Is the theory of evolution, and specifically, theistic evolution, compatible with Islam? That is to say, is there any official doctrine in Islam (or if not agreed upon in Islam as a whole, in a specific sect or area of Islam) that teaches that evolution is expressly wrong?
In order to answer this question, we must have an agreement on what the Quranic term "خلق (to create (reads "khalk"))" means.
- Some say that, when Allah "creates" something, it happens in an instant, all of a sudden, out of nowhere.
- And some say that, when Allah "creates" something, it happens in a circulation of events which follow each other.
If the first one is true, then the evolution theory is not compatible to Islam. If the second one is true, then the evolution theory can be compatible (but we still cannot make sure if it is absolutely true) to Islam.
Let's read some ayats from Quran to see how Allah "creates" things:
خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَأَنزَلَ لَكُم مِّنْ الْأَنْعَامِ ثَمَانِيَةَ أَزْوَاجٍ يَخْلُقُكُمْ فِي بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ خَلْقًا مِن بَعْدِ خَلْقٍ فِي ظُلُمَاتٍ ثَلَاثٍ ذَلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَأَنَّى تُصْرَفُونَ
He created you from one soul(*). Then He made from it its mate, and He produced for you from the grazing livestock eight mates. He creates you in the wombs of your mothers, creation after creation, within three darknesses. That is Allah , your Lord; to Him belongs dominion. There is no deity except Him, so how are you averted?
Zumer 6 (39/6)
(*)The word "soul" in this translation is a mistake. "Soul" means "ruh" in arabic, but the true word in the ayat is "nefs" which means physical body.
So, what/who is this first nefs? It can be Adam (alaihis salam), or it can be a one-celled organism in prehistoric era.
However, something is for sure. In this ayat, Allah says that the development of us in our mothers womb is a kind of creation. In the ayat, the word "خلق" is used. It is a natural fact that no babies instantaneously exist out of nowhere in his/her mother's womb.
Let's see another ayat for understanding the meaning of "khalk":
قَالَ كَذَلِكَ قَالَ رَبُّكَ هُوَ عَلَيَّ هَيِّنٌ وَقَدْ خَلَقْتُكَ مِن قَبْلُ وَلَمْ تَكُ شَيْئًا
Said, "Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, 'It is easy for Me, for I created you before, while you were nothing.' " Maryam 9 (19/9)
The one who speaks in the ayat is (we understand from previous ayats) Zekaria (who is the father of Maryam, who is the mother of Isa (Christ)). Allah says him that once he was created (with the word "khalk") before he was nothing.
OK, what is the meaning of "creation" here? Instantaneously existing all of a sudden?
Zekeria was a human like us. He was created the way we were.
This ayat is the second reference to the meaning of "creation".
اللَّهُ خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ ۖ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَكِيلٌ
Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is, over all things, Disposer of affairs.
Zumer 62 (39/62)
This ayat tell us that Allah is creating ("khalk" again) everything. By everything, it means actually everything. Everything you know, everything you see and imagine. There is nothing instantaneously coming out of nowhere in this Universe. This is a fact no one can deny. Everything comes to existence after a circulation in the Nature. Allah crated rain, clouds, mountains, human race, animals, plants and everything else. This is how Allah creates.
قُلْ سِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَانظُرُوا كَيْفَ بَدَأَ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ اللَّهُ يُنشِئُ النَّشْأَةَ الْآخِرَةَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
Say, "Travel through the land(*) and observe how He began creation. Then Allah will produce the final creation. Indeed Allah , over all things, is competent."
Ankabut 20 (29/20)
Allah wants us to travel on the Earth ("ارض" means "Earth", not "land")(*) and observe how he create things. Every one of us travel on Earth. We go to our jobs, holidays, picnic, walk in forest, walk in the streets, etc. Did any one of you see Allah creates anything in an instant from nothing? Everything is being created with a circulation of matter, nothing is created in an instant. And, Allah states that this is how he creates. This is the way of his creation.
اِنَّمَا اَمْرُهُ اِذَا اَرَادَ شَيْپًا اَنْ يَقُولَ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ
His command is only when He intends a thing that He says to it, "Be," and it is.
