[Imran N. Hossein]
THE QUR’AN AND TIME
The very essence of time as divinely taught in Sūrah al-Kahf of the Qur’ān, and as interpreted in this essay, is that it is complex and multi-dimensional. There is a multi-dimensional movement of time as it passes through the ages. Only the faithful and righteous are endowed with Nur (i.e.,light) which gives them the capacity to penetrate the reality of time. In a very famous Sūrah of the Qur’ān (i.e., al-Asr) named after time, Allah Most Wise warns that all except the believers would be at sea about this subject. They would be in a state of loss because of their incapacity to fathom the subject of time and thus to swim gracefully with the river of time as it flows to a destination which would witness the final triumph of Truth over falsehood (See Qur’ān, al-‘Asr, 103:13).
The youths in Sūrah al-Kahf thought that their 300 year long stay in the cave lasted just a day or part of a day because every spiritual experience and contact with the eternal transports us to a world in which we lose track of time (i.e., the ‘here and now’ or the ‘moment’). Whoever breaks the barrier that imprisons us in the prison of the ‘here’ and ‘now’, can experience timelessness. Only true love for Allah Most High and sincere devotion to the religion of truth can break the barrier of time.
This article argues that none can understand time, unless he first liberates the mind from the prison of the ‘here and now’ and penetrates the different worlds of time.
All, save those who have faith in Allah Most High, remain imprisoned in the consciousness of only one dimension of time. When those who are devoid of faith are raised on the Last Day, veils will be removed from their eyes so they will see with a sharpness of vision hitherto not possible. That new sharpness of vision, inturn, would reveal to them something of the reality of time.
The Qur’ān has described a people who would one day be forced out of that prison of time to see the real world. Even though they may have lived for scores of years in this life, yet after their resurrection into a new world (which would be ghair al-ardh, i.e., different from the present order of creation; see Qur’ān, Ibrāhim, 14:48), they would themselves be conscious of the new dimension of time into which they have been reborn. They will then declare that the scores of years in their previous life seem like “a day or part of a day”:
(It will be said) “You were heedless of this (Day of Judgement), now have We removed thy veil, and sharp is thy sight this Day! (And one of the first things that they now see with their sharp sight would be the reality of ‘time’.)” [Qur’ān, Qāf, 50:22]
He will ask (those who are doomed): “What number of years did you stay on earth?” They will answer: “We have spent there a day or part of a day: but ask those who (are able to) count time. ”He will say: “Ye stayed not but a little if ye had only known!” [Qur’ān, al-Muminūn, 23:112-114]
On the Day that the Hour (of reckoning) will be established the transgressors will swear that they tarried not but an hour: thus were they used to being deluded! But those enbued with knowledge and faith will say: “Indeed ye did tarry within Allah’s Decree to the Day of Resurrection and this is the Day of Resurrection: but ye were not aware!” [Qur’ān, al-Room, 30:55-56]
These verses of the Qur’ān reveal a relationship between ‘faith’ and time such that those who possess faith would penetrate the reality of time. The depth of penetration of that reality would be a measure of ‘faith’.
Beyond ‘literal time’
Infact, space and time are both multi-dimensional. And heaven and hell both exist as real localities, and not just as states, in dimensions of space and time other than the one in which we now live. In this important chapter we attempt to explain time in a manner that would hopefully encourage the skeptics to revisit their views on the subject.
Allah Most High has declared that He created the entire earth in two days, and both the heavens and the earth in six days. These could not be ‘days’ as literally understood by us since such ‘days’ came into being only after the creation of both the heavens and the earth:
“Say: Is it that you deny Him Who created the earth in two Days? And do you join equals with Him? He is the Lord of (all) the Worlds.” [Qur’ān, Fussilāt, 41:9]
“Verily your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days and is firmly established on the Throne (of authority) regulating and governing all things. No intercessor (can plead with Him) except after His leave (hath been obtained). This is Allah your Lord; You should serve Him. Will you not celebrate His praises?” [Qur’ān, Yūnus, 10:3]
That there is more to ‘time’ than that which is literally understood is also clear from the following statement of the blessed Prophet (sallalahu ‘alaihi wasallam):
“Narrated Abu Dhar: I asked, O Allah’s Messenger! Which Masjid was first built on the surface of the earth? He replied, al-Masjid al- Harām (in Makkah). I (then) asked, which was built next? He replied, The Masjid of al-Aqsā (in Jerusalem). I (then) asked, what was the period of time which elapsed between the construction of the two? He said, Forty years. He added, Wherever (you maybe, and) the prayer time becomes due, perform the prayer there, for the best thing is to do so (i.e.to offer the prayers on time).” [Sahīh Bukhāri]
If we understand ‘time’ (forty years) in this Hadīth literally then the Hadīth would be manifestly false. It requires just a little reflection for one to understand that the blessed Messenger of Allah (sallalahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was not referring in this Hadīth to a ‘year’ in the sense of twelve lunar months. When he spoke in this Hadīth of that period of ‘forty’ years, and when he referred in the Hadīth concerning Dajjāl, to a ‘day’ like a ‘year’, he was not referring to a ‘year’ as we know a ‘year’.
Well then, we ask, what kind of a ‘year’ was he referring to when he described a period of time that history has recorded as more than a thousand years long, to be just ‘forty’ years in duration? It is impossible for the statement concerning the 40 day lifespan of Dajjāl on earth (or the forty years which elapsed between the building of the two Masājid) to be understood if we limit ourselves to our human notion of ‘time’. Such is derived from our sense perception of ‘night’ and of ‘day’ and of the movement of the sun and the moon.
Those bound to the western epistemology cannot interpret it, though quantum physics might shed some light on the matter. Nor can the Ahadīth concerning Dajjāl etc., be understood by those who are imprisoned in the literal interpretation of that which ought to be symbolically interpreted. Infact, it is only the Sufi epistemology that can unlock the subject of Dajjāl!
We can understand literally ‘a day ’ (youm) which would be like our day (youm)’. Such a ‘day’ (youm) would comprise a ‘night’ (lail) and the following ‘day’ (nahār), in other words from ‘sunset’ to ‘sunset’. Dajjāl would be in our dimension of time, in ‘days like our days’, when he would be at the end of his life on earth. That is quite clear! Whoever is in our dimension of time must, it would appear, also be in our dimension of space. This is what the historical record indicates. We have no evidence in history of any one being in our dimension of time but not in our dimension of space. Because of Dajjāl being in our dimension of time, as well as space, at the end of his life on earth, it would be possible for us to see him in Jerusalem.
