The Quranic Doctrine of the Creation of World and Man
© Vijay Chandra
This article is a Quranic study on the Islamic doctrine of man. I will discuss two issues: the creation of man and the creation of the world.
Is Islam Really Monotheistic?
The Qur’an claims that Islam is monotheistic.
“Say: He is Allah, the One! Allah, the eternally Besought of all! He begetteth not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable Unto Him.” (Qur’an 112).
Many modern scholars have cast doubt on the purity of Islam’s monotheism for many reasons.
First, Allah was only one of 360 gods worshipped at the Kabah.
Second, the creed of Islam says that Allah is “the greatest” among the gods.
Third, al Rub is at times distinct from Allah in the Quran.
Fourth, the daughters of Allah are mentioned in the Qur’an. Although the “Satanic verses” were removed from the text, the fact that they were in the original text is revealing.
Fifth, Adam is worshipped by angels and devils.
Sixth, Muslims live in fear of the Jinn and use magical amulets and spells for protection. These spirits are demi-gods.
Seventh, the Black Stone on the wall of the Kabah is clearly worshipped.
Eighth, Muhammad is portrayed by Islam as sinless and is treated as a demi-god.
The Creation Account in the Qur’an
Though the Qur’an offers no systematic account of the creation of the world, references to God as creator and maker of everything abound.
The Muslims claim ‘He is One, the sole creator, Sovereign and Lord.
Say (O Muhammad): Who is the Lord of the heavens and the earth?
Say: Allah … Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is the One, the Almighty … 13:6
He is Allah, other than whom there is no other God … He is Allah, the Creator, the Shaper out of naught, the Fashioner … 59:22–24
Such is Allah, your Lord, the Creator of all things. There is no God save Him … 40:62; cf. 14:32; 3:189
He creates everything through His Word and Will.… Allah createth what He will. Lo! Allah is Able to do all things (24:45). But His command, when He intendeth a thing, is only that He saith unto it: Be! And it is. (36:82)
He created the heavens and the earth in six days (7:54). He created them with truth (64:3), not in vain (3:191), faultlessly (6:73).
The Arabic word for creation is Khalqah’. The following are the allusions to the creation which occur in the Qur’an Surah 1:37.
“Of old we (God) created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in six days and no weariness touched us.” Surah 11:8;
“Do ye indeed disbelieve in Him who in two days created the earth? Do ye assign Him equals? The Lord of the World is He.”
According to the Traditions (Mish Kat 24:c.i pt3), God created the earth on Saturday, the hills on Sunday, the trees on Monday, all unpleasant things on Tuesday, the light on Wednesday, the beasts on Thursday, and Adam, who was the last of Creation, was created after the time of afternoon prayer on Friday. Hence, today, Muslims have their main prayer on Friday because of the creation of man.
However, the creation account is not according to the Biblical creation, as mentioned in Genesis 1 & 2.
First, the Qur’an contradicts itself as well as the Bible by teaching eight days of creation instead of six. Two plus four plus two equals eight, not six. The question is asked; How many days it take Allah to create the entire world?
Dr. Morey brings out the following issues. When you add up all the days mentioned in Sura 41:9, 10, 12, the Quran says that it took God eight days to create the world (4 days + 2 days + 2days = 8 days), but it took six days (Genesis 1:31). Here again the Quran begins its contradiction of the Bible. However, as Dr. Morey further says that Quran in Suras 7:51 and 10:3, “Surely your Lord is God, who created the heavens and the earth in six days.” If six days is wrong, then eight days is wrong, and hence Sura 41 is wrong.
Using classic Muslim reasoning, they (scholars) respond by saying that the Quran did not say eight days, (then what do we do with Sura 41:9, 10, 12, “Say: What, do you disbelieve in Him who created the earth in two days.”? Verse 10 of Sura 41 says, “So He determined them as seven heavens in two days.…”) Islamic Invasion, pages 137–138 1992, Harvest House Publishing 1992.
The question is asked, Is the Qur’an trustworthy? Is the divine revelation, which Muhammad claims he received it directly from Allah, really divine?
According to Sura 7:156 which says,
“The book was sent down only upon two parties before us, and we have indeed been heedless of their study.”
So the prophet was illiterate. As a merchant, he could probably count and make out letters but he could not read or write fluently.
However, Muhammad contented himself with the belief that his revelations alone were to be the measure of truth. Islam condemns itself with such a claim, calling the truth a lie reveals this religion to be a false one. Jesus called Satan the “father of lies”, (John 8:44).
The Qur’an is a masterwork of Satan, an ingenious mixture of Old and New Testament), of truth and lies that binds all its beliefs in a dangerous imitation of the truth. So, what can we expect from a hallucinating prophet?—A hallucinating Qur’an.
Second, the Biblical account of Creation does not mention specific days but only says that God created all things in six days, (Genesis 2).
Another interesting thing which Mish Kat brings, is that Adam was created on Friday, but this is not according to the Bible because naming of days are not mentioned in the creation account. Genesis 1:26 says, “Let us make man in Our image, according to our likeness; and let them rule.…” (NASB).
