The theory of evolution was at the center of religious debate in the early 1880s and has been ever since. Subsumed in the long debate was the more general issue of the place of natural science in Muslim society. By the late 1870s, Muslims everywhere who were anxious over their powerlessness against the West were looking for political leadership to defend them and their borders. Devout Muslims were also looking for the religious figure of authority who would thwart the continuing marginalization of Islam. Islam endowed Muslims with the power to think for themselves and make their own decisions in accordance with their sound judgment and wisdom. Though Islam was a rational religion embracing science, the Quran was not a book of natural principles but a moral, spiritual and legal guide: Religion resides in the stirrings of the heart. Social tolerance for the natural sciences had already been drained by Muslim philosophers when they uncritically accepted Plato and Aristotle.