The question which arises is: where on earth would Dajjāl be during the period of a ‘day like a year’, and then a ‘day like a month’ and finally, a ‘day like a week’? The second question is how long would ‘a day like a year’ last–then ‘a day like a month’–then, ‘a day like a week’? This important article attempts to respond to those questions.
Al Ghaib – The Unseen Transcendental World
Religion has always affirmed the existence of unseen transcendental worlds which exist beyond (normal) observation and, hence, scientific enquiry, in dimensions of space and time other than our own (al-Ghaib), and has always required of believers that they believe in these unseen worlds.
When Dajjāl is in a ‘day’ other than ‘our day’ it would not be possible for us to see him (even though he would be on earth) since he would be in a different dimension of existence in that unseen world (al-Ghaib). This is precisely the case with Angels and Jinn who are on earth and yet cannot be seen by human beings. The Qur’ān has declared that there are two angels (on the shoulders of) each human being:
“But verily over you (are appointed angels) to protect you, kind and honourable; writing down (your deeds): they know (and understand) all that ye do.” [Qur’ān, al-Infitār, 82:10-12]
It has further informed us that there is an evil Jinn (i.e., a Satan) who is attached to every such human being who turns away from the Dhikr (remembrance) of his Lord God:
“If anyone withdraws himself from remembrance of (Allah) Most Gracious, We appoint for him a Satan (i.e., a disbelieving Jinn) to be an intimate companion to him.” [Qur’ān, al-Zukhruf, 43:36]
Even though we cannot see those Angels and Jinn who are around us, yet every believer believes in their existence here on earth! Here is evidence of our belief in dimensions of existence, and, hence, of worlds of space and time other than our own, existing alongside our own world of space and time here on earth.
Not only do we believe in such dimensions which transcend our normal experience, but we also have incontrovertible evidence that an Angel can enter into our dimension and so appear in our world of space and time that we can see him with our eyes. This was demonstrated on several occasions by the Angel Gabriel (‘alaihissalām). Here is one such occasion:
Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar ibn al Khattāb: My father, Umar ibn al Khattāb, told me: One day we were sitting in the Masjid when there appeared before us a man dressed in pure white clothes, his hair extraordinarily black. There were no signs of travel on him. None amongst us recognized him. He eventually sat with the Apostle (peace be upon him). He knelt before him, placed his palms on his thighs, and (proceeded to ask five questions)…. (The narrator of the Hadīth, Umar ibn al Khattāb) said: Then he (the inquirer) went on his way but I stayed with him (the Holy Prophet) for along while. He then asked me: Umar, do you know who this inquirer was? I replied: Allah and His Apostle know best. He (the Holy Prophet) remarked: He was Gabriel (the Angel). He came to you in order to instruct you in matters of religion. [Sahīh Muslim]
This event qualifies as, perhaps, the most amazing occasion in history in which an angel assumed human form while entering into the dimension of space and time in which human beings exist, hence becoming visible and tangible to them.
A Jinn can also assume human form and enter into the human world of space and time. The most famous incident of such was the appearance of Iblīs (i.e.,Satan) in the person of an old Arab man, at the gathering assembled by the Quraish to formulate policy which would solve the problem caused by Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wasallam):
“Satan (i.e.,Iblīs) himself greeted them at the door of their meeting place in the guise of an aged sheikh, dressed in a cloak. When they asked him who he was, he replied: ‘A sheikh who has heard of your intended discussion and has come to listen to what you say; and perhaps my opinion and advice will not be lost upon you. ’So he entered with them.” [Ibn Ishaq, Sīrat RasūlAllah, Tr. By Alfred Guillaume, Ox. Univ. Press. 1955 p.221]
Now, can we use authoritative sources to explain the existence of dimensions of time other than our own? Can we explain ‘a day like a year’?
Since the Qur’ān declares of itself that it explains all things (Qur’ān, al-Nahl,16:89), the implication is that it must explain those statements of the blessed Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) which are beyond normal human understanding. Our purpose in this essay is to turn to the Qur’ān in an effort to locate the explanation of this enigmatic Hadīth concerning the 40 day lifespan (on earth) of Dajjāl, the False Messiah.
‘Time’ existed when we did not
Islam has taught that there was a time when mankind did not exist and that all of mankind was created as an act of divine grace at a moment in time; thus time pre-existed mankind. Islam has also taught that a time would come when everything would perish and only the divine countenance would remain. (Qur’ān, al-Rahmān, 55:267); hence time would continue to exist even when mankind no longer exists. Consider the following verse:
“Has there not been over Man a long period of time when he was not a thing of which mention could be made (i.e.,non-existent)?” [Qur’ān, al-Dahr,76:1]
Secondly, Islam has taught that mankind was originally created and placed in al-Jannah (paradise) in a dimension of time other than the biological time in which we are now located and in which we grow old. And it was in consequence of an act of disobedience of a divine command that mankind was expelled from that dimension of time and placed temporarily in this dimension of time in which we now exist.
The implication is that while mankind possesses a reality that is dependent on time, time possesses a reality that is independent of mankind. What is the reality of time? Allah Most High has declared of Himself that He is time:
Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah’s Apostle said, Allah said, “The offspring of Adam abuse Dahr (Time), and I am Dahr (Time); in My Hands are the night and the day!” [Sahīh Bukhāri]
Sacred ‘time’ and the modern godless age
It is a basic characteristic of the modern godless age that it uses every possible trick to try to destroy the harmonious natural link between time and life as ordained in Islam, the one true religion. It thus seeks to corrupt our perception of time as well as our capacity to measure time in any other than a mechanical way. In fact that godless age seeks to replace our natural sacred conception of time with a secular conception of time.
The modern godless Euro-Christian and Euro-Jewish age has, for example, renamed all twelve months of the year, from ‘January’ to ‘December’, and all seven days of the week, from ‘Sunday’ to ‘Saturday’, with the names of pagan European gods and goddesses. That did not occur by accident. It has nevertheless escaped the attention of modern Islamic scholarship.
Also, a day no longer ends with the spectacular and dramatic event of sunset, as it naturally does. Instead, it now ends at midnight and a new day consequently begins at that totally irrelevant, inconsequential and meaningless moment in time when the overwhelming majority of people are asleep.
A new month no longer begins and a previous month ends as nature has ordained, with the excitement and the incomparable splendor and beauty of a slender new moon gracefully adorning the sky just after sunset. Rather, the length of each month was arbitrarily determined by a European Pope. Some months were arbitrarily assigned 30 days, and others stuffed with 31, while hapless February suffered the abiding embarrassment of being sometimes this (i.e., 28 days) and sometimes that (i.e., 29 days).
