Quran confirms evolution and human African roots

11:40

20 April 2018

Evolution, Miracles / I'jaz

Clare Forestier

This video is one of a series using the Qurʾān to demonstrate science, a form of iʿjāz ʿilmii, “scientific miracles”.  In this video, host Clare Forestier presents biological evolution, particularly that of humans, and suggests that verses in the Qurʾān demonstrate the same material.

The presentation defines evolution through two main points:  1) “all life on Earth is connected”, and 2) the diversity of forms is “a product of modifications of populations by natural selection”.  The first the video links to verse 21.30 of the Qurʾān, that God made all living things from water.  The second is supported  with verses 28.68, that God creates and selects whomever He wills, and 3.33, that God selected Adam, Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of Iran above all other people.   

The video relies on news sources from the UK, Australia and the US for its constructions of natural selection and homonin evolution.

Much is made in the video of “the mountain Senyin” from verse 95.2 of the Qurʾān.  This is typically identified as “Mount Sinai”, but this video suggests that it is “Choke Mountain” in Ethiopia.  The video claims that this is “where humans first evolved”.

The verses of the Qurʾān which are used in this presentation are:  21.30, 28.68, 3.33, 71.13-14, 2.38, and especially 95.1-8.

Production

No information has been found about the group “No Clash”, which seems to be organizing this series.

The video includes credits at the end.  It was produced by Ocean Pulser, and directed by Waleed Bedour.  The content was prepared by a certain Dr. Tarek Mustafa.  Other roles:

  • Art Director:  Ibrahim Hemdan & Rana Atrebi
  • Music & Mix:  Hisham Billal & Tareq Altonsi
  • Director of Photography:  Hossam Alden Mohammed
  • Editing:  Kamal El Mallakh & Nancy Fares
  • Script:  Sumaiya Beshir

Critiques

One vlog has been created so far specifically critiquing this video, and suggesting (erroneously) that there is no scientific consensus about the development of hominins in Africa.  It has been evaluated on the Portal here.

Evaluation:

Islam:  The Qurʾānic material presented here is using unusual translations, apparently to conform to the language used to describe evolution.  The “mountain Senyin” verse 95.2 has not, in known exegesis, ever been interpreted this way.  The proper noun in the Qurʾān is usually understood to refer to a Nabatean word.

Science:  Using the Qurʾān to “prove” science or science to “prove” the Qurʾān is understood by modern scientists to be a misapplication of the scientific method.  

At least some of the details given here are erroneous.  No place in Ethiopia is considered “the lowest point on the planet”, generally held to be an ocean trench (for places under water) and in the Jordan Valley (for places on land).  The Afar Depression in Ethiopia is about 125 meters below sea level, compared to more than 400 in the Jordan Valley.  With this level of disregard for easily checked facts, one should regard the others presented with suspicion as well.

Evolutionary biologists currently accept that human evolution has occurred/is occurring in various places simultaneously, and that various human groups have intermingled/interbred multiple times over the past 50+ thousand years.  Even some of the news articles used in this video, for instance the Zimmer piece from the New York Times, make this point.  The underlying assumption that there is only a single, linear evolutionary branch for humans is no longer accepted by most evolutionary biologists.

History:  There is insufficient historical material on which to base an evaluation.  It is, however, unlikely that Darwin thought humans originated in Africa, as European racial stereotypes of his era would not have encouraged it.  There is no evidence for or against it.