Islam, Science and Evolution: Strengthening Belief in Times of Uncertainty
7 Nov 2015
Mohamed Ghilan represents his viewpoint as both that of a scientist and that of a classically trained scholar of Islam. In this video, he suggests that the academic study of Islam is part of the problem for university students losing their faith.
Yet he also finds the same problem in “every other field”. It has caused him personal grief when he has written about biological evolution and Islam. As a scientist, he understand that science is based on models, and some models are pushed harder in the popular media than others. Ghilan suggests that the theory of evolution “has been hijacked by atheists.” He states that he accepts the model that is the theory of evolution because it’s been working for 150 years. He considers it God’s manifestation, a kind of revelation that is accessible to everyone. But he also cautions religious scholars, that if they have not studied evolution as scientists, they should simply refuse to answer questions about it.
Ghilan also recommends not running away from doubt, which he considers a part of faith. He urges Muslims to get involved with science, learn how to analyze texts and think critically about material. He notes that people from other traditions, including atheists, say things that are correct. “We have to judge the idea based on its merit, not based on its source.”
Islam: Although Muslims may disagree with some of his points, Ghilan’s presentation of Islam is within the bounds of what Muslims have historically understood as acceptable.
Science: The representations about science here are largely accurate. Scientists might cringe at the label of “materialist mythology”, but in context, Ghilan is representing various levels of scientific communication, and valorizing only that which includes methodology and statistics. The “mythology” label seems to be reserved for only the worst of popular science works, not science as a whole.
History: There is insufficient historical material on which to base an evaluation.
About Mohamed Ghilan
Mohamed Ghilan, whose family traces their roots to Sudan and Yemen through Saudi Arabia, currently resides in Canada. He received his bachelor of science in 2010, majoring in microbiology in Victoria, British Columbia. At the same time, he began studying Islam as an academic pursuit, and speaking publicly on the topic. In 2015, he earned a PhD in neuroscience, still at the University of Victoria.
Ghilan has maintained a connection with Al-Madina Institute, a non-profit educational institution based in the United States.
Ghilan is active on social media, with a YouTube channel and a Facebook page. His former Twitter feed has been removed. He maintains a blog/podcast, Andalus: Finding Divinity in Modernity, for which he solicits donations on Patreon.
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“Mohamed Ghilan”, Al-Jazeera, author profile (2013-14), <https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/profile/mohamed-ghilan–.html>, accessed 4-6-18.
“Mohamed Ghilan”, LinkedIn profile, <https://www.linkedin.com/in/mohamed-ghilan-a4455745/>, accessed 4-6-18.