Is it impossible for man to have been created through evolution? Is it contrary to Islam? How is the creation of man narrated in the Quran?
Submitted by on Thu, 03/08/2017 - 14:02
Dear Brother / Sister,
The Quran mentions various stages of the creation of man. It is possible to divide it into four in general:
1- Creation without a woman and man like Hz. Adam
2- Creation of today’s man from a man and woman.
3- Creation from a man without a woman like Hz. Hawwa (Eve).
4- Creation from a woman without a man like Hz. Isa (Jesus).
1- The creation of Hz. Adam, the first man
Allah Almighty states in various verses of the Quran that He created Adam, the first man, from soil (dust). Some of those verses are as follows:
We created man from sounding clay, from mud molded into shape .
Man We did create from a quintessence (of clay) .
He (Allah) created him (Adam) from dust, then said to him: "Be". And he was .
We understand from the chapter of Sad that Satan witnessed that Hz. Adam was created from clay:
I am better than he: thou createdst me from fire, and him thou createdst from clay .
We understand from those verses that the creation of Hz. Adam started with soil and that it was transformed into mud. This mud was filtered and the “essence of mud” occurred; Hz Adam, the first man, was created out of it.
There is gradualism in this creation of the first man, as it is the case in the creation of today’s man. That is, today a person is slowly formed in the womb in about nine months; similarly, it is possible to understand that the is transformed into mud from soil, from soil into slime and into something hard; after that this thing slowly transforms into a human.
2- The creation of today’s man from a man and woman
In a verse, the creation of today’s man beginning from the first man is mentioned and the following is stated:
And Allah did create you from dust; then from a sperm-drop; then He made you in pairs .
These developments in the womb are indicated as follows:
Then We placed him as (a drop of) sperm in a place of rest, firmly fixed; Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a (fetus) lump; then we made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then we developed out of it another creature .
As a matter of fact, Allah Almighty states in a verse that He created man in stages as follows:
It is He that has created you in diverse stages .
The stages of the creation of both the first man and those who reproduced from him are mentioned in those verses. The laws of growth, development and differentiation are seen in man like in plants and animals until spirit comes to the fetus, which is the first form of man. The fetus grows and develops according to those laws. A new stage starts when spirit comes to the fetus.
Since the world is a place of testing, Allah Almighty creates the creatures in the world slowly and in time due to various reasons.
It is stated that Allah Almighty wanted the angels to prostrate before Adam on behalf of Him when He breathed spirit into Adam and that Satan, who was at the same rank as angels, did not obey this order as follows:
When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him .
It is We Who created you and gave you shape; then We bade the angels bow down to Adam .
(Iblis) said: "I am not one to prostrate myself to man, whom Thou didst create from sounding clay, from mud molded into shape .
All of the stages of creation are indicated in the following verse:
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 .
A similar creation is indicated in the following hadith:
The creation of each one of you is composed in the mother‘s womb in forty days as nutfa; in that (creation), it turns into such a clot, then in that turns into such a mudgha. Then, an angel is sent and spirit is breathed into him .
In the hadith, the stages of zygote, morula and blastula are expressed as the stage of “compositions” (nutfa). The ovum that is fertilized in the fallopian tube starts to go down to the womb. It is divided even when it is going down. The ovum that enters the womb embeds into mucosa and muscles by sticking when the placenta forms. In other words, it is sown like a seed. This stage is expressed with the word “alaqa” in verses and hadiths.
When the embryo starts to be seen by the naked eye, it is in the form of a small piece of flesh (mudgha); it develops and takes the shape of a human being. It is not yet possible to determine scientifically in which stage of the development of human body the feelings of man are given.
3- The Creation of Hz. Hawwa (Eve)
Allah Almighty states the following about the creation of Hz. Hawwa in the Quran:
O mankind! Reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, His mate .
It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature .
He created you (all) from a single person: then created, of like nature, his mate .
According to those verses, Hz. Hawwa was created after Hz. Adam and out of the same thing as him. Acting upon the verse “It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature", some scholars claim that Hz. Hawwa was created from an organ of Hz. Adam.
