Creation and the Koran

Does the Koran contain an independent account of creation? Or does it rely upon Genesis? Refs / Cites are very helpful here. Looking for a factual answer – not a great debate. Thanks!

The Qur’an does contain a topical account of creation, though not nearly as detailed as Genesis. These are the highlights. I will try to get the cites as soon as possible.

  • God created the Universe from nothing, very very long ago (Muslims hold that the Universe is very old, unlike Christian creationists). Muslims consider the Big Bang to be the mechanism for this.

  • The creation of the Universe took 6 “days”. The equivalent word for “day” in Arabic also means “epoch”. It is generally agreed that these “days” represent millions of years. What happened in these “days” isn’t mentioned as clearly as in Genesis.

  • Importantly, the Qur’an stresses vehemently that God did not “rest” after the 6th day. It stresses very vehemently that God does not get tired and hence does not need to rest.

  • Earth itself was created from a cloud of smoke, which was “seperated” into earth and sky by God. Life on earth started in water. Muslims generally accept that the first living creatures were water-bound.

  • I’m not sure about this, but I think there is mention somewhere that early Earth was not inhabitable. I’ll check for a cite on this (as well as for all points here).

  • Preceding the creation of Man was the creation of what the Muslims call “Jinn” – intelligent creatures not visible to the human eye – and “Mala’ika” – angels. While man is created from “clay-like mud”, jinn were created from “smokeless fire”, and angels were created from light.

  • Incidentally, the Qur’an mentions that Satan (Iblees in Arabic) is not a “fallen angel” but rather a Jinn who used to have particularly high status, until he disobeyed God.

  • It is generally accepted, though not explictly mentioned, that other living things such as common animals, insects, etc. were created far before Man.

  • Adam was the first Man. He was created and then taught by God, and then placed in a “garden” with his wife, Eve (“Hawwa” in Arabic). Modern scholars consider this garden to have been a jungle on earth rather than paradise in heaven.

  • Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat from a certain tree, in return for an easy life in the “garden”. But then goes the story as in the Bible. The difference is that the Qur’an holds Adam primarily responsible (not Eve) for succumbing to temptation.

  • Adam was cast out of the “garden” and humans settled in a single location for several generations (some scholars point to northern Iraq as this location). Humans only dispersed into tribes and spread over the world after the flood of Noah.

  • Incidentally, the flood of Noah is considered a great, albeit limited and local flood (not a universal flood that engulfs the entire globe). After the flood Noah, his sons, and the survivors spread to various parts of the world…

Interestingly, Muslims have their own take on evolution, although a few accept it as being the “mechanism” for creation.

If you’re looking for as much detail as in Genesis – no, the Qur’an doesn’t contain anything like that. It doesn’t refer to Genesis either.

I’m sorry for not including any cites or references here, but I will try to send them in another post as soon as possible. Hope that helps.

Lightkeeper, thank you very much! What a wealth of information!
I am particularly fascinated by the earth not being inhabitable… and also the inclusion of Noah’s role.
BTW, I have an English-translation Koran. Are there any differences in citation style (eg. Surah numbers)?

The citation style commonly used is similar to that used for the bible (i.e. chapter number: verse number). For example the first verse of the first sura would be 1:1.

Caveat though, if you ask any Muslim scholar (or Muslim for that), they’d say that a translated Qur’an is not the Qur’an; it’s rather the translation of someone’s interpretation.

You just can’t critically grasp the meaning unless you can read the original Arabic text. The Arabic used in the Qur’an is actually very precise, despite claims that it’s vague and ambiguous.

Besides the Qur’an, a wealth of information is included in the hadith, many of them being the Prophet’s own commentary on the Qur’anic verses.

Incidentally, the information I mentioned above can be extended to the development of religion. Islam considers previous religions as milestones in the evolution of religion from the scope of a tribe to that of a nation, to that of the entire human race…