Book Review by Mousa A. Btoosh, Fahad Bin Sultan University, KSA
book makes a new significant attempt to the understanding of numerous controversial
issues related to life and human origins by presenting some religious beliefs mentioned
in the Quran, trying to prove them in the presence of the existing knowledge in
different fields. Jamshed Akhtar, the author, uses the revealed knowledge to
present an alternative source of information that can open cosmos for us and
guide us to make this world a better place. The author asserts that the Quran
guides us towards some of the research models and rejects other possible
explanations informing us, in cooperation with the rational knowledge, what is
really happening. Accordingly, the Quran reveals some information that is
verifiable and others that cannot be verified with our present level of
knowledge and technology. Recent developments in science and technology have
been used in this debate to reach a convergent opinion that could be convincing
book, which encompasses a multitude of
important topics, is clear, informative and
communicative combing the revealed knowledge with the scientific one in a lucid
way. In addition to the introduction, the book consists of five parts, each
dedicated to a major theme.
Introduction sets the scene by providing answers to the following
questions which have transfixed scientists, philosophers and people in general.
Who are we and from where have we come?
How did the universe, the earth, life, and time
What came before the universe, and what lies
The answers of these
questions, according to the author, could be based on our religious beliefs
especially for Muslims while for others they are derived from the scientific methods
that involve observations and investigations. So, the aim of the book is to consolidate
these divergent opinions into a single vision that could be convincing for all.
search for our “Origins” goes under severe debate. The author tries to present
the diverse disciplines to clarify how “Revealed Knowledge” can help in the
scientific investigations that are occurring globally.
also tries to combine the information mentioned in the Quran and the Bible which
is considered the only source of revealed information for the Western World,
the torchbearers of science in the modern world. Muslims, on the other hand, believe
that “Scriptures from heavens do not need certificates from science”.
Accordingly, the author presents some pieces of information that satisfy all;
Muslims, Christians, Jews and even atheists.
I: “Transmission or Inspiration” begins with the examination of reports that
exist in ancient manuscripts concerning the “Transmission of Revelations”; some
of these are:
The extreme pain in the process of revelations
The low volume and high frequency hum
The virtual mass during the phenomenon
The presence of small protuberance
author draws on these and other points to prove the credibility of the records
revealed to Prophet Muhammad showing that they are real and cannot be falsified.
After that, he moves on to talk about the ways followed to record and preserve
the revelation; the Prophet Muhammad directed his companions to write the
revelation down in its exact placement, in addition to other directions such as
memorization or revising it in Ramadan. This part closes with comments on how
these revelations were recorded and preserved in a written manuscript and the
official copies that were made from the first manuscript during Abu Baker,
Omar, Othman and Ali eras.
second part “Birth of Life from Dust and its Journey towards Man” introduces
the audience to the pointers mentioned in the 1400 year old text, the Quran;
these pointers revealed information that was unknown in the 7th
century. The information pertains to the origin of life and man and provides
answers to the queries related to:
How life arose on the planet
Where, when, and how the first man appeared on
author presents a comprehensive account of how the revealed knowledge can
provide answer to many questions related to the creation of life and first man
and how can we benefit from the combination between the “Revealed” and
“Rational” Knowledge. By so doing, he provides answers to several relevant queries
that are troubling scientists. The author also explores the difficulties that
may face researches while trying to combine the sources of knowledge. Then he
moves to mention several pointers on the birth of life and man that can help us
differentiate and understand the pronouncements of the Quran on: The child
birth, the creation and evolution of life, and its linkage with the
on his thorough investigation of the collected Quranic verses on the creation
of man, the author has concluded a number of strange pointers. He also offers
evidence from both Quran and scientific views and theories to relate them
2nd part concludes with the following:
Man and plants have been similarly produced
from the earth.
Man was given shape after its creation and was
made to stand up under a most beautiful plan.
Basic components were dust.
The actual process began from clay in which “a
small quantity of liquid played an important part”.
The process occurred in a fixed place within a
time period known only to the creator.
The verses reveal different stages with the
gradual domination of organic molecules.
Life acquired clear shape with internal support
from a structure of bone covered with tissues and muscles.
