On Tuesday, 26th February, the respected Imam Naseem Bajwa of Baitul Futuh Mosque Morden, the largest mosque in Western Europe, will address Imperial College London in a landmark Muslim-Christian Interfaith event: “Who Was Adam?A Muslim-Christian Dialogue on the Origin of Man.”
From a Muslim perspective, the question is of utmost importance in our time, where the debate over whether Islam supports or rejects evolution rages in the minds of young educated Muslims. The issue became particularly contentious when the Independent reported that the Deen Institute’s conference on Islam and Evolution had to be moved from Imperial College to an external hired hall- according to the Deen Institute because of pressure from the wider Muslim Community on the student organisers. A few weeks later the BBC held a debate on evolution, in which the founder of the Islam Channel, who had previously denounced the Conference, said that he had done so because the issue was simply not relevant to Muslims. Yet the question of evolution is one that no inquiring Muslim mind can ignore. For on the one hand the vast majority of Muslim leaders dismiss human evolution as being un-Islamic and unworthy of attention, and on the other, educated Muslims know that science is based on evidence- and how could God produce so much evidence of evolution in nature, and yet reject it in the Holy Qur’an? In other words- how can there be a contradiction between the Act of God, and the Word of God?
For Muslims, the apparent dichotomy boils down to the Story of Adam in the Qur’an, and as such it is this that will be addressed in Who Was Adam? Was Adam (pbuh) literally the first man as is commonly supposed, or was he the first Prophet? Does the Qur’an tell us that he was in Heaven or that he was on Earth? And is there any support in the Qur’an for the principles of evolution? The significance of the Story of Adam is not confined to evolution though. Both the Biblical and Qur’anic accounts raise many spiritual and moral questions which will likewise be addressed by the two speakers at this forthcoming Interfaith event.
Representing the unique evolutionary viewpoint of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community will be Imam Naseem Bajwa of Baitul Futuh Mosque, and representing a Christian perspective will be Father Michel Le Piouff of Morehouse Chaplaincy, the Catholic Chaplaincy Centre for the Universities of London. The two talks will be followed by a Q&A dialogue session chaired by Rev. Andrew Willson, Chaplain of Imperial College. Following on from the main session will be small group Interfaith discussions, (refreshments provided), where audience members can personally discuss the issues raised with each other, and with the speakers themselves.
We hope and pray this event will be a source of guidance to many, and will broaden the horizons of all.
When: Tuesday 26th Feb,
6.15- 7.45pm: Talks + Q&A dialogue
7.45pm: Small- group Interfaith discussions w/refreshments.
Where: Lecture Theatre 311,
Imperial College London,
Nearest tube stn: South Kensington.
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