By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
05 September 2018
Man is the only creation that has moral agency, capable of both good and evil. Every other creation follows the nature given to it and is therefore not subject to Allah's judgment. We know from our history that the modern man with cognitive abilities did not appear on the earth until 70,000 years ago. There were other progenitors of human beings besides Adam, who appeared about 250,000 years ago. Every other species of humans besides the progeny of Adam is long extinct. Humans were like any other animal and lived like animals without guidance from Allah, without religion and without culture. “The most important thing to know about prehistoric humans is that they were insignificant animals with no more impact on their environment than gorillas, fireflies or jellyfish” (Harari).The Quran says of such people:
(76:1)” Has there not been over Man a long period of Time, when he was nothing - (not even) mentioned? “
These humans were not subject to Allah’s judgment since they did not have cognitive abilities and were creatures entirely subject to the nature given to them.
Allah then created a new species of the genus Homo some 70,000 years ago and since species of the genus Homo already existed and their nature known, the Angels were aghast and said:
Quran (2:30) Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth." They said: "Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?" He said: "I know what ye know not."
The verse cited indicates that human beings given to mischief and bloodshed already existed and therefore the Angels wondered what Allah meant by a new creation of the same genus Homo. However, this creation is different in their cognitive ability which is why Allah says:
(2:31) And He taught Adam the names of all things; then He placed them before the angels, and said: "Tell me the names of these if ye are right." (32) They said: "Glory to Thee, of knowledge We have none, save what Thou Hast taught us: In truth it is Thou Who art perfect in knowledge and wisdom." (33) He said: "O Adam! Tell them their names." When he had told them, Allah said: "Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of heaven and earth, and I know what ye reveal and what ye conceal?" (34) And behold, We said to the angels: "Bow down to Adam" and they bowed down. Not so Iblis: he refused and was haughty: He was of those who reject Faith.
From evolutionary biology we learn that from an animal of no significance, a cognitive revolution that began about 70,000 years ago, transformed man who started to form elaborate structures called cultures based on common values given by religion. The biologists are not sure what caused the revolutionary new ways of thinking and communicating which constitute what may be called the Cognitive Revolution. They conjecture that accidental genetic mutations which Yuval Noah Harari, a historian, philosopher and an atheist, calls “the Tree of Knowledge mutation”, changed the inner wiring of the brains of the modern man, enabling them to think in unprecedented ways, and to communicate using an altogether new type of language. Note that the verse about Adam’s unique creation metaphorically describes “the Tree of Knowledge mutation” which makes Adam superior to the Angels in knowledge about the world. Another verse that metaphorically describes genetic coding that makes us instinctively believe in Allah is as follows:
(7:172) When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam - from their loins - their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): "Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)?"- They said: "Yea! We do testify!" (This), lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: "Of this we were never mindful":
Why did this mutation not occur in the other species of humans such as the Neanderthals? The biologists think this was pure chance but consider that it is more important to understand the consequences of the Tree of Knowledge mutation than its causes. From the Scriptures, we know that it was not chance, but a new creation as described in the Quran with cognitive abilities that astounded the Angels. The biologists connect our species to the species Homo sapiens which appeared some 150,000 years ago, because we are more like the Homo sapiens than the other species of humans. The fact may well be that we are very much different from what existed before the Cognitive Revolution. The biologists, not being believers in creation, conjecture that it was a chance mutation in an existing species.
Adam's creation is described as follows:
(15:29) "When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My Rūḥī, fall ye down in obeisance unto him."
The ruh of Allah is Allah’s inspiration with which He inspires man. In the case of creation of Adam, it was both inspiration and genetic coding with cognitive abilities hitherto not given to any other creation – not even to previous species of humans such as the Homo rudolfensis, Homo erectus or the Homo neanderthalensis which is why Allah says:
(3:33) Allah did choose Adam and Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of ´Imran above all people,-
Why would Allah say He chose Adam above all people unless there were other human species? Also consider:
(17:70) We have honoured the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favours, above a great part of our creation.
(19:58) Those were some of the prophets on whom Allah did bestow His Grace,- of the posterity of Adam, and of those who We carried (in the Ark) with Noah, and of the posterity of Abraham and Israel of those whom We guided and chose. Whenever the Signs of (Allah) Most Gracious were rehearsed to them, they would fall down in prostrate adoration and in tears.
(4:1) O mankind! reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, His mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;- reverence Allah, through whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (That bore you): for Allah ever watches over you.
Allah honored Adam and his progeny over the progenitors and progeny of every other species including other humans. The function of Allah’s Ruh is described in my article:
Islam and Mysticism: Is ‘Ruh’ Soul? (Part 2)
Adam and his progeny is the only creation of Allah with cognitive abilities that make them a moral agent capable of making moral choices. That is the hardware that man comes equipped with at birth. The software is the criteria of right and wrong which Allah has provided as guidance through His Messengers and Books of revelations. The cognitive abilities make man capable of understanding moral principles in hindsight but not in foresight which is why these are given to us by Allah. The same cognitive abilities are excellent in understanding the mysteries of nature in foresight which is why Allah has left it to man to unravel through the pursuit of what we call the Sciences.
Allah has created a Universe and decreed laws that make it by and large self-governing. Evolution is a fact of Allah’s creation. Lest man come to the conclusion based on the pursuit of the Sciences, that there is no God apart from an entirely self-governing and evolving Universe, He created Jesus Christ without a father although there was no such necessity. This was only as an example for man to comprehend and accept the truth of Adam’s creation.
(3:47) She (Mary) said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?" He said: "Even so: Allah createth what He willeth: When He hath decreed a plan, He but saith to it, ´Be,´ and it is!
(3:59) The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be". And he was.
4:171 “Messiah Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word (Kalimatuhu), which He bestowed on Mary, and a Rūḥun proceeding from Him.
In the birth of Christ is proof of Adam’s creation. Jesus Christ was also unique in that he could speak from birth and was a prophet from birth unlike any other prophet. These unique abilities are the effect of Jesus being born like Adam from the Ruh of Allah. Not surprisingly, Jesus did not marry and have children or pass on his genes as it was not in Allah’s plans to have any other human like Jesus. As further proof of Allah’s powers of creation apart from evolution, he made Jesus demonstrate creation:
(3:49) "And (appoint him) a messenger to the Children of Israel, (with this message): "´I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah´s leave: And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by Allah´s leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe;
It is also not surprising, that only Jesus, whose birth was doubly unique by being the son of a human and also by the Ruh of Allah, who alone had such powers among the prophets.
Having created Adam and his progeny with unique cognitive abilities that make them a moral agent, and guided them through Messengers and Books of revelations for just ends, required instituting a system of rewards and punishment to keep them on the straight path. Is there injustice in this? Those who think that Allah has been unjust to them in making them born to the progeny of Adam and would rather have been born an animal or not at all, need psychiatric help. Others who are grateful to Allah for having been born to the progeny of Adam are capable of finding the right answers to their questions themselves about the purpose of their existence and what they need to do to be successful in this world and in the Hereafter.
Questions regarding God, creation and why there is no perfect justice on this earth while Allah has created a Universe with perfect causality, order and predictability, are covered in my articles below:,
The Quran, Islamic Theology, Philosophy And The Sciences - What Is God And How Do We Go About Trying To Know God Better? (Part 1)
The Quran, Islamic Theology, Philosophy and the Sciences – On Soul and the Creation of Man (Part 2)
Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He is a frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com
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