Even a day is no longer divided into parts that bear some relationship to the movement of the sun, as in the passage from false dawn to true dawn, to sparkling early morning light, to the bright light of the day, and then to the declining sun, fading light, and to twilight, moonlight, starlight, dark night and intense darkness, etc. Rather a mechanical passage of time is now regulated through the entirely arbitrary division of a day and night into 24 equal parts called hours, and each hour into 60 equal parts called minutes, etc. A misplaced sense of convenience and a quest for the efficient exploitation of time for mundane purposes took precedence over that sacred precise passage of a day.
Sacred time functioned as a strategically important system of signs and symbols beckoning the human soul to the world of the sacred. Sacred time thus helped us to produce sages. The secularization and consequent mechanization of time broke those links with the world of the sacred and confined the importance of time to its functional material worldly utility.
It is also no accident that the cemeteries of modern cities are located far outside those cities and towns. The hidden purpose is to imprison the mind and heart in the life of this world and, in the process, to cause us forget about death, about life beyond death and, consequently, about other dimensions of time.
Television and the rest of the news media are used to manipulate news and events in such wise as to imprison mankind in the tyranny of the ‘moment’. Images and stories flash across the television screen with a rapidity that distorts, reduces and eventually destroys the mind’s capacity to ponder and reflect. Most people are hence reduced to living mindlessly, day to day and moment to moment. Yesterday fades away and no longer impacts on the consciousness. Tomorrow is but an extension of today’s fantasies.
The entirely predictable consequence has been that people have lost the capacity to connect the past with the present. Nor can they anticipate a future that would add up to make a meaningful whole. They cannot read and understand the movement of history. They are not even conscious of the movement of time in history. Hence they cannot recognize, nor understand, a mysteriously unfolding imperial agenda in the Holy Land, as well as in the world at large, that a strange Euro-Christian and Euro-Jewish alliance has been pursuing for centuries.
That agenda is about to culminate with the Euro-Jewish State of Israel emerging as the third and last ruling State in the world, and with someone ruling the world from Jerusalem and declaring himself to be the true Messiah. That is the ultimate deception! Yet the modern age has mysteriously succeeded, and amazingly so, in pursuading so many in the world of Islam to slavishly imitate and follow that strange Euro-Christian and Euro-Jewish alliance’s modern western civilization down into the proverbial lizard’s hole.
‘Time’ and Signs of the Last Day
True religion exists when ‘truth’ penetrates and then resides in the heart. The manner in which we measure the passage of time is a matter of great importance indeed since it reveals the kind of heart a person has. Among the Signs of the Last Day as disclosed by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is that:
“Time would move faster, so that a whole year would pass like a month, a month would pass like a week, a week like a day, a day like an hour, and an hour like the amount of time it takes to kindle a fire.” [Narrated by Anas ibn Malik and transmitted in the Sunan of Tirmīdhī]
He explained that the perception of time moving faster would be in consequence of the ‘remembrance’ of Allah Most High (Dhikr) departing from the heart, and a pre-occupation with the worldly life (Dunyah) taking exclusive possession of the heart. Such hearts would not be bothered in the least with such things as Dhikr i.e.,the ‘remembrance’ of Allah Most High.
What is ‘remembrance’? When a man visits in his heart the woman that he loves, he shudders as an enchanting fragrance envelops his heart. It happens every time! When he hears her name mentioned, the same thing happens. That is ‘remembrance’.
Clearly ‘remembrance’ is only possible when there is true love. And so it is really when love of Allah Most High departs from the heart that ‘time’ moves faster and yet faster.Hence it follows that when sincere love for Allah Most High takes possession of the heart, time would surely move slower and a believer would interact with the passage of time in life in a manner that would be meaningful and beneficial.
These hapless people who are imprisoned in a world of ever fleeting time are paying the price of being further trapped in the fleeting moment and hence the ‘here’ and ‘now’. They will never be able to read and understand the passage of time or the movement of time in history. They will thus be taken for a ride and remain totally heedless of their pathetic state as they fall into a bottomless pit.
The consequence of spiritual vacuum in the Last Age would be moral collapse to such an extent that:
“..people would make business agreements with one another and scarcely anyone would fulfill his trust”.
The spiritual vacuum and moral collapse would so incapacitate judgment as to render people incapable of distinguishing men of integrity from charlatans:
“..it would be said that among such and such a tribe there is a trustworthy man. People would remark how intelligent, excellent and resolute a man he is while (in fact) he would not have as much faith (in Allah) in his heart as a grain of a mustard seed.”
[Both quotes above taken from a Hadīth narrated by Hudhaifa and transmitted in the Sahīh of Bukhāri as well as Muslim.]
The blessed Prophet also warned that such would be a time of great betrayals in which:
“Temptations would be presented to men’s hearts as a reed mat is woven stick by stick, and any heart which is impregnated by them would have a black mark put in it. The result would be that hearts would be of two kinds: one, white like a white stone, which would not be harmed by temptation as long as the heavens and earth endure, and the other, black and dust colored like a vessel which is upset, incapable of recognizing what is reputable, or rejecting what is disreputable, but being enveloped by its passion.” [Narrated by Hudhaifa and transmitted in the Sahīh of Muslim.]
There can be no doubt whatsoever that this so-called age of ‘progress’ is, indeed, the age when these signs of the Last Day have appeared.
This is the age of secularism. Even the state is secular, and so too politics, the economy, education, the market, the media, sports, and entertainment. The dining room, living room and even bedroom are today also secularized. Secularism begins by ‘excluding God’, and culminates by ‘denying Him’! When knowledge is secularized it leads to the belief that knowledge comes from only one source, i.e., external observation and rational enquiry. The implication of the adoption of this epistemology is the inevitable conclusion that since this material world is the only world we can ever ‘know’ in this way, it follows that this is the only world that really ‘exists’.
Thus it is secularism leads to materialism, i.e., the acceptance, for all practical purposes, that there is no reality beyond material reality, and hence, that there are no other dimensions of time other than this world of time in which we exist. Materialism has led, naturally so, to greed, lies, promiscuity, injustice, oppression, godlessness, and great betrayals since the moral foundations of society cannot be sustained without the spiritual heart of religion. That heart can neither be built, nor sustained, without belief in transcendent alverities (such as God, Angels, heaven and hell) that exist in a world beyond the material world. Even the passage of life through time can easily become meaningless when no other time exists than ‘here’ and ‘now’, and no other world exists other than this.
