OLD TEXTS, NEW MASKS: A CRITICAL REVIEW OF MISREADING EVOLUTION ONTO HISTORICAL ISLAMIC TEXTS: with Shoaib Ahmed Malik, “Old Texts, New Masks: A Critical Review of Misreading Evolution onto Historical Islamic Texts”; and James Henry Collin, “Soul Making, Theosis, and Evolutionary History: An Irenaean Approach.”

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© 2019 by the Joint Publication Board of Zygon With the increasing interest in Islam and evolution, some Islamic thinkers have vehemently rejected evolution, while others have eagerly embraced it. However, those seeking to embrace evolution sometimes err in their interpretation of historical writings. Indeed, there are texts written by famous historical scholars of Islam who seem to suggest that humans have evolved from lower forms of species. These include Ibn Khaldūn, Jalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī, al-Jāhiz, and The Brethren of Purity (Ikhwān al Safā). Although this may be true, such readings are a mistaken interpretation of the aforementioned authors who are actually referring to some form of the scalae naturae (the Great Chain of Being). This reference to the Great Chain of Being is unknown to some contemporary readers who mistakenly believe these writers to be discussing an evolutionary or a proto-evolutionary theory. This article demonstrates how and why these historical records do not actually represent any notion of evolution as it is currently understood, in the hope of avoiding any further erroneous claims that seem to be proliferating among modern thinkers.

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Author First name, Last name, Institution

Shoaib Ahmed Malik, Zayed University