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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES-03

0101-CREATION OF THE HUMAN BEING, (KHALAQ AL INSAN)

Lecture for 1st year medical students on 12th January 2001

A. BASIC CONCEPTS

QUR'ANIC TERMINOLOGY

The Qur’anic term for a human are insan or bashar (p 195 3:47, 3:79, 5:18, 6:91, 11:27, 12:31, 14:10-11, 15:28, 15:33, 16:103, 17:93-94, 18:110, 19:17, 19:20, 19:26, 21:3, 21:34, 23:24, 23:33-34, 23:47, 25:54, 26:154, 26:186, 30:20, 38:71, 41:6, 42:51, 54:24, 64:6, 74:29, 74:31, 73:36). The Qur’anic terms khalaqa and fatana `are used to refer to creation (p 902 6:14, 11:51, 17:51, 20:72, 21:56, 36:22, 43:27). The Qur’an gave a detailed description of human creation, khalq al insan,  (p 161-162 4:1, 6:98, 7:11, 7:189, 15:26, 16:4, 16:70, 16:72, 16:78, 19:67, 21:37, 22:5, 23:12-14, 25:45, 30:20-21, 30:54, 32:7-9, 35:11, 36:77, 38:71, 39:6, 40:67, 42:11, 50:16, 53:45-46, 55:3, 71:14, 76:2, ?7:36-39, 77:20-23, 80:18-19, 82:7-8, 86:5-7, 90:4, 95:4, 96:2).

 

THE CREATOR AND THE CREATED

The creator is different from the creation, mukhalafat al laah li al hawadith (p 683 2:116, 4:171, 6:100-103, 10:68, 18:4-5, 17:111, 19:35, 19:88-93, 21:26, 23:91, 25:2-3, 37:151-152, 39:4, 42:11, 43:81, 72:3, 112:3).  Allah is the creator, al khaliq, and humans are created, makhluq. Allah is infinite whereas humans are finite. The concept of infinity is understandable mathematically but it is difficult for the ordinary human to conceptualize that the creator is infinite and that the human is finite. This intellectual failure is the root of several forms of shirk in which human attributes are ascribed to Allah or the reverse when divine attributes are ascribed to humans. Allah's knowledge and power encompasses humans in all aspects because he is the creator. Humans being created cannot participate in any way in the creation process.

 

HUMAN HISTORY ON EARTH

We know from the archeological record that the existence of human life on earth is relatively shorter than that of plants and animals. When Adam was created trees and other elements of the physical world already existed. The end of human history will however coincide with destruction of the physical universe, as we know it today.

 

SOURCE OF CREATION

The source of the physical human body are basic elements of the earth. The major components of the human physical body are: water, m’au (p 1054 25:54, 32:8, 77:20, 86:5-6), and clay, twiin (p 755 3:49, 5:11, 6:2, 7:12, 11:82, 15:74, 17:61, 23:12, 28:38, 32:7, 37:11, 38:71, 38:76, 51:33, 105:4). Humans are created from the earth and to it they will return (p 230 13:5, 16:59, 17:49, 20:55, 23:35, 23:82, 27:67, 37:16, 37:53, 50:3, 56:47, 37:16, 78:40). A human is of dual creation, consisting of physical matter and the ruh (p 515-516 4:171, 15:29, 17:85, 21:19, 32:9, 38:72, 40:15, 66:12, 97:4). The physical body without the ruh is not a complete human being. 

 

THE PROCESS OF CREATION

The Qur'an and sunnat have described in detail the creation of Adam from the elements of the earth (MB # 1356, 1399). Allah then inserted the root into him making him a human. He later gave him knowledge that distinguishes humans from animals.

 

THE HUMAN SPECIES

The short form of the human species is Homo sapiens. The human species as we know it is classified scientifically as follows. Kingdom: animalia, phylum: vertebra, class: mammalia, order: primate, family: hominidae, genus: homo, and species: sapiens. Humans were created de novo as humans. All humans have a common biological origin (4:1, 6:98, 7:189) and are different from other creations of Allah.

 

B. UNIQUENESS OF HUMAN CREATION

MIRACLE

The creation of humans is a unique miracle, mujizat khalq al insan.. The human is created in the best of moulds, ahsana taqwin . The design is optimal and it is impossible to imagine a better design for the anatomy and physiology of the human body. The human manifests the beauty of creation, jamal al khalq. The beauty can be appreciated as order, harmony, organization, and precision. The beauty of human creation can also be experienced in an aesthetic sense.

 

SIGNS OF ALLAH IN HUMAN CREATION

Being the best creation, the human body best manifests signs of the power and might of Allah, ayat al llah fi khalq al insan, & ayat al llah fi al anfus (p 49-50 3:6, 6:46, 6:98, 13:8, 15:26-30, 16:4-8, 16:70-72, 22:5-6, 24:45, 30:20-21, 30:54, 32:7-9, 39:6, 41:53, 4:4, 51:21). Study of science especially medicine is part of observation and reflecting on Allah’s creation, tafakkur fi khalq allah (p 399 2:164, 3:190-191, 6:99, 7:54, 7:185, 10:67, 10:101, 13:2-4, 16:10-17, 16:65-70, 21:30-33, 23:80-89, 26:24-28, 27:59-64, 28:71-73, 29:19-20, 30:20-25, 30:48-50, 31:10-11, 41:53, 42:28-29, 45:3-5, 50:6-11, 51:70-71, 79:29-33, 80:24-32, 86:5-7, 88:17-20). Science enables scientists discover many secrets of creation and many signs that Allah put in the universe for purposes of education, intellectual growth, and moral development.

