April 12, 2021

Islamic Web Library

An Islamic Resource Center

The Animal (but non-ape) Ancestry of Man

5 min read

The following excerpt is taken from “What is the Origin of Man?” by Maurice Bucaille pg. 122-123:

Today, we know that the first wave of humans appeared on earth some five million years ago (six million years ago for certain researchers, and less for others). The waves that were to follow have also been more or less precisely located in time. What gaps still remain, however, in our knowledge due to the rarity of fossils! What large quantities of statements have appeared concerning the supposed relationship between human groups and the lineage that produced the apes (which is placed next to tge human lineage on the genealogical table), none of which is supported by any valid argument! What else are they but simple hypotheses designed to square with certain researchers’ preconceived ideas?

The very small quantity of paleontological specimens documenting the origins of mankind should make us proceed with extreme caution. There can be no doubt that  many fossils exist which have not yet been discovered; some of them never will be. Chronological data bearing on apes and humans alike may one day be modified by future discoveries. Whatever happens, however, there are solid arguments to reject the theory that man is descended from the apes.

Even if it becomes possible to trace the human lineage much further back in time than the oldest human forms at present thought to be known, we shall never arrive at the idea that man was born of simian forms, whose descendants are today’s great apes.

While discoveries made over the last few decades have gradually pushed back the appearance of the first human forms to more and more distant periods (from hundreds of thousands to millions of years), the basic problem remains the same. Whatever the answer, the discoveries do not indicate that man is descended from a fully developed lineage of apes.

For a detailed study on hominin evolution and comparison of the human lineage with the apes, please see the following post:

The Four Waves of Hominds

Maurice Bucaille ultimately concludes:

“There is absolutely no scientific proof to suggest that man was born of the evolved forms of present-day apes. On the contrary, everything suggests against this outmoded theory. What science has shown is that, at a certain point in time, human species appeared which gradually transformed itself into today’s man. From a scientific point of view, the crux of the problem is that we do not know what man evolved from: Was it from an autonomous lineage or from one that could be connected with another animal lineage? Whatever the answer, recent studies in genetics indicate that the process could not have taken place by any other method than the addition of new information governing the appearance of structures and functions specific to man. These phenomena fit perfectly into the pattern of an expanding genetic code, as suggested by the theory of creative evolution”

(What is the Origin of Man, pg. 212)

According to A Study of Quran,

“The first man created by God – according to the Scriptures – is Adam. God also created a wife for Adam, and the whole of humanity is supposed to have descended from them. Adam is also regarded as the first prophet as he received guidance in the form of revelation from God after he and his wife were evicted from Paradise for disobedience to His command. This traditional interpretation, that humanity, as we see today, descended from Adam and his wife, is untenable for biological and other reasons. Therefore, we have to look for an allegorical interpretation.

The one used by Parwez appears to fit very well with the story described in the Qur’an in verses 2:30-39. In this story, Adam stands for Man and his wife for Woman, the angels (Malaika) for the forces of nature, Iblees or Shaitan (Devil) for baser human desires.

Man was given autonomy and free will, unlike the forces of nature which do not have any independent will and, therefore, have to be subservient to Allah. Although nothing in ‘nature’ obeys Man, he can obviously learn to channel its workings to his advantage. When Man was made to settle on earth at first his needs were very limited and the means of subsistence plentiful. However, the baser instincts of Man eventually got the better of him. Driven by selfishness, human beings began to live according to their own self-made systems. As a result, they lost their blissful life. Humanity was split into different races, tribes and nations, with enmity amongst them. When man lost his blissful life, he was told:

(7:35) O children of Adam! If messengers of your own come unto you, who narrate unto you My revelations, then whosoever refraineth from evil and amendeth – there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.

(20:124) But he who turneth away from remembrance of Me, his will be a narrow life, and I shall bring him blind to the assembly on the Day of Resurrection.”

According to Ghulam Ahmad Pervez:

‘It is believed that Adam, supposedly the first man created by Allah, (whose story is narrated in the Quran regarding his exit from Jannah) was the first Rasool. This is not supported by any verse of the Holy Quran, neither is the name of Eve (Hawwa) mentioned in the Quran. The story is narrated in a symbolic form and does not pertain to a particular person or a couple; in fact this is the story of mankind and Adam is its representative. The word Adam occurs 25 times in the Quran and only in one place (3:32) it appears that Adam was also the name of a chosen person.’ (Exposition of the Quran, p. 1141.)

Also, see the following post:

Adam and Eve: The Spiritual, not Biological Parents of Humankind


Bucaille, Maurice (1983). What is the Origin of Man? The Answers of Science and the Holy Scriptures. (p. 98, 122-23, 199-201, 212). http://www.islamicweblibrary.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/WhatIsTheOriginOfManMauriceBucailleDr.pdf

 Pervez, Ahmad (2010). Exposition of the Quran. (p. 1141). http://www.islamicweblibrary.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/ExpositionOfHollyQuran.pdf

WordPress. (2021). Adam. A Study of Quran. http://astudyofquran.org/wp/7-the-prophets-and-their-revelations/7-2-adam/