About 1000 years before Charles Darwin wrote a book on how animals change through a process he called « natural selection, » a Muslim philosopher living in Iraq named Al-Jahiz had already preceded him. .
British scientist Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is one of the cornerstones of modern science.
The idea that species gradually change over time through a mechanism called natural selection has revolutionized our understanding of the living world.
But it seems that the theory of evolution itself also has an ancestor in the Islamic world.
His real name Abu Usman Amr Bahr Bahr Alkanani al-Basri is remembered by history by his nickname, Al-Jahiz, which means someone whose eyes seem to be sticking out of their sockets.
His most famous work, The Book of Animals, is designed as an encyclopedia featuring 350 animals, in which Al-Jahiz presents ideas that bear a striking resemblance to Darwin’s theory of evolution.
« Animals engage in a struggle for existence and for resources, to avoid being eaten and to reproduce, » writes Al-Jahiz, « environmental factors influence organisms to develop new characteristics to ensure their survival. survival, thus transforming them into new species ”.
He adds, “Animals that survive to reproduce can pass their characteristics on to their offspring. «
It was clear to Al-Jahiz that the living world was in constant struggle for survival and that one species was always stronger than another.
Charles Darwin rightly deserves his reputation as a scientist who has spent years traveling and observing the natural world, and who founded his theory with unprecedented precision and clarity to transform the way we see the world.