The Integration of life with ‘time’
The counting of the passage of years is a matter of great import. How a person counts the passage of time determines who he is! “Tell me how you count the passing years and I will tell you who you are!”
Omar Khayyam lamented the passage of the years:
“Whether in Nishapur or in Babylon,
Whether the cup with sweet or bitter run,
The wine of life keeps oozing drop by drop,
The leaves of life keep falling one by one!” [Rubaiyyat]
But the passage of time provokes a quite different response in the heart which possesses faith in Allah Most High, and in a life that is positively integrated with the movement of time! It provides a means for the believing woman, for example, to interact positively and harmoniously with her passing years.
Anyone with a personality that is sufficiently developed aesthetically to appreciate beauty would agree that nothing in the heavens above can compare in beauty with the sight of the new crescent moon and star joined together in an enchanting embrace. The passage of a new lunar month in the sky above symbolizes the passage of life itself.
Thus it is that when a baby girl was born it was as though a new moon had appeared in the sky and that a new world had come into being. Every one adored her. Everyone took her in their loving arms. She crawled – she walked – she played – she laughed – she sang – she danced. She had narry a care in the world as she playfully traversed the spring time of her childhood and youth. She was a miracle to behold.
Then she blushed with shyness as she welcomed her summer time when she bloomed and blossomed into a woman more beautiful than a rain drop on a rainbow that falls gently upon a rose petal. The world gazed in wonder at her beauty and from their lips came the words: SubhanAllah! The singers sang of her, the poets composed verses about her. And this, also, was a miracle to behold.
And then autumn overtook her as the green leaves of her life began to turn to brown. Wrinkles appeared around her eyes and here and there as trand of her hair turned to grey.
Finally her winter arrived when the moon returned like an old dry withered branch of a date palm (Qur’ān, Yāsīn, 36:39) and she made ready to gracefully fold her tent,to say goodbye, and to disappear into the darkness of the night.
But she was so full of gratitude to Allah Most High all through the journey of life through time. When she had her season of spring she thanked Him for it, and so too her summer and then her autumn and finally her winter. She had no sorrow over the arrival of autumn or winter. She was proud of her grey hairs when they began to mingle with the natural color of her hair. Not for anything that the world could offer did she ever wish to return to her spring or summer for she loved her autumn and her winter just as much. And so she aged gracefully.
The older she grew the more beauty she radiated – an external expression of inner-beauty. And when the time came for the angel of death to take her away, when it was time for the moon to disappear into the darkness of the sky and for the dark night to envelop the world, there were no regrets inparting from the only world she had ever known. She wanted to leave this world with gratitude to Allah in her heart because He had promised those who so thanked him that He would bestow on them an increase of bounty and favors (Qur’ān, Ibrāhīm, 14:7). She did not sigh! She did not share Indian Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar’s lament:
‘Umr daraz maang layay thay char din,
Do arzoo main kat gayay thay,do intizar main!
[From the ‘chest of drawers’ of lifespans,
I sought and obtained (a lifespan of) four days, Two (of the four) have gone in wishing and the other two in waiting!]
Rather, such a believing woman was ever ready to travel on in time to new worlds of time. She never defied the passage of time, and so she never disrespected Allah Most High – because He is time. Whoever lives in harmony with time lives in harmony with his Lord and Creator! Whoever can penetrate time beyond the ‘here and now’ can read and understand the signs of Allah and the signs of the Last Day as they unfold in the movement of history.
The dimension in which we measure the passage of time with days and nights and the seasons of our life as well as the seasons of nature, is provided to us that we might measure the passage of our own individual and collective sojourn on earth. It is a test and trial. It does not represent the totality of time. Rather it constitutes the foundation for our growth into other dimensions of time described in the Qur’ān. As we grow in time, i.e.,in our perception of time and capacity to grasp and understand time as it unfolds in our lives as well as in the external world, we simultaneously enhance our capacity to understand the Last Age as it unfolds in the last stage of the historical process. And that is by far the most important thing that we argue in this chapter.
‘Time’ in the Qur’ān
Allah Most Wise has taught the subject of ‘time’ by scattering pearls of ‘time’ here and there in the Holy Qur’ān and in the life and words of the blessed Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), and then placing upon the enquirer the onus of gathering those pearls and stringing them to gether as in a necklace.
We have made a humble attempt in this very important section of this chapter to not only locate some of those pearls of ‘time’ in the Qur’ān but to also try to string them together as a necklace.
The Arabs considered ‘Time’ (al-Dahr) to be the ultimate reality. They believed ‘time’ to be the only thing that survived. Everything and everyone would perish and pass away because they would be ‘destroyed ’by ‘Time’:
“And they say: What is there but our life in this world? We shall die and we live and nothing but Time (al-Dahr) can destroy us. But of that they have no knowledge: they engage in mere conjecture.” [Qur’ān, al-Jāthiyah, 45:24]
Modern godless western civilization which recognizes no reality beyond material reality, has declared that ‘time is money’. Time has become a commodity that can be traded, bought and sold. Whenever money, for example, is lent on interest, the time value of money is expressed in interest payments.
Allah Most High responded (in a Hadīth al-Qudsi) by declaring that He Himself is time (al-Dahr):
“Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah’s Apostle said, Allah said, ‘The offspring of Adam abuse Dahr (Time), and I am Dahr (Time); in My Hands are the night and the day!’“ [Sahih Bukhari]
When Allah Most High declares that He is time the implication is that there is such a thing as absolute time, i.e., that time that exists independently and is not conditioned by other than itself. And when He goes onto point out that “in My Hands are the night and the day”, the further implication is that time, as we know it, i.e.,the conception of time that is grounded in the alternation of night and day, is relative in nature – i.e., relative to Allah’s ‘absolute’ time. Time as we know it, in which measurement is done through the counting of ‘days’, ‘nights’, ‘weeks’, ‘months’, ‘years’, etc., may be described as serial time.
The Qur’ān explains that serial time is just the beginning of time and has been provided for purposes which are utilitarian i.e., so that people may have a means of counting the passage of years and of measuring time in their own mundane temporal world. Serial time is real. It is not to be considered as an illusion or a thing that is unreal:
“It is He Who made the sun to be a shining glory and the moon to be a light (of beauty) and measured outstages for her: that ye might know the number of years and the count (of time). Nowise did Allah create this but in truth and righteousness. (Thus) doth He explain his Signs in detail for those who understand.” [Qur’ān, Yūnus,10:5]
“We have made the Night and the Day as two (of Our) Signs: the Sign of the Night have We made obscure while the Sign of the day We have made to enlighten you; that ye may seek Bounty from your Lord and that ye may know the number and count of the years, and all things have We explained in detail.”