Yaseen 82 (36/82)
In this ayat, it is said that when Allah wants something, He just says "be (كُنْ / kuun)", then it "becomes (فَيَكُونُ / feyekuun)". This and some other ayats like this make some people think and claim that Allah instantaneously creates things. However, the secret key point is the conjunction word "فَ (fe)" in the ayat. It is different from "وَ (ve)" which means "and". "Fe" means "after this", and implies "a forming of events afterwards". It doesn't necessarily or absolutely mean an instantaneous happening.
Summary of what I wrote is:
- There is no example in the nature that Allah instantaneously creates anything.
- In Quran, in a lot of ayat, Allah wants us to watch the nature and think how he created things. And what we see in the nature suggests to us that there is no instantaneous creation in the universe, but there is a circulation of matter which yields new materials to the Universe.
- Evolution Theory is not against Islam. But we cannot make sure that it is the truth. Maybe some day scientist will discover a better theory which we can't even imagine today.
Then, why are Muslims this much against the Evolution Theory?
The reason is historical and strategical.
All of you know Darwin and what he researched for, and the following events. I will keep it as short as I can. Events occurred in this order:
- Darwin founded the Evolution Theory.
- By the time Muslims were claiming that Allah creates things instantaneously.
- Evolution Theory said that even the living things were created in a process, rather than being created instantaneously.
- Atheists, who oppose the view that Allah exists, used Evolution Theory as an argument to suggest that the Muslim religion is wrong, because Evolution Theory said that living things were being created in a process and in a circulation, the Muslim religion says an apparently opposite statement.
- Muslims, who were offended with this claim, become enemies of the Evolution Theory.
- And they stayed so.
Finally, as an answer to your question, Quran doesn't clarify how exactly (living) things are created. Quran is not a biology or science book; it is only for warning us and teaching us the true way. It just says that they are created. All we can understand is from the meaning of the word "creation". In my answer, I only tried to prove that we are not necessarily be instantaneously created on Earth. I didn't say that Evolution Theory is true or false for sure; but I said that it looks like to be very compatible. Allah knows the best. We shouldn't take part in the war between evolutionists and anti-evolutionist.
Islam is incompatible with theistic evolution for many reasons.
The first reason regarding Human Evolution is: Muslims believe that God created Adam and Eve in heaven. This is mentioned several times in Quran:
إِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلائِكَةِ إِنِّي خَالِقٌ بَشَرًا مِن طِين
[So mention] when your Lord said to the angels, "Indeed, I am going to create a human being from clay. [38:71]
خَلَقَ الإِنسَانَ مِن صَلْصَالٍ كَالْفَخَّارِ
He created man from clay like [that of] pottery. [55:14]
وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الإِنسَانَ مِن صَلْصَالٍ مِّنْ حَمَإٍ مَّسْنُونٍ
And We did certainly create man out of clay from an altered black mud. [15:26]
When Adam and Eve ate from that tree, God punished them by taking them out from heaven and sent them to Earth. We are the descendants of Adam and Eve.
خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَأَنزَلَ لَكُم مِّنْ الأَنْعَامِ ثَمَانِيَةَ أَزْوَاجٍ يَخْلُقُكُمْ فِي بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ خَلْقًا مِن بَعْدِ خَلْقٍ فِي ظُلُمَاتٍ ثَلاثٍ ذَلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ لا إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ فَأَنَّى تُصْرَفُونَ
He created you from one soul. Then He made from it its mate, and He produced for you from the grazing livestock eight mates. He creates you in the wombs of your mothers, creation after creation, within three darknesses. That is Allah, your Lord; to Him belongs dominion. There is no deity except Him, so how are you averted? [39:6]
Also, the theory is against the beliefs regarding other creatures (animals):
وَاللَّهُ خَلَقَ كُلَّ دَابَّةٍ مِن مَّاء فَمِنْهُم مَّن يَمْشِي عَلَى بَطْنِهِ وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَمْشِي عَلَى رِجْلَيْنِ وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَمْشِي عَلَى أَرْبَعٍ يَخْلُقُ اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاء إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
Allah has created every [living] creature from water. And of them are those that move on their bellies, and of them are those that walk on two legs, and of them are those that walk on four. Allah creates what He wills. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent. [24:45]
Therefore, believing in the evolution of humans or other creatures is totally against the basic beliefs of Islam. A Muslim cannot believe in God and theistic evolution simultaneously because believing in one nullifies the other.
