The Qur’anic Concept of Evolution
By Dr Bashir Ahmad
Wildwood, MO

In the Pakistan Link (December 30, 2005) Dr Nayyer Ali, MD, in his column has very accurately written that '… Islam does not have a story that has literal elements of Genesis. Which makes it doubly disturbing to see so much creationist literature in Mosque bookstores around the country. It is in fact an odd example of Christian fundamentalist thinking entering Muslim thoughts.'
It is sad and disturbing that Muslim ulama, unschooled in science, have not grasped the very accurate Qur’anic concept of the origin of life on this planet earth billions of years ago and its gradual development into human beings spreading over a span of billions of years.
The Quran speaks of creation only in step by step progressive stages and categorically rejects the concept of spontaneous generation as is mentioned in Genesis.
"and the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into its nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living soul". Genesis 2/7
The Quranic concept of creation is a progression of developmental stages. "What is the matter with you that you expect not wisdom and staidness from Allah? While he has created you in different forms and ever varying stages?" Qur’an 71/14-15.
And also "That you shall assuredly pass from one stage to another". Qur’an 84/20
It must be emphasized that when the Qur’an speaks of the earlier form of creation it refers to them as the creation of man, while whatever was created at that time had no semblance to him.
The Quran vehemently rejects the haphazard evolution without a preset design, the concept held by the biologists about evolution. The Qur’an also rejects the Darwinian theory of evolution based on natural selection, which virtually plays the role of a selector and a creator.
Darwin never presented the idea that natural selection could also create. He knew that selections and creation are two separate functions.
One may ask the proponents of Darwinism to demonstrate how natural selection could have played any role in the creation of genes.
The Holy Qur’an beautifully solves this riddle.
"And thy Lord creates whatever He pleases and selects. It is not for them to select. Glorified be Allah, and far is He above all that they associate." Quran 28/69
One of God's attributes which is extensively used in the Qur’an is the word Rabb, invariably means someone who continues to evolve something from a lower stage to a higher stage. The earliest creation of bacteria on the planet earth was about four billion years ago, when there was no oxygen or ozone in the atmosphere except sulphur compounds. The earth was hot, bombarded with radiation. The Qur’an describes these very primitive organisms as jinn.
"And the jinn we created before that (the creation of man) from the blast of fire (naris-samum) Qur’an 15/28.Samum means blazing fire or a blast that has no smoke.
These minute organisms drew their energy for their existence directly from hot blazes of lightening -- Samum -- cosmic radiation and sulfur compounds. Scientific America, June 1981, has claimed that archae bacterial could be rightly considered as the earliest form of organisms.
These bacteria multiplied during their uninterrupted proliferation lasting over billion years. Their decay and fermentation turned the oceans into primordial soup.

1. "With water did we create every living thing". Qur’an 21/31
2. "He created you from clay" (humid or moist earth). Qur’an 6/3
3." And surely, we created man from dry ringing clay made from stagnant blackish mud." Qur’an 15/27
4. " He created man from dry ringing clay like pieces of pottery". Qur’an 55/15
The over all picture of evolution presented in the Qur’an entails an advancing step by step evolution from water, from clay and also from fermented blackish mud which subsequently turned into dry ringing clay. The Quran most spectacularly describes the evolution of homosapiens from the Prebiotic stage in a seqentional manner in the following verses.
"We brought man into being from dry ringing clay which was wrought from black mud, and jinn. We had brought into being before from the fire of a glowing blast. Call to mind when thy Lord said to the angels: I am about to bring into being a man from dry ringing clay wrought from black mud; so when I have perfected him and have enlightened his mind with My revelation, do ye all fall down in prostration with him". Qur’an 15/27-28-29-30.
John Bernal in 1951, writing in his book The Physical basis of life,
confirmed the Qur’anic concept of evolution.
The absorption of clays, mud and inorganic crystals are powerful means to concentrate and polymerize organic molecules ---"
The amino acids, the bricks of life are formed from aldehyde by a mechanism known as Strecker synthesis. It is a two-step sequence. The first step is the reaction of aldehyde with a mixture of amino acid and HCN to yield aminonit-rile. The second step if the hydrolysis of the aminonit-rile resulting in the amino acid.
A dry stage is envisioned, whereby the elementary unstable organic compounds in the primordial soup would develop into more advanced irreversible organic compound. If the primordial soup stays in a wet state, the advance organic compound would revert back to the elementary state
through hydrolysis.
Moreover the formation of protein and nucleic acids from the elementary amino-acids requires the elimination of a molecule of water from every couple of amino acid molecules and nucleotides. This is called Polymerisations.
The Quran had very accurately and very beautifully described this process:
" He created man from dry ringing clay like pieces of pottery". Qur’an 55/15

The Qur’an very clearly depicts the appearance of new form of human life here on earth, replacing humans, who will be distinctly different from them.
" See dost thou not perceive that Allah has created the heavens and the earth in accordance with the requirements of truth and wisdom? If He pleases, He can bring to naught and replace you with a new creation; and this is not difficult for Allah." Qur’an 14/20-21.
"The Lord is self sufficient, full of mercy. He can do away with you if He pleases and cause to succeed you who so He pleases even as He raised you from the off-spring of another people." Qur’an 6/134
In the above verse the Qur’an does not speak of replacing man with Others like him. It clearly and definitely mentions the bringing into being a new creation, Khalq, and speaks of the whole mankind be changed into a different entity.
The Qur’an also speaks of a different form here on earth which will supersede humans.
" We created them and strengthened their make; and when we will so decide, We will change their form to something completely different" Qur’an 76/29
"But nay! I swear by the Lord of the Easts and of the Wests that we have the power to substitute in their place others better than they, and We cannot be frustrated in our plans." Quran 70/41-42
The substitute creation is not mentioned as another nation qaum nor as another generation of humans. One wonders whether the substitute creation shall be endowed with additional senses or other attributes. Only God Almighty know.
These verses totally reject the Darwinian theory based on blind evolution and accidental events. The continuous evolution mentioned in the Holy Qur’an deserves the greatest admiration.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.