The Height of Prophet Adam: At the Crossroads of Science and Scripture
by Muntasir Zaman
“In this highly learned, wide-ranging, and meticulously researched study, Muntasir Zaman brings the full weight and sophistication of the Islamic intellectual tradition to bear upon an empirical quandary that, as it turns out, is not an exclusively modern one.”—Carl Sherif El-Tobgui, Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Brandeis University
The conflict between scripture and science is a common source of anxiety for people of faith, and Muslims are no exception. The inability to justify certain matters of Islam in light of current scientific consensus has led some Muslims to doubt their faith. Yet, tension between hadith and other disciplines is not without historical precedent. Since the advent of Islam, Muslim scholars have ruminated over this conflict and formulated methods to resolve it.
The Height of Prophet Adam: At the Crossroads of Science and Scripture explores scholarly efforts to treat the conflict between hadith regarding Prophet Adam’s height and extant empirical data. What may appear as a straightforward hadith about the father of humankind brings to the fore a web of interconnected disciplines: epistemology, science, archeology, the status of the Sahihayn, the evolution of hadith analysis, and the isra’iliyyat. This case study hopes to contribute to two broader conversations: (1) the conflict between science and hadith, a crisis of faith for many Muslims today, and (2) the notion that the scholars of Islam’s rich intellectual history were oblivious to the issues plaguing the minds of modern Muslims.