The Prophet (pbuh) states the following about the creation of women in a hadith:
O believers! Advise good things to one another about women. For, a woman is created from a rib, and the most curved portion of the rib is its upper portion. And if you attempt to straighten her, you will break her, and breaking her is divorcing her.And if you leave her alone you will benefit by her, and crookedness will remain in her.Therefore, advise good things to one another about women .
It can be understood that Hz. Hawwa was created from a rib; it can also be interpreted that it is a metaphor. That is, a woman has been created in a delicate way like a rib. If you try to straighten her by force, you will break her. If you want to lead a happy life, you will love her with her crookedness.
According to some interpretations,after Iblis disobeyed Allah and was expelled from Paradise, Hz. Adam was settled in Paradise. He walked around there for a while without a spouse with whom he could be consoled. Once, he fell asleep; when he woke up, he saw a woman whom Allah created from his rib. He asked, "What are you?" The woman answered, "I am a woman." He asked the woman why she was created. The woman said, "So that you would be consoled with me." Meanwhile, the angels saw them and asked Adam who the woman was. Adam said he was "Hawwa" and that she was given this name because she was created from a living thing .
In the Quran, the reason for the creation of Hz. Hawwa is stated as follows: “…made his mate of like nature, in order that he (Adam) might dwell with her (in love)" .
Hz. Hawwa might have been created from Hz. Adam’s rib or another part of his body. This has no aspect that can be found strange scientifically. The creation of every man from a sperm and egg is no easier than the creation of Hz. Hawwa out of a rib. Furthermore, it is seen that a lamb is created from a body cell of a sheep through cloning; therefore, it is not contrary to science to accept that Hz. Hawwa was created from Hz. Adam’s rib or another part of his body.
4- The Creation from a woman without a man like Hz. Isa (Jesus).
In the Quran, the creation of Hz. Isa is likened to the creation of Hz. Adam and the following is stated:
The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be". And he was .
Today, there are some creatures that are created without a father like Hz. Isa. Bees are an example of it. Female bees are born from fertilized eggs and male bees from unfertilized eggs.
What is noteworthy here is that that creation of Hz. Adam, Hz. Isa and Hz. Hawwa is not based on the current laws of reproduction. In other words, Allah Almighty shows that He creates as He wishes, that He can change His laws as He wishes and that He can create beings independently and unconditionally.
The existing rules related to things do not change except in extraordinary circumstances. However, the universe is not like a machine or clock that runs automatically and whose master does not interfere. The view of creation regards every formation and every move in the world of beings to be under the control and management of Allah any moment. Beings can be created all of a sudden as well as gradually.
There is gradualism in the creation of man too. Man comes out to the world of beings with a cell; and nine months later, he steps on the earth as a baby. This gradual evolution continues until a certain period. It is understood that the first man underwent the stages of soil, clay and sulala.
Is it not possible for Allah to have created man from other beings through evolution?
Allah cannot have evolved man from another living being because Allah Almighty states that He created man in the best way as follows:
By the Fig and the Olive, And the Mount of Sinai, And this City of security,- We have indeed created man in the best of molds .
It is understood from those verses that Allah Almighty created man in a nice nature and shape in terms of form, figure and posture. He created eyes suitable for the face, teeth suitable for the mouth and a head suitable for the body; thus, He created every organ with a certain size and shape, and in the place where it needs to be and as many of them as necessary.
He equipped man with feelings like intellect, imagination, memory, curiosity, anxiety, fear, affection and compassion. He granted man eyes that could see all kinds of subtleties and beauties, ears that could hear all sounds, a tongue that could taste all flavors, a mind that could understand all meanings, and an imagination that could imagine anything.
Man was made the vicegerent of the earth and the addressee of Allah with this material structure and by being made superior to animals in terms of his spiritual aspect. Man is the mirror to the names of Allah in the widest and most general sense. He is superior to angels with this aspect. For example, man becomes a mirror to Allah's name ash-Shafi (the Healer) and understands it when he becomes ill; he also becomes a mirror to Allah's name ar-Razzaq (the Sustainer) when he is hungry; angels cannot be mirrors to those names; thus man overtakes angels with this aspect.
The following verses summarize the things that happen to man beginning from the creation of the first man to his resurrection in the hereafter. It is clearly stated that man was created as a human being and that he was not evolved from any creatures in these verses:
“Man We did create from a quintessence (of clay); Then We placed him as (a drop of) sperm in a place of rest, firmly fixed; Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a (foetus) lump; then we made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then we developed out of it another creature. So blessed be Allah, the best to create!
