Does Allah know our future sins

Islam and evolutionary theoryOf monkeys and Allah

Mirza Masroor Ahmad is the caliph of the Muslim religious community of the Ahmadiyya. The spiritual leader of around twelve million Muslims explains human development as follows:

"Darwin's theory is incorrect. In any case, we do not descend from the ape. Yes, there has been evolution, man has evolved. However, there is no direct connection between man and monkey. Man had his own Development, independent of animals. Doesn't it just check that there are still monkeys today - and why did they not evolve? "

This view is very widespread among Muslim clergy, says Michael Blume. The religious scholar points out that the Koran - in contrast to the Judeo-Christian tradition - does not know a coherent story of creation:

"The creation doctrine in the Koran is less specific than in the Bible. It is said that man was created in stages or that he was formed from a drop of blood."

Western science is considered dangerous

But the dramatic Islamic fall into sin - according to Michael Blume - happened at the end of the 15th century, when Sultan Bayezid II banned printing in Arabic script with the threat of the death penalty. The beginning of a freezing process in Islamic science that continues to this day.

"The motive that prevails among Muslims is that Western knowledge is dangerous and conspiratorial, atheistic, materialistic."

This can be seen, for example, in the Nigerian terrorist organization Boko Haram, whose name translates as something like: Western knowledge, Western education is forbidden. This attitude can by no means be derived from the Koran, believes the religious scholar and author Michael Blume. But there is great distrust of science coming from the west or north.

Turkey removes evolution from the curriculum

This can also be observed in Turkey, especially since Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his conservative AKP took power. For example, the number of religious Imam Hatip schools has quintupled within 15 years to 1250 schools. And last year the theory of evolution was removed from the curriculum of all schools in the country.

"Turkey is an example of a state that is heavily influenced by conspiracy beliefs. And it means that in this climate a factual debate about science can hardly take place and that even scientists who profess the theory of evolution expose themselves to uncanny danger . "

There has been mistrust of Western thinking in Turkey not just since the attempted coup (AFP / Adem Altan)

A climate in which the former mufti and later religion critic Turan Dursun was murdered by Islamists in Istanbul in 1990, primarily because he advocated the theory of evolution.

Darwin or Koran?

Mistrust of the theory of evolution is also widespread in the Muslim community in Germany, says Enez. The 27-year-old, who does not want to give his surname, is studying Islamic religious education at the University of Osnabrück:

"The traditional doctrine of creation from the Koran is still more present than the theory of evolution. This has to do with the fact that my parents' generation did not have the need to deal with the theory of evolution."

Not the need, and often hardly any opportunity, in the less well-educated immigrant families of Turkish origin. In the Koran schools of the mosque communities and even in so-called Turkish consulate lessons in German schools, the children and young people only learn something about the Islamic doctrine of creation, says Engin Deniz Yorulmaz. He is a research assistant at the Georg Eckert Institute in Braunschweig for international textbook research.

"For 40 years teachers from Turkey have been sent to schools to teach their mother tongue - with Turkish textbooks. The mother tongue instruction is supposed to help the children who grow up here learn their mother tongue, but it was more likely a religious-nationalistic oriented teaching. It is so that this religious orientation was very present in the schools in Germany. "

In the education ministries of the federal states, there has been a growing awareness of the need to pay more attention to the content that is taught to around 40,000 pupils in their mother tongue by Turkish teachers.

Task for Islamic religion teachers

Great hope is also placed in the local training of future Islamic religion teachers. The Islam students, who mostly come from traditional families, often experience a critical examination of the Koran and its religion for the first time at German universities. The religious scholar Michael Blume:

"It is actually the case that students of Islamic theology sometimes make the leap in one generation that Europe made in two or three centuries. A professor of Islamic theology once described it to me very poignantly, as the students asked him that he shouldn't always ask them to interpret verses themselves. After all, he was the professor, he should say what is right. "

The religious scholar Michael Blume (dpa / Stefanie Järkel)

The break between the doctrine of creation, as it stands in the Koran, which understands man as created by God, and the theory of evolution, for which man is a chance product of development, is precisely this break that many Muslim students perceive as a great challenge. And they needed more support for this, says the student Enez:

"There is still room for improvement in Islamic theology, where the theory of evolution would also have to be commented on, on what could still be worked on."

Jörg Ballnus accompanies the future religion teachers as a lecturer at the Osnabrück Institute for Islamic Theology. He keeps an eye on the curricula of the federal states. There is usually - according to the religious psychological development model - provided that the pupils in grades five and six first deal with the religious doctrine of creation before the scientific theory of evolution is then taught in the ninth and tenth grades. Ballnus advocates a model of dialogue between the natural sciences and theology.

"Of course we would also like to help that the different perspectives of the world explanation - scientific, theological, complementary - come together at the school as a place of learning. That is also the task of religious education."

An Islamic religious instruction that could contribute to the reconciliation between theology and the natural sciences. Because for the religious scholar Michael Blume it is crucial for the future of Islam to make the leap into the modern age:

"Of course you have the same conspiracy myths against evolutionary theories in popular Islam, but on the one hand you have a large part in quiet retreat who have no problem with evolutionary theory, and you have a small part of those who are religiously educated who actually reconcile Islam and evolutionary theory . "