Monday, July 30, 2012

Islam and Human evolution: A Creative Essay

The analysis here is based on the book The origin of Man by Dr.Maurice Bucaille. The material discussed is in effect a summary of page 160 to 219 of his book with quotations taken from several pages of the text,but excluding the Qur'anic verses he quotes.Dr.Bucaille has quoted many verses from the Qur'an in support of his view that their meanings are explained by the data of contemporary knowledge. One must understand that any comparisn of the facts stated in the Qur'an must be based on facts of scientific data that are well established .This excludes theories that are likely to change.Dr.Bucaille warns that discrepancy  exists between the translations of the verses quoted by him  and the translations of texts currently in use.This is particularly true in statements on man and science because of the tradition of translating verses based on the interpretations suggested by the early commentators ,whose view of reality could not possiblely be in keeping with today's discoveries.

We begin with the Qur'an's description of the origins of life. In general, it devotes a great deal of space to the morphological transformations undergone by man, repeatedly emphasising the fact that God fashioned him as he willed.We likewise discover statements on human reproduction  that are expressed in precise terms that lend themselves to comparison with secular knowledge we possess today on the subject.In fact,some of the verses go beyond embryonic growth to include the transformations of human morphology which took place over the ages,and this has formally been proven by palaeontology.

There is obiously a very wide gap ,however, between a concept of Man's decent from the apes and the idea of transformations of the human form in the course of time. The confusion between the two reaches a height when they are merged together- with the very flimsy arguments -under the banner of Evolution.This unfortunate confusion has caused certain people to wrongly imagine that since the word is used in reference to man ,it must mean that  ipso facto,man's origin may be traced to the apes.

One must clearly understand that in the verses quoted by Dr.Bucaille, there is not the slighest himt of a coceot of the materialistic origin of man.In actual fact, the Qur'anic statements dealing with the subject have a bearing on the question of the transformations that have taken place in human morphology over the ages.The latter are indeed governed by the genetic code formed by the union of chromosames received from the paternal and maternal reproductive cells.The genetic inheritance thus brought together determines,first in the embryo, and then in the foetus the possible appearance of morphological changes as compared with the father and mother. These modifications become definitive after the child is born and during its growth in childhood.It is therefore the combined total changes that take place over successive generations which ultimately determine the morphological transformations that palaeontologists have noted in various human groups from past ages.

There is absolutely no scientific proof to suggest that man was born of the evolved forms of present -day apes.On the contrary ,everything suggests against this outmoded theory. What science has shown is that ,at a csrtain point in time, human species appeared which gradually transformed itself into today's man.From a scientific point of view ,the crux of the problem is that we do not know what man evolved from.Was it from an autonomous lineage or from one that could be connected with another animal lineage? Whatever the answer, recent studies in genetic indicate that the process could not have taken place by any other method than the addition of new information governing the appearance of structures and functions specific to man. These phenomena fit perfectly into the pattern of an expanding genetic code,as suggested by the theory of creative evolution.

Basic Teachings of the Holy QUR'AN

The most fundamental messages in the holy Qur'an which apply to all mankind are :belief, prayer and good deeds.The verses which contain the above themes are among the most frequent in the holy Qur'an.In order of frequency the following division can be made:

                        1.Belief and good deeds
                        2.Prayer and good deeds
                        3.Prayer only
Two important conclusion can br drawn from the above.

1.Belief and good deeds:The term is  absulately the basic requirment in Islam.Numerous verses confirm this.To believe in Allah is the primary requirment and in this sense we must also believe  in Allah's revelations.His messsengers and the Day of Judgement.

                          "    (2:177) It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces towards East and West ;but    righteous is he  who believeth in Allah and Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the Prrophets;and giveth his wealth,for the love of him,to kinsfolk and to orphans  and the needy and the wayfarer and those who ask, and set slaves free; and is steadfast in prayer and invests in zakat.And those who keep their treaty when they make one and are patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress.Such are they who are sincere.Such are the Allah-fearing."

2.Prayer and good deeds:Prayer is important, but has little value on its own without the good deeds.As a matter of fact every good deed is an act of obedience to Allah(ibadat) and even the work we do to earn our livings , as long it is done honestly ,is ibadat. The following verses give  weight to the above assertions:
                           "(4:95)Those who believers who sit still ,other than those who have a hurt are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of Allah  with their wealth and lives .Allah hath conferred on those who strive with their wealth and lives a rank above sedantary.Unto each Allah hath promised good ,but He hath bestoeed on those who strive a great reward above the sedantary."

                            "(3:200)O ye who believe !Endure, out do all others in endurance ,be ready , and observe your duty to Allah ,in order  that ye may succeed"

                             "(4:124)And whoso does good works ,whether male or female,and he or she is a believer, such will enter paradise and not the least injustice will be done to them"

                             "(34:4)That He may reward those who believe and do good works ,for them is a pardon and a rich provision."  

Sunday, July 29, 2012

FASTING: A Philosophical Analysis

Fasting is a vital practice for muslims.In the month of ramadan Muslims are to fast from dawn to dask.The following verses clarify this principle further.

                     "  (2:183) O ye who believe!Fasting is prescribed for you,even as it was prescrived for    those  before you,that ye may ward off. "

                     "(2:184)  (Fast) a certain number of days;if one is ill or travelling, an equal number of other days may be substituted; and for those who can afford it there is a ransom:the feeding of a man in need -but if one volunteers ,it is better for him. But fasting is better for you if you only knew"
                    "(2:185) The month of Ramadan in which was revealed The holy Qur'an, a guidance for mankind , and the Criterion ( of right and wrong). And whosover of you is present,let him fast the month , and whosover of you is sick or on a journey, (let him fast the same ) number of other days.Allah desirth for you ease;He desirth not hardship for you,and( He desirth ) that ye should complete the period , and that ye should magnify Allah for having guided you,and that peradventure ye may be thankful"

                    "(2:187) It is made lawful for you to go unto your wives on the night of the fast.They are raiment for you and ye are raiment for them.Allah is aware that ye are deceiving yourself in this respect and He hath turned in mercy toward you and relieved you.So hold intercourse with them and seek that which Allah ordained for you,and eat drink until the white thread becometh distinct to you from the black thread of dawn.Then strictly observed fast till nightfall and touch them not,but retreat to the mosque.These are the limits imposed by Allah,so approach them not. Thus Allah expoundeth His relevations to mankind that they may ward off evil."

Traditionally, the fast is understood to serve the following purposes:

1.Submission to the will of Allah according to the Qur'anic injunction.
2.Promotion of a sense of compassion for those currently suffering economic hardship.
3.The devotion of the month in prayer and meditation in the mosque.