 

DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN BEING, karamat al insan

The human is the most dignified and honored among all Allah's creations. Human creation is special being the highest and most sophisticated of all creation. The human has a ruh that is not found in other creations of Allah. Humans were entrusted with amanat that other creations of Allah found too heavy to carry. The rest of creation was put at the disposal of humans, taskhiir. The human was made a vicegerent, khaliifat on earth.

 

DUALITY

The human is both body and soul; matter and spirit. Animals have only the body whereas angels have only the soul. It is the unique combination of body and ruh that make the human what he is, a special creation of Allah. Human life and behavior manifest the dual nature all the time. Some humans may descend to the level of only the body devoid of any spiritual guidance. Others may ascend to the lofty heights of spirituality. In most cases there is a varying proportion of the two the material and the spiritual.

 

SUPERIORITY OF THE HUMAN, tafdhil al insan

The human is superior to all other creations of Allah, biological or physical  ( p 161 2:34, 7:11, 15:28-29, 17:61-62, 17:70, 18:50, 38:71-72). The human is unique and is superior because of special faculties and potentials that Allah gave him. He can however deteriorate to a level of animals or even less when he misuses those faculties.

 

C. CREATION AND NOT EVOLUTION, khalq wa laisa tatwiir

CREATION DE NOVO

The Qur’an teaches that Adam was created de novo as a human. Human history therefore starts from Adam the fully formed human being. All human beings have the same biological origin, asl al insan wahid. Human creation was a deliberate and not a random or accidental event. It was revolutionary and not evolutionary.

 

THEORY OF EVOLUTION

The theory of evolution contradicts the Qur’anic teaching about creation. It proposes that life started by chance as simple one-cell organisms that gradually evolved to become more sophisticated. They passed through the stages of fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, apes, and subsequently humans. Alfred Russel Wallace (1821-1913) and Charles Darwin independently developed the theory of natural selection to explain how evolution could have taken place. They published their findings in 1858. The theory of evolution has two main ideas. (a) living things change from generation to generation until new species appear (b) all living things are related. We can observe changes in living things but appearance of a completely new species still has to be proved. Similarity among living things should be interpreted as pointing more to the existence of one creator for all and not all starting from one primordial creature.

 

ARGUMENTS AGAINST EVOLUTION

Our arguments against the theory of evolution are based on the premise that it is a theory that is unproven. There is on the other hand concrete evidence that the observations on which the theory is based are biased. In the 19th century when the theory was first proposed, Europe was at the peak of its industrial, military and economic power. In the absence of knowledge that it is Allah who gives power and takes it away, many Europeans started thinking that they had something special that made them so powerful compared to other people. The theory of evolution, with its assertions about natural selection and survival of the fittest supplied an easy answer by placing them on the pinnacle of the evolutionary tree thus making them superior to all what came before them. The theory of evolution and the concept of survival of the fittest provided intellectual justification for the subjugation and exploitation of the non-European races. Thus social Darwinism gave rise to biological Darwinism and not the other way round as the historical record would suggest. Charles Darwin and other evolutionists had the concepts of social Darwinism at the back of their mind as they started their biological studies.

 

D. SPECIAL CASES OF CREATION

According to the Qur’an two humans were created in a different way: Adam and Isa. Adam (PBUH) was created without a father or a mother (p 38 15:28-29, 38:81-82, p 39:15:33, 15:28, 7:12, 38:71, and 38:76). Isa (PBUH) was created only from a mother and no father (p 858 3:45-47, 19:16-33). Adam was more of a miracle because he had no parent at all. These differences are not unique when we look at the whole scheme of Allah’s creation. There are many examples of reproduction in the animal and plant kingdoms in which only one parent is involved. Parthenogenesis is a form of asexual reproduction. Cloning is another form of asexual reproduction that has been achieved in plants and animals and is now contemplated for humans.

 

E. PARITY IN CREATION

Parity found in human creation is part of the general phenomenon of parity found in other creations of Allah. The Qur'an has mentioned parity in all creation (p 548 11:40, 15:88, 20:131. 23:27, 36:36, 37:22, 38:58, 43:12, 51:49, 56:7, 81:7, 92:3), parity in humans (p 548-9 3:36, 3:195, 4:1, 4:11, 4:124, 4:176, 7:189, 12:84, 15:88, 16:72, 16:97, 18:28, 18:57, 20:131, 22:10, 30:21, 31:7, 35:11, 39:6, 40:40, 42:11, 42:50, 49:13, 53:21, 53:45, 75:39, 78:8, 78:40, 90:8-10, 111:1),  parity in animals (p 549 6:143-4, 42:11), parity in plants (p 549 13:3, 20:53, 22:5, 26:7, 31:10, 50:7, 55:52), parity of day and night (p 549-50 2:164, 6:143-144, 39:6, 42:11, 92:1-2). The special case of parity of gender will be discussed subsequently.

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. January 2001