Refreshing article on Nature by Rana Dajani, Assistant Professor at the Hashemite University in Jordan, on why she teaches evolution
In teaching, I offer a detailed explanation of the natural evolution of plants and artificial breeding. Later, we discuss antibiotic resistance, influenza vaccines and the development of HIV drugs. After these discussions, most students are willing to accept evolution as a mechanism for the emergence of all species except humans. Many quote evidence from the Koran that is interpreted to mean that Adam — and so humans — were created spontaneously. Human evolution remains taboo because the students are not ready to relinquish the concept that humans were created differently. I remind them that Muslims are warned against arrogance, and that humans are only part of creation.
My take, as a Muslim scientist, is that the Koran asks humans to observe and contemplate the world while celebrating the pursuit of knowledge. It does not validate scientific findings. Science allows us to question and discover how the world works and the Koran provides the moral guidelines for doing so. If an apparent contradiction arises between a scientific finding and an interpretation of the Koran, then we can turn to both science itself (which is evolving) and the interpretation of the Koran (which is not impartial, because it is a human exercise) to account for the discrepancy. This is an ongoing and fluid process, and is part and parcel of the purpose of life for Muslims.