As long as it is accepted that "Allah is the Creator of everything" (Qur'an 13:16) and that Allah specifically created humanity (in the person of Adam; Qur'an 38:71-76)."
If a theory is inconsistent with God's words (Quran) or Hadith, then it is not acceptable and is incompatible with Islam. If nothing in the theory contradicts the Quran or Hadith, then it is acceptable to believe in it or study it in depth as well. Theistic evolution is, however, incompatible with Islam.
There are various views regarding this among Muslim scholars. Some believe that it is incompatible while others believe it is compatible. The answer also depends on what is exactly meant by "evolution". One way of stating it is to claim that there has been no divine involvement in the creation of humans which would be contradictory to Islamic beliefs. On the other hand, if it is stated as species including humans are evolved from each other then the issue of compatibility is more complicated as I will explain below.
The evolution can be contradictory with the views that take the story of creation literally (God completed the creation of Adam not on the earth but in some other place and then sent him and his wife down as grown up humans afterwards).
One should be careful in taking the story of creation literally. The issue is not as straightforward as some other answers imply. For example, in verse 3:59 Quran says:
إِنَّ مَثَلَ عِيسَىٰ عِندَ اللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ آدَمَ ۖ خَلَقَهُ مِن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ
The story of [the creation of] Jesus before Allah is similar to the story of [the creation of] Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be". And he was.
In this verse Quran says that the stories of their creations are similar. This combined with the fact that Jesus (PBUH) had a mother and was born like other humans suggests the possibility of a similar process for Adam.
Note that the use of symbolic stories to explain difficult to understand things is a common practice in Quran.
I think there are a number of possible answers to this question. It's not clear-cut. In Islam, the belief is that human beings and all creation are created for a purpose - they're not products of random aimless mutations. So in that aspect, there is a clear divergence. As for the mechanics of evolution, there is very little to contradict basic biology in the texts. Allah does say He "khalaqa" humans - and uses that word to refer to the different stages of growth of the fetus as well. So khalq may not always mean direct creation. I don't know of any text with the Qur'an or sunnah that disqualifies Microevolution or genetic changes and mutations (and it can't because we have solid evidence for Microevolution).
We do have specific information about the creation of Adam (as) though, and as Muslims we believe he wasn't the product of an evolutionary chain (due to clear ayaat in the Qur'an and clear ahadith). This doesn't mean that we have to deny fossil records for human-like creatures before Adam (as). It may just have been a different trajectory.
Finally, as a tangent, Dr. T. O. Shanavas of Toledo, Ohio has a non-traditional viewpoint on this matter. He brings up a number of interesting ideas in his book.
I don't necessarily agree with a lot of his ideas but they are food for thought.
In Short: No, neither with the original evolution theory nor with theistic version.
In length: First I strongly recommend you watch the documentary movie named "Expelled" that is about the war between two major theories: evolution vs intelligent design. The movie is somewhat highly criticized but you must see the movie before judging the two sides. Once you watch the movie you would probably find the answer to your question to be trivially no! If God or His creation is ignored then would Islam approve it anyway? Simply no!
According to Wikipedia there are Muslims who have approved theistic evolution, but ... let me grab your attention to the fact that life yet has no precise definition in science. For example see this Wikipedia entry when it says:
Since there is no unequivocal definition of life, the current understanding is descriptive.
The meaning of life - its significance, origin, purpose, and ultimate fate - is a central concept and question in philosophy and religion. Both philosophy and religion have offered interpretations as to how life relates to existence and consciousness, and on related issues such as life stance, purpose, conception of a god or gods, a soul or an afterlife. Different cultures throughout history have had widely varying approaches to these issues.
Even there is a debate if viruses can be considered as an alive species or not! ref. here for example. Also note that a virus may remain inactive for thousands of years until conditions for it becoming activated is fulfilled and then we may be able to call it alive but what about when it was inactive? Was it alive or dead?
