Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some FAQs pertaining to Islam, Evolution, science, rationalism, and religion in general.
This page is in the process of being expanded into a more comprehensive resource.
In short, no. More precisely, it is not compatible with plain readings of the Quran and hadith traditions. For a detailed discussion of why, see here.
Yes, but this site does not go into depth on the theological question. Rather, the concern is with understanding and providing compelling critiques of evolution and other modernistic philosophies.
In addition to the independent arguments made here, Muslims should be wary of following in the footsteps of certain other theists, whose response to evolution by and large involved reinterpreting the relevant segments of their religious scriptures figuratively. The inevitable result of such knee jerk, unprincipled reinterpretation of the text whenever science purportedly discovers something contrary to revelation has been wide scale disenchantment with those holy texts. Due to the central place of scripture in Islam, Muslim disenchantment with the Quran would be far more devastating to the Muslim ethos than Christian disillusionment with the Bible, for example, has been for Christianity.
Additionally, Muslims presently lack robust exegetical principles by which they can interpret the religious source texts in lieu of modern scientific consensus. Unfortunately, it is common nowadays for Muslim commentators to make hamfisted, ad hoc revisionist interpretations of revelation purely on the simplistic basis that "science says X." Ironically, most Muslims vociferously promoting Darwinism and generally calling for Muslim scientific literacy know very little actual science, let alone the science of tafsir.
Many modern Muslims believe that "science and Islam can never contradict." In other words, nothing in revelation (i.e., the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (s)) could ever contravene what we know of the world through science. At first blush, this seems logical. We can expect that man-made texts, especially those from antiquity, will contradict natural facts, since people of the past were ignorant of the scientific method. But the source of revelation, in contrast, is the All-Knowing God Himself who also created the universe. Therefore, no contradiction is possible.
The flaw in this logic is that it ignores the fallible nature, not of religious texts, but of... science. Scientific consensus is an ever-evolving discourse. What scientists hold as fact one day may be overturned the next. As an example, physicists in the early twentieth century believed that the universe was infinite in size and age. Only in the 1930s did scientists begin to seriously consider a Big Bang theory of the development of the cosmos. Of course, the idea of an eternal universe contradicts the theologies of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, which all posit a finite point of Creation. Had Muslims in the early 1900s, for example, decided to reinterpret their theology in order to accommodate the eternal steady-state model of the universe that was in vogue at the time, they would have had to backtrack a mere three or four decades later.
In short, science is not always correct in its representation of the universe. In fact, historically, it is often wrong. Furthermore, scientists themselves acknowledge the provisional nature of science in that their research is perpetually a "work in progress" and subject to change. Therefore, Islam's incompatibility with some contemporary scientific contentions, such as evolution, is not problematic in the least. In fact, from the Muslim perspective, it should be entirely expected. The Quran provides us with timeless truths describing, in many verses, the magnificence of creation, truths relayed by the Creator Himself with His perfect knowledge. It is expected that imperfect human knowledge, as represented by scientific discourse, will fail to match the Divine Address.
Addressing this question is the central purpose of this website. A good place to begin reading critiques is here.
No. One can critique "modernism" and the broader philosophy of "progressivism" without being a postmodernist.
The problem with postmodernism as a broader dialectic is that it seeks to radically critique all epistemological channels in an attempt to undermine specific knowledge claims about human nature, ethical principles, the nature of science, etc. Muslims rightfully ought to oppose postmodernism because, as believers, we firmly maintain the unity of Truth with a capital "T", and our religious beliefs depend on knowing with certainty, for example, that God exists, that the afterlife exists, that right and wrong exist and are normatively compelling, etc. Postmodernism is fundamentally incompatible with such commitments.
Thankfully, postmodernism is not the only game in town. One can fruitfully critique modernism and its sister philosophies (liberalism, naturalism, progressivism, etc.) by drawing on resources and argumentative strategies outside of banal postmodernist "hand-waving."