Evolution was an Islamic theory before darwin
This brief video argues that “evolution” appeared in Muslim sources well in advance of Darwin’s theory of evolution based on natural selection.
The video opens with a clip of Richard Dawkins suggesting that his goal is to “kill religion”, and to do so by convincing people that evolution is true, because these unnamed people already believe that one must be an atheist to believe in evolution. The video’s creator, apparently the same as the uploader, helasmoh, argues through text cards that as early as Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406), there was a so-called “Mohammedan theory of evolution”. Helasmoh quotes passages from The Muqaddimah in support of that idea, and names six prolific scholars from the 9th through 14th centuries (without any references) who also are constructed as having held some kind of theory of evolution.
As helasmoh suggests, there were other ideas about Adam and human connections with other species among Muslims historically, beyond mere quotations from the Qurʾān. The video’s description on YouTube includes lengthy quotes from passages in the Qurʾān that offer more than the usual “Adam was the first human” presentation.
The video also includes a short clip of Maurice Bucaille, and admonishes its viewers to teach children about evolution.
Helasmoh seems to be constructing his argument against not only radical atheists like Dawkins, but also Christian creationists.
There is very little here on Islam, although what is presented is within the bounds of what Muslims have historically understood as acceptable. It should be noted that “Mohammedan” was a nineteenth-century English term for “Muslim” (or perhaps in this case, “Islamic”), and is now considered inappropriate as it suggests that Muslims are followers of the Prophet Muḥammad rather than God.
Although the passage quoted from Ibn Khaldun suggests some features are appear similar to Darwinian evolution, the core of Darwin’s theory, the idea of natural selection, is more important that constructions of trees of speciation, which can be traced back as far as Aristotle (4th century BCE). The presentation of an implicit equivalence between the ideas presented here as “Mohammedan evolution” and Darwinian biological evolution would not be accepted by a majority of contemporary evolutionary biologists.
The historical material points toward ideas that might be avenues for further research for those who are interested, but are not fully fleshed out historical representations. That there were other interpretations among Muslims historically is accepted by a majority of contemporary historians.