[Qur’ān, Banū Isrāīl,17:12]
The Qur’ān goes onto reveal that between ‘serial’ and ‘absolute’ time there exists seven different worlds of time described as seven Samāwāt (that are usually erroneously translated as seven heavens):
“It is He who hath created for you all things that are on earth; moreover His design comprehended the sky for He gave order and perfection to the seven cosmic stratas (samawat); and of all things he hath perfect knowledge. [Qur’ān, al-Baqarah, 2:29]
“The seven cosmic stratas (samawat) and the earth and all beings therein declare His glory: there is not a thing but celebrates His praise; and yet ye understand not how they declare His glory! Verily He is Oft-Forbearing, Most-Forgiving!” [Qur’ān, Banū Isrāīl, 17:44]
“And We have made above you seven taraāiq (tracts or celestial orbits); and We are never unmindful of (Our) Creation.” [Qur’ān, al-M’uminūn, 23:17]
Say: “Who is the Lord of the seven heavens and the Lord of the Throne (of Glory) Supreme?” [Qur’ān, al-M’uminūn, 23:86]
“So He completed the mass even cosmic stratas (samawat) in two Days and He assigned to each heaven its duty and command. And We adorned the lower heaven with lights and (provided it) with guard. Such is the Decree of (Him) the Exalted in Might Full of knowledge.” [Qur’ān, Fussilāt, 41:12]
“Allah is He Who created seven cosmic stratas (samawat) and of the earth a similar number (i.e., seven stratas of the earth). Through the midst of them (all) descends His Command: that ye may know that Allah has power over all things and that Allah comprehends all things in (His) Knowledge.” [Qur’ān, al-Talāq, 65:12]
“He Who created the seven cosmic stratas (samawat) one above another; no want of proportion wilt thou see in the Creation of (Allah) Most Gracious, so turn thy vision again: Seest thou any flaw?” [Qur’ān, al-Mulk, 67:3]
“See ye not how Allah has created the seven cosmic stratas (samawat) one above another?” [Qur’ān, Nūh, 71:15]
These seven firm bodies are usually recognized as seven ‘heavens’. But they are not heavens at all! Rather they should be recognized as seven different worlds of space and time that stand inbetween earth and Allah Most High on His Summit Throne (al-‘Arsh). Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon him) made mention of this in the following Hadīth:
Narrated al-‘Abbās ibn ‘Abdal Muttalib: “I was sitting in al-Batha with a company among whom the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) was sitting, when a cloud passed above them. The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) looked at it and said: What do you call this? They said: Sahab. He said: And muzn? They said: And muzn. He said: And anan? They said: And anan. Abū Daūd said: I am not quite confident about the word anan. He asked: Do you know the distance between the Samā (sky) and Earth? They replied: We do not know. He then said: The distance between them is seventy-one, seventy-two, or seventy-three years. The Samā which is above it is at a similar distance (going on untill he counted seven Samāwāt). Above the seventh Samā there is a sea, the distance between whose surface and bottom is like that between one Samā and the next. Above that there are eight mountain-goats the distance between whose hoofs and haunches is like the distance between one Samā and the next. Then Allah, the Blessed and the Exalted, is above that.” (Abū Dawūd)
It would appear that a different Āalam (world or cosmos) exists in each of these seven Samāwāt. The Qur’ān commenced Sūrah al-Fātihah with a description of Allah Most High as Rab al-Ālamīn (i.e., the Lord God of all the seven worlds):
“Praise be to Allah, the Lord God of (all) the worlds.” [Qur’ān, al-Fātihah,1:2]
What this implies is that in the same way that Allah Most High is Rabb (Lord God) to humankind in this Āalam, so too is He Rabb to those who are located in all the other Ālamūn (plural of Āalam) and who are also supposed to worship Him:
“The seven cosmic stratas (samawat) and the earth, and all-beings therein, declare His glory: there is not a thing but celebrates His praise; and yet ye understand not how they declare His glory! Verily He is Oft-Forbearing, Most ‘Forgiving! [Qur’ān, al-Isrā,17:44]
The Qur’ān actually identifies these seven worlds as different dimensions of space and time. For example it makes mention of a world (Āalam) with a dimension of time in which:
• A ‘day’ is like fifty thousand years:
“The angels and the Spirit ascend unto Him in a Day the measure where of is (as) fifty-thousand years.” [Qur’ān, al-M’ārij, 70:4]
And it makes mention of a second world (Āalam) with a dimension of time in which:
• A ‘day’ is like a thousand years:
“Yet they ask thee to hasten on the Punishment! But Allah will not fail in His promise. Verily a day in the sight of thy Lord is like a thousand years of your reckoning.” [Qur’ān, al-Hajj, 22:47]
“He rules (all) affairs from the heavens to the earth: in the end will (all affairs) go upto Him on a day the measure where of will be (as) a thousand years of your reckoning.” [Qur’ān, al-Sajda, 32:5]
• A day is like three-hundred years
In Sūrah al-Kahf of the Qur’ān, the supreme importance of time in relation to the subject of Dajjāl was dramatically emphasized when Allah Most High declared that He caused the young men to remain in the cave for many years. He then raised them to wakefulness in order to determine which of them would be able to accurately assess the period of time that they had tarried in the cave. They had actually slept for three-hundred years and yet felt that they had tarried for a day or part of a day:
“And there upon We veiled their ears in the cave for many a year, (they were thus cut off from the outside world), and then We awakened them; (and we did all this) so that We might mark out (to the world) which of the two points of view showed a better comprehension of the timespan during which they had remained in that state.” [Qur’ān, al-Kahf, 18:1112]
Such (being their state), We raised them up (from sleep) that they might question each other. One of them asked, “How long have ye stayed (here)?” They said, “We have stayed (perhaps) a day or part of a day.” (At length) they (all) said “Allah (alone) knows best how long ye have stayed here….” [Qur’ān, al-Kahf, 18:19]
“So they stayed in their Cave three-hundred years and (some) add nine (more).” [Qur’ān, al-Kahf,18:25]
Some of the young men responded that they had stayed in the cave for just a day or part of a day. Others, however, could discern spiritually that the passage of time in the cave perhaps exceeded that which was suggested by some of their companions. Indeed some people suggested that the youths had slept in the cave for as long a period of time as three-hundred solar years (equivalent to 309 lunar years).
