07 Jul I know this is silly, but, what about Dinosaurs and Islam?
I know this is silly, but, what about Dinosaurs and Islam?
This question might sound really silly, but, where do Dinosours come into Islam. I know you say you think of Adam and Eve in a metaphorical sense, but I don’t quite understand, does that mean you think they do not exist? (Sorry If I’m wrong I’m just confused) and if they were the first people Allah put on earth, what about dinosaurs who existed before humans? And according to science, the world is billions of years old, does that contradict with the quran? Thank you.
I’m assuming this question emerged from my article on Islam and Evolution, which you can read here.
As far as my thoughts on Adam and Eve, whether they existed or not, as far as I am concerned, is immaterial to my belief in Islam or anything. I honestly go between believing that they were literal examples or whether they are completely metaphorical. Regardless, again, it is unimportant which form they were, as there is a far more important issue which is what we learn from the story of Adam and Eve.
For instance, if people who criticized religion, especially Christianity, realized this, they would stop laughing about Jesus “walking on water,” and realize that the crux of the story is not over the miracles of Jesus, but what he was advocating: which was radical social change. So, when I am asked about Jesus, people expect me to try and justify or rationalize the miracles of Jesus.
To me, whether Jesus indeed turned water into wine, healed the sick, or whatever does not matter. If your belief hinges upon the fact that Jesus was able to preform miracles, that is fine, and that is your path to faith, and I have no desire nor right to critique that. However, as someone who returned to Islam, my personal theology does not hinge upon whether Jesus preformed miracles, it is what he advocated: a radical change to the social structures of the time.
When you look at any prophet, that is a central theme to their purpose. Whether it’s Ibrahim (Abraham) being challenged by a king as to what the difference between him (the king) and God [one of the best stories, ever], Musa (Moses) and how he advocated an end to the tyranny of Pharaoh, or Eisa (Jesus) who challenged his contemporaries to stop being classist and embrace all walks of life.
These are the values that I see in the Prophets. If someone wants to tell me that Moses did not part the sea, and that’s why they don’t believe, fine, go right ahead, but you’re missing the point. These Prophets of God, they advocated a change that humans are not ready to accept, and considering the amount of Prophets and the amount of failures that humanity has experienced, we must realize that when we say that The Prophet is The Last and Final Prophet, we as Muslims need to reflect that in our actions.
So, I see the incredible story of Jesus as a story that people, even if they don’t believe in God, can learn from. If we take the Christian conception of Jesus, let’s look at it clearly:
Jesus is the son of God, and this son of God is not sitting with the high-born, he is not amassing riches, he is with leapers. What are leapers? They are the lowest rung of society, they are marginalized, for physical ailments that they cannot prevent. The son of God spent his time with the leapers, with the oppressed, and he chose a prostitute as his close companion (Mary Magdalene).
If someone says they believe in Jesus as their personal savior, as the son of God, how can they not realize what they must do? Why must there be WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) bracelets, when you can simply read about Jesus, and simply be in awe of him? How can someone deny anyone help, if Jesus spent his time helping leapers and a prostitute?
Therefore, I think if Christians want to steel their faith, they must forget about the miracles of Jesus, and focus on his actions. That is what The Qur’an commands us to do, and that is why it is the actions of Musa, and Eisa, and Muhammad that are of central importance, because your actions define you.
So, when I look at The Prophet, the only miracle (Isra and Miraj is another story) for The Prophet is The Qur’an: it is the logic, reason, and call to action that is contained in a perfect, divine argument. That is how God communicated to humanity for the last and final time: through words. Words that should inspire us, should challenge us, should make us do things, the right things.
That is how I perceive of the value of anything in The Qur’an, and that is why I believe that it does not matter if one believes in the miracles of Prophets, because if you focus only on that, you’ll be missing the point.
That is not to say, that I don’t, personally believe in them, I do, but I do not think it would change my faith or my admiration for the personalities mentioned in The Qur’an.
Therefore, I don’t see how dinosaurs would contradict my conception of Adam and Eve, and indeed, miracles. My view of Adam and Eve are as the first conscious creatures, who are aware of their surroundings and have the ability to make a choice as to whether they will follow the natural order of God, or whether they will simply follow their desires.
I mean, have you read what the Earth would be like if humans suddenly disappeared? We ruin this place, and we are able to destroy eco systems, entire species, and destroy things in way that no other creature can ever hope to. It is our consciousness that defines us, and Adam was the first being to have this consciousness, and we are all descendants of this single source, which is to underline something metaphorical, but also, physical, in that we can all trace our humanity to a common, genetic source.
Again, The Qur’an does not give the age of the Earth, because it doesn’t have to, because the concern of The Qur’an is not dictating to you these massive cosmological perceptions. You, the believer, must answer those questions, because finding out the answer is incumbent upon you as a believer, and as a way to understand God.
The main purpose of The Qur’an is to structure human action and human responsibility towards ensuring balance and social justice. Therefore, if we discover the universe is really 8,000 years old, or whether it’s 700 trillion years old, it is immaterial, because those facts cannot and, more importantly, should not change the way you deal with anyone, Muslim or not.
I apologize if I am coming off as dismissive, but my theological positions are very utilitarian, a very inclined towards logic and reason. I understand and appreciate the amazing impact of spirituality on one’s soul and one’s actions, but, I have to be honest with myself, because I do not have that capacity, and that worried me so I discuss it so that those who, like me, have trouble, can perhaps learn about my path and perhaps find their own, insha Allah. I apologize because I do not want to seem rude, rather, I want people to apply Islam in their hearts and actions, that is what Islam means to me, and it is how Islam saved me.
Please do not apologize, your questions are not silly, and they raise extremely interesting sets of questions that we must ask ourselves, because what we discuss is a reflection of our concerns and our values and what will define our values. If you center your world around stopping one thing, your morality will be a reflection of that. Islam teaches us to be far more holistic and broad in our thinking, to attempt to apply the specific to the general, without sacrificing the value of discretion and exception.
Insha Allah, I hope that we can realize that our discussions of theology are simply that: discussions, and that the only thing we can be judged upon is our belief in God and the actions that should be reflections of that belief.
Insha Allah, I hope I answered your question, and if you, or anyone else, has a question on this, or any other topic, please do not hesitate to ask me.