Islam identifies soul to address the issue of life at least for humans and animals, and of course you would agree on that evolution cannot explain soul being formed through chemical reactions and etc. Soul is something that needs an influence from a non-material being to be formed if you accept it is not material itself, at least for humans and animals that we know have soul according to Quran, when Jesus the Christ --peace be upon him-- said:
... أَنِّي قَدْ جِئْتُكُم بِآيَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ ۖ أَنِّي أَخْلُقُ لَكُم مِّنَ الطِّينِ كَهَيْئَةِ الطَّيْرِ فَأَنفُخُ فِيهِ فَيَكُونُ طَيْرًا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ...
... I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah's leave ... [3:49]
Therefore, evolution theory (roughly saying: origin of species being from a common ancestor) itself cannot be approved in Islam and shouldn't be approved by any other heavenly religion as well, specifically when one can ask himself questions of the form that follows:
Our bodies, similar to any mutli-celled body of a living animal or plant, are comprised of many cells. Is our soul then a combination of many souls? What if a cell dies and a cell substitute it? What if the person dies while his body is still working?
Can you agree if the soul of an ape can evolve to soul of a human even if its body can evolve to a human body?
Has my soul evolved from my parent's souls or my soul is created totally independent? HINT. If my soul was gotten from my parent's then all the human being were living roughly with one soul, that of Adam --peace be upon him--, and that's funny from Islamic point of view.
And there are many other reasons why the evolution theory, as is expressed, is not acceptable by Islam. Aside from the movie "Expelled" cited above I also strongly recommend you read the fantastic book of Imam Sadiq --peace be upon him-- that contains four days of his teaching to one of his greatest companions, Mufazzal, so the book is now known as "Towhid (unitarianism) of Mufazzal" (see here for some extracts from the book, or here to download the first part of the book in English). Within this book you will read lots of Wisdom's behind several creations of Allah and you will find out how kind is Allah toward His creatures. Also within this book Imam talks about the Naturalists as follows:
فَكِّرْ يَا مُفَضَّلُ فِي أَعْضَاءِ الْبَدَنِ أَجْمَعَ وَ تَدْبِيرِ كُلٍّ مِنْهَا لِلْإِرْبِ فَالْيَدَانِ لِلْعِلَاجِ وَ الرِّجْلَانِ لِلسَّعْيِ وَ الْعَيْنَانِ لِلِاهْتِدَاءِ وَ الْفَمُ لِلِاغْتِذَاءِ وَ الْمَعِدَةُ لِلْهَضْمِ وَ الْكَبِدُ لِلتَّخْلِيصِ وَ الْمَنَافِذُ لِتَنْفِيذِ الْفُضُولِ وَ الْأَوْعِيَةُ لِحَمْلِهَا وَ الْفَرْجُ لِإِقَامَةِ النَّسْلِ وَ كَذَلِكَ جَمِيعُ الْأَعْضَاءِ إِذَا مَا تَأَمَّلْتَهَا وَ أَعْمَلْتَ فِكْرَكَ فِيهَا وَ نَظَرَكَ وَجَدْتَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ مِنْهَا قَدْ قُدِّرَ لِشَيْءٍ عَلَى صَوَابٍ وَ حِكْمَةٍ
قَالَ الْمُفَضَّلُ فَقُلْتُ يَا مَوْلَايَ إِنَّ قَوْماً يَزْعُمُونَ أَنَّ هَذَا مِنْ فِعْلِ الطَّبِيعَةِ فَقَالَ ع سَلْهُمْ عَنْ هَذِهِ الطَّبِيعَةِ أَ هِيَ شَيْءٌ لَهُ عِلْمٌ وَ قُدْرَةٌ عَلَى مِثْلِ هَذِهِ الْأَفْعَالِ أَمْ لَيْسَتْ كَذَلِكَ فَإِنْ أَوْجَبُوا لَهَا الْعِلْمَ وَ الْقُدْرَةَ فَمَا يَمْنَعُهُمْ مِنْ إِثْبَاتِ الْخَالِقِ فَإِنَّ هَذِهِ صَنْعَتُهُ وَ إِنْ زَعَمُوا أَنَّهَا تَفْعَلُ هَذِهِ الْأَفْعَالَ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَ لَا عَمْدٍ وَ كَانَ فِي أَفْعَالِهَا مَا قَدْ تَرَاهُ مِنَ الصَّوَابِ وَ الْحِكْمَةِ عُلِمَ أَنَّ هَذَا الْفِعْلَ لِلْخَالِقِ الْحَكِيمِ فَإِنَّ الَّذِي سَمَّوْهُ طَبِيعَةً هُوَ سُنَّتُهُ فِي خَلْقِهِ الْجَارِيَةُ عَلَى مَا أَجْرَاهَا عَلَيْهِ
O Mufadhdhal! Just consider the various organs of the body, the functions each one is required to perform and the perfection of design that underlies each. Both hands are meant to handle business, both feet are meant for loco motion, the eyes are to see with, the mouth is to take in food, the stomach is to digest it, the liver is for clearing, the orifices of the body are meant to eliminate waste products, and the private parts for reproduction and you shall find that every organ is exactly fitted to perform its specific functions and is constituted with perfect design.
