The Religious Framing of Darwin and Evolution in Pakistan


21 Oct 2013

Evolution, Cosmology

Salman Hameed

Laura Sizer

Salman Hameed discusses how Islam in Pakistan affects the understanding of Darwin and biological evolution.  He suggests that it is a question of who shapes the debate about biological evolution:  religious scholars or scientists.

Topics discussed:  Creationism, Qurʾānic exegesis, Young Earth Creationism, Old Earth Creationism, colonialism, Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, Big Bang, Sayyid Ahmad Khan, materialism, Muhammad Iqbal, Charles Darwin, appropriation, John William Draper, “special Creation”, textbooks, Baluchistan, Abu’l-ʿAlāʾ Maududi (Mawdudi), speciation, morality, authority, moon sightings (at Ramadan), Peshawar.

This lecture was part of a conference held at Hampshire College (Amherst, Massachusetts USA) on 2-3 October 2009 entitled “Darwin and Evolution in the Muslim World”.  For a program of the conference, click here.  The video is also available on Vimeo.


The material on Islam is within the bounds of what Muslims have historically understood as acceptable.

The scientific discussion here is accepted by contemporary scientists.

There is insufficient historical material on which to base an evaluation.

About Salman Hameed

Salman Hameed trained as an astronomer and teaches about the intersections between religion and science. He received his undergraduate degree in physics and astronomy from State University of New York, Stony Brook (1994) and a Ph.D. in Astronomy from New Mexico State University (2001). Hameed went on to become a fellow in the astronomy department at Smith College and University of Massachusetts Amherst before he settled at Hampshire College in 2005. As of 2015, Hameed is an Associate Professor of Integrated Science and Humanities and an endowed chair, in addition to being the Director of the Center for the Study of Science in Muslim Societies at Hampshire.

Hameed’s publications include articles in The Guardian newspaper, the Zygon Journal of Religion and Science, and Religion Dispatches. He also frequently writes on subjects concerning science and religion in his blog, Irtiqa (the Urdu word for evolution). A collection of some of Hameed’s work, including videos, may be found as part of his biography on the Eqbal Ahmed website. His academic profile can also be found through the Hampshire College website. Hameed is also active on Twitter and other social media as of 2015 and has a personal website.

Selected Bibliography:

About Salman Hameed.” Eqbal Ahmad Centre for Public Education. EACPE, n.d. Accessed 13 June 2015.

Dr. Salman Hameed.” American Islamic Congress. American Islamic Congress, n.d. Accessed 13 June 2015.

Hameed, Salman. Irtiqa. N.p., n.d. Accessed 13 June 2015.

Hameed, Salman. “Salman Hameed Profile.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, n.d. Accessed 13 June 2015.

Hameed, Salman. Twitter. Twitter, n.d.

Salman Hameed.” Hampshire College. Hampshire College, n.d. Accessed 13 June 2015.