Fossils in the Holy Qur’an

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Islamic Medicine
Staff member
Fossils in the Holy Qur’an

Fossils are remains and traces of organisms preserved from the geologic past, and include footprints, ripple marks and other imprints, as well as fuels.

The uses of fossils are many. Clear fossil records are of major importance to geologists for they permit the correlation and dating of sedimentary rocks the world over. They also help in determining the environment under which stratified deposits were laid down. For instance, the presence of marine organisms in a fossil proves that the enclosing sediments were laid down on the sea floor – once upon a time during the geologic past. Therefore, such fossils found inland and even on mountain crests were once a part of the sea floor. On the other hand, the presence of land animals and plants on the sea floor proves that their deposition took place on land and was then covered up by the sea.

The presence of fossil coral reefs signifies a warm and shallow sea floor. The presence of organisms on dark shale or limestone suggests deep water and foul, stagnant bottoms in which these organisms could not survive.

Certain types of vegetation indicate swampy lowlands, whereas buried stumps and standing tree trunks indicate rapid deposition and quick burial on flood plains.

The science of paleogeography studies fossil records to determine the geography of the past, including climatic conditions and environments. All the deposits of a given age can be correlated for an entire continent or the earth, and it is possible to construct a map showing the distribution of land or seas in a particular geologic age for a limited region.

Most importantly, fossils give a record of life as it existed in the geologic past. The already vast amount of knowledge of the past gained from fossil records grows as more and more fossils are discovered.

Rarely were soft-bodied organisms preserved. There are numerous groups of animals and plants whose geologic history is practically unknown. Recently, however, in different parts of the world, evidence has been found in the oldest known pre-Cambrian rocks of microorganisms – possibly of the algal type – which have been dated by radioactive means as being two billion years old.

Fossils of animals that possess hard parts like skeletons, shells, and woody tissue have been discovered from the Cambrian period onwards.

In regions where deposition continued for a long period of time, fossils from successive horizons indicate an orderly and progressive change in the morphology of different groups of animals and plants.

There have also been discoveries of the unaltered remains of extinct mammals, such as the wooly mammoths that resemble modern day elephants, in cold regions where they have apparently been for perhaps hundreds of thousands of years. The Beresovaka mammoth found in Eastern Siberia in 1901 had clotted blood on its chest and food in its mouth. Part of its flesh was still red, and the geologists’ team of dogs eagerly devoured it.

In Poland, entire carcasses of the extinct wooly rhinoceros have been found preserved in oil seeps. Such preservation of animal tissues is limited, however, to glacial and postglacial deposits. Fossil wood is far more durable – being found unaltered in rocks from a few hundred million years back.

One might ask why scientists are so interested in studying fossil records. At the root of their interests lies their insatiable desire to explain the origin of life. However, the origin of life is clearly revealed in the Holy Qur'an, Sura Anbiyaa (21), Ayat 30, which reads, “And we made from water every living thing; will they (the scientists, the atheists and the agnostics) then not believe?”

Islamic theologians interpret this verse as meaning that protoplasm, the basis of all living matter, depends on the constant presence of water, and its major constituent is water.

This may be so, but there is another simpler interpretation of that verse: billions of years ago, by an act of Allah Almighty, primeval matter in the sea began to generate protoplasm out of which came single-celled and multi-cellular organisms. In other words, all life came from the sea - i.e., from water.

A similar verse elsewhere in the Qur'an, Sura Nur (24), Ayat 45, elaborates the above theme,
“And Allah has created animals from water; of them, there are some that creep on their bellies, some that walk on two legs, and some that walk on four. Allah creates what He wills; for verily Allah has power over all things.”

While geologists and fossil records confirm the fact of all life originating from water, and of sea animals outdating land animals, the difference between the two views is that the Holy Qur'an clearly states that all animals were "created" by Allah in a Divine Act, whereas scientists tell us they "evolved" from a single ancestor over the passage of time.

They have yet to prove this theory of evolution. Inconsistencies in fossil records and missing links between their “connecting groups” deny them this opportunity.

And, their inability to prove their theories is confirmation that all creatures have indeed been "created" by an act of Allah as revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SAW), who was both unread and unlettered, fourteen centuries ago.

It is not difficult to realize that Allah’s words from Sura Anbiyaa cited above are clearly an appeal to today’s scientists – geologists, paleontologists, and evolutionists – to recognize and acknowledge the existence of Allah as Creator of everything. Their real import was clearly not for the desert dwellers of Makkah and Madinah fourteen hundred years ago, who could not have appreciated their true meaning as we can today.

Even yet, most scientists continue to deny Allah’s existence, for they have allowed their egos to overshadow their sense of logic. They continue their elaborate, costly, and time-consuming experiments (to be discussed further in a subsequent article), which should have, but hasn’t, forced them to conclude that all living things are “created” rather than “evolved.”
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