعْلَمْ

Allah sbwtl, in his mercy, has reinforced "akil" with certain ayas like those that prohibit intoxicating drink, eating pork, gambling, usury; all of whose harmful effects have been confirmed by science and "shahadati".

We also must make distinction between ayas that are allegorical vs literal.

Quran 3:7 states that certain ayas are allegorical (mutashâbihât) and others are literal (muhkamât):

003.007 He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except God. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:" and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.

هُوَ‌ ‌الَّذِي ‌أَ‌نْ‍‍زَلَ عَلَ‍‍يْ‍‍كَ ‌الْكِت‍‍َ‍ابَ مِ‍‌‍نْ‍‍هُ ‌آي‍‍َ‍اتٌ‌ مُحْكَم‍‍َ‍اتٌ هُ‍‍نَّ ‌أُمُّ ‌الْكِت‍‍َ‍ابِ ‌وَ‌أُ‍خَ‍‍رُ‌ مُتَشَابِه‍‍َ‍ات‌‍ٌ‌ ۖ فَأَمَّ‍‍ا‌ ‌الَّذ‍ِ‍ي‍‍نَ فِي قُ‍‍لُوبِهِمْ ‌زَيْ‍‍‍غ‌‍ٌ‌ فَيَتَّبِع‍‍ُ‍ونَ مَا‌ تَشَابَهَ مِ‍‌‍نْ‍‍هُ ‌ابْ‍‍تِ‍‍غَ‍‍‍ا‌ءَ‌ ‌الْفِتْنَةِ ‌وَ‌ابْ‍‍تِ‍‍غَ‍‍‍ا‌ءَ‌ تَأْ‌وِيلِ‍‍هِ ۗ ‌وَمَا‌ يَعْلَمُ تَأْ‌وِيلَهُ~ُ ‌إِلاَّ‌ ‌اللَّ‍‍هُ ۗ ‌وَ‌ال‍‍رَّ‌اسِ‍‍خُ‍‍‍ونَ فِي ‌الْعِلْمِ يَ‍‍قُ‍‍ول‍‍ُ‍ونَ ‌آمَ‍‍نَّ‍‍ا‌ بِ‍‍هِ كُلٌّ‌ مِ‍‌‍نْ عِ‍‌‍نْ‍‍دِ‌ ‌‍رَبِّنَا‌ ۗ ‌وَمَا‌ يَذَّكَّرُ‌ ‌إِلاَّ‌ ‌أ‍ُ‍‌وْلُو‌ا‌ ‌الأَلْبَابِ

In this Islam SE discussion, my answer also makes a distinction between ayas that are zeytoony (olive-like) vs ayas that are teeny (fig-like).

Basically, muhkamat ayas are zeytoony in that the literal meaning and the context is plain and obvious.

On the other hand, Teeny ayas can contain multiple Ghaybi, and/or mutashâbihât (spiritual, metaphorical, allegorical) meanings and can be interpreted in multiple contexts. You can interpret certain "shahadati" meanings but that is the rough exterior or skin of the fig. The additional dimensions of spiritual meaning are the sweet internals of the fig with each fig seed another spiritual meaning and guidance.

Another perspective is that the fig has to be seasoned and ripe in order for its spiritual understanding and consumption. An aya may not be interpret-able for its full meaning until it's time has come.

Now, that we have these definitions and distinctions let us apply them to examine the nakil, ghaybi knowledge of human creation as explained in the Quran vs the akil, shahadati, theory of evolution.

Please Note: I can only present the tip of the iceberg here. The scholarship and study that this topic truly warrants are beyond my time restrictions.

In numerous ayas of the Quran, Allah mentions that mankind was made from potter's clay, mud, dark clay baked forth, etc.

Citations pending.

The shahadati, muhkamat interpretation (skin of the fig) that is confirmed by modern science would be "mankind is composed of organic compounds of the element carbon (dark mud)."

Well, interesting, but so what?

How does this provide any guidance to the reader? What might dark mud symbolize in terms of spirituality? If someone's heart, capacity for caring, spirit; is muddy, dirty, darkened, or sullied, how should this be interpreted?

The Quran provides an answer when Allah requests all the angels to prostrate to man whom Allah just created from sijeel (dark mud). The angels were repulsed at first since the dark mud heart of man symbolized his potential for terrible sin. In English we have the expression 'lower than pond scum' to refer to people of low morals and ethics.

The angels, just to clarify, asked Allah why they should be prostrating to a creation from mud that will commit lying, murder, fitna, envy, and all sorts of sin? Allah’s reply was 'I knoweth that which you know not'. Upon which all angels prostrated to mankind except 'Iblis' (Lucifer). And the narration continues with the result that the dunya being a proving ground for mankind with sheytan (Iblis demoted) being the distract-er, tempter, whisperer .

The Quran provides numerous aya where darkening symbolizes capacity for evil, or a balance of more bad deeds than good. I shall provide citations.

All of the creation aya above is purely spiritual, symbolic, metaphorical, or allegorical. It is purely a ghaybi narrative. There is nothing physical or shahadati about it. We cannot physically observe sheytan, or angels and we will never be able to until maybe on yaum i deen (time of judgement) when the veil of ghaybi will be lifted.

In contrast, the theory of evolution is akil and shahadati. It has nothing to do with spirituality, morals, ethics, social conduct, or guidance.

Also, scientists have yet to witness (Shahadati) the origin of a new species despite many experiments conducted with animals and plants that have very short generation spans like that of the Drodophilia fruit fly. There has been recent shahadati of species split here, and here.

The Quran has numerous verses whose zeytoony interpretation can mean that life goes through various forms in stages. However, what physical forms life took as it evolved into the present human form is irrelevant from a spiritual guidance perspective.

Darwin, himself was not an atheist. If the purpose of the proponents of evolution theory is to say that

Allah does not exist or Darwinism is a partner to Allah

Well, we already know what happens when several governments in the past have adopted "Social Darwinism", "Survival of the Fittest", "Natural Selection" as their God or partner to God (Nazi Germany). Been there, done that.

And we are witnessing today, the tyranny of these false gods being worshiped by neo-liberal economic systems.

It is not that us Muslims should be repulsed by the possibility of mankind having a common ancestor with the chimpanzee, since the portion mankind that denies Allah or worships partners to Allah are much lower than the apes. In fact, they are "the lowest of the low" (Asfala Sāfilīna) Quran 95:5. The apes have never committed genocide.

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    "All the narrations about creation mentioned in the Quran are allegorical or metaphorical with very important spiritual meanings" - Please provide examples and evidences holding up this statement. – Kilise Apr 17 '18 at 15:00
  • @kilise you are asking me to write a book. When an aya says 'a wall was placed on front of them and behind them' Allah is obviously not referring to a 'physical' wall. – 0tyranny 0poverty Apr 17 '18 at 15:11
  • Well, there are verses that are clearer than others when it comes to symbolic interpretation. But since your answer isn't objective, and not agreed upon on the majority, you should support your claims. – Kilise Apr 17 '18 at 15:14

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