• A day is like a hundred years:
The Qur’ān has also described the event in which a man passed by a ‘town’ that was lying in ruins (i.e.,Jerusalem) and wondered skeptically how could Allah Most High revive that ‘town’. Where upon Allah caused him to die (metaphorically) for a hundred years and then revived him to ask him how long he had tarried there. His response was “a day or part of a day”:
Or (take) the similitude of one who passed by a town, all in ruins to its roofs. He asked, “How shall Allah bring it (ever) to life, after (this) its death?” but Allah caused him to die for a hundred years, then raised him up (again). He asked, “How long didst thou tarry (thus)?” He replied, “(Perhaps) a day or part of a day.” He responded, “Nay, thou hast tarried thus a hundred years; but look at thy food and thy drink, they show no signs of age; and look at thy donkey. And that We may make of thee a sign unto the people, Look further at the bones, how We bring them together and clothe them with flesh.” When this was shown clearly to him, he said: “I know that Allah hath power over all things.” [Qur’ān, al-Baqarah, 2:259]
The seven different dimensions of space and time appear to exist alongside each other rather than a second beginning where the first ends:
He Who created the seven cosmic stratas (samawat) one beside another; no want of proportion wilt thou see in the Creation of (Allah) Most Gracious, so turn thy vision again: Seest thou any flaw?” [Qur’ān, al-Mulk,67:3]
There is are mark able description of the proximity of different dimensions of time right here on earth in the same passage of the Qur’ān quoted above (Qur’ān, al-Baqarah, 2:259), in which Allah Most High makes mention of the traveler who passed by Jerusalem after the Babylonian destruction and who could not conceive of the dead city ever being revived to life.
The traveller was put to death (sleep is a form of death) for a hundred years and then revived to consciousness. As with the youth, so too did the traveler have the consciousness of having tarried for just a day or part of a day. But the Qur’ān gives a vivid description of two different dimensions of time existing beside each other on earth when it described the fate of the donkey in one dimension of time, and of the food in another. While the donkey, in our dimension of time, starved to death, and the body decomposed until even the bones had crumbled to dust, the food which was preserved in another dimension of time remained fresh even after a hundred years. The lesson from this narrative is that both dimensions of time exist side by side righ there on earth!
We witness exactly the same phenomenon in the next chapter of this book in the story of the young men who were put to sleep in the cave and who slept for three hundred years. Our analysis of that story indicates that their bodies were located simultaneously in two dimensions of time during their long sleep in the cave. In the first dimension of time their bodies kept on rolling to the left and to the right in synchrony with the movement of the sun, i.e., morning and evenings. In the second dimension of time their bodies displaye dno visible signs of biological growth and ageing despite the passage of three hundred years.
Different dimensions of time and of space can all belocated Tibāqa, i.e., together or along side each other.
We can now understand how unseen recording angels who exist in a different dimension of space and time can be constantly present on both our shoulders as we live here on earth, and how unseen Jinn can also be constantly present all around us. They are present around us while yet not present in the same dimension of space and time in which we exist. Hence it is that we cannot see them. Consider the following verse of the Qur’ān:
O Children of Adam! let not Satan seduce you, in the same manner as he got your parents out of the Garden, stripping them of their raiment,to expose their shame: for he and his tribe watch you from a place where ye cannot see them (i.e.,they observe you from a dimension of space and time beyond your observation–hence from an unseen world): We made the Evil Ones friends (only) to those without Faith. [Qur’ān: al-‘Arāf, 7:27]
The lesson from the above narrative pertaining to the ‘food’ and the ‘donkey’ extends beyond recognition of two worlds of time existing side by side right here on earth. The food, while still located in this world of time, was also preserved in a second world of time in which it remained fresh despite the passage of three hundred years. In other words, continuous travel or passage between two worlds of time occurred in this event.
The same thing occurred in the case of the young men in the cave as described in Sūrah al-Kahf. Their bodies remained physically for three hundred years in the cave in this world of time while yet preserved in another world of time in which they never grew old. And the same travel or passage through different worlds of time occurred in the Isrā and M’irāj of Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wasallam).
In view of the fact, however, that the Prophet (sallalahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had to be taken by Burāq to the Holy Land in order to be further transported into the Samāwāt, it now seems clear that this phenomenon of travel between other dimensions of time and our time is possible, perhaps only in the Holy Land. Hence the ‘town’ that was lying in ruins had to be Jerusalem, and so the miraculous event concerning the donkey and the food occurred in the Holy Land. The Cave in Sūrah al-Kahf also had to be located somewhere in or around the Holy Land. It was from the Holy Land that Jesus, the Son of Mary (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon them both), was raised into the Samawāt. And when here turns from the Samawāt it should be in or around Jerusalem that he would descend.
Our teacher of blessed memory, Maulāna Dr. Muhammad Fadlur Rahmān Ansāri (1914–1974), interpreted the divine guidance in much the same way as did Maulāna Jalāluddin Rūmī to explain that while all creation commenced with the command “Kun” (Be!) yet all created things proceeded to evolve through different stages indifferent worlds. He described a world of light in which beings of light, namely Angels, came into being, and a world of fire in which Jinn came into being, and, finally, a world of clay in which humankind emerged. He consequently believed that ‘time’, like everything else in Allah’s creation, evolved until it finally emerged in the form in which we perceive it now.
What this chapter suggests is that the evolution of time took place in its passage or movement through different Samawāt or worlds of time. And once we understand and accept that process the interpretation of the all important Hadīth concerning Dajjāl’s lifespan on earth becomes possible. Here is a description of Maulāna’s Qur’anic cosmology in which time evolves. The quotation is taken from his two volume masterpiece, ‘The Qur’anic Foundations and Structure of Muslim Society’:
“God’s relationship with the cosmos as its Creator emerges in the Qur’ān at two levels, i.e.,the levels of al-Amr and al-Khalq,—both established and united under that Attribute of God which relates to cherishing, nourishing, evolving and perfecting, i.e., al-Rabb:
“……Lo! His is al-Khalq and al-Amr. Blessed is Allah the Rabb of the worlds (i.e., the entire cosmos).” [Qur’ān, al‘Arāf, 7:54]
Thus, the Creation began with God’s Amr:
“The Originator of the heavens and the earth; and when so ever He decrees an affair (Amr), He only says to it `Be’ and it becomes. (Hence the origination of the cosmos also took place as a result of Allah’s Command ‘Be’).” [Qur’ān, al-Baqarah, 2:117]
“His Amr (i.e., law of bringing something into existence) is that when He intends a thing, He only says, to it (by way of Command, or, Amr): ‘Be’! and it becomes.” [Qur’ān, Yasin, 36:82]
Hence the first stage in the creation of the cosmos should be affirmed in terms of ‘Becoming’. We may also call it the stage of subtle existence, intangibility (as opposed to the tangibility of matter), and spacelessness cum timelessness.
