Some Darwinists maintain that moral understanding is a pre-existing concept in living things, that they possess it from birth, and that there is therefore no need for belief in Allah in order to be ethical (surely Allah is beyond that). As proof of this, they cite examples of self-sacrifice in various living things. But the fact is they are gravely deceived.
Almighty Allah creates human beings on the basis of a specific nature. That nature comprises the finest form of behavior and attitudes that our Lord reveals in the Qur’an. Of course, therefore, human beings will act in accordance with the conscience inspired in them by Allah, in other words, with their nature.
At the same time, however, man is created with selfish desires as part of that nature. As revealed in the Qur’an, “I do not say my self was free from blame. The self indeed commands to evil acts – except for those my Lord has mercy on. My Lord, He is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Surah Yusuf 53)
Since human beings are tested in this world and while the conscience inspires good though earthly passions constantly command evil, they have to make a choice.
It is easy to obey selfish desires that command evil. If a person lets himself go, he can easily wither his conscience and fall prey to features such as selfishness, disloyalty, jealousy and anger that already exist in his nature. If that person does not properly fear from Allah, and if his thought system, surrounding environment and ideology so permit, then there is no reason why he should not fall prey to those desires.
Thus Darwinism turns people away from moral understanding with that part of their natures. Someone who believes in Darwinism develops an ideology by which he comes to believe that all human beings are animals that came into existence by chance, and even that some are less developed than others and that this life is a battleground in which the weak need to be eliminated. Not every Darwinist may hold those views, but the intellectual system developed by Darwinism inevitably encourages people toward such opinions.
In such a climate, oppression, killing and all kinds of unethical behavior may come to be regarded as permissible, and even normal, just as with Hitler, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, who all explicitly stated their passionate adherence to Darwinist ideology. In the absence of fear of Allah, moral collapse, enmity, anger and conflict may grow to the maximum extent.
Being ethical, however, is a virtue calling for effort, endeavor and deep thought. Someone who does not heed his conscience or fear Allah can never achieve that virtue. Whereas someone who fears Allah is someone who loves what He creates. He is someone who adopts the moral values that are pleasing to Allah. And he is someone who acts according to the voice of his conscience. He knows he is tested in this way and that his efforts will receive the finest reward in the hereafter. He therefore takes care over his every action, at every moment of his life, and strives to be virtuous. That is one of the main differences between believers and others.
Being ethical is not, therefore, something that one can acquire “naturally.” Left to his own nature, man cannot escape being the slave of his earthly desires. Only if he reflects deeply and properly appreciates the might of Allah, if he fears Allah as he should, if he knows that he will be held to account for every moment of his life and his every deed and if he feels a profound passion for Allah, can he then possess this deep and excellent moral virtue.
It is also totally inconsistent to cite certain examples of animal behavior in the context of this claim. Animals are unaware of their own existence and merely behave in the manner that Allah inspires in them. An animal that hunts in the most ruthless manner when hungry may also display great self-sacrifice by going days without sleep to protect its young if necessary. That is not because the animal possesses any ethical conception, but because it acts in accordance with Allah’s inspiration.
Animals have no ability to distinguish between good and evil. But human beings do. As revealed in this verse, that ability is given only to those who fear Allah:
You who believe! If you have fear of Allah, He will give you discrimination and erase your bad actions from you and forgive you. Allah’s favor is indeed immense. (Surat al-Anfal, 29)