The Muslim Response to Darwinism

  • Adel A. Ziadat


The history of the Arab Muslim world is largely the history of reaction to a variety of political, legal, philosophical, theological and scientific ideas from the West. Muslim polemicists and theologians, like their counterparts in the West, have over the years continued to discuss the form and content of their faith in the light of scientific developments. Muslim thinkers of the Middle Ages responded to Greek sciences and philosophy in a variety of ways. Some rejected foreign thought altogether, while others acceded to it and islamicized the ideas.


Arab World Spontaneous Generation Islamic World Muslim Scholar Arab Civilization 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    On this point see, Hourani, Arabic Thought, pp. 37–38, and Ayman al-Yassini The Relationship Between Religion and State in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Ph.D thesis, McGill University, 1982), especially chapter one.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jean Lecerf, ‘Le mouvement philosophique contemporain en Syrie et Egypte’, Melanges Institut française de Damas, 1 (1929), pp. 29–64.Google Scholar
  3. 15.
    Muhammad al-Makhzumi, Khatirat Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (Damascus 1965) (The Thought of al-Afghani), p. 116.Google Scholar
  4. 16.
    Born in Tripoli, Lebanon, like other Syrian intellectuals he left for Egypt in 1897 where he launched al-Jamiah, a secularist periodical which aimed to diffuse French thought on rationalism and revolution. He translated into Arabic Rousseau’s Emile, Jules Simon’s La Femme du 19e siecle, and Renan’s Vie de Jésus. He also wrote many novels such as the famous one on Urashalim al-Jadidah (New Jerusalem) and al-ilm, al-Din Wa-al-Mal (Knowledge, Religion and Wealth). In 1906, he moved with his journal to New York; later, he moved back to Egypt and continued his intellectual work until his death in 1922. For more information on his life and work see, Donald M. Reid, The Odyssey of Farah Antun: A Syrian Christian’s Quest For Secularism (Minneapolis 1975); A. Hourani, Arabic Thought, pp. 253–59; Sharabi, Arab Intellectual, pp. 70–79.Google Scholar
  5. In Arabic, see Anwar al-Jundi, Al-Muhafazah wa al-Taqlid Fi al-Nathr al-Arabi al-Muasir (Cairo 1961), pp. 264–69. Al-Jamiah (New York edition), 1 (1906), pp. 145–57, 196–202, 238–40.Google Scholar
  6. 22.
    For Renan’s talk see, Henriette Psichari, ed., Ouevres complètes de E. Renan (Paris 1947), vol. 1, pp. 945–65.Google Scholar
  7. 49.
    R. al-Isfahani, Naqd Falsafat Darwin (Baghdad 1914) (hereafter cited as Naqd Darwin).Google Scholar
  8. 90.
    Isfahani, Naqd Falsafat Darwin — Part Two (Baghdad 1914).Google Scholar
  9. 101.
    Mustafa al-Mansuri, Tarikh al-Madhahib al-Ishtirakiyah (The History of Socialist Doctrines) (Cairo 1914).Google Scholar
  10. 112.
    Hassan Hussein Fasil al-Magal Fi Falsafat al-Nushu wa-al-Irtiqa (On the Philosophy of Evolution and Progress) (Cairo 1924) (hereafter cited as Introduction).Google Scholar
  11. 118.
    Ismail Mazhar ‘Fast al-Maqal Madhahb al-Nushu fi Almania’ (On Evolution’s Doctrine in Germany), al-Muqtataf, 67 (1925), p. 75.Google Scholar
  12. 124.
    On this point see, Peter J. Vorzimmer, Charles Darwin: The Years of Controversy (Philadelphia 1970), especially pp. 71–95 on the causes of variability.Google Scholar
  13. 136.
    Ismail Mazhar, Malqa al-Sabil fi Madhhab al-Nushu wa al-Irtiqa (Cairo 1926) (hereafter cited as Malqa al-Sabil).Google Scholar
  14. 139.
    Ismail Mazhar, ‘Uslub al-Fikr al-Ilmi’ (The Method of Scientific Thought), al-Muqtataf, 68 (1926), p. 149.Google Scholar
  15. 145.
    Amin al-Khuli, ‘Uslub al-Fikr al-Ilmi: Naqad wa Atab’ (Method of Scientific Thought: Critique), al-Muqtataf, 68 (1926), p. 75. Mustafa al-Shihabi, ‘Hawl Usul al-Fikr al-Ilmi’ (On the Method of Scientific Thought). Ibid., 68 (1926), pp. 87–88. On Mazhar’s rejoinder see ibid., 69 (1927), p. 328 and 69 (1926), pp. 221–22.Google Scholar
  16. 146.
    Mazhar, ‘Hurriyat al-Fikr’ (Freedom of Thought), al-Usur, 2 (1928), p. 1179.Google Scholar
  17. 148.
    Ismail Mazhar, ‘Falsafat al-Inqilab al-Turki al-Hadith’ (The Philosophy of Modern Turkish Revolution), al-Majalla al-Jadida, 1 (1930), pp. 1212–28.Google Scholar
  18. 152.
    M. Shihabi, ‘Malqa al-Sabil fi Madhhab al-Nushu wa al-Irtiqa’, Majallat al-Majma al-Ilmi al-Arabi (Journal of the Arab Scientific Society), 7 (1928), p. 137.Google Scholar
  19. 166.
    Ismail Mazhar, Asl al-Anwa, an Arabic translation of the Origin of Species (Baghdad 1973).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Adel A. Ziadat 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adel A. Ziadat
    • 1
  1. 1.Yarmouk UniversityIrbidJordan

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