Looking at the process of creation in the background of the concept of evolution projected explicitly in the Qur’ān, we arrive at the view of evolutionary creation,wherein—like the evolutionary hypothesis in modern Science—we are led to the affirmation of the ‘Primeval-Atom’ as the starting point, which functioned as the nucleus and out of which grew the entire cosmos through an evolutionary process—, wherein the concept of the ‘First Created Light functioning as Nucleus ’has been projected.
The unique position which he holds among all creatures has been unambiguously affirmed also in a Hadith reported by the Holy Prophet’s Companion Jabir and upheld as authentic in Islamic history by eminent authorities, among whom may be mentioned, by way of example, one of the classical Qur’anic commentators, Allama Alusi (vide his classical Tafsir, the Rūh al Ma’ani, vol.1, p.51). It is to the effect:
“Jābir reports: I said ‘O Messenger of Allah! Inform me about that which Allah created before all (other) things’. He replied: Verily, Allah, the Almighty, created before all (other) things the Light of thine Prophet through His Light….” (Quoted on the authority of muhaddith`Abdal Razzāq [the eminent forerunner of Imām al-Bukhāri and author of Al-Musannaf] by Allāma Yusuf b. Ismail al-Nabhāni, in Al-Anwār al-Muhammadiyyah min Mawāhib al-Ludunniyah, p.12, Beirut, 1310A.H.). The Hadīth then proceeds to inform that the entire universe was created by God from that original created Light, which the luminaries of Islam have named as the ‘Light of Muhammad’.
As for the nature of the evolutionary process, it should be conceived, in the very nature of the case, in terms of progressive decrease in subtlety, refinement, intangibility and qualitativeness, and progressive increase in respect of concreteness, crystallization, tangibility and quantitativeness: on the basis of a progressive crystallization of the process of al-Khalq, which implies the creation of new objects from the existing materials. In other words, it must have begun a progress towards more and more profound ‘expression’. This is what we understand from the Qur’ān as well as from Science.
Indeed, different things appear in the Qur’ān to have emerged into dynamic existence at different stages of the evolutionary process. Thus, there existed the angels, the jinn and the human beings in that pre-physical, or, transcendental, dimension of existence; and, among them, the angels and the jinn were there prior to the existence of the human beings, as the Holy Qur’ān testifies (Qur’ān, al-Baqarah, 2:30-34). Then, according to what we read in the Holy Book in plain terms, humanity was made to appear before God in her transcendental, or, pre-earthly, dimension of existence, to proclaim the Covenant of Monotheism (Qur’ān, al‘Arāf, 7:172) — which means that human beings existed at that stage of Creation. Similarly, the event of the ‘Covenant of the Prophets’ has been mentioned therein to have occurred in that stage of Creation (Qur’ān, Ale-‘Imrān, 3:81, — which proves the existence of the Prophets at that stage.
All this means that a Realm of Created Beings and Things became gradually established in respect of their essential orideal nature, even in the first stage of creation. But evolution was to continue, and has continued, according to God’s Plan. However Allah set a measure or scale of growth of all things:
“Allah has set a measure (or, a scale of growth and maturity — which enshrines its destiny) for everything.” [Qur’ān, al-Talāq, 65:3]
In consequence certain things that had emerged from potentiality into actuality, had to stay in the state they had acquired — the angels, for instance; while others had to continue their evolutionary journey, finally emerging in the Spatio-Temporal Order of Existence — the human beings, for instance. [‘Qur’anic Foundations and Structure of Muslim Society’, Vol.2, pp 16-17].
The Qur’anic cosmology presented above describes a process of evolutionary creation. It therefore confirms an evolution of time through different dimensions of time. The logical implication is that all creation evolved through different dimensions of time before finally emerging in the dimension of space and time in which we live and die. The Qur’ān affirms the existence of seven different Samawāt that exist each beside the other, and this implies that seven different dimensions of time are all simultaneously present, all accessible, and all capable of impacting on life on earth:
“He Who created the seven skies (hence seven different dimensions of space and time) layer after layer (or strata after strata, each beyond the other, each merging perfectly with the other): no defect wilt thou see in the Creation of (Allah) Most Gracious. So turn thy vision again: seest thou any flaw?” [Qur’ān, al-Mulk, 67:3]
“Do you not see how Allah has created the seven cosmic stratas (samawat) layer after layer (or strata after strata one beyond the other)…..” [Qur’ān, Nuh, 71:15]
Similarly the Qur’ān affirms that mankind passed through the same process of emergence (or evolution) through different dimensions of space and time until we emerged in this world:
“So I do call to witness the ruddy glow of Sunset; The Night and its Homing; And the Moon in her Fullness: Ye shall surely travel from stratum to stratum (i.e.,from one dimension of space and time to another, and then another, etc., in the seven stratas of creation).” [Qur’ān, al-Inshiqāq, 84:16-19]
Every human being experiences in the phenomenon of true dreams – sometimes known as prophetic dreams – the passage, or evolution, of a created event through these different worlds. Dreams that come true provide direct evidence that a transcendental world exists. Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) declared of true dreams and visions (and this includes spiritual insight) that they would be the last surviving part of prophethood that would remain in the world after him. But they do something else. When faith in Allah Most High enters into the heart then two things depart from the heart – namely fear and grief, and hope takes in their place – hope for good in this life and in the next. When the believer experiences continuous true dreams then hope is transformed into joy since they represent confirmation of the fulfillment of hope:
“When the time (of the end of the world) draws close, the dreams of a believer will hardly fail to come true, and a dream of a believer is one of the forty six parts of prophethood.” [Sahīh Bukhāri]
The only possible way that one can explain the phenomenon of a true or prophetic dream is that event before they occur. In other words, the process of creation of an event commences with the divine command be!, and then passes through various dimensions of space and time until it culminates as an actual event in this world of space and time. It is when that event is intercepted before it occurs in this world, and the news of the event is communicated in the form of a dream, that we experience the phenomenon of a true or prophetic dream.