Mufadhdhal said, Sir! Some people believe that all this is the outcome of the function of nature; each organ coming into existence as and when required by nature. Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) said, Just ask them whether the nature which functions in such a well-planned and well-ordered fashion – does it have knowledge and power to do such things? If they admit that it possesses knowledge and power, then what obstructs them from believing in the Creator? What we say is that all things are created by One Who is the Master of Knowledge and Power. They say that there is no Creator and yet admit that nature has done this with ingenuity and plan. As such nature is the cause of their creation, while they deny the Creator. If they say that nature produces such things without knowledge and power – not knowing what it is doing nor having the power to do it – in connection with the type of design and ingenuity that subsists in all phenomena, it is something inconceivable that something may be performed without corresponding power to do it and with out a knowledge thereof. As such it is obvious that the action emanates from an Omniscient Creator, Who has laid down as only a method among His creation through His omniscience, which these people call nature.
I should add here that according to Islam Allah is the Wise and nothing does He creates or does unless there is a (number of) Wisdom(s) behind it, although remain hidden from the eyes of an observer like the human being. Many of such Wisdoms are introduced and discussed in the cited book, so much that the reader would hardly be able to deny the existence of a preplan for anything that exists in the form that it exists. Also as the book is written around 13 centuries ago it is addressing the issue as was put forward by the naturalists of those times, that may differ slightly from their position at the present era. By the way, in the movie "expelled" you see how Richard Dawkins, a famous atheist evolutionary biologist, starts from an atheism perspective and reaches a point to confess the existence of a supernatural being that he guesses it can be an alien!
And last but by no means least, there are (Shia) Ahadeeth that seemingly demonstrate every species have their own parents, in contrary to having a same origin. This is my generalization based on a few Ahadeeth that I have seen in this regard, each counting some species having independent parents created directly by Allah as Adam and Eve --peace be upon them-- being created independently of the other species by Allah. Examples that I have seen explicitly in Ahadeeth are:
- a male and female cat, and a male and female pig, being created from the snuffing of, respectively, a lion and an elephant, while being in the Noah's ark --peace be upon him.
- a dog being created from the mouth water leakage of Iblis, the Jinni Satan, for Adam --peace be upon him-- to keep him safe.
- Giraffe (The giraffe was also known to the Greeks and Romans, who believed that it was an unnatural hybrid of a camel and a leopard and called it camelopardalis) having likeness to camels and leopards is stated in the same "Towhid (unitarianism) of Mufazzal" book not to be born out of different animals mating. And that no two different species will ever mate unless there are some likeness between them, like horses and donkeys mating and etc, so that evolutions formed by having parents of different families is not accepted in Islam as well. The likenesses of different species in this perspective are due to likenesses of the species' needs and etc, so that the Wise Creator has given all such species some likenesses in characteristics, shapes, colors, behaviors, and etc.
- Jinns are introduced to have their first father Jaan (جان) as humans have their first father Adam (آدم) and the name Jaan is also in Quran.
- there were several Adams, each having lots of descendants, before the last Adam --peace be upon him-- none of them were evolved from a previous species, although they might have had several likenesses with us or apes or else, and by this I am merely talking about their bodies and not souls.
And I will not say anything about angels as you can judge the issue about them easily and that will not need any further evidence that shows they do not go well with the evolution theory. However, note that the above evidences show how even the theistic version of evolution theory is not compatible with Islam, or at least with Shia Islam.
