Evolution, Islam, and the Qurʾān
14 Apr 2014
Evolution, History of Science
In this lecture for the Leicester Secular Society (UK) (in 2014), Usama Hasan elaborates on his personal journey to become engaged in the debate about evolution in the Muslim community. The debates surrounding his discussion of biological evolution in England are addressed in a variety of videos on the Portal.
Topics include apostasy, heresy, Darwinism, fatwa, atheism, mosque (masjid) culture, debates within the Muslim community.
There are few details about Islam beyond Hasan’s representation of his own understanding — which is well within the bounds of what Muslims have historically understood as acceptable — and how he was treated within mosques by other Muslims.
There is little here about the science of evolution, other than Hasan’s indicating that because his background was not in biology, he needed to engage in a study of it in order to speak about it more effectively.
The historical material — premodern Muslims who were engaged with ideas that are also found within Darwin’s theory of evolution — conforms with scholarly understanding.
About Usama Hasan
Usama Hasan is an Islamic scholar and university lecturer specializing in computer science. He earned a Masters degree in Theoretical Physics from the University of Cambridge and a second Masters degree in Mathematics at Kings College, both in the United Kingdom. As of 2015, he is a Senior Researcher at the Quilliam Foundation, the Imam of Al-Tawhid Mosque in the UK, and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He previously worked as a Planetarium Lecturer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich and as a Senior Lecturer at Middlesex University (2003-2012).
Hasan has also hosted a question and answer TV show on Islam Channel, participates in the Islamic Sharia Council UK, and works with the Preventing Violent Extremism Unit of the UK government. Though Hasan identified with the Salafi school of Islam in his youth, his views have become moderate over the years, and he has even faced harsh backlash from the Muslim community over his opinion about evolution.
As of 2015, Hasan maintains an active Twitter page and less active blog (last post dated November 2014), but it does not appear that he is active on any other social media outlets. A more detailed biography of Hasan may be found at the Quilliam Foundation’s website.
Guessoum, Nidhal. “Muslim Inquisition Today: The Plight of Usama Hasan.” Irtiqa. N.p., 28 Feb. 2011. Accessed 16 June 2015.
Hasan, Usama. Twitter. Twitter, n.d. Accessed 16 June 2015.
Hasan, Usama. Unity. WordPress, n.d. Accessed 16 June 2015.
“Usama Hasan.” Global Experts. The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, 12 Feb. 2010. Accessed 16 June 2015.
“Usama Hasan: Senior Researcher.” Quilliam. Quilliam Foundation, n.d. Web. Accessed 16 June 2015.