Question: Is there any truth to the theory of evolution by Charles Darwin? It is very confusing because there is so much evidence in its support from the genetics all the way up to the archaeological evidences such as the fossils of creatures of one cell. I ask you to please resolve this confusing matter.
Answer: In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Intensely Merciful.
And praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon Muhammad and his progeny, the Imams and the Mahdis.
I ask Allah to support all of you and straighten your footsteps.
The matter of evolution, in general, cannot be rejected except by a person ignorant of what it means, for as long as we have differentiation and selection and heredity, then certainly there must be evolution; and this is an issue which is almost self-evident, and almost does not need fossils or comparative anatomy to prove it.
And the genetic differentiation among individuals of one species was and is still existent. And the nature which surrounds the individuals and suits some individuals of one species, those who carry the favored genes, more than it suits other individuals [of the same species] is usually existent. And heredity definitely exists whenever there is reproduction. And if these three, which the earth was never free of ever since life began, are found then there is evolution.
And what some men of religion do, if not due to ignorance regarding the meaning and details of evolution, then mere stubbornness because they believe evolution conflicts with the religious text. And the truth is that they do not even know the meaning of creation and progression, yet you find them responding falsely or denying with utter shamelessness.
For instance, some of them think that evolution means progression from one species to another, whereas current biologists do not say, not even Darwin, that evolution occurs directly from one species to an entirely different species.
Thus there is no one who says that a fish evolved directly into an amphibian. Moreover, even at the level of fish that walk on the mud with their fins; nobody says that the fish directly transfer from an aquatic fish to an amphibious fish (mudskipper).
And some of them say there is a problem with evolution because habits do not transfer, and he does not know the basics of evolution, and that the intended differentiation is a genetic differentiation and not a differentiation of habits or behavior. So for instance, walking on two feet ,which distinguishes human beings, did not happen as a result of habit, as habit alone has no value because it is not inherited. Rather, what happens is a process of natural selection for the individuals holding the favored genes.
So in general, denying evolution today has become like denying the rotation of the earth previously.
And the rational evidences that the Quran mentioned do not conflict with the theory of evolution. So an evidence that something cannot be produced from nothing is the verse, (Or were they created from nothing, or were they the creators?) [Surat At-Tur (Mount Sinai 52:35]. And this evidence does not conflict with the theory of evolution. And no one can imagine its conflict with it except an ignorant one. Yes, he can fancy that it conflicts with the Big Bang theory, considering that along with the Quantum theory and the M-theory it can explain the appearance of the universe from nothing. And the Big Bang theory is, in general, a cosmic theory larger than the limits of this earth.
And the other evidence is that the character of the effect indicates the character of the one effecting. (And from this is the evidence of the laws, and the evidence of the organization, and the evidence of the aim, and the evidence of the wisdom…) And regarding this evidence, perhaps a misperception occurs that this evidence conflicts with the theory of evolution, but this evidence is also not in conflict with it because the existence of the law of genes is enough to prove it, meaning that we need only to prove that the genetic map follows a law and this is an established issue.
As for the religious Quranic text and the narrations, they do not conflict with evolution; rather, they support it very clearly. And these are examples from the texts: (While He has created you in stages? Do you not consider how Allah has created seven skies in layers. And made the moon therein a light and made the sun a burning lamp? And Allah has caused you to grow as a growth from the earth.) [Surat Nuh (Noah) 71:14-17].
And the apparent [meaning] of the text is clear, “He has created you in stages.”
And an example of these stages is the seven skies. And the seven skies are gradual in evolution and complexity.
Then He clarified the matter more clearly, (And Allah has caused you to grow as a growth from the earth), meaning that you are the result of a seed that Allah has planted in the earth, or let us call that seed the genetic map of Allah which was planted in the earth. And the aim was to eventually reach a body qualified to receive the humane soul created from the mud, the mud lifted to the first sky, and qualified to have the spirit breathed into it.
And Imam Muhammad bin Ali Al-Baqir pbuh said, “Allah (m) created in the earth, since He created it, seven peoples. They are not from the sons of Adam. Allah created them from the surface of the earth and He made them live in it one after the other, each with his own people. Allah (m) then created the father of this mankind and created his descendants from him.” [Al-Khisal by Al-Sadooq page 359]
Anyway, Allah make you successful. If Allah wills I will write a book in response to your question and I will clarify in it the theory of creation and the theory of progression and the theory of the Big Bang, and what is true from them and what is not true. And I will clarify in it the misperception of atheism and the proofs of monotheism from the same theories, which some ignorant ones who do not know the truth assumed that they conflict with the religion and conflict with the existence of a god. And if Allah wills, it will be published soon. And I hope that you do not forget me in your dua.
And peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah and His blessings.
Jamadi AlThani 1433 A.H