PS.1. And animals are introduced in Quran to have life similar to our life, speaking to each other (note David and Solomon --peace be upon them-- could speak with animals, as there are Ahadeeth about the prophet Muhammad --peace be upon him and his household-- talking with animals) and being resurrected after death like we will be resurrected:
وَمَا مِن دَابَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا طَائِرٍ يَطِيرُ بِجَنَاحَيْهِ إِلَّا أُمَمٌ أَمْثَالُكُم ۚ مَّا فَرَّطْنَا فِي الْكِتَابِ مِن شَيْءٍ ۚ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يُحْشَرُونَ
And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except [that they are] communities like you. We have not neglected in the Register a thing. Then unto their Lord they will be gathered. [6:38]
And this is far beyond what the present scientists --especially those entrapped in the evolution theory-- know about the animals or any other living species.
ps.2. The mind of the humans naturally extend each observation linearly to generalize a rule, this will include both interpolation and extrapolations. For example evolution theory for simple structured species is not rejected but almost clear and acceptable, but then some people in the lack of rigorous evidences generalize the concept linearly to every species and define an origin of life, then try to justify it even though with stories which are very much like science fictions. This is not totally wrong if by every new observation that is observed one can locally curve the original linear generalization to obtain a more realistic picture of the reality, but seemingly the evolution theory is far from being scientific at all, but more probably political or merely against the religion, at least as far as I have understood. Now mention this quotation from Wikipedia:
Theistic evolution is not a scientific theory, but a particular view about how the science of evolution relates to religious belief and interpretation.
that is, theistic evolution is only a modification of the original evolution theory for it to go well also with theology. So that if the original evolution theory loses its scientific position no extra attempt would be required for the theistic evolution also to be destroyed, that would be automatic.
According to Quran creation is a gradual process:
Look at some examples of using word creation in Quran:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِن كُنتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِّنَ الْبَعْثِ فَإِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ عَلَقَةٍ ثُمَّ مِن مُّضْغَةٍ مُّخَلَّقَةٍ وَغَيْرِ مُخَلَّقَةٍ لِّنُبَيِّنَ لَكُمْ وَنُقِرُّ فِي الْأَرْحَامِ مَا نَشَاءُ إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ثُمَّ نُخْرِجُكُمْ طِفْلًا ثُمَّ لِتَبْلُغُوا أَشُدَّكُمْ وَمِنكُم مَّن يُتَوَفَّى وَمِنكُم مَّن يُرَدُّ إِلَى أَرْذَلِ الْعُمُرِ لِكَيْلَا يَعْلَمَ مِن بَعْدِ عِلْمٍ شَيْئًا وَتَرَى الْأَرْضَ هَامِدَةً فَإِذَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْهَا الْمَاءَ اهْتَزَّتْ وَرَبَتْ وَأَنبَتَتْ مِن كُلِّ زَوْجٍ بَهِيجٍ
O mankind! if ye have a doubt about the Resurrection, (consider) that We created you out of dust, then out of sperm, then out of a leech-like clot, then out of a morsel of flesh, partly formed and partly unformed, in order that We may manifest (our power) to you; and We cause whom We will to rest in the wombs for an appointed term, then do We bring you out as babes, then (foster you) that ye may reach your age of full strength; and some of you are called to die, and some are sent back to the feeblest old age, so that they know nothing after having known (much), and (further), thou seest the earth barren and lifeless, but when We pour down rain on it, it is stirred (to life), it swells, and it puts forth every kind of beautiful growth (in pairs). http://tanzil.net/#22:5
خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَأَنزَلَ لَكُم مِّنَ الْأَنْعَامِ ثَمَانِيَةَ أَزْوَاجٍ يَخْلُقُكُمْ فِي بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ خَلْقًا مِّن بَعْدِ خَلْقٍ فِي ظُلُمَاتٍ ثَلَاثٍ ذَلِكُمُ اللَّـهُ رَبُّكُمْ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ لَا إِلَـهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَأَنَّى تُصْرَفُونَ
He created you (all) from a single person: then created, of like nature, his mate; and he sent down for you eight head of cattle in pairs: He creates you, in the wombs of your mothers, in stages, one after another, in three veils of darkness. such is Allah, your Lord and Cherisher: to Him belongs (all) dominion. There is no god but He: then how are ye turned away (from your true Centre)? http://tanzil.net/#39:6
So it is compatible with Quran to say in view of Quran evolution is creation in fact.