After that, at length ye will die Again, on the Day of Judgment, will ye be raised up .
In the verses above, Allah Almighty states clearly that He created Hz. Adam, the first man, and from him his wife and the people today as human beings and in the best form. Therefore, it is contrary to those verses to think that man evolved from other creatures; and a Muslim cannot think like that.
Is it mentioned in the Quran that Hz. Adam was created in Paradise and that he was sent down to the earth later?
Allah Almighty states in the Quran that Hz. Adam and Hz. Hawwa were sent down to the earth because they ate from the fruits of the tree that were forbidden for them in Paradise as follows:
(Allah said): "O Adam! Dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden, and enjoy (its good things) as ye wish: but approach not this tree, or ye run into harm and transgression."
Then began Satan to whisper suggestions to them, bringing openly before their minds all their shame that was hidden from them (before): he said: "Your Lord only forbade you this tree, lest ye should become angels or such beings as live for ever."
And he swore to them both, that he was their sincere adviser.
So by deceit he brought about their fall: when they tasted of the tree, their shame became manifest to them, and they began to sew together the leaves of the garden over their bodies. And their Lord called unto them: "Did I not forbid you that tree, and tell you that Satan was an avowed enemy unto you?"
They (Adam and his wife) said: "Our Lord! We have wronged our own souls: If thou forgive us not and bestow not upon us Thy Mercy, we shall certainly be lost."
(Allah) said: "Get ye down. With enmity between yourselves. On earth will be your dwelling-place and your means of livelihood,- for a time."
(Allah) He said: "Therein shall ye live, and therein shall ye die; but from it shall ye be taken out (at last)." .
It means Hz. Adam and his wife were sent to the world from Paradise. Human beings lead a short life in the world and die. It is stated in the Quran in detail that the people who die will be resurrected and reckoned, that those who obey Allah’s orders and prohibitions will be rewarded by being sent to Paradise and that those who disobey will be punished by being sent to Hell.
In conclusion, the following can be stated:
1- It is possible to give a precise figure about how long it took the first man to be created. However, it can be said that the creation of Hz. Adam, the first man, also took place in a few stages, like the creation of man today.
Divine force, power, knowledge and will are essential in creation. However, everything was created based on a cause and effect relationship; thus, the laws of cause and nature were used as a screen for the deeds of Allah. From this point of view, different factors and laws seem to do things.
2- Creation is uninterrupted and continues all the time; some beings are created in an instant while others are made perfect through stages.
3- Allah declares that He created man in the best way. Therefore, the claim that human beings have emerged through the evolution of creatures with lower structures is baseless.
4- Hz. Adam and Hz. Hawwa were sent from paradise to the earth.
5- After death, people will be resurrected and will be accounted for an everlasting life; they will be rewarded or punished.
 al-Hijr, 26.
 al-Mu’minun, 12.
 Aal-i Imran, 59.
 Sad, 76.
 Fatir, 11.
 al-Mu’minun, 13-14.
 Nuh, 14.
 Sad, 72.
 al-A’raf, 11.
 al-Hijr, 33.
 al-Hajj, 5.
 Sofuoğlu, M. Sahih-i Müslim ve tercümesi, 8, 114, Sönmez Neşriyat A.Ş., İstanbul, 1978.
 an-Nisa, 1.
 al-A’raf, 189.
 az-Zumar, 6.
 Muslim, Rada, 60; Bukhari, Anbiya, 1, Nikah, 80; Ibn Majah, Taharah, 77; Darimi, Nikah, 35; Ahmad b. Hanbal, 5/8.
 Ibn Kathir, Mukhtasar Tafsir, Ikhtisar and Tahqiq M. Ali as-Sabuni, 7th impression, Beirut 1402/1981, I, 112vd.
 al-A'raf, 189; Elmalılı, Hamdi Yazır. Kur’an Tefsiri. IV. 180-181.
 Aal-i Imran, 59.
 at-Tin, 1-4.
 al-Mu’minun, 12-16.
 al-A’raf, 19-25.
Adem Tatlı (Prof.Dr.)
Questions on Islam