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Islam & Evolution?

With the increasingly cold weather we are experiencing in Chicago and the usual waves of the various flus, one cannot help but wonder about viruses, bacteria, and other organisms that are invisible to the naked eye, but that can plague and benefit each of our individual lives. Accepting the presence of vast worlds of different organisms and natural (Divinely Guided) evolution, the second verse of Chapter 1 of the Holy Qur'an reads:

bacteria...a world of its own

All praise belongs to God, Lord of all the worlds.

Upon first glance at this verse, nothing seems striking. However, upon closer inspection we see that "worlds" is plural. What is God suggesting in this verse? Some possible explanations:

  1. Only God knows and controls everything and process, as is evidenced by the seemingly-endless array of scientific discoveries. Human knowledge really does not come close to understanding all that is out there.
  2. God is in charge of both the physical and spiritual worlds. Thus, when He has sent His message through any messenger, that message is for everyone, not just one group.
  3. Everything is subject to God's control. Nothing in any world or any level of existence exists free of any Divine control.
  4. God's control is not limited to this physical world. Because "worlds" is used, this indicates that there is an endless process of stages in existence and God controls all of them. Thus, spiritual progress has no limits, but is ever-continuing.
  5. The law of evolution in the world is entirely likely and it is NOT opposed to God's control. Unlike some faith traditions which believe that evolution and creationism cannot coexist, Islam does not take this approach, but instead promotes Divinely Guided evolution in the sense that God created the system of evolution, and like everything else, oversees it.

In light of this final fifth point, it is written:

The phrase further points to a law of evolution in the world, that things undergo development and that this development is progressive and is brought about in stages.... The verse also points out that the principle of evolution is not inconsistent with belief in God. On the contrary, the progressive development of things makes creation all the more marvelous and God all the more deserving of praise. (The Holy Quran with English Translation Volume I by Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad, p10)

This naturally leads to the conclusion that long before powerful microscopes and scientific discovery had evolved into its present state, God told the world in the Holy Qur'an that there were worlds that were beyond the understanding of man, but that He nonetheless controlled. Truly marvelous.

Up Next! God's "Displeasure" in Al-Fatiha.

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