Also in the Theistic evolutionn view evolution is a tool God used for creation.
But one verse of Quran saying Adam was created from mud is clearly in conflict Quran. but according to some hadith from Imam Sadiq a.s. and Imam Ali a.s. some humans existed before Adam and some of them extincted and only two group of them survived that are called Yajooj and Majooj in Quran. Also creation of Adam from mud does not mean no human existed before Adam. Adam s.a. and Jesus s.a. can be created at once out of evolution process while other humans were in evolution process.
Also some scholars say the verse
وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً قَالُوا أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاءَ وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth." They said: "Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?" He said: "I know what ye know not." http://tanzil.net/#2:30
Proves that some humans existed at earth before creation of Adam unless angels did not ask such question.
According to my knowledge, main point incompatible between Islam and evolution is-
Origin of human being caused by evolution from other species.
This is the second link I got from googling "Islam and evolution"-
Islam and Evolution
Quoting the conclusion from the article-
Summary of Islamic Conclusions
Allah alone is Master of Existence. He alone causes all that is to be and not to be. Causes are without effect in themselves, but rather both cause and effect are created by Him. The causes and the effects of all processes, including those through which plant and animal species are individuated, are His work alone. To ascribe efficacy to anything but His action, whether believing that causes (a) bring about effects in and of themselves; or (b) bring about effects in and of themselves through a capacity Allah has placed in them, is to ascribe associates to Allah (shirk). Such beliefs seem to be entailed in the literal understanding of "natural selection" and "random mutation," and other evolutionary concepts, unless we understand these processes as figurative causes, while realizing that Allah alone is the agent. This is apart from the consideration of whether they are true or not.
As for claim that man has evolved from a non-human species, this is unbelief (kufr) no matter if we ascribe the process to Allah or to "nature," because it negates the truth of Adam's special creation that Allah has revealed in the Qur'an. Man is of special origin, attested to not only by revelation, but also by the divine secret within him, the capacity for ma'rifa or knowledge of the Divine that he alone of all things possesses. By his God-given nature, man stands before a door opening onto infinitude that no other creature in the universe can aspire to. Man is something else.
Hope it will help to understand the islamic way of thinking from a philosophical point of view about evolution and other things. The author is a graduate in philosophy.
I have a background in Biochemistry so understand the evolution theory in detail. Islam totally refutes the idea of evolution, as it just does not seem logical. I will explain. Allah has shown that he can create living creatures out of clay or rock instantly, and this was witnessed by people, for example:
And will make him a messenger unto the Children of Israel, (saying): Lo! I come unto you with a sign from your Lord. Lo! I fashion for you out of clay the likeness of a bird, and I breathe into it and it is a bird, by Allah's leave. I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I raise the dead, by Allah's leave. And I announce unto you what ye eat and what ye store up in your houses. Lo! herein verily is a portent for you, if ye are to be believers. (3:49)
or (when prophet Salih brought a camel out of a rock)
And to (the tribe of) Thamud (We sent) their brother Salih. He said: O my people! Serve Allah. Ye have no other God save Him. A wonder from your Lord hath come unto you. Lo! this is the camel of Allah, a token unto you; so let her feed in Allah's earth, and touch her not with hurt lest painful torment seize you. (7:73)
In these cases all the stages of evolution were by-passed. There was no natural selection. Now think about it logically, if Allah has the power to create animals instantly, would he then create life on earth through millions and billions of years of evolutions, from self replicating molecules to bacteria to Eukaryotes to .... plants, to animals to humans. That would make no sense.
I could tell you which I consider to be true evolution or Islam, but this is not what the Questioner is asking.
Evolution of monkeys to human is a hypothesis, meaning maybe, they're not sure. Until this day, there is no evidence that this is true. Therefore, because the Quran has scientific facts, evolution is not the case and Allah created Adam pbuh and that's how everything started. Hope that answers the question.