Here, in this particular verse, the word ‘Saturday’ is not used, and so, how can the Muslim scholars say this?—They have lied to their fellow Muslims.
In Surah 30:8, it says, “Allah created not the heavens and the earth, and that which is between them, save with truth and for a destined end.…” (Qur’an 30:8).
Allah created the earth and universe through a long systematic process. The Qur’an describes the basic process of the formation of the universe in this way.
“Have not those who disbelieve known that heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them, and We made every living thing of Water?.…” (Qur’an 21:30–31).
These verses of the Qur’an indicate the evolution of the ordered world. The Qur’anic witness further testifies that God created the heavens and the earth and what is between them in six ‘periods’, (not six days as mentioned in Genesis 1 & 2), and no weariness touched Him (Qur’an 50:38). “Lo your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six days.” In my view, the Qur’an contradicts the Bible in regards to the Creation account. The Scripture is very clear that God created all things in six days only and not in long periods as Muslims claim.
If one does not understand the Creation account of the world, then it is very hard for one to understand the Creation account of man. Both go hand in hand. No one can separate the Creation of the World and the Creation account of man from each other. It seems that Muslim scholars have a very vague notion of the creation account.
The Creation of Man
In this section, I will first give a Qur’anic account of the Creation of man, and then proceed to refute it with, and defend, the Biblical account of the Creation of man. My information of the Muslim account of creation will be solely taken from the Qur’an since the Muslims believe that the Qur’an is from Allah.
From scattered passages in the Qur’an, one can deduce something about the Creation of man, after Allah created man out of “potters clay of black mud altered”, He breathed His spirit into him (15:26–29). Some canonical traditions speak of man being created in the image of God. He consists of body and spirit/heart/soul.
The Creation of Adam was, of course, unique. From his rib, his wife was made (39:6). Their descendants, each a Creation of God, are born in a natural way (16:4; 39:6). Both Adam and Eve lived in Paradise prior to the temptation by Satan. The question must be asked; What role has Allah given man as far as his Creation is concerned?
According to the Qur’an, Adam was created as a Khalifa, (vice regent), of God on earth. According to the Holy Qur’an, Allah said to the angels:
“And when thy Lord said unto the angels, ‘Lo! I am about to place a viceroy in the earth’, they said, ‘Will thou place therein one who will do harm therein and shed blood, while we, hymn Thy praise and sanctify Thee?’ He said, ‘Surely know that which ye know not.’ ” (Qur’an 2:30)
According to the Qur’an, another purpose of the Creation of man was: to worship Allah (51:56; cf. 21:19), to be Allah’s servant, and to perform his duty (31:33). Man demonstrates his power and authority on earth by learning from God the names of all Creatures on earth (2:31).
Allah then taught the names of all things and the knowledge of their properties. Although Adam had been taught the names of all things in the presence of angels, they could not recall a single name so they replied, “Be glorified! We have no knowledge saving that which Thou has taught us. Lo! Thou, only, art the Knower, the Wise.” (Qur’an 2:32).
However, Allah had granted man a limited autonomy and finally instructed him to live according to His guidance. As Allah has breathed into man His spirit there is, therefore something in man, which is special, something that man was at least bound to retain in some proportion. That special “thing” is:
a. The intelligence (or knowledge) to discern between right and wrong, good and evil, real and illusory.
b. The will to choose freely between good and bad, true and false, right and evil.
c. The authority to acquire and make use of things around him.
d. The power of speech—to be able to express his worship of his creator.
Some Muslims describe man as the most noble of creation and superior to the angels. Yet man is always subject to the will of God.
“We, even we, created them, and strengthened their frame. And when We will, we can replace them, bringing others like them in their stead.
Lo! This is an Admonishment, that whosever will may choose a way unto the Lord.
Yet, ye will not, unless Allah willeth. Lo! Allah is known, Wise
He maketh whom He will to enter His mercy, and for evil-doers hath prepared a painful doom (76:28–31).
Man’s life on earth is a period of probation (76:2, 3). When he dies he “returns to God” (2:28; 21:35; 32:11) and must account to God for all he has done. Indeed God,
“… hath created life and death that He may try you, which of you is best in conduct.…” (67:2)
For as a responsible creature, he must bear his own burden alone, not that of another man nor can any other bear his burden (17:15; 35:18). On the Day of Judgment Allah will justly judge all mankind and determine their future in either heaven or hell:
“Every soul will taste of death. And ye will be paid on the Day of Resurrection only that which ye have fairly earned.…” (3:185)
A few Quranic verses deserve special attention in any consideration of its teaching about the creation and nature of man.
“Surely We created man of the best statue … (95:4).
So set thy purpose, (O Muhammad) for religion as a man by nature (fitra) upright—the nature (framed) of Allah, in which He hath created man. There is no altering (the laws of) Allah’s creation. That is the right religion, but most men know not.” (30:30)
It is also the Muslim witness that Adam, Allah’s first Khalifa, on earth and the first man in Creation, was also the prophet set for the guidance of mankind.
Since Adam was Allah’s first Khalifa, a prophet, and guide to man, the Angels, (according to Qur’an), are commanded to prostrate themselves before Adam.