The ability to generate sound was created in
part closes with a crucial concept, namely, the fractal attribute, information
within information, of the verses is the specific quality of “Revelation”. This
attribute was needed to reveal a guidance of gradually increasing complexity
for different periods, drawn from the same statements and words, which could be
understood and interpreted through attainment of a higher knowledge base.
with the debate on the origin of life, the appearance of modern man
on earth has also become the subject of intense discussion. The third part “How,
Where and When the Modern Humans were Created” discusses several concepts and
arguments related to the creation of the modern human such as microevolution
refers to a change in the genetic characteristics of a population without the
development of new species. Macroevolution, on the other hand, occurs
when one species changes into another.
discussing such terms, the author moves to center on two hypotheses regarding
the origin of modern humans, namely: “Regional Continuity Model” and “Out of
Africa Scenario”. Investigating them, the author concludes that the majority of
anatomical, archeological and genetic evidence gives credence to the view that those
fully modern humans are a relatively recent evolutionary phenomenon. The
current best explanation for the beginning of modern humans is the Out of Africa
Model that postulates a single African origin of Homo sapiens.
the author compares between “Secular Evolutionism” ,that explains the origins
of the world and man from a purely naturalistic prospective, without involving
God, and Creationism, which is
associated with beliefs that conflict with the theory of evolution by natural
selection, with an emphasis on scriptures over other sources of knowledge.
the end of this part, the author presents some information from the Quran on
the birth of the First human pair. He presents some traditional religious
beliefs, and talks about the unique cases of Adam and Jesus. The author also
discusses other issues such as “Satan” “Jennat”; trying to answer the question
of whether Adam’s Jennat is the same as God promised the believers after the Day
of Judgment. The last section of this part is solely devoted to the “Mystery of
IV: “Mystery of Jinn” draws attention to some pointers provided in the text of
the Quran on the birth of life and man. The Quran, according to the author,
guides us towards some research models, and rejects other alternative
explanations to reveal how life may have arisen from dust, and what may have
happened with First Man.
answers of some questions can be found if we study the mention of “Hidden
Beings” in the Quran, popularly known as Jinn; some of these questions are:
How did the life progress from stage to stage?
Was there an external agency involved?
If one was involved, why do not we find signs
of its presence on the earth?
the Quran corroborates the existence of Jinn on earth, the author discusses the
term of “Jinn” in different cultures.
Quran accepts the presence of Jinn, and some pointers regarding the “Jinn” and
their origin were mentioned, some of these pointers are:
They were created before man.
They are hidden from us.
Their creation process followed a different
route; fire of a scorching wind.
The Jinn were included in God’s command to
angels regarding man.
this context, the author refers to an interesting fact mentioned in the Quran clarifying
that the creation of man was comparatively more complex than the creation of
section finishes with some elaboration on “Satan” and “Man”, illustrating that
the Quran confirms that the “Satan” and the “Guidance” are both real. Satan
is an energy based life, coexisting with us, whom we cannot see, but who can
influence our minds. Man, on the other hand, has been designed weak as it was
mentioned in Adam’s story in Jennat.
V: “Suggestion of a Mechanism for Verification of the Information in Revelations”
begins with a broad definition of ‘Scepticism’. That is, our belief about any
given matter should be subjected to intense scrutiny, and then using a scale of
probability, we should accept or reject the likelihood of its truth or
falsehood. To a sceptic, the reality of revealed knowledge is an unacceptable
concept, for example the claim of non human origin doesn’t have any credible
author proceeds to discuss Dembiski criteria of detection an intelligence
cause: Actualization, Exclusion, Specification and Complexity principles.
Applying these criteria to the complex hints, a head of their time, present in
the Quran, we may conclude that the human or non human origin of the revealed
knowledge can be ascertained more objectively and according to a scale of
author concludes the book by emphasizing that many questions will be answered
and some information we need will be brought, though we don’t have the rational
means to acquire, if we become convinced about the reality of revealed
Search of Our Origins: How the Quran Can Help in Scientific Research
makes a very useful contribution to the
literature on the revealed knowledge, in general. The book, which presents a
multi-faceted examination of the revealed knowledge in the Quran and other
religious scriptures concerning the origin of life and man, and how the revealed
knowledge presents an alternative source of knowledge that can help in
scientific research, is well-conceived, planned, and executed.
This book is also easy
to read and understand. It covers a wide variety of interrelated topics and expands the horizons of
this field by focusing on the epistemological study of the relevant Quranic
verses. The explanations throughout
the book are clear and do not require the reader to have a certain level of religious background
or linguistic knowledge.