Thus a true dream can only be explained if one accepts the existence of dimensions or worlds of space and time beyond that which we directly experience. There is a reality that is transcendental (or spiritual). Spiritual ‘substance’ emerges in material ‘form’ in every thing that exists, and everything that occurs. All that appears in material ‘form’ were so ‘fashioned’ by Allah Most High that they might function as symbols (Āyāt) which would lead to, and reveal, their spiritual ‘substance’.
And so, the event seen in a true predictive dream would be an event created by Allah Most High which first exists only in the dimension of spiritual ‘substance’. It subsequently emerges as material ‘form’, and the dream then becomes a reality.
It should be clear that we cannot locate the second sky or stratum physically at a point where the first sky or stratum ends, for that would place the second sky or stratum in the same dimension of space as the first. It might be more appropriate to conceive of all seven stratas with their different dimensions of space and time as overlapping each other or merging into each other, instead of a spatially vertical juxtaposition of the seven skies or strata. So one does not need a spaceship with which to travel for light years before exhausting one dimension of space and time and entering another. One can step from one dimension of time into a second in a fleeting moment. Nor would it require any movement in our space or our time to take that step. Rather we can do it every time we stand in worship to perform our Salāt (prayer). This explains both the miracle of the blessed Prophet’s Isrā and M’irāj when he traveled in a fleeting moment from Makkah to Jerusalem and through all seven transcendental worlds of space and time before returning to Makkah. This may also explain the phenomenon of the ascension of Jesus (‘alaihissalam) into the heavens and his eventual return to this dimension of space and time at that time when Dajjāl would have completed his mission. When Jesus returns to our dimension of time after more than 2000 years away from us, he would not have aged by as much as even a day.
Sūrah al-Fātihah and the different worlds of time
The blessed Prophet declared of Sūrah al-Fātihah that it was the greatest Sūrah of the Qur’ān. There was nothing in previously revealed scriptures that could compare with it, and that it could cure all illnesses. Consider the following Ahādith:
Narrated Abu Said Al-Mualla: While I was praying, the Prophet called me but I did not respond to his call. Later I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I was praying.” He asked, “Didn’t Allah say: O you who believe! Give your response to Allah (by obeying Him) and to His Apostle when he calls you?” (8.24) He then asked, “Shall I not teach you the most superior Sūrah in the Qur’ān?” He said, “(It is), Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. (i.e., Sūrah al-Fātiha) which consists of seven off recited verses of the Magnificent Qur’ān which was given to me.” [Sahīh Bukhāri]
Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbās reported that the Prophet said: “Rejoice in the two lights brought to you which have not been brought to any Prophet before you: al-Fatihah and the last verses of Sūrah al-Baqarah (2:28-45).” [Muslim]
Abū Hurayrah reported that the Prophet said: “By Him in whose hands is my soul, nothing like it (i.e.,Sūrah al-Fātihah) has been sent down in the Tauraat, nor in the Injīl, nor in the Zabūr, nor (elsewhere) in the Qur’ān.” [Tirmīdhi]
‘Abdal Malik Ibn ‘Umayr reported that the Prophet said that “Sūrah al-Fātihah is a healing for every sickness.” [Tirmīdhī, Dārimi and Bayhaqi]
Narrated Alaqah ibn Sahar at-Tamīmi: Alaqah came to the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) and embraced Islam. He then came back from him and passed some people who had a lunatic fettered in chains. His people said: We are told that your companion has brought much that is good. Have you something with which you can cure him? I then recited Sūrah al-Fātihah and he was cured. They gave me one hundred sheep. I then came to the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) and informed him of it. He asked: Is it only this? The narrator, Musaddad, said in his other version: Did you say anything other than that? I said: No. He said: Take it, for by my life, some accept it for a worthless chain, but you have done so for a genuine one.” [Sunan Abū Daūd]
Narrated Abū Saīd: Some of the companions of the Prophet went on a journey untill they reached some of the Arab tribes (at night). They asked the latter to treat them as their guests but they refused. The chief of that tribe was then bitten by a snake (or stung by a scorpion) and they tried their best to treat him but in vain. Some of them said (to the others), “Nothing has benefited him, will you go to the people who are spending the night here, may be some of them might possess something (that can cure).” They went to the group of the companions (of the Prophet) and said, “Our chief has been bitten by a snake (or stung by a scorpion) and we have tried everything but he has not benefited. Have you got anything (useful)?” One of them replied, “Yes, by Allah! I can recite a Ruqya, but as you have refused to accept us as your guests,I will not recite the Ruqya for you unless you fix for us some wages for it.” They agreed to pay them a flock of sheep. One of them then went and recited (Sūrah al-Fātihah): All the praises are for the Lord of the Worlds. He then blew with his breath over the chief who was then healed as if he was released from shakles. He got up and started walking, showing no signs of sickness. They paid them what they agreed to pay. Some of them (i.e.the companions) then suggested to divide their earnings among themselves, but the one who performed the recitation said, “Do not divide them till we go to the Prophet and narrate the whole story to him, and wait for his order.” So, they went to Allah’s Apostle and narrated the story. Allah’s Apostle asked, “How did you come to know that Sūrah al-Fātiha was recited as Ruqya?” Then he added, “You have done the right thing. Divide (what you have earned) and assign a share for me as well.” The Prophet smiled thereupon.
Our view, and Allah knows best, is the above indicate that the seven Āyāt (verses) of Sūrah al-Fātihah have the capacity to spiritually transport the true servant of Allah, even while he is in Salāt, through the seven dimensions of space and time and to deliver him/her spiritually to a special proximity with Allah Most High in a timeless world. This phenomenon constitutes the M’iraj of the believers. In other words, spiritual travel (M’irāj) commences at the very beginning of Salāt with the recitation of Sūrah al-Fātihah. Each of the seven Ayāt (verses) of Sūrah al-Fātihah can spiritually transport the worshipper through one of the seven Samawāt or dimensions of space and time until, by the time he recites Āmīn, he arrives spiritually at the ‘Arsh. He would then be in the special presence of Allah Most High, and the rest of the Raka’ah (or cycle of prayer) would be performed in that special divine presence.
This, perhaps, explains why the blessed Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon him) always recited each verse of Sūrah al-Fātihah separately and never joined two of its verses together in recitation. It also forces those who thought otherwise to now recognize the Basmallah as the first verse of Sūrah al-Fātihah and, consequently to further recognize the imperative of reciting it aloud in Salāt along with its other six Āyāt.
We may now conclude with the recognition of the following seven worlds or dimensions of time:
1. a day like 50,000 years
2. a day like 1000 years
3. a day like 300 years
4. a day like 100 years
5. a day like a year
6. a day like a month and
7. a day like a week.