Before discussing this theory and the stance of Islam on it, we will briefly introduce its author. Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882), was a British naturalist who studied medicine in Edinburgh. Later, he specialized in natural history. In a unique and improbable way, Darwin established his theory and its proofs in 1859 in his book The Origin of Species.
Darwin’s theory is based on certain concepts, one of which is that man was originally an animal that underwent evolution. The theory postulates that man’s similarity to apes does not preclude the possibility that both man and apes have the same origin. Darwin explained the process of evolution by enumerating several laws, one of which was natural selection, which says that the factors that bring about extinction of a species destroy weak creatures and let the strong survive and continue to exist. This process is called the law of “Survival of the Fittest”, where the strong, fit creature outlives its weaker counterparts and its offspring inherit its strong characteristics. Over the course of time, the strong characteristics form a new characteristic in that species. This process of “evolution” gradually enables the creature to develop with its new characteristics into a higher being. This is known as gradualism.
However, many scientists have refuted this theory. Dr. Sourial, for instance, mentioned that there are missing links between humans and living beings that are inferior to them and even between classes of other living organisms as well. Dallas, one of the naturalists who refuted the theory, established that we should adopt the view that man was created in his present state without having undergone any evolution. Professor Rudolf Virchow stated that there are definite differences between man and apes and that the theory of Darwin does not even deserve mention in scientific circles. George Mivart said that Darwin’s theory resembles childish thoughts. Huxley, Darwin’s friend, stated that Darwin’s theory has not yet been proved to be true. Besides these, there are many other scientific opinions that we will not mention for the sake of brevity.
What Darwin said was a theory, not a fact or a law. Therefore, it may be false or true. However, reality does not support it. Had it been a true theory we would have seen the evolution of many animals and humans coming about through evolution, not just reproduction. The ability to adapt, which we observe in some creatures (such as the chameleon which changes its color according to the surrounding environment) is an inherent ability. Some creatures possess it in abundance, others to a lesser degree. However, it does not surpass its limits in any creature. Consequently, the ability to adapt is an inherent characteristic, not an evolving one that is formed by the environment as the holders of this theory claim. Had their claim been true, the environment would have subjected stones, dust, and other solid bodies to adaptation.
With regards to the stance of Islam on this theory, we will highlight it in several points:
1- The opinion that nature creates things randomly and that there was no creator for man clashes with the Qur’an. Allah the Almighty says (what means):
“Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is, over all things, Disposer of affairs.”[Al-Zumar 39:62]
“Indeed, all things We created with predestination.”[Al-Qamar 54:49]
Besides these, there are many other relevant verses.
2- The claim to know how living organisms came into existence on earth is refuted by the verse in which Allah The Almighty says (what means):
“I did not make them witness to the creation of the heavens and the earth or to the creation of themselves.”[Al-Kahf 18:51]
Allah The Almighty told us that He created man as an independent, perfect creation. He told the angels about the creation of man before He brought him into existence. Allah The Almighty says (what means):
“And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.””[Al-Baqarah 2:30]
Allah The Almighty also told us about the matter from which man was created. He created man from clay — a mixture of water and dust. Allaah the Almighty says (what means): “We created you from dust” [Al-Hajj 22:5] In a Hadith (Prophetic Narration) on the authority of Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari, the Prophet, mentioned that Allah The Almighty created Adam from a handful of dust that was taken from all parts of the earth, therefore mankind differs in their appearances and natures. [At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud]
Water is also an element in the creation of man. Allah The Almighty says (what means): “Allah has created every [living] creature from water.” [Al-Nur 24:45]
Allah The Almighty created man with His Hands. He says (what means):
“[Allah] said, “O Iblis, what prevented you from prostrating to that which I created with My hands?”” [Saad 38:75] That clay turned into clay like that of pottery: Allah the Almighty says (what means): “He created man from clay like [that of] pottery.” [Al-Rahman 55:14]
The first man was Adam. The creation of man was not incomplete in the beginning and then completed later as evolutionists claim. The Prophet told us in a Hadith that Allah The Almighty created Adam and his stature was sixty cubits. Believers will enter Paradise in a perfect shape, thus they will enter Paradise in the shape of Adam. He also told us in the same Hadith that since then creation has been in a continuous diminishment of stature. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
3- Their opinion that survival is for the fittest and that disasters are the reason behind the destruction of weak creatures is refuted by the fact that death claims the strong and the weak alike. Allah The Almighty says (what means): “[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed.” [Al-Mulk 67:2]
4- Finally, we remind you of the great principle which nullifies this theory altogether: that Allah The Almighty honored the son of Adam. Tracing back the origin of man to apes is not befitting of such an honor. Allah the Almighty says (what means):
“And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.” [Al-‘Isra’ 17:70]
“We have certainly created man in the best of stature.” [Al-Tin 95:4]
These are some points and refutations regarding Darwin’s theory.
And Allah Knows best.
Taken with slight editorial modifications from islamweb.net.