“And when We said to the angels: ‘Prostrate yourself before Adam,’ they all prostrated themselves except Satan who in his pride refused and became an unbeliever.” (Surah 2:32)
However, according to Qur’an, the angels are represented generally as God’s messengers; they are like men, His creatures and servants, and worship Him continually. So, if angels are to worship Allah, why would they bow or prostrate themselves before Adam? Also, the angels intercede for man: and they celebrate the praise of their Lord. The question is asked; who is their Lord? Adam or Allah?
Again, the Qur’an is very vague. Iblees, (Satan), the father of the jinn when he (Satan) did not bow, Allah asked, “What hindered you from prostrating thyself?…” the answer Allah received from Iblees (Satan), “I am better than he because thou hast created me of fire and Adam from earth.” According to the Creed of Islam which says “I testify that there is no deity but God.…” Then why would angels prostrate themselves before Adam according to the account of the Creation of man in Genesis. Adam was human, but the Qur’an makes him divine. Adam is deified and Allah is demoted as angels prostrate themselves before Adam.
Prophecy begins with the first man. The first man on earth is given clear guidance and the law to follow, and to pass on to his descendants. This law was, and still is, Islam—submission to Allah.
The first phase of life on earth did not begin the sincere Muslim witness in sin and rebellion against the Creator.
Although Adam and Hauwa were sent from the Heavenly Garden down to earth after Satan’s temptation, they realized their sin and they sought forgiveness from God. They were given the necessary guidance.
Adam was a true Prophet of Allah. They were the first true Muslims. This is clearly revealed in the Qur’an. We now “They said: Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If Thou forgive us not and have not mercy on us, surely we are of the lost.” (Qur’an 7:23)
The merciful Allah sent them down to earth with the words,
“And we said: Fall down, one of you a foe unto other! There shall be for you on earth a habitation and provision for a time.” (Qur’an 2:36)
Nevertheless, man’s presence on earth is not a punishment, but rather a test of his commitment to the will of Allah. Although, He sent them to earth after Satan’s temptation, He certainly forgave them.
The Qur’an says,
“Then Adam received from His Lord words (of salvation), and He relented toward him. Lo! He is the Relenting, the Merciful.” (Qur’an 2:3)
Because Allah is all loving and all merciful, in spite of man’s mistakes, Allah assured him guidance. He said,
“Go down, all of you, from hence; but verily there cometh unto you from Me a guidance; and whoso followeth my guidance, there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.” (Qur’an 2:28)
Therefore, the first man was given both inspiration and guidance for the whole of mankind. Allah assures man that anybody who follows this guidance will be free from any fear for the present or the future and any grief for the past.
Now, since I gleaned from the Qur’an the creation account of the world and man, I will refute it.
Both Islam and Christianity recognize that nature is a wonderful creation of God. Nevertheless, there seems to be some differences also between the Muslim and Christian understanding of nature.
For example, in Islam we have seen that God taught man the name of all things; in the Biblical account we read that man was commanded to name the animals (Genesis 2:20).
In Islam, man is the Khalifa of God on earth; in Christianity, he is commanded to have dominion over the earth. Does this suggest that in the Biblical account, man is given considerable personal freedom, authority, and responsibility to use nature for his own good? However, the Bible does warn that man lives most joyously in his relationships to the nature when he is also living in a right and joyous relationship with God.
The Muslims must understand that the purpose of the Bible is to reveal the meaning of life; it is not a book of scientific information. In the Bible, we read that God commanded man to ‘subdue; fill; till; rule, take care of the earth.’ The Bible nowhere says that Adam was a Prophet, another contradiction.
What is man? That is the question. What does it mean for man to receive the “Spirit of God”? Certainly, it does not mean that man is the highest creation, just as Islam teaches (cf. Hebrews 2:7).
The Christian witness enlarges on the Islamic belief that man received the Spirit of God when he was created (Genesis 2:7, 1:27. Man created in the image of God does not mean that God looks like man or that man looks like God.)
The Islamic scholars have a faulty view of the Bible and they have put their own ideas and reasons into the Scriptures.
The Qur’anic creation account of the world and man is faulty. It should be rejected.
Anberry, A.J: The Koran Translated: New York, Oxford University Press, 1982.
Dawood, N.J: The Koran: Translated with Notes, Middlesex, England, Penguin Books, 1981.
Gibb, H.A.R: Mohammedanism: New York, Oxford University Press, 1982.
Goldziher, I: Introduction to Islamic and Law: New York, Princeton University Press, 1981.
Hughs, T.P: A Dictionary of Islam: London, W.H. Allen & Company, 1885 (Reprinted).
Musk, B: The Unseen Face of Islam: Kent, England, Monarch Publication, 1992.
Masih, Ahd Al: Islam: Villach, Austria, Light of Life Pub., 1981.
Morey, R.A: Islamic Invasion: Las Vegas: Christian Scholars Press, 2005).
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Rodinson, M: Mohammed: Middlesex, England, Penguin Bks Ltd., 1968.
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[Posted here at Real Bible Study by permission of the copyright holder, Vijay Chandra. This article appeared in the (2008) Journal of Biblical Apologetics: Volume 11, pp. 125-133.]